Monday, September 26, 2005

General update just because it's been a while

I really do hope to get back in the swing of things very soon.

I've been very obedient about that leg elevation order --- which means I've been spending lots of time reading books (real print-on-pulped-wood books) in bed (the only place in my house it's possible to get my legs higher than my torso) far away from the computer (which will be replaced by a laptop the next time it dies!) And I've also been spending a lot of time sitting out in the yard before the snow season starts and sitting outside stops.

And, I finally got the written referral for physical therapy --- for which I'd campaigned for almost three years --- and I started last week Monday. New exercises, special massages that are supposed to stimulate the lymphatic system, and multilayer tight bandages on both legs, which, odd as it may seem, actually make the legs feel good while they put the squeeze on the bloat. A couple of my tenants are helping me redo the bandages in between therapy visits, and the tape measure of the PT testifies that my legs are actually starting to shrink! Hooray!

However, exercising, being in bed with my feet up, going to the rehab clinic several times a week, and so on is putting a crimp both in computer time and in suitable inspiration --- I doubt you all hang around here to listen to my medical tales (siblings exempted) but at least you know that I have not fallen off the face of the earth and that I hope to get this virtual space shaped up again soon. Thanks for your prayers.

Thursday, September 15, 2005

A writing Blog --- for non-writers

Writing, Clear and Simple is a brand new blog by a longtime listserv acquaintance, Roy Jacobsen of the Dispatches from Outland. Will join the sidebar in my next bout of template-tampering, but is well-deserving of attention before I get it in the sidebar proper-like. Go take a peek.

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

The Exaltation of the Holy Cross

the corona and crucifix above the altar of my parish, Cathedral of St. John the Evangelist

It requires great self-denial and resignation of ourselves to God to attain that state wherein we freely cease from fighting. ....Whoever rightly attains to it, does in some degree feel that Spirit in which our Redeemer gave His life for us. (John Woolman)

Behold, behold, the wood of the cross,
on which is hung our Salvation;
O come, let us adore!
(Liturgy of Good Friday)

We adore You, O Christ, and we bless You,
for by Your holy cross You have redeemed the world.

O my Lord, Messiah and (truly!) King,
You have been lifted up, and have triumphed.
You Yourself mend our lives, and draw us to Yourself,
and make Yourself our greatest yearning, greatest gift.

We who lifted You up from the earth ---
not far, not nearly to the sky, let alone the heavens ---
intending only evil; or not intending at all, "just following orders,"
just another execution in a busy day,

It was for us that You took everything we gave,
that You offered Yourself, unresisting,
(and You, our Messiah and Lord, are God;
You had the power to save Yourself)
so that when we had done our very worst
Your forgiveness and Your triumph would rescue us,
very thankful and truly humble.

We know what we have done.
We know of what we are capable.
We look upon Your cross
and our sin remains before us,
we cannot ignore the truth of ourselves.

We deny You.
We are cowards and run away from You.
We drag You all over the city, from courtroom to courtroom.
For You, our King, we weave a crown of thornbush to force upon Your head.
We beat You. We mock You. We parade You through the streets.
We disdignify You, stripping You of everything.
And, clothed only in welts and bruises and Your own blood,
we nail You to a cross to torture You to death.

Our sin is always before us,
and yet,
and yet,
so also is Your mercy,
so also Your forgiveness,
so also Your great offering.

And, in time's fullness,
the sign of Jonah ---
even Death itself is conquered, vanquished;
so we might proceed from life to Life true and eternal,
Life that knows no end.

The Cross and the Seraph Serpents

The very first symptom of the Fall was the desire to hide from God. And from each other. And, even, from ourselves. Hiding from God is just futile and frustrating. Hiding from others and from ourselves, however, is death-dealing. Secrets bind and kill. Delusions make one stupid. Both are what makes up the wide and downhill superhighway to despair.

Today's Mass readings show to us the antidote to this mess.

We have to face, straight-on, exactly what we've done, precisely what our besetting problem is.

In the journey out of Egypt to the Land of Promise, the people suffered an invasion of poisonous seraph serpents, and many were bitten and died. The way of healing prescribed by the Lord was to look upon the image of a seraph serpent. Those who would look upon the bronze serpent, who could admit, "I have been bitten by the serpent", would be healed. Those who would not look, those who feared or panicked or denied that the serpent was their problem, would die.

In the same way, we must look at the cross of Jesus. We _must_ look. In fact, the cross of Jesus must be our only glory. But, what do we see when we raise our eyes to the crucifix above the altar, or finger the cross that dangles from the rosary? Our Lord and Messiah, Our true King and only true Love, is put to a torturous death, and submits to it freely, that we may be redeemed. And that death, the death of a true Innocent, is at my hands, is at our hands. I am a betrayer, an abandoner, a coward and denier, a crucifier. And the Crucified forgives me, and redeems me, and raises me up. All that is required is to gaze upon His cross, and to know and say, "This is what I have done to my Lord of Glory. He deserves all my love and I have given Him this." At that, the Lord will conquer death in me, and tear down the gates of the netherworld in me, and heal me, and, on that Day, call me to Himself. But if I refuse to look upon the cross, and deny that I had anything to do with that, and try to say that it's all Pontius Pilate's problem, then I will die, as surely as my fathers and mothers died in that desert when the seraph serpents came, and as sure as, before that, Adam and Eve took death for their inheritance.

Look upon the Cross, on which is hung Salvation Himself, and we will be healed and live!

Friday, September 02, 2005

Don't forget to keep on praying

and, those of you all who have any, Send Money --- Red Cross, Salvation Army, Mercy Corps, Catholic Relief Services would all use it well and gratefully. Same for those living near refugee camps, listen to the local servers like St. Vincent de Paul.

Noticed a language quirk on CNN:

Upper-class tourists in the Ritz-Carlton break into and take a pharmacy's prescription drugs so they can give themselves antibiotic prophylaxis before they wade two blocks to their special buses out .... "commandeering".

Young couple seen going into standing-open Winn-Dixie and taking two bags of diapers, a few cans of infant formula, and a big bag of pretzels down the street to wherever they had to stay ..... "looting".