Tag Archives: flooding

Spiritual lessons learned from a wet basement

June 25, 2014


There are a lot of wet basements out there right now. While water seeps into my basement, sin keeps coming back into my heart. Photo/littlegreenfroggy. Licensed under Creative Commons

There are a lot of wet basements out there right now. As water seeps into my basement, sin keeps coming back into my heart. Photo/littlegreenfroggy. Licensed under Creative Commons.

Like other places in the country, Minnesota has been pretty wet this spring and early summer. With each major rainfall, I’ve had streams of water coming into my basement.

My house is 106 years old and when it rains hard, water seeps in from the four corners. In one spot, there had been some kind of a pump which was later removed (I have no idea why.) and a concrete patch was placed over the spot.

Water comes in through the patch and pools there, so that I frequently have to sweep the water down to the drain. (I am going somewhere with this.)

A stream through the basement

Five minutes after I sweep, as much or more water collects in that spot so that I have to keep pushing it down to the drain. After an especially heavy rainfall last week, water continued to come up through that patch for a few days after the rain stopped.

It has mostly dried up but more rain is forecast this week.

I am looking for a permanent solution but for now I can be thankful that there has only been a couple inches of water in the deepest spots.  Compared to what many others are dealing with, that’s not so bad.

This stream running through my basement (apparently there are actual underground streams throughout the neighborhood) made me think of a particular area of sin I struggle with.

Pride like rainwater coming in

Like the rainwater, pride seeps in,  collects in my heart and swells my head. I sweep it out when I go to confession. I pray the Litany of Humility and I think things are drying out but then pride finds its way back in with each new rainstorm.

Confessing my pride and praying for greater humility are necessary steps in overcoming this sin. But just as sweeping out the water doesn’t keep more from coming in, I need to stop pride at its source.

In a sermon, St. Benedict said pursuing humility is like setting up a ladder. When we act humbly we go up and when we praise ourselves we go down. He identifies 12 steps going up the ladder toward heaven.  Near the top it gets a little monk-oriented but I think lay people can benefit from it, too.

Charity pumps out pride

Ultimately, the pump that will keep out the water of pride is charity, as Cardinal Giovanni Bona wrote in the 17th century:

Pride is the root of every evil; charity, that of all goods. But you cannot plant the latter unless you have completely uprooted the former. Charity will teach you how to extirpate it, since it alone knows how to withstand the spirit of pride. You will be able to resist its spirit if you hide your virtues and show your defects. Then give much attention and consideration to the following as the source of the vice of pride: not to tolerate that others say of you what you willingly confess of yourself.

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Flood relief volunteers needed

July 25, 2011


Volunteers worked last month to repair a levee that was protecting the Church of St. Therese, the Little Flower, in Minot, N.D., as floodwater from the Souris River spilled over levees and dikes. The river peaked at slightly more than 1,561 feet above sea level, 4 feet above the record level it reached in 1881. (CNS photo/Allen Fredrickson, Reuters)

Catholic United Response is seeking volunteers for flood relief efforts in Minot, N.D., starting July 29. Those interested can register on the official Minot city volunteers website and should indicate they will be working with Catholic United Financial.

Catholic United Response is a disaster relief effort of the Catholic United Financial Foundation in St. Paul. The organization helped with relief efforts in North Minneapolis following the tornado that struck there May 22.

Thousands of Minot homes were destroyed or damaged last month when the Souris River flooded. Executive director Paul Naumann sent out this notice late last week:

“The most recent communication we received from the coordinators at Lutheran Disaster Response says they are working with the Minot city emergency manager to establish a process for assisting homeowners with clean up. If you intend to go to Minot, please register at their online site and indicate you want to work with Catholic United Response.

“If you are planning to go, please send me an email with your contact information so I can let you know where we will be. In most circumstances you will be directed to a central site in Minot. From there you will be assigned a volunteer job and site location. We probably will be at the central site every morning for our assignments so we will be easy to find.

“My plan is to send an email to those who are planning to volunteer notifying you how to reach me in Minot. We are planning to deploy next Wednesday, July 27 to Minot and spend a minimum of two weeks and then reassess how much additional time is needed. We have rented a travel trailer that will accommodate up to 6-7 people for sleeping if necessary. (Alternative housing for volunteers will likely be provided.)

“My best estimate of when we will be ready for action would be Friday the 29th or Saturday the 30th at the earliest. It will take a couple of days for us to get coordinated with the emergency managers and get a list of sites to start working on. If we get started earlier, it will be with local volunteers. I have spoken with Father Fred Harvey at the Little Flower Parish in Minot and he said many people are still without power and/or water at this time. There is plenty of work to be done, but prayers as we all know are most powerful.

“Please keep those who suffered losses and those who are working and volunteering in your prayers.”

Updates can be found on the Catholic United Response website: http://www.united-we-help.org, or sign up to receive regular updates through email about deployments.


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