Spring 2016 Lenten Issue
At the Mayo, I lay in bed one day in particularly excruciating pain. My memory was after the first surgery but before they had found and acknowledged the perforated secum. The pain meds were not cutting it much at all, and I couldn’t pray. I couldn’t even use words in my head.
That’s when it happened. Eyes closed, with my hand barely pointing upward from my abdomen, I was suddenly touching something warm, round, and slimy, with a sharp-edged metal piece coming out of the top. I opened my eyes in my mind and it was the foot of Christ on the Cross. I couldn’t see the other foot, I was in such close proximity. I looked up and could not even see His knee, the bright blinding light from above was so intense, completely swallowing the entire room. I was almost instantaneously drawn into an inferno of pain, like fire all over my whole body, wracking, and boiling my skin. Later when I was remembering, I recalled that the most intensity was in my palms and feet.
St. Teresa of Avila, in her book, Interior Castles, humility was needed in all the chambers of our castle, our soul. We need to revisit it at every room. Self-examination of conscience and constant re-examiniation of conscience (true humility) are at the heart of all virtue. As St. Teresa said, Humility must always be doing its work like a bee making its honey in the hive:without humility all will be lost […]
I think of St. Paul, and after having had a particularly torturous scourging, was singing praises to God even after midnight in the jail, chained heavily (against his wounds in dirt and skin agitation), when the walls shook and the chains fell off everyone. He stopped the guard from killing himself, and was “cleaned up” at the guard’s house before baptizing him, showing he was quite a mess. Wow, singing praises in this situation, not knowing his fate too.
This is my new motto for 2016, from my niece, Bernadette Rodgers, “Make my sacrifice perfect.” It goes hand in hand with the Old Testament reading today (Feb. 4), of advice from King David on his deathbed to his son, Solomon: “Take courage and be a man.” Fr. Schalk shared at the Christ the King Women's Retreat mass how we women are to play that role of Mary - to help men be real men, or man-up. She nudged Christ to perform His first public miracle at Cana, and to the burly stone jar carriers (that held 20-30 gallons of water) to be ready and "Do whatever He tells you."
I hope to no longer be a whining, complaining gal this year, but to be a grown woman in the Lord, ready to act and do His most perfect Will as best as I can, no matter how difficult. Like a Dominican at St. Thomas, my New Year's Resolution is to let God be God and do exactly what He is going to do anyways before I start complaining. And to try to do it with praise, joy, and peace in my heart, in love and in admiration for Him. Nothing in this life is more difficult than His suffering on the cross.
Why is this taking so long - both for this city to have a bona fide Catholic Worker community and for the Canonization (and recognition) of Dorothy Day (and hopefully Peter Maurin)? The answer seemed to come to me through St. Thomas Aquinas, and Fr. Blau, at St. Pat's. St. Thomas pondered why in the world God took so long to come to earth, when he noticed the genealogy of generations before Christ (during Advent readings).
Aquinas came up with three reasons for the delay. First, God wanted to teach His statues, to write His law on their hearts (you know how Christ didn't want everyone blabbing about the miracles for everyone to come running for the show and not for the message and teaching). 2. He wanted to purify His people through long-suffering, endurance, perseverance, etc, and 3. He wanted to herald many times through prophets because it was such a BIG deal. They would know He was from God (and is God). Who better finally than St. John the Baptist to do this through?
On that note, I thought, first, God wants to teach people about the Catholic Worker - and people have been given a lot of misinformation. It is so beautiful, so pure, so modeled after the Early Church! Second, He wants to purify the Catholic Workers, myself included, back to the original charism, mission, holiness, and living out, of Dorothy Day and Peter Maruin's vision. This is just as St. Francis and St. Dominic had to call back into focus what it means to be Catholic during their era; moreoever, St. Teresa of Avila and St. John of the Cross had to call Carmelites back to their original beauty and holiness.
Finally, God seems to want to herald this ahead of time for it to truly flower even more in this country, and definitely in this diocese. FOUR popes praised Dorothy Day from Paul VI who invited her to the Vatican for a special visit and blessing, to Pope John Paul II who opened her cause for canonization, to Pope Benedict XVI Emeritus who spoke of her two different times of day in his final day as pope; and now His beloved servant, Pope Francis in his speech to Congress (when he mentioned her name four times). So to teach, to purify, and to herald Catholic Worker, according to His most perfect Will, timing, and plans. God's Will be done, nothing more and nothing less.
1. Most splendid and resplendent Light, O Brilliance overwhelming night, You bring to light all things concealed; In You is all the world revealed.
GOING INTO THE DESERT WITH CHRIST THIS LENT
If you cannot get away to a deserted place and rest with the Lord, "cultivate silence" as Fr. Schalk always says. Try to read an entire Gospel each Lent, to truly truly enter into Christ's spirit, Christ's way and manner, His opinions, teachings and even commandments. He is the Word Made Flesh. It is Him you embrace when you embrace His Word wholeheartedly.
My Grandma Naomi always taught my father from a young boy to be certain to live this, if you live anything in the Bible: "The 10 Commandments and the Red Print." In her Bible, Christ's words were in red print, when His love ran red. Having been raised Methodist, she knew the words of Christ like the back of her hand, long before Catholics were encouraged to read them on their own and know them.
In the spirit of Lectio Divina, a deeper way of delving into the New Testament is to read the Gospel each day slowly three times. Let it, let Him, seep deeply into your soul.
|The Vatican Holy Door (left) at St. Joseph's Cathedral, the|
other is an outer door there symbolizing the doors we
must go through to get to the Holy Door, like the chambers
of our soul in St. Teresa of Avila's Interior Castles
I happened to go on an amazing retreat a couple of weeks ago put on my Christ The King, involving about 50 women. It was entitled "Forgiveness." In this Holy Jubilee Year of Mercy there comes a time that to receive this amazing mercy from God, you have to know your sins, confess your sins (in a thorough confession), and promise to sin no more, and to FORGIVE OTHERS, extending to others this theme of mercy as well.
One cannot receive mercy unless one knows one's sins, admits to them, and makes a conscious effort to "Go and sin no more," as Christ beckoned the woman caught in adultery. One also cannot expect forgiveness if he or she does not forgive others.
Here are the ones ("sins") I came up with, similar to the ones on the CK retreat. They had been cut into individual strips, folded over and stapled so that we could not read them ahead, prayed over, blessed with holy water, and put at the tabernacle table for us to come up and be lead to the one that was meant for us. Just see which ones jump out at you on the list, you'll know where you are being prompted by the Holy Spirit.
The forgiveness stretches to yourself as well. We can sometimes be the most hard on ourselves and our own mistakes. While humility is a very good thing, beating oneself up over things can be harmful to our soul. Sorting through our lives, our priorities, our sin to conquer is difficult and confusing alone, so if you have never had spiritual direction from a priest, this is the year! This would be a sit down appointment kind of like a confession. Typically a priest wants to know the whole story of your life, summarized, to begin being your spiritual director. He will help you toward forgiveness, of others and of yourself - and to receive mercy and direction. Don't wait.
|Holy Door Poster at the Cathedral|
Pope Francis asks bishops to deem a
Vatican Holy Door in each Diocese
Hold. Your. Tongue. A forest fire is begun by one spark of the tongue, as Jesus said.
St. Maria Goretti, brutally stabbed to death at 12 by a young worker on the farm who was attempting to take advantage of her, chose, before her death two days later, to forgive him. He had no remorse until she came to him later in a dream and handed him 14 day-lillies, one for each of the stab wounds. Though the rest of her siblings had to be put in an orphanage, the mother also forgave him. After serving nearly a lifetime in prison, he came out and served a small role in a religious order. If she can forgive the man who brutally killed her, a child, and her mother forgive him, than you can forgive ANYTHING.
|Prayer Spot Wall Reflection|
Sacred Heart Convocation Oct. 31, 2015, St. Catharine's
Happenings of the Lamb:
|Martin Luther King III and I at the MLK Memorial Awards|
Dinner, January, 2016, Columbus, Ohio
(Great pacifist like his father!)
|Fr. Brune and I at our Oblate Epiphany party. If|
you had candy in your cake, you became
a "king" and helped pass out presents.
Interesting how history may be made in the regular activity of going to a normal teacher event, a MLK dinner put on by our union, and by chance meeting MLK III who may help spurn on this canonization. Great things can be underway in normal everyday circumstances, as Fr. Blau pointed out during Advent - how God Himself came into the world in such an unimpressive way as a little poor baby. God's big movements are in the ordinary; some small gesture or normal natural event can be God's grandest movement.
Funny also how I may end up being the miracle needed to canonize both Dorothy and Peter since I relied heavily on their intercession through all of this. Nearly or all of those undergoing this risky and dangerous live liver donor surgery - and require a second emergency surgery - usually die, according to the research of those at the Transplant House. Part of the reason is that the large right lobe of my liver donated to my relative was sliced from top to bottom, an open-face thin section of it, to grow it back. I had thought it had to be cut off at the base, or blood vessels, like a bush trunk. My relative was given the giant piece, open-faced as well, to grow another large right lobe, to have enough to live on (he is much taller than I am).
The risk of infection is high without complications, being that bile is produced in the liver, with its own drainage system, and things get mixed that should not be. I gave him half my bile ducts as well. If bacteria, etc, and infection do get into the blood stream, more often than not it is fatal. The difficulty though is finding stats on this rare surgery, since they do not need to report as with other medical items. There is a 1 in 200 to 1 in 300 chance of dying for the donor always, according to the program at the Mayo, in cases with no surgical complications.
--- I want to thank everyone for all the prayers that helped pull Nick and I through this summer and fall! We could not have without you! Special thanks to my caregiver at the Mayo, Abbie Evans. Words cannot describe how amazing and constant her love, kindness, and muscle work was at the hospital! Especially the big lift to get me out of bed, not splitting open my extensive (11 in.) abdominal stitches when I was massively swollen. It was grueling for her and there is a special place in heaven for her! She worked off all her Purgatory time! Also a deep heartfelt thanks goes to my dear sister, Lisa, who went through quite a lot between her son and her sister at the Mayo and after!
--- I have put together a Lamb Catholic Worker Library of many Catholic Worker, social justice, and peace books, with many also about the lives of the saints, richly Catholic ones, and deeply spiritual books for the borrowing. If you would like to donate any, please do! Thanks Egle Weiland!
--- Yes, we are still in need of workers, money, properties, and the like. Good news, my basement is ready to take in a homeless family as soon as I find a wonderful worker in the field. Beg the Harvestmaster for more workers, as Christ said.
--- I am in my final few months of my novitiate to become a Third Order Benedictine (Benedictine Oblate) in April out of the St. Meinrad Archabbey in Indiana. Dorothy Day was a Benedictine Oblate, and many Benedictine monasteries and abbeys of monks are praying for her canonization.
|Clare Schaefer-Duffy, a life-long Catholic Worker who,|
with her husbnad, Scott, raised four children in their CW
survives a massive limb falling on her small car with her in it!
The split gigantic limb fell around her body, not hurting her.
Take up thy cross, the Savior said,
If thou wouldst my disciple be;
Deny thyself, the world forsake,
And humbly follow after me.
Take up thy cross, let not its weight
Fill thy weak spirit with alarm;
His strength will bear thy spirit up,
And brace thy heart and nerve thine arm.
To Thee, great Lord, the One in Three,
All praise for evermore ascend;
O grant us in our home to see
the heav'nly life that knows no end. Amen
From the Liturgy of the Hours for Benedictine Oblates, St. Meinrad Archabbey, P. 184