February 24, 2009

The Purpose of Lent

The purpose of Lent is to keep alive in our consciousness and our life the fact that being a Christian can only take the form of becoming a Christian ever anew; that it is not an event now over and done with, but a process requiring constant practice. Let us ask then: What does it mean to become a Christian? How does this take place?... If individuals are to become Christians, they need the strength to overcome; they need the power to stand fast against the natural tendency to let themselves be carried along.

Life in the most inclusive sense has been defined as "resistance to the pull of gravity". Only where such is expended is there life; where the effort ceases life too ceases. If this is true in the biological sphere, it is all the more true in the spiritual. The human person is the being which does not become itself automatically. Nor does it do so simply by letting itself be carried along and surrendering to the natural gravitational pull of a kind of vegetative life. It becomes itself always and only by struggling against the tendency simply to vegetate and by dint of a discipline that is able to rise above the pressures of routine and to liberate the self from the compulsions of of utilitarian goals and instincts.

Our world is so full of what immediately impinges on our senses that we are in danger of seeing only details and losing sight of the whole. It take effort to see beyond what is right in front of us and to free ourselves from the tyranny of what directly presses upon us.
~ Benedictus: Day by Day with Pope Benedict XVI

Weird and Fun Meme

I've seen this on blogs before, and I actually wasn't tagged for it, I found it on a forum I go on, did it and the results were so funny (to me anyhow) that I had to share them. =)

1. Set your iTunes, iPod, Windows Media Player to shuffle.
2. Copy and paste the questions into a new post and erase my answers.
3. Answer each question with the next song that comes up.
4.Post your results! And feel free to add a comment underneath each answer!

If someone says "Is this okay?" You say:
Carol of the Bells (George Winston)

How would you describe yourself?
Homeward Bound (Various Artists)
Wow, that is kind of... neat. Because Heaven is my future home and I am trying to get there... Interesting.)

What do you like in a guy/girl?
My Confession (Josh Groban)

How do you feel today?
Gladiator (Enya)
Huh? I feel like a Gladiator? *cough* Actually, I felt rather pretty today!!!

What's your life purpose?
Memory of Trees (Enya)
Shoot! I was really hoping for "Heaven" for that one. Well, I didn't cheat. :P

What do your friends think of you?
Heaven (Hayley Westenra)
Wow! Really? LoL
Ha, I didn't cheat to get that song! My eyes popped out after I typed my last comment and then got this song next!

What do your parents think of you?
Lothlorian (Enya)

What do you often think about?
February Song (Josh Groban)
Tee hee, actually, that song has been running through my head lately!

What do you think about the person you like?
Fairytale (Enya)
Wow, I don't like anyone yet, but when I do, I'm sure that's what I'll think of them!
LoL, though if you count Peter Pevensie, he IS a fairytale! *giggles*

What is your life's story?
I Vow to Thee My Country (Charlotte Church)
Oh my gosh. Wow. That's all I can say. (If you've never read the lyrics, read it!)

What do you want to be when you grow up?
Exile (Enya)
*coughs* *chokes* *splutters* NOO! I don't want to! This is so wierd! At least it is a game...

What will you dance to at your wedding?
Remember when it Rained (Josh Groban)
What??? Hardly a love song.

What will they play at your funeral?
When You Taught Me How to Dance (Katie Melua)
Awwww! I hope they do!

What is your biggest fear?
Time to Say Goodbye (Sarah Brightman and Andrea Bocelli)
Er, ok. Well, saying good-bye to friends and family when they die, I suppose. Ok, why didn't this pop up for the last question?

What is your biggest secret?
Amazing Grace (Hayely Westenra)
Huh??? Why would I keep that a secret?

What do you think of your friends?
Flaming Red Hair (Lord of the Rings)
*cough* Odd...

What is your future going to be like?
All'improvisso Amore (Josh Groban)
Suddenly Love... I hope so! LoL

What do you see in the person you like?
You Are Loved (Josh Groban)
Hmm, I don't like anyone yet. But I hope I do see that I'm loved by them once I find and like them!

What will the song be for you and your spouse?
Love Story (Taylor Swift)
OH MY GOSH!!!!!!!!!!!!! I PROMISE I DIDN'T CHEAT!!!!!! OH MY GOSH!!!!! OH WOW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! YESSSSSSS!!!!!!!!!!!!!

*rolls eyes* Ha, that was so weird. =) You should try it!

February 23, 2009

The Church and the Forty Days

The Church is being urged ever more loudly and insistently to exchange a distant and unreal redemption by the Word for a more robust redemption by bread and the sure path of politicization. Our experience, then, is of a Church in the wilderness, a Church in her forty-day period. It is one of exposure to emptiness, to a world that seems, religiously speaking, to have become wordless, imageless, soundless; exposure to a world in which the heavens over us are dark and distant and impalpable. And yet for us too and for the Church of our day this time in the wilderness can become a time of grace in which a new love can grow out of suffering induced by God's distance from us.
We often have the oppressive feeling that the manna of our faith will be enough only for the presant day - but God gives us that manna new each day if we allow him to do so. We must live in a world in which in God is seemingly to be found only as One who is dead - but He can strike living water even from dead stones.
A Church in her Lent, in her "forty days" in the wilderness. I believe that during this season of fasting we must hearten ourselves anew to accept our situation in patience and faith and to follow fearlessly after our hidden God. If we journey on in patient faith, then for us too a new day can dawn out of the darkness. And God's bright world, the lost world of images and sounds, will be restored to us again; there will be a new morning in God's good creation.
- Benedictus: Day by Day with Pope Benedict XVI

February 22, 2009

Forty Days of Preparation

In the forty days of the preparation for Easter, we endeavor to get away from the heathenism that weighs us down, that is always driving us away from God, and we set off toward Him once again. So, too, at the beginning of the Eucharist, in the confession of sin, we are always trying to take up this path again, to set out, to go to the mountain of God's word and God's presence... We must learn that it is only in the silent, barely noticeable things that what is great takes place, that man becomes God's image and the world once more becomes the radiance of God's glory.

Let us ask the Lord to give us a receptivity to His gentle presence; let us ask Him to help us not to be so deafened and desensitized by this world's loud outcry that our receptivity fails to register Him. Let us ask Him that we may hear His quiet voice, go with Him, and be of service together with Him and in His way, so that His kingdom may become present in this world ... We imitate God, we live by God, like God, by entering into Christ's manner of life. He has climbed down from His divine being and become one of us; He has given Himself and does so continually... It is be these little daily virtues, again and again, that we step out of our bitterness, our anger toward others, our refusal to accept the other's forgiveness. This "littleness" is the concrete form of our being like Christ and living like God, imitating God; He has given Himself to us so that we can give ourselves to Him and to one another.
~ Benedictus: Day by Day with Pope Benedict XVI

February 21, 2009

It's Official!

Blessed Father Damien will become SAINT Father Damien on October 11th!!!!

5 Quick Takes Saturday - Vol 6

- 1 -
Another Quick Takes Saturday! As I have a ton to do today before 3:30, these will really have to be quick. I'll start out by letting you know that this will be the last quick takes post for a while. I have decided to give up the Internet for Lent, but since Sunday's are not considered a part of Lent, I will be back with a post or two on Sundays, and I perhaps on important occasions schedule a post or two. (Like my sisters birthday in a few weeks). I will try to post more before Wednesday, but I'm not promising anything.

Great news! My friend "Cap" informed my yesterday (as I was sitting down to write an essay on him none the less!) that Bl. Fr. Damien is up for canonization! I did some further research on it just now and the date for his canonization will in fact be announced... TODAY!!!! Catholicnews.com and a few other sites said that the Vatican will be giving it's official approval of the last miracle today. YAY!!!!!

Only on take three and I have nooooo idea what to post! Hee hee, oh dearie me. =) Oh right.
I've been looking for Lenten music to put on my music playlist for Lent. If you have any suggestions for me, please leave them in the comment box. I doubt playlist.com will have many of them, so the more suggestions you have the better! But leave a song even if you only have one.

I just found this interesting survey on Jennifer's Favorite Links'. It's a Gallup poll showing which countries are the 'most religious' I guess you could put it. Quite interesting, I advise you take a look at it. I'm sure you won't be surprised as to where America falls. Although all Alabama fans (like me) will be cheering when they see where Sweet Home Alabama is. (Hmmm, think The Shrine has anything to do with it?) Here's the link!

Another thing from Jennifer's Favorite Links! My mom posted about this too. See how well you do at placing all the states on the map.
Then check the comment box and I'll tell you how I did.

Now it's your turn! Below is a Mr. Linky List if you'd care to link to your own 5 Quick Takes Saturday post. Just two things though
(1) Make sure the URL you submit is to your post, not the URL of your blog. (2) Include a link back here.
Can't wait to see what you post!

February 15, 2009

Human Being are the Fruit of Love

The great projects of the living creation point to a creating Reason and show us a creating Intelligence, and they do so more luminously and radiantly today than ever before. Thus we can say today with a new certitude and joyousness that the human being is indeed a divine project, which only the creating Intelligence was strong and great and audacious enough to conceive of. Human beings are not a mistake but something willed; they are the fruit of love. They can disclose in themselves, in the bold project that they are, the language of the creating Intelligence that speaks to them and that moves them to say: Yes, Father, you have willed me...

Pilate is correct when he says: "Behold the man". In him, in Jesus Christ, we can discern what the human being, God's project, is, and thereby also our own status. In the humiliated Jesus we can see how tragic, how little, how abased the human being can be. In him we can discern the whole history of human hate and sin. But in him and in his suffering love for us we can still more clearly discern God's response: Yes, that is the man who is loved by God to the very dust, who is so loved by God that he pursues him to the uttermost toils of death. And even in our own greatest humiliation we are still called by God to be the brothers and sisters of Jesus Christ and so to share in God's eternal love. The question about what the human being is finds its response in the following of Jesus Christ. Following in his steps from day to day in patient love and suffering we can learn with him what it means to be a human being and to become a human being.
~ Benedictus: Day by Day with Pope Benedict XVI

February 14, 2009

5 Valentine Takes Saturday - Vol. 5

Happy St. Valentine's Day one and all! In honor of this feast and holiday, all the Quick Takes shall be Valentine's Day related. I even went and changed my blog template for the day. I shall more likely than not change it back Sunday or Monday so if you don't see it today, chances are you won't see it at all!

Also a challenge for those self-pityingly inclined and food for thought for those who are not. Either way, Valentine's Day Challenge is another brilliant post from A Maiden's Wreath.

St. Valentine was a priest - possibly a bishop - of Rome, as well as a physician. During the persecution of the Christians, Valentine was imprisoned for giving aid to the soon-to-be martyrs at the jail. While in prison, he is said to have cured the jailer's daughter of blindness. From catholic.org,
The first representation of Saint Valentine appeared in a The Nuremberg Chronicle, a great illustrated book printed in 1493. [Additional evidence that Valentine was a real person: archaeologists have unearthed a Roman catacomb and an ancient church dedicated to Saint Valentine.] Alongside a woodcut portrait of him, text states that Valentinus was a Roman priest martyred during the reign of Claudius the Goth [Claudius II]. Since he was caught marrying Christian couples and aiding any Christians who were being persecuted under Emperor Claudius in Rome [when helping them was considered a crime], Valentinus was arrested and imprisoned. Claudius took a liking to this prisoner -- until Valentinus made a strategic error: he tried to convert the Emperor -- whereupon this priest was condemned to death. He was beaten with clubs and stoned; when that didn't do it, he was beheaded outside the Flaminian Gate [circa 269].

St. Valentine's feast is celebrated on February 14th. However, according to americancatholic.org, due to the confusion as to the certainty of Valentine's reality (there at least three different Saints with that name), St. Valentine's feast was dropped from the calendar of official, worldwide Catholic feasts.

The Origins of Valentine's Day, from americancatholic.org...
(They do a fine job of explaining it, so why not quote them?)

The roots of St. Valentine's Day lie in the ancient Roman festival of Lupercalia, which was celebrated on Feb. 15. For 800 years the Romans had dedicated this day to the god Lupercus. On Lupercalia, a young man would draw the name of a young woman in a lottery and would then keep the woman as a sexual companion for the year.

Pope Gelasius I was, understandably, less than thrilled with this custom. So he changed the lottery to have both young men and women draw the names of saints whom they would then emulate for the year (a change that no doubt disappointed a few young men). Instead of Lupercus, the patron of the feast became Valentine. For Roman men, the day continued to be an occasion to seek the affections of women, and it became a tradition to give out handwritten messages of admiration that included Valentine's name.

There was also a conventional belief in Europe during the Middle Ages that birds chose their partners in the middle of February. Thus the day was dedicated to love, and people observed it by writing love letters and sending small gifts to their beloved. Legend has it that Charles, duke of Orleans, sent the first real Valentine card to his wife in 1415, when he was imprisoned in the Tower of London. (He, however, was not beheaded, and died a half-century later of old age.)

It's been two years since the Rebelution released it's wonderful and informative
TheRebelution.com: The Modesty Survey
If you've never seen this before, I HIGHLY recommend and encourage you to click on the banner and check it out! And guys, you can still sign the Modesty Petition. Again, to do this, just click on the banner.

Over 1,600 Christian guys have answered questions on everything from glitter lotion and lip gloss to swimsuits and skirt slits! It's everything girls have ever wanted to ask guys about modesty, but were afraid to ask! For guys, it's really interesting to see what other Christian guys think! Most importantly, the survey is presented as a resource to help Christian girls (and guys), not a list of legalistic rules, and it is accompanied by the Modesty Survey Petition (which tons of guys have signed) which encourage young women to focus on the heart, not the hemline, to honor their parents, etc.

-from the Rebelution website.

A warm thank you to all the guys who answered the questions and signed the petitions, making the Modesty Survey the best Valentine I have yet received!

Hmm, take number 5. Well, since it's Valentine's Day, I shall list all of my favorite love songs, at least, the ones I can recall. I know as soon as I hit 'Publish' and leave the computer I shall think of a dozen more. Ah well, that is what editing is for!
So then, my favorite love songs (read, 'the songs I want played at my wedding and/or my 50th Anniversary'.)
  1. Amazed - by LoneStar
  2. Lost in this Moment - by Big & Rich
  3. All I Ask of You - 'The Phantom of the Opera'
  4. When You Say You Love Me - by Josh Groban
  5. My Confession - by Josh Groban
  6. All'Improvviso Amore - by Josh Groban
  7. Livin' Our Love Song - by Jason Michael Carroll
  8. The Voyage - Celtic Thunder
  9. Can You Feel the Love Tonight - 'The Lion King'
  10. Love Story - Taylor Swift
  11. Our Song - Taylor Swift
  12. When You Say Nothin' at All - Alison Krauss
  13. Kingdom of Love - Shani Rigsbee (From the movie "One Night with the King")
The last song is particularly beautiful, so I linked to the song. You won't regret listening to it!

Now it's your turn! Below is a Mr. Linky List if you'd care to link to your own 5 Quick Takes Saturday post. Just two things though
(1) Make sure the URL you submit is to your post, not the URL of your blog. (2) Include a link back here.
Can't wait to see what you post!

February 7, 2009

Girard Family on Extreme Home Makeover!

Some of you may remember Thom and Marc Girard, who died tragically last summer. As you may recall, before Thom and Marc died, the family had lost their house in a fire and had been living in a trailer. Well, in December 2008, the Girard's got a new home, thanks to Extreme Home Makeover! The show airs tomorrow night at 8pm Eastern Time on ABC.
You can go here to watch the preview, and be sure to have your tv's on tomorrow night!
If you do happen to miss it, I am pretty sure you can watch past episodes on the sight, so you'll be able to catch it later.
*claps* This is so cool!

5 Quick Takes Saturday - Vol 4

I am considering once again changing my blog template. I know, I know you are all thinking (my old readers, anyhow) "GAH! She is forever changing her blog template!" Well, I half-heartedly apologize for that. Honestly, I could no more keep the same look on my blog than wear the same outfit three times in one week. Just my feminine nature, I presume. What is especially tempting is that the website has a bunch of really cute, free blog templates AND it doesn't get rid of all your sidebar thingys! I wouldn't have to ditch all my junk! Ha ha, well I suppose you'll know whether or not I decide. Teehee, I might even decide before the end of this blog post! Ah, decisions, decisions... I am in an indicive mood, family beware!
(Here is the website, in the meantime)

While at one of the several girl's clubs I belong too the other day, (this one is titled 'The Saint Faustina Club') our leader mentioned a tradition that her family has. At the begining of the year, each family member picks the name of a saint from a hat and that saint becomes their special patron for the year. All the club members did it as well, and I got Bl. Damien of Molokai, a truly amazing saint! Since he is my special patron of the year now, I shall most certainly do a post or two on his life.
My sister ended up with Saint Joseph the Worker, which I doubt is merely a 'coincidence', since St. Jospeh the Worker is one of my family's patron saints - not to mention his feast is also the anniversary of my sister's baptism!
I encourage you to pick your own patron saint for the year. Randomly write down a few saints names on slips of paper and then pick one, or leave a comment and I'd be happy to pick one for you.
All our patron saints, pray for us!

In this same club, we are studying Ireland, and as part of our learning, we are putting on a small performance for our families. We divided into two groups and each group is decided to put on a skit. One group, Saint Brigid, and the other group, St. Dymphna. I am in the group for St. Dymphna and am playing the role of her father, King Damon. It is quite an interesting role. A bit of background on him: Damon was a pagan married to a devout Catholic woman whom he dearly loved. After she died, he went insane and tried to marry his daughter, Dymphna. She refused, fleeing the country with a priest and a few friends. Damon perused her to Belgium. When he caught up with her, he had the priest killed and then - when Dymphna again refused him - he killed her as well.
So that's who I get to play! I'm actually looking forward too it. This would be the third time I've played a guy (1st was St. Patrick, 2nd time was Angry Mob/St. Jude), so I'll be perfecting my 'guy stance' some more; aka: not standing with my hands folded/clasped, one leg slightly out, the other one slightly bent... no "girly" poses.
I also came up with this cool costume, and I actually look like a guy when I add the make-up beard. Kinda weird... but it's fun.

The other day, some friends of mine and I were discussing how different actresses/singers look without make-up. Rephrase that - they were discussing, I was listening, as usual. I've seen pictures of some of these young ladies (Kiera Knightly for example) and it's amazing how you would never recognize them! Knightly especially I was shocked, she look like she was about 50 and she is oh what, 24-ish? It's really a shame. They don't look happy either, it's really sad. So they are popular, but at what price?
I was pleasantly surprised though when I looked up Liv Tyler (Arwen from the Lord of the Rings). She is very beautiful with make-up... but I'd say she is even prettier without it! She even looked happy... I know she's an actress, so you can't ever really be sure, but maybe. Hmmm, topic for a full post maybe.

Ok, something quick for the last quick take.. something funny... aha! Got it! Stay here and don't move while I find 'em...

Now it's your turn! Below is a Mr. Linky List if you'd care to link to your own 5 Quick Takes Saturday post. Just two things though
(1) Make sure the URL you submit is to your post, not the URL of your blog. (2) Include a link back here.
Can't wait to see what you post!

February 6, 2009

I Rock!

A new award! I must say, this is one of my favorite's yet. Vicki graciously awarded my the FOMUBA award; aka. The Fake, Obviously Made Up Blog Award. How did it happen? From the creator's daughter's blog: The gist of the story is this: some of her friends left comments on her blog that said that she "rocked". So she took it literally and made an "Eye rock", then got a grand idea to make an award out of it. Thus, the "Fake, Totally Made-Up, Blog Award" a.k.a, FOMUBA, was born.(For the full story of the origins of this award, go here)

I now randomly award these people the FOMUBA:
My mom, Ella, Clare, Kaila, Autumn Rose, Grace and Delaney
Now you all know that I think you rock!