5 Ways to Foster Your Son’s Vocation to the Priesthood

5 Ways to Foster Your Son’s Vocation to the Priesthood

Vocations.  We all have one.  It’s a special gift that God gives to each one of us and they are at the same time universal and as individual as we are.  Mine is to marriage and motherhood.  While this is a common vocation, my specific vocation is unlike anyone else’s simply because it’s mine, and because I am unlike anyone else.  God gives us, in giving us each a vocation, a path to follow to gain heaven, and in this way it is a gift indeed. Unfortunately, not everyone knows how to respond to a gift appropriately. Take, for example, a child.  We’ve all seen children open presents at a birthday party or on Christmas morning.  Some have mastered the art of hiding their surprise at a truly odd present and mustering a cheery, “Thank you! I never knew they sold footy pajamas for teenagers! How lovely.”  Some have not: “Seriously? Am I supposed to wear this or use it to clean up spills?”  Still others, those fortunate happy ones, have managed to learn to be genuinely grateful and happy to receive anything, regardless of what it is.  What I’ve noticed with my own children is that, without proper guidance from mom and dad, they’ll just keep on having those immature, inappropriate reactions to gifts they don’t understand or like.  With a little bit of encouragement and a good bit of discussion, however, they can learn the proper way to receive a gift, and eventually it will be second nature to them to smile, say thanks, and think more about the sentiment behind it than the thing itself, even...
Ask Not What You Can Get Out of Mass, But Whether Due Worship is Given to God

Ask Not What You Can Get Out of Mass, But Whether Due Worship is Given to God

One of the problems with contemporary Christianity is that too often Christians focus on what they “get out of Church.” I am thinking specifically of the plight parents find themselves in when their sweet newborn grows out of sleeping at Mass and becomes the loud and active baby. Their experience of Mass changes from one of focused prayer with very involved participation to distracted prayer and focus on keeping a child quiet in church. And while negative comments to parents about their children are rare, those are the comments that stick in parents’ minds, much more so than positive comments and encouraging smiles. One cranky fellow parishioner can take away a parent’s comfort with bringing their little baptized Christian to Sunday Mass. So the parents start going to separate Masses or take the baby to the back, fearing that their child is disrupting the personal prayer of those around them. It seems to the parent that as long as they bring little ones to church they will not be able to pray. This is not the case. They just need to learn to pray differently and realize that Mass is not about personal prayer but it is a place of public prayer. Here is the thing: the liturgy is about the Body of Christ as a whole giving due worship to God. It is about the Sacrifice of the Mass being made, which requires only that the priest make the actions of the liturgy in a fitting manner and that the baptized members of the parish be present. It does not matter for the due worship of God whether...
St. Thérèse, Jane Austen, and Raising Saints

St. Thérèse, Jane Austen, and Raising Saints

I have been thinking a lot lately about raising a holy family and what it takes to do so, especially when there are so many negative influences in our society. I want to keep my little girls safe in their Catholic world forever, though I know that I cannot. I want to preserve the innocence of their minds and hearts, so that they do not know about great evils committed by others. I don’t want anyone to tell them that things that are wrong are perfectly normal. Most of all, I just want them to love God, to grow up loving Him, and to continue to love Him always as faithful Catholics. Since I was pregnant with my first daughter, there have been many things that have made me worried about the way society is tending. The current extremely liberal and anti-Christian value regime is the first of my concerns, and then the “normalizing” of non-traditional “marriages.” Everyday there is an extreme amount of hate towards those who stand up for the truths of the Catholic Church, and my children are going to experience it more than I am. I wonder, what is the secret to raising my sweet girls into faith-filled, loving women? The answer seems to be to have a tight-knit, loving family with a solid prayer life. When one has a close family life, where everyone is on the same page, one has an irreplaceable foundation. I have two examples of family life among sisters. My first example is the Bennet family in Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice.  And the second is the really existing family...
Review: Our Holy Father, the Pope

Review: Our Holy Father, the Pope

I have a confession to make: I enjoy reading children’s books.  I mean, not all of them, obviously, because often I find that merely labeling something as being written for children relieves the author of any obligation to practice good writing.  Have you seen some of the fodder that lines the shelves in most children’s sections in libraries and book stores alike?  Terrible.  Simply terrible.  Apparently, just having short words and no plot is enough to get some of these authors published, so long as the books are intended for the under 10 set.   If you add a religious aspect to the mix, they can be even worse.  All that is necessary then is a few platitudes on how “awesome” God is and some hokey pictures. When it is bad, it is, like the little girl with the little curl, horrid. For as bad as many of these tomes are, though, there as some that are equally good, in every sense of the word.  It is these books that I enjoy.  When an author writes both with the simplicity necessary for a child and still manages to delve deeply into the mysteries of life, something magical happens.  There is a synthesis of innocence and knowledge that rarely appears in books meant for us adults, and more’s the pity. Recently, I read one of these “good” books to my own children.  Our Holy Father, the Pope: The Papacy from Saint Peter to the Present is nothing short of a gem when it comes to leading our little ones closer to the Church and to a love of Her traditions (both big “T”...
Lent with Littles

Lent with Littles

It’s almost that time again.  That’s right folks: Lent will be here in exactly one week.  If you’re at all like me, and by that I mean a fairly busy mom to a decent size family, who homeschools and basically has no time to herself, you may not be prepared for it.  How does one make Lent meaningful to children who are barely old enough to understand what a sacrifice is or why we need to make them?  Have no fear.  Auntie Bridgie is here, and she has some thoughts on the matter at hand. Remember to breath.  Lent is supposed to be a time of prayerful preparation for Easter, not a time to make yourself or your children crazy trying every craft and project that comes down the [Internet] pike.  Try dividing the kids into one or two age groups (“bigs” and “littles”) and pick one group project or a couple of small crafts for them to focus on instead.  I’m not normally a big fan of religious crafts (maybe that’s why I rebel against the idea of sending my kids to CCD?) but for Lent I make an exception as I find that a few well planned activities can really help Lent become more tangible to kids. Fast. Keep a good attitude while you fast.  Children are little mimics; at least mine are.  If I walk around all day complaining about being hungry, then all they get out of a day of fasting is a bad attitude and mistaken connection between grumpiness and fasting.  Not a great way to start them off on the path to holiness....