Sunday, November 30, 2008

Advent thoughts: Purgatory

I'm not sure why, as Advent begins, I'm thinking so much about Purgatory, but here I am. Purgatory.

We tend to think of Purgatory as a place of punishment, where the "payment" of our sins is exacted. You know - the analogy of the kid breaking the window: the vandalism is forgiven, there is no prosecution of criminal charges, but the kid still has to make restitution.

I'm not satisfied with that analogy. Never have been. I always dismissed my discomfort as being remnants of Protestant theology - that Christ not only forgave the debt, he marked it "Paid in Full" with his sacrifice on Calvary.

Besides, as I have been thinking in recent days, it's Purgatory - whose root is "Purge" - which means not to punish, but to clean! You've eaten something you ought not, you're prescribed a purgative - not for punishment but to clean the poison out of your system.

Purgatory does just that. After all, when we die, we don't cease being ourselves - with our loves, affections, habits, and attachments. We carry those things with us, because they are attributes of our heart.

Too many of those attachments are not proper to bring into the presence of God. Habits - of thought and behavior - that have held us in their grip while we live on this earth have to be purged from our hearts. Things we loved that are not consistent with Divine Love - they have to be released once and for all.

"For he is like a refiner's fire," goes the alto Aria in Handel's Messiah - from Malachi 3:2-3 - and the refiner's fire is the white-hot fire that burns the dross from fine metals, leaving only the pure metal behind.

That's what Purgatory does, it is the fire of God's love that burns out the residue and dirt from our earthly lives.

Some of us experience forms of purgation on earth: sickness, sorrows, losses that leave us somehow purer and closer to God than we were before. We think in terms of hell when we suffer - "He's been to hell and back," I've heard it said of people who've been through intense sufferings - but in fact this is part of the great Purgation that scours us down to the fundamentals.

That is not to say that the process is completed on earth. For some, maybe, the saints - those people who love with such single-minded passion that all else fades into insignficance... Perhaps they get immediate admittance into Heaven. But I'm not ready, and I don't know of anyone who is - except maybe Mother Teresa of Calcutta, who served God by sheer dint of will when her emotional dimension was full of dark and her Lord felt far, far away.

But we can welcome these experiences as part of our preparation for meeting God face to face, in Heaven. This Advent, when we are focused, in the liturgical season, on preparing for His Coming, let us embrace the purgations we experience here below, and even embrace voluntary mortifications in order to hasten that process - of the sort we associate with Lent.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving to you all!

Does this mean I can start playing Chriatmas music now?

Actually, I've been singing Christmas music for weeks! - Chorale prep, you know.

Last night was the first performance of Handel's Messiah with the Carolina Ballet. First time I've done it with them, but this is a long-standing tradition with the Master Chorale.

I have to admit, the thought of a major religious oratorio like Messiah being choreographed to ballet seemed a bit like sacrilege, but I was so very impressed. The dance moves, the costuming - everything was well-integrated into the textual elements of the work. The ballet is appropriate, compatible, joyful and reverent, from the first prophetic arias (our tenor and bass actually perform those arias of Part One on stage with the dancers!) to the final glorious "Amen!" where the Messiah Ascends into Heaven (with the help of a cable).

We're in the orchestra pit, so we had to be broken up into mini-choirs for the weekend. I'm back on tap for Saturday's matinee, and I'm really looking forward to it!

Meantime - y'all enjoy the turkey, and don't forget to really thank God for all His blessings and provisions to you and yours.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Yeah, I'll join in!

After checking with several friends with military connections and specialties in Middle Eastern "stuff" -
I hereby join the group of bloggers celebrating this as Victory in Iraq Day - No sense in letting BHO take credit for something that W has won through diligence, hard work, determination and just plain clean vision. Damn the liberals who have made it tough for our Nation to fight this war - and win it! May they be consigned to a place in Punishment of having to watch never-ending replays of the incidents of 9/11, the beheading of American soldiers and reporters, and all the other evidence of why we HAD to be in Iraq.

May God protect our troops and keep them safe - and allow them to complete the ENTIRE mission - because it's been publicized, no thanks to our mainstream media, that as soon as we pull out, Al Quaeda is going back in with a vengeance.

Praying for the safety of our troops -
Saint Michael the Archangel,
defend us in battle.
Be our protection against the wickedness and snares of the devil.
May God rebuke him, we humbly pray;
and do Thou, O Prince of the Heavenly Host -
by the Divine Power of God -
cast into hell, satan and all the evil spirits,
who roam throughout the world seeking the ruin of souls.

Digital Conversion for your Television Service

Oh, I so identify with this!
(Thanks to Bill for sending it to me!)

Friday, November 21, 2008

Lavender blue, dilly, dilly - etc.

you are lavender

Your dominant hue is blue, making you a good friend who people love and trust. You're good in social situations and want to fit in. Just be careful not to compromise who you are to make them happy.

Your saturation level is very low - you have better things to do than jump headfirst into every little project. You make sure your actions are going to really accomplish something before you start because you hate wasting energy making everyone else think you're working.

Your outlook on life is bright. You see good things in situations where others may not be able to, and it frustrates you to see them get down on everything.
the html color quiz

Laura, Warrior Princess - It's Official

A woman praying in solitude can do amazing things, but a woman praying as part of a deliberate army - much more.

Today I have been enrolled in St. Maximilian Kolbe's Militia Immaculata. I've just put myself on the front lines.

When I was contemplating becoming a Catholic, the single most difficult aspect was Marian theology. I'd heard that Catholics worshipped Mary, and although my head knew they did not, and understood the difference, a lot of behaviors by good Catholics sure felt like some kind of idolatry, and made me exceedingly uncomfortable.

It really makes a lot of sense, though, this business of Marian devotion. When Mary was greeted by the Angel, he addressed her by her title: "Full of Grace." It wasn't a courtesy - the angel was identifying Mary and her deepest, her innermost character. From her conception, she had been filled with God's grace in preparation of this immense privilege - of being the woman to give birth to the Messiah, to be the Ark of the New Covenant.

Jesus of Nazareth, the Second Person of the Holy Trinity, came to earth through a woman - and that woman's Fiat, her "Yes," is so integral and so far-reaching a part of God's plan of salvation that we lose a significant portion of it in ignoring it - and her.

He came to us through her, and to this day she is actively involved in bring us to Him. As the woman clothed with the sun (Rev. 12) is identified as Mary, whose firstborn is Jesus, we are her other children - hers by adoption, according to the language of St. Paul. She is our mother, and she assists in our spiritual re-birth, in our discipleship and our total journey toward Heaven. She intercedes for us even as she interceded on behalf of the poor couple in Cana, who had run out of wine at their wedding feast.

Her few recorded words serve as instruction ("Do whatever he tells you!") and example ("Be it done to me according to thy word") - and as inspiration (the great hymn of praise, the Magnificat, in Luke 1)

King Solomon, a type of Christ, placed his mother on a throne (I Kings 2:19). Mary sits on a throne, also, crowned with the glory her Son gives to her - and there she intercedes for us all.

As the woman clothed with the sun, Mary is not some frightened potential victim of the Devil - she is obedient to God in all things - and being the bearer of the one who will crush the head of the serpent, she is intimately engaged in the great battle which rages around us now. She - and her Son - will be victorious in the end, but there is no better example we can have of obedience to God, or help in attaining that obedience - or of fidelity or strength. She was with her Son from the time of the Angel's Visitation (see that painting in my heading, again) - until and through the birth of the Church. The only significant event she is not recorded being present for? - the Last Supper, when her Son instituted the Holy Eucharist and the Holy Priesthood.

If she is the handmaid of the Lord, then in being her handmaid, we do well in serving Him.

Must-see Blog View

Father Z has a great blog post I wish you all would take a look at - read it and watch the lovely video.

A graceful nod of the mantilla-clad head to Dove for the link.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

And now, for something completely different:

After all the political talk, I thought it might be time to interject something, well, more ladylike. This is a photo of a "Romantic" era dress, pattern provided by Sense and Sensibility Patterns. I think I'm going to have to learn how to sew - There is a jumper under the Romantic page, and a walking skirt under the Edwardian, and the tea dress under the Titanic page, that I could see being worn out and about even now, without one becoming conspicuous for doing so.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Is Obama an American Citizen? cont...

Alan Keyes is one of the Petitioners named in a legal action in California, asking that the California electoral vote not be submitted until Barack Hussein Obama has proven by presentation of a valid birth certificate that he is indeed eligible to hold office of President of the United States.

I could've voted for Alan Keyes, quite happily. A real Conservative and a far better role model for the black community than BHO.

Read the rest of article here

Friday, November 14, 2008

Merry Tossmass! - Yeah, I can do this!

Thanks, Ann, for the intro!

More from Charleston and Greenville -

From Msgr. Laughlin's statement:
CHARLESTON, S.C. (November 14, 2008) - This past week, the Catholic Church’s clear,
moral teaching on the evil of abortion has been pulled into the partisan political arena. The
recent comments of Father Jay Scott Newman, pastor of St. Mary’s Catholic Church in
Greenville, S.C., have diverted the focus from the Church’s clear position against abortion. As
Administrator of the Diocese of Charleston, let me state with clarity that Father Newman’s
statements do not adequately reflect the Catholic Church’s teachings. Any comments or
statements to the contrary are repudiated.

However, I do dispute Msgr. Laughlin's claim. I dispute it passionately!

Father Newman did not divert focus from the Church's position against abortion. Father Newman's statements do very clearly reflect the Catholic Church's teachings.

Father Newman reminded his parish that the Catholic Church steadfastly, and without equivocation, opposes abortion. He reminded his parish that support of abortion - by promoting it, recommending it, advising it, providing it, or otherwise condoning that practice - is grave matter.

He reminded his flock that voting for a pro-abortion candidate when a reasonable alternative exists is grave matter.

In a letter to his parishioners to be disbursed on Sunday, forwarded to me by a friend in the parish, he says his written commentary to the Greenville, SC, paper and Associated Press included this statement:

I cannot and will not refuse Holy Communion to anyone because of his
or her political opinions or choices, even as I continue to teach what
the Church teaches about the necessity of being in full, visible
communion with the Church before receiving the sacraments. Only those
who believe what the Catholic Church teaches and who seek to live
according to that teaching should even be interested in receiving the
sacraments of the Church, and on the question of the intrinsic and
grave evil of abortion, there is and can be no doubt about what the
Church teaches.

The AP turned that remark, and the observation that Barack Hussein Obama is the single most liberal pro-abort Senator and Presidential candidate in our history, into the headline "No Communion for Obama Supporters."

That twisting of the facts is a flagrant distortion of the priest's own words.

And the diocesan administrator has evidently not troubled himself to confer with Fr. Newman before issuing his statement - which has in the past hour been removed from his website and replaced with an embedded video, only.

Please continue to pray for Father Newman. He is being wrongly accused, vilified, and rebuked.

White Martyrdom begins

White martyrdom is persecution. It is happening, from what I see, to Father Newman of St. Mary's in Greenville, SC. Last Sunday, Father Newman distributed a letter which instructed his parishioners that - because voting for a pro-abort candidate was complicity with grave evil - anyone who voted for Obama should be sure to go to Confession before presenting themselves for Communion.

A veritable firestorm has broken out. The instructions of the former bishop of Charleston seem to support this decision - Bishop Baker signed an agreement between Charleston, Charlotte, and the Archdiocese of Atlanta to deny Communion to pro-abort politicians.

Sadly, the current diocesan administrator, Msgr. McLaughlin, appears not to have remembered that precedent; he has issued a statement in opposition to Father Newman, accusing him of partisan politics in violation of the Church's stance on engagement with political concerns.

Msgr. McLauglin will be hearing from me. Fr. Newman pointed out that, had the other party's platform included a strong support for FOCA (Freedom of Choice Act, which seeks to overturn the Bush ban on partial-birth abortion and the Born-Alive Infant Protection Act), he would have been just as outspoken about it, too. It is the pro-abort policy and promises made by the individual candidate - and the Church is very clear in her insistence that Life Issues are the most important concerns facing Christians in the voting booth.

Pray for Father Newman, won't you, please? A friend in Greenville tells me he received over a thousand emails in a 4-hour period, last night, and now that major networks have picked up the item, the heat will only increase. You can see from the comments on WRAL.COM webpage (I'm lauraleigh, in case it isn't obvious) that the general sentiment is not in favor of the good Father.

I left a phone message and sent an email this morning. I would post the parish website here, but it's down at the present.

More to follow -

and I don't mean just about Fr. Newman. When administrators within the Church turn on a faithful priest who has told his flock what they need to know for the sake of their immortal souls, you know that ordinary laypeople like you and me are at very high risk, within the church as well as in the world. We expect to be hated in the world; it's always a bitter shock to encounter hostility and contempt within the church.

Things are only going to get worse in the coming months.

Another of my heroes -

SC Priest, Father Jay Scott Newman, has stirred a lot of controversy among liberals for a letter he has sent out, warning his flock that those Catholics who voted for Obama are complicit in the grave sin of supporting abortion, and should go to Confession before presenting themselves for Holy Communion.

I don't know what Newman's bishop is saying about this, but I hope with all my heart that he is supporting Father Newman in this courageous stance for Truth.

Do, please, pray for Father Newman. And consider writing a letter or email of support and encouragement to him, won't you? I'm reluctant to place too much info here in my blog, but you can find it easily enough with a very short Google trail...

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

More and more -

- it feels as if my studies are not preparing me for a career, but for the identity of Warrior Princess. This is Basic Training - or maybe a somewhat more advanced course of study? for spiritual warfare.

I am so proud of the American Bishops for speaking out in opposition of Obama's reported intended liberalization of abortion policy. BHO has already demonstrated that he does not brook opposition; I think we are going to be in for it.

May God find us faithful.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Taking up the Armor of Christ

I am nearly 100% persuaded that I am to join the Knights of the Immaculata - the Militia Immaculata - begun in 1917 by St. Maximilian Kolbe.

For weeks now, I've had the phrase "warrior princess" pounding around my mind, my imagination.

I feel that we are on the brink of great turmoil and upheaval, that Christians will be very actively and deliberately persecuted - religious speech will be curtailed (from the now-deleted Agenda at

The battle is raging. Will you join, too?

Sunday, November 09, 2008

Look. If you don't daily check out - you ought to.

And more obscuring, still -

As of last night, the entire AGENDA section of has been deleted. Some of it had already been edited in the face of a lot of protest (compulsive volunteer service) but as more and more protests have arisen, evidently Obama's Chief of Website (a new cabinet post?) decided that it would be prudent to simply delete the agenda.

Doesn't mean the agenda is altered - just that now we can't see it in advance and prepare for it.

Friday, November 07, 2008

Civilians don't fight - Citizens do

And after taking a brief look at - I want to be known as a CITIZEN -

Plans made obscure

The language is impressive - but what does it mean?

"It means the Ministry is interfering at Hogwarts." Right. Starting with the curtailment of First Amendment Rights.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Zo - YES

Yes, it's from the ONION -

Obama Win Causes Obsessive Supporters To Realize How Empty Their Lives Are

THANKS! to SS for sending me this!

Jane Austen Heroine -

I am Anne Elliot!

Take the Quiz here!

Oh, such a relief! I also consider Anne Elliot one of my favorite literary heroines, ever!

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Election Day 2008

Elections are always a high-energy time, lots of nerves and expectations, but I don't remember seeing anything like this year's election, before.

I voted two weeks ago - and most of my friends have taken advantage of early voting, too.

One thing is certain: - If we win tonight, we can't just go back to sleep at the wheel again, as we did four years ago. If we want to save our Nation from destruction, we are going to have to apply a lot of deliberate, steady pressure to reverse the crazy swing to the left that our culture has been taking, unchallenged, for the past decade or more.

I'll write more about that later - right now I have to get ready to go volunteer at the GOP HQ.

Deliver us, O Lord, from every evil, and protect us from all anxiety. In your mercy, hear our prayer. Amen.

Monday, November 03, 2008

In the midst of all the political bru-ha-ha -

There really are some things more important. Six years ago today, I stood before a congregation of about 500 people, and declared myself:

"I believe all that the Roman Catholic Church teaches, preaches and proclaims to be revealed by God."

I joined in the recitation of the Nicene Creed - and I think my voice carried over everyone else's there, that morning.

On November 3, 2002, I was received into Christ's One, Holy, Catholic Apostolic Church.

Deo gratias!

Something to think about

When the time comes, as it surely will, when we face that awesome moment, the final judgment, I've often thought, as Fulton Sheen wrote, that it is a terrible moment of loneliness. You have no advocates, you are there alone standing before God -- and a terror will rip your soul like nothing you can imagine. But I really think that those in the pro-life movement will not be alone. I think there'll be a chorus of voices that have never been heard in this world but are heard beautifully and clearly in the next world -- and they will plead for everyone who has been in this movement. They will say to God, "Spare him, because he loved us" - and God will look at you and say not, "Did you succeed?" but "Did you try?"
~ Congressman Henry Hyde

With gratitude to Angie.

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Wizard of Washington

You don't have to be a conservative Republican to appreciate the skill and wit that went into creating this video. Enjoy!

Thanks to Steve for sharing - I have no idea where he got it!

More.... DAY BY DAY

you know where to find this, right? follow along at

Saturday, November 01, 2008