Tuesday, January 26, 2010

O praise Him!

There's a yet another song on my playlist I think you should all listen to! I found it on the playlist website when I did a search for Trinity College Choir (I love choral music!). In the first few seconds, I recognized the tune - we sing it to the words of "Sing We Triumphant Hymns of Praise" at Easter. I listened to it and was delighted by the beautiful arrangement, and then when I looked up the lyrics, I was even more delighted to find out that it is St. Francis of Asissi's "Canticle of the Sun"!

These are, more or less, the lyrics. I found a ton of different translations, but this one has the most verses. I love the words too! St. Francis's view of the world was so beautiful...everything was his sister or mother or brother, because all had been created by their Father, God.

All creatures of our God and King
Lift up your voice and with us sing,
Alleluia! Alleluia!
Thou burning sun with golden beam,
Thou silver moon with softer gleam!

O praise Him! O praise Him!
Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia!

Thou rushing wind that art so strong
Ye clouds that sail in Heaven along,
O praise Him! Alleluia!
Thou rising moon, in praise rejoice,
Ye lights of evening, find a voice!


Thou flowing water, pure and clear,
Make music for thy Lord to hear,
O praise Him! Alleluia!
Thou fire so masterful and bright,
That givest man both warmth and light.


Dear mother earth, who day by day
Unfoldest blessings on our way,
O praise Him! Alleluia!
The flowers and fruits that in thee grow,
Let them His glory also show.


And all ye men of tender heart,
Forgiving others, take your part,
O sing ye! Alleluia!
Ye who long pain and sorrow bear,
Praise God and on Him cast your care!


And thou most kind and gentle Death,
Waiting to hush our latest breath,
O praise Him! Alleluia!
Thou leadest home the child of God,
And Christ our Lord the way hath trod.


Let all things their Creator bless,
And worship Him in humbleness,
O praise Him! Alleluia!
Praise, praise the Father, praise the Son,
And praise the Spirit, Three in One!


I was very excited to read about minor-league baseball player Grant Desme, who, in the words of this article,
is going "to leave playing against the Padres and Cardinals so he can start praying with other padres and cardinals at a Catholic seminary in Orange County". He's only 23 and could have been picked this year to be a late-season call-up for the major leagues, but he left this possibility of fame and honor and fortune to follow God's call. Isn't that wonderful? This man is one of my heroes now! It's wonderful to know that people are still open to God's voice, still willing to leave everything and follow Him. It sounds like something that would have happened in the 1940's or 1950's, but no, it happened in the corrupt society of the 21st century! There is still hope, that's for sure. Let's pray that the future Fr. Desme will always be just as willing to follow God's will as he is now.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

"Servants of the Queen" Newsletter

(Header for "SOQ" - calligraphy by my father. Sorry it's a bit blurry, I had to re-size it!)

I'm getting my Catholic newsletter started again! Click here to look at the website, browse back issues, and subscribe - it's completely free! It will be distributed online through the website Issuu, which allows you to upload documents to a reader-friendly format.

Here's the table of contents for the upcoming issue (which will hopefully come out by the end of the week):

“The Keys of the Kingdom" (fictional story written by me)

Sacramentals: Holy Water (my mother is going to write an article on a different sacramental for each issue)

“The Perfect Metaphor” (article on the Mystical Body written by me)

History (my dad is going to write a historical article for each issue - the subject for this issue is TBD)

Saint of the Issue (a little-known saint)

Maria Regina Sanctorum Omnium (poetry, articles, songs, drawings, etc. in honor of Our Lady)

Feasts of the Church (feasts of each month, with reflections written by me on a few of them)

Thursday, January 21, 2010

"A Right to Be Merry", by Mother Mary Francis, P.C.C

This is a book review I wrote today for the review column in The Latin Mass (the one on the last page).

Overflowing with joy, "A Right to Be Merry" gives us an insider’s view of life in a cloistered Poor Clare convent. In the joyful and beauty-loving spirit of the founders, St. Francis and St. Clare of Assisi, the author relates humorous incidents, such as the nun who had to practice screaming to rehearse for a play on the life of St. Clare (a vow of silence renders you out of practice when it comes to screaming!), and the humble beauties of an enclosed life: for instance, the way the liturgical year is intimately woven through every aspect of the day, right down to the food they eat.

But most of all, she relates to us the beauties of Lady Poverty and the joy that comes from traveling through this world with no material possessions; the wonder and beauty of belonging entirely to God and serving Him alone; the epic grandeur of the Divine Office; the sweet and wondrous freedom that comes from the vow of holy obedience; and the joy and inspiration the Poor Clares receive as a legacy from their holy founders. Their life of silence and prayer, bound by vows, framed with the Divine Office, and given meaning and purpose by the Holy Mass, is one of joy. The beauty of the contemplative vocation lies in the fact that they are able to serve God with the full attention of their minds and souls, and to bring Him the world, with all its pain and suffering, that He might cover it with His Love.

In this beautiful and inspiring book, we see that the contemplatives are necessary for the life of every person. These spouses of Christ are mothers to the whole world, and with the poet, they cry, “O world, I cannot hold you close enough!”. And because of this, they are called to leave everything that they may gain everything for themselves and everyone whom their prayers and sacrifices touch. To quote Mother Mary Francis, “Hidden away from the glare noise of worldly living, we are enclosed in the womb of holy Church. I walk down the cloisters, and my heart moves to a single tune: Lord, it is good, so good to be here!”

I love this book - it's very inspiring, and I've read it probably half-a-dozen times since the day I discovered it at our old church's library when I was 9 years old.

Let me warn you - if you read it, you're probably going to want very badly to join a convent as soon as possible! :)


My friend Lady Rose has started a wonderful website called Modesty Mall. Do check it out! She has a very well-written explanation of why we should dress modestly, an interview with several guys who explain why they appreciate it when girls dress with modesty, essays by several girls (including me) on their journey to modest attire, and an interview with author Dannah Gresh!

You also may have noticed the Virtual March for Life picture at the top of the page. If you can't make it to D.C for the March tomorrow, this is a wonderful way to show your support of life! Just follow this link to join: http://www.virtualmarchforlife.com/.

Monday, January 18, 2010

The Pro-Life Rally and St. Aloysius

Our church's pro-life rally was held this past Sunday. It was a great success! There were lots of people, both from our church and area parishes, and for the first time ever, it was a lovely, sunny day in the low 30s Farenheit! Most of the time, the weather is gray, dreary, and around zero degrees Farenheit.

The first rosary that was prayed outside while people held signs was between the 8:00 am and 10:00 am Masses. We didn't attend that one (Evangeline and I had choir practice), but everyone went outside for the rosary immediately following Benediction after the 10:00 am Mass.

Lots and lots of people honked, and Evangeline and I counted only two thumbs-down. The best reactions were a lady driving out of the parking lot of the Protestant church across the street who leaned out her window and yelled "Amen!", and a teenage guy driving a mini-van who first leaned on the horn, then gave us the thumbs-up, then waved both thumbs in the air! It's always so encouraging to see reactions like that!

We came back inside and had lunch. When that was over, the president of our church's Pro-Life committee made several announcements and acknowledgments, and then turned the microphone over to the head of the area Knights of Columbus council. He explained the various pro-life efforts the K of C do, and ended with telling about the Respect Life essay contest and turning the microphone over to yours truly!

So I read my essay, and was terribly nervous and had a frog in my throat. But the room was absolutely quiet and lots of people said that it was very good and made them think, so it was worth it!

The elderly sister who goes to our church had been preparing the Angel's Choir (the kids aged 5 to 10) for months to sing at the rally. They sang 3 songs, and actually sounded surprisingly good! And they were, of course, very cute. :)

Then the main speaker, Paul A. Byrne, M.D., an expert on brain death, spoke. He began his talk by telling about all the things that had brightened his day so far. Among them were seeing the children, hearing the Angel's Choir, and then he said, "I was sitting on the bench over there, and when this very nice young woman came over and pulled out the boxes so she could stand on them and do her talk even better, that brightened my day!" Blushing, I realized that he was referring to me! I'm very short (5 feet tall), and so that I could reach the microphone and not look absurd behind the rather tall podium, I'd kept an upside dish pan under it to stand on! It was quite funny.

His talk was very interesting, and also very disturbing. It mainly dealt with the issue of brain death and organ harvesting, and how doctors will sometimes proclaim a person as brain dead so they are able to harvest organs such as the heart. Even though the patient may not have brain waves, they are not dead, but nonetheless their organs are harvested from their still-living body, and there's not always much the family can do about it.

We can't forget that the pro-life cause extends past abortion to the elderly who are euthanized for being "useless", and those (young and old) who are brain dead or in comas, but still alive and deserving of respect (think of "Waking Rose"!), whose deaths are hastened that their organs may be harvested.

I've been reading "Modern Saints, Book 1" by Ann Ball the past few days, and it's very good! I love the way it's written, and it's really neat to be able to see actual pictures of them. Ann Ball got the idea for a book like that after showing her middle-school students a photograph of St. Therese and seeing their shock that she was a real person. She decided to write a book that included actual photos or accurate representations of the saints, to really bring them to life for her readers.

One of the things that I really like is how some of the saints she writes about are very little-known, and some haven't even been canonized. It's so interesting to read about and be inspired by these holy people I might not have known about otherwise.

I also found this piece of information very interesting. Have you ever wondered why it seems that so very few saints were married? Has it ever given you cause for concern if you think your vocation may be to the married life? Ann Budd addressed that in the introduction - she said that since the canonization process is so very long and involved, it often doesn't get finished unless people really want to see this person canonized. Religious orders are in a much better position to have their saintly members canonized than lay people, so therefore many of the canonized saints are religious. That certainly reassured me (even though I'm not positive that my vocation is to the married life), because it seemed that almost all saints were members of religious orders, which gives one the impression that they must be a religious to be a saint! This, of course, is not true...every one of us is called to sanctity.

And, finally, I'm posting one of my favorite prayers! I've been meaning to do this for a very long time. I discovered this prayer in a very interesting way.

Last summer, I was having a terrible time struggling with temptations of impure thoughts. One Saturday after Mass, I looked through my "Catholic Girl's Guide" to try and find a prayer to assist with this problem. I came across the following prayer.

O Blessed Aloysius, adorned with angelic graces, I, thy most unworthy suppliant, recommend specially to thee the chastity of my body and soul, praying thee by thy angelic purity to plead for me with Jesus Christ, the immaculate Lamb, and His most holy Mother, the Virgin of virgins, that they would vouchsafe to keep me from all grievous sin. O never let me be defiled with any stain of impurity, but when thou dost see me in temptation, or in danger of falling, then remove far from my heart all bad thoughts and unclean desires, and awaken in me the memory of eternity to come and Jesus Crucified; impress deeply in my heart a sense of the holy fear of God; and thus, kindling in me the fire of divine love, enable me to follow thy footsteps here on earth, that, in heaven with thee, I may be made worthy to enjoy the vision of our God forever. Amen.

Much relieved, I prayed it, knowing that he would help me. Then my eye fell on the opposite page and my jaw literally dropped. There was a paragraph about a devotion to St. Aloysius through which you may gain a plenary indulgence on the six Sundays prior to or following his feast, which falls on June 21. The day on which I found the prayer was June 20!

But that wasn't the end of it. A few weeks later, during which I had prayed that prayer every time I attended Mass, I was suffering from insomnia. Around 3 am, I got up and decided to go down to the living room to sit up and read. I picked up one of my mom's library books - it was about various saints and the encounters the author had had with them - and started to read it. I came across the chapter about St. Aloysius Gonzaga, and read how the author, while visiting Europe, visited the monastery St. Aloysius had lived in. He said that he'd never given much thought to this saint, but after this, he had several experiences that made him want to learn more about him, and it seemed to him that St. Aloysius was trying to find him.

I couldn't believe how similar this was to my own experience! I'd not really known anything about St. Aloysius previous to finding the prayer, aside from the fact that he had lived in Spain and died at the age of 24. He's definitely one of those saints who I did not find - he found me.

Saturday, January 16, 2010


I just added a few new songs to my playlist, and I thought I'd give explanations for some of them that have some sort of meaning to me. It might be interesting!

"Defender" by the Cruxshadows - Doctor Bowman of the FT Forum posted this song quite a while ago on the forum, saying that it was amazing how it fits the second half of "Waking Rose". It sounds like it could have been written for it! If you've read "Waking Rose", listen carefully to the lyrics...I guarantee you will be very impressed at how closely it fits. Even the whole sound of the song is perfect. Lyrics.

"Sophia" by the Cruxshadows - After listening to "Defender" on YouTube, I listened to a few other songs by them and found this one. I love it! Lyrics.

This is part of the refrain:
Do not injustice to another
Defend the weak & innocent
May truth & honor always guide you
Let courage find a life within
Stand up when no one else is willing
Act not in hatred or in spite
Be to this world as a perfect knight
Even if it means your life...

Isn't that a great plan for life? Listen carefully to the lyrics of this one too. Lyrics.

"Jump" by Madonna - Don't be scared away by who this song is by! :) It's really very good. My sister Evangeline and I heard it for the first time at the summer intensive (it was the song that the jazz class performed to for the recital), and we have adopted it as our song! We love the fact that it even says "my sisters and me". The lyrics are just perfect for someone who is starting out on the great adventure of their life. Lyrics.

"More Than It Seems" by Kutless - I guess you'd have to be a member of the FT Forum and following the Cair Paravel thread to really understand this one. Lady Eliza told me about it because it fits the character I made up, Tristan Armitage (my character Blanche Rose Pevensie's boyfriend) so wonderfully! It could have been written about him. A quick overview of Tristan: He knew nothing of his parents until he was 18 and found out that he was actually the son of the King and Queen of Archenland, who had died in a mysterious fire at their summer home shortly before the disappearance of Tristan, then an infant. It turns out that Tristan had been kidnapped by the White Witch, who gave him to the Magician of the Mountain for safekeeping while she set about enslaving Archenland. Tristan would have been killed eventually, but with the aid of time traveling he escaped at the age of 12 and wandered the world until he met Blanche and her family. Shortly after this, he found out, through dreams and with the help of an Archenland gryphon, his true identity and set out to save his country. Lyrics.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Finally taking care of my tags! :)

I tend to be a terribly lazy person, prone to procrastination. :P But now I'll finally do some of the tags that my wonderful blogging friends have tagged me in!

First off, the Follower award that I got from Katherine Sophia and Kathleen, and I'm now passing on to all of you!

1. Tell your followers why you started and how long you have been blogging.
I started my blog in February of 2009 because I'd always wanted to have a blog. It looked like a fun and interesting way to share my thoughts and creative writing. However, after the first post my blog lay dormant for about 4 or 5 months because I couldn't think of what to write about. But this past summer that problem fell away and I've been blogging ever since!

2. Then tag all of your followers unless you have LOTS then if they follow you closely enough they will swing by and pick it up on their own.
Eh...if you want it, you're welcome to it. :D
And now for the One Word Tag from Kathleen! :)

Where is your cell phone?

Significant other?

Your mother?

Your father?

Your favorite thing?

Your dream last night?

Your favorite drink?

What room are you in?

Your hobby?

Your fear?

Where do you want to be in 6 years?

Where were you last night?

Something you aren't?

Wish list item?

Last thing you did?

What are you wearing


Name one of your pets:


Your life?

Your mood?

Missing someone?


Your car?

Something you are not wearing?

Your favorite store?

Your favorite color?

When was the last time you cried?

Where do you go over and over?

Favorite place to eat?

Favorite place I'd like to be right now?

Man! That was hard! :P And I tag...whoever reads this. heheh

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Which do you want first - the good news or the bad news?

I'll give the bad news first, just to get it over with. I didn't get into "Fiddler on the Roof". :( I'm not sure why I didn't, to be completely honest...my audition went very well and I was only nervous at the very beginning. And some people who weren't as good got in. Who knows. Theater groups do tend to have lots of politics, and that probably had something to do with it. But now that I think about it a bit more, I'm actually rather glad now that I'm not in it - I probably would have gone absolutely crazy with being so busy, not to mention I get easily exhausted and when I'm exhausted, I easily get sick! It will also be nice to still have my4 nights at home every week!

So, now for the good news - Evangeline and I went to our very first professional ballet last night, "Coppelia" by the Moscow Festival Ballet! The picture above is one I found of them on the internet...I think I recognize some of the dancers (I believe the one in the yellow costume danced Swanhilde at the performance we saw), and the costumes are basically the same. The costumes were so pretty! The dancing, of course, was marvelous, and Swanhilde looks like it would be an amazingly fun role to dance! It was also fun to see them dancing and at certain parts think, "Oh, yes, I can do that!" :)

Sometimes I think, though, that I actually prefer watching performances to performing in them. I never can decide. Last night was really neat...we had bought the cheapest tickets, so we were way up in the second to the last row of the balcony. I actually like sitting in the balcony much better than sitting in the house - you have a far better few, and at our theater the balcony is much more raked so you don't have to worry about tall people sitting in front of you and blocking your view! So we were sitting there, talking excitedly, and then came the magical moment when the lights dimmed and silence swept over the crowd. The spotlight came on (it was directly behind our heads), and we could see dust motes dancing in it. It was like something out of a movie.

The Pro-Life Rally at church is this Sunday! It's always quite nice, but I'm rather nervous for it this year because I was asked to read my essay! It won first place at the regional level, but I haven't heard yet how it's doing at the diocesan level. Reading into a microphone isn't anything terribly new to me (I was a reader sometimes when we went to the Novus Ordo Mass, and I started when I was about 7), but it still makes me nervous! And this is probably going to be the biggest crowd I've spoken in front of. But, like my dad reminds me, I need to remember that the important thing is the message, not the messenger...to just read and remember why I'm doing it. :)

Oh, and for those of you who have read "Waking Rose", listen to "Defender" by Cruxshadow, which I just added to my playlist...the lyrics fit perfectly, it is incredible! Listen to "Sophia", too...I absolutely love the lyrics of the refrain!

Monday, January 11, 2010

Wish me luck...

I'm auditioning for the community theater production of "Fiddler on the Roof" tonight! Actually, also wish me luck if I do get in...I will be VERY busy! That's why I'm only planning on trying out for the chorus. I actually didn't even decide to audition until today because I was afraid it would be too much, but I decided to because I'd love to be in at least one or two really good musicals before my high school theater is over, and I've always wanted to be in "Fiddler".

I'm sooo nervous about singing, though - I haven't sung alone in front of people in I'm not sure how long! I'm doing "Somewhere" from "West Side Story".

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Here we go again!

Some other girls from the FTN Forum and I have started a blog, A Walk to Rivendell! It's a challenge that's part story-writing, part motivation to exercise. In real life, we record how many miles we walk, swim, dance, or any other physical activity, trying to meet a weekly goal of 10 miles. On the blog, we write a story of our adventures on our way to Rivendell. I think it's going to be a lot of fun, and if you want to read about our adventures, check out the blog and follow us!

We'll be starting Allegro (our youth ballet theater) again on Saturday. We have class and rehearsal 10 am to 2 pm on Saturdays and 12 pm to 4 pm on Sundays in preparation for Peter and the Wolf and The Ugly Duckling in early March. It's a lot of time (sometimes I wish I could have my weekends back, but, after all, the extensive rehearsals are only until the end of February), but it's also very fun!

In Peter and the Wolf, I'm one of the Hunters, and in The Ugly Duckling, I'm the Turkey, the Cat, and a Swan. I'm pretty excited about having the part of the Cat, because it's a solo role...my first ever! And it has a lot of Italian changements in it, which my teacher says I do really well, and I like doing them! So I'm happy about that. I'm also excited about the last scene of UD (Ugly Duckling)...it's based on Swan Lake, and we'll all be wearing classical tutus and the traditional Swan Lake head piece (that's a picture of it to the right). We were working on the choreography over the summer and it's really beautiful!

I'm also going to audition for our community theater's production of "Fiddler on the Roof"! If I do get in, hopefully I won't die of exhaustion in the upcoming months. ;)