The Vatican has announced that it is enforcing its dress code for visitors. It's nothing oppressive: no shorts, women's shoulders need to be covered. If someone violates it, a Swiss Guard quietly asks them to come back when they are more appropriately attired.
I want to post a Swiss Guard at the entrance of every Catholic church in America.
I know that we are living in an increasingly casual society. We don't do the whole nylons-gloves-hat thing anymore. That's okay. I must ask, though: isn't there some middle ground between ballgown formal and showing up in the grocery store in your pajamas???????
Yes, there is that inevitable: "God doesn't care what you wear." I'm not so sure about that. Even the biggest slob will agree that the clothes one wears affect how you feel and act. Most of us behave with more decorum at a business dinner with the boss than at the Saturday morning soccer game. Certainly, if one was invited to dinner at the W…
A short time ago, my blog came up in a conversation. The woman I was talking to asked me what it was about, and I told her "About Catholic teaching life, and the perfect joy of suffering in Christ." She sort of laughed, and said sarcastically, "Oh. That'll be popular!"
Yeah. That's sort of the way I feel.
There is a story about St. Francis of Assisi, and one of his friars asked him what perfect joy consisted of. St. Francis (in a rather lengthy manner), told him that perfect joy was being cold, wet and muddy, hungry for both food and comfort, and then being TURNED AWAY FROM ONE'S OWN MONASTERY, as you mistaken for a beggar. Really? THAT'S "perfect joy"???
And yet, I know exactly what Francis was talking about. It's not the miserable circumstances that bring joy, but recognizing that one is in exactly the same situation Christ was in (and still often is): wholly open to the Will of God, and yet rejected, even by those closest…
I was talking to my mom today, and she was once again lamenting the fact that her parish church is one of those that has hidden the tabernacle. Both of us thought that the majority of Catholics have no idea why they should genuflect in a Catholic church, and certainly stowing the tabernacle in some storage-room-come-chapel doesn't help.
She then said these were "St. Mary Magdalene chapels". When I questioned that, she told me she had heard Fr. Mitch Pacwa refer to them this way. Why? Because "they have my Lord and I don't know where they've taken Him."
The mainstream press has, over the last few days, been writing about the Church's promotion, especially among young people, of Natural Family Planning. This article, http://tob.catholicexchange.com/2010/07/21/2068/, is a short-and-sweet explanation of why this is such a practical and healthy choice.
Having said this, I must add something. I have never had a baby or been pregnant. My kids are all adopted, and while I have great parenting experience, I have zilch-zero-zip pregnancy experience. This comes up when I talk about NFP, of which I also have no experience. Let me also explain that my kids are biological sibs, as they all have the same birth mother. We adopted our two oldest at the same time, and then the next three as they came along.
When talking to a mom one day about NFP, she said to me, in an exasperated tone, "Yeah, well, you had it easy. You already knew there was a baby. You HAD to take it." (This wasn't true. We weren't under any obligati…
I am in the midst of dealing with my first funeral in my new job. That means meeting with the family to plan the funeral mass, making sure they have what they need for the viewing and funeral, coordinating with the funeral home, etc. I'm not being morbid when I say that I like doing this. It is an honor to be with people at such a vulnerable time, and an honor that they allow you to be part of their lives in such an intimate way.
I am constantly amazed at how much I do NOT know, but I actually have learned a few things about death and dying in the past few years.
1. There is no time-table on grief. You might think you're "over it" (or someone tells you that you should be) and then grief reaches up and smacks you in the face. You open a box of Christmas ornaments, and grief is lurking there. You hear a laugh at a family part, and grief grabs you. A piece of music nearly strangles you with grief. There's no "done" with grief.
Dear husband and I had a weekend away, which doesn't happen often enough. Just a couple of days hanging out, eating good food, wandering and relaxing.
Being Catholic, a weekend away also means checking into a hotel and grabbing the phone book to figure out where the closest Catholic church is, and what time Mass is. I enjoy attending Mass in a different place, just to have a change in architecture, music, homily, etc.
What I do NOT like is the inevitable "Let's have all our visitors stand up so we can welcome them" when we are in a "vacation town". Some priests feel compelled to make a spectacle of people, shake our hands, applaud us, whatever. Ugh.
There are a couple of reasons I don't like this. The first is that I don't like messing around with the Mass. It's not social hour. (Yes, I know I sound grumpy. I don't care.) The second, and perhaps bigger reason, is this. I am NOT a visitor. I am from here. Okay, I don't live i…
I am probably not the person to talk about living in the moment. It is an ability I admire, and wish I had, but I worry too much. That being said, I'm now going to expound on this topic anyway.
Tallest Son and I went to a concert last night (Matisyahu...very good). I don't go to a lot of concerts, as I really dislike crowds and drunk people, and the smell of pot makes me sick to my stomach. I did enjoy the music though.....and yeah, I realize I sound old....
One thing I really noticed last night was how many people spent most of the concert on their cell phones. They were either trying to talk (yeah, right), or they were texting or taking photos and videos. It was really weird - like they were at the concert, but once removed. To me, it was sort of like going to Rome, and then sitting in the airport and reading the travel guide, but never actually getting out into the city. Okay, you went to Rome but did you EXPERIENCE it?
Archbiship Hellin, of Burgos, Spain is urging Catholics there to participate in civil disobedience regarding new legislation on abortion.
"Let's be clear: this law is not a law, although it is presented as such by some politicians and lawmakers. It is no law because nobody has the right to take the life of an innocent human being. For this reason it is not obligatory. Moreover, it demands direct opposition without distinction," the archbishop said in a letter.
Over 2 million Haitians are still homeless six months after the devastating earthquake. This link will take you to Catholic Relief Service's story about the aftermath, their financial report, and a way to contribute: http://crs.org/haiti/haiti-earthquake-6-months-later/
My family had a big get-together yesterday for a great niece's birthday. Just an ordinary backyard blow-out with hot dogs, little kids in bathing suits, and lots of lemonade and beer. I contacted my niece-in-law last week and asked, "What can I bring?"
"What can I bring?" is the question women have been asking each other forever. Mary probably figured out some way to ask Elizabeth that before the Blessed Mother went to visit her cousin. "What can I bring?" is not just a question about food, it's a question about helping, community, sharing gifts and pitching in. "What can I bring?" means "I care" and "I want to be a part of this in a more intimate way than just showing up. I want to share, not just partake."
By far, the biggest complaint young people have about Mass is "It's boring". Adults say the same thing; we just say, "I don't get anything out of it" since "It's borin…
At Acton University last month, I was able to listen to Dr. Samuel Gregg address Pope Benedict's response to the crisis in Europe.
What crisis, you ask? We know that the European crisis is multi-dimensional, not the least of which is Europe's spiritual crisis. Europe, for the most part, is now largely agnostic. However, Dr. Gregg chose to focus on what he believes are the two greatest challenges facing Europe: its economy and the demographics of most European countries.
Betcha didn't know: no Western European country has a replacement birth rate.1/2 of Europeans have no siblings. 1/4 of European households are single people. Europeans are simply not having kids; they are not able to sustain their aging populations.
Now, Dr. Gregg went on to note how this fact will impact Europe (and the world) economically. However, I was taken by the fact that millions and millions of Europeans have no siblings, no cousins, no aunts and uncles, no nieces and nephews.
St. Francis of Assisi (for those of you unfamiliar with the great saint) was born into wealth. His dad was a successful cloth merchant and his mom was minor nobility. Francis enjoyed the life of a young playboy: parties, wine, women, song, clothes - the whole Paris Hilton package of the 1300s.
As a young man, Francis had a radical conversion, and rejected his previous life. His dad was livid, and dragged Francis before the bishop to tell the young man to straighten up. Francis, in a moment of great drama, faith and showmanship, stripped to his birthday suit in public, laying his expensive clothes at his father's feet, and told him he no longer wanted his dad's financial support. He embraced poverty wholly - calling her "Lady Poverty", whom he served as a noble knight for the rest of his life.
What does any of this have to do with me? A number of years ago, Dear Husband and I made the decision to follow St. Francis via a group of Franciscan Sisters with whom we…
The evidence is clear: "living together" is no way to prepare for marriage. For a long time, we told ourselves that living together was a great way to "practice" for the day-to-day life of a husband and wife. However, now we know the opposite is true: living together actually increases the chances for divorce. Why? That part is still unclear, although many people believe that cohabiting sets the stage for "Well, if this doesn't work, I'll just leave." After all, walking out on a "living partner" is a lot easier than divorce. When I attended the Acton Institute last month, I had the great pleasure of listening to and talking with Dr. Jennifer Roback Morse, the founder of the Ruth Institute, which promotes happy, traditional marriage. In a recent email, she talks about even more problems with "living together": Women (aged 14-44) who grew up in married intact families and who now worship weekly are the least likely to have…
Dear husband has been gone on a rather long business trip to China, and won't be home for a few more days. In his absence, I've developed a new love: Panera's Tomato, Basil and Mozzeralla Salad. Yum, yum, yum.
I have suffered from Perfectionism. It's a nasty disease, driving both the sufferer and those around him/her nuts. Things must always go according to plan, events must be properly scheduled, calendars kept. Household items must always be in place, neatness always counts, and failure is never an option.
God, in His infinite mercy and wisdom, knew I needed to be rescued from this malady, and thus sent me five highly imperfect children to show me the light of imperfection. I have to say I'm still learning, but have now happily settled into the role of an Imperfectionista.
Along those lines, please enjoy the new blog called "Catalog Living" at http://catalogliving.tumblr.com/. It features the imaginary-yet-perfect Gary and Elaine, the couple who lives in all your catalogs. Those shiny plates, gleaming silverware and perfectly appointed bar? Gary and Elaine's. Polished floor and neatly lined bookshelves? Yep, Gary and Elaine's! Enjoy this cheeky place …
I ran across this quote today from Thomas Paine: I do not believe in the creed professed by the Jewish church, by the Roman church, by the Greek church, by the Turkish church, by the Protestant church, nor by any church that I know of. My own mind is my own church. Isn't that special? What I thought when I read that is, "You and all of contemporary society, Tom." Really; isn't this exactly how most people today think? "I get to decide what is right and wrong for me. Don't legislate morality. Hey, if you don't like it, don't do it, but don't try to stop me from doing it."
Here's the problem, at least for me. If I got to live according to The Church of My Own Mind, it would follow these "ten commandments of Elise":
1. Family budget?? Bah! I want shoes!
2. A good merlot is good anytime. Even for breakfast. If I feel like driving after a bottle of good merlot, so be it.
3. If you annoy me, expect a good tongue lashing. …
My dad, John Graveline, passed away July 4, 2007. In memory of him, I'm reposting an article I wrote a few years back:
It is almost impossible to find a decent hero these days — our sports figures are regularly arrested, dress up in weird costumes or get married for three minutes, our civil servants lie to us on national television and allow their staffs to "put the right spin on it", and the movies offer up too violent a fare to present to our young people for emulation. Where can we look for role models and people of distinction?
I am blessed, for I have a father to look up to. Let me say right up front that my dad never won a medal for bravery or for sports, never had a job that paid a great deal of money nor did he ever save a child from a burning building. But I've never met a soul who knows my dad and didn't like him or have something nice to say about him.
He is of the generation molded by the Depression and the Second World War; he started…