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Private Vows in The Laity/Spirituality


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The above is for the sheer unadulterated heck of it.  If you really listen and hear the lyrics they are profound and holy - a remarkable humility from Neil Diamond speaking about his personal experience at what I suppose is a travelling evangelical Christian gathering.


My brother's girlfriend at the time was as keen on Neil Diamond and his lyrics as I was.  We went to his concert when he was here when I was in my twenties it must have been.  He began to sing the above lyrics and video.  Glenna grabbed my hand and jumped up on her seat so I did the same.  Neil Diamond stopped singing, walked to the edge of the stage (we were in the third or fourth row) bowed and said "My Ladies",  Glenna and I sat back down quickly very embarrassed as when we looked around to see who he had been bowing to, we seemed the only one's in a crowd of thousands who had jumped on to their seats, hands clapping above our heads.  Nah, they must have sat down too we decided.  I had my fingers crossed.



"Holly Holy" Lyrics

My son cannot stand either Neil Diamond nor Bob Dylan.   I wonder why.............my dear son!

  I don't do play them any more, not like I used to back then, but there was a time of years when I only played either singer belting out on our record player......back in the dark ages......very dark....the darkest.


http://Bob Dylan official website - Lyrics to "You been on my mind"Dylan

 Saw Bob Dylan in concert twice.  The first was fantastic, although the woman next to me kept handing me a hand rolled cigarette, which I just passed on.  It smelt funny and there was a blue haze all over the audience, a funny smell too (I was pretty dumb back then) - but in the second at Memorial Drive many years later, it was written all over him in every way, seemingly "Hick town, hick concert".  It was a terrible concert, it seemed as if he just could not be bothered, so I went behind the grandstand took out my Rosary and, sat on the grass, prayed rather than endure his very bored concert.  I had no way of getting home until the 'concert' was well and truly finished.

That's it - finished!  My stroll down memory lane kaput............very thankfully too.........

........for now..........

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Bipolar is restless (disclaimer)   I am lingering on YouTube listening to music + at the one and the same time trying to watch a really interesting series on Netflix + + + +  and then some.  Dishes still to be done, my bedroom in a mess.

Saw my relieving GP on Tuesday and he has changed the type of pain relievers and I had the flu shot.  Been all over the place mentally since!  My normal GP absent until July.

Sometimes mental illness really can come in handy :smile4:  There are times one thanks The Lord but can't feel it - other times, one really and truly is grateful for MI when one goes off the rails and refuses to call a spade a spade.  image.png.e7fcbad2593004e91d4ff856e1ea950e.png...........i.e. own up and own one's faults, failings, shortcomings etc.


.........."and me I try to be, but only in these honest lines of endless poetry"..........

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I have written this very quickly and can only cross my fingers and hope it will make sense:

Watching The Alienist on Netflix – a comment rang: “There are people who succeed even when they fail and fail when they succeed”.  I can identify with that.  Bob Dylan dabbles in the cryptic : “there’s no success like failure
And failure’s no success at all”… "Love Minus Zero/No Limit" Bob Dylan

Dylan and Diamond kept me sane sort of and that was a considerable advance on nothing at all makes sense. :)   I like to call it, they were getting The Gospel in to the vernacular...............and that, to me, is the consistent challenge always.   Even with Scripture in that distant past, I had problems and conflicted due to what I read and prayed over in Scripture and what I was experiencing in The Church in its human daily day to day parish and diocesan living including in some religious life and Holy Orders expression - and as a young married mother, with two children in the Catholic education system - and who suffered serious psychotic episodes (or bipolar).  I was just so confused and many years ago now.  Dylan and Diamond came to my rescue.  In listening to their music and lyrics, I very quickly thought, they have the Gospel in the vernacular........and I don't mean every single word they wrote, rather as a general sort of overview. It was what I accepted and owned as my personal concepts along with my personal human fallible and faulted humanity.  A personal humanity that suffers a mental illness and I owned that too quite freely and openly to most all.

I did back then and I will until the day I die pray for them and hope that when they reach Heaven, that they will pray for me if I have not beaten them to it.  They are dear to my heart.

There much more to my DD story as it all did take place over years without cease - and very real flesh and blood stories, not psychotic episodes taking place in my head.  But for another time maybe, this Post is long enough to be kind to myself........and to any reader.

The funny thing to me is that I was quite open with my psychiatrist that I could speak in my mind to them and they could speak to me acknowledging, or trying to do so, that they proceeded from my mind with MI as origin.  That is what I tried very hard to do.  And it is very hard for those suffering psychosis and hearing voice or voices, to accept that they are not real - because the very real experience is the reality experienced personally.

Anyway one day years ago when I was in a public psychiatric ward, my psychiatrist then said that two American psychiatric students were going to visit and were very interested in my Dylan and Diamond voices experience,  He asked would I be willing to talk with them.  I assented.  They must have spent at least an hour with me talking about the Dylan Diamond thing.  What really got me, was I was trying to tell myself their voices were not real but proceeding from a mind under the influence of mental illness.  But the way they were talking and questioning me, I got very suspicious that they might have been as nutty as I was.  They were questioning me as if the DD thing was very real.  Very often, I can tell when someone is indulging at the level of pathology (and they were not), which incidentally can come across as patronizing and condescending to me.  Perhaps even a pathology as potential.

I have a lovely little book here, also available on Kindle.  I love to take it with me if I know I am headed for a waiting room.  The profound gems it contains are a treasure.         31Kn2VdVDFL._SX356_BO1,204,203,200_.jpg





Sorry, I can't alter spacing in what follows.  The poem is mine and is a copy and paste without the space between lines.  Soft Wear just does its own thing at times I guess............or my error somehow.  And then there is always the potential that The Boss might be bored and tweaking things.  "Who knows? Who knows? And none assure and only death can set me free".

WHO AM I?                      

But for fortune

some twists of fate? Not so

but for the past


            and unperturbed


I am the sum of my experience

            of calm, of sun

some rough high seas

            perhaps some certain unasked gifts

                        earned elsewhere


I am but a windmill

shifting in the slightest breeze

South or east

            then north or west


words, thoughts, not here nor of fixed abode

            who spoke yesterday from thought

            then thought travels elsewhere


I am but a tapestry, once ended

            put aside

Soon enough forgotten

When the earth takes care of me

            Perhaps today

                        Or then tomorrow


I am a charity of constant donations

And ever in need

To some catharsis

To some disease


To some a flower

To some but a weed

I am your friend

Or else your chosen enemy


I am the windmill

            Constantly turning

            in life’s breeze

            Soon asleep

            And then will die

            Perhaps life is but a dream

            And death awakens me


Who am I?

I am dirty and drunk in your gutter

I am unshaven and begging butts

I live one road over

I am adulteress and picking up every deadly stone

            Just to pass the time

I am drugged to create any sort of justly needed heaven

Or justly mad to escape the croutons and endless hell

I am lowered into any grave at all in time and space

            earthquake, flood, war, famine or disease –

Convict me anyway and I will justify it

My only gift or non-possessing

I am sneered and judged useless

I sit next to you on any bus

            And in every journey

A creature of The Creator

Of Life’s endless dance

The vast variety


Perhaps I am just a victim and yet I am

            seems source of all that I can

            And will ever be


I am just another human being

And I am only me

But who are all the others




Or untarnished and inculpable

All mendicants just like me

Produce of some conceivably disparate paradigm

Called to flower where planted

Called to holiness ever elusive

I am only me planted everywhere

And me I try to be, but only in

endless lines of honest poetry


Just pictures in my mind

Formed by words


                                                Copyright protected



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2 minutes ago, BarbaraTherese said:

Or justly mad to escape the croutons and endless hell

The above line in my poem should read "Or justly mad to escape the c-rap and endless hell"  Thanks for that, Boss.

Actually, I rather like "croutons" reminds me of Dylan's "Everybody must get stoned" He does not mean marijuana stone.  It is a reference to stoning in Scripture.  The woman caught in adultery was to be stoned by her peers.  Jesus stopped them by writing in the sand.  The only place in the New Testament in the Life of Jesus where He wrote.  We do not know what it is that He wrote.  Plenty of suppositions but nothing really known whatsoever.

Dylan's stone is about being hurt by others and that there is always that potential in life and no one can escape it.  None.  There is always a fly in the ointment, always.   I really love at times the damned if you do or if you don't situations.  You just gonna cop it either way.  Very often I just laugh at it.  I have a saying for myself "Keep working on it, kid, until you start laughing".  What it means is to ruminate and ruminate on the "damned if I do or don't" situation, letting thoughts just go wherever they might land - until thought thinks something so ridiculous, it sets me laughing.

And here I am refraining from launching into a lecture as to why The Morning Offering has such total value especially when prayed carefully attending to the words.  Sometimes I can forget, but I no longer worry.  Jesus knows my heart and that some human foible of mine has distracted me from my morning duty.  And as St Paul tells us, when we cannot pray for whatever reason, it is then that The Holy Spirit is praying for one.  NOt only that, our contemplatives for one have as a duty of their call to pray for us in all things at every moment.  We are, after all, The Mystical Body of Christ on earth.  We are His Church Militant on earth.

Grace is such a stunning and awe-some fact.

I guess I launched anyway :smokey:...............



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“To obey in faith is to submit freely to the word that has been heard, because its truth is guaranteed by God, who is Truth itself” (CCC 144)

BarbG IHS (for me "In His Service")

Something stated on Phatmass by a member really saddened me so much, I was a bit confused and almost tearful.  I began to second guess myself as to whether I was on a safe path or not.  I have tangled in the past with it often enough to know that the demonic is very real and far more intelligent and knowing than any human being; hence that my second guessing became serious and I did not get to bed until 1am and probably a half an hour or so after that and night medication before I went to sleep.

But something for me personally so wonderful has happened on this 22nd May, Solemnity of Our Lady Help of Christians and the celebration of St Rita of Cascia the 24th May and since I don't believe in coincidence, rather that it is always without fail The Holy Spirit, I feel that what has occurred is from Heaven for me personally for one only.

Our Lady Help of Christians is Australia's patroness and we have been consecrated to her.  This year, an official re-consecration has been celebrated by our Archbishop Fisher.  We have been devoted to her since the 19th Century in the 1800's and long before her appearances to St Catherine Laboure, St Bernadette at Lourdes and the children at Fatima.  When I entered monastic life in my early forties, they had a huge (much more than life size) statue of OL Help of Christians  in the extern/guest garden.  Just before I entered I went to her statue and personally, very movingly for me, dedicated myself to her.

As Catholic Christians we are graced and called to read the signs of the times ("in the morning, ‘Today it will be stormy, for the sky is red and overcast.’ You know how to interpret the appearance of the sky, but not the signs of the times." (Matthew Chapter 16).  Being a simple laywoman under private vows, I am called specifically to the temporal sphere as leaven in the mix, rather than to the religious spiritual sphere specifically.  My private vows not generally known. I have long noticed that people will speak to me or around me far more honestly and openly than to religious or a priest. Not always, but by far for sure.  It has become an understanding, I believe, of the sign of my times.  And a sign of the times.  In Australia we are struggling against anti religious and therefore Gospel living.  Practicing Catholics are in the decline and severely so.  Too often, those who are practicing, are cafeteria-Catholics, so called.  They pick and choose what they will and will not believe.

I have long been a fan of St Rita of Cascia as patron of impossible causes.  She lived in a bad marriage and had children.  Later she entered a monastery titled "Monastery of St Mary Magdalen" (Augustinian apparently) and all that spoke to me too.  She was deeply mystical which first occurred when she was 60 years of age - although stories about her do differ.  One needs to be discerning about what one reads on the internet and try to choose reliable sources. Thankfully, when a student of modern history, we spent most of the first quarter on how to discern reliable and non reliable websites.  What I learnt could be transferred to discerning Catholic sources and what I am looking for always is reliable Catholic sources.  It has been a real blessing.  St Rita of Cascia - Short Biography (Catholic.org)

I have had real trouble getting to Mass because my sleep is all over the place (result changed medication or does a couple of times).  Sleep is an important factor in avoiding bipolar episodes.   dUSt wrote somewhere in Open Mic that he sometimes goes to a 5.30pm Mass on Sunday night (we can never know very often the good we have done).  It occurred to me this morning to do a Google search to see if I could find a Sunday late afternoon Mass.  Because I am in a wheelchair, it would cost $100 hour for a support worker on a Sunday.  If it goes a bit over the hour, it is another $50.  I can do it at a stretch.  I went off to Google and discovered that I could go to a 5.30pm Mass on a Sunday and it is only 5 kilometers away.  The Church would be Our Lady of The Rosary - and when I very first made private vows for a year over 40 years ago now or so, it was on that feast day deliberately chosen.  I made the vows for one year to be renewed yearly, just to see how I would go.  I did that for quite a few years until consulting a priest and making private vows for life.   Both Mum and Dad died with their Rosary in their hands, which I now have.  I have great devotion to the Rosary.  The Church is administered by the Dominican priests and my senior education with Dominican nuns was one of the greatest blessings of my life.  It was under their formation as a student that I fell in love with Scripture and very much so with Jesus and His Gospel.  If I had not entered the religious order I did in my teens, I might have been a Carmelite nun now - but Jesus chose otherwise.  Where I entered was stalked by evil. That is a terrible thing to state, but it is the only word that fits, i.e. "evil".  It was my special confessor who suggested that I leave and apply to Carmel, which I did somewhere  in my mid teens.  I was accepted to enter at 21.  But Jesus permitted something to happen that resulted in my marrying..........and now, here I am but still very much closely in touch in a loved and spiritually immensely valuable friendship basis with that Carmelite community, which now has only three elderly nuns.  It still remains Carmel South Australia within the Carmelite Association of Our Lady of The Southern Cross Australia,  In their garden still is the Statue of Our Lady of The Smile, which before their big monastery was sold was in their cemetery. https://carmelite.com/nuns/ (scroll down to Adelaide)  On the link, one can read The Carmelite spirit and living the spirit.

If you would like to read about Carmelite pro active on child etc. abuse https://carmelite.com/our-commitment-to-safe-communities/   This is precisely what Thomas Merton wrote about in Contemplation in an Age of Activism....i.e. that contemplatives must reach out from their parlor with the fruits of their contemplation.  I could relate stories too of just how Jesus and His mother with St Joseph have watched over and cared for Carmel Adelaide, for one only.  St Teresa of Avila had great devotion to St Joseph, Patron of The Church.


Our Lady of The Smile is not an official title.  It refers to St Therese of Lisieux and a miraculous healing when a child as her statue of Our Lady smiled at her.  The only other really unusual thing that happened in Therese's life was snow on her clothing day.  She loved snow but felt there would be no snow that.  It snowed.

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Stop press:  Got my dates mixed up.  St Rita is today 22nd May here and OL Help of Christians is on 24th May.

In fact, I operated most of today under the impression it was Saturday 24th. :notme:  Didn't wake up what was what until I took 2.30pm medication at 5pm from my Webster Pak What is a Webster-Pak?


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COVID-19 is not God’s judgment, but a call to live differently, Pope Francis says  HERE

Image below:   "World blessing: Pope Francis kisses a miraculous crucifix before giving his extraordinary blessing “urbi et orbi” (to the city and the world) in an empty St Peter’s Square on March 27. The blessing was livestreamed because of the coronavirus pandemic. Photo: CNS "


Excerpt "THE worldwide coronavirus pandemic is not God’s judgment on humanity, but God’s call on people to judge what was most important to them and resolve to act accordingly from now on, Pope Francis said.

Addressing God, the Pope said that “it is not the time of your judgment, but of our judgment: a time to choose what matters and what passes away, a time to separate what is necessary from what is not. It is a time to get our lives back on track with regard to you, Lord, and to others.”  Read more on above link


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Is my conscience a rightly formed conscience? 


Excerpts: "We're all in need of moral formation. Due to our wounded nature we have a penchant for choosing only what is expedient, self-fulfilling, or immediately gratifying. We have to learn to love the good. We also have a penchant for thinking in a way that welcomes the rationalizations that smooth the way for self-indulgent choices. It takes courage to welcome moral truth, as this kind of truth always demands transformation. To move from a life of thinking about and choosing primarily the self to one that entails thinking about and choosing what is good for others invites us to form our consciences anew.....

................."Do you possess a love-imbued mind? Of course you do, we all do. The main question is not whether we have such a mind, we do. The main question is what or whom are we loving? Is our love in accord with our baptized dignity? To identify what or whom one loves is crucial to having a well-formed conscience..." MORE ON ABOVE LINK

This article is lengthy but an important one.  Our Lady to St Catherine Labore stated there was "Times are evil in France and in the world".  St Catherine was born after the French Revolution and the Age of Enlightenment.

Today that very evil lived on and has spread - very often in disguise and at times in a covert manner - yet always insidious in nature.

St. Catherine Labouré is the patron saint of the elderly, infirmed people and the Miraculous Medal. Her feast day is celebrated on November 28.

Our Lady of Lourdes begged for prayer and penance, as did Our Lady of Fatima.

In more contemporary terms, we have St Faustina, Disciple of Mercy and Jesus who offers to all without exception His Mercy.  This is not something new, God's Mercy has always been available to all.  But we have to choose it, which of its' nature demands the disposition of, and acknowledgement of, one's nature as a sinner. Parable of The Pharisee and the Sinner


Luke Chapter 18: .............In this parable, a Pharisee and a tax collector went to the temple to pray. The Pharisee prayed about how good he was, but the tax collector asked for God’s mercy as he was a sinner. Jesus said that it was the tax collector who went home justified before God. He concluded, “Everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.

Source: https://www.bbc.co.uk/bitesize/guides/zkw2vk7/revision/3  (Not a Catholic resource, but summarized the parable well, to me.)

(Anything not in inverted commas is only my comment or comments)

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I wrote a post or two in to the Vocations Forum HERE

Decided not too post back in to that Forum, but address the issue here as follows:

"Sometimes something I read or write jars, but I cannot immediately discern why.  I have come back to this thread a few times trying to isolate the why my jarring feeling. What I meant to write was that I have no formal training in any of our Catholic specialties or fields (Canon Law, Scripture scholars, Scriptural Exegis etc. etc.)  I am just the ordinary everyday type of Catholic in the Laity.



http://www.vatican.va/content/john-paul-ii/en/apost_exhortations/documents/hf_jp-ii_exh_25031996_vita-consecrata.html "I join the Fathers of the Synod in strongly recommending to men and women religious that they wear their proper habit, suitably adapted to the conditions of time and place."

As to wearing a religious habit or not for those in religious life, Pope JPII strongly recommends and there is nothing mandatory about that.  Times are a changing and sometimes The Church can be slow in adjusting to meet the times.  Our Church is top heavy to me, overweight at the top and male dominated and therefore it can be difficult to make changes.  She has of necessity to move slow.  It has been good to me to see nowadays some women being placed among the 'top heavy'.  A bit of tribute to St Catherine of Siena who was never "at the top" but she sure could 'light a fire' under male authority, Church and secular, and get them to move.  She was fiercely loyal to The Church but fearless in pointing out needed reform.  She is, of course, one of the three woman declared Doctor of The Church.  We have 36 male DoC apparently.

Although St Catherine of Siena wore a religious habit as a Third Order member, she was a lay woman.

Anyway, to my mind if I was asked for an opinion, it is up to a religious order what they decide re attire.  Some give the person a choice.  Were I to found a community....... God help us.......... they would have both religious and secular attire and choose what and when unless mandated by their superior.  I think the religious habit can have a strong witnessing aspect but it is not the only means by far.....by very far in fact.  Nor is it up with the most important witnessing.

I know how I would feel and react if religious started stating that lay people be well dressed to go to Mass - or being public about what laity should or should not wear.  Not all, by far, have 'well dressed attire'.  I don't any more and can no longer afford it and give thanks to The Lord for it.  Nothing virtuous about it.  Case of necessity I don't regret any more in any way.

It is good in my book to exchange concepts and ideas and a sign of health where there are disagreements.  It is not what is stated so much as how it is stated.  And of course, the written word can be received differently to the author's meaning and intention. 



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                        SOLEMNITY OF PENTECOST



Sunday 23rd May 2021

Sing a new church into being

"Pentecost celebrates crowded places, multiple languages, and diverse people uniting in one Spirit. It’s a hard feast to celebrate during a pandemic in an era clouded by social conflict. All the more reason to challenge ourselves by celebrating not only what makes us the same, but also what makes us different. God showers on the world “gifts that differ,” as Benedictine hymnist Delores Dufner declares. So “Bring the hopes of every nation;/ bring the art of every race. /Weave a song of peace and justice;/ let it sound through time and space.” And let the church say: Amen! (Website "Take Five for Faith")



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Very interesting video and perhaps especially the young woman who decided to leave.  She speaks with rare clarity about her inner experiences in an unhesitating and direct manner and it comes across as intelligent and sincere.



On a far lighter note to bring to mind that (for one only) healthy laughter is a stress reliever:  Mayo Clinic - Laughter

I think too that the ability to laugh at oneself and even what is serious in the journey of life can help one through the journey.  Ozzie and Sharon have been married 39 years this year.  I can really enjoy also the humour of Ricky Gervais too along with the Graham Norton Show.   "Rejoicing in the world, His earth, and having my delight in the sons of mankind." (Proverbs Chapter 8)

Warning! Some cussing and uncouth nouns, but not much:



"“You can't make footprints in the sands of time by sitting on your butt. And who wants to leave butt prints in the sands of time?”
― Bob Moawad

..........and here sit I most of the day and days .....:hehe2:...... Our God of The Surprise(s)!

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It is the Solemnity of Our Lady Help of Christians today.  This feast is a solemnity for us as she is the patron of Australia.





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I can have problems with statements of some kind from our saints and I can wonder if they have been interpreted into English accurately.  Alternatively, if their native language was English, has a word or two been changed altering the sense of the saints meaning.  The other problem can be is that their thought in writing or speech into the written word has been doctored in some way to fall into line with Catholic thought at that time.

With St Vincent of Larins in my previous post.  He lived in the 5th century in the year 445 in what is now France.  He lived in the times of the Roman Empire decline.  He 'stood' against St Augustine and today The Church is in part fashioned by the thought of St Augustine who is highly regarded - a saint and a Doctor of The Church.  

Hence St Vincent of Lerins lived in troubled times in Europe and going by my previous post, he rejected the temporal sphere of his times totally.  Today we know, Deo Gratius, thanks to Vatican II that our specific call from God is to the temporal sphere; to be a leaven in the mix to orientate the temporal, the world, back to God .  In essence, the temporal sphere is on a road back to God and we Laity specifically are the workers in this particular vineyard of The Lord, Our God.

John Chapter 17.  This is not a long Chapter, but it is a very important one (I cannot stress its importance enough!) including and perhaps especially for us Laity.  I am only quoting an excerpt below:



Vatican Bible Translation: John Chapter 17  "13But now I am coming to You; and these things I speak in the world so that they may have My joy made full in themselves. 14I have given them Your word; and the world has hated them because they are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. 15I am not asking You to take them out of the world, but to keep them away from [e]the evil one. 16They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. 17Sanctify them in the truth; Your word is truth. 18Just as You sent Me into the world, I also sent them into the world. 19And for their sakes I sanctify Myself, so that they themselves also may be sanctified in truth.

20“I am not asking on behalf of these alone, but also for those who believe in Me through their word, 21that they may all be one; just as You, Father, are in Me and I in You, that they also may be in Us, so that the world may [f]believe that You sent Me."



It took me a fair bit of researching to try to get my facts right.  Some sites I accessed wanted a dollar subscription.  With jstor, sadly, they wont let me join either free or for $70 odd dollars because I am a no one to them! rotfl

To rave on a bit: Last night I researched to try to find out who was our Catholic Mental Health Chaplain.  I started out in my diocesan website which sent me elsewhere and that link sent me somewhere else again.  On about the 4th link I accessed, I thought to myself "Where on earth am I?"  It was a government website.

My Older Persons Mental Health senior staff member called here today and I was telling her about my journey last night.  I said "It struck me that my Faith Expression, The Catholic Church in Adelaide is saying "You are not our concern, you are a state concern".  PLenty of info on the diocesan site for young people and married people.  We mentally ill seem not to exist for them!  I got news for them, because here I come.............YET AGAIN!


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Let's hear it for Peppermint Patty! 

So often "the System" (whichever one it is), bullies, those with big egos, etc., marginalize people and expect them to be docile or just disappear to become someone else's problem. 

I learned to speak up, and to "give as good as I got."  As Maya Angelou's poem says, "And Still I Rise."

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