BAPTISM OF SAINT OLGA

BAPTISM OF SAINT OLGA
Baptism of Saint Olga, my 33rd great grandmother, patron of converts

Friday, August 26, 2016

INTERNET HIATUS (AGAIN!)

LIVINE ROOM SHRINE
 

While most of my furniture is composed of either folding tables bought at Walmart or special items given to me by friends in my Catholic community, my shrines get extra special attention. I have one in the living room (above) and one in the bedroom (below) and I spend a lot of time in front of both of them. Those corners get very special treatment, as they help set the mood and concentrate my mind on the beauty of the Lord. I burn the same type of incense that is burnt in the Byzantine Catholic Church, and I always try to have candles available to light. They are a priority for me.




Internet service has also been a priority, but as time goes on, and Social Security lags further and further behind the actual cost of living, internet service has become outside my reach. I go through sporadic bouts of available internet at home, and I am now on the cusp of losing my internet again.

Clearly, the Lord wishes me to pray the day away and do not mourn the internet at all. This also means that He is not so keen that I do any writing, since I use the internet for research and cannot work without it. If and when internet is made available to me again, I may take up the writing once more.

In the meantime, I pray for all of you, as I hope you pray for me.

God's blessings upon you!

Silver Rose Parnell

Thursday, August 25, 2016

HELP BUILD THE HERMITAGE

THE FANTASY HERMITAGE IN THE WOODS


Last night I had to call the police because the street on which I live had been turned into a drag racing arena, once again. Usually, they race on Sunday nights but, due to the limited number of police on the streets, they have become more bold and are racing 2 or 3 nights a week. The sound of the engines and the altered mufflers is deafening, especially when right outside my bedroom window. From trucks to motorcycles, it is a metal circus.

Construction has already begun on a new metro-rail transportation system, wherein one of the major hubs and ticket purchasing areas will be less than a block from my apartment, bringing with it further inner-city congestion, crowds and noise. The beautiful trees that were planted a few years ago in the medians will be ripped out and replaced by screeching metal, machinery, and 2 lanes of traffic, instead of 4. The buses that already serve this area are sparsely used, mostly by the homeless, many of whom ride them for many hours a day. The bus system is losing money, as is the commuter train.



Like all the other low income housing in this town, my apartment complex is in a high-crime area. Drugs, prostitution, transients, and a huge area of homeless encampments under the trees growing in a wide swath on either side of the Rio Grande River. Criminals and transients wander through our apartment complex and steal cars, patio furniture and whatever isn't nailed down. I suppose they use some of the small items in the homeless camps. There have been 6 attempts to forcibly access my apartment in the first 6 years I lived here. I had to buy steel security doors, and the attempts subsided.

There is a great deal of anti-Catholic sentiment among the residents and the management. Alcoholics, drug addicts, thieves and n'er do wells have caused me considerable distress, targeting me with hostile behavior and nasty rumors amongst the residents.

Police, my doctors and my friends have all advised me to move, and I agree that I need to find a residence that is safe, lends itself to the peace and quiet of a hermit lifestyle, and which has a small fenced yard for my service dog. This week, my doctor told me that he considers this a medical emergency for me.

I will be blind sometime in the not too distant future, and I need to get settled before all of my vision disappears.

Ideally, I will live near my friends who are caring for me, the stores in which I shop for the special diet the doctor has prescribed, and one of the churches in town which is faithful to the magisterium. The barrier is financial. My monthly income is not enough to meet my needs, and the HUD regulations ensure that ALL of the federally funded housing remains in high-crime areas, which makes no sense at all, when you consider that a high percentage of low-income people are elderly and disabled who need the protection of the state.

Even though I have been ill my entire life, I managed to support myself for 33 years and paid a lot into the Social Security system. Eventually, my illnesses became so bad that I became disabled and could not work. My retirement income is "too high" to qualify for any helpful programs such as dental care or eyeglasses. Only the bottom third of the poor population are provided for, contrary to the beliefs of those who would like to reduce the Social Security benefits of all the grannies and grandpas.

While some religious sisters deliberately choose to live in poor areas, they are responding to an ACTIVE charism rather than a contemplative one. A contemplative vocation calls for an inner and outer SILENCE that cannot be found in neighborhoods such as mine.

Technically, I have 2 "close" living relatives in relationship, neither one of whom are interested in helping. They're not Catholic and do not understand the monastic lifestyle. They prefer to pour their resources into luxury cars, recreational vehicles, vacations, etc.

I had one child, but he died at age 40, two years ago.

My parents are dead. I was supposed to inherit a sizable amount from my father, but he contracted Alzheimer's at the end of his life and his will was mysteriously changed afterwards, cutting me out completely.

If you would like to help establish the hermitage where I may live and pray for the rest of my life, please contact me at MY EMAIL ADDRESS.

OR, you can donate funds toward the expenses of moving and furnishing the holy residence. Just push the paypal button to the right. It says 'DONATE.'

I hope to get established before I lose the rest of my vision.  In the meantime, I bless you all and pray for you, and I ask that you pray for me.

Silver Rose Parnell

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

ADOPT A GRANNY



This year I lost more than 40 pounds; I cut 37 points off my “bad” cholesterol without reducing the “good” cholesterol; I cut my triglycerides in HALF; my blood sugar was cut in half, and I have managed to maintain an excellent blood pressure in the range of 115 over 70 without the use of any medications.

Don’t congratulate me, though. I owe it entirely to my Catholic community, and especially my friends Jane and Kathy who have been supplementing my diet with wholesome, mostly organic, fruits, veggies and proteins, without which my dramatic improvement in health indicators would not have been possible.

There are a lot of single, disabled and/or frail elderly women who, at the end of their lives, find themselves living on nothing but their Social Security insurance, the average of which is $1,000 a month. Those with little or no family that are interested in helping them are especially vulnerable, and there are a surprising number of us. Families are smaller these days, and the bonds between relatives are often very tenuous. Husbands die or leave. Some women never marry.

When the subject of the poor comes up, most people think about people who stand on the street corners with cardboard signs, or the illegal aliens who gave birth to children after sneaking into the country, thereby anchoring themselves here and using the resources that Americans pay for. The U.S. does have many programs to help the “poorest of the poor,” but the upper two thirds of those living poor are almost entirely ignored, especially in a state like New Mexico.

In my case, I had been ill with several inherited conditions from the time I was a child, as well as being saddled with PTSD, due to certain traumatic events. Despite these multiple handicaps, I worked for more than 33 years and paid taxes throughout that time, but became completely unable to work by the time I was 50, and had to retire on Social Security Disability. After all those years of paying into the system, I was shocked when I learned that my pitiful income was “too much” to qualify me for any programs. No dental care. No eyeglasses (despite being nearly blind.) Nothing.

Whereas most people think the poor have “made bad life decisions” and that most are drug addicts or alcoholics, nothing could be further from the truth. I have recently read that only 1% of the poor have these issues. I have lived an entirely chaste life for many years and do not smoke, drink, or take drugs. I am not perfect, of course. I AM human. I just do not have the habits typically associated with the poor. Of course, one would expect this of a woman dedicated to the religious life, but my tame lifestyle is not unusual among the grannies who are struggling to put healthy food on their table, pay for over-the-counter and prescription medications, and purchase eyeglasses for failing vision.

Next time you wonder about where your contributions might help the most, please consider filling in the gaps in the unmet needs of the grannies in your parish or in your neighborhood. Find a lonely, myopic granny and adopt her. Ask her what she needs and, to the best of your ability, provide what you can. Make her a part of your family and treat her the same way you would treat your Mom.

A needy granny may be sitting next to you during mass. She could live next door to you. She won’t be dressed in rags and standing on a street corner.  She hasn’t always been poor, so she may look like any other nice, middle-class church lady, but her cupboards at home are nearly empty, and she hasn’t seen a dentist in 10 or 15 years. She may desperately need some new eyeglasses. Finding your “granny” may involve getting to know all the old people at your parish, which should be an eye-opening experience in many ways.

Try to resist turning this into an impersonal, generic Catholic ministry that is organized to help groups of people. The very best part of being adopted by my Catholic friends has been the love I have received from them, the friendship, and the caring. Food, vitamins and other needed items are only the SIGN of the most important gift.

One of the primary Biblical quotes that lead to my conversion was, “They shall know you by how you love one another.” I have received Christian love in this process and have been able to give it, in turn. I highly recommend it.

God bless you all.

Silver “Rose” Parnell


Monday, May 30, 2016

VEILING

Long white lace chapel veil for sale on Etsy

Several weeks ago, I was sitting in church, my hands folded in my lap, my head bowed, in deep prayer after receiving the body and blood of Christ when some woman broke from the communion line, came over to me and grasping my hands, said, "your hair is SO beautiful!" I was astonished and appalled.

I hasten to add that I had done NOTHING to feature my hair. In fact, it was a mess. I hadn't even brushed it before leaving the house, as I was late getting ready for my ride. I had just put a few home-made scrunchies in it at varying spots down the length of it to keep it in line. It is a combination of gray and my natural reddish auburn color, and is on the frizzy side, so it isn't something I wear like a trophy.

To cover or not to cover?


Over the last couple of years, I had been considering the issue of veiling in church. Women originally veiled for another purpose, but having my hair become a distraction to someone else's devotions as well as my own was yet another reason to give serious consideration to the practice.

Of course, my physical condition has deteriorated to such an extent that I am currently unable to sit through mass, but I am praying for healing and I am also losing weight in the desperate hope that it will have some effect, even though I know that my joints are now "bone on bone" and my spine is becoming fused in the lower back. Hope springs eternal, especially when one is Christian and we have a long tradition of miraculous healings, going back to Christ Himself. I may or may not be able to return to regular mass attendance, so I have to get this issue of veiling settled in my mind for when and if I do return.

I know, of course, that women are no longer required to veil in church, but many Americans fail to recognize that the requirement having been dropped does not signify that it has no value. It just means that there is no longer an official proscription against women going bare headed into the church and one will not be PUNISHED in any fashion. One is no longer penalized for failing to veil in church, but it does not mean it should not be done.


Long white mantilla style veil
at



In all of the churches I have visited since I became Catholic about 9 years ago, I rarely see more than 2 or 3 women who are veiled. Many times, no one is veiled. I find no fault with that. It is just an observation about the current habit. Occasionally, I have remembered to bring a scarf or crocheted lace shawl with me to wear at church, and I noticed several women eyeing me as if I had broken some feminist code or something. Some women have told me that wearing a veil is a cooperation with the patriarchy that suppressed women for thousands of years.

1 Corinthians seems to be a problem for some women. They do not like the idea that the man is the head of the family

I was struck today by a response from a Muslim woman, ironically, with regard to the wearing of the Hijab, the large scarf that covers the hair and necks of Muslim women.


Malaysian woman wearing an hijab



Hanna Yusuf makes the point that the wearing of the head scarf is a way to opt out of the sexist culture that views all women as sex objects to be used in everything from selling cars to actually selling themselves. By dressing modestly and "covering up," a woman may reclaim her body. Obviously, she is not talking about those instances where a woman is forced, sometimes with violence, to wear obscuring clothing. She mentions that in her video. She makes her own case much better than I can, so, if you are interested, please see her video HERE.

When I was in the Hindu convent, several of us "younger ones" regularly wore simple handkerchiefs that were folded into triangles that were then tied at the nape of the neck, especially when doing dirty jobs, when the weather was breezy, or just for the heck of it. The tendency toward modesty is natural among those attracted to monasticism, in most instances. Then, there are the artists, and you never know what kind of getup they will adopt. Guilty, here, with my occasional outbreaks of pink. I still wear one of those headscarves on many occasions, especially as fall approaches.  These days, it is usually black in color, as a friend gave me 5 for my wardrobe. She is a lay Carmelite and wears a scarf to church.


Here I am, in the Hindu convent, wearing the scarf I mentioned.


In researching this article and studying the topic for myself, I found numerous fascinating articles and videos about veiling, both within the Catholic tradition and in others. Orthodox Jewish women, for instance, are required to cover their hair all the time unless in the presence of their husbands alone. Some Jewish ladies wear wigs, but a growing number of them are adopting an arrangement of a collection of scarves wrapped ingeniously around the hair that has been bound up in a scrunchy. Pretty elastic bands and sparkly brooches are sometimes added for extra flair.


This is an example of the Orthodox Jewish
"Tichel" I described, above.

While it is assumed that covering one's hair is simply a matter of some perceived modesty, in the Catholic tradition, it pertains rather more to the mass and to the Eucharist and probably has little or nothing to do with considerations of modesty or demure appearance. It is, in fact, a declaration of woman's essential holiness and special relationship with the Lord.

Everything considered holy in the Catholic mass is veiled or covered in some way. Woman is holy because she has an extremely intimate relationship with the Lord in which she helps bring God's beloved children into the world. For 9 months, a woman's body sustains two souls. Like the chalice that holds the precious blood in the mass, woman is the carrier of God's precious ones, just as Mother Mary carried Jesus within her womb.

Remember that the "holy of holies"  that was the inner sanctum of the Temple of Jerusalem in which the Ark of the Covenant was kept was separated from the rest of the temple by a veil, so the veil has great significance in the context of the mass, and it is deep and layered in meaning.

Rather than symbolizing the inferiority of women, the veil announces a woman's authority and close relationship with the Lord. It recognizes the essential holiness of the state of womanhood, in general. It is her crown and her privilege to wear.

One shouldn't extrapolate this meaning from the universal to the particular and think that if one is not of childbearing age or is infertile that the honor is not for them. No matter the condition of fecundity of the particular woman, this honor is proper to all womankind, as it is her sex that is elevated by its nature in the Lord's scheme of creation. A woman's receptive nature lends itself easily to an intimate relationship with the Lord, of a different type than that which a man may experience. It isn't just a woman's body that is honored, but the necessary emotional openness to the Lord 's love with which her sex is endowed which is a part of the great mystery of her vocation.

Ages ago, when a woman would enter a convent, it was often referred to as "taking the veil," and all nuns did wear veils, not like today, when you can hardly tell the difference between a nun and a random person walking down the street.

If a particular woman does not want the honor that the veil endows, the Catholic Church will not force it on them, but why renounce it over some false feminist doctrine that seeks to strip man and woman of their essential differences? I am not saying that this is the reason why every woman who has given up the veil has done so; I am speaking in general terms pertaining to the age in which we live and the concepts that currently inform it.

Silver "Rose" Parnell
Copyright (c) 2015


RETURNING TO THE SOURCE

Part of my living room shrine

I have written blogs for the last 4 or 5 years now, but have decided to retire the majority of my posts. It was never my idea to put myself "out there" in that way, but after several strong encouragements by a former friend, I began to write. She had anticipated this as a means of gaining some support for my solitary monastic life, since I have no community, but this did not happen. Not only did I receive almost nothing for my efforts, but the cost of internet and the upkeep of a computer proved to be extra expenses for which I do not possess the resources.

In addition, the time taken to research my posts distracted from my primary contemplative mission of prayer. I enjoyed the writing, especially my forays into educational topics, but the world can easily live without my musings on information that is available elsewhere.

For myself, I prefer reading the original saints and doctors of the church, as well as the Bible (of course!) and almost never read blogs. In that vein, I encourage the same for everyone. Blogs are a waste of our time, for the most part. Now that I have realized this, I am chastened by disappointment that I did come to this fact sooner!

There are many elderly, disabled ladies like myself who have dedicated the remainder of their lives to the Lord, however, and I wouldn't like to lose track of my fellow hermitesses, anchorites and other holy people, so I leave this page, by way of a method of contacting me, should they wish it.

If you leave a message on this blog, it will find its way to me. Forward your email address, and I will contact you.

In the meantime, may the Lord's blessings be upon you daily, and may our Blessed Mother lead you by the hand to Jesus.

In Jesus' precious name, I remain your friend,

Silver Rose Parnell

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Post Script – ENCOURAGEMENT TO THE OTHER HERMITS AND HALF-MONASTICS IN MY LIFE


Statue of Our Blessed Mother
In the Courtyard of the Church
in Old Town, Albuquerque
New Mexico
by
Silver "Rose" Parnell
(c) Copyright 2016
All rights reserved

I forgot to mention a few things in my farewell post that pertain to changes in my monastic routine, for the benefit of colleagues who are likewise inclined, but first, I have to express how much I will miss the support and companionship of my fellow travelers on the sometimes lonely road of the modern hermit. Whether by accident or design, it is a blessed vocation, a great gift from God, and I have enjoyed joining with you in the virtual community of like-minded souls around the world. I keep you in my heart and will continue to pray for you.

I am no longer able to afford internet, nor do I think that the amount of time one has to spend on it to get anything done is really worth the effort. An internet "hotspot" and a small amount of data has been donated to me, and I will appear online occasionally, as my prayer schedule permits.

I am attempting to resurrect my monastic schedule that had gone by the wayside, and I know that many of you also struggle with maintaining a monastic schedule while living in the world, albeit in a marginal sense.

With regard to my disabled and/or retired readers who are wrestling with the organization of their own prayer life, I know that many of you have expressed a wistful regret at being unable to become part of a real monastic community, rather than the virtual one that we have. My version of a monastic schedule may help you.  

Before making changes to your spiritual exercises, you may want to check with your spiritual director first, to avoid overtaxing yourself in the beginning, especially if you do not have previous experience. 

It is important to keep in mind that, for those of you managing multiple disabilities or advanced age, it is nearly impossible to maintain a strict schedule. I do whatever I have to do to handle whatever crisis appears, and then I return to whatever is on the schedule for that particular time. There are days that are so full of logistics that I can do little more than make a short mental prayer at the appropriate hours.

I don’t try to “make up” the prayers I have missed because it is just too stressful. In my mind, we cannot be perfect, so we must humbly offer our imperfections as a suffering to be used in saving souls.

Lacking the assistance of the movement of community around you, it will be necessary for you to find some way to keep yourself on some sort of loose schedule or it will slide into a ditch. The method I have chosen is to program the crucial hours into my telephone. I have picked the most melodic and least disturbing ring tone for the daily reminders, but it still is a bit jarring, so I may try to see if I can program something more appropriate…like Gregorian chant! In the meantime, it’s piano music.

The common prayer of the Catholic monasteries and convents is customarily the Liturgy of the Hours, but these are QUITE extensive and way beyond my capacity. All the flipping of pages back and forth is beyond me!  Some of the more active orders employ the much smaller “Little Office of the Blessed Virgin Mary” which is far easier to follow and is composed largely of some very lovely Psalms. Even so, I am not yet able to chant all of the hours, so I have decided to concentrate on those I consider most important: Matins (morning 6:30 a.m.), Sext (noon), None (3:00 p.m.) and Vespers (6:00 p.m.)

I also say something at bed time (compline and a rosary), but I tend to be so exhausted by that hour and in so much pain that I cannot get fancy with it.  Something short and sweet is the ticket. There is a wonderful little prayer in the PIETA PRAYER BOOK that a dear friend gave me, and I think it is just the perfect little thing to say at night. I will share it with you here:

“PRAYER FOR DAILY NEGLECTS:

Eternal Father, I offer thee the sacred heart of Jesus, with all its love, all its sufferings, and all its merits.

FIRST:  To expiate all the sins I have committed this day and during all my life. Glory be to the Father, and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit, as it was in the beginning, is now and ever shall be, world without end, amen.

SECOND:  To purify the good I have done badly this day and during all my life. Glory be to the Father, and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit, as it was in the beginning, is now and ever shall be, world without end, amen.

THIRD:  To supply for the good I ought to have done, and that I have neglected this day and during all my life. Glory be to the Father, and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit, as it was in the beginning, is now and ever shall be, world without end, amen.

(A Poor Clare nun, who had just died, appeared to her abbess, who was praying for her, and said to her, “I went straight to heaven, for; by means of this prayer, recited every evening, I paid my debts.”)”

The Pieta Prayer Book
From:
Miraculous Lady of Roses LLC
PO BOX 111
Hickory Corners, MI 49060-0111

One word of caution about this little pamphlet: While it contains a wealth of very beautiful prayers, not all of them are covered by an imprimatur from The Church, so be careful when choosing prayers from its contents.  The book itself will reveal the few devotions or promises that should not be used and/or relied upon.  For instance, here is a quote from the book with regard to the promises associated with the St. Bridget Prayers:

“The 21 St. Bridget Promises, while traditionally associated with the St. Bridget Prayers, are not covered by an imprimatur. In Jan. of 1954, the Holy Office issued a warning that the supernatural origin of these promises has not been proven.”

Most of the prayers have an imprimatur, and you will recognize some of your favorites. I am extremely fond of this book and have found it very useful. I keep it at my prayer corner in the living room and reach for it often.

Frequently, I have recommended that each household should contain at least one prayer corner. I have two: one in the living room where I spend my daylight hours and one in the bedroom for early morning and evening hours. Pictures, statues and icons that have meaning for you personally should be placed there, as well as candles and incense, if you can manage it.  

Bedroom prayer corner


I prefer tea lights placed in deeper votive light holders, as a safety measure against fire. I also use resin incense of frankincense and Myrrh, which are naturally occurring tree resins. This is the sort of incense used in Eastern Rite Catholic and Orthodox churches and is melted over charcoal discs manufactured for this purpose. I find that the smoke feels healing to my asthmatic lungs, as opposed to stick incense, which usually has a wood stick at its core.

I have been getting my tea lights, charcoals discs and incense from the Amazon website, believe it or not. I buy in large quantities and thereby save a little money. Being disabled, I require that most home goods are delivered, so I was thrilled to see that Amazon had these specialty items.

Most of us will need a comfortable chair in which to sit for prayer and meditation. Those who are more fit may want to sit on the floor or on their knees. If you are bedridden, then you may certainly recite your prayers in bed. Just make sure that you can see at least one little picture of Jesus and Mary, at the very least. Those who are quite ill may want to dispense with the candles and incense, preferring instead to use a small decorative electric lamp of some sort. [I found one of a praying angel, which I have faced toward my icon of our Lady of the Seven Sorrows.]

If you have the luxury of an extra room that can be converted into a prayer room exclusively for that purpose, I highly recommend it, but most single persons do not have the ability to do this. If you are a married person or there are other people in your household for some reason, for instance if you are caring for an elderly relative, a separate prayer room may be crucial to your practice!

I have retained a habit I learned in the Hindu convent which is to cover my head with a large shawl during prayers. It helps to block distractions and to provide a private little space for oneself. Long-time Catholics will recognize in this practice a hint of the veil that most women have given up wearing in our parishes. Notice that everything holy in the mass is veiled, therefore the veiling of women doesn’t demean them, but rather recognizes woman’s unique role in their intimate participation in creation. In my mind, it is an echo of our Blessed Mother Mary’s fiat, when she agreed to become the God Bearer ("Theotokos") out of humility and obedience to God. In saying “yes” to our Heavenly Father, she surrendered to His reign over her. He covers her completely in her humble acceptance of His will, just as the veil covers her in imitation of it. That which is humble therefore becomes exalted, just as Jesus came to earth in humble circumstances but was exalted in his resurrection. In my opinion, the veil is the mark of the dignity of woman and not a symbol of patriarchal oppression, as is asserted by some feminists.

On the other hand, I am not suggesting that you wear some sort of habit and veil, but if you wish to wear a hermit’s hooded robe while in the privacy of one’s own domestic church, I do not believe there is any prescription against it, only that none of us may present ourselves as anything other than lay persons, even though we follow a hermit or anchoritic path. The exception will be those rare individuals who are diocesan hermits.

I have tried to investigate the path of becoming a diocesan hermit, but the nun who is in charge of vocations in my diocese will not return my telephone calls, nor the emails of others who have contacted her on my behalf. I spoke to her in October of 2015, at which time she promised to speak to the Bishop and ask if he would entertain the idea of accepting a diocesan hermit. She made other promises, and nothing has come of it. I do not assume to know the motives of any person, so I will not guess what is her reason for failing to follow through with her promises and refusing to return my telephone calls or the emails of supportive Catholics, but I have heard from other Catholics around the United States that getting a bishop to return one's telephone calls is well nigh impossible, and I suspect that everyone has far too much work to do than to bother with the spiritual needs of one inconsequential person.

I don’t wear any special clothing outside of the hermitage. I purchase all my clothes from the clearance department, which means they are those things that other people avoid, the result of which you can imagine, especially since I must always wear a hat, due to failing vision. Whatever you wear, just make sure it is MODEST. I wear maxi skirts and dresses and am almost never seen in pants. You might as well be naked when you wear pants because, although everything is covered, everything is seen.

Obviously, I am addressing most of my comments to my fellow hermits who live alone. There IS a woman who calls herself "The Anchoress" and writes a very nice blog by that name, but she is a married woman with husband, children and house and does not meet even the basic requirements of an anchoress, which is extremely confusing to the neophyte. She is playing fast and loose with the meaning of the word and especially with the tradition, and I caution anyone who carelessly follows her lead and pretends to a state in life to which they are not equipped. This sort of pretense is a living lie, and we all know who is the father of all lies! 

Don’t get creative with the meanings of certain titles, such as “nun” or “monk” or “anchorite” – especially if your life circumstances are simply those of a lay person. There is absolutely nothing wrong or “less” in being a lay person, rather than a monastic, a hermit, a consecrated virgin, or an anchoress. We all have our role to fulfill in an authentic manner. Our focus is to be on the Lord, as it says in the first commandment. Love the Lord first, before all things. Anyone can love God, no matter what your state of life. Keep your eye on the prize at all times. Do everything that increases your love for God and don't worry about status or titles. You don't need them.

I write this post mostly to my dear friends and colleagues who follow a similar path to mine. There are many elderly and/or disabled persons who live alone and are very devout. They are hermits of a sort. If attached to a parish, they may even be somewhat like anchorites. Many would likely be in convents or monasteries, if their personal circumstances were different.

These days, Westerners tend to live a very long time, even after the appearance of chronic illnesses and disabilities that sideline us from active life. Many of us struggle alone with these chronic and painful conditions for 2o years or more. It would be a shame to waste the opportunity to consecrate our suffering for the remission of our sins and the sins of the whole world. Redemptive suffering is a shining gift to the church and to mankind in general. God brings all things to the good for those who believe.

Throughout the day, no matter what sort of prayer schedule one maintains, If you are suffering, it is important to say, “I offer this pain and suffering for the reparation of my sins and the sins of the whole world.” You will save souls by doing this, as well as saving your own!

The schedule that I outlined above is the bare structure into which I insert the various devotions that suit me. If nothing else, I suggest you pray at least ONE rosary every day. My intention is to pray three rosaries, as, follows:

Rosaries:
(1)            For our Holy Catholic Church:  I dedicate one rosary for the purification of our Holy Catholic Church, that those religious within it, who lobby for changes to the unchangeable, be converted, repent, and publicly renounce their heretical positions. If they will not repent, then I pray that the evil be cast out from our Holy Catholic Church. I pray that the body of Christ be healed in all ways, including the reunion of it with the Orthodox Churches, so that the body of Christ may breathe with two lungs, East and West, once more. I further pray that the laity be properly instructed in the Truth of the faith and not the heretical opinions of those who oppose Her eternal teachings or those whose understanding is malformed. I call out to all the angels, especially Archangel Michael, to protect our Holy Catholic Church and all those who are faithful to it.

(2)         FOR ALL SOULS:  I dedicate one rosary to the suffering souls on earth and in purgatory, so that they may be refreshed and encouraged on the path to righteousness. I ask for the intercession of Mary and all the saints in imploring our Sweet Jesus to shine his love into the stony hearts of the recalcitrant, the atheist, the agnostic, the non-believers, and all those hurt in any way by members of the Holy Catholic Church. May that light be so bright as to draw all souls to Him so that they may join us as part of the mystical body of Christ.

(3)         FOR MYSELF AND ALL OTHER DISABLED, ELDERLY, SICK, AND/OR FRAIL PERSONS WHO WISH TO CONSECRATE THEMSELVES TO THE SERVICE OF THE LORD: I dedicate one rosary for the healing and strengthening of those persons who suffer mental, spiritual, emotional and/or physical illnesses but who nonetheless desire nothing more than to love and serve God, offering up their every suffering in reparation for their sins and the sins of the whole world. I ask our Blessed Mother Mary, ever virgin, to take each of us by the hand and lead us to Jesus, never letting loose of us so that we are protected from the wiles of Satan who loves nothing more than to depress and discourage the victim souls who give their pain so that others may be saved.

In addition to the rosary, I will pray two chaplets:

(1)            The Divine Mercy Chaplet after the Little Office at 3:00 p.m.
(2)            The chaplet of Saint Michael, when I can fit it in…probably in the morning.

Other devotions and activities that I have to squeeze into my schedule, as illness permits, include:

(a)          Latin lessons
(b)         Bible Study course
(c)          Lectio divina
(d)         Holy reading on the saints
(e)          Padre Pio prayers
(f)            Prayers to my sainted ancestors and patrons
(g)          Piano lessons for Gregorian Chant, hymns, and the Byzantine Divine Office
(h)    The Jesus Prayer

This is a rather ambitious schedule for a disabled person, but it can be done, if life is simplified somewhat. It really depends on how many people depend upon you! In my case, I have been celibate for about 20 years, I have very few friends or family members who contact me regularly, I do not attend parties or social functions and I do not travel.

If you have a lot of friends or relatives who call you, or a few people that call you incessantly, it might work to corral them into specific time blocks. I TRY to make phone calls at 11:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. Those are the two “tea times” I’ve worked into the schedule. I don’t know about all of you, but I loathe long conversations on the telephone. Sometimes that is the only way to communicate with some people, however. I prefer a person-to-person chat.

The one thing which I will have to figure out how to do is get my house clean, since there are many functions of house cleaning that are extremely difficult for me to do, given my disabilities. Others in my position have echoed that concern. It has become obvious that I need to hire someone to do it, but I can’t really afford it at the moment. I need to work on that because it takes me so long to maintain the house that it interferes with my prayer life. I can be like Brother Lawrence and pray amid the pots and pans, but I find it difficult to concentrate, especially when working through pain.

There is a chance I may be accepted into a special program for persons such as myself. They will come and clean my house, do my shopping and cooking, and transport me to doctor appointments. I must apply and then wait.  In any case, I will be better equipped to maintain a prayer schedule, I HOPE.

I do not have  reliable internet at home, but I will check it when I get the opportunity, so you CAN leave me messages on this blog, and I will eventually respond. If you can send me your snail mail address, I may write you.

By the way, the “DONATION” button still works on my blog, for future reference. It is pretty dusty, so, if history repeats itself, I’m not expecting much.

Please don’t forget to pray for me, as I pray for you, and may God bless us all!

Silver “Rose” Parnell
© Copyright 2016

All rights reserved.

Friday, March 25, 2016

REDEMPTIVE SUFFERING



In the beginning of my conversion process, when Christianity, in general, was almost completely unknown territory, I used to dislike the Catholic crucifix, with its bloody corpus hanging there, evoking gut level reactions to the extreme pain and brutality of the image. I used to say that I was "really into the risen Christ," and things of that nature.

Gradually, over time, I have learned that the cross without Christ is an image robbed of a good deal of its hope. Horrible sinners must pay a horrible price for their sins. Most of us have been or are horrible sinners, depending on how you look at it, and only the horrible suffering of Christ on the cross could have redeemed our horrible sins that have offended our good God. The cross without Christ, for me, is somewhat bland. Don't get me wrong. I have a few little crosses on the necklaces I wear that bear the many medals I have collected, and I am about to put a decorative cross in my spring garden.




The plain cross is not a bad thing. It is an incomplete thing that does not reveal the fullness of Truth, somewhat like Protestant religions that employ the plain cross rather than the crucifix. Many of these religions have much good in them, but their faith is missing a crucial connection with Christ. Our Lord Jesus established one church, then, 1,500 years later, some people broke away from it and started their own religions, based upon their own ideas, and even threw out entire books of the Bible that didn't agree with their heretical religious ideas. Most Protestants I have met are unaware of the history of The Church and have no idea of the price they may pay for rejecting The Church that Christ established.




Now that I am growing old, I am disabled with many illnesses and live with much pain. As these conditions worsen, I begin to feel a little bit more understanding of a portion of what Christ endured to save us from utter damnation.  A special prayer that I often repeat throughout the day, is this:

Lord, I offer thee all my suffering and pain in
reparation for my sins and the sins of the whole
world. Thank you, Lord, for blessing me with the
opportunity to participate in the redemptive
suffering of Christ. Amen

Christ doesn't need my suffering to complete his salvation of the world, but He allows me to participate in it, elevating my suffering from an uncomfortable and sad reality of life, to an heroic mission to save souls!

I used to yearn to do something really BIG for God. I wanted to dedicate myself to an intense life of contemplative prayer as a nun.  I wanted to start my own religious order, but here I sit in my little apartment, unable to do much for myself, much less anyone else.  Yet Christ has gifted me with a divine calling that saves souls. Without the suffering of Christ, without the corpus on the cross, my suffering would have no value and no meaning.






Today, as I write this, it is Good Friday, the day we commemorate Christ's sacrifice for us, when he endured torture and a horrible death for our sake. I wanted to do a lot of spiritual practices, but today I am particularly unwell, and all I could manage so far has been to say a few prayers and to start my Divine Mercy novena, which culminates on Divine Mercy Sunday, the week after Easter. I just said a few prayers. The rest of the day, I was saving souls.

God bless us all!


Silver Rose Parnell
(c) Copyright 2016
All rights reserved.