Friday, March 31

Prayer Part II

I received a comment on my last post about prayer that said this:

Anonymous said...
It's too bad you didn't take prayer seriously when you were a member of the true church. If you had taken Moroni's challenge, and prayed 'with real intent', you wouldn't have taken the path you are currently on. But, prayer in any context is good. So best wishes.

So here's my comment back. In public, so that no one misses it.

Dear Anonymous (if that is your real name):

I want to make one thing PERFECTLY clear. I begged, I pleaded, I cried for an answer to whether the Church was true. I prayed in sacrament meetings, I prayed in the Celestial Room every single time I went to the Temple. I prayed and begged for the simple answer promised in Moroni. You know the one. In case it's been a few years since you've scripture chased, here it is:

Moroni 10:4
And when ye shall receive these things, I would exhort you that ye would ask God, the Eternal Father, in the name of Christ, if these things are not true; and if ye shall ask with a sincere heart, with real intent, having faith in Christ, he will manifest the truth of it unto you, by the power of the Holy Ghost.

This is one of the very first scriptures that Mormon missionaries share with investigators. Pray for the truthfulness and you will receive an answer.

So why didn't I receive an answer? I did EVERYTHING I was supposed to do! I prayed, I tithed, I went to church EVERY week, I read the entire Book of Mormon cover to cover, I became worthy and went through the Temple to receive my endowments. (By the way, my "new name" is Rhoda. Feel free to use it if you need it to get into Heaven.) I prayed in the Celestial Room to the point of tears, begging for the truth. I fulfilled my callings, except for Visiting teaching, but nobody really does that anyway. I was a good Mormon for years and did what I was supposed to do and NEVER received the testimony that simple investigators are encouraged to find.

Don't EVER say I did not have real intent and that's why I don't know the truth! I would have done anything to know the Church was true! And I did do absolutely everything in my power to find the truth.

I found out recently what I was missing, though. I wasn't asking for mercy. I wasn't asking for God's love to come into my life. I never asked to let God mold me into what he wanted me to be. Honestly, I didn't ask much for forgiveness, except to ask forgiveness for not being "good" enough.

I felt so alone in the Mormon church. I felt more alone sitting in a room full of people in the Temple than I did anywhere else on earth. I felt unworthy, unblessed. I begged for friends, a spouse, a meaning. And I never got it.

Being Catholic, I've made a few friends. I'm married now, so I'm a lot less lonely there. But I was looking to fill a void with people and with a culture that could only be filled by knowing the true Christ and true God, and letting them come into my life and letting me learn how to love them. Our Lady, the blessed mother of Christ, has held my hand and gently lead me to her Son, our Lord. I've made numerous friends in the Saints of the Catholic church, learning their stories and following the path that they laid down their blood, sweat, tears and lives to forge. The friends that I have now in the Catholic church are just a perk. If all I had was a parish, and a priest, and the Eucharist, my sould would still leap with joy.

The Eucharist! Oh, my God, how unworthy I am to be in the presence! And yet every time I go into church, there He is. In a little over two weeks, I will be able to receive the host, to have the most intimate communion with God that a person can have on this earth. There is NOTHING in Mormonism like it. Have I mentioned I've been to the temple? Yeah, that's total bupkus compared to sitting in front of the tabernacle in my church, praying to God and feeling his love wash over me.

So you see, you are wrong about me. The God of Mormonism did not give me an answer to the truth of the Mormon church because the Mormon church is not true. God is who He is. And I have found him in the heart and soul of the Catholic church. My joy now is profound. I ache for you and for all Mormons that you will not join me in this profound and heartfelt joy. I pray often for the conversion of Mormons to the true church of Christ.

I encourage you to check out some of the links on the side of my blog to find out more about the history and true doctrine of the Mormon church. I will pray for you and hope that you too will find the happiness that I have found.


I'm on Tape 4 of my tape series by Thomas F. Smith. Today he made a very interesting point. He was talking about the daily schedule of Mormon missionaries. He talked about how missionaries wake up early, and they study for 2 hours before working 12-14 hours teaching, and coming home and crashing at 10p. On that schedule, only 5 minutes a day was dedicated to prayer.

He then goes on to talk about how Mormons most often have a very poor prayer life. It really got me to thinking. I pray constantly now. When I wake up, I pray as I get ready for work, and pray throughout the day. When I have the time, or when I'm motivated, I will go after work to either Holy Family or the Cathedral to go to Mass or to pray in front of the blessed sacrament. I do a Divine Mercy chaplet almost every day, and I do a rosary a few times a week. When I get to bed at a reasonable hour, I spend lots of time praying to God and to the saints for intercession before I go to sleep. I treasure these times of peace where I can spend them conversing with God and discuss my concerns and ask for help for those who need it, and to praise God for the sake of praising him. This is a totally foreign concept to me from my Mormon prayer life.

Mormons pray only to God. Because they do not consider Christ or the Holy Ghost part of the Trinity, they do not pray to Christ or pray to the Holy Ghost. And they do not pray to saints, or for the dead or the poor souls in purgatory.

A typical Mormon prayer is structured like this:

Heavenly Father, (only praying to God)

We thank you for this day, and for our many blessings, for the church and its leadership, for the blessing of the Mormon church in my life (thanksgiving);

Please bless me that I will have ... bless my family ... bless the leaders and the missionaries ... (intercessory prayers)

We ask these things in the name of Thy son, Jesus Christ, Amen.

Another thing that is very different in Mormon prayer verses Catholic prayer is that much Catholic prayer revolves around the Mercy of God. I am so grateful now for the mercy of God, and His constant love and forgiveness. Because the Mormon church doesn't have the sacrament of reconciliation, prayer for forgiveness can be very complicated. If I, for example, drank a cup of coffee or had a cigarette, I might pray once for forgiveness and assume I'm forgiven. If I have sex and I'm not married, I might have to not only pray for forgiveness but go to the Bishop for counseling and possible disciplinary action. Forgiveness for sins was not discussed much. Doing what is right was always the more important emphasis in the Mormon church, it was assumed that people wouldn't fall, for lack of a way to put it.

Also, I now do a lot of insistant prayer (small one-line prayers as they come to mind) and prayer that consists of either journaling about my thoughts, like now, or prayer by reading the scriptures. The Catholic church considers reading and studying the scriptures a form of communication with God, and I love that approach.

I realized how little I prayed as a Mormon when I compare it to the massive amount of prayer that I do now. And I realize how much my life has changed by having that constant conversation with God. Just my constant sense of gratefulness for the things and people in my life has changed my outlook on life immeasurably.

Also, I'd like to say a big hello to those who are joining us from Julie D.'s Happy Catholic blog and Brad's Defensor Veritatis blog, and invite you all to not only check out my regular blog, but check out this recent post responding to the first comment attached to the post you're reading now.

Wednesday, March 29

Only 1 RCIA class to go!!!

I was looking at my RCIA scedule today to see what today's lesson was going to be, and I realized that since they don't have RCIA on Holy Week, I only have ONE MORE CLASS before I get baptized! Whoo hoo! That's pretty exciting. We'll have mystagogy classes for a couple of months afterward, but for the most part we're almost done with RCIA.

Oh, you wanna hear something fun? Our RCIA director's daughter is due on April 10th, which means we're probably not going to have our RCIA directors during Holy Week or during the Easter Vigil. Should be interesting, that's for sure.

The first part of our class was about faith. They asked us our personal definition, and I feel really bad because I paraphrased Alma 32:21 (from the Book of Mormon), which states
And now as I said concerning faith - faith is not to have a perfect knowledge of things therefore if ye have faith ye hope for things which are not seen, which are true.

That was always my favorite scripture in the entire Book of Mormon (trust me when I say that "Favorite Scriptures" in the BOM were very few and far between for me). Of course, I'm sure it's stolen from the Bible somewhere. I don't think my RCIA teacher caught the BOM reference, but then after everyone gave their definition, he read a scripture in Hebrews 11:1, which says:
Faith is the realization of what is hoped for and evidence of things not seen.

I though that was a pretty neat scripture, too.

Then our teachers had us go around the room and talk about how God affects us in our daily life and how we've changed in our RCIA process. It was really hard for me to answer these in front of other people. Although my blog readers might not get this impression, my deep-down beliefs are both very new and very fragile. I keep them to myself for now, and having to share them was very hard.

Over our break, we tried on baptismal gowns. They're purple with elbow-length sleeves and it goes to about mid-calf. All of my skirts go to the floor, so it feels mighty short. I'm going to need to get some Crocs or flip-flops or something to wear on my feet.

The second half of the class, we prayed the Stations of the Cross. It was very moving and very touching to think about the experiences that Christ went through on his Passion. It was the first time I had prayed that specific prayer, and it was moving to move from station to station. I've got a few different versions of the journey in a few different books, and I plan on praying some of them during Holy Week when I'm off and have time to devote to prayer and contemplation.

Also, in good news, my friend L has found an "alternative location" which has been approved by the Bishop to get baptized. Praise be to God for answered prayers!


LibraryThing (see sidebar) has some really neat new widgets that you might want to check out if you use the tool on your site to display some of your books. I tend to like pictures, so I used the widget to make only my book covers show. I think it looks kind of cool.

Tuesday, March 28

Weeping for the lost

My friend Jan from the Chapel lent me this series of tapes called "Inside Mormonism" by Thomas F. Smith. These tapes tell about the Mormon church from a Catholic perspective. The series of talks is given by an ex-Mormon Catholic convert, and apparently he's a seventh generation Mormon so he was really in it deep as a child.

I've read just about all of the facts that he's presented in the series so far, but to hear someone actually say them out loud (like how Joseph Smith translated the Book of Mormon by looking at a seerstone in a hat) makes me sad for my wasted religious childhood and just makes me want to weep for my father and brother, who both went to the grave believing in the truth of Joseph Smith's words. My father's gravestone even has an Angel Moroni on it. I hope that God understands that they meant no harm and that they did the best they could.

My father worked in a Benedictine hospital for 18 years, and yet he never felt the need to become Catholic. The man on the tapes said that he had read the New Testament numerous times as a Mormon, but he never saw Grace or the Trinity or other beauties of the true Gospel of Christ. It was like he had a veil over his eyes that prevented him from seeing the truth. I wonder if my Father had a veil over his eyes, too, shielding him from the true light of Christ.

My mother is still Mormon, although only partially active, only going to church maybe 2-3 times a month. The only callings she has right now are working in the library and doing geneology extraction. Extraction is when Salt Lake City sends her records, and she enters the information into a database and sends the information to Salt Lake City for use in their vast geneology library. She told me something last time I visited her that made me very sad. She said that she had some Catholic baptism records from the 1600's that were just illegible so she wasn't going to be able to get their names off of the records and into the database.

In case you didn't know, Mormons take all the names and information that is poured into this database, by extraction or personal geneology research, and does ordinances for the dead for them in Temple ceremonies. In other words, they vicariously baptize the dead and confirm them members of the LDS church. I'm pretty sure those Catholics from the 1600's don't want to be Mormon. The Mormon church got into a LOT of heat recently because they were extracting Jewish names from Holocaust records and other Jewish records and doing ordinances for them in the Temple. Yeah, the Jewish people didn't like that much at all when they heard about it.

Every time I go to Mass, and they get to the point where they pray for the deceased, I always pray for my brother and my dad. I hope that God has mercy on their souls, as they were blinded by forces beyond their control. I want so badly for my mother to have her veil lifted, so she can see the truth about the Mormon church, even if she doesn't convert to Catholicism. But she also desparately wants me to return to "the fold" of Mormonism, which I know at this point I will never do.

God grant me the courage to be able to someday show my mother the falseness of the Mormon church and to help her see the true light.

Sunday, March 26

Nicene Creed vs the Mormon Church

My friend Brad Haas over at the Defensor Veritatis web site has written an excellent post about comparing the Nicene Creed to the beliefs of the Mormon church. I would highly recommend reading this post and really digesting the points that he makes in it. Here's a paragraph which I feel really summarizes up the question of "Are Mormons Christian?" very nicely:

So after all that, are Mormons Christian? In all my experience, I've concluded that the answer to that question is: it depends on who's asking and who's answering. They vigorously claim to be Christians, and if one considers "Christian" to mean "one who loves and serves God the Father and Christ His Son," without concern for right doctrine, LDS definitely fall into that category. But if one considers "Christian" to include following the teachings of God as revealed through Christ and handed on through the Church, then they are definitely not.

Our New Friends

After church, I was waiting for Dan outside of the Cathedral for him to pick me up. He normally drives me to church because the parking garage seriously scares me on Sunday. Our friends Nancy and Greg walked by and told us they were going to the Nasher Sculpture Center (which is right down the street from the Cathedral) for lunch and would we like to join them? So we walked down to the Nasher and got to check out the beautiful sculptures and gardens. Greg and Nancy have memberships to the Nasher, so we were able to get in for free. We had a lovely lunch (it seems the kind of thing to say with the kind of lunch we had), and ended up talking with them for over two hours.

Nancy is a sponsor of one of the girls in our class, and she is just a wonderful woman. Her husband Greg is very nice, kind of quiet unless you get him talking about something he really has a passion for, like sports. Kind of like my Dan.

I'm glad that I'm making so many friends at church. And I'm doubly glad that Dan likes to hang with them, too.

Fr. Celio update

Fr. Celio came back for about 5 days last week, but was sent back to the priory for healing. Unfortunately he has been taken from the priory due to the severity of his issues, and will be unable to resume his duties at St. Jude Chapel for at least 1-2 months, possibly more.

Please pray for Fr. Celio and his continued recovery.

Lord Hear Our Prayer

  • For my friend L who is struggling with coming into the church.
  • For Fr. Celio from St. Jude Chapel, for continued support with his surgery healing process.
  • For all of the catechumens and candidates who are struggling greatly with this last part of Lent
  • For Steve and his family from my RCIA class, who has been suffering with seizures and poor health.
  • For Deacon Charlie from the Cathedral who is still recovering from a severe auto accident
  • For my friend L's parents, who are very anti-Catholic and giving L a very hard time for converting, for their hearts to be softened and for grace to enter their souls.
  • For my blog friend Navy Blue Elephant Trunks, and her baby "Azure", who was born 16 weeks early, for the baby's health and continued progress
  • Pretty In Pink

    Pope Benedict XVI wearing the traditional Rose vestments for Laetare Sunday.

    (Courtesy of The Cafeteria is Closed)

    Friday, March 24

    Rite of the Oil of the Catechumens

    This Wednesday, at RCIA class, we had a rather pleasant surprise. We were presented with a minor Rite, the Rite of the Oil of the Catechumens and the Presentation of the Creed. It is normally tied in with the First Scrutiny, the Deacon said. First he said a prayer that was similar to the First Scrutiny, of protection and care to the catechumens. Then each of us walked up to the stairs in front of the altar, and the Deacon annointed our heads and hands with the Oil of the Catechumens, in the shape of a cross. We went back to our seats, not really sure what to do with the puddle of oil in our hands. Most of us just rubbed it in like lotion. Then the Deacon gave us each a copy of the Nicene Creed and read it to us out loud. The copy of the Nicene Creed was very nice. Then we were privilaged to be able to stand around the alter and say our closing prayer of the evening.

    It was such a beautiful blessing. I see now why the church has so many rites - they really make me feel like I'm a part of something now much bigger than me. Plus we all need all the blessings we can get right now!

    Mystery of the Eucharist solved

    From Texas Catholic:

    Communion "host" in Dallas church grew fungi, bacteria naturally


    DALLAS. A "host" kept in a jar of water for four weeks grew fungus and bacterial colonies in a natural process, a laboratory report concluded about an incident in a local parish church that created public speculation.

    A March 23 letter from Dallas Bishop Charles Grahmann to the pastor of St. James Parish relayed that what some were calling a 'miracle' of a host "contains nothing of a supernatural nature."

    The letter to Msgr. Mario Magbanua states: "At my request the object you submitted to me, around which there was heightened publicity, was presented to Dr. Marcy Brown Marsden, chairman and associate professor of biology, University of Dallas, and Dr. Frank Doe of the same department, for tentative identification and characterization of the object."

    The bishop said that after analysis was done he was provided with their conclusion.

    Full Text of the article

    Stewardship of the Earth

    I'm going to put on my Birkenstocks, eat a little Tofu, and tell you all a little bit about recycling in Dallas, because helping keep the Earth as pristine as when God created it is one of my passions.

    Green Living, an earth-friendly store in the Lakewood community of Dallas, is having a special day of recycling. Here's the info on that:

      Recycle Electronics Day - FREE

      Noon - 5:00 PM

      Bring us your old and retired electronics on April 1st and we will recycle them at no charge to you.

      We will accept the following:

      • PC Systems
      • Laptops
      • Mainframes
      • Monitors
      • Keyboards
      • Mice
      • Printers
      • Scanners
      • Copiers
      • VCR/DVD Players
      • Game Stations
      • Wires / Cables
      • Networking Equipment
      • Phones (land & cellular)

      We also accept televisions; however, the recycler takes a $20 fee for each.

      The proper way to discard electronics is through a professional recycler. Electronic waste is one of the fastest growing segments of our waste stream and it does not belong in landfills. If simply dumped, heavy metals contained within such as lead, cadmium, and mercury can quickly become environmental hazards if they migrate into soils and groundwater. These metals, plastic, and glass are important resources that can be reused, so please take advantage of the Green Living Recycle Electronics Day. Everyone is welcome, so come pile your junk on us.

    Also, don't forget to donate any old clothes you may have to your local St. Vincent de Paul Thrift Store. Almsgiving is one of the three focuses of Lent (along with fasting and penance). I am going to go through my closet this weekend and see what clothes I can give to charity.

    Thursday, March 23

    Beautiful Prayer

    Prayer to Redeem Lost Time

    O my God! Source of all mercy! I acknowledge Your sovereign power. While recalling the wasted years that are past, I believe that You, Lord, can in an instant turn this loss to gain. Miserable as I am, yet I firmly believe that You can do all things. Please restore to me the time lost, giving me Your grace, both now and in the future, that I may appear before You in "wedding garments." Amen.

    Saint Teresa of Avila

    Wednesday, March 22

    Happy Day

    I don't want to brag about what I did, but I do want to say that I did two very nice things yesterday, and I have to tell you I feel darn good about it!

    So I encourage all of you today, in the spirit of Lent and of Christ's love, to go out and do one nice thing for someone who isn't expecting it. Then, once you've got the rush of serving your fellow man, tell everyone you did something (on your blog, if you have one), but don't tell them what, and encourage them to pass on the goodness to someone in their life.

    Nothing in life is more satisfying than serving people who truly need you.

    Eucharistic Miracle in Dallas?

    I found an interesting link on Moneybag's blog, "A Catholic Life." Here are some details from the Spirit Daily website with information about the reported eucharistic miracle:

      Notes another e-mailer, Lori Ehrman of Saint William the Confessor Parish, Greenville:

      "This afternoon, around 3 p.m., I received a phone call from a Missionary of Charity sister in Dallas. The sister told me that a Host was bleeding at Saint James the Apostle Catholic Church on Saner in Dallas. It was only tonight that I learned the full story.

      "About one month ago after receiving Holy Communion a young boy got sick and vomited in a trash receptacle. His father saw that a Host was visible in the trash can. The priest, Father Mario, was alerted. Father Mario removed the Host and brought the Host into the sacristy. Father Mario had the sacristan bring a glass with water over to him so that the Host could be placed in the water and dissolve before being placed down the sacrarium. Father Mario noticed that the Host was nearly intact with only a small Piece missing. Father Mario placed the glass with the Host and the water in a safe place. Father had forgotten until yesterday. He went to retrieve the glass and he found that the Host had not dissolved. It is complete and is bleeding. The Bishop's office in Dallas has been notified. Hundreds and hundreds of the faithful have come to see. Of course, only the Bishop can declare a miracle.

      "Tonight I went to Adore, my Lord and my God, in the Blessed Sacrament. I sang Tantum Ergo in my head and out loud recalling the Eucharistic Miracles in Lanciano and elsewhere. Perhaps Dallas is now part of the elsewheres. Today, Tuesday at 11:30 am, it was reported that the Diocese has taken the Eucharist for further investigation."

    I'm not one to be jumping to any conclusions about miracles, especially in my own backyard. But I will stay tuned, as they say, and see what Bishop Grahmann has to say about the whole situation.

    Tuesday, March 21

    Thoughts on today's gospel reading

    Today's Gospel - Mt 18:21-35

    Peter approached Jesus and asked him, "Lord, if my brother sins against me, how often must I forgive him? As many as seven times?" Jesus answered, "I say to you, not seven times but seventy-seven times.

    That is why the Kingdom of heaven may be likened to a king who decided to settle accounts with his servants. When he began the accounting, a debtor was brought before him who owed him a huge amount. Since he had no way of paying it back, his master ordered him to be sold, along with his wife, his children, and all his property, in payment of the debt. At that, the servant fell down, did him homage, and said, 'Be patient with me, and I will pay you back in full.' Moved with compassion the master of that servant let him go and forgave him the loan. When that servant had left, he found one of his fellow servants who owed him a much smaller amount. He seized him and started to choke him, demanding, 'Pay back what you owe.' Falling to his knees, his fellow servant begged him, 'Be patient with me, and I will pay you back.' But he refused. Instead, he had him put in prison until he paid back the debt.

    Now when his fellow servants saw what had happened, they were deeply disturbed, and went to their master and reported the whole affair. His master summoned him and said to him, 'You wicked servant! I forgave you your entire debt because you begged me to. Should you not have had pity on your fellow servant, as I had pity on you?'

    Then in anger his master handed him over to the torturers until he should pay back the whole debt. So will my heavenly Father do to you, unless each of you forgives your brother from your heart."

    This is a pretty heavy reading, probably one of the most intense in the New Testament. And, as usual, it speaks right to me.

    I've been struggling with mercy and forgiveness for a couple of specific people in my work and personal life. How can I expect God to forgive me for my sins if I do not forgive my fellow man for things which they have done to me? It's hard. Very hard. But I must forgive, no matter what the consequence or response is. And I need to forget, for hanging on to the bitterness is still affecting my daily life, and that's not right.

    I think the hardest part is that all of the strife comes from outside of my safe circle, which includes my best friend, my husband and my church. I live in this happy little Cloud Nine existance, going from work to church to home to bed. I do my 8-hours worth of work, no one bothers me, people are happy with my output. When I get off of work, I read, I pray, I listen to EWTN, I go to Mass and spend time with the Blessed Sacrament. If I'm lucky, I'll go to Half Price Books and pick up a couple of good Catholic books. My life is happy, serene, simple. I've finally found the satisfaction in life I've been looking for, and I revel in every minute of it.

    But then sometimes, out of nowhere it seems, a great big gob of gunk comes up and gets fwapped right on top of my little life. Things don't go my way at work. A snide remark, seemingly out of nowhere, is made. I hear a horrible thing about another person in relation to me that really rubs me the wrong way. It adds a great big glob of filth to my happy, Cloud 9 existance, and I don't like it at all. But it must be dealt with.

    Apologies are hard, but I think forgiveness is even harder sometimes. When damage cannot be repaired by forgiveness, is it worth it? It is worth fixing flat tire on an old bike that you never intend to ride again?

    I'll keep praying about it and hopefully the issues will all be resolved in the end.

    Monday, March 20

    Like a bubble bath for the soul

    I spent an hour today in front of the Blessed Sacrament at the Cathedral today. It was really nice. Normally, when I spend time in front of the sacrament, I do it a little something like this:

    1) Divine Mercy Chaplet - Relaxes me and gets me in a spiritual state of mind
    2) Rosary - Because I know I should do them. I like the Divine Mercy Chaplet more, but I need to do the Rosary as well.
    3) Mass readings - If I've missed mass (which is normally the case if I am spending time in front of the Tabernacle), I'll read the scripture readings for the day, and the thoughts from the Magnificat.
    4) Personal Prayer - I'll usually read the Evening Prayers from the Magnificat, and then I'll do a personal intercessory prayer, when I'll pray for the people in my life that need it and for me to draw closer to God.

    At the end, I'll bow and cross myself with holy water. The whole process takes about an hour or so. Afterwards, I always feel so serene and relaxed. The stresses of the world melt away. I can deal with everyday stresses when I spend time with God and put it all in perspective.

    From the RFM Boards

    In a world where a cartoon can cause death wishes, we need to recognize the four truths that will continue until the millennium.

    1. Muslims DO NOT RECOGNIZE Jews as God's chosen people.

    2. Jews DO NOT RECOGNIZE Jesus as the Messiah.

    3. Protestants DO NOT RECOGNIZE the Pope as the leader of the Christian World.

    4. Mormons DO NOT RECOGNIZE each other at the grocery store on Sunday.

    Thoughts about Vocation - again

    I keep mapping out my life, but then wrenches get thrown into it. Ugh. My husband and I's plan was for us to go back to school, him for his Bachelor's and mine for my MBA, and then I'd go and be a financial analyst and he'd move up in his company. Well, the problem is, as again I've mentioned, that I am not feeling very satisfied with my job. Corporate America sucks the life out of me, seriously.

    As I mentioned in another post, I heard a thing from Fr. Corapi on the radio last week about vocations, about how people can pray about their vocations throughout life, not just when they are trying to decide whether to become married or not. It really hit me, I need to pray about what vocation I should be. So I did, and I almost instantly got an incling if not a discernment - I need to work with special needs people.

    I said, are you sure? And I seemed to see Down's Syndrome people all weekend long - I have an extremly soft spot for Down's Syndrome people. I thought - Ok, this is a bit of a sign. So I thought ok, now what am I supposed to do? And immediately again, I had a thought - the Catholic school just on the other side of the highway, about a mile from my loft. It specializes in developmentally disabled children from 6-21.

    On Sunday, I mentioned to my RCIA teacher that I was considering using my Special Ed degree and going into teaching. She said, If you're serious, I've got a job for you. Whoa! Apparently she's been working with the Special Ed programs for years in the Catholic school system. I mentioned the school, and she said that they're always hiring teachers. I told her I wanted to work with high schoolers to teach them life skills, and she said that's exactly what they do at that school. I told her I wasn't certified but I had taken all of the classes and have a degree, and she said that she is the one that designed the study guides for the certification for Special Ed for the Diocese of Dallas Catholic schools, and as long as I pass the test I can get certified! She gave me a contact name to talk to, plus I'm sure I could use her as my "character reference" in my application since she's been there with me through my entire RCIA process.

    I thought, ok, so I have a plan to get a job, but how am I going to survive on a teacher's salary. I looked at the salary, and it's a cut from what I'm making. BUT ... it would only be for 9 month's pay. I could easily work in the summers and end up having a take-home pay equivalent to what I make now. I imagine finding a summer school job in the Catholic school system would be pretty easy since most people would want to be at home with their kids and we don't have any kids. And if not, I could always temp for a few months. Plus I could ride the bus to work, which would mean that Dan could take that promotion (with a raise) to the manager relief pool that he was indirctly offered a few month's ago but couldn't take because we only had one car. I could cash out my 401K money and pay off all my debt (including taxes and traffic tickets), so we could go into this almost debt free. Being a teacher, I would be paying into a retirement plan, and with Dan getting a raise he could pay into his 401K plan at his work and we'd still be bringing home what we're bringing home now and saving for a good retirement.

    In other words, this could actually work. I could work close to home, not have to commute, and be able to wear a Four-Way medal without my co-workers thinking I've turned into some kind of Jesus Freak. Dan would be able to further his career and hopefully get more job satisfaction as well, plus maybe even a little more money and opportunity with his company, which he is currently very happy with. And the thought of actually doing something meaningful with my life fills me with such joy I can't even describe it. I'm going to think about it for a bit, but I'm really hoping I can figure out how to make this work. We wouldn't be rich, but I'd actually be helping people. And it's not like we're rich now. I worked with adults with developmental disabilities for a year after I got out of college, and I loved it. But I couldn't live on the $5.15 they paid me. So I got a basic office job, and now here I am.

    I hope I'm not crazy for thinking I could do this.

    Saturday, March 18

    Saint Jude Novena

    (NOTE: This is the novena said after every Mass at St Jude Chapel, where I go to church on Saturdays. It's such a beautiful prayer that I thought it might be nice to share. The words in brackets are added by Fr. Celio when the prayers is said. Because the novena is perpetual, the word is changed in the Prayer from "begin" to "continue".)


    In the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, Amen.

    Oh my God I believe that You are my Father, / that You created me and love me with a divine love, / and that when I pray, you hear my prayer. / Therefore, my Father, I hope in You, because You are Almighty, and can do all things / I look to you for all my needs / and because of this deep hope I love You with every beat of my heart, / and I am sorry that I ever sinned against You, / and I want to love my brother[s and sisters] as I love myself.

    Therefore, / with unbounded faith in the Power and in the Mighty Intercession of Your servant St. Jude, / I do make this solumn novena.


    Glorious Apostle, and Martyr, St. Jude, / I begin [continue] these days of prayer to beg your help / and to ask your intercession so that Almighty God, because of you, / will grant me my present need. (PAUSE)

    (Here make known your intention)

    Help all of us, Oh Dear St. Jude, in our needs / and inspire us to believe/ that there is nothing, / that will be for my good / but that God, through you, will grant me / for Jesus, my Savior has said / "if you ask the Father anything in My name He will give it to you". / Therefore, in the name of Jesus and in the name of St. Jude, / I ask the Almighty God to grant me my petition. Amen.

    The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not want. / In green pastures He makes me lie down. / He leads me to waters where I may rest; / He gives refreshment to my soul. /

    (Please stand and pray together).

    He takes me along paths that are straight for His name's sake / Though I should walk in a dark valley, / I will fear no evil, because You are with me. / Your rod and your staff: / these comfort me.

    You did prepare for me a table in the sight of my adversaries; / You did anoint my head with oil; / my cup overflows. / Kindness and grace shall follow me all the days of my life / and I shall dwell in the House of the Lord for length of days.


    We come to your alter, / our faith brings us here / We come to implore you, / may God hear our prayer / Oh good St. Jude we call on your name / All your praises your servants proclaim.


    O loving and dear St. Jude / look aside from my unworthiness, / and look only to the mercy and the love of Jesus / and please take to God's heart this intention for which I pray. I do promise that I will encourage others to seek your aid / and I will do all that I can to tell others how great and good you are. With this Faith and with this Hope, / I place myself in your hands / through Jesus Christ Our Lord, Amen.

    Oh Heavenly Father / please place your healing hands upon all who make this novena; / and for the glory of Your name, / hear and answer our prayer. Amen.

    St. Jude pray for us.

    Fr. Celio update

    I went to noon Latin mass today. Fr. Celio is officially back to the chapel! His right arm is still very weak, and he will be needing assistance for quite some time. He said that his physical therapist said it would be about 2 months before his arm would be at 100%. But he is in MUCH better spirits and seemed very happy to see the "regulars" at Saturday Mass. It was so nice to see him in a pleasant mood. The last time I had seen him, it was right before his surgery, and he was almost in tears from the pain.

    I also realized how much I missed Latin mass. I wish that they used more Latin in masses. Even just doing the Kyrie Eliason in Greek and the Agnus Dei in Latin is wonderful. I am looking forward to going to mass at the Cathedral tomorrow and hopefully hear that beautiful Kyrie Eliason they did last time I was at mass there. I'm also going to tell Fr. Ramone that I love it when he chants during the Mass. He's got a lovely voice, and it really brings a solemnity and a reverence to the service.

    On another note: There's an issue that I wanted to discuss with a priest before I got baptized, because even though I can't go to confession, I felt the need to get spiritual council from a priest. We discussed the issue, and he gave me good council which eased my mind a ton. I seriously can't wait until I can go to confession and rid my mind and soul of this gunk a couple of times a month.

    Friday, March 17

    St. Patrick was BAPTIST!

    I found this link on the DCF boards I freqent. Apparently, according to the article of this web site, L.K. Landis, St. Patrick was actually Baptist!

    Happy St. Patrick's Day!

    According to Whispers in the Loggia and his Corned Beef Indult log, both the Diocese of Dallas and the Diocese of Fort Worth have a dispensation from their bishops to be able to enjoy meat today (check the link for full list). He says:

      Now, some of these will have strings attached, but this is just a list of places where permission to partake of the Sacred Corned Beef on a Lenten Friday has been conceded in one form or another. It is by no means the definitive listing, but -- as is usually the case here -- it's the closest thing you'll find to one.... If in doubt, call your chancery or parish, and while you're at it, please let me know

    I am going to celebrate the evening by attending a Brave Combo show in Euless, TX with my best friend Michael. I already have my green shirt on!

    There's a lot of discussion about whether people should take advantage of this dispensation. But I think this post by Whispers in the Loggia (again) says it best:

      So there's a bit of weeping, wailing and gnashing of teeth out there about all these lax heterodox liberal American bishops granting dispensations for St. Paddy's Day as it's falling on a Lenten Friday.... We can only assume that, by this coin, Fabian Bruskewitz and Tom Olmsted are included in that bunch, as they're giving indults, too.

      But what's the policy on no-meat Fridays in the Land of Pell?

      • The days of fasting and abstinence from meat are Ash Wednesday and Good Friday.

      What a hoot.

    Thursday, March 16


    It still kind of blows my mind that I have a choice of where to go to church. When I was Mormon, I was told what building to go to, and what time, and it was severely frowned upon to go to a different ward (congregation). From what I understand, the Catholic church prefers that you register with your geographic parish, unless you prefer to go to an ethnic parish, but it doesn't matter where you go to weekly mass as long as you go. That part is between you and God.

    I have two strong choices - St. Jude Chapel and the Cathedral - both of which have their benefits and drawbacks. The benefit of the Chapel is the convenience of walking half a block to church, but the drawback is that there is no other activities to participate in, unless I choose to be a lector or cantor. The benefit of the Cathedral is that it has a gorgeous liturgy and building, and it is also convenient, but the drawback is that most of the activities and programs are geared towards the Spanish-speaking congregation. I've heard that St. Thomas Aquinas is an excellent parish and has lots of programs for people, and that some of the English-speaking people in the parish of the Cathedral have started going to St. Thomas Aquinas because of the variety of programs available in English. Plus they have daily Tridentine Mass in Latin every day but Sunday.

    Vocations Part II - Social Sin

    As I mentioned in a post last week, I've been very unhappy with my job recently. But on a deeper level, I've felt rather unhappy with my job for years. Working as a corporate cog in a machine whose purpose is to sell more widgets and make more money for corporate bigwigs is very soul sucking. I don't feel like I'm making a difference in the world. I felt this way before I even became Catholic.

    But lately the weight of my job has been hanging heavily on my shoulders. My bitterness towards the situations at work has even affected my prayer life. I was listening to Fr. Corapi on EWTN Radio this morning on the way to work, and he made a couple of seriously impacting statements. The first one was about vocations. He said that the problem is that people want to do what they want to do instead of praying about what they are supposed to be doing. This doesn't just apply to people who are discerning the priesthood or religious life. This applies to all people who feel they need to adjust their life to be doing God's will. I know this is going to sound stupid, but I've been praying for my religious life quite a bit lately, but it never occurred to me to pray about work. I've been praying to make my work bearable, but not praying to discern my true vocation. I am definitely going to be doing this a lot from now on.

    The second thing that he mentioned is the part in the Our Father where they talk about forgiveness. He said that forgivness was essential in staying close to God. He said that harboring resentment will inhibit your prayer life. I was doing very good in my prayer life, all the way from the time I decided to explore the Catholic church until the beginning of Lent. But last week, work was so stressful for me. I began harboring resentments because I wasn't getting the things I felt I needed to do my job correctly, and the bitterness was eating away at me. When I heard Fr. Corapi talk about this bitterness, I realized the reason I had not been reading and praying and spending time in front of the Blessed Sacrament the way I should this past week is because I was spending the energy I had to hold these resentments.

    So by thinking about the resentments, and thinking that I need to pray for discernment on my true vocation, the burden of these resentments has been lifted. I have no doubt that this is not the true vocation that I have been called to do. Having a clear realization that this is just a temporary stop towards my true vocation is very calming to me, and a great relief. Now I just have to pray and hope I hear the right answer to where God wants me. Doing what I can do, doing what I want to do, and doing what God wants me to do are three different things.

    Looking at my job in that light gives me so many options. I've been considering going back to school to get my MBA, but I could focus my MBA studies with the goal of working for a non-profit company when I get my degree. Or I could consider using my Bachelor's degree in Special Education to teach in the Catholic schools in Dallas. There's a little school about a mile from my house who specializes in teaching Special Ed kids. I could also maybe just volunteer there or help there with activities, and focus my efforts on another vocation that gives me the money to be able to donate generously to causes.

    But I'd really rather feel like I was doing the will of God. And I don't know quite what that is yet. I know I have the skills to do more in this world than to tell the Big German Company that I work for how many widgets they've sold this year. It's scary, but I know I need to do something to change my life so that I am serving people who need me. I feel in my heart that by participating in a soul-sucking Corporate vocation rather than a vocation where I serve and help those who need me that I am committing a social sin that could be avoided.

    I want to serve my fellow man. That's why I got a Special Education degree - I wanted to help people with developmental disabilities. I'm not sure exactly what it is that God wants me to do, but I hope that he guides me and points me to where I need to go vocationally. And I thank God that I had the sense to listen to EWTN Radio on the way to work today. (If you don't have a Sirius radio in your car, go get one RIGHT NOW and listen to EWTN when you can!)

    Tuesday, March 14

    Vocations Post

    Steven Riddle from Flos Carmeli wrote a very interesting article about vocations. Here's an excerpt:
      The point I wanted to make about vocation is that everyone has one. It may not be the traditionally recognized vocation to Priesthood, Religious Life, or Third Orders, but everyone is summoned by God to absolute holiness of life and the track of that summons, the path of that vocation, is laid out by God alone. No two people walk the same trail; no two people carry precisely the same cross; all people are made Holy by God's action and by grace, but no two people obtain the same graces, have the same talents, or exercise their abilities in precisely the same way.

      This idea is prelude to another, which is more difficult to express. The second notion is that while no two people are called to the same exact track, there are practices, disciplines, and ways of living that are necessary for all people who wish to obtain holiness. For example, attendance at the sacraments and disposing oneself to God's prevenient Grace are necessary components to a Holy Life. Familiarity with and even immersion in the Scriptures ("Ignorance of the scriptures is ignorance of Christ") a necessary component. One aspect of this immersion, which has been frequently discussed is Lectio Divina. A certain amount of Lectio is useful for every person. However, Lectio as a gateway to contemplation is part of the Carmelite charism (and perhaps the charism of other orders), it is not a universal gateway, and it may not be the most effective practice of prayer for all people. Therefore, we also have bible study and bible-based prayers such as the Liturgy of the Word at Mass and the Liturgy of the Hours. All of these are ways of exposing oneself to scripture; however, it seems that effort beyond that of attending Mass is often extremely helpful to individuals in their attempts to become holy.

      Read the rest of the article here.

    One of the things that I have found almost overwhelming is the paths within the Catholic church. The Church is what you make of it, with a solid foundation as the start. Going through RCIA and getting baptized is only the start of my journey. Many people are Catholic by simply going to Sunday mass and having simple daily prayer, and that's Ok. Others become Third Order members of different lay organizations. Still others become priests or nuns or deacons. Many people focus on devotions, like the Rosary or the Divine Mercy chaplet. Others feel called to pray the Liturgy of the Hours or to spend time in front of the Blessed Sacrament on a regular basis.

    There's just SO MANY OPTIONS! I feel so overwhelmed sometimes. I try to keep it simple, to focus on one book or one prayer. I find myself drawn towards the Divine Mercy chaplet much more than I am the Rosary, for example. I was feeling kind of bad because I embraced the Divine Mercy chaplet so wholeheartedly while struggling through the Rosary, but then I read a post by Jimmy Akin that said that he enjoyed the Divine Mercy more than the Rosary.

    I feel that for now, my path is pennance and conversion of my soul towards God. I think that's why I was so drawn to Mary Magdalene for my patron saint. It is important for me to feel that humility towards God that she felt as she washed his feet and annointed them with oil. I have been so prideful in the past, and I know that without that humility I will never even begin the journey towards knowing God and feeling his presence in my life. However, I don't feel that I need to do severe fasting or other extreme mortifications to feel closer to God. I think I do better with simple prayer, praying for mercy for myself, for the world, and for the poor souls in purgetory.

    Right now I don't know enough about the different paths within the church to be really drawn to one, especially in regards to Carmelites vs Franciscans vs Dominicans, etc. But then again, I still have a month before I'm baptized. I should be focusing on my conversion, and experiencing Lent to the fullest. I hope I keep myself humble enough to be able to be led to the path that will bring me closest to God and will help me do the things I need to do to have God's will in my life.

    Monday, March 13


    My trip to see my mother was quiet and uneventful, but was also good for my perspective. If ever you get to feeling lousy about your job, go visit my brother. He's 42 and is an assistant manager at a Taco Bell. That will REALLY make you realize how little your job really sucks.

    My father died from cancer in November of 2004. When he died, my mother basically said that she was done with pets and anything like that, that she didn't want to have to take care of anything and deal with anything dying. In the past couple of months or so, she's gotten through another stage of grieving for my father. She cleaned out his office and packed his things, and turned it into her sewing room. She also decided she wanted a bird, so I got her a white and blue parakeet and a cute cage. We had gone to the pet store, and Mom got so excited about this one bird that was in the pet store, and I volunteered to get it for her as a late Birthday/Christmas gift. My husband set up a hook and chain from the ceiling where she could have the birdcage hanging in the living room. I could tell that already the bird was helping my mom be less lonely. I'm glad she's gotten to the point where she wants to have pets and is moving on with things. She was never a wallower or devistated with grief, but I can tell she's doing much better about things.

    Oh, I never did have the nerve to tell her I was becoming Catholic. It made it really hard sometimes. I'd think of a story I wanted to tell, or even to mention a friend from church, and I couldn't say anything. Even my husband noticed that it was difficult for him to not share stories about things like hunting down his baptism certificate for our convalidation and things like that.

    Friday, March 10

    St Jude, Pray for us

    RCIA on Wednesday was pretty good. Deacon L wasn't able to make it, so MA was the sole teacher. They were supposed to teach about the sacrament of marriage, but since only one of them was there, they decided to wait. We ended up talking about the rosary and praying together. It was quite interesting. There were people in our class who had never prayed a Rosary before, which surprised me.

    Also, we got to officially submit our confirmation name to the sacramental record keeping office. Mine is going to be Mary Magdalen Jude. I'm really excited about it. I'm reading a book on Jude right now, called Jude : A Pilgrimage to the Saint of Last Resort by Liz Trotta. I've been going to St. Jude Chapel ever since I first decided to explore the Catholic church, and this book explains a lot of customs that I didn't understand about what happens at St. Jude. For example, at the end of every mass there, we pray a Perpetual Novena to St. Jude. I didn't realize how poplular St. Jude novenas really are.

    One of the lines in that prayer says, "I promise to tell others to call on your name" or something like that. I am really beginning to understand the interesing lore behind St. Jude worship. I'm truly grateful to him for all of the things that he has helped me with since starting my conversion. Maybe I'll get me a St. Jude metal and wear that all the time. I think that might be a good thing for me as thanks for his intercession.

    Weekend with my mother

    I'll be gone all this weekend, so I don't forsee any blog posts being made again until Monday. I'm going to visit my mother in Van Buren, AR. It's a 4 1/2 hour drive up there, but we tend to eat dinner and run errands on the way up there, so it ends up being 6 hours or so. Plus if we can get out early enough we might stop by the outlet malls to pick my husband up some shoes. I've been promising him some shoes for his birthday, but he hasn't found any that he likes yet.

    I may tell my mom about becoming Catholic, if religion comes up. I'm just so happy to be converting, and have found a joy on a different level and want to share it. I am worried about her inevitable "disappointment" but it's also important to me to share this with her. I'm a little nervous about going up there anyway because last time we went up there, Dan was sick. My mother smokes, and the smoke really bothered Dan, to the point where he got super sick. I called her and asked her to please open the windows and smoke outside for a few days so it wouldn't be so smoky, and she got really ... well, pissy for lack of a better word. She was really offended that Dan would all of a sudden be allergic to her cigarette smoke. He always gets sick when we go up there, but since he was sick already he got super sick when he went up there.

    Long story short, it should be a very interesting trip.

    I'm finding that I'm "outing" myself to a lot of different people. For example, today at work they furnished us lunch. When I ordered my veggie wrap, I didn't realize it had tons of fresh jalopenos on it (ouch!). So I was telling a co-worker that I was hungry, and he told me that there might be some fajitas left from a group lunch that was done in another room. I told him, "Well, I can't eat any meat today." He asked me if I was Catholic, and I said not yet, but I will be soon. He's only the third or fourth person I've told at work. Most people won't care, but there are a few people who might think me odd to convert. I know, I know, "Blessed are they who are persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven." But I still don't feel like dealing with it.

    I've been rather unhappy at work this week. Basically, what it boils down to is I work in a very noisy cubicle call center environment. I asked for an office, with multiple justifications related to the new tasks I have been assigned, but got shut down. It wasn't the shutting down that was so bad, it was the reasoning. "If we give you an office, we're going down a slippery slope and everyone will want an office." I'm the only one in my department who doesn't have an office, and all of the other people in the cubicle area have their departments in the cubicles around them. And it's noisy, and annoying, and very hard to do my job.

    So basically it's a control thing to have me doing all of the work that I'm doing (complex reporting and analysis, podcast recording, webinar monitoring, etc) in a completely unsuitable environment. And for some reason, it really has upset me.

    I need to go spend some time in front of the blessed sacrament today. I know it would calm me and make me feel better about things. I haven't been since Wednesday. I haven't been to mass all week, although I've listened on EWTN every day this week. I knew that these 40 days were going to be rough for a variety of reasons, but I didn't realize that I would be so emotional about it.

    Maybe I'll get a pedicure - being able to wear sandals would most probably cheer me up a bit. I haven't had a pedicure since December. I have Winter Buildup of callouses and gunk on my feet, plus my toes barely have any polish on them anymore since they've grown out so much.

    So anyway, wish me luck. And don't forget to pray for Deacon Charlie. I sure hope he's doing better.


    I had a dream last night. We were in the bedroom of my mother's home. It was me, my mom, and my brother who died. She told me that she was getting confirmed at Easter. I was so happy, but I was still nervous to tell her that I was getting baptized at Easter. She told me that she wanted to be Catholic, but she didn't want to say anything bad about Joseph Smith, "just in case." My brother thought it was cool that I was going to be Catholic.

    Prayer Request

    Please say a prayer today for Deacon Charlie from the Cathedral. He was in a pretty serious auto accident yesterday, and was in ICU. He's a very sweet man and gives great homilies. And he always shakes my hand.

    Please pray for a speedy recovery. Thank you.

    Wednesday, March 8

    E-mail from my best friend Michael

    Guess what!!!! My little brother, Jason, told me something yesterday. He's the only brother who went on a mission, moved to Utah to find his 'soul mate' and practically has the Book of Mormon memorized, along with having pictures taken from the Ensign hanging on his walls. Well, he told me he quit church and has started drinking with a couple of his friends who are also ex-Mormons. I couldn't preach to him about it, cause who am I to talk?

    Tuesday, March 7

    My Lent Thus Far

    I made a few pledges to myself for Lent. These are the things I decided I would do to celebrate Lent and the status of my progress:

    1) As a sacrifice, I would give up all drinks but water and juice. I decided to keep juice because sometimes my blood sugar drops fast, and juice makes me feel better quickly.

    I've been doing very well on this, I haven't cheated one bit. I've found that for the first time in a few months, I don't get dreadfully drowsy after lunch and after eating when I drink water instead of Coke. I guess the Coke was messing up my system pretty bad. I'm not sure if it was the corn syrup or the caffeine. I'm thinking it might be the caffeine because a lot of times I would drink iced tea with sugar for lunch and still get really drowsy. I'll keep you posted on how this goes.

    I didn't realize how much of a sacrifice this was really going to be. Ever tried having Oreos and Water? Or a big juicy burger, fries with yummy ketchup, and water? Taco Bell and Apple Juice? So many things taste better with Coke. And most sweets taste MUCH better when washed down with a nice cold glass of milk. It's been quite an adjustment, but it's also been much better for my health.

    2) Spend time with the Blessed Sacrament each day (either in Mass, or at a Blessed Sacrament Chapel) and read the scriptures for the Mass each day if I can't get to Mass.

    Well, last week went Ok, but my headaches have been so bad the last couple of days that my head has felt like it was going to explode. I didn't attend mass or do reading or pray or anything yesterday but suffer. I didn't even go to work yesterday - I think I was (and still am) doing some detoxing. Today, I listened to Mass on EWTN Radio on the way to work, but I didn't go to spend time with the Blessed Sacrament or attend Mass at Holy Family of Nazareth like I usually do on Tuesdays. My head just hurt too bad after work, so I went straight home and took some medicine and laid down for a bit. But I do plan on reading the mass readings and saying a Divine Mercy before I go to bed. Then tomorrow hopefully I will be back on track.

    3) Say a Divine Mercy Chaplet every day

    I've done this every day except for yesterday. I'll say one before I go to bed each night.

    I debated between doing a Divine Mercy or a Rosary each day. Both have their benefits. But I feel like the Divine Mercy is more in tune with my personal mission of repentance before Easter and getting to know Christ and God more personally this Lenten season, so I picked that. For me, it is so easy to get into a spiritual groove saying the Divine Mercy chaplet. It's a little harder with the Rosary - I get so ADD when I say it sometimes. But I've never had problems staying focused with the Divine Mercy chaplet. So I figure for now, I'll stick with what works. Maybe I'll work on the Rosary after Lent.

    4) For an additional reading, read the Magnificat Lenten Companion each day

    This has been VERY helpful! The reading ties in with the Gospel of Mass usually, and I've been getting a lot out of this.

    So that's my Lent thus far. I'm doing my best to be spiritually prepared for Easter. I just can't wait! I'm so excited about getting bapitzed. I need to put the information up on my site so that if anyone wants to come, they can come. I'm hoping a few friends show up. That's a big day for me!

    Since my headache's let up a bit ... I'm Elect now!

    So my Naproxen Sodium FINALLY kicked in, and my headache is managable. It's still there, but at least it only feels like a thud now instead of razor blades.

    I'm an Elect now! We had our Rite of Sending and Rite of Election this Sunday at the Cathedral. The Rite of Sending basically consisted of my priest asking the catechumens to stand up, and then our sponsors said we were ready to be baptized. Then the Candidates stood up and walked out with us to Breaking of the Word.

    I also want to interject here to say that the music that the Cathedral has been playing has been SOOOO beautiful lately! Ash Wednesday music was great - very traditional. Then today they sang the most beautiful Kyrie Eliason I have ever heard. I wish they would do that EVERY week! Each song was so beautiful. And the priest chanted a lot of his prayers. Plus my very favorite cantor, this man whose songs almost bring me to tears they are so beautiful, was singing this week. The music really made this Mass very spiritual for me.

    When we got to "the catecombs" where we have our Breaking of the Word (it's in the basement of the Cathedral), they had a nice table set up and had a big book - the Book of the Elect. Our book has been with the cathedral since about 1990, I think they said. All of the adults who have been baptized at Easter vigils since 1990 were in that book. It was very moving to read. There's 8 of us in our class who are being baptized, and all of us but one were there. We signed our name in the book, and then talked a little about the ceremony going on that evening, and about the ceremony next week for the Candidates.

    Dan agreed to go with me to the Rite of Election. We got there early, and got seats right in front of the choir. The ceremony was great. There was a small child behind us that I wish would have had a babysitter, which was very aggrivating for Dan as well, but since he comes to almost every class, I've kind of learned how to tune him out a bit. The service started with Liturgy of the Word, and then each church introduced their catechumens. Then we all got to shake hands with the Bishop. They gave us all an excellent book with the history of the diocese, which I found very interesting. Our diocese is so large they had to have two of these services, and our service was the second one. At our service, I'm guessing there were probably 200 or so people who were announced for baptism.

    The only issue I had was with the music. I love good old Gregorian chant, and traditional hymns. The stuff they were singing was WAY too Christian Rock for me. The songs they played were:

    Here I Am Lord - Dan Shutte
    Reponsorial Psalm by David Haas
    You Are God: Te Deum - Marty Haugen
    I Say "Yes" Lord/ Digo "Si," Senor - Donna Pena
    Intersessions For The Elect (General Intercessions with Triligual Response) - Bill Gergen
    You Are Mine - David Haas

    As I mentioned above, the music at the Cathedral was absolutely gorgeous at Mass, and then came this trumpet-playing Randy Newman guy at the piano band, and it was so jarring and unspiritual. I didn't enjoy the music at ALL! But I did my best to feel spiritual. I was glad that Dan was there, too, because it was nice to have someone to make snarky comments to.

    He enjoyed hearing Bishop Grahmann speak because he was miked "with one of those headset microphones like Britney Spears", and when he would talk, it would sound like the Booming Voice of God. Bishop Grahmann rocks.

    Please forgive my lack of posting

    I've been rather unmotivated since the CAFFEINE DEMONS decided to TAKE OVER MY KRUNKING SKULL!!!! I'm serious - this headache is horrid. I find it worse after I eat fast food, too.

    Anyway, I just became a proud member of the B Team!

    I'm not sure exactly what it means, except I got a neat button for my blog. Or more like panel - this thing is HUGE! I'm sure someday all the hip and happening "underground" "cutting edge" Catholic blogs will display the logo and it will become so world renowned that they can simply put a blue B logo up and people will know what it is. Until then, I shall have an obnoxious blue logo on my blog and I will proudly display it.

    Friday, March 3

    Jesus Ink

    I found an interesting article on CNN about the Laser Monks team (

    Here's an excerpt from the article:

      Like all Roman Catholic monasteries, the abbey is responsible for its own upkeep, receiving no financial support from the Vatican. Hence Father McCoy estimates that it costs around $150,000 to maintain the abbey and its 500 acres of grounds. The rest of the company's profits help support charities that range from a camp for kids with HIV to a Buddhist orphanage in Tibet.

    If you need toner cartridges, you might want to give these monks a try.

    Thursday, March 2

    Changing Spaces

    I decided to edit this post, because I didn't like its negativity. But I'll leave the end because that part was kind of cool.

    There's a Buddhist koan that one might meditate on and figure out its meaning:

      A man traveling across a field encountered a tiger. He fled, the tiger after him. Coming to a precipice, he caught hold of the root of a wild vine and swung himself down over the edge. The tiger sniffed at him from above. Trembling, the man looked down to where, far below, another tiger was waiting to eat him. Only the vine sustained him.

      Two mice, one white and one black, little by little started to gnaw away the vine. The man saw a luscious strawberry near him. Grasping the vine with one hand, he plucked the strawberry with the other. How sweet it tasted!

    To me, this means to Find happiness where you are, no matter where that place might be.

    When to remove ashes - by Jimmy Akin

    Jimmy Akin, amazingly famous Catholic apologetics maestro, wrote a post about ash removal etiquette, where he shared this pearl of wisdom that made me laugh out loud:

    "Once that goal is accomplished, you can wash them off at any time--especially to avoid things like getting them on bedsheets--though if you can leave them on longer then it is a good public testimony to one's faith.

    I would definitely not have them on the day after Ash Wednesday. Then you'd look like a nut and the good of a public witness would be undone."

    I really should have thought this through

    I thought about and pondered over what to "give up" during Lent. I figured that in addition to the plans I had made to do certain things each day, that giving something up was definitely in the spirit of Lent.

    I finally decided on drinking nothing but water or juice during Lent (no tea, no coffee, no Cokes, no wine, no beer, no chocolate milk, etc). When I told my husband yesterday, he looked at me and said, "So what are you going to do for caffeine?" Oops.

    I've been in the throes of a seriously wicked caffeine withdrawl headache all day. I did take some Excedrin, which contain a little caffeine in addition to painkillers, but it hasn't helped much at all. It's been over an hour since I took the medicine, too.

    The purpose of giving things up for Lent is to be in union with Christ's sufferings. Well, I'm definitely in Union with his pain right now. My head's killing me!

    My First Ashing

    I ended up going to the Cathedral to get ashed instead of going to my little Chapel down the street. When I left my building by my car and drove by the Chapel, I realized I made the right choice - the place was overflowing with people! It was nice to see so many people anxious to go to church.

    I ended up sitting with my friends Nancy and Greg during Mass. Deacon L was the person who ended up giving me the ashes. The Bishop of the Diocese led the service.

    I really liked the service because they played "traditional" songs instead of the more complicated ones they normally play at Sunday mass. I recognized all the songs and could sing along well.

    All in all, it was a nice Ash Wednesday.