What if we just said “Yes”

Many in the Catholic blogosphere and many who pay attention to Catholicism in the US may have heard of the website “What if we just said wait?”.   This is a “grassroots” attempt to get the new missal translation postponed.  From their website:

A STATEMENT OF CONCERN

We are very concerned about the proposed new translations of the Roman Missal. We believe that simply imposing them on our people — even after a program of preparation — will have an adverse effect on their prayer and cause serious division in our communities.

We are convinced that adopting translations that are highly controversial, and which leaders among our bishops as well as many highly respected liturgists and linguists consider to be seriously flawed, will be a grave mistake.

For this reason we earnestly implore the bishops of the English-speaking world to undertake a pilot program by which the new translations — after a careful program of catechesis — can be introduced into some carefully selected parishes and communities throughout the English-speaking world for a period of one (liturgical) year, after which they can be objectively evaluated.

We are convinced that this approach will address the concerns of those many bishops who feel that they have lost their voice in this matter and that it will also give a voice to the People of God whose prayer is at stake and who accordingly have the most to gain or lose by the translations.

We realize that a pilot project of this kind is unprecedented, but so is the process by which these translations have been approved.

And one of the comments on their comment page that caught my attention:

How will the priests explain the purpose of these changes? It will be embarrassing. How will the teen-agers respond to these changes — they will tune it out at a time when we are desperate for them to tune in. Younger adults (age 20-30)everywhere will be confused and dismayed.
Marianne Polkowski-Burns| Lay Person | Oakland | USA

I totally fall into that 20-30 age group she references.  With all due respect to Ms. Polkowski-Burns, that is complete Bologna Sandwich (B.S).

Confused?  Hardly.  Simply by going to http://www.usccb.org/romanmissal/index.shtml you can check out the changes.  Guess what, most of them are small additions of words that add to the beauty and CLARIFY what we are saying.  Sure, we might all have to get a missal and follow along for a while, but is it really that hard?  Little kids have to follow along to learn.  It won’t take that much effort to learn it.

As for how teen-agers will respond, well, I would like to know too.  So guess what?  I”m going to go talk to teenagers.  Show them the changes, explain why they are being made and see what they think (teens, feel free to post your comments on this post).  Expect a follow up!

Another comment:

Why take the simple and correct english words and phrases away and leave us once more in the world of ecclesiastical double-speak? When i pray, i use Father, not Almighty God as the address. I was away from the church for some time and when i came back it was primarily because the language of the Mass was so warm and welcoming and accessible. I don’t find my mind wandering away from the prayers. I know what they mean and don’t have to filter out extraneous words.
Jeanne MacCoy| Lay Person | Oakland, California | United States of America

Ecclesiastical double speak?  How is “Almighty God”, which is a more reverential phrase, extraneous or otherwise liable to cause “mind wandering”?  i’m sorry Ms. MacCoy, but the language of the church doesn’t NEED to be “warm”, “welcoming” or “accesible”.  It needs to be “correct” and “prayerful”.  Sure, Jesus called His Father, Father.  Yes, God is our “Father” and we use that title in the Our Father.  But sometimes, we need to be reminded more of God’s Almightyness and a little less of the “loving” side.  If you sin and are unrepentant you’re not going to be going “Oh Daddy, but I wanted to sin!”.  You should be begging Almighty God for forgiveness.

As for needing to “filter out extraneous words” I again point to the actual changes.  Most of the prayers add a word or change them, maintaing about the same length.  Other prayers are actually SHORTER.  And going to one of the reasons for this change (to get a more accurate translation) take a secular example.  If you want to read a book that’s been translated from another language would you want the whole book, all the words and phrases and ideas that were written by the author?  Of course you would!  Who wouldn’t?  Apparently people who want “simple” which in this case is just a poor translation.

Which leads me to a bit of “instruction” for those who aren’t as familiar with all this.  Quite often, because we’re part of a living church, there are updates to the liturgical prayers.  Most of the time this is added prayers for new saints who have been canonized since the last missal or adjustments to prayers that only the priest says.  The changes to what the people say have been rarer, mainly due to the use of Latin.  Heck, if it changed, you were reading it before, you still were.  It was pretty simple because everyone had a missal of their own.  The last few missal changes have been in 1962 (the year Vatican II started), 1970 (five years after V2), 1975 and 2002.  This current “debate” is evolving from the English translation of the missal that was completed in 2002 (by JP2).  What is interesting to note is the quickness that the first post-V2 missal got translated.  The latin edition is the 1970 one, the English one was ready by 1973.  Compare that with this translation: Latin in 2002, potential use: 2011 (Advent is when it’s predicted to be in use by).

So what’s so important and special about this translation that’s causing all this debate?  Essentially it boils down to one thing, that has two parts.  It’s a better translation of the Latin that maintains the “style” of the Roman rite (aka, Roman Catholcism, as compared to the Eastern Rite or others).  Why is this a problem?  It’s my opinion that those who embraced the Kumbaya Jesus loves us all no matter what mood that erupted after V2 are adverse to change.  It’s kinda funny cause they were all for the changes that V2 brought initially, but don’t seem to understand that these changes are more inline with the “Spirit of Vatican II”. The spirit of Vatican II is really a phrase I don’t like anyway as it’s mostly liberal speak for an attitude of “democracy in the Church”.  That’s a whole other topic for a whole other super long blog post.  Let it suffice at this moment for me to point out the Roman Catholic Church is NOT a democracy. Sorry guys, but you do NOT have a vote.

The point of the changes in the mass due to V2 stem from a desire for more “lay participation” in the mass  as laid out in Sacrosanctum Concilium. The problem is that what the bishops and Pope Paul IV wanted is MUCH different than what happened.  When they said “lay participation” they meant that the people in the pews should be able to say the responses in the mass intelligently, be singing and whatnot.  An “easy” solution was to put portions (not ALL, but portions) of the mass into the language of that area.  When something is in your own language it is easier to understand and be an active participant.  And I think that is a great thing and has really led to a lot more participation.  Unfortunately many people took this way too far.  All of a sudden we were able to “participate”.  And soon you have things like lay people giving the homily (big no-no, yet remarkably prevalent in the US).  The stories that you can find of such abuses are amazing and terrifying.

Essentially, the point I’m trying to get across is that we should embrace the changes to the mass with open arms.  Why?  Mainly, because we should be practicing obedience to our bishops and the pope.  And I don’t think anyone is to accept things “blindly” but by simply looking over the changes we can see that they are good changes that will help bring us closer to God through the Holy Mass.

Want to do something to help and counteract the “petition”?  There are several things you can do.  First, pray.  Pray that the bishops stand firm.  Pray that hearts change as the process of catechesis begins.  Second, right to your bishop and tell him that you support the changes and you look forward to learning more about them.  And finally, if you feel so called, talk to your pastor about starting to get info out at your parish.  Perhaps you can lead a study group that starts looking at the changes and getting people prepared for them.

This is something that I feel very passionate about right now.  I’ll update you on the continuing dialog and I promise a follow up post on some of the specific concerns of the What if we just said wait group as well as what some real life Catholic teens have to say!

Damned

As one of my protestant friends always reminds me, we are all damned in our sins.  If not for the grace of God, we still would be.  God steps into our lives, infuses us with grace, we turn to Him and look.  And what do we see?  What is that image that is the center of salvation?

Christ is up there.  On the cross.  Bearing OUR sins.  He’s not suffering cause he sinned.  He’s suffering because WE sinned.

As a mother, we want to save our children from suffering.   Imagine for one moment how the Blessed Mother must have felt watching her son up there.  Imagine your child in pain.  Multiply that by all the millions of sins and punishment in hell that Christ was taking care of  up there.  His suffering was immense.

When we turn away from our sin, we are looking to the cross.  When we own up to our sins, we are willing to suffer and die and go to hell over them because we realize how severe even the littlest sin is.  But we don’t have to do that.  That’s why he did it for us.  So we don’t have to.

That doesn’t mean we get out of suffering.  No, Christ did tell us to pick up our crosses and follow him.  We don’t get a free pass on suffering.  But the load is far, far lighter than it should be.

We must embrace suffering with joy.

Because after the suffering and the death, comes the resurrection and the life.

What are your sufferings?  They are nothing compared to what he suffered.  And they are nothing compared to the joy we are now able to receive.

Praise God my friends!  Lent is a time to reflect on our sufferings, to embrace them and carry our crosses with joy because in a few short weeks, we celebrate the greatest joy of all!  Easter!

Happy Ash Wednesday!

Good Morning everyone and happy Ash Wednesday!  Whether you have gone to mass already, are yet to go, or maybe aren’t (it is NOT a holy day of obligation today) I pray that you spend this day meditating on the season of Lent and what you can do to grow closer to God.

I will be doing a Lenten series here over the next 40 days.  I hope to encourage you, provide you with resources and generally give you hope that you are not alone on this journey.  “Catholic” means “universal” and as a universal church we are to support each other as one body.

So here are my goals for Lent (some are still being nailed down, but this is my general outline):

1) For myself, I will be increasing my prayer time.  This might mean saying a rosary and reading scripture one day, or just saying the angelus the next.  I was pretty much at a zero before, so any increase would be great.  One resource that I will be using is the Creighton Online Ministries Lent page. They have tons of great stuff to read, prayers, meditations and just tons of stuff.  I highly encourage the site.  They also have a simple “one prayer a day” section that is shorter and easier if you can’t get the time to do a longer prayer time.  Good stuff!

Why did I choose this?  Several reasons.  First, I wanted something simple that would be done daily but wouldn’t cause me too much stress.  If worst comes to worst, when I go to bed at night I can pray a decade of the rosary and feel that I fulfilled my promise.  Secondly, I strongly feel that if I focus on this and really increase my time in prayer, naturally time will decrease in areas where I shouldn’t be spending as much time.  My priorities will realign naturally into a better order.  Third, what could be “bad” about this?  Even if I have some selfish motives (which I don’t feel that I do) by spending time in prayer my spirit will be changed and reordered to be closer to God.

2) With my spouse, I think we will be spending some time in prayer together daily and I want us to go to confession biweekly.  I have to double check with Chris tonight though.

3) As a family we’re going to do a couple things, all “car related”.  First, we’re going to turn off the secular music.  To fill the silence, we’ll either play praise and worship or the rosary or other faithful music (gregorian chant, maybe?).  Me and Grace will also make an attempt to always stop at the parish that is on our way home that has a 24 hour adoration chapel.  Either we’ll leave 10 minutes early or we’ll stop on the way home.  Grace can’t participate much since she’s only 9 1/2 months old, but I think this is a good way to do something as a family.

So there they are.  Written down in a public place.  If you know me in real life, feel free to ask me how these are going!  I would love the accountability!

I also suggest going and reading Pope Benedict’s Lenten Message.  It is a meditation on justice, a virtue that is sorely lacking in the modern world.  It’s always a wise thing to go see what our fearless leader has to say!  My favorite part?

So we understand how faith is altogether different from a natural, good-feeling, obvious fact: humility is required to accept that I need Another to free me from “what is mine,” to give me gratuitously “what is His.”

As we fast today, let us remember in our prayers those who have no food or clean water.  They suffer daily.  Also, a little note on fasting.  You are required to fast from your 18th birthday until the last day of your 59th year.  Fasting consits of having one regular size meal, two other meals that when combined do not equal the full meal and no snacks.  However, there are some exemptions:

Besides those outside the age limits, those of unsound mind, the sick, the frail, pregnant or nursing women according to need for meat or nourishment, manual laborers according to need, guests at a meal who cannot excuse themselves without giving great offense or causing enmity and other situations of moral or physical impossibility to observe the penitential discipline. (EWTN)

As a nursing mother, I am technically exempt from fasting and if I need meat, apparently I could have that too.  However, I do encourage mothers to fast in some way.   Today, I am attempting to not eat in between meals (I’m a “grazer”) and I’m only drinking water.  I am eating regular size meals, though, although I am going meatless.

Have a wonderful Ash Wednesday everyone!  And share your goals in the comments!

This post is part of the Lenten series.  To see other posts in this series, click on “Lent” in the tags.

Paczki, not poonchky.

Happy Fat Tuesday everyone!  I hope you are enjoying getting rid of all your butter, lard, sugar and other forbidden foods in preparation for Lent.

Ok, well, let’s be honest here.  We’re just eating those delicious deep fried doughnuts cause it’s a cultural tradition even though the reason has gone away.  Lent is the Catholic “new year” of resolutions (even if the technical “new year” of the liturgical calendar is the first Sunday of Advent) and we all know we’re going to “fast” from certain foods particularly of the fattening variety.  It’s cause of our spiritual desires, right?  Or is it something else?   Are we fasting from cookies, candies and all things “bad” because we are unhappy with our body that God gave us?

I think we all tend to get our intentions mixed up a bit at the beginning of Lent.  We might cut out pop because “We love it” but what we really know, deep down inside, is that we’re cutting it out because we know it is bad for our health and our weight and this might just be the time to do it.  30 days makes a habit and we’ve got 40 given to us by the church to work on those nasty habits we’ve formed.

Often, we focus on food things.  Are we really all such gluttons?  St. Thomas Aquinas says that you can commit gluttony six ways:

  • Praepropere – eating too soon.
  • Laute – eating too expensively
  • Nimis – eating too much.
  • Ardenter – eating too eagerly
  • Studiose – eating too daintily
  • Forente – eating wildly

Hm.  That studiose one is interesting.  Eating too daintily?  Having too good of manners?  Really Tommy?  Rather, some say that this is being a “picky” eater.  We all know those types.  If we aren’t one, we probably know or have a kid who is one.  But isn’t it possible that our pickyness can extend into denying ourselves of food for vain reasons?

And let’s not forget the other six deadly sins!  Anger, well, let’s try and give up critiquing other spouses or our children.  Sloth, let’s work on washing those dishes right away and not letting the laundry slide.  Lust, let’s pull our minds out of the gutter of television, movies and the rest of the entertainment industry and focus our love onto God and all things beautiful and holy.  Greed and Envy, let’s remember the blessings we have and thank God for them without looking jealously at our neighbor.  And then there’s the big one.  Pride.  Really, it is the root of all of these sins.  We want to be the best, look the best and have everyone know we are the best.  Instead we need to humbly submit to God and admit that maybe we have faults (maybe).  Maybe we have short tempers and no patience.  Maybe we have put on too much “baby weight” and haven’t been able to get it off.  Maybe we are consumed with the pleasures of the world and can’t get enough of them.

So this Paczki Day, let’s focus on stripping ourselves of the true sins in our lives.   Let’s remember that we must decrease, so that Christ may increase in us.  Let us choose our Lenten sacrifices with Temperance (the virtue opposite gluttony).  Let us not be gluttons of multitudes of “things to do” for Lent.   Let’s choose small things to do, little things that will cause us to grow in virtue so that we may be shining examples to our families, friends, neighbors and strangers.

Here’s my tip for you.  Choose three small things.   One thing to do on your own, positive (reading scripture daily) or negative (refraining from facebook).  One thing to do with your spouse, significant other or a spiritual accountability partner (praying a decade of the rosary together, doing volunteer work together).  And one thing to do as a family (give up television on Friday, don’t eat meat during the week, pray the rosary nightly).  Focus on these small things and don’t get caught up in making a million resolutions.  Write these things down!  Comment here, if you would like.  Write them on post it notes and stick them on your mirror or your computer screen, wherever you need them as a reminder.  And then say this prayer:

Lord, I come to you now as your humble servant.  You are the King of all Kings, the Lord of all Lords and you have given your church this season of Lent so that we may become closer to you.  Grant me the graces necessary to decrease in pride so that you may increase within my spirit.  Give me the graces I request now as well as all the ones that you know I need but am too afraid to ask for or may not realize.  I resolve to perform these three tasks throughout the Lenten season as a sign of submission to you.  Give me the graces to perform these tasks and the peace to know that even if I fail for one day I can always start anew.  I look forward to the celebration of Easter as I know that you will increase within me.  I pray also for all those who are embarking on similar journeys so that they may also receive the graces necessary to them.  I offer up all the sacrifices I may endure for those who are most in need of them.  Lord, be with me on this journey, I need you.  I ask this through the intercession of my patron saints, the Blessed Mother, and all the saints in heaven.  In your name I pray, amen.

Now go eat some paczki!

This is the first post in a Lenten series.  Please join me throughout this season of Lent as we reflect on sin, virtue, living our faith in our daily lives and being Catholics in a secular world.  I will pray for you if you will pray for me!

Sex ed: Catholic edition (repost)

This is a repost from an old blog of mine circa August 2008.  Fun fact, that’s the month I conceived my firstborn, my Grace.  So you can see what was on my mind then!

Me being a newlywed, and my sister now joining the ranks of wifedom has led to a lot of discussion about, well, sex. Sex is such a beautiful thing, it’s one of the first things we hear about people doing in the Genesis story: Adam and Eve are created, God tells them to be fertile and multiply, there’s the discussion about how the two become “one body” and Genesis 4 starts out with “The man had relations with his wife Eve, and she conceived and bore Cain”. So right from the beginning we have sex and babies, tossed in with sin (if you condensed it down to some basic happenings). The kicker though, is the sin that started happening right around the same time. Adam and Eve weren’t perfect and through them we’ve inherited some bad habits. Unfortunately for us, sex and relationships between men and women were some of the big things being affected by sin.

The Catholic Church, especially thanks to John Paul 2, has LOTS of information on sex. JP2 put together an excellent (though heavy) set of teachings called the Theology of the Body. He outlined his ideas and presented them at his Wednesday audiences during the early 80’s. I’m still reading them, it takes a lot of brain power, but so far they are great. I highly recommend everyone to check them out (if you want something a little lighter, find Christopher West).

While the theology is important us average Catholic Joe’s need to know more of the practical implications. They generally boil down to a few points.

  • No sex before marriage.
  • No use of contraceptives.
  • If you have serious reasons for avoiding children, the only way acceptable is to avoid intercourse during the fertile period of a woman’s cycle (NFP).
  • No abortion.
  • Various other teachings come out of this theology including the rules about no masturbation, no in vitro fertilization, and other points.

A lot of these teachings are really hard for us sinful humans to accept. We’re hardwired to be attracted to the opposite sex and to “be fruitful and multiply”. These things are very important though to have healthy relationships and the Church has them in place because they guide us to Heaven. How is that?

Well, first of all, we have to have an understanding of how sex is supposed to work. When a man and a woman have intercourse, it creates a bond between them: they become one body. God designed our bodies so that intercourse causes the hormone oxytocin to be released. This hormone is only released during intercourse and when a woman gives birth or is breastfeeding. It’s a bonding hormone, it causes us to have an intimate connection with the person we’re with when it’s released. It also makes us come back for more, it’s one of those “happy” hormones (that’s why women have more than one child, oxytocin can make them forget the troubles of their labor and focus on the result!).

Now when it comes to the teachings on contraceptives, we have to understand another aspect of becoming one body. When you share the intimacies of your body with your spouse, you are supposed to give yourself totally to them, otherwise how can you be “one” body? If you hold something back, like information about yourself you’re not totally becoming one (that’s actually a way to get an annulment, the marriage wasn’t valid if one spouse is holding back serious information that would cause the other spouse to potentially leave them). In the same way, if you hold back on giving your spouse your fertility you aren’t truly one person. Giving up this control is not something society says. According to them, our sexuality is our own, women have the power to abort their children if it’s an “inconvenience”, no one but us can make reproductive choices. But God asks us to give up the control over our fertility and leave it in His hands. Any contraceptive that interferes with how sex is supposed to work goes against the idea of giving yourself totally and completely to your spouse. The pill causes defects in a woman’s reproductive system to prevent ovulation/implantation. Condoms and diaphragms prevent semen from entering the woman. Spermicides kill the sperm before the have a chance to catch an egg.

What people forget, although the Church hasn’t, is that there’s another aspect to the way God designed women. A woman is only fertile for a short period of her cycle. An egg only is released once a month and only lives for 12-24 hours. In the case of multiple eggs being released, a woman has a potential 12-48 hour window of fertility in her cycle. If a woman has an average 28 day cycle, then she has a potential 26 days where she can not get pregnant. Of course, there are other things that cause fertility to expand, cervical fluid has different qualities that can either kill sperm or help it thrive up to five days (the average life span of a sperm in perfect quality conditions). So add on five days to the 48 hour window, and you’ve got one week of potential fertility and that’s a maximum amount (in most cases!). So what does all this mean for us Catholics? Well, it means that God has created us so if we were to have sex every day there would only be about one week out of the woman’s cycle where the couple could get pregnant. Because this is an inherent part of our physiology the Church has taken it into consideration when it comes to family planning. The Church teaches that if a couple has serious reasons for avoiding pregnancy (such as financial hardship, if it would be detrimental/fatal for the mother to be pregnant, if the couple has prayed about it and sincerely believes it isn’t God’s will for their family at the time or other cases) it is permissible for a couple to abstain from intercourse during the woman’s fertile period. I highly recommend that a couple prays seriously about this and/or seeks spiritual direction when considering Natural Family Planning to avoid pregnancy. It is not something to be taken lightly, nor is it “just another form of birth control”. Also note that some other forms of this (FAM, fertility awareness method) allow for the use of condoms during the woman’s fertile period, this is not allowed by the Church, abstinence is the only acceptable method. Women who are interested in learning more about the in’s and out’s can check out the Couple to Couple League’s website or the book Taking Charge of Your Fertility by Toni Weschler, MPH (she explains FAM, but does talk about abstinence in addition to condom use, it’s a great practical handbook with lots of charts/examples/details). There’s lots of other information about NFP out there on the web too!

Another wonderful benefit to learning and following the Church’s teachings on contraceptives and using NFP is that once a couple decides it’s time for them to try for a child, the woman knows enough about herself that it can become quite a bit easier! God has created truly wonderful creations in women and it should be understood and celebrated! I highly encourageall women to learn about themselves, you are a miracle and it’s such an eye-opening experience to learn all your quirks and in’s and out’s.

Mother of mine

Today, in case you didn’t know, is the Blessed Virgin Mary’s Birthday!  I think she’s been inspiring me today quite a bit.  I decided (rather out of the blue) to start to develop the habit of praying the liturgy of the hours.  I found a marvelous site (http://www.universalis.com/USA.Sunday/-400/today.htm) that has it all right there for me, all I have to do is open up a tab and start praying!  I’m also attempting to really have a good daily schedule.  It’s said that if you have your time fully allotted, remarkably, you have more freedom, more time to do what needs to be done.  So I’m attempting to have  a solid schedule.

I also made blue rice krispy treats to celebrate Mary’s birthday!  I wanted to make something with blue in it and I had all the ingrediants for krispy treats, plus blue food coloring, so it was pretty much a no-brainer.

I’ll leave you with the litany to Mary.  It’s a beautiful simple way to reflect on the different ways Mary has been revealed to us and the way she reveals our Lord to us.  Let us celebrate the birth of the Virgin Mary; let us worship her son, Christ the Lord!

Lord, have mercy on us.
Christ, have mercy on us.
Lord, have mercy on us.
Christ, hear us.
Christ, graciously hear us.
God the Father of Heaven,
Have mercy on us.
God the Son, Redeemer of the world,
Have mercy on us.
God the Holy Ghost,
Have mercy on us.
Holy Trinity, one God,
Have mercy on us.
Holy Mary,
pray for us.
Holy Mother of God,
pray for us.
Holy Virgin of virgins,
pray for us.
Mother of Christ,
pray for us.
Mother of divine grace,
pray for us.
Mother most pure,
pray for us.
Mother most chaste,
pray for us.
Mother inviolate,
pray for us.
Mother undefiled,
pray for us.
Mother most amiable,
pray for us.
Mother most admirable,
pray for us.
Mother of good counsel,
pray for us.
Mother of our Creator,
pray for us.
Mother of our Savior,
pray for us.
Virgin most prudent,
pray for us.
Virgin most venerable,
pray for us.
Virgin most renowned,
pray for us.
Virgin most powerful,
pray for us.
Virgin most merciful,
pray for us.
Virgin most faithful,
pray for us.
Mirror of justice,
pray for us.
Seat of wisdom,
pray for us.
Cause of our joy,
pray for us.
Spiritual vessel,
pray for us.
Vessel of honor,
pray for us.
Singular vessel of devotion,
pray for us.
Mystical rose,
pray for us.
Tower of David,
pray for us.
Tower of ivory,
pray for us.
House of gold,
pray for us.
Ark of the Covenant,
pray for us.
Gate of Heaven,
pray for us.
Morning star,
pray for us.
Health of the sick,
pray for us.
Refuge of sinners,
pray for us.
Comforter of the afflicted,
pray for us.
Help of Christians,
pray for us.
Queen of angels,
pray for us.
Queen of patriarchs,
pray for us.
Queen of prophets,
pray for us.
Queen of apostles,
pray for us.
Queen of martyrs,
pray for us.
Queen of confessors,
pray for us.
Queen of virgins,
pray for us.
Queen of all saints,
pray for us.
Queen conceived without Original Sin,
pray for us.
Queen assumed into Heaven,
pray for us.
Queen of the most holy Rosary,
pray for us.
Queen of peace,
pray for us.

Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world,
Spare us, O Lord.
Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world,
Graciously hear us, O Lord.
Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world,
Have mercy on us.

Pray for us, O Holy Mother of God,
That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.

Grant, we beseech Thee, O Lord God, that we Thy Servants may enjoy perpetual health of mind and body and by the glorious intercession of the Blessed Mary, ever Virgin, be delivered from present sorrow and unjoy enternal happiness. Through Christ Our Lord. Amen.

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“Hope!”

The first show I really stage managed (and I”ve currently stage managed eight shows in 4 years) was The Misanthrope.  One of the very foppish characters writes a sonnet that focuses on the word “hope” and it’s about as far as he can get.  One of my good friends played the role and did that part so amusingly that we tend to get into phases where we just go “HOPE!” and giggle a bit.

This past Friday, my dear hubby was laid off from his job.  It’s not an unusual thing nowadays, especially not in Michigan.  But it is exceptionally hard for us, as we were already struggling and were just accepted into the Michigan food stamp program anyway.  As my mom said, we just can’t catch a break lately.  In the last year we’ve had major car repairs, a car stolen/totalled, our apartment broken into, and now no income.

Frankly, I”m getting a little peeved at the Big Man up there.  We know things aren’t going to be easy, but REALLY?  Do we really need to have all this garbage happening?  Can’t we just have a breather, please?  I’m not very strong, I’m prone to depression and despair, the anti-thesis of hope.  And maybe that’s where this all comes in.  Maybe I’m just supposed to be learning “hope”.  But it’s awfully hard, trust me.

My most recent stage management escapade ended yesterday, it was Annie Jr. And I’m sure you are much more familiar with this show and the song “Hard Knock Life”.  Frankly, I think that’s our theme song right now.  It’s a hard knock life, and it really feels like no one cares a smidge.  But I guess I have to remember, the “sun will come out tomorrow” and in reference to my upcoming directing debut, It IS a wonderful life.  Maybe I can’t hope to be adopted by a billionaire, and perhaps I won’t have all my aquaintances pitching in money to save the day, but I can hope that I might get a bit of a “Clarence” to help teach me these things.  And maybe it’s just my conscience, my Jiminy Cricket, that I need to listen to, but somewhere, somewhow, I think God is trying to teach me about “HOPE!”.

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