Anyone who thinks I am a saint, just because I write well about saints is either stupid, crazy or a vile flatterer.
Country Music sung by male singers seems to me to be a way men can let out their feelings in a wholesome way even if it is a little sentimental.
Ronda: Wonderful Open Door Radio show with Jim Hanink and Al Hughes…afterwards as a joke thinking “Here is my Catholic Retirement Colony, only virtual instead of living in a commune.”
But I think it really is the answer for now. So, every time I feel lonely, just call someone up!
Jesus: Also called “Home in My Heart.”
When the Ronda the Renowned formally announced to her assembled disciples the forthcoming publication of a compendium of her pithiest remarks, entitled NINE TOES IN ETERNITY, their response, though quite predictable, was very heartening.
9 Toes in Eternity
One Hundred One-Liners
of Ronda Chervin
Illustrated by Jim Ridley
At age 80 I have become tired of my usual thoughts.
Instead I long for the luminous vistas of heaven.
Yet, just the same, there is an urge to assemble my best thoughts.
For who? For me? For you?
And to see those thoughts illustrated by the graphic artist, Jim Ridley, who has been accompanying my insights with humor for many decades in books of mine published by goodbooksmedia and in my blogs.
So, here you have it!
9 Toes in Eternity
(Here are the first 5 entries. Expect 5 more to be included in her weekly blogs.)
“Every day imagine your resurrected body: leaping, dancing…!”
“Have nothing but love in your heart: grateful love, suffering love, joyful love…not pockets of anger, despair or blahs!”
“Make a list of all the people you were ever close to and put next to each name the good qualities of them you benefited from, thanking those still alive and thanking God for these, and also for all those who have gone to eternity.”
“We often say about something hard for us but good, such as breaking bad habits, I “can’t” do it; but if someone offered us $500 to do it, we probably could; so challenge yourself by asking ‘if someone offered me $500 to do something hard but good, wouldn’t I try to do it?”
“If Jesus wants to leap into your body every day as the Eucharist, shouldn’t you be there as often as you can to receive Him?”
An urgent response from Ronda just arrived:
But, now, Mr. Webmeister, my readers will think I have enlisted you to put up these unlikely reasons because I have lost my mind.
IF YOU DON'T PUT UP IMMEDIATELY A NOTE ON IT SAYING,
" REALLY I, JIM RIDLEY, WEB-MASTER AM JUST DELAYED BY TECH PROBLEMS"....
I WILL WALK OVER TO YOUR HOUSE AND STRANGLE YOU!
Let me know your decision about this weighty matter!!!!
When check-mated by life we realize more clearly how much we need Jesus not only as a model but as a savior.
Reading that book by Viktor Klemperer about Germany in the time of WWII in Dresden with the bombing, I was amazed to see that even when they were starving on rotten potatoes they ate less in order to buy tobacco or tea leaves to smoke and to buy razors to shave!
Such a beautiful birthday with a visit all the way from California of my daughter, Diana, her friend Paula, and my twin-sister, Carla.
My sister and I made a pact not to talk about issues we disagree on in Church and politics.
A mentor suggested that we deal with minor conflicts differently by deferring to one another.
These might be good suggestions for some of my readers at family gatherings!
Readers of RondaView on this Blog might like to know I am starting Sunday, May 14 at 5 PM EST every week a radio show of the same name on WCATradio. It will involve panels, led by me, with friends of mine who were in groups I led. To find out more about these shows go to WCATradio. Then click on Programs and then on Sunday RondaView and click on the blueish link to see what the program will be like.
Tune in, or click on demand listening once we get started to the archive and just listen, or participate in the show by conference call as explained on the web for Sunday RondaView after you click on the blue link for show info.
A Biggie! Enjoy!
Back from my Mission trip and visit to the seminary where I used to teach.
Just in time for the beautiful Triduum at my new parish Church in Corpus Christi where formal liturgies mingled with hispanic songs in a way that appealed both to my soul and my heart.
In any case I saw how this was used by the Holy Spirit so that, as a dedicated widow, I don’t feel attached much to any place and every Church is my home.
Just in case you hadn't thought of this analogy:
In Nazi Germany the newspapers didn't tell the people how the extermination camps really were. They pretended they were work camps or convalescent camps.
In pro-abortion USA the newspapers and mainline TV never show what abortion really is. They pretend it is the removal of cells.
I believe you all know from this Blog that I am working on a book with Al Hughes as the spiritual director entitled “Escaping from Excessive Anxiety on the Road to Spiritual Joy.” Some of it I have been quoting from here on the Blog.
Here are new episodes and insights from before and throughout and after my trip. Keep up the prayers. My guess is also, that some of you readers could benefit from the advice attached to some of these episodes:
I made a trip during Lent to lead a Mission and to visit the seminary where I worked before retiring. Here are parts of my journal for eventual use in the book:
March 20, 2017
A big example took place during the night. The evening before I got the idea that someone could reject me because of a plan I had for an event that might upset this person.
Waking up in the night, not able to sleep well, I became convinced that I would be rejected and started into the first big anxiety attack since a few weeks ago when I have been doing better.
It took me an hour, where I tried to distract myself through reading a novel, to recognize that I needed to rebuke the spirit of excessive anxiety and lay it at the feet of Jesus to take it away.
In the morning, I felt a little more rational but still overly concerned, I would say, that I would be rejected soon with big consequences for my present life-style.
Happily, I calmed down through silent prayer. I did make an act of surrender that if this rejection was allowed in God’s permissive will, I would surrender to that possibility and realize that if God alone is enough, it doesn’t matter what happens to me on this earth.
Then I seemed to feel Jesus prompting me to call a third party and ask about the whole matter. This party thought that the person I fear could reject me will never do so in the manner I fear and almost guaranteed that she would see that didn’t happen.
I felt much relieved.
I don’t think this example reveals much progress, but it is probably better than what I would have done without the advice of my director: that is, I would have needed to clear the matter up by talking to several friends, describing everything with maximum drama queen style!
I also forced myself to write a nice little note to the person I thought would reject me concerning another matter.
March 21, 2017
(My twin sister, one of my daughters, and a friend, are coming to Texas the weekend of April 21-24 to celebrate the 80th birthday of myself and my twin.)
I noticed that I was excessively anxious about the birthday visit. I am obsessing over whether plans for it I would like, but my twin wouldn’t necessarily like. It is normal, as the hostess, to have a few concerns and work to make things good, but not this fear of catastrophe about lesser details.
Thinking about this today: I rebuke the spirit of anxiety and lay it at your feet, dear Jesus, take it away.
Then I had the sense that the joy of seeing each other should predominate vs. exterior plans.
The next day I fell into scheming of utopias around a friend in another State. This concerns my wish for 20 years since my husband died, that I could live in a Catholic retirement colony suited to me with other literary, intellectual, fervent, retired Catholics.
Talking to one of my retired friends who I hoped would organize such a venture, he suggested that the community is not in a building but could be, instead, in my heart, with God making me an instrument of His love to all my friends. Some of these are in my present locale and others I encounter through e-mails, phone conversations, and Skype.
March 22, 2017
Ronda: At the last Way of Love meeting with a woman’s group, during prayer Jesus seemed to say: “Stop reacting out of the past and respond to everyone you meet with My love.”
March 23, 2017
I had sent a file of changes to my web-master, Steve. I told him no rush. Now 2 weeks later I hadn’t heard, and wrote back and he said I never sent it! In the past I would have gotten very desperate over this sign of senility and the thought of having to redo an hour of previous work on this, but, instead I spent about 10 minutes looking for it all over and finally found it in trash and could sent it “again.” I didn’t get excessively anxious but just did what was good to do to remedy the problem.
I called a friend who set up my new desktop computer because my extra drive wouldn’t open. He told me that it was because I didn’t do what he told me before pulling out the cord. He said I probably lost everything on it. But he could look at it tonight.
Instead of getting anxious at I just laughed and say “Maybe God wants me to forget about all the past files of old projects saved on that drive and just live in the present projects.
Al thought I did well to stop myself showing the usual anger I would have exhibited over excessive anxiety at losing some of my work.
Ronda: Oh, what a terrible day. Upset over radio problem, then over booklet problem, and then rage during the writers’ meeting! What are you showing me? I am afraid I am actually losing it.
Jesus: The types of rage you went through today come from over-attachment to these projects. They certainly don’t follow Teresa of Avila’s “God alone is enough so let nothing disturb you.” Now just hide in My heart.
March 24, 2017
From Al in the night:
(The following journal entry refers to Enneagram types. This is a controversial subject. Some Catholics think this typology coming out of a Sufi/Islamic tradition is from the devil. Others, such as I think that the typology can be easily separated from any religious use. Instead, I think that the truth in it comes from it being a kind of phenomenological analysis of different ways human beings respond to the problems of life.)
Al: I have spent the last two hours reading the Enneagram re: number 1 (the Crusader). Fits you to a T! You compulsively value perfection in yourself, demand it in others in a not so perfect world. You strike out at others that seem imperfect to you. As authors put it, God's world is process toward, not reached perfection. There is no perfection (your compulsive goal) outside of God and you are demanding perfection in yourself and in others Now!, at all times - resenting imperfection in yourself and others. The cure is to move toward Type 7 who takes pride in being "nice" to others.
Oddly enough, your tendency is to avoid anger in others and in yourself. You paradoxically try to suppress anger which sooner or later (sooner?) erupts.
I wrote back to Al this morning: Absolutely right on. I was so exhausted by the 2 eruptions plus another conflict that happened just before I got in the car that didn't involve an eruption but could soon, and the shame after my outburst at you, my dear, dear, friend and mentor that when I woke up in the night I didn't answer.
But I woke up this morning instead of thinking I have totally lost it and I need to get out of all ministries and just become a penitent for the rest of my life, that this outburst is the awaited nadir in our process from which Jesus, through you, will drag me up bloody and all into the healing process.
Si, si, como no????
Lots of healing from the abundant forgiveness of Al.
March 28, 2017
Less excessive anxiety about air trip of 14 hours from my house to Marti’s for the Mission I am giving in her city. Feeling of just facing everything with good precautions such as less hand luggage and the cane if the wheel chairs don’t come, etc.
April 3, 2017
A big test of our work on excessive anxiety on the road to spiritual joy. I was in a situation where someone in authority over me seemed to be rejecting me in a surprising way, concerning an area where I am much acclaimed.
I was rehearsing angry, sarcastic retorts. But there was a charismatic spiritual warrior at the same event. She prayed over me immediately and suggested that I ask the Holy Spirit how to respond and offer the pain of the encounter for the person who seemed to be rejecting me.
Instead of doing a drama-queen scenario, I went sort of numb and at the next encounter with the same person allowed the Holy Spirit to take over with very positive results all around.
I believe that being more aware of my fear of rejection helped me to see that my anger was a compensation for that fear. I was able to deal better with this situation than I would have before.
April 6, 2017
Smother love and fear of rejection? I become extremely irritated when anyone tries to make sure everything is okay about every detail of my life. I felt contrite about this since the people trying to help me are always doing it out of great love for me – the desire to make sure I don’t suffer in any small or big way!
I am thinking, in terms of this excessive anxiety journal, maybe there is a connection here with fear of rejection coming from memories of parental and older sibling telling me what to do so much when I was a child?
If every tiny thing matters so much, then one expects to be rejected, mildly, for anything that is not “perfect”?
So anger that someone is trying to make suggestions about trivia, is a desperate attempt to reject fear of rejection???
Visit with Alice Von Hildebrand, now 94! On the one hand, encouraged that even though she is so frail and has an attendant now 24/7 she is still so mentally fine. She now tells people “the reason we hate ourselves is because we cannot adore ourselves!” This fits with Al’s contention that I want too much to be perfect.
She was talking about femininity and receptivity. Very gently she said, “You, Ronda, could have more of that.”
Receptivity could be very good for me vs. pushy, anxious project-i-tis!
April 7, 2017
A friend says “I am imperfect in my defects and God loves me just the way I am.” She doesn’t mean God loves my sins, but that He doesn’t despise me for being a sinner.
April 8, 2017
Visit of Albanian followers of Mother Teresa. I ate a piece of the bread baked by Marjeta over which she says a prayer for healing Mother Teresa gave her years ago. Many miracles come from people eating this bread.
I was skeptical. But after the Albanians left I took a nap and woke up with absolute ecstatic bliss going through my body that lasted for an hour!
It seemed like an encouragement from Jesus amidst all my struggles.
April 9, 2017
I had a good conversation with a previous crisis counselor of mine about the excessive anxiety issue. Here are some things he said:
“It is easier to deal with negatives than positives because parents and authorities said don’t do that, don’t do this. We are waiting for ‘the shoe to drop.’ This leads to anticipating rejection.
“Doesn’t your feeling of fragility, Ronda, mirror your childhood fragility?”
“Of course, it is also true that being in a new place could lead to greater fear of dementia.”
April 14, 2017 Good Friday
Jesus seemed to tell me that being more befuddled in mind may help me move better into the heart!
I made an act of accepting God’s permissive will for the rest of my life no matter whether the pain be physical in small or large ways, or emotional, as in rejections and loneliness, or spiritual. When I mentioned this to Al he said that I must be sure this is not just in my head but also in my heart.
At dinner with friends of Al I was talking about my symptom of nail picking. I told them that I am much worse when I am sitting near Al. Why would that be? One of them said “It is the white coat syndrome. It is proven that our blood pressure goes up as soon as we see the doctor!”
April 15, 2017 Holy Saturday
I was up in the night overly anxious about the birthday weekend coming up.
Jesus seemed to tell me: “Holy Saturday was terrible for the Apostles. They only had the faintest hope and much horror from the crucifixion. So, since you want to be a disciple vs. a customer, I allowed you a taste of uncertainty about the visit for the birthday. But expect big joys and graces on this 80th birthday coming not from you but from the others to you.”
I thought also that I should constantly accept any permitted daily sufferings in union with Jesus and offering it for the family.
Right after that came good things in the family.
Dear Readers of my Blogs,
There will be a short hiatus in these blogs for a lovely reason.
I was asked to do a Mission in a parish Church far from my new home in Corpus Christi. Since my lap top died, I am not sure I can get on another one while I am gone. So you might not get another Blog until after Easter. You could pray for the victims of my mission!
In the meantime, this post is going to be different in that it is featuring the graphics of Jim Ridley and his prose with a short intro from me.
It happens that I had an angry fit in the presence of several of my dearest friends. I apologized profusely and went to Confession. I wrote Jim that I might allude in my blog to the cause of the meltdown so that he might then illustrate it graphically, including the hilarious response to my apology I received from the offended friends.
Here then is an abridged account of the eruption of Mount Saint Ronda:
These explosive seismic incidents barely register on our defective Richter scales. We are not all ace defusers on your Soul Commander's bomb squad. We wouldn’t know which wire to clip - the red, the yellow the blue…
Nor are we trained as a first-responder medics to perform triage after detonation. Our default reactions to such brouhahas is to let others do the witchy brewing while we tend to the ha-ha-ha’s. Considering the etymology of that delightful word: French, orig. brou, ha, ha! exclamation used by characters representing the devil in the 16th-cent. drama; perhaps a distortion of the recited Hebrew phrase bārūkh habbā beshēm ădhōnai “blessed is he who comes (in the name of the Lord)” (Ps. 118:26), we all together focus on the Hebrew and inwardly sing the psalm verse.
Love is the medic, Love the defuser. Beyond that we see all such voluble Vesuvian verbiage as ultimately eternally valuable. After the molten magma erupts, the streams of lava steam into the sea, cooling the flaming effluvium into a rising accumulation of rock, which eventually evolves into an island that becomes in God’s good time a habitable paradise of lush flora and exotic fauna.
Blessed is she who comes in the name of the Lord.
I often think about how much truth there is in many cliché phrases such as the carrot and the stick.
Here is one of my applications.
Before Vatican II, some Catholics only came to Church every Sunday without fail because they were afraid of Hell. (The stick) Then when many priests and catechists stopped preaching and teaching about Hell, they just gradually stopped coming regularly. I think Jesus is sad because without fear of Hell, many don’t come to Mass just out of love for Him and His Body and Blood (The carrot.)
On the other hand, some of us true believers, can make it seem that only the stick counts because people are so evil that they never do anything out of love without a stick!
The reading today of Jesus with the Samaritan woman suggests that Jesus reminded her of the stick by mentioning her 5 husbands and her present lover, but then quickly lured her with the carrot by speaking of the eternal life He, the Messiah, wanted to bring to her.
A message it seemed to me came from Jesus to me:
Just as a mother watches her toddler, first fall every few steps, trying to walk, then gradually less and less, when I am teaching you through a spiritual director how to improve, I am not alarmed that you still make many, many mistakes. I just want you to hold My hand more and try again.
I have a friend who shows great loving kindness to my battered heart. I was thanking God for this love and I thought what will it be like in heaven when we come into the full experience of the loving kindness of Jesus in His mercy?
SUCH AS THE FOLLOWING:
Do you think that Jesus is only present to you
when you think to pray to him during the day and night? It seems to me that Jesus was telling me that He is always present and wants me to avert to that presence often, either to let Him speak to me to advise or encourage me, or to just be in silence closer to Him.
The obstacle is that I think my own thoughts, deeds, and feelings
are more important than His presence.
I am grieving the divisions in the Church. The specific grief came when talking with a Catholic about the recent University of Berkeley riots. This person insisted they were caused not by Berkeley students but by gangs of violent people who infiltrates protests. I realize this person associates Berkeley with peace movements, but I associate Berkeley with rebellion against sexual ethics leading to abortifacient contraception and abortion. This is especially on my mind because I read an article about how new French laws now put in jail any pro-life person who even hands out a leaflet about alternatives to abortion to someone going into a abortuary. And I am thinking that this would have happened here if Hilary had won the election.
Praying about the dreadful conflict within the Church, Jesus seemed to tell me this:
“There is no peace without justice and no final peace, therefore, until the Last Judgment. You should work for justice on earth, as I command you to, but all the while loving forgiveness leads to greater peace in your personal life. Can you accept that you and this other Catholic working for different types of justice in the Church and the world often do not know where each other is coming from? And, therefore, forgive when you feel wrongly judged by each other?”
I had this thought. Suppose the shadow side of German love of order (ordnung) was totalitarian control? And suppose the shadow side of French intellectualism could be cynicism. And the shadow side of American love of freedom, license?
First of all, let me christen the launching of the
WHY I AM STILL A CATHOLIC booklet series.
Click HERE or on the image above for access to the project's web page.
Now here beginneth the blog:
In a group of mine at Holy Apostles in Connecticut, based on my book Way of Love, Dave Bastoni was a member who actually owns real live horses which he keeps in a stable on his property. He told us often about how “healing” horses are in ways different than pets.
Here is one of his reflections:
Horses are prey animals and use all their senses to constantly monitor their environment.
In the wild, as soon as danger is detected, they run to safety.
wind can be a problem for horses because of what they hear and what they cannot hear.
What they hear is noise - the wind whistling, the rustle of leaves, etc - sounds that can make them anxious and aggressive. To them, any new sound is a threat until it can be checked out.
What they can't hear usually is the sound of an approaching predator. When things are quiet, predators can be heard before they strike.
As I watch this play out with my horses on windy days, I cannot help but relate this to our lives. Noise can prevent us from hearing the evil that surrounds us,
and can cause us to be anxious and aggressive.
Some of us know the value of quiet time in our day. We are simply happier and healthier people if we make room for it. A sanctuary where we can leave the noise, whether it be a room,
a chapel or even a barn.
My horses tell me the need for quiet in their lives. Great barn lesson for us.
Generally, I am finding that in my new less busy retired life-style, it is especially good to pay attention to little nudges such as that from the Holy Spirit. If in doubt, do it, I now think, of course only if it is something good in itself.
Many mentors have advised me to avoid using the words conservative and liberal except about politics. Transposing these into Church lingo has the risk of making it seem
as if these are just 2 possible positions.
Rather, a person who believes every word of the catechism, social justice, and sexual morality,
is not a conservative but a Catholic!
Calling such a one a conservative can be a subtle way to write one off!
A surprising alleged response of Mother Mary:
Ronda: I had an awful nightmare – usual about being lost and can’t find my way home type thing and no one would help.
Mary: Now, give the anxiety behind the dream to us. Be thankful that nightmares release anxiety and are not true because in real life even awful crosses have great blessings attached.
(THIS BLOG IS SHORT BECAUSE MY LAPTOP IS DYING AND THE REPLACEMENT IS NOT YET FULLY INSTALLED IN MY NEW HOME)
I had a horrible day with tech glitches and fell into yelling at two friends who were trying to help me with it. This led, as usual, to the desire to give up. “Forget about tech, just say goodbye to your work as a writer and to e-mails, and just pray the rosary.” That didn’t last too long.
When I brought it to Mother Mary, here is what she allegedly told me:
Mary: “Well, we did bring you to the shore. There are many reasons why we let you slide into your worst traits. To bring you humbly to our feet to show you that you can’t just say a mechanical prayer and become holy, but you have to call out again and again as you seem to drown in the waves of frustrating circumstances. Think of St. Peter almost drowning. See you could laugh about the incident with you friends, and the priest absolved you of your sins of rage. I did laugh at you also!”
I was in a controversy with a Catholic who thinks that even though abortion is terrible, since the Church doesn’t do enough to support to poor women upset about their pregnancies, abortion should still remain legal.
I was able to speak the truth with love about all the Catholics who for 40 years have devoted themselves to helping pregnant mothers, and so on. But in my head, after the conversation, I thought of very sarcastic points I could have made such as, the really poor all over the world think babies are their wealth; if every Catholic priest taught chastity from the pulpit you would have less Catholics having abortions; so should we make rape legal since many rapists come from poor families without fathers so they are desperate for cheap joy; so millionaire abortions should not be punished for chopping up innocent babies in the womb?
Mother Mary seemed to say to me:
“My Jesus wasn’t a zealot. Rome was horrible in similar respects but he didn’t kill them all in one blow as you would have wanted to. To be a Christian is not to be a zealot. Offer the terrible pain about abortion and the Church for graces for mothers and babies and for the conversion of the world to God’s plan for sex and love and marriage to win victories in hearts."
Ronda Chervin received a Ph.D. in Philosophy from Fordham University and an MA in Religious Studies from Notre Dame Apostolic Institute. She is a dedicated widow, mother, and grandmother.