Showing posts from June, 2013

National Shrine of the North American Martyrs: Blessings Amid Brutality

I'm a half-century old and have been a practicing Catholic most of those years. And yet, until yesterday, I had never visited a shrine.  I never really understood the point. As a Christian, I believe that Mystery entered human history and settled among us. As a result, Christ is our constant companion. He is with us in every moment, in the circumstances of every person we encounter. So what's the point, my thinking went, of traveling many miles to a shrine of people who lived out their destinies with an eye on the One who made them?

Keep Reading...

'I will follow you wherever you go.' Sunday Reflections, 13th Sunday in Ordinary Time Year C

The Disrobing of Christ (El Espolio) El Greco, 1577-79 [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 Luke 9:51-62 (Revised Standard Version – Catholic Edition)
When the days drew near for him to be received up, Jesus set his face to go to Jerusalem. And he sent messengers ahead of him, who went and entered a village of the Samaritans, to make ready for him; but the people would not receive him, because his face was set toward Jerusalem. And when his disciples James and John saw it, they said, "Lord, do you want us to bid fire come down from heaven and consume them?" But he turned and rebuked them. And they went on to another village. As they were going along the road, a man said to him, "I will follow you wherever you go." And Jesus said to him, "Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests; but the …

Books to teach boys virture

Finding good books for boys as they get older is always a challenge. Lat fall I put together a list of good books for boys aged 10-14 . You will see that the scope of it is limited.  On my blog, I want to introduce you to some of my favorites in more detail. Not all of these are on the list.

A novel-length fairytale
The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis are undoubtedly already on your radar screen. The Horse and His Boy is my favorite, and one of my favorite children’s books of any genre.

It is the story of Shasta, who has been raised by a Calormene fisherman, but is light haired like the people of the north. When he overhears the fisherman negotiating to sell him as a slave to a lord, he runs away, taking the lord’s horse with him. The horse, Bree, is a talking horse from Narnia, eager to escape back to his homeland. Soon Shasta and Bree meet up with a young Calormene lady named Aravis, who is also running away with her Narnian horse. The foursome eventually get caught up i…

In Defense of the Large Family

The very existence of a joyful mother of nine children seems to confound people. When the words The Joy Of Mothering popped into my head as a title for my short stories it was like an epiphany for me because those few words verbalized my experience living with little people. The very existence of a joyful mother of nine children seems to confound people. However, it has been far from easy, rather it has been a long journey through confusion, guilt and public condemnation to reach the point where I can now shout loudly, "This is my call, this is my vocation, this is my witness to the world." After the birth of our fourth child, Michael and I struggled to understand exactly how we were meant to live our lives. We were discussing an article by an author whose main premise was that letting go of control and trusting in God was not some abstract principle but a day-to-day practical call that included the surrender of our fertility. Of course we practised natural family planning …

Are We Defending the Indefensible?: The Death of DOMA and Proposition 8

"Ding-Dong, DOMA's dead!" trumpeted one of my friends on Facebook at the news that the U.S. Supreme Court had declared unconstitutional a major part of the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA). Another facebook friend posted this picture of the rainbow-hued Supreme Court in celebration of today's two decisions that sounded death knells for proponents of traditional marriage.

The DOMA decision (U.S. v. Windsor) concerned the right of the federal government to define marriage as between one man and one woman for the purposes of receiving benefits under federal law. The Supreme Court held that the definition of marriage should be left up to the states. The second decision (Hollingsworth v. Perry) focused on a California state ballot initiative known as Proposition 8.  Through Proposition 8, Californians had voted to amend their state constitution to declare that marriage should be between one man and one woman. The district court declared Proposition 8 to be unconstit…

The Great Battle Has Begun (part one)

The folloiwng is the first of a three part series on the Kelly Bowring book The Great Battle Has Begun.

When I was a teenager in the 1970s I worked for a home security company. The workers who installed the systems were always in and out of the office for a variety of reasons. One worker in particular scared the daylights out of me.
He was a Christian (denomination not important) and he was always talking about Jesus coming back. Although I was a baptized Catholic, mostly I was immersed in the Jewish faith and hadn’t yet made the connection about Jesus being a Jew and knowing that him coming back was a good thing.
So, this big, boisterous guy would come into the office and my stomach would rumble and my heart would jump all over inside my chest. After a minute of two of him talking I would lose my appetite for the day and sit motionless waiting for the skies to open up and my life to be over. I simply didn’t know what to make of all of his proclamations about Jesus and repentance and jud…

Trusting God with your future

Last December, I began a quest to trust God more. It started with my reading The Way of Trust and Love by Jacques Philippe. You can read my original post on St. Therese’s trust here. (I know I link to this post a lot, but that’s because I consider it among my best. Trust is the Lesson from the Carmelite Saintsthat is changing my life.  If you haven’t read it, I strongly encourage you to do so.)

Later, I told you how I was focusing on trusting God in the ups and downs of my day during Lent.
More recently, I have worked on entrusting my future to God. This next step began with my reading Diary of a Country Mother by Cindy Montanaro. It’s the journal of a mother reflecting on the life of her young son who has recently died. As I hinted in my review, I have struggled with entrusting my children’s futures to God. I hear of so many parents who have lost a child. Two of my siblings died in childhood. My former roommate’s daughter died at age four.  Some of my readers have blogs about …

Reading Catholic: A Tale of Two Books About .... Pregnancy

Reading Catholic: A Tale of Two Books About .... Pregnancy: When I review certain books, I have often shared them informally with others--such as medical experts or even kids--to help me discern if t...

Jesus Asks the Modern Day Theologian

I rarely remember even the simplest joke but I have never forgotten this intellectual, theological joke told 30 years ago by a Jesuit priest in front of a University New Testament Class.
Jesus was walking alongside of the Sea of Galilee when he turned to Simon Peter and asked him “Who do you say that I am?” Simon Peter answered Him, “Why you are the Christ, the Son of the living God.”  Jesus was pleased with his answer. So, Jesus turns to the modern day theologian and asks, “Who do you say that I am?” The modern day theologian answers, “Why you are the eschatological manifestation in the ground of our being. The kerygma, which finds its fulfillment in interpersonal relationships.” And Jesus says, “What?”

"New" discoveries from the homeschool conference

Continuing my reflections on the Minnesota Catholic Home Education Conference, I want to share with you some new resources I discovered. They might not all be new to you, but they were to me.

God’s Covenant with You: The Bible Tells a Story by Scott Hahn and Stratford Caldecott, with illustrations by David Clayton, was published in 2009, but this is the first time I’ve come across it.  You are no doubt familiar with Bible scholar and convert from Presbyterianism Scott Hahn.

This book presents his perspective on the Bible as the story of God’s familial covenants with man in language children can understand.

David Clayton is an artist in residence at Thomas More College. He has filled the book with outline drawings that evoke icons and master painters. Your children can color the pictures or, as I prefer, try to copy them.

As a fan of both Hahn and Clayton, I snatched this book up. I plan to use it to review the Bible after we finish the New Testament next year. It’s suited …

'But who do you say that I am?' Sunday Reflections, 12th Sunday in Ordinary Time Year C

St Peter Preaching, Masolino da Panicale, 1426-27 [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 Luke 9:18-24 (Revised Standard Version – Catholic Edition)
Now it happened that as Jesus was praying alone the disciples were with him; and he asked them, "Who do the people say that I am?" And they answered, "John the Baptist; but others say, Elijah; and others, that one of the old prophets has risen." And he said to them, "But who do you say that I am?" And Peter answered, "The Christ of God." But he charged and commanded them to tell this to no one, saying, "The Son of man must suffer many things, and be rejected by the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and on the third day be raised." And he said to all, "If any man would come…

Protecting Life in a Neonatal Wing

Pregnant with my seventh child, I was bedridden in the high-risk, neo-natal wing of the maternity ward for a week while waiting for a housekeeper to come to run my home and help tend my six children. I faced 6 months of bed rest but that one week gave me perspective and kept me from sinking into self-pity. The other two women in my room were desperate to keep their babies in uteri and finally become mothers. One of the two had suffered five miscarriages. She was stuck in a ward room for months, only going home after the birth of her baby. Secretly we all feared that we would lose our babies. Suddenly our fears materialized as a high-risk woman’s baby died in her womb. That poor woman had to endure an induction and labour for hours, only to push out a dead baby. The pain in that wing of the hospital was tangible. Tears ran down women’s’ faces as they grieved with their neighbour. It did not matter that none of us had even glimpsed her face. Nurses as well as patients mourned for a sis…

Archdiocese of St. Louis: Why We Fight for Marriage

Meet Amanda Lindley, 26-year-old web content specialist for the Archdiocese of St. Louis. She's been married for two years and fasts every Friday for marriage. Amanda told me about the Archdiocese's viral video campaigns for life, marriage, and religious liberty. The newest video is below, together with my interview of Amanda, to kick off the bishops' Fortnight for Freedom starting on June 21. Check out previous interviews in this series in the Pray-Cana section of the blog.

Join the Call to Prayer!


How to love God more

Do you ever sit up and listen suddenly during the Sunday homily? That happened to me this week. Instead of the post I was planning, I am writing about Sunday’s Gospel, as I believe the Holy Spirit desires.

You see, for the past several months, I have pictured myself as the Penitent Woman at least once every day, as I pray or seek to overcome temptation. So when the Gospel is about this moving scene, I pay close attention.

I have also lately heard people questioning the need to confess venial sins–both on the internet and in person. The Church only requires us to confess mortal sins, and venial sins can be forgiven in other ways (such as reception of the Eucharist). So why bother to go to Confession for venial sin? (By the way, the Church only requires us to receive the Eucharist once a year too–but would we be satisfied with that bare minimum?)

There are many good answers to this question. I’m going to write about one: Confessing venial sins helps us love God more deeply.


Catholic Mom's Cafe: My recent interview on EWTN's Bookmark show

Catholic Mom's Cafe: My recent interview on EWTN's Bookmark show:  Discussing two of my recent books: Catholic Mom's Cafe and Rooted in Love:Our Calling as Catholic Women .  God bless!

Why We Still Love Lucy

I’ve always watched I Love Lucy. Lately, though, I notice that there is something about it that speaks to me in a very personal way. It sort of tugs at me. I can’t say that the show takes me back to anything in particular because it isn’t from a time in my personal life; but, rather, it seems to address a desire for simplicity that lives at the center of my heart.

Despite the fact that in real life the marriage of Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz did not survive, I have found in talking with friends that the show really taps into something that exists at the core of many women.

We love the quaint Ricardo apartment. There isn’t a lot of furniture or tons of space. It is as neat as a pin and we can totally imagine living in that space. When Lucy and Ricky host a card game they need to move the couch out of the way to bring in the folding table and chairs. And yet the card games are always fun despite the tight space. The sparse kitchen is behind a swinging door and, upon close inspection, we s…

Summer Family Fun for the Adventurous, Overwhelmed, Creative, or Clueless

My kids and I all heave sighs of relief when summer vacation comes. No more homework, no more extracurriculars, just fun. But in case we might want more ideas for summer fun (and what parent wouldn't?), Sarah Reinhard rides to the rescue with her book Catholic Family Fun: A Guide for the Adventurous, Overwhelmed, Creative, or Clueless.

Catholic Family Fun is packed with detailed instructions for nearly 50 fun activities, starting with the silliest ones. Some of the ideas cost nothing and take barely any time, but there are far more elaborate suggestions for the truly adventurous. Helpful sections like "Faith Angle" and "Wider Angle" show you how to add faith to fun activities or add fun to faith activities. Indexes at the back of the book organize activities by how much they cost and how long they last, so you can easily find an idea that appeals to you without searching through the whole book. If you don't know what to try first, Sarah has a whole website f…

Looking at St. Joseph: Happy Father's Day