Please add yours to the mix!
All the better if you use one of these!
Oh, and last but not least, don't forget to ask the saints and guardian angels to pray with you! I think I'll be enlisting the guardian angels of the children in peril as added prayer warriors. No doubt they're on their holy knees before the Throne of God begging for the chance to fulfill a lifetime of angel-duties...
Blessed be these children. Blessed be the mothers who shelter them within their wombs. Blessed be the fathers who can step up and support them. Blessed be the families of both mother and father who can support BOTH in their decision to choose life. Most of all, blessed be the doctors and nurses who perform these atrocities. May this blessing consist of wisdom, humility, and clarity regarding the life they are holding...
St. Joan of Arc, pray for us!
I just finished reading Father Z's defense of the clergy in the middle of this HHS Mandate mess.
Here is my favorite highlight:
There is only so much the bishops can accomplish in the public square on their own: the rest is your job. Don’t shirk your role even if you think bishops and priests are being lazy or craven. Stand up and get to work right now, even if you are disappointed that bishops aren’t beaming lasers out of their eyes or issuing decrees of excommunication while they levitate to the strains of Verdi’s Dies Irae.
Yes and yes. So many people are complaining about how little they see priests and bishops doing. I'm always confused by this, mainly because I see them doing so much. We can't expect them to hop onto the pulpits and scream bloody murder. We can't have them running around denouncing entire political parties or trying to convince folks that all Pro-Choice candidates are going straight to hell. We can't expect them to fight, fight, fight while we cower in the corner waiting for the spat to be done with.
And yet that seems to be what's happening by and large. I've seen the Church in the US mobilize in a way I've never encountered. Bishops are uniting and are extremely vocal on the issues that face us as a people. Leaders from other faiths are coming out in support of us. Catholic who have been wayward now feel a calling to defend the Church that blessed them with their faith and traditions. They can only do so much, and Father Z is right... we need to pick up the beacon ourselves to carry forth the Flame of Truth.
We can, and we MUST. WE are the Church... all of us. Not just the priests, not just the bishops, and not just the little old ladies praying the rosary after Mass.
WE are the Church, and we really need to start acting like it.
I have two rosaries that I typically use for everything. I used to have three, but I'm waiting to purchase a new Rosary for the Unborn (since I lost mine on the airplane back from Jamaica - bah).
I digress... as usual. *Blush*
The first is my Confirmation rosary. I was given this simple white rosary by my Aunt Bernadette (both my Godmother and sponsor) back in 7th grade when I was confirmed. I had it socked away in a drawer for years, but since my reversion, it's never been far from my side.
I chose that rosary to take with me on my trip to Treasures of the Church, though, which meant I got to touch it to almost 200 1st class relics. From that night on, anytime I pray with that rosary, I feel it's perfectly acceptable to ask all the saints I venerated to pray along with me. I'm sure they're only too happy to oblige.
Anyway, last night I said my prayers downstairs so as not to wake up John (who had gone up to bed an hour earlier). Since I keep my Confirmation rosary next to my bed, I reached into my purse to use the one my mother gave me for Christmas. It's a beautiful birthstone rosary with lavender pearls and amethyst beads. The Crucifix and center piece are by far the nicest I've ever seen.
As I pull the beautiful rosary from my purse, I realize that I can't fairly ask the saints to pray along with me since I don't have "their" rosary. Mind you, I'm fully aware that they'd pray along with me just the same, because they have no care what's in my hands so long as the prayers are coming from the heart, but I still feel as though that something is missing. This is sort of like Jesus being fully present as I accept Him in the Eucharist vs. Him being fully present in the Eucharist at Adoration. In both instances, He is absolutely fully present. There is, however, a different type of intimacy. I feel the same way about praying with the two rosaries. Both obviously help me in my spiritual development, and both guide me through the meditations of the Rosary / Divine Mercy chaplet, but in uniquely different ways.
So instead of asking the saints to pray along like I normally do, I ask my guardian angel to pray along with me. Whenever I make this request, I always picture a beautiful ethereal being solemnly bowed down in prayer, then rolling his eyes at me for such a foolish request. Of COURSE he'd pray with me. He'd do it regardless, and probably tries to coax me into doing it more myself!
But I ask anyway, because I don't want him to feel left out or think that I don't appreciate his presence. So off we begin our prayers when a thought enters into my mind:
"Where two or three are gathered in My Name, there am I in their midst.” (Matt 18:20)
Welp... me and my guardian angel make two, right? So I wondered if Jesus was hovering around us somewhere. As I made my way through an Our Father, I realized that not only was Jesus present, I was SPEAKING HIM!
Jesus is the Word of God, right? He is the Word of God incarnated, but the Word of God nonetheless. The words of the Our Father were given to us straight from Jesus, Himself, so that's about as "Word of God" as it gets. In the state of prayer, in acknowledging His Presence, I understand that I SPEAK His Presence. He really was present with us as not only were His Words being used... His Will was being done through those prayers.
The Holy Spirit was kind to me with that little nugget of illumination. When I acknowledged that, too, I realized that the Trinity does fully exist with, for and in one another. One can never be without the Others. As soon as I realized that I was speaking Christ's Presence, I realized it was the Holy Spirit who placed that thought in my head. I realized then it was the Will of the Father being done through the simple action of reciting His Words granted through Jesus, His Son.
This is another reason why prayer is so important. This is proof that not only do we talk to God, God speaks directly back to us... just not necessarily in the ways we expect or are used to.
So make use of your guardian angels! I hear they like that sorta thing... *wink.*
This sculpture is the first (and as yet only) piece of art that has ever made me weep. I came across it in my travels, and the reaction was instantaneous. The tears were coming before I even understood what it was I was looking at.
The tender love and comfort extending from the child as she reached out to touch her agonizing mother is intense. That flood of intensity was then made into a deluge of sadness as I realized the child was "invisible," the symbolic soul of a child this mother lost. Then, when I realized what the title of the sculpture actually was, I just about died of a broken heart.
Though this sculpture doesn't necessarily have to speak of the post-abortion grief many woman feel, that was what I took it for at first glance. Then I realized this grief could easily be felt by women who suffered miscarriages, ectopic pregnancies, or even hysterectomies before fulfilling their vision of a family. This sculpture could also encapsulate the grief of a mother denied children through birth control, social pressures or infertility... maybe even a mother who lost her child to illness, violence or trauma.
Such ceaseless pain is perfectly juxtaposed with undescribable love. This ghost child is peaceful, seeking no solace for itself; she is only looking to comfort her stricken mother. The mother, overcome by her emotions, cannot feel the touch of this angel. She wants to... she yearns to... but she cannot.
Oh my heart. I'm actually writing this entry with my "window" scrolled up just enough that the image is not visible on my screen. I can do nothing but weep when I see it.
May the Lord grant us mercy for our transgressions against these innocent babes. May those who seek reconciliation find peace, and may the Holy Spirit alight in the hearts of those who don't understand that life begins at conception.
To all my newly pregnant friends out there...
The Vatican JUST approved the publication of a blessing rite specifically for children within the womb.
Read more about it HERE.
How amazing! I know while I was struggling with the threat of miscarriage, I wanted nothing more than something JUST like this for Vincent!
Pass it along! Our babies need all the help they can get in this new Pro-Death society we find ourselves in!
***Also, if anyone's able to locate the text of this, I'd appreciate it. Someone on the actual article wondered if this could be prayed outside an abortion clinic by the laity. I'll keep an eye out for the answer. Off to ship this to Father Z***
This is the most uplifting thing I've read all day. Yay Adoration!
The reason I chose to place an image of the Visitation up here is that, in truth, Elizabeth's reaction to Our Lady and the Child she carried within her was probably humanity's first act of Adoration (aside from Mary, of course). Since the Blessed Mother was the first Eucharistic Procession (being that she was the living Tabernacle / Ark of the Covenant which carried the Incarnate Word), it follows that Elizabeth, being the 2nd person to know of the Savior's coming, would drop to her knees in humble thanksgiving for the gift of God.
Yes, even in her 6th month and on her old, feeble knees, I bet Saint Elizabeth dropped down and wept tears of joy in the Presence of the Messiah. Little John the Baptist, also within his mother's womb, felt the blessing of his Master and leapt for joy at His nearness.
May we all approach the Blessed Sacrament with the same love and joy as Saint Elizabeth. May we all accept and carry the Word Incarnate within us, bearing Him forth to others that they might know something of His Love.
Oh joy of joys! Happy Solemnity of the Annunciation!
Today our liturgical calendar marks the momentous occasion in which the Blessed Mother becomes the new Eve through her eternal "Fiat" to the Divine Will of God!
Our humanity, overshadowed by sin and a longing for the Messiah, is granted not only the Savior Incarnate... we are granted a dignity that far surpasses our mortal minds. God, Himself, takes on our flesh. God - the timeless, omnipotent Author of Life - constrains Himself in the womb of His Mother that He might teach us all the way of holiness.
God did not demean Himself by taking on the form of man. Instead, God elevated humanity to Himself, allowing His Divinity to sanctify the physical temple of the flesh. This is simply unfathomable, and I honestly get a little dumbstruck every time I think about it.
Anyway, you folks know I'm a big fan of the Annunciation. I've spoken of it many times in the past. Bear with me while I talk about it again. This is one of those mysteries I'd be content talking about forever. In fact, I'm hoping to ask God to let me watch a "replay" of it when I die just so I can see that blessing unfold over and over again! :)
When Eve said that first "No" to the Divine Will of God, humanity suffered. Until that "No," all of creation was in perfect union with God. There was joy, happiness and peace because everything followed the Will of God (which was and always will be perfection). However, as soon as Eve consciously turned away from God's Will, she unwittingly destroyed the peaceful flow. It was like a pebble being dropped into God's ocean of tranquility, and the ripples reached out, touching everything and everyone in future generations, reverberating back to the source from all angles.
As a result of this break from God's Will, humanity was forced out of Eden to await one who would help rectify the reverberations that disfigured creation. One would come who would help restore balance, peace and dignity to the fallen people. One would come who would say "Yes" where Eve had said "No."
My favorite Theotokos icon
The Blessed Mother was that person - the Theotokos. Mary, within her immaculate womb, bore the remedy to sin and death. Only through her consent to God's Divine Will did Salvation through Christ become possible.
This is why Catholics believe her to be the Mediatrix of all Graces. However, as pointed out in the Second Vatican Council's Lumen gentium, this understanding "takes nothing away, or adds nothing to the dignity and efficacy of Christ the one Mediator."
Mediatrix simply means "woman mediator" and Our Lady was (and is) the go-between of God and humanity. Her sinless life - from her Immaculate Conception until her glorious Assumption - was one, singular "Fiat" to the Will of the Father.
And as I said before, she's not only our example of how we, too, can lead lives in union with God's Will, she's also our strongest intercessor helping us ensure we do just that!
Jesus, having given everything He even unto His last drop of Blood from the Cross, looked out at His people and saw one thing left to share with us - His Most Holy Mother. Mary, who had been His consolation, joy and refuge was no left without her Son. To both console her and to console us, He bequeathed this gem to us through the person of St. John.
Louisa Piccarretta's description of this moment is entirely too moving for me to fully encapsulate here without delving into the entire Hour. Suffice to say, however, that this gift of Christ was majestic, and I, for one, am eternally grateful for His arrival via Annunciation / Incarnation! :)
Say it loud and proud, Angel Gabriel!!!
I admit it. I'm a McDonald's girl. Always have been, and probably always will be. I once went through an entire semester eating nothing but #2's (their two cheeseburger meal which, after a couple years of hibernation, now seems to be their #4 in S. Jersey).
I could drench my fries in Sweet-n-Sour sauce all night long and never once think to myself, Gina, maybe you're overdoing it a little bit.
Nope. I'd give people directions using McDonalds' as landmarks. Friends would get me McDonald's gift certificates for holidays. I even bonded with my future-husband over McDonald's history and lore. Apparently it's what cemented his love for me...
But I digress.
In all my years as a McDonald's girl, I've scoffed at those who preferred Chick-Fil-A. One of my best friends, Frank (you can check out his Phillies Blog here), swears by it. I'd religiously pass it up in favor of McDonald's. If I'm gonna have fast food, I may as well have the good stuff, right?
Well, ladies and gentlemen, over the last year or so, I've heard an increasing amount of arguments in favor of Chick-Fil-A. My husband always liked their stuff (he didn't have loyalties like I did), but he could never convince me to give them a fair shot. It took a troupe of Mommy Bloggers to finally pave the way for me to give them a real go.
Thus, when John asked "Where do you want to take Vince to lunch?" while we were out last weekend, I surprised him with "Chick-Fil-A." I seriously think he had a minor heart attack.
Anyway, we made our way to the one down the street from us. John was in his glories (he loves their nuggets), and I was in the playroom with Vince. I had already eaten (since I wasn't expecting to like anything - chicken sandwiches never appealed to me), but John got me a sandwich anyway. "It's for later" he said.
Anyway, the restaurant was just what all the Mommy Bloggers had talked about. It was clean, the staff was extremely friendly, they were very obviously "kid-friendly," and as a result, their customers seemed very much like us... young families looking to capitalize on a good deal.
I was amazed!
The playroom was perfect. It had several activities and kept Vince thoroughly entertained for about 45 minutes. When we finally pulled him away for food, he enjoyed that, too! John had gotten him nuggets and waffle fries with an apple juice to drink.
I tried one of the nuggets because they looked homemade. I don't like nuggets, but since these looked so (for lack of a better word) natural, I took a nibble and was thoroughly surprised when I liked that, too!
The real test came a few minutes later when I had to change Vince in the bathroom. Imagine my surprise when the bathroom not only had a changing station, but a clean one at that! It was even stocked with little baggies to toss away diapers, and extra wipes in case a mom forgot her own!
And as we were leaving the bathroom, I spotted a little step stool for Vince to use to wash his hands. I didn't have to help him levitate (which inevitably leaves him soapy and covered in water)!!!
Okay, Chick-Fil-A... I think you may be on to something!
So I decided to go back again today. I wanted to see if I'd just gotten lucky and saw them on the best day they'd ever had. Today's trip was even BETTER!
The staff was in full force today, giving balloons to all the kids, asking parents if they wanted free "toys / books" for them, making sure every one had all the condiments / drinks they wanted.
The playroom was still pristine (with the exception of a tiny Purell packet on the floor which immediately got swept up by one of the staff members), and yes, the bathroom was STILL stocked with extra wipes!
Alright, alright... I can admit defeat. Chick-Fil-A, you have a new raving fan. Now I fully believe what all the other Mommy Bloggers were saying when they swore by this place. Now I can go back to Frank and say, "Alrighty, I apologize... you're not entirely wrong in your opinion of Chick-Fil-A." And John... John can be super happy that Chick-Fil-A has become a possibility for the family again!
So yes... for any of you folks wondering if Chick-Fil-A might be for you, give it a whirl. I wish I had done it a lot sooner!
Special thanks to Creative Minority Report for not only having the full ad, but the full text here.
Another special thanks to Nicole for dropping this off via FB. I'd seen it being talked about on a few blogs, but I hadn't gotten the full text until now!
I'll deal with the Catholic vs. Muslim NTY Ad issue at another time. Today I want to focus on the Catholic ad.
I'm all for free speech. I honestly don't mind that they paid for an ad that voiced their opinions. That being said, I'm unsurprised that they chose to exercise their freedom of speech by once again attacking Catholicism and seeking to muddy the real issues that surround US Catholics at present.
I'll take the text and respond - one at a time - to their ludicrous statements. My comments are in red.
Dear ‘Liberal’ Catholic:
It’s time to quit the Roman Catholic Church.
It’s your moment of truth. Will it be reproductive freedom, or back to the Dark Ages? Do you choose women and their rights, or Bishops and their wrongs? Whose side are you on, anyway?
Common ploy to polarize! You're attempting to juxtapose issues that don't actually exist. For example, in attempting to contrast our Bishops and "their wrongs" with women and "their rights" it appears that the two are at odds. In truth, Catholics are
attempting to continue
providing women with
the most comprehensive
And these are only a few examples - a very tiny sampling of the almost unfathomable amount of resources we dedicate to providing reliable, charitable healthcare to ALL people all over the world. But sure - this is simply a matter of us suddenly wanting to stop providing what is a vital part of our Catholic identity. Of course. That makes perfect sense. <sarcasm>
It is time to make known your dissent from the Catholic Church, in light of the U.S. Catholic Conference of Bishops’ ruthless campaign endangering the right to contraception. If you’re part of the Catholic Church, you’re part of the problem.
I didn't realize that practicing my faith somehow trampled on your rights. In speaking out against this mandate, I'm not stopping you from purchasing condoms, pills or even abortions. I'm simply attempting to keep myself from footing the bill for your lifestyle choices, especially when those lifestyle choices go directly against my faith. Isn't this what you've always wanted? This is the Church attempting to stay out of your bedroom. Stay out of my wallet, k?
Why are you propping up the pillars of a tyrannical and autocratic, woman-hating, sex-perverting, antediluvian Old Boys Club?
Your proof for any of those completely fallacious statements is where? And that whole sex-perversion comment makes me laugh. We're upholding sexual intercourse to be a holy, beautiful and intimate bond between husband and wife. You folks are the ones attempting to make it a free-for-all that is free from emotion, respect, and responsibility.
Why are you aiding and abetting a church that has repeatedly and publicly announced a crusade to ban contraception, abortion and sterilization, and to deny the right of all women everywhere, Catholic or not, to decide whether and when to become mothers?
Because the Church is correct in attempting to stamp out that which is morally bankrupt. We're NOT attempting to refuse women the right to choose whether / when to become mothers. They're perfectly capable of doing that on their own. It's as simple as saying "No, honey, not tonight." Or are you attempting to assert that women are ignorant and incapable of understanding their own bodies well enough to address this issue themselves without the aid of harmful chemicals /invasive procedures?
When it comes to reproductive freedom, the Roman Catholic Church is Public Enemy Number One. Think of the acute misery, poverty, needless suffering, unwanted pregnancies, social evils and deaths that can be laid directly at the door of the Church’s antiquated doctrine that birth control is a sin and must be outlawed.
Oh really? Reproductive freedom goes both ways, dear. How about we call it Reproductive RESPONSIBILITY. Folks don't want to accept responsibility anymore. It has nothing to do with freedom. It has to do with a refusal of responsibility. Freedom is as simple as saying "No, I'm not ready for a child, thus I'm not ready for the act that goes into creating a child" or even "I'm not ready (or willing) to have a child, thus I need to be aware of my body's signals that I'm fertile."
In the eyes of the Church, birth control, abortion and sterilization are mortal sins. Our doctrine on this is not something that can become "antiquated." So regardless of how much public opinion is influenced by your liberal thrust, the Church will remain firmly rooted in the Truth of the Teachings of Christ. Thus, call us outdated all you want. Truth is timeless, and no matter how many times you try to say 1+1=7, the Catholic Church will always discern your folly and seek to correct that folly for the good of Her people.
A backer of the Roman Catholic presidential candidate says that if women want to avoid pregnancy we should put an aspirin between our knees?
Apparently we must take his word for gospel because he's a Catholic. Good thing there haven't been any folks who parade themselves as Catholic and do / say some REALLY anti-Catholic things (Pelosi, anyone? Cuomo? I could go on).
Catholic politicians are urging that the right to contraception should be left up to states?
Nearly 50 years after the Supreme Court upheld contraception as a privacy right, we’re going to have to defend this basic freedom all over again?
Back to that whole "Truth is timeless" point. Just because the SC said something's A-OK doesn't mean we have to agree. We'll keep plugging away until all life (even that within the womb) is viewed with the respect and dignity it deserves.
You’re better than your church.
Correction - we ARE the Church.
So why? Why continue to attend Mass? Tithe?
To worship God in a way He specified was holy and good.
To join together as a community to renew our covenant with God as His family.
To listen to the Word of God and participate in His Death and Resurrection.
To partake of the Blessed Sacrament - something no other religion has.
To bear our petitions before the Throne of the Lord on the wings of our angels.
To unite ourselves more fully to the Church Triumphant, Penitent and Militant.
To express thankfulness for the blessings we've received through Divine Providence.
Annnnd, this list could seriously go on forever.
Why dutifully sacrifice to send your children to parochial schools so they can be brainwashed into the next generation of myrmidons (and, potentially, become the next Church victims)?
Of course it's seen as brainwashing to you. And that's fine - no one's asking you to send your kids to Catholic school. However, I know I intend to send mine to a Catholic school so they gain a firm foundation for TRUE Catholic teachings - not the misinformation you spread as fact.
I also appreciate the comfort of knowing Catholic education does a much better job of helping children succeed academically than its secular counterpart. And for the record, that information was compiled using the U.S. Department of Education’s National Center for Education Statistics (NCES).
For that matter, why have you put up with an institution that won’t put up with women priests, that excludes half of humanity?
This simply shows your ignorance of Catholicism. ALL people are part of the royal priesthood (men and women alike). However, only men can belong to the ministerial priesthood through Ordination, and that's because women are NATURALLY able to become vessels of life. Men can only gain that gift through the vocation of priesthood (in bearing Christ to the people through Consecration). But since folks like you can't seem to grasp that dignity is not something measured by things you can pat yourself on the back for, just read this and learn why we believe women cannot be priests.
No self-respecting feminist, civil libertarian or progressive should cling to the Catholic faith.
Again, you're attempting to polarize things that honestly have no reason being a part of this discussion. You're attempting to shame folks into leaving the Church because you view it as anti-feminist, stifled and archaic. The Church is none of these things. We respect our women, we revere tradition, and we are able to grow in spirituality courtesy of the Holy Spirit. Just because we aren't willing to fall into the muck you call "progress" doesn't mean we can't be progressive. We just think your version of "progress" is highly suspect and can be likened more to humanity slipping BACKWARDS into slime and filth.
As a Cafeteria Catholic, you chuck out the stale doctrine and moldy decrees of your religion, but keep patronizing the establishment that menaces public health by serving rotten offerings.
You have completely misunderstood the concept of Cafeteria Catholic, haven't you?
Your continuing Catholic membership, as a “liberal,” casts a veneer of respectability upon an irrational sect determined to blow out the Enlightenment and threaten liberty for women worldwide. You are an enabler. And it’s got to stop.
I agree that Cafeteria Catholics have to stop, but I think we differ on the reasons why, as these folks do nothing to cast ANY sort of respectability upon those of us who are faithful Catholics. And as for your talk of Enlightenment... well... that's obviously hogwash as Catholicism is a beacon of truth in your sea of folly. As much as you want to claim we're threatening women's health / liberty, we're probably the last bastion they've got that is willing to provide them the compassion and dignity they desperately need.
If you imagine you can change the church from within — get it to lighten up on birth control, gay rights, marriage equality, embryonic stem-cell research — you are deluding yourself.
For any Catholic that thinks they can change that stuff, you're not understanding the concept of dogma, and I'd agree with the statement of "you are deluding yourself."
If you remain a “good Catholic,” you are doing “bad” to women’s rights.
Not only is a non-Catholic attempting to tell me I'm being "bad" but an atheistic one who HATES Catholicism. No conflict of interest there, right? Excuse me, waiter... can I please have a heaping serving of salt to go with this garbage?
You’re kidding yourself if you think the Church is ever going to add a Doctrine of Immaculate ContraCeption.
I bet you thought you were hilarious with that one, didn't you? *Shakes head* That's pathetic.
It is disgraceful that U.S. health care reform is being held hostage to the Catholic Church’s bizarre opposition to medically prescribed contraception.
No, what's disgraceful is that the current administration is attempting to dismantle our 1st Amendment rights and a portion of the population is perfectly content to stand by because they don't understand / care what's going on.
No politician should jeopardize electability for failure to genuflect before the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.
Again, while I'm sure you thought your imagery was hilarious, you fail to make any sort of substantial point. No one is expecting politicians to genuflect before a bishop. We (meaning faithful Catholics) want politicians to uphold the office they were elected for. We want them to hear our voice and protect our right to freedom of religion. If they fail to uphold the dignity of their office, we'll be sure to give them a good old-fashioned boot come next election.
(Question to ask your Bishop: Does he hold up an umbrella against the rain? Isn’t that just as “unnatural” as using a condom or diaphragm?)
Again, this foolish question makes no sense, but it betrays your view of sex. For Catholics, sexual relations are a renewal of wedding vows. It is the total giving of self by husband to wife (and vice versa). Exactly what sort of loving, self-giving exchange is occurring between a human being and rain?
Your Church hysterically claims that secular medical policy is “an assault against religious liberty.”
It's not a hysterical claim, but I know you're trying with increasing fervor to make others believe that's all it is. This is a proclamation of TRUTH.
You are savvy enough to realize that the real assault is by the Church against women’s rights and health care.
I see what you attempted to do there. I know you're attempting to stroke my ego and make me go "Yeah! I AM smart enough to realize the Church is really anti-women!"
Unfortunately for you, I'm actually much more intelligent and knowledgable about my faith than you are. So how about you back off with attempting to tell me what my religion stands for and you go about your business of trying to prove to yourself that there is no higher power awaiting you at death.
As Nation columnist Katha Pollitt asks: Is it an offense against Jehovah Witnesses that health care coverage will include blood transfusions? The Amish, as Pollitt points out, don’t label cars “an assault on religious liberty” and try to force everyone to drive buggies. The louder the Church cries “offense against religious liberty” the harder it works to take away women’s liberty.
Mark Shea answers this way better than I ever could, so just read this.
Obama has compromised,
No, no he didn't. In fact, he outright lied.
but the Church never budges, instead launching a vengeful modern-day Inquisition.
Yup. And I'm quite pleased that She's finally mobilizing the Church Militant in defense of Truth!
Look at its continuing directives to parish priests to use their pulpits every Sunday to lobby you against Obama’s policy, the Church’s announcement of a major anti-contraception media campaign — using your tithes, contributions and donations — to defeat Obama’s laudable health care policy.
Have you actually been to any churches on Sunday? That's an obvious "no."
The Church has introduced into Congress the “Respect for Rights of Conscience Act, ” a bill to place the conscienceless Catholic Church’s “rights of conscience” above the rights of conscience of 53 percent of Americans. That the Church has “conscience rights” to deny women their rights is a kissing cousin to the claim that “corporations are people.” The Church that hasn’t persuaded you to oppose contraception now wants to use the force of secular law to deny contraceptive rights to non-Catholics.
Wow - to be quite honest, you lost me at "conscienceless Catholic Church." Also, what is this "53 percent of Americans" you're referring to?
But is there any point in going on?
Plenty, as you've yet to give me any solid reasons to leave what I know to be the fulfillment of God's promise for salvation. We have the Sacraments, we have true, moral guidance, we have a community of good, charitable people who seek to extend their hands to help Divine Providence along. We have the Church Triumphant and the Church Penitent pulling for us, and we've got the guidance of the Holy Spirit to navigate us through your treachery.
You've got what? Pills and condoms? Moral bankruptcy? A hopeless future in which life amounts to nothing more than personal gratification and selfish ideas of how others can be utilized for your own ends?
Yeah... no thanks.
After all, your misplaced loyalty has lasted through two decades of public sex scandals involving preying priests, children you may have known as victims, and church complicity, collusion and coverup going all the way to the top.
Ah, there it is... I was waiting for this to rear its head. Yes, we've had our share of fallen leaders, same as everyone else. There really isn't much we can do to rectify all the hurt and pain we've caused, but good luck to the world in attempting to pay us back for all the good we've done. We are a sinful people, but in the end, our track record is much more golden than tarnished. Though this is an ugly scar we will bear forever (and rightly so), it doesn't diminish the humane, holy, and charitable good we've done all over the world.
Are you like the battered woman who, after being beaten down every Sunday, feels she has no place else to go?
Really? You seriously went with THIS imagery? I guess you're really trying to bring home your whole "the Church hates women" argument. Again - very sad.
But we have a more welcoming home to offer,
Like all those wonderful things I mentioned above??? Again - no thanks!
free of incense-fogged ritual,
Also free from holiness, blessings and God
free of what freethinker Bertrand Russell called “ideas uttered long ago by ignorant men,”
Apparently free from common sense and knowledge of what Catholicism actually teaches, too.
free of blind obedience to an illusory religious authority.
And to top it off, free from absolutes, tradition and reality. Again, no thanks!
Join those of us who put humanity above dogma.
You're confusing humanity for personal gratification and immaturity - a life free from responsibility, meaningful relationships, and most importantly, God. Pardon me if I don't come rushing over to sign up.
As a member of the “flock” of an avowedly antidemocratic club, isn’t it time you vote with your feet? Please, exit en Mass.
Again, I realize you think you're hilarious, but wow. It's like your puns get more cringe-worthy with each passing paragraph! I'll continue voting with my feet straight up the Communion line where I can kneel before my Lord and my God to accept Him with love and joy, content to bear Him forth to others.
Amen, dear Lord - never allow me to tear myself away from Your Heart.
These past few weeks, the topic of "broken friendships" somehow came up five or six different times in conversations with several different people.
I had been contemplating blogging about this for a while, but never really got around to motivating myself to confront the emotions that are inevitably attached to these broken friendships.
That being said, the progression of the aforementioned conversations seemed to be the workings of Divine Providence. The final exchange that solidified this realization was jump-started with the question, "Doesn't it bother you that [your friends] drop off like that?"
I suddenly put all the other conversations together in my head that added up to this question:
1. An old friend from college asked about a mutual friend that we both, for different reasons, severed ties with.
2. My "other mother" asked about a mutual friend who "moved on" upon realizing his views on homosexual marriage didn't mesh with ours (thus becoming indignant and hurt as a result).
3. The on-going Garlands of Grace saga that has led to over 100 people "breaking up" with them over their (how do I put this?) confused ideas on Catholicism.
4. A back-fired plan to find common ground that unfortunately left the friend who led the charge completely disgruntled
5. Friend of mine who is getting married mused aloud the hurt she carried due to a good friend of hers no longer being a part of her life (let alone part of her wedding day)
6. Acquaintance from high school asked if I'd be attending the upcoming reunion and if I knew the response of the friend I severed ties with from conversation number one.
As I said... it didn't occur to me until last night that these conversations were all leading me to this entry. I'd been toying with the idea for a while, but the topic has resurfaced with a vengeance, so I guess it's my time to confront it as I best I know how - through writing. I'll focus on my biggest "broken friendship" because, in all honesty, it was the most painful and is, at times, an on-going process - especially now that it's been brought up so much these last few weeks.
My slogan in life has always been "Once a friend, always a friend." I'm loyal to a fault and have swallowed more than my share of indignation just to "keep the peace."
However, I was never willing to compromise my beliefs in order to fit in or gain popularity. Those things never mattered much to me. It's probably why I was typically at the bottom of the social totem pole amongst my peers. :)
Anyway, I was highly selective of those I'd call "friend." I had plenty of acquaintances and was always well-known due to my high level of involvement and cheerful disposition, but I always knew who my FRIENDS were.
In high school, I was definitely the glue between these friends. Some of them would tease me about being "the Mom" of the group because I was always reaching out to make sure everyone was included, having a good time, and aware of what was going on with the group as a whole. I wore that teasing like a badge of honor. I prided myself in my ability to take care of my friends. I took pleasure in making sure they felt validated, important and loved. In all honesty, it was through my dedication to them that I, in turn, was validated, felt important, and understood myself to be loved. It's probably why I yearned so much for a child of my own from an early age... only in the service of others do I find myself at peace.
Even as my high school relationships blossomed, I clung to my relationship with Mary - my best friend from grade school. Even though she moved away, I did everything I could to bridge the growing gap between us. She had grown depressed... beyond miserable with her new school and those she found herself surrounded with. As a result, she withdrew from me (and the rest of the world), shutting herself off from our friendship.
I remember growing almost frantic at that. I felt so hurt and lonely without her. She was (and is) a very foundational part of who I am. To think that I'd lost her for some unknown reason was heartbreaking to me. However, through my irritating persistence and her own triumph over that inner struggle, we eventually found our way to a better relationship towards the end of college.
Having tasted the bitterness of losing a best friend, I was extremely vigilant regarding my high school friends. So when it became obvious that I'd have to "break up" with the best one I'd found, it was truly devastating.
He and I had met early on and clicked right away. We shared so much of ourselves with one another that it was no surprise that, at the end of senior year, we found ourselves romantically involved. We really did love each other. To an extent, I'm sure we still do, regardless of the hurt we now carry. Our relationship, however, was toxic. As we made our way through college, and all the changes that come along with it, we were growing apart. Instead of helping each other grow and blossom into mature individuals, we were clinging to ideas of what the other's growth should look like. That sort of thing never ends well...
The last time we broke up (because the first few times never really stuck), we reaffirmed our desire to remain friends. I soon met John, my future husband. My friend was never OK with our relationship. I truly believe it happened "too soon" in his mind, and made him feel easily replaced... somehow cheated out of the life we were supposed to have together.
I understood that and allowed him time to heal. However, he basically shut himself off from me. Sensing all the signs I'd been through with Mary, I did my best to bridge the divide. I went out of my way to befriend his new love interest (who, thankfully, turned out to be a sweet person), and I repeatedly implored him to "hang out" or "catch up." I'd leave little notes on his MySpace ('cause yes... MySpace was popular then), and I'd drop random e-mails just letting him know I was thinking about him. Most of all, though, I gave him the space and time he swore he needed.
@ 3.5 months pregnant!
However, the fragile bond I had run maintenance on shattered upon news of my pregnancy with Vincent. Knowing that, even after six years, this news would hurt him, I wanted to tell him in person in as gentle a way as I could. Instead, he afforded me no opportunity, pushing off plans with me and making it known that he didn't want to see me. I soon found out why. He'd suspected the pregnancy and responded to the news in such an incredibly childish, hurtful way that... well...
Let's just say his one comment tore down my lifelong mantra "Once a friend, always a friend."
I immediately ceased all contact with him and for the first time in my life, I intentionally cut out a piece of my heart to pack away in the attic of my soul. It was an incredibly painful, tear-filled, and angry few months.
However, when he contacted me later (acting as if nothing had transpired between us), I was able to respond with a clear head - something I wouldn't have been able to do had I not discounted him from my life. The conversation, I think, gave some closure to us, but it didn't "fix" anything.
In fact, several months after Vincent was born, we bumped into one another at an event for a mutual friend. Actually, I'm still relatively certain he came specifically at that time because he knew I was going to be there, but whatever. We met up again, and I could tell that he was looking for some sign that we were OK... that even though we weren't best friends, we weren't mortal enemies either.
I'll be honest. I really thought I was "over it" at that point. I 100% thought I had forgiven him and moved on. Boy was I wrong. Upon seeing him, my heart both leapt with joy at seeing someone I had so much love for, and revolted against itself in indignation that he should be anywhere near my son... the son he harbored such a negative reaction to not long ago.
I immediately asked John to take Vincent outside. John was only too happy to oblige, and off they went to give Mommy and Friend some time to sort out whatever emotional confusion was between them.
I am somewhat ashamed to admit it now, but I didn't exactly react with the most Christian charity. I was cordial and I returned the hug he offered. I also congratulated him on his recent graduation from grad school. However, upon thanking me for the well-wishes, he responded with, "Oh yeah - I never congratulated you on the baby, did I?"
No, Sherlock... no you didn't. In fact, I'm relatively certain "Congratulations" didn't even remotely come to mind when you first learned of his existence.
But I digress...
As a result of that immensely ridiculous remark, I felt my guard go up and the coldness sharpen my terse responses. I wasn't outright rude out of respect for our friend (who probably felt highly awkward in the middle of the situation). I honestly felt like slapping him, though. I really, REALLY did.
I started praying for John to get back so we could simply leave. He swung back moments later and we bid our farewells. I was absolutely fuming the whole way home, though. I was completely caught off guard by my anger. I guess I hadn't really "forgiven" and "gotten over everything" like I'd thought. Stupid me, I was still broken and hurting - I just hadn't had to face those emotions because I'd locked everything away.
This was about... I guess about a year and a half ago now. We've briefly spoken since that time, but it was nothing more than basic need to pass along a message from someone else.
That being said, I've probably thought about him daily. If not daily, then probably every other day. He's never far from my thoughts. None of my friends are, and honestly, I still view him as a friend. As I once told him, that mantra "Once a friend, always a friend" still remains true to me, there is just a footnote beside it now.
Two people who forge a true friendship... that never really dies. How can it? The basis for all true friendships, after all, is love. True love, in pure form, simply cannot be snuffed out. Together, we really did learn what love meant. We lavished love, support, and understanding on one another, each of us carrying the other through some of the darkest times of our lives. Those bonds, forged by the fires of unconditional love, cannot be broken.
I think that's why the pain remains, sometimes. The heart misses its dose of True Love. Our friendship (when it was functioning properly), was Christ-like. We were generous, supporting and affirming. Somewhere along the way, we focused more on our own hurt and frustration and lost sight of that true love we'd helped bloom in our early years of high school. Thus, the heart, having experienced something of Christ, yearns always for it. When the heart realizes that piece of itself has gone missing, an emptiness echoes its sad longing.
On the plus side, ever since rekindling my faith, this is one of those intentions I've dropped into the Hands of the Lord. I've reflected on it quite a bit, and am much more willing to acknowledge my part in the dissolution of our relationship. I've come a long way in extending forgiveness and now feel much more confident in my ability to exchange that forgiveness with this person should we ever come across one another again.
In all honesty, it's probably the only way either of us will ever fully heal. To forgive and be forgiven... it does begin to heal the scars.
So this happened yesterday. I'd been holding off on blogging about it because I was hoping for a clarification / apology from them, but no luck (at least not yet). They've been quiet little church mice since this thread spiraled out of control.
To date, there have been almost 240 comments. I did a quick "stick tally" and found that an overwhelming majority of respondents were Catholic women who were very hurt by such an arrogant and thoughtless comment. Their customer base immediately began shrinking as folks not only removed themselves from the page, but cited their refusal to purchase from them and their refusal to advertise for them through blogs and personal references.
I immediately wondered if Garlands of Grace realized they had so many Catholic customers. If they didn't before, they most certainly do now!
Seriously, though... this comment was completely unnecessary. A simple "We're not Catholic, but we do espouse Christian beliefs" would have sufficed. Instead, they had to go and take it a step further with "I am burdened for all who stand with the Catholic Church and would plead with you to come out and believe the Word of God."
I do believe this business just accused me of not believing in the Word of God.
I also believe Garlands of Grace attempted emotionally martyring itself for my benefit.
Let me go ahead and pull the emergency brake on that one.
First of all, as I mentioned in the GoG thread that spawned on FB, not only do Catholics fully believe in the Word of God, we fully believe that Jesus Christ IS the Word of God incarnated.
As such, being the Church that Christ founded and all, we don't need a Protestant denomination martyring itself for our salvation. Thanks for your concern for my immortal soul and all, but as a faithful, fully-vested Catholic, I've got that covered. I don't need your condescending pity for my supposed ignorance to save me from hellfire.
That being said, I've made the decision to stop patronizing this business (which breaks my heart because all my favorite veils are from them!). Until they rectify their stance (which has successfully alienated about 100+ of their previous customers) I simply cannot reconcile supporting a business that views my faith as a burden.
And for the record, I was purchasing from them knowing full well they weren't Catholic. I didn't care one way or the other about their religious beliefs. I still don't. I do, however, care about being belittled and and being condescended to simply because I'm Catholic.
From my experiences in dealing with the women of GoG (they're sisters), they seem to be wonderful, loving and highly talented individuals. They have families, friends, and trials the same as the rest of us. They are dedicated to their mission of spreading love of God through veiling, and that's great. I wish them all the best. However, I cannot - at this time - be a party to what I see as a sad and hurtful attack on some of their best customers simply on the basis of our faith.
I sincerely hope and pray these women come to their senses and retract what was obviously a hurtful and ignorant comment.
*** Blog Responses ***
I read two blog responses yesterday that I really loved - posting them here for your benefit!
Liturgical Time (She makes beautiful head coverings as well)
A Woman's Place (Eh, you guys know I'm a huge Cam fan)
Joann Jordan is the founder of Garlands of Grace Ministry, a separate organization that goes by the same name as the sisters who create head coverings.
These are not the same groups, so please don't confuse them. Garlands of Grace Ministry is a cross-faith women's Bible study program.
In this particular entry, I'm specifically referring to the Garlands of Grace company that creates head coverings.
I attended a bridal shower this weekend with some gal pals of mine. We were happily telling ridiculous stories and sharing anecdotes when something caught me completely off-guard.
While sharing a story about Vince, one of my friends said "I was reading about [his sensory issues] on your blog."
I remember doing a double take and saying, "I'm sorry. What was that?"
I thought I'd heard her wrong. Only a few of my friends know I blog, and given the subject matter, of those that know, maybe half would care to read. So imagine my surprise when she reiterated,
"On your blog. I read about the stuff with Vince on your blog."
I don't know how long it seemed to her or anyone else at the table, but the next few seconds felt like 10 minutes to me. I would say "So many things were running through my head!" but in all reality, only one thing was spinning crazy circles: She knows about Myla.
I didn't want to appear as if I was freaked out, so I did a mental exercise of "Stuff-the-dirty-laundry-into-a-closet-and-your-guests-won't-realize-you-live-in-a-pigsty" and continued the conversation as if I didn't just have a minor panic attack. In truth, though, I was rattled. Given how silent I've been about Myla to friends and family, I felt emotionally undressed when I realized someone else knew my secret.
And yet, to protect that secret, I needed to immediately act as if nothing was amiss. Had I acted on the impulse to hyperventilate, I would've gotten questions, and questions would've been ugly. No one wants that sorta drama at a bridal shower (or anywhere, really), so I mentally ticked off a prayer to God and said, "Welp, I hope You're amused."
This incident has been banging around in my head the last few days. I finally asked the friend how she found out about the blog. After all, it's not like I post it to my personal page or anything like that. Apparently she'd found out the same way (and about the same time) my other friend had a few months back (I posted about it here).
*Shakes fist at Facebook*
At least I know I fixed the problem already, but still... having her unknowingly confront me with this in a completely unexpected situation has made me really skittish. How many other friends / family are reading this?
It's just a surprising notion. I thought I was just talking to other Catholic moms and the students googling Christian tradition.
I share this blog with very, VERY specific friends. Obviously it's open to whoever, but I am just surprised when folks beyond the "Catholic Mom" group are interested to stop by.
So Vince has a new favorite toy for the car. It's a Buzz Lightyear game that sorta looks like a Buzz-shaped calculator. It's got games, music and all of Buzz's famous sayings. As soon as I get Vince into the car, he immediately requests "Buzz!"
Knowing how much he cracks up when he starts DJing Buzz's slogans, I rigged my camera up to the back of the passenger seat and caught the above video. So no worries - I didn't kill anyone while driving trying to capture his giggles!
I was given the privilege of reading The Life of Saint Joseph as seen by mystic and Benedictine Abbess Maria Cecilia Baij. You can purchase it from 101 Foundation (as well as about a million other wonderful items).
I honestly learned so much about St. Joseph from this series of revelations. Before reading the book, St. Joseph was just a kind gentleman tasked with loving and protecting Jesus and Mary. Now... now he is so much more, and I am almost stunned with how much love and admiration I now have for him. I'm almost embarrassed to admit that I didn't really ever think much of him when I'd call upon the saints!
He set me straight on that one... :) Blessed be St. Joseph, the most holy foster father of Jesus and the most chaste and loving spouse of Our Lady!
To celebrate, I'll share some of my favorite St. Joseph depictions! This first one is beautiful in that it shows little Jesus "playing" at his father's feet in Joseph's workshop. However, as the sunlight streams in, we see that the shadow young Jesus casts is a Cross. Then we realize that little Jesus is playing with three nails... indicative of the three nails that will one day pierce His Hands and Feet for our salvation.
Oh, and this one... probably everyone has seen this image of St. Joseph and little Jesus at some point or another. It's so tender that my heart just about bursts. Little Jesus is rubbing His Eyes. Was He crying? Is He just waking up? Nodding off to sleep? Regardless, strong and gentle Saint Joseph is there to hold Him, support Him and comfort Him in the most loving of ways.
How happy St. Joseph must have been to cradle that perfect Child in his arms!
How overjoyed he must have been to hear himself called "Father" by the truest Love of his life?
May all children know such love from their fathers, and may all fathers show such tenderness for their children.
Another favorite is this loving moment between St. Joseph and Jesus. St. Joseph holds the lilies that signify his purity. He casts his gaze down upon Jesus as that little God-Child looks up adoringly at His doting foster-father.
The peacefulness that emanates from this picture leaves me sleepy. I'm not kidding! I want to cuddle up against Saint Joseph and rest with little Jesus, too!
I honestly think that upon Jesus' own Death, He immediately flew into Limbo where the souls of the just awaited news that salvation had come. He flew into the depths of this Limbo and sought out first His dear father, Saint Joseph. I imagine their reunion to be something similar. Saint Joseph was probably on his knees in adoration of his Son, yet Jesus scooped him up and embraced him, happy to once more be in the arms of the father who loved him so dearly throughout his earthly life.
May Saint Joseph protect, guide and bless our fathers, and may we learn through his holy example how to love Christ better each day!
The shadowbox I made to tell John Vince was coming!
Nope, I'm not pregnant and it's doubtful I will be anytime in the foreseeable future. However, I came across a brilliant photo announcement today that absolutely made my day. Plus, several of my buddies just announced their news in thoroughly entertaining ways and made me think back to my own announcement regarding Vince!
Mom-to-be was holding her ultrasound photo against her belly while her husband stood next to her, holding a photo of a cheeseburger against his.
Ha ha - brilliant.
I had gotten pregnant with Vincent the very first time we tried. I almost didn't believe the results when a week after our first try, my chest was super tender and my period was late. I pretty much took the pregnancy test to prove to myself that I was insane, but don't ya know two little pink lines appeared!
I remember sitting there looking at the stick in disbelief saying, "No way! Oh my God, no way!" all while tears of joy welled up in anticipation for the child I've longed my whole life to hold.
Since that first line was barely visible, I thought for sure my mind was playing tricks on me. So after taking another dozen, I waited a week to try the digital tests. All this time I kept the secret to myself, incredulous and scared out of my mind that I might be wrong.
Anyway, after all the digital tests ('cause you can never be too sure) came back positive, I scheduled an appointment with my family doctor, just to make a million percent sure. I could barely contain myself at this point. As soon as he confirmed, I set my plan into motion.
John was going to be visiting his Nan that night. Thus, I had about three hours to purchase, create and set up everything.
Immediately after work, I went to AC Moore and purchased a shadowbox and materials. I painted the whole box white and gave it a green background. I'd already decided that we'd do a neutral color scheme, and light green and white seemed perfect for a boy or a girl. So since I had wanted the shadowbox to go into the nursery, I wanted it to match!
Anyway, I embellished it and created a special spot inside from one of my many, MANY pregnancy tests. I chose a "line" version as opposed to the digitals, because digital ones would die out. The lines, however - they remain!
After I finished putting everything together, I went upstairs to what would become the nursery to set up a video camera which would capture John's reaction. Just as I set everything up, I heard him enter the house. I can't even express to you how nervous I was! I can only assume this must be the feeling men have when they're about to ask their future bride to marry them. AH!
Of course, John made me wait forever and a day. He needed to use the bathroom, wanted to clip his toe nails, get a drink... I was going out of my mind! Finally, he came into the "spare room" and I held up the shadow box (that housed baby stuff and the positive pregnancy test), and asked, "Do you think this should go here... or here?"
He looked at it, completely dumbfounded for a minute, and said, "There."
I said, "Really? Here?"
He said, "Yes. Sure."
I responded, carefully, "John are you serious?"
And he replied, "Are you trying to tell me you're pregnant?"
I could've died. I honestly thought he was unhappy with the news, but it turns out he was just as incredulous as I was. As soon as it sunk in a few minutes later, he was going bonkers telling his friends.
We waited until this next day to tell our families. I wanted to do it in person, because I wanted to really see their reactions. By far, my favorite reactions were from Nicole (John's sister) and his father, John Sr.
I had wanted to tell Nicole first of all. I was dying at this point (having kept it a secret for about two weeks). Since she's crafty like me, I said, "Hey Nik, wanna see what I made last night?"
She said "Sure" and I handed her the shadow box. It took her all of two seconds to realize what she was holding and then looked up at me and John with astonishment. She was barely able to utter a "OMG, are you guys...?" before she started crying, hugging us and saying, "I'm so happy for you!!!"
Next, we had to wait for John Sr. Nicole was now JUST as anxious as we were to see his reaction. Considering how much he gives to all of us, it was exciting to finally be able to give him something back.
Anyway, the night before, I had made a "Valentine" for him. When he finally came in that morning, I had John hand him the card. On the outside, it looked like a real Valentine's card. Hearts, gorgeous red trimming, all that good stuff. I cut out and pasted the words "Will you be my..." in big letters on the front.
When he opened the card, he saw that instead of the word "Valentine" I'd pasted the word "Pop Pop" in big letters. I created a "baby border" of strollers, storks and baby faces, and pasted little pink and blue baby booties around the interior. At the bottom, I pasted a stork carrying a baby bundle. I wrote on this "Arriving September 2009."
It took him a split second to realize what it meant, and that look on his face will never escape my memory. He looked first at John with this... this utter amazement. He said, "Get outta town." Then his son smiled and said, "Yup!" John Sr. then immediately grabbed me in a hug, and Mike D (our office manager) must've realized what had just happened because he got up from behind his desk and said, "You guys pregnant? Congratulations!"
Ha ha - every time I think of that moment, I can't help but smile. I must look like a darn fool right now, but it was such a wonderful, wonderful moment!
Anywho, Vince's shadowbox now resides on the wall above his changing table. It serves as a shelf for his statues of Our Lady and a Guardian Angel. It's even got his little baptismal candle inside!
But yeah - I love, love, love "reveal" stories. They're always so great! So if you have one, please share!!! Give me something to smile about today! :)
I found this through a friend of mine, Catherine, about three years ago. It is absolutely INCREDIBLE and great for kids! :) Enjoy, and may your celebration be lively, joyous and blessed!
Remember who our priests represent!
Some of you know from my other posts that I'm a huge fan of the Franciscan Missions. However, instead of pushing them this go-around, I'd like to draw attention to another incredible organization. I originally heard of them through a recent post on Father Z's WDTPRS and I wanted to pass it along here as well.
The organization is called Opus Bono Sacerdotii, and their mission is to "Work for the Good of the Priesthood."
They are a lay organization that seeks to provide financial, emotional, psychological and legal support to thousands of priests all over the United States. There really isn't any other organization quite like it.
As I was reading through their site, a lot of what they said really struck me. So many priests, as they get older, simply don't have the family (wife, children, grandchildren) that the rest of us rely on as we age. Also, with all the issues surrounding the nation-wide scandal, many are being unjustly turned out or taken advantage of by a system that is cruel and lop-sided. These priests... these vicars of Christ... they need our support. They provide us a vital service, and yet they are being cast aside as if uncared for, unloved, or unworthy of basic necessities.
If at all possible, please offer financial assistance to this worthy organization as a Lenten offering. If that isn't possible, please offer prayers for these priests and those who support them. This is truly a wonderful organization that I hope to get to know better!
My beloved Archdiocese of Philadelphia... what happened to you?
Have you really succumbed so gently to the false whispers of satan? Have you become pliant through his fiery caress? Have you become so blinded by the gilded treasures of worldliness, power and carnal gratification that the Beatific Vision is completely obscured from you?
God help us. We are lost if not for Your Grace.
For those of you unaware, the Archdiocese of Philadelphia - my home, my foundation, and my heart - has been reaping the fruits of a decades long abuse cover-up. We most certainly have been in the wrong for the reshuffling of priests, the silence of cardinals / bishops, the treatment of victims, etc. We have turned ourselves away from Truth and found an angry, unsettled and disordered home in the filth of sin.
Oh, what agony now befits us! Due to such negligence and willful perpetration of violence against the innocent among us, we suffer! We suffer as well we should, but dear Lord - Mercy!
We are being stripped of our priests. Sinners though they are, we haven't the vocations to fill the holes they leave behind. Sinners that we, the laity, are - we are left with no one to shepherd us via Sacraments and pastoral care.
Oh Lord, this truly is a punishment we bring upon ourselves! Catholicism in Philadelphia is on the cusp of abolition. For years we've allowed this cancer to metastasize, invading all parts of our clergy and administration. For years we've ignored the wounds of our victims - which, left untreated, became mortal and spread to others. As a result, when the blinds were opened and the public saw these festering, horrifying injuries for what they were, trust was lost, faith wavered, and hope for healing became almost laughable.
The pain to those of us who love this Archdiocese! The pain of feeling her members torn, battered and broken! The pain of helplessness as we could do nothing but watch as priest after beloved priest was targeted and accused, convicted and removed... as we saw our friends and family defect, turning away from the Church and even condemning Her due to the impossibly grotesque offenses of Her representatives! Oh the pain of listening to report after report of the ever-increasing details of the accusations... and seeing the devastating pain of our victims!
This ongoing chastisement is necessary, but dear Lord, again I cry "Mercy!" I understand and trust this unparalleled "cleansing of the Temple" is something we brought about on our own, but please guide us to safer waters!
Ugh. I am so beyond heartbroken by this entire mess, and it seems like a never-ending rabbit hole.
Another one of our priests was removed today. News came out yesterday afternoon that he was being investigated for an improper relationship and possible abuse of minors. This priest was someone who mentored me, my siblings, and many of our friends.
I have no idea if the allegations are true or not, but the fact that Archbishop Chaput reacted swiftly and harshly to his case leads me to believe there is some validity to the claims against him.
My prayers are with him, the possible victims, and the families of those he may have harmed or turned away from the Church. May they all find peace, healing, love and forgiveness.
Le sigh... I truly have such a heavy, heavy heart right now. However, even in this hailstorm of folly, I recognize the mercy we've been given in Chaput.
Thank You, Lord, for the gift of Archbishop Chaput. No doubt You put him in place to steer this mostly capsized ship to harbor. May You be his strength and wisdom. May You be his beacon. May You be the wind that straightens our mangled sails.
I just came across a beautiful story of courage, hope and love. I want to spread it to others so they, too, can help add to our Spiritual Bouquet!
The story is about a wonderful newlywed couple expecting their first child. They learned that their little girl, Maria Isabella, has Spina Bifida. Instead of despair and revulsion, they experienced a deepening of their love for one another and their unborn child. They found solace in God and as a result, Mom and baby underwent in-utero surgery and are currently resting in bed as they await the results.
Let's rally together, repost, and shoot off our prayers like fireworks towards Heaven for this young family. I, for one, will add a Divine Mercy chaplet and tonight's rosary for their intentions.
Nothing like a communal effort to ensure Divine Providence works its magic!
Just a quick tally of a few links I found particularly interesting / edifying today. Hope you enjoy! :)
Canonical info regarding Father Guarnizo and Barbara Johnson by Edward Peters, an actual Canonical lawyer.
***NEW*** Here's an awesome response from Phil Lawler to the horrible letter written to appease Johnson from the Archdiocese. Spot on. Evil has permeated our ranks. May God save us.
A great "advice" letter written by Supertradmum that was originally meant for seminarians, but can really be utilized by anyone looking to advance in holiness and charity.
A super nerdy look into the size and scope of the universe both big and small, and how we fit into it. Our God is an incredible God!
Incredible music / art video with extraordinarily powerful lyrics that young women everywhere need to hear.
Here's the video so you don't even have to go clicking anywhere! :)
Found another incredible image for you folks in my travels! This one gets its own entry because, well... because it's AWESOME!
We've got the Triune God, but instead of being depicted as "Old Man, Adult Son, and Dove" we've got Him depicted a a trio of almost identical Jesus'.
The first figure is God the Son, Jesus Christ. He has a lamb upon His Chest to denote that He is the Lamb of God. You can also make out the marks of His Crucifixion on His Hands and Foot. His Hands are open and outstretched, emploring humanity to accept His gifts of salvation and mercy (as symbolized by the cherub finding refuge under His mantle - a universal sign of protection).
Central to the painting is God the Father, denoted by the Omniscient Eye present upon His Chest. He carries a golden scepter denoting Divine Justice while His Hand is raised in the Trinitarian blessing of Divine Providence. This image almost reminds me of the American Eagle that grasps arrows in one claw and olive branches in the other to juxtapose our willingness to go to war with our desire for peace.
God the Father demands Divine Justice, but He is tempered through Divine Providence - always looking for ways to gift grace and mercy to His wayward children.
Finally, we've got the Holy Spirit denoted by a dove. His Hands are crossed over His Heart, symbolic of a pledge to protect and love, which the Holy Spirit does through guiding the Church on Earth (shown through the little cherub grasping His mantle to follow along wherever He leads).
Then those adorable little angels that are touched by the Feet of God. Four of them, they may represent the Gospels that finally put this picture of the Triune God together for humanity. Three angels are physically touched by the Feet of God with one more (possibly the Gospel of John), feeling the purity of Christ's dazzling white gown supporting his head.
I think I'm in love with this Trinity portrayal. What magnificence!
I was listening to the song We Have Been Told in the car this morning. This is one of those songs that I can listen to a million times and still feel emotionally tackled!
The lyrics of the chorus, for those of you unfamiliar, are:
We have been told, we've seen His Face and heard His Voice alive in our hearts. "Live in My love, with all your heart. As the Father has loved Me, so I have loved you."
I always feel a flood of gratitude hearing these words. I'm so thankful to have been given the blessing of knowing Jesus and being a part of the Catholic faith. I'm so happy to know and feel the active love of God in my life - to know that He's not just a guy in the sky sitting on a cloud somewhere uncaring about the adventures of humanity. No - I know and feel His Presence surrounding everything I do. I really do.
Anyway, as I was listening to the song this morning, something my friend had said about a year and a half ago came to mind. She and I were discussing her 'falling away' from Catholicism and my steadfast adherence to it.
Both of us attended the same grade school from kinder through 8th. Both of her parents are staunch Catholics and are highly active in parish ministries. My mother, too, fits that description. We both attended Catholic high schools and universities (hers being more Catholic than either of mine, I think). So we found it interesting that we took such different paths considering our similar foundations.
Anyway, as I've always said, though I left the Catholic Church for a while, I never "left the faith." I've always believed in Catholic dogma, I've always felt the active Presence of God in my life, and I've always relied on the Blessed Mother and saints to guide me in whatever trials I faced. I've never once gone, "Well what if Jesus didn't really exist? What if Heaven is a lie and after death nothing happens?"
Nope - even in my "New Age" phase (8th grade through HS, I guess?), while I was reading books on Buddhism, psychics and past-life experiences, I would attempt to make sense of them through Catholicism.
I would think, "Oh, maybe reincarnation IS what Catholics mean by Purgatory. After all, Earth, itself, could be the place of cleansing since it's where a soul perfects itself through life lessons, right?"
Or, "Well of COURSE God grants some people special gifts like clairvoyance or fortune telling. Maybe it's His way of reaching others who need "proof" of His existence in one form or another."
Seriously - when presented with a radically different theology or new-age theory, I'd immediately attempt to fit it into my Catholic paradigm because I fully understood and believed Catholicism to be the surpreme theology of God, Himself. Catholicism is Truth, and though I may not have fully understood all its Truths, I trusted that if given enough time and grace, I could make sense of it all. (I still do, truthfully - ha!).
She, on the other hand, doesn't have that same intrinsic "certainty" I do. She commented on this and suggested it was the reason we took such different paths. Honestly, that was the moment I really understood what a gift my faith was. When she spoke aloud the echo of the thoughts in my heart, I knew my love for and faith in Catholicism was, indeed, a true gift.
So as I was thinking about that this morning, another thought popped into my mind. I should say "prayer" really. It was more a prayer than a thought.
Anyway, the prayer-thought was:
Thank you, God, for the blessing of seeing Your Face and feeling Your Love in my life. I understand that this gift is not only meant for me - it is meant to be a vehicle for Your Divine Providence. Make me a reflection of Yourself so that I can bear Your Face to others that they, too, might see You, love You and feel Your Love in their lives.
Just as I completed that thought I pulled into work and scribbled down the above thought-prayer because I truly wanted to share it with others. I especially wanted to post it on my wall so I could be reminded of my duty as a Catholic Christian. My calling is to bear the Face of God to all people, regardless of who they are or what they believe. My directive is to be charitable, patient, merciful and kind. I fail miserably at these things on a regular basis, so to have a prayer calling this mission to mind is important.
May all of us who have come to see the Face of God be true reflections of His Mercy and Love.
I definitely made a diaper cake tonight. It's the one you see to your left.
My friend, Lien, is having her baby shower tomorrow, and I wanted to go ahead and do something extra special for her. This is what I came up with.
It consists of diapers (sizes 1 and 2), various things like a brush, washcloths, diaper cream, sunscreen, lotion, and teethers, a few plush animals (she's going for a safari theme), and a few bath toys. I even snuck a little wall-cross into the top tier!
All in all, I think it came out pretty well for my first go at these babies!
Plus, the cake itself will be part of the games. Guests will get a chance to guess how many diapers went into the cake for a prize!
The answer, BTW, is 86.
I had originally wanted this to be part of a cake tower (with the diaper base being used to hold up the cupcakes), but it dawned on me that the icing would end up ruining the diapers. So I nixed that, got a stand for the cupcakes, and embellished with ribbons and such.
Anyway, here's some more pictures! I hope it survives the hour commute to the shower. Ha ha!
Okay, once again, God placed some breadcrumbs for me to follow these last couple weeks, and I absent-mindedly popped them into my mouth one-by-one, never even realizing I was being set up for a cool perspective that I could meditate on for a while.
A blogger I follow, Devin Rose, recently posted this entry regarding the Jewish lore regarding the Eastern Gate that I found particularly interesting. I'd never heard of this particular prophesy, so I dutifully followed his links and read the article written by Dr. Reagan.
I immediately went back to Devin's page with a flurry of thoughts:
Jesus, Himself, was (and is) the new Temple. When His Heart was pierced by the lance, couldn’t that be seen as the “opening of the Eastern Gate”?
After all, through this final wound, His Precious Blood and water flowed forth (which we now recognize as His Divine Mercy through Saint Faustina).
This would explain the other quotes from the article (which, BTW, mostly consist of OT prophecy). Jesus did, in fact, walk on the Mount of Olives. He now dwells with us forever through His Eucharist. And for as much as folks don’t like to picture His Passion as glorious, He gained for us salvation upon that gruesome Cross. His Death and subsequent Resurrection are about as glorious as it gets.
However, as I was thinking more on this over the next few days, I randomly came across this blog entry from Shameless Popery while I was looking for images of Jesus as the New Temple. Don't you know my line of thinking followed his, and he took it about 100 light years further than I!
He also brings up the possibility of the Blessed Mother being the Eastern Gate, which would make more sense than my idea that it might be Christ's Sacred Heart. After all, the Blessed Mother's womb certainly fits the bill! :)
So yeah - how wonderful that all these little things lined up to create a much fuller picture of Salvation History and God's promises fulfilled!
Moses accepting the Word of God
So I was prepping for next week's lesson on the Exodus. I came across the following excerpt from Exodus 24:9-11:
"Moses then went up with Aaron, Nadab, Abihu and seventy elders of Israel, and they beheld the God of Israel... yet He did not lay a hand on these chosen Israelites. They saw God, and they ate and drank."
Basically, this portion of the story occurs after Moses delivers the Word of God to the Israelites. In "one voice" they consent to the Mosaic covenant linking them as a people to God. They follow the prescribed sacrificial offerings which solidifies them as a family through the physical symbol of blood. Then, Moses and the elders take part in the spiritual sign of family as they partake in a Heavenly feast in which they "saw God" and yet remained unharmed (important point because Jews believed that to see God was automatic death). God did not "lay a hand on these chosen Israelites" because they were now His family. They feasted together in the Presence of God which fully solidified their covenant with him.
Now, it took me a bit for this quote to register, so bear with me.
Since my class has been going over covenant history (we've gone through Edenic, Adamic, Noahic and mostly Mosaic), I was really trying to take them a bit more in-depth with the Mosaic covenant because of the 1st Reading for this coming weekend (Ten Commandments).
However, as I was putting together my lesson plan, I copied and pasted the "review" from last week (which consisted of Adoration since I had reminded them about why we'd be taking part in it during Lent). Here's where things get entertaining.
As I got midway through my lesson plan, having just highlighted Adoration for myself through the review, I started putting pieces together.
"Hey wait a minute! The Eucharist is the ratification of the New and Everlasting Covenant which fulfills the promises made throughout Salvation History! Not only do we feast WITH God, we feast on HIS FULL PRESENCE - Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity. So just as the Jews were able to "see God," we, too, are given this privilege and grace through our own spiritual feast (made visible through the physical sharing of the Eucharist).
Gotta love when things come full circle.
And then when I was looking up images to use for this entry, I came across the one you see at the top with Moses kneeling down to accept the Ten Commandments from God the Father. I had another little light bulb go off over my head. Moses was kinda receiving a precursor to the Eucharist. After all, what is the Word of God other than Jesus Christ, Himself?
Okay, I now have the cheesiest grin on my face. It's like all these little pieces are coming together and I can't help but shake my head in wonder. God is such an incredible Author. His foreshadowing simply cannot be outdone!
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