SAINT OLGA

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

Friday, January 20, 2017

THE ART OF CONVERSATION




Now that technology is firmly entrenched as THE method of communication in life, I find myself bemoaning the loss of real connection with people.

People call me when busy with something else, giving only a tiny portion of their attention to whatever I may say. It's an insult, really, when you're speaking on the phone and you realize your friend is typing on their computer or reading e-mails. Even when people call ME, and interrupt whatever I may be doing a the moment, they feel compelled to be doing something interesting while talking to me. I am not the only person who experiences this. This is a huge problem in our culture.

"Multi-tasking" inhibits a person's comprehension considerably. Recent scientific studies confirm this. I used to love reading classified ads when job hunting. Invariably, several would say, "must love multi-tasking," as if this was a good thing! An employer once told me, "you can't expect to do just ONE THING AT A TIME!" She was incensed. I had to tell her that I can ONLY do one thing at a time, which is true for all human beings.

We may THINK we are multi-tasking, but, in actuality we are fracturing our attention into tiny little bits had making our mind flip back and forth between each tiny little bit. Memory and cognition suffer greatly when trained into this habit.

In order to adequately absorb information and to learn absolutely anything, one MUST be able to concentrate on one thing for more than a nanosecond.

What you are communicating when you occupy yourself with something other than the conversation at hand is that you don't value the conversation. If you don't agree with that statement, ask yourself this, "if the Pope was on the other end of the phone, would you be playing "free Cell" or "solitaire?" Would you be simultaneously chatting with your husband and kids without even saying, "excuse me for a sec?"

Every human being has the same 24 hours in a day. We can delude ourselves into thinking that we are far more busy than others, but it isn't true. I do not have a typical "job," but my responsibilities and necessary activities are such that I don't have enough time in any day to accomplish all of them. I do the best I can and get as much done as possible, without making other people suffer for it.

I love people, and I want to communicate that to them when they take the time to call me.I listen to what they have to say, and I even ask questions and demonstrate interest in whatever interests them. I can assure you that some of it is downright boring, but, for the sake of the person made in the image and likeness of God, I give my time over to my caller, gifting them with my undivided attention.

Sometimes I have to cut a conversation short in order to attend to a duty, and I do so, knowing that I have given the best of myself to the other person. occasionally, however, I am not at my best and I may be irritable with the caller. Later, I return the call and apologize. It is a spiritual practice that I highly recommend.

I am not important. I am no better than anyone else and, consequently, I try not to behave as if I've got better things to do than to talk to some ordinary person. Therese of Lisieux has been very helpful to me in this regard. She was kind to people who weren't kind to her and whose conversation bored her. She made an effort.

It is not going to kill you if you sit down, put up your feet, drink a cup of tea, and have a nice conversation with a caller, even if they ARE boring. They must need this conversation with you for some reason. The relaxation that you would get from adopting this posture while talking to them may actually be good for you too!

Learning to concentrate in all arenas of your life will increase your serenity factor and help you in your conversation with the Lord. I promise.

I would pray that you give it a try. Keep the conversation short if you have to run off and do something else, but at least give your callers your undivided attention in an act of love. Jesus will love you for it.

God bless us all...

Silver Rose




Wednesday, January 18, 2017

SHUFFLING TOWARD THE LORD

Traffic outside the apartment complex


Put yourself in my position. I am inside my tiny apartment, trying to lift my heart to the Lord. Right outside the window on the back side of my apartment, painters who will be here for MONTHS having been running a gasoline-powered paint sprayer for the last 3 and 1/2 hours.

In the front of the apartment, in the parking lot, the "landscapers" (and I use that term loosely because they do not seem to know much, if anything about plants and especially how to trim them) are using gasoline-powered leaf blowers to move piles of dead leaves hitter and yon. They're also sandblasting any car that has the misfortune to be parked out there. Thanks be to God, I have a garage.

Where I would LIKE to live.


On the street right outside the apartment, there are several giant road machines, working furiously at smashing the sidewalks and lifting great chunks onto a truck that will haul them away. This project will be in progress for the next 30 weeks. First, they destroy what we HAD (including lovely trees in the median that they just ripped out of the ground and stuffed them into an enormous wood chipper), then they place temporary road surfaces, then they take those out when they're ready to install new types of medians for the new buses which will operate down the middle of the street. OTHER business, with more frequent stops, will still travel on the two remaining traffic lanes. This is a very small city...almost still a town.

My understanding is that the mayor owns stock in one company that is working the project, and his wife's family owns the OTHER company that is working the project.  When residents wonder why on earth we are getting this enormous and unwieldy BIG CITY project in our little town, all we have to do is follow the money.

At the same time that the roads are being ripped up in preparation for a transit system we do not need, the property next door to the apartment complex is LIKEWISE being prepared for the installation of a BREW PUB.  A brew pub.

When I moved here, it was a quiet place to live, placed in a natural setting. My health was also twice as good as it is now.




Now, however, my environment is a nightmare of noise and choking dust during the day, and heavy rap music, motorcycle races and dance music from the country club across the golf course that is on the other side of the ditch from our apartments. I can't get away from it, no matter WHERE I am in the apartment. This is how I can expect it to be for at least another 30 weeks.

While I agree with contemplative and mystic Catherine Doherty that small deserts of silence may be found in all walks of life and that one does not HAVE to live in an actual hermitage to experience communion with the Lord in the desert, there are limits to what I am personally able to shut out of my brain. Consequently, the project of finding a small house to continue my ministries is really heating up.



Since affordable housing is limited to the dangerous fringes of town, nowhere near my church or my friends who are helping me, I have to revamp my approach and just forget trying to find something reasonable in price. Based upon the common rents in the neighborhood in which I need to live, I will have to pay more than half my rent to find a suitable, safe place to live that addresses my lifestyle and my increasingly worrisome health. Since my income is so very low, paying half of it will be a crushing burden, but I have no choice.

Thanks to a couple of friends and well-wishers, I have paid off some oppressive bills. I will also try to sell some of my paintings and my crocheted items. All this is done in preparation for relocating.


All modern ideas about hermits aside, the hermit is typically pictured close to nature. He or she has a residence of some sort, usually very simple and poor, with a good deal of natural setting available to the hermit so that the voice of the Lord may more easily be heard. Contemplatives, in general, are often drawn to more natural environments, not because it is more lovely but because it is more CONDUCIVE to the life of prayer. Unfortunately, the simple, the serene and the natural have become the EXPENSIVE.

I am disabled and becoming more so. I will need access to medical doctors, etc. Some day, I will be blind. Also, I would like to be able to attend church one day, as I have been prevented from doing so for quite some time, due to lack of suitable seating and the distance between the hermitage and the church. Being of poor health puts a big dent in the contemplative life. This is why convents and monasteries do not accept sick people.

Only the monied class can afford to have personal daily access to wide expanses of natural environments. This points back to the era in Europe in which noblemen owned all the land and serfs were essentially slaves on the master's land. Europeans originally came to America because, supposedly, the land was up for grabs. No one "owned" it, which is a debatable point, since the Native Americans have their own view on this. People for whom land ownership was previously impossible suddenly became owners of vast tracts of land.

We have now reverted to the exact same situation we were attempting to escape when we left Europe a few hundred years ago. Since there is no land that is not owned, and permission of someone else is required to live just about ANYWHERE, this has put a big dent in the hermit lifestyle!  Now, if I lived in Austria, there is a town that is advertising for a hermit, and I could live there, but even that hermitage exacts a price:


There is no running water and no electricity. The town has requirements of the hermit, for instance that he does not install any modern amenities and also that he be available to anyone who wants to visit him. It sounds like a job verging on slavery to me, and not in the spirit of the hermit at all. The hermit is independent, most of all, relying upon the voice and guidance of the Lord.

For the last 3 years or so, I have been trying to find a suitable place to live, with very little luck. Most of the rentals that are available in this town are in the grip of corporate management companies, and these sort of companies tend to treat renters as interlopers, even when they DO pay the rent. The corporate model is soulless and certainly does not comprehend or support the monastic lifestyle.

I do not have the funds to PURCHASE property, obviously.

Because this is such a difficult search, limited by very low income and other factors, I ask that you please pray for me, that I may find a house that will address my needs: spiritual, medical, and emotional; one that has a washer/dryer on the premises, since I am unable to cart my laundry to another location; and one that has, at least, a small patch of fenced land for the small service dog. Please pray hard, my friends.




God bless you all.

Silver Rose

Sunday, January 15, 2017

WHAT I AM READING NOW - "Poustinia, by Catherine Doherty"

Hermit caves in Syria

I have read it before, I am sure of it, but it has been years. I am enjoying it again. Catherine Doherty's "Poustinia" explains the solitary contemplative way that is the tradition of the Eastern Catholic churches.

One of the marvelous aspects of this tradition of thought and practice is that it is widely  open to all persons, no matter what their station in life. It is a common expression of the laity. From the busy housewife who steals some moments at her prayer corner behind a sheltering curtain, to the acetic who, donning a long shift and carrying nothing but some bread and salt with him, wanders into the forest to reside completely alone, contemplative prayer life is widely practiced.



This book has my recommendation for all my readers who are attempting to live alone with God. It is quite encouraging and soothing, in addition to its obvious educational value.

Here are its particulars:




POUSTINIA
Encountering God in Silence, Solitude and Prayer
The modern spiritual classic for those seeking the open heart and 
listening soul of silent contemplation

by Catherine Doherty

Published by
Madonna House Classics

2888 Dafoe Rd, RR 2
Combermere ON KOJ 1LO

www.madonnahouse.or/publications



A lovely introductory passage:

"It seems strange to say, but what can help modern man find the answers to his own mystery and the mystery of Him in whose image he is created, is silence and solitude -- in a word, the desert. Modern man needs these things more than the hermits of old."


National House of Prayer
by Richard Long


If you'd care to read a nice biography of Catherine Doherty, please examine this LINK


Catherine Doherty
from Baroness
to
Poustinik

Photo taken by Thomas Merton


I am not writing much on the blog these days, but I hope you continue to contact me. I remain available for prayer requests, advice and encouragement.

God bless us all!

Silver Rose Parnell

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

DEDICATION OF THE YEAR 2017 TO OUR LADY OF FATIMA

Our Lady of Fatima statue

This year at Silver Cottage Hermitage has been dedicated to a special emphasis on Our Lady of Fatima, and learning more about the apparitions, the promises and the secrets given to the three young children who were contacted by, saw and spoke with our Blessed Mother 100 years ago this year. Although I am not blogging this year, per se, I do want to encourage my readers to join me in this special observance, and I will continue to post resources on this page to help with that.

I just want to point out that, among all the apparitions of our Blessed Mother, I BELIEVE that the Miracle of the Sun that occurred during one of the pre-arranged meetings of Our Mother with the children is the only miracle to have been witnessed by 70,000 people at once AND photographed AND written about in the newspaper, where most of the photographs derive, as there were newspapermen waiting in the crowd at the prearranged time when the Virgin was expected to appear.

While I am not a big fan of apparitions and mysterious utterances, especially since there is so much fakery possible, THIS particular set of apparitions and circumstances, given the wealth of proof and witnesses extant to this day, is a remarkable thing, and I just can't ignore it. "The miracle of the sun," as it is called, just can't be ignored or discounted. The ability to fake these type of photographs was limited in the day, plus you just can't discount the witness of 70,000 people. So, for me, this apparition is a rock solid and reliable one, so it behooves us all to delve into it.


The three children who saw the Blessed Mother
at Fatima, Portugal

I am not terribly well educated in the whole story and the details, nor have I really dug into the promises and requests of Our Blessed Mother, but I am going to do that this year and I hope to take you with me, just by listing books I read and websites I find along the way.  I will continue to update this page with these resources, as I find them, and I will do my best to keep it credible!

It is my hope that I can encourage you to accompany me on this journey, especially those who are not able to make pilgrimage to Fatima or to see the Fatima statue as it travels the globe.

God bless us all!
Silver Rose