Friday, December 14, 2012

Quick Takes, including the Benedict prophecy

This Quick Takes was published before the horrific Connecticut shootings. JoAnna's post speaks to the evil that we cannot fathom: The Question of Evil. Lord, have mercy.

1) All eight kids are home tonight (the oldest two back from college), and that means all ten of us are together under the same roof! I know it will start to feel crowded soon, but for now, it is heavenly, and I am so very grateful.

2) Here's something that never crossed my mind for the first 27 years of my Catholic life: Christmas literally means "Christ's Mass"! It's a feast of the Catholic Church, a holy day on her liturgical calendar.

It's also one of the only feasts of the Church that has been retained by Protestants (the other being Easter). I hope one day Christians will be reunited again, and that we will all celebrate the Christ's Mass at holy altars around the world, as the Lord intended.

3) Did you know that the Twelve Days of Christmas are not the twelve days prior to December 25? In fact, the Christmas season does not end on Christmas Day, that's when it begins! Catholic families should live out the true Christmas season (as opposed to confusing it with Advent), and here is a beautiful way to do just that. My dear friend, Rebecca Even, has worked lovingly for years to put together something special to celebrate those twelve days and reclaim the season:

A new take on a familiar song, and so much more for the family to enjoy!

4) I am so, so, so excited. Remember when I told you about the book that changed my life, because it introduced me to the three traditional stages of holiness? Well, I went forth on that path way back then, and made progress. However, it's been a full ten years since I briefly hit a height of prayer that allowed me to glimpse what the prayer masters (Teresa of Avila, John of the Cross) were talking about -- and through my own slothfulness I have failed to get back to that point on the path. Spiritually, I have been treading water for a decade.

But today I took concrete steps to forge ahead again, in a disciplined program of prayer ("Plan of Life", through the Society of Our Lady of the Most Holy Trinity) that bore great fruit for me all those years ago. I will be sure to share my insights as I go along this time.

God is so good, as it took the profound sorrow of Obama's reelection to hammer home the fact that the only answer to the darkness of our times is growth in holiness. We are all (yes, all) called to be saints. Whether we like it or not, we were made for this age. It's time for us to get crackin'!

5) This breathtaking prediction needs no commentary from me:

“The church will become small and will have to start afresh more or less from the beginning.

She will no longer be able to inhabit many of the edifices she built in prosperity. As the number of her adherents diminishes ... she will lose many of her social privileges…. As a small society, [the Church] will make much bigger demands on the initiative of her individual members….

It will be hard-going for the Church, for the process of crystallization and clarification will cost her much valuable energy. It will make her poor and cause her to become the Church of the meek…. The process will be long and wearisome as was the road from the false progressivism on the eve of the French Revolution — when a bishop might be thought smart if he made fun of dogmas and even insinuated that the existence of God was by no means certain…. But when the trial of this sifting is past, a great power will flow from a more spiritualized and simplified Church. Men in a totally planned world will find themselves unspeakably lonely. If they have completely lost sight of God, they will feel the whole horror of their poverty. Then they will discover the little flock of believers as something wholly new. They will discover it as a hope that is meant for them, an answer for which they have always been searching in secret.

And so it seems certain to me that the Church is facing very hard times. The real crisis has scarcely begun. We will have to count on terrific upheavals. But I am equally certain about what will remain at the end: not the Church of the political cult, which is dead already, but the Church of faith. She may well no longer be the dominant social power to the extent that she was until recently; but she will enjoy a fresh blossoming and be seen as man’s home, where he will find life and hope beyond death.”

-- Joseph Ratzinger (Benedict XVI), from his book Faith and the Future

(Pope Benedict has started to tweet! Follow him, here!)

6) God speaks to us through Truth, Goodness, and Beauty. An ode to Beauty:

San Chapelle Cathedral, Paris
Ahhhh……balm for the soul!

7)  Sweet, beautiful Lilly!

She has been waiting for so long, and yet she doesn't have time to wait. This precious five-year-old has a heart defect that needs surgical correction. The sooner Mama is found, the sooner she will get the medical attention she so desperately needs.

Click my photo for more info! Single moms and Canadian families welcome!

The good news is, Lilly has over $10,000 in her adoption grant just waiting to be used to bring her home. More good news? She is sweet and calm, and full of affection.

Is she your daughter? And if she is not your daughter, will you share her face and name with your family and friends? You may very well be the instrument that connects her to her family!


Also, many thanks to everyone who has done their online Christmas shopping through the Amazon link on this blog! I have earned over $140 in commission this month so far, and 100% of what I earn goes to the RR orphans and families. You guys are amazing! Group hug!! Keep those orders coming!

Thanks to Jen for hosting, and although I missed the streaming of the first episode of her reality show, it can now be seen for a short time on YouTube, and right here!

I'll be back next Friday, as I'm doing only Quick Takes during Advent.



  1. #2: It depends on the Protestants. I'm part of the liturgical end of the spectrum so we love Lent, Holy Week, Pentecost, Trinity Sunday (for us, the Sunday after Pentecost), Christ the King Sunday, and we have Advent services either mid-week or on Sunday. Some of the more high-church Lutherans even observe Assumption, though they transfer it to the nearest Sunday.

    1. It's always good to hear when Church feasts are retained!

      I just saw this, in my own Arizona, which was nice to see:

      I think as the world becomes more secular, folks will come running back to the Rock.

  2. Ditto Ann-Marie. I feel weak in the face of that future. How can we prepare children for a future of persecution?

  3. #2 - in German the term for Christmas is Weihnachten, which literally means hallowed, holy, or consecrated night. We also almost never think of its real meaning. Christmas Eve is in fact more important for many believers here than Dec. 25 - this is when the Christmas tree is lit in the evening, gifts are given, the Christmas story read, a festive meal shared, and most importantly - midnight Mass is attended (young children usually go to a special Mass in the afternoon). The 25th is more of a family day for the extended family, with a big meal. Mass is often not attended on the 25th, but then on the 26th again.

    #5 and #6: I'm with the Holy Father on this one (well, truth be told, I always am because not only is he the Holy Father, but he speaks sense! And one of the smartest guys alive, too!), and read one after the other it means that the beauty of the chapel, and other works of and for the Church, will be lost/destroyed. There are churches in Europe which have been transformed into night clubs, others into homes. This is something Muslims will never allow with their mosques. Once a mosque, always a mosque.

  4. Here's the schedule of Minor Revisions; it looks like the first episode will be aired several times in the next few weeks so you should be able to catch it sometime soon! It was fabulous and you will LOVE it, Leila :)

  5. I'm excited for the 12 Days of Christmas this year! I'm thinking about doing a small surprise or activity on each of the 12 days with the kids. The anticipation through Advent is so wonderfully exciting that it's so easy to feel a let down after the 25th. I have made it my goal to keep my kiddos excited about the Christmas season all the way to Epiphany! :)

  6. That picture of the cathedral is breath-taking!! I was in Paris--how could I have missed this church??

    Yes, let us know how to watch Jen's show because I missed it too!

  7. You can watch Jen's show when it reairs on

    Schedule: (e = eastern time, c = central time)

    Saturday, December 15th - 3 PM e/2 PM c - episode 1
    Saturday, December 15th - 10 PM e/9 PM c - episode 1
    Monday, December 17th - 10 AM e/9 AM c - episode 1
    Thursday, December 20th - 8 PM e/7 PM c - episode 2
    Thursday, December 20th - 9 PM e/8 PM c - episode 1
    Saturday, December 22nd - 3 PM e/2 PM c - episode 2
    Sunday, December 23rd - 7 PM e/6 PM c - episode 2
    Monday, December 24th - 10 AM e/9 AM c - episode 2
    Thursday, December 27th - 8 PM e/7 PM c - episode 2
    Thursday, December 27th - 9 PM e/8 PM c - episode 1
    Saturday, December 29th - 3 PM e/2 PM c - episode 2
    Thursday, January 10th - 8 PM e/7 PM c - episode 3

  8. First episode now on YouTube!

  9. 1) Enjoy!
    2) It wasn't until a few years ago that I realized that the "Ave Maria" was the "Hail Mary" in Latin. Seriously.
    5) I've read that quote by Pope Benedict before. I totally agree that we have much, much more to lose before things improve.
    6) Isn't it wonderful when a Catholic Church/cathedral/chapel actually reflects its Catholic identity in its physical exterior and interior? [Of course in the Mass, too. ;-)] My parish church is so blah. A good friend pegged it perfectly when she said it looked like a Protestant church.

    Re: Payson, AZ. Wonderful news! Payson is already blessed with the pastor of St. Philip the Apostle, assuming it's the same pastor who was there when I attended Mass at St. Philip several months ago. I knew he was a solid priest when, during the general intercessions, he asked prayers for priests to preach always the Word of God, no matter what the cost. I have no doubt he meant all costs up to and including the loss of one's life.

  10. Oh my that quite is frightening but it is high time for a serious wake up call among the faithful. Time to begin sifting out the weeds and pulling together for better or worse.

  11. The twelve days of Christmas are the twelve days between Christmas Day, Dec. 25th, the birth of Jesus, and the Epiphany, Jan. 6th, the day Christians celebrate the arrival of the Magi (Wise Men) and the revelation of Christ as the light of the world.

    The Christmas song, "The Twelve Days of Christmas" may sound silly and contrived to many of us, but tradition has it that it actually had its origins in religious symbolism - and with a serious purpose.

    It dates from a time of religious persecution and was written as a kind of secret catechism that Christians could sing in public without fear of arrest - a learning or memory aid to Christians in fact.

    The song can be taken at two levels of interpretation - the surface meaning, or the hidden meaning known only to the Christians involved. Each element is a code word for a religious truth.

    1. The partridge in a pear tree is Jesus.
    2. The two turtledoves are the Old and New Testaments.
    3. Three French hens stand for faith, hope and love.
    4. The four calling birds are the four Gospels.
    5. The five gold rings recall the Hebrew Torah (Law), or the Pentateuch, the first five books of the Old Testament.
    6. The six geese a-laying stand for the six days of creation.
    7. The seven swans a-swimming represent the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit.
    8. The eight maids a-milking are the eight Beatitudes.
    9. Nine ladies dancing are the nine fruits of the Holy Spirit.
    10. The ten lords a-leaping are the Ten Commandments.
    11. Eleven pipers piping represent the eleven faithful Apostles.
    12. Twelve drummers drumming symbolize the twelve points of doctrine in the Apostles Creed.

    If you think Jesus being symbolized as a partridge in a pear tree sounds blasphemous, remember:

    "Jerusalem! Jerusalem! How often would I have sheltered thee under my wings, as a hen does her chicks, but thou wouldst not have it so." (Luke 13:34 and Matthew 23:34)

    The "true love" in the song refers to God Himself.

    The "me" receiving the gifts is every Christian.

  12. "Christ's Mass"! That's awesome :) And the Cathedral.. absolutely amazing. I was an Art major and had three semesters of art history and we went over so many amazing churches and cathedrals. Would love to see some of those in person!

    When did Pope Benedict say that quote?


  13. Wow, the Pope's quote makes one's heart sink. I just read a book recently that talked exactly about the three stages of holiness and the Plan of Life, it is called Navigating the Interior Life by Dan Burke, The book is about Spiritual Direction and how to find one, etc. and about the Plan of Life. I usually recommend Fr. Dubay's books but this one is really good and fills a niche. You might also like a simple book called Wrapped Up: God's Ten Gifts for Women, which I also recently read (you can tell my hobby!) and liked and it talks about some of the gifts God has for us if we only accept them.

    I can't wait to watch Jen Fulweiler's show. I wasn't home when it was on. People crashed the servers trying to watch it at the station so the station put it on YouTube for a limited time and I need to sit and watch it. God Bless & Merry Christmas.


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