Friday, February 27, 2009

Mother of Tenderness, pray for us!

"It is easier to understand the meek and humble heart of Christ by looking at His Mother. She holds all the great Truths of Christianity together, as a piece of wood holds a kite. Children wrap the string of a kite around a stick, and release the string as the kite climbs to the heavens. Mary is like that piece of wood. Around her we wrap all the precious strings of the great Truths of our holy Faith - for example, the Incarnation, the Eucharist, the Church. No matter how far we get above the earth, as the kite may, we always have need of Mary to hold the doctrines of the Creed together. If we threw away the stick, we would no longer have the kite; if we threw away Mary, we would never have Our Lord. He would be lost in the Heavens, like our runaway kite, and that would be terrible, indeed, for us on earth." ~ Archbishop Fulton J Sheen, 1953 "The World's First Love."

Good Advice For Lent

"Accomplish your good works in secret and not for the eyes of others. Do not act like the spider, who represents the proud; but imitate the bee, who is the symbol of the humble soul. The spider spins its web where everyone can see it, and never in secret. It spins in orchards, going from tree to tree, in houses, on windows, on floors -- in short, before the eyes of all. In this it resembles the vain and hypocritical who do everything to be seen and admired by others. Their works are in fact only spiders' webs, fit to be cast into the fires of Hell. But the bees are wiser and more prudent, for they prepare their honey in the hive where no one can see them. Besides that, they build little cells where they continue their work in secret. This represents very well the humble soul, who is always withdrawn within herself, without seeking any glory or praise for her actions. Rather, she keeps her intention hidden, being content that God sees and knows what she does." The Sermons of St. Francis de Sales for Lent, p9

I entitled this "good advice for Lent," but it's excellent advice for every season of the year. "God sees and knows" -- ah, what greater comfort could there be?! Dear Lord, in the strength of your humility and for the praise of your glory, I will strive this Lent to be a bee!

Tuesday, February 24, 2009


Yes, I do believe in sin -- and also in confession. Every sin, no matter how small, distances me from God and from my brothers and sisters. I cannot overcome sin alone -- and I don't have to, thanks be to God, who gives us such a powerful and loving remedy in sacramental confession. People run to therapists to spill their guts, they write endless blogs telling us more than we'd ever want to know, they read People magazine and the like to discover that everyone else has their dark side -- and to what avail? I turn to sacramental confession and find true forgiveness, deep healing, renewed strength, and utter joy because there I find our crucified and risen Lord who loves me unconditionally, forever and ever. Truly, I am not worthy -- but oh, I am so very grateful! AMEN!

"The sins we commit distance us from God, and, if they are not humbly confessed, trusting in the divine mercy, they will finally bring about the death of the soul. This miracle thus has powerful symbolic value.

"In the Sacrament of Penance Christ crucified and risen, through his ministers, purifies us with his infinite mercy, restores us to communion with the heavenly Father and our brothers, and makes a gift of his love, joy and peace to us."

Pope Benedict XVI, Angelus Message of 2/15/09


Shrove Tuesday it is! Time to get busy making some pancakes -- and these are my all-time favorites. Hope you enjoy! AC


1 cup flour
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
dash ground cloves
2 tablespoon molasses
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 cup buttermilk
1 egg, lightly beaten

In a large bowl, combine all the dry ingredients. In a small bowl, whisk the molasses, oil, buttermilk and egg. Slowly pour the liquid mixture into the flour mixture and stir until uniform. Lightly grease a griddle or pan over medium-low heat and cook the pancakes for about 3 minutes on each side.

Sunday, February 22, 2009


Dear Readers,

Looking for something to do for Lent? Just in case you missed this, here are some ideas from the Feb. 20, 2009 Houston Chronicle, with our very own Cardinal DiNardo heading the list:


• Cardinal Daniel N. DiNardo: Galveston-Houston Catholic Archdiocese. Will give up snacks and sweets, especially doughnuts, and will spend more time in meditative reading with the Gospels.

• Ron Trevino: Channel 11 anchor. Will give up selfishness and do more charitable work.

• Bill Balleza: Channel 2 anchor. Will focus on personal improvement, being more positive and less judgmental

• The Rev. Frank Rossi: St. Michael’s Catholic Church pastor and vicar general of the Catholic archdiocese. Will be more mindful in his diet and will read by Thomas A. Kempis

• The Rev. Mario Arroyo: St. Cyril of Alexandria Catholic Church pastor. Will give up junk food, spend more time in chapel and donate to charity

• Antonio Hernandez: Latinos Unidos Realty owner. Will give up alcohol, red meat and other rich foods

• Sister Madeleine Grace: University of St. Thomas theologian.Will give up snacking, spend more time in prayer, do the Stations of the Cross daily

• Robert Ivany: University of St. Thomas, president. Will give up alcohol and reach out to friends from his past

• Manuel Leal: Retired judge. Will give up chocolate, steak and ice cream and donate to the Salvation Army.

• The Rev. Andrew Doyle: Episcopal Diocese of Texas, bishop coadjutor. Will fast until sundown on Fridays

• Sofia Adrogue: Attorney Will give up caffeinated coffee

As for me, even before I saw Cardinal DiNardo's resolution, I had decided to give up sweets for Lent, especially doughnuts, as well as diet Dr. Pepper. And the money I would have spent on these things will go to our Diocesan Services Fund, of course!. I also resolve that when I'm tempted to complain and grumble, I will make try harder to look for and affirm the good.

Lenten joy to one and all! AC

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Lenten Practices

When I was a child, my standard Lenten practice was to give up eating sweets and watching Mickey Mouse on TV. When I reached adolescence and my religious fervor peaked, I abstained from watching two television shows, Ben Casey and The Man From UNCLE. For me this was a real mortification because it meant not only missing my favorite TV programs but also being left out of the endless discussions that followed the next day at school.

Although sacrifice and mortification aren't touted as highly these days, I still highly value them. St. Paul reminds us that Christ Jesus, even though He was God, emptied Himself. Such self-emptying involves infinitely more than giving up sweets and shows. Nevertheless, self-denial remains a meaningful way for me to empty myself, and it tills the soil of my heart and soul for the ever greater emptying that only our Crucified Lord can accomplish with me.

Many years have passed since my early Lenten practices. I've since happily and gratefully learned to use well those ordinary, unobtrusive opportunities for self-denial that are built into our everyday lives. For example, I can forgo being critical and judgmental of other people and choose to be understanding and accepting of their human weaknesses and shortcomings, which are not unlike my own! I can curb my impulse to refashion other people in my image and likeness and aim to affirm their uniqueness and beauty…or refrain from gossiping and opt to speak kindly about others…or let go of grudges and instead forgive those who have hurt me, intentionally or unintentionally.

Further possibilities for self-denial abound in my daily life. I can put aside my pride and honestly admit the error of my ways. I can surrender my desire to be in control and open myself up to our Father's adorable will. I can release my fears and anxieties and trust our gracious God to provide for all my needs. I can stop complaining and magnify the good, praising the Lord for His goodness, love and mercy.

These are all little practices, to be sure, but perhaps all the more precious in God's eyes because they are small and hidden, as our Blessed Lord was in the tomb. Let us spend some time with Him there this Lent so that we may share more fully the wondrous new life of His Resurrection. Blessed be Jesus Christ, who loves us so!

P.S. Yes, I will give up sweets this Lent, along with diet Dr. Pepper and honey wheat pretzel braids, my regular afternoon snack!

Monday, February 16, 2009


With age-old love I have loved you; so I have kept my mercy toward you. Jer. 31:3

His banner over me is love. Song 2:4

The Lord your God is in your midst, a warrior who gives victory; He will rejoice over you with gladness, He will renew you in His love as on a day of festival. Zeph. 3:17

I have called you by name: you are mine....I will be with you.... Because you are precious in my eyes and glorious, and because I love you. Is. 43:1, 2, 4

Though the mountains leave their place and the hills be shaken, my love will never leave you nor my covenant of peace be shaken, says the Lord, who has mercy on you. Is. 54:10

O Lord, how precious is your love. My God, the children of the earth find refuge in the shelter of your wings. Ps. 36:8

Your merciful love and your truth will always guard me. Ps. 40:12

The favors of the Lord are not exhausted, his mercies are not spent; they are renewed each morning, so great is his faithfulness. Lam. 3:22-23

I led them with cords of compassion, with the bands of love.... Hos. 11:4

But I have trusted in Your steadfast love; my heart shall rejoice in thy salvation. I will sing to the Lord, because He has dealt bountifully with me. Ps. 13:5-6

I love you, O Lord, my strength, O Lord, my rock, my fortress, my deliverer. My God; my rock of refuge, my shield, the horn of my salvation, my stronghold! Ps. 18:1-3

The Lord came to my support. He set me free in the open, and rescued me, because He loves me. Ps. 19:20

I will trust in the Lord. I will rejoice and be glad for Your steadfast love.... Ps. 31:6-7

But I am like a green olive tree in the house of God. I trust in the steadfast love of God forever and ever. Ps. 52:8

God will send forth His steadfast love and his faithfulness! Ps. 57:3

For Your love is better than life; my lips will praise You. Ps. 63:3

But You, O Lord, are a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness. Ps. 86:15

Praise the Lord! O give thanks to the Lord, for He is good; for His steadfast love endures for ever! Ps. 106:1

For God so loved the world that he gave His only Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life. Jn. 3:16

I do as the Father has commanded me, so that the world may know that I love the Father. Jn. 14:31

This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. Greater love has no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends. Jn. 15:12-13

As the Father has loved me, so I have loved you. Live on in my love. Jn. 15:19

Come to me, all you who are weary and find life burdensome, and I will refresh you. Mt. 12:28

The love of God has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us. Rom. 5:5

My dear friends, let us love one another, since love is from God and everyone who loves is a child of God and knows God. 1 Jn. 4:7

May Christ dwell in your hearts through faith; that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may have power to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fulness of God. Eph.3:17-10

Therefore, be imitators of God, as beloved children. And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave Himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God. Eph. 5:1-2

Eye has not seen, ear has not heard, nor has it so much as entered into the heart of man what God has prepared for those who love Him. 1 Cor 2:9

The love of Christ impels us. 2 Cor 5:14

I remind you to rekindle the gift of God that is within you...for God did not give us a spirit of timidity but a spirit of power and love and self-control. 2 Tim 1:6-7

Although you have never seen Him, you love Him, and without seeing you now believe in Him, and rejoice with inexpressible joy touched with glory because you are achieving faith's goal, your salvation. 1 Pet. 1:8-9

See what love the Father has bestowed on us in letting us be called children of God! Yet that is what we are. 1 Jn. 3:1

We have come to know and to believe in the love God has for us. God is love, and he who abides in love abides in God, and God in him. 1 Jn. 4:16-17

We, for our part, love because He first loved us. 1 Jn. 4:19

The Lord disciplines him whom He loves, and chastises every son whom He receives. Heb. 12:6

1 Cor. 13 -- Every line of St. Paul's glorious hymn on the "Excellence of the Gift of Love" is a Valentine from God and worthy of deep reflection and prolonged contemplation for "there is no limit to love's forbearance, to its trust, its hope, its power to endure. Love never fails." (vs.7-8)

The Word became flesh, and made His dwelling among us, and we have seen His glory; the glory of an only Son coming from the Father, filled with enduring love. Jn. 1:14

Of His fullness we have all had a share -- love following upon love. Jn 1:16

Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?....No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor anything else is all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. Rom. 8:35, 37-39

Sunday, February 15, 2009

New Beginnings!

This blog is under construction. Please check back now and then to see what springs forth!