Showing posts from April, 2013

Catholic Mom's Cafe: My recent adventures at the EWTN network to film C...

Catholic Mom's Cafe: My recent adventures at the EWTN network to film C...: For some time now I have been creating and preparing a five part television series for EWTN called "Catholic Mom's...

Why use a homily--not a sermon--format for homeschooling?

A couple of weeks ago, I wrote briefly about my faith-based method of homeschooling. To recap: I see methods such as Catholic Heritage Curricula, which bring the faith to individual subjects, as using a sermon format. In contrast, our Contemplative Homeschool starts with a Bible passage. I look for the themes in that passage, and add as many subjects as I can into the discussion of those themes. As my kids get older, I hope to make writings of the Church Fathers and official documents and creeds a starting place for our curriculum as well.

Here are some advantages to using the homily format.

1. Homilies promote meditation on Sacred Scripture. The Contemplative Homeschool is all about teaching our children to put prayer at the top of their priorities. It encourages a prayerful attitude and teaches methods of prayer, especially Christian meditation. As one blog commenter said, meditating on Scripture is like preaching a homily to oneself. My boys are forming the habit of look…

A Small Sorrow- and a happy first communion day

Some of the roles I see for myself as Mom is that of Memory Maker, Heritage Creator, and Event Planner! As such, I have tried to make each of my children's Baptisms, First Communions, and Confirmations memorable, meaningful and fun. I have been through six baptisms, and five first communions and confirmations and I think I have done pretty well with each one.

 But with Rosie's first communion I feel as if I haven't done enough or that it won't be as memorable as the ones for the other children. This time, the god parents won't be able to be here, and Calvin has another clinical to do before he finishes his program, my sister can't be there because she has to go to a graduation and grandma won't be there because she has been dead for four years.

 It might be that last one that is hurting me the most I guess - this child doesn't have a living grandparent, and my mother won't be here to see her youngest grandchild, her name sake, receive her first h…

The Chalice: A Novel

Those who enjoyed Nancy Bilyeau's debut historical novel The Crown will find its sequel The Chalice  even more heart-wrenching and suspenseful. Once again we follow the adventures of former Dominican novice Joanna Stafford as she is torn from her peaceful country life and thrust into the maelstrom of Tudor-era intrigue. Having survived the dissolution of the monasteries, Joanna is trying to start a tapestry business in order to earn her living, when suddenly her wealthy and prominent Courtenay cousins arrive in town. They take her to stay with them in their mysterious old house in London where Joanna soon discovers that people and situations are not always what they seem. To her great discomfiture, it is revealed to Joanna that she is the key figure in a prophecy, a prophecy which pursues her wherever she goes. In the meantime, she struggles to keep her Catholic faith in a hostile environment, as well as deal with temptations of the flesh.

It is not always clear to me what Joanna…

Tempus Fugit: In Which I am Reminded of the Passing of Childhood

(the boys in seventh and fourth grades)
The passage of time rarely troubles me. I never have been a sentimental parent. When friends mourned children moving from one grade to the next, ("Can you believe kindergarten is over?") I never felt sad, only excited for them. 

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'By this all men will know that you are my disciples . . .' Sunday Reflections, Fifth Sunday of Easter Year C

Fr Patrick Hurley beside a photo of Bishop Edward Galvin (1882-1956), Co-founder of the Columbans.
Fr Hurley willturn 89, God willing, in June. Two of his brothers, Father Dermot (1920-1999) and Father Gerard (1926-2002), were part of the pioneering group of Columbans who went to Fiji in 1952. Sister Catherine Hurley, their sister and now retired, served as Superior General of the Columban Sisters from 1970 to 1981.
Readings(New American Bible: Philippines, USA)
Readings(Jerusalem Bible: Australia, England & Wales, India [optional], Ireland, New Zealand, Pakistan, Scotland, South Africa) 
Gospel John 13:31-33a, 34-35 (Revised Standard Version – Catholic Edition)
WhenJudas had gone out, Jesus said, "Now is the Son of man glorified, and in him God is glorified; if God is glorified in him, God will also glorify him in himself, and glorify him at once. Little children, yet a little while I am with you.
A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; even as I have loved you…

When you're too worn out to pray

Prayer takes energy. When you are stressed, you may find you can’t use your imagination to meditate. You may be too worn out to converse with God. This was the case with me last year, when homeschooling three kids with a baby overwhelmed me.

Several times when I went to pray, I had too little strength to picture a scene from the Gospels. I could barely muster the energy to think the words, “Jesus, I love you.”

But I knew I had to pray. And I knew Jesus was there. I knew His love was constant. That meant He was loving me at that moment. So I decided just to soak in God’s love, like I might soak in the sunlight. I sat silent, reminding myself briefly every few minutes that God’s love was surrounding me. I let Him love me, and that was my prayer for half an hour.

I’ll never forget one trip to the confessional at this period of my life. I don’t remember what I said to the priest–certainly no specifics about my prayer method–but his advice astonished me. He said I should just…

Finally Finding Focus: Our ADHD Story

I didn't use to believe in medication for Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD).  Truth be told, I didn't use to believe in ADHD at all. Nobody was ever diagnosed with it when I was a kid back in the 1970s. Now, it seems to be everywhere. "Perhaps as many as two million American kids" now suffer from it, and "on the average, at least one child in every classroom in the U.S. needs help with the disorder," according to current estimates.


Death of Connor Eberhard, 1994 - 2013

Connor James Eberhard (1 December 1994 - 23 April 2013)
Yesterday I asked you to pray for Connor Eberhard, whose life was drawing to a close. Now I ask you to pray for the soul of Connor who died peacefully at 10:30pm, Tuesday 23 April, at his home in Smithville, Ontario, Canada. Shortly before his 18th birthday he learned that he had cancer. The doctors gave him six months to live. 
Connor lived the last few months of his life to the full, with courage, cheerfulness and faith. His maternal grandmother Maeve Devlin, with whom I spoke on the phone this morning, Wednesday, Philippine time, and she told me that Connor had received the last rites from his parish priest last week. Maeve and her husband Doug, who with their four children, Peter, Jacqueline, Cathy (Connor's mother) and Glenn have been close friends of mine since 1968, live next door to the Eberhards. Maeve, an extraordinary minister of Holy Communion, brought Connor Holy Communion each day until he slipped into a coma.
The …

NunBlogger Invites Me to Co-Moderate Theology of the Body Group

Thanks to Sr. Anne Flanagan, who invited me to be a co-moderator of the Theology of the Body community on Google+. For those who aren't already G+ers, Google+ is a social media platform like Facebook or LinkedIn. Google+ communities are like online discussion groups. They provide a convenient space for people interested in the same things to discuss them and learn about current developments.


3 reasons I love Catholicism: Truth, goodness, and beauty

Micaela at California to Korea is hosting a link-up called "3 Reasons I love Catholicism." You can submit your link all month. There are lots of good submissions, so check them out and join up. My reasons (in this post, anyway) are the triumvirate of truth, goodness, and beauty. I will show you how truth, goodness, and beauty are essential to the Contemplative Homeschool and to seeking God.

Fr. Benedict Groeschel, in Spiritual Passages: The Psychology of Spiritual Development "for those who seek", uses the categories of truth, beauty, goodness, and oneness in a similar way to learning styles or temperaments. They signify to him four ways of relating to God. We can use these categories to help ourselves and our students/children grow spiritually.

Truth satisfies the intellectThe Catholic Church speaks the truth, no matter how few listen. She does not shy away from controversy. Countless Catholics have been martyrs for the truth. Unlike our relativistic culture, an…

Urgent request for prayers

Last December, shortly before his 18th birthday, Connor Eberhard (in photo), who lives in Smithville, Ontario, Canada, not too very far from Niagara Falls, got word that he had a rare form of cancer and that he had only six months to live. Connor is the only child of his parents Martin and Cathy. I’ve known Cathy and her family, the Devlins, since she was only five.
Connor has been fighting bravely and was on special treatment that might have prolonged his life by up to 18 months. However, I had an email from Maeve Devlin, Cathy’s mother and Connor’s grandmother, this morning in which she said, ‘Connor has slipped into a coma and is not expected to last much longer’.
Please remember Connor and his family in your prayers at this very difficult but blessed and precious time for all of them.

Book Review: Catholic Mom’s Café: 5-Minute Retreats for Every Day of the Year

No Matter How You Hurt- God Is Not a Drug

Lately, I've had a lot going on in my head. For those who remember, in my last blog post, I was stressed and overwhelmed. I have good news for you that I've been resolving things. When I first published that post, I wanted to take it down. It seemed too personal. Yet, when I received comments on Reddit that people really related to what I was going through and that it helped them, it was worth it.  I thought I was doing too much, pushing too hard. I even thought I was on the verge of hypomania. I saw my psychiatrist yesterday and he said I'm doing better than he's ever seen me. He said the last thing I need to do is worry about how I'm doing. But, growth hurts sometimes. It's tough.  Last week, I wrote about trying to learn how to stop myself from driving myself crazy. The odd message I felt God wanted to give me is that I didn't need to stop His love. What I felt Him say confused me. It made no sense and wasn't the answer I was looking for. But, now, …

Spiritual Practices: Examination of Conscience

As a Christian I am bound to follow my conscience, my inner guide to doing good and to avoiding evil.    Every Evening, as the day winds down, I spend about  ten minutes at the beginning of "Night Prayer" to review my day by examining my conscience.  The guide that I have found most helpful lately is called "An Examen."

I like this way of reflecting on my day because it is balanced.  It helps me see both the times I practiced virtue as well as the times I sinned.  This is in contrast to other examinations I have used which emphasize only the sinful acts.  Noticing God's goodness and appreciating his providence is another outcome that has helped me.  I feel a strong impulse to give God glory and praise as a result.

Read more here.

Is your homeschool faith-based?

I’ve read at least a dozen books on homeschool philosophy and gleaned something from every one. But none exactly met my vision of what I wanted our homeschool to be. Some were literature-based (Charlotte Mason/Real Learning). Others were history-based (Neo-Classical/The Well-Trained Mind). Others were classics-based (The Latin-Centered Curriculum). The faith-based methods fell into two general categories of Protestant, Bible-based (Ruth Beechick) and either Protestant or Catholic textbooks that incorporated the faith into each subject (Seton Homeschool and Catholic Heritage Curricula). I decided to create a Catholic Bible-based homeschool method.

Teaching with homilies, not sermons One way in which the Contemplative Homeschool is different from other faith-based methods is that I spread religion across the curriculum in a homily, not sermon, format. A sermon, common in Protestant churches, starts with an idea. The preacher finds Bible passages to support his idea. A homily, …

'My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me.' Sunday Reflections, 4th Sunday of Easter Year C

Christ the Good Shepherd, Murillo, c.1660 [Web Gallery of Art]
Readings(New American Bible: Philippines, USA)
Readings(Jerusalem Bible: Australia, England & Wales, India [optional], Ireland, New Zealand, Pakistan, Scotland, South Africa)
Gospel John 10:27-30 (Revised Standard Version – Catholic Edition)
Jesus said: ‘My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me; and I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish, and no one shall snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father's hand. I and the Father are one.’

I know nothing about tending sheep and until I looked at the video above never quite understood the reality of the words of Jesus in today's gospel: ‘My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me'.
An extraordinary example of the power of words is a story involving Fr Willie Doyle SJ, the army chaplain who was killed in 1917 in Belgium during th…

The Rose Ring (A Review)

Before reviewing the uplifting and inspirational love story that is The Rose Ring, I must confess to a torrid and unhealthy former relationship with mainstream romance novels. In intensity, it neared the somewhat creepy fascination I had with the dangerous television romance between Spike the vampire and Buffy the Vampire-Slayer. But perhaps I have said too much.

Much to my contentment, The Rose Ring tugged at my heartstrings and fascinated me in a way that was decidedly uncreepy.


Outdoing Your Spouse

Do you ever feel competitive with your spouse? If you enjoy a friendly challenge involving word games, board games, or sports games, why not try a spiritual challenge based on advice from St. Paul?

Although St. Paul's Letter to the Corinthians contains his most well-known wisdom on love, his Letter to the Romans also teaches valuable lessons about how to live together in harmony. In fact, the U.S. bishops have highlighted one passage from Romans as a recommended reading for the Eucharistic Holy Hour for Life, Marriage, and Religious Liberty (Rm 12:1-2, 9-18). Below are eleven tips taken from that passage. See if you and your spouse can outdo each other in following St. Paul's advice for the next 30 days. You'll be happier, no matter who wins!


OSV Daily Take Blog: Daily retreats for busy moms: An inside look with ...

OSV Daily Take Blog: Daily retreats for busy moms: An inside look with ...: Editor's note: OSV Daily Take is the first stop on Donna-Marie Cooper O’Boyle’s "Catholic Mom’s Café" blog tour . With fiv...

What is Carmelite spirituality?

What is Carmelite spirituality? A couple of readers have asked me this question, and I assume several more have wondered and not asked. So I'm going to write this as a post (for maximum visibility and readership), then make it a permanent page soon.

Carmelite spirituality stems from the teaching and lifestyle of one of the oldest surviving religious orders in the Catholic Church. Like the Franciscans, Jesuits, Dominicans, and others, the Carmelites have a particular way of living out the faith, which has been approved by the Church. St. Therese of Lisieux, one of the best-beloved saints of our age, was a Carmelite nun.

From ancient Mt. Carmel to medieval Europe In the 12th century, a group of Christian hermits settled on Mt. Carmel,  where the prophet Elijah had once lived in a cave. St. Albert of Jerusalem wrote a rule of life for them to follow. They built a monastery and came together for prayer, but each lived in his own cell. They dedicated their oratory to Mary…

Celebrating a Perfect Gift!

Today I got to help my friend K., who teaches at the same high school I do, celebrate her daughter's first birthday! It has been a long time since I have been to a child's birthday party, given that our own sons are 13 and 16 years old. So I didn't mind driving an hour each way to help her large extended family and circle of friends celebrate Joy's first year on the planet.

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A Father is Dying: A Lesson in What Faith Looks Like

This is what faith looks like.

I just got off the phone with Jane, one of my dearest friends. Her husband is our younger son's godfather. Jane had emailed me to let me know her 85-year-old father, Richard, is dying. He has had a massive stroke. She is sad; my usually stoic friend has been shedding tears. Her four daughters and her husband are comforting her.

Jane told me this. "God loves my father more than I do. He is more God's child than he is my father."

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'Simon, son of John, do you love me?' Sunday Reflections, 3rd Sunday of Easter Year C

St Peter, El Greco, 1610-13. [Web Gallery of Art]

Readings(New American Bible: Philippines, USA)
Readings(Jerusalem Bible: Australia, England & Wales, India [optional], Ireland, New Zealand, Pakistan, Scotland, South Africa)
Gospel John 21:1-19. [or 21:1-14] (Revised Standard Version – Catholic Edition)
After this Jesus revealed himself again to the disciples by the Sea of Tiberi-as; and he revealed himself in this way. Simon Peter, Thomas called the Twin, Nathana-el of Cana in Galilee, the sons of Zebedee, and two others of his disciples were together. Simon Peter said to them, "I am going fishing." They said to him, "We will go with you." They went out and got into the boat; but that night they caught nothing. Just as day was breaking, Jesus stood on the beach; yet the disciples did not know that it was Jesus.  Jesus said to them, "Children, have you any fish?" They answered him, "No." He said to them, "Cast the net on the right side of t…

Fill These Hearts: A Westian's Review

My first post on sex caused quite a stir. Unwittingly, I had walked into the middle of a pitched battle between those who admire the popular theologian Christopher West (i.e., "Westians") and those who believe that his approach plays into the Main Stream Media's cult of the orgasm. So, it is with some trepidation that I venture my review of Christopher West's most recent book, Fill These Hearts. It is with even more trepidation that I announce that I liked it.


I Don't Know How To Stop

I feel whiny today. Yesterday, I cried.
Why, oh why, do I have to slow down?
I hate it. I want to stay busy.

Everyone who cares about me annoys me by trying to get me to stop. I want them to go away, since I'm too busy for them anyway.

My therapist said I need more breaks in my day to take care of myself.

My spiritual director said I need to keep doing Eucharistic Adoration for the next three months and then we'll re-evaluate whether I need to continue. I don't have to obey what he says, but I'm not seeking direction because I'm a genius at how to grow spiritually. My talents lie more in the realm of driving myself to the edge of psychosis and back. So, I agreed and I do what I agree to do. I realize that what I want isn't always what I need.
I don't want to slow down. It's almost as if I feel the world will come to an end if I do.

I used to play computer games non-stop at night, five and six hours at a time, to de-stress. But, that just charge…