Friday, March 31, 2006

Abandonment to God's Will

More from "He Leadeth Me":
This tendency to set acceptable conditions upon God, to seek unconsciously to make His will for us coincide with our desires, is a very human trait. And the more important the situation is, the more totally we are committed to it or the more completely our future depends on it, then the easier it becomes to blind ourselves into thinking that what we want is surely what God must also want. We can see but one solution only, and naturally we assume that God will help us reach it. ...

I had ... expected the Spirit to instruct me so that I might conquer my interrogator, my persecutor. How foolish and how selfish! It was not the Church that was on trial in Lubianka. (the Russian prison where Fr. Ciszek was confined and interrogated.) It was not the Soviet Government or the NKVD versus Walter Ciszek. God was testing me, like gold in a furnance, to see how much of self remained after all my prayers and professions of faith in His will.

Reading these lines again, (and they do lose something out of context), reminds me again and again of how guilty I am in trying to make my will His will, and how most events are about individual souls and not quite what we might think.

From Bethany, the small holding in Bethune...Oremus pro invicem!

Catholicism in the South & Foot washing

Update: The link to the original article (below) also lets people make comments online. I read through the comments and was saddened, encouraged, and sometimes outraged. Decided I couldn't respond and cover all points in any comment I could make. So I sent an email to the reporter who wrote the story and may write a letter to the editor, we'll see.

A few week ago, I noted that the Lancaster newspaper carried a front page story/picture on Ash Wednesday, featuring St. Catherine's Catholic Church (see here ). Today, the Charlotte Observer carries a front page story on the Bishop of Charlotte's instruction that the feet washed at the Holy Thursday Mass be those of men only (hooray!).

Along with the death of John Paul II and the election of Benedict XVI, I am willing to bet that the southern newspapers have a new openness to publishing prominent stories about the Church. (Even if those stories sometimes get it wrong.)

Actually, the newspapers probably percieve (correctly) that the Catholic population in the South is growing and their Catholic readership is growing.

Re: the issue in todays paper about footwashing, the story starts with the instruction, quotes a pastor who will obey, "with apologies to the women" of his parish, quotes a lady who is "fired-up" against the bishop on the issue, and then followed by the statement and comments by Bishop Jugis' spokesman (3 paragraphs-including this is the Vatican's decision). The story goes on to quote a spokesman from the USCCB who basically says every bishop does his own thing. This is followed by examples of bishops who allow women's feet to be washed. The story ends with a quote from Teresa Burger at Duke Divinty who questions the restriction to men-only.

We see the pattern here. I wonder how much of an effort was undertaken to find either supporters of Bishop Jurgis or other dioceses which follow the Vatican. (What does this say about our bishops when few can be found to obey-Oh yes, but we knew that....)

By the way, the story is online here.

Thursday, March 30, 2006

C-C parody. Can't help but to laugh...

TSO alerted me to this Crunchy Con blog parody. Here is the most hilarious clip:

Super Crunch!
[J-Pod 03/22 3:00PM]

I like yurts. I even like the word yurt. Yurt is fun to say. Yurt, yurt,

Pre-Agrarian = Super Crunchy
[Rod Dreher 03/22 12:01PM]

This email is probably a phony, but it illustrates my point so I'm going to pretend it's not.

I think you're too consumer oriented yourself, Mr. Dreher. Years ago family and I had been living in a fairly large house in the suburbs of Albany. We had all the luxuries: TV, a computer, comfortable furniture, storebought soap-- all of the trappings that kill a person's soul. Each of our four children had their own rooms! Can you imagine!?

Well, I put our priorities back on track. I gave our home to a poor family with three children and a dog with three legs-- but not before gluing some of the windows open and putting a crack in the foundation. I wouldn't want them to be unvirtuous, after all.

I built us a yurt in the appalaichan region. I hunt all our meat with pointy sticks I sharpened with my own teeth, and my wife gathers berries and grubs for garnish. We heat the yurt by collecting our own methane in discarded milk bottles. All our clothing is hand made by my wife and eldest daughter (7) from the hides of the animals I kill. Nobody in our yurt has set foot in a store for two years.

Naturally, we homeschool. I teach our sons how to hunt and use tools, and my wife teaches our daughters about whatever it is girls need to know for survival. I hope to marry them off to the sons of the family in the tent across the stream from us.

One of our children died of consumption last winter, but that's why a traditionalist has so many children in the first place. One must make sacrifices, after all. And if he's going to die of consumption instead of a good, Crunchy Con disease like pneumonia, then he's better off.

I applaud your decision to put your own children at risk in a high-crime area, Mr. Dreher, but your choice to live in a house and buy your own groceries makes me wonder how committed you really are to traditionalist thinking.

This guy really has my number. That's a real Crunchy Con, right there.

So, does modernization help us or handicap us?

Mary G. asks this question and takes some advice from Ma and Pa Wilder. Go see her answer:

St. Athanasius Academy: So, does modernization help us or handicap us?

Giving Up Stealing for Lent! (and other family stories) is available for pre-order at the the website today! It's a fun read. It should ship next week.

On Prayer...

From "He Leadeth Me":

Because the restless human mind, our chief instrument in all human communications, is also our greatest stumbling block to prayer. It seems by nature bent upon distraction rather than on recollection. It prefers to be free, to wander ceaselessly...Relax the body and the mind goes running off to recreation. We are creatures of habit, and we can sometimes help ourselves achieve a sort of self-control that leads more readily to recollection by taking up a posture we traditionally associate with prayer. Such an effort, moreover, such perseverence is an earnest of our desire to respond to God's promptings and to do his will. An attitude of readiness to try over and over again in our quest to find God and his will in prayer is itself a grace and a blessing of major consequence.

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Furrow # 134

We have to instill in our hearts a true horror for sin. Lord-say it with a contrite heart-may I never offend you again!...

This is why I like saying the stations of the cross according to St. Alphonsus Liguori. He really helps you see the horror of sin causing Christ's passion, and helps you to be more truly contrite and determined in your firm purpose of amendment. (Of course we fall again....)

Stations tonight at St. Catherine's...

"After the tsunami"

From CWR:

Ponnambalam is now determined to see her three children receive a good education and find careers that take them away from the sea. "This is a profession our community has followed for a long time without making any progress. Most of the women are saying it is time we focused on the education of our children and sent them to other jobs," reasoned the Hindu mother. ...

Father Verghese Mattamana told CWR that the tsunami and subsequent aid agency intervention has created an "awakening" and complelled the beneficiaries "to look critically at their lifestyles," and not just in economic terms. "Helping people imporve their incomes by alternative methods is one of the key programs of our tsunami relief work," said Father Mattamana.

People or readers (if I have any) may misinterpret what I am about to say-but I will say it anyway. Outside the context of tsunami recovery the statements by the monther and the good Father Mattamana hit me the wrong way. Oh yes, I believe in education. But I believe in education to know God and to serve fellow man (Christian caritas)-not for (primarily) economic reasons (although providing for one's family is economic, it is more about Christian caritas). I guess what struck me was the idea that fishing seemed to be portrayed (ignoring the context for a moment) as a less than noble or an inferior profession. I see nothing wrong with the philosopher fisherman. (Of course in the tsunami context, where everything was wiped out and is threatened with every hurricane season, you may find many reasons to change this situation.)

In hindsight, I could have picked a better example of education being illustrated as a primarily economic tool-but this is what I had at the moment...

What's wrong with this picture?

Taken from "Giant Home Workshop Manual" (Popular Science Publishing 1941).

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Cuthbert Mayne

If you have visited my other blog recently, you may have noted that RequiemPress is about to release a new booklet on St. Cuthbert Mayne, one of the English Martyrs. The booklet is ready for release tomorrow.

A little background: In 1905, a two volume set on the lives of the English Martyrs were released in England. Volume I covered the 15 martyrs under Henry VIII declared blessed by Pope Leo XIII. Volume II related the lives of 24 martyrs beatified by Leo XIII who died under Elizabeth I. Many of these martyrs are virtually unknown in America. RequiemPress is hoping to reprint the entire two volume set as individual booklets. They will be easy to carry and quick to read, but these heroic tales will inspire your heart with love for God and the Faith.

It should be up on the website for sale tomorrow when you wake up ($3.25 + S&H). (Our major release, Giving Up Stealing ... Lent!, is still at least a few days-possibly more-out.)

This booklet on St. Cuthbert Mayne (and the planned entire series on the English Martyrs) is a welcome return to our original mission of reprinting historical works.

Spam, Lent, Altar Boys, Fulton Sheen and ...

Comment spam is on the rise. The problem is that I get an email notification of comments, but they don't tell me which post it is attached to, so I can't easily find and delete. I really hate the comment spam solutions-I have had trouble with them on other blogs, but I may have to go that route. (Although to be perfectly honest, I don't have that many commenters anyway-so it shouldn't be such an inconvenience.)

Mr. Riddle reminds us here (as we should have been reminded at Mass on Sunday) that Lent is halfway through. How are you doing? I got an email the other day from a friend and he wrote, "I hope you are enjoying Lent in preparation...." I had never thought Lent was something to be enjoyed. Truly the enjoyment would be of a different sort than that of the Christmas season-but yes we should enjoy Lent: if it is bringing us closer to our Lord.

The Man in the Black Hat has a lengthy post (here) on the recent decision in the Arlington diocese to allow girls to serve on the altar. Here is a selection-illustrating a point I have been known to argue:

"It seems the old professor in the rectory was replaced by a younger, more 'dynamic' pastor, who eventually came under pressure to use girls as altar servers. The discipline of the time forbade this. So he announced in the bulletin that the role of "altar server" would be eliminated, to be replaced by a position known as "altar attendant," which would include both boys and girls. ... But as transparent and as juvenile as all this sounds -- and I have the bulletin announcement on file, so I can prove it -- everybody at the time bought it. Hook, line, and sinker! Everyone, that is, except for my old man, who actually called him up on the phone and gave him a good going-over. Compare this to hundreds of otherwise perfectly intelligent and mature adults, many of whom I have known since childhood, who hold real jobs and pay mortgages just like real grownups."

My question: Where were all the properly catechized, devout, and well-informed Catholics (we hear tell about from the pre-Vatican II church) who would oppose or at least question this innovation of the 'dynamic' pastor? By the way, same thing happened in my parish growing up. Like the Black-Hatted Man, my Dad was the only parishioner to vocally oppose this innovation and disobedience.


Long overdue: I have finally re-added (The 1917 Catholic Encyclopedia) to my links list.

Fulton Sheen's book The 7 Last Words (not on my sidebar) is a Lenten classic. It was written in 1933. If you read it at least once, you will read it again sometime. Questioning its availability the other day, I saw an ad for a similar book yesterday. I have never read it before, but I have confirmed it is not the same book. It is called Calvary and the Mass by Fulton Sheen written in 1936. It relates Christs words on the cross to the Mass. It is available from Coalition Ecclesia Dei.

More to come.... From Bethany, the small holding in Bethune...Oremus pro invicem!

Monday, March 27, 2006

Eternal Rest...

Request prayers for the soul of Donald O'Holohan, brother of our pastor. Donald O'Holohan died late last week. A doctor in Malaysia, he was 76 years old.

Requiem aeternam dona eis Domine, et lux perpetua luceat eis. Requiescant in pace. Amen.

(Eternal Rest Grant to them O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon them. May they rest in peace. Amen.)

Spiritual Reading & God's will

As mentioned a few days ago I have started re-reading "He Leadeth Me" by Fr. Walter Ciszak S.J. As the title suggests, this book is about being open to do and accept God's will-to let God lead us. Such a simple concept-one which we say "Of course, I know that." Yet we need to be reminded over and over, because so often we think our case is different. As it says in the book:

"Not the will of God as we might wish it, or as we might have envisioned it, or as we thought in our poor human wisdom it ought to be. ... His will for us was the twenty-four hours of each day: the people, the places, the circumstances he set before us in that time. Those were the things God knew were important to him and to us at that moment... (emphasis in the original) The temptation is to overlook these things as God's will. The temptation is to look beyond those things, precisely because they are so constant, so petty, so humdrum and routine and to seek to discover instead some other and nobler "will of God" in the abstract which fits our notion of what his will should be."

For some, this is the temptation-we need something better or bigger than what God has in mind-often because somewhere in our depths we are thinking of our own glory instead of God's? I think that is why we are told that our action must always come out of our prayer life. It is said that Mother Teresa would not let her sisters skip their morning prayer because a poor beggar was at the front doorstep. Prayer first, "the poor will always be with you." (This point touches on something Pope Benedict XVI writes in Deus Caritas Est! - more on this later.)

Spiritual reading can help you connect the dots in your prayer. Those words from your spiritual reading can stick with you during the day and enrich your prayer life. This morning I read:

"Being faithful to God demands a struggle. And it means close combat, man to man-the old man against the man of God-in one small thing after another, without giving in." (Furrow #126)

Because the message I read in "He Leadeth Me" about God's will still played in the back of my mind, this brief passage from Furrow this morning took on a meaning for me in the context of accepting God's will that otherwise it might not have done.

From Bethany, the small holding in Bethune...Oremus pro invicem!

The Weekend

Yard Sale went well. Advertising does pay. The best part, (besides making a little room to move around in the house and shop), we met a few more of our neighbors and fellow-Bethunians. We didn't have crowds mind you, so we were able to get alot of work done too. My oldest son and I spend a few hours making walking sticks while others worked on getting the house in order.

My youngest son had his birthday on Sunday. He is a joyful young man, very thoughtful and also kind. Sometimes you don't notice because he doesn't seek attention. It was nice to see him be the focus of attention for at least one day.

We also had a friend stop by unexpectedly. You don't know how rare (and welcome) this is in Bethune, since we still know only a few people well in the town and our old stomping grounds of Columbia are more than an hour away.

Finally finished reading Deus Caritas Est! on Sunday and do hope to post some thoughts on it this week.

Friday, March 24, 2006

Have you read "The Jeweler's Shop"?

The subtitle of this play is "A Meditation on the Sacrament of Matrimony Passing on Occasion into Drama". And so it is. Although written around 1960, then Bishop Karol Wojtyla wrote it in the style of the Rhapsodic Theater-the underground theater of the 40's in Poland. That is, a play to be performed in a small room with a small audience, thus few props and little action.

In fact, this play has little dialog. Most of the scenes are monologues where the speaker discusses what has happened.

The play is in 3 parts. It takes only about 30-40 minutes to read. (I did it on a flight from Columbia, SC to Atlanta, GA) . There is a movie based on the play-but I don't recommend it, because it doesn't try to imitate the play, but just the story. The story itself is fairly common and simple. Thus, the best the movie can aspire to-even with good acting-is a shadow of the play itself. The message or the fruit for meditation comes across in the monologues-in hearing the interpretation of the 'action' from the charactors themselves-(not simply viewing the action as in the movie and determining your own perspective).

For those who are married or who will be married soon, 'The Jeweler's Shop' makes several profound, yet simple observations on marriage-especially for today's culture. (In fact, it is somewhat of a shame that the author was known to be the Pope, because many either read it as a 'Catholic' work or won't read it at all for the same reason. On the other hand-maybe it wouldn't have gotten out of Poland to such wide readership if the author had been unknown....)

I am not going to tell the story other than to say it is about 3 couples or 3 marriages (one of which has not happened yet.) Each couple has their own tragedy of sorts to deal with. It is all there: death, fear, committment, unfaithfulness, mid-life crisis, lonliness. Perhaps the most moving of the the 3 involves that couple in an unhappy marriage-a marriage about to fall apart.

In looking for our salvation or happiness, we are told, we must look to our marriage and to our spouse. For the married (and for everyone for that matter), our path to sanctity, our salvation, our happines is intimately linked to our vocation.

It is quick read. If you are married, or plan to be, it is a good read. (It's also on the sidebar....)

The Pope's Army

Just added a new book to the 'amazon' sidebar. Haven't read it - and thus will soon put it down at the bottom with those other two I haven't read, but thought it looked interesting-and would like to read it someday. Saw it posted among the April "Catholic bestsellers" over at People of the Book.

The Baltimore Cathedral and Lotteries...

From George Weigel on CatholicExchange this morning:

"Like similar projects down through the ages, the Baltimore Cathedral was originally financed by a lottery, and as luck would have it, Archbishop Carroll, reaching into hundreds, perhaps thousands, of lottery tickets to choose the winner, picked his own ticket — and promptly gave his winnings back to the building fund. (Nary an eyebrow was raised.)"

SD Abortion Ban etc.

The Wandering Moon posts on the some of the potential fall out from South Dakota's abortion ban. There's always someone to see a new way to make a buck, eh.

Also, lest I forget-Blogs For Terri has asked for blog bursts, remembering her starvaton and death at the hands of the state one year ago this month. I think in January I posted how her sister spoke at our local Right to Life March in Columbia. Eternal rest grant to her O Lord....

Thursday, March 23, 2006


I'm sure this is obvious, but what exactly are these "Carnivals"? I see them linked to here and there: for example here's a link to one . Here's the link to another one from a few months ago. Is it a formal thing or can anyone have one? Inquiring minds ....

government schools....

The Deliberate Agrarian tells of his experience teaching ...

By the way: have been posting some stuff the past couple days on our upcoming releases at my other blog . These haven't hit the website yet: very soon God-willing.

Yard Sale!

Sometime last fall I reported on the yard sale we had that netted something like $9.11. Well, we're at it again.

Since Bethune doesn't have its own paper (say, that's an idea....) we didn't do newspaper ads last time, we just put up signs around town. Even with Camden being 20 miles away, we are going to advertise in their paper this time at the cost of $11.15 because it is the most prominent paper in town in the racks. We will do the sign thing again, possibly putting some up in Camden; definitely putting some up in Kershaw (17 miles away) because I do my paper route in Kershaw again tomorrow morning. Can't imagine that people would go that far for a yard sale, but you never know. It's not that we have really good stuff to sell, it is just that this place is pretty small (at least by some standards) so anything we do get necessitates a sell off of something else-otherwise we overcrowd. And of course the last yard sale didn't put much of a dent in our over-crowding. My shop, our garage, becomes the dumping ground. This makes working in there practically impossible.

Personally, in the past I have really enjoyed the yard sales we've had. We usually play some music and all the family is out there working together. This time it will be a bit different; a couple members will be absent because of a music obligation.

BTW, the requested yesterday were appreciated. Don't know the outcome yet, but God's will be done.

From Bethany, the small holding in Bethune...Oremus pro invicem!

newspapers, 'Crunchy Cons', book sales and parody

Had my "newspaper route" this morning. It really changes how I start my day-but I'm not complaining. It just means I have less time to check what is going on in the world before I start concentrating on our little world right here.

I note that Caelum et Terra is keeping an update for interesting discussions on the "Crunchy Con" blog at NRO. (BTW, if you want to buy the book, we link to somewhere way down on the sidebar.).

From Zenit: "More than 40,000 pre-publication sales of the Compendium have been recorded -- and the number is steadily climbing, says the bishops' Web site." (Now why don't RequiemPress books pre-pub sales go so well...?)

The Curt Jester points us to this hilarious but true (aren't most funny things those which have lots of truth in them) parody.

More later...

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

A few more notes

This article by fellow blogger Eric Scheske writes of blogs and motivations. It ends with a warning of sorts....

But I think it’s worth recalling the rest of Gregory of Sinai’s passage above: “But he who writes to please men, for fame or for display, loses his reward and will receive no profit from this either here or in the life to come; more, he will be condemned as a sycophant and a wicked poacher of the Word of God.”


My son is sitting at the desk behind me folding RequiemPress catalogs I just printed for a homeschool conference in Louisianna. His comment, "Dad why don't we print these in color?" I reply, "It costs too much." He: "Okay, I was just thinking more people might buy a book if they could see the colors." A budding entreperneur???

Changes in Arlington and other notes

Fr. Jim (Dappled Things) announces the allowance of the Tridentine Mass in the Arlington diocese-along with the allowance of female altar servers. (One step forward...) If you dig into the links, you will find that the Traditional Latin Mass will be celebrated at two parishes, one in Alexandria and one in Front Royal, VA.

I have been to St. John the Baptist in Front Royal many times. It is a new church, but furnished with the beautiful remains of closed churches and very traditional in style. If you hear Mass there, you will see the chapel veil in use. Many kneel to receive Holy Communion. Front Royal of course has Seton Home School, Christendom College, Human Life International, etc. Of course the Mass at St. John the Baptist is (from my experience) a model Novus Ordo. Now they'll have the best of both worlds.

Here (hat tip to Amy Welborn) is another reason why I hold that the Republican Party and I do not share the same goals for America.

Request for prayers today. Am exploring a possible new "thing" and can use all the help I can get.

More play rehearsal tonight, followed by CCD and then the Stations of the cross. I hope to get back here, but ...

If you are bored, you can always check out the final version of the cover of our next release on my other blog.

From Bethany, the small holding in Bethune...Oremus pro invicem!

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Guest Post-Vocation of Mothers

A couple of months ago, my little sister wrote a short post for my other blog on the vocation of motherhood. Of course she, Agnes Penny, is also the author of two of the books on my sidebar (Your Labor of Love & Your Vocation of Love-both from TAN Books). More people read what I post here than there. So I thought I would reprise her post here. It may be of interest and also may serve as a plug to buy one or both of her books: for yourself if you are a mother, or for someone you know who is or will be shortly. I haven't read the books entirely myself, only a little as a matter of brotherly interest, but you can get a taste from her comments below.

It’s hard to think of our life’s work as a vocation from God when our days are as hectic and busy as most mothers’ are. Consumed with changing diapers, scrubbing dishes and getting the children to pick up all the tiny scraps of paper that clutter the floor after a morning of making paper snowflakes, our spiritual lives can all too easily be neglected.

And yet, as mothers, we have a unique opportunity to grow in holiness and to lead others to sanctity as well. We learn patience and perseverance by gently, consistently and firmly teaching and disciplining our children. We learn humility by experiencing our every fault being observed, commented on, and even imitated by our ever-attentive children who absorb, indiscriminately, everything we do. We learn unselfishness by giving ourselves – even our very bodies during times of pregnancy and breastfeeding – and all our time and energy in nurturing and providing for the all the needs of the innocent darlings with whom God has blessed us. We are on-call 24 hours a day, losing sleep, eating interrupted meals, and serving others even when we ourselves feel sick. Truly, we mothers, among all people, have a unique chance to learn to suffer and to love as Christ Himself loves us.

But that is not all. In nurturing the spiritual lives of our children, we mothers can find an even greater opportunity to grow in holiness ourselves. After all, we want our children to be saints – but how can we teach them to be saints unless we become saints first? We cannot give them what we do not have. Therefore, as we try to explain the wonder of Christmas, the solemnity of Lent, and the miracle of Easter, we must first develop a true appreciation for these liturgical seasons ourselves. We must foster a devotion to Our Lady, the angels and the saints in ourselves if we desire to pass this devotion on to our children. Lastly, we must cultivate a real yearning for Jesus in the Holy Eucharist if we hope to prepare our children to long to receive Him as well.

Being a mother in today’s world is not easy. But then, becoming a saint has never been easy. Yet we, as mothers, whose very vocation is so wrapped up in loving and serving others, have an unparalleled chance to become holy and to help others to become holy as well. Let us pray to Our Lady, the Mother of mothers, that we may take full advantage of this glorious opportunity to become, and to form, saints!

Agnes just had her 5th child this month. If you decide to buy her book(s), she will get more $$ if you buy directly from TAN (I will get nothing). I will get a little and she will get a little more if you buy from one of the Amazon links on the sidebar. (BTW, I think any book you buy from Amazon when you go through one of the sidebar links to get it, benefits the shallow Curley coffers.)

Okay, it is not official, and we won't be hearing anything official for months, and further, we know how versions of official documents are leaked and bounced and changed. All that notwithstanding, this does give one hope...

Culture and Conversation

I was talking to another blogger the other day, and it was mentioned that (at least for the minor leagues of blogs) one tends to see and link to the same group of blogs on a consistent basis. Occasionally a new one comes and another is dropped, but on the average, I tend to refer to posts which I see on my meager sidebar of blogs, and of course if I link to a Catholic op-ed piece, 75% of the time it will be from CatholicExchange as this is where I visit everyday (I have an old email address there.) There is a vast world of Catholic blogs out there and Catholic web-magazines or new sources. It becomes impossible and impractical to try to keep up-especially with a library of words on paper at home to get caught up on (thus so many Lenten blog fasts?).

I only bring this up because in the past few weeks, every time I was going to mention something I saw on another blog, I decided to pass, as I figured all my readers have already read it or will in the course of the day without my referral.

All that being said, this morning I read a post, which among other things somewhat defined (informally) culture as that which people talk about when they get together. The test of the culture you are in, may be whether things like the Great Books and/or the permanent things are everyday topics of conversation or discussion-or how current offerings in the bookstore or in the news can be measured against or validated with these permanent things and classics. I daresay that most watercooler or coffee room discussions don't center on the meaning of the tunnel in Plato's Republic or about the latest release from Sophia Institute Press (what am I saying, I meant RequiemPress), but more likely center on the latest episode of "Survivor" (is that still on?) or the game last night, or the like. Certainly, typhoons in Australia, unrest in the Middle East, should also be part of the conversation. But my experience is that even these serious matters going on in the world are rarely discussed in casual conversations that are struck up with acquaintances (and for some with their friends also). They may be mentioned here and there, but they are not revisited everyday. We don't want to be pushed out of our comfort zone-it may mean we have to do something. (And no, I am not adverse to spending an hour analyzing the problem with the local basketball team either-it is just a matter of time and energy. Where do you spend the majority of your conversation or social time-you will find your heart. Does your heart rate get going when you talk about the Boston Celtics or about Crunchy Cons or about the war in Iraq?)

I recall some years ago when I "worked" for a living, (actually I made living on a lot less work-now I just work, the 'for a living part'?, we're still waiting) , I was having a conversation with a co-worker and it swung (by my design) around to abortion. This fellow agreed abortion was bad in general, but didn't think we should make it illegal. I said something about 4,000 abortions a day in this country since 1973 or so. He replied in some disbelief, "That's a high number."

I replied, "Yes it is a high number, that's part of the tragedy."

He replied again, "That's a high number."

I replied, "Yes it is a high number."

He replied, still in disbelief, "That's awfully high number."

I replied, "It is a high number. It is not disputed by anyone. If you don't believe the number, maybe you should find out for yourself. Don't trust me."

As he walked away, he said again, in disbelief, "That's a high number." He wouldn't talk to me again about anything more important than the weather. If he thought I was going to talk about anything of substance (not just abortion), he would hold up his hand and say "Not now. Gotta go!" He didn't want to be made aware of anything that might cause him to feel he needed to do something or to change an attitude. [And just to clarify, I am a pretty mild mannered guy-not pushy or overbearing (tell that to my kids). I really like people to figure things out for themselves-draw their own conclusions-this way it sticks.]

So, what culture do you hang out in? Of course, often it is not by choice. But unless you seek out the deeper culture in your friendships and develop it in your family, it will be lost to you and to our greater culture.

Oh yes, the original idea for this discussion came from this post.

From Bethany, the small holding in Bethune...Oremus pro invicem!

Monday, March 20, 2006

Seems like winter is back for a few days here. I guess this isn't news to most people in the country who are not just getting overnight lows in the high 30's like us, but are actually getting snow. Mrs. Curley is worried she will lose her lettuce, (overnight low on Wednesday is predicted to be 33). The spinach is looking good right now and won't have any survival problems til the real heat sets in. And I don't think she is worried about the herbs she planted a couple weeks ago. Our peach trees are blossoming and the plum tree is budding as is the rose of sharon which were given to us last fall. I haven't trimmed back the muscadine vines-I hope it is not too late. I missed it last year and the crop was sparse.

I had Brother HL-5140 Printer for the last two years. It was a real workhorse. Believe me we do a lot printing here. The fuser went, but I had purchased the 2-year warranty with the printer. Thus I was able to upgrade to the HL-5250DN Brother Printer, and with the rebate on, the new printer didn't cost me a dime-even when buying another 2-year warranty. The new printer does automatic double-sided printer, which is a real boon for us. The few times I have had a problem or question about the printer, the people at Brother have bent over backwards to help or make things right. This has not been my experience with other companies we’ve had warranties with. So if you want a workhorse printer, I do recommend the Brother units. (And they're cheaper than HP).

RequiemPress' next release (Giving Up Stealing...for Lent! see cover art below somewhere) is pretty close to available. We are also coming out with a booklet on St. Cuthbert Mayne-one of the English martyrs under Elizabeth I. The booklet on Cuthbert Mayne comes from a 2-volume set of the Lives of the English Martyrs originally published in 1905 in England. We hope to make them all available eventually in booklet form. We should have the Spring catalogs coming out this week and I guess we will have to update the website also. Of course if you don't want to read our books, there are some great books on the sidebar.

Take A Doctor at Calvary by Dr. Pierre Barbet; this is a medical study(written in the '30's) of what the Passion of Christ would have been like from studying the Shroud of Turin. Granted there are a few inaccuracies in Dr. Barbet's analysis of the Shroud due to technological advances, but the overall presentation is enlightening. Also, Dr. Barbet gives a 'meditation on Christ's suffering based on the medical evidence at the end of the book. I try to read this meditation during holy week every year.

From Bethany, the small holding in Bethune...Oremus pro invicem!

Friday, March 17, 2006

I haven't had much time to sit down here and blog-not that I have been getting my planned work done. Spent a few hours fixing car problems today (in vain I might add-this seems to be the pattern of my recent fixing endeavors). Fortunately, it wasn't my car. Still haven't blogged about Deus Caritas Est-because I haven't finished the last bit of it. But I really, really want to.

I think I am going to blog at least one day a week about one of the books in the sidebar-going down the list until I finish or add some more. This will help me recall some of the good things I have read and maybe generate some interest in these worthy books.

No St. Patrick's Day Parade in Bethune, SC. Even though it is Lent we may break the TV fast and watch "The Quiet Man" with John Wayne with a couple beers (sorry, can't find any Guiness in Bethune either and I didn't plan ahead). (Sorry also to those crunchy cons-the beer isn't homemade either. They sell Michelob Lager at 50 cents a bottle down the street.)

Time to get the gang gathered for the Rosary. From Bethany, the small holding in Bethune...Oremus pro invicem!

Thursday, March 16, 2006

And all these international lotteries mixing up their numbers constantly... tsk! tsk!
Took the day off from blogging. It is nice to have everyone home again.

Blogging will continue to be light as I am still working on several deadlines, not to mention having the newspaper route this morning.

If you need something to read...try one of those on the sidebar.

I am not too happy at having the blogroll below the books. Maybe I can move it to the top and have my "recent posts" and "archives" below the books.

Hopefully more later.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

The Final Day...

that is without Mrs. Curley. God-willing she will be home for supper tonight. I hope the turkey soup I am making will ease burden of a house in disorder-actually it is not that bad. We had an appliance malfunction yesterday which took much of my evening (in vain I might add) so some things haven't gotten done.

It could have been a fish soup. I took a long lunch hour today and we went fishing at the stream up the street. The Electric Co-op we belong to sends out a magazine each month. One page lists the minor and major feeding times for each day of the month. 12:01 PM was a minor feed time-and so it was. We caught one minor fish between us.

Found a couple more blogs which didn't make my transition to the new template and have added them. The the Deliberate Agrarian is talking about Crunchy Cons too.

In a followup to the piece by Russell Shaw on lay apostolate I linked to yesterday (on my other blog ) there was a piece on Sunday on Beliefnet. I have excerpted it over at my other blog today. Before the end of the week, I have my own comments to add.

Oldest son just told me the peanut butter and jelly sandwiches are ready, so that's all for now.

Monday, March 13, 2006

New Things

If you scroll down below the archives in the sidebar you can see that I am now providing links to buy books via Many of the books are favorites of mine. Most have to do with history-although there are a couple on marriage and theology in there-as well as the writings of Saint Thomas More and a couple on the Shroud of Turin.

I have also included two books by my youngest sister (she just had her 5th child and her husband teaches Theology at a Catholic high school, so she could use the sales).

Finally, I have included two recent releases which have been the subject of much discussion around st. blogs and even on this blog occasionally. These two are at the very bottom. I haven't read them, but think they are probably worth reading even if only as a discussion point (Crunchy Cons and the new book on Opus Dei by John Allen).

Several of the books are great Lenten reads: "He Leadeth Me" , "A Doctor at Calvary" and "The Sadness of Christ"(St. Thomas More). A couple are great books on marriage (you can figure those out for yourself.) I will try to add some fiction eventually.

If you are in the market for some good books, I can highly recommend all of these-excepting those two stated above which I haven't read.

Of course the idea is to find another way to fill the Curley coffers. So if you are inclined...

Of course some Requiem Press books are also available at Amazon-but you can get all of them here .

And, if you don't mind, I will periodically remind my gentle readers of the book links below. Oh yes, if you would like me to comment on any particular book below you are considering, leave a comment anytime and I will surely oblige.

By the way...

Your vote will still count on the cover options in the posts below. We are not out the door quite yet.

Lay Apostolate

Good article this morning (of course I am biased-read the whole thing and you'll see why) here. I excerpted it on my other blog. Hopefully-time permitting-I will comment more on the article over there later today or tonight.

Sunday, March 12, 2006

A couple of notes on culture...

From a ZENIT interview earlier in the week (Christine Vollmer, president of the Alliance For The Family)

Vollmer: The natural cohesion and modeling which makes small children so secure and so happy, and which gives the adolescent a firm sense of identity and of belonging, has been progressively destroyed, first by urban living and comprehensive schooling. The absence of the father who works in a factory or an office contributes to this effect. And now mothers are also much less available in the home, rushing about, trying to "do everything." The ensuing need for children to identify with peers and television characters instead of with their parents is, I believe, at the bottom of the problems that surface when they become teen-agers." ...

Q: What would you recommend to parents today to help their children live counter-culturally?

Vollmer: I would recommend that they endeavor to live an intensely home-oriented life … to create their own family "culture," if you will. Children need to know they are unique and extremely important to their parents. And they love family rituals, such as meals, celebrations, family jokes and stories which are a source of bonding and binding. They like to know where their family came from, and how their forebears lived. The intrusion of the world of TV, music and "what everybody else does" is a siren-song that should be avoided. Children will always prefer to "go against the current" if they feel they are a solid team with close and loving parents. Children put in day care at an early age will naturally be less bonded and will follow the culture, which is the first world they will discover.

On a another note, which I think is also related to culture and connections, Destination Order comments about the lack of true letter-writing. I used to be a pretty good correspondent myself, but I write few letters anymore.

Day 1

Mrs. Curley left with her parents for Florida to visit grandparents this morning. She took two of the kids with her, leaving me four boys and the youngest girl. They had gone to an earlier Mass and were still packing as we left for the 10:00 Mass. My two youngest whined for their Mother most of the way to Mass. They begged me to slow down so they wouldn't be getting so far away from their mother so quickly.

This afternoon we played some baseball in the front yard. Somewhere in the move here two years ago our bats got lost. So we use an old part of an oar we found hanging around. The handle is taped tightly to lessen the sting. Using the oar is actually good. Even with my mightiest swing I don't think I could reach the street using the oar.

During our playing, one of my sons was having real trouble throwing the ball straight to me. I was getting frustrated until I realized that while I spend a good deal of time with my boys working and doing other things, I haven't spent much time with them throwing the baseball, at least not since we moved to Bethany.

Friday we put on a little show for Nanny and Grampy. Some of the stuff we had done before for our own enjoyment (see this post.)

I was reminded today when reading this post over at Openbook that I was going to re-read "He Leadeth Me" for Lent. I had first read "With God in Russia" some years ago. I wondered why Fr. Ciszak's simply told the 'facts' in this book-not much as to what he was thinking and going through spiritually during his captivity. Apparently he wasn't ready to write it yet. He covers the same ground in "He Leadeth Me" except from the spritual side. It is powerful and at times surprising. Total dependence on God and true humility takes on a new meaning. I will start it this week.

So far during Lent I have been doing penance by reading yet another Flannery O'Connor novel, "The Violent Bear it Away", which I just finished. (I just don't understand why I continue to read when I complain after every story.) But now it is time to get serious about Lenten reading. I have been too lazy. More later tonight, the rosary calls...

From Bethany, the small holding in Bethune...Oremus pro invicem!

Saturday, March 11, 2006

Welcome Carmela Therese!

My little sister had her 5th child (4th girl) on Friday!

Took down a tree today with my father-in-law.

Am determined to have our new book (see below) to the printer on Monday. Then, in between new catalog printings and mailings to market the new book, I can think about spending some time in the shop making walking sticks and toy pistols and other things to sell at the Bethune Chicken Strut which it a little over a month away. It should be fun. The boys can certainly help with the making and learn something too.

Now that I have caught me breath from all that ax-swinging, I better get down to work again....

Friday, March 10, 2006

The Con Crunchy Blog is a parody of the NRO Crunchy Con Blog (Hat tip to Rod Dreher). It is very, very funny in spots. I wonder who is doing it.

I can't keep up with everything at the NRO Crunchy Con blog, but as TS O'Rama reported a few days ago (somewhere in this post), there are some surprising statements being thrown around. I had originally thought I was bit crunchy, but I am not sure what I am.

My in-laws are here for the weekend, and then they take off to Florida for a few days to visit grandparents with Mrs. Curley in tow. Am going to try to both work and keep track of the youngsters next week. I actually blog more (and longer) when Mrs. Curley is away, so get ready for some boring stuff next week-and my promised views on Deus Caritas Est.

Oh yes, remembered a few more blogs missing from the blogroll and added them today.

from Bethany, the small holding in Bethune...Oremus pro invicem!

Still in the trenches trying to get this finalized...

Or should it be this...

Or should it be something else? Like this:

Back to work. (And it has been almost a week since I promised something on Deus Caritas Est! - we must wait a little longer.)

Thursday, March 09, 2006

New Gig and other news...

Apparently you can't get kids to deliver newspapers anymore. I guess they get all the money they want handed to them. That's fine with me. I can use the cash. One morning a week, slightly earlier than my regular wakeup call, I am getting up and travelling to Kershaw, SC to deliver a couple hundred papers. I am a permanent, 1-day a week, sub for another carrier. (Probably picking up another day here and there as needed). This morning was my first official day on the job. Besides missing the paper box completely on my first delivery and tossing another into some bushes, I think I did okay with the rest. Maybe once I get the route down, it won't take me so long and I can get some thinking, or better yet, praying done in these early hours....

More exciting news: we are getting close to getting our next release out. Here is a preview draft of the cover. (Sorry I didn't do a cover poll on this one. But if you have any suggestions, send them on in. The color scheme and fonts are not yet set in stone.)

I have mentioned this book before in the last few weeks. It is a fun book, but not all fun: behind the humor there is a message about family life-an experience of life that is unfortunately missing in so many homes today.

More play rehearsal for the CCD class last night. The play is coming along very well. I am proud of these kids. We have plenty of time to polish this up and put on good show. As mentioned in an earlier post about this play, the plot involves an older dying man, (Mr. Finn), who thinks he has been too sinful in life for God to forgive him. In class last night-sandwiched between rehearsal and the Stations of the Cross-we were studying the 1st Commandment and sins against it (actually, in particular against hope). Of course despair is one of those sins. As soon as it was mentioned, one of our students blurted out, "That's Mr. Finn." It is good to see the dots connected.

From Bethany, the small holding in Bethune...Oremus pro invicem!

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Wednesday Morning

Did a little more housecleaning on the blog this morning-fixed a bad link and added a couple ones forgotten in the transition. Sometime I may add more, but I don't have much time to explore new blogs. I have enough trouble keeping up with the meager blogroll I have now.

TS mentions (here) the blessing of passing on your Patron Saint's feast day. I have known a couple similar situations. Recently the mother of one of the CCD teachers at our parish passed away and the funeral Mass landed on the feast of St. Agnes-her mother's patroness. Our pastor noticed it the day before the funeral.

Closer to home, was the case of my Dad. He was hit by a car and died of injuries sustained about 24 hours later. Originally my Mom had planned on Thursday afternoon/evening wakes and Friday funeral Mass and burial. The funeral director cautioned her to postpone a day because the coroner would need to make an examinaton due to the death by accident. My Mom agreed to have the funeral on Saturday, November 13th. The night after Dad died, I was staying with my Mom at home and couldn't sleep. My Mom had a calendar with the traditional saints' feasts (which included those who are not on the official or universal calendar anymore). It was about 2 AM and I happened to look at the calendar. I noticed that November 13th was the traditional feast of St. Stanislaus Kostka-my Dad's patron saint. I was flooded with joy and consolation. Of course I wanted to tell somebody, but I was the only one up. May his soul and all of the faithful departed rest in peace.

From Bethany, the small holding in Bethune...Oremus pro invicem!

Tuesday, March 07, 2006


UPDATE: Okay, fixed some of the links. I'm sure I missed some, but will catch up eventually.

Was fooling around with templates this morning, but didn't think I saved the changes. Guess I did. Will have to redo my links and blogroll sometime. This week is pretty crowded as we are trying to put a book "to bed", but I'll try to get to it.


Let's hear it for South Dakota lawmakers who passed and signed the abortion ban for that state. Some say it is a waste of time-that the Supreme Court will strike the law down. But I (who am I?) say it is not. You keep going back. You keep putting on the pressure. (As they used to say in one-on-one drills: You keep your feet moving.)

Of course our "pro-life" president "signalled his opposition to a South Dakota abortion ban that forbids the procedure even in cases of rape or incest, saying he favors such exceptions."

This position of "pro-life" politicians always has confused me. Their insistance on the 'exceptions' show either their inferior intellect and logic in reasoning moral issues, or show that to them abortion is just another issue to be compromised and spun. It is nonsensical to say an unborn baby is an individual with rights under our constitution unless the father is a criminal of a certain type-then the unborn baby is a blob of tissue with no rights. No wonder the forces of evil continue to win these battles. At least their position is consistent. We only want to get half-wet. I heard a speaker say once that abortion will never but defeated in this country until the "pro-lifers" stop using artifical contraception. Think about it....

From Bethany, the small holding in Bethune...Oremus pro invicem!

PS: Remember RequiemPress' Lenten specials.

Saturday, March 04, 2006

This was the front page of the Lancaster (SC) News on Friday!

There was a second picture below this one with Fr. John administering ashes. No story with the pictures, just a short paragraph (which could have used some Catholic perspective in writing it).

Deus Cartitas Est!

I am very excited! Yesterday I started reading Pope Benedict XVI's first encyclical. I had not read any excerpts yet appearing on ZENIT or on other blogs. I had read some commentary, but not much. Of the commentary I did read, most focussed on the first part of the letter (the difference between eros and agape).

I have not finished the encyclical, but am close. Based on what I have read so far, (I am well into part II), when I do finish it, I believe I will have a great need to write about it, both here and on my other blog and elsewhere-especially focussing on the second part of the letter.

I don't think I would have appreciated this encyclical as much 3 years ago as I do now. 3 years ago it would have been just "Ho, hum. I've heard all this before." However, in the past year or so I have learned so much more about Christian charity and my heart aches because of my failings in this area, both in practice and understanding.

More to come... (after I finish the encylical and get my chores done around here).

From Bethany, the small holding in Bethune...Oremus pro invicem!

Friday, March 03, 2006

Friday Morning

Yesterday the temperature hit the 80's. Mrs. Curley did some planting. I worked on several outdoor projects in the late afternoon. For some time we have needed to add a rabbit cage and the support structure for such. I put the posts in yesterday and hope to do the rest by the end of the weekend. We also converted our compost bin, which did not have adequate circulation or adequate access for turning it over, into a compost heap. Hopefully this will work better.

Speaking of rabbits above, we mated two of them a couple weeks ago. Yesterday we put the does back with the buck to see if they would reject him (a sign that they are pregnant). They did not reject him, so we will see if it takes this time....

Going to pick up some free pallets at the local newspaper office today. Pallet wood, depending on the condition, is great for odd projects-in this case, probably to be part of a more permanent roof over the rabbit cages. (A tarp has been doing the job up to this point, but it is wearing thin.)

Also up for the weekend will be to clean out the chicken coops. We need to get all that good manure into the compost heap and turn the soil over. Must also change the oil in the car(s) and replace a blinker.

Blog round-up: The Wandering Moon wonders who is really experiencing the penance resulting from all the blogfasting going on during lent around st. blogs. ...I was going to report more interesting things around the blog world, but am too tired to continue this morning, maybe later.

From Bethany, the small holding in Bethune...Oremus pro invicem!

Thursday, March 02, 2006

weather, ashes, plays, and books

Sunday night it got down to 27 (F)-but Monday during the day it was in the 70's. This morning is the first in a long time where I am not wrapped in blanket as I begin the work day. I think we may have seen our last below freezing temperatures in SC for the year. I know Mrs. Curley plans to be planting this weekend. (Her spinach, planted a few weeks ago, is coming up now.)

We got our ashes last night. Father had Mass during our regular CCD period so that all the students could go. The church was packed-overflowing out the doors. The Hispanic population was out in full force. And of course there were many, many children present.

We had our first rehearsal, a read-thru, on the play our CCD class is putting on yesterday evening. Mrs. Curley and I are directing the play. It is hard work (enjoyable, but hard work). I am starting to have new respect for directors. So much to keep track of...

We are in the final stages of preparing our next release. As mentioned in late January, this new book is a little different for us. It is a collection of family stories told by the youngest of 11 children. It is called: "Giving Up Stealing... for Lent!" by Brother Charles Madden OFM Conv. (You may recognize him from his popular book on Freemasonery published by TAN books.) The book is great fun to read. [One of our proof-readers told me that she was-as is sometimes her custom-reading the book at the back of Church. She was laughing so loud and often, she had to leave because others were trying to pray.] When you finish the book, you do get the sense that you have read more than just a collection of sometimes humorous, sometimes more serious stories. Together, these stories (which are told in only mildly chronoligical order) weave a tapistry about family life-the way it should be lived, even with the faults and failings of each member. It is hard to explain exactly, (although as chief marketeer of the book, I am going to have to find a way). So look for it in a few weeks. We will probably be taking pre-orders late next week.

From Bethany, the small holding in Bethune...Oremus pro invicem!

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Lent, penance, chickens, crafts, and more Lent

Ash Wednesday is here. If you are reading this, you know that I am not abstaining from my blog during Lent. I have always assumed that those who do abstain, do so in order to spend that time in more prayer or in some sacrificial endeavor. I commend them for it. At least three of the blogs on my blogroll over there will be blogfasting to some extent or another.

It is funny, for some time I thought that by doing enough penances I could catch up, or make up for my sinfulness and the damage my sinfulness had done to others. Of course this spirals into more and more severe penances (I think a heresy eventually comes out of this, but I can't remember the name of it). One day, in discouragement, I realized I was sinning faster than I could possibly do penance. At that moment of grace, I was shown how much I needed God's mercy. So from then on, I didn't view penance so much as a competition, but something more joyful. Penance became a way to open my heart, or to clean it out of all those things I am attached to - so as to make room for Christ.

The rooster is gone. For the first time in well over a year, no (live) chickens grace the grounds at Bethany. Yesterday we killed, plucked, and dressed 8 chickens (2 roosters and 6 hens), the last of our flock. It was done in record time. The four oldest paired off and had a plucking contest with the prize (staying up for a movie the last day before lent) hanging in the balance. The plucking (no dunking in boiling water required) went extremely well and the two teams ended in a photo finish! (Both stayed up for the movie, but the winning team ate cookies while other 'fasted'). While I helped them slaughter the first couple chickens, they did the rest, the first time for some of them. None of us enjoy it. I dressed the chickens in record time too (a couple new techniques I discovered greatly ease some of the more difficult parts, and I found that hens are easier than roosters). One of the hens had an egg ready to lay, the shell was even hard, which I took out while dressing - much to the young ones amazement. We will miss the rooster crowing in the mornings, but this will give us a chance to rejuvanate the chicken coop and run area. We will probably get some more in the summer sometime.

The Chicken Strut. Bethune has a festival every year named the 'Chicken Strut'. Last year it was scaled back quite a bit (a tractor pull and a car show only), but this year it is supposed to return to its former glory, with vendors and crafts and street dancing, parades, pony rides, etc. etc. The Curley's are planning to get a craft booth. Mrs. Curley and daughter have been gathering foliage and vines for wreaths. The boys and I will try our hands at making some more wooden guns and walking sticks, among other things. This should be fun and for all of us and a good way to get to know other people in the area. They say that 20,000 people come to this event. We will see.

Speaking of crafts, I came across an article here on crafting by Catherine Doherty. It is funny how a name you never heard of starts popping up everywhere. (See here for an explanation.) An excerpt:

Arts and crafts made by one's own hands, reflecting the ingenuity and creation of one's own mind, can bring beauty into the world and make God's presence more visible. For all creative effort is from God, and God is Beauty itself. Both crafts and the fine arts, such as painting and sculpture, can be a bond of tradition, bridging the old and the new. Unless there are such bridges, people are fragmented, each like an island unto himself or herself. We are unmoored and do not know where we came from or where we are going. Because of the rapid pace of our technological age, an artistic bridge with our roots is more needed than ever....

What today are called crafts, yesterday were simply all the things people needed to make in order to live: clothes, housing, tools and domestic utensils. So crafts were not just a pastime to keep occupied but rather one's creativeness at work, finding ways to fill real needs. As people became more skillful they crafted more beautifully the things they needed. Artists who are humble and are people of prayer realize that God is going to create through them. They bring a new dimension to human lives: they bring enthusiasm for art, for beauty, and creativity to everyone they meet.

Back to Lent. If you didn't check out RequiemPress' lenten specials yesterday at my other blog, Here's the spiel:

During lent you will be spending more time in prayer and sacrifice. What better way to offer these prayers and sacrifices than for the Holy Souls in Purgatory? Lent would be a good time to start a daily practice-a committment if you will-of praying for the holy souls.

"Daily Prayers for the Church Suffering" ($1.85) may just be the booklet to get you started. If features a short prayer every day of the week for a particular soul, followed by the recitation of Psalm 129 (130). The daily prayer follows Christ's passion through the week. [You may also want to spread this devotion by buying bulk quantities and distributing them-almsgiving for the Holy Souls. There are attractive discounts available at the Requiem Press website ]

If you plan to make extra visits and holy hours in front of the Blessed Sacrament this Lent, "Prayers in the Presence of the Holy Eucharist for the Church Suffering" ($2.50) may be another option. In this booklet by Fr. Xavier Lasance, a holy hour is mapped out (prayers for Adoration, Thanksgiving, Petition, and Reparation) as well as a meditation and prayers particular to the holy souls in Purgatory.

For your own spiritual reading during lent, "Witnesses to the Holy Mass and other sermons" by Dom Bede Camm OSB (regularily $8.95) is hard to beat. It is a book that can reinvigorate your spirit of sacrifice and most especially love of God. Dom Camm introduces us to some of the English martyrs under the persecutions of Henry VIII and Elizabeth I. He shows how they can be an example to us today even if we are not under such a persecution. (It also makes a great gift to others who are looking for some Lenten reading.)

So here's the Lenten Special: Get all three books for just $7.95! When you order Witnesses to the Holy Mass at this discounted price, we will automatically include the two booklets for the holy souls.

May God bless your prayers and sacrifices during this holy season!