HODEGETRIA IN MONTE VEDERNI

HODEGETRIA IN MONTE VEDERNI

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.

Here is what is next for me, and some helpful hints for those of you who may have need of them:

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 direct 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 on a strict basis. 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. 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, 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.  


My living room prayer corner
(c) Copyright 2016, Silver "Rose" Parnell
All rights reserved.


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. 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 don’t wear any special clothing outside of the hermitage. I tend to avoid jewelry, unless it has religious symbolism (I usually just wear medals), but I try always to be modest in my presentation. My skirts are to the ankle or longer, and I avoid low-cut tops. I do not wear pants, as a general rule, but sometimes when I am cleaning house and I have to pop out to walk the dog, I will not change out of my cleaning clothes. The pants are loose and the blouses are long, so a modicum of modesty is maintained. My preference is always for skirts, however, as they are infinitely more modest than pants which, if tight enough, might as well be dispensed with and the lady promenade naked, as tight pants reveal everything. The subject of modesty warrants a blog post of its own, but I am not blogging any more. This is the last post, as far as I am concerned.

Obviously, I am addressing most of my comments to my fellow hermits who live alone. There IS a woman who calls hersel"The Anchoress" and writes a 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. 

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
(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, I do not travel, and I do not own a television.

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 have put a message on my voice mail that it is easiest to reach me at 11:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. Those are the two “tea times” I’ve worked into the schedule, and they can lend themselves to short conversations as well. I don’t know about y’all, 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.

I do not have internet at home, but I will check it when I get the opportunity, so you CAN leave me messages on my email address, 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, April 8, 2016

THE GAP WIDENS, AND I SAY GOODBYE

Catholic Church in Old Town, Albuquerque
Originally built in the 1600's
Copyright (c) 2015 Silver Rose Parnell
All rights reserved



Yesterday I had to decide to cancel my Century Link internet service, and this time I won't be renewing it at some later date. I wrote previously about some of my experiences with them. They're unethical and disorganized. They lie, cheat and steal. They promise things they do not deliver, and then threaten to take money our of my bank account that is three times what I was expecting, causing unbelievable chaos in my meager finances.

Don't get me wrong. Comcast was just as bad. Unethical business practices in the services industries connected with internet use are endemic. The snake oil salesman is alive and well in these industries.

I have come to the end of the road, where my financial resources are simply not enough to keep up with the rising costs of things like internet access, especially since those items I need to accommodate my worsening physical disabilities are also out of reach.
 
In addition, the many hours I have spent researching, writing, editing and posting the informational blogs have taken time away from my primary ministry of intercessory prayer for the sake of mankind and the Catholic Church.

When it was suggested to me that I write a blog, my spiritual companions hoped that it would help support me, provide some medical devices and medicines, and do some good at the same time. This has not happened. In the few years that I have been writing this blog, less than a total of $500 has been donated.

One reader told me he saw no reason to donate because, supposedly, it was "free" for me to write, that it cost me nothing. I thought this was a perfect comment on the mindset of the world at large today. A good, well-researched blog post about one of the saints or some social ill of our time, can take 6 to 10 hours to research, write and edit. My time is worth nothing in the mind of that man. He also probably assumes I would have internet service anyway, as most people do these days. The information that I impart in my researched posts are also worth nothing in his way of thinking.

Poor people, in general, are not thought of kindly these days. This disparagement and hostility toward the poor, disabled and economically "unproductive" (in the eyes of corporate America) are directly linked to the growing secularization of our country. The further we get from the Christian ideals, the further the gap widens between the poor and everyone else because secular culture that revolves around unrestrained capitalism has no use for the poor.

If I was selling widgets instead of wisdom, I suppose I might be rolling in dough, and the cost of my internet would be a pittance.

I have seen this coming for a long time. Whenever I have asked for help from my rather well to do relatives, their version of helping is to send me a list of internet links. Not one of them has offered to lift a finger. Two have suggested that I move close to them so I can "be near family" but their help consists of telling me what to do, and not in actually doing anything themselves. I have widely advertised my need for assistance among friends and acquaintances, and this was met with stony silence.

It does not matter that I worked and supported myself for 35 years before becoming disabled and poor. I am now poor and therefore, in the minds of many, I deserve their contempt and their condescension. The fact that my financial problems are a result of something over which I have no control, i.e., my health, doesn't mean anything to them. Hostility toward the poor is a popular stance these days. The more secular our society becomes, the less sympathy our people have for the less advantaged, less abled, and more vulnerable. Sink or swim.
 
I have recently been diagnosed with macular degeneration and will go blind or nearly blind sometime in the future. I already have seen the effects over the last 5 years. I have scoliosis of the lower spine and hips, as well as severe arthritis that, in some joints, is "bone on bone." I have a congenital condition I inherited from my mother's side of the family in which the valves of the major vein in my left leg do not work. My feet are deformed and cause great pain. I have atopy, which makes me allergic to a zillion medicines and chemicals, requiring specialized treatment and over-the-counter cures, including organic food that does not contain pesticides to which I am allergic. I have allergy-induced asthma that is, at times, serious. I have chronic migraines and pain throughout my body. I DO offer it up to the Lord, but dealing with these conditions to the point where I am at least able to take care of myself is quite expensive.
 
Ironically enough, because I worked hard my whole life and put a lot of money into Social Security, I make "too much" money to qualify for any assistance, regardless of the disabilities or my senior citizen status Thanks to the illegal aliens and their "anchor babies" the majority of the dollars designated for the poor are going into the pockets of the citizens of other countries who snuck past the border to have their children and anchor themselves here.
 
In the interest of full disclosure, I net $1500 a month.....Such a fabulous sum!

Thanks be to God, I have a few Catholic friends who have adopted me and who are helping me to survive. Thanks to them, I have furniture that accommodates some of my disabilities, as well as healthful food and rides to church when I need to go to confession. One good woman helped me obtain a service dog, paid for it, took me to pick it up, bought food and other necessaries for it, and is now gifting the little critter with a professional dog grooming in preparation for the summer. (The little guy really needs a bath!) I call her Saint Jane because her Christian behavior toward me and hundreds of other people really stands out as something unusual in these times. There is another family who are similarly kind toward me. Their help is deeply appreciated, but the needs are far greater.
 
Currently, I need a scooter that costs between $5,000 and $7,000. My cupboard is rather bare, and there are many household items that are needed in order to accommodate my disabilities.

Believing that God brings all things to the good for those that believe, I know that my exit from public life is a good thing. My ministry is one of contemplative prayer, and perhaps this blog and my other writing is not what God wants from me. Prayer is an incredibly powerful thing, and I plan to spend the rest of my life devoting myself to it, as much as my disabilities will allow.

My primary prayer is for the purification of our dear mother church, as well as the reunion of it with the Orthodox churches. I pray for the world, in general, and all souls in it. I pray that all people become sincerely converted to Jesus Christ and to his holy Catholic Church. I pray for the poor.

For myself, I pray that my needs are met to the extent that I am able to devote myself to this ministry. At the moment, I live in a fish bowl, with almost no privacy at all. Residents of this apartment complex, as well as service people, postal workers, UPS and Fed Ex delivery workers, and the odd curious transient flow back and forth by my windows all day. I am assaulted by loud conversations, people peering into my windows, the sound of leaf blowers, men yelling at one another across the golf course on the other side of the ditch, and a thousand other distractions. Imagine becoming immersed in prayer and looking up to find someone at your window, staring at you! It is a nightmare.

Soon, the street on which I live will be torn up to install light rail buses down the middle of the road. A large station will be built next door to the apartment complex.

I must get out of here and into a house that is conducive to my prayer life. My saintly friends will help me to the degree they are able. For my readers that pray, I ask you to please pray for me and for the quiet, safe, affordable house with the little yard for the service dog.

Occasionally, I will check in online, if I go to a friend's house who has internet or if I find myself in a cafe that has free internet. You can still reach me. You may just have to wait a week or two for a response.

In the meantime, I ask for your prayers, as I pray for you. I want you to know that I feel great love for the many faithful Catholic souls who have communicated with me about my blogs and about Catholic life in general. While our world has become cold and hard, and our church has been infiltrated by evil, there are still pockets of mystics, visionaries and devoted little saints leavening the earth, and I am privileged to have heard from some of them and received great solace and encouragement on my path from these holy people.

If anyone wishes to communicate with me by "snail mail," you may send an email to me with your name and address, and I will write you with mine. Please be patient. It will take awhile, since I will check my email infrequently.  Just click the email link HERE (EMAIL LINK)

God bless us all!

Silver Rose Parnell
(c) Copyright 2016
All rights reserved

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

CENTURY LINK: A BAROMETER OF POST VICTORIAN MANNERS



I was able to get another decent deal with Century Link for my internet today, but I had to bypass a rude salesman (the 4th this month) and speak to a female supervisor. In order to obtain a price I could afford, I had to accept a 2 year contract, but that doesn't phase me, as I am dependent on the internet and cannot see a circumstance in which I will not need it, unless I lose the rest of my vision far more quickly than we anticipate. 

I can't say I really understand all the machinations involved with getting a discount, and why they do things this way. It would be so much easier if they would just give everyone the cheapest rate they offer and I would not have had to spend 4 hours on the phone, in total, trying to renew my contract!  (Of course, I am the lady who wishes that it was illegal to price things with that deceptive 99 cents at the end.  Face it, $14.99 really is just $15.00 with a wink and a smile! In fact, it costs more to produce a penny than the penny is worth, and it is time for it to be eliminated, but that is a topic for another day.)

The Century Link employee with whom I initially spoke was rude and condescending, speaking over me and finding fault with my choice of words in an adversarial fashion. I told him, calmly, that I needed to speak to someone else, as he was being rude. Did he apologize? No. He said he wasn't rude. 

I wish I could say that this is a rare occurrence, but it is not. Our society has become so coarsened by its lack of faith and morals that these behaviors have become ingrained into nearly everyone. This man had no manners, he was uncouth, and he had no concern for the elderly, disabled woman on the other end of the phone. He was oblivious to the crassness of his behavior, and he was flippant. It was made clear to me that he couldn't care less.

I am under the impression that there was a day when the simple fact of my being a woman would prevent a man from verbally stressing me, being part of the "fairer sex" and all of that. Supposedly, there was once a genteel day, sometime in the Victorian era, when men felt it their duty to protect women, even from colorful language and rough treatment. If one was a gentleman, one's duty and honor depended upon how well one protected women, children and country.  A man's character was, in part, judged by these things.  No more.

Supposedly, the feminist revolution freed all the poor suppressed women, but so far it seems to me that it is the men who are experiencing any benefit that may be had by such widely touted "freedom", and that benefit is actually not a healthy one. It is like a 5 year old going on a diet of candy and soda pop. The kid is thrilled, but the body suffers.  Well, the body of society is suffering because the kids are eating candy for every meal.


No longer pressured by society to behave as gentlemen toward the opposite sex, the great majority of men have become downright cads. Women, who are programmed by nature and biology to be relationship oriented and nurturing, have been forced into the world of the worst traits of men who have not been held accountable.

Men and women balance one another out. While men have been gifted by the creator with testosterone that fuels the urge to provide and protect, it is also likely responsible for the male insistence that he rule the world. It is biological reality. Women temper the male's function with feminine sweetness and nurturing, exerting a calming guidance of her own. At least, this is probably the general design from the beginning. The partnership of male and female, each providing their own piece of the puzzle, is powerful. They each provide what the other lacks. When Jerry McGuire said, "you complete me," in that now famous movie, it got a reaction. Actually, it became a joke to some people, but it isn't a joke. It's the truth. When Jerry McGuire realizes that the woman completes him, that he is better with her than without, and that he is a better man because of her, he is bound to her. Likewise, women are bettered by their relationship with men in many ways.

Having been raised in the intense bright heat of the initial birth pangs of the women's liberation movement, it took me many years to disabuse myself of the notions that were pushed at us from every side. I fancied myself a liberated woman. It nearly ruined me completely.

Instead of holding the moral high ground and insisting that we were worthy of it, women have just crawled down into the gutter of men's base desires, and there we wallow.

When I entered the work force, at the age of 17, I began to realize that all the Victorian novels I'd read had not prepared me for the real world. In the late 60's and early 70's, the business world was already a rough place for a young woman. Young, thin, and relatively pretty, I was overwhelmed by the percentage of men who were crawling all over me, as it were, trying to coerce me into bed. Bosses, fellow employees, neighbors, strangers: Every day was a terrifying episode in the battle to support myself without having to give myself away.

When I was 20, I got a job at the investment firm of E.F. Hutton, where I labored as a clerk. I was horrified when I discovered that the men spent most lunch hours in the conference room, watching porn films. The men would hoot and holler and call to me to come into the room and watch with them. The crude vulgarity of it frightened me. I was the only female in the department. I began to look for another job, which can be tricky when one is already employed and you work on an open floor.

The head of my department soon propositioned me for a trip to Las Vegas. He was married and I was only 20, unable to even get into a casino! When I refused his advances, he fired me. It wasn't until I tried to get a job at another commodities department in another firm that I realized he had blacklisted me.

Shortly after being fired, I went on an "interview" for a job in another investment firm. Well, I THOUGHT I was going for an interview, but the man with whom I had the "appointment" had a different plan. On the way to his office, he stopped in the middle of the floor of this high rise building in downtown Los Angeles, turned to me purposefully, and very loudly announced that he would not hire me if I was the last woman on earth because my last boss had told him that I was lazy. You could have heard a pin drop. About 30 sets of eyes were on me as I slunk out of the room. I was so stunned by this sadistic ambush, i was left speechless. I was fighting back tears as I waited for the bus and for the entire ride home. I wasn’t prepared for this.

Watching the television series "Mad Men" was a reminder of my experiences in the land of the high rise in the 60’s and 70’s. In fact, I had once worked in a well known advertising agency in Los Angeles. As disgusting as some of the situations in "Mad Men," the reality was far worse.

The working environment has changed a little since that time, from what I hear and read and see. Women are no longer fighting to keep themselves sexually restrained. They’ve given up and given in, freely participating in the “hook up” culture and becoming more tainted as each year goes by, unrecognizable as “female” in the traditional sense of the word. It is natural for the female of our species to gravitate toward partnership and commitment, i.e., MARRIAGE, but many deny the biological imperative and pretend they are having a swell time being receptacles for the temporary passions of random males, all the while doing damage to their own psyches and their tender affections.

In the Bible, it says that man and woman become “one flesh” when they marry, and we now find that science proves it. The chemical that the brain releases during the conjugal act cements an attachment of the woman to the man. Every time a woman participates in a hook-up, she shreds her soul, until there is nothing left to cement

Even with all that lovely "freedom" and "equality," women are STILL not paid equally, as they only make 77 cents for every dollar a man makes. The only freedom I perceive is the freedom to play hard and nasty with the men, have sex with them on a dime, then go home and clean the house and do the laundry and raise the kids, while having less of a role in the economic life of the world by virtue of having less money. Most poor people are women and children.

Meanwhile, the men are rude to female customers upon whom their livelihood depends because they no longer respect any of us, even the elderly and disabled, who should at least encourage some sympathy in their hearts, but it is not there.  It does not matter if you are young or old, if you’re a woman, chances are you are not treated well, in business or by business.

Even in the 60's and 70's, many men still held up a remnant of gentlemanly behavior. They would open the door to an establishment and let the ladies go in ahead of them. Now, men rush to the door of the bank so they can get in line ahead of me.

The degradation of our society, the loss of culture, manners, gentility and courtesy, is directly linked to that point in time when Christian woman gave up the high ground, burned their bras, started dressing like hookers, and proceeded to fornicate their brains out, calling it freedom.

Men lost respect for us because, in general, we are no longer respectable. 

I will get a lot of mail from women, no doubt, who object to my laying this problem on the doorstep of the female sex, but I am afraid that is where it belongs.

A delightful woman I used to know, very English, always used to say to me, "I do not understand why women want to be equal to men when we've been superior for so long!"

Men are gifted with natural abilities and skills. Women have forgotten theirs. We mistakenly bought into the notion that the only way to get any respect was to be more like the men, so we climbed down off the pedestal.

I think it is time to get back up there.

[POST SCRIPT to this blog post.....Today I received notification that my bill for Century Link was going to be deducted automatically from my checking account and it would be in the amount of about $84.00!!!!  That's a far cry from the basic $24.95 I was promised. Of course, I called, and nothing of what they said made sense. I finally realized that it was time to GO OFF GRID, as I have done before and as I have been threatening to do permanently.  I cancelled my service. If I HAVE to use the internet, I'll go to a friend's house or a restaurant of coffee shop that has free wi-fi. Otherwise, I will now retreat to my books and my prayers.]

God bless us all...

Silver "Rose" Parnell
(c) 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.

Thursday, March 24, 2016

CHATTING WITH THE SAINTS

SAINT VLADIMIR THE GREAT
(958 - 1015)
"BAPTIZER OF RUSSIA"
My 31st Great Grandfather


I discovered this week that, among the most interesting of my ancestors is my 31st Great Grandfather, Saint Vladimir I Sviatoslavich, mostly known as "Vladimir the Great" or "Saint Vladimir, the baptizer of Russia."  He was the Prince of Novgorod, Grand Prince of Kiev, and the ruler of an area once called Kievan Rus', precursor to Belarus, the Ukraine and Russia, which was occupied by both Slavic people and Vikings, who were actually invited in to help unite the warring Slavic chieftans, restore some order and also to rule them. There is controversy about some of it, and the story of this land is long and extremely interesting. Quite a lot of information exists on the internet, if you become curious about it.

At one point in history, this land was called "Ruthenia." Learning that factoid was an "aha" moment for me, since my heart belongs to the Byzantine Catholic Church, to which I was first introduced here in Albuquerque, which is an Eastern Catholic rite that is rooted in the Ruthenian people. Perhaps my genes remembered!

In the year 988, or thereabouts, grandpa became converted from Slavic Paganism to the Christian faith and was baptized. It was a big deal when the ruler of a country became Christian, and I have found several icons and paintings that celebrate that day. He chose to convert based upon research of the religions of the day, sending envoys out to gather firsthand information about Islam, Roman Catholicism, Judaism, and Byzantine Orthodoxy. Their observations in Constantinople convinced the Grand Prince. I LOVE this aspect of the story, since it hints that Saint Vladimir, in some regards, was a truth seeker and not primarily politically motivated in his decision to convert. There were political gains to be had with a Byzantine alliance, but this just a bonus, according to some biographers.

There is a conflicting story, however, that tells of political intrigue with the Emperor Basil II, and Vladimir DID end up divorcing all his pagan wives and marrying Basil's sister, Anna, who was not in favor of the match and is said to have expressed great distress on the way to the wedding. Some people say that grandpa only agreed to become Christian, since this was a condition of obtaining the hand of the much sought-after and highly prized Anna. Motives of the living are mostly inscrutable, what to speak about speculations about motives for the long dead! Such were the customs of that day that women, especially high born women who were valued as pawns in political alliances, were not free to choose their own husbands.

It is not known if they had any children together. My line descends from one of his pagan alliances prior to his marriage to Anna.

The customs of the era of the middle ages overlay other considerations and, as with all human beings, Vladimir had his good and his bad attributes. Ultimately, however, it was all brought to the good as a huge swath of territory was Christianized in this process.



THE BAPTISM OF SAINT VLADIMIR THE GREAT



Saint Vladimir baptized his family and the residents of Kiev, converting the country's official religion to what we now call Orthodox Christianity.



THE BAPTISM OF KIEVANS
by 
Klavdy Vasiliyevich Lebedev


The thing about saints that most Protestants do not understand is that we do not PRAY to them. First of all, a Saint is not dead in the sense that, although he or she has left the body behind, they are alive in heaven. You can talk to them just like you can talk to your neighbor over the fence that separates your yards. You live in different worlds, but can still interact.

The saints, being holy people and close to God, are very good friends to have. Even better, in my mind, is a saint who is also an ancestor. I have this idea that the saints MUST be praying for the welfare of their descendants, and I hope that this is true.

In any case, anyone can call on the saints and ask them to pray for you, just as you might that friend of neighbor whose body is still walking around on this earth!

All Christians must remember that Jesus promised us everlasting life, if we follow his commandments. Dismissing that timeless reality by turning up one's nose at the idea of talking to the saints reveals a weak, if not entirely absent faith in the promises of Christ. The promises of the Lord are true and thus, we are never alone with our sorrows and our joys. The angels and saints are present to us and available to us in a way they could not be if constrained by the physical body and the straightjacket of this time-bound world.

I highly recommend developing relationships with the saints. They are very good friends to have!

God bless us all.

Silver Rose Parnell
(c) Copyright 2016
All rights reserved


THE BAPTISM OF RUSSIA


Monday, March 21, 2016

CONTRACEPTION IS A MORTAL SIN


Mary, pregnant with Jesus
(c) copyright 2017 Ligouri Publications

I am not an apologist, nor am I a theologian. Actually, I feel acutely that I am scurrying to catch up with the faith, since I am a very late convert, even though I had read maybe one or two hundred books about the Catholic mystics by the time I turned 40, which was about 22 years ago.

One thing that has grown over time is my conviction that God is real, He has spoken through the prophets, He inspired the texts of the Bible, and it is through the Bible and the traditions and writings of the Catholic Church that we learn His will for us. I have no doubt that Jesus is Lord, and I know that the Catholic Church is the one true church because it was instituted by Jesus. After a lifetime of dabbling in other religions, there is just no comparison.



There is no salvation outside of the church. Not only that, but there are an awful lot of people who think that they can flout God's commandments and still end up in heaven, so they proceed along, completely unrepentant, thumbing their nose at God, in a sense, and doing what they like.

"There is but one universal church of the faithful, 
outside of which no one is saved." 
~ Pope Innocent III, 4th Lateran Counsel 1215

Jesus knew it would be like this. He talked about hell an awful lot, and the type of people that will go to hell, as did his apostles. He said to go through the narrow gate, and travel the narrow path.

I have often wondered why people claim to be Catholic and yet refuse to follow Christ's commands, and I have come to the conclusion that these people really do not believe in God, or they believe in God but that Christ was only a man, or they have a confusion about the scriptures and they do not believe that they were divinely inspired, but it all goes back to one's understanding of God.

Do you believe in God? If you do, then you wouldn't dare refuse Him whatever He commands. You wouldn't dare, even though you have free will. Do you really WANT to spend eternity with the Lord, or do you prefer to fool around on earth for the short time you are here, and then go to hell? It really is that simple.

It isn't that God wants anyone to go to Hell.  Certainly not. God is all love. The point is, when Jesus tells us to "be ye perfect as your father in heaven is perfect," He is letting us know that an angry soul, a vengeful soul, a dishonest soul, a faithless soul cannot exist in the same place as God who is ALL good.

I need to quickly add here that this post is primarily directed to Catholics who are aware of the church's proscription against birth control and, despite knowing that it is sinful, they practice it anyway. Catechesis has been just terribly in the last 50 years or so, and there are quite a few religous that are spouting heretical opinions about this topic, thereby confusing the laity. Also, the culture in which we live is so profoundly sinful that living a holy life is perceived as positively weird and abnormal. Given these defects and pressures, it is possible for a Catholic to be unaware that they are committing a grave sin, and therefore the sin is not mortal because, in order for it to be mortal, one has to do it with full knowledge. Jimmy Aiken explains this brilliantly in a National Catholic Register Article, ARE MOST CATHOLICS IN AMERICA GOING TO HELL.

Thanks be to God, there is purgatory in which to purify ourselves, if we have been unsuccessful in doing so on earth, but if we willfully disobey God, rather than try to obey Him and fail, we go to Hell. We must at least acknowledge that God is good, his laws are good, and we will do our best to become perfect as our Father in heaven is perfect. If we dismiss the commandments and the teachings on faith and morals of the Holy Catholic Church and we say that we know better and that we may decide what is to be done or not done, we are taking the same stance as that taken by Satan...right before he was cast out of heaven. He roams the earth, looking for souls he can tempt into sin and thereby separate them from God.

1 Peter: 5-8 ~ "Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy 
the Devil prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for 
someone to devour."


This is why, even though I am not an apologist and I am not a theologian and I haven't memorized all the prayers that others have memorized, and even though I am fairly new to the faith, relatively speaking, I do not worry about all that. I know that if I follow the Lord's commandments to the best of my ability, with pure intention of heart, and if I follow the guidance of His Holy Catholic Church, there is absolutely nothing to fear. I follow the faith not the sinners who fail to follow it or who blatantly refuse to follow it.




If I didn't believe in God, I would have trouble giving myself over in this way, but I prayed for faith and opened my heart, and the Lord showed me his goodness by answering the wish of my heart, so that is what I recommend for everyone.

If you are having trouble believing that "the rules" are necessary, if your mind is rebelling against doing the Will of the Lord, go back to square one and learn as much as you can about our God. Read the books, watch the videos, take a retreat, pray a LOT...and especially pray that God will reveal Himself to you and give you faith.  He will do it. I promise.  Just be sincere and keep asking. He wants to gift you with faith, but He will not force it on you.




Once you have the faith, it becomes a whole lot easier to follow the wishes of the Lord.

What does all of this have to do with contraception? Catholics who are taking birth controls and are using other unnatural methods to subvert the sex act into a sterile one are committing a mortal sin that will land them in hell. One doesn't accidentally take the birth control pill. It is a deliberate act of the will, and is thumbing your nose at God and His Holy Mother Church.

I could write a treatise on the topic, but that's already been done by the Popes and other holy people. Anyway, I do not need to do that to convince you to stop polluting yourself with this mortal sin. All you have to do is have faith in the Lord and his Holy Catholic Church, and you will want to become perfect as your father in heaven is perfect. You will crave obedience and exult in it.

If you crave information that deal with this topic in particular, Catholic Answers has a very good page AT THIS LINK that clearly deals with it.

Some Catholics have lost their faith, they say, because some people in the church hierarchy have committed terrible sins. Yes, they have, but the sins of these individuals does not dismiss the beauty of the faith. The faith is perfect, it is people who are flawed.

Just because father Feel Good has violated his vows and created havoc against innocent persons doesn't give you a pass to commit mortal sins. How would that sound when you arrive at the pearly gates and they are locked to you, and St. Peter tells you that you are going to the other place because you committed the mortal sin of using birth control? Would you tell him, "Hey...that's not fair!  That priest did horrible things!"  Saint Peter will likely tell you, "Yes, and you will meet him in hell when you go there."

The rationalizations that you tell yourself now will sound hollow when you meet your maker. I beg you to get to know Him here, while you still can. Ask Him for faith.  He will give it.

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

Reading material:

OUTSIDE THE CHURCH THERE IS NO SALVATION

THIS IS THE SOLE CHURCH OF CHRIST - CATECHISM

CONTRACEPTION - FATAL TO THE FAITH - EWTN

BIRTH CONTROL - CATHOLIC ANSWERS

ARE MOST CATHOLICS IN AMERICA GOING TO HELL? JIMMY AIKEN




Saturday, March 19, 2016

FORNICATION IS A MORTAL SIN


"It is better for you to enter the kingdom of God with one eye
than with two eyes to be thrown into hell, where the worm does
not die and the fire is not quenched."
Mark 9:47-48



A great number of supposedly "Catholic" people have convinced themselves that fornication, sex outside of a valid marriage, is somehow okay during this day and age. It seems everyone is doing it, and proscriptions against it are old-fashioned.

It is clearly stated in the Bible in MANY passages that fornication is very grave, it is a mortal sin, and anyone who engages in fornication without repentance, confession and amendment of life, is going to hell. You will not join the Lord and the Saints in heaven when you die. You will be consigned to the fires of hell for eternity. If you do not believe it, I invite you to read the sources I have provided for you beneath this blog post.

If you do not believe what the Bible says about this topic, and which the Catholic Church repeats and affirms, you are an heretic and and you will go to hell when you die.

There is no reason "good enough" to offset the warnings given by Jesus, the apostles, the saints, and Holy Mother Church. In the Apostles Creed that we recite at mass, even we confirm the existence of Hell by saying that Jesus visited there after death!


"The teaching of the Church affirms the existence
of hell and its eternity. Immediately after death
the souls of those who die in a state of mortal sin
descend into hell, where they suffer the punishments
of hell, 'eternal fire.'  The chief punishment of
hell is eternal separation from God, in whom alone
man can possess the life and happiness for which he
was created and for which he longs."
Catechism of the Catholic Church 1035



Despite Father Robert Baron's ridiculous assertion that we all have a reasonable expectation of going to heaven when we die, we do not. Jesus believes in hell, regardless of who refuses to do so, and you will believe in hell when you get there and it is too late to do anything about it.

Remember this: The Lord is timeless and limitless. He doesn't engage in temporary truth. By his very nature, he cannot do so. We forget this because we are under the control of time. We live in it and are limited by it, but the Lord is not. It does not exist for Him, which is why, when He gives us the Ten Commandments or any other instruction, it reflects the ultimate truth that cannot be changed. The Lord is not "behind the times."  He speaks into eternity. His Truth is forever.

If you are fornicating your life away because you do not believe that the Bible is inspired scripture or you do not believe that Jesus created the Catholic Church, informed it, inspired it and enlivened it with the power to retain or forgive sins, then you are not Catholic, and you need to examine your conscience around this very basic issue. Hopefully, you will experience a conversion of heart and repent before it is too late.



 

"Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide
and the road broad that leads to destruction, and
those who enter through it are many. How narrow
the gate and constricted the road that leads to life.
And those who find it are few.
Matthew 7:13-14



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

Sources:

SAINTAQUINAS.COM - What is a Mortal Sin?

FORNICATION, HELL AND THE BIBLE - by Msr. Charles Pope of Washington

THE HELL THERE IS! - article from Catholic Answers