Sunday, February 26


I've been reading and learning a lot lately about sacramentals. I think that many of them have spiritual use and meaning, and I can see how each could evolve into such a powerful devotional.

I had two objects blessed this weekend so that they could be considered sacramentals. First, I've been wanting a crucifix to display by my bedside for a while, and I found a small one I really liked, that was a Benedictine Crucifix. It looks like this:

Benedictine Crucifix

The crucifix includes a St. Benedict medal, so it has to be blessed with a particular blessing. The lady at the store gave me a copy of the blessing.

The second sacramental I had blessed this weekend was a green scapular. My sponsor gave it to my husband and me for a convalidation present. I thought it was kind of cool.

There seems so many different things that a Catholic can display or carry with them to show devotion to Christ, either through different types of devotions such as Sacred Heart or Divine Mercy, or devotion through Mary or the Saints. There's medals and scapulars and pictures and crucifixes and statues. There's a huge amount of devotions that can be done to Christ, and to Mary, and there's lots of information about the saints.

The only thing that kind of bothers me about the sacramentals is that the letters about them almost seem like bad chain letters. "I carried this scapular/medal/picture with me and I was healed/my children were healed/entire towns were converted, etc."

I can understand how faith in a particular sacramental can be beneficial. But how does one choose between what is authentic, and what is hooey? If it's been blessed by a Pope (like the Green Scapular, and the medal of St. Benedict), is it hooey? Or is it because the church has been around 2000 years that there are so darn many of them? How does one choose?

I've been wanting to get a necklace to wear, so that I feel ... I don't know, just a little more "Catholic." But which do I get? Should I go with a classic, and get a Crucifix? Or should I get a Miraculous Medal? I kind of think Four Way crosses are kind of cool. I like how they say on the back, "I am Catholic, please call a priest." They are apparently traditional gifts for people receiving sacraments. Then again, they're awfully busy looking. I could get a medal of one of my patron saints, St. Jude or St. Mary Magdalene.

I don't know. I suppose I could build up a collection of different necklaces and wear them as the mood strikes me. I'm not really sure how loyal I should be to any particular devotional, if that makes sense. I mean, there are nuns out there whose whole contemplative life revolves around the rosary, for example. I know some things, like the Brown Scapular and other specific type scapulars, you have to make some sort of pledge to that specific devotion. Other things, like the Miraculous Medal, apparently you only need to have them blessed by a priest.

Maybe I should just keep it simple and get a crucifix. The only problem is that teeny tiny Jesus sculptures always look a little odd. I thought about a Divine Mercy necklace, but they're not very pretty, at least compared to the pictures that I see of the Divine Mercy. They have a lot of Sacred Heart devotional medals, but I haven't found a lot of information on them enough to decide to get one.

At any rate, today I'll stick with my Benedictine Cross and my Green Scapular next to my bed. I hope that they protect me as the blessings say they will. And I'll keep praying to God the Father and God the Son to continue to draw closer to them, through prayer and devotionals.

Convalidation Saga Part X - IT'S DONE!!!!!!

The ceremony went great. About 5 of the 8 guests I was hoping would show up showed up. But the weather was pretty gross, so it didn't surprise me that a few didn't come. I found out today that two people who said they would make it couldn't make it because the wife had unplanned toenail surgery on Thursday night, so she wasn't quite able to walk around yet. I've had that surgery done, which is when I started wearing Birkenstocks.

We were scheduled to get convalidated after the 7:00p mass at the Cathedral. The ceremony was going to be a convalidation for two couples - my husband and myself, and one of my classmates and his wife. My husband and I showed up in matching outfits, but they were just churchwear, nothing fancy. We knew that we'd have a couple of guests. We ended up having my sponsor Maria, and Lucy and Henry (friends of Maria and sponsors of others in my class), MA (the Deacon's wife), and Nancy and Greg (Nancy is a sponsor of one of the people in my class) as our guests. It was a nice little crowd, and I was really happy to see everyone there.

The other couple had twice as many people at this convalidation as we did at our whole wedding! The wife and their daughter wore matching white gowns, and the father and son wore matching maroon shirts and dark grey slacks. It was very cute! They are a nice couple.

I felt bad, I didn't want to steal their thunder or anything. But they said they didn't mind. Both of them told me that they thought it was going to be a small five-minute thing, and that only a couple of people would show up. But then the family got involved, and it got all complicated and big. But they were happy about it, and they didn't mind us being there.

Before the ceremony started, MA ran and found some pretty roses for me to carry for a bouquet, and wrapped them in some pink ribbon. I thought that was really kind of her to do that.

The ceremony started with a prayer from the deacon, and then there were two readings and a Gospel Reading with a small homily. It was a very nice homily. Then we walked up to the front and said the typical types of things you'd expect at a Catholic wedding - promise to stay together, raise kids Catholic, etc. with "I Do" responses. Deacon L mixed up our names - twice. It was really amusing. He said, "Paul, do you take Cynthia ..." I turned to Paul and nodded "No!!!" We all giggled a little. Our rings were blessed and we exchanged them.

The ceremony was very nice, kind of a Wedding Mass Lite. Dan got a little teared up during the I Do parts, because he's sweet like that. I was just happy that I actually got Convalidated! It was a very nice ceremony.

Afterwards, Nancy and Greg, who live downtown, invited us over to their loft for a glass of wine and then took us out for KILLER Mexican food. So it was all good.

I really enjoyed dinner because it gave me a chance to talk to Nancy more about kind of typical things that Catholics do, like pray before meals and other things.

So ... I'm convalidated! I've had my first Catholic sacrament! It was worth all the struggle. And I'm able to wear my new wedding band, which I really like. Dan thought it was kind of cool that since our rings were blessed, he is now wearing a "sacramental."

Friday, February 24

I'm getting married. Again.

Dan and Cynthia

Cathedral Guadalupe
2215 Ross Ave, downtown Dallas

Friday, February 24, 2006
After 7:00p Mass (approx. 7:45p)
Drinks and Dinner downtown following ceremony

If you're in the area, feel free to come!

Convalidation Saga - Part IX

I'm getting convalidated tonight. And I'm rather jazzed about it. But I'm also rather sleepy. And a touch hungry.

My very first Catholic sacrament! I guess I won't believe it's happened until I've done it. I've had too much bad luck so far with it.

I will get to wear my new ring for real tonight. That should be fun. I'm assuming that I will also get my ring blessed.

Thursday, February 23

Interesting article about Divine Mercy display in Texas

Caption: Bob Wilusz says he wants to make the display available throughout the world, starting in his own front yard.

Debate surrounds display of Jesus
(Note: Membership required to see link)

12:20 PM CST on Tuesday, February 21, 2006

By Shern-Min Chow / 11 News [KHOU, Houston]

A display in a League City front yard is causing a stir in a Meadow Shores subdivision.

A little hammering, a big easel and a bright light and a 5-foot-tall image of the Divine Mercy of Jesus are at the center of the debate.

“That’s my mission is to make this available for people to revere throughout the world,” said homeowner Bob Wilusz.

For Wilusz, that meant starting in his front yard.

The image has been on display for about a year on the weekends and to the consternation of the Meadow Bend Homeowners Association.

A series of letters points out that Wilusz’ yard art violates deed restrictions, which limits displays to just 15 inches.

Wilusz admitted that technically, he’s wrong.

“Certainly, certainly it is,” he said. “You could classify it as civil disobedience.”

The retired chemical engineer said his neighborhood is full of violators.

“There are other displays that are in violation at Thanksgiving, Halloween, Christmas time,” he said. “The omeowners association even goes so far as to give a cash prize to the most gaudy display.”

Unmoved, the association is threatening an injunction and a stiff fine if the display does not come down. But not everyone agrees with their ruling.

“All we have left is our faith, and they want to take that away,” one resident said.

Some residents support the display.

“I have my convictions and my beliefs, and I don’t really have a problem with them, I guess, displaying theirs,” said Debbie McCormack.

And they understand the critics’ position.
“I have, you know, heard people say, ‘well you know, they’re not of that faith and they shouldn’t be subjected to somebody else’s faith by having Christ portrayed in a yard,” Frank Roubleaux said. “But it’s not a public place – it’s his own personal property.”

Members of the homeowners association board referred 11 News to their attorney for formal comment.

Wilusz is also seeking legal counsel from an attorney afflilated with the American Catholic Lawyers.

Props to my homies

I've gotten some nods from some seriously popular Catholic blogs, right in the heat of the Catholic Blog Awards. So here's some big Thank You's to these nominees and winners for plugging my blog during all the commotion:

Amy Welborn - "Open Book"
who mentioned my blog ONCE and my hits went from 10-20 a day to over 200 in one day

Julie - "Happy Catholic"
WINNER - Best Blog by a Woman
Props to my homey from Dallas! Dallas in the house RepraZENT! (Hey, Julie, go get some Birki's, you know you want them ....)

Father Dowd - "Waiting for Joyful Hope"
who posted a huge blog post responding to my questions in this post

Gerald Augustinus - "The Cafeteria Is Closed"
WINNER - Best New Blog
who likes a Tradition-loving catechumen

Mark Mossa, S.J. - "You Duped Me Lord"
WINNER - Best Blog by a Seminarian
Thanks for adding me to your blogroll!

p.s. Special thanks to:
Seekeroftheway - "Thoughts and Ruminations of a Man on a Quest"
A seminarian who has mentioned me multiple times on his blog.

My wish lists of sites from which I would love a plug:
  • Jimmy Akin
  • Curt Jester
  • Shrine of the Holy Whacking
  • Pontifications
  • Moniales, OP (Those nuns are so CUTE!)

Wednesday, February 22

Call for Conversion Stories


I would really like to get a collection of Mormon2Catholic conversion stories going. It's hard for some people to see how Mormons make their way out of the church, and then make their way to the Catholic church.

What I'll do is take stories that are submitted to me, and post them as entries in my blog. Then I'll do a section on the right with permalinks to the entries.

I love hearing conversion stories, and I'd particularly like to hear Mormon conversion stories. Please e-mail me with the address in the left hand column, and I'll start posting them as soon as I receive them.

Thank you all so much in advance for taking the time to write out your stories and share them!

The Sacrament of Reconciliation

We've been talking about the Sacrament of Reconcilation for two weeks now in RCIA. We've answered just about all the questions I had, and we answered a whole bunch more that I didn't know I had. I am very much looking forward to taking advantage of the Sacrament of Reconciliation. After the first one, of course. I'm scared silly of my first confession. Deacon L. gave us a cheat sheet pamphlet, but I'm still scared.

I'm looking forward to not having to worry constantly, Did I repent enough? When I prayed to God, did he truly forgive me, or should I pray for forgiveness some more?

When I was Mormon, the concept of repentace was rather fuzzy. I could repent for the small stuff, like drinking a glass of tea. But if I had a big ol' sin (like having sex with my boyfriend before marriage), I'd have to go to the Bishop, the leader of the ward, which is like a parish - a regional designation of parishoners. There was no set punishment for set sins. I knew some girls who would get disfellowshipped for "heavy petting" with their boyfriends, others who would have sex with their boyfriends but would seem very repentant would not have any penalties at all. Excommunication was mostly for either some kind of apostacy, breaking the law (like stealing or going to jail for drugs), adultery or other sexual sins by people who were endowed, or other serious sins.

It was up to each individual person to decide their own worthiness to take the Sacrament. If a person felt that their sin was grievous enough, they will go to the Bishop and confess. The repentance process when it got to the level of Bishop was pretty serious. There could be multiple follow-up meetings to make sure the sin was not being committed again. It was up to the discression of the Leadership as to how long the disfellowshipment or excommunication would last.

It seems almost unfathomable to me that I can go up and talk to a representative of Christ on earth and walk out with my sins forgiven. I know that some kind of form of pennance is required, like prayer or something like that. But it's still such a beautiful concept.

Asking for forgiveness of sins in prayer now is kind of weird. I know that I sort of have a "get out of jail free" card because I am getting baptized in two months. Then again, I am also trying to become very aware of when I sin, so that when I am baptized, I can be aware of what needs to be confessed. This is like a trial period for me, a practice run if you will, to learn how to find sin and be able to confess it.

It's an odd concept to feel like I'll be kind of saving my sins up. I have to keep it in a little mental Sin Journal, until I can give the page to the Priest, as it were, in confession. And then the page will go away. How amazing is that??

All I know is that I'm glad that Mormon baptisms don't count and I have to be rebaptized because I am really looking forward to having 34 years of sin washed away.

Blog aggregator?

Can anyone recommend a good web-based blog aggregator? I seem to have created a rather large list of "Must-Read" blogs over there on the left, and it's very time consuming to click on 12+ links at a time. I'd love an aggregator.

I have a free LiveJournal account, and I love how that aggregates. Unfortunately, I can't aggregate non-LJ blogs without buying a membership, which I don't feel like doing.

I wish Blogger had an aggregator. Almost every one of my blogs is a Blogspot blog.

So does anyone have any good suggestions?

An astute observer noticed that I said Left instead of Right as to where my links are. I'm oddly dyslexic with directions, and I always get right and left mixed up. It drives my husband nuts when we're driving. I'll point right and say Left.

So anyway, my links are on the RIGHT column of my blog. :)

Tuesday, February 21

Why I love the MONIALES OP blog

They post lots of pics of Dominican Nuns, and pics of nuns are SOOOO CUUTE! They're up there with penguins (no pun intended) and baby kittens.

(Go check them out!)

Monday, February 20

Indian producers want to make Mother Teresa movie

And you'll never guess who they want to play Mother Teresa!

(To quote Dave Barry: "And 50 Cent could play the pope")

Sunday, February 19

The big $64,000 question - why are we here?

I posted this question on the DCF boards that I frequent, but I thought I'd go ahead and post it here as well, because they're thoughts that have been going through my mind.

This is one of those "I know the Mormon answer, but don't know the Catholic answer" questions, so I hope you will all bear with me.

The Mormon "Plan of Salvation" is a rather clear-cut example of why we are here, complete with fancy diagrams (see above). When I was Mormon, I knew why I was here - to see if I would pass the worthiness tests so that I could enter the Celstial Kingdom with my spouse, and we could have our own worlds with our own spirit children.

Obviously, there's nothing that clear cut for the Catholic church. The purpose of life, as far as I can tell, is to praise God and to help your fellow man. But I have yet to find a diagram.

What exactly is the point of having us be separated from God on earth? Why did God give us bodies and have us experience life, but leave our dependance on him to be faith alone? Why didn't he just create us in Heaven with bodies? Or why didn't he just create our spirits so we could all spend eternity with him? Why would he create both physical beings and spiritual beings, like angels? What good is Free Will if it just takes us away from him if we make the wrong choice?

Or why doesn't he make himself 100% available to us on earth? Why leave reason for us to doubt his existance?

I can get the whole "evil" concept, but I just don't understand why God didn't just skip the middle man and go straight to the end where we all spend Eternity singing his praises?

Like I said, I was thinking of the Mormon "Plan of Salvation", which has extremely rational lines of thoughts as to why we are going through what we are doing, and I couldn't think of a rational Catholic one, at least not one that I have been taught.

I'll do some reading in my Catechism of the Catholic Church tonight and see what I can find as well. But if anyone has any input, I'd appreciate it greatly.

No Breaking of the Word today

Today the weather was bad in Dallas, plus one of our RCIA teachers was sick and the other was the acting Deacon during Mass, so we didn't have our Breaking of the Word class today. There were only two of us that made it to Mass from our RCIA class anyway.

Since our class always leaves after the Homily, the only song I know that they sing every week is the Gloria. And I still don't know all the words - I have to read them from my Magnificat. Their songs are seriously complicated. I'm used to St. Jude's songs.

The homily was really good. Deacon L. talked about the last reading of the Mass, and having faith through adversity. That's always a good thing.

I still don't know all the words to the Nicene Creed either, so I had to look at that. The offering snuck up on me, since normally we're gone for that part of mass, plus I was in the first row (where the catechumens normally sit), so I was the first to donate. But I did have a little cash, so I gave that.

The song for the Holy, Holy Lord and Agnus Dei prayers were compicated, too. The Eucharistic Ministers came out and there was a whole fleet of these people. I had a front row seat to two of the eucharistic ministers. It was interesting to see how many people took communion in the hand verses those who received on the tongue.

After communion they had a second collection. I was kind of caught off guard, since I had given all of my extra cash at the first offering. I wonder why they do that - two offerings, I mean? And not even tell us about the second one?

Overall, it's a very pretty service. I am sure I could learn the songs if I tried. I was just a little rushed this week because I walked in when the bells were ringing for Mass to start. That's a really neat sensation, though, to be walking up the main aisle of the Cathedral with the bells ringing. It was super cool.

Saturday, February 18

Patriarchal Blessings

A good definition of a Patriarchal blessing is given on Sandra Tanner's web page:

    Joseph Smith claimed through revelation to reestablish the ancient order of "Patriarch," patterned after the father’s blessings given in the Bible (see Gen. 27 and Gen. 49). Unlike the Old Testament blessings given by a father on his deathbed to his sons, the LDS blessings are given by non-relatives to various members of the church as a sort of road map for their lives and declares their lineage through one of the tribes of Israel.

I thought I'd share my Patriarchal Blessing with my readers. If you'd like to read more blessings, the Patriarchal Blessings - Past and Present page has a collection of submitted blessings and more clarification as to the social meanings of this blessing.

(By the way, I don't go by Cindy anymore. I prefer Cynthia. Thank you.)


Date of blessing: 7 May 1989

Sister Cynthia Xxx Xxxx, by the authority of the Holy Melchizedek Priesthood and as Patriarch, I lay my hands upon your head and declare unto you your Patriarchal Blessing.

Cindy, you are of the royal lineage of Ephriam in the House of Israel and heir to the great blessings that are promised unto the descendants of Ephriam. And you shall receive the fullness of the blessings, the rights of having the Priesthood in your family and the opportunities to receive your full inheritance in the kingdom.

You shall be given the opportunity of teaching the gospel and helping in these latter days in the gathering of Israel. Your testimony shall be pure and strong. As you grow in the gospel, Cindy, you will increase in your testimony and you will be strong in word and deed. And as your example is correct, others will know of your testimony. And they will see that the things that you say are true through your example. Be true at all times to the covenants that you make and you shall be found worthy to return to our Father in heaven.

You shall find joy in your work in the gospel, working with others in the Relief Society and the various programs of the Church, working with young people as you teach and help them to understand the principles of the gospel. You shall have an opportunity of teaching and working with youth and helping them in their great struggles that they will have. Utilize the scriptures and the experiences that you have had and you shall be able to help others. You shall be called upon to bear testimony of these things. And you shall have the opportunity, Cindy, of teaching and working with sisters in the Relief Society, being a comfort and guide to them so that the work can go forward within their individual families.

You shall be strengthened within your own family and be given the opportunity of raising a wonderful family. You shall have the privilege of going to the temple to receive of your endowments, being endowed with knowledge and understanding of things of this earth that will lead you back unto our Father in Heaven. You shall have the privilege of going to the temple and be sealed to your choice companion. And as you kneel together, covenant with each other and with our Father in Heaven that you might be together throughout eternity. This is a great privilege that you will have here upon the earth to receive these covenants. As you are true and faithful to these covenants, you will receive strength and be able to know the things that need to be done.

Cindy, you are blessed with great talents, with gifts of music and knowledge. And you shall be able to utilize these things as you grown and progress and travel your pathway here upon the earth. Develop each of the talents that you are given unto you and you will find joy in them and use them within your life. Feel free to demonstrate and use these talents while others are around and you communicate with others. You will be given the opportunities to participate in many different activities through these talents.

Work with others. Accept of the council and guidance that is given, both within the Priesthood and within your educational requests.

You shall be guided to make the decisions that are needed when the time comes and your choices will be clear to you as to the classes and the subjects that you should take, for they are the ones that will lead you in the paths of truth and in the paths that will be of benefit to you ad your community and in your Church. You shall have the strength you need in your body to accomplish these things.

Be obedient to the commandments and mindful of those things which are given unto us in the Word of Wisdom. And as you so do, you will know the things that need to be done. Satan will be kept from you in these areas. And if you are obedient to them, temptations will not be there.

Work together with your choice companion in your family unit, and you will find joy in the assignments you will have together. Support him and he will support you, and there will be love and companionship there throughout your marriage and you will be able to be together in your eternal family.

Prepare your personal history. And as you do, you will find joy in it. You will be given knowledge and understanding concerning your family and your ancestors and be able to work in the family records. You will be blessed with an ability to write and prepare this history. Find joy in it and prepare I so your children can also enjoy it.

Cindy, I seal upon you this blessing to come forth in the Morning of the First Resurrection and receive the great blessings that are in store for you in your eternal family through your faithfulness and endurance to the end. This blessing I seal upon you in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

"Lamanite Scholarships" at BYU Idaho (Formerly Ricks College)

A poster on the Recovery from Mormonism boards named "scarecrowfromoz" did a little research on the BYU Idaho web site and found the following very interesting links about "Lamanite Scholarships". The reason that these are so interesting is because of the Church's new stand on the Lamanites (PDF Link) after the revelation of DNA evidence that has come to light in the last few years, the most recent publication being the much-publicized article published in the LA Times this week.

For those of my Catholic readers who might be unfamiliar with the story in the Book of Mormon, the book begins with an account of Lehi and his wife Sariah and his four sons, (beginning at the eldest) Laman, Lemuel, Sam, and Nephi. They are from Jeruselem around 600 BC. God tells them that Jeruselem is about to be destroyed, and he commands them to build a boat and He will guide them.

They build a boat, and go over to the Americas. There ended up being two big "tribes" in the Americas, the Nephites (descendants of Nephi), who were the 'good guys' and the Lamanites (descendants of Laman and Lemuel), who were the 'bad guys'. We knew that the Lamanites were the bad guys because of the following scriptures (with emphasis added):

    2 Nephi 5 14, 20-22

    14 And I, Nephi, did take the sword of Laban, and after the manner of it did make many swords, lest by any means the people who were now called Lamanites should come upon us and destroy us; for I knew their chatred towards me and my children and those who were called my people.

    20 Wherefore, the word of the Lord was fulfilled which he spake unto me, saying that: Inasmuch as they will not hearken unto thy words they shall be cut off from the presence of the Lord. And behold, they were cut off from his presence.
    21 And he had caused the cursing to come upon them, yea, even a sore cursing, because of their iniquity. For behold, they had hardened their hearts against him, that they had become like unto a flint; wherefore, as they were white, and exceedingly fair and delightsome, that they might not be enticing unto my people the Lord God did cause a skin of blackness to come upon them. [NOTE: This was also used as the scripture that was some of the basis for not granting Black men the Priesthood until 1978.]
    22 And thus saith the Lord God: I will cause that they shall be loathsome unto thy people, save they shall repent of their iniquities.

Eventually, at the end of the Book of Mormon, all of the Nephites are killed by the Lamanites in a huge war, and the surviving Lamanties go on to populate North America. We know that the "Native Americans" are really Lamanites because of their dark skin, or at least that is what I was taught as a child.

It should be noted that throughout the Book of Mormon, Lamanites who repented and followed God's teachings would lose the trait of dark skin and would again become "pure and delightsome" (which, by the way, before 1981, was "white and delightsome"). It was often asked why Native Americans who became Mormon did not have the phenomenon of skin lightening as was desribed in the Book of Mormon.

But I digress. I hope that you find the below links interesing:

From 1978:
"President Hafen had the privilege of meeting Elsie Rigby and thanking her for several significant contributions to the college. Her latest gift was $50,000 to establish the Elsie Rigby Lamanite Scholarship and Loan Program. The money would be used for scholarships for South American Indians to attend Ricks and for loans to North American Indians to allow them to attend Ricks while awaiting their governmental education funds. The fund helped many Indian young people attend Ricks."

At BYU, you can still give to the Elsie Rigby fund for "Lamanite and Foreign Students"

Regarding BYU:
"The University also boasts its own popular performing group. The Lamanite Generation, comprised of Native Americans, Hispanic, and Polynesian performers..."

This is so wrong it's funny

One of the things that I absolutely hate is putting Jesus on random goods. But sometimes, I have to be honest, it makes me laugh.

So go check out this page:
Passion of the Tchotche

(The things and the comments could be construed at slightly blasphemous but hey - a LAST SUPPER FLOATING LOAF PEN? Come on, people, this is funny stuff!)

I really wish I would have thought of this concept for a blog myself. Seriously.

Divine Mercy


I love saying the Rosary, but sometimes it's hard to focus, and sometimes I get distracted. But I love saying the Divine Mercy chaplet. I feel closer to God and to Christ when I say it. It's a very soothing devotion to me.

I feel so blessed to be the recipient of Christ's mercy. I know that I've been a sinner many times in my life. And yet through this conversion process, I have felt the love and mercy of Christ many times.

I found this neat little book at Half Price books last night called "The Image of Mercy" by Bishop Emilio S. Allue, SDB and Kathleen Keefe. From what I've read in it, it's a beatiful little book explaining the Divine Mercy, and the different kinds of devotions dedicated to the Divine Mercy. It also goes into great detail about the blessings of enthronement of the Divine Mercy portrait in the home. I have a couple of prayer cards with the picture that I display in my home. I also pray the Divine Chaplet whenever I spend time in the Blessed Sacrament chapel at Holy Family.

Is it Easter yet?

I am so excited about the Lenten season and Easter that I just about can't stand it! I'm looking forward to Ash Wednesday, and the Rite of Election, and all the scrutinies and everything else that goes along with it.

I'm especially looking forward to Easter Vigil and becoming Catholic. I'm really starting to "feel" Catholic. And that is a very good thing.

I also have been feeling a real sense of happiness and joy lately. I get a smile on my face every time I think that I get to be Catholic for the REST OF MY LIFE! How cool is that?!? I'm so looking forward to receiving the host. Everything seems to be going well.

Friday, February 17

Convalidation Saga - Part VIII

It's ON!

Friday, February 24th, after evening Mass at the Cathedral. Deacon L. is going to officiate. Whoo hoo!

We finally got Dan's new baptism certificate. Deacon L. said he'd get the information he needed from the Marriage Ministry office, and we're good to go on Friday!

How to help someone out of the Mormon church

A question I've been asked lately is what is the best way to lead someone out of the Mormon Church? Is there a single piece of information? Is there a Bible scripture that proves it?

The answer, unfortunately, is that there is no definitive way to help lead someone out of the church. When a Mormon "knows" that the Church is true beyond a shadow of a doubt, all evidence to the contrary goes under the category of "Satan trying to lead God's chosen people out of the True and Everlasting Church." If you say something negative, or contrary to what they have been taught, you have officially become a tool of Satan in their eyes.

I wish there was an easy way to lead Mormons out of the church. My mother is still a True Believing Mormon (TMB for short). If I could present her with a simple piece of evidence, I would in a heartbeat. My father died recently, and they put a picture of Moroni on his tombstone. My mother's testimony isn't going anywhere anytime soon.

But I will say this. I do remember many things about the Catholic church that I loved even when I was Mormon. I loved the incense, and the beautiful cathedrals. I loved the Mass and the ritual aspects of it. Even the most gorgeous Mormon temples felt ... hollow. I've been to at least four temples, and sat in their Celestial room, and didn't feel the presence of God as much as I did sitting there in front of the Eucharist at adoration last night.

Here's an argument that most Mormons can understand:

Mormons and Catholics can agree that according to Jesus, there is only one church that can be considered the Bride of Christ, the true body of Christ's love on earth. The both believe that their church is that body. It comes down to authority. Either there was a Great Apostasy, or there wasn't. Either Christ's authority came down through Peter through all the popes, as the Catholics believe, or it was lost and restored through the Mormon church, like the Mormons believe. So the Catholic church claims that the authority never left, and that most of the Catholic teachings, including most importantly the Sacraments, are the exact same as they were when handed down from Christ to the apostles. Because the authority never left the earth, the teachings are the same. The authority is there.

I heard two phrases growing up Mormon that always stuck with me - (1) Catholics make great Mormons, and (2) if I wasn't Mormon, I'd be Catholic, because of apostolic succession. Considering how often I heard this growing up, it amazes me that more people didn't go running towards the Eucharist and the Catholic church than did.

So here's my piece of advice: Love them, and let them know that you believe strongly in the authority of the Catholic church and the legitimacy of the apostolic succession of the church, as well as the Tradition of the church which was handed down from Christ to the Apostles to the church.

If you do decide to learn more about the Mormon church, please check out the links on this blog. It is always best to learn from an ex-Mormon who has lived the life of a Mormon than to go with an evangelical person who has never been Mormon.

Why I left the Mormon church

I'm getting mad crazy hits from being linked in a couple of seriously popular blogs, and I figure I should probably take some of my 15 minutes to explain why exactly I lost my testimony in the Mormon church in 1992.

I was raised Mormon, from the time I was a baby until I got in college. I continued to stay an active Mormon through my first three years of college.

I wasn't the "best" Mormon. I did get baptized on my 8th birthday, which was cool. (There was lots of excitement in Primary, the children's sunday school program, for children to be baptized when they turned 8 years old.) I never went to enough Seminary in high school to actually finish a whole year, and I only went to Young Women camp enough to finish two of the four years. I did, however, get my Young Women's Personal Progress Award.

My parents converted when I was a baby, I think, or maybe right before I was born. My uncle, my father's brother, had converted, and my father converted shortly after. My parents were never SuperMormons. Both of my parents smoked and drank coffee almost my whole life, which is a big no-no because of the Word of Wisdom. My parents were finally sealed to each other and to my younger brother and me sometime in my Junior year of high school. But when they moved farther away from a temple where they could not go regularly, they started smoking again. My parents were sporatically inactive in my youth (which meant I didn't go to church either), but were active for most of the 80's. When they moved to Colorado in the 90's, they were inactive for about 10 years because they disliked their ward. But when they moved to McAllen, TX, they became active again.

When I was in college I started dating a very nice young man, who had never been raised in any relgion. When we started dating, I made it clear that I would much prefer him to be Mormon. Mormon young women are strongly encouraged to marry members. Marrying outside of the church means not getting Sealed for time and all eternity in the Temple, which means not making to the Celestial Kingdom.

So he read the Book of Mormon, and decided to convert. He was baptized, and we continued to date for over two and a half years.

In the spring of 1992, I was in a Bookstop book store near Town East mall in Mesquite, TX. I was looking at religion books, and for some reason I decided to pick up an "anti-Mormon" book. As a Mormon, I was raised in a total bubble. Mormons are strongly encouraged not only to not study other religions, but to not read anything about the Mormon religion unless it was approved by the Church.

I can't remember what shocking revelation in this book made me want to buy it. I can't remember what made me go "Oh my gosh, this church is false!" All I can remember is the sensation of my entire world crumbling around me. I remember feeling like my whole belief system, my whole support in life was completely gone.

Here's the secret of what happens when a Mormon leaves the church: There is one fact to which all other facts around the Mormon church revolve. Either the Book of Mormon is what it claims to be, or it is not. Either Joseph Smith saw God and Christ, and Moroni revealed the plates, or he did not. Everything else in the entire religion revolves around this simple fact. Now, I can't remember which fact I read that turned the light on for me that the Book of Mormon was not the revealed word of God. I just remember that I found it and it was horrible.

My boyfriend and I left the church at the same time. Our calling at the time was teaching a Primary class, and we simply called and said we could no longer teach the class and that we would no longer be going to the church. We broke up about 4 months later, but stayed friends until he graduated from college the next sememster. I remember him giving me a letter, asking me to mail it, that was his resignation from the church. I still was rather scared to send it, and I saved it for years before finally throwing it away. I still get sad thinking that he's considered a member somewhere on the rolls of the Mormon church.

Oh my goodness!

Had I known I was going to receive 110 visitors yesterday and 89 visitors today so far, I would have posted something a little more interesting.

So to all you new people coming from all over the place - HI!


We now return you to your regularly scheduled blog.

Thursday, February 16

The DNA Evidence against the Book of Mormon - LA Times Article

Bedrock of a Faith Is Jolted: DNA tests contradict Mormon scripture. The church says the studies are being twisted to attack its beliefs.

If you've ever wondered exactly what kind of information was in the Book of Mormon, this article gives a very brief summary of the work. Also, it talks about the lineage of the "authors" of the Book of Mormon and how now there is irrefutable scientific evidence proving that the Book of Mormon could not be a historical book.

Exerpts from the article:
    From the time he was a child in Peru, the Mormon Church instilled in Jose A. Loayza the conviction that he and millions of other Native Americans were descended from a lost tribe of Israel that reached the New World more than 2,000 years ago.

    "We were taught all the blessings of that Hebrew lineage belonged to us and that we were special people," said Loayza, now a Salt Lake City attorney. "It not only made me feel special, but it gave me a sense of transcendental identity, an identity with God."

    A few years ago, Loayza said, his faith was shaken and his identity stripped away by DNA evidence showing that the ancestors of American natives came from Asia, not the Middle East.

    ... For Mormons, the lack of discernible Hebrew blood in Native Americans is no minor collision between faith and science. It burrows into the historical foundations of the Book of Mormon, a 175-year-old transcription that the church regards as literal and without error."


And the LDS press release refuting this can be found on the LDS Comments on the News web site. Here's a small bit from the article, with emphasis added:
    The Book of Mormon: Another Testament of Jesus Christ is exactly what it claims to be — a record of God’s dealings with peoples of ancient America and a second witness of the divinity of the Lord Jesus Christ. The strongest witness of the Book of Mormon is to be obtained by living the Christ-centered principles contained in its pages and by praying about its truthfulness.

Learning how to walk again

Yesterday we were having a wonderful lesson in our RCIA class where we were learning about the sacrament of Reconciliation. They're covering this one a lot in our class because it's kind of an important one.

Someone asked if there was an unforgiveable sin, and Deacon L said that Sin against the Holy Ghost was one. Someone asked what it was, and I started to raise my hand. "I know this one!" I thought. And then I realized - no, I didn't. I know the "Mormon" definition of Sin against the Holy Ghost.

The Mormon definition of Sin against the Holy Ghost is having an undisputable witness of the truthfulness of God, and turning your back on that truth. For example, if an angel was to visit me and I was to deny the existance of that angel, that would be a sin against the Holy Ghost.

Now, that gets trickier than it sounds. The main witness to members of the Mormon church in regards to the gospel is a sensation called the "burning in the bosom" (which I've talked about in a previous post). But to have that testament from God, to have that burning and that testimony of the truth and then to deny it, or in other words, to be a member of the church with a testimony and then to leave the church, is a HUGE sin. It's a Sin against the Holy Ghost.

Now, all of this ran through my head, before I realized that I knew the wrong definition of the word. There are so many things I'm having to totally relearn. People ask me if I've been baptized and I always say Yes, but I really haven't because the Mormon baptism doesn't count. The Trinitarian God is quite different from the Mormon God.

A lady in class mentioned that during the Baptism ceremony, the bishop asks a series of faith questions that we have to answer. She suggested we talk about those in class, because we want to make sure that we answer the questions correctly and that we know what is coming. I hope I answer the questions right and don't give a "Mormon" answer. I think they're all yes/no questions though. I don't think they're essay questions or anything. :)

Mormon Memories - Pre-Blessed Food

LDS temple

When I was young, I'd go to the LDS Dallas Temple to do baptisms for the dead. Because many people travel long distances to perform temple ordinances, and stay at the temple all day, they have a cafeteria in the temple for the convenience of the patrons. I actually was in the ward with the Temple Cook in high school. He was from Hawaii, and every time he'd bear his testimony on Fast and Testimony Sunday, he'd start it with a big "A-LOOOOOO-Ha!"

Anyway, so we kids loved eating at the temple because the food was "pre-blessed". There was even a sign on the wall that said so. So we didn't have to say a prayer over the food, it was already blessed! How handy is that?!?

The reason I thought of this is because I was at the RCIA retreat, and when I got the food, one of my first thoughts was, "I wonder if this food is pre-blessed?"

Another thing about Mormon food blessings that used to crack me up is that we'd be standing over a table of burgers, fries and Cokes at some fast food joint on our way home from the trip, and we'd all pray, "Dear Heavenly Father, please bless this food that it will strengthen and nourish our bodies so that we may do your will." Yeah, right, a Big Mac is really going to strengthen our bodies.

Wednesday, February 15

Original concept for Mormon2Catholic

Background Photoshop2
Click for larger image

I was setting up the picture of my new wedding ring when I found this picture in my Flickr account. It's a picture that I took with my new camera I got for Christmas. I really like the way it came out, with the focus, and the Photoshop fixes I put in it. It's a very moving photograph with a lot of meaning.

When I decided to make the switch from Agnostic2Catholic to Mormon2Catholic, I really wanted a picture of a rosary in the graphic. To me, the rosary is a very clearly Catholic icon. I couldn't find any pictures of a rosary that I liked, so I decided to take a picture of my own rosary. Then I had the idea of somehow juxtaposing a rosary and a Book of Mormon together to get a picture that showed both aspects of this blog. I had found a picture of a rosary on an open bible that I found was very moving, so I decided to make my own version of this picture, but with a Book of Mormon instead of a bible.

After taking a bunch of photographs, I narrowed it down to this one. Then I made a few tweaks in the picture in Photoshop, like the lighting effect. Once I had the picture exactly how I liked it, the only problem was that I couldn't figure out how to make the picture look good as a background. The whole picture really needed to be visible to make the impact that I wanted to make, so using a cropped version of the picture as a background for the header wasn't going to work either.

I finally came up with the "Book of Mormon" inspired artwork for the title, and I used Photoshop to create the text. Adding a texture on the back really gave it a Faux Blue Leather feel, like those freebie Book of Mormons that the missionaries hand out. By the way, the blue leather looks fantastic in Firefox, because it's the entire page background and not only the logo background.

I'm very happy with the final layout of this blog, but I just wanted to share this picture with you because I was really proud of it. I'm not much of a photographer, but I really love this picture.

Convalidation Saga - Part VII


I haven't heard back yet from my sponsors about when they want me to have my convalidation ceremony. I'm starting to sweat it a little because I'm supposed to RSVP by today if I'm going to have guests for the ceremony. DD has to get information to the caterer before she leaves for vacation tomorrow. (sigh)

On the up side, my husband got me a ring for Valentine's day. It's basically the ring above. It matches his wedding ring, and it's titanium (oooh aah). I'm saving it until the convalidation ceremony, so I can have it blessed by the priest before I wear it on a regular basis. The main reason I'm getting a new ring is because my old ring, which I love, is a pave domed-style ring. I was breaking out with contact dermatitis on my finger because water and soap would get trapped under the dome part of the ring, and my finger would get this red rash. Not only was it gross, but it itched like crazy. So I figured having a Comfort Fit band would feel better on my finger.

Plus it's neat to have a matching band with my husband, even if it is a "man's band". I wear two bands on my right hand, my "friendship band" that Michael and I exchanged for our 7 year friendship anniversary, and my father's wedding ring. So all of my rings are rather butch now. It's ok, though. They all have special meaning.

Yesterday's reading

I figured out yesterday's reading. I opened my NAB Bible today, and decided to look for that verse. But when I opened the bible, it opened to Luke instead of Mark, but it was on the exact page as the Luke version of the story. Basically, the leavens referred to in the reading is the hypocracy of the Pharasees. I still haven't figured out the second half of the reading yet. I'll do a little more research tonight.

Tuesday, February 14

Time with the Blessed Sacrament

I really was looking forward to Tuesday Mass at Holy Family of Nazareth this evening. I left work around 5:15p so I could make the 5:30p mass. However, when I got in the car, I realized that I had forgotten to pick up my dry cleaning, so after waiting a while to pick it up and make my way to Irving, I didn't make it to the chapel until 5:45p. By the time I got there, the mass was already over. Must have been a quick one today.

I really had a strong desire to spend time with the Eucharist, so I went and sat in the Blessed Sacrament chapel. Due to the events of the day, my mind was racing. I spent about 5-10 minutes simply sitting there, trying to get my mind to stop racing.

I tried to read a bit, but my brain was still all over the place. I then spent a while praying a Divine Mercy Chaplet and praying a Joyful Mysteries set of the Rosary. I went back to my Magnificat, and I read the scriptures from today. The scriptures were really confusing, so I tried doing the technique I learned in my RCIA retreat, to read it in the style of Lectio Divina. But I got nada. Here's the reading:

    Mark 8:14-21

    The disciples had forgotten to bring bread,
    and they had only one loaf with them in the boat.
    Jesus enjoined them, 'Watch out,
    guard against the leaven of the Pharisees
    and the leaven of Herod.'
    They concluded among themselves that
    it was because they had no bread.
    When he became aware of this he said to them,
    'Why do you conclude that it is because you have no bread?
    Do you not yet understand or comprehend?
    Are your hearts hardened?
    Do you have eyes and not see, ears and not hear?
    And do you not remember,
    when I broke the five loaves for the five thousand,
    how many wicker baskets full of fragments you picked up?'
    They answered him, 'Twelve.'
    'When I broke the seven loaves for the four thousand,
    how many full baskets of fragments did you pick up?'
    They answered him, 'Seven.'
    He said to them, 'Do you still not understand?'

I was feeling pretty bad. I still didn't understand the scripture. I was trying to get calm, but I still felt a little frazzled. I finally said a few small prayers and decided to leave.

I got up, and went into the foyer and read a bulletin for the church. I noticed that the two people who were in there before me had left. I quietly walked back into the Blessed Sacrament chapel. I was alone in there, just me and the quiet and the tabernacle. I sat in the front row of this small room, and I just started talking, really pouring out my struggles, and my gratitude, and my happiness. I was able to have a nice, long talk with God, right there in the Blessed Sacrament chapel. After I talked a while, I got up and checked out what was going on in the room. I saw that they have a sign-up sheet for 24-hours of perpetual adoration. So I guess it's a 24-hour adoration chapel.

When I left, I felt serene again. The burdens of the day were gone, and I felt "together" again. I'm sure it was a combination of the quiet and spending time with Christ in the tabernacle. It was very much worth my time. I think I'm going to start going on a regular basis to spend time in the chapel after work, and not just going to mass.

Tuesday Rosary

It's sad doing the rosary on Tuesday and Friday, because the Sorrowful mysteries are really hard for me. I have a rather vivid imagination, and to imagine a human being going through the horrible things Christ went through just breaks my heart.

I'm not nominated, but vote anyway

Sadly, despite the valiant effort of many of my readers, I didn't get nominated for Best New Blog this year. But there were many interesting blogs that were nominated for different categories, so go and check them out.

Because sometimes it's personal

I read something in Reader's Digest today that really hit me hard:

Q: When it is it time to end a friendship?
A: When you realize there was never a friendship to begin with.

I am doing my best to keep this journal focused on my journey as a Catholic, so I will do my best to make sure that this post stays relevant to my journey. But if it kind of drifts a bit, please forgive me.

My husband and I have been married for almost four years, and have been together as a couple for about five. In this time, we have made attempts to find friends, but for some reason, people tend to drift in and out of our lives in regular intervals instead of staying around for a while. Sometimes that choice is theirs, sometimes it is ours, and often, it is mutual. There are even a few that we hope come back into our lifes someday, as we care about them greatly and have great times with them. But in the end, we have each other, and we are each other's best friend, and we're both very fine with that.

Before I had Dan in my life, I had a friend who we used to do things together, mostly go to concerts and have parties. After a while, my friend developed a rather large group of friends and we all used to go to parties together and hang out.

After a couple of years of this, Dan and I quickly grew tired of this. Neither one of us is a big drinker, and we weren't getting much out of these parties.

On top of this, there was a couple in this circle that really rubbed us the wrong way. Without getting into the details, we never really clicked, and all attempts to bond with this couple just flat out didn't work.

We began to read the online blogs of this couple and realized we had no desire to have them in our lives. There were parts of their lives that we found offensive, such as the husband's photography hobby that boiled down to him taking mostly pictures of nude and semi-nude "hot chicks" and calling it Art. Also, his personality is incredibly needy, and since I'm not a hot chick, he "needed" nothing from me [read: he didn't want to take nude photography of me] and treated both me and my husband very rudely at more than one gathering.

We discovered we had no need for these parties or any of these people. We had changed, and these frequent parties were no longer experiences that we desired to have.

This conversion process has been quite interesting for me in terms of friends. I find myself cloistered from much of my old life. I rarely see many of my old friends, and that includes this Party Group. I miss some of my friends on occassion, but I am finding a satisfaction in parts of my life that I had not previously had, so the tradeoff has been worth it in every way.

I am also discovering that, for the most part, my "situational friends" are more than enough for me. For example, our loft complex has dinner parties and breakfast gatherings 2-3 times a month. They provide food and sometimes movies. We really enjoy the people that come to these parties. We also go to Downtown Resident's Association meetings, and we enjoy talking to the people there as well. I have gotten to know many people in my RCIA class, and enjoy spending time with them. My husband does a podcast once a week, and he's gotten to be good friends with the other station DJ's and the station owner. He enjoys his online friends, and creating the podcast.

I don't need Party Friends anymore. I don't need a whole group of people I can call on a moment's notice. I certainly don't need the aggrivation that I have when I read that one guy's blog. I have the people I need in my life, and I have my best friend as my husband, and I'm content with that.

I'm finding it hard, however, to make the final break from this past life, and this old group of friends. It basically boils down to me deleting a LiveJournal account that has all of these people's aggregated blogs listed. It's hard to do. I'm still friends with some of them. But on the other hand, it's not helping my spirituality at all allowing them to affect me with a simple word or phrase.

Ok, whining session over. Thanks for listening. We now return you to your regularly schedule Catholic blog.

Monday, February 13

Thank you

I just wanted to say a quick Thank You to all of you who take the time to leave comments. It's a very kind thing to do, and the insights and information you have brought me have been very valuable.

So thank you very much, that's all I'm saying.

Convalidation Saga - Part VI

This is an e-mail I sent this morning to my RCIA teachers, Deacon L and MA

I apologize for not making it to Mass and Breaking of the Word yesterday. I was feeling quite icky, so I figured it would be best if I just stayed home and destressed a bit. I'm very tired today, but feeling better. I will definitely be there on Wednesday.

Thank you again for hosting such a wonderful retreat this past weekend. It was really special getting to do all those activities with my classmates and with you two.

Also, I had a question about my convalidation. It seems as if I have two options in which ceremony to attend. Option A is to get convalidated at the rescheduled Big Ceremony at the Cathedral with all of the other people from my convalidation prep class on Sunday, February 26th at 5p. The benefit is that it's all scheduled and all I'd have to do is show up. The only concern I have about this time is that I want to make sure that it's not too inconvenient for you two to attend since I would still like for you two to be my sponsors if it's possible.

Option B is to get convalidated at the small ceremony after Spanish mass on Friday, February 24th by Deacon L. It would be a small ceremony, which is good for me, but I'd have to get at least one more sponsor since Deacon L would be the officiator. I'm sure that wouldn't be a problem, though. Lucy and her husband, and Maria are planning on attending if possible, as are Steve and Cindy, and hopefully a couple of other friends.

I wouldn't mind to the Mass Ceremony on Sunday, February 26th because I would like to get convalidated with all of the people in my convalidation class. However, I do not have my heart set on it by any means. If it will be more convenient for the two of you to come to the ceremony already scheduled on Friday, I'll contact DD and tell her that I'll be convalidated at the Friday ceremony. It won't hurt my feelings a bit if this is going to work much better for the two of you.

Just let me know which one you two would prefer, and I'll contact my guests and make arrangements with DD either way. Thanks!

Sunday, February 12

RCIA Retreat

I spent all day yesterday at my RCIA retreat. It was an OK retreat. We had it at the Mt. Carmel Center in Oak Cliff. The day started out nicely, with tasty homemade treats. We were incredibly blessed to have Father Ramone from the Cathedral as our teacher during all of the morning sessions. We talked a lot about the Mercy of God and the Prodigal Son. We did about a 20-minute session of Lectio Divina, or meditative scripture reading on the story of the Prodigal Son. I went into the chapel to read, but unfortunately we were having a bit of a cold snap, and it was super chilly in there.

I always struggle with the Prodigal Son. The main reason is because my whole life I've felt like the Elder Brother, who did everything he was supposed to do for my parents, and never even got a goat to celebrate with his friends, and yet my druggie loser younger brother got chance after chance after chance. So it's a personal thing. We were supposed to think about the meaning of it being us, and of how we relate to God. I'm very thankful that God gives us chance after chance, or I would have been a totally lost cause at about 19 or so. But when I read those scriptures, I have a much better time relating to the parable of the sheep or the parable of the coin. Maybe that's why Christ gave so many different examples. Maybe it doesn't sink in one way, but it sinks in another.

We also watched this hokey late 70's Christian Flick called 'The Visitor.' It reminded me SO MUCH of those horrid movies we'd have to watch in Young Women's classes. It was this 30-minute short about this bitter man, who is visited by an "old friend" and tells him that Christ will visit him the next day. So there's the angst and the bad music, and then the next day his heart is soft, and he's kind to everyone, and then he realizes his 'visitor' that he was waiting on, Jesus, was really in all of the different people he was kind to today! Oh, and the 'old friend'? Yeah, he was an angel! Huzzah!

For some reason, I was just having a hard time getting into the whole retreat scene. The second half got progressively worse for me. Our teacher played a Christian Rock song about leaving things behind and letting Christ carry our burden, and then we talked about letting Christ carry our burdens. Basically "offering it up". Remember a few days ago when I said I was struggling so hard with that? Yeah, so here I am, listening to Christian Rock (do you remember me saying how much I hate Christian Rock? Cause if not, I'll mention it now ... too "Rah Rah Go Jesus!" for my tastes) and trying even more to figure out how to "offer it up."

We got this little bag with some neat scriptures and symbols (a rock, a nail, etc), and we got this piece of paper. We were instructed to go out and find a quiet place (again), and think about some burden to put on this piece of paper. We were going to give up the paper and leave it at the cross during the Closing Prayer ceremonies. We all went out to find a quiet place, and I went back to the chapel. Unfortunately, the second class (there was an English-speaking class and a Spanish-speaking class) had been let out for a regular break, so they were chit-chatting and it was not a very quiet place at all. I picked up my book and walked around. I found a hallway and I sat there and thought about my biggest burden, if Jesus could carry anything, what would I put? Like I said, I was feeling much less than spiritual, and so I wrote something to the effect of "Please let me not wallow in doubt and let me be satisfied with faith instead of true knowledge for now". Finally I walked around a little more and found this little room. I poked my head in and noticed an altar, a tabernacle, and a red candle.

Deacon L walked by around then, and I asked what the room was. He said it was the room where the nuns held their daily readings and mass. They rarely even used the chapel. "Hmm ..." I thought. When he walked away, I sneaked into this little room, and quietly knelt in front of the tabernacle. It was killing my knees, but I did it. And the peace I had been longing for all day washed over me. And I was reminded of a quote from St. Teresa of Avila:

Let nothing disturb you;
Let nothing make you afraid;
All things pass;
But God is unchanging,
Patience is enough for everything.
You who have God lack nothing.
God alone is sufficient.

(I belive someone brought that one to my attention in one of my comments on my blog).

And I remembered why I wanted so badly, so desparately to be Catholic. I wanted to be here, with the eucharist. When I am there, all is right in the world. When I am not with the eucharist, I look forward to the time that I will be. I said a prayer of Thanks, and made my way to the chapel.

We went to Closing Exercises, and I nailed my piece of paper to this large wooden cross that they had made for us. We all nailed our problem to the cross, as a symbolism of Christ's nails bearing the weight of our sins. But I knew why I was doing what I was doing. And I was reminded of that, and it made the whole retreat worthwhile.

Thursday, February 9

Why I'm Afraid I'll Make a Bad Catholic

I'm finding that I'm struggling over a few things that, could I master them, would definitely make me a "good Catholic."


I'm horrid with memorization. That's why I was bad in 11th Grade English, and why foreign languages are so hard for me. I still don't have the Apostle's Creed memorized. Heck, there are still parts of Mass that I cheat and look at my Magnificat to get the words. (The "Gloria" comes to mind.) I have this growing collection of prayer cards that I use to remember some of the most basic prayers. I want to go to Sacred Heart this weekend and get a handful of them and set them on my nightstand. For me, having the Holy Cards are comforting because that means that I don't have to memorize, I can just read. Plus I like the pictures.


I'm finding that the more involved I get in church, the more politics are involved. I've heard some quite interesting information about a few things going on "behind the scenes" at the churches I go to. On the one hand, I really like to feel like I'm in the loop, but on the other hand, I would kind of like to pretend that everything is super perfect for just a while longer before the curtain gets pulled back.


I've been trying to really get a grasp of this concept all week. I can understand offering some things to the Lord, but it's hard for me to grasp the Opus Dei type mentality, "I'm offering up this scooping the litter box for you, Lord, in recognition of your suffering on the cross. Thank you for giving me the opportunity to do this smelly and annoying task!" I'm trying, I really am. I need to pray and think about it more, I think.


I keep forgetting to bless my food before I eat it. If nothing else, I need to get a Holy Card with the "after food" prayer so I can learn that one, so at least I give thanks even if I forget to do it until after I've eaten.


This is kind of along the same lines as the problem above. I try to say the Angelus at Noon and take a pause in my day at 3p to do a decade of Divine Mercy prayers (For the sake of His sorrowful passion, etc). Except I never remember until 12:40p, after lunch, or 3:45p. I want to do these things, they keep me grounded during the day and make me remember to keep Christ in my thoughts.

I don't know. I'm sure I'll get it all eventually. Maybe I'll retire to bed early this evening and say a nice, long personal prayer and just lay it all out for God. Maybe I just need to practice praying personal prayer tonight. That should help.

Eucharistic Adoration and Giving It Up

I decided to go to my very first Eucharistic Adoration this evening after the mass at Holy Family of Nazareth in Irving tonight. The mass was nice, except that I have a really hard time kneeling there if the chair isn't super close to the chair in front of it because the kneelers are goofy.

Normally during Mass I sit off to the side, but I decided to move to a more central location for the adoration. I move to the second to the back row, right near the center. I sit down, and immediately notice that there is an old little man sitting behind me, making only what can be described as "old man" noises. He's sneezing, and sighing and making this gurgling noise that I was convinced was a precursor to him vomiting on the back of my head. He was also coughing this disgusting, phleghmy cough and filling up Kleenex after Kleenex with gurgly nose snot. Short of farting or knuckle cracking, he was making every noise a body could make without actually moving or talking.

About half way through the adoration, the wife of this little noisy man decides he needs a cough drop to soothe his throat. So then I hear a crinkle of cellophane (I knew what was coming and immediatly tensed up), then that annoying clank of candy against teeth. So now this man is a veritable symphony, plus he's got the whaff of menthol coming out of his mouth, over the chair next to me, and into my nostrils. So he's coughing, gurgling, sighing, blowing his snot-filled nose, slightly moaning on occasion, AND smacking.

Now, you have to understand, noises like that completely freak me out. I'd rather have a live tarantula in one hand and a snake in the other than to have to listen to someone smack or cough a truly phleghmy cough. I'm sure some of it has to do with the fact that my brothers used to torture me by smacking right in my ear, and when I told my mom, she'd tell me not to fight. They'd also cought up loogies and then drip them from their lips like only teenage/young boys can do, and then threaten to spit on me. It was as gross as it sounds, seriously.

So anyway, here I am, on my knees sort of, in front of the Body of Christ. What I want to be doing is relaxing, feeling the presence of God deep into my soul. Instead, I'm saying a quiet internal prayer:

"Lord, I'm offering up this AMAZINGLY ANNOYED feeling I have, this IMMENSE DISCOFORT of this man whose noises are making me want to LEAP UP OUT OF MY SEAT AND YELL FOR GOD'S SAKE SHUT UP!!! I'm giving up this STRESS to YOU Lord Jesus! AAAAAAHHHHH MAKE IT STOP MAKE IT STOP!!!! HE'S SMACKING AGAIN!!! Lord, Let me make it through this without screaming (I almost did, twice), and I will come back and make this a beautiful experience. ALL FOR YOU LORD! I'M GIVING IT UP TO YOU! Thank you Lord for giving me this EXTREME IRRITANT to make me appreciate to HECK the times when this CREEPY OLD FRIGGIN MAN ISN'T SMACKING DIRECTLY INTO MY FRIGGIN EAR!!!! Help me Lord not to SMACK HIM because he isn't doing it on PURPOSE OH GOD THERE HE GOES AGAIN LORD HEAL THIS MAN SO I DON'T LOSE MY VERY MIND RIGHT HERE IN THE CHAPEL!!!"

So it was finally over and I ran into the Blessed Sacrament chapel and said a Divine Mercy chaplet which calmed me down a bit, but I still had to call my husband and vent a bit before I got home.

I'll give a more spiritual post about eucharistic adoration next week. And I'll make sure next week that I sit in the back row with no one behind me.

Wednesday, February 8

Update on Fr. C

From my friend L:

He is out of Intensive Care and in a regular room. He is in a lot of pain, but they are allowing him to smoke cigarettes (grrrrr) and he has asked Kimberley to bring him cigarettes and lighters (grrrr again). He does not want anyone to visit him right now and has asked the Chapel staff not to distribute his room number. But, of course, prayers are welcome!!

Thoughts on today's gospel

Gospel for February 8, 2006

    Mark 7:14-23

    Jesus summoned the crowd again and said to them, 'Hear me, all of you, and understand. Nothing that enters one from outside can defile that person; but the things that come out from within are what defile.'

    When he got home away from the crowd his disciples questioned him about the parable. He said to them, 'Are even you likewise without understanding? Do you not realize that everything that goes into a person from outside cannot defile, since it enters not the heart but the stomach and passes out into the latrine?' (Thus he declared all foods clean.)

    'But what comes out of the man, that is what defiles him. From within the man, from his heart, come evil thoughts, unchastity, theft, murder, adultery, greed, malice, deceit, licentiousness, envy, blasphemy, arrogance, folly. All these evils come from within and they defile.'

I was reading this while eating my breakfast today, oddly enough, and it really hit me hard. So much of my life as a Mormon was spent worrying about what went into my mouth because of my strong belief in the Word of Wisdom. No alcohol and no tobacco wasn't that hard. No coffee was annoying, because I liked coffee and my parents drank coffee, but no tea was really hard because we drank decaf tea in the house, but they didn't serve that in restaurants.

As a teenager, no Cokes was the hardest for me. Even today, when I drink a Coke, I consider it a 'treat'. Growing up, all I ever drank was Sprite/7-up, Root Beer (except Barg's because that has caffeine), and cream sodas/grape sodas/orange sodas/red sodas, etc. No Dr. Pepper, no Big Red, no Coke, no Pepsi, etc. And I LOOOOVED Big Red.

After I left the church, I absolutely grooved on drinking Big Reds. 'Nectar of the Gods' I called it. It was, and still is, good stuff.

I did notice once I got older that my body is extremely sensitive to caffeine most of the time, especially in relation to my hormonal cycles. If I'm PMS'ing, a single cup of coffee can send me into a day-long panic attack. If I'm in the middle of my cycle, I could drink 4-5 glasses of tea with no problem at all.

It's just nice to be in a religion that allows me to consume food and drink according to the dictates of my body and not the dictates of a religion. You know, I don't recollect ever reading this scripture as a Mormon. Then again, this is how it looks in the King James version:
    Mark 7:14-23 (King James Version)

    14 ¶ And when he had called all the people unto him, he said unto them, Hearken unto me every one of you, and understand:
    15 There is nothing from without a man, that entering into him can defile him: but the things which come out of him, those are they that defile the man.
    16 If any man have ears to hear, let him hear.
    17 And when he was entered into the house from the people, his disciples asked him concerning the parable.
    18 And he saith unto them, Are ye so without understanding also? Do ye not perceive, that whatsoever thing from without entereth into the man, it cannot defile him;
    19 Because it entereth not into his heart, but into the belly, and goeth out into the draught, purging all meats?
    20 And he said, That which cometh out of the man, that defileth the man.
    21 For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders,
    22 Thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lasciviousness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness:
    23 All these evil things come from within, and defile the man.

There's quite a bit more clarity in the NAB version then there is in the King James Version. I can see why the Catholic church prefers it.

It also makes me realize that the thought of sin, the internal digestion of choices, seems to weigh much less than the actual act of the sin. I think that is what Jesus was trying to say in this parable in addition to the fact that the Jewish food laws were no longer necessary. Maybe I'll have to see if I can stay up to watch Mass tonight on EWTN and see what their interpretation of these scriptures are.

The Parable of the Cookie

Copied from the RFM Boards (Author: Scottie)

Once upon a time, there were 9 kids who lived with their father. The father covenanted with them that if they would clean their rooms, they could have a cookie. All of them went to their rooms and cleaned. All came back to receive the promised reward. All but little Johnny were given the promised cookie.

"Why don't I get a cookie as I was promised?" little Johnny asked his father. He got no answer, so he asked his brother.

"Jimmy, why did father give you a cookie and not me?"

Jimmy answered, "Because when I cleaned my room, I was more diligent in cleaning it than you were. Go back and clean your room again with more diligence and I'm sure you will receive your cookie."

So, little Johnny went back to his room and put his heart and soul into cleaning. He cleaned under his bed and he straightened his closet. Surely now father will give me my cookie.

He went to his father, who still refused to give him his cookie. When he asked why, father was still silent.

So, little Johnny went to his big sister Suzie.

"Suzie, why did father give you a cookie and not me?"

Suzie replied, "Oh, that's because I was much more humble when I cleaned my room. I'm sure that if you clean your room again with more humility, you will receive your cookie."

Little Johnny went back to his room and removed all the pride that he could. He did all the dirty work that he refused to do before. He scrubbed the walls and washed the windows. Surely now father will give me my cookie, little Johnny though!

He went to father, who still refused to give him his cookie. When he asked why, father was still silent.

So, little Johnny went to his big brother Mark.

"Mark, why did father give you a cookie and not me?"

"Well, you see little Johnny, sometimes you are not ready to get a cookie. I'm sure that if you wait father will give you your cookie eventually."

"But, that's not what father said. He said if I cleaned my room that I could have a cookie!"

"That's right", Mark said, "but he didn't say WHEN you would receive your cookie, now did he."

Little Johnny sighed, "No, I suppose not. I guess I will just wait then."

And he waited, and waited, and waited some more.

Occasionally, he would return to father and ask if he could have the cookie yet? Always he was met with silence.

As the days and weeks went by, little Johnny wondered if he was ever going to get the cookie. "Just endure to the end", said his brothers. "You must have more faith", his sisters would say.

However, eventually, he started to realize that he would probably never get the cookie. To the shock and horror of those who had received the cookie, little Johnny actually started to disbelieve that his cookie would ever come.

There were whispers in the hall of little Johnny throwing all of his garbage under his bed when he cleaned his room and THAT'S why he wasn't getting the cookie. Or that perhaps he had only used water to clean his window instead of using Windex and THAT was why he wasn't getting the cookie.

Until, one day, little Johnny was visiting his friend Sam. Sam's father came out and spoke to little Johnny. "Would you like a cookie?" Sam's father asked.

"Sure!" little Johnny replied. This was all so new, to have a father actually speak to him. And when he actually received his cookie, he was overjoyed!

He told his brothers and sisters about his cookie. They were disgusted and afraid. Father would be furious and surely cast him out of his presence. They all knew that the small morsel of a cookie that he had received was merely but a taste of the cookie they had been given. After all, fathers gave out cookies all over the world, but they all knew that THEIR father’s cookies were by far the best cookies in the universe. If only everyone would open their eyes and come join their family so father could give them his best cookies.

Although it was hard for a while, little Johnny eventually moved in with Sam's family. Their father treated him like a true son. He spoke with him and gave him cookies regularly. And although his brothers and sisters sneered at his decision, and hounded him constantly to come back to the family, little Johnny was finally where he belonged. He was happy.

Tuesday, February 7

Gregorian Schola

I love Gregorian Chant. I have a pretty decent collection of CD's with chant on it, and I've always loved listening to it ever since the "Chant" album made Gregorian Chant trendy for a while. I fell in love with it and continued to listen to it. When I heard that they had a Gregorian Schola (choir) at the Cathedral, I was eager to learn more.

I'm still debating about whether to join the Gregorian Schola at the Cathedral, though, because I know joining is pretty much committing me to being a member of the Cathedral verses being a member of St. Jude's if that makes sense. I can still go to Saturday mass at St. Jude's, so it's not like I'd never be there. It's just that once I get my catechism completed, I want to get active in my parish, and being in the Gregorian Schola means essentially choosing the Cathedral over St. Jude's as my main church.

I want to be active in St. Jude's and I'm sure that the church won't fold up and go away if I don't go on Sundays. It means a lot to me, though, to support Fr. C's ministry. On the other hand, it would be SOOO COOL to be involved with the schola. I would love to learn how to sing the Latin songs and how to read the music.

Enduring to the end

This is an excerpt from an e-mail I sent my friend L. I said some good stuff, so I thought I'd log it. We had been dialoguing about how it was getting hard to go to 2-3 different churches in one week, and to be doing extra volunteer work on top of that on her part, and me going to classes and retreats on top of all that.

Even though I'm not doing volunteering activities like you, I feel like I'm just all over the place, with daily mass in Irving 1-2 times a week and Saturday mass at St. Jude's and Sunday mass at the Cathedral. When I first started all this I felt as if St. Jude's was my church "home", but now I'm experiencing all kinds of churches and I feel stretched thin.

Although it's not quite as orthodox as I would like, the little daily Mass on T-Th at Holy Family of Nazareth looks like it's going to be a good fit for me to go to daily mass. They start at 5:30p, which is a fantastic time for me, and then after they do the mass, they have group prayers of the Rosary and the Divine Mercy, and I really enjoy doing group prayer. Plus on Thursday nights, they have Eucharistic Adoration from 6p-7p, so I can do that once a week. I'm definitely looking forward to that for the first time this Thursday.

With Fr. C in the priory for a few weeks [recovering from a neck operation], it kind of gives me an opportunity to focus on my RCIA catechism at the Cathedral and getting a few other things taken care of, like the convalidation ceremony and things like that. And I don't have to worry about taking up too much of Fr. C's time. For some reason, I worry about that a lot. I know that the people involved with RCIA at the Cathedral are specifically dedicated to getting me through this process, but I feel that with Fr. C, his resources should be focused on making sure you and the gentleman get through to Easter vigil, and any kind of learning I get is on top of that. It's not like he's offended me in any way or anything, I just don't want to be a drain on him since I've already got those resources set up for me.

Now that we've pretty much got all of Dan and I's paperwork ready to go, I can laugh about it a bit, but yeah, it has been quite a comedy of errors. When I heard that the Convalidation ceremony was cancelled, I laughed out loud and then snickered for quite some time every time I thought about it. I guess God wants to make sure I'm not fooling around with all of this stuff. But you'd think God would know what a stickler I am about paperwork and getting my i's dotted and my t's crossed. If he was going to try to stump me, he should have been more challenging. :)

Prayer request

Father C. at St. Jude's Chapel in downtown Dallas is having surgery today to repair a disk in his neck. Please pray for a speedy recovery for him. Thank you.

Sunday, February 5

A new Mary Magdalen book

Since deciding on choosing Mary Magdalen as one of my patron saints, I've found that the information on her is very sparce. I was checking out Amy Welborn's blog, and I found out that she has written a book called "De-Coding Mary Magdalene: Truth, Legend and Lies". From what I understand, she's a very renowned blogger and speaker, and should be a rather reliable author. I've already added this book on my Amazon Wish List, and plan on getting it as soon as it comes out. Oh, and I added this blog on my Link List. That list is getting longer and longer and longer .... but they're all good blogs - really!

My Best Friend Michael

I've been meaning to talk about my best friend Michael for a while. I met my best friend Michael in September 1992. We were going out as a group from the LDS church to see "A League Of Their Own." I remember the first time I saw him, I was getting in the car (he was picking me up), and when I laid eyes on him, I feel instantly in crazy mad crush for him. He was so good looking I lost the ability to speak for about 15 seconds. With the LDS Singles Group politics, it was already "decided" that he and Marie were going to date, even though I was stupid gaga over him. And he and Marie did date a couple of times, and he also dated a few other girls, and we never went out despite the fact I was pretty much ready to marry him at that point.

In January 1993, I found out that Michael had "come out of the closet." He was seriously gay. And I became the connsummate Fag Hag. After many years of having an attitude of "I know he's gay, but I love him anyway" and many years of him being a bit of a jerk, we ended up settling into a very close and very special friendship.

We've been extremely close for many years. Now, he and I don't necessarily speak every day, or even every week. But when we need something, we're there for each other. For example, he didn't even hesitate when I asked him to sign my Free To Marry letter so that I could get convalidated. He just cancelled his chiropractic appointment and showed up at the Catholic church for me. He was the Man of Honor at my wedding to Dan, and I plan on being the Matron of Honor at his committment ceremony in May of this year. He's been with his partner, Michael, only one month less than I've been with Dan - so basically about five years or so.

Now, here's the problem ... the Catholic church says that being gay is a sin. And a pretty serious one at that. I can understand that on many levels. One of the main purposes of marriage is to have babies, and gay men cannot have babies together. It's biologically impossible. But on the other hand, I don't think being gay is a choice. It's kind of like telling a person that they can only have Vanilla ice cream when all they really want is Chocolate. What if a person was born liking Chocolate ice cream?

Now, I know we all have our crosses to bear. I know that we all have sins we're easily tempted by. I have many sins I'm tempted by on a constistant and regular basis. I'll use the sin of gluttony. When does food go past being nourishment and go to being gluttony? When does my enjoyment of a burger go from eating to gluttony? What if I eat a small burger, but really, really enjoy the pleasure of eating food? Is that gluttony? Is it not?

Now, gluttony is quite different from homosexuality. But I can totally understand where a homosexual could definitely see their desires as their only choice. If you only like ketchup on your hamburgers, but the only kind of hamburgers offered are with Mayonaise, which grosses you out, what do you do? Do you eat the burger with the ketchup anyway or do you forego hamburgers alltogether? Or do you eat a mayonaise burger and gag on it while wishing for a ketchup burger?

It's such a hard decision. And it's not mine to make for anyone else what "sins" they choose to participate in or choose to refrain from. It's also not my place to judge a person on their sins as I hope not to be judged on mine. This one sounds easy, but I know for a fact that every day someone makes a judgement on me because I am overweight due to my many different times of participating in the sin of gluttony. And it's hard to accept those judgements, but it's also the consequence of my sin.

Here's where it gets tricky for me. I am close friends with someoen whose lifestyle is considered a very gross sin by the Catholic church. I am in no way in a place to preach to Michael that his lifestyle is sinful and condemned by God. I'm not even sure totally how I feel about his sin. I know the Catholic church considers being gay a sin, and I know there are tons of benefits of not being gay (such as having a much better chance of having a biological child with your partner of choice and having the ability to get legally married), but on the other hand, I do truly believe that God made Michael gay. That is his cross to bear.

So am I in sin for being friends with him? I know I'm in sin when I go to his committment ceremony and stand there as witness to his committment to another man for the rest of their lives. I'll definitely have to repent for that. Am I in sin if I don't call him to repentance?

It's something I've been struggling with since I first started to think about becoming Catholic. I'm not giving up the friendship and giving up the best friend I've ever had in my life other than my husband. Michael means too much to me. I know in my heart of hearts that I'm not going to call him to repentance for being Gay. It's not my place. I hope that God understands my need to be with this friend in love and in friendship. I hope to minister to him through my example.

Anyway, I didn't expect to come to any conclusions with this post, I just wanted to think things through a bit, that's all.

Convalidation Prep Class

Dan and I spent the entire day at Convalidation Prep class yesterday. I was extremely leery about going, but you know, it wasn't half bad. Even the breakfast and lunch was rather tasty.

We got there early, and ended up getting our picks of seats and we were the first in line for breakfast, fresh cinnamon rolls (mmmm .... cinnamon rolls). The class started with a few icebreakers, and we got to meet the people around us. Then we went to the meatiest presentation of the day - Contract verses Covenant: The difference between civil and church marriage. It was very interesting to hear about the differences and what a beautiful sacrament that the marriage ceremony truly is.

We did a Personality Plus personality test, and found out that I am what they call a "Perfect Melelcholy" while Dan is a "Peaceful Phlegmatic". Basically, that means that I'm orderly and analytical, while Dan is kicked back and peaceful. Apparently we are compatable. But it was very interesting to listen to the different types of features of the different personalities, and it did give me some insight on how to deal with people.

We also said a prayer together, and we did this timeline of our life, past present and what we hoped would be the future. After we did it, we realized we did it backwards, but I think it ended up being a good thing. We were supposed to work on the past together, and then each predict the future separately to figure out what our hopes and dreams were for our life. Well, we ended up doing our pasts separately, but couldn't do the future without working together. That's kind of how we are.

At the end, we were to write down the thing we are most grateful to God for in our mate, and what our prayer was for our relationship in the future. Dan got very teary eyed at this part, and I got a little choked up as well. It was very sweet and touching.

So it wasn't quite as "spiritual" as either of us expected, but they had a lot of marriage workshop-type things, and I think it went well.

Friday, February 3

Fundamentalist Bookstores give me the willies

Yesterday after going to get my Free To Marry letter signed and to a lovely dinner at the Olive Garden, my best friend Michael and I decided to walk across the parking lot to Mardel Christian Bookstore.

I love the little bookstore in Dallas for Catholics, Sacred Heart bookstore. It's got lots of good Catholic goodies, lots of crucifixes and holy cards and books about the liturgy and saints and Christ and apologetics and all kinds of good stuff.

But when I walked into Mardel's I got the willies for some reason. It was very much like an old ... kind of like old K-Mart's in the 70's. The largest part of the store was dedicated to what I am guessing is homeshooling supplies. They had lots and lots of crosses and lots of little keychains and bumper stickers with fishes and catch phrases on them ("In case of Rapture this car will be unmanned!"). No pictures of Christ on the cross. No saints. No Mary. The only "Catholic" things I could find in the whole store were about 6 copies of two NAB bibles, and a couple of books about the evils of Roman Catholicism. And not one crucifix. I had no idea those were *that* Catholic. Even their pictures of Christ were creepy. He was like Buddy Jesus or something. No sorrowful passion, no ressurection. Just crosses and keychains with "Jesus Rules!" on them. And leather braces with a cross in metal studs in it.

I was so disappointed - I didn't find one thing that I found inspirational or faith-promoting. I don't know if it was because for so long I was an UberLiberal and disdained anything God-related or because I absoltely hate the Jesus Pep Rally mentality of many fundamentalist and protestant churches.

Seriously, everything felt so ... hollow. That's the only way I can describe it. I hated it. I didn't feel Christ anywhere in that store. They had this clock that was in a tire and said on it "Work'tire'lessly for Christ!" and some scripture reference. How is that supposed to help me feel closer to my Lord and Saviour, my redeemer, God on earth to suffer and die for my sins? It was just a huge culture shock. I expected a little bit of a culture shock, but I had no idea. It was like walking into a store filled with sports paraphenalia or something equally as shallow.

Also, when I walked into Sacred Heart bookstore for the first time, I was inspired with music, books, images and people that were very faith promoting. The statues and crucifixes are beautiful, and they have so many books that I'd love to snatch up.

So the moral of this story, boys and girls, is that if you're in the mood to check out a bookstore to find some good Catholic books, don't waste your time in Mardel Christian Bookstore.