Dust if You Must, Because You Must

Dust if You Must, Because You Must

I recently came across this poem: Dust if you must, but wouldn’t it be better To paint a picture or write a letter, Bake a cake or plant a seed, Ponder the difference between want and need?   Dust if you must, but there’s not much time, With rivers to swim and mountains to climb, Music to hear, and books to read, Friends to cherish and life to lead.   Dust if you must, but the world’s out there, With the sun in your eyes, the wind in your hair, A flutter of snow, a shower of rain. This day will not come round again.   Dust if you must, but bear in mind, Old age will come and it’s not kind. And when you go – and go you must – You, yourself, will make more dust.   by Rose Milligan (The Lady, 1998) While I appreciate the sentiment of realizing there are more important things than housework, and I even realize the futility of it (since things always get dirty again), I also think that there is something wrong about this attitude. I was affirmed in this by a homily at Mass the Sunday after I came across the poem, when Father talked about examining our consciences, and specifically mentioned not being thorough in the housework. As Christians, we are called to become virtuous, and part of becoming virtuous is becoming moderate. We are to be moderate in our recreation, and moderate in our housework. Both are important to live a fully human life. To prove my point, one only has to look at monasteries of sisters or...
Mao Tse Tung and Mother Teresa: a lesson in charity

Mao Tse Tung and Mother Teresa: a lesson in charity

“When once a chairman of a multinational company came to see me, to offer me a property in Bombay, he first asked: ‘Mother, how do you manage your budget?” I asked him who had sent him here. He replied: ‘I felt an urge inside me.’ I said: other people like you come to see me and say the same. It was clear God sent you, Mr. A, as He sends Mr. X, Mrs. Y, Miss Z, and they provide the material means we need for our work. The grace of God is what moved you. You are my budget. God sees to our needs, as Jesus promised. I accepted the property he gave and named it Asha Dan (Gift of Hope).”  ~Mother Teresa At Sunday evening Mass, a woman from one of the parish ministries spoke about a new program, the name of which I have forgotten.  In her speech, she told a story about how a group of men from St. Joseph’s Carpenters, a Catholic group of volunteer handymen, basically gutted and rebuilt the severely aged home of a local seasoned citizen woman.  The storyteller explained that the men gave up their entire Saturday to help this poor woman, and that her gratitude moved her to unceasing tears. As I sat in my pew reflecting on the enormous amount of work completed by these men, the thought struck me that the gift these men gave was not only the gift of a Saturday or the wood and nails used to repair the home.  I know nothing else of this woman, but by her tears I can safely say...
Mistaking Faithfulness for Stubborness

Mistaking Faithfulness for Stubborness

People who do not know me or my faith have called me stubborn numerous times because I’m convinced that the Catholic Church is the one, true faith and I am not open to other’s ideas on how the faith should be changed. Friends and even family try to convince me that I need to be more “open-minded.” They tell me over and over, “You can be a Catholic but not agree with all of the teachings of the Catholic Church.” Statements like this genuinely hurt my heart. I have no desire to make anyone feel bad. I have no desire to “shame” anyone, make anyone feel “excluded,” and especially to make people feel judged. I love all my friends and family and believe them all to be great people. I’m a happy woman who wills absolutely no bitterness or intention of causing ill will. And yet, I have to witness to what I am convinced to be True. The Catholic Church and the Magistereum (fancy word for the body of the Church’s teachings on everything from the dignity of human life to the “redefinition” of marriage) is a tradition that’s thrived for thousands of years. After Jesus’s death and resurrection, it was the only philosophy of its time, save for Judaism, to not be open to other interpretations because to believe in everything is to believe in nothing. How can a belief even call itself a philosophy if it’s so wishy-washy that it can’t decide on a specific teaching to embrace? To be a faithful Catholic, one must submit one’s will to the Magistereum. Yes, this takes a surrender...
Manhood: A Natural Remedy for Tolerance, Niceness, and Self-Esteem

Manhood: A Natural Remedy for Tolerance, Niceness, and Self-Esteem

What are the most important virtues to acquire in life? Perusing children’s and adolescents’ television programming gives the impression that in the top tier are tolerance, niceness, and self-esteem. I know these affected me. Perhaps they affected you, too. I’m not a psychologist, so I won’t be getting into the history of psychology on the development of this trending prioritization of children’s virtues. I am qualified to critique them, however, as a parent and as an armchair theologian. As a parent, I can tell you that these terms and their prevalence in modern society drive me a little nuts. The “virtues” of tolerance, niceness, and self-esteem are not comparable to the virtues of prudence, temperance, courage, and justice. As a Catholic parent, the kind who reads Catholic blogs, imagine your delight if Dora the Explorer told Swiper not to swipe because it violates commutative justice (perhaps in simpler terms) or if, instead of telling them to believe in themselves, today’s superhero cartoon characters were role models in courage who thought prudently before acting. The world would be a better place. I can also tell you that these three so-called virtues bother me on a different level. I doubt that any of the producers of these children’s shows could tell you what the word virtue means, in light of its origins. Do you know what it means? Manhood. Vir is Latin for man. In its genitive (possessive) form, the Latin virtus becomes virtutis. The -tut- in the word evolved through German into the suffix -hood. Man-hood. So, having reinvigorated virtue with the concept of manhood, let’s look at these three...
Super Mario, Cookware and the Insatiable Thirst for Knowledge

Super Mario, Cookware and the Insatiable Thirst for Knowledge

Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness… -Genesis 1:26 Many children hear this verse or the phrase, “We are made in the image and likeness of God” and immediately wonder how every person can actually look like God.  It isn’t so much about the physical features of a person that exist as the image of God as much as it is our very nature.  Am image can be defined (in possibly the most generic way) as a copy of an original.  Whether it is a picture, a painting or a Xerox copy, the end result is a secondary expression of an original item, thought, emotion, etc.  For this reason, we must understand The Orginal before we can understand ourselves. God is, among other thingsGod is being - All of existence is because it is continuously caused by God's existence. God is life - Life itself flows from God. God is Love - Can God interact with anything in any other way?, knowledge itself. All truth is not only known by God, but participates in his existence.  Being the images of God that humans are, we can say that since we are images of Him, and He is knowledgeHe is being; we are made to be. He is life; we are made to live. He is love; we are made to love., then we are created to know – and not to just know anything, but to know the truth. Humans are ingrained with the desire for knowledge from the earliest years.  This became extremely clear to me the moment our oldest son...