Saturday, October 05, 2013



Who, what do you kiss?

The topic came up in an email.  A Chinese lady who reads my blog complained about a little kid - a toddler - who kisses people on the lips.  She thought it was inappropriate and could possibly indicate something more sinister.  I mentioned that my dad kissed everyone on the lips, men, women, children.  Not just randomly of course, but when the situation was right - say the waitress at dinner was especially nice - cases like that.  The fact that he opened his mouth always seemed rather gross to me.  That isn't the point of this post however.

In my response to the Chinese lady, I told her I rarely ever kiss(ed) anyone.  I'm not a kisser.  I have to force myself to kiss anyone.  I blame my mother.  As a toddler I used to make smoochy sounds before going to bed, as a way of being cute and asking for a kiss good night, until one night she yelled at me to "Just ask for a kiss if that's what you want you little bastard!  I get so sick of hearing you make those insipid sounds!  Speak!"  I know!  She could be so strict - raised by nuns, you know.

So anyway - that ended the good night kisses.  Come to think of it, I never even kissed her good bye on her death bed.

So who, what do I kiss?

As I told the Chinese lady, I do kiss things, and very rarely people - just a peck on the cheek mind you.

Once my sister came to visit and I forced myself to kiss her on the cheek and she pushed me away and told me to knock it off, "Don't start acting like dad!"  I was grateful not to have to kiss her again.  I've had friends who insist on kisses - I offered it up, as a sacrifice and an act of charity, did it as quickly as possible.  Thankfully the practice of 'air-kisses' has trickled down to the lower classes.

For the most part I only kiss holy things - except for my cat, I suppose.  I kiss my cat's nose sometimes.  She may not like it however, since she immediately licks her nose as if she is licking it off.  I really think cats prefer rubbing noses instead of kissing.

As I said, I kiss holy things.  I kiss relics, holy card images, the Bible, the crucifix, my rosary, icons, the feet of statues, and so on.  I usually kiss my hand if I just received communion in the hand.  I've also kissed a bishop's ring once or twice - although that's kind of weird for me, and I think it was weird for the last bishop I did it too as well.  I leaned too far in and my lips parted over it - the ring.  It was weird.  I knew him as a priest, so I was just trying to be nice.

Oh!  At times I have kissed my forefinger and placed it on a person's forehead.  They are usually dead by that time.

Now hugs are different.  I can kind of hug people.  I prefer to do it in emails however.

Big hug!

H/T Nankin Chow Mein Halloween


Beato Marvelli

October 5

A single layman.
Blessed Alberto Marvelli, known in life as an engineer and charitable worker, lived from 1918 to 1946 in the diocese of Rimini, Italy. Like his mentor, Blessed Pier Giorgio Frassati, Alberto lived a short life, dying at the age of 28. 
His spirituality, completely free of exaggeration, was perfectly integrated with his daily duties and obligations. His charity reflected that of the good Samaritan, pointed out by our Lord in the Gospel. Alberto dedicated himself to the apostolate sharing in the work of the St. Vincent de Paul Society. Especially during and after the war, Alberto was at the service of the poor and suffering.
In his youth Alberto was friends with the famous film maker, Frederico Fellini.  Shortly after his beatification, I looked with renewed interest at  a couple of my favorite Fellini films and noted how the director frequently relied upon Catholic devotion and practice to tell his stories.  As a recent commentary by Dr. David A. King suggests, Fellini's Catholicism was deeply woven into his work: Fellini’s ‘La Strada’ Emphasizes Catholic Truths.  I wonder if Blessed Alberto would have lived if the two would have remained friends?  I rather think so, despite the fact sections of Fellini's work were more or less 'indexed' by Vatican censors at the time.   
Bl. Alberto's spiritual friends included St. Gemma Galgani, for whom he had a tender devotion and drew inspiration for his deep love of the passion of Christ. He also had an ardent Eucharistic piety. His communions seemed to enrapture his soul and kept him joined to Jesus for a long time in thanksgiving.
Marvelli kept a diary since the age of 15 which reveals many details about his life. In one entry he wrote, "What a great deal of work is needed in this world which is so far from Christ; it is necessary for us to offer sacrifices; we must act to the utmost of our strength to make Christ known and loved. It is the call of duty we are urged by, and we are obliged to realize it."
Bl. Alberto prayed for the grace to be able to practice acts of mercy:  “Jesus give me a bit of Thy infinite love for men and their miseries, of Thy endless and supernatural ardour of apostolate”.
Alberto was killed on October 5, 1946 after being hit by a truck while on his way to the aid of a poor family.
Link: Beato Alberto Marvelli, Diocesi di Rimini

Friday, October 04, 2013

Putting on the new man...

“We must undress ourselves today from a very serious danger that threatens each person in the Church: the danger of worldliness.” - Pope Francis in Assisi

I think John Allen of NCR makes an insightful observation on Pope Francis.

Francis had a sort of mystical experience upon his election to the papacy that's apparently freed him up to be far more spontaneous, candid and bold than at any previous point in his career.
Allen refers to the Scalfari interview with Francis which seems to offer a "mystical subtext to the boldness and freewheeling style we've seen from Francis, which stands in stark contrast to the reputation he had in Argentina."
In the relevant portion of the interview, Scalfari asks Francis if he's ever had a mystical experience. Here is the response as presented by La Repubblica, concerning the moments immediately after he was elected to the papacy: 
"My head was completely empty and I was seized by a great anxiety. To make it go way and relax I closed my eyes and made every thought disappear, even the thought of refusing to accept the position, as the liturgical procedure allows. I closed my eyes and I no longer had any anxiety or emotion." 
That experience, Francis suggests, gave him the courage to accept the job and to forge ahead. 
It's an important insight because it helps explain something that otherwise seems inexplicable: How to account for the transformation that's come over Jorge Mario Bergoglio since he became Pope Francis? 
Consider that during his entire 15 years as the archbishop of Buenos Aires, Bergoglio gave a grand total of five interviews. In the seven months he's been pope, he's already done three, and they've all been humdingers. 
Journalists who covered Bergoglio in Argentina report that he shunned the spotlight, and on those rare occasions when he did have to appear in public, he often came off as formal and, some would say, a bit boring. As pope, he's become a rock star. As archbishop and as president of the bishops' conference in Argentina, Bergoglio was careful and measured in his public declarations, while as pope he's letting it all hang out. 
Back in April, I interviewed his sister, Maria Elena Bergoglio, and even she told me that something was different about her brother since he took over the church's top job. 
Recently, I spoke to one of the cardinals who elected Francis (not an American, by the way), who had been received by the pope in a private audience. The cardinal told me he had said point-blank to Francis, "You're not the same guy I knew in Argentina." 
According to this cardinal, the pope's reply was more or less the following: "When I was elected, a great sense of inner peace and freedom came over me, and it's never left me." - NCR

I am convinced the Holy Spirit is guiding our Holy Father.


Now, some good news: The Pope in Assisi.

There is so much - but I thought this was sweet:
“Marriage is a real vocation,” the Pope explains, “just like priesthood and religious life.”
The Pope recalls that the mother of a man in his 30s asked him what she could do to encourage her son to get married. “Stop ironing his shirts,” he replied. 
He says that celibacy is not a negative decision, but a great “yes” to God. - Pope Francis to young people massed outside the Basilica of Our Lady of the Angels.

"Stop ironing his shirts."  That's funny. 

Only 4 Days Left. Two heavyweights go toe to toe: Mark Shea vs. Michael Voris

One Night. One Fight. Who’s Got It Right?

Action figures available at the door!

The Feast of Our Holy Father St. Francis of Assisi






St Francis being once grievously ill, Brother Leo, as he was in prayer by his bedside, was rapt in ecstasy, and carried in spirit to a great, wide and rapid river; and watching those who crossed it, he saw some brothers enter the river heavily laden, who were carried away by the current and were drowned; some contrived to reach one third of the way; others arrived as far as the middle of the stream; yet none could resist the rapidity of the waters, but fell down and were drowned. Presently he saw other brothers arrive; these carried nothing on their backs, but all bore upon the marks of holy poverty. They entered the river, and passed over to the other side without any danger to themselves. Having seen this, Brother Leo came to himself; and St Francis knowing in spirit that he had had a vision, called him to him, and asked what he had seen. When Brother Leo had related to him the vision, St Francis said: “What thou hast seen is indeed true. The great river is the world; the brothers who were drowned are those who do not follow their evangelical profession, or practice the great virtue of poverty; but they who passed the river are those who neither seek nor possess in this world any earthly riches, who having food and raiment are therewith content, and follow Christ naked on the cross, bearing joyfully and willingly his sweet and easy yoke and loving holy obedience: these pass easily from this earthly life to life eternal.” - Little Flowers of St. Francis
Happy feast day!

Thursday, October 03, 2013

And! And! Tomorrow: ASSISI!

"... I want to talk about how the Church should undress and somehow repeat that gesture Francis made and the values inherent in this gesture.” - Papa Francesco

I can't wait to hear what the Pope has to say.

Francis, rebuild my Church.

Oh. My. Gosp-...

Did Fr. Z really say that the Pope may have said something negative about Medjugorje?  Did he also reveal that people he knows have suggested the former Pope wasn't too crazy about it either?

Pretty much.
Someone alerted me to a piece at the Italian site Corrispondenza Romana about something that Pope Francis said during a morning “fervorino” at Mass.
My translation:
Last Saturday 7 September during his morning meditation in the chapel of the Domus Sanctae Marthae, Pope Francis, speaking on the theme “there is no Christian without Jesus” criticized Christian “revelationists” and expressed his strong reservations about the supposed apparitions at Medjugorje.

The official site of the Holy See and the L’Osservatore Romano, however, purged his words of the reference to Medjugorje, confining itself to refer to them in these terms: “There is another group of Christians without Christ: those who look things that are kind of rare, a bit special, who chase after some private revelations,” whereas instead revelation was concluded with the New Testament. The Holy Father warned about the desire of such Christians to go “to the spectacle of revelation, to hear some new things”. But – and this is the exhortation that Pope directed to them – “Pick up the Gospel!”
Here’s the deal.

There isn’t an attribution here, a source, the name of the person who heard the Holy Father speak specifically about Medjugorje. - WDTPopeRS

Unverified, undocumented, hearsay.  Yet it sounds about right to me - although, as always, I await the official ruling from the proper authorities - you know, those actually charged with investigating the phenomena, those doing the report - like Vatican people.  The Vatican is still there, right?

That said, I'm thinking a lot of the more recent pre-conclave private revelations and prophecy is more or less null and void as well.  Just my guess though.

Here's the 'real' deal.  A lot of people are desperately seeking a sign.  A lot of people have returned to the Church and the sacraments.  If Medj is a deception, there is going to be a very serious pastoral need for catechesis.  If it is authentic - then it is authentic - obviously the need for catechesis will be the same.

Right now there are Roman Catholic bloggers mocking and ripping the Pope.  Traditional and 'Novus Ordo' Catholics alike.  There is a crisis of dissent in the Church.*  I think it may be a good idea to stop the rumors, the gossip, the interpretation of what is said and what seers and locutionists of all stripes imagine they hear/see or mysteriously know exactly what is being said or done.  Don't go chasing waterfalls ...

Read the Gospel, study the catechism, have faith, and with confidence and love, put into practice what you read - then ...

Pray the rosary every day. - Our Lady of Fatima.
Jesus Christ dwells amongst us, and waits for you in the Blessed Sacrament.


 *One writer calls it "The head-slapping criticism of Pope Francis."
H/T to Nankin Chow Mein Halloween

Wednesday, October 02, 2013

Holy Church: A 'field hospital for the wounded'.

Mining the depths of Holy Father Pope Francis' spirituality...

From the life of St. Therese:
One day in the infirmary during her last illness, my sister called my attention to the soft, downy linens which the infirmarian, Sr. Stanislaus always had at hand for the benefit of her patients.  "Souls should be treated with the same tender care," Therese said, "but why is it that we forget this so frequently, and allow those about us to go on unnoticed in the endurance of sharp interior pain?  Shouldn't the spiritual needs of the soul be attended to with the same clarity, with the same delicate care we devote to our neighbor's bodily necessities?  For some souls are really sick; there are many weak souls on earth, and all souls without exception suffer at one time or other during life.  How tenderly we should not only love them but also show our love for them. - My Sister, St. Therese, By Celine Martin 
Yesterday I received a comment to moderate on an older post of mine, which moved me to deeper prayer and understanding of ... life, I guess.
Terry I've lived in constant pain my whole life trying to balance my love of God within the Catholic theological, sacramental and ecclesiological framework and my sexual orientation. It has (is) been psychologically and spiritually exhausting. How does one reconcile belief in a loving Creating, Redeeming and Sanctifying God who is supposed to have loved me into existence with the Church declaration that I am made with an intrinsic evil? How do I continue to profess faith within the Church when I have to accept, no, BELIEVE that I (not my feelings and desires, but my personhood) am evil? And as you so frustratingly point out, how does one continue in a Church that is forever holding up the sinful inadequacies of the laity while protecting the "good ole boys" on the upper rungs of the hierarchical ladder? I don't know, I really don't. I haven't been to mass in several years, and yes I miss it terribly, but I am going to go pray Evening Prayer for the Feast of St Therese anyway, and continue to suffer since that is apparently the will of God. - Commenter 

I began my response:
Bob - I hope Therese will be with you, very specially and closely. Bob - I've lived in constant pain too. All I can say is that I suffer with you... - TN 

Do not be afraid of holiness, of letting yourself be loved and purified by God.

The Holy Father is saying these things better, and hopefully those most in need will help us all understand a bit more clearly the meaning of the Lord's words, "It is mercy I desire, not sacrifice." 

From the Holy Father's Wednesday audience:
“How can we say that the Church is holy, if we see that the Church throughout history, during her long journey through the centuries, has experienced many moments of darkness? How can a Church be holy if she is made up of human beings, of sinners? Of men who are sinners, women who are sinners, priests who are sinners, nuns who are sinners, bishops who are sinners, cardinals who are sinners, popes who are sinners? Everyone. How can a Church like this be holy?” 
The Church is holy because “she comes from God Who is holy, Who is faithful to her and never abandons her to the power of death and evil. She is holy because Jesus Christ, Saint of God, is indissolubly united to her; she is holy because she is guided by the Holy Spirit which purifies, transforms, and renews. She is not holy by our merits, but because God makes her holy”.

You could say to me: but the Church is made up of sinners, we see this every day. And this is true: we are a Church of sinners, and we sinners are called to let ourselves be transformed … by God. Throughout history there has been the temptation to say: the Church is just the Church of the pure, of those who are entirely coherent, and the rest are to be cast aside. No! It's true! This is heresy... The Church is holy, she does not refuse sinners; on the contrary, she welcomes them, she is open even to those who are most distant, she calls to all to allow themselves to be surrounded by the mercy, tenderness, and forgiveness of the Father, Who offers to all the opportunity to encounter Him and to walk the path to holiness. … Is there anyone here who brings no sin with them? No, we all carry our sins with us.”

In the Church, the God we encounter “is not a ruthless judge, but is like the Father in the Gospel parable. … The Lord wants us to be part of a Church who knows how to extend her arms to welcome all, who is not the house of few, but the home of all, where everyone can be renewed, transformed and sanctified by His love; the strongest and the weakest, sinners, the indifferent, the discouraged and the lost. The Church offers to all the possibility of embarking on the road of holiness, which is the road of the Christian”.

Do not be afraid of holiness”, concluded Francis, “of letting yourself be loved and purified by God. … Let us allow God's holiness be transmitted to us. Every Christian is called to holiness; and holiness does not consist, first and foremost, in doing extraordinary things, but rather in letting God act. It is the encounter between our weakness and the strength of His grace”. - VIS 
Pray very much for the conversion of sinners.
Pray for the Holy Father.
Pray the rosary every day.


Guardian Angels...

I wish mine would whisk me away... ' I would fly away and find rest...' - Psalm 55

' Set me free from my prison, that I may praise your name...' - Psalm 142

Tuesday, October 01, 2013

I was going to write a post today on how similar Pope Francis' spirituality is to the Little Way of St. Therese...

However, I doubt it makes any difference now.
"We have to be careful with the reports about what Francis said.  
We have to check the English version of the interview against the Italian."

"Can you live crushed under the weight of the present?  Can you go on like this?"

The Holy Father did another interview.  The Pope: how the Church will change.

Now don't get me wrong, but I'm sticking to the Brideshead lesson on Papal off the cuff pronouncements and spontaneous interviews:
"... 'Supposing the Pope looked up and saw a cloud and said 'It's going to rain', would that be bound to happen?' 'Oh, yes, Father.' 'But supposing it didn't?' He thought a moment and said, "I suppose it would be sort of raining spiritually, only we were too sinful to see it.'" - Fr. Mowbray, Brideshead Revisited
I'm too little and too sinful to understand what the Pope says in interviews and off the cuff remarks to people on the phone.

However, the last two interviews, coupled with the Holy Father's sense of urgency about reform, suggests to me that since Vatican II at least, the Church really has pretty much collapsed ... otherwise why would the Pope say the following?
"...You tell me: can you live crushed under the weight of the present? Without a memory of the past and without the desire to look ahead to the future by building something, a future, a family? Can you go on like this? This, to me, is the most urgent problem that the Church is facing."
Of course, the quote is a little out of context - or is it?

Pray, hope, and don't worry.


Monday, September 30, 2013

On this evening of her death: St. Therese of the Child Jesus and the Holy Face...

Therese died at seven twenty in the evening of September 30, 1897.

The death of love. 

Little Therese died on September 30, 1897 at 7:20 in the evening, after a prolonged agony.  From Sr. Genevieve of the Holy Face (Celine) book, My Sister, St. Therese; Celine wrote:

Once in the infirmary - just a few days ago (1897) in fact...
I had been going to and fro in the Infirmary, and became upset because something had gone wrong. Therese called, "Bo-bonne, no interior anxiety if you please!" (September 3) I can almost hear her say that. Therese always knows when something is wrong.  Her death reminds me so much of the death of love Our Lord suffered... today she cries out:
"Oh! It is pure suffering, because there is not a drop of consolation, no, not one."  No, I would never have believed that it was possible to suffer so much... never, never. I can only explain it by my extreme desire to save souls." (September 30) 
Celine continued: 
"She was trembling from head to foot..." 
At one point she told Celine, "Va, va, ma Celine, je serais avec tois..." "Go on with courage... I shall be with you."

Finally, gazing on her crucifix, Little Therese cried out:

"Oh!... Je L'aime!... Mon Dieu, je... vous... aime!" "Oh! ...I love Him! ...My God, I!"

 On the sacrifice of being displeasing to oneself and even to others.

"In the course of her religious life she often had to suffer from people's dislike of her, or from clashes of temperament or of mood, and indeed, from jealousy and spiteful behaviour on the part of other nuns.  Not only did she bear all of this with patient equanimity, but she always tried to excuse their behaviour.  She also sought the company of such nuns in preference to that of others, and showed them the greatest kindness.  I considered the conduct of one of these to be particularly reprehensible, but Sister Therese insisted: 'I assure you that I have the greatest compassion for Sister X.  If you knew her as well as I do, you would see that she is not responsible for all of the things that seem so awful to us.  I remind myself that if i had an infirmity such as hers, and so defective a spirit, I would not do any better than she does, and then I would despair; she suffers terribly from her own shortcomings.'" - Therese By Those Who Knew Her, testimony of Mother Agnes of Jesus.
"Therese believed that God frequently allows us to experience in ourselves the same weaknesses which we deplore in others,,,  [Thus] when we see ourselves fallen into those faults we are then more prompt to excuse them in others." - My Sister St. Therese, Sister Genevieve of the Holy Face
"'Sometimes it happens,' she went on, 'that despite their best efforts, some souls remain imperfect because it would be to their spiritual detriment to believe they are virtuous or to have others agree that they are.'" - Ibid 

This post was removed by the author after a reader complained it was too 'dark'.

Veiling in the West...

Catholic fundamentalist children.
A clear case of child neglect here.
The lace veils are flammable and the children
 are shown here playing with fire.

Fundamentalist, pre-Vatican II, reactionary Catholic women have voluntarily taken the veil... I know!  Story here.

It isn't sharia - No!  These women make the claim they want to cover their heads... in deference-submission to their husbands, no doubt.  What?

Oh well.  As the Pope would say, "Who am I to judge?  I've never been a right winger." 

As a public service, and for your Monday viewing pleasure, I will post some veiling alternatives which at the very least may be more fashionable, if not acceptable for the Western woman with bad, un-styled hair.

The ever fashionable turban.
The veiled hat - right from the farm to church!
Pre-fascinator-style hat with veil.  Right from the office to church.
The bad hair day look.
Tie the scarf instead of wearing it like a veil.
Dad can wear a scarf too - when mom's not.
But if you must - this really does look lovely.
Pray for Dolce and Gabbana.

Sunday, September 29, 2013

I suppose I've been obsessed too.

If Janet E. Smith can admit it, then I can too.

Dr. Smith writes about what the Holy Father had to say in his 'big interview':
A few passages from Pope Francis’ famous interview published in America have unsettled some people for many reasons. My reason for being unsettled is that it would not be a complete distortion to say that I have been “obsessed” with the issues of abortion, contraception, and homosexuality for nearly all of my professional life. I prefer the terms “dedicated” or “committed,” of course, but whatever word is appropriate, I have long thought that helping people understand why abortion, contraception, and homosexual acts are not in accord with God’s plans for human happiness is a very effective way of drawing people closer to the Lord and to the Church, and thus, more or less, most of my adult life, I have been evangelizing in this way. - First Things
Yeah.  Me too.  Kind of, sort of.

First, I'm not sure the Pope meant 'obsessed' in the same way obsessed people understood it.  Yet who am I to argue how people understand things?  I wasn't unsettled - I didn't think he was changing Church teaching - nor did Dr. Smith for that matter - but I accepted that the Holy Father was calling for a change in tone.  I've been through all of that already.  As Fr. Z pointed out last week, Pope Benedict said pretty much the same things as Francis at one time or another:
“I remember, when I used go to Germany in the 1980s and ’90s, that I was asked to give interviews and I always knew the questions in advance. They concerned the ordination of women, contraception, abortion and other such constantly recurring problems. If we let ourselves be drawn into these discussions, the Church is then identified with certain commandments or prohibitions; we give the impression that we are moralists with a few somewhat antiquated convictions, and not even a hint of the true greatness of the faith appears. I therefore consider it essential always to highlight the greatness of our faith – a commitment from which we must not allow such situations to divert us. ” – Address of his Holiness Benedict XVI – Thursday, 9 November 2006

Remember when Benedict was on a plane and he was speaking to reporters and the subject of homosexuality came up and he said, "I don't want to get into that now"  - as if implying he would speak about it later.  A commenter on my blog suggested Pope Benedict would have something new to say on the issue, perhaps liberalizing Church teaching.  I pointed out the Holy Father already said what he could on the matter, since he authored the documents from the CDF which entail Church teaching - beyond that of the Catechism, BTW.  The Popes cannot change Church teaching or natural law.  I'm guessing that's what Pope Francis meant when he said, "Church teaching is clear on these matters."

So anyway.  The Janet Smith article is worth reading - it is also nice to know she is not ashamed of the Gospel and being a little obsessed - or as she put it,  “dedicated” or “committed”.  I trust Pope Francis could find nothing wrong with that.

In this country, and especially online, many pro-choice/pro-gay/anti-doctrinal voices often resort to accusations that Catholics are  'obsessed', one issue fanatics, and that the Church is always ranting on about sexual morality.  They do this as a means to intimidate or dismiss anyone faithful to Catholic teaching.  This might also explain why many 'workers in the vineyard' were dismayed by the Pope's choice of words, and misinterpreted what he said.  Either way, the secular accusations of being 'obsessed' are not a little disingenuous, considering how the world, pop-culture and media is sex-saturated.  Society in general is pretty obsessed with sex. 

Hence, the Church needs to be very active "helping people understand why abortion, contraception, and homosexual acts are not in accord with God’s plans for human happiness". 

The Pope knows that.

So anyway - I'm willing to admit I may be a bit 'obsessed' as well.  I've struggled with issues related to sexuality since childhood... since my neighbor put his...

I think it is safe to say that pro-gay blogs and commenters are even more obsessed than they accuse me of being.  Likewise, there seem to be more of them.  Writing about queer stuff incessantly.


The Rich Man and Lazarus.

The rich man had a house, Lazarus didn't.

Being homeless - it's a scary prospect.

Today's Lazarus reminds me of some of my saints.  I especially think of St. Roch - because of the dogs.  Lazarus had dogs lick his sores, and St. Roch had a companion dog who licked his sores.  Dogs aided them, helped them heal.  Roch died in prison, unwilling to identify himself and claim his inheritance.

St. Benedict Joseph Labre was homeless too.  He wasn't able to be a monk, and as a layman, he was unable to hold a job.

Of course St. Alexis was homeless - much like Lazarus, living outside, only his 'shelter' was beneath his paternal home.

St. Xenia of Petersburg was homeless.  There were many homeless pilgrims in the Eastern Church.  Homelessness and faithfulness is very hard.  It is much harder than monastic life or any religious life.  The person is degraded.  The person is susceptible to many temptations, often arising from an urgent, near-panicked instinct for self-preservation.


All the talking and beautiful sayings about the virtue of poverty, all the pious reflection upon it, all the donations and charity given to alleviate it, do not assuage the fear of it, nor quell  the temptation to an almost paralyzing hopelessness when faced with it. 

Think of the many who are homeless today - and we always want to say 'through no fault of their own'.  I suppose there is some consolation in that, although it exacerbates the pain of those who have fallen or 'failed' through their own fault.  We could re-name the saints to cushion the pain.  We could say, St. Roch the irresponsible - similar to the prodigal son perhaps.  St. Benedict Joseph, the unsettled misfit, unable to hold a job.  St. Alexis, the unfaithful, the one who couldn't be married.  St. Xenia of Petersburg, the crazy, who lost everything after her husband died - perhaps even her sanity.


Think of the kids who left home - some may have found some kind of shelter on the street through prostitution, others maybe found someone to take them in and be their lover - until they were discarded for another.  Some may have found stability, a way to cope, only to meet with failure later...

What to do about the reckless, irresponsible, 'they brought it on themselves' homeless parasites?

I came across a story about a homeless family - the dad offers advice on how to cope, how to survive it.  Some readers may find it useful - or at least eye-opening.

Sjoblom Family Experience
 My name is Russell Sjoblom. My family and I were recently homeless for a few years, but have since found a place to call home. I believe that if I knew some of the things then that I know now we could have possibly prevented our homelessness. We became homeless due to an injury to myself on the job that ultimately disabled me for life and put me, the principal breadwinner, out of work. Through our experiences, we found many obstacles to overcome. Though not all were overcome, we found a way to get back up by persistence and although it was not easy at all, we DID NOT give up. Here I have written down what I feel are some of the most important things to do to try to prevent becoming homeless and even aid in recovery from homelessness.

There are things to look out for and things to do to obtain medication, food, health care, financial assistance, schooling, and housing assistance and temporary housing and shelter. We still have to deal with staying housed and as I get more information I will update this file. I hope this information will help you. Good luck and God bless. - National Coalition for the Homeless

 Conduct yourselves as pilgrims and strangers - we're all just passing through ...