Sunday, June 22, 2008

Flow of consciousness

Hi Folks

Today I opened a fresh bottle of a new spice blend. I was transported back...about 17 years as I remember. Daughter #3 was a small baby.

One of the civilians my husband worked with was having a party and invited us. He was a pleasant fellow, and going out was a big treat for us, as a Private's salary was meager...and we had three children!

We arrived at the party to find that we knew no one. Well, I knew no one. My husband did know another guest, a young officer, who was there. Everyone else seemed to be college instructors or students.

To say that I felt like a fish out of water was putting it mildly. Because I had brought the baby, I was treated a bit like a leper. She was quiet, and even when she was awake, she was relatively immobile, so it was not going to pose a problem. Besides, I did not leave my babies at home! This was a group of people who did not have babies...or never did. I often felt like ALL I did was babies. Not exactly one of the 'beautiful people'.

After a while, one of the young students commented to me on how 'innocuous' the baby was. To this day I'm sure he meant "inconspicuous". I hope he did!

We found ourselves sitting more or less in a circle and people were telling their travel stories as magazines were being circulated. Now, we had absolutely nothing to say. We had been nowhere further than Portland, Oregon, and for a religious event at that!

I will forever ask blessings for the woman who sat beside me. I do not recall her name. She obviously picked up on my discomfort. She leaned into me and asked "If you could go anywhere, where would you go?" Can I tell you how much I learned from that question?

Making people at ease is a gift worth cultivating. That I still remember this incident after all that has happened in the intervening years shows what an impact it had! I pray that I may be so accomodating to 'fish' that I come across!

So, where does the spice fit in? It's really not a big deal. Later that evening, for reasons I do not recall, our host passed around a spice blend he particularly liked and asked opinions as to what was in it. This was an area where I had some competance, but ultimately, no one, including myself remembers what I thought about the spice.

But I will never forget the woman who sat beside me.

God bless

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Day to day Catholicism

Good Morning

I have recently had cause to think about some of the "little" things Catholics do because they are Catholic.

Some of these appear to be regional beliefs. I would welcome additions or explanations anyone cares to send my way.

I was recently at a wedding. It was out of town and a group of us were driving there together. The weather was "iffy" and we knew the wedding was to take place outdoors. One of our friends, who grew up in the area, said that she should have put her beads on the clothesline.

My husband looked at me quizzically. I told him that this was a local (as far as I know, anyway) custom. To ensure good weather for a wedding, women hung their rosary beads on the clothesline. Uh-huh said dh.

Not too long ago, a friend was talking about selling her house. She said she'd buried a statue of St. Joseph in her garden and the house sold quickly. Uh-huh...said the priest. Actually, I've heard that the statue must be buried upside down, according to the protocol for this practice. I told the priest that there are actually house-selling kits which include a statue of poor St. Joe.

Last week, my daughter was talking to an adult friend. I am not sure where the friend grew up, but when my daughter spoke about swimming, her friend expressed surprise. When she was growing up, they did not go swimming outside until St. Jean Baptiste Day (St. John the Baptist) after the priest had blessed the lake.

I'm sure everyone has seen the "ads" run in newspapers thanking various saints for "favours receieved". These notes are usually run for several days.

Some of these practices may cross the line between devotion and superstition. I have no problem with someone publically announcing favours received through the intercession of a particular saint, but does it have to happen nine times? My personal preference, if I were selling a house, would be to ask St. Joseph to pray for us as we did this. If I had a statue of him, I would NOT bury it, but display it somewhere. In my book business, which is entirely Catholic, I do not sell the St. Joseph's house selling kits.

Some of these practices are charming, although I do fear for those who do not look deeper into their faith. As long as these practices do not comprise the bulk of ones faith, I do not think they can cause harm. Kinda like wearing a scapular...

God Bless

Sunday, June 01, 2008


Hi Folks

Not long ago, we were out of town. Our hotel thoughtfully supplied us with a copy of the "National Post" which I do not often get the chance to read.

There was, I thought, an interesting convergence of articles.

One article, by Lawrence Solomon, was about Wikipedia, and a particular editor who is, it would seem, engaging in a form of thought-policing.

Another article, by Charles Lewis, was about Evangelical Christians and what they see as their role in converting Jews.

Yet another article was concerning history. Whom do we believe?

There was even an article on medical imaging and its believability.

Solomon wrote of his experience in trying to edit an incorrect Wikipedia article. The article, according to Solomon, misrepresents a scientist's work concerning global warming. The editor kept undoing Solomon's correction.

The article in question is about climate change and the purported concensus among scientists with the position on climate change taken by the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate change.

As Solomon was correcting the article, he was drawing from a personal knowledge of the work of one of the scientists named. His correction was repeatedly undone by the editor. There was no room for discussion. Wikipedia, through the work of this editor, refuses to acknowledge alternate views on climate change.

In Lewis's article on a New York Times ad placed by World Evangelical Alliance. The ad encourages Evangelicals to work for the conversion of Jews to Christianity.

A professor at York University, who is himself a convert from Christianity to Judaism, reads into this that the Evangelicals do not think that Judaism has a right to exist. Is this what is really said?

It is difficult, in this time of duelling ideologies and the accompanying barrage of "information", (I put that it quotations because I am sure information is really only that when it is accurate. Given the constant contradictions, it cannot all be correct!) to know just who tells the truth.

(As I finish this entry, I have just finished reading yet another article bringing serious question to the global warming assumption).

Jesus Christ has told us that HE is the Way, the Truth, and the Light. I am certain that He was not referring to global warming, although Pope Benedict XVI has. Jesus calls us to look beyond our earthly concerns, at least part of the time, and get a view of eternity. THAT is the Truth to which He speaks. Our view of eternity can be potentially rosy, if we look to God for guidance. We can find very real, earthly guidance in Jesus' presence on earth in the Catholic Church.

We are blessed indeed to know, absolutely, where the truth of all that is important, lies.

God Bless