FYI Your Holiness: I’m Not a Rabbit

FYI Your Holiness: I’m Not a Rabbit

I try to refrain from commenting (publicly, at least) on Pope Francis’ off the cuff remarks. You know the ones. They are usually outrageous on the surface and are the source in some way or other for many salacious headlines. These are the comments that set my Facebook and Twitter  feed on fire.  There is very little point in responding to any of the remarks made my friends or acquaintances who use half correct misquotes that based on hearsay and are then the basis for attention grabbing headlines that seem to say the pope of all people is against Church teaching.  It would be maddening to even try.  At most, I might remind people to “simma down now,” read the actual transcript, and hold fast to the Faith, while I mutter something about not everything being ex cathedra for a reason. The Holy Spirit will always win. Here, I will make an exception to my normal rule. I read the headlines and saw the blurbs: Pope Says Catholics Need Not Breed Like Rabbits! and Mother of 8 Irresponsible! I was offended and hurt. Then I read the full transcript of the Holy Father’s remarks — and I was still offended and hurt. A couple truly married in the Catholic sense can never “be like rabbits” because their love is a choice, not something that is solely in the heat of passion, but in the reason and the intellect as well as the emotions. The problem with his comments, whether he used the word breed or not (and the general consensus is that he did not, in fact use that...
No room at the inn

No room at the inn

One thing I’ve been thinking about a lot this Advent is that there was no room at the inn. Allow me to explain. It’s all too easy to take the uncertainty (and frankly, the humor) out of the Nativity story. Mary’s a young, unwed mom-to-be whose first reaction when faced with the central role in the history of man’s salvation is essentially “I know how babies are made, and I’m pretty sure I can’t be pregnant.” Joseph thinks there’s some funny business going on until he’s visited in a dream by an angel who convinces him that his fiancée is actually pregnant with the Word Incarnate. And can you imagine that conversation when Mary says “I don’t mean to scare you, but I’m going to give birth to the Son of God” and Joe says “…I know.”? Then, they’re just trying to do the right thing, to go be counted for tax purposes, and they end up in Bethlehem with nowhere to stay the night. I bet that Joseph probably wanted nothing more than to find a nice bed for his pregnant wife. He did his best, but he came up short. Can you imagine how badly he must have felt? If you think about it, it’s all rather funny. We know how the story ends. They certainly didn’t! But isn’t that how life is? Not at all how you planned it, not always meeting expectations, so often a case of the best laid plans going amiss, often painfully humorous in retrospect. But God doesn’t make mistakes. The plan didn’t go amiss.  From the beginning of the universe, Our...
Happy Birthday to Us!

Happy Birthday to Us!

Note: As we approach Thanksgiving I wanted to share a personal story of God’s love and concern and how He never ceases to give me reasons to give Thanks.  May He bless each of you reading this as He has blessed me!  Happy Thanksgiving! Sometime later this week yours truly will celebrate his birthday.  This is generally not newsworthy except to me and my mother.  Birthdays happen all the time and when one is approaching the tender age of 37 they are certainly NOT remarkable.  But for me, for many reasons, this is always a great cause of joy and celebration. You see, I am a twin.  Whether I like it or not (and I do) I came into the world with another person – my sister Teresa – and have never not shared my birthday with her.  But the other thing is that when we were four years-old she went home to God.  And for many, many years I “celebrated” the day as somewhat of a memorial. I used to wonder what our birthday would be like if she was still here.  My parents and my siblings made it a lot easier.  Mom always gave me two birthday gifts.  In fact, she still sort of does.  Shh…  Don’t tell my brothers and sisters.  We’d always have two cakes and we always made sure to go to mass and then visit the grave where I would place a grave blanket (a floral arrangement of evergreen for the winter season) as my gift to my twin. I know that I will never forget that this is not my day but...
Want to Be More Attentive at Mass? Sit with Kids

Want to Be More Attentive at Mass? Sit with Kids

When I look back on my days before kids (and I have to force myself to remember sometimes that there were, in fact, days before kids in my life), I find myself romanticizing them (the days, not the kids).  My clothes were cleaner, or at least less covered in mystery stains, my bedroom was neater (sort of), and my time spent with Jesus in any way was so much richer and more focused. Yeah. About that. It may  not have been harder to focus at Mass, but it was certainly no easier. As you may or may not know, I am a cradle Catholic. I can probably count on one hand the number of times I’ve missed Sunday Mass, and all of them were related to “life or death” circumstances.  Being homeschooled, I have also attended daily Mass on a fairly regular basis since the age of about 10.  I’m not saying this for my own edification, but to impress on you my level of experience with simply being at Mass. Suffice it to say, I’m no novice when it comes to filling a pew. Lately, there’s a been a trend of bloggers trash talking the idea of bringing children to “church,” be it Catholic or not.  Aside from being offended on behalf of my own children, and aside from being offended at the sheer hubris of believing that because someone is younger than I am he doesn’t deserve to participate in public worship, and even aside from the fact that these bloggers are literally going completely against what Jesus Himself told us (you know, that whole thing about...
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...