90 Day Challenge: Day 38 – Semper Fi

“If we are faithless, he remains faithful-for he cannot deny himself.” 2 Timothy 2:13

The Lord is faithful, even when I am not.

There are far too many days, too many times during any given day, when I fail to turn to him in my need.

Yet he is always there, waiting patiently for me to return, ever constant in his nature, ever and always the same.

Growing up in an alcoholic home, it is difficult for me to believe in the constancy of who people show themselves to be.

I loved my father a great deal.  But I never knew when he was going to be loving, when he was going to be mildly irritated or when he would be outright vicious and nasty-all over the exact same situation.

All depended on the time of day and how much beer he had consumed.

I was fortunate that I received mostly loving moments and mildly irritated ones.  The outright vicious and nasty he saved for my Mom.

Usually she bore them in stoic silence.  But once in a while, epic fights would break out.

I remember one summer night our neighbor boy, Tom, coming to our house, grabbing me and taking me outside to stand under the street light because my parent’s argument was so loud and heated it could be heard throughout the neighborhood.

Another time I remember we were driving in the car one night.  It got to the point that I couldn’t stand it any longer and I actually screamed at my parents to shut up.

I must have absolutely shocked them because they dropped into dead silence.

These episodes were few and far between, which is probably what makes them so memorable.

Still, with my Dad when he drank, you never knew exactly which side of his personality would show up.

I don’t mean to project my parental insecurities onto my relationship with God, the Father.  But maybe it is natural, because my human emotions are all I know.

Still, like many people, I sometimes have difficulty reconciling the God of the Old Testament with the God of the New Testament.

I want with all my heart to believe as Thomas Merton did that the nature of God is pure love.  I try to keep my focus there.

And there is plenty of Scripture that validates this vision of God.  Even in the Old Testament.

”But you, O Lord, are a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness.” Psalm 86:15

”Your steadfast love, O Lord, extends to the heavens, your faithfulness to the clouds.” Psalm 36:5 

“The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.” Lamentations 3:22-23

No, it is not God who is unfaithful. It is I who in my weakness often lack faith.

Semper Fi.  Another name for the Lord our God.

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90 Day Challenge: Day 37 -Set The World Ablaze

“If you are what you should be, you will set the whole world ablaze!” St. Catherine of Sienna

From an early age, I have always struggled with this concept of who I was to be.

When I was young and day dreaming, in my head I was transformed from a fat, glasses wearing teen no one wanted to date into a beauty queen who could also argue the law like Perry Mason. ( I think Megyn Kelly got that gig.)

When I won a California Newspaper Publishers Association Award for my paper early in my career, I should have been destined for more than a six-year gig on a local paper.  Or so I tell myself looking back on my lack of courage to try for a fully realized career as a reporter.

When I was married, I was sure I was eventually supposed to lead some sort of “Please Don’t Eat The Daisies” kind of existence, where I was both the perfect mother who baked cookies every day and was the winner of a Nobel Prize for Literature on  the side.

Whatever the “label” I have worn in life, I was always sure I was supposed to be more than I was, and constantly disappointed in myself that I wasn’t.

The same is true of my Christian life.  No matter how many ministries I pour myself into, no matter what Christian counseling or teaching duties I take on, I always feel I was meant to be better than I turn out.

I am a gingerbread cookie whose form always seems to crumble when put to the ultimate tests.

Yet the Bible clearly tells me I am made in the image of God. If so, why have I not better reflected that in what I have tried to achieve?

Today’s First Reading is about the predicted downfall of the prince of Tyre, who had a haughty heart and said “A god am I.”

I think we all set ourselves up to be little “g” gods at times in our lives.  As you can see from my preceding account, I certainly have.  At least in my own mind.

But an “image” is a reflection of God, not God himself. It is not that we are supposed to be God, but that others see him in us.

What, precisely, does that mean?

Fr. Thomas Merton wrote: “To say that I am made in the image of God is to say that love is the reason for my existence, for God is love. Love is my true identity. Selflessness is my true self. Love is my true character. Love is my name.”

I still feel I am not all I was meant to be.  I am not completely loving, not totally selfless. My character is still in formation. At 65 years old, I still wonder who it is I truly am. Who I am meant to be in this last phase of my life.

I have one name – Cheryle.  It translates to “beloved.”

I still have work to do before I can be known as simply “love” itself.

Mary, Mother of God, pray for me.

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90 Day Challege: Interrupted, Day 2

Today was interrupted because I am a. still not feeling well because I am waiting on the delivery of the special antibiotic ordered by my dr Friday and b. because I needed to read a book on works of mercy for a class I was supposed to lead tonight.

The book offered little insight, as my parish is already very active in carrying out Matthew 25: 35-40 :  “For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, a stranger and you welcomed me,36naked and you clothed me, ill and you cared for me, in prison and you visited me.’37Then the righteous* will answer him and say, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink?38When did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you?39When did we see you ill or in prison, and visit you?’40i And the king will say to them in reply, ‘Amen, I say to you, whatever you did for one of these least brothers of mine, you did for me.’” (Laudate-New American RE Bible).

Only one person showed up for this last class: just as well, as I am not certain what I would have said about charitable works we are already engaged with.

I am sure I would have gone off on one of my jags about the concept of purgatory  again.  A convert for the past ten years, it is one of the few Traditions I have difficulty reconciling with my view of Jesus’ sacrifice on the Cross.

If he suffered such agony to atone for my sins, why do I have to wait to be purified in some Middle Kingdom when I die to be made more perfect to meet God face to face?

Jesus’ sacrifice was already made perfect on my behalf.  It makes no sense to me that I should have to then shed my last vestiges of sin; did not his Crucifixion already do that? One death for all sin, for all time.

Otherwise, what was the point?

I have still not had a priest explain this satisfactorily to me.  Sometimes I get close to finding an answer I think I can live with, only to have to crumple it up and toss it in the wastebasket like a poem that starts out sounding beautiful but ultimately makes no sense.

I spent the rest of the day in a commiserating phone call with my next oldest sister (the joys and pains of home ownership); a phone call with another friend about plans to get together next weekend; and a couple of decades old movies I had seen only once before but still remembered “who did it” and “why.”

While doing the latter, I multi-tasked playing a board game puzzle where my score is now over a million points.  And I fed the cat. Many, many times.

Poor thing, it is not her fault.  Old age and kidney issues have made her appetite fickle.  Since she had “kitty dialysis” yesterday, her appetite was up today.  And she must have had her fill, for tonight she is abed and content on my lap, something she doesn’t do as much any more.

I no more want to think about her continuing decline than I want to think of purgatory.  And it isn’t just all dogs that go to heaven – cats, horses and other pets make it too, I am sure.  I don’t care what the Catechism says on the subject.  I subscribe to St. Francis of Assisi on such matters.

Oh yeah, I passed along Turnip 2020’s tweets to Donald Trump and other GOP leaders who have blocked the little red beet.  I am not sure why – Turnip 2020 seems clever and cute and not at all disrespectful.

My tweets have yet to be honored by Trump censorship.  Maybe I am using words that are too big.

As for Rudy Giuliani’s assertion to Chuck Todd today that “truth isn’t truth,” I refer him to Aldous Huxley:

”Facts do not cease to exist because they are ignored.”

Oh, and one more caution for him and his client from “Straight Up and Dirty” author Stephanie Klein: “Tell the truth, or someone will tell it for you.”

And a final thought all mine:

Omarosa. Has. Tapes.

Peace out and goodnight, moon,

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90 Day Challenge – Interrupted

Looking back at this site, it seems I made it 36 days through this challenge before a bout of not feeling well and depression interrupted me. That was ten days ago.

The best news is that the nodes a CT scan of my lungs revealed do not appear to be cancer related. The bad news: they were probably created when my immune system could not completely fight off an infection.

In another round of good news, I have seen my own bladder, and it is healthy.  The bad news: the procedure itself created an infection for which I am awaiting a very special medication the pharmacy had to order.

Good news or not, I am watching the Ari Melber-Steve Bannon interview as I type this.  They are discussing the empowerment of women in this political moment.  Bannon seems to think all college educated WHITE women love Donald Trump.  Not this one.

And impossibly, Bannon still supports Roy Moore and believes Mitch McConnell is to blame for his not winning the Alabama Senate race.

Wish Ari would have asked if Bannon would have let his own daughter – at 14 – date a then 32-year-old Roy Moore.

There are some things only a female journalist can ask that really drive a point home.  We have all been someone’s vulnerable teen daughter at some point in our lives.

I can remember being profoundly disturbed by male behavior on a mall excursion with my then 14-year-old niece in Texas.  At 5 feet 8 inches, fully developed, with white blonde hair and a beautiful face from which her bright blue eyes gazed out on the world, I can understand they thought she was older than she was.

But the way they stared at her as she passed made me wish I was not so supportive of gun control. A rifle to protect her from those lascivious stares would have been handy about then.

God, I sound like a Kemp for Georgia governor campaign ad.  Mea culpa.

The idea of patriarchy also was a part of this Bannon interview. This is a concept – having worked in the corporate world – I do understand.  When I was part of the work world, getting ahead as a woman meant acting more like a man.

Mimicking their “tough guy,” bottom line attitudes was the only way the men in power would let you play on their team. But that still didn’t make a woman their true equal.

One of the difficult things of the past few days has been listening to the new allegations of sexual abuse leveled against the Church.

It is difficult listening to such ugly things about a theology that has so much that is innately beautiful in its practice.

That it went on so long and was so widely covered up does not surprise. The Boy’s Club always protects itself, no matter where you encounter it.

I am sorry for those who suffered such abuses at the hands of the people they so innocently trusted.  I am sorry for the individual priests who sinned so grievously and denigrated their sacred vows.

But I firmly believe in a zero tolerance policy on such matters, and I do not believe the Church should police itself when criminality is involved. I don’t care that the Vatican is, in essence, it’s own nation-state.

Alleged criminal activity should always be investigated by civil authority. Meanwhile, those under investigation should be placed on administrative leave until their criminality is determined.

The same for anyone alleged to have abetted in a coverup.  No matter their rank in the hierarchy of the Church.

Those found guilty should be defrocked. Yes, they are as deserving of forgiveness as is any sinner. For that we have the repentance of the Confessional – not a switch to another parish or diocese.

There may be those who consider this idea too harsh against a priesthood already decimated in its ranks.

There is a remedy for that but the Church will not accept it.

I will end by saying that Jesus may indeed have chosen twelve men as his closest disciples.

But it was to a woman that he first revealed his resurrected self and announced the Good News.


90 Day Challenge: Day 36 – Superior Ideal

“As a man must be born before he can begin to lead his physical life, so he must be born to lead a Divine Life. That birth occurs in the Sacrament of Baptism. To survive, he must be nourished by Divine Life; that is done in the Sacrament of the Holy Eucharist.” Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen

For many years before I joined the Church, I spent my Saturday nights attending the Vigil Mass with my elderly friend, Vera.

She was like another mother to me and had come to live with me and my son in our home as he began attending college.

I was already a “generic” Protestant Christian; but I did not have a home church at the time.  I had been baptized, had my “born again” and several other “evangelical” experiences.

Secure I was already “saved,” it did not bother me to take her to weekly Mass, from which we would usually venture out to dinner ( Red Lobster was her favorite) and a movie or some shopping.  It was all in a Saturday night.

But a strange thing happened to me as I sat in the back, on the right side of the St. Pius X sanctuary on those Saturday nights.  I began to develop a great longing to join the line of people going to the altar for Communion.

Every week that passed, the desire grew stronger and stronger.

I had always especially enjoyed the times in Protestant churches when a version of Communion was celebrated, usually at Easter.

But the more Masses I attended, the more I came to believe those times were too infrequent and pale fruit juice and cracker imitations of true Communion.

I could tell there was something deeper and more reverent occurring in those Mass Communions than I had ever experienced…and I wanted whatever “it” was.

When I finally was confirmed a Catholic in 2008 after nearly a year of required study and preparation, I found  “it” to be an intimacy with Jesus I had not experienced before.

Partaking of the consecrated Host and wine was to literally take Jesus within me, sharing his lifeblood with my own, incorporating his body into mine.

I came to realize it is the closest I could be to him and still be here on earth.

Later study would bring me to a greater appreciation of the transformative moment on the altar when the priest lifts the Host and wine, intoning the words “Through him, and with him and in him, O God almighty Father, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, all glory and honor is yours, forever and ever.”

Fr. Michael Gaitley, MIC, refers to this as “supercommunio,” or the high point of the Mass.  It is a “supercharged” moment in his writings, where heaven and earth come together through the invocation of the priest so that Christ becomes bodily available to us – the moment just before his real presence comes to us through celebration of Communion.

As I said, that is a moment of intimacy for me unlike any other I experience. It is the concentrated and consecrated Christ in us.

I do not think, when he broke bread and wine and gave it to his disciples at the Last Supper, that Jesus ever meant us to partake in the occasional, fruit juice pale imitation of remembering him.

I believe he wanted us to remember him with the fullness of faith and the fullness of his presence, in that moment and all the moments in between.

This is the Mass. This is The Eucharist. This is the Superior Ideal.

“When we eat this Bread and drink this Cup, we proclaim your Death, O Lord, until you come again.”


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90 Day Challenge: Day 35 -Catch Excellence

Coach Lombardi said, “Perfection is not attainable. But if we chase perfection, we can catch excellence.” (Excerpt from Church Militant Field Manual).

I think I have striven to be perfect my entire life.  It is a. Exhausting and b. As Vince Lombardi is quoted above, unattainable.


Part of that desire to be perfect stems from feeling like I was so “imperfect” compared to those around me.


I didn’t have the traditional family background.  I tended toward the chubby.  My hair was mousey brown, as was my eye color. The prettiest girls had blonde hair and blue eyes, were slender, made cheerleader, twirled or tapped.


I could do none of that. I was a good reader and quite the little ham when I could pretend to be someone other than myself.  I was considered a “smarty-pants” sometimes because I was so eager to show the teacher I knew the answer.


How else could I prove I was perfect. ( It was actually excruciating for me to sit in silence waiting for someone else to answer when I knew what it was – that seemed like a dumb waste of time to me!)


But If I shone in the classroom, I truly flunked recess – always the last picked for a team.  Be it dodge ball, kick ball or soft ball, I was never “on the ball” when it came to athletics.


The fact I couldn’t run without losing a bit of urine was highly embarrassing. Oh how I hated that stupid blue, one piece gym suit we were forced to wear! Oh how hard I prayed that no one noticed how imperfect my bladder control was! ( We did not have panty liners in the 60s – Kotex was for your period, period.)


Have I ever even felt I was excellent at anything?  I have felt I was a very good employee.  No matter the job I held, I usually received awards and kudos for it.


But that isn’t the perfection for which I now strive.  Rather, my desire is to know God now as perfectly as I can while I am on earth so that hopefully my knowledge of him in heaven will be the greater and come to me a bit sooner.


(Full confession here:  the Protestant in me still struggles with the idea of Purgatory.  I keep coming back to the argument that Jesus died once and for all for my sins or his crucifixion would be a waste.  But the Catechism says I must burnish myself of all my attachments before I can stand in God’s presence, so I accept what doesn’t make perfect sense, on faith.)


Still, how I long to be like Peter, James and John, looking on in Jesus’ transfiguring moment as he talks with Moses and Elijah on the mountaintop.  To hear the voice of God say “This is my beloved son; in him I am well-pleased.”


To have Jesus turn then to me and say “well done, my disciple” – for me that would be perfection.


I pray I can at least attain excellence.


After you have suffered for a little while, the God of all grace, who called you to His eternal glory in Christ, will Himself perfect, confirm, strengthen and establish you.    (1 Peter 5:10)

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90 Day Challenge: Days 33 & 34 Unity of Truth Or A House Divided

“To the Jews who had believed him, Jesus said, “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples.  Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” (John 8:31-32)
We are living in an era where facts and expertise are being increasingly disregarded.
We are living in a country where one political party is relying in faith on a man who claims “I alone can do it” while feeding us a daily diet of falsity.
Ironically, this is the political party to which Evangelicals and “conservative” Christians tend to gravitate. (Full truth disclosure: until 2016, I was among them.)
That they place such blind allegiance in any human being is idolatry.  That they would think someone who says “I alone can do it” is operating in a state of truth and grace is delusional.
The truth is we are a “body” politic, just as we, as Christians, are the “body” of Christ.
In their wisdom, the Founding Fathers made us a federation of states who are supposed to come together for the common good of ALL – not to stack the deck in favor of the privileged few.
It is the same discipleship principle we are to use as followers of Christ.
Just as we as believers give ourselves to Christ, we as citizens give ourselves to the nation – not to the Oval Office holder. He is not God
The purpose of the Executive Branch of government is to ensure the administration of the laws enacted by Congress, and to secure the nation from outside threat to its existence.
But even the President cannot declare war without the advice and consent of Congress.  It was meant to be this way.
We are a representative government, not the tool of an autocrat to secure his power and wealth, to dictate how this country should or shouldn’t be defined – by its borders, inclusivity or toleration.
For those of us who believe in Christ, there truly was only “one man” who could save us.
And he has already done it.
Any other person who comes along and claims to be “savior” is either a false prophet or worse.
We have had one too many of those recently, imho.
And we have him because somewhere in the course of our country’s history, we slowly gave too much of ourselves to other Presidents before him.
It is time to return to the roots of what representative government truly means.
That can’t come from the fringes or the dark web conspiracy theorists. The blood of the body is not pumped from the fingertips, but from the center, where the heart resides.
We must go back in order to move forward.  We must remember what it is like to agree on the common good.  Yes, that takes that dirtiest of political words – compromise.
But we will be better off as a nation for it.
Because, as Lincoln so famously intoned:  “A house divided against itself, cannot stand.”
Either we re-learn how to stand together – or it all comes crashing down.  It is our choice.
We alone can make.
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90 Day Challenge: Day 32 – State of Grace

“Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.” 2 Corinthians 12:8-9
So that Christ’s power may rest on me.
When that happens, we are blessed with a state of grace that goes beyond the natural laws of the universe to explain.
Miraculous healing.  Escape from calamity.  Answered prayer.  All of these are things that the sciences – as formidable as they have become – cannot explain.
We know how the universe was formed – but we don’t know what came before it.  We know the human body in its genetic combinations in ways that lead to new, more targeted designs for medicines.  But we still can’t explain exactly what the appendix did/does. We can see father into space than Galileo ever imagined.  But we can’t see into a black hole, only conjecture it’s existence.
And the more we know, the more we learn how much we don’t know.
Because as St. Paul so cogently noted, now we see “through  a glass, darkly. But then we shall see, face to face.” 1 Corinthians 13:12)
Fr. Richard Heilman posits that the devil loves to do anything he can to disrupt our being in a state of God’s grace.  If he can convince us that we know it all, then there is no room left for Godly mystery.
It was the whole point of his ploy to get Adam and Eve to eat from the tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil: to convince us we have no need for God or his power in our lives.
His success at this is greatest when we are convinced there is no God at all, because that cuts us off entirely from the power of God’s supernatural grace.
Again, it is “supernatural” because we cannot see it, or explain it.  But that doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist.
In yesterday’s blog, I mentioned having mystical experiences.  They are not things I talk about easily; I have shared them with very few people.
Today I am going to share freely one of those times.
It was in the 80’s.  I was then living with my elementary-aged son on the Monterey peninsula, a single mother, working in public relations for a major corporation.
I had a grueling round of surgeries that meant I would never be able to have more children.  I was at home, recovering without benefit of family, few friends and no Church support as I was then an unaffiliated Christian.
Feeling alone in my misery, I lay in bed one night looking at a thick fog clouding the sky.  I couldn’t answer the question of why this was happening to me.
“God, if you are there, please, show me a sky full of stars,” I asked.
Suddenly the fog lifted, and there they were – a sky full of stars.  I looked at them in wonder for a few minutes before the fog rolled back in.
Now a meteorologist might have been able to give me an explanation for this phenomena.
All I know is I said a prayer, and, from the observable data, it was answered.  And my emotional healing began.
Fr. Heilman writes that “St. Peter warns us to be fortes in fide, strong in faith, because the devil prowls around like a lion, looking for someone to devour (1 Pt 5:8-9). Lions size up a herd to find the weakest and easiest target. Once we are detached from God and his supernatural grace, we are powerless to defend ourselves from the tactics of the devil.
Our ancestors and all of the saints knew all about this supernatural power and strength and that being in a state of grace was the armor of God that was to be treasured and protected at all cost. Like the scriptural images for the kingdom of God, this Divine Life in God (state of grace) is the “hidden treasure” and the “pearl of great price” (Mt 13:44-46). (excerpt from Church Militant Field Manual).”
But sometimes, if we are especially graced, God will show us this pearl.
While the lion may prowl and roar, the pearl still gleams.
If we would stay in a state of grace and lucky enough to live with the pearl’s gleam, we should hold onto this treasure with all our might.
And not be afraid to call it “supernatural.”
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90 Day Challenge: Day 31 – Recon

“You cannot win a war if you are unwilling to admit we are even at war or you don’t know who your enemy is or you don’t know what strategy your enemy is using.”  –    Dr. Peter Kreeft

Recon is short for “reconnaissance,” the process of intelligence collection, analysis and dissemination of that collected information to troops to help their leaders to make a battle plan and them to follow it.

In the case of the Christian, the “enemy,” of course, is Satan, or evil more generally.

This is where this 90 Day Challenge makes me a bit uncomfortable in pursuing it.

It is not that I don’t recognize there is such a thing as pure evil in the world.  Certainly I would say the Holocaust is one such example, as is the genocide of any people because of their race or religious beliefs – anything about them that makes them uniquely identifiable, threatening to another group and by extension, worthy of extinguishment in the minds of the threatened group.

But my Catholic focus has – especially these past several years – been on God’s Divine Mercy and his unending grace. Yes, I believe in the mystical experiences that revealed the message of Divine Mercy to St. Faustina Kowalska.

Perhaps that is easy for me because I have had positive mystical experiences of my own.

But I have also had three experiences where I saw what could only be described as the demonic.  So I know evil is real. (And no, it did not involve any of “The Exorcist” style of levitating, head-spinning, pea soup-looking projectile vomiting. It is much more subtle than that – but it leaves you cold inside. And you ask yourself if you really saw what you saw, and the answer is indisputably “yes.”)

Still, I think it is rare to come upon instances like this.  It is certainly something I don’t go in deliberate search of finding.

Yet now I find myself at a stage of this “challenge” where I am being called upon to “take up arms” against evil and become a “spiritual warrior.”

I do not know that I am a willing combatant. But then again, Narnia was a fairy land, but evil was at work, and the children in the tale did become warriors and Aslan a blood sacrifice.

Perhaps there is no way to Paradise unless you actively fight for it.

What’s the old saying?  Anything worth having is worth fighting for?

If prayer be a sword, then I am willing to fight.  If the Church be “militant,” then I am among them.  If Mary needs a “militia,” I am part of it.

It may be time for the armor of God after all.

So why has the devil been so effective? What is his strategy? To better understand the tactics of the devil, it is important to understand his names: “diabolos” means “he who places division or separation,” and “daio,” the root of “demon,” means “to divide.” These names identify the two great tactical campaigns the enemy has deployed, especially in recent decades: 1) Cut us off from our (supernatural) supply lines and 2) Divide and conquer. (Excerpt from Church Militant Field Manual). Fr. Richard Heilman 

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90 Day Challenge: Day 30 – Sanctification

“Sanctify yourself and you will sanctify society.” St. Francis of Assisi 


  1. to make holy; set apart as sacred; consecrate. (Dictionary.com)

Each day before I begin my prayers, I “consecrate” myself to Mother Mary.  Using a modified and modern formula of devotion begun centuries ago by St. Louis Marie de Montford, I give to Mary permission to use my prayers, graces and merits as she sees fit to “bring the greatest possible glory to God.”

If I do this faithfully and with true intent, it means that one day I shall stand before God with nothing to recommend myself, reliant only upon the fact that I did my best to come to Jesus through Mary, to console him on his cross and to present myself in judgement in the hope that God’s Divine Mercy reigns.

Doing this daily will perhaps not make me a saint.  But not doing it means that I will have failed to set apart my time of communion with God through prayer and reflection with the sacred reverence it deserves.

In my home I have a personal prayer altar. Among other things, upon it sits a Divine Mercy image of Jesus, a devotional candle, and my rosary and chaplet box.  My favorite Marian statue sits adjacent on a bookshelf. The chair across has above it my Great-Aunt Mickey’s gold Corpus, while other crosses emblazoned with words of prayer hang beside it.

Above all that is Gustav Klimt’s “The Kiss.” Painted between 1907 and 1908, it is one of the Viennese painter’s most popular works.

Created in styles reflective of both Art Nouveau and the Arts and Crafts periods, it is seen as an intimate moment between two lovers that borders on the erotic because of its use of gold and silver leaf overlays and because of the paintings that had just proceeded it, his “Vienna Ceiling” series.

But what if rather than a profane moment of lust and love, Klimt were painting a sacred one? What if – instead of the mythological story of Apollo and Daphne, wherein she spurns his lover’s advances to turn into a laurel tree – “The Kiss” represented something more scriptural?

What if it is more “Song of Songs” rather than “Bullfinch’s Mythology?”

At any rate, it is interesting to note that shortly before he painted it, Klimt had visited the Basilica of San Vitale in Ravenna, Italy, and took his inspiration from the use of gold and silver leaf overlay from the early Byzantine mosaics he saw there.*

Its reverence for art is one of the things I love about the Catholic Church. It is reflective of its many intricacies and the 2,000 and more years of its history.

But sanctification has been part of the Church from its earliest practices.  It is in the Eucharist, the Mass, Adoration and other myriad practices that make the Church original, holy and unique.

It is a religion of sacred spaces found in great cathedrals and adobe California missions, on the Altar at Church or in the places we create them in our homes.

But most of all it is a place we create within our hearts to honor Christ, his redemptive sacrifice and our devotion to it.

Perhaps we will not all live up to the ideal of sainthood.

But we all can be sanctified.

Photos by Cheryle Johnson

* Information on Gustav Klimt From Wikipedia