Thursday, November 17, 2011

When the Goin' Gets Tough....

In my youth (not so very many years ago) I would have finished that line with:

....the tough go shopping!!

Well, the Mall not holding near the allure for me that it once did, I'll modify the old saying just a bit to.... the tough meditate a little on St. Francis deSales. Printed in this space before, but worthy of repetition:

"The everlasting God has in His wisdom forseen from eternity the cross that He now presents to you as a gift from His all-knowing eyes, understood with His Divine mind, tested with His wise justice, warmed with His loving arms and weighed with His own hands to see that it be not one inch too large and not one ounce too heavy for you. He has blessed it with His Holy Name, annointed it with His Grace, perfumed it with His Consolation, taken one last glance at you and your courage, and then sent it to you from Heaven, a special greeting from God to you, an alms of the all-merciful love of God." 

* * *
 St. Francis de Sales, ora pro nobis!

Sunday, November 6, 2011

The Little Things

Most readers will know that for several years now my husband and I and our boys have assisted almost exclusively at the Mass in the Extraordinary Form, also known as the Traditional Latin Mass. We have learned a great deal about our faith over the years and we continue to grow in our love for this Mass handed down to us through the centuries by Holy Mother Church. But it is so much more than 'just' the Mass. It is so much more than the Latin. It is so many things, in fact, that I'm sure a blog post won't adequately cover them all.

Therefore, I'm not going to get into detail about the prayers of the traditional Mass, or following the 'old' Liturgical Calendar, or the reverence and beauty inherent in all of the traditional Sacraments with the priestly vestments, the incense, the bells and sacred music that go along with them. Instead I will mention just one of the 'little' things that happened today.

At St. Francis deSales Oratory, after Mass there was a very nice display of items for sale, crucifixes, nativity scenes and other statuary made by Christians in the Holy Land. My husband and I decided to purchase a crucifix and after doing so, hastened to find one of the canons to bless it before we left.

We found Canon Wiener and he was very pleased to do this for us, but he would have to do it in the Sacristy, and could he keep the crucifix and return it to us on Wednesday at homeschool co-op? We said of course, that would be fine.

After talking with Canon Wiener my husband and I looked at each other, both thinking the same thing: that's never happened before! Any time in the past that we've asked a priest to bless a sacramental, he has done so on the spot, regardless of where we were. But not this time. We learned today that there is a right and proper place to bless Sacramentals, and I would bet a proper vestment as well.

This is just another of so many little things that enrich our faith. Nothing is trivial, nothing is just by-the-way. Not that blessing Sacramentals in a crowded vestibule after church as we've experienced before makes it necessarily trivial. But certainly the extra care of time and place taken to fulfill our desire for a blessed crucifix today, for us at least, carries with it a level of importance, of reverence, that will translate into our own care for how and where we place the blessed crucifix in our home and further venerate it.

This is what I mean by the little things. Our faith is so much bigger than we are, so much richer than we even know. And we are just overwhelmed with thanksgiving to Our Lord for His leading us to the Traditional Latin Mass community where the small things matter enough that a bigger deal is made of them than anywhere else that we've been.

Truly we are blessed. But at the same time we grieve for that which has been lost over the past nearly 50 years since Vatican II, and for all the Catholics who have no idea what they're missing out on. These 'little' things should never have been lost. It is our Faith, that which has been handed down over the centuries. And Lord-willing and with the help of the Holy Angels and Saints, we will continue to learn and grow in this faith, through the big and little things.

God bless you!

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Leave the Game Alone!

Anyone who has been a baseball fan for very long has been on both the up-side and the down-side of a terrible call by an umpire. Not just a a strike being called a ball, but a 'big' one, like what happened last night in Game 3 of the World Series when Cardinal Matt Holliday was called safe after being tagged on the shoulder before making it to first.

It was a bad call. A real bad one that led to a 4-run 4th inning for the Cardinals in what would go on to be a 16-7 victory over the Rangers in Texas. And in the aftermath there will no doubt be a great deal of talk about the value of the 'instant replay' to assist in making those close or controversial calls. Well, I am not one to call in to the local sports-line to air my view, nor will I write an email or even 'tweet' about it. But I do have a blog! So hey, for what it's worth, here is my opinion on expanding the use of video replay in Major League Baseball.

I'm against it, plain and simple. I know, I know, it could have changed the outcome of the '85 Series between the Cardinals and the Kansas City Royals. I wasn't in St. Louis back then, nor was I following baseball close enough that I remember the Don Denkinger blown call. But I've heard a lot about it, and as gut-wrenching as I'm sure it was, I maintain my position that baseball should not be sullied by expanding technology.

Baseball is a game that is very much determined by human heroism and human error. The manager makes a great move to the bullpen and he's the hero of the game. The manager puts in a pinch hitter and he strikes out in a critical at-bat; the manager needs to be fired! The players themselves make spectacular plays, or they throw the ball away and cost the team the game. But, you may say, that's the team manager and coaching staff, those are the players. The umpires though, they are a third party that shouldn't be able to determine the game by their errors.

Well, as much as I hate to see a bad call, and as much as I commiserate with the 'patrons of the game' that looked on as mighty Casey took strike one....

"...Kill him! Kill the umpire!" shouted someone from the stand;
And it's likely they'd a-killed him had not Casey raised his hand..."
--Casey at the Bat, by Ernest Thayer

.... I still don't think the 'answer' is to bring instant video replay to the game. In fact, I think the problem does not need an answer. Why not? Firstly, because if left to the human beings who play, manage and call the game, there is an element of charm to it, admittedly sometimes an agonizing one, but an element none-the-less that would be lost if the calls were given to the perfections of instant replay. Secondly, I think it all balances out. I think every team gets their equal share of tough breaks. I think a team destined to win the series or any given game for that matter, can't ultimately be beat by the umpires. The umps are part of the game of baseball. They make bad calls now and then. Period. Leave the game alone!

And really, think of the ramifications of expanding instant replay. Where is the line drawn with it? Just at controversial plays out in the field? Why? A missed ball or strike on a key pitch in the game can just as easily change the game's outcome. And if we're going to look at tape after every challenged play, really, why even have human umpires? Aren't we technologically advanced enough to have balls and strike called electronically, to let a computer yell a monotone "Safe" or "You are out of there," after a slide into home-plate? Thrilling, huh?

No, leave the game alone. Let the umpires do their job with or without their perfection and our satisfaction, and leave the video instant replays to taunt those of us watching at home. My dad (RIP) was a Little League manager for many years and a diehard Red Sox fan all his life. He always said the umpires can't beat you and I think he was right. Ultimately--with perhaps the rare exception-- the team who plays the best baseball is going to win the game. I'm willing to put up with that rare exception, be it on my side or not, to keep the game as it is, with all the perfections and imperfections of those involved, players, managers, coaching staff and umpires.

Play ball!

.... and Go Cardinals!

Monday, August 15, 2011

What a Sunday!

Solemn High Mass at St. Francis deSales Oratory... coffee/donut hour following Mass, kids playing, Mom and Dad being ever-so warmly welcomed back ... home to change into comfies before heading out to an afternoon at the home of good friends... visiting with many friends over delicious wine and snacks... kneeling together for Canon's prayer of blessing... back home to watch the boys' cherished "Sunday night movie".....

What a lovely Sunday.

Happy Feast of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Farewell to Father Lockwood

For the past 15 months, Father Gregory Lockwood has been pastoring the flock (under the title of Parochial Administrator) at our parish, St. Elizabeth of Hungary Church. Unfortunately for us he is leaving the St. Louis Archdiocese and will take new positions as Vocations Director for the Diocese of Kansas City/St. Joseph as well as Parochial Administrator of Christ the King parish there, effective July 1, 2011.

When Father came to St. Elizabeth's, we had not been regulars there for many years, though it was the parish in which we lived. Over the years since we were married there in 1999 and then began our family, my husband and I became better acquainted with, and grew to love, the Traditional Latin Mass (TLM). Our desire to grow as Catholics and raise our children in the 'old' rite drew us away from St. Elizabeth's and to churches where it was, or still is, regularly celebrated.

We were familiar with Fr. Lockwood, having assisted at Masses he had celebrated on Sunday afternoons at another parish, and so when we learned of his assignment to St. E's, just a mile from our home, we were delighted. It was not long before we were attending the regularly-celebrated TLM at 1:30 on Sunday afternoons. It was perfect for our family on many levels.

Our two boys learned to serve the TLM literally at the feet of Fr. Lockwood. As they learned their Latin responses, when to (and when not to!) ring the bells, how and when to reverently assist in getting the sacred items Father needs, etc., Father was always patient and encouraging to them. And though 'Hekyll and Jekyll' as Father sometimes fondly referred to them, still have a way to go in perfecting their service at the Altar, I know they will never forget where and with whom they first began as then-8 and 10 year old boys.

Father has been helpful in our spiritual growth, always guiding us in his wise but down-to-earth manner. If there were one recurring, but ever-appropriate theme imparted to us by Father it would be that in all of life's situations, 'someone needs to be the adult'.

Thank you, Father, for all you have done for us at St. Elizabeth of Hungary church. Your steadfastness, your humor, your compassion, your guidance and direction will be fondly remembered and greatly missed. You were our faithful shepherd, and we love you! We pray that God will bless you abundantly in your new parish and position in the Diocese of Kansas City/St. Joseph.

* * *

A farewell gathering for Fr. Lockwood will be held following the 10:30 a.m. Mass (and prior to the 1:30 p.m. TLM) on this Sunday, June 26, in the cafeteria (lower level) at St. Elizabeth of Hungary Church. All are invited!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Prayer Against Storms

So many tornadoes, so much devastation. It is incredible to watch the TV and computer reports of the areas which have been hit so hard. Lord, have mercy on all those affected!

It's looking like the St. Louis area is in for another severe weather day tomorrow. We keep this prayer posted in the basement area where we go when the sirens blow. It, along with our Rosary, offers much comfort to us all, but especially to the boys, who are particularly bothered when we are under tornado warnings. We've used it more often this year than we'd like, but thanks be to God, we have been kept safe and unharmed, even when one twister hit less than a half-mile from our home (the 12/31/10 tornado). And so I share it, again, with you:

The Prayer or Blessing Against Storms

(found on page 28 Pieta Prayer Book)

At each '†', make the Sign of The Cross

Jesus Christ a King of Glory has come in Peace.† God became man,† and the Word was made flesh.† Christ was born of a Virgin.† Christ suffered.† Christ was crucified.† Christ died.† Christ rose from the dead.† Christ ascended into Heaven.† Christ conquers.† Christ reigns.† Christ orders.† May Christ protect us from all storms and lightning† Christ went through their midst in Peace,† and the word was made flesh.† Christ is with us with Mary.† Flee you enemy spirits because the Lion of the Generation of Juda, the Root David, has won.† Holy God!† Holy Powerful God!† Holy Immortal God!† Have mercy on us. Amen!

God bless you and keep you safe!

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

First Friday Mass

First Friday Mass of the Sacred Heart (Traditional Latin) will be celebrated by Father Gregory Lockwood at St. Elizabeth of Hungary Church this Friday morning, April 1, at 6:30 a.m.

St. Elizabeth of Hungary Church
1420 S. Sappington Road
Crestwood, MO

Do come join us!

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Lenten Reading

With Lent just around the corner I am considering once again what I might read during the 40 days leading up to Easter. I have a few ideas, but haven't taken anything off the shelf or ordered anything new yet.

My dear sister-in-law gave me Dante's Divine Comedy for my last birthday and I'm thinking this would be a great time to delve in. Also, I've thought of trying to make a practice of reading at least some Sacred Scripture daily. And we have many good books on our shelves here at home, just waiting to be read and studied.

But with so many good Catholic book choices out there, I'm wondering, what are your reading plans this Lent?

God bless you with a holy and fruitful Lent!

Thursday, March 3, 2011

First Friday and Ash Wednesday

Father Gregory Lockwood will offer upcoming Masses in the Extraordinary Form at St. Elizabeth of Hungary Church, 1420 Sappington Road in Crestwood, on the following dates/times:

First Friday

Mass of the Sacred Heart will be offered tomorrow morning, March 4, at 6:30 a.m.

Ash Wednesday
Ash Wednesday Mass with distribution of ashes next Wednesday, March 9, at 12:00 noon.

Do come join us!

Saturday, February 5, 2011

In the Bleak Midwinter

The following poem by Christina Rossetti (1872) is perhaps best known to us as a beautiful carol sung at Christmastime. And with the Christmas season officially past, my posting of it is late, liturgically speaking.

But when I awake as I did this morning, to an unexpected 4-5 inch fresh blanket of snow, atop a 2-3 inch layer of ice and snow from recent days, and flakes are still gently falling, the line "snow on snow" immediately comes to my mind.

I looked up the poem and read it, with the familiar tune singing in my head. The first stanza paints the scene we awoke to today; those following how Our Lord the Infant King came to this earth in just such a scene, His own Dear Mother, shepherds and kings adoring him, and how I might as well.

Certainly we are beyond this scene on the liturgical calendar, but on the calendar of our hearts it is always time to consider our own love and adoration of Him who came to us one bleak midwinter; today's lovely snowfall brings it to my mind again.

In the Bleak Midwinter
By Christina Rossetti

In the bleak mid-winter
Frosty wind made moan,
Earth stood hard as iron,
Water like a stone;
Snow had fallen, snow on snow,
Snow on snow,
In the bleak mid-winter
Long ago.

Our God, Heaven cannot hold Him
Nor earth sustain;
Heaven and earth shall flee away
When He comes to reign:
In the bleak mid-winter
A stable-place sufficed
The Lord God Almighty,
Jesus Christ.

Enough for Him, whom cherubim
Worship night and day,
A breastful of milk
And a mangerful of hay;
Enough for Him, whom angels
Fall down before,
The ox and ass and camel
Which adore.

Angels and archangels
May have gathered there,
Cherubim and seraphim
Thronged the air,
But only His mother
In her maiden bliss,
Worshipped the Beloved
With a kiss.

What can I give Him,
Poor as I am?
If I were a shepherd
I would bring a lamb,
If I were a wise man
I would do my part,
Yet what I can I give Him,
Give my heart.

* * *

God bless you!

Friday, February 4, 2011

Too Much Pink

My husband was right. It was a quite a bit of pink. And I discovered the answer to my question back at him: Yes, you can have too much pink!

So I've gone from strawberry sundae to plain vanilla for the time being, and we'll see where it goes from there.

Stay tuned!

Thursday, February 3, 2011

In the Pink

My Morning Cup takes on a bit of a new look today! While it's not a huge change, I think it's nice and it is little more readable, especially with the text on white.

I love my old header, so I asked my husband to modify its color to match this new background. He did, and then he asked me, "Um... do you think that might be a quite a bit of pink??"


I answered him with another question. "Can you have TOO much pink??!"

You see, dear readers, I love pink. Indeed, what is not to love about pink?
  • Strawberry Ice Cream
  • Cotton Candy
  • Pink Lemonade
  • A "Peace Rose" -- my all-time favorite variety of rose, yellow down in the center, blooming out into a lovely pink at its pedals' edges.
  • The sky behind Mount Hood as the sun sets on a chilly fall day in Portland.
  • My bridesmaids' gowns on my wedding day, and dare I admit it?? I made our groomsmen wear pink ties and cummerbunds (what WAS I thinking?!)
I've enjoyed wearing pink since I was a girl. In high school, way back in the late 70s, early 80s, when bib overalls in every color were popular, I had pink ones. Beyond cute! And to this day I have to watch myself when looking for sweaters or other pieces of clothing because I will prefer the pink one every time, and as pretty as any one garment may be, no one needs a closet full of one color!

To me the color pink is everything sweet, feminine, soft, lovely. It's the essence of a girly-girl, and in a house full of boys, I think I can indulge myself with it just a bit, if only on my blog!

And so, it might need a tweak here and there before arriving at the final version, but I'm pleased with My Morning Cup's new look thus far. And perhaps I'll enjoy looking at it enough that I'll actually start posting a tad more again, as time permits. We'll see.....

God bless you, dear readers!

First Friday Mass

A First Friday Mass (Traditional Latin) will be celebrated by Father Gregory Lockwood at St. Elizabeth of Hungary Church tomorrow morning, February 4, at 6:30 a.m.

Brave the chill temps and join us!