Since I currently have one arm in a sling, I am incredibly grateful that, when I got home from work last night, Youngest Son said, "Do you need anything? Want me to make you a sandwich?" And he did. Simple, sweet gesture.
Ever wonder exactly what the world of religions looks like? How many people in the world are Buddhists or Jewish? Here is a terrific infographic. It's pretty big, so I couldn't reproduce it here - click on the link.
"Meditation", it seems to me, gets a bad Christian rap. Either we figure it's some loosey-goosey New Agey thing, or we figure it is for mystics - not mere mortals like us.
But meditation is at the heart of Christian prayer. Here is what the Catechism of the Catholic Church says:
2705 Meditation is above all a quest. The mind seeks to
understand the why and how of the Christian life, in order to adhere
and respond to what the Lord is asking. The required attentiveness is
difficult to sustain. We are usually helped by books, and Christians do
not want for them: the Sacred Scriptures, particularly the Gospels, holy
icons, liturgical texts of the day or season, writings of the spiritual
fathers, works of spirituality, the great book of creation, and that of
history the page on which the "today" of God is written.
2706 To meditate on what we read helps us to
make it our own by confronting it with ourselves. Here, another book is
opened: the book of life.…
(Wow! Next Sunday is Palm Sunday! We're almost there...)
Yesterday was my lovely mother's 87th birthday. We spent the afternoon with her, and I cannot tell you how much she means to me, and to our entire family. She truly is a gracious matriarch, and her holy example is a continuing example to us of how to live our faith.
If you're not familiar with Pinterest (you're probably a guy...), you might imagine an online bulletin board where one can "pin" favorite photos. You can create your own boards (say "Dresses I Like"), follow what others are "pinning", "repin" or comment on someone else's photo and search for photos you want to "pin". Most of the stuff on Pinterest - at least in my experience - are things like home decor ideas, jewelry, hair styles (clearly, it's primarily a feminine domain). It's the idea of making a collage online - the stuff you used to put on your bedroom bulletin board or your high school locker.
And then I read the pro-abortion stuff.
I was just casually flipping through photos, and I think the category I was in was titled "My Life". There was a "pretty" sign that said, "If you don't agree with abortion, don't have one". (I know: original.) Perhaps it's the Irish i…
I am grateful for cheerful people, especially in the morning. The bus driver I had this morning was clearly "happy to be here", and it made for an enjoyable ride. We should all talk more, connect more...
I'm angry at the way Hollywood portrays women, with a
condescending and hypocritical attitude that at once praises us --
particularly our black sisters -- as innately all knowing and all
powerful, while at the same time insisting that we must be
drop-dead gorgeous; equally able to avenge ourselves against our
male oppressors while balancing on spiked heels. Yes, we must be
depicted as the fantasies of both man-hating feminists and
13-year-old boys. Most of all, I'm angry at the majority of my fellow women
who refuse to break out of their politically correct chains and
stand up for themselves by refusing to be put into the molds their
liberal sisters have so malevolently formed for them; allowing
groups like NOW and NARAL to speak for them as representative of
all women. It's time for this silent sorority to loudly proclaim
that we actually want to be wives and mothers and are proud of it;
that we are enjoy being career women who …
I am grateful for the ease of communication that we enjoy today. I caught a bit of a "MASH" episode the other night, and Hawkeye Pierce asked a fellow soldier, returning state-side, to call his father in Crabapple Cove, Maine, and let dad know he is okay.
I thought, "Huh". It struck me how really tough communications were even just 60 years ago, not just for the military, but for everyone. I had an aunt who believed every long distance phone call was a portend of bad news.
While many of us are inundated by Facebook, email, twitter, voice mail messages and the rest, it is great to know we can speak to friends and family anywhere on the planet with such ease.
Yesterday, one of my co-workers greeted me in the morning and asked how I was.
"Disappointed," I replied, and he asked why.
"Well, I was really hoping when I woke up this morning that Jesus would have come back, and I would not have to face yet another bowl of oatmeal [my chosen Lenten penance]. But He's not back, and here's the oatmeal."
I suppose there are greater reasons to hope for Jesus' return, but, right now, I'd settle for not having to eat oatmeal.
I am grateful for allergy medications. I was thinking about my dad the other day, and how much he suffered during allergy season. I still get headaches and that awful "sinusy" feeling, but nothing like my poor dad had to endure before we had the plethora of meds. we do today. Thank you, God, for good medicine!
Our good bishops are urging us to pray for religious freedom. Their website has a bunch of goodies on it, including this prayer, under the patronage of Mary Immaculate, Patroness of our country:
O God our Creator, from your provident hand we have received our right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. You have called us as your people and given us the right and the duty to worship you, the only true God, and your Son, Jesus Christ. Through the power and working of your Holy Spirit, you call us to live out our faith in the midst of the world, bringing the light and the saving truth of the Gospel to every corner of society. We ask you to bless us in our vigilance for the gift of religious liberty. Give us the strength of mind and heart to readily defend our freedoms when they are threatened; give us courage in making our voices heard on behalf of the rights of your Church and the freedom of conscience of all people of faith. Grant, we pray, O heavenly Father, a clear and united voice to all yo…
And you may ask yourself
How do I work this?
And you may ask yourself
Where is that large automobile?
And you may tell yourself
This is not my beautiful house!
And you may tell yourself
This is not my beautiful wife! - Talking Heads, Once In a Lifetime I met a woman - a lovely Catholic mom of a large family - whose son had committed a horrendous crime. She told me that as the reality sank in, "I could not have been more surprised than if I had gotten up one morning and my whole family had been turned into giraffes."
Have you ever been there? Have you ever sat and looked at your life - a life you may have thoughtfully and prayerfully "put together" - and wondered, "How did I get here? How did THIS (whatever the "this" might be) happen? I did A, B and C....and yet...I got THIS. HOW, God, how?"
You're in good company. Look at the Bible: Noah, Ruth, Jonah. Joseph (both Old and New Testament), Paul. Think of the saints: Katherine Drexel, D…
I am very grateful for books and the joy of reading. Books have given me knowledge, taken me to many worlds, introduced me to great minds and characters, coddled and cuddled me, and made me think hard about who I wanted to be. For that little girl in Coleman, MI who set out to read every book in the town library, it's been a great love affair.
If you're not a Star Wars fan, a Wookie is a 7 foot tall, fur-covered, grunting, technologically-adept, devoted beast. They are great with weapons...not so great with communication. They mostly grunt. There are conflicting reports as to what a Wookie eats, but given their size, it is a substantial amount. They don't seem to fit into the world they are in, but are making the best of it. They are a bit of a Lone Ranger - not too many of them around, and they are trying to make things work with a bunch of humans and other creatures that don't quite seem to "get" them. Here's a little bit about Wookies, from "A New Hope":
[R2-D2 and Chewbacca are playing the holographic game aboard the Millennium Falcon] Chewbacca: Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaarrrgh! C-3PO: He made a fair move. Screaming about it can't help you. Han Solo: Let him have it. It's not wise to upset a Wookiee. C-3PO: But sir, nobody worries about upsetting …
I am many, many things, but I am not naive. I know a thing or two about teenagers. I was one. I have a bunch of 'em, and I have taught them for years. I get 'em.
I know that since about the mid-1960s, teens in the US have faced a wall of sin and temptation, usually as soon as they cross the threshold to school every morning. Sex, drugs and rock-n-roll, baby, live and in person. Alcohol flows, condoms are dispersed and everybody's doin' it.
Dear Husband and I have always talked to our kids about all this stuff, and have tried to be really sensible about it. As I mentioned, since I'm not naive, I haven't ever thought, "MY kid's NEVER gonna....", but the message we have always given our kids is: No. No drugs. No sex. No alcohol. No. (If you get into trouble at a party, call me. I'll come get you. And we'll talk. Yeah, we'll talk.)
Here's is what I don't get. Curly-Haired Daughter has a number of friends who's par…
I was grateful for a trip to the art museum yesterday with Curly-Haired Daughter. It was a lovely afternoon: beautiful art, beautiful music (there was a free piano/cello concert at the museum), and my daughter. I can't tell you how much I enjoy art with her; I love seeing how she sees art - in a totally different way than I see it. Watching through her eyes is a treat.
Most of my praying and pondering lately has been done in my car - not too surprising, as I commute every day this way. My faith has been quite weak of late, and I've been really angry. I've been listening to Christian music quite frequently. It helps, but it has become...not enough.
Something turned yesterday. I was in the car, and I prayed, "God, you've got to give me something. I need to hear YOUR voice. Not someone telling me about you, but YOU." And I did. (No, nothing booming. I just heard that still, small voice and knew.)
And so it is. A bit of hope. A bit of light, a bit of faith restored.
We are afflicted in every way, but not constrained; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed; always carrying about in the body the dying of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be manifested in our body.
2 Corinth. 4:8-10
I bind unto myself today
The strong Name of the Trinity,
By invocation of the same
The Three in One and One in Three.
I bind this today to me forever
By power of faith, Christ’s incarnation;
His baptism in Jordan river,
His death on Cross for my salvation;
His bursting from the spicèd tomb,
His riding up the heavenly way,
His coming at the day of doom
I bind unto myself today.
I bind unto myself the power
Of the great love of cherubim;
The sweet ‘Well done’ in judgment hour,
The service of the seraphim,
Confessors’ faith, Apostles’ word,
The Patriarchs’ prayers, the prophets’ scrolls,
All good deeds done unto the Lord
And purity of virgin souls.
I bind unto myself today
The virtues of the star lit heaven,
The glorious sun’s life giving ray,
The whiteness of the moon at even,
The flashing of the lightning free,
The whirling wind’s tempestuous shocks,
The stable earth, the deep salt sea
Around the old eternal rocks.
I bind unto myself today
The power of God to hold and lead,
His eye to…
It’s really problematic when it’s left for the high school years, and
it can become a real abuse of the sacrament. Faith formators want to
keep it there because it keeps young people in religious education, and
they feel that more seeds can be sown. However, because teens are often
in their rebellious years, it can build up seeds of resentment towards
Pope Benedict XVI asked what my experience had been between the
difference of children in third grade vs. those of an older age
receiving the sacrament. The week prior I had celebrated a make-up
confirmation for those who had moved into the area or who had fallen
through the cracks and not received the sacrament. We had about 50
confirmands between fourth grade up to 24 years of age. They were all …
Harold Fickett, over at Catholic Exchange, noted the recent conversation between Kirk Cameron and Piers Morgan about what either of them would do if a son announced he was gay. Piers' response was that all he really wanted was for his son to be happy.
I started thinking: do I care if my kids are happy?
Certainly, Scripture is full of "happy"....but not in the world's way of thinking about "happy". Just read the Beatitudes. Happy are the poor in spirit? Happy are the sorrowful? Really? Can't I just have a Coke and smile? A Big Mac? A new iPad? Now THAT stuff would make me happy, and the kids too.
I think my kids - now that they are all teens - would frankly be happy if I just left them alone. No nagging to do chores, finish homework, get up for Mass, let the dog in. No unrequested advice about how to handle that "mean" teacher or that boss that won't let up. Certainly no conversations about no sex, no drugs, and could you turn d…
Youngest Son, at age 15, is closing in on 6'4". He is eating. A lot. He has complained of his joints and bones aching - yeah, ya think? I am very grateful for his health and that we can keep feeding him.
I have to admit, I'm having a hard time being grateful this morning, as I am in the midst of a vile bout of insomnia. However, I do have something: it's day TWENTY. That means half-way through Lent. This Sunday is Laetare Sunday. Amen.
A few days ago Sr. Mary Ann Walsh at the USCCB Blog posted this: Friday, March 9, 2012
Amish, Ok. Catholics, No. The Amish are exempt from the entire health care reform law. So are
members of Medi-Share, a program of Christian Care Ministry. Yet, when
the Catholic Church asks for a religious exemption from just one
regulation issued under the law – the mandate that all employers,
including religious institutions, must pay for sterilization and
contraceptives, including abortion-inducing drugs – the Administration
The President sees the Catholic Church as a threat. The Catholic
Church is an obstacle to his money-saving-through-baby-reducing agenda.
It is an obstacle to his plan for the state to grab control of vast
swatches of the economy and social institutions which help people.
Read the whole piece - it's something to think about....
A lovely post from Bradley J. Moore directed to all of us who think we can always cram in one (or two or three) more things into every minute of every day:
Sometimes all we need is a little reminder, a sort of self-permission
slip that allows us to take care of ourselves. So here you go. You have permission to come in to work an hour later after being out at that meeting until 11 pm the prior evening. You have permission to stare into space and do nothing for several minutes per day. You have permission to wander in bewildering confusion for a period of time. You have permission to take thirty minutes a day to do something you love. You have permission to be gripped by fear for a few moments before taking that next step. You have permission to take a day off, for no apparent reason. You have permission to shut the office door and take a nap right smack in the middle of the day. You have permission to put your health and family above all of your work and career demands.
What is it you need t…
Spring! Maybe you don't live in an area where there are really distinct seasons, but in Michigan we do. We didn't have a harsh winter, but that first week of sunshine and warm weather is always heartening, and lovely!
Frankly, this has been a sticking point for me for a long time, and Andrew Sciba's post is a good one. It has never made sense theologically (to me anyway) that we separate Confirmation from Baptism (and Eucharist). In the US, Confirmation has become some sort of "right of passage" for young people, which is not a valid understanding of the sacrament. Even worse, as Sciba points out, we use it as a way to keep young people in religious education classes.
First of all, the way religious education is taught in most places is a tragedy. I know most of the folks doing it mean well, but I've sat through enough of these classes, both as parent and as administrator, to know: they are BORING.
Second, it is a false separation of a Sacrament of initiation to be randomly plopped down at grade 8 or grade 10 or whatever.
Finally, the hoops we make kids jump through to finally get to the Sacrament can be overwhelming: hours of community service, two years of classroom pr…
Today I am thankful that I persevered with knitting, as tough as it was in the beginning to learn. I enjoy it, it really is relaxing, and you get something useful at the end. I do wonder about the woman who "invented" knitting: "I've got two sticks and some string. What can I do?" Is that how it came about??
I first saw this story in Mental Floss magazine, and am just fascinated! The men, "sapeurs", are ordinary guys who use fashion, style, elan, as a way to lift the spirits of their countrymen in the Congo - a place where most people know little but war and strife.
These well-dressed gentlemen aren't African big men slapping each other
on the back to celebrate just-consummated deals. They're Congolese
everymen—taxi drivers, carpenters, gravediggers—assembled here on this
sunny Sunday afternoon because they're what locals call Sapeurs, men who
believe in the uplifting, redeeming, beatifying effect of dressing
well. (Read more: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424053111903927204576574553723025760.html#ixzz1ovOOdL9l)
Linen on the Hedgerow covered this the other day, and now the Telegraph UK is now reporting: the European Court of Human Rights will decide if a Christian has a "right" to wear a cross or crucifix at work.
The Strasbourg case hinges on whether human rights laws protect the right to
wear a cross or crucifix at work under Article 9 of the European Convention
on Human Rights.
It states: “Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and
religion; this right includes freedom to change his religion or belief, and
freedom, either alone or in community with others and in public or private,
to manifest his religion or belief, in worship, teaching, practice and
The Christian women bringing the case, Nadia Eweida and Shirley Chaplin, claim
that they were discriminated against when their employers barred them from
wearing the symbols.
It's getting harder and harder to be a Christian in public.....
I wasn't looking forward to Mass yesterday. Mass has been really difficult for me lately, and I kept thinking, "Just get through it". Then, as I walked into church, our pastor grabbed me and asked me to lector. The man who'd been scheduled couldn't do it, and our pastor knew I could do it without too much prep.
Very funny, God.
And then, just to make sure that I REALLY got the point, the Gospel was about righteous anger, as if God wanted to point out that my anger was okay with him. And then, to REALLY, REALLY make sure, the Gospel said: "....he [Jesus] knew them all, and did not need anyone to testify about human nature. He himself understood it well."
Uh, I got it. Very funny, God, very funny. I am trying. Thanks for the reminder.
After switching to Daylight Savings Time, I was thinking that this morning, I am grateful for caffeine....However, I wanted to be a bit more reflective. One of my sisters was with me almost all day on Saturday, mostly to help me with a home decorating project, but in reality, to help me manage my on-going emotional rollercoaster. I am extremely grateful for her support. Nothing like sisters!
You may have noticed, dear reader, that of late, I haven't been posting much. I've been really angry.
Anyone who traversed the '70s is at least fleetingly familiar with the five stages of grief, a la Elizabeth Kubler-Ross: denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance. For the last couple of weeks, following my daughter's assault, I've been angry.
I'm angry at myself for not keeping her safe (and yes, I know that's irrational. Don't bother trying to talk me out of it.) I'm angry at God and all his angels for not keeping her safe. I'm angry at the cop who has a hard time believing her because she can't remember things in the right order, time and time again. (If you think the follow-up to a rape is just like "Law and Order" where dedicated cops pursue the truth with a vengeance and see the case through to the end....well....not so much.) I'm angry at the school that just let my daughter...walk out. No parental p…
I am grateful for laughter. It's been tough finding things to laugh about lately, but time with old friends this week has reminded me it is possible. Naomi Judd once said her favorite emotion was laughter through tears, and that's been my experience of late.
Today, I am grateful to recognize that so many of my "problems" can cheerfully be referred to as "First World" problems: I can't get my manicure to last all week, I ran out of toothpaste and have to make an unexpected trip to the pharmacy, having too much food. It is good to remember that so many of these "issues" are something most of the world never experiences, as so many of our brothers and sisters are trying to hard every day just to survive.
Do you remember right after 9/11? Yeah, we Americans pulled together and flew our flags, but Muslim women who chose to veil were....edgy. It was scary to wear such a blatant sign of the religion that the bombers allegedly followed. Even now, Muslim women who wear traditional dress will often report they believe they are targeted at the airport, poor service in restaurants, etc.
Are you Catholics ready?
Got a rosary hanging around your rear-view mirror? A window sticker for St. So-and-So's school on the mini-van? Wear a crucifix around your neck? Someone may have it in for you.
The debates on Facebook are getting heated, and people have chosen sides. If you don't want to pay for sterilizations and think gays simply can't be married, you are "out". Is there a lion and a coliseum in our futures?
We have a government that mandates what pro-life counselors must say.
We have a government now that mandates that Catholic institutions pay
for things it considers …
My mother cannot read maps, and my father could not follow directions. To say the least, my family is directionally-challenged. The fact that I now have a GPS system on my phone makes me giddy! (Of course, the news just told me that solar flares may interrupt GPS service today due to solar flares. I'll stay home, just to be safe.)
Tis true: I love my iPhone! It helps me stay organized, connected and educated. I thought you might enjoy a plethora of apps for Catholics - be sure to check out the comments below the main story, as well. Lots of good suggestions!
I am busy re-doing Dark-haired Daughter's room (Sh! it's a surprise!), and that means paint. Today I am grateful for the human being who invented paint+primer. Hurray - no double and triple coats of paints! My mom always taught me to buy good paint, but this stuff is the best.
Wherein I "rip-off" some choice writing from another blog, website, or news report - with due credit.
Having a dog in this fight, I thought Chelsea Zimmerman covered the topic of the Church and infertile couples with dignity, grace and understanding.
...never forget that no prayers go unanswered and all suffering, given
over to the Lord bears fruit in some form. I know that you are hurting,
but, I pray the following words of your Holy Father last Saturday can
give you at least some small comfort in your pain: “So I would like to remind the couples who are
experiencing the condition of infertility, that their vocation to
marriage is no less because of this. Spouses, for their own baptismal
and marriage vocation, are called to cooperate with God in the creation
of a new humanity. The vocation to love, in fact, is a vocation to the
gift of self and this is a possibility that no organic condition can
prevent. There, where science has not yet found an answer, the answer
I was just a bit surprised yesterday as I left work.....and it was still quite light out. For those of you who don't have to deal with northern weather and Daylight Savings Time, you don't know how big a deal this is. Spring: it's coming!
Rush Limbaugh, never one to be accused of subtly and gentleness, has stepped in it. He used a not-very nice word to describe a woman he didn't know personally. It's a word no woman I know would wish to be called. Now, he's apologizing, which is good, but once things are said, you can't get them back. Name-calling is not nice. We seemed to have lost all sense of civility in our society. Look at what passed for insults in Shakespeare's day: All that is within him does condemn itself for being thereA slippery and subtle knaveI know she is an irksome brawling scoldNow, maybe William would be mad to apologize for these today, but I don't think so. We used to take pride in witty repartee, and subtle comebacks. Now, we settle for just plain mean. I wrote a piece recently that got a lot of press, and most of the people who responded to it were quite vile to me personally. Some folks not only disagreed with me, they wished great harm to me. Here is one "c…
Woody Allen once said, "Eighty percent of success is showing up." You can apply the same thought to much in life. We show up at funerals, baby showers, weddings, family barbecues - and it counts that we simply are there.
Is this true of one's spiritual life as well?
Last Sunday, I was at Mass, and trying desperately not to break down in tears. The whole situation with my daughter - her being missing for two days, the sexual assault that took place - and the aftermath that required me to try to balance work with her almost overwhelming needs and being present for her as she tries to collect the pieces of sanity she tentatively had a hold on, has taken a toll. And for me, part of this toll is the inability to really pray, and finding Mass to be incredibly difficult.
I'm angry. Since I can't be angry at the people responsible for this great evil (they have not - yet- been found), I'm angry at God. He's a big God - he can take. I know He's not r…
Good manners: use 'em! I ride a shuttle bus to and from work every day, to an outlying parking lot. This morning, the two gentlemen that were at the same stop as I stepped aside to allow me to board first. Apparently, somewhere in their up-bringing, someone taught them "ladies first".
No, not because we are weaker, or deserve better seating, or have to get off our high-heeled feet more quickly. Good manners are about recognizing the humanity of another, acknowledging the "other", making him or her feel at ease and allowing another to precede you out of deference, respect, and well, good manners. "Do unto others...."
Old friends: there is nothing better. We speak the same language so nothing gets lost in translation. We can be honest - even brutal - if necessary. We have a history no one else shares. We know, to the very depths of our being, that when one says, "Call me if you need anything", she really, really means it. And we do.
Leann Rimes said it well: A good friend and a glass of wine
Someone to say it's gonna be alright
A good friend and a glass of wine
A little pick me up to get me through the night
We talk trash n' we laugh and cry
That kind of therapy money can't buy
Every now and then, every now and then
Every girl needs a good friend and a glass of wine
Good priests. I am grateful for 'em! I have learned from many, worked for a few, and admired all. Our current US bishops stack up among the best. They pray over us, counsel us, laugh and weep with us. They hold our secrets and our sins, bless us, marry us and bury us. They stand by bedsides and coffin-sides, administer parishes and schools, run orphanages and manage dioceses. They stand next to soldiers, the bereaved, the bewildered, the mentally ill, and anyone who needs prayer. They have charted unknown territories and lost their lives trying to save souls. The Roman collar stands as public witness to the truth, the power, and the promise of the Gospel. Truly, they are in persona Christi, making the sacraments that sustain us possible.
Francis Cardinal George has stated that if the the Obama Administration tries to force Catholic organizations into paying for medicines and procedures that offend the Catholic conscience, it will "force our hand" into closing the many charities and organizations the Church runs.
The Catholic Church has perhaps the most extensive private health-care
delivery system in the nation. It operates 12.6 percent of hospitals in
the U.S., according to the Catholic Health Association of the U.S., accounting
for 15.6 percent of all admissions and 14.5 percent of all hospital
expenses, a total for Catholic hospitals in 2010 of $98.6 billion. Compared to their competition, Catholic hospitals take a leading role in
providing less-profitable services to patients. They lead the sector in
breast cancer screenings, nutrition programs, trauma, geriatric
services, and social work. In most of these areas,…
Today I am offering gratefulness to God for our animal friends. I've always had a dog; right now we have two dogs and two cats. They are terrific companions, and we appreciate their steadfast friendship very much.
Even more than that, raising special needs kids, I believe our pets have been therapeutic. Oh, none of our animals are those lovely trained service animals - they're just regular ole pets. But their calming presence, and always welcoming attitude have soothed more than one kid around here over the years. They have truly been a blessing.