Friday, 30 November 2007

Thank you to Marie and Ginny of View from the Pews who are passing this award around to Christian bloggers who think the fact that 'God [is] With Us' is a bit more important than maxing out the credit cards.

Emmanuel Award
"God With Us"
In a consumer society it is a blessing to read blogs where the writer's main focus is God. Where they express their love for their faith so visibly and joyfully.In a cynical world it is refreshing to see so many blogs which are generous, giving, who care about others and demonstrate what being a Christian is about, loving God and loving our neighbor.
Through their faith, lives and spirituality, they bring God to us, they in essence make God visible, 'God with us.'
This Award goes to all the faith filled blogs who make evident 'Emmanuel'- God with us, with Joy in their hearts.
Please share this Award with Christian blogs that focus on the real meaning of Christmas, the birth of our Savior.
Peace, JOY & Merry Christmas
Marie & Ginny

I would like to pass this on to

Autumn Rose

Ebeth as she climbs those pillars and I recommend THIS post by her

Therese at her Aussie Coffee Shop has it already...

Totus Tuus family

Rita at Tigerish Waters

There are LOADS of others who could and I am sure will receive this award, and that is a heart warming thought. There are many people out there who want Christ to be the centre of their Christmas-and so He will be

Wednesday, 28 November 2007

Watching someone go to heaven

November is drawing to a close and we'll put away the memorial book. All month the book has stood on a special stand in front of the altar at church to remind us to pray for all those of our parish who have died.

My children lit a candle for their grandmother a couple of weeks ago. There are many others they could have lit the candle for but I am sure God is taking care of them all.

Over the years as a nurse I took care of few people as they approached death.

HERE is a priest's story of a lovely death. It seems that he just knew she was going to die that day and went to see her. I like to think God can get around the problems we have here in the UK where chaplains are no longer informed of Catholic's in hospital or homes who need the Sacraments.
The story Father told here implies that this lady went straight to heaven. He spoke of her holiness and of her committment to doing the will of God. She had fought the good fight it seems so this is not a case of what my sister calls a 'get-into-heaven-free' card.
How wonderful to hear a story of someone so ready to go home-and so filled with joy as she took her last breath.

Friday, 23 November 2007

Why did God do that?

My 16yr old has a Wii. He has just bought the game "Endless Ocean".

I have to say it's a rather beautiful game. He is the diver and swims around meeting all kinds of marine creatures, learning about them. Even the music is good-which has surprised me. Good ol'Nintendo.

Now most of the creatures are beautiful and graceful and we watch them to the fine music of a Sanctus or Amazing Grace-but some of them are just...well, butt ugly! It's not just the angler fish, which is just funny to look at there's the Goblin shark;

Why did God do that?

He also made a fish called an Asian Sheephead Wrasse-which has a rather uncanny resemblance to Gordan Brown (we have named the one in the game Gordan in his...erm...honour).

It seems to me that the fish in the light where the fingers of God stream through from above are all pretty and colourful, dancing among the coral and rocks, but the deeper and darker it gets the uglier and scarier the fishies look. Is this meaningful in some way?

Is God trying to tell us the longer we spend in the dark, the uglier and scarier we get?

Just wondering...

Thursday, 22 November 2007

For the children

Amanda has emailed me twice now and I'm only just catching up.


Pro-Life Rally

Saturday November 24th


The John Radclife hospital, outside St Anthony of Padua Church

Those of us who can't be there will add our prayers to theirs.

She has also sent me THIS LINK about the awful plight of disabled children in Bulgaria.
Please check out the link and sign the petition to ask the PM to bring with up with the Bulgarian Govt.
Ideally I would like to see adoption opportunities set up so families from Bulgaria and other countries such as the UK can offer proper homes to these children.
Anyway we pray and hope.

Sunday, 18 November 2007

Honourable Fatherhood

I've been listening to MP3 downloads from Catholic Radio about the role of father's in the home and the general state and view of fatherhood as a whole in Western culture. Steve Wood does a lot of programmes about fatherhood-very good stuff.
There are three rules
Put God first
Then your family(wife and children)
then anything else.
He points out that many men get things in the wrong order and put work or their own needs first. The programmes help to give father's a focus and reminder of their role which has been so undermined by feminism and the selfish culture of today.
So many children grow up without a father at all, or with one of those detached father's who comes home for dinner, but hardly interacts with his children. How many times do I hear on Dr Ray Guarendi's phone in programme that dad leaves all the discipline to mum?
It is interesting that most mums, chatting together or phoning programmes are only too happy to submit to their husbands as per Eph 5 as he takes on the role of priest and father of the family. A father who leads as head of his family is a father who brings his children nearer to God the Father. Isn't that wonderful?
But what about those who have been so abused they cannot 'honour father and mother'?
Sr Mary Martha in her blog once said there is a special place in puratory for parents who don't do their job properly-and I do not doubt there is a certain place in hell too.
Charlotte Mason insists that a mother (and I am sure she means father's too) must give what she calls a "thinking love" to their children. We need to think about the love we give and how we give it. Discipline and routine for our children comes from us-the parents. If our children behave badly, become bad people even-isn't at least some that down to us?
I'm rambling sorry. It's just I seem to be coming across so many poorly parented people these days; sad, lonely and desperately selfish in their brokeness.
A friend of mine talked about the children she has fostered today and it brought back memories of my own work with children in the mental health system.
I will never understand parents who will not love their children, or who are so lacking in thinking love that they collude with and enable bad behaviour.
A father is given the beautiful task and all the graces he needs to help his bride, the mother of his children bring up their treasures for heaven.
God have mercy on those who wont.

Tuesday, 13 November 2007

The importance of family

MY children got out a couple of DVDs to watch, Flushed Away and 'The Pursuit of Happyness'. We watched the latter film over the last couple of nights. It is based on the true story of Chris Gardener and his son. Dad is doing his utmost to keep his family together and take proper care of his son, but their dreadful financial situation leaves them on the streets. They have to sleep rough until they are rescued by Rev Cecil Williams (who plays himself in the film). He runs a Church and a shelter. According to Mr Gardener that church serves a million meals a year to those who have nowhere else to go.
Gardener gets himself an internship-unpaid- at a stock brokers and works his socks off, eventually gaining that happiness for himself and his son.
When the film came out the media here in the UK - like the BBC were quick to call it a 'rags to riches' film. It isn't. It is a film about one man's utter commitment to his son. He spends a lot of the time running-always trying to fit everything in around his son. His son's needs are paramount.
But one of the things that struck me more than once as we watched this film was just how alone Mr Gardener was. He appeared to have no friends and no family willing to step up to the plate when things became so so difficult for him and his 5yr old. Where were they?
His wife leaves.
He never knew his own father and the film gives the impression he has no mother to speak of either although the real Mr Gardener speaks well of her. She apparently tells him "You can only rely on yourself." A sad and lonely sentiment and yet very true for so many people.
He is determined to do for his son and be for his son, what his own father had not been to him.
Family is important. Parents have a duty to their children for the whole of their lives, offering love and support. Children have a duty to their parents and to their siblings.
As Christmas approaches I think 'family' is on my mind more and I wonder what it is that makes some people so unwilling to give of themselves, to share within their families. My sister has phoned me recently struggling with her bitterness I think as she meets grandparents who are so proud of their children and grandchildren-who babysit and help out.
Chris Gardener worked hard and he has made a life for himself and his children. I hope that life includes taking good care of each other.

Saturday, 10 November 2007

Family war stories

Like most families we have stories about the wars handed down to us. My grandfather lost his arm in WW1 thanks to a canon wheel. He learned to swim, play snooker and do all sorts of things with only one arm. He died before I was born. My gran and her sister my great aunt lived together in a little bungalow and we would take my aunt to Mass each week-but gran would never come.
She had stopped going after the war. I am not sure whether it was after the first or second world war, but she despised war and blamed the Church for supporting it. Her only brother died on the last day of the WW 1 -shot somewhere in the trenches in France only a few days after his 16th birthday.

It was not legal for a 15 yr old boy to be out at the front of course-but by the end of the war there were few men left and lads were allowed to sign on without much in the way of background checks being done. Jack's death stayed with my aunts and gran for the rest of their lives.

My aunt Eileen had been a priest's housekeeper for many years and had been engaged. Her fiance was killed.

In WW2 my uncle was in the engineering corps and was among those who entered-I think it was Belson-at the end of the war and had the task of burying the piles and piles of bodies the Nazi's left. He never talked about it so I don't know the details.

Now we know those who have served in Iraq.

Tomorrow-we remember and pray

Monday, 5 November 2007

Guy Fawkes-not yet forgotten

When I was a child we remembered the 5th Nov as ‘Guy Fawkes Night’ and we had a fairly good idea of the story behind the bonfires and fireworks. I was quite a bit older when I learned how much of the story had been embellished as anti-Catholic propaganda but that only added a little spice to the celebrations; we Catholic kids could support poor old guy.

Later it was referred to as ‘Bonfire Night’ and although there was the occasional effigy of Guy nothing much of the story was heard.

Now it is simply ‘fireworks night’ and little more than an extension of the noise and ‘party’ of Halloween. It isn’t even pagan. It’s simply meaningless, devoid of it’s historical content and merely a good way to get people to let off fireworks and shout a lot in the streets.

The story of what it is really all about is told by Jamie Bogle HERE.

As it happens my ancestors were involved, probably on the periphery of the plot. A rather famous family in Warwickshire had stayed Catholic despite the persecution and injustices meted out to them. My family were their bailiffs. They too remained Catholic, so I claim linage with one of the few recusant families in England. None of my family were executed over the plot, but they continued to suffer under the policies of the Stuart and then Hanover reigns. They paid the punitive ‘Catholic tax’, having to live like dhimi’s in the now protestant land.

After emancipation in 1829 my family built a new Catholic church to replace the one Henry VIII and his minions stole.

Sadly, they are gone-but the fact that these families held on to the faith throughout gives me hope as the new persecution gets under way.

Saturday, 3 November 2007

These are a few of my favourite saints...

We have a short litany of 'family saints' at the end of morning rosary. Each of the saints has a meaning and a special place in the heart for someone in the family-or they are very much admired.
There are others that we turn to for various reasons, who have been there through difficult times.

St Bridget or as she is really called Birgitta of Sweden is someone I love a great deal of course.
Also her daughter St Katrin of Verdana who is the patron saint for mums who have miscarried our babies.
St Francis of Assisi and his spiritual son St Padre Pio are close to my older boys and have a special place in my heart because of one of my miscarried babies.

St Joseph, a model of fatherhood.
St Thomas Aquinas for his love of God in the Tabernacle and his humble love of learning.
St Helen for her strength and perseverance.
St Teresa of Avila-who was a contemporary of St Bridget.
St Edith Stein,
St John Bosco.
St Josephine Bakhita
We love the saints of Lindesfarne and Iona, especially the rather obscure St Ronan of Iona who stood by St Wilfred at the Council of Whitby.

Many of the English Martyrs especially St Margaret Clitherow.

St Gerard Majella who helped me through my last pregnancy.

There are those not yet saints;
John Paul the Great,
Blessed Margaret of Costello- a fellow crip.
Ven Matt Talbott- as I have lost a dear friend to his alcoholism; he died aged 39. I have a close family member now in AA and she is doing well. I also have other friends in AA. In fact I think I know more people who suffer with alcoholism than any other illness.

Finally we love St Michael and each of us has a close relationship with our guardian angel.

There are many others I could mention-but I am so rushed at the moment; hopefully things will quiet down soon.

Thursday, 1 November 2007

Happy All Saints

Church was packed this morning. That's a good thing to see. We were relegated to foyer land as there was no room in church.
The school was there and Father reminded the children-most of whom do not attend Mass-that this was their home, a place they had a right to attend and no one should stop them. Good for him.

We had hardly any trick or treater's last night.
The children had made lanterns out of pumpkins-one of which was called George, my 4yr old said. The other two remained sadly nameless.

Now I know there are those who don't like pumpkin lanterns for All Hallows Eve, but we love the warm orange glow, and my 16yr old is quite artistic and can make pictures by takind off the skin and letting the light glow through the flesh.

We have begun our Nov prayers for our dead friends and family. We do so with the hope of God's mercy. It's good to be Catholic.

Not much time to blog at the moment. Helping the oldest to get the final bits done so he can go to EWTN in January. Very exciting-and a bit scary.
Must make cuppa for the Maths tutor...(yes we have a Maths tutor-I know my limitations LOL)