I can’t even tell you how happy we were to be a part of the Winkler wedding on Saturday!!! We met Jeff about 13 or 14 years ago, when we began attending Westfork Church. He played the drums in the worship band, and I want to tell you something: I was not a fan of worship bands, in general. I have my opinions about liturgy and worship and they have always involved a lot more traditional hymnody, Palestrina, and Gregorian Chant, than Matt Redman and Keith Green. But during those years at Westfork, I was very, very blessed by Koos, Jeff, Doug and Keith, who offered their very best to God and the church every week. (And by the way, Jeff was, and is, one of the most talented drummers I’ve seen.)
More important even than his musical gifts, however, was the heart of service that permeated everything he did. Jeff worked beside Paul with the youth all the years we were with Westfork, serving, feeding, caring, counseling, supporting, and really being the hands and feet of Jesus to families in that neighborhood – and his care and compassion have continued on to this day.
So when Jeff met Jennifer (a fourth grade teacher at a Great Hearts school, and an RCIA catechist at St. Joan of Arc Roman Catholic Church), through our mutual friends, we were incredibly thrilled for them both, and have been so happy to get to know the amazing woman who has captured his heart. Paul, his brother in ministry for so many years, was honored when Jeff asked him to be his sponsor as he went through RCIA this past year, entering full communion with the Catholic Church at Easter.
And finally, Saturday afternoon, the day after Jennifer’s last school day for the year, they were married at St. Joan of Arc (which, the artist in me must comment is a beautiful church with modern architecture but also some lovely statuary and a gorgeous altarpiece). Paul was again honored to be asked to read the Epistle lesson during the mass. It was our first time attending a Catholic wedding, and it was very interesting to note the similarities as well as a few differences from what we had at our Episcopal wedding.
One of the things I really loved was the tadition of offering the bridal bouquet to Mary after the ceremony, and saying a prayer during the singing of Ave Maria. Very touching!
I only got a very few photos at the wedding and reception, but I think they captured their sheer joy – especially the first dance as husband and wife, to Elton John’s “Your Song” – which they happily sang to each other the whole way through.
Thanks for letting us be there, Jeff and Jen! God give you joy!!
Saturday was a big day for celebrations. We received not one, but two invitations to attend the Sacred Heart Home Educators graduation ceremony for a couple of friends, and if that weren’t enough, we have also long been planning to attend the wedding of our dear friend Jeff Winkler to his beloved Jennifer. I knew for certain that Junior could not handle two big events in one day, so I cleverly split the responsibilities. I took Megan, Geneva and Jacob with me to the graduation in the morning, while Laurent stayed home with Paul to make sure they both made it to the wedding on time and wearing presentable attire; we were then to meet up with them at the other church in time for the afternoon event.
It was our first time at one of these homeschool graduations, so we were intrigued. The SHHE is much, much smaller than the statewide Arizona Families for Home Education, which held their grad ceremony on Friday night (and we wished we could have gone to that one, too, as we had some very special MoezArt friends graduating!). Being a Catholic home schooling organization, naturally the ceremony was conducted in conjunction with a mass. The SHHE is blessed to have Father Paul Sullivan as our “chaplain” if you will (I actually don’t know if there is another title, but at any rate, he is always the go-to priest for the Catholic home schooling events). The commencement was held at St. Thomas the Apostle, and it is such a beautiful church in which to worship. With a small graduating class of just ten, the ceremony, which was directly after the mass, was brief enough to allow each graduate the attention and applause they have earned with their hard work. It was a joy to be present and acknowledge the accomplishment of these great young people, and the labor and love of their parents in seeing them through to this milestone.
After the mass and ceremony and pictures, there was a delicious potluck dinner and more pics with friends. We had a great time, and once again, we wish a hearty congratulations to Faith Jezek and Theresa Pueyo!
It seems that the young men of my son’s acquaintance have been engaging in the time-honored ritual of back-yard camping, and last week, Jacob decided to give it a try. He was determined to live in the back yard for 3 days straight. I admit to being skeptical that he could pull off that long a detox from his computer, but I was certainly game to support the endeavor.
I sent him out to the shed to see if he could find his father’s back packing tent, and at first he came in with the family-sized one, for which our back yard might (barely) have room. I thought it might be easier for him to learn how to put up the one-man tent, so out he went again to rummage around till he found it.
He was pretty excited to head out there later that night; unfortunately, one of his sisters opened the back door, and indicated that the yard (or at least the back step) was crawling with cockroaches. Now, it is probably true (as my husband later informed me, with not a little exasperation) that the tent is well designed for just such eventualities, and is impervious to critters of that sort; however, at the time, I was overcome by what can only be described as a blinding case of “the willies”, and it got the better of me.
I am truly sorry and humbly repent for squashing my son’s adventurous spirit. It will not happen again. This week he will most definitely be camping in the back yard every night, for as many nights as he would like, critters or no.
Have at it, young man! You’ve got to practice up for when you go out backpacking with your dad later this summer.
After posting earlier the passage from James regarding taming the tongue, I thought to myself… I wonder if any of the Saints ever mentioned the battle of the tongue?
I should not have gone there. SO many great and thought provoking quotes! I had to cull through to try to find favorites, and then cut those in half, just to whittle my choices down to a somewhat manageable number. Hopefully I will read through these on a regular basis and benefit from the reminders herein.
Maybe someone else will too.
‘Hast thou seen a man hasty to speak? folly is rather to be looked for, than his amendment.’
‘Thy mouth is the mouth of Christ; therefore thou mayest not — I speak not of detractions, nor of lies — thou mayest not open for idle speeches that mouth which should be reserved only for the praises of God and the edification of thy neighbour.’
St. Anselm of Canterbury
‘Peter, having said a word, lamented it bitterly, because he forgot him who said: “I said, I will take heed in my ways lest I sin with my tongue.” and the other who said: “A fall from a height to the ground is better than a slip with the tongue.”‘
St. John Climacus
‘Let it be your care always to speak well of all. Speak of others as you would wish to be spoken of by others. With regard to the absent, observe the excellent rule of St. Mary Magdalene de Pazzi: “Never to utter in their absence what you would not say in their presence.”‘
St. Alphonsus Maria de Liguori
‘Oh! how frightful the account which tale-bearers must render to God! The sowers of discord are objects of abomination in his sight. Six things there are that the Lord hateth, and the seventh his soul detesteth. The seventh is the man that soweth discord among brethren!’
St. Alphonsus Maria de Liguori
‘Talkativeness is the throne of vainglory, on which it loves to show itself and make a display. talkativeness is a sign of ignorance, a door to slander, an inducement to jesting, a servant of falsehood, the ruin of compunction, a creator and summoner of despondency, a precursor of sleep, the dissipation of recollection, the abolition of watchfulness, the cooling of ardour, the darkening of prayer.’
St. John Climacus
‘But now lay you also all away: anger, indignation, malice, blasphemy, filthy talk out of your mouth.’
‘You must abstain from certain jests and jocose remarks on the real and known defects of others; for such jokes offend the persons to whom they are applied.’
St. Alphonsus Maria de Liguori
‘You must never utter a word of self-praise; when you are praised by others, you must raise your heart to God, and change the subject of conversation; and when you are contradicted or ridiculed, you must not be angry. Whenever the companions of St. John Francis Regis made him the subject of their jests at recreation, he endeavored with great good-humor to keep up the conversation, that, by being the object of their laughter, he might contribute to their amusement.’
St. Alphonsus Maria de Liguori
‘Never forget that souls are poisoned through the ear as much as bodies through the mouth.’
St. Francis de Sales
‘All that aspire to perfection should avoid excessive laughter. Moderate laughter, which shows the serenity of the soul, is neither a violation of decorum nor opposed to devotion.’
St. Alphonsus Maria de Liguori
‘The signs that accompany those who wish to submit to the Logos of God and who bring forth good fruit are: sighing, weeping, sorrow, stillness, shaking of the head, prayer, silence, persistence, bitter grief, tribulation of heart arising from religious devotion. In addition, their actions manifest vigilance, fasting, self-control, gentleness, forbearance, unceasing prayer, study of the divine Scriptures, faith, humility, brotherly affection, submission, rigorous toil, hardship, love, kindliness, courtesy and-the sum of all-light, which is the Lord.
The signs that accompany those who are not producing the fruit of life are listlessness, day-dreaming, curiosity, lack of attention, grumbling, instability; and in their actions they manifest gluttony, anger, wrath, back-biting, conceit, untimely talk, unbelief, disorderliness, forgetful-ness, unrest, sordid greed, avarice, envy, factiousness, contempt, garrulity, senseless laughter, willfulness and – the sum of all – darkness, which is Satan.’
St. Symeon Metaphrastes
‘Endeavor also to avoid as much as possible all disputes. Sometimes trifles give occasion to arguments that end in disputes and injurious language. There are some who violate charity by proposing, through the spirit of contradiction, certain topics of debate which give rise to useless disputation. Strive not, says the Wise Man, with a matter which doth not concern thee.
But you will say that in every debate you defend the right side of the question, and that you cannot listen in silence to assertions utterly destitute of foundation. I answer in the words of Cardinal Bellarmine: “That an ounce of charity is more valuable than a hundred car loads of reason.”
In all debates, but particularly when the subject is of little importance, give your opinion if you wish to join in the conversation; but be careful never to defend it with obstinacy. It is better to give up your own opinion than to enter into a useless and perhaps dangerous controversy.
Blessed Egidius used to say that in such controversies to submit is to conquer; because submission evinces a superiority in virtue and preserves peace. Surely the preservation of peace is of far greater importance than the empty honor of a wordy victory.
Hence St. Ephrem used to say that to maintain peace he always yielded to his adversary in disputation. Hence, also, St. Joseph Calasanctius advises “all who desire peace never to contradict any one.”‘
St. Alphonsus Maria de Liguori
‘We should note how clearly the Apostle describes the causes of listlessness. Those who do not work he calls unruly, expressing a multiplicity of faults in this one word.
For the unruly man, is lacking in reverence, impulsive in speech, quick, to abuse, and so unfit for stillness. He is a slave to listlessness.
Paul therefore tells us to avoid such a person, that is, to isolate ourselves from him as from a plague. With the words “and not according to the tradition which you have received from us” he makes it clear that they are arrogant and that they destroy the apostolic traditions. Again he says: “nor did we eat any man’s bread as a free gift; but we toiled strenuously night and day.” The teacher of the nations, the herald of the Gospel, who was raised to the third heaven, who says that the Lord ordained that ‘those who preach the Gospel should live by the Gospel’ (1Cor. 9:14) – this same man works night and day “so that we might not be a burden to any of you.” What then can be said of us, who are listless about our work and physically lazy – we who have not been entrusted with the proclamation of the Gospel or the care of the churches, but merely with looking after our own soul? Next Paul shows more clearly the harm born of laziness by adding: “not working at all, but simply being busybodies;” for from laziness comes inquisitiveness, and from inquisitiveness, unruliness, and from unruliness, every kind of evil. He provides a remedy, however, with the words: “Now we instruct such people . . . to work quietly and to eat their own bread.” But with even greater emphasis, he says: “if anyone refuses to work, he should have nothing to eat.”‘
St. John Cassian
Note: Cover image is a painting of St. Anselm of Canterbury, found in the Church of St. Anselm, Bomarzo, Italy.
Let’s have a show of hands: Who here has successfully tamed their tongue?
Right. So all of us can thank the Apostle James for this much needed, if uncomfortably pointed, exhortation. May we heed this wisdom, and be sowers of peace.
Taming the Tongue
3 Not many of you should become teachers, my brothers and sisters,[a] for you know that we who teach will be judged with greater strictness. 2 For all of us make many mistakes. Anyone who makes no mistakes in speaking is perfect, able to keep the whole body in check with a bridle. 3 If we put bits into the mouths of horses to make them obey us, we guide their whole bodies. 4 Or look at ships: though they are so large that it takes strong winds to drive them, yet they are guided by a very small rudder wherever the will of the pilot directs.5 So also the tongue is a small member, yet it boasts of great exploits.
How great a forest is set ablaze by a small fire! 6 And the tongue is a fire. The tongue is placed among our members as a world of iniquity; it stains the whole body, sets on fire the cycle of nature,[b] and is itself set on fire by hell.[c] 7 For every species of beast and bird, of reptile and sea creature, can be tamed and has been tamed by the human species, 8 but no one can tame the tongue—a restless evil, full of deadly poison. 9 With it we bless the Lord and Father, and with it we curse those who are made in the likeness of God. 10 From the same mouth come blessing and cursing. My brothers and sisters,[d] this ought not to be so. 11 Does a spring pour forth from the same opening both fresh and brackish water? 12 Can a fig tree, my brothers and sisters,[e] yield olives, or a grapevine figs? No more can salt water yield fresh.
Two Kinds of Wisdom
13 Who is wise and understanding among you? Show by your good life that your works are done with gentleness born of wisdom. 14 But if you have bitter envy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not be boastful and false to the truth.15 Such wisdom does not come down from above, but is earthly, unspiritual, devilish. 16 For where there is envy and selfish ambition, there will also be disorder and wickedness of every kind. 17 But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, willing to yield, full of mercy and good fruits, without a trace of partiality or hypocrisy. 18 And a harvest of righteousness is sown in peace for[f] those who make peace.
What does a man do for love? What will he sacrifice? What burden is too great to shoulder for his beloved?
It has ever been the case that, day after day, month after month, year after year, my wonderful husband has cheerfully labored on behalf of his wife, his family, and his flock. Self sacrifice is a way of life for him, be it physical labor around our home and ranch, working on our cars late into the night, or countless offerings of time and treasure to help others. It is an incredible grace to live with him and be his partner in life.
But there are times when his self abnegation surpasses human comprehension, and yesterday, he made a sacrifice that could only -ever- be motivated by true love. Here’s what happened:
My Windows box (which he had been using, but gave to me a few months ago to give me more speed) crashed, due to the usual malware that infects Windows OS. I finally agreed to let him put Linux on it, and since then he’s been working to make sure I could still process my photos. Adobe Creative Cloud is Windows-dependent, as are the other memory-hog software I use for photo processing. So he gave me a Virtual Machine, and I was overjoyed to be able to continue pursuing my passion with photography!
But the speed was very slow because my box does not have the necessary RAM. Now, we do not have the money to buy me more RAM. His first inclination was to let me try working my photo magic from his computer – which also runs Linux – and lo, it was miraculously fast! I was so grateful!! But then, as he stood beside me looking at his brand new ThinkServer, upgraded with extra RAM, a solid state drive, and graphics card, he mused, “I should give this one to you, and take yours back…”
Shocked, I exclaimed, “No, honey! You need this one for your programming and… whatever you do…”
“No, this is way more computer than I need. I mean, I love this computer! Don’t get me wrong – but you need it more than I do.”
I was dumbfounded. And then, simply, and with a small, satisfied smile he said, “I always give you the computers I love.”
And there it is.
That, my friends, in engineering language, is True Love.
Sundays are invariably a day filled with potential. Potential mini-dramas, such as the child who wont eat anything you offer for breakfast, and therefore you can predict almost to the minute when his low blood sugar will kick in during mass; or discovering at exactly the minute we are walking out the door to go to church, “Why, oh WHY does this child have only one of every pair of shoes?”.
Then come the potential mega-dramas that consist of epic meltdowns erupting during mass, requiring the removal of the tantrum thrower from the building. Some days, you get all the dramas packed into one, and you just have to roll with it.
But with the potential for drama and frustration, there is also the potential for repentance and restoration. And when that sweet little one asks forgiveness, my heart melts every time, and I am so reminded of our Heavenly Father, who loves to enfold us in His arms and unfailingly forgive, every time we come to him with a contrite heart.
Finally, each Sunday we of course have the potential to worship God in spirit and in truth when we “Enter his gates with thanksgiving, and his courts with praise.” (Psalm 100:4) Today was such a special occasion of worship for our parish, as we were blessed with a tremendous musical gift, as the choir sang Schubert’s Mass No. 2 in G major, D 167 accompanied by a chamber orchestra at both the 9 and 11am Masses. Motets included Mozart’s Ave Verum and modern composer Robert Parker’s O Sacrum Convivium.
I felt that special pang of beauty mixed with nostalgia as I listened to the opening strains of the Mozart with string accompaniment. It brought back vivid memories of playing the same music with my brothers and mother in our family string ensemble years ago.
And, not for the first time, nor likely the last, I felt such deep gratitude to God for giving a love of music to my daughters, and the additional gift of singing at the Cathedral and learning so much about sacred choral music in the process. Seeing their potential fulfilled week by week is a joy too profound for my words to encompass.
I would love to have a good recording of our wonderful musicians from this morning, but since the tv mics are so utterly sub-optimal, I offer this excellent performance instead.
Ludmila Vernerova, soprano. Richard Sporka, tenor. Roman Janal, bass. Roman Janal, bass. Virtuosi di Praga, Prague Chamber Orchestra. Conductor, Romano Gandolfi.
Franz Schubert – Mass No. 2 in G major, D 167
VI. Agnus Dei
Something about this very full week has thrown me off my game. Normally there would have been at least three posts already this week, and some scripture posts as well, but I’m not myself right now. The image above should give you a clue as to why.
Here’s a recap of all the events on all the days thus far.
A little bit about my adventures today. Today was the day I planned to take Geneva over to GCC and complete her registration for the fall semester. Having done this before I felt more than adequately prepared for the task, and in truth, it was rather streamlined by comparison to previous attempts. We had all our paperwork ready (transcript and placement results), Geneva had her ID and SS #s ready, she had all her classes chosen and had the class section numbers and everything. With the availability of so much of the catalog online, we didn’t even need to sit down with an adviser. Further research into the music programs revealed that the best fit for our girl, Music Business and Audio Production Technologies, require the courses she was already planning to take.
The only hitch in the registration process was that they need us to mail in the transcript, rather than hand it directly to them. Why? I do not know. But I shall, of course, comply.
Lickity-split, we had our newest Gaucho registered, paid her first semester tuition, and were off to the book store to buy her books. Hitch number two was that none of the fall semester books are even on the shelves yet, so we’ll deal with that later.
Geneva walked back to the van with me just to grab her drink, and then set off across campus to hit the music rooms and do some practice/recording. I made my way home, and had just walked in the door and set my bag down when she texted to say that the practice rooms were full and there were wait lines, and it was all trombones and opera singers, and she really didn’t think that recording would work well with that much competition, so I hopped back in the van and went to get her.
Half way there, I realized I was nearly out of gas, so on our way home, we stopped at our usual QT and filled the tank. I got back in the van, turned the key, and nothing. No click, no rrrrr, no nothing.
I got out my phone to try to call my husband, and it said there was no service! Geneva had service, I did not. I don’t know what that was about, but I was just happy she was along and had her phone so we could call first Paul, and then AAA roadside assistance. They were there in 20 minutes, and rather than a tow, he determined I just needed a jump start to get moving again. I assured him I would not stop the engine until we reached the driveway, thanked him, and said farewell.
While we were waiting, I had also called on Laurent to come meet us there should we need a tow, since the cabs of tow trucks can be rather cramped, and it was only a few blocks to our house. She arrived just as we were finishing with the tow guy, so we hailed her and let her know it was all good and headed home.
May I just say, I love AAA. So worthwhile to have that assurance that if anything goes wrong, for any of us that drive in this family, we will be ok.
I was 44 years old when we entered into full communion with the Roman Catholic Church. I grew up in a home steeped in bible study and scripture reading; but I was never once exposed to the books of the bible known as the Apocrypha. I am finally setting out on the adventure of exploring these books, beginning with the first chapter of the book of Sirach. Here is a brief introduction to the book, from the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops website, and below I have chosen verses 11-30 of the introductory chapter for today’s scripture. There are notes and cross references linked as well, thanks to the USCCB.
FEAR OF THE LORD IS WISDOM*
11 The fear of the Lord* is glory and exultation,
gladness and a festive crown.
12 The fear of the Lord rejoices the heart,
giving gladness, joy, and long life.†
13 Those who fear the Lord will be happy at the end,
even on the day of death they will be blessed.
14 The beginning of wisdom is to fear the Lord;
she is created with the faithful in the womb.d
15 With the godly she was created from of old,
and with their descendants she will keep faith.
16 The fullness of wisdom is to fear the Lord;
she inebriates them with her fruits.e
17 Their entire house she fills with choice foods,
their granaries with her produce.
18 The crown of wisdom is the fear of the Lord,
flowering with peace and perfect health.†
19 Knowledge and full understanding she rains down;
she heightens the glory of those who possess her.
20 The root of wisdom is to fear the Lord;
her branches are long life.
21 The fear of the Lord drives away sins;
where it abides it turns back all anger.
22 Unjust anger can never be justified;
anger pulls a person to utter ruin.
23 * Until the right time, the patient remain calm,
then cheerfulness comes back to them.
24 Until the right time they hold back their words;
then the lips of many will tell of their good sense.
25 Among wisdom’s treasures is the model for knowledge;
but godliness is an abomination to the sinner.
26 If you desire wisdom, keep the commandments,
and the Lord will bestow her upon you;
27 For the fear of the Lord is wisdom and discipline;
faithfulness and humility are his delight.
28 Do not disobey the fear of the Lord,*
do not approach it with duplicity of heart.f
29 Do not be a hypocrite before others;
over your lips keep watch.
30 Do not exalt yourself lest you fall
and bring dishonor upon yourself;
For then the Lord will reveal your secrets
and cast you down in the midst of the assembly.
Because you did not approach the fear of the Lord,
and your heart was full of deceit.
I have been so blessed in this life! I have five wonderful children whose company I love and who are growing in the Lord and in love for His Church. I have many more children who are my “church kids” that have been truly a gift to me over the past decade and a half.
I have a mother for whom I am thankful every day. She is the source of all the music in my family, and the fact that we get to live with her and share so much in our appreciation of music is such a huge, huge blessing! She is also the most faithful and passionate prayer warrior I know, and such an example to me. Most of all, she is the best cheerleader a family could have — always first to applaud and shout Hip-hip-Hooray for ANY achievement, however seemingly insignificant. Thank you, mama, for believing in all of us, for cheering for us, and for praying for us. In so many ways, you take after our Blessed Mother. Thank you for your faithful example!! I love you!!
My day was very relaxed, beginning with the beauty of going to mass with the family, followed by lunch at home around the table with my beloveds. I rested my sore back this afternoon, and then got to spend a little time with my big brother and my dear mother. We went out for dinner, bypassed half a dozen places that were mad-busy at 7:30pm, and ended up at Gordon Biersch, where there were only 2 cars parked outside. We almost had the place to ourselves, and it was perfect.
Here’s a little mom-centric retrospective slide show of the last few months, ending with a few from our dinner tonight.