Saint Benedict and the Raven

If you are not familiar with Saint Benedict, you might wonder why he is often pictured with a Raven.

The stories say that the Raven became his friend while he was living as a hermit.  Saint Benedict would share bits of his bread, and being a smart bird, Mr. Raven kept coming back.  When Saint Benedict moved to live in a monastery, the Raven followed along.  He often showed up at mealtimes for the bits of bread Saint Benedict would save for him.

One day Saint Benedict was given a “gift” of poisoned bread.  Instead of eating it, Saint Benedict told the Raven to carry the loaf far away and drop it where no one would find it and eat it.  The Raven obeyed, and then came back for his food.  I bet the Saint gave him a special treat to eat that day.

Tonight the slugs outside are eating  their bread.  I wonder if they might rescue me from something someday?  I kind of doubt it, but you never know!   Chirp, Chirp!

Summer Lessons

I’ve sure been quiet lately. To make up for it, here are some things I have learned this summer. I’m sure you will find them all extremely useful!

LESSON ONE
Do not underestimate how quickly four year-olds-grow.  Especially if they are going to spend any time alone in your bedroom where there are jars of lotion.

LESSON TWO
If you move all lotion and breakables to higher places, little Miss “I stood on my tippy-toes!” will stay out of your room completely during that visit.

LESSON THREE
If you suspect you will run out of yarn while knitting a sweater, STOP KNITTING!

LESSON FOUR
Slugs LOVE zucchini!

LESSON FIVE
If you have touched a banana, a slug might mistakenly try to eat your hand instead of the banana.

LESSON SIX
If you have just finished eating a peanut butter and honey sandwich, a slug will deliberately try to eat your hand.

LESSON SEVEN
If you are wearing Kiss My Face Honey and Calendula lotion, every slug you touch will repeatedly try to eat you, even when you keep knocking them on the head to make them stop.

LESSON EIGHT
Even though slugs have more teeth than a shark, it doesn’t hurt when they try to eat you. It is more like little raspy things scraping your skin over and over. If they continue it for very long, your skin will end up feeling slightly irritated later – kind of like it was exfoliated too much!

LESSON NINE
If you set up a new email account under the name of this blog, make sure you don’t leave the “r” out of “nocturnal”. No matter how many times you request a new password, you will not be able to sign in with the correct spelling.

Now that I’ve shared my wisdom with you all, I am sure your lives will be much happier. Learn from my mistakes, ha ha! Off to check my slug friends. They are eating pears tonight, and don’t seem to mind that it is not zucchini. Chirp, Chirp!

The Children Of The Needy

I learned something fun tonight that I thought I’d share with you.  Afghans for Afghanistan (A4A) is an organization I have sent clothing to for years.   They just received a request from a hospital in Kabul for infant socks and hats.  Unfortunately the time frame is quite short.  To get the items to the hospital by winter, A4A needs to receive them by July 3 at the latest.

When I took a break from the cute little baby hat I had started knitting to say Evening Prayer, I was shocked at how perfect it was!  The first prayer was Psalm 72, which many believe speak prophetically of Jesus’ Kingship.  Listen to these verses:

May He defend the poor of the people and save the children of the needy.

For He shall save the poor when they cry, and the needy who are helpless.

He will have pity on the weak, and save the lives of the poor.

 Afghanistan has one of the highest child mortality rates in the world, mainly because of the combination of cold winters and poverty. Many babies don’t survive their first 48 hours.  Studies have proven that giving these new moms a warm wool hat for their baby can literally save the newborn’s life.  Can you imagine being so poor that your baby dies because you don’t have a hat?  It’s so sad!

Theresa of Avila wrote these words:  “Christ has no Body now but yours.  No hands, no feet on earth but yours.  Yours are the eyes through which He looks compassion on this world.  Yours are the feet with which He walks to do good.  Yours are the hands through which He blesses all the world.”

Remember how much Jesus loved the children?  He rebuked His disciples for keeping them away, and He took them in His arms and blessed them.  How much He must love the children of Afghanistan!

Do you knit or crochet?  (A4A doesn’t accept store bought, used, or sewn items.  It makes the customs forms more complicated.)  Want to let Jesus use your hands and help Him bless His precious children?  Here is the link to A4A’s main website with all the information.  Now back to my knitting!  Chirp, chirp!

 

 

 

Please, Let Him Be Loved

Tonight I read a post on Vultus Christi that brought tears to my eyes.  Here is the link:  God Hidden and Unknown.  I suggest you read it before reading the rest of my post.

I am going to share something with you that almost no-one knows.  To prevent scandal I have not even told most of my family and friends.  But I feel compelled to speak out now.

In my work with our parish altar linens I have found very similar things.  Jesus in the Eucharist is being thrown away almost every week.  I have held pieces of the Sacred Host in my hand with a purificator that had mucus spat onto it.  I have found corporals that were burnt and coated with sugar.  I have sometimes found 20 – 40 fragments at a time thrown away, often along with towels filled with coffee, filthy water, or rotting plants.  Two weeks ago, a priest’s purificator was covered in mud.  Last week, a purificator was used for dusting.

Every effort I have made to get this stopped has failed.  Even going to the Archbishop causes just a temporary improvement.

For almost five years I have cried, I have prayed, and I have pleaded with God the Father to cause us to love His Son in the Eucharist.  And now I am asking all of you to please join my prayers.  If you are a non-Catholic Christian, please pray that Jesus is loved in whatever way you feel comfortable.  And if you aren’t Christian at all, thanks so much for reading!  I welcome your good wishes and thoughts, and if you feel like trying a prayer, hooray!

I will end this post with a prayer quoted from Prior Kirby at Vultus Christi:

Prayer for Eucharistic Light and Fire

Send, O Jesus, a penetrating light upon thy priests. Enkindle a fire of love in their hearts. Increase their faith and grace them with an angelic reverence in Thy presence, lest by treating Thee carelessly, or with indifference, they scandalize the little ones who look to them for an example of living faith and of humble adoration.

Reveal, O Jesus, Thy Eucharistic Face! Let the flames that escape from Thy Eucharistic Heart enkindle a great body of adorers, especially among Thine own priests, lest Thy Church suffer too great a darkness, too piercing a cold.   Amen.

“Amen, amen, and amen!” says this little Sparrow with all her heart.

“Be Altogether Hidden In Jesus”

Last night I read a lovely letter written by Mother Mectilde de Bar (1614 – 1698).  She founded the Benedictines of Perpetual Adoration of the Most Holy Sacrament  in France.  I like to think of her as my spiritual mother.  The only English source for her writings I have found is at Prior Kirby’s blog, Vultus Christi.

This letter is written to her nuns in a new foundation.  Mother Mectilde prays that they, “Be altogether hidden in Jesus in the August Sacrament.  There I will look for you always, and I don’t want to find you anywhere else.  I entreat you to make your dwelling there.”

In tonight’s Evening Prayer we prayed Psalm 27

“There is one thing I ask of the Lord, for this I long,

to live in the House of the Lord, all the days of my life,

To savor the sweetness of the Lord, to behold His Temple.”

Then the antiphon for the evening canticle said:

“If you live in Me, and My words live in you, all you ask for will be yours, alleluia.”

You may wonder where I am going with all of this?  The Humanity of Jesus is the “Temple not made by human hands.”  (John 2:19 – 21)   All the fullness of the Godhead dwells withing His human body.  (Colossian 2:9)  We lucky Catholics have that Humanity dwelling with us in the Real Presence of the Eucharist.

Mother Mectilde prayed that her daughters learn to dwell within Jesus in the Eucharist.

Another of my favorite Benedictines, Abbot Marmion, teaches that we make true contact with the Person of Jesus by faith and love.  That is how we learn to dwell within Him.  As we draw closer to Him, His Grace purifies us.  We learn to let go of the things in our life that aren’t what God wants.  Then we are drawn by the Holy Spirit to spend even more time with Jesus.  Little by little we learn to dwell within Him more completely.

He is the Vine, we are the branches.  Without Him, we can do nothing.  With Him we can do all things that the Father wills.  Just dwell in Jesus in the Eucharist, savor His sweetness and let Him change you so you can do God’s will.  For a tiny, weak Sparrow, that’s a lovely and very comforting thought.

 

OOPS!

Here’s a bit of advice I thought I’d share with you:

If you are going to wash some cherries before unloading the dishwasher, make SURE your hands are completely dry before trying to pick up 4 plates at the same time.  

If your hands are still wet, you WILL drop all the plates right on top of a large bowl.  That bowl WILL shatter into a thousand pieces.

If that bowl happened to be right above the dishwasher’s soap dispenser, it will take FOREVER to get the shards out of that dispenser.

Some of those shards WILL bounce out of the dishwasher onto the floor, which means the floor needs to be super cleaned, too.

The whole mess will take about an hour to clean up, and you will be late for saying Morning Prayer.

To look at the bright side, I still had time for Morning Prayer, none of the plates broke, I somehow didn’t cut myself, and the clean kitchen floor looks very nice!  And now this tired Sparrow is going to bed.  Chirp! Chirp!

 

 

Teach Me To Do Your Will

 

Make me know the way I should walk:  to You I lift up my soul.

Teach me to do Your Will, for You, O Lord, are my God.

Let Your good Spirit guide me in ways that are level and smooth.

Psalm 143: 8, 10

 

Wednesday night I did something that will surprise most of the people who know me.  I sent a letter to our Parish telling them that I am quitting my work with the altar linens.

If you read my earlier post about the altar linens, you know how much this work means to me.  It has become a very special part of my relationship with Jesus, especially during the months I can’t go to Mass.

So why am I quitting?  I am quitting simply because I believe it is God’s Will.

Several months ago the strangest thing happened.  I was suddenly filled with the sense that my time working with the linens was going to end soon.  I needed to get things ready to hand over to someone else.  There were no visions, no “words from God”.  Just this quiet and peaceful SOMETHING that wouldn’t go away.

Over the next few months I kept praying that God would show me His will.  I asked others to pray, too.  All along, this quiet SOMETHING never went away.  In fact it only became stronger and stronger.

I wrote the letter to the Church a few weeks ago, but didn’t send it.  Over and over I kept telling God, “If you don’t want me to send this, let me know!”   Instead, I felt more and more certain that I am supposed to quit, so I sent it.

There is one more funny bit to this story.  You see, God kind of tricked me when He gave me this job almost five years ago.  All my life I have hated ironing.  I avoided it like the plague.  But when I read that request for help in the church bulletin, God zapped me with something.  Seriously!  Suddenly I wanted to wash and iron those altar linens so badly!  I even had to keep praying “Not my will but Yours be done,”  because I was worried there would be too many volunteers and I would miss my chance.

Turns out I was the only one who called.  Most Parishes our size have groups of people who take turns doing the altar linens, but we have trouble getting people to volunteer for things.  In our Parish, I AM the group.

I told the Church I would keep working until a replacement has been found.  I figure that would be the final confirmation that God really does want me to stop.  I could be doing the linens for a long time, or maybe God’s planning to zap somebody again?  Who knows?  It’s in His hands now.  I like it that way.

I need to go and iron some altar linens for Jesus.  Chirp, Chirp!

 

 

Chirp, Chirp, I’m Back!

Hello!  Sorry I’ve been so quiet lately.  Everything I thought of writing just seemed not to fit.  Any little spiritual bits from my reading seemed  too personal or too difficult to explain because it was so specifically related to things I haven’t shared here.  As for the rest, well here are some examples:

I could have told you about my adventures being a mighty T-Rex.  My niece and I have been tracking and hunting the herbivores.  I’m very sad to say that Grandma keeps being eaten.  Grandpa always seems to survive for some reason.  But did you really need to learn that  broth is actually “carrion juice” and dinosaurs can shoot beams out of their claws that paralyze their prey?

I could have told you about a slug funeral.  Rest in peace, Graham Cracker.  I’m very sorry I stepped on you!

I could have told you about the first sweater I ever knit for myself.  I was working on it during Lent, which turned out to be quite appropriate.  Just about everything went wrong and had to be re-done, and the still-not-finished sweater doesn’t fit!  The lace is pretty, though.

I could have told you about the absolutely enormous centipede that jumped out of the Church laundry bag and scared the heck out of me while I was working on the altar linens.

You see what I mean?  The Easter season just didn’t seem the right time for carnage and hunting, eating grandparents, slug funerals, giant bugs, and knitting failures!

By the way, I’m babysitting Wednesday night.  I suspect that the T-Rex’s will be on the prowl again.  Fortunately both Grandma and Grandpa will be safely out of the house that night, so they will both survive.  I hope!

 

Sing With Me!

 

I haven’t been to Mass since February because of the sunlight, but tonight I get to go to the Easter Vigil Mass!!!!  As I’ve been looking forward to this all week, bits and pieces picked up from Liturgy of the Hours have been running through my mind.  They all fit together so well, I thought I’d share them with you.  Happy Easter.

 

The Sparrow’s Easter Song

You are the fairest of the children of men, and graciousness is poured out upon Your lips.

Every word You speak is full of grace.

So I will gaze on You in the Sanctuary, to see Your Strength and Your Glory.

For Your Strength is my delight.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

My soul shall be filled as with a  banquet, my mouth shall praise You with joy.

In the shadow of Your wings I rejoice.

We are filled with the blessings of Your House.

There the Sparrow has found her home.

In the shelter of your Tabernacle I have built my nest.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Oh, happy Sparrow!  Forget your own people and your father’s house!

So will the King desire your beauty.

He is your Lord.

Pay homage to Him.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

For the King takes delight in His people!

He crowns the poor with salvation.

So I will bless You all my life

My soul clings to You;

Your right Hand holds me fast.

Your Will is my heritage forever

 

 

“Don’t be afraid! We aren’t going to eat you!”

Tonight I babysat my four year old niece.  (I’ll call her L.)  Her current “obsession” is the show Dinosaur Train.  She can make up stories for hours.  Part of the story tonight had the main dinosaur family hiding from predators.

Shortly before her parents came to pick her up, I looked outside to make sure none of my slug friends were by the front door.  I didn’t want them to be stepped on.  One fellow was out there.  It wasn’t the giant Splotches, but a smaller member of his family.  I decided to bring him inside to show L.  I don’t think she liked him much until I told her he was all curled up because he was scared.  He thought I was a predator and was going to eat him.

L is a very sweet little girl, and she started talking to the slug.  “Don’t be afraid!  We are nice.  We aren’t going to eat you!”  Pretty soon the slug pulled his head out of his shell. (Yes, slugs have a shell on their back under the skin.  It’s called their shield.)  I showed L that his eyes were on the tips of his feelers, and she became fascinated with them.  When he turned his head towards her she said, “He likes me!”

The slug started walking around on my hand, and L wondered if he would go onto her hand.  Mr. Slug walked right over.  She was thrilled.  Grandma was upstairs studying for a class she is taking.  We decided to go up and show off L’s new friend.  Ha ha!  Poor Grandma!

By this time I was feeling a bit sorry for the slug.  I’m not sure he was having much fun being poked by a four year old, no matter how friendly she was.  So I suggested we get him some food and put him outside to eat.  L thought that was a good idea.  I got two slug favorites, bread and banana.  (I figured he deserved both!) and we went outside.

I’m afraid all poor Mr. Slug could think of was getting away as fast as he could.  He went right over the bread without a nibble.  We kept putting the food back in front of him, but he just kept going!  Then L set the banana right on top of his head.  Poor slug!  I suggested we go back in the house.  When I peeked out a few minutes later, the slug was nowhere to be seen.  I suspect I won’t be seeing him again for quite a while!