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Showing posts from February, 2011

On my way to see Our Lady

This is such a beautiful photographic study of a pilgrimmage.

Sacred Place of the Day

Nasr Molk Mosque

The Sacrifice


Sacred Place of the Day

Church of St. Finian, Kilquiggian, Co. Wicklow, Ireland

I don't usually comment on Sacred Places, as I like to let te photos and architecture speak for themselves, but I found the article at St. Conleth's Catholic Heritage Society to be informative and fascinating.  Enjoy the history and the photos!

Do we want to fundamentally re-define marriage?

Here is an article that addresses that issue.  I've also included an excerpt that addresses Obama's recent decision to no longer defend marriage.

The Human Rights Campaign is "America's largest civil rights organization working to achieve lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) equality." They are well-funded and committed to a cultural and social revolution. They poured massive amounts of money and human resources into electing this President. Along with him they are committed to "remaking America."

They advocate what I call the "Homosexual Equivalency Movement". This is not about discrimination against anybody. Homosexual equivalency activists insist that all Americans recognize a legal equivalency between true marriages and cohabitating practicing homosexuals or face legal punitive consequences. They are social and cultural revolutionaries. The Human Rights Campai…

Misguided, and not making sense to Mommy either

We're in a bit of a money crunch in Michigan.  That is to say, we haven't any.  Our roads are falling apart, our public schools are in debt (and performing poorly) and we are not friendly to businesses, especially to small businesses.

So what does our Board of Education want to do?  Begin Universal Headstart for all 3 and 4 year olds.

As the article above points out, the big flaw here is that IT DOESN'T WORK.  We're gonna throw a whole bunch of money at a problem that already has a better-more-cost-effective solution (make it easier for families to make sure Mom or Dad can be at home to raise the kids), money we don't have. 

Don't our kids deserve better?

Sacred Place of the Day

Hallgrimskirkja Lutheran Church, Reykjavik, Iceland

Total rip-off Tuesday

...wherein I "rip-off" another blog post.  Today's choice is Anthony Layne at The Impractical Catholic:

Ask Tony: A dinner-party dilemma


It's Lent. A non-Catholic friend of yours has invited you and your beloved to dinner at his house on Friday night. When you get there, you find that the entrée is steak. Your friend grills an excellent steak. But it's a Friday in Lent. What do you do?


Eat the steak. Enjoy the steak. Thank your host for a lovely meal. Don't bring up "meatless Fridays" unless you can segue to it naturally and charitably from some topic being discussed; better to wait for another day.

Nowadays, with the greater social concern over food allergies and dietary restrictions, it's becoming more common for hosts to discuss preliminary menus with their guests unless they know each other so well that such things are already known. So this situation is becoming less common.

The practice of meatless Fridays is no longer enforced…

The Chair of St. Peter

I have an enormous fondness for St. Peter.  He's so relatable.  He fumbles and falters, speaks too soon and says stupid stuff, denies and doubts....and yet....

Jesus still picks Peter as leader - "You are Peter, and upon this rock, I shall build my Church."

This gives hope to all of us who falter and doubt - Jesus can still use us, still loves us, still trusts us. 

O Glorious St. Peter, because of your vibrant and generous faith, sincere humility and flaming love our Lord honored you with singular privileges and especially leadership of the whole Church. Obtain for us the grace of a living faith, a sincere loyalty to the Church, acceptance of all her teachings, and obedience to all her precepts. Let us thus enjoy an undisturbed peace on earth and everlasting happiness in heaven.  Amen.

Sacred Place of the Day

New Synagogue, Berlin, Germany

Fools and frank talk

For the wisdom of this world is foolishness in the sight of God.  - 1 Cor. 3:19

I spent a terrific afternoon with some young adults yesterday at the Arise Conference at Aquinas College.  It was a great opportunity to spend time with  passionate, faithful folks and I shared my thoughts on Theology of the Body.

In our readings today, it is clear that God wants us to pay attention to our bodies:  they are temples of the Holy Spirit!  Can't get any better than that, can we?  Unfortunately, as I shared yesterday, we live in this "split-personality" culture where bodies are everywhere, but none are revered.   Bodies aren't holy  - they are useful objects that we use, abuse and treat like refuge.

One of the questions I posed to the young adults yesterday was,  "Are there legitimate limits of what we can do to our bodies, and if so, what are they?"  If God creates, may we distort?  The eco-sheriffs tell us no:  we must preserve nature.  But what about our bodies?  …

Freakin' out Friday

It's been a long week, and it ain't over yet.  I've got two big "work" projects, a bout of insomnia, red tape that I can't get untangled, and a stressful situation that just won't quit.  Officially, I am freakin' out.

I try to pray at regular times, but it is often the first thing to go when I'm stressed (and yeah, I know that just adds to the stress).  Sometimes my prayers are just, "Jesus, help me" or "Give me strength, O Lord".  And that's okay - not terrific, but okay.

Today, I'm gonna take a deep breath, pray the Liturgy of the Hours to start my day and get to work.  The Lord always does His part, and I need to do mine. 

Even if I'm just barely hanging on.

The Queen of all she surveys

They do at my house.....I am the Queen - a benevolent dictator, but dictator nonetheless.

Sacred Place of the Day

Melk Abbey, Austria

Total rip-off Tuesday

My new tradition on Tuesdays is to "rip-off" another writer on the Web.  Today's is "Split Second Grace" from Rachel Balducci:

Sometimes it makes me sad to think I’m my husband’s ticket to heaven.

Don’t get me wrong, I like the idea of leading Paul closer to Christ. But the image I prefer includes my overwhelmingly saintly nature—a nice, soothing picture of me inspiring Paul to love Jesus more due to all my personal virtue.

The reality, I’m afraid, is more like I’m helping Paul become a saint because I too-often help him grow in the Christian virtues of charity and patience.

The other night Paul had the perfect opportunity to be mean to me. We were back from a late basketball game (which he coached) and after we tucked into bed most of our sleepy children, my husband headed to the kitchen to get dinner while I dealt with one last child needing one more thing.

I sat on the couch quizzing the boy and watched from afar as Paul busied himself with warming up last night’…

Sacred Place of the Day

El Pilar Basilica, Zaragoza, Spain

Livin' the Law

When he saw the crowds, he went up the mountain, and after he had sat down, his disciples came to him.

He began to teach them, saying:
"Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
 Blessed are they who mourn, for they will be comforted.
 Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the land.
 Blessed are they who hunger and thirst for righteousness,  for they will be satisfied.
 Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy.
 Blessed are the clean of heart, for they will see God.
 Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.
 Blessed are they who are persecuted for the sake of righteousness,  for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
 Blessed are you when they insult you and persecute you and utter every kind of evil against you (falsely)     because of me.
Rejoice and be glad, for your reward will be great in heaven. Thus they persecuted the prophets who were …

Happy St. Valentine's Day

Giving me more than I can handle

I know God won't give me anything I can't handle;I just wish he didn't trust me so much.  -Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta

There are times in our lives when we feel overwhelmed:  all the kids are crying, the dog threw up, the spouse is gonna be late from work, and you've had a sore throat all day.  Or maybe your overwhelmed looks like:  the files just went all over the floor, the budget is due on your boss's desk in twenty minutes, your cell phone battery is dead, and you just noticed that the zipper on your pants is broken.

Then there is the truly overwhelmed:  the doctor calls and tells you she wants to see you right away.  The doors to the OR swing behind your child on his way to surgery.  The bank is foreclosing. 

These are the times when we want to look up at Heaven and scream,  "Why??"  And in fact, sometimes we do.  At least I know I do.

I navigated through my first couple of decades under the assumption that if I played by the rules, I would be …

Sacred Place of the Day

Convento do Carmo, Lisbon, Portugal

Book: The Rite

I finished this book, and was quite pleased with it.  The movie trailers (of course!) make this look like a lurid horror movie, and the story couldn't be further from that.

Baglio does a fine job of laying out "just the facts, ma'am" of how a modern day exorcist becomes one.  He follows an American priest through this process, from classes in Rome, to an apprencticeship, to finally his service her in the U.S..  Father Gary Thomas is a pretty typical parish priest, who is asked by his bishop to serve also as the diocesan exorcist.  He does so with trepidation and enthusiasm, skepticism and solid faith - just what you want in an exorcist.

My favorite chapter in this book was "Discernment", wherein Baglio investigates the more scientific aspects of the exorcism,  psychiatric diagnoses and the brain.  I figure any book on exorcism that uses "quantum entanglement" and plumbs the depth of neuro psychiatric is worth my time.  In other words, Baglio take…

Sacred Place of the Day

Iguerande Church, Inguerande, France

iPhone confessions: There's NOT an app for that.

It was announced yesterday that iPhone has an app for Catholic confessions.  Of course, many people immediately assumed that this means,  "Hey, I can now go to confession over my phone!"

Uh.  No.

Really, what the app amounts to is a "guide" to confession - how to examine your conscience, make a confession, etc., none of which are a bad thing.

How come we have to "go" to confession?  How come I need to go see a priest, detail my sins, and ask for forgiveness?  Why can't I just tell God I'm sorry?

You can (and should!) tell God you're sorry.  Right now.  Every day.  However, that isn't enough.   In the Gospel of John, Jesus clearly gives his Apostles the ability to remove sins from others.  This is clearly the practice of the early Church, as demonstrated by the Church Fathers. 

Now, you can get into a verse-slinging, historical hair-raising argument if you wish, but I propose that the Sacrament of Confession has a very human basis:  we nee…

Sacred Place of the Day

Callanish Stones, Isle of Lewis, Scotland

What are you talking about??

The New York Times is certainly one of our nation's most-esteemed newspapers.  Although I don't read it on a regular basis, I assume that the men and women who write for the paper try their best to be good reporters:  fair and accurate, neutral and factual.

They got this one wrong.

On Friday, Feb. 4, the paper printed an article about the crisis in Egypt and the Muslim Brotherhood, an organization which if front-and-center of the calls for reforms there and the ousting of President Mubarak.  The article gives a brief background on the Muslim Brotherhood:

The Muslim Brotherhood’s deep hostility to Israel — which reflects majority public opinion in Egypt — would pose difficulties for American policy. Its conservative views on the rights of women and intolerance of religious minorities are offensive by Western standards. But the group is far from monolithic, and is said to be divided between those who would never accept Israel’s right to exist and those who accepted a two-state so…

Sacred Place of the Day

The ruins of St. Non's Chapel, St. Non's Bay, Wales

If only wine were served this way....

Gonna take a few days off for some R&R.

"Resist the seduction.....

...of believing only in what we see, especially in other people." - Fr. Robert Sirico

I just returned from the first lecture of 2011 in the Acton Lecture Series, and had the great pleasure of listening to Fr. Robert Sirico address the issue of poverty and prosperity, and how we Christians are supposed to deal with these.  His remarks were fresh and insightful.

What struck me most was how much his lecture dove-tailed with my work on an up-coming lecture on Theology of the Body (at the Arise Conference at Aquinas College on Feb. 19).  Although Fr. Sirico didn't give this topic as much time as I would have liked, his ideas on the material vs. spiritual were intriguing.  We are not, he pointed out, merely material (body) or spiritual (soul) beings - we are integrated body/soul creations.  However, when we meet a person, we are not encountering their soul first:  we encounter body, and must patiently await the soul to be revealed.

This reinforces my experience as wife, mother, tea…

Happy New Year: year of the rabbit

A performer with the Peking Opera performs in Beijing.  

Reading "The Rite"

I am about one-third of the way through The Rite, which the currently-advertised movie with Anthony Hopkins was based on.

My impression so far is that it treats the matter of exorcism in a matter-of-fact manner.  I'll let you know what I think when I've completed the book.

Civil Discourse

From Fr. Sirico, at the Acton Institute, and today's Detroit Free Press:

St. John Chrysostom, in a famous homily on fasting, warned us not to be too legalistic in its observance. More important than the foods we are abstaining from are our actions and the “disgraceful and abusive words” which we sometime use to “chew up and consume one another.” In this he echoes the words of Jesus Christ, who taught us that “what goes into a man’s mouth does not make him unclean, but what comes out of his mouth, that is what makes him unclean” (Matthew 15:11).

The point here is to remind us that our words have weight and effect. Yes, let’s proclaim the truth, and do it in a civil and even a loving fashion. That’s the civility that both the left and the right deserve.

Read the whole piece here.

Egypt on my mind

A 6th-century ivory carving of Christ, from the Coptic Museum, Cairo, Egypt.

Egypt was a haven for the Holy Family 2000 years ago.  May Christ now bring peace and justice to that land.