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Showing posts from March, 2013

On A Failure of Love: "Poor Baby: A Child of the Sixties Looks Back On Abortion:"

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Last night - Good Friday -  felt like the right time to download on my brand new Kindle a book - really more like a 50-plus page essay, by L.A.-based writer Heather King called "Poor Baby," a raw meditation on her three abortions.

No matter one's personal history, or one's political views on whether abortion should be legal, or one's moral belief as to whether abortion ever can be an ethical choice, this book is worth reading. In fact, I would say anyone with strong views about abortion should read this book with clear eyes and an open heart. We need King's voice in the conversation.


Keep Reading....

How To Always Be Successful

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"We are not called to be successful. We are called to be faithful." -Mother Teresa of Calcutta

Lately, I ponder this quote and its meaning on a daily basis. In my mind, I am never successful enough. I never get enough done in a day. The work I actually do is not productive enough. No matter how much I do, it does not make enough impact on society.

And, you know what? It won't. Ever.

I can't do anything without God. I can't blog. I can't brainstorm. I can't even breathe. Without God, not only is doing anything at all impossible, but everything I do becomes meaningless and pointless.

Our new pope said something today which rang true for me. He said, ""...self-help courses can be useful in life, but to live by going from one course to another, from one method to another, leads us to become pelagians and to minimize the power of grace, which comes alive and flourishes to the extent that we, in faith, go out and give ourselves and the Gos…

'Do not let yourselves be robbed of hope' - Pope Francis to young prisoners. Sunday Reflections, Easter Sunday

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The Resurrection of Christ, Rembrandt, c.1639 [Web Gallery of Art]
Readings for Easter Vigil(New American Bible: Philippines, USA)
Readings for Easter Vigil(Jerusalem Bible: Australia, England & Wales, India [optional], Ireland, New Zealand, Pakistan, Scotland, South Africa)
Readings for Mass on Easter Sunday(New American Bible: Philippines, USA)
Readings for Mass on Easter Sunday(Jerusalem Bible: Australia, England & Wales, India [optional], Ireland, New Zealand, Pakistan, Scotland, South Africa)
Gospel for Mass on Easter Sunday John 20:1-9. (Revised Standard Version – Catholic Edition)
Now on the first day of the week Mary Magdalene came to the tomb early, while it was still dark, and saw that the stone had been taken away from the tomb. So she ran, and went to Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one whom Jesus loved, and said to them, "They have taken the Lord out of the tomb, and we do not know where they have laid him." Peter then came out with the other disciple,…

The Wedding Band.

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When my beloved and I were one on the earth, I wore a wedding band of solid gold, it felt so good to be on my finger, a symbol of our love and that we were one and whole.  We lived in Eastern Kentucky up a 'holler' in Greasy Creek, KY where Loretta Lynn's husband Mooney Lynn used to Moonshine before they were married (and maybe some afterwards). A trailer on one acre of land and I was never so happy.  I had my beloved and if we were apart, I would sometimes turn my wedding band on my left hand and remember that he was mine, all mine, forever.  
Terry's Dad got sick and needing money for gas, I pawned my gold wedding ring, an unfortunate necessity for the family. Dad became almost bedfast at home and required round the clock care, we all were pitching in.  My beloved was becoming ill also, so I would come to Dad's house right after work.  As a result I didn't get my wedding ring out in time and lost it to the Pawn shop.  I have no regrets.  I would have gladly do…

An example of how the gay marriage issue is already affecting our lives.

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The van pulled up to the candy factory, our very first homeschool field trip!! Calvin was dressed neatly in his pressed jeans and clean T-shirt, and Sam was secured in his stroller. I had just met this group of homeschooling ladies and I wanted to make a good first impression with all of them. It seemed that most of them knew each other and we were outsiders hoping to join. Just before we went in for our group tour of the factory, another young women hollered for us to wait! She was pushing a little girl in a umbrella stroller while wresting with the diaper bag and all that went with it. She flashed me a friendly smile and we soon started up a conversation.

 Robin was a new first-time mom, although she had been friends to most of the ladies in this group for many years.  She had waited and waited to become a mom and was now thrilled with her pretty little girl, Chloe. And although it would still be a few years before Chloe would be school aged, Robin wanted to be part of the homesc…

Watch and pray with Jesus--every day

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"Could you not watch one hour with me?" Jesus asked His disciples (MT. 26:40). On Good Friday, our hearts and minds turn towards the Garden of Gethsemane, where Jesus began to suffer for us. He was abandoned by those who loved Him, even after pleading with them 3 times to watch and pray with Him. We hear the call on this holy day. We go to venerate the Cross. We watch "Jesus of Nazareth." We read the account of the Passion. We take time to pray.
But what about the rest of the year? Do you abandon Jesus as soon as Easter Sunday is over? Is daily prayer low on your list of priorities? Are you "too busy" to spend time with the One who suffered and died for you?

Resolve today to commit (or re-commit) yourself to prayer. If you can't watch for one hour, try half an hour. If that's too much to start with, try 15 minutes. Read from a book of meditations. Gaze at a holy picture that fills your heart with love for God. Think of all Christ di…

Motherhood in the Garden of Gethsemane

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In my darkest days, I think that motherhood is doing things that don't matter for people who don't care. Preparing food they refuse to eat, buying clothes they refuse to wear, picking up toys that get thrown back on the floor, teaching them lessons they can't remember and don't want to learn.  Some days, it seems, all my kids and I can say to one another is "No!"  And it all seems utterly futile.

These thoughts, allowed to continue unchecked, drive me down the path to despair.  These thoughts are like the whisperings of the dark angel that taunted and tempted Our Lord in the Garden of Gethsemane.

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Holy Tuesday: Reflecting on Christ Alive

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This Holy Tuesday morning I drove to the Carmelite Nuns Monastery in Georgetown for daily Mass.  It's a good 25 minute drive from where I live, and I had hoped not to be late.  I arrived at my destination with 5 minutes to spare.

Not only did I wish to attend Mass, but I also hoped that the Nuns had posted their Triduum schedule.  They had.  Now I can look forward to attending their Holy Week liturgies.  I have done so in previous years. 

The Monastery has a public chapel where visitors attend Mass while the Nuns have their own chapel to the left side of the sanctuary.  Their chapel is separated from the sanctuary by a grill.  You might enjoy looking at the chapel photos on the Nuns website, here.

The daily Mass is not too different from daily Mass at a parish, but the atmosphere in the chapel is, in my opinion, quieter, as there are fewer people present, and those who are observe great reverence.  At communion time, the chaplain, Fr. Tom, distributes Holy Communion …

Teaching typology with Joseph and his brothers

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In past posts, I have written on Peter Rabbit and the Fall of Man,Benjamin Bunny and the narrow gate, and the Epiphany inMy Side of the Mountain. I am making this into a series called Finding God in children's literature. Before posting more on fiction, I want to examine how to find Jesus in the Old Testament. Let's look at typology with the story of Joseph in Genesis.

Typology finds the things, people, or events in the Bible that prefigure more significant things, people, or events in salvation history. Most types are in the Old Testament. Most anti-types (what the types prefigure) are in the New Testament. Fisheaters.com has a fuller explanation of typology.

Learn more about Joseph and Jesus.

Update: Palm Sunday

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My annual Palm Sunday project is finished!  I wove five palm fronds into these cone shapes.  I will keep the green vase on my dresser next to a statue of Our Lady and the Christ Child.  The blue and white vase will be in my prayer/music practice room next to my crucifix.

I am a lector in my parish.  This morning I had the honor of reading the First Reading, Isaiah 50:4-7, which was the prophetic third Song of the Suffering Servant.  It is a reading that reminds us to listen before speaking, always wise advice for anyone.  I was also the narrator for the Gospel Reading, the Passion according to Luke.  When I read, I get absorbed in what I'm reading, and certain parts resonate with me during the process.


When Peter denied Jesus three times, as the Lord had predicted he would, the cock crowed and Jesus turned and looked at Peter.  The gaze of Jesus hurt Peter.  He wept bitterly, remorsefully.  As I read this today I imagined Jesus' looking.  It was not an "I told…

The Myth of Persecution

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Te Martyrum candidatus laudat exercitus.~ from the Te Deum When I wrote to Dr. Moss requesting her latest work The Myth of Persecution, I received a prompt and gracious reply assuring me of a copy. Dr. Moss hoped that I would not see the book as an attack upon the Church. I responded that I did not see the book as an attack on the Church and even if it was, the Church has been through worse. We have nothing to fear from the truth of history.

After reading the book my reply is not altered. It is a well-written book with clear explanations indicative of a skilled teacher. However, I recommend Myth to others with reservations, since in spite of the genuine scholarship which Dr. Moss shares with us, there is a contemporary political slant given to the narrative which clouds the objectivity of how the historical evidence is presented. For instance, my cognitive processes are strained to envision St. Justin Martyr (pp. 109-112) and Glenn Beck (p. 250) as confreres in …

Keeping Adoration in Your Marriage

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Our monthly Hot Date Night/Eucharistic Adoration combo has always been special to my husband and me.  When Manny and I began dating, I was Episcopalian and had no idea what Eucharistic Adoration was.  But Manny spent entirely too much time in bars, I thought, so going to church offered a wholesome alternative for Friday night.  A bunch of our friends would regularly gather together in a diner to grab a bite to eat before heading to Our Lady of Peace on 62d Street, Manhattan, at around 9 p.m. on the first Friday of every month.

The Bruschi family, known for their evangelical dynamism, ran the monthly vigil in honor of St. Pio.  Word had it that Papa Bruschi had traveled all the way to Italy for Padre Pio to hear his confession, but Padre Pio had refused to grant  him absolution.  That had changed Papa Bruschi's life.  Organizing this monthly vigil was Papa Bruschi's way to say thank you.

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Why Religious People Are Healthier Than the "Spiritual, Not Religious"

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Almost everyone I know these days is "spiritual, not religious." I spent over forty years of my life that way. I thought it was the only "sane" way to be. Yet, I just read about a recent study that showed those who identify as "spiritual, not religious" are more prone to mental illness and drug abuse.
For most of my life, I've heard about how religion is bad for our mental health. I believed nearly everything I heard, too.
Here are just a few of the reasons why people say that religion is not good for psychological health:

(1) Religion is "fear-based."

 Rebuttal: The reasoning behind the accusation that religion is "fear based" is that people do not want to be "bullied" into believing things. People want to make up their own minds and not be threatened with hellfire for questioning religion. Well, that is certainly fair and surely God understands and wants us to think through things for ourselves. After all, He g…

A LIGHT BULB FUNNY

Question: How many psychologists does it take to change a light bulb?

Answer: 0 ... the light bulb has to want to change.

[forwarded by David Smith]

today'sTHOT============================

How does Moses make his tea? Hebrews it.

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PASS IT ON!
Yeah, you can send this Funny to anybody you want. And, if you're REAL nice, you'll tell them where you got it! www.mikeysFunnies.com

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Can you become a saint by sheer willpower?

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Fr. Thomas Dubay used to tell this anecdote: The sister of St. Thomas Aquinas once asked him, "How can I become a saint?"

St. Thomas answered, "Will it."

This story came back to me recently. Trying to accept with peace whatever happens during my day has taught me something: I don't always want to do God's will. When I ruin the dinner I'm making my family, for example, and according to my Lenten resolution I must say, "Jesus, I trust in you," I sometimes say first, "Jesus, I don't want to trust in you. I don't want to let go of my anger and frustration." Or, "Jesus, I trust in you--sort of."

The words "I trust in you" are a prayer. They aren't magic. They remind me to trust in God and ask for His help. But they can't make me trust when I don't want to. I must open my heart to grace. I must will it.

Continue reading. 

Would anyone care to take over ACWB?

Would anyone be willing to oversee ACWB? This involves putting your email contact, authorising new members, overseeing comments and layout. Kind of a blog administrator. It doesn't involve a huge amount of time. Contact me Jackie at jacquelineparkes@hotmail.co.uk

Thanks!

Catholic Women Rising

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If you agree with the statement below, please register your support in the comments box.

I am a faithful practicing Roman Catholic woman, who attends Mass at least once a week and who believes in and practices the Church’s teachings, specifically pertaining to matters on sexuality, contraception, abortion, marriage and the ordination of women. I believe that the Roman Catholic Church is sympathetic to and representative of the needs and concerns of women and their children, wherever they may be in the world. I would like to offer our new Pope Francis, my prayers and support and thank him for his continued protection and support of mothers and their unborn children. I fully endorse Church doctrine in relation to women’s issues. Please click here

Meet Pope Francis (for kids and their parents)

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Parents: I have written a short biography of Pope Francis for children. Find definitions of vocabulary words, links, downloads, and other teaching ideas at the end of this post. 

"HabemusPapam!" the protodeacon announced to the waiting crowd in St. Peter's Square on March 13, 2013. "We have a pope! The most eminent and most reverend Lord, Lord Jorge Cardinal of the Holy Roman Church Bergoglio, Who takes for himself the name of Francis."

The people cheered when they heard the new pope would be Pope Francis. But they also asked themselves, Who isCardinal Bergoglio? Where is he from? What kind of pope will he be?

Continue reading.

St Joseph, an Italian-Argentinian Pope and an Italian Jesuit-composer in Argentina

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The Holy Family, Andrea del Sarto, c.1528 (Web Gallery of Art)
Ant. ad introitum  Cf Lc 12:42
Ecce fidélis servus et prudens,  quem constítuit Dóminus super famíliam suam.
Entrance Antiphon  Cf Luke 12:42
Behold, a faithful and prudent steward,  whom the Lord set over his household.

Fidelis servus et prudens,
quem constituit Dominus super familiam suam.

A faithful and prudent steward,  whom the Lord set over his household.
This is an anonymous setting of today's Introit or Entrance Antiphon from the 18th century. It might have been written by Domenico Zípoli (17 October 1688 – 2 January 1726), an Italian Jesuit who died in Córdoba, in what is nowArgentina. Or it might have been written by Martin Schmid, also known as Esmid (September 26, 1694 – March 10 1772), a Swiss Jesuit who died in what is now Bolivia.
The antiphon is sung here by ElCoro de Niños cantores de Córdoba del Instituto Domingo Zípoli, Argentina, with the Ensemble Elyma, conducted by Argentinian conductor Gabriel Garrido who wa…

The Right to Life

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Mary slayer of snakes

Mary slayer of snakes
O Most divine being of purest light God chose you from the beginning Blessed Mother Mother of Jesus Mother of God Mother of all Mankind Second Eve and Ark of the Covenant Purest Virgin look upon us Queen of Heaven bring us succour The serpents writhe under your feet Feet so delicate and so small yet All power on earth lies in your feet Embrace with your cloak of love Let the sword that pierced your heart Drip blood on our brother And bring him healing in its flood
Jane Frances

Pope Francis Inspires Spanish Version of Blog

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Although, as a New Yorker, I had nurtured some hope for Cardinal Dolan to be chosen as our new Pope, one thing gave me pause. The Pope needs to communicate the Good News of Christ to all the people of the world, and our beloved Cardinal Dolan is supposedly not the best linguist. When Blessed Pope John Paul II was elected to the pontificate, he addressed the crowd in Italian in order to show them that a foreigner from another country could still communicate to them as a native son. Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI did the same. Yesterday, Pope Francis continued the tradition by speaking to the crowd in Italian. But as an Argentinean, Pope Francis' native language is Spanish.

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One Tired Priest...

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I went to Holy Confession yesterday - they were having a 12 hours of grace of confessions, Father Eric Johnson was in the church (Our Lady of Perpetual Help) hearing confessions. I came after work so I didn't get there till about 6:30 p.m. - confessions ended at 8 p.m. When I walked up to Fr. Eric I was smiling because I was happy to see him and then I saw how tired he was.   By the look in his eyes and his posture - I could tell immediately he had been there a while. Concerned, I asked if he was alright, and he said he was.

Then the beautiful sacrament began, and something wonderful happened! It was like Father Eric was given a special grace, bolstered by the sacrament and he no longer looked tired anymore - he was totally present, attentive, along with someone else, our Lord, I could feel it.  As I listened to his instruction I could see the compassion in his eyes and it hit me how much he was giving to me, he was giving all, not because it was his job, but because of a deep love…

Catholic Mom of 12!

Hi folks! I seem to be back blogging here . I'm back in charge of admin...email me at jacquelineparkes@hotmail.co.uk with any queries. It might take a while to get up to speed. Thankyou to Joanna for looking after ACWB.

10 Ways to keep your kids Catholic

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Watching the events of the last few weeks unfold, I have been struck anew by how many former Catholics there are in the news media. None of them have a clue about what it means to be Catholic. That, coupled with this post at 8 Kids and a Business, got me thinking about how to keep our kids Catholic. I decided to create a list.

Please note: my children are still preteens, so I cannot say, "It worked for us." But I have done some research on the matter, and observed other Catholic families. I've often wondered how my husband and his siblings all remained good Catholics, while some of my siblings did not. I almost left the Church myself in my 20s. I also know that a parent can do everything right, and his children can still choose to leave the Church. We have freewill. This list is not meant for pointing fingers or accusing other parents of failing. It's meant to help those who are raising their kids now and want to do the best they can.

View the list.

Pope Francis’s first homily in the Sistine Chapel

In these three readings I see that there is something in common: it is movement. In the first reading, movement is the journey [itself]; in the second reading, movement is in the up-building of the Church. In the third, in the Gospel, the movement is in [the act of] profession: walking, building, professing. Walking: the House of Jacob. “O house of Jacob, Come, let us walk in the light of the Lord.” This is the first thing God said to Abraham: “Walk in my presence and be blameless.” Walking: our life is a journey and when we stop, there is something wrong. Walking always, in the presence of the Lord, in the light of the Lord, seeking to live with that blamelessness, which God asks of Abraham, in his promise. Building: to build the Church. There is talk of stones: stones have consistency, but [the stones spoken of are] living stones, stones anointed by the Holy Spirit. Build up the Church, the Bride of Christ, the cornerstone of which is the same Lord. With [every] movement in our liv…

Faith

I see all the ‘Catholic Bashers’ are out in force today – must really annoy them that we have such a beautiful Holy Spirit filled Pope.  I am so tired of people who think they have a right to bash the Catholic Faith when they would be first up in arms if we were ‘gay bashing’.  I respect everyone’s religion – Muslim, Atheist, Buddhist, Hindu – so why can’t people respect the Catholic faith?  Why do they think they have the right to post ill-informed and sometimes simply ignorant information?  Yes there have been sexually abused children in the faith and we are rooting them out.  There have also been sexually abused children in the secular society (more here than anywhere!)– most cases the police will tell you are known to the family member – a relative.  Did you stop listening to music or watching TV because Jimmy Saville and others like him abused hundreds of children?  Did you stop having families because you were abused by a family member?  No you try and have good families and tr…