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Showing posts from October, 2013

Hope And False Hope

I had an interesting conversation with Curly-haired Daughter this morning. We were listening to a local Christian radio station in the car. They are in their midst of their fund-raising effort, so they were sharing stories from listeners.

A week or two ago, a mother had called in, crying. Her 16 year old son was getting involved in drugs, not going to church (oh, how this sounds familiar) and generally going off the rails. She needed prayers and encouragement. This set off a flurry of phone calls - people calling in and saying "I've been through this" or "My kid did the same thing."

This morning, a man called in and said he wanted to reach out to that mom. He said he was 43, had been sober for three years, and he had "been that teen." He said "I know I put my parents through a lot" but he was now a Christian and trying hard to be faithful.

My daughter said, "I think that's false hope." I asked what she meant. She said, "W…

Discerning, Discerning, Discerning

Wouldn't it be nice if God simply took out a billboard along our daily route that stated in 5 foot high lettering the answer to our prayers? Alas, not so.

Dear Husband and I are still discerning what to do regarding our parish situation. We've visited a new (really, a brand new!) parish near us, and the pastor himself warmly invited us to join. We do like it there, and the pastor is not only inviting, but a sound homilist. We also know that as a new parish, our gifts of time and talent will be welcomed.

But it's so tough to leave our old parish. Our friends are there. We've celebrated so many sacraments there. It's a good place...but perhaps not the place for us.

We don't want to straddle the fence. We want to make a decision. We just wish it were an easier one.

Maybe that the point: God is showing us the way, but it's a hard way and we are still resisting a bit. Another narrow path, another road that requires carrying a cross.

And now a word from our Holy Father...

From recent remarks about families:

A saying of Jesus in the Gospel of Matthew speaks to us: “Come to me, all who labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest” (Mt 11:28). Life is often wearisome. Work is tiring; looking for work is exhausting. But what is most burdensome in life is a lack of love. It weighs upon us never to receive a smile, not to be welcomed. Certain silences are oppressive, even at times within families, between husbands and wives, between parents and children, among siblings. Without love, the burden becomes even heavier. I think of elderly people living alone, and families who receive no help in caring for someone at home with special needs. “Come to me, all who labour and are heavy laden”, Jesus says.
Dear families, the Lord knows our struggles and the burdens we have in our lives. But he also knows our great desire to find joy and rest! Do you remember? Jesus said, “… that your joy may be complete” (cf. Jn 15:11). He said this t…

Monday Morning Art Jam

Freakin' Friday Fun

Are you being called to foster or adopt?

Many of us heard or saw the story of Davion, the young man in Florida who went to church to plead for a "forever family." The 15 year old was tired of being bounced from foster home to foster home, and wanted a real mom and dad.

"I'll take anyone," Davion said. "Old or young, dad or mom, black, white, purple. I don't care. And I would be really appreciative. The best I could be." 

Apparently, so many people responded that they crashed the phone lines of the adoption agency working with Davion.

You know what? There are a million Davions out there. In Michigan alone, there are about 14,000 kids in foster care at any given time, and there's always kids that need care and can't get it. Nationwide, the numbers are closer to half a million.

Pro-lifers are always being accused of caring for the fetus, but not the mom or the child in need. A baby is adorable, a terrible two year old or a teen with a past - not so much. But that is where Christ i…

Borrowed Blog: Acuff's "The Ugly Truth About Bravery"

And now a word from our Holy Father....

Since today is the feast of Bl. John Paul II, I thought I'd give a quote from him:

If one becomes a sharer in the sufferings of Christ, this happens because Christ has opened his suffering to man, because he himself in his redemptive suffering has become, in a certain sense, a sharer in all human sufferings. Man, discovering through faith the redemptive suffering of Christ, also discovers in it his own sufferings; he rediscovers them, through faith, enriched with a new content and new meaning.

APOSTOLIC LETTER: SALVIFICI DOLORIS

Monday Morning Art Jam

Having a boy

When you have a boy, you pick out baby clothes with bold colors and trucks on them.

When you have a boy, you learn to put a diaper over him while changing his diaper.

When you have a boy, you always remember to check the pockets before the jeans go in the washing machine.

When you have a boy, you learn that coins swallowed typically come out all right in the end.

When you have a boy, you learn that at one point in his life, you can't keep him out of the tub, and at another point in his life, you have to drag him into the shower.

When you have a boy, you step on Legos. When you have a boy, you learn not to swear while doing it.

When you have a boy, you learn their hearts are just as tender as girls.

When you have a boy, you realize that you can put both feet inside one of his shoes.

When you have a boy, food doesn't just disappear, it vanishes at alarming speeds, and he is still hungry.

When you have a boy, you learn that "I'm good" is a conversation.

When you ha…

Freakin' Friday Fun

We are all lepers

If you know the life of St. Francis of Assisi, you can skip this first part. If you don't, he was a young man of what appeared to be joy: parties, lots of friends, women, wine and song: the 12th century version of a playboy.

He wanted something more, though. Despite all the fun, he knew he was missing something. He though going to war was the answer - he'd be a hero. That didn't work out well.

He was used to a life of luxury and fun. The people he knew were the "beautiful people" - dressed in fine cloths and had all the advantages.

Francis, in his search for whatever it was that he was missing, took to walking in the countryside near Assisi. That's when he saw the lepers. Oh, he knew about the lepers; everyone did. They were committed to staying outside the city walls, left to their grotesque disease, without any means of support - medical, financial, emotional. They were disgusting. Francis was rightly repelled.

But there was something about them...

One day…

And now a word from our Holy Father....

Who are the martyrs? They are Christians who have been “earned” by Christ, disciples who have learnt well the sense of that “love to the extreme limit” which led Jesus to the Cross. There is no such thing as love in installments, no such thing as portions of love. Total love: and when we love, we love till the end. On the Cross, Jesus felt the weight of death, the weight of sin, but he gave himself over to the Father entirely, and he forgave. He barely spoke, but he gave the gift of life. Christ “beats” us in love; the martyrs imitated him in love until the very end.
The Sainted Fathers say: “Let’s imitate the martyrs!” We must always die a little in order to come out of ourselves, of our selfishness, of our well-being, of our laziness, of our sadnesses, and open up to God, to others, especially those who need it most.
We implore the intercession of the martyrs, that we may be concrete Christians, Christians in deeds and not just in words, that we may not be mediocre Chri…

Feed me!

My mom used to tell us, in the '70s when everybody in the Church was weirding-out, that if the priest showed up in his bathing suit and swim flippers, so long as he said the Mass correctly, Jesus was truly present. And she was right. But...

The Church suffered a lot in those days, and I mean both the universal and the local Church. Right after Vatican II (which apparently no one took the time to read), we kids in catechism class were left to making felt banners and being told that we didn't need to memorize prayers anymore. Our church was torn apart - literally and figuratively. The beautiful little country church I grew up in was re-modeled; they tried to make a circle out of a rectangle (neither geometry nor theology were strongpoints), tore out the kneelers (Mom made us kneel anyway), and put all the statues in the basement. It was ugly.

We have, thankfully, come a long way since then. Bl. John Paul II gave the Church new hope and new evangelization. As I became a young ad…

Monday Morning Art Jam

Silence and God

Our own silence is not disagreeable to God; it does not repel him. He listens to the longing deep wihtin our soul. with God we musst learn a new language of love in whch words are often unnecessary.


Tired words leaking from an ashen heart, words that sound like a reproach toward our soul, reminding us what cannot be attained without love - would it not be better to accept defeat and stop praying? Remaining in silence can seem a surrender to emptiness, a refusal of effort. But sometimes no wods are necessary to express our desire to God. Our longing for him hides beneath words. A bedraggled, branded spirit may be the reality of the day, the humbling truth of the current hour. But it does not preclude a cry of love from the silent core of our being...

There is in a sense no option. One cannot seek God after a while except inside a greater density of interior silence in prayer where there is no help from words, no distinct utterance that would predictably cast open a door. The soul can onl…

Freakin' Friday Fun: Lovin' Autumn!

Living through the imperfections

I sighed last night. My kitchen was a mess...again. I cannot, for some reason, get the two teens currently living there to find the garbage, and therefore, the kitchen counters accumulate wrappers, cans, bottles, twist ties....all the flotsam and jetsam of a kitchen.

Every Saturday, I face an avalanche of chores and laundry. Most people like their weekends - I just try to survive mine. It's worse now that we're in the midst of soccer season. Dear Husband not only coaches a local team, he's the president of the local soccer association, so once soccer season hits (twice a year!), I'm nearly a single parent.

I have a 16 year old son who is a functional mute, like most boys his age. He finds his tongue when money needs (in his opinion) to change hands. Dark-Haired Daughter tries her best, but with her disabilities, I often end up doing more work.

Yet.

Yesterday, I was feeling ill - found out I have an eye infection. That functionally mute son of mine brought me lunch, as…

And now a word from our Holy Father...

“Open up your heart and listen to what God is saying to you. Allow your life to “written” by God”. Just as the Good Samaritan did when he stopped to help the stranger, we must all listen to God’s voice and sometimes put our own projects on hold to do his will."

Want to see a drop in teen pregnancy? Get Planned Parenthood out of your town

These are the ads aimed at teens from Planned Parenthood. Really.

As a part of American Life League’s just-released meta-study of Planned Parenthood, Stop Planned Parenthood (STOPP) researchers analyzed the teen pregnancy rate in 16 counties of the Texas Panhandle. In those counties, over an 11-year period, closures of Planned Parenthood facilities were ongoing in the face of strong community opposition to the abortion giant’s presence.
Our study of teen pregnancy rates in the Amarillo area was prompted, in part, by news reports that Texas Department of Health State Services statistics for 2010 showed that the teen pregnancy rate is lower in Potter and Randall Counties of Texas—where Planned Parenthood’s business was focused and headquartered—than it has been since records have been kept.

Be clear: Planned Parenthood is not interested in teen health or the health of babies. They are in the abortion business, plain and simple. And to stay in business, they need pregnant …

Monday Morning Art Jam

Blessed Feast of St. Francis!

Study of St. Francis of Assisi Adoring The Cross - Bernando Strozzi
"What then is true joy? I return from Perugia and arrive here in the dead of night; and it is winter time, muddy and so cold that icicles have formed on the edges of my habit and keep striking my legs, and blood flows from such wounds. And all covered with mud and cold, I come to the gate and after I have knocked and called for some time, a brother comes and asks: 'Who are you?' I answer: 'Brother Francis.' And he says: 'Go away; this is not a proper hour for going about; you may not come in.' And when I insist, he answers: 'Go away, you are a simple and a stupid person; we are so many and we have no need of you. You are certainly not coming to us at this hour!' And I stand again at the door and say: 'For the love of God, take me in tonight.' And he answers: 'I will not, Go to …

A long and winding day

This post is going to ramble - just warning you.
I've been thinking about Dear Husband's and my dissatisfaction with our current parish. Again, none of this is based on superficial things (we don't like the lady who cantors at 11 o'clock Mass or the fact that there's a Children's Liturgy of the Word), but rather deep hurts and spiritual harms.

Tomorrow is the feast of St. Francis of Assisi. As most of you know, Dear Husband and I have strong ties with an order of Franciscan Sisters, and St. Francis is very dear to us, and has great influence on our spiritual life. I was thinking about St. Francis last night as I was trying to fall asleep after a very long and trying day. After his conversion, he heard God tell him, "Francis, rebuild my Church." Now, ultimately, God meant for Francis to reform what had become a very lackadaisical and bland Catholicism. But Francis - at first - took it to mean that God meant for him to rebuild a tiny stone chapel just o…

What happens when you don't like your parish anymore?

Dear Husband and I are struggling right now. We don't feel good about our parish right now. We've
been there over 20 years, all our kids have been baptized there, we've weathered a number of priests, been deeply involved in many of the ministries and activities, but now...

We've been deeply hurt by members of the parish staff and their actions not just towards us but towards our children. Several of the ministries (which we believe to be vital, such as youth ministry) are languishing - "good enough" seems to be the attitude of some in charge.

We are praying, and talking to our spiritual advisors. I'm so angry about some of the things that have happened that I have a hard time even attending Mass there right now. I know it's not about personalities and people, but Christ and His Passion, Death and Resurrection, but the people are getting in the way right now.

Do we stay at "our" parish and try to improve things? We know that at least one me…