August 29, 2012

You Only Get One Shot At Being Your Kid's Mom

I've struggled for a long time with how to articulate the importance of investing oneself FULLY as a mother during the years when our children are home with us.

It's exhausting.
It's rewarding.
It's frustrating.
It's exhilerating.

It's a vocation.

It's the most important thing you EVER will do in your life, with your life.  And Sarah Mae expresses this more eloquently than I ever could!

Read and be challenged.
Read and be inspired.
Read and be renewed in your vocation as a mom!

And be assured that my prayers are with you!

Here's the link:

Feast of the Visitation (Part 2 of 2)

 I've been agonizing over how to properly articulate the depth of Elizabeth's response to Mary during the Visitation, when I came across this writing from the last two pages of then Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger’s (now Pope Benedict XVI's) book, Daughter Zion:

“One more remark in conclusion: Luke recounts in the story of Mary’s visit to Elizabeth that when Mary’s greeting rang out John ‘leaped for joy in his mother’s womb’. To express that joy he employs the same word σκιρτᾶν (leap) that he used to express the joy of those to whom the beatitudes are addressed. (Lk 6:23).  This word also appears in one of the old Greek translations of the Old Testament to describe David’s dance before the Ark of the Covenant after it had returned home…something is expressed here that has been  almost entirely lost in our century and nonetheless belongs to the heart of faith; essential to it is the joy in the Word become man, the dance before the Ark of the Covenant, in self-forgetful happiness, by one who has recognized God’s salvific nearness. Only against this background can Marian devotion be comprehended. Transcending all problems, Marian devotion is the rapture of joy over the true, indestructible Israel; it is a blissful entering into the joy of the Magnificat and thereby it is the praise of him to whom the daughter Zion owes her whole self and whom she bears, the true, incorruptible, indestructible Ark of the Covenant.”

If you know me, you know I'm not advocating liturgical dance here.  But the saturating physical depths of the infant John's joy is pondered beautifully here.  That's why Benedict is the pope!

Thank you to Terri at, "At The Back Of The North Wind" ( ) for posting this excerpt, which was a text from her beloved son, Justin.

August 20, 2012

More On Veils

I've received several inquiries lately about my relatively recent habit of wearing a veil during Mass and in the presence of the Blessed Sacrament.  I highly recommend wearing a veil, which I believe should be done voluntarily out of love, humility, and reverence for the Eucharistic presence of Jesus (and no, that doesn't mean I think that if you don't veil that you don't love and reverence Our Lord in the Eucharist).

For thought, I offer the words of Dr. Alice Von Hildrebrand:

“… feminists after Vatican II suddenly ‘discovered’ that when women go to Church veiled, it is a sign of their inferiority…My goodness, how they have lost the sense of the supernatural.  Veiling indicates sacredness and it is a special privilege of the woman that she enters church veiled.”

So, in addition to my previous blog posts (cited below), here are a few other links to a few more well-said thoughts on women wearing veils.  If you have any other edifying and spiritually nourishing links you wish to share, please let me know in the comments and I'll be glad to post those, too.


Blog: "Ave Momma" (Where To Buy A Veil)

Blog: "Ave Momma" (To Veil Or Not To Veil)

Blog:  "A Woman's Place Depends On Her Vocation" (many articles)

Blog: "Catholic Sistas" (A Call To Veil - The Mysterious Unfolds)

Blog: "Catholic Sistas" (Lifting The Veil)

Blog:  "Kankakee TLM"  (Beautiful Women Wear Veils)

August 16, 2012

Today's Wisdom

"Lord, please walk beside me with one hand around my shoulder and the other hand over my mouth!"

August 15, 2012

The Magnificat

On this Feast of the Assumption, let us ask Our Lady to be the guardian of all life and allow us to help and inspire women to cherish the gift they hold within their womb!

The Magnificat:
My soul magnifies the Lord
And my spirit rejoices in God my Savior;
Because he has regarded the lowliness of his handmaid;
For behold, henceforth all generations shall call me blessed;
Because he who is mighty has done great things for me,
and holy is his name;
And his mercy is from generation to generation
on those who fear him.
He has shown might with his arm,
He has scattered the proud in the conceit of their heart.
He has put down the mighty from their thrones,
and has exalted the lowly.
He has filled the hungry with good things,
and the rich he has sent away empty.
He has given help to Israel, his servant, mindful of his mercy
Even as he spoke to our fathers, to Abraham and to his posterity forever.

(See the immediate previous post for a detailed explanation of the Catholic Church's Doctrine of the Assumption.)


Feast of the Assumption

The Assumption

The doctrine of the Assumption says that at the end of her life on earth Mary was assumed, body and soul, into heaven, just as Enoch, Elijah, and perhaps others had been before her. It’s also necessary to keep in mind what the Assumption is not. Some people think Catholics believe Mary "ascended" into heaven. That’s not correct. Christ, by His own power, ascended into heaven. Mary was assumed or taken up into heaven by God. She didn’t do it under her own power.

The Church has never formally defined whether she died or not, and the integrity of the doctrine of the Assumption would not be impaired if she did not in fact die, but the almost universal consensus is that she did die. Pope Pius XII, in Munificentissimus Deus (1950), defined that Mary, "after the completion of her earthly life" (note the silence regarding her death), "was assumed body and soul into the glory of heaven."

The possibility of a bodily assumption before the Second Coming is suggested by Matthew 27:52–53: "[T]he tombs also were opened, and many bodies of the saints who had fallen asleep were raised, and coming out of the tombs after his resurrection they went into the holy city and appeared to many." Did all these Old Testament saints die and have to be buried all over again? There is no record of that, but it is recorded by early Church writers that they were assumed into heaven, or at least into that temporary state of rest and happiness often called "paradise," where the righteous people from the Old Testament era waited until Christ’s resurrection (cf. Luke 16:22, 23:43; Heb. 11:1–40; 1 Pet. 4:6), after which they were brought into the eternal bliss of heaven.

No Remains

There is also what might be called the negative historical proof for Mary’s Assumption. It is easy to document that, from the first, Christians gave homage to saints, including many about whom we now know little or nothing. Cities vied for the title of the last resting place of the most famous saints. Rome, for example, houses the tombs of Peter and Paul, Peter’s tomb being under the high altar of St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome. In the early Christian centuries relics of saints were zealously guarded and highly prized. The bones of those martyred in the Coliseum, for instance, were quickly gathered up and preserved—there are many accounts of this in the biographies of those who gave their lives for the faith.

It is agreed upon that Mary ended her life in Jerusalem, or perhaps in Ephesus. However, neither those cities nor any other claimed her remains, though there are claims about possessing her (temporary) tomb. And why did no city claim the bones of Mary? Apparently because there weren’t any bones to claim, and people knew it. Here was Mary, certainly the most privileged of all the saints, certainly the most saintly, but we have no record of her bodily remains being venerated anywhere.

Complement to the Immaculate Conception

Over the centuries, the Fathers and the Doctors of the Church spoke often about the fittingness of the privilege of Mary’s Assumption. The speculative grounds considered include Mary’s freedom from sin, her Motherhood of God, her perpetual virginity, and—the key—her union with the salvific work of Christ.
The dogma is especially fitting when one examines the honor that was given to the ark of the covenant. It contained the manna (bread from heaven), stone tablets of the ten commandments (the word of God), and the staff of Aaron (a symbol of Israel’s high priesthood). Because of its contents, it was made of incorruptible wood, and Psalm 132:8 said, "Arise, O Lord, and go to thy resting place, thou and the ark of thy might." If this vessel was given such honor, how much more should Mary be kept from corruption, since she is the new ark—who carried the real bread from heaven, the Word of God, and the high priest of the New Covenant, Jesus Christ.

Some argue that the new ark is not Mary, but the body of Jesus. Even if this were the case, it is worth noting that 1 Chronicles 15:14 records that the persons who bore the ark were to be sanctified. There would be no sense in sanctifying men who carried a box, and not sanctifying the womb who carried God himself! After all, wisdom will not dwell "in a body under debt of sin" (Wis. 1:4 NAB).

But there is more than just fittingness. After all, if Mary is immaculately conceived, then it would follow that she would not suffer the corruption in the grave, which is a consequence of sin [Gen. 3:17, 19].

Mary’s Cooperation

Mary freely and actively cooperated in a unique way with God’s plan of salvation (Luke 1:38; Gal. 4:4). Like any mother, she was never separated from the suffering of her Son (Luke 2:35), and Scripture promises that those who share in the sufferings of Christ will share in his glory (Rom. 8:17). Since she suffered a unique interior martyrdom, it is appropriate that Jesus would honor her with a unique glory.

All Christians believe that one day we will all be raised in a glorious form and then caught up and rendered immaculate to be with Jesus forever (1 Thess. 4:17; Rev. 21:27). As the first person to say "yes" to the good news of Jesus (Luke 1:38), Mary is in a sense the prototypical Christian, and received early the blessings we will all one day be given.
NIHIL OBSTAT: I have concluded that the materials
presented in this work are free of doctrinal or moral errors.
Bernadeane Carr, STL, Censor Librorum, August 10, 2004

IMPRIMATUR: In accord with 1983 CIC 827
permission to publish this work is hereby granted.
+Robert H. Brom, Bishop of San Diego, August 10, 2004


August 12, 2012

How to Declutter, Little by Little

There are millions of blogs, checklists, and advice columns out there to help you declutter and organize your household to the n’th degree.  Some people, however, are not natural organizers and are completely overwhelmed at the thought of using a highly detailed three page checklist to tackle what might look to them like prime candidacy for an appearance on television’s “Hoarders!”

If you’ve never pared down before and simply don’t know where to begin, here is a low impact start for  beginners, from a wonderful friend in one of my homeschool support groups (thank you, Karen C.!):

Supplies Needed:
Masking tape
Sharpie marker
Your personal calendar
Two large, black garbage bags (this is important, so you can't see inside)

  1. Using the masking tape and sharpie, label the garbage bags “Bag #1” and “Bag #2”.
  2. Spend a brief 15-20 minutes each day decluttering in the room of your choice.  Pick the smallest room, or the worst room to make a dent in it, or the least cluttered room to finish up quickly, or the room in which you spend the most time each day, etc.  Regardless, set a timer so you don't become overwhelmed, tired, or discouraged.  If you want to make an afternoon project out of this, still set a timer so you at least have a measureable, achieveable timeframe with an end in sight.
  3. As you declutter, tell yourself you're not saying, “Goodbye,” to these items. You’re only setting them aside for a short time to see if you really need them, or if you'll really miss them if they're donated.
  4. Place the items in one of the two bags as follows:Bag #1 – “I liked using you, Nice Item, but I haven’t used you in a while and I’m not sure I need you anymore.  You might be needed more by another person who doesn’t have the means to buy you.”
Bag #2 – “I really, really liked using/reading/wearing you, but you’ve just been sitting around for a while and someone else might need you more."
  1. When a bag is full, get another piece of masking tape and label it with the date you finished filling it.  Place the bag in your garage, basement, or other out-of-the-way place.
  2. Mark your calendar, “Donate Bag #1” or “Donate Bag #2” six months from the date on the bag.
  3. Over the next six months, only remove an item from either bag if you think of it on your own and really want or need to use it.
  4. When you reach “Donate Bag #_____” on your calendar, donate that bag with whatever is left in it.  Do not open the bag!  Say a prayer for those who will use these items.
  5. Repeat the process as needed with Bags #3,4,5, etc., with new dates on the bags and on the calendar. Feel free to adjust this system to fit your needs.
Gentleness and Patience are Fruits of the Holy Spirit, so be gentle and patient with yourself, especially if you’re not used to decluttering!  If you need some help, call in the cavalry -- ask a friend who always seems so organized or whose house always seems neat as a pin if she'll help you for a day!

Make her lunch and it's a party!

August 11, 2012

Meteor Shower

This coming weekend will be the peak for the annual August Perseid meteor shower!  Head outside between Sunday night and early Monday morning and enjoy the show!  This article provides all the details:

August 10, 2012

On Lilliputians at Mass

A friend of mine made me feel much better recently when we mutually commiserated on the challenges of keeping several Lilliputian toddlers in line during Mass.  Here’s a synopsis of her take on it (thank you Kathy T.!):

My kids are a lot of things, but bashful is not one of them.  I would say most mothers of toddlers and pre-schoolers bring their kids up to communion with them, not so much to get a blessing, but because the thought of leaving a band of pirates in the pew is unwise, so mothers have learned to cleverly disguise a half-nelson as a loving embrace, which she doesn't dare let go of till the Ite Misa Est!

I spent most Masses when my kids were that age doing one or more of the following:

1.         Yanking people out from under pews by their legs.
2.         Shushing people who decided to sing Itsy Bitsy Spider to Jesus at the consecration.
3.         Shushing people during Lent who were whisper-shouting that we forgot to sing the Gloria or the Alleluia.
4.         Giving shoes back to ladies in front of us, because people had removed them from her feet while she was kneeling.
5.         Keeping people from undressing in church.
6.         Giving unsatisfactory answers to people who were loudly protesting that poor Jesus was wearing only a towel.
7.         Hanging on tight with a hand over the mouth of a flailing, biting, kicking person, while frightening thoughts of calculating how many seconds it would take to suffocate said person unconscious, yet not kill them, began to take on the distinctive quality of a reasonable solution.

It was also during those years that my Mass attire changed dramatically.  After the heel of my dress-shoe caught in the hem of my skirt when I genuflected (while holding one of the kids) and I launched myself headfirst into the side of the pew, I quit wearing heels and skirts.  Pants and shirts became much more practical for the WWF rumblefest that was Our Family At Mass.

So, I know the “blessing” at communion wasn’t necessary nor even sanctioned, but it did give me hope that I might last another 15 minutes!  Hang in there!

August 3, 2012

What Mothers Do

Understanding God and the Church

Here's a wonderful link to a reliable source (St. Mary of Piscataway, Clinton, MD, Archdiocese of Washington, D.C.) with a plethora of downloadable PDF's on "the most important things to 'get' about God and the Church":

Talk about edifying and spiritually nourishing summer reading!  Enjoy!

Famous Thoughts: Faith in Times of Trial

I recently received this e-mail message from a friend, and couldn't have phrased her niece's nor her sentiments any better, in terms of remaining faithful in times of trial.  Thank you, Christine!

Dear faithful prayer warriors -- Thank you!

Your prayers for my niece in Oklahoma were answered abundantly! One year ago, she foolishly chased after her irate boyfriend, fell beneath his truck, and was run over as he backed up. She has not only survived a crushed pelvis and many other injuries, she has gained a deep faith and understanding! She has come home, healed her relationship with her mother and God, found a full time job teaching dance at a Christian dance studio, and is being a wonderful mother to her two young children. Wow, Lord. Wow!

Here is her posting this morning from Facebook:

It was one year ago today that my life was changed forever. I experienced the greatest pain I have ever known (and yes... getting run over by a deisel truck hurts more than childbirth). But as strange as it sounds, I am glad that it happened. God had to break my body to heal my soul, and bring me into a place in my life where I am happier than I have ever been! So to anyone out there who is enduring hardships, have faith! He has a plan!

Just thought you'd like to know :-)


Let's read that again, folks:

"God had to break my body to heal my soul." 

Isn't that beautiful?  And sooooo true?

Isn't that what He does to us?  St. Teresa of Avila famously said, "Lord, if this is how you treat your friends, no wonder you have so few."  She suffered numerous long-term physical and spiritual trials.

Isn't that what He does for us?  C.S. Lewis famously said, "You don't have a soul.  You are a soul.  You have a body."  Jesus sacrificed everything and truly is present in the tabernacle and on the altar, Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity.  Isn't that what it takes, the whole enchilada, body and soul?  Even for God?

Isn't that true of suffering and sacrifice for all of us?  My father famously said, "Maria, you never know what people are going through."  Everyone is suffering in some way.  It's the human condition.  No one's life is without trial.  Physical suffering can affect your spiritual life, and spiritual suffering can affect your physical health.

I don't know what suffering, insult, challenge, difficulty, hurdle, or otherwise seemingly insurmountable trial you secretly are enduring right now, big or small.

But I do know that God ALWAYS is faithful.
He ALWAYS is with you.
And He ALWAYS will strengthen you.

Isn't that why He's there?  To try us like gold in the furnace (Proverbs 17:3), and then lift us from the flames, so we are fit to join Him in our ultimate destination of Heaven?  Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta famously said, "I know God won't give me anything I can't handle.  I just wish He didn't trust me so much."

God might be testing you, but He also is trusting you.  Trusting, hoping, knowing that you will exercise your free will and remain faithful to Him, even in the face of trial.

Remember, He made you!  And why did He make you?  To know, love, and serve Him in this world and to be happy with Him forever in Heaven.

And that's what life is all about, Charlie Brown.

Education on Money & Banking

If you've never viewed an educational course on any number of classical and contemporary topics from The Great Courses, then you're in for a real treat!  Enjoy this link to a page full of short, free video clips presenting briefs bits of education on money and banking.  This is great for your high student's economic awareness or your own household budget savvy and personal understanding of how the dollar and our local and world economy work:


Men In Black

(Photo courtesy of Guardian Angels Catholic Community, Chaska, MN)
"Men In Black" basketball is back!  Come enjoy an exciting game and watch our archdiocesan priests and seminarians play against St. John Westminster parishioners on Friday, September 14th at 7:00 p.m. at Westminster High School.  Don’t miss this free, fun-filled evening for the entire family, with refreshments and activities for kids at halftime.
For more information, contact Betty Belk at 410-848-9391.  Here's an article in the Archdiocese of Baltimore's Catholic newspaper, The Catholic Review, from last year's event:


August 2, 2012

Total Consecration to Jesus Through Mary

Here is a wonderful link to the complete PDF prayer book of Preparation for Total Consecration to Jesus Through Mary According to St.Louis Marie de Montfort With 40 Daily Meditations by Pope John Paul II!


40 Miles for Life - Adoption Is An Option!

My Ultra Husband, My Hero, runs ultra-marathons, and now he's running one for LIFE!  Specifically:


Not every expectant mother finds herself able to raise her child.

Not every couple finds themselves able to have a child.

Happily for both, adoption is an option!

As adoptive parents, we are strong believers in honoring God's gift of life through the gift of adoption. "Adoption Is An Option!" is our motto. Timed to coincide with the nationwide "40 Days for Life" campaign, we are pleased to announce our first ever "40 Miles for Life" race on Saturday, September 29, 2012 at 7:00 a.m.

The run is scheduled to be held during the first weekend of the fall "40 Days for Life" campaign. We will be running 40 miles from the abortion clinic in Frederick, Maryland (the one near Frederick Memorial Hospital) to the National Shrine Grotto of Lourdes at Mount St. Mary's University in Emmitsburg, Maryland.

This run is a completely independent endeavor. We do not have a race coordinator nor support stations. Please prepare for this run by providing your own supplies and support crew.

If you are interested in coordinating this race, expanding its enrollment, providing race support, or publicizing it, please feel welcome to contact us at

If you are interested in duplicating this race in your own city or town, please feel welcome to contact us at