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Sunday, 13 July 2014

Hello to Readers in Canada!

Germany Has Scored!

Yippee! Love the commentators-"Desolation for Argentina." Six minutes to go.

Hello to Readers in Mexico


Germany vs. Argentina, and I am the only Germany fan in the place. Hmmmm

Weather and Hubris

We are under a tornado watch and severe thunder storm warning. As my English-American son says, “Iowa has weather, England has climate.”

I grew up in extremes of very cold winters with lots of snow and steamy hot summers with storms. So, I learned to be prepared. I have personally been in seven tornadoes, and a cyclone, as well as many, many high wind storms.

What living in this “climate” does is make one prepared and prudent. Only paid storm-watchers and silly people who think nothing bad will happen to them dare to be out in storms.

However, there are times when the storms happen so fast, no one can be prepared. Tornadoes sometimes change course, or arrive faster than the sirens and warnings can inform people of danger.

Sometimes, tornadoes grow to enormous size and, as in one just about two weeks ago in Nebraska, can turn into two, a double tornado.

Then, there are sheer winds, which I have witnessed as well. These are low-lying straight winds which destroy crops, trees, anything in the way.

As I write this, the entire sky is grey with heat lightning criss-crossing the backyard here.

However, the sky is not green, a phenomenon which does happen before a tornado. I have seen green skies.

The moral of all this description is that man is not in charge of nature-God is. From all time, Divine Providence saw and willed, either in His Perfect Will, or in His Permissive Will, bad weather.

Are there demons of the skies and of the air? Absolutely. The voodoo name for the storm-god had morphed into the word “hurricane”.

But, God allows evil, although He does not create it.

Many farms of corn and soybean fields have been destroyed by flooding. June in Iowa witnessed over 11 inches of rain, compared to the norm of 2.2 or so.

And, in one rainstorm, 4.4 inches of rain fell in a relatively short period of time. The Mississippi and the Waspsi, among other rivers, flooded fields which cannot be saved this year.

This happened in some places last year, in 1993, in 1966, and so on.

Those who build in flood plains sometimes lack common sense. I remember condos and posh flats being built on an ancient flood plain in England, not even built upon by the Romans, master builders that they were, as they knew this particular river would flood regularly. So, in the 1990s, men in their pride and foolishness built on the plain. I know this as I was buying property at the time and looked at these new buildings. I said to the estate agent. “These will flood.” I was assured by her that these would not.

The next year, the new buildings flooded and the inhabitant-owners sued the company. I say, “Duh.”

Let Nature have her way. The only reason to build on flood plains is greed.

God is in charge. And, He will try to teach us that we are only human and not gods.

Hey, My Good Friend Dave Is Serving Here     Here and here...

I have heard the Lassus Scholars and even was graced to have breakfast with them once. Great people, great voices.

From SPUC--Sad News

3 Whitacre Mews, Stannary Street
London, SE11 4AB, United Kingdom
Telephone: (020) 7091 7091
Lord Carey's support for death for sufferers - SPUC Pro-Life's response
London, 12 July 2014: Leading anti-euthanasia group SPUC Pro-Life has responded to Lord Carey's support for Lord Falconer's assisted suicide bill. SPUC Pro-Life was represented officially in the High Court in the Diane Pretty and Debbie Purdy assisted suicide cases.

Paul Tully, SPUC Pro-Life's general secretary, said: "This is a blow for those sharing the burden of suffering, physical or mental, in the world. Sadly they will feel more friendless and worthless. Christian thinkers and leaders have long understood what it is to suffer, and this has led to great strides to relieve suffering - by both personal and social initiatives. Christians must not abandon suffering people now when they are under greater threat than ever from Supreme Court judgments and Lord Falconer's bill."
Paul Tully, SPUC Pro-Life’s general secretary, can be contacted on 07939 178719 or 020 7820 3127. SPUC's communications department can be contacted on:

Local Priestly News

Supertradson use to work for this newspaper!

Discovering The Person, Manning

As readers know, I walked through two of Cardinal Manning's books on this blog recently. Now, thanks to a friend, I am reading a biography by Robert Gray of this great clergyman.

Why did I not discover him earlier? I discovered Newman in graduate school and he was part of my unfinished doctoral thesis. But, Manning has been overlooked because of bad, unfair, incorrect and even malicious biographies.

I am thoroughly enjoying this book.

Will get back to you all on this. Here is a quotation thanks to Catholic Champion blog.

‘. . . God knows I would rather stand in the lowest place within the Truth, than in the highest without it. Nay, outside the Truth, the higher the worse. It is only so much more opposition to Truth, so much more propagation of falsehood.’ Cardinal Henry Edward Manning

Everildis Part Four and Conclusion

Emily felt well enough to help Mary pack, help Mary needed as her pregnancy was becoming difficult for her. Sometimes Mary thought things were not quite right. She had pains in her sides and she became dizzy suddenly. One night, a few days after the move, when Emily was still staying with Mary and Dave, Dave decided to take Mary to the hospital. They both seemed afraid. Emily went with them.

Mary was seen by a doctor immediately. Mary was in pain.

Sitting in the waiting room, Emily prayed her rosary. She remembered the awe of the saint at the idea of prayers to Mary on such a beautiful piece of jewelry, as Everildis had noted.

Dave came out and sat down next to Emily. “Emily, they are doing tests. The doctor thinks Mary has a tumor. He wants us to abort. Of course, we said no. Please, please pray I can’t lose Mary and I cannot lose this baby.”

Emily saw the stupidity of suggesting an abortion. She understood that too many doctors see pregnancy as an illness or a complication of life.

Emily put her hand on Dave’s shoulder. This tall, fit ex-soldier sat with his head in his hands.

“Dave, have you ever heard of St. Everildis? She had a convent right here somewhere in this area. Pray to her for a miracle.”

Dave sat up. “OK, we need a miracle.” The two sat quietly for about an hour. A nurse said Mary was having an ultra-sound and blood tests.

The doctor came out and asked Dave to come back. Emily waited. Only fifteen minutes passed and both Mary and Dave came out to the waiting room.

Emily stared at Mary. She looked, well, wonderful.

Dave spoke first. “I do not know who your saint is, but all the pain is gone, isn’t it Mary? And the doctor said we can wait for tests at home. They did a scan and saw nothing, And the baby is fine, and a girl, a little girl. Mary and I saw the ultra-sound.”

The three were very quiet in the car on the way home. Then, Mary said something odd, “I feel like a different person. I feel healthy for the first time in this pregnancy. Emily, this has something to do with you, I know it.”

Emily and the two were getting out of the car. “No, it has to do with St. Everildis. You must pray to her, always, for your baby.”

Dave answered, “Well, I shall pray for sure, but Emily, you look so tired. Let me help you. I was ignoring you and I am sorry. I can pay more attention to you, now that Mary is feeling better.”

Emily agreed and within minutes she was alone in her new bedroom. She found the little green bottle and finished the herbal drink. She put it on the mantle. She took a scarf out of her bag. She stoked it gently and put it back.  Then, she said her rosary and fell asleep. All she wanted to do was to go back, go back to the monastery of Lady Abbess. She prayed that if this was God’s will another odd miracle would happen.

Within the week, Mary and Dave were called in to see the doctor to discuss test results. Nothing had been found-non tumor, no cancer, and Mary’s white blood cell count was fine. No reason for the pain which had ended and not returned that night was presented. All three friends privately thanked the Anglo-Saxon saint.

Then, one morning, a few days later, when Dave was at work, and Mary was shopping for a few more things for Baby, Emily decided to take a walk to what was thought to be one of the Anglo-Saxon sites of the old monastery. She walked down the main road to a short curve in the road. Then, she walked up a small grade to a small rise where the Anglican Church stood. Once at the top, Mary turned around. She was shocked. Here, where she was standing, was the same view from the back of the monastery. Here was the edge of the long hallway. Here was the east-facing land behind the old monastery where she had walked with the two nuns.

Emily turned towards the church. She noticed something. The layout of the church was exactly like that of the chapel of the nuns of St. Everilidis. She went into the unlocked church and walked towards the altar. There, behind one of the only rood screens left in this part of England, was the choir. Emily could see in her memory, the choir of the monastery, and she felt the foundations underneath her were reaching back, like stone roots to the original monastery. But, why had no one in these times made the connection? Were there no ruins?

A young curate came out of the sacristy. “May I help you,” he said with a gentle voice. Emily burst out. “Is this the old site of the monastery of Everildis?” The curate answered quickly, “Oh no, archaeologists place that about a mile outside the town limits, but I have time to walk there with you if you care to see this site. I am free this morning.”

Emily said yes, and the two walked down the small rise and turned up another hill. They walked for about ten minutes, until the curate turned again into a field, where a farmer was actually in the process of planting wheat. The curate walked along a hedge for about 20 feet and stopped. “Here are the marking of the monastery. You can barely make out the outline of the building here.” And the young curate pointed out the stone work in the field, on the side of where the farmer was planting. “See, the farmer cannot plant here and here and here.”  Indeed, there were stones set in lines as if for a foundation. But, Emily knew this was not the monastery. She looked at the surrounding land. It was too flat, but then so many years, so many centuries had changed this landscape. Then, a memory flooded Emily’s mind. She knew what this was. “This is not the monastery, Reverend, this is an old shrine. Perhaps this is an old shrine to Our Lady.”

The young curate looked hard at Emily. “Well, you can think that if you want to do so. In fact, a man came here from Brighton about three years ago and said the same thing. He said we all had it wrong here and that the monastery was, indeed, in ruins underneath my church. He also said, curiously like you, that this was a shrine. But, history records no shrine to Mary here. Well, I need to go. Shall we walk back together?”

Emily gladly walked back to the church with the vicar. He gave Emily an old history of the church, and said that if she ever wanted to talk about the history again, he would be happy to do so. “Do you know the name of the man who said the monastery was here?” Emily was, indeed, curious. “Well, I do, but it won’t be of any help. The man, who name was Robert Tibbetts, a rather famous historian of 7th and 8th century England, has disappeared. I mean, when I phoned him about a year later, his flatmate said that several months before, Mr. Tibbetts had walked out of the flat to go for a walk and never returned. The police believed he threw himself in the sea. But neither I nor his roommate believe this. Mr. Tibbetts was very balanced, and also, very pious. He was not inclined to either depression or drama. Well, good day.”

Emily thought that perhaps she was not the only time traveler associated with St. Everildis. Maybe this saint was trying to get the attention of people in this turbulent time. But then, Lady Abbess, at least at first, did not understand why Emily was in her monastery. However, Lady Abbess had not been surprised or shocked.

Emily walked slowly home. She wandered back and decided to walk up a small hill which rested between Everingham, and the farms surrounding the west side of the town.

As she walked, Emily heard her name being called in a strange voice, or rather, with a strange accent. Emily turned towards a small copse and there stood Mary Bega. “Do you want to come back, dear? We have a place for you?”

Emily almost cried for joy. “Mary Bega, yes, yes, yes. But, when, where, how?”

Mary Bega held out her hands. “Do not be afraid, Take my hands. We need you and you need us. Everildis sent me.” Emily grasped the warm, solid hands of Mary Bega. The scenery changed immediately and Emily was standing in the field below the monastery. “Now, it is almost time for midday prayer. Can you walk fast enough to keep up with me? I do not want to be late. Look, there is the chapel. Hurry, dear.”

When Mary came home, she tried to find Emily. She waited for two hours and then phoned Dave. Dave rushed back to the new house. Then, he thought about calling the police. Mary stopped him. “Dave, she is not here. I mean, she is gone from us and from Everingham.” Dave sat down at the table in the small dining room. “How do you know?”

Mary sat down as well. “Do you remember when Emily used the herbal concoction in this green bottle? She had it in her bag.”  Dave nodded. “I felt there was something odd, so I took this bottle this morning, and went to the antique dealer in the high street. You know, Mr. Thomas Baylor. You will not believe what he said.”

Dave sat up straight. “Go on.”

“He said it was rare Roman glass from the 4th century of Roman occupation of England. He asked me were I got it. I lied and said I found it in our things when we moved. Well, it is not exactly a lie.”

“What has this to do with Emily’s disappearance? You are not making sense, Mary. Where would Emily get something like that?”

“Listen. The antique dealer said this was so rare it was worth at least forty-thousand pounds. He offered to buy it. Of course, I said no. Then he asked if he could open it up. When he did, I thought he would find traces of the liquid, but what do you think he found? Crusted deposits, he said, centuries old, of some sort of herbal mixture.”

Dave stood up and paced about the small, cheery room. “But, what does this mean?”

“Emily must have gone back in time. She has been acting strangely and not talking to me. She was different.”

Dave answered impatiently, “That is because she had a concussion. People with concussions sometimes act weird for awhile.”

Mary held out a piece of cloth. “And, there is this.”

It was a green and scarcely red scarf, made from wool and some other material. A strange pin was stuck in the back of it.

“So, what is this?”

Mary said slowly, “The antique dealer said it was worth millions. He said that cloth which was made before the 9th century is so rare as to be almost impossible to find. He was astounded at the excellent condition of this piece. He said that if it was a forgery, it had been made by someone who studied Anglo-Saxon use of dyes, wool and weaving. He kept asking me where I found it. I did not know what to say. I mumbled something about finding it in our things when we moved. His brother, Andrew Baylor, an expert in textiles, was at the shop, said it was a typical weave made for the upper classes between the 6th and 9th centuries. He thought it would be a style and weave worn by an “unmarried woman of noble blood”. His words, exactly. He also wanted to buy the pin. He said it was Anglo-Saxon and worth a mint. Of course, I refused. This is a relic to me.”

Dave held the piece of cloth in his hand. “I can’t believe all of this. I just can’t.”

Mary stood up and walked over to Dave. “One more thing-Emily’s cell phone rang and I picked it up. I knew she was gone. I knew she would not need it. When I saw it was the local church on the caller id, I picked it up. The call was from the curate at the Anglican Church. He said that if Emily wanted to talk more about St. Everildis’ monastery, he would be glad to meet her next Tuesday on his day off. He mentioned that he was going to do more research on her ideas of where the monastery actually was. Dave, how would she know this?”

“Another thing. When I mentioned to the curate that I thought Emily would not be back, he was silent on the other end for a bit. Then, he said something really odd-“Ah, like Mr. Tibbetts. Thank you. I understand.”

Dave looked at his wife. “Robert Tibbetts, the famous historian, the part-time archaeologist, who disappeared a few years ago? The news was on the TV. What has he got to do with Emily?”

Dave was beginning to think outside the box, but he could not quite put the pieces of the puzzle together.

“I really do not know what to do. This is so strange. It is unnatural. So, you do not think she is in danger? Are you sure?”

Mary kissed him. “No. She is not in danger. I am strangely at peace. And, you are correct-this is super-natural. All we need to do is to name our baby Everildis. That is all we need to do.”

The end….

Everildis Part Three

Lady Abbess had asked for a meeting in her own chamber. Her room, at the end of the long, dark hallway, past a number of smaller rooms, was larger than Emily’s but more simple. No fireplace cheered the darkness and one small window slit pierced through a corner, letting in a bit of light.

Everildis sat in a large chair partly made out of leather. She had a small table, on which was laid a quill pen and some pieces of parchment. One small cross was on the bare walls. Emily could not see a bed, but in one corner, a mat was rolled up. Everilidis lived the life of an ascetic.

“Are you quite comfortable, Emily?” The Abbess asked quietly. Her large blue eyes again startled Emily. “Yes, Lady Abbess. I am comfortable and well, but homesick for my own people and my own times, a bit.”

“Today, I have arranged for you to attend Mass and also, if you can manage the Latin, or our language, which you are obviously learning to use well, you may go to Confession. I have spoken with the priest and he will be glad to see you. You know his name I think.”

Emily perked up. Was she going to meet the famous St. Wilfrid? She could hardly contain her interest.

“Thank you, Lady Abbess.”

“I want to speak with you about your situation, my dear. It seems to me, as I believe that nothing is an accident, and that you are here for a reason. If you stay or if you go back to your own people and times, God is in charge. I hope you can trust that truth.”

Emily choked back tears. Yes, she could trust God. And, here were good people, very good people, of her own faith, practicing this faith as all Catholics of all ages had done for over 2,000 years. She was not in totally strange surroundings. After all, she was only a mile or so from her home in Everingham.

“I do not understand any of this, Lady Abbess, and although I am a bit afraid, I do trust in God and in you.”

Lady Abbess smiled. She got up and brought Emily’s handbag and her clothes over to the young woman. “I am returning these things to you.  We cleaned your clothes, but you must know that you cannot wear these things, except for the understhings, while you are here. You would be considered, well, a loose woman. I know you understand. But, would you like to explain a few of these strange toys to me? I am interested and see no harm in the explanations.”

For a half-hour, Emily defined cosmetics, wallets, identity and credit cards, insurance card, driver’s licenses, keys to her flat, keys to her car, photographs, tissues, and the magical cell phone. Lady Abbess was intrigued, but Emily knew that she was really watching her, rather than primarily interested in the things. But, one thing did create interest in the Lady Abbess. This was Emily’s rosary. When Emily explained what the rosary was and how it had been revealed by the Queen of Heaven herself, Lady Abbess knelt on the dirt floor and kissed the rosary in Emily’s hand. “Your people are, indeed blessed. You have so many gifts from God and His Mother to help you to heaven. Just think, to pray on such jewelry. What a gift!”

Emily felt a bit ashamed. She did not always say her daily rosary. She reflected on Lady Abbess’ reaction.

Just then, a little bell, like a cow bell, rang. Everildis stood up and told Emily it was time to go to the chapel for Mass and Confession. Emily followed the Abbess into the large chapel. To her surprise, it was crowded with about eighty people, men, women, including the nuns in the choir, and children. Then, Emily realized it was Sunday.

Suddenly, Emily felt totally at home. Here, in the centuries before England became totally Catholic, here in the wilderness, a small community of her people had grown under the guidance of Everildis and Wilfrid. Almost half of the congregation was nuns, about 35 of them, mostly very young.

Emily noticed that many of the people waited for her to come in and kneel in a special place set aside for her in the choir. Then, she remembered that she was wearing the clothes of a princess. She looked at the floor, humbled by their deference. This unknown, unpopular and failing journalist was being honored as a relative of the Abbess.

Mass started and Emily was happily surprised that the entire set of prayers were in Latin, Only the blessing at the end was in Anglo-Saxon, and, of course, the sermon, which was on the Gospel of the day, and the Epistle, the second from II Corinthians 3;4-9 and the first from Luke 10:23-27. Emily could not follow the entire sermon, as her Old English had been primarily literary and not full of the colloquialism and quaintness of daily speech. But, she knew that the long heritage of the Catholic Church had its foundations in little congregations such as this one on Bishop’s Hill.

After Mass, where Emily was not offered Communion, the priest came up and took Emily out of the choir into the sacristy, a very small room to the left of the altar. He then indicated that she should begin her Confession. This would be the strangest Confession Emily ever made, an odd mixture of Latin and Anglo-Saxon. Later, the Abbess would tell Emily that the priest realized he was listening to a highly educated young woman. “She would be of great use to this monastery, for record keeping, and for the archives.” Wilfrid and Everildis began to perceive a plan of God.

The midday dinner was the largest of the week, with meat and fish, and to Emily’s surprise, the entire congregation was in attendance. Long tables of food were set outside near the flower beds, and the families were fed along with the priest.  

Emily ate with the nuns inside, in the small refractory.  She wondered why she had been requested to eat with them. Their diet, although consisting of meat and fish, as well as bread and ale, was less food than was being served outside. Emily loved the sounds of the children and the endless talk of the people of God. But, most of all, she loved the silence.

But, she was tired, very tired. Lady Abbess noticed this and instructed Mary Wuldreda and Mary Bega to escort Emily back to her own little room. Emily had to admit that she was grateful for the bed and for the small basin of water for washing herself. There was no soap, but some long green plants which were used to scrub the skin before rinsing with warm, scented water.

Emily smiled as she washed, which she had done daily here, at the modern false idea that the Anglo-Saxons never washed. She was surrounded by rather modern standards of hygiene, but then, she recalled, some of her carers were descended from those who created Bath, so far away and in ruins.

The young woman fell asleep quickly, as the two nuns began Evening prayer. Emily could hear them sing a simple, gentle song dedicated to Mary. She thought the words were those of the Magnificat. Emily fell into a deep sleep and the last thing she remembered were the nuns changing her into her own clothes. How strange.

But, the reason for this was immediately clear when Emily woke up in a small room behind the chemist on the high street in Everingham. She was truly startled and upset. But, there was Mary and Dave, and her doctor, Doctor More. Emily tried to get her bearings, but all she could do was cry.

Mary bent over her. “We are going to take you to the hospital, but the bleeding has stopped. You just need a check up, I think. Come with us. Can you stand?” The two friends took her to hospital, where she was diagnosed with a slight cut and a concussion.

Hours later, Emily was at Mary and Dave’s house, which was strewn with boxes. Emily could not talk. She drank hot tea and at a biscuit.

Mary explained the change of their plans. “Dave’s company changed their mind. They want him to stay here and have helped us to find a house, as we had ended our contract. We are going to stay here after all. Aren’t you glad? We are.”

Emily looked down at the table. She could not drink her tea as offered. She was full of distress and a strange longing.

“Are you OK, Emily? You look so sad and you have not said a word.”

Mary stared at Emily. “I am sorry, Mary, but I have had a strange experience and I need to rest and just think. By the way, I need to phone the office.”

Mary handed Emily her phone. Emily stared at it. “It is past hours, but Jack will be there.”

Emily pushed the speed dial, and Jack answered. “This is Emily. I just want to tell you that I quit. I am going to do something else. What it is, I do not know. Send me my last check. Goodbye.” Jack said something, but Emily did not listen. She hung up.

Mary stared at Emily. Then she smiled. “Well, I am glad you quit. You were too good for that place. But, what is this ‘other’ stuff? You have never said this before?’

Emily finished her tea. “I am really tired. Can I rest now? I can tell you later, not now.”

Mary apologized, as she had forgotten that Emily still was suffering from the concussion, and said that Dave had made up a room on this ground floor for her. “And, here is your handbag. But, there is something really odd sticking out of it. Did you stop at the health food store before you were hit? This looks like a herbal drink and a scarf.”  Emily took the small green glass bottle. “What a strange bottle, like something from ancient Rome-what company is this made by, Emily?”

Emily took the green bottle and opened it up. Inside was the drink the nuns had given her for days. This dose was “one for the road”.  ‘I am not sure of the name, but it works. I have taken this before.”

Mary helped Emily into the small living room which had been set up for her as a temporary bedroom. “I am so sorry for the mess, but you know we move in a short time. But, you can stay with us as long as you need to do so. Do you need anything else?”

Emily thought of her large nightly goblet of ale and herbs. She missed the soothing hot drink. She smiled, “No, I am fine.”

As she lay in the front room, Emily made up her mind about something. She would try and get back to the monastery of Everildis. She realized that she felt so much more at home there than here. But, how would she get back? And, why was she back in 2014? Why did any of this happen, to her, to a no one?

To be continued…

Everildis Part Two of a Short Novella

“Check your sources, check your sources…”  Emily sat up suddenly. She looked about her and for a second, forgot where she was. She was in the middle of the country near old York somewhere, in a large house similar to a long house, but more snug and homey.  Ah, the monastery…Emily felt extremely hungry. To her surprise, Mary Wuldreda, the older of the two sisters, was actually cooking meat over the open fire. Emily looked carefully and noticed a large jug of some type of frothy liquid on the trestle table. Mary Wuldreda looked up and smiled at Emily. “Are you hungry? We noticed that you slept well, and not in a fever, a healthy sleep. And look at you, pink cheeks.”

Emily laughed quietly. Language has not changed much, she thought. Mary Wuldreda brought a large goblet of the frothy ale to her. Emily looked at it and wondered if she could drink this without getting drunk. She decided to sip the ale. It tasted like scrumpy.

“Mary Bega will be back. She is napping with the Abbess’ permission.”  Mary Wuldreda turned back to the meat. “It is venison, as I can tell you are wondering. Have you had venison, my dear?”

Emily answered in the affirmative. The nun opened a small basket and took out some rye bread. The nun took a small knife off her belt and cut the bread. Emily thought that it was dangerous carrying a knife about one’s waste, but then, Emily saw something which took her breath away. The handle of the knife looked like solid silver, carved with two dogs facing each other-the ancient pattern of the Celtic hounds.

How wonderful to see something which would end up in the British Museum as it was at the time of its creation. Emily then began to cry, as it hit her where she was and when. She felt homesick.

“Now, dear, do not cry. You are well and Lady Abbess will help you. She told me that God had put you here for a reason. I believe that as well. Do you, now?”

Emily looked at the sunny, but wrinkled face. Mary Wuldreda did not resemble Lady Abbess at all. This nun was short and stocky, not tall and graceful. And her coloring was strangely dark. Emily suddenly had an inspiration. “Sister, are you from a Roman family?”

Mary Bega smile was so big that the entire room seemed wrapped in sunlight. “Why yes, my dear. My ancestors settled in the West Country, now the place of the West Saxons. My father’s people were tin merchants and my mother’s family was of the patrician class, from Rome. Even my name has Roman, or rather, Latin roots-my name is Wuldreda in religion, but Rufina by baptism. “

Emily smiled as well. Here in the wilds of what would be Yorkshire, a small, Roman ancestor told of her ancient family with pride and interest. Just then, Mary Bega entered the room as silently as possible.

“Our guest may go out tomorrow, Lady Abbess indicated. We can take her for a walk about the monastery and the hills.”

Emily felt excited but nervous at the same time. She did not know how she would feel looking at the countryside which became her town. She really did not know if she could cope. But, deep down, she really wanted to see what this part of England, before England existed as a united nation, looked.

“I would love to go out. I feel a bit, but, she struggled for a Latin word describing claustrophobia, a word which did not exist in the 7th century.

Mary Bega whispered something to Mary Wuldreda. Then, the two came over by the bed where Emily was sitting straight up.

“Would it be proper, I mean, could we look at your Christian symbols? We would like to see something from another world which is of our faith. It is truly exciting.”

Emily smiled again. These two women were like curious children. She took the Benedictine cross on the steel chain, which she had bought in Malta in 2013, and the silver scapular from around her neck, and placed these in her hand. Mary Wulfreda took the Benedictine Cross and carefully examined it. Green enamel filled in the back and the Corpus was bronze.

Mary Bega looked at the tiny replica of the brown scapular made out of silver. It was so small and so fine. She turned it around and noticed the wording on the back, so small, so tiny. “Italy”.

There was no Italy, and there was Malta shrouded in mystery at this time.

Emily wondered at how she could explain these items. Then she turned the cross around to the back.

“On the back of this one, there are tiny letters which read ‘Rome’-Rome the same now as it will be until Christ comes again.” All three became silent. Rome, how long would Rome last?

Mary Wuldreda sighed and gave the cross back to Emily. “Would you be able to keep these, “Emily almost whispered? She wanted these two servant-hearts to have these medals. If and when Emily returned to her world, she would buy duplicates.

“We take a vow of poverty, my dear. No, you keep these.”

Emily put the necklaces back on and took the plate of meat and bread from Mary Wuldreda. The meat proved to be delicious, with some herbs cooked in with a strange sauce. Then Emily recognized the ale taste in the gravy. She would learn to like this ale.

The next morning, after a small breakfast of ale and bread, Emily found her shoes, clean placed next to her bed. Her 21st century clothes had not yet appeared. Emily was given new underthings, like a long, linen shift, but nothing else. Then, a heavy brown and green nubby gown was pulled over her head. The nuns then insisted that Emily wear a green and partly red scarf, which tied tightly around her forehead and was fastened in the back with a pin.

“These clothes come from the dowry of Lady Abbess herself, from her kinfolk. These are the clothes of a princess. Emily stood up and felt a bit light-headed. She was not use to ale for breakfast.

The nuns stood on either side of her and brought her through the room to a door Emily had not noticed before now. This door opened into a long hallway, dark, without windows, except for two or three slits high up in the roof. The nuns guided Emily down the hallway to another door, and then to the outside. There, in the morning sun, Emily could see miles around, as the monastery had been built on a hill. Beyond this hill, were several other hills. The green of the grass astounded Emily. She saw a forest in the distance to the west. And, to the east, she thought she could smell cut hay. Nothing seemed familiar to her.

The nuns took her by the hands and walked behind the monastery, where a small park-like circle of trees and a bed of flowers greeted her.  The birds singing in the trees sang like it was the first day of creation. Emily had never heard as many birds as she did on this day. Her heart swelled in thanksgiving for this experience alone.

After walking down a little path, the nuns showed Emily a tiny chapel at the end of the dirt road. The shrine was about a mile from the monastery. There, in the gloom of a copse of trees, in a stone building, was a small icon of Mary and Jesus. The icon looked as if it were made out of oak. Emily gasped. She moved away from the nuns’ arms and knelt down. Here, in the earliest days of Christianity, was an icon of Our Lady of Tenderness. Emily wept. Despite the fading colors, this icon was almost exactly like a modern reproduction of one she had in her room at home. Her room at home….where would her home be? Which hills remained and which had disappeared in the years of building and decay of her town?

The nuns stepped forward. “We must take you back. This walk, was perhaps, too difficult for you. Let us go back.” Mary Wuldreda helped Emily back to her feet. The little Romano-British nun had great strength.

Back in her small, kitchen like room, Emily did feel tired. She felt emotionally drained. She needed to sleep. Mary Began brought Emily another herbal drink and in minutes, Emily was sound asleep.

Mary Wuldreda opened the door and a small white dog walked into the room. Mary Bega gave the dog some scraps. Mary Bega sat down and began to pray, and Mary Wuldreda joined her. If Emily was awake, she would have noticed that the nuns managed to pray the exact words of Evening Prayer and Night Prayer without books. The art of memorizing formed a large part of the training of the nuns. They chanted the psalms in a strange combination of Gregorian chant and Celtic chant. Emily slept well, beyond the voices of the nuns.

To be continued…

On Blasphemy

St. John Vianney describes a “bad death”. He points out that some people say a quick death is bad, or one from a painful disease, or one from an executioner.

The Cure notes that most martyrs were killed by executioners. He notes that St. Francis de Sales die quickly, immediately. He writes that St. Roch and St. Francis Xavier died of the plague.

The only bad death is dying in sin. I dread seeing all the missed opportunities for grace and holiness. I dread not seeing, until my particular judgment, the horrible seriousness of my many sins. As the saint describes, we shall see our sins “in the broad light of day” not in confusion or darkness. We shall see what we did not want to face.

If we keep saying “no” to grace, grace will not suddenly be given to us at death, as we have turned against God so many times. God’s mercy and justice decide our deaths, not us.

The Cure writes this: “Voltaire, realizing that he was ill, began to reflect upon the state of the sinner who dies with his conscience loaded with sins. He wished to examine his conscience and to see whether God would be willing to pardon him all the sins of his life, which were very great in number. He counted upon the mercy of God, which is infinite, and wit this comforting thought in mind, he had brought to him one of those priests whom he had so greatly outraged and calumniated in his writings. He threw himself upon his knees and made a declaration to him of his sins and put into his hands the recantation of all his impieties and his scandals. He began to flatter himself on having achieved the great work of his reconciliation. But he was gravely mistaken. God has abandoned him; you will see how. Death anticipated all spiritual help. Alas! This unfortunate blasphemer felt all his terrors reborn in him. He cried out, ‘Alas, am I then abandoned by God and men?’….

No priests came. He went mad at death, and despaired. Voltaire’s friends who wanted him to die as he had lived, secular, hating God and the Church, denied entry to anyone who could have helped him.

I know a man who wanted to become a Catholic as he was dying. His family could not get a priest to come to his hospital room and to hear his confession. I sincerely hope God granted him baptism of desire, but why did he wait until the very end?

I pray for a happy death. St. Joseph, hear this prayer.

By the way, St. John Vianney reminds us that ignorance of sin, of God’s standards of morality, is our fault.

I have spoken with someone recently who told me that ignorance of sin would cover the sins of two people steeped in sin. No, this is simply not true. We have all the information written in our hearts in natural law. We have all the information we need plus the grace sufficient for salvation. This is our Catholic teaching.

How interesting that so many Catholics do not know that there is a natural law philosophy connected to the theology of the Catholic Church.  It is also interesting that the vast majority of the Catholics I have spoken with in the last six months have not read any, none, of the Catechism of the Catholic Church.

This is so serious a sin of omission on the part of Catholics that it needs to be addressed from the pulpit. Why do not priests encourage the reading and study of the CCC?

I am sure St. John Vianney would have encouraged his parishioners to study this book. And, if he would have had it at his disposal, he would have referred to it.

I want to quote one more section from the sermons and then move on.  This selection is from a sermon on blasphemy and some people may be surprised at the list of sins which this great saint lists under this sin.

“I tell you, therefore, that we blaspheme: 1. When we say that God is not just in making some people so rich that they have everything in abundance while so many others are so wretched that they have difficulty in getting bread to eat. 2. When we say that He is not as good as people say, since He allows so many people to remain weak and despised by others while there are some who are loved and respected by everyone. 3. Or if we say that God does not see everything, that he does not know what is going on in the world. 4. if we say that ‘If God shows mercy to So-and-So, He is not just because that man has done too much harm. 5. Or again, when we come up against some loss or setback and we lose our temper with God and say such things as: ‘Ah, but I certainly have bad luck! God cannot do any more to me! I believe that He does not know I am in the world, or if He does know, it is only so that He can make me suffer!’ It is also blasphemy to criticize the Blessed Virgin….”

One more sin of blasphemy I want to mention if the sin of “final impenitence”. St. John Vianney writes that “Impenitence is a spirit of blasphemy, since the remission of our sins is achieved through love-which is the Holy Ghost.”

There is more in this sermon on this subject, but I want to close the book, pass it on to a friend of mine, and move onto the biography of Cardinal Manning. I am so behind in my reading!

Thanks to all my friends and readers who send me books to unpack on this blog. I am more grateful than I can express. Thank you.

Morning vs Night People

I am a morning person. I do most of my work in the morning. By four, I am feeling my blood sugar dropping. I have tried to get some people interested in going for the $2.99 breakfast at a local cafe. A real bargain, which just started this month, but I cannot get anyone to go with me.


However, I have noticed something in American society which disturbs me greatly. Most people I meet now are night people. I am surrounded by people of all ages who stay up to midnight, one, two. Many of these people have children, and allow their children to stay up late.

I am not talking about people living in poverty, but middle-class and upper-middle-class families.

I cannot understand families which stay up late. There is something not Christian about staying up late unless one is in prayer. There is something not quite right about staying up late, so late, that one cannot greet God in the morning.

The kids in the morning can hardly get up for camp in one family I know. I have seen this in one family with which I am familiar. The kids are in baseball and football camps and in the morning, as they go to their day of sport, they act like zombies. They have been allowed to stay up way too late. Why?

Oddly enough, one of the persons in this neighborhood, solidly middle class, has a license plate with ZOMBIE on it.

When did it happen in this culture that children stopped going to bed at nine or ten, if teens? Teens actually need at least eight to ten hours of sleep a night.

When did it happen that parents thought it was ok to watch TV until one or even two? Kids have TVs in their rooms and computers in their rooms. Parents watch movies late into the night.

The problems of work-place illnesses and accidents may be sleep-deprivation and the lack of awareness needed for most jobs.

I have been in this house for the past two weeks and there have been three people killed in car accidents since I have been here, in this city alone. Three.

A lack of attention? Drinking or drugs? Sleep-deprivation?

I see many young people with short tempers, with frustration and anger.

I had an excellent pediatrician for my son in England who said this to me. “When you child is upset, always begin with the physical. Children react to stimuli faster and keener.”

He was correct. Start with the physical and move to the spiritual. Sometimes kids are just plain tired. Anger and frustration can simply be symptoms of a lack of sleep and no scheduling. Kids do better with schedules. We all do.

I blame the parents, as too many parents do not have schedules themselves.  Pay attention to your days. Schedule going to bed times. Schedule prayer times.

Teach your children to be disciplined. We do not have much time.

If any readers can share with me why people are staying up so late, please let me know. I am wondering at this habit and part of the culture I have not noticed before the past six months. Interesting.

Meanderings from Reading Vianney

I know a person whose mother wanted to abort her the entire time that baby was in the womb. I pray for that person, who grew up cursed by her mother.

I pray for God’s mercy and justice to prevail.

I know a person who curse his parent, but repented and went to confession. I pray that curse is lifted through mortification and contrition.

Many people say thing they think they do not mean.

Many people, more than one would like to think, do not want their children.

We need to reach out to those children who have grown up under a death sentence of rejection and pain.

Reading both St. John of Vianney and Garrigou-Lagrange over the past two weeks, I am struck by the awareness of how far our culture, our society has fallen away from Christianity. I am too aware of how accommodating the Catholic leaders in our parishes, our dioceses, have been towards evil.

Too often in America, we concentrate on abortion, contraception and ssm, which are evils we must combat. But, do we think of the evils against God Himself? What of the blasphemies in movies, TV shows, on the lips of students and workers?

We have forgotten Who God Is. America had forgotten God, and soon, God must respond by letting us feel the proper judgment of His Righteouness.

A friend of mine told me that she is so tired of rude people. She is so tired of bullies. She meets these people daily in her place of work.

She has no recourse; believe it or not, as these people are customers and the customers are always right. If one of her fellow workers treated her the way these people do, that person could be fired or fined. But, not the public.

Her only defense is great humility and prayer. She must see that God has allowed these people to be horrible to her. Like King David’s response to Shimei, she must think, God has allowed this, therefore, I must endure this.

Try, I say to my friend. Please try to let go the hurt in your soul and mind from rude and even ignorant people.

God is allowing this trial for you to endure for some reason.

And, think of Christ’s Passion. He is God, and yet, He allowed Himself to experience horrible rudeness, blasphemy, unbelievable torture of both mind and body, for our sake.

Children and Sin

A theme I have pursued on this blog, especially under the tag of virtue and virtues, is the great responsibility of parents to raise their children in grace.

I am reminded today of St. Padre Pio’s astounding, public renunciation of a woman who came to him for Confession. She was well-dressed. Barely had she come into the room when the saint came out of the Confessional, announcing loudly to her (and everyone else in the room) that he would not hear her confession. His words are here paraphrased: “Because of you, your son is in hell. When you have decided to repent, I will hear your confession.”

St. John Vianney speaks on this terrible problem of parents not raising their children in God’s ways. Here is a short selection from the Cure of Ars.

“But, you will tell me, we cannot be always following them (the youth and children) around. We have other things to do. As to that, my dear brethren, I will say nothing. All I know is that you will answer for their souls as much as for you can own. But we do all we can. I do not know whether you do all you, but this much I do know: if your children incur damnation at home with you, you, too will be damned. That much I know, and nothing else. You may go on saying “No” to that, saying that I go too far. You will agree with it if you have not entirely lost your faith. That alone should suffice to cast you into a state of despair form which you could not emerge. But I know well that you will not take another step to fulfill any better your duties to your children. You are not at all disturbed, and you are almost right, for you will have plenty of time to torment yourselves during all eternity. We pass on.”

St. John Vianney also has several sermons about mothers pushing their daughters to become vain, considerate of their appearance outwardly and not inwardly, and meeting the “right men”. However, who are the right men? The Cure of Ars had noticed that the mothers of his parish did not care if their daughters married holy men, but only that they married wealthy, prosperous men, or men of “high families”.

The girls were steeped in “vanities”, in walking and dressing (no slouching) in such a way to attract attention. Sadly, this is the mindset of so many Catholic mothers, I must mention these words from the Cure’s sermons. Sadly, the words of the saint echo down to this age. How many mothers push their girls into going to dances and parties? How many mothers buy clothes which attract rather than simple, modest clothes? I was in the best, most expensive department store yesterday with my mother, as she needed to buy a birthday present for my nieces, who will be twelve in August.

To be honest, I was shocked at the huge amount of party and dressy dresses with no sleeves, low backs and even spaghetti straps for girls not yet into puberty. These dresses would be immodest for an adult, but for a child, these are obscene. To push girls into dressing like sophisticated adults is drawing attention to the sexualization of our youngest girls.

Two girls came into the same store about a month ago preparing for a child’s fashion show. Both girls were young. One was about eight and the other was about five. Both had on small high heels and fancy party dresses. One dress plunged to the waste in the back, a giant v-shape revealed her little back. The five year old had a dress with spaghetti straps. Both dresses cost about a hundred dollars. The mother said these girls were preparing for the fashion show. But, she was not thinking about their souls, their imaginations, their memories. This mother is preparing her girls to think about being sexy only, being attractive. I would be protecting those girls, not pushing them out into the world.

A home schooling mother told me recently of her good friends that finally pulled her daughter out of the local junior high as all, yes, all, the girls of thirteen and fourteen were discussing in detail their sexual adventures. To be fair, the mother had been naïve about youth and needed a wake-up call. The child is now home-schooled. They are not Catholic. Another mother, a Hindu, has been shocked at the immorality of her daughter’s peers in the public high school. She has taken her girl out, and is now home schooling. Being raised in a certain class in India, the mother has been shocked by the immorality of American youth. She is a religious person and is raising her girls to be moral. Pray for her.

This is not fiction. And mothers who allow their daughters to go to tweenie and even teens parties simply are ruining the imaginations and ability for sainthood in their girls.

St. John Vianney squarely puts the sin of neglect or even of false values at the feet, or rather, on the soul of the parents.

To merely teach your girls to marry well, not marry holy, get ahead, shop until they drop and be thinking of their hair and appearance constantly form the girl for a lifetime of the sin of vainglory.

So many parents say to me, “What when wrong?” The answer is simple—you, as a mom, listened to the world instead of God in raising your children.

If I had to raise my son all over again, I would be stricter. But, he did not go to mixed parties until he was 16, and then for a reason, such as the youth choir group, or the end of the play party, and I was there with the other youth and adults.

Parties at home are fine, and I had many with the “guys” for my son. We had youth over all the time on the weekends, after a game, or just for the heck of it, having pizza or barbecue. We did not have mixed parties. There was no need. All the guys there had decided not to get married in their near futures. Some had decided to become priests. None were dating. There was no need to date as of yet.

Mixed parties and dating are for one thing-finding a mate and if a young person is not ready to get married, there is no need for either mixed parties or dating. Boys can learn at home the correct way to eat, be respectful to women, and so on, by doing things with mom and his sisters.

Do you want your children to go to heaven?

Another mom let her daughter go to a mixed sleep-over. She said the boys were in one room and the girls in another. Why? Why did this have to occur? What is the good of this? Boys who are not brothers should not see girls in pjs or nightgowns. Girls should not see boys in sleep attire. I can hardly write this is seems so evil. “And lead us not into temptation.” The children were all ten and eleven, but I know many children who have gone through puberty at eleven. And, I do not believe in the goodness of sleep overs for a group. If a child wants her best friend to stay over for a weekend, fine, but group sleep overs seems incredibly naïve and out of place for Christian families. Mixed sleep overs seem unbelievable, but these occur here.

People simply either do not believe in original sin, and the vast majority of the kids at the sleep over were not baptized, as they were not Christian Asians, or non-Christians, that is completely secular families. This party above was one conducted by parents who are university professors. Many of the parents are atheists.

St. John Vianney would be fasting and praying even more today than in 1820 or so. He would be weeping tears of deep sorrow over the lost souls of our youngest ones.

I have taught on this blog that children can go to hell. Many Catholics do not believe this. I received angry responses to some of those posts about this subject.

St. John Vianney would say to me, “Keep writing, STM, as souls are at stake.”

Eternity is a very long time…..We have both natural law and reason to help us discern good situations over evil. Children come into the age of reason by seven, some earlier. Some can reason between good and evil at five.

I wrote a long series on virtue training for children last summer about this time. The tags are virtue, virtues, home schooling, and so on.

If you are a parent, please think and pray on these things. You do not have much time.

Here is St. John Vianney again:

“How is it that you are complaining that your animals are dying? Undoubtedly you must have forgotten all those sins which have been committed in your outbuildings and stables during the five or six months of winter. You have forgotten that the Holy Ghost has said that everywhere this sin shall be committed; the curse of the Lord will fall.  How many young people—alas!—would still have their innocence if they had not attended certain winter gatherings, young people now who perhaps will never come back to God? Again, as a result of these affairs, there are those young people who form associations which, most frequently end in scandal and the loss of a girl’s reputation. Then there are all the young libertines, who having sold their own souls to the Devil, now set out to rob other of theirs. Yes, my children, the evil which results from these gatherings is incalculable. If you are Christians and you wish to save souls and those of your children and others of your household, you should never hold these gatherings in your homes, or at least not unless you yourselves, one of the heads of the households, are going to see to it that God will not be offended by what goes on. Once you have all come in, you should close the door and refuse to admit anyone else. Begin your gatherings by reciting one or two decades of the Rosary to invoke the protection of the Blessed Virgin—and this you can do it you put your mind to it. Then banish all lascivious and sinful songs; your bodies are temples of the Holy Ghost, and these profane your hearts and mouths; banish also all those stories which are only lies and yarns in any event and are most often directed against people consecrated to God, which makes them more sinful. And you should never allow your children into any other of these gatherings. Why do they want to get away from you, except for the purpose of avoiding supervision? If you are faithful to the fulfillment of your duties, God will be less offended and you less blameworthy.”

Wouldn’t it be nice to hear on a Sunday how bad the music is online and on phones? Would it not be good to hear sermons that tell parents not to let their children hang out unsupervised with those who are not in sanctifying grace?  Would it not be good to hear of the dangers of computer games, of going to clubs and so forth from the priests?  I have not heard on priest decry horrible satanic music at the Superbowl. Not one have I heard in person….

St. John Vianney understood the evils of the culture of his time. Where are the John Vianneys today?

All these selections, in the past few posts over the past few days, are from St. John Vianney are from The Sermons of the Cure of Ars, translated by Una Morrissy, Tan Books, 1995, reprinted in 2009 by St. Benedict Press/

Last Day for Vianney Posts

Many years ago, I had to leave a job as someone on the board of the school where I worked was doing something immoral concerning the school. I resigned as I could not support evil and I was asked to ignore this evil. Some people who found out left the school-others lived in denial for years and years. Too many Catholics tolerate evil in others because they tolerate evil in themselves.

After resigning, (and during the process), an FSSP priest was advising me. I shared with him that I was distressed at the fact that a Catholic, who attended daily Mass, was doing something very wrong. How could a person attend Mass, be confronted with the truth, and then not change? How could a prominent board member of a Catholic school continue to receive Communion and support while in public sin?

The answer and comfort given to me by this good priest overlaps with something St. John Vianney states in one of his sermons. “Why is it, then, you are going to ask me, that we assist at so many Masses and yet we are always the same? Alas, my dear brethren, it is because we are there in body but not in spirit and that rather our coming there completes our condemnation because of the bad dispositions with which we assist.”

Father R. told me that the outward show of religion does nothing for the soul. One must beg God for daily repentance. St. John Vianney states that going to Mass and not repenting of sin actually hardens the heart.

I cannot explain, except by reflecting on St. Augustine, on how to break through the material preoccupations of most people. St. Augustine writes that we must strive to know our selves, our souls, our hearts.  Without reflection and confession, we can all fall into the Pharisee syndrome-that is, showing religion on the outside without being converted on the inside.  I pray daily to know myself as I really am. This is called the virtue of humility.

What is also my concern is that we teach our children to go to frequent confession. Once a month is not too much, bi-weekly is great for adults, and for those who are pursuing perfection, once a week confession is meritorious. Humility comes with practice, the practice of daily examination of conscience and repentance. After a while, this can become instant, immediate. One must allow God to pound the heart in order to make it soft and not hard.

Children can have hard hearts as well. I am meeting more and more very young people who are trapped in cynicism, a terrible sin.

Here is St. John Vianney again:

“To wish to honor God by lies—in other words, to want to honor Him by what will outrage Him. Oh, abomination! To have Jesus Christ on your lips and to have Him crucified in your heart! To join what is most holy to what is most detestable, which is the service of the Devil! Oh, what horror! To offer to God a soul which has already been a thousand times prostituted to the Devil! Oh, my god, how blind the sinner is, and all the more blind in that he does not know himself nor even want to know himself!”

“I say without fear of lying that at least half of those who are listening to me here in this church are in that state. Yet, in fact, is it not true that that does not touch you, but rather that you are bored and that time hangs heavily on you?”

Sin blinds the sinner, writes St. John Vianney. Sin creates prayers which are lies. He gives us all this prayer:

“My God, I feel myself very much attached to my sins, and it seems to me that I do not want to ever renounce them; give me that horror which I ought to feel for them, so that I may abhor them, detest them, and confess them, so that I may never go back to them.”

The end does not justify the means. All the daily actions of our lives are the means to an end-either heaven or hell. The Cure of Ars prays that those in sin will be tormented in order to change and come back to God. Complacency in sin leads to eternal death.

Let us never be complacent. Never.

May I add one thing from another sermon from the Cure, before leaving this book? He tells his people that a baby should be baptized within 24 hours of birth. When I was born, babies were baptized no longer than at two weeks old.

Now, I see families waiting until the babies are three or six months before getting them baptized. If a priest is advising you to wait, he is wrong.

Baptism make us children of God and heirs of heaven. It breaks the tie to satan, gives sanctifying grace and the virtues of faith, hope, and charity.

I suggest those who doubt the necessity of early baptism read the beautiful section in the CCC on baptism. I think that parents who put off baptizing their child do so because they no longer believe in Original Sin. They do not believe in grace or sanctification, or the virtues, or in becoming an heir of heaven and an adopted child of God.

They think all children are in those states. This is not so.

St. John Vianney has other advice for pregnant women. But, that sermon is for you to read and not me to parse out here today.