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 20, 2015

LIBERAL CATHOLICISM




"Liberal Catholicism" is an oxymoron. That term is a conflation of a political orientation with the Catholic faith. It gives the impression that there are different types of Catholicism. This is a lie.  The doctrines of the Catholic faith are specific and unambiguous. They are laid out in detail in the Catechism of the Catholic Church. There is one Catholic faith.

If you disagree with the doctrines of the Catholic faith, you are not a "liberal Catholic," you are a protestant.

If you knowingly and deliberately mislead people into believing that the Catholic faith approves of things that are intrinsically evil, you are a heretic and an enemy of the faith. You are not a "liberal Catholic."

I dearly wish that none of us would use these terms "liberal" or "conservative" in relation to the Catholic faith, since it conveys the lie that the Catholic faith is a democracy. It isn't.

Silver Rose Parnell
(c) 2015, All rights reserved

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

WHERE IS THE CATHOLIC FAITH?

Christ gives the keys of the Kingdom to
Saint Peter, the first pope


My journey into the Catholic faith has been a rocky one, largely because of the "official" representatives being wrongly educated about it or having opinions that differ from it. It is a sad fact that some priests and nuns are ignorant of some of the finer points and cannot be relied upon to convey correct information.

When I first became converted, I was 38 years old. I had never had any religious education and I had never been baptized.  I went to a huge church in Beverly Hills that was near my work and I joined the RCIA class (Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults.) Half way through the class, the nun in charge hauled me into her office and announced that it would be "years" before they would agree to baptize me because I had been divorced.

This nun was wrong. Divorce was not a sin that would keep me from baptism. It is civil remarriage after a divorce that would have been the problem because it would have been adultery. The first marriage is the only marriage recognized, absent a decree of nullity (annulment) from the church.  I was not married, nor was I dating. I was leading a perfectly chaste and holy life.  I tried to convince the nun that she was wrong but she refused to listen to me. I ended up being baptized at the Episcopal Church next door.  I had wanted to get baptized and later become a Catholic nun, but I was turned away from the Catholic Church because of the poor education of that nun. The trajectory of my life was dramatically altered.

I repeated this story to a new young priest a year or two ago and he adamantly insisted that no one who had been divorced could be baptized, even if they were not living in sin with another person, dating or having sex. The education of these priests is lacking some crucial information. This particular misunderstanding serves to prevent converts from becoming baptized, a fairly serious matter.

I used to know a woman who, though raised Lutheran was heavily involved in several Eastern religions for many years.  She was a Quaker for a while, at the same time continuing some Hindu practices. She took from the smorgasbord of an astonishing number of religions, picking whatever appealed to her.  Somewhere along the way, she got connected with a Catholic priest who had gotten interested in the Zen religion and had become a Zen teacher in addition to his priestly duties.  She reported to me that he had given her his "permission" to take communion in any Catholic Church she chose! She spent years taking communion in all sorts of Catholic churches and even tried to get in line for communion at my very conservative and orthodox Byzantine Catholic Church, but I stopped her from doing it. She knew I would notify the priest if she tried it, so she sat back down, but I realized that she must have taken communion in that church several times before, because she had told me that she had attended several services there.

This woman had no way of knowing that the priest who gave her permission to receive communion in the Catholic Church was absolutely wrong and was encouraging her to do something extremely harmful to her soul.  She did not realize that the priest did not have the authority to give her this permission. I distanced myself from this woman when she began to print lies about the Catholic Church on her Facebook page and she lobbied for change of doctrine in the church, as if the church was a democratic institution and one could simply vote for a change in the faith! It simply does not work that way. The Catholic faith is not changeable according to the whim of some Zen-dabbling priest or some non-Catholic critic.

It is natural that a person will go to the priest at their local church for advice and guidance, but many times these days, that guidance is error-filled.

I keep hearing stories like this. None of these people are aware that they have been led into sin by clerics who are either ignorant or disobedient.  When the official teachings of the church are in conflict with the words of a priest or a nun, we must follow the official teachings. No one has the right to change them.


 
On the internet, I am continually encountering people who consider themselves Catholic but who hold very strong beliefs that are in direct opposition to the Catholic faith. The "separation of church and state," for instance, which has been condemned by more than one Pope, is routinely held up as something to be maintained and given precedence over Catholic precepts. Likewise, slandering the poor and advocating for withdrawal of food and shelter, has become a political hot-button, with many Catholics spreading untrue rumors about mythical "wide spread fraud" as an excuse. These acts are in direct contradiction to the words of Jesus and the Popes. Then we have the politicians who claim to be Catholic but argue heatedly for abortion to be legal in our country, two ideas that are directly contradictory.

Who can we trust?

Since it has become clear that the local official representatives of the church can not be relied upon to deliver the official teachings of the church, and many priests on the internet are likewise renegade priests who campaign against the official teachings, the only way I can be sure to know what the faith actually teaches, is to do a lot of studying, read the Catechism, the Encyclicals and church history. Catholic Answers is a good web site for knowledge about official church teachings, as are people such as Jimmy Aiken.

EWTN's website also has many educational documents, and the Vatican has an official site where you can read all the encyclicals.  I will put some links on the bottom of this blog post.

I want to strongly encourage each one of you to please get to know your faith, really know it, by availing yourself of all the legitimate sources. Do not read the work of priests or nuns who lobby for change of the doctrine of the church. It was given to us by Jesus Christ himself, and even the Pope doesn't have the authority to change it!

How can we be faithful Catholics, after all, if we do not even know the faith?

EWTN's LIBRARY

THE HOLY SEE (READ ENCYCLICALS HERE.)

CATHOLIC ANSWERS

THE CATECHISM OF THE CATHOLIC CHURCH - ONLINE

God bless us all on our journey.  Keep studying!

Silver Rose Parnell
(c) 2015 - copyright
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.