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Thursday, 18 September 2014

One of My Personal Patrons--Especially for Students

I love St. Joseph Cupertino so much. I feel like he is one of my brothers.

I want to share a story I have shared with students in the past, and this story is especially for my readers who are students.

A long time ago, in another world, at a famous Catholic university, it was time for me to begin a year's study of my doctoral candidacy exams. Now, if anyone has ever done this a long time ago, one knows how rigorous these tests were.

For one solid week in May, one would write out answers to questions one did not know ahead of time--three questions per day for five days, no notes, no computers, just paper and pen in one's little space.

On this day, at night, I said a prayer to St. Joseph Cupertino, as I knew my limitations. I said something like this, "Dear St. Joseph Cupertino. you know I am not a genius and you know I need help with my exams next spring. Please help me prepare."

At about four in the morning, in my room, I awoke with 15 questions in my head. As I kept pen and paper near my bed all the time, I scribbled down the questions which were flooding into my imagination.

Then, I fell back to sleep. When I awoke about four hours later, I looked carefully at the questions.

Then, I heard an interior voice, research these, study these, memorize the answers.

Being an obedient sort of girl, I did just that, putting my eggs into one basket of inspiration.

Nine months later, all of us candidates lined up outside the Graduate School of and collected our brown paper envelopes with the first day of questions. On the way over to the library, where we were all to write out our answers in our bare carrels, I opened by packet. I laughed out loud.

My companion walking next to me told me to be quiet, as the questions were so hard some of the students walking behind us were getting nervous. "OK," I said. "You should not be looking at them outside here ahead of time."  I could not tell her my ahead of time was nine months ago.

The first three questions were the first three on my list from St. Joseph Cupertino.

Because I had researched, studied and memorized these, with sources, authors, the whole nine yards, I was finished writing so fast that when I handed in my packet, now with answers, the secretary asked me if I had skipped some and given up. "No, I am finished." She stared at me, and I went on my way.

On Tuesday, we all picked up our second three questions in the sealed envelopes, and proceeded to walk to the library again. On the way, on the pavement outside the library, I opened my packet again.

I laughed, but quietly. Here were the second three questions from Joseph Cupertino. Again, I finished writing early and went to the cafeteria to meet my fiance. He asked me if this was cheating. I asked him if heaven could cheat. I could have passed up the inspirations and done my own thing, but God wanted me to show Him and His saint obedience, and the world the value of the virtue of obedience.

On the third day, I did not open the packet until I got to my carrell, as I knew what to expect. And, so it was, the next three questions from Joseph Cupertino. Thursday and Friday, the same last six questions I had been given in September, were in the packets.

Later on, I was told by the head of the department that I had done "better than expected", (he hated me, sadly as I was an obvious, zealous, practicing Catholic and he was fallen away, but that is another story), and another instructor told me my answers were some of the best, if not the best that year.

I could not take credit for this except that I was obedient to inspiration and worked hard on the answers.

Students, pray to the dear St. Joseph Cupertino. Even today, so many decades after this event, I smile and thank him for his patronage.

He is the patron saint of students and test taking.

Fasting in The West And Some Soup Recipes

Our Eastern Rite brethren have something to teach us about fasting. This upcoming fast from the 20th for nine days is a time not only to join with millions of Christians in fasting, but to practice fasting.

I have some more suggestions.

If you are married and you are both Christians, fast from intimacy. I know people who have done this and found this sacrifice greatly efficacious.

If you are single, do not go out to eat for that time, as most young people do, but eat very simply at home.

Moms, I use to make soup for the Byzantine fast days. These are easy and nutritious for the family. Soup is a traditional fasting food. Recipes at bottom.

Dads, do not play sports, or watch sports on television.

Children, do not play computer games and do extra chores for your parents.

Fasting must become a habit again among Catholic, who have lost the art of fasting.

This is a time to practice before the tribulation begins.

Some soup recipes:

Carrot Soup
Makes: 8 servings, about 1 cup each
Active Time:
Total Time:
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 stalk celery, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme or parsley
  • 5 cups chopped carrots
  • 2 cups water
  • 4 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth, “no-chicken” broth (see Note) or vegetable broth
  • 1/2 cup half-and-half (optional)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • Freshly ground pepper to taste
  1. Heat butter and oil in a Dutch oven over medium heat until the butter melts. Add onion and celery; cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, 4 to 6 minutes. Add garlic and thyme (or parsley); cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 10 seconds.
  2. Stir in carrots. Add water and broth; bring to a lively simmer over high heat. Reduce heat to maintain a lively simmer and cook until very tender, about 25 minutes.
  3. Puree the soup in batches in a blender until smooth. (Use caution when pureeing hot liquids.) Stir in half-and-half (if using), salt and pepper.

 Vegie Lemon Grass Soup for 2

  • 8-10 oz. dried Thai rice noodes, linguini-width
  • 1-2 stalks minced lemongrass , OR 4 Tbsp. frozen prepared lemongrass
  • 4-6 cups vegetable (or faux "chicken") stock (or regular chicken broth if non-veg.)
  • 1 thumb-size piece galangal OR ginger, thinly sliced into matchstick pieces
  • 1/2 package medium or soft tofu (packed in water) - drain off the water and slice tofu into cubes
  • 1 head broccoli, chopped into florets including stems
  • 1-2 cups Chinese cabbage, chopped into bite-size pieces (bok choy, baby bok choy or su choy)
  • 1-2 carrots, sliced
  • 4 Tbsp. soy sauce OR wheat-free soy sauce (or use 3 Tbsp. fish sauce + 1 Tbsp. soy sauce if non-veg.)
  • 1/2 can good-quality coconut milk
  • 3-4 kaffir lime leaves (available in frozen packets at Asian/Chinese food stores)
  • 1/2 cup fresh basil, roughly chopped if leaves are large (or substitute fresh coriander/cilantro)
  • Optional: fresh-cut chilies OR chili sauce, to taste
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 20 minutes

3 tbsp. minced onion
3 tbsp. grated carrot
3 tbsp. butter
4 c chicken broth
1/2 tsp. dry mustard
1/2 tsp. paprika
2 tbsp. cornstarch
1/4 c. milk
1/4 lb. (1 c.) grated Cheddar cheese
1 c. beer or ale
2 tbsp. minced parsley
Cook the onion and carrot in the butter for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the broth, mustard, and paprika. Cook over low heat 15 minutes. Combine together the cornstarch and milk; stir into the soup. Cook 5 minutes.Add the cheese and beer or ale, stirring over low heat until cheese melts. Taste for seasoning. Sprinkle with parsley.
Serves 6.

Ukrainian Borchst Original recipe makes 10 servings 

Attitude Problems

Father Chad Ripperger has an interesting insight on traditional Mass participants which I have been pondering for weeks after listening to the talk.

As we all know, attending the NO has brought about a change in attitude for Mass goers. The laity have been led to think, or have taken it upon themselves, to introduce novelties and person-centered accretions in the NO Mass. This atmosphere creates a mind-set in the laity that lay people have the right and duty to have input into the working out of the Mass.

Liturgical experts form one group, catechists another, liturgy committees a third and so on. People grow up thinking they have daily input into the celebration of the Mass.

This is a lie which some priests have encouraged to the detriment of true worship.

But, here is the main point of Fr. Ripperger's. Too many trads carry this attitude into the TLM.

They think they have a right to tell Father to do this or that. They think they know the rubrics because "Father X did this and Father A did this..." and so on.

The laity should have nothing to say to any priest about the form of the Mass. One point which comes up is the use of the Second Confiteor. Father Z clarified this on his blog.

There it was made clear that the 1962 rubrics explicitly say the Second Confiteor and Misereatur, are to be omitted. Some sedevacantinists do not use the 1962 missal, so some trads have brought this argument into the TLM.

I would encourage all TLMers to be humble and not think they are experts on the  Mass, but it is good to know that the problems of hyper-criticism is fall-out from the attitudes learned in NO land

The Beginning of The Suffering Seasons

According to experts on asthma, Syracuse, NY, is supposed to be a city with some of the lowest pollen counts in America. Now, this is interesting. Currently, I am about four hours north of this city, but having, now that we have had the first frost, asthma attacks.

The cold brings on asthma for me and this condition, apparently, takes two allergens to send one into an attack. Mold is another huge factor for causing asthma, as is smoke, such as that from bonfires and cigarettes.

So, where does a Midwesterner live to avoid asthma? I have shared with friends that I do not have asthma in Ireland, England, Malta, or other European countries by the sea. I do not have asthma in California by the sea, where I lived for almost two years (Ventura), nor did I have asthma living near the sea in Mississippi, when I was right on the Gulf. But, Mississippi has lots of mold, like here, because of the forests.

Forests and forest fires are irritants big are cockroaches, mice and rats. Basically, inner cities prove to be not good places for asthmatics. A person who is poor cannot control even an inner enviroment. That is a problem I have, as I am never in charge of heat or air conditioning. Some asthmatics actually have to stay inside most of the day. That is like being in prison and I have great sympathy for such sufferers.

Another trigger for me are "plug-ins" and air fresheners. Also, on the known trigger list for me are scented candles. One doctor told me not to have lots of pictures on the wall, as dust mites cause asthma. Who normally dusts behind pictures? That was good advice when I had my own house

Here is a snippet from a page on asthma.

Asthma alleviates near Ocean: The perfect climate for an asthma patient would be near the ocean with high humidity, having low levels of air pollution and pollen, and free of irritants like cigarette smoke. People who live by the ocean side have lesser instances of asthma attacks. The ocean air is humid and it also contains nano particles of salt. Inhaling this salty air has curative effects on asthma, and prevents its symptoms from occurring. If you suffer from wheezing, just be sitting on the ocean beach will bring you relief.

Places with constant climate are also better places for asthmatics. Extreme changes of hot and cold may be another irritant. 

Exhaustion is a common side effect of asthma, as one cannot breath properly, has broken sleep, and coughing causes fatigue.

Pray I can move back near the ocean. It is only half-way through September and I am very tired.

Where is your faith located?

Too many bloggers and commentators are bewailing the demise of the Church. Too many express that they are "despairing", which is a sin, btw. Too many are thinking this pope will change doctrine, which is impossible for any pope to do.

Where is the faith of the faithful? Christ said He would be with His Church until the end of time, which is not tomorrow. The Holy Spirit is with us, the members of the one, true, holy, Catholic and apostolic Church.

We are being given the opportunity to become saints, not to whinge and whine.

My faith is in Christ, not people. 

Choose to be a saint and saints are not complainers. Get ready. Choose to be holy, choose to become perfect.

Saints for Our Times

SS. Rufina and Justa were sisters who lived in Seville in the Third Century. They made pottery for a living and were generous to the poor.

When the pagans wanted to buy their wares to use in pagan ceremonies, the women objected.

They were martyred for this....sound familiar? Remember this?

For all those photographers, florists, bakers et al who have been punished for refusing to make and sell things for "gay weddings", these are your patron saints.

Feast day, July 19th.

The Answer to Mortal Sin-The Sacramental Life

Vermeer painted this Allegory of the Catholic Faith. Let us examine it together. First of all, we see the dominant impression of a woman in blue and white. Is she a converted sinner, like Magdalen? She is wearing pearls, the sign of the loose woman. But, she is in ecstasy, as if seeing something, or Someone beyond the scene, beyond the borders of the painting. (Can you tell I taught art history and art appreciation?)

She is the soul, caught up in the Bible, the Cross, the Chalice, which is the symbol of the Sacrifice of the Mass.

She is wearing sandals, like a pilgrim, reminding us of the Pilgrim Church, but she has her foot on the globe-she has overcome the world.

The white dress is the baptismal garment, and over her head is a glass globe, reminding her that she is made in the image and likeness of God in her faculties of reason and free will. Behind the soul is the reason for her freedom, the Sacrifice of Christ in the Crucifixion, complete with Our Lady of Sorrows and St. John. Like St. John, Mary is the Mother of this Catholic soul, and the representation of Mary Magdalen is a small, not quite replica of the soul.

The green velvet reminds one of victory over the earth, and the pet cat has killed the snake, the symbol of satan, and all evil. The floor reminds one of an Italian cathedral, and the black and white of truth and sin. But, there are designs and figures in the white tiles, too small for me to ascertain the meaning. The fruit could be a reminder of the fruits of the Holy Spirit, given in Confirmation.

Faith, hope and charity seem to be revealed in the fact of the woman's hand being on her heart, while the screen may mean the Confessional, another sacrament leading to life.

The curtain intrigues one with the medieval scene of a man and his horse. The man is leading the horse, like a priest leading the soul, or Joseph taking Mary to Egypt. Or, it could be a page leading the knight into the Crusades. The medieval world was ordered by the Church and there is a castle in the scene, and a multitude of natural emblems of flowers, plants, the stars all referring to natural law and cosmic order. civil order and peace.

One chair with the same blue as that holding the symbols of the Mass and Scripture, Revelation and Tradition, may be a reminder of the Chair of Peter. Blue, is, of course, Mary's color.

The answer to this world's preoccupation with sin lies in the teachings of the Catholic Church. If only we would take our task of converting all to Christ and His Church seriously.

There are more symbols here, but these are the ones I want to highlight today.

Thanks be to God for His Gift of the Church and the sacramental life she presents to us.

A Blush or Torture part two

Vermeer was besotted with sin. He did not glorify sin, but showed how common the sins of the growing middle class were. His paintings provide parables of what not to do before choosing mortal sin.

Pearls were a symbol of prostitution and loose women. Men were shown drinking to excess, a mortal sin, and women were shown being compromised.

Why was he so intrigued by sin? One suspects that he wanted to show the new arrivals into society that they were being foolish, stupid, trivial.

He was showing the depth of the falling away of people from Christianity because they could afford to do so. Greed, Avarice, lead to Lust, to Anger, to more and more sins, piled upon one another, until a person's conscience is like the core of an onion, covered in layers. A small thing, like accepting a glass of wine from a rich man, could lead a young woman to sin.

Vanity, vainglory, pride lead to greater sins.

Look closely at the little hints in these pictures.  Social satire should bite the soul. Today, we are surrounded by images of sin. I cannot abide television, as sin abounds. Most popular music extols sex outside of marriage and other mortal sins. We are brainwashed by sin. And, yet, the pulpits remain silent. Why?

God destroyed the earth once in water. He destroyed four out of the five cities of sodomy, including the two largest. He has allowed empires to fall, nations to disappear, peoples to become extinct in certain parts of the globe.

God will not stand by while the world commits moral outrages, a list one need not make, as we all know these sins. They are in our own hearts, minds, souls.

This is the time of mercy, but it is coming to a close soon. I know this.

Mercy and Justice go hand in hand. Justice will come. Those in sin act as though there is no such thing as Divine Justice. Please, warn them. Teach your children to pay attention to their own souls.

God is Good, and most of us do not understand what this means. He is Perfection.

Only the perfect see God.

If priests were doing their job, I would not have to write about these things. I want to be Supertradmum, not Supertradfather. Sadly, the fathers have abdicated their roles. When the men in a family do not teach the truth, the women must.

Souls are at stake, and time is short.

The Good News of the Gospel is that God has redeemed us, given us the means to be free.

In an old pamphlet for over a hundred years ago, a priest wrote this: the sign over heaven reads, "Enter those who have chosen freedom". Freedom is obedience, humility, peace in God. Sin puts one in a cage, and forever, one does not choose grace.

Freedom is in God, in Christ, through the Holy Spirit.

In this last painting, a woman at work with a balance weighs things. But, behind her, is a painting of Christ at the Last Judgment, weighing the merit of those who are good and those who are bad.

Vermeer understood the need for conversion. He knew the people around him needed to be reminded of the spiritual realities which were being forgotten because of consumerism and materialism. Let us be reminded that one mortal sin deprives us of not only sanctifying grace, but everlasting life.

A Blush or Torture? The Heart of The Matter

From St. Jerome...

There are venial sins and there are mortal sins. It is one thing to owe ten thousand talents, another to owe but a farthing. We shall have to give an accounting for an idle word no less than for adultery. But to be made to blush and to be tortured are not the same thing; not the same thing to grow red in the face and to be in agony for a long time. . . . If we entreat for lesser sins we are granted pardon, but for greater sins, it is difficult to obtain our request. There is a great difference between one sin and another. Against Jovinian 2:30

For the past several weeks, I have been pressed to write about the danger of mortal sin.

One mortal sin, Father Ripperger reminds us, sends one to hell.

One reason I am zealous concerning the message of sin and death is that too many priests have and are lax in their teaching or in the confessional.

Here is the great Teresa of Avila on this point.

Half-instructed confessors have done my soul great harm; for I could not always have such learned ones as I would have desired. They certainly did not wish to deceive me, but the fact was that they knew no better. Of something which was a venial sin, they said it was no sin, and out of a very grave mortal sin they made a venial sin. This has done me such harm, that my speaking here of so great an evil, as a warning to others, will be readily understood. 

Too many priests brush away mortal sin as weaknesses. Mortal sin is deadly.

Daily, too many people choose comfort and sin mortally. Too many people choose pleasure and sin mortally. Too many people do not do good works, ignoring and even hating the poor, and commit mortal sins of omission, just as Christ showed us the Rich Man in the parable committed.

One of the things which has puzzled me is how people who are obviously living in mortal sin can be happy or seem "jolly". I do not understand this phenomenon.

Years ago, a friend of mine whose husband was a multimillionaire, a good man and a Christian, stopped going to the country club parties. She and he came to realize the nastiness among those there-basically, they removed themselves from those who were living in mortal sin and seemingly enjoying life.

One mortal sin condemns a person to hell, What of many? What of a lifestyle of sinning seriously, like living in fornication or being a compulsive liar?

I fear for the souls of so many I have seen walking this earth, choosing darkness, choosing to go against graces which God gives to all to be saved.

All men and women are given the necessary graces for salvation. This is the teaching of the Church.

So many turn away....

St. Cyprian of Carthage wrote this:

Of how much greater faith and salutary fear are they who . . . confess their sins to the priests of God in a straightforward manner and in sorrow, making an open declaration of conscience. . . . I beseech you, brethren, let everyone who has sinned confess his sin while he is still in this world, while his confession is still admissible, while the satisfaction and remission made through the priests are still pleasing before the Lord. The Lapsed 28 

Please reach out to those in mortal sin, especially lapsed Catholics. Apostasy is a great sin. But, one can always repent and turn back to God. No sin is too horrible for the priest to hear.


God Bless The Pro-Lifers in Ireland; I know some of these people!

USCCB Supports Week of Prayer and Fasting  Here is the official website.

September 20-28.

I have some additional suggestions on top of daily Mass, daily rosary, fasting, daily chaplet of Divine Mercy, and Adoration.

Give up meat for the entire time.

Give up television for the entire time.

Give up desserts, chocolate, doughnuts for the entire time.

Give up talking so much about trivia.

Read a half-hour of a Biblical text daily.

Go to confession.

Do all the above.