Laudetur Iesus Christus!
Nunc et in aeternum! Amen.
Memorial of Saint Elizabeth of Portugal (Independence Day)
Happy Independence Day to all my American readers (I have some regular international readers (including one from Vatican City … whoot whoot))! May we be truly grateful to the Lord for the freedoms we have that are ultimately His gift to each of us and all Americans. May we also be willing to defend our freedoms and liberties against all those persons and groups who wish to diminish them or take them away outright … including the government.
As I write this, I can see through my bedroom window the fireworks happening on the lakefront that the Grosse Pointe Yacht Club puts on every 4 July . Thank God the storms that came through (including some goodly-sized hail) earlier this evening have already past, ‘twould have been sad for these to have been cancelled.
The day went well. Went to Mass this morning. The celebrant had a nice homily in which he spoke about his experience growing up and living in Vietnam and how his family came over to America to have the freedoms that they lacked in their home country. He spoke of how the freedoms we have in America are not that common around the world. In fact, they are being infringed upon by governments who wish to quell those persons and groups who wish to stand up for their God-given liberties and their conscience rights. Obviously, he was not-so-subtly hinting at what is going on in the country now with the governments unholy crusade to take away our religious liberty and conscience rights. Just a hint.
I was standing at my place at the end of Mass when my pastor walks up to me and asks me to go over and help the ladies with the reception that was following Mass (church was packed!). The Mass that was offered this morning was a joint effort with my home parish and two other area parishes as parish of an AOD-wide pastoral plan that has been in the works for a long time.
’twas kinda nice being volun-told to do something for the parish again. I miss it. While I was pouring cups of leaded and unleaded (regular and decaf) coffee, a parishioner walked up to me and told me that they really appreciated my last post. It really made me smile because I am glad that God can use me as His lowly instrument to help them in one way or another. ’tis not I who do anything. ’tis all God’s providential love.
Post-Missam, we spent the rest of the day at my aunt and uncle’s house for a day of swimming and such. My reading for today included: Gone with the Wind, The Imitation of Christ, and The Age of Innocence. Two fictions and a spiritual classic. Not bad. Spent a good amount of time sunning in order to get some more color. My arms are getting a bit of gold to them … everything else is quite white even when I lay out in the sun.
Of course, though my epidermis is not getting much color, my hair is getting those wonderful blonde highlights that it gets during the summer. Just subtle blond highlights. I never have to get my hair highlighted because when God gave me my head full of really fine hair, He also added lots of dimension color-wise (it’s still flat and cowlicky … lol) that really pops during the summer. Sometimes I get these nice red undertones but blonde stands out nicely.
Today is the last day of the Fortnight for Freedom which has been going on since Saint Aloysius’ Day (21 June). It’s been put on by the USCCB to bring awareness to and pray for the protection of religious liberty.
Anywho, let’s cut to the chase …
As you read in my last post, I believe my vocation has been to a degree solidified: I am starting to believe that I am called to spiritual maternity as opposed to a “real” or biological maternity.
And that is something I have been contending with for a while. Heck, one of my college friends and I were joking how we were going to compete over whose kids were the most Catholic. She would say, “Well, Imma name them all after saints with cool names.”
I would say, “Well, Imma have them baptized in the Extraordinary Form!”
“I am going to teach them their Faith based on the Baltimore Catechism” (which is basically the Catechism of the Council of Trent).
“Pah, my kids will know their Latin prayers. The boys will be altar boys and the girls will be donning mantillas from birth!”
Then it would “downgrade” into whose flock of kids would have the most vocations. Of course we would look at it proportionally. Of course, we would both have a mess of kids if God wants it as such. I believe I uttered the phrase “hockey team” in the heat of the debate. lol
Well, even though that vocation is beautiful, I am starting to think that it is not where the Lord is calling me. Not that I am rushing things though I do have that tendency.
I feel that I am being called to be a spiritual mother of souls, especially priests and seminarians.
Of course, there is an added bonus aspect that I don’t think I have shared.
I’ll give the CliffNotes version (I might tell the whole story later on sometime):
In summer of 2005, I was a participant in the AOD’s World Youth Day Home Event (I was in high school). I spent most of the time with one of my friends with whom I went to high school (and college subsequently). She went with me to Adoration and Confession (have you ever made a priest mock-cry because you don’t go to Confession with him … I did … it was funny … poor sacerdote … I spared him and he didn’t even realize it). I accompanied her to the charismatic service they were having though I had never been to one before.
Well, standing in the room full of adults and youth, I decided I would participate but also observe what’s going on (kinda like when you go to your first TLM, you are participating but you are also observing closely what is going on to gain more familiarity) by means of keeping my eyes open.
We got to the point in the service where people were praying aloud and speaking in tongues (quite a change for a quiet reserved person like me).
One second, I am by myself and then the next I am surrounded by several people who are praying over me and speaking in tongues over me. Some have their hands on my shoulders, others on my head. This goes on for several minutes.
Then they go back to their seats.
The service ends.
Then a lady walks up to me and says something to the tune of, “I feel I must share what I saw with you.”
I was, of course, intrigued and asked her to please share.
She then says that she saw me leading young people to the Truth, standing up for it/Him, and not counting the cost.
Dang. That’s cool.
I ask her if she saw if I was wearing a habit. How very bold of me to think that God would give me that obvious a sign. Impetuous youth.
She said she could not tell but those other things were that of which she was sure.
I, as you can tell, have never forgotten that experience. It has stuck with me since.
Kinda explains why I love working with kids and teaching them about the Faith, eh?
So yeah, that’s connected to my vocation too but Imma focus on the the spiritual maternity here.
I want to focus on that because I had a long Facebook chat with a friend of mine a couple days ago. I was sharing with her my internal conflict about my vocation and things with which I have been struggling of late that have been a big ball of lemon-poppyseed angst muffin batter. Lemon poppyseed because I love lemon poppyseed. Angst muffins because they have been a source of non-emotive angst. The “muffin” part is an inside joke with college friends. We came up with a recipe.
She then tells me that maybe what I was/am going through was/is God’s way of pointing me in a particular direction. It wasn’t/isn’t going to be easy. And it was/is probably going to hurt.
Yeah, it’s really hurting. Hurting seems like too superficial a term but it’s with what I have to work. I think the right term is “heartrending” because there have been nights that I have begged my Infant of Prague to take it away from me and I have asked Him why I am feeling the way I am feeling. All of this has brought me to tears many nights.
I thank God everyday that I have persons with whom I can reveal my inmost self. If I didn’t, I would go loopy. Srsly.
I feel drawn to live as a spiritual mother of priests and seminarians because I have always had a great love for the priesthood. Our dear priests are just as human as everyone else but they have an indelible imprint on their souls that unites them in a profoundly unique way to Christ. Like I always say, “No priest, no Eucharist. No Eucharist, no Church.” The health of the Church is directly contingent on the health of her clergy on all levels. If even one priest falls, then the Church is wounded but not mortally. It ‘s the whole concept that as a Church, we are all members of one Body with Christ as the Head. Priests are special parts of the Body of Christ and so they need and deserve special care and love. That is why priests need mothers.
Priests also need spiritual mothers because they are especially targeted by the Devil and his minions. You think the Evil One is crafty with you and me? Ha! That’s nothing on his craftiness with priests! When the bishop lays his hands on the ordinand and thus makes him a Priest of Jesus Christ forever, he is a marked man. Yes, that whole “indelible mark” thing I brought up before but he is also a marked man in the eyes of the Evil One.
Why? Why does the Evil One hate with such totality the priest?
Because of what the Lord has given him the power to do.
Confect the sacraments (especially the Eucharist and Confession) and bring souls to Christ and His Truth.
Do you realize that whenever a priest says Mass, the Devil is scared out of his wits? Do you realize how much it pains him when the priest elevates the consecrated Host and the chalice filled with the Precious Blood? He screams in pain and agony.
Do you realize that whenever a priest absolves someone of their sins the Devil is filled with rage and horror? Do you realize that when a priest brings an erring soul back to God that the Devil’s ire for the priest is intensified?
Because it is through the work of the priest that the Evil One’s mission is made more difficult. Because through the work of the priest, the Evil One loses yet another battle in his doomed struggle against God and His goodness. Because through the work of the priest, he is reminded of his inability to change his path. He is reminded that his decision to reject God is eternal while man can fall and fall and yet return to God and ask for forgiveness.
Our priests need defending. I want to model my life after Our Lady. I want to cover our dear priests in my spiritual mantle, which is made after Our Lady’s mantle, and protect them and intercede for them to God. I want to support the erring or struggling priest. I want to ask for continued growth in zeal for priests on fire for Christ and His Church. I want to bolster priests whose hands are still wet with Sacred Chrism (a figure of speech I heard for priests who are newly ordained) and the priests who seem to be falling into a rut.
Our seminarians as well, I have some friends who are in varying levels of formation. The Evil One does not like them either.
Consider from where the terms “seminarian” and “seminary” come. Their etymology is rooted in Latin (seminarium) and its derived from a Middle English term meaning “seed bed” and “nursery.” There is a reason for that.
A seminary is the “nursery” in which vocations to the priesthood are fostered. And like any form of gardening, you have to take care of the environment in which these souls are planted to see that they are formed properly on all planes of being: spiritual, intellectual, physical, communal, pastoral, etc.
The Evil One is the entity who sneaks into the garden and lays down weed seeds among the fledgling plants in hopes of choking them out or corrupting them. He is the one who poisons the soil and thus adversely affects the plants growing therein because the poison is absorbed by them.
And he will do this in many ways: putting doubt in their hearts, distracting them with one or another thing, isolating the soul and putting them in despair, etc., etc..
Our seminarians are our future priests. If they are not formed well or if their vocations are not fostered, the Church’s future is put in peril because again: “No priest, no Eucharist. No Eucharist, no Church.”
Everything is connected in the Church. No individual is truly separated from the whole. That does not mean that they lose their identity but rather their identity is molded after that of Christ. The only way a person could be separated from the whole would be through deliberate separation and/or excommunication which in itself requires a volitional action contrary to the Church and the cause of grave manifest scandal in one way or another.
Being a fiery Sicilian, I am fiercely loyal to those persons for whom I care. Any of my close friends can attest to that. If anyone dare cross any of my friends, they deal with the fiery Italian. I may as well use that to help our dear priests and seminarians.
I want to help guard them against the Evil One and his minions. They are walking targets for them. I want to help Our Lady protect them and support them.
Spiritual motherhood seems like the proper avenue to do this.
Which, in turn, leads me to why I am seriously considering consecrated virginity since if I were to be consecrated, one of my duties would be to pray for the clergy of my home diocese (in my case, the Archdiocese of Detroit). That makes my heart smile because I have always wanted to be specifically called and commissioned to do that. I want to be a spouse of the Bridegroom, Christ Who is the High Priest from Whom all priests derive their authority and power. There is one Priesthood and one Priest. Our priests are participants in that one Priesthood by their ordination and in the execution of their office. It’s not the individual man doing the work, it is Christ, the High Priest, doing to good using the priest as His instrument.
All right, I would write more but I am getting sleepy from my day of swimming and such. Besides, I have to pray Vespers and Compline.
Happy Independence Day!