Tuesday, February 19, 2019

As the twig is bent, so inclines the tree

The Saplings 

Somewhere in the lost picture files of our family's growing up, there is a dog-eared photo of our little Michelle, laying limp dandelions in the hand of this statue of the Blessed Virgin. And this is Daria Philomena, Michelle's oldest daughter, doing the same thing.

We gave this statue to Ben and Michelle at their wedding so now Daria and her sisters are growing up with their Momma's childhood image of the Blessed Mother. And her childhood image of the Blessed Mother. The gift of love passed down.

 When you gently and persistently bend the twig, you also incline the saplings. And, God willing, the saplings' saplings. Pray and work that the pressure of the world doesn't bend them away.

You may not be rich; you may be unable to bequeath any great possessions to your children; 
but one thing you can give them: the heritage of your blessing. 
And it is better to be blessed than to be rich.

-- St. Ambrose

* Daria was about one when this picture was taken a couple years ago.

Sunday, February 17, 2019

Today marks the feast of the Flight into Egypt, a good day to recommend ourselves and our families to the protection of good St. Joseph. Whose patronage can we depend upon better than his, whom God trusted to guard the Child Savior and His Holy Mother?

 “I know by experience that the glorious St. Joseph assists us generally in all necessities. I never asked him for anything which he did not obtain for me.”
-- St. Teresa of Avila

Oh St. Joseph, whose protection is so great, so strong, so prompt before the throne of God, I place in you all my interests and desires.

Oh St. Joseph, do assist me by your powerful intercession and obtain for me from your divine son all spiritual blessings through Jesus Christ, our Lord; so that having engaged here below your heavenly power, I may offer my thanksgiving and homage to the most loving of Fathers.

Oh St. Joseph, I never weary contemplating you and Jesus asleep in your arms. I dare not approach while he reposes near your heart. Press Him in my name and kiss his fine head for me, and ask him to return the kiss when I draw my dying breath. St. Joseph, patron of departing souls, pray for us. Amen

Friday, February 15, 2019

First and Forever Valentines

That real love, the genuine article that settles in after the initial earthquake of being in love calms and settles? That love (you know it) which overlooks grumpy mornings, bad manners, belches, and boredom --  that love that persists and prods and supports, that grows downward with roots so it can spread upward with shade for everyone around it? Mirrors of  the greatest and first Love, it's all blessing and curse, pleasure and pain, sorrow, joy, and glory. It's built into us to crave this love with all it's yin and yang -- and  the great challenge of our lives to recognize it when we're hip-dip in it. This beautiful, wonderful, difficult love.

Brothers, Gabe and (photobombing) Dominic,
with big brother, Paul's, daughter, Lily
 We first learn to put up with it (if we are blessed) at home, from our parents from the very beginning, who push and pull and stretch and and pat us into the people we should be. In families that cooperate with God's grace, we wallow in Mom and Dad love, even when we sometimes we resist it or misunderstand it. Then there's that other first love, love in perhaps its most potent and least appreciated form (at least until we've grown up quite a lot), the love we suffer at the hands of our siblings.

It's a sticky, pitchy, testy kind of thing, sibling love. No one knows us better than our brothers and sisters, and consequently, no one annoys us more, puts up with us more, or loves us more. Or longer. Birth to death. In spite of everything. Even when we go through droughts when we barely make connections with one another. The love still fills the corners and floods over, across the generations.

One of Dan's and my greatest (somewhat) unexpected pleasures these last few years has been watching our children's love for one another spring up in their adulthood -- and then spread to their siblings' spouses and children, and then from cousins to cousins, aunts and uncles, back and forth, all around. Everyone's doused, but it's been a slow steady flooding and the water's fine; no one seems to notice they're swimming in it.  Love is a wonderful thing to take for granted, when you've been blessed that way, when you've accepted it from its Source and let it flow .

 But don't take it for granted. Our first school of love is our childhood home. Our first Valentines are our brothers and sisters. 

Left: Aunt Cathy and Uncle Fr. Philip with Michelle'syoungest daughter, Claudia
Right: Paul with Michelle's Claudia

Cousins! Paul's girls, Evelyn and Lillian lovin' on Michelle's middle daughter, Ella

Left: Auntie Anna with Shelly's Claudia
Right: Uncle "Bill" and Uncle Gabe with Michelle's Daria and Ella

Here's looking at you,, kid: Auntie  Michelle and Paul's Gavin

Aunt Sr. Antonia with Ella, Daria and Evie

Uncle Gabe monkeying around with nieces, Daria and Evie

Four generations of Davis men: Great Grandpa, Dan Sr; Grandpa (Dandad), Dan Jr; Dad, Paul; son, Gavin

The music that threads through everything.
Uncle Fr. Philip with Claudia.

(Mind the gaps. Courtesy of Blogger's screwy picture insertion program, these photos are spaced pretty indiscriminately. I declare, I did try to fix it.. Argh)

Generations bonding: Anna, Cathy, William, and Dan's Mom, Sharon (Grandma)

Cousins: Paul and Nicole's Gavin with Michelle's Ell
Aunt Cathy holding Michelle's Claudia, Aunt Anna looking on

Uncle Kevvy with Michelle's Daria

                                      Aunties Monica and Ina with Paul and Nicole's Lilly

Auntie Cathy with Dominic and Monica's, Margaret Mary

Sr. Antonia with Paul's Evie

What's For Dinner: A Friday-licious Treat!

It occurred to me this afternoon (because I'm stahhhhving) that we hadn't had this amazing meatless meal in a while, and digging it out of mothballs (from way back in 2011) to jot down all the ingredients, I figured I'd repost for anyone looking for a good Friday (or Lenten -- because Lent is coming up) meal.  But, let me tell you, this is a really really good sandwich any time of year, any day of the week.

* A couple tips: You might want to compare prices between roasted red peppers in a jar and buying fresh red peppers to roast yourself.  The day we went shopping, it was cheaper to buy them jarred.

* Most any cheese would work with this sandwich, too, we think.  Some of our gang don't care for Swiss, so we used cheddar instead and it worked great.  Tonight I may use some of the Dublin cheese e have in the fridge -- or maybe brie? (Hmmm...  Which one?  What a problem to have!)

* Also, when we use the Swiss, we don't shred it, just slice it, which saved a step and tasted the same.  Oh! And the simple mayo-mix spread is so easy and goo-ood!  Basically an aoli sauce we'd only just discovered for the first time back in '11, it's now a staple around here.  So simple, but so good!  It makes any plain old sandwich special.

But, without further ado, I submit for your consideration:

Awesome Asparagus Sandwich

Yummy with cracked-pepper and tomato basil
flavored chips and  New Belgium Brewery's
"1554"--  or Root Beer for the younger crowd.


1 bunch fresh asparagus, trimmed

1 red bell pepper, seeded and quartered

1 tablespoon olive oil

3 hoagie rolls

6 ounces shredded Swiss cheese

1 ripe tomato, sliced

3 tablespoons mayonnaise

2 tablespoons lemon juice

1 teaspoon minced garlic


1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).

2.  Toss asparagus and red pepper with olive oil. Place on a lined baking sheet and bake until tender, about 10 minutes. Once cool enough to handle, remove skin from the pepper and slice into strips.

3.  Cut hoagie rolls in half, place on a baking sheet, and toast lightly in the oven. Remove rolls from the oven and sprinkle each half with cheese. Place 4 to 5 asparagus spears and a few strips of pepper on one side. Place slices of tomato on the other side of the roll. Place the hoagies back in the oven until the cheese is melted, about 5 minutes.

4.  Meanwhile, in a separate bowl, mix the mayonnaise, lemon juice, and garlic together. Spread the dressing on one side of the roll and close sandwich.

* We found this at All-recipes!

If you like asparagus and roasted peppers, you've got to try this!

Tuesday, February 12, 2019

Tickle Me Tuesday

Regarding marriage, fourteen-year-old Gabriel tells us: All is love and warfare.
Which pretty much nails it.

Trying Again

The choir for Kevvy and Ina's wedding at the Franziskanerkirche in Uberlingen, August 11, 2018.

Monday, February 11, 2019

How a Few Minutes Reverberate into Eternity

When time and talent are given to God.

Priceless in our memories!

This little video was recorded after Kevin and Ina's nuptial high Mass in Uberlingen, Germany, at the Franziskanerkirche (Franciscan Church). It was a mixed choir, about half Americans and half Germans, directed by Dominic (child #4) and Kevin's good German friend, Andreas Heine. A little bit of heaven on earth.


(Not really.)
But I am in here, looking out, waiting for my spouse to get home -- and glad that all my other people are inside, nice and warm and safe somewhere. Snow is always better from inside-looking-out!

Sunday, February 10, 2019

The Catholic Week Ahead

Sunday: 5th Sunday after Pentecost
                       Feast of St. Scholastica, sister of St. Benedict

St. Scholastica
(Feast Day: February 10th)
by Prosper Louis P. Gueranger

The sister of the Patriarch Saint Benedict comes to us today, sweetly inviting us to follow her to heaven. Apollonia the Martyr is succeeded by Scholastica the fervent daughter of the Cloister. Both of them are the Spouses of Jesus, both of them wear a crown, for both of them fought hard, and won the palm. Apollonia's battle was with cruel persecutors, and in those hard times when one had to die to conquer; Scholastica's combat was the life-long struggle, whose only truce is the soldier's dying breath. The Martyr and the Nun are sisters now in the Heart of Him they both so bravely loved.

God, in his infinite wisdom, gave to St. Benedict a faithful co-operatrix,--a sister of such angelic gentleness of character, that she would be a sort of counterpoise to the brother, whose vocation, as the legislator of monastic life, needed a certain dignity of grave and stern resolve. We continually meet with these contrasts in the lives of the saints; and they show us that there is a link, of which flesh and blood know nothing; a link which binds two souls together, gives them power, harmonises their differences of character, and renders each complete. Thus it is in heaven with the several hierarchies of the Angels; a mutual love, which is founded on God Himself, unites them together, and makes them live in the eternal happiness of the tenderest brotherly affection.

Scholastica's earthly pilgrimage was not a short one; and yet it has left us but the history of the Dove, which told the brother, by its flight to heaven, that his sister had reached the eternal home before him. We have to thank St. Gregory the Great for even this much, which he tells us as a sequel to the holy dispute she had with Benedict, three days previous to her death. But how admirable is the portrait thus drawn in St. Gregory's best style! We seem to understand the whole character of Scholastica:--an earnest simplicity, and a child-like eagerness, for what was worth her desiring it; an affectionate and unshaken confidence in God; a winning persuasiveness, where there was opposition to God's will, which, when it met such an opponent as Benedict, called on God to interpose, and gained its cause. The old poets tell us strange things about the swan, how sweetly it can sing when dying; how lovely must not have been the last notes of the Dove of the Benedictine Cloister, as she was soaring from earth to heaven!

But how came Scholastica, the humble retiring Nun, by that energy, which could make her resist the will of her brother, whom she revered as her master and guide? What was it told her that her prayer was not a rash one, and that what she asked for was a higher good than Benedict's unflinching fidelity to the Rule he had written, and which it was his duty to teach by his own keeping it? Let us hear St. Gregory's answer: "It is not to be wondered at, that the sister, who wished to prolong her brother's stay, should have prevailed over him; for, whereas St. John tells us, that God is Charity, it happened by a most just judgment, that she that had the stronger love, had the stronger power."

Our Season is appropriate for the beautiful lesson taught us by St. Scholastica,--fraternal charity. Her example should excite us to the love of our neighbor, that love which God bids us labour for, now that we are intent on giving Him our undivided service, and our complete conversion. The Easter Solemnity we are preparing for, is to unite us all in the grand Banquet, where we are all to feast on the one Divine Victim of Love. Let us have our nuptial garment ready; for He that invites us, insists on our having union of heart when we dwell in his House (Ps. lxvii. 7.)

The Church has inserted in her Office of this Feast the account given by St. Gregory of the last interview between St. Scholastica and St. Benedict. It is as follows:

From the 2nd book of the Dialogues of Saint Gregory, Pope.

Scholastica was the sister of the venerable father Benedict. She had been consecrated to Almighty God from her very infancy, and was accustomed to visit her brother once a year. The man of God came down to meet her at a house belonging to the monastery, not far from the gate. It was the day for the usual visit, and her venerable brother came down to her accompanied by some of his brethren. The whole day was spent in the praises of God and holy conversation; and at night-fall, they took their repast together. Whilst they were at table, and it grew late as they conferred with each other on sacred things, the holy Nun thus spoke to her brother: "I beseech thee, stay the night "with me, and let us talk till morning on the joys of heaven." He replied: "What is this thou sayest, sister? On no account may I remain out of the monastery. The evening was so fair, that not a cloud could be seen in the sky." When, therefore, the holy nun heard her brother's refusal, she clasped her hands together, and, resting them on the table, she hid her face in them, and made a prayer to the God of all power. As soon as she raised her head from the table, there came down so great a storm of thunder and lightning, and rain, that neither the venerable Benedict, nor the brethren who were with him, could set foot outside the place where they were sitting.

The holy virgin had shed a flood of tears as she leaned her head upon the table, and the cloudless sky poured down the wished-for rain. The prayer was said, the rain fell in torrents; there was no interval; but so closely on each other were prayer and rain, that the storm came as she raised her head. Then the man of God, seeing that it was impossible to reach his monastery amidst all this lightning, thunder, and rain, was sad, and said complainingly: "God forgive thee, sister! What hast thou done?" But she replied: "I asked thee a favour," and thou wouldst not hear me; I asked it of my God, and He granted it. Go, now, if thou canst, to the monastery, and leave me here!" But it was not in his power to stir from the place; so that, he who would not stay willingly, had to stay unwillingly, and spend the whole night with his sister, delighting each other with their questions and answers about the secrets of spiritual life.

On the morrow, the holy woman returned to her monastery, and the man of God to his. When lo! three days after, he was in his cell; and raising his eyes, he saw the soul of his sister going up to heaven, in the shape of a dove. Full of joy at her being thus glorified, he thanked his God in hymns of praise, and told the brethren of her death. He straightways bade them go and bring her body to the monastery; which having done, he had it buried in the tomb he had prepared for himself. Thus it was, that, as they had ever been one soul in God, their bodies were united in the same grave.

Prayer to St. Scholastica

Dear Spouse of the Lamb! Innocent and simple Dove! How rapid was thy flight to thy Jesus, when called home from thine exile! Thy brother's eye followed thee for an instant, and then heaven received thee, with a joyous welcome from the choirs of the Angels and Saints. Thou art now at the very source of that love which here filled thy soul, and gained thee everything thou asked of thy Divine Master. Drink of this fount of life to thy heart's eternal content. Satiate the ambition taught thee by thy brother in his Rule, when he says that we must "desire Heaven with all the might of our spirit." Feed on that sovereign Beauty, Who himself feeds, as he tells us, among the lilies?

But forget not this lower world, which was to thee, what it is to us,--a place of trial, for winning heavenly honours. During thy sojourn here, thou wast the Dove in the clifts of the rock, as the Canticle describes a soul like thine own; there was nothing on this earth which tempted thee to spread thy wings in its pursuit, there was nothing worthy of thy giving it the treasure of the love, which God had put in thy heart. Timid before men, and simple as innocence ever is, thou knewest not that thou hadst wounded the Heart of the Spouse. Thy prayers were made to him with all the humility and confidence of a soul that had never been disloyal; and he granted thee thy petitions with the promptness of tender love: so that thy brother,--the venerable Saint,--he who was accustomed to see nature obedient to his command,--yes, even Benedict was overcome by thee in that contest, wherein thy simplicity was more penetrating than his profound wisdom.

And who was it, O Scholastica, that gave thee this sublime knowledge, and made thee, on that day of thy last visit, wiser than the great Patriarch, who was raised up in the Church to be the living rule of them that are called to Perfection? It was the same God who chose Benedict to be one of the pillars of the Religious State; but who wished to show, that a holy and pure and tender charity is dearer to him, than the most scrupulous fidelity to rules, which are only made for leading men to what thou hadst already attained. Benedict, himself such a lover of God, knew all this; the subject so dear to thy heart was renewed, and brother and sister were soon lost in the contemplation of that Infinite Beauty, who had just given such a proof that he would have you neglect all else. Thou wast ripe for heaven, O Scholastica! Creatures could teach thee no more love of thy Creator; he would take thee to Himself. A few short hours more, and the Divine Spouse would speak to thee those words of the ineffable Canticle, which the Holy Spirit seems to have dictated for a soul like thine: Arise, make haste, my Love, my Dove, my beautiful one, and come ! Show me thy face; let thy voice sound in mine ears; for thy voice is sweet, and comely is thy face.

Thou hast left us, O Scholastica! but do not forget us. Our souls have not the same beauty in the eyes of our God as thine, and yet they are called to the same heaven. It may be that years are still needed to fit them for the celestial abode, where we shall see thy grand glory. Thy prayer drew down a torrent of rain upon the earth; let it now be offered for us, and obtain for us tears of repentance. Thou couldst endure no conversation which had not eternity for its subject; give us a disgust for useless and dangerous talk, and a relish for hearing such as are on God and Heaven. Thy heart had mastered the secret of fraternal charity, yea of that affectionate charity, which is so well-pleasing to our Lord; soften our hearts to the love of our neighbor, banish from them all coldness and indifference, and make us love one another as God would have us love.

Dear Dove of holy solitude! remember the Tree, whose branches gave thee shelter here on earth. The Benedictine cloister venerates thee, not only as the sister, but also as the Daughter of its sainted Patriarch. Cast thine eye upon the remnants of that Tree, which was once so vigorous in its beauty and its fruits, and under whose shadow the nations of the West found shelter for so many long ages. Alas! the hack and hew of impious persecutions have struck its root and branches. Every land of Europe, as well as our own, sits weeping over the ruins. And yet, root and branches, both must needs revive, for we know that it is the will of thy Divine Spouse, O Scholastica, that the destinies of this venerable Tree keep pace with those of the Church herself. Pray that its primitive vigor be soon restored; protect, with thy maternal care, the tender buds it is now giving forth; cover them from the storm; bless them; make them worthy of the confidence wherewith the Church deigns to honour them!

Monday: Feast of Our Lady of Lourdes

St. Bernadette's entire story of the apparitions at Lourdes can be found here. And another lovely version here.

Here is a coloring page of Our Lady of Lourdes, courtesy of wonderful, talented Charlotte.

Movies to watch: The1943 classic, The Song of Bernadette, And a new version, the one that is shown at Lourdes, Bernadette, and its sequal, The Passion of Bernadette,

Books: A Holy Life: St. Bernadette of Lourdes,
Bernadette Speaks: A Life of Saint Bernadette Soubirous in Her Own Words

St. Bernadette Soubirous

Many posts from AWTY over the years on St. Bernadette and Lourdes, if you click here.

Websites to check out: the official Lourdes Sanctuary
official Saint Bernadette-Nevers site
Tons photos of St. Bernadette and just a few here:

Tuesday The Seven Holy Founders of the Servite Order

Their story here.

Wednesday: Ferial Day

Thursday: St. Valentine

                   Prayer to St. Valentine for our children's choice of spouse 

Heavenly Father, we ask You to guide our children in the choice of spouse. Don't let them be carried away by false charms or be fascinated by mere outward glamour, but guide their minds to look beneath and beyond all external attractiveness for the deeper things which alone are worth while.

Especially let the choice be of one who is a fervent Catholic, true in thought and word and deed to those ideals which are Yours, especially the value of their purity.

Dear Father of us all, give Your guiding help to our children, who are Your children, too. We will be letting them go soon, but please don't ever let our children go from you. Amen

St. Valentine, patron of romantic love, pray for us!

AWTY St. Valentine Day posts throughout the years (that might only interest the family -- as they show the children when they were so little, but there's other information of general interest, as well, including the history of the feast.)

Friday Sts Faustina and Jovita

Faustinus and Jovita were brothers, nobly born, and were zealous professors of the Christian religion, which they preached without fear in their city of Brescia in Lombardy, during the persecution of Adrian. Their remarkable zeal excited the fury of the heathens against them, and procured them a glorious death for their faith.

Faustinus, a priest, and Jovita, a deacon, were preaching the Gospel fearlessly in the region when Julian, a pagan officer, apprehended them. They were commanded to adore the sun, but replied that they adored the living God who created the sun to give light to the world. The statue before which they were standing was brilliant and surrounded with golden rays. Saint Jovita, looking at it, cried out: "Yes, we adore the God reigning in heaven, who created the sun. And you, vain statue, turn black, to the shame of those who adore you!" At his word, it turned black. The Emperor commanded that it be cleaned, but the pagan priests had hardly begun to touch it when it fell into ashes.

The two brothers were sent to the amphitheater to be devoured by lions, but four of those came out and lay down at their feet. They were left without food in a dark jail cell, but Angels brought them strength and joy for new combats. The flames of a huge fire respected them, and a large number of spectators were converted at the sight. Finally sentenced to decapitation, they knelt down and received the death blow. The city of Brescia honors them as its chief patrons and possesses their relics, and a very ancient church in that city bears their names.

Reflection. The spirit of Christ is ever a spirit of martyrdom. It is always the spirit of the cross. The more we share in the suffering life of Christ, the greater share we inherit of His Spirit, and of the fruits of His death. To souls mortified in their senses and disengaged from earthly things, God gives frequent foretastes of the sweetness of eternal life, and ardent desires of possessing Him in His glory. This is the spirit of martyrdom, which entitles a Christian to a happy resurrection and to the bliss of the life to come.

When we compare our trials with yours, noble Martyrs of Christ, and our combats with those that you had to fight,--how grateful ought we not to be to our Lord for his having so mercifully taken our weakness into account! Should we have been able to endure the tortures, wherewith you had to purchase heaven, we that are so easily led to break the law of God, so tardy in our conversion, so weak in faith and charity? And yet, we are made for that same heaven, which you now possess. God holds out a crown to us also, and we are not at liberty to refuse it. Rouse up our courage, brave Martyrs! Get us a spirit of resistance against the world and our evil inclinations; that thus, we may confess our Lord Jesus Christ, not only with our lips, but with our works too, and testify, by our conduct, that we are Christians. (From Butler's)

Saturday Our Lady's Saturday

Sunday Septuagesima 
 Remote preparation for Easter, literally meaning "seventy" -- seventy days before Easter. Pretty good overview can be found here.