Saturday, March 05, 2016

And so now I have stuff to do ...

Good news: A miracle approved for Blessed Elizabeth of the Trinity...

Bl. Elizabeth of the Trinity, OCD

Her canonization forthcoming.

Among the other decrees approved by the Holy Father for the Congregation of Causes of Saints is another Carmelite, Fr. Marie-Eugene of the Child Jesus, OCD, the renowned scholar and theologian who wrote I Want to See God and I Am a Daughter of the Church, an exposition of Carmelite spirituality according to St. Teresa of Avila, St. John of the Cross, St. Therese of Lisieux, as well as Bl. Elizabeth of the Trinity.  Fr. Marie-Eugene's work was especially concentrated upon the spirituality and doctrine of St. Therese of Lisieux.
The secret of St. Therese is no different from that of St. John of the Cross. The Theresian love of littleness and of poverty united to blind trust in divine mercy, is that not the same as the Joannine hope that is detached from everything and that God immediately fills? - P. Marie-Eugene, O.C.D. - I Am A Daughter of the Church, Chapter IV The Conduct of the Soul 
I especially love this insight from Fr. Marie-Eugene on the importance of the priesthood - it reminds me of something Fr. Regis Scanlon said in an interview with Michael Voris this past week - I'll only cite Fr. Marie-Eugene's quote:

"If the priest does not preach, does not consecrate, does not work, souls die of starvation.  Where he is absent, faith disappears.  Let a parish remain twenty years without a priest, said the Cure of Ars, and its people will be adoring beasts.  On the other hand, where the priest is active, zealous and holy, the Christian life develops and sanctity appears." - Pere Eugene-Marie, OCD, I Want To See God, Chapter V - Silence

Blessed Elizabeth of the Trinity.

Her spirituality, her 'doctrine' or teaching on prayer, the prayer of recollection - the indwelling of the Blessed Trinity is the secret of holiness.  It is the secret of unceasing prayer.  Her canonization will call attention to her mission.  It is a cause for great rejoicing and a call to holiness for the most ordinary person, a lofty prayer accessible to all the baptized in the state of grace.

The Decree:

the miracle, attributed to the intercession of Blessed Elizabeth of the Trinity (born Élizabeth Catez), professed religious of the Discalced Carmelites; born 18 July 1880 and died 9 November 1906; 
the miracle, attributed to the intercession of the Venerable Servant of God Marie-Eugene of the Child Jesus (born: Henri Grialou), professed Priest of the Order of Discalced Carmelites, Founder of the Secular Institute of Notre-Dame de Vie; born 2 December 1894 and died 27 March 1967. - RV

h/t Dr. Lilles: I discovered news on the canonization at his site, where he also writes very well and authoritatively on Elizabeth of the Trinity.  Check out his site: Beginning to Pray.

Friday, March 04, 2016


Song for this post here.

Works of art ...

Hungarian chef turns ordinary cookies
into delicate lace decorated art.

Cookies.  I love cookies.  I love decorated cookies.  I love cookies with chocolate.  I love chocolate.

Is it Easter yet?

Heartbreaking News: Four Missionaries of Charity have been shot dead in Yemen during an attack by gunmen on a Church-run retirement home.

A Salesian priest from India is missing as well.

The attackers seized Fr Tom Uzhunnalil, a Salesian priest who lived at the facility. At the time of the attack, he "was in the chapel praying." - AsiaNews

The news is stunning:
Four Missionaries of Charity nuns from India were among 16 people gunned down by suspected Islamic fundamentalists on Friday in Aden, Yemen.

A Salesian priest from India who is in Aden at the time of attack has gone missing. “Seemingly they have taken him (Father Tom Uzhunnanil) along, but this is still to be confirmed,” says a message the Salesian Provincial secretary of Bangalore later in the day. 
The Mother Teresa nuns were killed when four gunmen stormed an elderly care home in Aden’s Sheikh Othman district. They killed a guard and shot randomly at residents, news agencies reported. - Source
This is surely a hate-filled, diabolical act - to kill innocents.  It is diabolical.

The victims are Sister Anselm from India,
 Sister Marguerite from Rwanda, 
Sister Judit from Kenya
 and Sister Reginette also from Rwanda.


Prayers for the martyred nuns and elderly residents, the missing priest and all missionaries - and all those suffering from terror, persecution, and massacre.

I need to repent and do penance, and keep repenting and keep doing penance.

O my God,I am heartily sorry forhaving offended Thee,and I detest all my sins,because I dread the loss of heaven,and the pains of hell;but most of all becausethey offend Thee, my God,Who are all good anddeserving of all my love.I firmly resolve,with the help of Thy grace,to confess my sins,to do penance,and to amend my life.Amen.

Thursday, March 03, 2016

TV Sucks: The Real O'Neals - not so real.

A Dan Savage fantasy.


I watched both episodes of The Real O'Neals, because they were sandwiched between Modern Family - the only sit-com in that line-up about 'family life' I actually think is funny - albeit unrealistic, and because I wanted to see how bad it was.  It sure wasn't real, but who likes reality TV anyway?  Trump supporters maybe?  Seriously, Downton Abbey wasn't on last night so I thought I'd watch the O'Neals just to see how bad it could get and that way I'd have something else from pop culture to criticize.

Who writes crap like the Real O'Neals?  According to Matt Archbold, Dan Savage is the shows co-creator and it's loosely based on his life experience?  That explains the gay-coming-out parody.  Why is everything so gay on Disney television?  Talk about cliche.

There was nothing real about the family depicted, nothing funny.  In each segment they managed to trash the Church, priests, Catholic parishioners, Catholic parents, Catholic devotions, Catholic teaching on sex... the list goes on and on.  One piece I read described the mom as really religious - big eye roll.  She's really screwed up.

As I watched it, attempting to imagine myself as a gay kid in grade school,* I thought maybe - just maybe - the only positive thought I might be able to take away from the show would be, "someone's got my back" or "someone's on my side".  Meaning, that I'd feel free to follow my sexual curiosities and inclinations because it was on a prime-time, family-time television show.  That's the point of these propaganda 'family' sitcoms anyway - right?  Like "Blackish", Asianish, and coming soon, Islamabombish.

The American Dream for dumbed-down, numb-nuts.

It's offensive and it's intended to be.

*I didn't even know what the word meant in grade school or even junior high.

I'm Terry Nelson and I approve this message...


Works for me.

Wednesday, March 02, 2016

The Pope's Birthday

Pius XII was born on this day in 1876 ...

If he were alive today he would be the world's oldest living pope at 140 years old ...

He was an elegant little boy.

A handsome young man.

Then he died.

He died at Castel Gandolfo in 1958 at the age of 82.

Surrounded by his faithful Head of Household
Sister Pascalina Lehnert and
her housekeeper sisters.
(Demonstrating how women always played an imoportant role in the Church.)

Transfer of the body of PPXII to the Vatican.
Notice the papal tiara atop the hearse.

Interesting note: He had a 'delicate' stomach and dropped out of seminary for a bit until he received permission to live at home while attending seminary as an external student. A dispensation highly unusual in his day.  (This is true.)

I wonder when he will be beatified?

o o o

Bonus photos and a bit of trivia:

The Holy Father was very fond of modern technology.
In those days, they used what was called a 'party line'
- this was a more economic option instead of 'private' lines -
and the Pope enjoyed listening in on conversations 
without letting those speaking know - 
which is why he held the phone away from him,
so people wouldn't hear him breathing.  
Sometimes, for recreation, he dialed random numbers, 
just to listen to the people saying "Pronto!  Pronto!"  
Other times he'd just hang up
when they answered.

He cracked himself up and would laugh
so hard.

When anyone came in - he'd quickly go back to 
writing in his diary, as if nothing happened.
He was quite faithful to protocol and decorum
in the presence of others.

He loved birds.
He once said,
"Feeding the birds is a form of prayer."
He frequently visited the birds
on the peripheries of the Vatican Gardens
- when he wasn't watching the sun spin, that is.

Almost forgot to mention - he adored poodles.
Those shown here sport a 'lamb cut'.


Letting go ...

Fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me.

I would never be able to vote for Trump or Clinton.  Never.  Ever.

It's time to let go and let the dead bury their dead.

I am now a conscientious objector.

Song for this post here.

Tuesday, March 01, 2016

Carlo Carretto

Carlo Carretto

“We often fail to realize the depth of evil, terrifying as it is. I am not speaking only of the selfishness of the wealthy, heaping up riches for themselves, or of those who sacrifice to achieve their self-selected goals. Or of the dictator who breathes in the incense due only to God. I am speaking of the selfishness of good people, devout people, those who have succeeded through spiritual exercises and self-denial in being able to make the proud profession before the altar of the Most High, “Lord, I am not like the rest of men.” Yes, we have had the audacity at certain times of our lives to believe we are different from other men. And here is the deepest form of self-deception, dictated by self-centeredness at its worst: spiritual egotism. This most insidious form of egotism even uses piety and prayer for its own gain.” - Carlo Carretto, Letters from the Desert

Years ago, shortly after my conversion, I came across Letters from the Desert, written by Little Brother of Jesus, Carlo Carretto.  One night - around midnight I think - I was reading something from him and "I was seized with mortal anguish" as it were, left my brother's house and walked from one church to the other hoping there would be one  open for me to go in and pray before the Blessed Sacrament.  I arrived at one far away from my house and it had a sort of enclosed cloister type lobby outside the front doors.  I laid on the steps in the dark, praying, longing to be so close to the Blessed Sacrament.

Carretto helped me deepen or understand my devotion to Christ in the Eucharist.  I mentioned him to a cloistered nun I knew.  She was prioress at the time, and she warned me against Carretto, saying she didn't trust his spirituality.  She very nearly put out the fire in my heart.  Her repetitious words to me whenever I spoke of someone outside her mystical realm were: "I'm dubious about him ..."  She even wrote that about my novice master.  Yet she thought she was an authority on St. Therese and the 'little way' of confidence and love.  I think if she was alive today she would be rather dubious of Pope Francis as well.  

It's all good though.  Everything works out.    Carretto doesn't scare me any more.  And we have a Pope much like him.

+ + +

That said - worried about 'Super Tuesday'?

Here's a thought:

The thought that the affairs of the world, like those of the stars, are in God’s hands – and therefore in good hands – apart from being actually true, is something that should give great satisfaction to anyone who looks to the future with hope. It should be the source of faith, joyful hope, and, above all, of deep peace. What have I to fear if everything is guided and sustained by God? Why get so worried, as if the world were in the hands of me and my fellow men?
Don’t worry about what you ought to do. Worry about loving. Don’t interrogate heaven repeatedly and uselessly saying, “What course of action should I pursue?” Concentrate on loving instead. - Carlo Carretto

New stuff at the Shop

Our Lady Undoer of Knots
with St. Toribio Romo Gonzales and St. Ceferino Namuncura

I call it the Holy Week Collection.  I posted 9 pieces today.  The photography is very bad - I will have to re-shoot almost every piece - need to get a decent camera first.

Check it out here:  My Etsy Shop: Dogwood Details.

Unfortunately some of it is kind of pricey because of the unique framing and decorative ornament.  For instance, the two saints shown above are hand-carved wood, vintage (at least mid-20th century) statues from Northern Italy.

Monday, February 29, 2016

Yup, I watched the Oscars.

I liked the show, I liked Chris Rock and the skits - especially Whoopi as the cleaning lady.

Mad Max was justly awarded - probably the most creative film series ever, finally recognized.

That said, my favorite Oscar related detail happened later, on Jimmy Kimmel Live.

Nathan Lane and Matthew Broderick's spoofing the Producer's with a parody of the Trump campaign.  I watched it as if it was a docu-drama rather than a musical comedy.  It was great!

"Trumped,” starring Nathan Lane and Matthew Broderick, follows the same beats as the 2005 film, which was adapted from the 2001 Broadway musical, which was itself an adaptation of the 1968 Mel Brooks film of the same name. In this version, however, Bialystock (Lane) and Bloom (Broderick) are political consultants instead of accountants. Their goal is to raise money for the “worst candidate in history” and make off with the profits once their mark sinks in the polls; they find their “schmuck,” their “putz,” their “grade-A, world-class nincompoop” in one Donald J. Trump, but their plan backfires when Trump, against all odds, actually appeals to “fiscal conservatives, the religious right, [and] crazy, old, semi-racist white people.” - Source

Actually, I think that's pretty much what is happening.

Sunday, February 28, 2016

The Holy Father sounds a lot like Our Lady today: “It is never too late to convert, but it is urgent, it is now! Let us begin today."

(CNA/EWTN News) God's patience towards sinners is without limit, yet the time for conversion is now, Pope Francis said during his Sunday Angelus address at the Vatican.
“It is never too late to convert, but it is urgent, it is now! Let us begin today,” said the Pope Feb. 28 to the crowds in St. Peter's Square. - Found @ Padre Steve

It's interesting, isn't it.  The Holy Father went on to say we all have a little bit of hypocrisy in us.  We all need to repent.  You hear Today's Gospel and may think - 'yeah - those people who say this and that about others ...'  Suddenly it dawned on me, 'but I'm those people'.

I think what we say about others, or when we point out what's wrong with others, should be a big signal to ourselves that something may be wrong with our point of view.  If all we see is negative - something may be negative about our outlook.

I am so familiar with Today's Gospel, at first I didn't think it applied all that much to me.  I thought, 'I know who those people are who call out everyone else for God's punishment.'  Like I said, at first I thought Today's Gospel was for the 'others', and pretty much just a reminder, or an exhortation for me to keep in mind.  That attitude scared the heck out of me as I finally recognized it for what it was.  The log in my eye, the Pharisee thanking God I wasn't like the 'others'.  That is truly scary.

“It is never too late to convert, but it is urgent, it is now! Let us begin today."

Updating the shop ...

Sacred Heart of Jesus after Pompeo Batoni, 2011
Acrylic on panel. 11 x 14
(I will be re-shooting this in its tabernacle frame, and 
adding it to the new collection.)

I will be updating my Etsy shop, Dogwood Details this coming week.

Retablos, shrines, and images for Holy Week.  The shrines are tabernacle style frames - which may be a little costly, but frames like that are rare.  I just finished Our Lady of Solitude and I'm waiting for it to dry so I can insert it into a frame I embellished.  I also have a small shrine of Our Lady Undoer of Knots with wood carved statues of Don Bosco and Dominic Savio - but I want to say they are Toribio Romo and Ceferino Namuncura instead.

My Shop: Dogwood Details

First man ever to be photographed with 'bed hair'.

(Jean Nicolas) Arthur Rimbaud
French poet.

Predating the once popular fashion trend by well over a century.

I like him.  He led a 'libertine' life, but died a holy death.  I came across the following note on his demeanor while receiving the last rites:

The priest, shaken by so much reverence for God, administered the last rites. "I have never seen such strong faith", he said. - Source

Heigh ho the derry-o ...

Once upon a time there were a half dozen or so, very poor, little children who all had the same single mom.  Mom home-schooled the children, pretty much because she was afraid to leave the house and had nothing better to do.  As there was no income, the poor mother couldn't afford firewood.  One day the kitchen stove was in danger of going out, and it was the only source of heat in the little ramshackle cottage situated on the edge of the forest.  The mom cried and begged the little children to go out and collect faggots for the stove, as the fire would otherwise soon go out.

While in the forest, they came upon an old witch's cottage, and to their delight, she invited them in for some tea and Bisquick biscuits filled with chocolate chips.  "My version of a chocolate croissant - I entered the recipe at the County Fair last year and it was published in Witches Home Journal," boasted the witch.  However, as the children entered the kitchen, they saw a wolf dressed up in women's clothes, along with a little girl with a beard, wearing a blond wig, eating pickled piglets.  Something wasn't right, so the terrified children screamed and ran out the door of the cottage.

Running as fast as they could, they ran up to a farmer in the dell and asked him for a ride home.  Hard of hearing, the elderly farmer thought they were threatening to have his hide, and he shot and killed them with his automatic rifle.

The End

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If Hillary becomes president...

What a nightmare.

That voice.  That nagging, fish-wife voice.  And when she bellers or switches to ebonics and/or some other dialect to impress her listeners, it will always be crazy.  What is wrong with Democrats?

I never understood how people in the U.K. endured Thatcher either - but I suppose they were prepared for it by the Queen and her annus horribilis.  (Just kidding - kind of.)

If Trump becomes president it will be just as bad - if not worse.  His trophy wife will be a perfect distraction for a superficial, idol-driven, greedy, power-hungry American electorate.

What has happened to this country?