Saturday, June 25, 2016

Chapel of Reparation

I consider my little chapel to be a "chapel of reparation" - I can't remember whether I've mentioned that before, or not. I try to conform my behavior in the chapel to the way one should always act in the presence of Our Lord (which people don't always do in our local churches!), even though the Blessed Sacrament is not reserved there. 

It's a little chapel, only about 9 feet wide by 15 feet long, but I am trying to have all the accoutrements you'd find in a well-appointed cathedral. To that end, I have collected candles and candlesticks, thuribles (I actually have 2!), a tabernacle, hanging oil lamps, and even vestments. 

Recent additions include some taller candlesticks. These can be very expensive, and I'm not made of money, so I had to find some alternatives. I already had brass candlesticks (all of which were procured on e-bay), but I wanted taller ones, and I wanted to be able to have 1-1/2" candles on my altar. I bought wooden candlesticks for a relatively low price, attached rubber chair-leg protectors, painted the whole assembly gold, and - voila! Here are some photos of the process and the finished product:

First, a white base coat.

Next, I spray-painted them gold.

Lined up, ready to go into the chapel!

In place, with the larger candles!

This shows the rubber chair-leg protector. The candlestick
was meant only for a pillar candle. The protector is secured
with a single screw, which gives it surprising stability.
I wonder if I will ever light those larger candles! They are expensive. So for everyday use, I still have my 7/8" diameter candles, which are also not cheap. I have six on the altar, but only light two of them on most days. For major feasts and solemnities, I light all 6 (for lauds and vespers). Probably, I'll light those large candles at Christmas and Easter. I found relatively low-cost brass candlesticks that were a little taller than the ones I've used for years. Here's the altar with both rows of candles:

Here are a couple of other items that I purchased recently (also from e-bay): 

The taller candles meant I'd need a better way to light them. This lighter and snuffer is a little dented, and needed a little Brasso to clean up the copper parts, but it turned out pretty well. I don't mind giving older, used items a new life in my chapel; I'm a little older and used, myself!

I also found this candelabra set for a very low price on e-bay. The photo is meant to show the "before and after" effects of brasso. They turned out pretty well. Again, there is a dent here and there on those cups that hold the candles, but overall, they are in very good shape. Not as fancy as I might like, but until I have thousands of dollars burning a hole in my pocket, I will have to make do with this level of quality.
Of course, the most important thing for a good prayer life is to have a chapel of the heart that is properly prepared to worship God. But we are physical beings, and a physical exterior environment can be quite a boon in cultivating one's prayer life. One of the reasons we don't always see the proper behaviors in our churches is that the environment is not conducive to a sense of awe and reverence. I'm trying to make my chapel convey such as atmosphere, in reparation for the felt banners, gauze streamers, and other less noticeable offenses of the churches I've visited.

Lord Jesus Christ, have mercy on me!

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Satan's Glee in Orlando Attack

A tell-tale outcome of the tragedy in Orlando: in reports on this attack, there are countless uses of the word "hate". That's because, you see, homosexuals are always the victims of "hate". I really don't recall seeing that word used much in reports about the Paris attack, or the California attack, or any other attack. On FaceBook, there are lots of memes that feature rainbow colors and lots of hearts; it's as if the most important thing about this massacre is that gay people died. It's as if the most important thing about those people is that they were gay, not that they were human beings. 

Satan has brought about the big clash between Islam and homosexuality that has been waiting to be used for his purposes. The Orlando attack seems diabolically designed to make those who are uncertain about the grave immorality of homosexual behavior feel guilty for being "judgmental". The media and the gay agenda manipulators are using this horrendous violence as a sympathy ploy to show those who oppose "gay rights" how evil and heartless they are. 
But the liberals are under attack by Satan, too, in a way. Now the left is beside itself, because they are forced to admit that Islam does indeed hate homosexuals, and kills them. But since liberals are "tolerant", they don't want to blast Islam; instead, they must blame guns...or climate change...or Trump...or...whatever. 

Most tragically, no one is allowed to insinuate that it is quite likely that a large proportion of those killed are in hell right now, just given their presence at that venue and what that implies about their lifestyle and morals. Society cares more that these people were shot than what their final destination will be.

We should certainly pray for the repose of the souls of those poor victims in Orlando. Their apparent lifestyle choices should make us ever aware that our fallen human nature must ultimately rely on God's mercy when we face Him at our death. 

Lord Jesus Christ, have mercy on me.

Saturday, June 11, 2016

The Roof, Completed

When I visited a good friend a few days ago, she reminded me that I had not mentioned "the rest of the story" of the new roof on my chapel.

The roof was successfully completed, and seems to be doing what I had hope it would! We had a heat wave with several days in the 90's, but the chapel maintained an inside temperature of about 65, sometimes going a few degrees higher. After several hot days, it did go up to about 72 at one point. I can live with that! I do have to open windows and use fans at night to pump cooler air in and warmer air out, but I enjoy having that flexibility. It's nice to open the windows and let the fresh air in. I can't do that when I have the air conditioner in the window. 

As my husband always says of his handiwork, "it's not perfect". Sure, I may have preferred "perfect", but this is an improvement, and it is functional, and it was a labor of love.  (And the price was right. Lol!)

For the sake of comparison, here are a few "before" photos:

And here are the "after" shots:

As an afterthought, we added these panels on the back to provide more shade; yeah, they look like an afterthought, but they are very effective!

Lord Jesus Christ, have mercy on me.

Saturday, June 4, 2016

Gorilla Hell

I’m sure you have seen the story and video of the little boy falling into the gorilla enclosure…and all the ensuing nonsense that gives positive proof that America has lost its soul and its respect for human life.

The incident continues to stay on my mind, though. I watched the video that some spectator took of the event, with the gorilla dragging the child through the water in the moat. I watched the video after reading the outcome of the whole event, so I knew that the gorilla had been shot, and that the little boy had not been seriously injured. But even though I knew that, the video was terrifying to me, really. If I had been the mother, I might even have done something stupid like jump in after him. I just cannot imagine having to see that. (Okay, maybe I'm a little oversensitive. I felt similarly when my daughter was being bucked off a horse at age 4 or so, when I thought she was going to be trampled to death. Actually, it was a definite possibility, so maybe I’m not overreacting!)

Anyway,  as I was doing some sewing, I was watching a Church Militant video; this one was of a conference Michael Voris gave at the last Retreat at Sea a couple of months ago. This talk was about how we can't sit back and let people say stupid things about Our Lord and not correct them and try to tell them the truth, etc. He talked about love of souls, and realizing that people are on the path to hell, and that we need to do something to save them. And as I listened, his words brought to mind the image of the little boy in the gorilla enclosure, being dragged through the water by a 450-lb gorilla, screaming a blood-curdling scream. I thought about the terror that little boy must have felt (or, at least, that I imagine I would have felt); and I thought about how, as adults, we would be able to see that we’d made a big mistake, but now it was irreversible. What terror would we experience at that moment of God’s judgment, if the judgment was being sent to hell?

So, I'm holding onto that image to motivate me not to lose sight of people's souls. That little boy could be my daughter, losing her faith, falling away from the Church, ending up on the wrong side of the guard rail and falling into the moat to be dragged around by the gorilla - only worse. That little boy could be her fiancĂ© falling into the pit of hell; he'll certainly know the reality of God at that point, and I want very badly for him to come to that knowledge before he falls into the gorilla pit. That little boy could be any one of my husband’s grown sons or their wives, or my own son; it could be our grandchildren or our nieces and nephew and their children. It could be a lot of people – family, friends, strangers; it doesn’t matter who, it just matters for the love of souls.

If I can keep that image alive in my mind and heart, maybe I can pray more fervently for the salvation of souls, and maybe I'll be better able to hear the Holy Spirit as he provides me with the right words to talk to people about their souls and the reality of hell.  It’s a very “earthly” image, I know, but in a way, that is helpful to me. It instilled terror in me, because it is something I could see and hear and experience at least vicariously through the internet. And the more I can feel that terror when I think about souls plunging into hell, the better.

Lord Jesus Christ, have mercy on me.

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Memorial Day and Hell

Another priest I consider to be orthodox and traditional in his general outlook has let down those who follow him on Face Book. In a Memorial Day post, he said, referring to those who have died in battle, “They’re all saints, in my book.”

Now, I have no problem honoring and remembering those who died in military service to our country. I do object to sloppy sentimentalism and premature beatification of these valiant souls en masse. I object to the failure to remember that not every soldier died in a state of grace, and that while each one may have been a hero here on earth, he has now faced the judgment of God and is in heaven, hell, or purgatory; and he (or she) needs our prayers.

In other words, they are not all saints – that is practically a guarantee.

A couple of years ago, I became interested in watching World War II documentaries (and a few on World War I as well). The carnage…horrifying. Then there’s the sheer numbers of deaths, the untold suffering of soldiers and civilians, and the almost unbearable reality that many souls went to hell. That’s what hit me as I watched some of the scenes of dying combatants – those black-and-white grainy images were all the more terrifying for their lack of modern technology. Young men died, and probably most were not prepared for that eventuality, even though intellectually they knew it was a possibility, even a probability.

And really, not all of those who died were heroes. Not all were there willingly, and some were cowards who died as a result of their cowardice rather than their bravery. Some probably caused others’ deaths in order to avoid death themselves. To me, Memorial Day is not so much about individual souls who gave their lives, but more about the concept that others died so that we could enjoy the freedoms we have today. And given the rapid erosion of those freedoms in today’s society, it becomes all the more imperative to remember that once upon a time, people felt it was necessary to be willing to die for those freedoms we are so casually throwing away today.

But there are individuals. We can honor and remember those we knew of personally who were war heroes, and remember their very names. I’m sure many died whose names are not even known among the living today. But all of those souls are eternal, and some have not yet made it to Heaven, despite their acts of heroism in war. The greatest honor we can give them, I think, is to pray for their release from purgatory and their entrance into their eternal reward.

Priests, of course, are able to lead us in prayer for the dead most efficaciously through the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass; and I imagine a lot of them did just that on Memorial Day. Thanks be to God!

But please, Fathers, do not tell the congregation before you that all of those who died in war are now in Heaven. That is just not true. And saying such a thing prevents people from praying for the dead, which is an injustice in itself.

Lord Jesus Christ, have mercy on me.