Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Death Risks in Cesarean Births

This interesting article points out the risks of elective Cesarean births. I disagree with the tone of the title, namely that the rise in elective C-sections is primarily due to mothers being "too posh to push". At least in this country, I'd point the finger slightly more at the medical community and behind them, the litigation community for fueling the rise.

Monday, October 29, 2007


My daughter picked out the video There Goes a Train from the library today. The narrator begins the video by reminding kids that it is both illegal and extremely dangerous to play on railroad tracks. Which brought back the following memory...

I lived on a major street (on an isthmus) growing up, which always seemed noisy with car, truck and bus traffic. We were also in the flight path towards the airport and were frequently deafened by incoming planes. One block from my house, across the double three-lane road we lived on, was a railroad track. One direction led towards the library; the other direction led towards the post office and the Stop-N-Go. I spent a lot of time going to these places, it seemed, and even if I were just out for a walk, I tended up end up at the tracks.

I had a special spot along the tracks; I called it Trinity. It was a few wooden ties that looked to me like a little seating area. It was off to the side, surrounded by the purple granite that covered all the track area, but near a dirt path (which tells me there were a lot of other illegal track walkers). It was quiet there, at least when there were no trains! I came there to think, and to long for good things. It wasn't like I set out to try to do these things, but something about that spot made it seem to me that was what it was for.

Train tracks spoke to me of going somewhere. I knew the little stretch near my house, but I knew those tracks went on in both directions. As I think about it now, the tracks gave me a sense of connection with people I couldn't see.

It really makes me sort of marvel at the workings of God in a 9 or 10 or 11 year old child's heart. And I marvel at the power of memory; I hadn't thought about "Trinity" in years and years.

Friday, October 26, 2007

The Manly Bishop

Just got back from Mass, which is always miraculous, amazing, and the pinnacle of my day. But today's Mass had an added dimension: it was concelebrated by about a gazillion priests who were in town for the University's Vocation Awareness Fair, and presided over by the Bishop Joseph Estabrook of the Archdiocese for the Military Services (USA). It was very compelling for me to contemplate the face of Christ in this particular Bishop. He struck me as a "no sh*t" kind of man, if you'll pardon the expression. Does anyone spend more time confronting grizzly realities about death and serious moral choices than a military chaplain? His homily was full of wisdom borne of personal struggles, planted in his life by God and bearing fruit for others. He was, in a word, manly. And yes, he spoke of tears and deep bonds with the people he served.

It made me realize again God's call: please, embrace being who you are! God made you that way because He likes you that way, and so much good can come from His plan for you if you just go with it!!

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Freedom and Unschooling -- Why The Church (Chapter 7, Part 7)

I am so excited about CL. Being primarily of the melancholy temperament I tend to see life in terms of what needs to be fixed, and for that reason I worry a bit that I am heading towards obsession with CL (i.e. that my excitement actually is a problem), but I know I am just finding my way through something that is new to me, and to circle back where I started, I am so excited about it!

So, in the section we read together today, a few things jumped out at me in profound ways. Like this, talking about our need to seek solutions to problems (bolding mine):

The task of each individual person ... is to look for solutions in the concreteness of their own history, within the given circumstances of their own social and political history. This task is entrusted to our freedom, within the freedom of God's plan, which is enacted in history.

When I read this, I wrote in the margin "unschooling". I think unschoolers see education precisely this way, as a task entrusted to the freedom of each person. We on the UC list (unschooling Catholics) have discussed frequently the desire for our children to embrace their own freedom in order to follow the will of God from their hearts, rather than as the result of coercion of a variety of sorts.

And then I read further, quoting de Lubac:

"Time is vanity only for one who, using it unnaturally, desires to establish himself in it -- and to think of nothing but a "future" is to establish oneself in time. Of necessity we must find a foothold in time if we are to rise into eternity; we must use time...."

Traditional education strikes me as being always concerned about the future. Study to pass tests. Take this and that to be accepted in a good college. While I understand the validity of those things objectively, when the emphasis is purely on the future goal and not on the good of the work in the moment, then that becomes a vanity.

However that last phrase really struck me: we must use time. Freedom allows us to use time rather than being held captive by it. This is what I want my children to learn -- to use time, of their own creativity and for ends that glorify God and bring forth what God has placed in them. As their mom, I am called to first of all model how this is done, and secondly to mentor and guide the process for them. But not to take it over, not to be a coercive force. That can be a very fine line, and the difference I think is found much more in the heart and relationship than in what can be seen externally.

At the same time, I realized when reading this how much I need an adjustment when it comes to exercising freedom in use of my time, my life. My gravitational fault is to figure that what I do doesn't really matter in the grand scheme of things and to wait for what feels like divine revelation -- the proverbial voice from the heavens -- to move forward with decisions. So I need to be consciously making choices, aware of how, as Giussani says later, "God does not oblige man to be himself if man does not so wish. But he does ask him, he does urge him, he does remind him constantly to be himself." I need to be me in order to serve my children and their educational task to the fullest. I need to be me, in freedom, to please God. It's part of what it means to be human. Hmm, I remember Father John telling me that once.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

More CL Musings

I think maybe I should change the name of this blog to "The Daily Introspect". Whaddya think?!

So I managed my little spiel last night, complete with spontaneously breaking into a Led Zeppelin tune. Fortunately, other than that I don't remember what I said, so I won't have to cringe over it. What it boiled down to was the CL's School of Community is a place to learn to love as Christ does. And that, yepper, I sure do need that.

The funny thing is, when listening to others speak about CL and their experience with it, I sense this "there it is" moment. It's like their words release a butterfly that flits about, but then when they stop talking, it's gone and I can't see it anymore. And I know that butterfly is the most beautiful, amazing thing and is THE answer that I search for, but I only see it when I'm listening to someone else. It's almost like a new game the Lord is playing with me. Calling to me....

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Taking a Stab at Making Sense

Ok, I am going to try to articulate this thing that has been lurking in my background for the last few days.

Wednesday I posted My Thoughts Today on CL. The word "Today" in that title was purposefully placed, as I know that my thoughts today are not necessarily going to be adequate for tomorrow. That's the nature of living and growing, neh?

I've been in the middle of a spiritual battle. I was going to say I'm fighting it, but I think it is more that the Holy Spirit has been contending with my resident demons, to use a phrase I don't necessarily intend literally. So, what's my big deal? This is embarrassing. We changed locations for our School of Community. We had been meeting in a home and now we are meeting in a parish room. So, how could that possibly be a big deal? Well, I have issues. It is hard work for me to walk into a room of people when there is an expectation of equality among everyone. (That is, walking into a lecture hall or Mass is a completely different kettle of fish; it's not the crowd, it's the role.) I don't have a word for what this trouble is for me, but it is not shyness. I guess it is about the apprehension of communicating. And it's not that I fear speaking. It is certainly not a fear of sharing my innermost thoughts, per se. (If it were I certainly wouldn't be plastering them all over the internet!)

I think it boils down to this: I find it difficult to be with my real heart and speak from it to people, and because I find this process difficult, actually successfully doing it breeds an intense sense of belonging -- community, I suppose, it is called -- and an even more intense desire for the same. I've mentioned before how my intensity can unnerve me. I hadn't realized until recently how much the School of Community is for me this sense of community, and therefore a candidate to unleash that intensity thing. Community is in a way something my entire being screams out for. I guess deep down I know that group dynamics head generally towards either the insipid (this is probably the norm, and I have come to cope with it; I value that there are other breathing human beings in my midst), or the inspiring. When it is the latter, well, I realize my heart wants to grab the other hearts and squeeze them until we all burst... It's just that little task of translating that into something friendly, warm and real that doesn't freak me out, freak others out, or get me arrested.

So, what is the trigger of all these revelations?

This sense of community that I've experienced was tied, symbolically in my mind, to that room where we met. We moved to a different room, and suddenly I felt like Sisyphus. The rock I had put so much effort into pushing up came crushing back down on me, and all my felt growth became felt futility, with this intense desire for community serving as a gasoline bomb, to give a spectacular pyrotechnic effect to the rock crushing back down. It sounds, feels, is so irrational to me as I write it. How could physical surroundings have this much affect on me? Me, the non-visual one? Whatever it is, I wrestled with why the heck can't I be just a normal person and move forward with life and not get thrown by things like this. Why does it have to be so freaking hard to just talk to people without getting all messed up in my head? I was tempted with just junking the whole CL experience and walking away. And I am sucked back into it all by what I have gleaned from CL itself, not doing violence to my humanity, accepting this &*$%# intensity, and staying open to my fellow sojourners in Christ.

A scream would feel good right now. AAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!

Ok. I am still obviously in a process here. But I realize that that's sorta what life in Christ is all about. I thought about the man with the shriveled hand that Jesus healed. Jesus tells him to stand up in front of everyone and stick out his hand. Jesus could have healed him without that detail, but the man needed to get in touch with that devastating handicap that had undoubtedly shaped his life. To say, yep, that useless thing is mine. It sure has caused me a lot of pain. What do you want with it? Oh, you want to heal it? Heal me? You know, I've never had two hands before. I don't really know how to use two hands. And I'm kinda old now. I'll be spending the rest of my life re-figuring out my life because of this healing, but, thanks, Lord, I think.

So I'm in the School of Community with my healed shriveled hand that I'm trying to figure out, and I discover that the person next to me had leprosy and has to cope with lost decades, another person was blind and still gets completely distracted by looking at everything, another person was deaf and sometimes goes nuts now hearing every last detail, and so on. Jesus has healed us all, but in other ways we have more troubles now than when we were comfortably and miserably disabled. But it's not even all about our needs; it is all about His purposes. And part of His purpose is that we come together as a sign of hope for all those who have not yet experienced healing.

I've needed to work these thoughts out because -- HAH! -- on Tuesday I'm supposed to talk for five minutes about how the School of Community has affected my life. Oh Lord, You have such a sense of humor! Of course I've known all along that impending thing meant I will find the light I need by then.

Friday, October 19, 2007

The Monkees!!

Ok, Jim Croche got me completely on a roll this afternoon. I've been really battling some internal things that I may or may not ever get around to writing about, but this afternoon I was lifted out of them by this music.

The Monkees played a huge role in my life from about age 10 until at least 19 and beyond. (For the record, no, I'm not that old; I first discovered them on re-runs in 1978. I was still a fetus during the Summer of Love.) Michael Nesmith was my alter ego, and nearly everything about them speaks to me of a time when music carried me far above anything that troubled me, and really led me to the love of God Himself.

So, enjoy some with me!

I watched this and got as swooney as Rose Marie!

This video is kind of lousy, but You Just May Be the One is one of my fav Mike songs.

This is a gorgeous song about the Immaculate Conception of Mary. And then they introduce the crew of the show.

I read the lyrics of this song for a poetry class I took in high school. Love the clothes. Does my love for this song say something about me?!

I could go on and on. It is hard to put into words what this music conveys to me. I think I love it more the older I get. Well, thanks for listening with me!

A Musical Interlude

I heard this song today when I was out grocery shopping, and it struck me how strong of a metaphor this might be for my life. "I love you" are not particularly the words I struggle with, but I guess I do struggle with what those words convey. Anyway, today while browsing the produce I felt keenly how music is an avenue that makes it very easy for me to "say" things that can be so painfully hard to deal with in more direct ways. "The words just came out wrong" is a line that I can feel into my marrow today.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Have You Read About the Connecticut Law?

This news story is sad and very frightening. Catholic Bishops in one state agree to the use of abortifacient contraceptives in Catholic hospitals.

They cite "serious doubt" about how the pill in question works.


" 'Acts of blatant coercion of Catholic consciences are already far advanced and will only continue unless the church is willing to stand up and rebuke the arrogance of these coercive measures and carve out strict realms of conscience which are unreachable by activist courts and corrupt politicians,' said Father Euteneuer [of Human Life International] in a commentary on the decision."

I'm Nice

Remember the scene in Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer (which ranks with me as one of the all-time deepest movies in the world) where Clarisse tells Rudolph that he's cute? He repeats it to himself, and jumps through the air: "I'm Cuuuuuuuuuute."

Well, "I'm Niiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiice!"

I was given this award by Donna, who apparently gets equally excited by little things like this. Thanks, Donna!
Here's the deal: "This award is for those bloggers who are nice people; good blog friends and those who inspire good feelings and inspiration. Also for those who are a positive influence on our blogging world. Once you’ve been awarded, please pass it on to 7 others who you feel are deserving of this award."

So, I am going to meditate a bit on who I will pass this on to. I read several blogs, but because I am intensely serious about life, the universe and everything, I'm going to have to ruminate over who I feel I have a sufficient blogging relationship with to call them a "blog friend". (Oh yeah, and I probably shouldn't just duplicate Donna's list!) Have you ever expressed deep and abiding friendship to someone only to have them turn around and essentially say "Now, who are you again?" I'm dealing with emotional intensity issues right now that leave me a bit teetering. Like I shouldn't be handling sharp objects or operating heavy machinery or thinking about issues like friendship right now.

Sorry, I'm weird.

No wait, I'm nice. I'm Niiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiice!

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

My Thoughts Today on CL

So next week there is a little to-do where I have been asked to talk for a few minutes about my experience with Communion and Liberation. This morning our fearless leader put a bug in my ear about possibly writing out what I wanted to say. Whether this is what I want to say or not will be debatable, but sometimes the suggestion to write fuels my urge to write, so here I am.

I've written here and there about my experiences thus far with CL. What I find to be most true in participating in the School of Community is that I am simultaneously exercising my greater strengths and my greater weaknesses. Living in the land of strength, if unchallenged by weakness, breeds pride. Living only in the land of weakness is crushing. God is merciful in making it possible to experience both and to come through it with deeper peace, and greater knowledge of my need for Him. That seems to be what Guissani always speaks of -- our need to know the finitude of our own hearts and to find the only true fullness, the only true happiness, the only true answer in life in our total dependence on God, who is both our origin and our goal.

So CL offers hefty intellectual fodder to chew on (which is so welcomed for this brain that spends more reading time with Barney and Captain Underpants). Reading Guissani my attention is riveted; I'm not distracted by 1,000 other thoughts because I feel like "oh, I know this already." I am to love God with my intellect and ever deepen and refine and understand my commitment of faith, and Guissani's writings help me do those things. Oh, and CL has great music, too. :)

But then there's all the stuff that brings the tears to my eyes. There's the courage to accept who I am with my limitations and uniquities. There is trying to talk to other human beings to bring that inward stuff outward. There is trying to talk to other human beings without rehearsing for several days before. There is trying to talk to others without replaying the conversation and cringing for several days afterwards. There is sometimes just sitting in a room of people and not stressing. All of it is a challenge, especially when it's new.

Being a part of CL has helped me realize that it's all OK, that we all are only humans after all. Knowing and facing my limitations is so much better than not knowing and not facing them. I am freed to be me, but also freed from worries over who I'm not. I don't need to get my life clogged up with attempts to be all the other wonderful people in my life: God has already assigned those jobs. I just want to walk forward with Him, with CL, with life, and see what happens next.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

And Now For Something Completely Different

I'm going to get a brain cramp if I do any more heavy thinking. I've seen this name thing on a few blogs and decided today is the perfect day to post my own version. Here goes....

My Names!

Rock Star Name (first pet & current car):

Moochey Windstar

Gangsta Name (fave ice cream flavor & fave cookie):

Rocky Road Shortbread

Fly guy/girl name (first initial of first name & first three letters of last name):


Detective name (favorite color & favorite animal):

Gold Penguin

Soap Opera Name (middle name & city where you were born):

Ann Madison

Star Wars Name (first three letters of last name & first two of first name):


Superhero Name (”The” + second favorite color + favorite drink):

The Black Mega-Antioxidant

Nascar Name (first names of both grandfathers):

Ansgar Elmer

Goth Name (Dark+ name of pet):

Dark Cleo

Witness Protection Name (mother’s and father’s middle names):

Lou James

TV Weatherperson/Anchorperson Name (Your 5th grade teacher’s last name & a major city that starts with the same letter):

Mullally Memphis

Spy Name/Bond Girl (favorite season/holiday & favorite flower):

Summer Rose

Cartoon Name (favorite fruit & article of clothing you’re wearing plus “y” or “ie”):

Peach Pantsy

Hippy Name (what you ate for breakfast & your favorite tree):

Sausage Catulpa

Rockstar Tour Name (”The” + your favorite hobby/craft, favorite weather element + “tour”):

The Genealogy Sunshine Tour

Thursday, October 11, 2007

The Moral Formation of Children

This is one of those times I have left-over thoughts in my mind from School of Community, and I need to dump them out as one dumps out a purse, to sit and sort and discover. And possibly get grossed out (if the purse analogy is to prove accurate.)

We were discussing the next section in Why the Church this morning, on why the Church does not exist to answer our problems for us, but rather presents the principles by which we are to solve (or try to solve) our own problems. We discussed, somewhat indirectly, the application of this concept to raising children.

We discussed how so often our desire is for "the right decision", even more than the knowledge of our complete dependence upon God. Giussani points to the gospel passage in Luke where a man comes to Jesus and asks him to settle an argument with his brother over just division of their inheritance. Jesus doesn't act as judge and dispense justice. He points him back to freedom; let possessions stay in their proper place, which is not at the center of your life.

So,what is left in my thoughts is how these things apply to us as Christian parents, responsible for the Catholic education, formation, of our children. Are we so focused on "right" outcomes that we lose track for true formation? Not to have a cavalier attitude towards sin or moral failing, but are we afraid of our children making mistakes, morally? Do we worry and react in ways that are perhaps developmentally inappropriate when they tell falsehoods, take things that aren't theirs, lash out at someone, get involved in questionable things? If I don't loose it when my toddler falls down when learning to walk or run, and worry that this will shape and scar her entire life, do I feel that way when she does something that is objectively sinful, even when her level of moral culpability is questionable? In other words, are moral failings part of every good upbringing? Is there sometimes a "happy fault" for our children, by which they really come to own their salvation?

I look at my life and I see that I lacked certain moral failings in my teens years. But Giussani points out, that there is such a thing as "the condition of man's heart without which the justice of this world could have the same root as injustice." My lack of failures really had the same root as all sorts of troubles I could have gotten into. It was only much later in my life, say about age 26, when I was stuck alone in a foreign country that garbage in my heart came to fruition. I remember looking around my apartment filled with religious "stuff" and realizing how hollow it all was. I saw that I was no different from all those "bad people" in the world. It was like childhood happening out of sync. I guess what I am saying is that I could really have done with a safe moral practice ground where I was helped to understand by the adults around me that failure and weakness are parts of growth, that sin is not to be feared but repented of, and that God's mercy is much, much bigger and is to always be our joyful focus, and that I could find help when I needed to understand the "dark side". I think I could have had more freedom, and less of a concept that being holy was about wearing a moral straight jacket, and more about expressing the Life that God gives me.

Stepping back again to the bigger picture: What I sense is that sometimes Christian parents are worried that moral failings or struggles of their children somehow reflect badly on them, and that is what is bothersome. People will think I'm a bad mom if they know my child has done xyz. Doesn't matter if that child is 6, or 9, or 3 or 17.

I know that it has been a struggle of mine -- I'm not so concerned with breaking God's law and offending Him (whatever that means), I'm concerned with looking bad.

Now, I don't have a teen (yet), and I haven't faced too many times where behavior has gotten close to the truly scary in an objective moral sense. So maybe those whose kids face a real possibility of becoming addicted to drugs or other deathly dangers might think I am whistling Dixie. But maybe the little dramas of childhood are the training ground (for parents) and the fodder of learning (for children) to educate us toward moral uprightness.

Are we (am I) too anxious about being good parents? Are we (am I) too severe in our reactions to childish mistakes, or even sin? Does fear of the Lord and hatred of sin grow from feeling or communicating guilt, shame, error, mistake? How do we (I) do anything different? (Here I am back to the field of question marks again.) Is modeling virtue "enough"? Is this why communication is so vital in relationships with our kids?

Here's another big question lurking in my mind: is this radical, even dangerous parenting, an irresponsible attitude towards moral formation? Is this the heart and essence of Radical Unschooling? Is this the essence of what Christ and His Church truly calls us to? Is the answer different for my family than for your family and different again from the family down the street?

Well, I don't have all the answers, but I like the discussion.

Saturday, October 06, 2007


I've been drawn to pray with the 40 Days for Life campaign. In doing so, I am reminded first of the words of Jesus as mediated by the locutionist Anne. As I posted here, Jesus states:

You are not called to change the world. I am called to change the world. You are called to represent Me accurately so that I have the opportunity with each soul you encounter. Through your love, your kindness and your gentleness, you will create heavenly opportunities for Me in the people around you.

Accordingly, my prayer really has been for conversion of heart for everyone involved with the location being picketed, but especially for those who are praying and keeping vigil. It brings back to mind once again this post which was reflecting upon this post. How are the abortionists to be converted, how are the parents or boyfriends or husbands to be converted, how are women's minds and courses of action to be changed without encountering the love of Christ? Abortion is a spiritual battle. Anytime there is a choice to be made about grave sin (several grave sins, here), there is a spiritual battle. And this brings to mind again our most recent discussion at School of Community about the unpredictable pathways that freedom open up. If we are truly free, if we truly are in touch with Reality, our hearts will correspond to love. Our hearts will see love, and run to it, be drawn to it, and keep being free.

This tells me that the correct posture in bearing witness to life is one of being firmly grounded in Reality, to be firmly standing in Christ, means at least to exercise all His gentleness and kindness, and to allow His love to emanate. Part of standing firm in Christ is to truly know sorrow when human freedom leads to choices for sin. But to balance that, if one can put it that way, with knowledge of our own human failings, and repentance for them, and knowledge that we continue to be loved by God. Every sinner is loved by God with infinite longing, and, as Liturgy tells us, it is proof of his almighty power that He forgives. Again, Anne delivers these words:

At no time should you fear that I do not have a perfect plan for you. Sometimes you make decisions that are not consistent with My plan. Sometimes these decisions cause you pain and cause others pain. It is most especially at these times that you should seek Me because I will adapt My plan for you to fit your present circumstances. I am always seeking to bring you closer to Me, never more so than when you believe you have left the path through temptation or sin. When should you believe that you are on your own? Never. In which circumstances will My heart be so hardened that I will refuse to rush in with forgiveness and grace and an alternative plan for you? Such circumstances do not exist. My dearest little apostles, be assured of My willingness to work with you in each moment, regardless of your condition in that moment. In humanity, there are moments of such holiness that even heaven stops to marvel. In humanity, there are also moments of weakness and cruelty. Please believe that heaven takes the bad with the good and moves each willing soul toward greater and greater good.

John Michael Talbot once said that we succeed in spiritual warfare by repenting of our own sin. That seems to sum it up well.

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Why The Church (Chapter 7, Part 4)

If I could blog just by putting my head on the computer screen, or a proxy of it, and directly downloading my thoughts into print, my blog would be at least five times as long as it is.

One time when I wish I could do that is immediately following School of Community. We discuss such rich thoughts and read such deep passages from Giussani, and I long to capture more in order to dwell on them, and share them with others. I know, I'm learning, that the real sharing comes in digesting the thoughts and living them out. But there are nuggets that I would love to share with others, so they can feast at the same banquet.

I admit, I cheat. I read the passages over ahead of time, usually multiple times. Otherwise I would be lost in the swirling complex linguistics of dense thought translated from Italian.

Here are some bits we read and talked about today:

The Church's educational task, as defined by Giussani: "to the mystery of Being, to the Measure that made us, that far surpasses us in every direction and that we cannot measure -- it is to This that an educator's love must entrust the ever-widening space of unpredictable pathways which are opened up by the freedom of the new man in his dialogue with the universe."

What is important here is an educator's love, not will power, not authority, not control, but love. And in this context, the educator is the Church. But I am an educator as a parent. I am to entrust the pathways opened up by freedom of the new man, in dialogue with the universe. Wow. There is no room for fear, here. We are talking about the new man, one who is walking in the newness of life in Jesus. This life comes from God, and I need to continually entrust that life back to Him. "Unpredictable pathways." Yes, that is how my children travel.

Let me back up to the larger context of that quote:

If the Church were to proclaim that its aim was to take over the human effort of self-advancement, self-expression, and human searching, it would be acting like the kind of parents... who are deluded into thinking that they can resolve their children's problems by taking their place.

No, the proper role of the Church, the proper role of parents is to grant freedom. How often have I tried to get my little ones to stop having their struggle with each other. Usually I just end up sounding just like them, getting into it at their level. Delusion. But isn't society hooked on this delusion? Isn't society hooked on usurping personal power of others? (Isn't that essentially totalitarianism?) Isn't it shocking, frightening, when a parent entrusts a very important matter to a child (of whatever age)? Yeah, right, then when they are 18 they are supposed to magically be able to make their own adult decisions and sail off into the sunset with no problems. But what if they've only been trained to usurp the power of others, or become dependent on others more powerful than themselves?

One more quote. Giussani breaks down human problems into four categories:

... first... the category of culture, ad here lie all problems related to man's search for truth and the meaning of reality. This is the category which reveals man's conception of self in the face of his own destiny, according to which he mobilizes and utilizes the elements of his own existence. The second problem is that of love and here falls all of the problems man experiences in relation to his constant search for personal completeness. The third problem is related to man's need to express his personality, all his hopes of leaving his mark on the reality of time and space that is his to live, and this can generate problems under the category of work. And lastly, is the political problem of human co-existence with its whole
comprehensive and difficult spectrum...

I thought that breakdown was very insightful: truth, love, work, co-existence. I am not quite sure I feel the second problem for what he says. Perhaps I either am at peace in that regard right now or I am so dull to the problem I don't sense it.

September and October, 2007 Messages from Anne

I've been a bit remiss posting the monthly messages given to Anne. Here they are:

September 1, 2007

Dear apostles, I send you a spirit of gentleness. Because you are called to treat others as I treated others, you are called to be gentle with all those around you. This call to gentleness in no way diminishes the call to live in the truth. If you preach the truth as I did, gently, you will draw others to us and to unity of thought and action. In this time, when it is so important that souls be brought back into the family of God, we must be ever so careful to be gentle with others in each interaction. I am Jesus. I am filled with love for each soul you encounter, regardless of their condition. View each person through My love and treat them with My gentleness. My dearest apostle, in order to allow yourself to heal from any wounds you yourself suffer, you must allow Me to minister to you. I am tender hearted with your failings. Remember this and do not turn away from Me when you feel you have failed. If you do not allow Me to minister to you during periods of unrest, you will be vulnerable to the distortions which can be sown by the enemy. Apostles walking with Me inspire hope in the world. This is the plan. But My friends must remember that apostles walking with Me also inspire fear in the enemy. The enemy's fear causes him to lash out at the friends of the Returning King. Be at peace in this as it has always been this way and there is no reason for anything but confidence in My plan for each day of every life. At the same time, be prepared to do battle for your holiness as I did battle. If you remain with Me, the battles will make you stronger and holier. That is My goal. Accept the gentle ministrations of your Saviour in silence and you will then be an able carrier of this gentleness to others. Beloved friends, so loyal to your God, you will stand out if you are gentle and it is this that I need from you. I need you to stand out as calm and gentle representatives of the different way. The world will remember you for your gentleness if you allow Me to teach you. You are not called to change the world. I am called to change the world. You are called to represent Me accurately so that I have the opportunity with each soul you encounter. Through your love, your kindness and your gentleness, you will create heavenly opportunities for Me in the people around you. I will never miss an opportunity, I promise you. I make the best possible use of your efforts. I thank you, dear friend. Your fidelity to the Father will not be forgotten.

October 1, 2007
My beloved apostles, please be alert to My will. At no time should you fear that I do not have a perfect plan for you. Sometimes you make decisions that are not consistent with My plan. Sometimes these decisions cause you pain and cause others pain. It is most especially at these times that you should seek Me because I will adapt My plan for you to fit your present circumstances. I am always seeking to bring you closer to Me, never more so than when you believe you have left the path through temptation or sin. When should you believe that you are on your own? Never. In which circumstances will My heart be so hardened that I will refuse to rush in with forgiveness and grace and an alternative plan for you? Such circumstances do not exist. My dearest little apostles, be assured of My willingness to work with you in each moment, regardless of your condition in that moment. In humanity, there are moments of such holiness that even heaven stops to marvel. In humanity, there are also moments of weakness and cruelty. Please believe that heaven takes the bad with the good and moves each willing soul toward greater and greater good. Heaven draws you away from temptation and away from the pain of sin. I am good, My friends, as My Father is good. You, My beloved apostles, are called to resemble Me and be good also. You strive for this, I know. Today I ask that each apostle consider that I treated others with kindness. I have instructed you about gentleness and today I instruct you about kindness. Little apostles, the hearts of others are easily wounded. Can you remember when someone treated you unkindly? Do you remember your pain? I was treated unkindly at times and My heart felt this same pain. We do not want this for others. We want others to understand that God loves them and you, My friends, will do that when you treat them with the kindness of the Father. I will help you if you allow Me. I will teach you to remain silent in the presence of other's faults and I will teach you to speak openly about their strengths. Pause again and try to think of a kindness that was shown to you. Do you remember how you felt at that time? You felt grateful, did you not? You felt steadied. I want to flow through you to others. You will allow Me to do so if you work each day on being kind to each person you encounter. Their pain will lessen because of your kindness. The pain of the whole world will be reduced if each of My beloved apostles learns to be kind. Begin by being kind to yourself. I accept you, My friend. You must accept yourself. Be at peace in My love for you. I do not give you an instruction without also giving you the grace to carry it out so now I will teach you about kindness.

Monday, October 01, 2007

Foods Meme

Gee, my very first tag, courtesy of Donna, and my very first meme. The idea is to take the name of my blog and associate food with each letter.

Now, I could be completely linguistically correct and do this by the four Japanese hiragana that make up my blog name (or I could use the kanji if I knew them). But I won't do that. Let's see if I can at least keep a theme (and make it more challenging) by using Japanese foods!

N - Natto. Disgusting fermented stringy soy bean stuff.
A - Ampan. Or maybe you spell it anpan. As I recall, this is bread with a meat paste inside. Sort of tasty little fast food bit, like an American might buy pizza rolls from the grocery store.
R- Ringo. Which is Japanese for apple. Which is why they had That Member of the Beatles eating an apple for some big ad promo some years back.
U - Udon. Until I stopped eating wheat, this had to rank as my #1 favorite noodle in the world. Pure starch, but just so yummy with the traditional fish broth.

H - Hakusai. This was one of my favorite vegetables in Japan. I believe it is in the family of Chinese cabbage or Napa cabbage.
O -Ocha. What a cheater word. Japanese green tea. Very tasty, though.
D - Donburi. Really it should be Yaku Donburi, I think, which when translated is "fried" Donburi. That's a way to cover the fact that I don't remember exactly what it is. Something with rice and eggs, and maybe some meat. Another home style fast food item.
O - Okonomiyaki. This is a regional specialty that changes a bit by location. Especially popular in Hiroshima. Sold by street vendors and featuring cabbage, egg and flour fried up in a pancake and topped with squid, shrimp, bacon, maybe some veggies, some seaweed, maybe a good dollop of mayonnaise.

I did it! I'm impressed!

This has caused me some serious introspective thought on why my blog has a Japanese name when that association is not generally a pleasant thing for me. Hmmm....