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Friday, September 28, 2012

Continued seasonal musings......

on the issues and aspects that have cascaded over us this Autumn......

    The issues of homosexual "rights" and reproductive "rights" also played a major part at the Democratic Convention. Sandra Fluke, famous for having been "insulted" on Rush Limbaugh's radio show, made her case that Barack Obama called her to apologize for the remark, and that he was the candidate who really cared about women. Of course, he didn't do the same for Sarah Palin, former Republican vice-presidential nominee, when she and her family were insulted repeatedly on radio and TV, but apparently this disconnect has not hit home for the liberals. Liberals thrive on disconnect and making their own rules. It gives them power to shut up opposition by defending the "choice" of an individual if it suits them, and revoking "choice" of another person if it hinders their designs. "Truth" is seen as relevant for them, and human dignity and God-given rights and talents are conditional according to the rule of the state.

    How anyone could seriously support abortion in name of "a woman's right to choose" boggles my brain. This has nothing to do with the woman and everything to do with the little baby in her womb. Does she really have "the right" to snuff out that life she helped bring into existence? Does she really have "the right" to have sex with anyone she pleases at any time? The human body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, not some play-thing for physical sensuality. In the same way, the womb is meant to a vessel for nurturing life, not for bloody butchery. I would further state that homosexual "marriage" is a base distortion of the order of life. Anyone who has studied the least bit about anatomy could tell you the process is simply disordered, like trying to connect two magnets of the same poles. I think all this boils down to a lack of belief in the human strength to overcome physical desires and sensations. If we desire something, the modern world says we should take it and go the extra mile to "avoid" any unpleasant consequences that would naturally follow. But isn't the human will our greatest glory? Isn't that what makes us different from plants, animals, and other life forms?

    The Mother of God is the Patroness of America, our representative at the Heavenly Court. So we must bring our petitions for our country before her. Now that so many of our national founding principles are gradually disintegrating, we must appeal to her to appeal to her Son on our behalf. “The Novena to the Mother of God for the Nation” is just such an appeal, launching tomorrow and lasting for nine consecutive days. Only God can save us from ourselves, and through the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary, we can only hope and pray that he will by changing the hearts of the American people. To download this novena, go to: http://www.religioiusliberties.org/novena/

    Autumn also brings a whiff on holiday fragrance and zest to craft supply stores and shopping malls alike. All Hollow's Even is on the rise, and unfortunately it is used as an excuse to celebrate to gruesome and perverse. I can understand a little light-hearted fun involving children dressing up in costumes and going door to door for candy. I can even understand the fun of a little bit of spookiness here and there, automatic flying bats, cotton spider webs, grinning pumpkins, glittery witches, goofy ghost pennants, etc. But there is definitely a limit, and our culture has crossed over it long ago. We seem to have an attraction to the hideous, the gory, and the evil that is in our midst. In the religion of the Celts, the origin of the festivity was a feast of the dead, a day when evil was unleashed, and wicked spirits were warded off by wild disguises. When the Christian missionaries came, they sanctified the day by declaring it a day when the souls of the dead should be prayed for.....and when evil should be faced and conquered. That's why when I was little, I dressed up as a different saint each year, said the rosary, and collected candy at a local Catholic Shrine.

    After Halloween, there is the coming of Thanksgiving and then Christmas. I find myself thinking of the Pilgrims and other early English settlers as I trek across my backyard and survey the rolling hills and woodland. Did this resemble there own home at all, or was it totally different? What they loved the most they brought with them and kept with them through thick and thin. They prayed English prayers and sang English ballads. They had English foods like apples brought over in great ships and they had English harvest festivals in America. So does this go some in explaining my love of the "mother country"? Perhaps. Christmas too brings me reflections of the old ways and the old lands. The medieval carols are so fresh, as if the wonder of Christ's birth was still sinking into the consciousness of Christendom. It was accepted and embraced. Life was given new meaning, the only true meaning it could be given. I yearn to follow in their footsteps, serenading the Holy Infant. A family at church has been talking about caroling this Christmas. I'm hoping I can join them.

    A final emotion that dances in my mind is a yearning for stability, a permanence that will only be reached in the hereafter. Of course, I still yearn for other things in this world. I still deeply desire to find my soul mate, someone I can share by whole person with, and someone who loves the things I love (i.e. my religion, my family, American and British history and culture, etc.) and would be willing to join with me on a joint quest to spread the faith and uphold traditional life. I also yearn to quench my thirst for travel, to see London and Edinburgh and Cardiff and Belfast and all the little places in between. To see Rome, the center of the Church, and Florence, the city of my ancestors. To tour the great nations of the Commonwealth like Canada, Australia, and New Zealand. And to see my friends in far-flung places in the U.S. like Virginia, Texas, Kansas, Alabama, Missouri, and Ohio. But above all, I yearn to see the United States and the United Kingdom return to their traditional and religious roots. I want to see them hold fast and hold firm, united, strong, and free.

    But this world is such a turbulent place where nothing is guaranteed. I consider the great battles of Quebec, Saratoga, and Trafalgar, set against the searing brilliance of brisk autumns of the past. I think of the souls who loved and lost and fought and fell for their honor, and I wonder where they are now. I think of the dream I had on an All Soul's Night about Gen. Simon Frazer, killed at Saratoga. I prayed for his soul, and he appeared to me, giving me a smile and wave. Could my prayer have done some good after all? I believe in the bridge between the souls of the living and the souls of the dead, connected by prayer to the Creator of all. I long for a dimension where time is no longer a life altering force, but where all things are at peace and time holds no power over us. All uncertainties and earthly hindrances will be done away. Love for the Triune God and for each other will be pure and unadulterated by petty selfishness and foolhardy actions. It will be the only thing that matters, the truth that dies, and the beauty that never withers. And so I see the changing of the seasons as a reflection of our souls and a contrast of the world to come.
  



The Bridge between Souls.....

13 comments:

  1. Pearl, this is a very beautiful, thoughtful and informative post. Thank you very much for posting it. I always enjoy your posts & this one was no exception. Keep them coming!

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  2. Dear Pearl,

    Well said. When I was a teacher (I am a Viet-Nam veteran and was voting Republican long before certain righter-than-thou radio babblers divorced the first of their many wives or ingested their first illegal drugs) in an area where Catholics are as rare as, well, Republicans, the children often asked me what I planned to do for Halloween. Of course my response was that I was going to church on this ancient holy days as any Christian should.

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  3. "That's why when I was little, I dressed up as a different saint each year, said the rosary, and collected candy at a local Catholic shrine."

    ~That sounds like a fun tradition! Which saints can you remember dressing up as?~

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  4. Hi Pearl,

    I think this is one of your most insightful, uplifting posts yet. You pointed out the numerous problems infecting today's secular society with remarkable clarity, and you did it without falling into pessimism. Your last paragraph in particular is a touching reminder to never give up hope. The evil surrounding us is only temporary; not even the gates of hell will prevail against the Church.

    Again, I really enjoyed this. It's comforting to know that I'm not alone, that there are other Catholics out there who share my deepest convictions. By the way, I hope you do get the opportunity to visit Missouri someday!

    Ellen

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  5. Hi, everyone!

    @breadgirl: Thank you so much for the kind compliments. I'm honored to have the blogger of "The Last Welsh Martyr" for a follower. Your blog is really quite famous among Catholic Britophiles hither and yon :-)

    @Mack: First, thank you for serving our country, as a soldier and as a teacher. Second, I'm sure you taught a lot of kids about the true meaning of All Hallows Eve by your statement. I do wish more people would do the same.

    @Meredith: It was indeed a fun tradition. I think you would have loved it :-) Let's see, I dressed up as St. Bernadette, St. Catherine of Sienna, St. Rita, St. Kateri, St. Margaret Ward, St. Margaret Pole, St. Margaret of Scotland, etc.!

    @Ellen: Wow! I'm so glad my article made such a good impression on you. I too find it comforting to know people like you who share my deepest convictions :-) Where would we be in this world without the hope of Heaven? I'll let you know when I can make it to Missouri, LOL!

    God Bless,
    Pearl

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  6. That's interesting what you say about halloween--in my family, we always preferred to dress as scary things--in fact I remember an extended family halloween gathering where my Grandma scoffed at my cousin's Nun costume because it wasn't scary. Our perspective is slightly different--we think that All Saint's Day is the day to dress up as Saints, while Halloween is the day to 'get it out of our system'--symbolically getting out the evil which the Saints overcome. Also (for me and many of my friends) it's a day/time frame to hang out, party, dance, and eat tons and tons of candy.
    I understand what you mean about the mistaken placement of the gruesome...but then I also enjoy freaky decorations and eerie haunted houses. Maybe it's just that because my Faith is so grounded I don't think of Halloween as a celebration of evil at all. Fine, I'll admit it--I love Halloween :P
    Last year was my last year trick-or-treating (**cries**) but my youth group is having a costume party/dance so I'll still have fun :P
    I still totally understand your perspective--I have a lot of friends like that--but don't think that everyone who likes the scary stuff does for the sake of the evil itself.
    For the rest of the post, pretty deep but very well thought out! I share many of your yearnings (Marriage can't come too soon for me :P) and I hope we both realize our desires in one way or another.
    God Bless,
    Carolyn

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  7. Omigosh, I was in a store the other day that had one of those automatic flying bats! It made a strange noise, so I wasn't sure what it was at first. Then I saw it, and I laughed. I couldn't help it; the glowing red eyes were just...so...hehehehe.

    Just thought I'd chime in with my thoughts on Halloween, too. I view it as an elaborate excuse to eat chocolate and watch old black-and-white monster movies (and Charlie Brown, of course--"There are three things I have learned never to discuss with other people: religion, politics, and the Great Pumpkin."). :)

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  8. Beautiful post, Pearl! Especially the conclusion. I agree with Ellen on its encouraging message and hope(and especially on hoping you make it to Missouri! :)

    I also couldn't help thinking how your hope for the future sounds a lot like several poems from one of my favorite poets. Like this conclusion:

    "Oh! that men indeed were wise,
    And would raise their purblind eyes
    To the opening mysteries
    Scattered around them ever.
    Truth should spring from sterile ground,
    Beauty beam from all around,
    Right should then at last be found
    Joining what none may sever."

    - James Clerk Maxwell

    In fact, I'm strongly tempted to post here my favorite of Maxwell's (who was, I think, British (though I'm not sure) poems, which talks about dreams and how there is, indeed, a "bridge between souls" as you so eloquently put it. Well, here it is, in case you're interested…

    Hmm, the comment system does not seem to be allowing me to post the poem. So I'll just post this, and then work on figuring out the problem...

    Excellent job! I look forward to more thoughtful posts like this one!

    - Katherine

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  9. Let's see if this works... this really is an awesome poem. : )
    -Katherine

    Recollections of a Dreamland
    By James Clerk Maxwell
    Rouse ye! torpid daylight-dreamers, cast your carking cares away!
    As calm air to troubled water, so my night is to your day;
    All the dreary day you labour, groping after common sense,
    And your eyes ye will not open on the night's magnificence.
    Ye would scow were I to tell you how a guiding radiance gleams
    On the outer world of action from my inner world of dreams.

    When, with mind released from study, late I lay note down to sleep,
    From the midst of facts and figures, into boundless space I leap;
    For the inner world grows wider as the outer disappears,
    And the soul, retiring inward, finds itself beyond the spheres.
    Then, to this unbroken sameness, some fantastic dream succeeds,
    Vague emotions rise and ripen into thoughts and words and deeds.
    Old impressions, long forgotten, range themselves in Time and Space,
    Till I recollect the features of some once familiar place.
    Then from valley into valley in my dreaming course I roam,
    Till the wanderings of my fancy end, where they began, at home.
    Calm it lies in morning twilight, while each streamlet far and wide
    Still retains its hazy mantle, borrowed from the mountain's side;
    Every knoll is now an island, every wooded bank a shore,
    To the lake of quiet vapour that has spread the valley o’er.
    Sheep are couched on every hillock, waiting till the morning dawns,
    Hares are on their early rambles, limping o’er the dewy lawns.
    All within the house is silent, darkened all the chambers seem,
    As with noiseless step I enter, gliding onwards in my dream.

    What! has Time run out his cycle, do the years return again?
    Are there treasure-caves in Dreamland where departed days remain?
    I have leapt the bars of distance—left the life that late I led—
    I remember years and labours as a tale that I have read;
    Yet my heart is hot within me, for I feel the gentle power
    Of the spirits that still love me, waiting for this sacred hour.
    Yes,—I know the forms that meet me are but phantoms of the brain,
    For they walk in mortal bodies, and they have not ceased from pain.
    Oh! those signs of human weakness, left behind for ever now,
    Dearer far to me than glories round a fancied seraph's brow.
    Oh! the old familiar voices ! Oh! the patient waiting eyes!
    Let me live with them in dreamland, while the world in slumber lies!
    For by bonds of sacred honour will they guard my soul in sleep
    From the spells of aimless fancies, that around my senses creep.
    They will link the past and present into one continuous life,
    While I feel their hope, their patience, nerve me for the daily strife.
    For it is not all a fancy that our lives and theirs are one,
    And we know that all we see is but an endless work begun.
    Part is left in Nature's keeping, part is entered into rest,
    Part remains to grow and ripen, hidden in some living breast.
    What is ours we know not, either when we wake or when we sleep,
    But we know that Love and Honour, day and night, are ours to keep.
    What though Dreams be wandering fancies, by some lawless force entwined,
    Empty bubbles, floating upwards through the current of the mind?
    There are powers and thoughts within us, that we know not, till they rise
    Through the stream of conscious action from where Self in secret lies.
    But when Will and Sense are silent, by the thoughts that come and go,
    We may trace the rocks and eddies in the hidden depths below.

    Let me dream my dream till morning; let my mind run slow and clear,
    Free from all the world's distraction, feeling that the Dead are near,
    Let me wake, and see my duty lie before me straight and plain.
    Let me rise refreshed, and ready to begin my work again.

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  10. Is that an image of Glencoe?

    -Byrnwiga

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  11. I hope you'll forgive me for another long comment after my previous one, but having read the previous commments, I feel that I should chime in my thoughts on Halloween as well - I've never heard that it was supposed to be a holy day, but here it's been implied that good Christians shun it. So, in defense of young Catholic trick-or-treaters, let me explain what Halloween has been for my family.
    My family has always kept Halloween as well as All Saints' and All Souls' tastefully and appropriately. In our house, there is a distinct line between "fun scary" and "gross, gory, or evil scary" that is not to be crossed. (For example, carved pumpkins and candy are cool; blood and evil witches are not.) I've never been tempted to cross it, though. I always thought it was a beautiful thing that, one night a year, grownups would give candy to children they didn't even know, for nothing - simply because they were children. In our day and age, that sort of neighborliness is rare indeed.

    When I was little, I had the time of my life dressing up as various animals, and when I was older I would be a character from a favorite book, such as Heidi or Dorothy. My first costume was a rabbit and I think my last year I was Mother Teresa. I do remember when I was about in first grade, dressing up in a dog costume that I was extremely proud of. The other children in my youth choir laughed at me when I told them about it, much to my bewilderment.

    Halloween was always a family activity for us. We grew our own pumpkins in the backyard. We would proudly pick the pumpkins and choose a few to carve, roasting their seads to eat. Trick-or-treating, too, was a family affair: my dad would take whichever of us were old enough up and down the neighborhood. (Politely saying thank you for all candy was mandatory.) Back home, we poured all our candy into one big bowl which was shared from equally. A good portion of it also went to the candy collection at church for a local orphanage. Then we would watch a movie together, play a board game, or tell stories.

    My mom frequently helped organize Halloween/All Saints Day parties which kind of combined the two and usually involved the children dressing as saints. In this way I usually ended up with two costumes a year. Sometimes I would modify the same costume to serve two purposes: the same royal dress clothed both Queen Susan from Narnia and St. Margaret of Scotland.

    In conclusion, while I agree with Pearl that some Halloween celebrations go too far, I politely disagree with Mack. Concerning who is a good Christian and who isn't, I think that whether or not you go to church on Halloween is a very poor litmus test indeed.

    - Katherine

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  12. Hi, everyone!

    @Carolyn: I do understand where your coming from, and I don't have any opposition to a little scary "fun". But I do think there is a think line between goofiness and ghoulishness and Christians should be careful not to be entertained by evil (as I'm sure you agree with!). On your marriage point, I do hope you find your "Mr. Right" someday soon!

    @Emerald: Do look out for those bats! They can sometimes be menaces to society ;-) Ha, ha, maybe since I discuss religion and politics so often on here, I should enter the Giant Pumpkin into the official schedule as well! LOL!

    @Byrnwiga: Yes, the picture is indeed of Glencoe. Have you ever been there?

    @Katherine: Thanks so much for posting "Recollections of a Dreamland." I really like the last line; it's so inspiring and reminds me a bit of my own dream of Gen. Frazer! I'll have to look up James Clerk Maxwell further.

    Like you, when I was little I sometimes dressed up as something secular and something saintly as well. For example, one year I was a ballerina and also Our Lady Help of Christians. As I said, I have no problem at all with children dressing up and having a little bit of spooky fun; but as you said, the evil, bloody stuff I think crosses the line.

    I think Mack meant that good Christians should all go to church for All Saints Day, either on the day or on the eve, since it is a Holy Day of Obligation. We used to do that before we went on our All Saint's Day dress up outing every All Hallow's Eve.

    God Bless,
    Pearl

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  13. Hi Pearl!

    Of course I do agree that Catholics should go to church on Holy Days of Obligation. Sounds like you and I are in agreement that there's nothing wrong with Halloween as long as you keep it in its place. This year I immensely enjoyed my Halloween, which involved preparing home-grown pumpkin seeds and chaperoning my little sister and some of her friends on a trick-or-treating expedition, followed up by a backyard scavenger hunt that I created for them (complete with rhyming clues!), followed by cookies and ice cream. We went to Mass for All Saints' the next day.
    I'm glad you enjoyed "Recollections of a Dreamland." I know, I love the conclusion!
    I actually found out about Maxwell in school when I was assigned a paper on him for physics class! He is best known as a scientist, which shows up in his poetry on occasion "Lines Written Under the Conviction that it is Not Wise to Read Mathematics in November After One's Fire is Out," for instance. : ) I have found a lot of his work at http://www.poemhunter.com/james-clerk-maxwell/poems/ if you are interested in looking at it. There is lots of information on him online as well.

    - Katherine

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