Saturday, November 21, 2009

Karen's Taco Soup

This is SUPER easy to make and SUPER delicious.

-Tomato Soup
-Taco Seasoning-1 packet
-Kidney Beans
-Ground Beef

Cook the ground beef, drain the fat, add to the heated Tomato Soup. Stir in the Taco Seasoning, Corn, and Beans. Top and serve with grated cheddar cheese, avocados, and sour cream if you prefer. Eat with tortilla chips.

The Twelve Days of Christmas

Up until now, I had no idea what the song had to do with Christmas. Why French hens, maids a milking? This must have been something for the wealthy. I have not researched the explanation below for veracity, but it reminded me we are all indeed rich by the love of Christ and our future inheritance.

From 1558 until 1829, Roman Catholics in England were not permitted to practice their faith openly. Someone during that era wrote this carol as a catechism song for young Catholics. It has two levels of meaning: the surface meaning plus a hidden meaning known only to members of their church. Each element in the carol has a code word for a religious reality, which the children could remember.

The partridge in a pear tree was Jesus Christ.

Two turtledoves were the Old and New Testaments Three French hens stood for faith, hope and love.

The four calling birds were the four gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke & John.

The five golden rings recalled the Torah or Law, the first five books of the Old Testament.

The six geese a-laying stood for the six days of creation.

Seven swans a-swimming represented the sevenfold gifts of the Holy Spirit: Prophesy, Serving, Teaching, Exhortation, Contribution, Leadership, and Mercy.

The eight maids a-milking were the eight beatitudes.

Nine ladies dancing were the nine fruits of the Holy Spirit: Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Goodness, Faithfulness, Gentleness, and Self Control.

The ten lords a-leaping were the Ten Commandments.

The eleven pipers piping stood for the eleven faithful disciples.

The twelve drummers drumming symbolized the twelve points of belief in The Apostles' Creed.

On the Importance of Poetry

One of my youth group kids (and his mother) mentioned the unimportance of poetry. Below is what I emailed him.

....Also, the Fr. Francavilla mentioned in his homily how secularists do not understand the importance of things which are not "useful," such as poetry. I thought of you immediately. :) Just because something is not useful, does not mean it is not useless.

The problem I think, since I too once thought that poetry was pointless, is that there is a lot of bad poetry out there. Plus, people use the art form, not to create something beautiful, which is the point of art, but as a way to "express oneself." Self-expression is not necessarily bad, but it is not the totality of what it means to create art...such as poetry.

Good poetry, like all good art, is beautiful. (See, for example, the book of Psalms in the Bible. That's poetry my friend!)

Do you like music? That's poetry set to music! Do you enjoy Shakespeare? That's poetry.

The most incredible (and Catholic!) men of the modern age understood the importance of poetry: C.S. Lewis (closet Catholic), G.K. Chesterton, J.R.R. Tolkien, Luigi Giussani, John Paul II...were all poets!

Why am I so passionate about this? Because Catholics, first of all, should understand the importance of truth, beauty, freedom, and justice. Dogs cannot write poetry. Birds cannot write poetry. Rats cannot write poetry.

It is precisely our humanity (made in the image and likeness of God) which allows us to write poetry. Art, poetry, painting, music, anything which expresses beauty and is creative is precisely what makes us like God who is the Ultimate Beauty and the Ultimate Creator (creative...).

This is something some Protestants do not understand. This is why their churches are sparse. This is why their architecture is ugly. Go to Europe. Why is it so beautiful? Because of the (now ancient) Catholic culture that once existed. Gothic architecture lifts our up our eyes, but not only our eyes, but our hearts to God.

Secularists do not understand this because they do not enjoy (JOY!) God. Unless something is useful (productive, makes money, etc.) it is not valuable. (This is why unborn children, the disabled, the elderly, are scoffed at while the Church has protected their intrinsic worth.)

Dostoevsky said, "Beauty is mysterious as well as terrible. God and devil are fighting there, and the battlefield is the heart of man. "

Poetry (and other art forms) is important because it is through the culture that souls can be saved. Dostoevsky understood this and so does the Church. This is why non-profits like The Foundation for Sacred Arts are so important.

Now I've given you a philosphical understanding of why poetry is important. I'm sure it would have been much better had I written a poem about it. :)

As you get older, you will, I am sure, continue to be a light and salt to the world. Just remember that the Faith is not about moralism, rules, etc etc. It is about encountering a PERSON. And this person, Jesus Christ, was above all, BEAUTIFUL, to the people who met him and continue to meet Him. They didn't understand Him, but He was beautiful, and where there is beauty, there is truth...and so they followed Him.

More people today convert to the Church, not because they understand the metaphysics of the Triune God or have worked out how Christianity is the only logical (and reasonable) system (athiesm is logical but not reasonable) but because they encountered something beautiful: the Gregorian chant, the liturgy (like the kids saw on Sunday...they were so moved!), an icon of Mary, or a person whose life is beautiful, like yours!

Friday, November 20, 2009


1.Von Balthasar –“Charism” in “You Have Words of Eternal Life”, Ignatius, 1991.

a. Charism = a spiritual gift – with a view toward a mutual exchange where both members are strengthened – Romans 1:11-12.

b. Charis = the same thing –2 Cor. 1:15.

c. The “gift” God gave Paul in saving him from death, benefits the churches – 2 Corinthians 1:11.

d. Charism=a vocation to a particular status in the Church that benefits the entire community – 1 Cor. 7:7.

e. Charism= the equivalent of the word “Calling” [Klesis] – 1 Cor. 7:17-24.

f. Both words occur side by side in reference to Israel’s Election – “The gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable –Romans 11:19, 29.

g. Charism also exists as a giving of “God’s grace” that contrasts with the human fall into sin, - Romans 5:15.

h. Charism=”God’s bestowing of eternal life” in contrast to “the wages of sin, which is death” – Romans 6:23.

i. Charis also refers to the charity inaugurated by the collection taken up for the Jerusalem church – 2 Cor. 8:4, 6-7, 19, described as “grace”, and “commonality” and “service” (2 Cor. 8:4).

j. The gift of grace (=charisma) can be a unique or repeated rescue from death where the Church assists only through prayer (2 Cor. 1:11).

k. Each member of the Church can receive various aptitudes of both a natural and supernatural character that presuppose an underlying grace (charisma) to be employed for the good of the whole community (Romans 12:3-8).

l. Among these aptitudes, service to the congregation (diakonia) receives specific mention.

m. The gifts listed in 1 Corinthians 12:8-10, based on the situation there, includes those that fall within the scope of common Christian experience (wisdom, Knowledge, discernment of spirits, faith) while others are more unusual and unique (healing, working miracles, tongues, and interpretation, prophecy (=the ability to describe the will of God in a specific situation-propheteia).

n. If one wishes to describe the charismatic life Christians encounter, one needs to keep in mind this entire range of meanings.

o. This colorful collection is delimited along two sides – they all come from God and they are for the Church, or put more broadly, for eternal life.

p. Graces given to an individual are never exclusive. Someone who can expound God’s word, can discern spirits as well. The same applies to teaching. The gift of leadership or pasturing also includes an ability to teach, and the latter involves knowledge and wisdom. Charisms are anything but specializations.

q. The Apostolate in the broad sense pre-supposes many gifts of grace –1 Corinthians 12:28.

r. In the Pastoral Epistles, when speaking of a church office,they mean the entire cluster of gifts needed to exercise the office properly. – 1 Timothy 4:12, 2 Timothy 1:6.

s. No vital Christian will attempt to tie himself down to a single charism. To do so would impede the Spirit who leads them.

Purgatory According to Rick Barry

Dear friends of Simone,

Greetings! I'm one of the members of Simone's Catholic posse, and I have resisted the temptation to inject myself into this conversation, especially as James has articulated the Catholic position so thoughtfully. But, alas, I through I might throw in a couple of cents worth of commentary.

Chris, it seems to me that you are fairly close to accepting the Christian doctrine of purgatory. We all agree that our sanctification needs to be completed before we can be fully in the presence of the Blessed Trinity. After all, our great calling as Christians is to partake of the divine nature (2 Peter 1:4), to be perfectly united to the Father, in the Son, through the Holy Spirit. Perfect unity with the Trinity is impossible insofar as we are partially turned away—and isn’t that exactly what sin is? Sin is that part of our will that resists unity with God, resists the love of our Perfect Father. We are called to be new creations in Christ, and this is the great work that God has begun in us and that He intends to bring to completion. And yet, to some extent we even now resist this work of love, this free gift of grace, and we hold fast to our petty ‘pleasures’ apart from God. We have not yet achieved the perfection toward which we are called; the process of sanctification is not complete.

In God's extravagant love for us, he hates to see us turned away from him, even slightly, because he knows that it is only in Him that we will find our true joy and rest. Therefore, our loving Father has promised to continue to heal us and elevate us so that we can, more and more, partake of his divine nature, that is, be united to the Trinity in everlasting love. He will not stop his work of redemption in each of our souls until we have achieved the perfection promised (and perfection must always be our aim—2 Cor. 13:11). One way in which God helps us toward perfection is through his loving punishment. Who would dare deny what is written in Proverbs, and quoted in Hebrews: “the Lord disciplines those he loves, and he punishes everyone he accepts as a son.” Was the author of Hebrews ignorant of the fact that Christ’s work was perfect and complete? It would be heresy to slander the Biblical writer in this way. No, there can be no doubt about the perfect and complete work of Jesus Christ.

The thing is, God in his love has promised to graft us into Jesus Christ through his grace. This is a “now and not yet” process. It is a work that God has begun in us, and has promised to bring to completion. It is not our work, it is the Holy Spirit in us. Part of God’s love is that he punishes us, not to hurt us, but exactly the opposite. Every parent understands this. The inspired and blessed author of Hebrews: “God disciplines us for our good, that we may share in his holiness. No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it” (Heb. 12:10-11).

Again we say, the goal is to share in God’s holiness through the mediation (and only through the mediation) of the Incarnate One, our Lord and Savior, Christ Jesus. Only in Him is the gap bridged between God and man and our adoption into the divine family made possible. The promise God has given is that we will be new creations in Christ (which has begun, and will be made perfect on the last day), partakers of the divine nature.

The Catholic doctrine of purgatory intends only to say that God will complete the work he has begun in us. He will not abandon us, he will not leave us half way. He will make us holy. And even if we have not been fully sanctified at the hour of our death, He will complete the good work in us. This is a gift of grace.

Now, there seems to be some confusion about the role of time in purification (with the image of waiting around in a place, presumably like a waiting room in a doctor’s office, suggested). The truth is that the Catholic Church, so far as I know, does not have a teaching on whether purgatory is a temporal reality. She has used to analogy of time to try to convey how sins put us further from God. C.S. Lewis, in his brilliant The Great Divorce, uses the analogy of distance (the journey up the great mountain). These are ways of explaining a spiritual reality in physical terms (entirely appropriate, since we are physical beings). Yet we should not be mislead: purgatory, according to the Catholic teaching, may be an instant. As James points out (through the Pope’s beautiful words), it may be that wonderful instant when we come face to face with Christ and our sins are burned away through his love. If our souls are still very much attached to hatred and lust and envy and pride, it may seem like coming into the presence of our Almighty and HOLY Father is a long and horrible process. But it is (I repeat myself) a gift of grace, a profound blessing, that we are made capable of communion with Him.

Therefore, you need not believe that there is much ‘waiting’ involved. Presumably you believe that something happens to the soul after death and before final punishment. Do you think the soul is in perfect communion with God after the moment of death, and yet is waiting to be “cleansed”? How is this possible? How can we be with God and yet not cleansed? (Since I wrote this, Jip has made this point more cogently than I).

In conclusion, just like the doctrine of the Trinity, which is obviously biblical but required at least three centuries to be fully appreciated by the Church*, the doctrine of purgatory is just a word we give to that purification that is undoubtedly biblical, yet not described in those terms. It is a fairly modest idea: God will complete the work begun in us; our souls will be made pure. Purgatory itself is not a big, complicated doctrine. It is the obvious conclusion based on reflection on what the Bible says about human sanctification, God’ holiness, and our communion with Him.


*We must avoid historical naiveté when it comes to the doctrine of the Trinity. The occasional suggestion that the doctrine as we currently understand it (that the Father, Son and Spirit are homoousios and yet three persons) leapt off the Biblical page and was easily accepted by all orthodox Christians is not a fair reading of what actually happened in the third and fourth centuries. The Arian party had a persuasive biblical argument; so persuasive that a majority of the Church in some areas was led astray. The only reason we think this is an easy issue today is that we benefit from the Nicene tradition. Give the Bible alone to someone who does not benefit from the rule of faith established at Nicaea and Constantinople and see how often they get the Trinity right on the first try.

Lorraine's Apple Cake Recipe

1 c. oil
1 and ½ cup sugar
3 c. flour
4 eggs
¼ c. apple juice, cider or water
1 Tbs. vanilla
1 Tbs. baking powder
½ tsp. salt

Mix all in large bowl until smooth.

In small bowl, mix 5 Tbs. sugar and 1 Tbs. cinnamon. Pare and slice 5-6 large apples. Mix with above. Grease tube pan. Pour half batter in pan, cover with half apples and cinnamon sugar; repeat. Bake at 350 degrees for 1 to 1 and ½ hours. Cool 10 minutes before flipping onto baking rack. Sprinkle with 10x sugar. Refrigerate after well-cooled. Better on the second day.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Heidi's Lamb Recipe

Rack of Lamb (you can just use a regular lamb leg / chop, anything lamb I would say)
1 1/2 tablespoons kosher salt (regular salt is fine to use)
2 tablespoons minced fresh rosemary leaves (if you don't have them fresh cause they are kind of expensive just use dried rosemary but not as much b/c dried is more potent)
3 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 cup Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
2 racks of lamb (like I said before any kind of lamb roast will work)

In the bowl of a food processor fitted w/ a steel bade, process the salt, rosemary, and garlic until they're as finely minced as possible. Add the mustard and balsamic vinegar and process for 1 minute. Place the lamb in a roasting or sheet pan w/ the ribs curving down, and coat the tops w/ the mustard mixture. Allow to stand for 1 hour at room temperature.

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F.

Roast the lamb for exactly 20 minutes for rare or 25 minutes for medium-rare. Remove from the oven and cover w/ aluminum foil. Allow to sit for 15 minutes, then cut into individual ribs and serve.

Beth's Biscuits-A Family Recipe

2 cups white flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
3 Tablespoons sugar
3 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
12 Tablespoons butter
1 cup buttermilk

Blend the dry ingredients.
Cut in butter till size of coarse crumbs.
Add buttermilk and stir, knead dough.
Roll out dough and cut biscuits or drop dough onto lightly oiled baking sheet.
Bake 12 minutes at 425 degrees.

(Nota bene from Miss Killion: If I don't have buttermilk, I'll just use sour milk or a cup of milk with a little vinegar added.)

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

My Solitary Work Journey

By Lynne McGuire-my former co-worker at Crescendo Interactive. This was composed in July 2008 after I resigned my position.

With whom shall I share my poems
To whom will I write my odes
The thoughts in my mind will roam
Alone, on Intellectual Road

For Essie’s decided to wander
On a road so much less traveled
God’s theology she’s decided to ponder
All His thoughts she will unravel

And I’ll remain here
Pining and whining, I’ll mourn

My dear Essie is bound for the East
While I remain in the West
She’ll tell all her good thoughts to a priest
And I’ll talk to Arthur, at best

Such are the fates of life, I suppose
These events make or break our days
They’re not meant for stimulating prose
They’re relegated to this paper phrase

But I have a big heart of forgiveness
And I’ll think of her fondly always
For my friend, the Adventuress
Will be blessed, what she does, always

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Pumpkin Drop Cookies


* 1/2 cup butter flavored shortening
* 3 cups sugar
* 1 (15 ounce) can solid pack pumpkin
* 2 eggs
* 1/2 cup milk
* 6 cups all-purpose flour
* 2 teaspoons baking soda
* 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
* 1 teaspoon salt
* 1 teaspoon ground allspice
* 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves


* 1/2 cup butter, softened
* 2 1/2 cups confectioners' sugar
* 2 tablespoons milk
* 1 teaspoon vanilla extract


1. In a large mixing bowl, cream shortening and sugar. Beat in the pumpkin, eggs and milk. Combine the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, salt, allspice and cloves; gradually add to creamed mixture. Drop by tablespoonfuls 2 in. apart onto greased baking sheets. Bake at 375 degrees F for 10-13 minutes or until lightly browned. Remove to wire racks to cool completely.

2. In a small mixing bowl, combine the frosting ingredients; beat until smooth. Frost cookies. Store in the refrigerator.

Saturday, November 14, 2009


Today I committed murder. Yes I admit it. It was either me or the mouse. The first mouse I let go free. The second mouse had no such luck. I cornered that disgusting rodent and I vacuumed him to death. Now there is blood on my hands and blood on the carpet. I have no clue how to clean it up. Gross.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

My Dad is the Swedish Chef

Adel made a comment about your photo in the album "Profile Pictures":

"voush to who do vu do vu do vu do vu do housh do vu ?
this is sweedish for who is the best cook , the best cook for this vonderful group ?"


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