Monthly Archives: November 2005


Confiteor Meme

Speculative Catholic has tagged me with a meme! So, since I won’t remember in the morning if I don’t fill it out now….

First of all, some folks may be wondering what a “Confiteor” is. That’s the Latin word that starts the Penitential Rite at the beginning of Mass. You know, the bit where we say, “I confess to Almighty God, and to you, my brothers and sisters, that I have sinned through my own fault….”

So the idea behind this meme is that we make some embarrassing but venial confessions. Hokily dokily. I can do that. No pressure….


I confess that I don’t read my email very often. This is the real reason I got Google’s Gmail — so that I would have a giant hole in which to throw my email. One of the trials of my life is that I have to check my work email at least once a day. I used to love getting email. I’m really sorry that I find it such a trial now. But I really dread all the spam. I don’t check my surface mailbox very often, either.

I confess that even though my apartment is full of books and music, I spend so much time on the computer that I rarely read or listen to CDs anymore. (This is one reason I started the audioblog.)

I confess that I skipped reading most classic non-poetry literature because it always sounded so boring. Boring covers, boring blurbs, boring forewords, no murders — had to be boring. I only made exceptions for classics mentioned in science fiction, fantasies, or mysteries in a convincingly interesting manner. (This is another reason I started the audioblog.)

I confess that I would never have given opera a chance if it weren’t for Irene Adler. But then I found out that executions, murder, and suicide are really fun to listen to!

I confess that I have a really hard time keeping in touch with people unless I see them all the time. This includes members of my own family as well as friends. The more I forget to call or write them, the more ashamed I am that I’ve forgotten, so the less I call or write them. But hardly anybody ever calls or writes me unless I do it first.

I confess that I am sick and tired of my elder brother and his wife quarreling with my parents, and that they all four should just suck it up and come to terms, or at least come to visit during the holidays. I hate seeing people cry when there’s absolutely nothing I can do. They should at least cry at the people who can do something.

I confess that I put the “mess” in domesticity.

I confess that I’m enjoying reading this meme on other people’s blogs way too much.

So I hereby tag… Joy, Steven Riddle, and Mixolydian Mode. No pressure. 🙂



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Eucharist Means Thanksgiving

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about one of St. Catherine of Siena’s favorite phrases: “the table of the Cross”. It’s a phrase that neatly combines the aspects of the Eucharist as sacrifice and as meal”. It is the Cross that is our altar and our table, and Jesus is the spotless lamb we offer to God and then eat.

Here’s a passage from St. Catherine’s letters:

“…reflect, dearest daughter, that this food is not taken upon earth, but on high, and therefore the Son of God chose to be lifted up upon the wood of the Most Holy Cross, in order that we might receive this food upon this table on high…This is a food which while we are pilgrims in this life, draws to itself the fragrance of true and sincere virtues, which are prepared by the fire of divine charity, and received upon the table of the cross…This is the food that makes the soul angelic, and therefore it is called the food of angels; and also because the soul, separated from the body, tastes God in His essential Being. He satisfies the soul in such wise that she longs for no other thing nor can desire aught but what may help her more perfectly to keep and increase this food, so that she holds in hate what is contrary to it.”

The interesting thing about Catherine’s table is that she keeps very strongly in mind that it does not have to be approached only in the Mass. She is a great one for spiritual communion, and likewise for offering up her own sufferings and frustrations. She is perpetually thankful for what Jesus suffered, and perpetually aware that she is a member, a body part, of the Body of Christ. But she always returns back again to the Eucharist of the Mass, and the table of the Cross where we eat the Body of Christ and drink His Precious Blood. That is where she believed a scholar got true knowledge — by “feeding on the food of souls at the table of the holy Cross.” And those who feed on Christ on the cross must suffer with Christ on the cross.

“…hungered for souls, on the table of the most holy Cross, in company with the humble and immaculate Lamb. I do not see, Father, that this sweet food can be eaten anywhere else. Why not? Because we cannot eat it truly without enduring much; it must be eaten with the teeth of true patience and the lips of holy desire, on the Cross of many tribulations, from whatsoever side they may come — complaints, or the scandals in the world; and we must endure all things till death. Now is the time, dearest father, to show whether we are lovers of Christ crucified and rejoice in this food or not… there do you eat this food, bathed in the Blood of Christ crucified.”

“Joy, joy in the Cross with me! So may the Cross be a bed where the soul may rest: a table where may be tasted heavenly food, the fruit of patience with quietness and assurance.”

“Your Father fed His sons at the table of the Cross.”

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!


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Retirees Conquer the World

This is cool. The Ignatian Lay Volunteer Corps brings together retired persons fifty years or older working with and for the poor, together with spiritual guidance and prayerful reflection. Volunteers make a one year commitment to working two days a week, with an opportunity to re-up each year. This is work for God that is also working on one’s own soul — in the best Jesuit spiritual tradition. Good stuff all around.

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Success Favors the Bold

Afghan women win big at the polls!

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Waiting to Die

I think this post says it all about the joys of nationalized healthcare in Canada. Go look at the chart of typical waits for normal procedures and be appalled. And then there’s this:

In Canada, MRI’s are rarely available and are underutilized.

There are a litany of horror stories of patients left in hospital hallways for days on end, or worse.

In NY State, prisoners (poorly treated by US medical standards) released on parole have to wait 45 days to get on a healthcare program. In other words, if that parolee needed heart surgery (and didn’t get it in prison), he would get it faster than if he were a law abiding, Canadian citizen.

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The History of Telenovelas!

I have long said that telenovelas (Mexican and Latin American soap operas) rule. It appears that the rest of the world agrees with me.

Sigh. Why don’t we have any Spanish language channels on the cable here (well, except the morning programming on EWTN)? Sigh.


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St Gertrude the Great?

Okay, so who the heck is St. Gertrude, and what makes her so great? Heck, she’s the only female saint called the Great. Why?

St. Gertrude was an orphan, her family name unknown, who was raised by Benedictine nuns and brought into their community. Like most nuns at that point in medieval times, she was a scholar. Initially, she was more interested in her studies than her God, but when she was 25, she had a change of heart. From then on she became a great mystic and had the requisite visions, miracles, and so forth… but she also wrote Latin works which were helpful in spiritual life. St. Teresa de Avila, for example, chose her as her model and guide. TAN is apparently publishing some of these works under the title of The Life and Revelations of St. Gertrude the Great. She also wrote a set of Spiritual Exercises which are still used today in some communities.

Here’s a short but very useful intro which also tells you why she’s “the Great”.

As always, we can consult the Catholic Encyclopedia.

Another good page on St. Gertrude. This one is part of a POD, do-it-yourself lay apostolate: The Mission to Empty Purgatory. Yes, they mean to empty purgatory by using St. Gertrude the Great’s prayer, which allegedly releases 1000 souls per time said. Yes, they have a pledge page. Yes, they have a page to show how close they’ve gotten to their estimated goal: only 90 million some to go.

Dang, we American Catholics do think big, don’t we? Hee! Let’s do it!

(Somewhere, my poor Evangelical friend Joy is cringing and wondering what Maureen is going to advocate next….)

Also , one of our “traditional” separated brethren has created a whole webpage on just this saint! It’s good info, so ignore the radtrad nonsense and use the good stuff, in the real Catholic tradition of despoiling the Egyptians. 🙂

Here’s some information on her devotion to the Sacred Heart.


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