alicia: September 2003 Archives

from my email inbox today

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Would you kindly say a prayer for me as I will be entering a Benedictine monastery in a few months to become a religious brother? Your prayers are most appreciated. Many blessings to you!
In Our Lady,
Email Address:

Answers for the Lowly Pilgrim

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1. How did the name of the blog come to be?
I'm a midwife. It is not just an occupation, it is a profession (as in "I profess") and a vocation. My first vocation was and is marriage and motherhood, but midwifery is an extension of that. Fructus ventris (fruit of the womb) is from the latin for the Hail Mary.

2. Why Magnificat on your blog?

KTC's answers

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(I pulled this out of the comments box below)
Okay! Here goes:

1)It is obvious that Carmelite spirituality is very important to your life. How and when was it first introduced to you?

I first realized what true mysticism was in 1991, after a post-partum depression and subsequent disillusionment with the "if you can't obey the Word and feel joyful, then you must have a rebellious heart" attitude of my evangelical protestant church.

I was scanning the religion shelves of the public library one day and came upon the title Ecstatic Confessions, ed. by Martin Buber. Being nosy, I checked it out!

To that point, I'd always associated "mysticism" with new age types or the guru in Nepal--I didn't have any idea that it was RELEVANT to any Christian's actual prayer life. Mysticism, as it turned out, was simply love talk between God and His people: between the Lover and His beloved!

we're not biased, no


Crystal checks in.


Still Building Zion has Crystal's answers up. Thanks, kiddo, for such thoughtful and honest comments.

another catholic mommy blog!


Summa Mamas
"Three RC moms-- One organic, One fun, One old!"
Link via the Curt Jester

interview meme

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I am finding this interview meme to be much more fruitful than the random quiz one, albeit a bit more difficult.
If anyone wants to interview me, please feel free to post the questions on your blog and send me an email letting me know. I will answer as time provides and to the limits of what I am comfortable sharing. You have all been wonderful with your answers and it is humbling to know just what differing and beautiful charisms are found in our virtual parish.

From the Sunday Boston Globe. Here is a case where the family wants care continuted, and the hospital is suing to have the ventilator disconnected.

Tom answers


The Lowly Pilgrim has posted his answers to the interview.


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This is the final set of questions for now - thanks to all of you for your lively interest. I am hoping tomorrow to have a set of reflections on some other stuff. Kathy the Carmelite is the most recent person requesting an interview. Here we go!
1) It is obvious that Carmelite spirituality is very important to your life. How and when was it first introduced to you?
2) Like so many bloggers, you seem to juggle family committments, work in and out of the house, a life of prayer and reflection, and blogging. How does blogging help with the other parts of your life?
3) Have you had the chance to meet other bloggers 'in real life' after becoming virtually acquainted? Is this something you would recommend to others or would like to do?
4) What are some things that would make you say,"This is an ideal parish for me and my family."?
5) Any thoughts on who might next fill the shoes of the fisherman? Are there any Carmelites who might be papabile?

questions for Crystal

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1) From your blog title, I would guess that part of your calling is to help build the Kingdom. Do you have any ideas on how this came about?
2) For those who are clueless, could you share a little bit about One Rock magazine?
3) Your faith journey seems to have taken some interesting detours. Could you share something that pulled you away from the Catholic church, and something that pulled you back?
4) My generation (boomers) seems to have betrayed your generation in many ways. Is there a particular issue for which I could ask your forgiveness? How can we make reparation?
5) Do you have any thoughts about who should be the next Pope, or what qualities you think the Holy Spirit will look for?

More questions

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Tom was the next person who sent me an email requesting interview questions. Here they are. As below, I will put up a link to his answers when he posts them at his blog.
Do remember that part of the conversation is to offer to interview others as well, if you can. I am finding that it is an interesting challenge to write good and personalized questions.
1) Your blog's name is "The Lowly Pilgrim - a walk in the desert". What (besides the Holy Spirit) inspired you to choose this image and identity?
2) Your blog motto is "Dominus Illuminatio Mea". How did you find this phrase, and in what ways is your blog a fulfillment of this motto?
3) It would seem that you see your life and faith as a journey. Could you share a significant step along that path?
4) Do you see blogging as a vocation, an avocation, or something else? What prompted you to start blogging?
5) Who would you like to see as the next pope?

Erik's Interview questions and Answers


can be found here.
More questions coming up soon - I have pending interview requests from at least 4 corners of the blogosphere.

From my eldest daughter: Recipe


Blackberry Nectarine Crisp
(Adapted from Rebecca Charles)
Time: 1 hour
7 tablespoons cold unsalted butter
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup rolled oats
1/2 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
4 cups nectarines, pitted, peeled and cut into 1-inch chunks (about 3 large nectarines)
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 heaping cup whole blackberries
Vanilla ice cream for serving.

1. Butter a 2-quart baking dish or six 8-ounce ramekins with 1 tablespoon butter. Heat oven to 375 degrees. In a food processor, pulse flour, oats, brown sugar, cinnamon and salt once or twice to mix. Cut remaining butter into small chunks, add to flour mixture and pulse a few more times, until mixture just
comes together into small crumbly clumps. Reserve.

2. In a large bowl, combine nectarines, granulated sugar and vanilla. Pour nectarines into baking dish or ramekins, scatter blackberries on top and sprinkle with the processed mixture. Bake 45 minutes, until bubbling. Serve immediately with vanilla ice cream.

Yield: 6 servings.

First Interview set

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Erik was the first to put in an interview request.
1) Your blog refers to food, art, music, bullfighting, and politics. How do these connect to Catholic Theology?

2) I understand that you are a graduate of the University of California's Santa Cruz campus. This campus is not exactly known as a bastion of conservative thought. How did your values system and the university work together during your years there?

3) You seem to be a talented cook as well as musician. Do you see a connection between the culinary and musical arts?

4) What prompted you to become a virtuoso in the kitchen?

5) Who would you personally like to see as the next Pope?

interview requests

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wow, I am overwhelmed. I have had 3 readers so far request a Fructus Ventris interview. I will try to get this as soon as I can, given my weird work schedule. I will send interviewees an email to let them know when the questions are up on my blog. Thanks for the interest!

interblog interview


BTW - if anyone would like to be interviewed by me, send me a private email and put interview me somewhere in the letter.

interblog interview

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I volunteered first, but Jeff Miller (Curt Jester) beat me to it. Oh well, it comes of two things:
1) I have a job that takes me out of circulation for long stretches (if I have a patient in labor, that is) and
2) When I got home from work Wednesday AM, it was to learn that Comcast had a major outage - for us that meant no telephone, no cable TV, and worst of all no ISP. I was very annoyed, especially since I had really wanted to hear the homily of the day on EWTN (my husband quoted me a line from it as I was driving home). Instead, I went to sleep! Anyhow, here are my answers.

Interview Questions

Alicia the Midwife at Fructus Ventris is the first courageous person to ask for an interview from the staff. So, here’s her interview questions

more liturgy ado


The Lowly Pilgrim has some interesting posts and comments about the possible Vatican document on liturgy - the one that MIGHT restrict altar servers to boys and men, and could also restrict applause.
Myself, I have always been a little concerned about applause especially after Mass. That is because, as a member of music ministry, I am hypersensitive to the idea that the applause is for a performance, which Mass is not.
On the other hand, my Pentecostal friends have what they call a 'clap offering' - a round of applause directed at God in gratitude, thanksgiving, and awe.
Anyhow - check out Lowly Pilgrim. I don't think you will be disappointed

Has any one heard from

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Kathy the Carmelite of the
Gospel M*I*N*E*F*I*E*L*D? I know that she is busy, but I am hoping that Isabel didn[t affect her too badly.

another fine blog?


The Curt Jester does it again. Jonah blogs. Tolle lege.

Mass today

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From today's gospel:
And he sat down and called the twelve; and he said to them, “If any one would be first, he must be last of all and servant of all”. And he took a child, and put him in the midst of them; and taking him in his arms, he said to them, “Whoever receives one such child in my name receives me; and whoever receives me, receives not me but him who sent me”. (Mark 9:36-37)
We went to the 8AM Mass today (my husband was singing) and I saw a child who reminded me of a post at M'Lynn's fine blog Scattershot Direct.

Faith 2 Action


A dear friend of mine sent me a link to Faith 2 Action. She heard Janet Folger speak and was very impressed.

Meat on Friday and Humanae Vitae

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I don't remember quite where I read it, but I have been thinking about a comment that connected the change in discipline (modifying the Friday penance) with the near catastrophic change in practice among the rank and file pew-warmers of ignoring the Church's teaching on family planning. From nearly 2 generations later, we can see how prophetic H.V. really was.


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I have wanted to make a tea liquer for a while now. When I visited with Erik in July, I read through his book of recipes for cordials and liquers, just to get the principles down. I then bought two bottles of EverClear when I was in Oregon, in anticipation.
Last night I happened upon a recipe for Mate (accent over that 'e') cordial in the St. Blog's Cookbook. (it's from July 14,2003 - the blogspot archives are doing their usual). I followed that recipe using black tea leaves ( a blend of pekoe and darjeeling) at double the amount called for. I also boiled the water and poured it over the leaves first (in a corel teapot I have) and then poured on the EverClear after the leaves were cooled.
Tonight I finished the recipe and bottled it. Now for the hard part - waiting a month to try it! I may also try making a spiced chai kind of cordial.

My pirate name is:

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Captain Anne Cash
Even though there's no legal rank on a pirate ship, everyone recognizes you're the one in charge. You're musical, and you've got a certain style if not flair. You'll do just fine. Arr!
find your pirate name


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Nicholas Wilton - Sacred Choral Music sung by Magnificat - Catholic
is a site for which I was sent a link. Have any of you had any experience with this?
On another note, my husband is a great fan of Fulton Sheen. There is available an MP3 with 50 of his talks on it.
My (stupid?) question is - how does one listen to MP3 stuff?

"safe" medical abortion?

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Pregnant teen dies after being given RU-486 (mifeprostone).
May God have mercy on her soul, and may her family find comfort. And may those who murdered her and her unborn child either find repentance or rot in Hell!

A Historical Comparison
is an extremely interesting and scholarly paper. Among other things, it compares the spirituality of couples using calendar rhythmn in the 1960s with those using 'modern NFP' (in this case the Billings Ovulation Method).
Other papers of interest can be found at University Faculty for Life.

musical liturgical question

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There is a rumor that my parish may be considering changing its 'liturgical resources' with the advent of our new pastor. We have been using the OCP, with lots of supplements of sheet music.
I would like to present our music director (a well-meaning volunteer who had held the job for years if not decades) with some choices other than GIA or JS Paluch (the others in use in this area). I have suggested that Magnificat would work well as a 'worship aid' in general, and I have heard that Adoramus has a decent hymnal.
I am interested in suggestions and also what kinds of cost structures have been encountered. Prayer, also, would be appreciated.
Change, if it happens, is at least a liturgical year away, as we have already been committed to the OCP program for the upcoming year.

Pray for justice and mercy


Times Against Humanity
contains links to articles from several sources about the fight to save Terri Schiavo from being legally murdered by her adulterous husband. This article includes a link to a specific prayer for Terri - I suggest that you print out several copies. Post one on your computer, one on the refrigerator, and give out others to whomever the Spirit sends you.

Learning to read

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Although I did not home school my children, I did make sure they all learned to read at home, at a very early age. All six of them were reading by the age of four, and all six of them are still readers. As a matter of fact, fully half the weight of our cross-country move was books - and that was after we sold around 100 books and donated several packing boxes (a mini-van full) to the Eugene Public Library.
Mark Shea, Chris, Lane Core are among many bloggers who have linked to and commented on this item about how the brain processes written English. Go ahead, click over and read it - it should only take you a moment. Anyhow, it got me to thinking about the differences in how we expect our children to acquire read/written language as opposed to heard/oral language.

Crystal is


Still Building Zion and I am very glad!

more amusing search terms

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governer+ of +Rhode Island
most of these make a kind of perverse sense, but I have no clue how a search for the Governor of Rhode Island ended up at Fructus Ventris!

Catholics are not Puritans

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I was mulling this over earlier today, as I was thinking about aperitifs and drink recipes. I was also thinking about various heresies, beginning with Gnosticism and continuing to this day. You know the ones I mean - the ones that see the material world, including the human body, as inherently evil and debased. As Catholics, we take literally the words in Genesis that God say what He created and that "It was good". To these heresies, the Incarnation was truly a scandal - that God should be born of a woman, born in blood and sweat and water, born helpless and dependant - and still be God.

totally unscientific


but fun quiz
Link from Kathy who got it from Zorak.
my results:
The Net
The Net reaches out to the world and pulls in experiences of all forms and kinds.

Better than Friday Five

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In the bag
(link via Erik)

Time again for "In the Bag," the game that challenges you to put aside pride and admit what art you really like. The rules: you can put any five works of art into your bag before departing for a desert island, but you have to choose right now.

tolle lege

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Flos Carmeli has a brief comment from dylan! Please, please, keep praying for him.

Exaltation of the Cross

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Today, our priest said something in the homily that I have been pondering. He told a tale of a buddhist monk who recently visited the USA after a 25 year absence. The comment made was that, 25 years ago, there were crosses in most rooms of most houses he visited. Now, in all the spots where he would expect to see a cross, there is a clock.
Are there more clocks or more crosses in your home?

Playing with food

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Erik has been posting recipes for Tomato Grappatini, and my curiosity was piqued. Between the garden and the CSA, I have an abundance of tomatoes, and these are more for eating than canning. I plan to can the Roma tomatoes, but the beefsteaks and similar just don't can well.
So I decided to try to make a similar aperitif.


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Catholic mom blog is Scattershot Direct. Found via Davey's mommy.
Click here for a good description of the way I've been feeling at work lately.

new parishioner


Dei Gratia   has been added to the blogroll.



From Open Book
Worth the time to read and ponder.

Something to ponder


Life and physical health are precious gifts entrusted to us by God. We must take reasonable care of them, taking into account the needs of others and the common good.
CCC, section 2288



Myths and facts on domestic violence and divorce from El Camino Real.
My perception from my feminist days is that most divorces stem from unreal expectations and an unwillingness to grow and adapt.

We knew it all along

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Comments from dylan's mom over at his blog. Please, please keep praying.

The man in black

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From the NY Times.Johnny Cash, Country Music's Bare-Bones Realist, Dies at 71
Even when I was a child and thought that country music was 'lame', I admired Johnny Cash. Back in February, I posted the lyrics to a Johnny Cash song that I could not get out of my head. I pray that Mr. Cash is now where he can:
Hear the trumpets, hear the pipers, one hundred million angels singing.
Multitudes are marching to the big kettle drum.
Voices calling, voices crying, some are born and some are dying.
It's Alpha and Omega's Kingdom come.



Mr. Cash, the man in black. He was a whirlwind in a thorn tree.



I had plans to post a bit about 9-11-01 and what I was doing then. I had thoughts about continuing some previous topics. But today was not a good day at work, at all, and tonight we have been helping our (almost)20 y/o daughter pack up her stuff as she moves out (yet again). Blogging will have to wait.

Sex Week at St. Blog's?

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Sex and growing up Catholic over at Don Jim's place, Sex: Sport, Science or Something Else over at Cross and Crown, seem to be starting something. Should be interesting to see if anyone else gets involved in the conversation.

Mommy blog alert!


Heroic Moments
is new from Mrs. Bill White (summa minutiae). Do drop by.



Pot Luck


Sparki posts about Catholic school for her children and includes a recipe for Irish Beef Stew. Yum!

Rend your hearts and not your clothing


Go over to Apologia for some heart rending, soul-searching writing on the crime and execution of Paul Hill.

Ethics and etzev

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I am not a professional ethicist, but in my line of work I encounter various ethical questions. As part of my MS in Nursing studies, I took an elective class on medical ethics, and I have presented talks on "midwifery, ethics, and the law" in a few settings. I have tried to educate myself in the field, because many of the questions I encounter are not well-covered in the standard books.
My initial training in medical ethics was strongly influenced by situation ethics, and it has been only gradually that I have come to realize just how pervasive this misapplication of ethical thinking really is.

Food to give up for lent

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Bread Alert
describes a new way to prepare chocolate for eating.

RIP -please pray for his soul

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Warren Zevon finally succumbed to the cancer that he was diagnosed with just over a year ago. His final album, "The Wind" has just been released. The excerpts I have heard have been excellent.
The LA Times obit states:
Zevon died Sunday afternoon at his home in Los Angeles, according to his manager Irving Azoff, who said that the singer had been "very upbeat" in the past week due to the success of his new album and the recent birth of twin grandchildren. "He was in a good place."
According to an interview with VH-1, Zevon considered himself Christian, and credited writer Graham Greene with some influence.

Weekly Roundup

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Times Against Humanity
has published its weekly roundup of the St.Blog's community. If you scroll down, you can also read an extended piece about the fight for Terri Schiavo's life.
Something that has always disturbed me about this case is that I have yet to read a detailed description of just how Terri sustained the 'anoxic insult' that led to her current condition.

Another convert to MT


Flos Carmeli
has joined the migration. Welcome, pilgrim! I have updated my blogroll to reflect the change.

Catholic Medical Association

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I just learned that the CMA will be having their Annual Meeting next month in Philadelphia, but I am probably not going to be able to attend.
I really wish that I could get more advance notice about stuff like this. Finding the money and the time off together can be very difficult.

Go look at this!

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De Fidei Oboedientia (Jeanetta's site) is back from summer vacation with some wonderful new colors! Jeanetta, when are you going to join the migration to MT? If you have already taught yourself CSS, you are way ahead of me! I am still puzzling out basic HTML tags, with lots of help.

but what does it mean?

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Rob's Amazing Poem Generator
is a program I found through Don 's page. I asked it to generate a prose poem from a previous post, and here it is:

Fructus Ventris
pregnancy could almost march
death bed conversions,
characteristics of place
A poem like the ectopic, out
of introverted people.
Pregnancy is a good companion to the moment. To be Catholic gives me my mouth.
Did God make of pregnancy thirty friends?

Musings on how we, midwife in crisis, have
a unified concept of women
simpler words than we have been


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It would appear that all the blogspot sites are down.

Recent search terms

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I don't seem to get the same weird search terms that some others do, but here are a few that have ended up at Fructus Ventris.
catholic teaching on ectopic pregnancies, female saints, "Meyers Brigg" INTP, entopic pregnancy, thirty friends, crisis magazine,midwife outfit, mercury poisining, "epidural before labor", killer sharks, circumcision 8th day, "Multitudes are marching", death bed conversions, characteristics of introverted people, "being a midwife"
One could almost make a poem of this.
Entopic pregnancy, BTW, is a pregnancy in the right place (as opposed to ectopic, out of place).

A good companion to the GIRM


is the Directory on popular piety and the liturgy. Principles and guidelines.
I will add this to the permalinks on the right, also.

pain and suffering

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One of the things that being Catholic gives me is a unified concept of what suffering is good for. As I age, I find this extremely comforting.
I have always considered myself to have a high tolerance for pain. I mean, I gave birth 6 times and only had drugs once (and that was not by my choice, nor did they help me in any way to cope!). Granted, if I could get general anesthesia for teeth cleaning I would take it......
But as I age, I find that I am in more or less chronic pain. I wake up feeling like a stale pretzel, usually an hour before I really need to get up, and I know where every muscle in my body is without checking. Once I get moving, and get busy, I usually will limber up to that I can do what I am called to do.
I have also fought depression much of my life. I consider myself a survivor - of what I am a survivor I choose not to speak - but I was not exactly born with a silver spoon in my mouth.
I recently read an excellent book. Amazing Grace for those who suffer is a collection of true stories about pain, suffering, survival, and faith. I found it to be much more helpful than the book When Bad things happen to good people, which is actually quite fatalistic and deistic. C.S. Lewis's book The Problem of Pain is supposed to also be quite good, but I must confess that I haven't read it.
(I have a very good friend who happened to be in the midst of reading The Problem of Pain when her appendix burst, requiring emergency surgery. As soon as she came out of anesthesia, her thoughtful husband brought in the book that she had been reading, much to the consternation of the nursing staff!)
Where was I? Oh, yes, on pain.
When I was younger, I did not understand a comment made by my mother-in-law to "offer it up" when pain was encountered. As I have studied and learned more about my adopted faith, I have come to see that pain and suffering are not necessarily evil, nor are they punishments for sin on the part of the individual. Rather, they are consequences of original sin, and they are also an opportunity to unite ourselves with Christ, who though sinless, experienced one of the more painful and shameful deaths possible, to redeem us from sin.
So this morning, even as I grabbed a few ibuprofen to make it possible to get through a tough day at work, I also offered up the pain I was feeling, for the souls of the unborn and their parents.

Friday Five


the friday five

1. What housekeeping chore(s) do you hate doing the most? Laundry and silverware.

2. Are there any that you like or don't mind doing? I love to cook for an appreciative audience.

3. Do you have a routine throughout the week or just clean as it's needed? Routine is boring. As needed or when it strikes my fancy. Of course, I no longer need to child-proof the house....

4. Do you have any odd cleaning/housekeeping quirks or rules? Probably, but I am not the one to identify them!

5. What was the last thing you cleaned? Earlier this week I removed several piles of books off the bedroom floor onto bookshelves, and then I was able to sweep and dust the floor.

Sunday's homily

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St. Maria Goretti
was a focal point for Sunday's homily, which I had the privilege to hear twice (something that happens when one is part of the music).
He focused especially on the last verse of the gospel:
And he called the people to him again, and said to them, “Hear me, all of you, and understand: there is nothing outside a man which by going into him can defile him; but the things which come out of a man are what defile him”. For from within, out of the heart of man, come evil thoughts, fornication, theft, murder, adultery, coveting, wickedness, deceit, licentiousness, envy, slander, pride, foolishness. All these evil things come from within, and they defile a man”.
and also on this verse from the Epistle:
Therefore put away all filthiness and rank growth of wickedness and receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls.
Father preached on how important it is, in our culture, for Catholics to live up to the call we have been given to be truly holy in thought, word, and deed. He spoke about how we need to be prepared to resist defilement and to preserve where possible, and recover where necessary, our God-given purity. He spoke against the temptations against purity including the general licentiousness of our culture (although he did not use the word licentious but rather simpler words that carried the same meaning). This young priest ( I would estimate him to be no more than 30) had a little bit of a speech impediment, and had an unfortunate tendency to speak in a monotone, but he was so earnest and inspired by his topic that one could tell all the congregation was listening intently.
I was impressed. Over at Christus Victor Christine posted many of the reasons why homiletics and sermons are not as central to Catholic worship as they are to Protestants, but lately I have been hearing homilies that are so excellent, I wish that I could tape record them for later contemplation.

liturgy for ignoramuses


The Curt Jester Presents a useful guide. Warning: Put down your snacks and swallow your beverage before you click over! I refuse to take responsibility for damaged keyboards.



I have added a feature that will let readers know when some blogs update. I don't know if it will work on most blogspot sites, because you need to automatically ping when you update. I just went into my MT prefernces and changed that little feature. I have also decided that I will delete a site off my roll after a month of no activity, unless I am requested to do otherwise from the blogger.
I am hoping to sit down a little later and write about the homily from yesterday's Mass. If all the newly minted priests are of the quality of the one we had guesting at our parish this weekend, there is great hope for the church.

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The WeatherPixie

About this Archive

This page is a archive of recent entries written by alicia in September 2003.

alicia: August 2003 is the previous archive.

alicia: October 2003 is the next archive.

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