SAINT OLGA

SAINT OLGA
MY GREAT GRANDMOTHER, SAINT OLGA, PATRON SAINT OF CONVERTS

Saturday, November 28, 2015

THREE GOOD THINGS

My pink Christmas tree

As an introvert often saddled with a certain ennui and melancholy, in addition to a righteously earned case of well-managed, but still ever present, PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) I was thrilled to hear from a Catholic psychologist on Immaculate Heart Radio that everyone is born with a certain set-point for happiness, where the psyche naturally rests. The happiness quotient is on a continuum. He kept saying, "It's not your fault." After a lifetime of people blaming me and finding fault, here is this man who really knows something, and he kept saying, "It's not your fault."

He also said there are some things that we can do to naturally improve our moods, no matter what we are dealing with, whether born with a melancholy temperament or having earned one through a brutal childhood or other traumas. I am all for that, being a naturally pro-active person, so I was all ears.

The recipe he proposed was very simple. Every day, think of three good things that happened for you that day.  That's all - just three. He said that one would find (and it is true) that, once the brain starts to look for three good things, scores of good things come to mind and it becomes hard to pick just three! 

What this does is to train the brain to seek out positive things, things that make us happy, give us joy, a sense of accomplishment, etc. The brain will develop new habits, new neural pathways, and the happiness level will be raised.

I have been doing this now for a few weeks, I think. I post my 3 good things every day on Facebook and I ask my friends to chime in with theirs, if they want to do it, and I have found that some of my most sincere religious friends who have time to play on Facebook, are also keeping up this practice.

I highly recommend giving this a try, even if you are the most ebullient person, because it brings epiphanies in its wake and, best of all, a continuous stream of feelings of gratitude, which leads into praises to God throughout the day.

Give it a try. Keep up the practice for a few weeks and see how you like it. The effects may be subtle at first, but, after a while, you may find that your way of doing things has shifted slightly, your mental orientation is slightly different, and your mood may be, generally, much better.

This practice hasn't stopped bad things from happening in my life. It hasn't prevented me from becoming upset when the logistics of life work against me at every turn. I still get mad or frustrated, but I am easily distracted from it by something good. My mind is gradually changing its operation. It is always on the lookout for THE GOOD, and we know where ALL GOOD COMES FROM, don't we?  Yep.

My three good things for the day:

(1) I found some DEEPLY DISCOUNTED yarn on Amazon that is perfect for some warm and snuggly hats and neck warmers for the poor and homeless this Christmas, as well as a discounted yarn to complete a small project for myself.
(2) I had a lovely romp in a big pile of leaves with my little service dog. (He actually did the romping, since I am on a cane, but I enjoyed seeing his joy.)
(3) I got to eat pizza today. I hardly ever get to eat pizza because it is expensive to have it delivered, and I really don't go to restaurants, but every once in a while I relax the rules and have a treat. Chicken, pineapple and jalapenos. Delicious!

What were YOUR "three good things" today? Let me know. I will love to hear about your happiness.

God bless us all,

Silver Rose Parnell
(c) 2015, All rights reserved.

Friday, November 27, 2015

THE CHAIR OF PETER, MODERNISM, AND THE LAITY

the chair of St. Peter in Rome


I would like to take a moment to clarify that, just because I have written lately that modernism has infected the Holy Catholic Church and we DO have a number of clerics spouting heretical ideas, and some living in luxury in palatial mansions, this does not mean that I think we should abandon Holy Mother Church. To the contrary, as Michael Voris recently said, we need to "step it up." What is meant by that? We can't sit around mooning about how much we looooove Jesus, batting our eyelashes and sighing over our great love for Him or, in the alternative, stomp out in a huff because the administrators of the faith are not protecting it and propagating it.

The Church is in crisis, and we have to get busy. Yes, we have to be busybodies. We have to actively energize our own faith and the faith of others. We have to study, pray and preach The Truth until Jesus comes again. We can no longer sit back in the pews and soak up the holiness and knowledge from the guy at the altar. There are some fabulous priests in the Catholic Church, probably some very holy ones, but there are a lot of guys at the altar whose Catholic education is faulty, or who disagree with aspects of the faith, or who have just lost their zeal. Some are struggling with ill health that would sideline someone working in the secular world, but they keep plugging away, delivering lukewarm homilies because they're exhausted.

Some priests work long past retirement age, pouring themselves out for the church because we aren't getting enough priestly candidates and/or the candidates that we ARE getting, many of them, are homosexuals intent on changing the church's teaching about this type of sin. Holy priests see this state of affairs and can't bear to remove their orthodox voice from the mix, and I am grateful for them.

The congregation is not an audience. Mass is not another piece of entertainment. We are participants in the mass, just as much as the guy at the altar. We are responsible for the faith and for our own education in it. We can't turn it off like a television show that gets boring. We don't change the channel for another faith because this one is too taxing. We don't throw up our hands in despair because "it's not our job" to help correct the errors in the church. It IS our job. We just have to do the right things in the right way. Most of all, we have to be prepared for backlash, and a lot of it.

We are not alone, however. The Holy Spirit is with us. The current batch of schismatic, heretic, and/or greedy prelates will be taken care of by Christ's church, in time. Sometimes it takes a long time, but I trust The Lord's Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church, established by Jesus Christ himself upon "the rock" - Saint Peter - the first Pope. I will not leave it, even when the behavior of some of its ersatz leaders is alarming. Their behavior is not the fault of the religion, which is perfect. It is perfect because it came from Jesus Christ.

Christ infused His Church with authority, responsibility for souls, and with grace. He transmitted something real when he gave his breath upon the disciples. The faith came directly from Jesus. The church is administered by sinners like you and I. Of COURSE some of them are going to fall off the rails and land in a ditch on occasion. They're human. We have to lift them up, not stand at the sidelines saying, "Tsk, tsk, he had such promise!" They need our prayers and our voices, but we must have informed, educated voices that ring with the Truth of Christ.

Satan has always attacked the Catholic Church, from both within and without, yet it has endured for 2,000 years. The Catholic Church will prevail, even against the "gates of Hell." Jesus promised he would be with us until the end of time. Time has not ended, so He is still here, and I take comfort in that. I pray for his guidance in the steps that I take.

As long as I continue to study and practice my faith, I should be inoculated against the erroneous messages that come from some of the clergy. I will know my faith and I will recognize when I am hearing something else, and I can simply dismiss the crazy talk and stick to the Truth, while I pray for the church and for these misguided men. Sometimes I write about this process on this blog, but I wish to be clear that my intention is to be completely faithful to the Holy Mother Church and her magisterium and that I recommend that we remain respectful to the positions that these men hold while at the same time ordering our minds to the True Faith.

Yes, The Church may be in crisis at the moment, but it has always fought Satan in one guise or another. Satan would love nothing more than for us to become discouraged and abandon the faith because the discord and disobedience of those that should know better has reached a crescendo, but that isn't right. We, the true believers, are faithful to the church that Jesus started and we will not abandon it. We will study, pray and preach the Truth until Jesus comes again. We are to participate in the work of keeping the True Faith alive.

In order to know the faith, what it teaches and why it teaches it, I have previously recommended that we study as much as we can. There is so much misinformation flying around the media and in the parishes, you pretty much have to conduct an independent course of study, unless you are lucky enough to have access to a good educational system. I am poor and disabled, so I have to do what I can within the boundaries of my abilities.

In service of this goal, I am giving you a link to a list of recommended books to read and to keep in one's library as resource material. These are in addition to The Holy Bible, The Catechism of the Catholic Church, and Papal Encyclicals that are available on the Vatican website. This list includes the early fathers and mothers of the church, the doctors of the church, and some saints.

I have read many of these books, years ago, but do not currently have them in my library and wish to read them again and to make use of them when writing my blog, which is why I initially started this list.  I would like to share it with you, in case there are any offerings on it that you've not heard of. Perhaps some of us can read these books together and compare notes. Let's see how it goes.

You may find this list HERE

God bless you,

Silver Rose Parnell
(c) Copyright 2015
All rights reserved

Friday, November 20, 2015

COVER THE NAKED



"Naked, and you covered me: sick, and you
visited me: I was in prison, and you came to me.
Matthew 25:36

I have great sympathy for those who lack proper clothing, decent clothing, appropriate clothing that fits well, serves the appropriate function for the appropriate body part, and all that entails.

My mother was insane, and when I was a little girl, she announced that she would not buy me any clothing until I "lost weight." I was 7 years old and had no idea what this meant. The only food to which I had access was whatever she gave us when she remembered to feed us. She would leave us alone for days at a time with nothing but a sack of potatoes in the refrigerator. Once, her sister came to visit us from thousands of miles away and, even though she was expected, my mother did not bother to meet her when she arrived. My aunt found us half naked, hungry and filthy.

I remember laying on my bed when I was 7, staring into my empty closet, save for one sweet little blue plaid dress with a built-in apron and puffy short sleeves. It was 2 sizes too small for me and I could no longer wear it, but I loved that dress. It was the only one I had. Other than that, I had one pair of shorts and a few ratty tops. I prayed every night that I would wake up the next morning and "be thin."

When I was about 10 or 11, my mother was having clothes tailor made for herself, but she forced me to wear either one of two old cocktail dresses to school, along with a pair of oxfords she had painted pea green. I was blind as a bat and wore glasses. She refused to let my hair grow and, instead, took scissors to it now and then and chopped at it until it was short enough to comb without any trouble. I looked like a horror show. I was routinely picked on and beaten up. Once an entire gang surrounded me on my way home from school. Two girls beat me while the crowd hooted and hollered and contributed kicks and fists when I tried to escape that diabolical circle.

To this day, I am extremely picky about my clothes. I will not wear used clothing, and I have learned how to assemble a nice looking wardrobe on a tight budget. Except on those days when I am physically unable to get out of my pajamas, I dress, even though I will not leave my apartment, except to walk my dog and no one but the neighbors will probably see me. It isn't for them. It is for my own sense of personal dignity. It helps mitigate the damage of my brutal childhood that gave me post traumatic stress disorder.  It is a coping mechanism.

I have seen the looks on people's faces when the homeless come begging, with their long ratty hair and their dirty and ill-fitting clothing. It reminds me of the stares and hostility of the other kids, when I came walking onto the playground in an old pink polyester cocktail dress and pea green oxfords. I didn't have a friend in the world.

Except for other homeless people, I imagine the homeless have no one either. I have this feeling that I desperately want them to have some nice things to wear, at the very least a warm hat to help preserve their health and their comfort. I don't want to give them some hand-me-down or some machine made, flimsy thing from China, as if they only deserve to have the cast-offs of other people or the very cheapest of goods.  I want to give them something made with love and prayers, from good yarn, made well, and attractive, because these are things I want for myself and I am to love my neighbor as much as I love myself.  These people ARE my neighbors. I live in an apartment in an area that is saturated with the homeless and the poor, and I can't leave the apartment without encountering at least one such person.

The only way I can produce hats and scarves for the homeless is to ask for donations of yarn vis-a-vis my Amazon wish list. I currently have enough yarn to make another 2 or 3 hats, and that's it.

A typical hat made from super chunky yarn,
knit for the homeless. (The color is MUCH
prettier than what you see here, but I had
trouble with the camera. I am no photographer!)


If you have the wherewithal to donate some yarn, you can contribute by ordering from my Amazon wish list for this purpose. Please remember that it is very difficult to make anything from only one skein of yarn, so please pick one color and purchase as many skeins of that color as you feel you can afford. The web site will require you to enter that number before checkout.  Amazon has my address and will ship directly to me.

You can find the Amazon wish list HERE.

THANK YOU for your generosity.

[PLEASE NOTE: Since writing this post, my carpal tunnel and arthritis have ramped up and I am having a hard time knitting the hats. Thus, I have plenty of yarn for this purpose, and it will take me some time to use it all up.

On the Amazon list you will find some different colored CROCHET THREADS that I could use for my lace making. I donate hand-made lace Bible markers to my parish for special occasions, and I also make chapel veils.  Sometimes I make ribbons of lace to attach to the bottom of skirts or the tops of blouses to convert them into more modest attire.]

Silver Rose Parnell
(c) 2015, all rights reserved.

Monday, November 9, 2015

MILKING THE SYSTEM


Chart showing distribution of entitlement benefits from data obtained
from:
the Office of Management and Budget,
The U.S. Department of Agriculture
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services,
The U.S. Department of Labor
and
The U.S. Census Bureau


It seems like every time we approach a new election period, unscrupulous politicians start belittling the poor and claiming that there is "massive fraud in the Welfare system" and that the poor are "milking the system." They actually have the nerve to blame the poor for the awful economy and perpetuate the myth that we are all living the life of luxury. Social Security payments, for those who worked enough to qualify, average $1,000 a month. Supplemental Security is a maximum of $560 a month.

The first thing I point out to anyone who will listen is that less than 3% of all entitlement monies that are paid out are given to able-bodied people who choose not to work, yet the entire demographic of poor people is painted with the idea that there are massive numbers of criminals who have managed to scam their way into "the system" and are getting rich. There is absolutely no proof of this, of course, but who needs proof when people are so ready to buy this rotten lie? Selfish people want to believe this because it justifies their reluctance to help the poor that they deem undeserving.

This readiness to believe these wild claims against the poor and to use them as justification for reducing or eliminating assistance is the antithesis of the Christian message.

Jesus says: "If anyone wants to sue you and take your shirt, give him your coat as well."
Matthew 5:40

Notice that he DOESN'T say to fight like the Devil to keep him from getting your coat, nor does he say that you should make sure that the person is deserving of your shirt or your coat. This particular quote is about one's enemy.  How much more giving does Jesus expect us to be when it comes to His beloved poor?  The Bible is full of references to our expected generosity toward the poor:

In Deuteronomy 15, it says, "Therefore I command you, 'You shall open wide your hand to your brother, to the needy and to the poor, in your land."

In Mark 10, when the rich man asks Jesus what he must do to follow Him, Jesus says, "You lack one thing: go, sell all that you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me."

In Luke 6, He says, "But woe to you who are rich, for you have received your consolation."

Again, in Mark 10, He says, "It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the kingdom of God."

Notice that, in our sinful world, it is the rich person who is given great credit and adulation, who is served and fawned upon. The rich feel superior because of this and look down upon the poor, making them squirm and cry for every pittance. The rich are loathe to give any of their riches to the poor, but instead take the money from the labors of the poor.

In Proverbs 19, we read, "Whoever is generous to the poor lends to the Lord, and he will repay him for his deed."  The Lord is watching how we treat the poor and will treat us with the same generosity we exhibit toward them.

In Matthew 25, we are told, "Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me."  When we defame the poor, we defame Jesus.  When we help to supply the needs of the poor, we are supplying Jesus with what He needs.

In Luke 3, He says, "Whoever has two tunics is to share with him who has none, and whoever has food is to do likewise."

In Luke 12, He admonishes his followers to "Take care, and be on your guard against all covetousness, for one's life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions," telling them once more that the Christian life is not about how much riches one can retain.

In Proverbs 21, we learn that, "He who shuts his ear to the cry of the poor will also cry himself and not be answered."  Enlightened self-interest would be enough to encourage us to respond to the poor with compassionate kindness and to supply their need, what to speak of Christian charity and love!

Instead of listening to politicians who have their own agendas, we need to look to the Bible and to the Catholic faith for guidance in this matter of how we treat the poor.

As far as the rumors of "massive fraud" by the poor, that has not been proved.  There are, however, criminals in every walk of life. The only difference between the rich criminals and the poor ones is that the rich steal MORE from us than the poor ever could. .It is ludicrous to punish 97% of the poor people because some of the remaining 3% might be dishonest!

Catholics, take note:  Here is the official position of the Catholic Church with regard to the government's care for the poor:



"The function of the rulers of the state,
moreover, is to watch over the community 
and its parts; but in protecting private
individuals in their rights, chief considera-
tion ought to be given to the weak and 
the poor.  "For the nation, as it were, of
the rich is guarded by its own defenses
and is in less need of governmental protection,
whereas the suffering multitude, without the
means to protect itself, relies especially on the
protection of the State.  Wherefore, since
wageworkers are numbered among the great mass
of the needy, the State must include them under
its special care and foresight."
Quadragesimo anno Encyclical on
Reconstruction of the Social Order
His Holiness Pope Pius XI
May 15, 1931

Here is what the Catechism of the Catholic Church has to say about the poor:

2446 "Not to enable the poor to share in our goods is to steal
from them and deprive them of life.  The goods we possess are
not ours, but theirs.  The demands of justice must be satisfied
first of all; that which is already due in justice is not to be offered
as a gift of charity." ... "When we attend to the needs of those in
want, we give them what is theirs, not ours.  More than performing
works of mercy, we are paying a debt of justice."

Note: "The goods we possess are not ours, but theirs." We do not have the right to make these poor people jump through hoops and perform some dog-and-pony show to prove that they are worthy of receiving what is already theirs to begin with!

If you decide to spread the gospel of the greedy politician and help him to spread scandal and lies about the poor, then you are free to do so.  This is America.  But know, when you do that, you are stepping away from the Christian faith and into another world.

Silver Rose Parnell
(c) 2015
All rights reserved.