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Friday, 27 February 2015

Blogger Killed

A Timely Reading

In one of today's readings from the Office of Readings, St. Aelred reminds us of Christ's forgiveness of His enemies. One section from the reading contains this thought, which is pertinent to us today.

 Yet he put into it something more. It was not enough to pray for them: he wanted also to make excuses for them. Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing. They are great sinners, yes, but they have little judgement; therefore,Father,  forgive them. 

We are to move beyond sin. Sin destroys discernment and the ability to hear God. What Aelred is saying emphasizes the need for purification. Christ made excuses for sinners, and we are all sinners. But, we are not to remain in sin and ignorance.

The Kingdom of God needs saints, who sin as least as they are able through grace, and who have knowledge, having moved out of ignorance into illumination.

Too many Catholics make excuses for ignorance. Sin cannot be an excuse, although Christ gave us that excuse. His Passion and Death removed us from the land of sin and death to the land of life and holiness, if we cooperate with grace.

This Lent, re-read my long series on perfection.

22 Jan 2013
Aelred of Rievaulx. Posted by Supertradmum. When in the monastery, I read much, again, of Aelred, especially on friendship. In his Spiritual Friendship, he reminds us of two things. One, that one must surround one's self with really holy companions in order not to fall away. And, two, that Christian community must be based on friendship. Aelred was ... Dedicated to St. Etheldreda: Abbess of Ely. Dedicated to St. Etheldreda: Abbess of Ely a blog since early 2007 ...

Sleeping As The Wolf Steals The Sheep
One of the obvious changes in the last few years on blogs has been the change in readership. This is obvious on Father Z's excellent blog, where many names of commentators have faded from the regular list over his long years of blogging.

Same with me on this blog. Many of the original readers are still with me, but many have gone on to other sites or have stopped reading blogs.

Some have just stopped commenting, which is fine.

But, I have a hunch that some readers fade away because they fall back to sleep instead of keeping watch for the wolves among the sheep. It is hard to stay awake, to pray many hours of the day, to go the daily Mass and weekly Confession. It is hard to study the faith and keep up with daily work and chores.

I know, I lived the harried life of the single mum, working and homeschooling. God did it, not me.

It is extremely important that the faithful who keep up with the blogs at least read some of the articles posted by Father Z or Southern Orders, or other good blogs. Why? We are entering into a new unleashing of evil and many Catholics will get battle fatigue and fall away. Some will fall away from the Church by choosing an alternative, perhaps a local Catholic parish which will leave over ssm, or some other issue, like not giving Communion to those in irregular marriages, and so on

I had a long talk last night with a friend of mine and we came to the conclusion that despite many months, if not years of talking about community and podding, "it just ain't gonna happen."

The time has passed. This male friend, a wise and holy person, can see that most Catholics just do not get it--that we will be scattered and impoverished, according to the Will of God in the times to come upon us soon.

I am sorry that so many good and traditional Catholics did not heed the call to building community. I understand how easy it is to fall back into the stress and busyness of everydayness.

God bless all my readers. Do not give up the daily fight for holiness, and pray for strength, for perseverance. And, contrary to some writings on line recently, now is the time for the new evangelization. Our days for freedom are numbered.

Someone looking for a job

C.V. Name and contact given if you are sincerely interested

- Director, Iowa Space Science Center (at start-up phase)
- Auditory electrophysiologist, 15 years, University of Iowa
- Psychophysics and electrophysiology research, 3 years, University of Michigan
- Principle Investigator, NIH funded research (5 years, 4.25 FTE's)
- Co-investigator on NIH grants (11 years)
- Adjunct Professor, University of Iowa (11 years), teaching and Ph.D. committees
- Ad hoc grant reviewer (NIH, NSF, & private foundations)
- Automated test-systems engineer, Motorola Inc
- Skills: 
- Auditory physiology of single nerve fibers
- Complex data reduction of single-fiber (spike) data
- Expertise in electrical stimulation of neural tissue
- Expertise in recording neural spikes & electric artifact elimination
- Author of >40 peer reviewed scientific papers.
- Grant proposal and scientific paper reviewer
- Software programming (Basic, Fortran, Matlab)


Rediscover Science / Iowa Space Science Center
 – Present (5 years 5 months)Iowa City, Iowa Area
Facilitator and developer of a new model for public informal science education for children, adults, and gifted children. Current focus is on doing outreach events with our traveling planetarium and also providing information / talks on science literacy and the "STEM challenge"
(Open)1 project

Principle Investigator

University of Iowa
 –  (5 years)
Headed 5-person group in research in neurophysiology of auditory nerve

- Grant information:
- Title: "Auditory nerve responses to electric pulse trains"
- Role: Principal Investigator
- Source: NIH, NIDCD
- Grant number: R01DC006478
- Funded amount: $2.2 million
- Grant period: 5 years
- FTE's supported: 4.15

- Work description / Skills:
Auditory physiologist specialing in gross evoked potentials and single-auditory-nerve-fiber recordings from mammalian animal models for applied research related to clinical auditory prostheses (aka "cochlear implants").

Expertise included (1) systems physiology, (2) animal surgery, (3) complex data reduction, (4) software programming, (5) NIH grant writing, (6) scholarly publications (over 40).

Adjunct Associate Professor

University of Iowa
 –  (13 years)
- Taught graduate-level course in the Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders

- Served as faculty committee member on several doctoral-student committees

- Supervised doctoral candidates in their laboratory research within the Auditory Physiology Research Laboratory, Department of Otolaryngology, University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics

co-investigator / advisor

University of Iowa
 –  (1 year 1 month)
Advisor / Supervisor for a colleague's funded research activity

- Investigator: Ning Hu, M.D., Ph.D.
- Funding organization: National Organization for Hearing Research
- Funded amount: $20,000
- Title: "Correlating Clinical Measures of Cochlear-Implant Channel Interaction to Auditory-Nerve Activation"

Member of local media-reform group (Iowans for Better Local Television)

 –  (2 years)
- Built and maintained website and web-based petition for civic group
interested in improving accountability of local media ( after a local television station / network smeared local citizen

- Helped with effort to create a Petition to Deny Relicensure that was submitted to the FCC

- Conducted quantitative research regarding televised program content and across-station comparisons


University of Iowa
 –  (6 years 9 months)
Neural Prosthesis Program Contract N01-DC-2-1005 (funded through July 1, 2002 to June 30, 2006)
"The Effects of Remaining Hair Cells on Cochlear Implant Function"
Paul J. Abbas, Principle Investigator
Charles A. Miller, Co investigator

Neural Prosthesis Program RFP NIH DC 98 11 (funded from 1 July 99 to 30 June 02)
"The Effects of Remaining Hair Cells on Cochlear Implant Function"
Paul J. Abbas, Principle Investigator
Charles A. Miller, Co investigator
Jay T. Rubinstein, Co-investigator

Neural Prosthesis Program RFP NIH DC 98 141 (renewal funded from 1 Oct 99 to 31 Sep 02)
"The Neurophysiological Effects of Simulated Auditory Prosthesis Stimulation"
Paul J. Abbas, Principle Investigator
Jay T. Rubinstein, Co-investigator
Charles A. Miller, Co-investigator

NIH R29 DC02822 “Development of a cochlear neuron electrophysiology model”
Lianne A. Cartee, Ph.D, Principle Investigator
Chris van den Honert, Co-investigator
Charles C. Finley, Co-investigator
Charles A. Miller, Co-investigator (subcontract)

Teaching / Research Fellowship

University of Iowa
 –  (5 years 2 months)
Departments of Speech Pathology & Audiology and
Otolaryngology * Head & Neck Surgery
University of Iowa Cochlear Implant Program Project

Test Systems Engineer

 –  (3 years 2 months)
Created automated test software and interface electronics for post-manufacture testing of communication equipment as part of in-factory quality assurance.

Good blog to follow


Over Two Days

I have had discussions with three people, in separate conversations, regarding the evil of unapproved and false apparitions and seers.

These unapproved and false apparitions take away from considering the words of Mary at Fatima, Akita and Betania, all approved.

Having stayed for a brief time recently, (three weeks or so), in the Diocese of Metuchen, New Jersey, where the cause of the beatification of Maria Esperanza Medrano de Bianchini has been opened, (she is already a Servant of God), I can assure you that that diocese desperately needs a saint.

In case you missed this, here is the announcement of her cause.

Both the apparitions of Mary at Akita and at Betania are not only approved but timely.

I suggest readers leave off reading unapproved and even condemned visionaries and follow the true ones.

BTW,  through the Fifth Lateran Council and Pope Leo X, only the Pope can approve prophecies. Bishops can approve or disapprove visions.

Of course, I made a comment on this

Thanks to a reader, a sensitive obit on Father Kevin Knox-Lecky

I do not see how Catholics can support this man

Pope Francis Would Agree And This Man Could Be A Saint


There are still some Christians who do not see the connection between the gods of the pagans and demons.

All the gods are demons. Period. And, most serious character flaws and psychological deviancy of all kinds involve demons. Some problems begin with innocent or naive purchases of games or pieces of statuary.

For Catholics not to recognize that Hermes, or Osiris, or Shiva are actually the names of real, fallen angels seems to be a serious problem. Few catechists are willing to discuss demonology, or the reality of the pagan gods representing real created beings.

That neo-paganism has become popular again reveals the persistence of these demons in the City of Man. Augustine reminds us that demons dwell in the City of Man, just as the good angels dwell in the City of God.

For Catholics to have demonic images of gods in their homes is an oversight which must be corrected. Demons lie. They are experts at deceit. They can make a person believe that one is only exhibiting art in the home with a statue of Isis or Kali on the mantel, when in reality these pieces give glory and honor to the demon by that name.

We do not have to go out of our way to honor or recognize demons. They are everywhere, except in houses, homes, where people are living in sanctifying grace, not watching television or listening to evil music, or playing computer games which are doors to demonic activity.

Sadly, too many sophisticated people deny the presence of demons, or minimize their activities in the lives of men, women and children.

That some secret societies worship demons under the names of the gods shows one the power of these creatures to cajole men and women to honor them in return for wealth, status, power.

Not much has changed since Jonah preached to the Ninevites.

A long time ago, about thirty-six years ago, I bought some beautiful Mexican silver earrings which depicted a Mayan theme. I paid quite a bit for these. When I got home, I placed them on the end table and did something else for a while. After a bit, I hear a voice say to me, "Throw away those earrings."  I was surprised. I went over to the table and took the earrings out of the jewelry bag and looked closely at the god. I realized that is was the sacrificial altar of cuauhxicalli, the receptacle of the blood of the sacrifices of men and women. Again, I heard, "If you wear these, you give glory to this god." The earrings were connected to the worship of the rain god of the Mayans, Tlaloc.

I threw them away. 

There is not neutrality in art. One can study art and visit museums and some historical places without harm. But, one cannot honor these demons. I mention this because I have seen many women, and men, wearing symbols of pagan gods. They may not know that by wearing these they are glorifying the demon. Just as we wear the cross or crucifix or the miraculous medal to honor Christ or Mary, so too do these emblems honor a real being.

That some secret societies worship demons in the name of the ancient gods reveals the fact that these demons give power to men and women....for a price. That price is the damning of the soul to hell.

Pieces of jewelry which depict the evil eye, which contrary to belief causes evil and does not keep it away, have become popular again. Such things honor the demons connected. A Christian should only glorify the one, true God.

On Charity

The tendency to not want to get into personal charity, as a friend of mine told me today, has nothing to do with money, but everything to do with getting involved. How interesting that people have been made afraid of giving time and energy to a person in need.

Time and energy are gifts most of us have, at least to a certain age. As a person who is past mid-sixties, I have less energy but do what I can daily. We have many opportunities to reach out daily.

Today, I shoveled walks again for some neighbors who are older and busier than I am. I was engaged in praying for the dead, intensely, and listening as well as giving spiritual direction.

I cleaned someone else's house and had to admonish a neighbor who put garbage in that person's yard.

Busy days but with a purpose of serving immediately and willingly. This is our call.

The difference has to do with one thing-trusting in Divine Providence, and for those who read the series on Divine Providence, this will resonate with them.

Trust in Divine Providence unravels the bonds which hold back living in the Beatitudes, which is our ultimate call.

Here is Garrigou-Largange on this point, with my comments in blue.

Christian perfection, according to the testimony of the Gospels and Epistles, consists chiefly in charity which unites us to God.(1) This virtue corresponds to the supreme precept of the love of God. We read also: "He that abideth in charity abideth in God, and God in him." (2) "But above all these things have charity, which is the bond of perfection." (3)
Some theologians have questioned whether for perfection, properly so called, not that of beginners or of proficients, but that which characterizes the unitive way, a great charity is necessary, or whether this perfection can be obtained without a lofty degree of this virtue. Some authors doubt it.(4) They even declare that a high degree of charity is not necessary to perfection, properly so called, because, according to the testimony of St. Thomas, "the very least grace is sufficient to resist any degree of concupiscence." (5)

The virtue of charity blossoms in the Unitive state, after the Dark Night and after Illumination. But, this charity takes a long time to acquire, after one has lost egotism and been cleared of the predominant faults.

The majority of theologians answer, on the contrary, that perfection, properly so called, is obtained only after long exercise of the acquired and infused virtues, an exercise by which their intensity increases.(6) Before reaching the age of perfection, the perfect man must have been a beginner, then a proficient. In the perfect man, not only can charity conquer many temptations, but it has in fact triumphed over many, and has thereby notably increased. Therefore Christian perfection, properly so called, that of the unitive way, cannot be conceived without a lofty charity.(7)

Charity goes hand-in-hand with trusting in Divine Providence. The more one becomes like a little child, the more one is free to give, like a little child.

If we were to read the contrary in the works of St. John of the Cross, for example, we would think we were dreaming and that there was a typographical error. It seems altogether certain that, as for adult age greater physical strength is needed than for childhood (although accidentally certain particularly vigorous adolescents may be stronger than certain adults), likewise for the state of the perfect a loftier charity is also needed than for that of beginners (although accidentally certain saints have a greater charity at the beginning than certain perfect souls already advanced in age).

The common teaching of theologians on this point seems clearly founded on the very preaching of the Savior, especially that of the beatitudes found in the fifth chapter of St. Matthew's Gospel. This page of the Gospel admirably expresses all the elevation of Christian perfection to which Christ calls all of us. The Sermon on the Mount is the abridgment of Christian doctrine, the solemn promulgation of the New Law, given to perfect the Mosaic Law and to correct erroneous interpretations of it; and the eight beatitudes given at its beginning, are the abridgment of this sermon. They thus wonderfully condense all that constitutes the ideal of the Christian life and show all its loftiness.

Living in the life of the Beatitudes would be the mark of the saint, that person who has allowed God to take over one's soul and let the Trinity shine forth. Happiness comes with freedom. And, the free person lives only for the glory of God and for others, not for self. Time and energy given to God becomes multiplied in one's life through charity.

Christ's first preaching promised happiness and showed the means to obtain it. Why does He speak first of all of happiness? Because all men naturally wish to be happy. They pursue this end unceasingly, whatever they may wish; but they often seek happiness where it is not, where they will find only wretchedness. Let us listen to our Lord, who tells us where true and lasting happiness is, where the end of our life is, and who gives us the means to obtain it.
The end is indicated in each of the eight beatitudes. Under different names, it is eternal happiness, whose prelude the just may enjoy even here on earth; it is the kingdom of heaven, the promised land, perfect consolation, the full satisfaction of all our holy and legitimate desires, supreme mercy, the sight of God our Father. The means are quite the contrary of those suggested by the maxims of worldly wisdom, which proposes an entirely different end.

Indeed, the thinking of Christ is opposite of that of the world. Meekness, poverty of spirit, mourning, become marks of the adult Christian. Without the long process of purification, real charity is never achieved.

The beatitudes of the deliverance from sin correspond to the purgative way, which is proper to beginners and which is prolonged in the way the proficients and the perfect ought to follow. Whereas the world declares that happiness is in the abundance of exterior goods, of riches, and in honors, Christ states without any other preamble, with the calm assurance of absolute truth: "Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven."

Although the Beatitudes blossom after the purification, these virtues can lead us to deliverance from sin. What does this mean? It means that the practice of the virtues, without the perfection of the soul, lead one through that purification.

Each beatitude has many degrees. Happy they who are poor without murmuring, without impatience, without jealousy, even if bread should be lacking, and who work while placing their trust in God. Blessed are they who, though more fortunate, have not the spirit of riches, pomp, and pride, but are detached from the goods of earth. More fortunate still are they who will leave all to follow Christ, who will make themselves voluntarily poor, and who will truly live according to the spirit of this vocation. They will receive the hundredfold on earth and eternal life. These poor are they who, under the inspiration of the gift of fear, follow the road which, though narrow at first, becomes the royal road to heaven, on which the soul dilates more and more, whereas the broad road of the world leads to hell and perdition. Elsewhere Christ declares: "Woe to you that are filled: for you shall hunger." (10) On the other hand, blessed is that poverty which, as the life of St. Francis of Assisi shows, opens the kingdom of God that is infinitely superior to all wealth, to the miserable riches in which the world seeks happiness.

Poverty opens the kingdom of God. The soul opens up to God's perfect will. Voluntary poverty is the best way, but the acceptance of poverty is good.

Blessed are the poor, or humble of heart, who do not cling to the goods of the body, or to those of the spirit, or to reputation, or to honor, and who seek only the kingdom of God.

The desire of riches divides men, engenders quarrels, lawsuits, violence, and war among nations; but Christ says: "Blessed are the meek, for they shall possess the land." Blessed are they who do not become irritated against their brethren, who do not seek to take vengeance on their enemies, to dominate others. "If one strike thee on thy right cheek, turn to him also the other." (11) Blessed are the meek who do not judge rashly, who do not see in their neighbor a rival to be supplanted but a brother to be helped, a child of the same heavenly Father. The gift of piety inspires this meekness in us with a filial affection toward God our common Father. The meek are not stubbornly attached to their own judgment; they express themselves quite simply in a straightforward manner, and do not feel the need to call heaven to witness in trivial matters.(12)

God has a plan which is clear. It is simple,very simple. Many thanks to Ken, Marcia, and Jenna, who make it possible for me to continue this blog.

Thursday, 26 February 2015

Praying in The Will of God And in Your Vocation

Over the past several months, for about a year to be more exact, I have been learning about efficacious and non-efficacious prayer.

For each person, there is what I would call an "authority" for certain prayers.  This authority has to do with two things: one's vocation and the Will of God.

One's vocation leads to an intimacy with God which means that the prayers said in connection with that vocation are most likely to be answered.

The obvious example would be a mother or father's prayers for their children; or, a husband or wife's prayers for their mate.

This authority in prayer mirrors the authority one has in life in one's vocation. For example, when I was teaching and had authority over students, my prayers were more efficacious than I realized.

As a mother, my prayers for my son bear fruit, and so on.

When nuns and monks are called by virtue of their vocation to pray for others' intentions in intercessory prayer, especially for priests and leaders of the Church, their prayers are efficacious.

And, these prayers are made in sanctifying grace, of course, and even more efficacious if made without egotism, after one is purified in the Dark Night.

I have discovered which prayers of mine are more efficacious than others.

Secondly, God manifests His Will in the answering of prayers. So, if I pray for healing for someone,,especially emotional and psychological healing, and it happens, it means that this was His Will for that person. If I pray for souls in purgatory, which I have been doing for years as part of my vocation of prayer, I find I get signs of these persons' release.This is part of my vocation of prayer and God's Will.

Such is the Will of God and the authority given according to my vocation.

If we are praying in the Will of God, things happen almost instantaneously.  But, as in the case of St. Monica's long years of praying for her son, Augustine, God sometimes tests us to see if we are persevering. Also, we are purified through years of prayer for other people. We are purged of selfishness through these long prayers.

Look at the prayers God has answered in your life. There may be a pattern which indicates both your vocation and God's Will in your life and the lives of those for whom you pray.

Very Good

Note the responsibility of all Catholics to learn their Faith...a point made on this blog frequently and even, today.

And, a discussion on Lumen Gentium, with this part quoted...

14. This Sacred Council wishes to turn its attention firstly to the Catholic faithful. Basing itself upon Sacred Scripture and Tradition, it teaches that the Church, now sojourning on earth as an exile, is necessary for salvation. Christ, present to us in His Body, which is the Church, is the one Mediator and the unique way of salvation. In explicit terms He Himself affirmed the necessity of faith and baptism(124) and thereby affirmed also the necessity of the Church, for through baptism as through a door men enter the Church. Whosoever, therefore, knowing that the Catholic Church was made necessary by Christ, would refuse to enter or to remain in it, could not be saved.
They are fully incorporated in the society of the Church who, possessing the Spirit of Christ accept her entire system and all the means of salvation given to her, and are united with her as part of her visible bodily structure and through her with Christ, who rules her through the Supreme Pontiff and the bishops. The bonds which bind men to the Church in a visible way are profession of faith, the sacraments, and ecclesiastical government and communion. He is not saved, however, who, though part of the body of the Church, does not persevere in charity. He remains indeed in the bosom of the Church, but, as it were, only in a "bodily" manner and not "in his heart."(12*) All the Church's children should remember that their exalted status is to be attributed not to their own merits but to the special grace of Christ. If they fail moreover to respond to that grace in thought, word and deed, not only shall they not be saved but they will be the more severely judged.(13*)

Thanks to Mr. O'Reilly for This Link

A reader told me of this news item sad.

Timely Argument

An Early History and A Lesson

President Johnson began Head Start, as part of the war on poverty, in 1965. In the beginning, this organization was made up of volunteers and very few paid personnel. The program at that time, and until much later, was only an eight-week catch-up program to prepare pre-schoolers for school.

Several years later, I volunteered in the summer to teach very young children how to use pencil and paper, how to color, how to learn the alphabet, and basic numbers and so on. It was a pre-school catch-up program.

Another volunteer and I would go early in the morning to the ghetto, and pick up the children on the list so that we could teach them for a half-day.

We quickly discovered, in 1972, that the children we were picking up to take to the learning center were, day after day, in the same filthy clothes, sometimes soiled with excrement, and they had not eaten any breakfast.

My co-worker and I began to wash these children and help them get dressed in new clothes, which we bought out of our own money, and feed them food, again, out of our own money.

These children could not receive what the "program" wanted to give them as they lived in such destitution. Most of them were sons and daughters of people who had migrated to the north to get jobs, but there were no jobs. One or two had alcoholic parents, parents who were drinking by eight in the morning.

That summer, for a short time, we did what we could to meet some of the basic needs of these children. Needless to say, few learned anything, but we helped them live, and gave them lots of positive feedback, as love was called in those days.

The program I had volunteered for that summer did not continue, and I went on to other things, like studying the Montessori Method.

I still remember one little boy, the dirtiest and most patient of all. After all these years, I can see his pained and suffering face. He never complained. In fact, all these children were extremely well-behaved, and grateful in their own little ways. Again, in 2006, for a short while, I worked with Head Start, now controlled by social workers and government agents. Some of the children were not much better off than those two generations earlier. And, the personal touch was gone. We were, for example, no longer allowed to hug and touch the children. There was a huge difference in structure regarding teachers, assistants, and volunteers. We were not supposed to give out charity at all, but only work within the structure. I think the system had fallen away from its usefulness for many reasons, including "Head Start Fade." Governments cannot do what individuals can do--love.

In 1964, 21% of Americans lived in poverty. The percentage is now 14.5%. Not much change...

Educational agendas had taken over from real love and care,  and although some of the workers did have good hearts, some did not. For some, the program was merely a stepping stone to a bigger career.

I share this little part of my life because of a comment earlier today. What we thought the children needed, and they did need, pre-school teaching, was not the real need they had. They needed basic necessities, very basic, like cleanliness and food, as well as positive attention.

I moved from that city and went into a community shortly after this experience. Working, even for a short time, with these children gave me a perspective I have had all my life.

One must be flexible in dealing with the poor, and one must be humble enough to change one's ideas of need. The little bit we can do personally is much more important than the good we can do institutionally.

My fellow volunteer and I never judged the parents. That was not our job. We would try to meet each person with respect and give them the dignity they deserved as human beings. I wish I could have done more, but as a very young person, on a very low salary, I could only do so much.

That is Christ's message for us.

Memories of The Blue Rose

As those who have been following my blog know well, I have a "thing" about roses, red, white, and blue.

I have posted an ancient Chinese story on the blue rose and referred to the symbolism of this rose many times here. I repeat the story below.

Today, a person I have never met, and not a blog reader, sent me a beautiful scarf with blue roses on it. I take this a little, personal encouragement from Our Father.

The Asians, Chinese and Japanese, have stories involving the blue rose. One of the meanings emphasizes the continued questing of an individual who is working against many odds to accomplish a dream.

The blue rose represents mysticism, mystery, seeking the highest goals, even striving for what is unattainable.

Wearing my new scarf today, a mysterious choice indeed to the person who sent it to me, I am overwhelmed by the goodness of God. This person does not know my preference for the blue rose.

Over the last two days, again, I have given God all my dreams and desires, praying, as I have been for months, but with new vigor that only His Perfect Will be done in my life.

And I get a new scarf....

God is showing me that all my prayers, which seem impossible, like living in Europe in the same country as my son, like having a house of prayer, will be answered despite the impossibility of such prayers--in His own way. I was about to give up, as I am so tired, but this scarf came from far away, and from an unlikely source, to encourage me to trust totally in God..

I reprint the old story from China here...and like the gardener's son in the story, God is patient and true with us, showing us what is in our own hearts, showing us ourselves. When we have eyes to see the wonder of what God is doing in our lives, we accept the blue rose. At the end of the story, one sees that the blue rose is the white one, a symbol of purity, held out in love and simplicity, yet changed to blue in the sun through the stained glass window. Perception is all. And, perfection allows one to see.

The Blue Rose

A folktale from China
Retold by Rose Owens

            There was once an Emperor who had but one child—a daughter.  She was his pride and joy, his treasure.  He cherished her above all else.   As he became old and his health began to fail, he realized that he might not always be there to care for and protect this precious daughter.  He determined that it would be best if he were to find a husband for his daughter. 

        When it became known that the Emperor was seeking a husband for the Princess, many men found their way to the palace to request his daughter’s hand in marriage.  The Princess pleaded with her father.  “Father, let me remain with you to care for you.  I have no wish to marry and leave you.”  But her father was adamant. 

 Finally he said he would allow her to name one qualification that her chosen husband must meet—be it wealth or looks or special ability or whatever.  The Princess said she would name that qualification on the morrow.
            That evening the Princess went to the garden to talk with the gardener’s son—her childhood playmate.  “If I say my husband must be handsome, he might be handsome but have a cruel heart.  If I say my husband must be kind, he might also be terribly old.  Oh what qualification should I specify?”
            As they discussed the problem, the Princess and the gardener’s son determined that it should take the form of a test—difficult but not so difficult as to be impossible.  “And it must be ambiguous,” said the gardener’s son, “ so that it is up to you to determine if the man qualifies.”  Late that night they finally determined what that qualification must be.
            The next morning the Princess told her father, “I will marry the man who can bring me a blue rose.”
            The neverending stream of suitors ended for none could find a blue rose. 
            A wealthy merchant, not wanting to waste time looking for the blue rose, went to a flower vendor.  “I will give you a bag of gold if you can find me a blue rose,” he said.  After a long, fruitless search, the flower vendor gave up.  He bought a strong dye and dipped the stem into it. The petals of the rose turned a pale blue. “Keep the rose in the vase with the dye,” he told the merchant, “until just before you give it to the Princess.”

            The merchant brought the rose to the Princess.  The Princess reached out and took the rose from his hand.   As she looked at the rose, a drop of blue dye fell from the stem and puddled in her hand. She looked at the bluish-green leaves and then looked into the merchant’s eyes.  He could not meet her gaze.  “I cannot marry you,” she said.  You have tried to deceive me.  I would have a husband who is true.”
            There was a handsome young warrior who would marry the Princess.  He was strong and powerful.  None dared to stand against him.  The young warrior went to the king of a neighboring kingdom. “Bring me the blue rose,” he said, “or I will kill you and half the people in your kingdom.”  The king, who valued peace and did not wish to fight, presented the warrior with a blue sapphire that was carved in the shape of a rose.
            The young warrior presented the sapphire rose to the Princess.  She looked into his cold eyes—eyes that were as hard as the rose of stone.  She said, “I cannot marry you.  I must have a blue rose that is real—not one that is cold and hard.”
            The youngest of the king’s advisors also sought the Princess’ hand.  He conceived a clever plan.  He commissioned an artist to make a blue bowl.  On the side of the bowl was painted a blue rose.  The rim of the bowl was edged in gold.  It was fragile and delicate—a thing of rare beauty.  The young advisor presented it to the Princess on bended knee.  The Princess looked at the bowl and looked into the eyes of the young man.  “Marry me, Princess,” he said, “I will help you rule your kingdom.”

            The Princess shook her head, “I must have a rose that is real.” 
            That evening the Princess sat in the garden talking to the gardener’s son.  “None of them could bring me the blue rose.  I must marry someone who will be honest and true with me—as you have always been. 
He cannot be hard and cruel.  I need someone who is kind and patient—as you have been. 
I do not want a husband who seeks only for power and riches.  I want one who will value me for myself—as you have. . . . .”  
            “Princess,” said the gardener’s son.  “Tomorrow I will bring you the blue rose.  Wait for me in the blue room just before sundown.” 
            The next day when the sun was almost gone, the Princess sat in the blue room.  The gardener’s son approached bearing a plain white rose in his hands. 
            “But it is a common white rose,” said one.
            “He is the gardener’s son,” said another.
            “Surely the Princess will send him away,” said a third.

            The gardener’s son knelt before the Princess.  Through the blue stain glass windows, the rays of the setting sun shone touched the petals of the white rose.  
            As the Princess reached out to take the rose, a murmur arose.  “He is only the gardener’s son.”
“The rose is not truly blue.”
The Princess stood.  “My people, let me tell you what I see.  I see a young man who has always been honest and true.  I see a young man who has had the courage to be patient and kind enough to wait until I knew what was in my heart.  I see a young man who values me for myself.  In his hands he hold a gift of love.  And it is blue.  And if you cannot see that the rose is blue, I say that you are colorblind.
The old Emperor took his daughter’s hand and he took the hand of the gardener’s son and joined them.  And the Princess married the gardener’s son and they lived happily ever after—not because this storyteller said so—not because that’s the way that love stories should end.  But because the Princess and the gardener’s son knew that their happiness was in their own hands and that each was responsible for making sure that the other was happy. 

Retold by Rose Owens
Copyright 2000