When I presented Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI with his 90th Birthday Di Clara vestments.

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“To have Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI hold your hand and thank you, and describe your vestments as “…wonderful, beautiful…” is something I never dreamed could happen 18 months ago when I started my vestments business – Di Clara.”…Read more here: https://www.diclara.co.uk/blogs/news/when-i-presented-pope-emeritus-benedict-xvi-with-his-90th-birthday-di-clara-vestments

Today I put my wedding rings back on.

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Today I put my wedding rings back on.
I took them off about 15 years ago when the grudge started.

The grudge was because I expected my husband to fulfil my every need. I had idolised him. I put him in the place of God.

My husband was my knight in shining armour when we got married, and I placed this insurmountable burden on him without even realising.

The fact is that I was expecting him to fulfill the parts of me that only God can fulfil. I had placed my husband above God. And because he couldn’t fulfill the God shaped hole in my heart, I unconsciously started to hold a very low level, almost unnoticeable grudge. Subconsciously I must have always been thinking “What am I getting out of this?” rather than “”What can I give to this marriage?”

Over the next 15 years this grudge effected my relationship with God because, without realising, I was not putting Him in the first place in my life. I was not recognising God as provider. I always felt this terrible separation from God, but I didn’t know why.

When my husband became ill 3 years ago, my earthly provider stopped being able to provide. And because I had put him in the place of God, I had no where to turn.

The fear I felt in those years is something only an atheist would understand. I couldn’t feel God near me, and I had no idea it was my own doing.

A few weeks ago it reached crunch point. I had already reconciled that I couldn’t leave, but I felt I couldn’t stay either. Who would provide for me?

It was after reading the ‘Healing of Families’ book that I realised I had been harboring this grudge, and that my relationship with my husband and with God was out of sync. I took all that to confession, along with a few other things.

I felt the fear lift. I felt the grudge go. I felt my relationship with God fall back into place. And I felt free to love my husband – agape Love, unconditional love, for the first time ever in our marriage.

He asked me “Why have you decided to do this now? I can’t provide anything for you right now.”
I told him “This is the perfect time, the FIRST time I have ever been able to love you unconditionally.” 😊

I now recognise God as provider, and the love in my relationship with God, and with my husband has grown immensely. I am now free to love. And my husband is free from the burden of being put in the place of God.

Clinging onto Christ on top of a 20ft pole.

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St Simeon Stylites was a fifth century monk who set off a trend for hermits to live on top of pillars. Totally bonkers, right?! I remember being told this story as a 7 year old and just collapsing with irreverent laughter wondering how he managed to go to the bathroom😀

Little did I know he was to become on of the most important saints in my life. In fact I had completely forgotten about him until I had a conversation with my Byzantine friend today. 

St Simeon climbed his pillar in AD412 to get away from the hordes of disciples and onlookers who came to visit him, having heard reports of his already extreme self-denying lifestyle. He once survived Lent without eating or drinking anything, and followed this achievement up by standing stock still until he collapsed.

He spent the rest of his life on a succession of ever higher pillars, to get away from the crowds who continued to visit him, with supplies delivered by village boys climbing up to the top.

After he died, his fame spread and he spawned scores of imitators, known as Stylites from the Greek word for pillar, “style”.

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The remains of St Simeon’s pillar before the airstrike.

 

The monastery which houses the remains of his pillar north-west of Aleppo, has been a tourist attraction for centuries, and has come under the control of different groups in the civil war. Tragically in May this year an airstrike hit the monastery and damaged the remains of his pillar.

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It is such a shame as I really would have like to visit it one day. I’m not sure that I ever will now.

The reason he has become one of the most important saints in my life is because of the pillar. It is such a vulnerable position to be in – stuck on top of a pillar. But spiritually speaking this is exactly the place in which Christ is calling us to be.

Christ stands with us on the pillar and all we can do is to cling to Him as tight as we can and rely on him for absolutely everything. If we let go we are in immediate danger. If we cling on He wraps us in His embrace. It’s a no-brainer!😀

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St Simeon Stylites in Minecraft made by my 7 year old!

So up until this point I have been listening in the desert. But I guess that wasn’t enough. Now it seems I am stuck on top of a 20ft pole!😀

My need to cling, and to be held in God’s embrace has been something I have wanted desperately for a long time, but I didn’t know how to do it. Now I know. It was that place of complete trust, and total vulnerability and reliance on Him that I needed to get to.

And now i’m here I don’t think i’ll be coming down any time soon🙂

Faith In Our Families blog round-up 2015. Best year yet!

 

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2015 has been one of the most amazing years of my life. I’ve met some incredible people. I became a Carmelite. I discovered the Mass was not a re-enactment of the last supper – but that I am really at calvary during the ACTUAL crucifixion.  I got sued by a priest who later in the year decided to quit the priesthood. My husband was instantaneously healed from Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. I started my new vestments business -Di Clara. I met the relatives of St. Therese, and St Louis and Zelie Martin of Lisieux, and I read a bidding prayer at the Vatican!

 

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In January I asked How could I possibly have been so dumb? regarding the Mass. I also decided I was not sure I was ever going to be able to give the sign of peace again. After the tragic Charlie Hebdo  attacks I asked some serious questions regarding free speech and highlighted the violent collision between extreme secularism with extreme Islam. I also ate some old cheese and had a really weird dream. Then I wrote my most popular blog post ever at over 40,000 hits when the Pope outlined several new types of contraception for Catholics. I lamented at the social injustice as 2 Priests were denied joint gym membership, because they were not “In a relationship”! And finally asked why we are sometimes too ashamed to pray?

 

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In February I realised that taking our relationship for granted with our spouse, or with Jesus, was a terrible trap to fall into when I wrote another boring Valentines day, Another boring Mass. I also was a bit cheeky when I beat a lowlife at his own game in a Hilarious conversation between St. Therese of Lisieux and a Facebook scammer! We all had the privilege of learning The Little way of Fasting – by Fr. Aidan KieranI was also received into Carmelite formation – and no, I did NOT just become a nun! We also heard the incredible testimony From Gay Pride to True Humility: Joe’s amazing conversion story.

 

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In March I did the 33 day consecration to Our Lady for the first time. I spoke about how How Tinnitus Prepared me for Carmel. I promised NOT to throw eggs at Tina Beattie when she tried to give a lecture at my parish about how awesome same-sex relationships and women priests are. The next day I was thrilled to confirm that due to my blog post she had cancelled her upcoming talk! This lead me on to thinking abut Feminist Rage and the Power of Meekness. With all the shady dealings and kurfuffle surrounding the family synod, I wondered: Imagine if we had Facebook at the time of Vatican 2. I aksed everyone to Please sign this letter in support of the 500 faithful priests, families and our Church. And we saw what it looks like when When God’s Love Hurts.

 

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In April absolutely nothing happened. Except a good friend bought me a couple of books on the history of ecclesiastical vestments, and suggested I should have a bash at making some 🙂

 

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Fr Dan Fitzpatrick

 

In May I reported that a Catholic Priest Denies Burning Down 17 of the Ugliest Churches Ever Built. I tried to find solutions to being Too busy to pray? I went to visit the relics of Louis and Zelie Martin, and begged them to please help me with my marriage. Following the spineless attitude of the Bishops in regards to gay marriage I asked What is the future for the Catholic Church in Ireland? Then I decided to pull up a couple of heretics on their dodgy theology when Fr James Martin SJ and Fr Dan Fitzpatrick Tweet that the Holy Spirit is Female. How sad. Of course following this Fr Dan Fitzpatrick threatened to sue me! The story ended up going global and was even featured on Church Militant TV! After a good telling off from his Bishop, Fr. Dan published a letter saying he will now NOT sue me – because he’s too poor.

 

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In June I made a Banana Flavoured Altar Cake. I had a major Silent retreat FAIL. And I also retold the time I met Jesus face to face in My Medjugorje Trip, Day 4 – Adoration. Following the gay pride march I discussed how true Dignity comes from God. And as America legalised same-sex marriage and Facebook went rainbow coloured, I asked why everyone was Unfriending each other. Also, Pope Francis formally approved Louis and Zelie Martin – known for being the parents of St. Therese of Lisieux – to be declared saints in October during the Family Synod. They would be the first married couple ever to be canonized together.

 

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In July I launched my new vestment making business – Di Clara, and took a look at some of the most horrific vestments ever created in Good vestments, bad vestments. I once again looked to Louis and Zelie Martin and learned about Love and Suffering – a practical lesson. And then was very please to report that Conservative Archbishop Leonard declares personal belief in Medjugorje. And with heavy hearts, me and my husband also started to make plans to live separately because the effects of long term illness on the marriage had become intolerable to live with for both of us on a day to day basis.

 

 

In August I began a novena to Louis and Zelie Martin in desperation for my marriage. I got hundreds of Facebook friends to pray with me as he started the Lightning Process treatment course. Half way through the novena, on the second day of treatment – 11th August (the feast of St. Clare) Nick made a sudden, unexplainable and full recovery from CFS and I was able to give everyone the amazing news that My Husband is WELL!!! The world also saw Over 320 Simultaneous international rallies against the butchers that call themselves Planned Parenthood. And we learned about the 4 different terms the ancient greeks used for the word Love.

 

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In September I started preparing for the year of mercy by recalling that 17 years ago I took the morning after pill. Today I went to confession. I also talked about what happens When your Baby makes you say Grace in Nando’s. We also learned the terrifying news that German Bishops break with Rome and inaugurate Dalek as their new supreme Pontiff.

I also lost one of my best mates in September. I still have no idea why. I’m still completely gutted 🙁 I wish we could be friends again.

 

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In October I spoke about Fidelity in our relationship to Christ as a priest in Rome decided to publicly leave to be with his boyfriend at the start of the Family Synod. I talked about the indissolubility of the sacraments in  So Un-Baptise me then…!  We took a long hard look at Caitlyn Jenner – the golden calf of gender theory. And stated to realise that The Time of the Lukewarm Church is Over. We also asked the apocalyptic question: 2017 – Are you ready? Oh – and I did a bidding prayer at the Vatican during the canonisation Mass of Louis and Zelie Martin! I also spent the afternoon chatting to the relatives of Louis and Zelie, and their famous daughter – my sister in Carmel – St Therese of Lisieux! That’s one conversation I am never going to forget 🙂 Thank you Louis and Zelie for surprising me and making more than one dream come true for me this year <3

 

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In November I showed how our family celebrates All Hallows Eve and All Saints Day. I also finished my Lily And Pomegranate Black 5 piece vestment set. I asked: Ok Jesus, so how exactly am I supposed to love ISIS?Following the second tragically sad ISIS attack of the year aimed at France, I asked some pretty serious questions regarding radical Islam Vs radical secularism in Would you die to protect Western values? I wouldn’t. I began to come to terms with the fact that western society, weakened by generations of cultural Marxism,  is simply not strong enough to cope with the influx of (at least) 60 million muslim migrants in Giving Everything. I finished the month by visiting the Mosque near me that was recently arsoned.

 

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In December I learned that Fr Dan Fitzpatrick had decided to leave the priesthood following a meeting in which his Bishop had unsuccessfully put forward the case for married clergy to the other Bishops of England and Wales.  I also found out about the shocking things that had been going on at Ushaw seminary in The silent problem within priestly formation. I also took a good look at Celibacy and the Priesthood. Then I began to understand that the Christian influences Muhammed was exposed to were Christian heretics in: From Santa Claus to Islam: An Arian Triumph. I was honoured to feature a guest post written by Dr Joseph Shaw of the Latin Mass society: Catholic Bishops ask Rome to change Good Friday prayer for the conversion of the Jews – because it is not politically correct enough. And then I spent some time Gazing at my Father. Finally this year I spoke about how I knew a miracle was going to happen regarding my husbands health in “The air feels soft – like Christmas.” and was delighted to announce that after 2 years at home, my husband will be returning to full time work in the new year 🙂

 

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I will never be able to thank you enough for your intercession this year, beloved St’s Louis and Zelie Martin.

 

Like I said, this really has been one of the most amazing years of my life. And I cannot express enough how much it means to be able to share what is going on in my life and in my heart with all of you. Of course I do not share everything that goes on in my heart – some things are just for me, but I do share 95% of what goes on in there 🙂 and I hope in some way it can begin to alleviate the isolation that so many of us feel. And besides, this blog is basically my diary – and writing it saves me hundreds of pounds on would-be therapists!!

 

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I love Jesus. I am His child. My whole life is for Him. Without the unceasing help from our beautiful mother Mary I would not know how to follow Him. She guides me on, fully aware of my hopeless limitations and inadequacies. You see, luckily for me God is not looking for perfection, He is looking for us to trust in Him and let go of ourselves. And when we do, our tiny insignificant ordinary lives suddenly become extraordinary, and as we begin to find God in the pots and pans (Teresa of Avila) we suddenly find He is using our prayers and our obedience to move mountains in other peoples lives – usually those closest to us.

Thank you for all your support of the blog this year – you know this is the best Catholic blog out there 😉 and I look forward to sharing 2016 with you!

Clare x

 

Fr. Dan now publicly publishes letter saying he will NOT sue me because he’s poor- but continues to slander my name!

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Well by the end of yesterday I was starting to feel a little bit of sympathy for Fr. Dan who has had to face the music. Then this morning he posts this *remarkable* letter on Twitter. He is still accusing me of abusive/insulting language towards him, yet still fails to produce any evidence of this AT ALL.

Thankfully he has admitted he was wrong in calling the Holy Spirit a female – he was simply re-tweeting Fr James Martin (who must also be wrong then?) And that the post in favour of gay marriage was ‘not his own views’ but simply put their to encourage discussion! Does this mean that you actually think the Marriage can only exist between 1 woman and 1 man Fr Dan? Would you like to actually come out and affirm that for us all? Go on – I dare you.

Well, I’m glad to see him apologise for his Holy Spirit comments …

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Pumpkin Haunted by Spirit of Vatican II Terrorizes Family.

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According to local eye-witness reports, a pumpkin haunted by the spirit of Vatican II is terrorising a young Catholic family in London, England. Clare Short, mother of 3, became concerned earlier this month when her neighbours started practising strange rituals in their back garden late at night. “They would all dress up in rainbow coloured robes and gyrate wildly in a circle around the vegetable patch howling like banshee’s in what seemed to be some sort of bizarre liturgical dance.”

She went on to say: “I knew they read ‘The Tablet’ but I felt this was going a bit too far. By the next morning one of the pumpkins had some strange markings on it that seemed to resemble some sort of hideous face.”

The neighbours are then reported to have moved the pumpkin onto their front porch for all the world to see.”At night it glows. It’s really scary. One time I saw the eyes move.”

Mrs Short politely asked her neighbours to remove the pumpkin, but was met with ridicule. “They told me not to be so superstitious and to stop being so old-fashioned and ‘get with the programme‘.”

Soon after this confrontation strange sounds started emanating from the pumpkin. “At first we thought it was speaking in tongue’s, but then we realised it just has a really thick German accent. It started shouting ‘Mercy! MERCY!’ and racially abusive comments like ‘You don’t vant to listen to those Africans’. It is not a friendly ghost”

Mrs Short’s husband has also been victim to the taunts of the vegetable. “One time, after a row with Clare, I stormed out of the house and slammed the door. Then it said ‘Don’t vorry my son. Maybe it just isn’t vorking out for you two hey? You should leave her – it is the merciful thing to do hey?’ It must have heard us arguing.”

After a long drive and a trip to the florist Mr Short returned home again. “It spoke to me again: ‘Ahhh my son, I see you are not giving up yet. Dat is nice, hey? Either way is fine with me’.”

Mrs Short reports that the most upsetting incident was later that evening. “We were lying in bed and could hear it mumbling something from outside the window. My husband got up to shut the window, and as he did it laughed hysterically and screamed at the top of its voice: ‘DON’T FORGET TO PUT YOU RAIN COAT ON MY SON! Bwaaahhhhhh!’ It was really embarrassing.

The next day Mr and Mrs Short went to see their local Arch Bishop and explained everything that had been going on. “He had a glazed look about him. He told us that there are ‘positive aspects‘ to seasonal vegetables and that they should be ‘welcomed, respected and valued’ and that their ‘gifts and talents’ can benefit the whole Catholic community.”