April 22, 2012

Meet My Son, Peter Pan

     "I don't want to grow up," our son confided to my husband wistfully at bedtime.
     "Why?" my husband asked, intrigued.  Our son gave it some thought.
     "Because there are things you get as a kid that you don't get as an adult."
     "Like what?"
     More thought, then our son's face lit up.  "Candy!" he gasped with a grin.  "And toys.  When you're a kid, you get a toy for your birthday.  When you're an adult, you just get a card."

Call Your Mother

Be Nice!

     "No, no," I corrected one of my children for the forty-eleventh time.  "That's not nice!"
     I rolled my eyes and shook my head at my husband.  "When does that end?" I asked, exasperated.  "Having to tell them not to do stuff that's not nice?"
     "Never," he quipped.  "Otherwise there'd be no jails."

April 20, 2012

Beauty Is In the Eye of the Creator

I came across this photo the other day, and boy did it make me feel better!  That’s right – better, not worse.  Go on -- get a good look at it (right click on it, then left click "View Image", then hit CTRL and the "+" on your keyboard to zoom in).

Why do I love it, you ask?

Because I think this photo (which came to me titled, "Ugly Women", by the way) is an example of the difference between how we see ourselves and how God sees us.  The top row of photos is how we sometimes see ourselves – perhaps generally happy, but raw, simple, unadorned, and maybe even drab.

The bottom row of photos is how God sees us, how He sees our potential.  Not necessarily to be artificially painted and coiffed and all dolled up.  But rather, taking the raw, simple, unadorned person He created (remember?  Who made you? God made you!), God sees how He can magnify, beautify, and enhance the best of our God-given talents and attributes, so our inner splendor truly sparkles, shines, is radiant, and glows for His glory!

Remember Who made you?  God made you.  And He doesn’t make mistakes.

Remember His sacrifice on the cross?  For you.  YOU!

Remember that God sees both – no, ALL – aspects of you:  the face you show your family; the face you show your boss; the face you show your kids; the face you show your friends; and the face you show your mother-in-law (…c’mon, let’s be honest).  Different people see different sides of us because different situations and different relationships yield unique situations which require unique reactions and unique forms of support.  It’s not being two-faced or lying.  It’s utilizing various aspects of your overall personality to support and love the person who is in front of you at that moment.

God is in front of you at EVERY moment.  And He sees and loves ALL aspects of you.  Even the drab, everyday side of you.


(…there’s always a but, isn’t there?)

That doesn’t mean you should settle and stay that way.  “Well, God loves me the way I am.  So why change?”

We all might look interiorly like the top row of photos, but God calls us to remember His love, remember He made us for a higher purpose, and remember that – if we but focus on His will for us in our lives – we can be more!  We can reflect His love and His purpose in great, glamorous, and glorious ways!

Can you imagine!?  Reflecting God’s love?  Talk about being a beacon!  Wow!

So get up!  Get dressed!  Get going!  Let God be your stylist!  Listen to what He wants.  Learn His will for you.  And rejoice in letting your spirit shine and getting glammed up for God!

P.S. - Okay, in the interest of full disclosure, I also must admit that it was a relief to see these photos.  You mean all those fabulous-looking women on the red carpet weren't just born that way!?  (*gasp!*)  You mean they are ordinary mere mortals like you and me, who happen to have a phalanx of stylists and a borrowed, knock-out, designer wardrobe!?  Wow.  I am shocked.  Because at my house, it's an achievement just to brush my teeth and put on matching sneakers before The Barbarian Hoard descends upon me first thing in the morning.

You, too?  Really?  Whew.  I'm glad it's not just me.

Hey, I've got an idea -- let's pray for each other first thing in the morning, shall we?  I'll pray my "Our Lady of Czestochowa" morning offering for you, and you pray one of your morning prayers for me, okay? 

Ahhhh.  There.  Now I feel much better!  Enjoy a day full of His blessings!

April 14, 2012

Titanic's Catholic Priest

This evening marks the 100th anniversary of the sinking of the R.M.S. Titanic on her maiden voyage through the north Atlantic in 1912.  This article will enlighten you on a little told story of a Catholic priest who truly served his flock to the end:


Father Byles was a Englishman who converted to Catholicism while studying theology at Balliol College, Oxford.  His sermon to his second- and third-class congregations on board the Titanic the morning of the sinking purportedly was on the need to have a "lifeboat in the shape of religious consolation at hand in case of spiritual shipwreck", (http://www.encyclopedia-titanica.org/titanic-victim/fr-byles.html).


April 13, 2012

Fortnight for Freedom

On April 12, 2012, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops' Ad Hoc Committee on Religious Liberty, chaired by Archbishop William E. Lori of Baltimore, MD, published a statement on religious liberty.  The complete statement is available on-line and in .pdf format at the following web address:


In the statement, the bishops made the following exhortation:

For Those of Us Who "Don't Work"

Apparently, the latest effrontery in the completely manufactured "War on Women" comes directly from the Democratic machine itself via the mouthpiece of Hilary Rosen, a liberal talking head on CNN, who astonishingly remarked this week that Ann Romney, wife of Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney and stay-at-home mother of their five boys, "has actually never worked a day in her life."

Let me repeat that:  a stay-at-home mother of five boys "has actually never worked a day in her life."

Really?  I mean, really!?

I find three things interesting here.  Because Ann Romney chose as her full time job the job of raising her own children:

1).  She is not entitled to have a respected opinion of the economy.

2).  She "has never actually worked."

3).  She has caused a media firestorm regarding our society's general estimation of stay-at-home moms.

First, for context, here is Ms. Rosen's complete quote on CNN on Wednesday, April 11th, regarding Mrs. Romney:

“What you have is Mitt Romney running around the country, saying, 'Well, you know, my wife tells me that what women really care about are economic issues, and when I listen to my wife, that’s what I’m hearing.' Guess what? His wife has actually never worked a day in her life. She’s never really dealt with the kinds of economic issues that a majority of the women in this country are facing, in terms of how do we feed our kids, how do we send them to school, and why do we worry about their future.”

On the face of this, it would seem Ms. Rosen believes that, as a stay-at-home mother, Ann Romney either is too oblivious or too simple-minded (or both) to comprehend economic issues.  (Plus she's heartless, since she couldn't care less about her children's feeding, schooling, or future the way mothers who work outside the home do.)

That's ridiculous.  Any woman alive who has bills to pay and dependent mouths to feed has a first-hand understanding and concern of the most basic economic issues regarding the elemental survival of her children.

However, despite her "poorly chosen words" (as Ms. Rosen later stated), I think the primary intended purpose of her remarks was to impugn Ann Romney's personal financial stability and supposed lack of first-hand knowledge of economic sacrifice, given the relative comfort of her lifestyle, thanks to her husband's financial success in business.

(Oh wait!  Wouldn't it be great to have someone who's a successful business man run our country, instead of someone who's never even been CEO of a lemonade stand run our economy into the ground?  I mean, that's what many of our founding fathers were, right?  Successful career men, not career politicians?  But, I digress.)

Ms. Rosen intimates that Mrs. Romney can't possibly understand the financial suffering of ordinary women who must work outside the home and who therefore, in the words of Barack Obama, don't have the "luxury" of staying at home with their children.  Now, I don't know the Romneys' personal financial situation when their five boys were born, but I do know simple math, and I know that being a stay-at-home mom adds exactly zero dollars to the family bank account.

Having been someone who runs the economy of her own home, whether meager or wealthy, Mrs. Romney, therefore, I think, is entitled to have an opinion of our country's economy, to which her husband has contributed by his successful business endeavors.  Without her support of their family on the home front (and believe me, in the most military sense of the word, a house full of boys aptly can be described as a "front"), Mitt Romney by his own admission never would have been able to accomplish all that he has.

Unfortunately, however, the even greater disparaging opinion expressed by Ms. Rosen and many liberal pundits is that women who stay home to raise their own children don't "work".

This is what's caused the verbal firestorm.

For some reason, if I were a full time nanny or I ran an exclusive private daycare center in my home, I would be considered "working."  But, because I perform the exact same services (and more!) for six children whom I personally helped God create, I don't "work." Clearly, I am sitting home with my feet up all day, eating bon-bons, reading magazines, and having my nails done while the children raise themselves.

Would you excuse me, please, while I ring for my cabana boy?

Look, I'm not saying everyone thinks this way about stay-at-home moms, but as a stay-at-home mom myself, as well as one who homeschools (*gasp!* and recoil!), I've fielded enough snide remarks and superior looks to guess that liberals in general do respect the "choices" of women, as long as they are not traditional, conservative choices.  To liberal pundits, my choice to stay home clearly indicates that I am a slothful, inept, ignorant, subjugated dullard, capable only of the menial tasks of wiping noses and arses, in a secretly concerted, subversive effort by conservative men and unenlightened women to roll back the progress of women 100 years.

Well, we're not.  And I'm tired of being told that I am.

I respect the choice of women and mothers who need or decide to work outside the home.  I've never thought nor made a single disparaging remark to or about any of my friends who choose to or must do so.  Each of us women makes very difficult and often life-changing decisions in the best interests of our own family.

However, I've found that while liberal pundits love to expound sympathetically (and at length) on their own magnanimity in considering a wide variety of valid choices by women in different family situations, their oft implied assertion is that because I am not gainfully employed outside the home and do not pay someone else to raise my children each day, I must be living in unwitting luxury and am not "struggling," "juggling," nor "sacrificing" for my family.


Believe me, we're in no position of financial "luxury" to enable me to stay home to raise and educate our children.  Freedom's not free and neither is homeschooling.  However, my husband and I have chosen to make certain sacrifices in order to do this together.  It is the right choice for our family.

Ann Romney's personal sacrifices for her family -- whether economic or otherwise -- should be just that, personal.  Her contribution as a mother to her family might differ from that of her counterparts who work outside the home, but no thoughtful choice of a woman's or mother's role should be diminished because of our society's errant definition of what it means to be a wholly successful "working mom."

Why must I strive to serve two masters both in and out of the home in order to be considered a "modern working mother," wholly fulfilling her many gifts and callings?  Barack Obama even stated that his wife, Michelle, mother to their two daughters, felt guilty on both ends when she was employed outside the home, fully satisfying neither her role of employee nor mother.

How is that successful?

In a previous life, B.C. (Before Children), I was employed outside the home.  I could visit the bathroom alone, eat lunch in one sitting, and get a shower.  Every day!  And if pay grades and promotions were any measure, I was good at my job.  But you know what?  There were at least a hundred other people on Earth who could do my job, too, just as well, if not better.

There is only one person on Earth who can be my kids' mom.


And lemme tell ya, it's work.  Hard work.

As Ann Romney stated in her first Tweet ever:  “I made a choice to stay home and raise five boys. Believe me, it was hard work.”

Strategically, the Romney campaign immediately shot out a fundraising e-mail in response to this firestorm, entitled “War on Moms,” which partially stated that, "if you're a stay-at-home mom, the Democrats have a message for you: You've never worked a day in your life."

I impugn neither the "work" nor the maternity of mothers who do or don't work outside the home.  I'd appreciate it if liberals like Ms. Rosen would return that courtesy and truly extend the respect they claim to have for the achievements of women to all women, even those with differing political or cultural opinions and lifestyle choices.

April 10, 2012


"Cheerfulness is a sign of a generous and mortified person who, forgetting all things, even herself, tries to please her God in all she does for souls."  (Blessed Mother Teresa)

April 6, 2012

Stations of the Cross

Leader:  We adore you, O Christ, and we praise You.
All:  [genuflect] Because by Your holy cross, You have redeemed the world.

Today is Good Friday, the day on which Christians commemorate the death of Jesus on the cross.  For Catholics, it is the only day of the year on which no Mass is celebrated.  The Church instead holds a liturgy, which includes the following: a reading of Christ's Passion from the Gospel of John, Chapters 18 & 19; general intercessions or prayers for special intentions; the distribution of Communion (from hosts consecrated at Mass on Holy Thursday the previous day), and; veneration of the cross, during which the congregation comes forward to kiss a crucifix at the foot of the altar. Altogether, the service is very somber, with no music, periods of silence, and the priest's wearing of purple or black vestments.  In recognition and with respect for Christ's sacrifice, Good Friday is a day of fast and abstinence.

Many people also pray the Stations of the Cross on every Friday of the year, but especially so on Good Friday.

The Stations originated from pilgrims literally walking the actual way that Jesus followed to Calvary through the streets of the city of Jerusalem.  For those Christians not living in Jerusalem, this journey would be an enormously lengthy and expensive undertaking, and often impossible.  Therefore, such a trip only was within the means of the very wealthy.  Thankfully, over centuries, the practice was brought into every local Catholic Church through the placement of images of each Station along the inside walls, thereby allowing even the most infirmed to accompany Christ and console Him in His sacrifice.

The traditional 14 Stations of the Cross are as follows:
  1. Jesus Is Condemned to Death
  2. Jesus Accepts the Cross
  3. Jesus Falls the First Time
  4. Jesus Meets His Mother
  5. Simon of Cyrene Carries the Cross
  6. Veronica Wipes the Face of Jesus
  7. Jesus Falls the Second Time
  8. Jesus Meets the Women of Jerusalem
  9. Jesus Falls the Third Time
  10. Jesus Is Stripped of His Garments
  11. The Crucifixion: Jesus Is Nailed to the Cross
  12. Jesus Dies on the Cross
  13. Jesus Is Taken Down From the Cross
  14. Jesus Is Laid in the Tomb
(Some people also include a fifteenth station of the Resurrection.)

Of the traditional 14 Stations of the Cross, only eight have direct Scriptural references.  In 1991, Blessed Pope John Paul II introduced a Scriptural Way of the Cross on Good Friday, which he celebrated many times at the Colosseum in Rome.  The 14 Scriptural Stations of the Cross are as follows:
  1. Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane,
  2. Jesus is Betrayed by Judas and Arrested
  3. Jesus is Condemned by the Sanhedrin
  4. Jesus is Denied by Peter
  5. Jesus is Judged by Pilate
  6. Jesus is Scourged and Crowned with Thorns
  7. Jesus Takes Up His Cross
  8. Jesus is Helped by Simon to Carry His cross
  9. Jesus Meets the Women of Jerusalem
  10. Jesus is Crucified
  11. Jesus Promises His Kingdom to the Repentant Thief
  12. Jesus Entrusts Mary and John to Each Other
  13. Jesus Dies on the Cross
  14. Jesus is Laid in the Tomb
For your reflection today, I am posting still photos from Mel Gibson's movie, The Passion of the Christ, which follows the course of the Stations of the Cross.















"You think you make sacrifices.  Look at the sacrifice of Calvary, and compare yours with it."
(St. Elizabeth Ann Seton)

April 5, 2012

Holy Thursday

Benedict XVI’s Sermon for Holy Thursday Evening
Lord’s Supper Mass

Dear Brothers and Sisters!

Holy Thursday is not only the day of the institution of the Most Holy Eucharist, whose splendour bathes all else and in some ways draws it to itself.  To Holy Thursday also belongs the dark night of the Mount of Olives, to which Jesus goes with his disciples; the solitude and abandonment of Jesus, who in prayer goes forth to encounter the darkness of death; the betrayal of Judas, Jesus’ arrest and his denial by Peter; his indictment before the Sanhedrin and his being handed over to the Gentiles, to Pilate. Let us try at this hour to understand more deeply something of these events, for in them the mystery of our redemption takes place.

Jesus goes forth into the night. Night signifies lack of communication, a situation where people do not see one another. It is a symbol of incomprehension, of the obscuring of truth.  It is the place where evil, which has to hide before the light, can grow. Jesus himself is light and truth, communication, purity and goodness. He enters into the night. Night is ultimately a symbol of death, the definitive loss of fellowship and life. Jesus enters into the night in order to overcome it and to inaugurate the new Day of God in the history of humanity.

On the way, he sang with his disciples Israel’s psalms of liberation and redemption, which evoked the first Passover in Egypt, the night of liberation. Now he goes, as was his custom, to pray in solitude and, as Son, to speak with the Father. But, unusually, he wants to have close to him three disciples: Peter, James and John. These are the three who had experienced his Transfiguration – when the light of God’s glory shone through his human figure – and had seen him standing between the Law and the Prophets, between Moses and Elijah. They had heard him speaking to both of them about his “exodus” to Jerusalem. Jesus’ exodus to Jerusalemhow mysterious are these words! Israel’s exodus from Egypt had been the event of escape and liberation for God’s People. What would be the form taken by the exodus of Jesus, in whom the meaning of that historic drama was to be definitively fulfilled? The disciples were now witnessing the first stage of that exodus – the utter abasement which was nonetheless the essential step of the going forth to the freedom and new life which was the goal of the exodus. The disciples, whom Jesus wanted to have close to him as an element of human support in that hour of extreme distress, quickly fell asleep. Yet they heard some fragments of the words of Jesus’ prayer and they witnessed his way of acting. Both were deeply impressed on their hearts and they transmitted them to Christians for all time. Jesus called God “Abba“. The word means – as they add – “Father”. Yet it is not the usual form of the word “father”, but rather a children’s word – an affectionate name which one would not have dared to use in speaking to God. It is the language of the one who is truly a “child”, the Son of the Father, the one who is conscious of being in communion with God, in deepest union with him.

If we ask ourselves what is most characteristic of the figure of Jesus in the Gospels, we have to say that it is his relationship with God. He is constantly in communion with God. Being with the Father is the core of his personality. Through Christ we know God truly. “No one has ever seen God”, says Saint John. The one “who is close to the Father’s heart … has made him known” (1:18).  Now we know God as he truly is. He is Father, and this in an absolute goodness to which we can entrust ourselves. The evangelist Mark, who has preserved the memories of Saint Peter, relates that Jesus, after calling God “Abba”, went on to say: “Everything is possible for you. You can do all things” (cf. 14:36). The one who is Goodness is at the same time Power; he is all-powerful. Power is goodness and goodness is power. We can learn this trust from Jesus’ prayer on the Mount of Olives.

Before reflecting on the content of Jesus’ petition, we must still consider what the evangelists tell us about Jesus’ posture during his prayer. Matthew and Mark tell us that he “threw himself on the ground” (Mt 26:39; cf. Mk 14:35), thus assuming a posture of complete submission, as is preserved in the Roman liturgy of Good Friday. Luke, on the other hand, tells us that Jesus prayed on his knees. In the Acts of the Apostles, he speaks of the saints praying on their knees: Stephen during his stoning, Peter at the raising of someone who had died, Paul on his way to martyrdom. In this way Luke has sketched a brief history of prayer on one’s knees in the early Church. Christians, in kneeling, enter into Jesus’ prayer on the Mount of Olives.  When menaced by the power of evil, as they kneel, they are upright before the world, while as sons and daughters, they kneel before the Father. Before God’s glory we Christians kneel and acknowledge his divinity; by that posture we also express our confidence that he will prevail.

Jesus struggles with the Father. He struggles with himself. And he struggles for us. He experiences anguish before the power of death. First and foremost this is simply the dread natural to every living creature in the face of death.  In Jesus, however, something more is at work. His gaze peers deeper, into the nights of evil. He sees the filthy flood of all the lies and all the disgrace which he will encounter in that chalice from which he must drink.  His is the dread of one who is completely pure and holy as he sees the entire flood of this world’s evil bursting upon him.  He also sees me, and he prays for me. This moment of Jesus’ mortal anguish is thus an essential part of the process of redemption. Consequently, the Letter to the Hebrews describes the struggle of Jesus on the Mount of Olives as a priestly event. In this prayer of Jesus, pervaded by mortal anguish, the Lord performs the office of a priest: he takes upon himself the sins of humanity, of us all, and he brings us before the Father.

Lastly, we must also pay attention to the content of Jesus’ prayer on the Mount of Olives. Jesus says: “Father, for you all things are possible; remove this cup from me; yet not what I want, but what you want” (Mk 14:36). The natural will of the man Jesus recoils in fear before the enormity of the matter. He asks to be spared. Yet as the Son, he places this human will into the Father’s will: not I, but you. In this way he transformed the stance of Adam, the primordial human sin, and thus heals humanity. The stance of Adam was: not what you, O God, have desired; rather, I myself want to be a god. This pride is the real essence of sin. We think we are free and truly ourselves only if we follow our own will. God appears as the opposite of our freedom. We need to be free of him – so we think – and only then will we be free. This is the fundamental rebellion present throughout history and the fundamental lie which perverts life. [Again, I cannot help but think of his Chrism Mass sermon.] When human beings set themselves against God, they set themselves against the truth of their own being and consequently do not become free, but alienated from themselves. We are free only if we stand in the truth of our being, if we are united to God. Then we become truly “like God” – not by resisting God, eliminating him, or denying him.

In his anguished prayer on the Mount of Olives, Jesus resolved the false opposition between obedience and freedom, and opened the path to freedom. Let us ask the Lord to draw us into this “yes” to God’s will, and in this way to make us truly free.


The Eucharist - Belief in the Real Presence of Jesus Christ

Kindly pick up your Bible and read the Gospel of John, Chapter 6.  Then click here to watch a half hour video documentary, which teaches the Catholic Church's belief in the Real Presence of Jesus Christ in the Eucharist.

You'll never be the same!

See you at Perpetual Adoration!