Tuesday, July 22, 2014

The Feast of St Mary Magdalene

When Mary Magdalen came to the tomb and did not find Our Lord's body, she thought it had been taken away and so informed the disciples. After they came and saw the tomb, they too believed what Mary had told them. The text then says: "The disciples went back home," and it adds:
"but Mary wept and remained standing outside the tomb." We should reflect on Mary's attitude and the great love she felt for Christ; for though the disciples had left the tomb, she remained. She was still seeking the one she had not found, and while she sought she wept; burning with the fire of love, she longed for him who she thought had been taken away. And so it happened that the woman who stayed behind to seek Christ was the only one to see him. For perseverance is essential to any good deed, as the voice of truth tell us: "Whoever perseveres to the end will be saved."
~ From a homily by Pope Saint Gregory the Great

* A post listing the Biblical facts about St. Mary Magdalene 
and a number of customs for the day can be found here.

St. Mary Magadalene is the patron saint of:
Atrani, Italy
Casamicciola, Italy
contemplative life,
glove makers
hair dressers
La Magdeleine, Italy
penitent sinners
women ridiculed for their piety
reformed prostitutes
temptations agains purity
women, in general


Coloring Pages for the day:
Free image to copy and print

A medieval engraving, depicting Christ appearing to Mary Magdalene, free to copy and print.
* An online coloring page can be found here.

* A printable coloring page of Mary Magdalene at the tomb of Jesus can be downloaded here.

Prayer to St. Mary Magdalene
by St. Anselm 

St Mary Magdalene, you came with springing tears to the spring of mercy, Christ; from him your burning thirst was abundantly refreshed through him your sins were forgiven; by him your bitter sorrow was consoled.

 My dearest lady, well you know by your own life how a sinful soul can be reconciled with its creator, what counsel a soul in misery needs, what medicine will restore the sick to health.

 It is enough for us to understand, dear friend of God, to whom were many sins forgiven, because she loved much.

 Most blessed lady, I who am the most evil and sinful of men do not recall your sins as a reproach, but call upon the boundless mercy by which they were blotted out.

 This is my reassurance, so that I do not despair; this is my longing, so that I shall not perish.I say this of myself, miserably cast down into the depths of vice, bowed down with the weight of crimes, thrust down by my own hand into a dark prison of sins, wrapped round with the shadows of darkness.

 Therefore, since you are now with the chosen because you are beloved and are beloved because you are chosen of God, 1, in my misery, pray to you, in bliss; in my darkness, I ask for light; in my sins, redemption; impure, I ask for purity.

Recall in loving kindness what you used to be, how much you needed mercy, and seek for me that same forgiving love that you received when you were wanting it. Ask urgently that I may have the love that pierces the heart; tears that are humble; desire for the homeland of heaven; impatience with this earthly exile; searing repentance; and a dread of torments in eternity.

Turn to my good that ready access that you once had and still have to the spring of mercy.

Draw me to him where I may wash away my sins; bring me to him who can slake my thirst; pour over me those waters that will make my dry places fresh. You will not find it hard to gain all you desire from so loving and so kind a Lord, who is alive and reigns and is your friend.


Monday, July 21, 2014

God is in the Details; Mom is in the Laundry Room

Or, uh...  maybe she's not...

I love this sentiment.  And I know perfectly well that it's true, but I have such a long time before I find it out for myself, it's more like a dream bubble.  Sort of like how I have a crazy notion that I'm going to drink a quart of lemon water and exercise first thing in the morning instead of drinking coffee and playing on my computer. It'll happen some day.
She says, "You're kidding, aren't you?
As if you had it hard, crazy woman?"

 It could theoretically happen.  (Sure it could.)

But, right now I'm having a dickens of a time with laundry.   Piles and piles of it, made all the worse because we have a pool and all the bathing suits and beach towels that come with it, make a constant, never-ending circuit through the washing machine.  Ugh.  Nice problem to have, I guess --  if you're a kid dropping your wet swim trunks and towel in the middle of the bathroom floor and expect a clean set to appear by the next day.  (Haha!  Get over it, kids.)  

But if you're me, it gets pretty tedious.  Especially living in this particular house, which has the "convenience" of a laundry room upstairs with the bedrooms.  Seems like a good idea, right? And maybe it is for some people; but it's not working for me.  The problem is that I don't usually hang around upstairs during the day.  The "action" is downstairs, so I go down there and just plain old forget about the laundry. I put it in the washer in the morning with every good intention -- and then promptly forget about it until the next morning.  When it is, of course, smelly and sour and has to be washed again.

Just this morning I finally succeeded in folding and putting away a basket of towels that I'd had to re-wash three times! The towels finally smell nice and clean but they're three shades paler than they were when they started.  I'm sick of the sight of them, and forgetting them every day three days in a row has caused a veritable laundry log jam.  I'm not sure if anyone in the house has had clean underwear for a week now.
(Don't worry, though...  It's not as bad as it sounds; people around here wear swimsuits a lot.)

So, the solution? Either I hang out upstairs more (ignore the children and type blog posts, right?), or set the alarm on my phone to remind me to run upstairs and change over laundry.  (Which will work if I keep my phone on my person all day -- something I seldom do, especially if I'm swimming...)  Or I get the children to remind me...  Ahahaha!  Yeah. Riiight.  Maybe if I remind them to remind me...

But what else can I do?

=sigh=  Maybe all  I can do is take heed of the meme.  I thank God I don't have
worse problems than forgetting about the laundry -- when so many people in the world still wash their clothes with rocks on riverbanks.  When there are folks who'd be delighted to do their own laundry, but can't because they're too ill.  When moms reach that time when they have almost no laundry because their children are grown and gone, and the house seems very quiet without the washer and dryer running all the time behind the sounds of their voices.  And there is nothing but the one meager load of clothes to wash twice a week or so, which they don't forget about because there's not much else going on in the house.  And, did I say it's quiet --  and lonely? And rather dull. But the clothes are always clean...

It doesn't change the irritation of always forgetting the laundry, or going up and down the stairs to tend to it, but when I imagine all the dirty clothes as symbols of a happy house full of active dirt-absorbing children, I have to agree:  even smelly laundry is a blessing.

Especially if it's smelly because I was hanging out with the children when I forgot about it.

(Still... Here's to figuring out a way to avoid doing that! Maybe memory supplements are in order...)

Friday, July 18, 2014

You know that smell?

We can't smell it ourselves, of course, but our 8 year old neighbor says our house smells like Jolly Ranchers.

I'm trying to decide how I feel about that.

Sunday, July 6, 2014

The Feast of St. Thomas More

Happy Nameday, William Thomas!
Our youngest son, William Thomas, was named specifically for St. Thomas More.  Shortly before God sent crazy William along , we'd read the novel A Man Born Again by John Edward Beahn (an excellent book we highly recommend) and, finding ourselves the parents of children numbering in the double digits, felt like St. Thomas was just the man we needed on our saintly speed dial.

The father of four children and the counselor and father figure to several others during his life, St. Thomas was the consummate family man, intimately involved in the lives of his children, highly interested in their education, their friendships, and their health, -- physically, mentally, and spiritually.  We're fortunate to have proof of his fatherly concern for his children in the letters he wrote them, and I've never found a better model than this father for saintly, every day parenting ; all through his correspondences -- clearly on  the surface and in between the lines of his practical advice on every day matters, St. Thomas shares his love of God, his love of his Faith, and the priority he holds them.

As most Catholics know the story goes, Thomas More backed up his words and advice to others with action.  He didn't just talk the talk; he was one of the few who get the chance to really walk the walk.  Many of us have played out the scenario in our minds...  Seriously what would we do if we do if we really had to choose between our Faith and the status quot?  What if we had to choose between our Faith and our lives?

  Thomas, a respected employee of the "government" of the king of England in the 16th century (he was named Lord Chancellor of England in 1529) was forced to make that choice -- and he was horrified that he had to.  He was not one to run to the embrace of the executioner.  He had a family he loved that he didn't want to leave and, hoping it might be possible to circumvent the the madness of King Henry's obsessions, he tried to find a loophole out of the whole business.  But it was not to be.  When required by King Henry VIII to sign allegiance to him over the pope, accepting Henry's newly formed Church of England, St. Thomas, against the pleadings of his loving family, refused -- and refused; and refused -- and ultimately lost his life rather than give up his Roman Catholic faith.  

And his family was left.  No father to protect them, to support them, to joke and advise and hug them on his return from the castle every evening. It was a sad earthly loss.   But, what an example!  And what a legacy of Thomas More's real love -- of God, of his Faith, and of his family.  There was never anything more important to St. Thomas than eternal salvation -- for himself and for his family.  Everything else was transitory; he taught his children so and sealed his belief with his blood.  His children did not get to live out the rest of their lives in earthly comfort and honor in King Henry VIII's England, but they had a father who was a saint.   You can't beat that.  You really can't.

Celebrating the Day

*  You can find the life story of St. Thomas -- in a nutshell -- here.
*   There are two versions of the life of St. Thomas on film, A Man for All Seasons, of course.  One stars Paul Scofield (1966), the other, Charlton Heston (1988).  (Though we can't help liking Charlton Heston, we prefer the Scofield version, ourselves...)
* It might be appropriate for the day to serve traditional English fare.  Here's a recipe for Roast Beef and Yorkshire Pudding and here's one for Cornish Pasties.  You can find lots of other ideas here.

Prayer of St. Thomas More

Give me the grace, Good Lord
To set the world at naught. To set the mind firmly on You and not to hang upon the words of men's mouths.
To be content to be solitary. Not to long for worldly pleasures. Little by little utterly to cast off the world and rid my mind of all its business.
Not to long to hear of earthly things, but that the hearing of worldly fancies may be displeasing to me.
Gladly to be thinking of God, piteously to call for His help. To lean into the comfort of God. Busily to labor to love Him.
To know my own vileness and wretchedness. To humble myself under the mighty hand of God. To bewail my sins and, for the purging of them, patiently to suffer adversity.
Gladly to bear my purgatory here. To be joyful in tribulations. To walk the narrow way that leads to life.
To have the last thing in remembrance. To have ever before my eyes my death that is ever at hand. To make death no stranger to me. To foresee and consider the everlasting fire of Hell. To pray for pardon before the judge comes.
To have continually in mind the passion that Christ suffered for me. For His benefits unceasingly to give Him thanks.
To buy the time again that I have lost. To abstain from vain conversations. To shun foolish mirth and gladness. To cut off unnecessary recreations.
Of worldly substance, friends, liberty, life and all, to set the loss at naught, for the winning of Christ.
To think my worst enemies my best friends, for the brethren of Joseph could never have done him so much good with their love and favor as they did him with their malice and hatred.
These minds are more to be desired of every man than all the treasures of all the princes and kings, Christian and heathen, were it gathered and laid together all in one heap.

(Written by St. Thomas when he was imprisoned in the Tower of London)

St.Thomas More wrote the following letter to his daughter Margaret with a charcoal stick. It was written from prison on July 5, 1535, the day before he was executed.

Our Lord bless you, good daughter, and your good husband, and your little boy, and all yours, and all my children, and all my god-children and all our friends. Recommend me when ye may to my good daughter Cecily, whom I beseech Our Lord to comfort; and I send her my blessing and to all her children, and pray her to pray for me. I send her a handkercher, and God comfort my good son, her husband. My good daughter Daunce hath the picture in parchment that you delivered me from my Lady Coniers, her name on the back. Show her that I heartily pray her that you may send it in my name to her again, for a token from me to pray for me.
I like special well Dorothy Colly. I pray you be good unto her. I would wot whether this be she that you wrote me of. If not, yet I pray you be good to the other as you may in her affliction, and to my good daughter Jane Aleyn too. Give her, I pray you, some kind answer, for she sued hitherto me this day to pray you be good to her.
I cumber you, good Margaret, much, but I would be sorry if it should be any longer than to-morrow, for it is St. Thomas's even, and the utas of St. Peter; and therefore, to-morrow long I to go to God. It were a day very meet and convenient for me.
I never liked your manner towards me better than when you kissed me last; for I love when daughterly love and dear charity hath no leisure to look to worldly courtesy. Farewell, my dear child, and pray for me, and I shall for you and all your friends, that we may merrily meet in heaven. I thank you for your great cost. I send now my good daughter Clement her algorism stone, and I send her and my godson and all hers God's blessing and mine. I pray you at time convenient recommend me to my good son John More. I liked well his natural fashion. Our Lord bless him and his good wife, my loving daughter, to whom I pray him to be good, as he hath great cause; and that, if the land of mine come to his hands, he break not my will concerning his sister Daunce. And the Lord bless Thomas and Austin, and all that they shall have.

St. Thomas More, help us, by your holy example and your prayers, to save our own souls and lead
 our children also to heaven!

*Repost from 2012

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Baby, Baby!

The Family Meets the Newest Davis
Evelyn Elizabeth

(Kindly click the start arrow for the soundtrack to this post.)

Baby, baby, who's got the baby?

With Daddy (Paul)
H/T: Nina
Uncle Dominic and Aunt Theresa, Evie's Godparents!

Aunt Nina

Great Grandmom

Who will always have the magic touch...

Uncle Frater Philip, with the Blessed Mother looking on...
(Don't know what Frater is pursing his lips about...  May have been
watching soccer at about this time...)

Uncle Dominic again (Similar complexions, these two.  ;)
Now Aunt Cathy's got her.

Mommy (Nicole) and Miss June 

Uncle Frater Philip and Uncle Omar

Sweet for everyone, our Evie. But Mommy is home base.
*Going ahead and posting this one...  But, adding more Evie pictures as I find them.  Do please send me some more, family, if you've got them!

Friday, July 4, 2014


This Guy

The one on the right in the blue plaid button-down.  This is my husband.  In his element.

You just gotta love this guy.  Two or three times the age of any other player on the field and he hasn't played soccer in -- not just years -- but decades!  Still, he held his own in the midst of them, on the ball constantly, contributing heartily, no incidents, accidents or writhing of any kind.  He didn't make any spectacular goals, either, but he more than justified playing among his sons and their friends. One of the players, a very athletic
young seminarian we know, sat down to visit with me on the sidelines while he rested out.  Shading his eyes as he watched the continuing game, he glanced at me out of the corner of his eye (a trademark look of this particular friend of ours) and smiled a big wide smile.  "It's amazing, Mrs. Davis," he said. "He's really pretty good!"

Haha! ' Yes, he is!' I had to smile back at him, and agree.  Not surprising to me, of course, my husband's athletic prowess -- but, yes, he is amazing.  He keeps the ball in play, attuned at all times to where all the other players are; he passes, blocks, and guards -- and allows the kids to make the goals that he has helped set up.  No drama, no grandstanding, no calling attention to himself, but aiming for the goal all the time, just the same -- and never shy about diving into the action. That's my husband.

 Just the kind of guy God would pick to be the father of ten children.  The Pele of parenthood.

(Thanks, God.  I don't deserve him -- but sure do need him.)

A chart of unfortunate parenting:

Heehee!  Not really.  I just thought it was funny.  Americans are pretty vocal about how they hate the writhing act, but our players are among the top ten worst!  I have to admit, though, not being a soccer fan myself, it's the dramatics of the players that interests me most: the agony of the supposedly-wounded, the unbridled ecstasy of the victorious, the suicidal displays of the defeated. It vies with American Idol for entertainment value.  But don't tell the boys that this is why I watch it (distractedly, while pinning on pintrest).  Check out the lengths they went to in order to watch the games (since we don't have cable):

Anyone else out there remember using wire coat hangers to assist the rabbit-ear antenna on top of the TV?  Or am I exhibiting my advanced age?  :)  But, with age comes wisdom, right?  Or at least weird tidbits of knowledge! Knowing this little trick brought the World Cup to our living room for all the grown-son soccer fans and their friends -- and it worked splendidly, though it only helped picked up the games broadcast on a Spanish station.  And if you sat on the metal glider outside the back door, it turned the feed to static... Loud groans from the soccer fans!  And the game resumed  to choruses of, "Get off the Glider!!"  (Snickersnicker!)  Memories are made of this.

 (And obsession is sometimes the mother of invention.)

 Click to find: World Cup of "Flopping" article if you missed it last week.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Keeping Cool

Last Weekend of June, 2014
Davis Family Reunion
26 people at the height of the party on Saturday

Check out the temperature!
(And this is after the thermometer had been inside cooling off for a couple minutes.)

What to do?

(Thank the good Lord we found a house to rent that had a swimming pool!)
Here are some snapshots of the day.
(With more to come later... fair warning.)

Dominic, Luau King

Omar, his accompanist

Paul, and Shock Top or Angry Orchard?
So cool in the pool

Michelle (Birthday Girl, turned 19 on Sunday!)
Kevin, behind her, the resident licensed bar tender
and fruit smoothie maker. He could fix the
air conditioner on his car
would be rich if he got
paid for all the drinks he made last weekend!

L-R: Kevin, Michelle, Gavin, Paul -- chilling

Kevin -- or Elton John (one or the other)

L-R: Paul, Nicole, baby Evelyn, Kevin, Theresa, and Gavin on the side of the pool...
More chilling.

Kevin.  He's just silly, that's all.  And Dan's back. (Don't ask where he's been, ok?)

Usual suspects: Theresa, Dominic, William, Kevin, Gavin, Nicole, Paul...
Still chilling.
Nina, picturing the picture-taker

Kevin, Michelle, Gavin, Paul
The entertainment again

I don't know.  Paul looks just a little too comfortable here.  I'm just betting
this didn't last long.  Wish I got a picture of William breaking this up.

Uncle Dominic with Evie in her stunning bathing suit.

Gavin getting ready to "Canonball!)

Gavin right before squirting Nicole (his Mommy) with the squirt gun.  

As hot as the weekend was, I think everyone will remember the fun and games, the swimming and splashing, the food and the fruit drinks, the laughter and time together,  and not the triple digit temperatures. It was a time to never be forgotten.  It's so rare that we have everyone together any more!  Everyone -- and then some, as so many of our old friends happened by over the weekend, too.  It was amazing!  People just kept coming... and coming... and coming...  As out of the way as we are now, it boggles the mind how such a crowd still gathered.

Everyone (all the big kids, extended relations, and friends) has gone home now, though, except for Dominic (who's still here waiting to have his wisdom teeth pulled, poor fellow) -- and I miss everyone more than ever -- though (good grief, kids!) I'm still finding half-finished water bottles all over the house to remind me of all your smiling faces.

And I can't wait until we can figure out a way to do this again. Hopefully soon.  Maybe next time we'll have a house in the country instead of a pool to play in.  Praying on that.

But grateful, regardless, to understand more and more how home really is where the heart is -- and the heart is that link of love amongst the bunch of us not rooted in any mere place.  We've been so thrilled to come together where we can hug and tease and sing and play and pray together, but the bond of family is deeper/stronger/more important than time and space.  It's founded on God's Will for us to be a family and has been nurtured by our shared Faith, our common values, and the respect and regard we've learned to have for one another, child to parent, parent to child, sibling to sibling, and so on. Respect, regard, and tease, that is!  But on thing is certain: the never-endingness of it of our family bond -- in all its causes and manifestations...

  All real love comes from God -- is God -- and so it is eternal.  Our bond of family love is forever -- timeless and without boundary.  We may not all be physically together again for a time, but that's OK.  As long as we all make a corner of Christ's Heart our home, we are all really together.  Forever.  Please remember that, children.  It is the one thing.  Home is where His heart is.