Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Anne Rice's new book-- The Road to Cana

Dear friends,
I am in the middle of the book, at the temptation in the desert. It is marvelous-- a great reflection on the mystery of time! I love the way she writes, as if she actually can see and feel the way life was lived in Nazareth, and the way Jesus slowly moves forward into the fullness of his life and vocation, instinctively right, and feeling his way. It is a very powerful opening scene, the stoning of two boys for what the villagers think may be homosexual leanings. It is clear that they are innocent, but the villagers are swept away in mob violence.
I really loved the first book she wrote also. I think she spent a lot of research time on understanding Judaism and life in that time, in the Holy Land. I recommend the book!
My partner Larisa's husband is an Apple computer guy, and he fixed my iphone to receive the Kindle for iphones while we were at the hospital dinner party! I am so excited-- I downloaded "the Brothers Karamazov" for 99 cents, and will be reading it for the next few months. It is one of the books I need to read every ten years or so. Hugs and love, martina

Anne Rice

Monday, December 7, 2009


dear friends,
I just realized that I never wrote anything for November! Already we are in the second week of Advent, and the good news is that the Christmas tree and decorations are up, so I am feeling wonderful. The mystery of how God presents us with divine love through a helpless baby is deeply important to me. I feel my vocation to work with pregnant ladies is reinforced and amplified in all the symbols and beloved songs and cultural resonances of Advent and Christmas. The words "waiting in joyful hope" fill me with wonder. We say them at mass, and they sometimes sink into a conventional response-- but sometimes I am able to re-grasp the newness of the feeling of waiting in joyful hope.
I delivered two babies this weekend who came in the position we call OP-- occiput posterior, or the face-up position. This position is more awkward, and is difficult for moms to push their babies out; the axis from the head and chin make the baby slightly larger in this angle. Many moms end up needing a CSection to get their babies out. These two moms made it, but both pushed valiantly for two whole hours. I was really tired too, pushing with them that long. And still, both dads were overwhelmed with the love and admiration for the women who did this work, and the beauty of their newborn babies. It is one of my favorite things, to see the tears of joy in the fathers' eyes. I want to hug them for this gift. I realize all moms need the kind of love and support that we hope for-- as the babies soon are hungry, and then begin to make demands on our love and time and energy. Moms soon become bedraggled with care and exhaustion. It is a gift of overwhelming love, that the dads put the energy there for the children and the moms. Gone is the glamour, but the love deepens and strengthens, as the father and mother face the challenge of rearing a child together. I pray to God through the intercession of St. Joseph for these dads. I send a prayer through Mary for the moms, and through Jesus for the babies. I see God's fingerprints all over this stuff. When people say they don't believe in God, or a personal God, I think of the amazing miracle of birth, and the fact that usually, all the parts are miraculously working well. I am grateful for all the good times I have had, helping new parents in the delivery room, receiving these miracles. I am grateful for the ways our children make demands that pull us out of what is possible or easy for us, into new ways of being-- parenting, the hardest of all tasks. I feel humble, knowing I haven't done a very good job of it. And I keep promising, watching the little ones in the crib, that when I am a grandparent, I will try to be better at it! Tomorrow is the feast of Our Lady, and I think of all the women taking on the mystery of pregnancy-- bringing God's plans and designs for new life into the world. God bless all the women who are pregnant. God help us all, do better at the job of being parents. Happy Advent to you all! martina