Benign … Rewind

I got a call from my doctor yesterday, and the “suspicious mass” wasn’t so benign as they originally thought. The jury is still out on what I’m really dealing with, but I wanted to let you know that the all-clear was a bit premature.

I need to have yet another surgery, which I’ve put off a few weeks. Rod and I have a vacation coming up that we’ve planned and paid for and I don’t want to miss it. I’ll let you know more when I do.

In the meantime, I would appreciate your continued prayers and good wishes.

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I’ll write more later, but I want to give you the word, and the word is … BENIGN !!!!

Thank you for your prayers and support. It helps more than you know.

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I’m Not Going to Church Tomorrow. I Have Other Plans.

Breast Cancer Photo Source: Flickr Creative Commons by crazy_dame

Breast Cancer Photo Source: Flickr Creative Commons by crazy_dame

Bright and early tomorrow morning, my husband and I will head to the hospital for another biopsy. They found another “suspicious mass” during scans Monday. It may turn out to be fine. I’ll know more in a few days. If you could spare a prayer for me on this Holy Thursday, I would be most appreciative.

I wrote about it in more detail for the National Catholic Register:

Please Remember Me in Your Prayers This Friday
Jesus will take care of me, and I know it. I am not alone, because He is there. He is so completely there.

I have another “mass.” My biopsy is scheduled for this Friday — Good Friday.

I’ve asked a number of people to pray, and their first response has been “how can that be?” I had a bilateral mastectomy, and in their minds, that removed all risk of breast cancer.

But cancer doesn’t give guarantees. Or rather, it gives one guarantee, and that is that it will hang over you like the Sword of Damocles all the rest of your days.

None of this means that I am back in the cancer soup again. I may learn next week that this thing is something other than cancer. That is a real possibility.

But even if it turns out to be a benign something-or-other, I still get to have more fun and frolic with doctors. I still have to consider the what-ifs of this disease all over again. If the cancer has gone off and made an appearance somewhere else, then those “what-ifs” are both simple and existential to the max.

Once again, if I am afraid, I do not feel it. And, once again, I’m using this situation to spring people from Purgatory. I believe that my illness earned a way out for quite a few good souls last year. That’s a good feeling.

I got this good news Monday. I almost cried when I was lying on the table while being scanned and saw the look on the face of the person doing the scanning. There were tears, wanting to leak out.

But I didn’t. I sniffled a bit later that evening, while I was working in the kitchen, but that’s been it with the crying. I’m not being stoic. If I needed to cry, I would. I just haven’t.

The first couple of days, I was blue and angry. I mean really, I-want-to-be-left-alone blue-and-cursing angry.

I had actually begun to think I might be on the road to years of cancer-free time. It took me a while to get there, but I had started thinking I could exhale and just live for a while.

That’s why I was so angry. I lost that little bit of lightness Monday and I was angry about having it snatched away. (Read the rest here.)

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What Was Your Best Lent Ever?

Photo Source: Flickr Creative Commons by Miran Rijavec

Photo Source: Flickr Creative Commons by Miran Rijavec

I wrote this for the National Catholic Register at the beginning of Lent, but I think it’s pertinent for this Holy Week. Think on Jesus this week, my friends. Remember what He did for you.

What Was Your Best Lent Ever?
The Catholic Church is the spiritual home where we can lay our burdens down and rest in His grace.

What was your “best” Lent ever?

The most recent issue of the (Archdiocese of Oklahoma City) Sooner Catholic had an article in which the author asked and answered this question. It made me think for a moment, but only for a moment. My answer was easy.

My best Lent ever was the Lent in which I came into the Catholic Church. I didn’t know that Catholics used the phrase “Welcome home” to congratulate new members, so when it was addressed to me, I was a bit bemused. The bemusement was minor because “Welcome home” seemed exactly right for the way I felt.

In the words of John Denver, I had come home to a place where I’d never been before. I had come home to the Church.

Around 1.2 billion people call themselves Catholic. With that many people, it is inevitable that there will be rockin’ and rollin’ among the faithful from time to time. The idea that 1.2 billion people can agree on anything is fantastic enough, but that they can shape their behavior and way they live their lives along a set of beliefs and teachings that are themselves 2,000 years old is incredible.

Yet that is what happens. For instance, despite the many differences between and among Catholics, we — all 1.2 billion of us — are right now engaged in the thing we call Lent. Some Catholics may be blithe or even indifferent about the whole thing, scarcely noticing it and not really changing their lives because of it. Other Catholics may be eating bread and water for the 40 days and praying on their knees for hours each morning.

The rest of us lie somewhere between these two examples, with our daily devotions, giving ups, and confession twice a year, whether we need it or not. People do Lent differently, and that’s as it should be.

There is a lot of latitude in being Catholic. The demands of work and family vary greatly between people and at different times in each of our lives. One of the gifts of being Catholic is that we can practice our faith sincerely and devoutly within the constructs of daily life.

This latitude operates within the unifying action of the Catholic Church. Whether Catholics are going all-out with Lenten penances and activities, or just dipping their toes in ever so slightly, they are all Catholic and Christian. They are, each one of them, following Christ along the road that the Church has laid out for them.

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You are Not the Worst Thing That You Have Done.

Photo Source: Flickr Creative Commons by gkaruna karan

Photo Source: Flickr Creative Commons by gkaruna karan

I wrote this for the National Catholic Register near the beginning to Lent.

We do not have to suffer and grieve our sins all our days. We can lay them down at the foot of the Cross where all things are made new.

You Are Not the Worst Thing That You Have Done
Do not wallow in your sins, and do not attempt to hold your enemies in their sins. How can you accept God’s forgiveness and then refuse to forgive?

You are not the worst thing that you have done.

There is more to you than just your failings and faults. You are, at your core, an immortal soul. You are made for eternity.

But the fallenness that pulls you down is wound into you. Nothing you can do can ever break its hold on you.

St. Paul called this fallenness “the flesh.” He didn’t mean the tendons, muscles and bones of our actual bodies. He was talking about the fallenness that Catholics call original sin. He was describing the yearning for the things of this world, despite the spiritual poisons that are hidden inside each bauble and toy we seek.

Fame wraps itself around soul-killing poisons. Power, especially power over other people, is corruption waiting to happen. Ambition, pride, great talent, strength and prowess of any sort in any arena are all good things, all gifts of a sort. But they have their hidden barbs that will dig into us, fester and then separate us from God.

Lent is, among other things, an annual reminder that we are both immortal and mortal. Our precious bodies are quite literally made of the dust of this earth, and, in the end, they will return to the dust from which they came. If you think you are your body, then you also believe that your destiny is to nourish the microbes that break down rotting flesh and slowly decompose it back to the soil.

Our bodies on which we lavish such care are destined to be fertilizer. We can mummify or embalm them. We can dress them up as if they were going out for a special occasion. We can style their hair and paint their lips. But they are, once the soul leaves them, a thing.

The miracle is that we have a promise that these things will live again. The promise is the Resurrection.

St. Paul says that 500 people saw Him at one time. Mary Magdalene was the first, the one to whom He revealed His resurrection. At first Peter and John had to content themselves with the message of an empty tomb and a convincing winding sheet. Later, the Apostles touched Him. He ate with them and talked to them, preparing them with a last preparation for what as to come. He was risen, and they walked and talked with their risen Lord. (Read the rest here.)

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Fly the Friendly Skies?????

Photo Source: Flickr Creative Commons, by InSapphoWeTrust commercial use allowed.

Photo Source: Flickr Creative Commons, by InSapphoWeTrust commercial use allowed.

United Airlines guards drug a man off one of its flights because they had overbooked it. Several passengers posted videos of the event.

One question that comes to mind is how much United Airlines is paying the guys who did the dragging. I can’t imagine that it’s all that much.

I’ve told employers to shove it before, and, while I’m certainly not physically able to drag anybody, anywhere, I don’t have much doubt that I would have refused to manhandle someone for a stupid reason like this. I might be looking for a job, but they’d just have to get themselves another huckleberry.

Airline travel has become an ordeal already. But this? Sheesh.

From Yahoo! News:

United passenger forcibly removed from flight after refusing to give up seat

A United passenger was forcibly removed from a flight from Chicago to Louisville after he refused to voluntarily give up his seat.
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The Lives of Norma McCorvey and Michael Novak Testify to God’s Mercy

I wrote this post for the National Catholic Register a while back. I’m going to be sharing things I’ve written for them with you all week.

Have a holy and blessed, Holy Week, my friends.

Photo Source: National Catholic Register

Photo Source: National Catholic Register

Two historic figures finished their race last week.

Norma McCorvey (who was the ‘Roe’ in Roe v. Wade) and Michael Novak (who was a theologian, author, ambassador and economist) crossed over from this life to the next. They are now in the hands of God.

It would be difficult to find two people who led more different lives. Norma McCorvey is remembered more for what she did wrong — and that unintentionally — than anything she accomplished. Michael Novak has a list of accomplishments as long as his 83 years. One was a glittering jewel in the Catholic Who’s Who. The other lived as much of her life a thing-person who was used far more than she was respected.

Their lives were very different, but they went to their particular judgments before the same Lord. All I know about their lives is that they followed Jesus, and that love abides.

I also know that Norma McCorvey and Michael Novak have finished one of the hardest jobs of work that we must do. They have died.

Dying is not easy. It is painful. It is, even on the face of it and aside from the sickness, injury or age that precedes it, hard to contemplate, hard to face, hard to do.

Dying strips of us everything we thought mattered and releases the chaff of our lives to the wind, to blow and scatter and come to naught. Dying places us, even before we leave this life, in front of the hard realities of our lives. We know that we are standing before eternity and we know that there is only One Who can sustain us as we walk the road away from life and into eternal life.

Dying is hard. But it is also an opportunity and a grace. If we have time, we can say our goodbyes, ask forgiveness of those we’ve hurt and find peace with God. The time and space of the dying process is a grace, a chance, to heal our souls and become really, deeply, eternally well.

I am glad for Norma McCorvey and Michael Novak. Their tale is told, their work is done. They have finished their race.

I am not writing this post for them, but for you. I want to remind you of three things:

(Read the rest here.)

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Going Away. Coming Back.

Photo Source: Flickr Creative Commons by New Life Church Collingwood

Photo Source: Flickr Creative Commons by New Life Church Collingwood

Eleven years ago next November, I was sitting in the cathedral at Fatima.

I was not praying. I was simply floating in the atmosphere of blessedness that pervades the place.

Without introduction, God opened up a sort of vision. I learned that I was going to be doing something very different in the future, that I had specific books that He wanted me to write.

That wasn’t all of it. But it’s the part that applies to what I’m telling you now.

Eleven years have passed. I have put off doing what God told me to do. That’s usual for me. Every time God has called me to do something big, I’ve delayed. Of all the Bible characters, I’m the most like Jonah. I run from these calls. But I’ve always eventually come around and done what He wanted.

I make me think of a horse, running off when you approach with the bridle, running around the pasture, wheeling and tossing it’s head at you, then stopping and walking back to nuzzle you, as if to say, “Ok, let’s do it.”

The bottom line is that I don’t want to die and go stand before God and have Him say “What part of ‘Write a book,’ don’t you understand?

I don’t think this is a go-to-hell deal. It’s more of a I-love-Jesus-and-I-want-to-please-Him deal. Everything God has ever asked me to do has ended up being a difficult gift and a blessing. I have no doubt that this will end up being the same.

I may write these books and no one will read them. They may moulder on my hard drive and go nowhere. That’s not the point.

The point is doing what He asked. That’s all. Just doing what I’m told.

I’ve found that I can’t muster the double decker concentration it takes to write books and blog both at once. I’m just not that elastic.

So, I’m taking a sabbatical from Public Catholic. The plan is, that I will be back in about 6 months. I may continue writing an occasional article elsewhere. I haven’t decided yet. If I do, I’ll post links to them here for you.

I am a bit torn about this decision. I feel almost as if I’m deserting my post in a time of peril. Christians have fallen so deeply into the thralldom over President Trump and I know that I am saying things that almost no one else is saying. I don’t know of any other pro life, Jesus loving, loyal-to-the-Pope, feminist woman with real political know-how who is out there saying that Trump is a false idol and what many Christians are doing is deserting Jesus to follow after him.

That needs to be said, and it needs to be said as many times as it takes to be heard.

But I am also aware that I am running out of time to do what God has asked. He never told me to blog. He told me to write these books.

In the time I’m gone I will be praying by name for each and every one of you who comment here regularly. If you want to talk to me, you can pm me on my Facebook page. I won’t be there much, but I should find your message in time. You are my dear virtual friends, and I care about you. Please follow Jesus and take care of yourselves while I’m away. If you can spare a prayer for me, I would deeply appreciate it.

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Catholic Generosity Warms the Poor

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Cardinal Wuerl Advised and Helped with Son of God

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