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Showing posts from March, 2013

Good Friday: Aboriginal Art

Clifford Possum Tjapaltjarri painted only this single work of art with a Christian motif, as far as my researches show. The artist, who was initiated at Napperby, but also baptized in the Lutheran religion in Ntaria (Hermannsburg), revitalized his Christian faith prior to a risky eye operation in 1994; the other eye had been blind since his youth. In his work “Good Friday,” which he painted during Easter in the same year, he included the Christian iconography of the three crosses. A crown of thorns is shown at the lower left, between two of the crosses. Three oversized nails complete the Christian symbolism. The three footprints, which lead to the cross of Jesus, are often found in the works of Clifford Possum Tjapaltjarri. 

The artist painted the background of dotted irregular fields in …

Three Good Things Thursday

1. I am writing this week's Commentary for work, and it's kicking my butt. I love the writing process! Write, cut, edit, write, remove, change, thesaurus, move, research, write.

2. Almost to Easter - almost to "alleluia!"

3. The sun has been shining here for TWO DAYS. TWO. That's amazing. We don't even care that's it's still 30 degrees out; we're just thrilled to know that the sun still exists!

What are three good things in your life today?

Scholarship Opportunity

Do you know a high school senior who is planning on attending a Catholic college or university? I have family members who have set up a memorial scholarship in their mother's name, and they have 3 $500 scholarships available for the next school year.

If you're interested, leave me your email in the comments (I won't publish it!) and I'll get you the information.

Dr. Jennifer Robach Morse at the Rally for Marriage

This is the text of her speech:

This year was the fortieth anniversary of Roe v Wade. We are gathered here to send one simple message to the Justices of the Supreme Court: allow the conversation about marriage to continue. Do not try to short circuit the debate over marriage the way Roe v Wade short circuited the debate over life. We need to keep talking about the meaning of marriage. This year, over a half million people gathered for the March for Life. Of course, the Elites of Washington, can’t be bothered to notice the March for Life. But if they had taken the time to look out their windows, they would have seen that the average Marcher was about 17 years old. The Life Movement is a youth movement.
Why? Because young people eventually figured out that abortion set aside the interests of children for the convenience of adults. Eventually, young people will figure out that redefining marriage sets aside the interests of children for the convenience of adults. If the Court…

Has it been a "successful" Lent?

It is hard to judge the success of spiritual endeavors. For one thing, the pay-off is eternal, and we are myopic people. Also, the standards to which we hold ourselves and the standards by which God judges us are radically different. For some of us, we are far too easy on ourselves ("Oh, God loves me no matter what...") and for others, the bar we set for ourselves is irrationally high ("I will never be good enough. I mess  up all the time. I'm a complete screw-up.")

How do we know if we've had a "successful" Lent then? Perhaps you completely blew your Lenten sacrifice...two days into Lent. You were determined to give up chocolate and then found yourself eating just one brownie, one piece of candy....Maybe you were determined to put aside time every day for extra prayer, and you sort of lost your way half-way through the 40 day journey, wandered off and never got back on track. Is your Lent a loss?

On the other hand, may be you kept up all your Le…

Total Rip-off Tuesday: Mom or Margaret Sanger?

Wherein I "rip-off" another writer on the web. Not taking credit; just sharing good stuff. Today's choice: Ryan Bomberger, telling the tale of two women, his mother and Margaret Sanger.

The difference between my mother and Margaret Sanger is simple: God. My mother’s life could have resulted in a path that saw human existence mired in misery. Instead, she saw beautiful Possibility. She didn’t see others as defective but deserving. She didn’t see marriage as a funding source to launch a cause, but a source of security and devoted love to unleash Purpose.
My mother’s life may not be immortalized in history books, but she has made history. She personifies strength, grace, wisdom, and most importantly, love. She (and my father, of course) have rewritten the narrative given to ten children who were wrongly thought to be “unwanted” and “unloved.” Margaret Sanger personified brokenness—a woman who couldn’t see the pieces she was making of millions of lives. Sanger tho…

Confession: I am a terrible Franciscan

Our lovely new pope chose the name Francis, after Francis of Assisi, and my heart was warmed. As a Franciscan myself, I am grateful that Pope Francis seems to intend to consistently call our attention to the poverty in the world and to do something about it.

Now, I am indeed a Franciscan. I can't show you any credentials; you'll just have to take my word for it. But I am a terrible Franciscan.

I really love fashion, and clothes, and shoes. I have two boxes of make-up, and a drawer full of hair "stuff". I like having nice things surrounding me. My home and cubicle are filled with mementos of travels, family, friends, places I've been and want to go to, hobbies and memories. I have a lot of books. As Franciscans go, I'm pretty much a "fail".

Of course, Francis wasn't just about poverty of material goods (although that certainly was a big part of his life); he was about poverty of spirit. He wanted nothing to hold him back from being in relationshi…

Extravagence

Mary extravagantly anoints Jesus' feet in today's Gospel. She bends down, pours out precious oil, cleans the feet of a man whose been out traveling, his feet dusty from long walks on filthy roads. She wipes the oil with her hair, caressing the calloused feet of her Savior. She weeps, knowing that he is tired, and yet perhaps she knows how much further he must go yet. She weeps for the man who has raised her brother from the dead, the man who is scorned and hunted, the man she has come to know as Friend and Savior. He is resting for a moment or two, eating with friends, steadying himself for what lies ahead. Mary's gesture is a gesture of pure love, willingness to offer all she has for that one moment in time for her Lord and God.

Judas is angry. He sees Mary's gesture not as one of love and offering, but of waste. Yes, he knows this man is the Messiah, but why bother pouring out precious oil on one who will soon die? Why waste the money on something like this, when a b…

Monday Morning Art Jam

Freakin' Friday Fun

When things get hard, just give up

Where I live, Rob Bell is a bit of a celebrity. He used to pastor a mega-church in the area, and even though he's left, he still gets a lot of buzz around here. Now he's getting buzz wherever he goes.

First, he wrote a book that questioned the existence of Hell. You can imagine how that played out amongst the conservative evangelicals that were his primary audience. Now, in a Huffington Post interview, he has put his stamp of approval on gay marriage.

What are his theological reasons for doing so? He doesn't really  have any. Has he made a committed study of Scripture and come up with sound reasons for making this claim? Nope. Here's what he said:

"I am for marriage. I am for fidelity. I am for love, whether it's a man and woman, a woman and a woman, a man and a man. I think the ship has sailed and I think the church needs -- I think this is the world we are living in and we need to affirm people wherever they are...I think that when you're in a part of…

Three Good Things Thursday

1. A weekend with dear friends. Can't say we didn't anything extraordinary, but the comfort we bring to each other can't be replicated anywhere else. It was restful, joyful, abundant.

2. Almost Easter! I am so ready for that celebration!

3. Talking to my mom about her cat. She and Barney have become such good buddies, and it's great to hear how much enjoyment she gets from his company.

What are three good things in your life today?

Dignity of Work for Human Trafficking Victims

The USCCB continues to lead the fight against human trafficking. They have developed a work program, and we need to spread the word! Too often, the government is the one providing "help" to victims of human trafficking, and that "help" includes abortions and abortificients.

Check out the USCCB site for more information and for eligibility.

Total Rip-off Tuesday

Wherein I "rip-off" another writer on the web. Not taking credit, just sharing good stuff. Today's choice is Philip Jenkins, who thinks that green beer as a remembrance of the great St. Patrick is an abomination of the message of the Gospel:

With all the patience at his command -- which was not immense -- Patrick told his critics about his extraordinary labors in a frightening and often dangerous pagan society, while they were living comfortably. He also stressed the practical realities of operating in this very different kind of emerging Christian society, where gift-giving was a standard part of life. Had he made gifts to influential leaders? He certainly had, and would do so again. I may be ignorant and unlearned, he says, but in winning this country, never doubt that I am doing God's will.

The defensive tone of the Confession is utterly lacking in Patrick's other surviving text, his Letter to the Soldiers of Coroticus. After years of struggle, Patrick…

Could you at least look at me???

I went to Mass at a parish that was not my home parish this weekend. I was visiting a friend out of state (friend is not Catholic) and just picked the parish closest to her house for Sunday morning.

It was as if the entire congregation, including the pastor, decided: "Let's just get this thing over with."

I was disappointed on a lot of levels. The Gospel yesterday of Jesus helping the woman caught in adultery is such a rich, poignant story, I was hoping for a truly insightful sermon. On another level, no Mass should be anything less than magnificent, and that's on all who attend.

One of my biggest pet peeves is, at the Sign of Peace, when people around you give you the dead fish hand shake, mumble something, and move on to the next person without even looking at you. I mean, come ON, people! If you are really, truly, going to wish the person next to you the peace of our Lord Jesus Christ, do it consciously!! Be present! Look me in the eye!

I know: Christ was present…

Monday Morning Art Jam

Total Rip-off, part 2

Saw this over at Sr. Helena Burns site, Hell Burns. (If you haven't visited her site, it's a must. Especially if you have teens.) She is great at explaining Theology of the Body, and savvy about media.

Thought this was worth sharing:


Total Rip-off Tuesday

Wherein I "rip-off" another writer on the web. Not taking credit, just sharing good stuff. Today, the gregarious Cardinal Dolan on his trip (thus far) to Rome:


Remember the way Good Pope John explained it on the eve of the opening of the Second Vatican Council?  The faith of the Church is a gift that cannot be altered, he remarked.  But, the way this gift is “wrapped” can!  That is always a challenge for a Pope.
In other words, the how of our teaching can change; the what of it cannot.
Because, as Billy Graham used to say, the aim of life is to change our lives to conform to God’s will, not to change God’s will to match ours.  We let God re-create us in His image; we do not attempt to create God in our image!
Finally, some tease me that we are here to elect a “new boss.”  Yes, while I look forward to pledging my obedience to our new Holy Father, I also recognize that his ancient title is “servant of the servants of God.”  Following Jesus, he will be elected to serve, not …

"She conveyed strength and a positive and confident spirit.”

I have a thing for nurses. My mom is a (a-hem) retired R.N. (Nurses never, ever retire.) I know what a tough job they have, especially now, what with 12-hour shifts, more patients assigned to them, tougher medical situations and a plethora of medications to keep track of.

I ran across this story of a nurse, Bl. Maria Restituta, a nurse who was killed by the Nazis.A member of the Franciscan Sisters of Christian Charity, she strongly objected to the Nazi regime.
Blessed Maria opposed Nazi efforts to remove all crucifixes and replace them with the swastika.  She also promoted the “soldier’s song,” which contained a message about peace and democracy in Austria. After being denounced to the Nazi secret police by a doctor, she was imprisoned, condemned to death and beheaded in Vienna at the age of 49, together with a group of Communist operatives she accompanied during the final moments of her life....While in prison, Blessed Maria wrote: “It doesn’t matter how far away we are from ev…

What to do with the Prodigal Son?

We all know the story of the Prodigal Son. The best part of the story is that it ends so nicely. The Son comes home, gets a big party, and even though the "good" son's nose gets bent out of shape, he comes around when the all-understanding and ever-loving dad explains his love for both boys. Yay, family life!

Now, I realize this is a parable and not a novel, so the grittiest of details are left out. We also really only get to see the story from the Prodigal's point of view. We don't hear of the heart-wrenching nights the father spends looking out the window, praying for his son's safety and wondering what he had done wrong as a dad. The servants must have spent plenty of time gossiping about their versions of "what went wrong". We get a hint of the sibling rivalry; was it always there?

My family has its own Prodigal. We pray, we weep, we counsel, we talk, we listen. Nothing seems ever to have worked for very long. He has his own way of viewing the …

Monday Morning Art Jam

Sorry, faithful fans....

I haven't been blogging much. I have been dealing with shingles...in my mouth. Avoid this turn of events if you can.

All I can say is: it's Lent. There's that papal conclave you may have heard about in Rome, a dear friend's father just passed away (a man who was always lovely, hospitable, and sweet to me - he will be missed), and my compatriots and I are all adjusting to a new (wonderful! awesome!) work building.

My pain was so bad this weekend I ended up with a trip to the ER, and spent Sunday conked out on pain meds. I missed Mass, but the Gospel was on the Prodigal Son. More on that later...

It's Lent!

Freakin' Friday Fun

In honor of having shingles IN MY MOUTH....

Three Good Things Thursday

1. New building! New office space! We have so much natural light, such a beautiful and HUGE new office. I couldn't be more thrilled.

2. Shingles. No, shingles are not a good thing. They are incredibly painful, and yes, I have them. However, they do give me the opportunity to pray and offer up suffering during Lent.

3. Sunshine! March here in Michigan has decided to open up with sunshine. It's still cold, but unless you've lived in this climate, you never underestimate the power of the sun this time of year.

Breakfast at Castel Gandalfo

Life with an Irish Catholic Mother

I wrote a while ago about things my dad had taught me. My mom, who is still alive and kicking, has taught me a lot too. My mom is a lot different than my dad. My dad was definitely a quieter guy, fun to be around, but not gregarious. He kept a lot to himself.

Mom, being an Irish Catholic, has lived her life with a completely different set of rules. Here are some of them:

1. Don't go anywhere without a Rosary. And pray it; it isn't there for decoration.
2. Whiskey is medicinal.
3. Do not suffer fools lightly.
4. The Catholic Church is yours. It is not the domain of the priest, some nun dressed in an ill-fitting suit, or a renegade bishop. Don't let any of them hijack your faith.
5. Never pass up the opportunity to hold a baby.
6. The first rule of a successful marriage is knowing when to keep your mouth shut.
7. Mothers are mothers, not friends.
8. Be a lady. But keep in mind that "lady" does not mean push-over, patsy, idiot, or doormat.
9. Dress for church.
10. …

Have yourself a merry little Lent

I have to admit: the past few days have been a serious challenge. A dear friend of ours - best man at our wedding - just learned that his father is dying. Another friend is struggling with horrid anxiety. I've got some sort of infection in my mouth that isn't resolving and is quite painful.

Last night, as I was waiting and hoping for the pain meds to kick in, all I could do was pray: "Thank you, Jesus." I know that Christ is allowing me the great grace to suffer with Him as I journey through Lent, for whatever reason. We know we must be purified from our sins, that we must recognize how much Christ chose to suffer for us, how much we must rely on Him. It's only in this recognition and our gratefulness for it that we allow Christ to work in us.

Thank you, Jesus.

Whew! What a week!

As I mentioned earlier this week, I knew it was gonna be a Lenten kind of week.  Curly-haired Daughter had her wisdom teeth - thanks be to God, that went smoothly. We had to postpone Dark-haired Daughter's procedure until our financial depletion gets respite.

Our office moved. I was only a minor character in that whole drama, but it was draining and bittersweet. Our new building is almost indescribably beautiful but there are lots of unknowns and many things to learn.

My neck and shoulders are giving me fits, so I have that to unite me with Christ for the moment. A friend of mine was struggling with anxiety too, and it seemed like a very Lenten week.

And that is good.
16

But whoever is made to suffer as a Christian should not be ashamed but glorify God because of the name. 1 Peter 4:16