The Desert Nuns

I just found the luckiest people on earth.

This community of Poor Clares of Perpetual Adoration of Our Lady of Solitude Monastery in Phoenix Arizona. They live a contemplative life in the desert - what I wouldn't do for that great privilege. These lucky, lucky nuns live in the desert and worship Jesus. They pray for the world. This is their WHOLE LIVES.
Even their home has a great name: Our Lady of Solitude. Solitude! How wonderful would solitude be, especially in this Holy Week! A distance from work, from school, a chance to stop talking for days on end and do nothing but worship God and work in the desert ...

AND they're Poor Clares. That means they're affiliated with Franciscans, and, God willing, they will be my sisters if I take my vows as a secular Franciscan ...
If I wasn't married, I'd be a desert nun. I wish Bear and I could be desert Secular Franciscans. We could teach kids out there, live in an eco-house, have our rainbow children, and pray.

I hope the desert nuns realize how lucky they are.


Barack Obama and the Politics of Hope

Just go read the speech.
This man is the greatest of our generation. He appeals to the best in us instead of the worst. He gives us hope instead of the same old politics. He gives us an image of ourselves that is both honest and hopeful.
And he gave this speech in PA, no less. Take it from me: they are more racist there than we are in SC. In SC, we see African-Americans every day. We work with them, interact with them. In PA, many whites only see African-Americans on the street corners. They associate them with the inner cities and with crime. White Philadelphians are terrified of North Philadelphia. Why? Black people.
So for Obama to give this speech in PA has special meaning for me. For him to give this speech across from Independence Hall, the birthplace of our freedom ... he tries together our collective American Dream.
After the Democratic National Convention in 2004, I wanted to believe. Now I do.
Yes we can. Oh, yes we can.

Baby Squirrel ...

God knew it would be hard for me to let Otis get adopted. He's going on Thursday, after several false starts ... his new parents are rich :). He'll be really happy, but I'm very sad. What will I do without my baby piggy to cuddle with?

Jesus and my German Shepherd say I should be take care of a baby squirrel.

This afternoon, while I was typing in the office, Bear started screaming. Bear's a terrible arachnophobic, so I zoomed out all ready to squash a spider. Turns out he saw Otis whining at the bottom of one of the bookshelves and thought he'd rolled his ball under there. So he reached under - and got a furry surprise. Hence the scream.
Since it's so nice, we've been leaving the door open. Evidently someone (I have serious suspicions here) brought in a baby squirrel. He wasn't gnawed on; he was just chilling under the shelf.

It had to be Pandora. She was the only puppy totally uninterested in him ... she sat on the other side of the room and watched while we took care of him. She's always up in our business. Anyway, the boys are more likely to ignore him or chew on him. They'd never just bring the squirrel in. And I don't think he walked in on his own - he seems like he's a little sick, or at least very dehydrated.

So now we're squirrel nurses. We'll give him goat's milk and Pedialyte. I hope he lives through the night.


Nennolina and Papa Benedict

The Pope had many words for the crowds at St Peter's on this Palm Sunday. He spoke out strongly against the war in Iraq; he asked people to consider what 'idols' of the modern world keep them away from God. He also said this:

"To recognize God, we must abandon the pride that dazzles us, that seeks to push us away from God." To find God, "we must learn to see with a young heart, one which isn't blocked by prejudice and dazzled by interests."

Those words reminded me of a Servant of God, Antonietta Meo - or, as her loved ones call her, Nennolina. Nennolina, buried in the Basilica di Santa Croce in Gerusalemme, is in line to become the youngest non-martyr saint in the Catholic Church. She died of cancer at the age of 6 and a half, having written over 160 letters to Jesus and the Blessed Mother. In these letters, she expresses her total sacrifice and love for Christ Crucified. Despite her young age, many consider her to be a mystic. She asked that the Lord allow her to die before she committed a mortal sin; she predicted her own death, saw visions of Jesus and Mary, and suffered terrible pain without complaint.

Nennolina is the perfect embodiment of Papa Benedict's words. Nennolina sought to be humble and unite herself with Christ's Cross. Here's the letter she wrote to Jesus at about this time of year:

"Dear Jesus the Crucified I love You oh dear Jesus. Dear Jesus tell God the Father that I love Him so much. Dear Jesus I'm so glad Easter is coming. Dear Jesus I know You suffered a lot on the Cross and I want to suffer with You during this week of Passion, I want to suffer for the souls who need it, so that they can be converted Dear Jesus I love You so much, really very much Jesus, and I want to be Your lamp and Your lily, the lily that represents the purity of the soul and the lamp that represents the flame of love which never leaves You. Dear Jesus bless the Church, the Clergy and especially my confessor my family my teacher, and all the world.
Dear Jesus I send You a lot of kisses and greetings Your Antonietta and Jesus"

Her desire to "suffer for souls who need it", I think, is the kind of humility that the Pope meant. If only we could all have hearts like Nennolina!

Dear Nennolina, please ask Jesus to make my heart like yours. Through your intercession, may all of us approach Jesus like you do, and love Him with your all-trusting and all-consuming love. Ask him to remove all impediments and prejudices that stop me from loving Him and my neighbor with all my heart. Thank you for all the prayers you pray for me and for all people. Amen.

on reading the Passion

I was the Voice in the Passion today, reading the words for Judas, Caiaphas, and Pilate, plus Peter denying Jesus. I knew that as I read, through my sins, these words are the response I have to Jesus every day. Every time I lie, talk behind people's backs, curse, or listen to obscene music, like Judas, I hand Him over to be crucified.

When I think of the crucifixion, I always think of the crowds yelling for Him to be killed. His own people betrayed Him, said they did not know Him, and every time we sin, we become part of that crowd.

So whenever I think of the crucifixion, I always think how I would rather be one of the women who comfort Jesus and cry over his ill-treatment. He said to St. Faustina (basically) that those souls who love Him and who pray were a great comfort to Him while He suffered and died. I want to always be one of those souls. That's why I pray the Divine Mercy Chaplet so much.

I'm going to try to keep in mind these thoughts during Holy Week. Maybe, by doing that, I can be a little better.


I Adore You, O Holy Cross!

Several popes confirmed that if this prayer was said 33 times on Good Friday, it would free 33 people from Purgatory. If said 50 times on a Friday, it frees five souls. If Purgatory's anything like the kids from Fatima said, you want to get your people out. Seriously.

I worship you, O Holy Cross, which was adorned with the most Holy Body of my Lord, covered and stained by his precious Blood. I worship You, my God, crucified for me. I worship you, O Holy Cross, for love of the one who was my Lord. Amen.

Prayer to Jesus Crucified

Pope Pius IX granted a plenary indulgence to anyone who, on a Friday during Lent, said this prayer in front of a crucifix. A partial indulgence is granted at any other time during the year. So get to it!

Behold, O kind and sweet Jesus,
I cast myself on my knees in your sight,
and with the most fervent desire of my soul,
I pray and beseech you
to impress upon my heart
lively sentiments of faith, hope, and charity,
with a true repentance for my sins
and a firm desire for atonement,
while with deep affection and grief of soul
I ponder within myself and contemplate
your five most precious wounds
having before my eyes that which David
spoke in prophecy of you,
O good Jesus: They have pierced my hands and my feet, they have numbered all my bones. Amen.
Our Father - Hail Mary - Glory Be
My Jesus, have mercy on me!
Though the merits of your Holy Wounds.