Saturday, December 09, 2006

I so don't care! I believe in Santa Claus!

Pictured, St. Nicholas, bishop of Myra. (Our St. Nick did not have a beard either, although he had a white moustache.)
I am so tired! St. Nicholaus visited our Store today! He was only supposed to stay until 2PM, but he insisted upon staying until 4PM. He hugged the little kids and told them all about his life, miracles, and history - and gave them gifts and candy, gold wrapped chocolate coins in lovely little bags with gold ties. The kids loved him and had their pictures taken and adults were thrilled as well! I know of at least one old crabby guy who got tears in his eyes. I think he really believed it was the real St. Nick...yeah, that would be me - I almost hugged him.

We had a real saint this year. Deacon Tom Stiles from the Church of St. Columba in St. Paul played St. Nick. (He is a big guy - yet so gentle and kind, and almost shy - he looked exactly like Bishop Campbell - another nice bishop. It was funny, many customers really thought it was Bishop Campbell.) Being a Deacon, he was able to bless the religious articles people purchased. We had a stipend for him - which he refused - although was forced to take - insisting he will give it to our Franciscan brothers! And then, when he left he thanked me for letting him do this. (Another tear! It really, really was St. Nick who was with us!)

So parents! DO NOT lie to your kids! There really is a Santa - he is St. Nicholaus of Myra! Santa not only brings gifts, but obtains many, many graces - pouring out charity into our hearts! When he was in the Store he hugged a little girl and told her how important she is! And she hugged him! She was a chubby little black girl, and she really experienced the love of this big white Bishop - and she hugged him back, thrilled to be so close to him. I don't think she will ever forget such an affirming gesture. I wish I would have hugged him too! (A tear!)
I love you Santi 'Claus!

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Conceived With Out Sin

"I am the Immaculate Conception."

That is how Our Lady identified herself to St. Bernadette at Lourdes. It always makes my hair stand on end - on my arms - not my head.

All the "Fathers" who blog will have profound, wonderful teaching on this mystery of Our Lady, so I wouldn't dare discuss her prerogatives or what this feast day means. I'll just blabber on here.

For me, Our Lady is a paradise upon earth, a refuge for sinners, a consolation in this vale of tears. For the Church to make this feast a day of obligation is a delight. The joy of the Immaculate Conception overflows into our souls, preparing us for the wonderful feast of the Nativity. The Madonna is our Mommie, and she is the Immaculata!

I looked for a painting, but could find nothing to adequately represent Our Lady, so I chose this one by default - although it thrills me. I purchased a fine oil painting reproduction of Murillo's Immaculada, quite large, for my study where I pray. All of her images disappoint me now. No one can capture this mystery in art, it must be contemplated in spirit. (I'm so sad images no longer work for me - we cannot possess grace through images - they are so much better to glance at and allow the spirit to be raised, as opposed to attempting to somehow capture the spirit of the one portrayed by owning the image. Or something like that.)

I cannot explain the Immaculate Conception, nor can I explain the Trinity. Yet it seems to me I can experience Her...She encompasses the whole of humanity, my humanity and soul. "I am the Immaculate Conception". God is "I am" she is His "Immaculate Conception". What is that? I mean, what is that?

A favorite prayer of mine from St. Francis is his "My God! Who are you? And what am I?" Our Lady identified and revealed her name, when she told Bernadette, "I am the Immaculate Conception" - doesn't that thrill you? She causes the soul to go into ecstasy - if you simply wonder, allowing the awe-some to envelope your soul.

It is wonderful to know as the Doctors and Fathers know, the truths of our faith, dogma and definitions, yet it is so much more wonderful to be suspended in awe-some unknowing before the majesty and mystery of the Immaculate Conception. The little ones know this.

I wish I had words, that no one ever has heard, to express this wondrous mystery, this perfect love, this purest being, this paradise wherein sinners find refuge, consolation and healing. If ever I felt like I had the gift of tongues, I could let loose now, in a holy babble of praise.
O Mary, Conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to Thee! Repeat that over and over and over.
Or pray, "Thou art all fair O Mary, and the original stain is not in Thee! O Mary! O Mary, conceived without sin! Pray for us who have recourse to Thee!" Over and over and over.
(For her feast, I cannot blog or do email or surf the net, until after vespers tomorrow. May Our Lady, the Immaculate Conception enrapture your souls and enflame your hearts with the Holy Spirit of love! Ah! How I love the Blessed Virgin!)

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Feast of St. Nicholas

I woke up excited!
Anyway - a question left out of Cathy's Christmas meme;
21. What is your favorite Christmas Movie?
It's a list:
-"Miracle On 34th St." Best Santa award.
-"It's A Wonderful Life." When I was younger I thought it depressing - now I love it.
-"National Lampoons Christmas Vacation." Because the characters are nuts.
-Almost every production of "A Christmas Carol."
-"Home Alone." I like the scary old man next door.
Happy St. Nicholas day!

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

The Eve of St. Nicholas...

Or- I believe in Santa!
Tomorrow is St. Nicholas day. Even when I was away from the Church I celebrated this day - I had a party or gave someone I was in love with an ornament and European candies, expensive liquor, or perfume - but something sweet. I introduced a lot of people to St. Nick - and most still celebrate his feastday.
In this picture he is rescuing children I believe. I often think of him as a perfect intercessor for abused or abandoned children. St. Nicholas introduces them to the Infant Jesus, who is their remedy and companion. (St. Nick still rescues kids - look tomorrow for a news item of some child being found or rescued - I usually see something to that effect on the news on or around his feastday - or so it seems to me.)
My family never celebrated St. Nicholas day, but my cousins did. When I grew up, I did too - still do...but it's more like 'secret Santa' now, and much more fun. For sure, Christmas season begins on St. Nicholas day.
I can't help but feel like a kid every St. Nicholas day. It is a day full of joy, followed soon by the most joyous, the Feast of the Immaculate Conception - which is a day of ecstacy!
Go here for a fun St. Nicholas site! And visit my Store, Leaflet Missal for a visit with St. Nick on Saturday December 9th!

Transgender stuff

"I am Changin'!" - Another Jennifer Holiday song.

Pictured, Sr. Mary Elizabeth, transgender nun of the Episcopal Church - someplace in the U.S.

Gerald of The Cafeteria Is Closed has a post on an Anglican priest who became a woman priest. What is so interesting in the post isn't the novelty of the transition, but what the Catholic Church has to say about such things. In short, they do not recognize sex change.

From Closed Cafeteria:

"After years of study, the Vatican's doctrinal congregation has sent church leaders a confidential document concluding that "sex-change" procedures do not change a person's gender in the eyes of the church.

Pictured, the British priest who is the subject of Gerald's post. I apologize that I think it's funny to see a man dressed as a woman. I realize such people have serious issues and I ought to be more compassionate.

Consequently, the document instructs bishops never to alter the sex listed in parish baptismal records and says Catholics who have undergone "sex-change" procedures are not eligible to marry, be ordained to the priesthood or enter religious life, according to a source familiar with the text....

"The key point is that the (transsexual) surgical operation is so superficial and external that it does not change the personality. If the person was male, he remains male. If she was female, she remains female," said the source.

"The altered condition of a member of the faithful under civil law does not change one's canonical condition, which is male or female as determined at the moment of birth," Bishop Gregory wrote.

The Vatican text defines transsexualism as a psychic disorder of those whose genetic makeup and physical characteristics are unambiguously of one sex but who feel that they belong to the opposite sex. In some cases, the urge is so strong that the person undergoes a "sex-change" operation to acquire the opposite sex's external sexual organs. The new organs have no reproductive function." - Closed Cafeteria - "Sex Change and Clergy"

Not at all related -Pictured, Minneapolis' embattled lesbian Fire Chief - she's not a sex change, believe it or not.

What is interesting to me is that there has actually been a policy in place for Bishops to deal with this sort of thing. While it is somewhat well known locally that a Bishop, now the head of a large Archdiocese in the mid-west permitted a transgender person to become a nun in Wisconsin a few years back.

When members of the faithful discovered this, they wrote to the Vatican and got the transgender nun removed. No penalties were imposed upon the Bishop however, nor was any explanation forthcoming as to why he permitted this.

I expect there is a pastoral loophole for just about everything though. Bishops can make mistakes too.

[Interesting side note, looking for transgender photos I came across a German do it yourself nip and tuck procedure - the site is called "Tucking" - view it at your own risk - contains clinical nudity, and don't go there if you have problems with chastity - I don't want mean comments. It is so not titillating however - no pun intended.]

Monday, December 04, 2006

Priestly celibacy

Pictured, Cardinal Hummes.
Go here for an excellent comment.

That "New Catholic" guy really has a good take on stuff!
"Cardinal against Cardinal" - Something Our Lady of Akita mentioned.

The Divine Liturgy

Reports are that the SSPX is infiltrating the Ukraine, and drawing people away - or attempting to do so - from the Byzantine rite. (I don't know for certain if this is really the intention of the SSPX however.) Although it seems to be the fear, Gerald covers this on The Cafeteria Is Closed.

It seems as if the SSPX may be more sinister than imagined - if it is true. One ought not to fool around with the Byzantine rite, which has equal status with the Roman rite - then and now. This is a point of contention the separated Orthodox have misgivings about, that Rome could impose Vatican II type "renewal" in their liturgies as has been done in the Roman rite - if they ever consent to union, that is. Of course, the Ukrainian Byzantine Catholics are in union with Rome, and autonomous as far as liturgical rites, nevertheless, the insurgence of SSPX and the Traditional Roman rite poses some serious problems.
The SSPX are not the Roman Catholic Church, they are in schism with the true Church - people have to realize and understand that. If they are attempting to usurp the venerable and ancient Byzantine rite, they are no better than protestants or Jehovah Witnesses. Oy! The hutzpah! Talk about being more Catholic than the Pope all they want, it seems to me they are trying to be more holy than the Church.