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Veritatis Splendor

"Keep your eyes fixed upon Jesus, who inspires and perfects our faith" --Hebrews 12:2

Pope Benedict XVI before our Lord

And only where God is seen does life truly begin. Only when we meet the living God in Christ do we know what life is. We are not some casual and meaningless product of evolution.
Each of us is the result of a thought of God.
Each of us is willed,
each of us is loved,
each of us is necessary.
There is nothing more beautiful than to be surprised by the Gospel, by the encounter with Christ. There is nothing more beautiful than to know Him and to speak to others of our friendship with Him.
~Pope Benedict XVI, Homily April 24th, 2005

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

The habit of being

H/T to the blog Roman Catholic Vocations for this fantastic article that I never would have found otherwise (being as it's from one of those "blah" Catholic magazines).


Like it or not, religious garb and clerical dress are making a comeback. This phenomenon can be hard to swallow for a generation of priests, religious, and laity.

It may seem that younger Catholics are attempting to undo all their hard work and are intentionally heading backward into a church that placed a greater emphasis on distinctions between the clergy and the laity, rather than celebrating the common priesthood of the baptized. Some have even accused wearers of religious garb of being insecure, out-of-touch, and intellectually second-rate. But today I find the youngest, brightest, healthiest, and most joyful consecrated religious and clergy seem perfectly at home in religious garb. What happened?

When asked how she reconciled her Catholicism with using violent, grotesque imagery, the great fiction writer Flannery O'Connor, herself a young Catholic who was often misunderstood, said: "To the hard of hearing you shout, and for the almost blind you draw large startling figures." It seems that the same philosophy is at work in the minds of young Catholics who are drawn to religious garb; they desire to communicate the gospel through sign and symbol to a world whose senses have been dulled. And if their clothing can help people to hear and see Christ, then it's a no-brainer.

...Today's youth live in a culture that forces them to say something about who they are and what they believe. The tattoo and body-piercing craze gives perfect witness to this condition. It's even hard to find a young person wearing a T-shirt that doesn't have words, numbers, or images on it. This is why more Catholic youth are wearing crosses, medals, and devotional bracelets. It should come as no surprise that younger Catholics would rather see priests in clerics than clothes from J. Crew and would rather see sisters in a habit than a pantsuit with a lapel pin. They want priests and religious to be recognizable, just as police officers and firefighters are recognizable by their uniforms.

...The John Paul II and Benedict XVI generations have been accused of wanting to wear religious garb in order to bring attention to themselves. I am sure that in a few situations this is true. Unfortunately, in every way of life there are folks who love attention, honor, and power. For the majority of young Catholics, however, this simply isn't the case.

They desire to bring attention to Christ with their whole lives, including their wardrobe. These young people want to be part of something greater than themselves. And they are willing to give up their lives to do so. They want to imitate saints like Anthony, Francis, and Teresa in their love of Jesus and service of the community. And yes, even in their dress. They want their habits to manifest their being.

Read the whole article!

my own community-to-be!

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

"Sadness, no - sacrifice, yes"

In other vocation news, my dear friend Molly entered the Nashville Dominicans a couple of years ago - and she was recently interviewed as part of a PBS special! Sr. Amelia Hueller's smiling face and testimony can be read here!!

Friday, February 08, 2008

My News of Great Joy!


Dear friends and visitors,

I know I have been pretty quiet online for some time, do forgive me, I think I have good reason for it! After many months of discernment, and much consideration in prayer, if God so wills it I will be entering the Benedictines of Mary, Queen of Apostles in Kansas City, Missouri, on June 11th of this year!

The Benedictines of Mary is the same beautiful community that I went down to visit and make a retreat with last Thanksgiving, as some of you may recall. During that wonderful time of seclusion and reflection, I can now say that I know why no one could ever "explain" to me what it means to know what a vocation is before. Now I am the one who is unable to fully "explain" it to anyone else! Suffice it to say that from the first moment I arrived at the Priory of Our Lady of Ephesus, I felt completely at peace. "Felt" is actually a misnomer, because it was more than just a feeling - it is that inexplicable sense of belonging, or perhaps of fitting-ness. Like a glove. And now I, the bubbly, zealous, active, organizing, networking and globetrotting Mary, desire nothing more than to follow my Lord, at the side of Our Lady, into a quiet, cloistered, sewing, farming community in Missouri for the rest of my days, if He so wills it. God is so good!

Pretty much everyone I have spoken to about this discernment has asked "How do you know?" All I can say is, during my time there, I truly heard the call of Christ to come before Him, asking me to return all that I am, and all that I have been given, to Him as a free gift and loving sacrifice, or to choose to return to the blessed life I have been leading. My heart leapt, and with both solemnity and joy I said "yes!" More than that, I now realize that while I have spent my life seeking Christ, and being "about" Him in most of what I have done these past few years, there, in the cloistered life, is where I am to live with Christ; to know Him and love Him, by learning how to love through my community life with my Sisters (the convent is, as Mother said to me, a true "school of charity"!) and thus to be united with Him in a unique way and to bear fruit for the whole Church. I have to admit that as of now I've had a lot more time to truly consider the "consequences", you might say, of a fiat to Christ in a cloistered life -- but with that further discernment, the knowing and certitude has not diminished, but has been kept strongly in my heart and mind. I know not what the future holds, or the way the path will turn or slope, but I do know that I must heed the call now, without delay!

As you might imagine, the months since my Thanksgiving retreat and my acceptance into the community have been incredibly busy, but by the grace of God things seem to be falling into place. There is, however, one major obstacle remaining to my planned entrance on June 11th -- my educational debt. No aspirant can enter religious life with any outstanding debt, and so I am working with the Laboure Society (located right here in Eagan MN!) to resolve the remainder of my student loan debt. If you are able to assist me in this, follow the link to the Laboure Society for more information, and if you decide you would like to help me financially please send it to them, referencing "VS blog 2/8" for tracking purposes. And, thank you!

Your prayers are even more important to me, however - I am asking the Lord for the special intention that in this continuing discernment both I and the community, in particular Mother Prioress, will be given the grace of understanding of the Lord's will, and the courage to follow it wholeheartedly. Your prayers for this are gratefully appreciated as well, and thank you with all my heart for all of your support in so many ways that we cannot even know in this life!

A further note for any clergy, including seminarians, reading this: in keeping with our name, our charism is to live our life of sacrifice intentionally for the sanctification of the priesthood. Our primary means of supporting ourselves is through the sewing of vestments, and in keeping with the Benedictine tradition of hospitality, we offer a place of retreat for the clergy. Feel free to send me your ordination card, or name via e-mail perhaps, if you would like me to pray for your vocation.

Dio vi benedicite!

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Il Carnevale in Italia!

Those Italians, now THEY know how to have a good time on Mardi Gras (well, "Carnevale season" lasts a lot longer than just one day, for starters!)

la battaglia delle arance (The Battle of the Oranges)

I just hope none of my beloved blood oranges were killed in the fight.

UPDATE: Link fixed (for now?) A fantastic (and musical!) video of the Ivrea fights can be seen here!

Fra Angelico's Annunciation