Wednesday, June 10, 2020

Feast of St. Margaret, Model for Moms

Today marks the feast day of St. Margaret, patron of Scotland -- and sympathetic intercessor for mothers of large families!

Margaret (1045-1093) and her husband, King Malcolm of Scotland, had eight children, six sons and two daughters. Three of their sons Edgar, Alexander I, and David I, became Kings of Scotland. Her daughter Matilda married Henry I becoming Queen of England.  All retained the Faith and were pious rulers.

St Margaret stands out as the happy and pious mother of a large family. Even beset by the trials and temptations of living a life in court, she remained always a true and faithful daughter of the Church, inspiring her children and her entire kingdom by her pious example. Though she lived a thousand years ago, Margaret faced many of the same trials we do today as mothers trying to preserve our families from the evils of the world and proves that in the hardest of circumstances, with a cheerful heart, a steady hand, and a reliance on prayer a mother can guide all her children toward heaven successfully.

Prayer for the Intercession of St. Margaret

“O God, who called your servant Margaret to an earthly throne that she might advance your heavenly kingdom, and gave her zeal for your church and love for your people: Mercifully grant that we mighty follow her wisdom and this day and others may be fruitful in good works, and attain to the glorious crown of your saints; though Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Ghost, one God, for ever and ever.

Saturday, May 30, 2020

Hellos and Goodbyes

I hate goodbyes. The older you get, the more there are -- or the more you notice them maybe. Time marches on, though, because the earth turns its back on the sun every day, and it's all good; our darkness is someone else's light. Most goodbyes also mean hellos in some way or another.                                            
Living near Omaha, which is a hub of the CMRI (Congregation Maria Regina Immaculata), we get the privilege of meeting the new seminarians to the priesthood here and the postulants to the CMD (the Sisters of the Congration Mater Dei) and getting to know them at least a little bit (they're very busy!). We grow close to our pastors, and the Religious teachers of the school, and we get to know the school children -- especially the boarding girls who live right down the road from us. It's a grace and a pleasure to make friends with so many wonderful Catholics! But, the flip side of that is that most of them are only here for a time -- and then move on. It's pretty sad!

We miss our own children and family, of course, who live in far-flung places (Kevvy and his family in Germany, Paul and his family in Minnesota; Dominic and his family in Denver; Fr. Philip and our two young minor seminarians in Idaho; and Sr. Antonia in Arizona), but we have the added, continual burden of also missing our far-away former-boarder-kid friends -- all over the world! And the priests and sisters who get reassigned! It's always rather jarring to the whole Omaha parish when our long-familiar, beloved Religious move away, but we let them go knowing that our loss is someone else's gain. Big time.

So it was with a bittersweet pang that we "sang out' Fr. Timothy Geckle this week at a Bon Voyage. party with the Mater Dei choir members. If you know the Davises, you know we're all about the choir. And so is Fr. Geckle, our friend of -- goodness, half his life, I think! How we'll miss him in every way -- not the least of which is hearing his voice at High Mass or benefitting from his conducting the choir (a tremendous talent of his!). His fellow priests and the seminarians and we parishioners, his friends, will miss his wisdom and his humor, and heaven knows the school children will cry to lose him as a teacher. And we'll all just miss the twinkle in his eye. 

But, we trust him to you, Sacred Heart parish with every confidence that you'll appreciate Father as much as we do: all those admirable attributes, plus the consecrated hands that will bring Our Lord down upon the altar daily now in beautiful Mountain View, Arkansas. Our goodbye equals so many Divine Hellos there.  

Friday, May 29, 2020

Nothing more need be said -- but watch as I say more. (wink) You know it's a subject near and dear to my heart. As parents, it's what we'll be judged upon, regardless of where we live, how much money we make, the schools available to us or not, how scholarly we are or are not: how seriously do we take the priority of Christ in every decision we make for our family? When our children become adults and look back on their childhoods, will the golden threads of the Faith be the form and sense and beauty that weaves together their fondest memories? Will they know that our choices for them revolved around trying very hard to always do God's will? Will their faith be their natural solace in sorrow, their strength in difficulty and temptation? Their home? The happy place they want to reproduce in their own families? 

God is never to be outdone in generosity. The world may fail us, our children may even disappoint us, but in the end, if we've given all we could in good faith, putting Him first, He will not fail us. He won't fail them, either. As much as we love our children, God loves them so much more. If we've learned that, we've learned everything.

Monday, May 25, 2020

Wherein Lisa Tries to Justify Her Existence on Blogger

Some time ago (gosh, I think it's been a year and a half now!), I set out to record our son, Kevin's, wedding photos here on AWTY (for posterity, you know!), but we didn't have a secure internet connection at that time, and after painstakingly choosing and setting up a host of photographs and captions, I turned my head in the wrong direction, the static electricity in my kinky hair disturbed the cosmic electrons between my laptop and the interweb --  and ZAP! the whole long post disappeared from the face of the earth. (It's probably all floating somewhere up in hyperspace, along with the lingering strains of Ave Maria: wedding party, Lace Constance, Franziskankirche, lederhosen, schnitzel and all.) Anyway, it was at about this point that I said "hooey" and slowed my blogging down almost to a stop. It was just too frustrating.

In spite of the loopy internet, we never did lose the Facebook feed, though (my husband explained why, but don't ask me what he said...) -- and I've spent a lot of time over there the last couple years. Because I'm at heart a communicator (can't help myself), it's probably been too much time sometimes (grimace) -- but not time necessarily wasted, really.  Because, you see, it's like this: most of my friends, old and new, have FB accounts and it's an easy place to default for basic news, humor, and 'low-responsibility' social interaction. With my house so quiet these days (still another post!) and because I am sometimes pinned down by Lyme's, it serves me well on a human level (because I have a very carefully vetted friends list, for one thing), and as a writer, it's a very quick, fairly high-impact venue for the work I put into it (practically none).

Good, bad, or indifferent, FB (along with Twitter, etc) is the "fast food" of communication: cheap calories without much nutrition most of the time. At times, it's just downright poison -- if you don't manage your friends list well. And I have to justify my time spent just a bit. Done well -- with faithful, upbeat, encouraging, truth-seeking friends -- FB by far beats listening to pop radio or watching CNN or Netflix. When one's vocational obligations are taken care of it can fill some gaps, but  it's far inferior to reading a good book, participating in a sport or hobby, or visiting with a real friend, of course. But, in and of itself, it's not necessarily an evil. My opinion, mind you -- but I've found it to be so. Like any media, it has to be carefully managed.

To get back to my point, though: people don't generally go to FB for deep thoughts. If a post is more than a paragraph long and doesn't have pictures, less than 20% of people stop scrolling to actually read, 60% of folks who share a news headline* haven't even read the article, and when they do, the average time spent on a post is a whopping 37 seconds! I can't find the statistic that shows how many readers seek out blogs without having first been linked by fast food media, but I'm fairly certain it's a very small number -- certainly fewer folks than a decade ago before social media like FB became all the rage.

So, why blog?

I've decided to get back in the saddle because: 
* Mark Zuckerberg doesn't own or influence my blog content. Nothing I post here is subject to liberal bias, social posturing, or fake fact-checking censorship.

* Think about it. Facebook markets user content; bloggers' content does its own marketing. Blogs are
"searchable," in other words, making a blogger "findable." FB doesn't work that way.

* Content has a longer shelf life in a blog. I'm still getting daily hits on articles I wrote ten years ago!

* FB updates average about 60 characters -- which translates down to about 25 words per post -- and allow minimal variability of content, limited to pictures and text or video and text only: no mix and match of pictures, polls, videos, and texts -- very little creativity. Think straight-jacket.

* A blog functions more efficiently as a searchable log -- or time capsule -- than FB, with more detail in chronological order. In a personal blog, the story of a family can be read almost like a book written in first-person present. Talk about nostalgia! I can trace back to when my oldest boys were the ages of
my youngest boys on this blog and prove I don't spoil the youngest two! (Ha!)

* Though blogs may have fewer total eyes on them, the eyes that do take the trouble to follow a link or subscribe to a blog take more time there -- and are generally more interested in complete thoughts, complex sentences, and cerebral connections with other thinking humans.

Not that I'm all that cerebral. Don't get your hopes up! But there is so much to explore on God's good earth, in our beautiful Catholic faith, in the heart of the family, and in my own still-learning 55-year-old head that a 25 word FB post cannot do justice to.* It's worth taking the time to write it all down - and find pictures for illustration (the really fun part)! I miss the days when so many of my blogger friends shared thoughts and time with one another! I'm hoping those days haven't
completely passed. Maybe they haven't!  If you stop by, do please sign the "guestbook" in the combox below to get the ball rolling again. Just say hi and give me a link to your blog if you have one -- or another blog that you enjoy that you'd like to share.  I'd like to spend more quality time on the blog front porch with other Catholic families than drive-by waving on FB.

* Yes, Anna, that is a dangling preposition. Do we need to have this
talk again?

Thursday, May 21, 2020

The Meet-n-Greet: Ella

Some temperaments don't like things just sprung upon them. That's just how it is sometimes. But don't be fooled by the grumpy first impression when they're jolted by the unexpected (especially  after having just awakened from a nap.)

Change is hard. A girl needs some time to...

...wrap her brain around a new idea...

 ...a novel concept...

 ...a change in routine...

 ...another little sibling thrown in the mix... do one's bidding!

This Happened!

So. Last weekend, Michelle and Ben left the three little girls with us so they could take advantage of what they figured would be their last chance at a getaway before the new baby came along. But... you know that saying: the best laid plans of mice and men...? They left Saturday morning with a relaxed weekend idea in their minds and came back Monday with a beautiful bouncing baby boy in their arms, three weeks early, but perfect and beautiful!

Here he is, at 6 lbs, 11 oz and 20" long, the first Davis grandson since Gavin Joseph, our very first grandchild ten years ago:
Quintus Joseph Landsgaard, 
Michelle and Ben's fourth child, first son; our ninth grandchild, second grandson!

God is good! A fact especially obvious when He gifts us with these new little souls to care for and love. They are a little bit of heaven on earth!

Happy Blessed Feast of the Ascension!

"He that descended is the same also that ascended above all the heavens,
that He might fill all things."

(Ephesians 4:10)

Heads up:

The Novena of the Holy Ghost before Pentecost Begins Tomorrow!

The novena in honor of the Holy Ghost is the oldest of all novenas. When Our Lord sent His Apostles to Jerusalem to await the coming of the Holy Ghost on the first Pentecost, the nine days waiting and praying constituted, at Jesus' direction, the first novena. The only novena officially prescribed by the Church, it addresses the Third Person of the Blessed Trinity in a powerful plea for the wisdom, fortitude and charity so sorely needed by every Christian in every age. To encourage devotion to the Holy Ghost, the Church has enriched this novena with the following indulgences:

    The faithful who devoutly assist at the public novena in honor of the Holy Ghost immediately preceding the Feast of Pentecost may gain:
An indulgence of 10 years on any day of the novena;
A plenary indulgence if they take part in at least five of the exercises, and moreover, go to confession, and receive Holy Communion.

Every day say: 
    On my knees / before the great multitude of heavenly witnesses / I offer myself, soul and body / to Thee O Eternal Spirit of God. / I adore the brightness of Thy purity / the unerring keeness of Thy justice / and the might of Thy love. Thou art the Strength / and Light of my soul. / In Thee I live and move and am. / I desire never to grieve Thee / Mercifully guard my every thought / and grant that I may always watch for Thy light / and listen to Thy voice / and follow Thy graciuos inspirations. / I cling to Thee / and give myself to Thee / and ask Thee / by Thy compassion / to watch over me in my weakness. / Holding the pierced feet of Jesus / and looking at His five Wounds / and trusting in His Precious Blood / and adoring His opened side and stricken Heart / I implore Thee / Adorable Spirit / Helper of my imfirmity, / so to keep me in Thy grace / that I may never sin against Thee. / Give me grace / O Holy Ghost, / Spirit of the Father and of the Son / to say to Thee always and everywhere / "Speak, Lord / for Thy servant heareth."

    O Lord Jesus Christ / Who, before ascending into heaven / did promise to send the Holy Ghost / to finish Thy work / in the souls of Thine Apostles and Disciples / deign to grant the same Holy Spirit to me / that He may perfect in my soul / the work of Thy grace and Thy love. / Grant me the Spirit of Wisdom / that I may despise the perishable things of this world / and aspire only after the things / that are eternal, / the Spirit of Counsel / that I may ever choose / the surest way of pleasing God / and gaining heaven, / the Spirit of Fortitude / that I may bear my cross with Thee / and that I may overcome with courage all the obstacles that oppose my salvation, / the Spirit of Knowledge that I may know God and know myself / and grow perfect in the science of the Saints, / the Spirit of Piety / that I may find the service of God sweet and amiable, / the Spirit of Fear of the Lord / that I may be filled with a loving reverence towards God, and may dread in any way to displease Him. / Mark me, dear Lord, / with the sign of Thy true disciples / and animate me in all things with Thee.
Then add:
Holy Spirit! Lord of light!
From Thy clear celestial height,
Thy pure beaming radiance give!
The Holy Ghost
    Only one thing is important ~ eternal salvation. Only one thing, therefore, is to be feared ~ sin. Sin is the result of ignorance, weakness, and indifference. The Holy Ghost is the Spirit of Light, of Strength, and of Love. With His sevenfold gifts He enlightens the mind, strengthens the will, and inflames the heart with love of God. To ensure our salvation we ought to invoke the Divine Spirit daily, for "The Spirit helpeth our infirmity. We know not what we should pray for as we ought. But the Spirit Himself asketh for us."
    Almighty and eternal God, Who hast vouchsafed to regenerate us by water and the Holy Ghost, and hast given us forgiveness of all sins, vouchsafe to send forth from heaven upon us Thy sevenfold Spirit; the Spirit of Wisdom and Understanding, the Spirit of Counsel and Fortitude, the Spirit of Knowledge and Piety, and fill us with the Spirit of Holy Fear. Amen.
Our Father and Hail Mary - ONCE
Glory be to the Father - SEVEN TIMES
Act of Consecration and Prayer for the Seven Gifts - ONCE

Come Thou, Father of the poor!
Come, treasure which endure!
Come Thou, Light of all that live!
The Gift of Holy Fear
    The gift of Fear fills us with a sovereign respect for God, and makes us dread nothing so much as to offend Him by sin. It is a fear that arises, not from the thought of hell, but from sentiments of reverence and filial submission to our heavenly Father. It is the fear that is the beginning of wisdom, detaching us from worldly pleasures that could in any way separate us from God. "They that fear the Lord will prepare their hearts, and in His sight will sanctify their souls."
    Come, O blessed Spirit of Holy Fear, penetrate my inmost heart, that I may set Thee, my Lord and God, before my face forever; help me to shun all things that can offend Thee, and make me worthy to appear before the pure eyes of Thy Divine Majesty in heaven where Thou livest and reignest in the unity of the Blessed Trinity, God, world without end. Amen.
Our Father and Hail Mary - ONCE
Glory be to the Father - SEVEN TIMES
Act of Consecration and Prayer for the Seven Gifts - ONCE

Thou, of all consolers, best,
Visiting the troubled breast,
Dost refreshing peace bestow.
The Gift of Piety
    The gift of Piety begets in our hearts a filial affection for God as our most loving Father. It inspires us to love and respect for His sake, persons and things consecrated to Him, as well as those who are vested with His authority: His Blessed Mother and the Saints, The Church and its visible Head, our parents and superiors, our country and its rulers. He who is filled with the gift of Piety finds the practice of his religion, not a burdensome duty, but a delightful service. Where there is love, there is no labor.
    Come, O Blessed Spirit of Piety, possess my heart. Enkindle therein such a love for God that I may find satisfaction only in His service, and for His sake, lovingly submit to all legitimate authority. Amen.
Our Father and Hail Mary - ONCE
Glory be to the Father - SEVEN TIMES
Act of Consecration and Prayer for the Seven Gifts - ONCE

Thou in toil art comfort sweet;
Pleasant coolness in the heat;
Solace in the midst of woe.
The Gift of Piety
    By the gift of Fortitude the soul is strengthened against natural fear, and supported to the end in the performance of duty. Fortitude imparts to the will, an impulse and energy which move it to undertake without hesitancy, the most arduous tasks, to face dangers, to trample under foot, human respect, and to endure without complaint, the slow martyrdom of even lifelong tribulation. "He that shall persevere unto the end, he shall be saved."
    Come, O Blessed Spirit of Fortitude, uphold my soul in time of trouble and adversity, sustain my efforts after holiness, strengthen my weakness, give me courage against all the assaults of my enemies, that I may never be overcome, and separated from Thee, my God and greatest good. Amen.
Our Father and Hail Mary - ONCE
Glory be to the Father - SEVEN TIMES
Act of Consecration and Prayer for the Seven Gifts - ONCE

Light immortal! Light Divine!
Visit Thou these hearts of Thine,
And our inmost being fill!
The Gift of Knowledge
    The gift of Knowledge enables the soul to evaluate created things at their true worth ~ in their relation to God. Knowledge unmasks the pretence of creatures, reveals their emptiness, and points out their only true purpose as instruments in the service of God. It shows us the loving care of God even in adversity, and directs us to glorify Him in every circumstance of life. Guided by its light, we put first things first, and prize the friendship of God beyond all else. "Knowledge is a fountain of life to him that possesseth it."
    Come, O Blessed Spirit of Knowledge, and grant that I may perceive the will of the Father; show me the nothingness of earthly things, that I may realize their vanity and use them only for Thy glory and my own salvation, looking ever beyond them to Thee, and Thy eternal rewards. Amen.
Our Father and Hail Mary - ONCE
Glory be to the Father - SEVEN TIMES
Act of Consecration and Prayer for the Seven Gifts - ONCE

If Thou take Thy grace away,
Nothing pure in man will stay,
All his good is turned to ill.
The Gift of Understanding
    Understanding, as a gift of the Holy Ghost, helps us to grasp the meaning of the truths of our holy religion. By faith we kinow them, but by Understanding we learn to appreciate and relish them. It enables us to penetrate the inner meaning of revealed truths, and through them to be quickened to newness of life. Our faith ceases to be sterile and inactive, but inspires a mode of life that bears eloquent testimony to the faith that is in us; we begin to "walk worthy of God, in all things pleasing, and increasing in the knowledge of God."
    Come, O Spirit of Understanding, and enlighten our minds, that we may know and believe all the mysteries of salvation; and may merit at last to see the eternal light in Thy Light; and in the light of glory, to have a clear vision of Thee and the Father and the Son. Amen.
Our Father and Hail Mary - ONCE
Glory be to the Father - SEVEN TIMES
Act of Consecration and Prayer for the Seven Gifts - ONCE

Heal our wounds ~ our strength renew;
Onour dryness pour Thy dew!
Wash the stains of guilt away!
The Gift of Counsel
    The gift of Counsel endows the soul with supernatural prudence, enabling it to judge promptly and rightly, what must be done, especially in difficult circumstances. Counsel applies the principles furnished by Knowledge and Understanding, to the innumerable concrete cases that confront us in the course of our daily duty as parents, teachers, public servants, and Christian citizens. Counsel is supernatural common sense, a priceless treasure in the quest of salvation. "Above all these things, pray to the Most High, that He may direct thy way in truth."
    Come, O Spirit of Counsel, help and guide me in all my ways, that I may always do Thy holy will. Incline my heart to that which is good; turn it away from all that is evil, and direct me by the straight path of Thy commandments to that goal of eternal life for which I long. Amen.
Our Father and Hail Mary - ONCE
Glory be to the Father - SEVEN TIMES
Act of Consecration and Prayer for the Seven Gifts - ONCE

Bend the stubborn heart and will;
Melt the frozen, warm the chill;
Guide the steps that go astray!
The Gift of Wisdom
    Embodying all the other gifts, as charity embraces all the other virtues, Wisdom is the most perfect of the gifts. Of Wisdom it is written, "all good things come to me with her, and innumerable riches, through her hands." It is the gift of Wisdom that strengthens our faith, fortifies hope, perfectss charity, and promotes the practice of virtue in the highest degree. Wisdom enlightens the mind to discern and relish things divine, in the appreciation of which earthly joys lose their savor, whilst the Cross of Christ yields a divine sweetness according to the words of the Saviour: "Take up thy cross and follow me, for my yoke is sweet and my burden light."
    Come, O Spirit of Wisdom, and reveal to my soul the mysteries of heavenly things, their exceeding greatness, power, and beauty. Teach me to love them above and beyond all the passing joys and satisfactions of earth. Help me to attain them and possess them foreven. Amen.
Our Father and Hail Mary - ONCE
Glory be to the Father - SEVEN TIMES
Act of Consecration and Prayer for the Seven Gifts - ONCE

Thou, on those who evermore
Thee confess, and Thee adore,
In Thy sevenfold gifts, descend:

Give them comfort when they die;
Give them life with Thee on high;
Give them joys which never end. Amen.
The Fruits of the Holy Ghost
    The gifts of the Holy Ghost perfect the supernatural virtues by enabling us to practice them with greater docility to divine inspiration. As we grow in the knowledge and love of God under the direction of the Holy Ghost, our service becomes more sincere and generous, the practice of virtue, more perfect. Such acts of virtue leave the heart filled with joy and consolation, and are known as Fruits of the Holy Ghost. These Fruits in turn render the practice of virtue more attractive, and become a powerful incentive for still greater efforet in the service of God, to serve Whom is to reign.
    Come, O Divine Spirit, fill my heart with Thy heavenly fruits: charity, joy, peace, patience, long-suffering, benignity, goodness, faith, mildness, and modesty, continency and chastity, that I may never weary in the service of God, but by continued faithful submission to Thy inspiration, may merit to be united eternally with Thee in the love of the Father and the Son. Amen.
Our Father and Hail Mary - ONCE
Glory be to the Father - SEVEN TIMES
Act of Consecration and Prayer for the Seven Gifts - ONCE


Monday, May 4, 2020

A Blessed Ordination Anniversary!

Two years ago today, our son, Fr. Philip Marie, CMRI received Holy Orders.

I love that phrase. Before this day, the last Sacrament he was initiated into was Confirmation, when he became a soldier of Christ -- and on this day in 2018, he got his orders. His holy assignment.

Having completed years of study and pretty much constant work in the field, his promotion to the priesthood made him a leader and a resource in the most vital of services to mankind: administering to the salvation of our souls. A heavy responsibility.
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Please pray for him and all our priests!  The harvest is great, but the laborers few.