Monday, April 12, 2010

"I'm here, I'm here! I've come back, I'm all right!"

I apologize very, very profusely for having not posted in weeks! :( I miss blogging! I'm not sure what made my life suddenly have no computer time left in it, but since computer time also equals writing time, I'm really going to try to come up with more of it.

Since I need to get to bed right now, I'll just finally post this tag, the Friendship Tag, which Jessica tagged me in!

Choose any amount of friends real or blog and say at least two things or more that you admire or like about them. Tag and make sure you link to them.

Lady Rose
I met Rose on the Fairy Tale Novel Forum (where she is my mom in the forum family!). She's so sweet, funny, upbeat, not afraid to share and stand up for her beliefs, and is incredibly creative!

Kathryn has been going to my church for quite a while now (I actually have no idea how long, or if you came before or after us! :P). We only started talking much this past year, and she is very, very funny with quite a way with words, a loyal friend, and has a heart full of love for all creatures great and small.

Elena is the administrator of the FTN Forum. She's such a wonderful young woman who is a talented writer, a gifted leader, and has a keen sense of humor and a great love for God.

Jessica started following my blog a few months ago, and I've enjoyed getting to know her! She has a blog full of beautiful thoughts, and leaves very thoughtful, interesting, much-appreciated comments!

Addie is yet another FTN Forum-er, and I always love it when she posts, because what she has to say is always interesting, often very much the same as my opinions, and frequently very funny! Many times she has said something that was exactly what I needed to hear right then.


Ella is also from the FTN Forum (it has some wonderful people!), and she is one of the most cheerful, upbeat, happy people I have ever met! She spreads sunlight everywhere and has a good word for everyone.

Oh, and if you can identify the quote in this post's title, for you! ;)

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Happy Easter, and happy birthday Mum and Dad!


O felix culpa, quæ talem ac tantum méruit habére Redemptórem! O happy fault, which gained for us so great a Redeemer!

I hope and pray that you all had very happy and blessed Holy Weeks and Easters!

Today is my mom's birthday, and, since I never did a post for my dad (his birthday was on Ash Wednesday and I gave up internet for most of Lent), I'll do his today as well.

Thank you, both of you, for being such wonderful parents. You've both taught me a lot.

Dad, thank you for giving me some of the best advice I've ever received...keep God first in your life, and the rest will fall into place as it's supposed to. Thank you for giving me my sense of humor (I think...haha), for always believing in me, and for teaching me so much...from long division to how to throw a baseball to how to navigate life.

Mum, thank you for teaching me by your example that to be kind to everyone, no matter how they appear, is a wonderful thing. Thank you for always listening to me with a patient, objective, and humorous ear, for giving me so much invaluble advice, for being an example of the sort of mother I hope to be someday, and also for teaching me so much...from how to knit to what to do about my myriad problems, both fleshly and ghostly (haha).

Thank you both for always being so supportive towards me, and for always encouraging me to be creative. Most of all I'm thankful that you're both very fervent in our Faith. I love you both!

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Preparing for Easter

I wanted to share this video with all of you. It's an interview with Sister Marie of the Love of God, a sister with the Sisters Adorers of the Royal Heart of Jesus, who is starting a new convent in St. Louis, MO, accompanied by a slide show of pictures of her and the convent. I've corresponded with her over the past five years, and my friend Essie (the one who joined that order) said to me after meeting Sister Marie, "You have to meet her someday! She's absolutely wonderful." So I was very excited to find this video on the blog Saint Louis Catholic, and be able to hear her speak! Isn't she beautiful, and can't you hear her love for God in every word she says? It's wonderful, and I can't wait to meet her, hopefully this summer!

If you'd like to read more about the sisters, their web page is here.

I've been doing quite a bit of baking today. Here's our menu for Easter:
Glazed Ham
Baked Sweet Potatoes
Rosemary Buns
Bread of Easter Brightness
Raspberry Bars
I made the raspberry bars already, the bread is rising, and I believe Evangeline just put the buns in the oven. I'm also planning to make the glaze today, so we can take it all to church tomorrow morning to be blessed! I'll also take some pictures of it all to post on here. :)

Tonight is the Easter Vigil...I can't wait! It's the most beautiful liturgy of the entire year, and I hope all of you get a chance to attend a Tridentine Easter Vigil some day!

Also, are any of you writers who would be interested in joining a blog dedicated to encouraging and critiquing your fellow writers? Some of the wonderful young ladies of the FTN Forum have started a blog, The Inklings' Resolve, for that purpose. Check it out!

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Holy Week.

We watched "The Passion" at church on Monday night. It was, as usual, a very moving experience (it's the sixth time I've seen it...we've watched it every year since I was 11). This year I found that the violence bothered me more than it has in previous years and I had to look away a lot, especially during the scourging. One thing that really struck me was that He was choosing to suffer all this...that was what it took. This stood out for me especially at the moment during the scourging when they go to turn Him over. I thought it was over, but then I realized, was only half done. He knew that anything less wouldn't prove to us the immensity of His love, and so He suffered it...freely, willingly.

The thought that kept coming to my mind as I watched was, "I can't let this suffering, this pain, this incredible love be in vain!" That made me remember that our first duty is the salvation of our own soul. Everyone is precious to God, and He loves you just as much as He loves anyone else. You are the one person whose fate you can decide. Decide that you will not let His blood be shed in vain...that you will do everything in your power to try to love Him and live for Him alone. And if this focus on your own soul seems selfish, just remember what St. Francis of Assisi said: "Sanctify yourself and you will sanctify society." Or, as another saint said, "Save yourself and a thousand around you will be saved..." Love draws love.

Another part that always, always moves me to tears is the moment when Our Lady is watching Our Lord carry His Cross, and sees Him fall under it. There is a flashback to Him tripping and falling on the ground when He was a little boy, and Our Lady dropped everything to run to Him. Remembering this, she runs to the side of her suffering Son. This scene really brings home the immense suffering Our Lady went through: the pain of seeing her son, her little boy, treated so cruelly. But she was willing to suffer this that we might be free...we cannot let her suffering be in vain, either. The older I get, the more poignant this scene becomes.

I also love the part with Simon of Cyrene. He's just an ordinary man who is pulled into a life- and earth-changing event. He doesn't realize this immediately, thinking he is just carrying the cross of a condemned criminal, but as he witnesses Our Lord's patience and incredible strength, he realizes that this is no ordinary man. Simon reminds me a bit of all of us...he is just a regular person who God calls to follow His Son, and, with a bit of initial reluctance, he does just that and his life is changed forever.

I feel a bit guilty about how my Lent went - not very well. :( I did not keep many of my resolutions, and I feel really bad about that. I'm going to try and make an effort to make this Holy Week as good as it can be. I'm not doing very well, but I really am trying to try...I guess that's what counts!

I'm really looking forward to the beautiful Triduum services...they are awe-inspiring, especially in the Tridentine Rite. Tonight we have Mass at 7 pm, followed by the stripping of the altars, moving the Blessed Sacrament to the Altar of Repose, the washing of the feet, and adoration until midnight. We'll be staying at adoration for a while, I'm not sure how long though. Tomorrow we will attend the Stations of the Cross at 8 am, and the Liturgy at 3 pm, which is followed by adoration until 8 pm. Holy Saturday is a pretty peaceful day with not much going on (except that I believe we're going to start painting the living room that day! o.O) until 9 pm, when the Easter Vigil starts. That is, without a doubt, my favorite service of the liturgical year. It is so solemn, so joyous, with such a feeling of ancientness. As you chant the Litany of the Saints, hear the prophecies, feel the rush of joy that Christ has risen from the dead wash over you, you feel such a strong connection with all the centuries of the Church, back to the very martyrs of the Catacombs.

Like I did at Christmas, I'm going to share an excerpt of my story "No Greater Love" with you here. I hope you enjoy it, and have a blessed and fruitful Holy Week!

A Excerpt from Chapter 20, "Life Always Changes", of No Greater Love

Soon Lent came. I began attending Friday evening Holy Hour, which was preceded by the Stations of the Cross. God granted me so many graces those Friday evenings as I knelt in the dim, smoky church contemplating His passion and death, I can’t even begin to tell you about them. There are no words in the human language to describe most of them, and I don’t understand many of them fully. I only will when I reach Heaven. How good our God is to deign to share with us so many secret, hidden things of Himself and of Heaven.

Then came Holy Week, which is one of my favourite times of the year. It’s so holy, so grace-filled, so wonderful, and I always feel closer to Heaven than at any other time.

Mass on Holy Thursday was beautiful, and Father Wiseman’s sermon on the Eucharist held many lights. At the Gloria the bells rang and organ played joyfully – Our Lord is here, present among us! He has given us His Eucharist and is with us until the end of time! But then we remembered that his very night He would suffer a cruel agony, and with this sobering thought the triumphant voice of the organ died away. The stark beauty of the plainchant accompanied our reflections for the rest of Mass.

I stayed very late after Mass on Holy Thursday to pray in front of the Altar of Repose. I always like doing that, to keep Our Lord company on that awful night when everyone, even His closest friends, abandoned Him. I always want to cry when I think of it. As I knelt before Him in the dimly lit church, I promised that here at least was one person who would never leave His side, no matter what happened. Thinking about that actual night, nearly two thousand years ago, I hoped that I was a comfort to Him when He thought of me.

We fasted all day on Good Friday, and kneeling in church that afternoon, I considered how this emptiness we feel from lack of food should echo the emptiness our souls should feel from the absence of our Savior. We heard the telling of the Passion one last time during the long, sorrowful service. The stripped, barren altar, with the candlesticks lying all askew, truly brought home the fact that He was dead. What joy can there be in life, if our only Joy lies cold and still in a tomb?

Holy Saturday was a quiet, peaceful day that culminated in the Easter Vigil Mass. How wonderful that Mass always is! Listening to the beginning of Genesis chanted in the dark church, lit only by the hundreds of little candles, feels like being present at the creation of the world. There is something ancient and glorious about the chanting of the Lumen Christi; the invocation of the saints through their solemn litany; the hauntingly beautiful Kyrie, which reminds you that God was there even before the dawn of time.

But there is an undercurrent of suspense, of great and triumphant joy that wants to break free, and finally it does! The altar boys walked around lighting the lamps on the sides of the church, and it slowly flooded with light as the organ thundered and the bells pealed. The windows of the church were open, letting in the chilly air of the spring night, and you could hear that all through London, the bells were proclaiming their glorious message.

And then the organ settled down, giving the familiar intonation for the Gloria, and once again the beautiful hymn praise resounded. Christmas is a personal and humanly joyful feast – Our Lord is a tiny baby, He is becoming one of us. But on Easter our joy is supernatural and bigger than any of us. Our God has returned to His true home, and through great suffering He has paid the price so that we may join Him there one day. It is something that brings your very soul to its knees in thanksgiving and adoration, and fills you with a foretaste of what He won for us.

Before Holy Communion I felt such a huge longing for Our Lord that it actually hurt. I felt as though I couldn’t wait to receive Him. Then I did, and, oh! I did not notice anything at all after I had. I could really feel a pulling on my soul, and on my body as well. I felt as if I were being pulled upwards by unseen hands, and as though I were not really kneeling there in the church of St. Scholastica’s in London. I was in Heaven.