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UNITY.  The unity of the One True Church.  I believe the One True Church is both the Eastern Orthodox and the Roman Catholic: that they are ...

04 June 2020

Light But Not Yet Bright

I have been musing over the Church's response to various global issues lately, and especially what has been happening in America.  We have a tendancy, I think, to view the Church very harshly.  As though we expect it to behave in an otherwordly way, completely sanctified and holy at all times.  The world seems to think that everyone affiliated with the Church should be completely blameless and without sin.  This is a grievous misunderstanding of Christ's mystical body.  The world also seems to think that the judgment it applies to the Church is its right, and that it needs not apply the same standard to itself.  Well, I can't, and don't want to speak for the world; but I love the Church, and will defend it whenever I can.

A portion of today's Office of Readings really spoke to my heart about this.  It should give us all hope:
Dawn, or first light, proclaims that the night is over but does not yet manifest the full brightness of the day.  It dispels night, it gives a beginning to the day, but still it is a mixture of light and darkness.  All of us who follow the truth in this life, are we not exactly like the dawn?  Some of the things we do are truly works of the light, but others are not entirely free from the remnants of darkness.  No man is virtuous before you, says the psalmist, and again Scripture says we have all done wrong in many ways.
This is why Paul does not say, "the night has passed and day has come," but night has passed and day is approaching, showing beyond doubt that he is still in the dawn, after the end of darkness but still before the rising of the sun.
The Church of the elect will be fully day only when the darkness of sin is no longer mixed in with it.  It will be fully day only when it shines with the perfect warmth of a light that comes from within.  God shows that we are still going through this dawn when he says to Job, Have you ever sent the dawn to its post?  Something that is being sent somewhere is being sent from one place to another.  What is the destined place of the dawn if not the perfect brightness of the eternal vision?  And when it has reached its place, will it still have any of the darkness of the night that has passed?  The dawn was intent on reaching its destined place when the psalmist said My soul thirsts for the living God; when shall I appear before the face of  God?  The dawn was hurrying to the place it knew to be its destiny when Paul said that he wanted to die and to be with Christ, and when he said For to me to live is Christ and to die is gain. 
[From The Moral Reflections on Job by Pope St Gregory the Great]

Let's keep aiming for the Light!

03 June 2020

No Black Screen

Although I live in Scotland and have done for 13 years, I am an American born and bred, and I lived in my homeland for 43 years.  I cannot keep silent about what is going on in America now.

CLARIFICATION:  ALL lives matter.  Duh.  What kind of stupid statement is that, anyway?  This is stating the obvious, and most people probably believe this, without having a sign shoved in their faces.  Violence is wrong and so is police brutality.  The following post assumes these premises.  But there is more to this story...

What is happening in America right now has very little to do with racism, and people are ignorant if they think that is the sole issue.  And let us not forget that racism wears many colours.  This is simply anarchy.  Angry people, angry over all kinds of things, run amok.  So much so that they somehow justify in their tiny little minds the importing of "professional" protestors and anarchists, the destruction of others' property, the burning of cities, the vandalism of churches, and the irrational BLAMING of everyone and everything for their own particular state in life, whatever that may be.  

Take a good look at this photo.  What are these people even doing, and what on earth do they hope to gain by it?

For those hanging onto the coattails of Dr Martin Luther King, Jr., let me say this:  Dr King would be appalled and disgusted at all this violence and destruction.  So please, don't align yourselves with someone like that.  

Skin colour is not the issue here.  First of all, I have never met a "black" person, nor have I met a "white" person.  I have friends of all different colours, but none of them is black or white.  Skin colour has nothing to do with the state of one's heart.

This issue has so many facets, it would take pages and pages to address them:  racism to a degree, but also the results of living in a culture of self-determinism, a culture without absolutes (therefore, no morals), a culture of entitlement, a culture of whiny don't-hurt-my-feelings babyish behaviour, a culture which supports, finances and glorifies street thug / drug dealer mentality, a culture of total ingratitude -- especially by those who are receiving the most handouts, and on and on.  

What happened to this man, Mr Floyd, is, of course, despicable.  But let me ask you this:  what happened to the police officer who was driven to this?  And, while there are many Christians out with the protesters waving their signs and banners in our faces, why are they not praying for the man who, for whatever reason, committed this act of brutality?  What is HIS story?  For that matter, what is George Floyd's story?  Does anyone care that he had a criminal record?  Does anyone consider that he may have not cooperated with the police in the remotest degree?  I am not excusing, by any means, what happened.  But I have questions.

How many American police officers face endless abuse by criminal elements?  How many police officers have been killed?  Why no outrage over that?

Also, look at the chart below:

WHY NO OUTRAGE OVER THOSE STATISTICS?  This response that has taken place / is taking place in America is completely out of proportion and frankly, insane.  Many, many years ago, my mother used to say:  America doesn't need to worry about enemies from without; it will destroy itself from within.  How prophetic.

There IS an answer, but the hearts of many have become darkened:

Finally, don't spend your time and energy waving signs and banners, "standing in solidarity with" whatever, whatever, by posting your stupid black screens.  If you really want change, DO something productive and constructive -- not destructive and barbaric.  The behaviour by those who are rioting and many who are protesting is nothing less than demonic.  Satan in a deceiver and a divider.  He is having a field day in America right now.  

No black screens!  Black is the absence of Light.  I will never align myself with darkness.  

For all those of us who are trying to live our Christian faith, I leave you with this:

30 May 2020

Settling the Mind

Ever since the lockdown began, much as I have tried, I have been unable to really settle.  I haven't done well with completing projects -- other than DIY projects in the home which took my mind off of things.  Ian has been back at work for nearly four weeks, albeit under very different circumstances, and I have still struggled to calm down and focus.  Although I think we have been very blessed here and have not undergone much of the tragedy and trauma of this whole pandemic, it obviously has still had quite an effect on our psyche.

Just this past week I said, right, I am going to sit down with a large cross stitch WIP and get going on it.  I am happy to say that I have done this most days now for almost a week.  And, as it turns out, it has had a very settling effect on my state of mind. 

Although, if you look at this picture below, you will see just a portion of the huge pile of finished stitching projects that still need a final finish.  I would love to have access to a professional finisher!

Of course, I and we have been doing a HUGE amount of prayer, online Masses, and spiritual reading, and yes, that has had an enormously positive impact on both of us.  But yet, it was hard to align myself with a normal daily life and schedule. 

At long last, I believe I am starting to settle down.  One thing we both agree wholeheartedly is that it is VERY detrimental to have too much news on a daily basis.  We check in with things once a day, to see what's what, but that's it.  Thankfully, we do NOT have a television, so we are saved the perpetual inundation of information none of us really needs to have.  However, I admit I have been obsessively writing down in my diary the daily numbers for the UK, the USA, Scotland, and the Highlands -- the total number of Covid-19 cases to date, and the death toll.  I think the UK should be very ashamed of the appallingly high numbers, but that's for another discussion.

Meanwhile, in addition to the spiritual practices we have been working on over the past many weeks, I have started really enjoying the Word on Fire Show, both the podcast and the video format.  Wow.  I have learned a LOT.  And I believe I could listen to these discussions several times over and continue to glean new and beneficial things from them.  So, I multitask to the degree that I listen to this show while stitching!  If you are interested, you can find them on YouTube as part of Bishop Robert Barron's channel.

This past Thursday, Scotland moved into Phase One (of Four) of the easing of our lockdown.  And tonight, my husband is off fishing, now that the fishery is open!  He has been chomping at the bit.

Finally, when things are just too much, I can always take a wee nap in the Swan Room (our multi-purpose extra room).

Slowly, we move towards more "living".  Stay safe, friends; and always keep the hope of the Gospel in your hearts and minds!

21 May 2020

A Place to Start :: If You Want To

We have received so much blessing, edification, and hope from Bishop Barron.  Just have a wee peak:

Has anyone seen the whole series?

Pax et Bonum!

20 May 2020

Coming Home

In a way, this is a difficult post to write, but in a much bigger way, it is pure joy!

And really, it would take an hours long conversation with each person individually to explain why Ian and I have made this decision.  Suffice it to say, we feel joy, relief, and hope as we look at the road forward in our faith life, which really means our WHOLE life, because neither of us compartmentalizes our faith.

First, about Orthodoxy:  it is beautiful and true and we love it.  Unity between the Orthodox and Catholic Churches will always be a theme and a goal of ours.  And please, let us remember that the Church didn't divide for more than 1000 years.  Also, let us remember that the gates of hell will not prevail against the True Church.

Sadly, trying to BE Orthodox became for us a trial and a heartache.  This is mainly because we live in an isolated area of a post-Christian country where most people have never heard of Orthodoxy, and where there is very little opportunity to practice it.  Liturgies were far away and infrequent, but still, we have no complaints against the Orthodox Church, the priests, or Orthodox faithful.  We will always have Orthodoxy in our hearts.

Did not our hearts burn within us?

Second, enter the Holy Spirit and some direction:  we went to the local Catholic Church, which is less than five minutes from our house.  Glory to God for all things!  It was such a good decision.  The priest welcomed us warmly and the parishioners were friendly.  We both felt that the Mass = the Liturgy.  We felt at peace, and at home.  We hope there will be many opportunities to serve, in whatever capacity is needed.

A whole world of deeper faith has opened up for us, and we have been living like Catholics for months now.  The Church is receiving us as soon as the lockdown measures are lifted!  We have embraced the doctrine, the devotions, and the popular piety of the Catholic Church, and it is like life has blossomed.

Come, Holy Spirit, Creator blest!
And in our souls take up Your rest.
Come, and with Your grace and heavenly aid,
To fill the hearts which You have made.

Wishing you all great joy in Christ!