I don't know why I read the Huff Post. Well, I suppose it's the same reason I eat potato chips. They're light, airy, crunchy and addictive.
Rea Nolan Martin proclaims in a Huff Post piece that she is proud to be a "Cafeteria Catholic." We all know what that means: "I'm Catholic, but only on my own terms. I don't want to follow rules that impinge upon my whims."
Clearly, Martin is well-educated. She tells us she is: I've studied the mystics and read the Summa by Thomas Aquinas
just for fun. I've read the entire Bible more than once and the Gnostic
gospels too. I've read every word Thomas Merton and Teilhard de Chardin
ever published. I practice Lectio Divina and Centering Prayer.
Yet, she also knows that she is not going to listen to the wisdom of Christ, the Church He founded and 2,000 years of apostolic teaching guided by the Holy Spirit. She knows better. Plus, she has statistics on her side: In fact, the latest statistics in th…
I noticed on Twitter a week or two back that Patrick Madrid, Catholic apologist extraordinaire, sang the praises of an app called "MassExplained." I took a look at the app, noticed the $25 pricetag and tweeted back: too expensive. And he tweeted back to me: some things are worth it.
He was right.
I downloaded the app. It is worth every penny. Not only does it do exactly what it says (explain the Mass, step-by-step), it includes art, history, Scriptural references, definitions, saints' quotes, music and more. I am enthralled, and I know that I will be referencing it often. I also know that my sister, who is working her way back into the Church, will be able to use this.
So, if you have an Apple or iOS device, get this. Patrick Madrid was right.
Snow. It's the only thing anyone is talking about around here. In fact, we here in Michigan officially are the snowiest state right now. The kids are now on snow day #4 and everyone is a little stir-crazy. Even if you do venture out, you have to drive at a creeping pace, since the roads that are plowed are simply sheet ice - the salt doesn't work when it gets this cold.
I happen to love winter, so none of this bothers me too much. I think the snow is beautiful, and I'm happy to stay home, and never have a loss for things to do. This is one good thing about being an introvert.
I've been working on knitting, and just finished reading The Monuments Men, which I highly recommend.
I can't say the house is a whole lot cleaner, but I have been taking care of a thing here and there.
I've also been working my way through Testimony of Hope. Since it's a book of spiritual exercises, it is meant to be read slowly and thoughtfully. The author, Archbishop Francis Xavier…
It's really cold. Like below 0, wind chills in the negative numbers, frostbite cold. From my window at work, I see homeless folks all day long. They gather in the park across the street, they wait by the city's library doors, waiting for them to open at 9 a.m. The shelters, which are a few blocks away, will try and remain open during these terribly cold days, but they normally are closed during the daytime. So many of them don't want to be inside...
Let's pray for the homeless today, whether they are in the cold or heat, whether they choose a shelter or not.
Bless the homeless, this day and
everyday, keep them from physical and emotional harm, fill their hearts
with hope for the future and for today, comfort the homeless as they
walk their difficult paths. May I know that anyone, even me, can be
homeless. Bless the homeless with enough food to
sustain them, with enough warmth to shield them from the elements, with
the power to wrestle personal demons and win, with…
My heart broke last night. I have a young friend, married, with children. She and her husband were actually introduced to me by Tallest Son, and the young woman, A., and I have developed a warm relationship.
She is working to finish her education, being a busy mom, and scrapping by as most young couples do. A. is sweet and warm, smart and empathetic.
I noticed on her Facebook that she'd been exploring different churches in our area, trying to find one that suited her. It started a conversation, and I asked a question that led someplace that broke my heart.
Rather than answering my question on Facebook, A. sent me a private message. She told me that (in answer to my question) she wouldn't consider a Catholic church. When she and her husband were engaged, they had attended RCIA. During the course of the program, it became apparent that she was pregnant. The director of the RCIA program pulled the two of them aside and told them that due to her "condition," they had to…
Yep, I'm a classic over-achiever, and a classic anxious heart. If I don't hit the mark, it's a complete miss. If I get an A-, I failed. If things don't turn out exactly as I had imagined at the beginning, I must as well throw in the towel.
This serves one well in academia, but not in parenthood. That drive to be excellent in my career doesn't translate well as a mother.
I tend to think I've failed as a parent when anything goes wrong. It's even worse when things go horribly wrong. When my kids make damaging choices - choices that hurt themselves and others - and all I can do is sit back and watch, well...That's when I weep.
Then I have to take a breath, and another breath, and another. Because I need the breathe of the Spirit within me. I need to hope. I need to remember that God is in charge, no matter what, and He sees what I cannot see, and may never see in this life.
In her song, Lead Me On, Audrey Assad sings: Your rod and Your staff are a strange …
I feel like I'm just along for the ride, buckled up in the passenger seat.
With a blind guy driving.
I'm white-knuckled and terrified. One of my kids is making such devastating decisions, and he doesn't seem to have any idea what the consequences are. It's like driving around with a blind guy at the wheel.
No trial has come to you but what is human. God is
faithful and will not let you be tried beyond your strength; but with
the trial he will also provide a way out, so that you may be able to
bear it. - 1 Cor. 10:13
That's a hard verse. Yes, it is comforting, in that it assures us of God's faithfulness, but it also means I have to accept that this trial is not more than I can bear, even when it seems to be. Really, God? I mean: REALLY??
I am taken where I do not want to go, doing things I do not want to do. And God is asking me to do them with great love. And patience. And hope. And faith.
I am such a poor disciple, a weak woman. So the only thing I can do i…
In our society and media, re-gifting, or having someone give a gift
they have received as a gift to someone else, is often mocked as a cheap
way of turning those gifts into bargains. We often see how TV
characters are deeply offended upon discovering that some gift they gave
has been re-gifted. The greatest joke, of course, is when we receive
our original gift back from an oblivious or forgetful recipient. This is
supposed to be deep gash or insult demonstrating ingratitude,
rejection, and who knows what other evils. This is not, however, God’s take on gifting. He wants us to re-gift
as much as possible, spreading what He has blessed us with to as many
other folks as we can. Recall how the servants who re-invested and
spread the talents received were praised while the servant who merely
hid his talent was criticized and lost what he was given. God does not
want us to hide our gifts for ourselv…
The first criterion: to love with deeds, not words. Words are taken away
by the wind! They are here today, tomorrow they are not. The second
criterion of concreteness is: in love it is more important to give than
to receive. The one who loves, gives. . . . Gives things, gives life,
gives oneself to God and to others. On the other hand, [is] the one who
does not love, who is selfish, always seeks to receive, always seeks to
have things, to have advantages. Stay with an open heart, not like that
of the disciples, which was closed, which did not understand anything:
remaining in God and God remaining in us; remaining in love.
I am desperate to teach my children that there is not one person
walking this earth without a hole in their heart. Every single one of us
is aching to simply be loved. Some days, it’s glorious and full of
sunshine and easy. Other days, it’s a battle to walk straight with the
invisible weight of the world on your shoulders. But most days… MOST
DAYS… you are basically fine.
Someone around you, near you, next to you… some one obviously or
secretly or on a thin line in between the two… someone is not basically
My mantra right now is "I'm not in control, but God is, and it's okay."
This may sound like a simple and obvious (duh!) idea, but for a recovering perfectionist/control freak, this is a huge matter of acceptance. Youngest Son is in some deep trouble, and my heart is breaking. All I can do right now is pray.
And pray I do. I ask for the intersessions of lots of saints, and I beg God that Son's misery continues until Son realizes that a huge part of his problem is spiritual and he needs God. That's a hard prayer to pray: "God, please make sure my son is miserable until he realizes how much he needs you, and begs for your forgiveness." But it's the only prayer that makes any sense right now.
I want so much to jump in and fix, but I can't. Youngest Son is old enough, big enough, strong enough that short of tying him to his bed, he can choose to do what he wants. We set limits, rules, and consequences; he has free will.
Our pilgrimage of faith has been inseparably linked to Mary ever since
Jesus, dying on the Cross, gave her to us as our Mother, saying: "Behold
your Mother!" (Jn 19:27). These words serve as a testament, bequeathing
to the world a Mother. From that moment on, the Mother of God also
became our Mother! When the faith of the disciples was most tested by
difficulties and uncertainties, Jesus entrusted them to Mary, who was
the first to believe, and whose faith would never fail. The "woman"
became our Mother when she lost her divine Son. Her sorrowing heart was
enlarged to make room for all men and women, all, whether good or bad,
and she loves them as she loved Jesus. The woman who at the wedding at
Cana in Galilee gave her faith-filled cooperation so that the wonders of
God could be displayed in the world, at Calvary kept alive the flame of
faith in the resurrection of her Son, and she communicates this with
Yesterday, on the Feast of the Epiphany, our pastor pointed out this last line in the Gospel: "they departed for their country by another way."
Father said that this could be taken at face value: they were trying to skirt around Herod, whom they'd been told in a dream to avoid, as Herod wanted to kill the Christ Child, not worship Him, as Herod had told the magi when they met with him.
But there is a deeper meaning. The magi had been changed by their encounter with Christ. They who were not Jews or perhaps believers of any kind were now believers. They had met God - in a most unusual way - but met him face-to-face, nonetheless. When they departed for home, it was in an another way - the way of the believer.
You have encountered Christ. How has it changed you? When you depart from the Mass, do you do so in a different way than when you entered the church? Have the sacraments changed you, made you better, helped you see Christ more clearly?
No resolutions here. However, I do think the New Year is a good time to assess one's spiritual life. I really want to work on being steadfast in faith, regardless of my circumstances. I realize that I tend to think that "bad" times or rough periods of life - finances, kids, health - all those areas of stress make be doubtful and turn away from God. I want to make sure that my faith is steadfast: steady and true, even - no peaks and valleys.
What about you? What do you want to work on spiritually in 2014?