Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God.

Now this solemnity/feast is one that causes so much hubub, so often! And really, that kind of baffles me….because this title, it just makes so much sense. Try being a pregnant woman, with ALL that entails and then decide if you’re entitled to be called the mother of that little baby, or not. Try giving birth, nursing, wiping, swaddling, hugging, smooching, smelling that little amazing being……see if you know in your bones that this has changed who you are, ontologically. Go, ahead, I’ll wait…….. See? Right. Exactly. Kerfuffle soothed. For me anyhow. She bore Christ, brought him to us. And, she raised loved nurtured fed rocked taught him. She wiped his nose, kissed scratches, rubbed his head and rolled her eyes sometimes, I betcha. He was a boy, too. Hers. She’s the mom. I’m a mom, I can totally relate. Except for the whole sinless, divine child angle…….Still…..

It’s a big feast. It’s Mary, Mother of God! I love her, this solemnity, this IS cause for celebration.

And…for those of you who just need to tease out the objections, read below:

Mary, Mother of God

by Father William Saunders

I was visiting an inner-city Church one day and in the vestibule some graffiti was written on the wall which said, “Catholics, God has no mother,” obviously referring to Mary’s title as “Mother of God.” How does one respond to such an objection? — A reader in Springfield

As Catholics, we firmly believe in the incarnation of our Lord: Mary conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit. (Lk 1:26-38 and Mt 1:18-25) Through her, Jesus Christ–second person of the Holy Trinity, one-in-being (consubstantial) with the Father, and true God from true God–entered this world, taking on human flesh and a human soul. Jesus is true God and true man. In His person are united both a divine nature and a human nature.

Mary did not create the divine person of Jesus, who existed with the Father from all eternity. “In fact, the One whom she conceived as man by the Holy Spirit, who truly became her Son according to the flesh, was none other than the Father’s eternal Son, the second person of the Holy Trinity. Hence the Church confesses that Mary is truly ‘Mother of God’ (Theotokos)” (CCC, No. 495). As St. John wrote, “The Word became flesh and made His dwelling among us, and we have seen His glory: The glory of an only Son coming from the Father filled with enduring love” (Jn 1:14).

For this reason, sometime in the early history of the Church, our Blessed Mother was given the title “Mother of God.” St. John Chrysostom (d. 407), for example, composed in his Eucharistic Prayer for the Mass an anthem in honor of her: “It is truly just to proclaim you blessed, O Mother of God, who are most blessed, all pure and Mother of our God. We magnify you who are more honorable than the Cherubim and incomparably more glorious than the Seraphim. You who, without losing your virginity, gave birth to the Word of God. You who are truly the Mother of God.”

However, objection to the title “Mother of God” arose in the fifth century, due to confusion concerning the mystery of the incarnation. Nestorius, Bishop of Constantinople (428-431), incited a major controversy. He stated that Mary gave birth to Jesus Christ, a regular human person, period. To this human person was united the person of the Word of God (the divine Jesus). This union of two persons–the human Christ and the divine Word– was “sublime and unique” but merely accidental. The divine person dwelt in the human person “as in a temple.” Following his own reasoning, Nestorius asserted that the human Jesus died on the cross, not the divine Jesus. As such, Mary is not “Mother of God,” but simply “Mother of Christ”–the human Jesus. Sound confusing? It is, but the result is the splitting of Christ into two persons and the denial of the incarnation.

St. Cyril, Bishop of Alexandria (d. 440) refuted Nestorius, asserting, “It was not that an ordinary man was born first of the Holy Virgin, on whom afterwards the Word descended; what we say is that, being united with the flesh from the womb, (the Word) has undergone birth in the flesh, making the birth in the flesh His own…” This statement affirms the belief asserted in the first paragraph.

On June 22, 431, the Council of Ephesus convened to settle this argument. The Council declared, “If anyone does not confess that the Emmanuel is truly God and therefore that the holy Virgin is the Mother of God (Theotokos) (since she begot according to the flesh the Word of God made flesh), anathema sit.” Therefore, the Council officially recognized that Jesus is one person, with two natures–human and divine–united in a true union. Second, Ephesus affirmed that our Blessed Mother can rightfully be called the Mother of God. Mary is not Mother of God, the Father, or Mother of God, the Holy Spirit; rather, she is Mother of God, the Son–Jesus Christ. The Council of Ephesus declared Nestorius a heretic, and the Emperor Theodosius ordered him deposed and exiled. (Interestingly, a small Nestorian Church still exists in Iraq, Iran and Syria.)

The incarnation is indeed a profound mystery. The Church uses very precise–albeit philosophical–language to prevent confusion and error. Nevertheless, as we celebrate Christmas, we must ponder this great mystery of how our divine Savior entered this world, taking on our human flesh, to free us from sin. We must also ponder and emulate the great example of our Blessed Mother, who said, “I am the handmaid of the Lord; be it done unto me according to Thy word.” May we turn to her always as our own Mother, pleading, “Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners now and at the hour of our death. Amen.”

Fr. Saunders is president of Notre Dame Institute and associate pastor of Queen of Apostles Parish, both in Alexandria.

Joyous solemnity

It’s a high feast day, a solemnity. It’s the Feast of the Immaculate Conception!

It’s a very big feast and a happy great day. I’m happy for it! I love Mary and I love this feast. So, don’t forget your Blessed Mother today, she’s a gift to us all. I’m so grateful.


God gave her his help from the dawning of her days; the Most High has made his dwelling place a holy temple

Feast of St. Francis Xavier

It’s the feast of St. Francis Xavier!


O God, who through the preaching of Saint Francis Xavier
won many peoples to yourself,
grant that the hearts of the faithful
may burn with the same zeal for the faith
and that Holy Church may everywhere rejoice
in an abundance of offspring.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, forever and ever.

A Saint for the Rest of Us…

…meaning, this is the saint of the wild, the procrastinator, the know it all in each of us…
Its the feast day of St. Augustine!

Ok, most of us know Augustine.  But just in case: this saint, from north Africa, {born in Tagaste, in Africa, in 354} is one of the biggies: a Doctor of the Church and one of the great writers throughout Church history. I like him for so many reasons, not the least of which is his connection with his mom and her devoted prayers for her son. You know, I will always have a soft spot for a mom and son….

His teachings are noted throughout Christendom for their lasting influence and, simply put, their beauty. Sure, yes, of course, their brilliance and wisdom too.  But….it’s important to remember how he started, I think.  He started on this road with a left turn – years of living a life that was wild, utterly hedonistic, and dipped into all sorts of heresy and convoluted ideas of god…..but when he returned to the Faith, he did so in a big way, using his brilliant mind to convey the beauty of Truth to generations to come.

Indeed, this is the antiphon from evening prayer tonight:
“Late have I loved you,
O Beauty ever ancient, ever new, 
late have I loved you.  
You called, you shouted and you shattered my deafness.”

Late have I loved you…“ Indeed. And perhaps, that is part of his appeal to so many, so many of us (ok, me), have really felt that, lived that. Late.  I loved you late. I missed so much, for so long. The “band width” of my life was so slim, so small, and I didn’t even know it. I was fooled by the hedonistic life (now I”m not saying wild, let me be clear…not too much so or compared to today’s standards, anyhow.  Ahem) I lived into thinking it was so wide. I was arrogant enough to think I knew it all. Only, later, later when I finally let go of my grip on that did I finally come to realize how very very limited and small it all really was.

And it was then that this saint, St. Augustine, once more, came through for me with one of his most famous prayers:

“You have made us for yourself, oh God. 
And our hearts are restless, until they rest in you.“ 

Ah. I know, I’m paraphrasing that quote, but that’s how it sticks in my head and heart. And that about sums it all up: St. Augustine, life in general, me in particular.  Late.  Too busy to stop and see, to stop and hear, to stop and love.  For the real depth of it, the real deal.  Late.  But, not never.  So, for all of you busy hectic procrastinators and or know it all’s out there (like me)….St Augustine, he’s your man.

icon written by Nancy Oliphant

Really, it’s never too late to wake up to love.  
Thank goodness!
Happy feast day!
St. Augustine, pray for us!

Fledging Friars, or, The Vows

The Novices have stepped out of the nest.

Now, they fly.  They are a flock of fledging friars!  Sorry, guys, no disrespect. Just a little mom fun.

Seriously though, as you all know by now, last Wednesday, on the Feast of the Assumption, my son and his nine novice brothers took their First Vows.

These are also known as Simple Profession.  They are the vows to the Dominican Order and religious life as a Student Brother for the next 3.5 years.  They are the last step of serious discernment before Final Vows, aka Solemn Profession – where they will (God willing) take a vow to God himself to live the religious life with the Dominican Order, until death.  Yeah.  Read that one again! Wow.

Even these First Vows, seemingly much smaller (3 years versus the rest of their lives), are so big.  Because if they weren’t awfully sure that they were called to this life, and loved it, until death, they wouldn’t have taken First Vows. They are that big.  In fact, Peter Joseph (my Chris) told me after the Vows that the Final Vows are rather considered a confirmation of their first vows; that First Vows are the ones that are marked with the anniversary.  !! Yeah, good thing, I suppose, that he told me that after the Vows, because I was leaky enough….if I had known, I would’a been UNDONE.

So, I have much to say and describe (of COURSE I do).  But, I think the best way to start this off is to link to the most excellent homily given by Father Brian Martin Mulcahy OP, Prior Provincial of the Province of St. Joseph. Permit me this excerpt, because I cried through this part, so I’d like it more focused (literally) in print, here (go read the whole thing for the full context):

You and I should see the Religious Profession of our ten brothers this day not as some isolated incident in their lives, which we may or may not understand, but rather as a further unfolding of the Paschal Mystery in the life of each of these ten men in all his individuality. What do I mean by that? Their act of vowing themselves to the Lord in poverty, chastity and obedience, which they will do in a few short minutes, one after another, is a further manifestation of the Mystery of Christ’s Life, Death and Resurrection being revealed in the life of each of these ten men, this Mystery into which they were incorporated through their Baptism, through their Confirmation, and through their faithful receiving of the Body and Blood of Christ in the Holy Eucharist.


To the parents and godparents and families of our ten brothers, present with us today: as you watch your son kneel down and make his vows as a Dominican friar, see in this act, freely chosen by your son, a flowering, a blossoming of the gift of New Life in Christ, which you asked to be bestowed upon him when you brought him to the waters of baptism. It is the Lord Jesus, in His fidelity to the promises He made to your sons on the day of their baptisms, who today draws them more closely to His own Heart through their profession of the evangelical counsels and who exhorts them to “run in the ways of perfection.”


It is easy for us to be overwhelmed by the enormousness of what these ten men do here today in vowing themselves to a life of poverty, chastity and obedience, especially because we cannot know exactly what road lies ahead for each of them. However, we must not lose sight, either, of the immensity of Christ’s love that has brought them to this moment in their lives, Christ whose voice it is they are responding to, and whose unwavering fidelity toward them is the only thing that makes their desire to be faithful to Him even possible.


But we can have every confidence that Christ, the Firstborn from the dead, will, in His Goodness, continue to manifest His life, death and resurrection through the lives of our ten brothers, will continue to call forth from them abundant fruit, fruit that will last for the building up of the Kingdom here on earth, until He returns, when they too, each in his proper order, will share fully in Christ’s resurrection from the dead.

Peter Joseph making his First Profession with Father Brian Mulcahy, Prior Provincial of the Dominican Province of St. Joseph

I’ll post more about the hoopla of the vows.  But this, for today, is the essence of why it’s so big.

The Novices have moved into the next step.  My favorite friars are on their way!

Feast for Dominican Moms, with the FIRST one.

Today is the feast day of Blessed Jane of Aza – St Dominic’s mom!

Thanks so much to Jenna for calling it to my attention! I had forgotten that this feast was here. I had forgotten that last year my Chris (then Chris, still) had called me to wish me a happy feast day.  I had forgotten until Peter Joseph called me again this morning. {I just LOVE it that he calls me on feast days!}  We had a good chat, and we decided that she is a great patron for me and other Dominican moms, and a great grandmother of sorts for him.  Hey, it’s always nice to have another patron saint on your side!

So, for all  you Dominican moms, new or old, here she is! Blessed Jane was the FIRST Dominican Mom.  For a good write up about her, go to the best site: the Dominican Province of St Joseph site and check her out.  She was holy and prayerful, known for her compassion, and for having all three of her sons enter religious life as priests.  I’ll tell you my favorite bit about her: when she was expecting, she dreamt that she was having a puppy and it arrived with a torch in it’s mouth (hence the nickname “Gods dogs…or Godzdogz”).

 Now, I’m not all holy like she was but I dreamt I was having puppies too! Both times with my big boys…though they didn’t arrive carrying torches, probably more like snacks and skateboards.  Even so, I think it’s a connection that makes me smile.  We Dominican’s we are all about finding the laughter and joy…so, it’s apropos of today. I know I’ve got a big smile on my face this morning.

Happy Feast Day Dominican Moms!

St.  Jane of Aza, pray for us.

Open Letter to the New Novice Moms

{…and the Dads too….but, most especially, to the Moms.}

Today is the day.  Today is the day that you are taking your son to the Novitiate; or are bidding him goodbye as he sets out.  I don’t presume to know you, of course.  However, I think I might be able to understand some of what you might be feeling.  Not all, surely, as we are all different; our families are unique.  But, even so…I want you to know that you’ve been on my mind and in my prayers and will be.  Your son is setting out on a great new journey; the adventure, literally, of a lifetime.  It’s exciting and wonderful and amazing and scary and nervous making and a little uncertain maybe, and maybe even more…bittersweet.  I get it.

Now you might be just so ready for your son, younger or older, to make this step forward.  You might be able to slap him on the back with a hearty “best wishes” and big happy hug and grin at him as turns.  But, maybe your brow is furrowed and your heart is cracking just at bit as you wonder what this all means – to you and your family, how’s it going to work, will he be ok?

And I want to tell you this: I wish I could sit you down at my table and pour you some coffee, or, even better, some wine, and give you something good to eat and talk with you…compare notes, chat a bit.

I wish I had someone to tell me what it’s like, last year when we opened our eyes, this day.

So, today, if  I could, I’d tell you:  Yes, this might be one of the hard things you’ll do.  God is asking a big thing of your son, a radical thing.  Thus, by extension, he is asking it of you as well.  BUT….he doesn’t ask this of you and leave you hanging.  Grace abounds.  Seriously.  I promise.  Grace abounds.  You do have to walk the walk, you have to make the drive, do the drop off (be it at airport or St. Gertrude’s).  You have to gulp and blink away your tears and swallow your heart as you hug that young man goodbye and kiss him.  But it’s gonna be ok.  It’s gonna be better than that…

To tell you how it went for me {and of course it might be totally different for you!}: Last year, I’m telling you, I was a MESS!!! I was sure of this for him and happy for him too.  But I was also practically sick with tension and tired, eyes swollen like a bullfrog from crying the night before at our farewell dinner…sleep deprived because I can’t sleep with a crying headache and swollen eyes.  I leaked tears as we prayed in the car, I was tense and jangley.  My husband and my son were too, tho Chris was also excited; tempered tho by the difficult family/sibling goodbyes.  So, as we got to St. Gertrudes, I had to remind  myself to breath and then we turned the corner and saw the white tents.  Really, lovely against the bright green lawn.  We saw white splotches against the green: Dominicans in habits meandering about.  Breathe….  Then suddenly, Fr James swooped toward us and shook Chris’ hands, Toms, and tried to shake mine but I burst into tears. He made a joke and we all laughed.  I wasn’t and you won’t be the first to blink tears or force a smile.  Then they took us on a tour of the priory, and all the words slipped past my ears, my heart was scanning every detail: the rooms, the old novices to see how they were, what kind of men, and so on.  Very soon, it was time to go and so we did.  That last hug was searing….but… we did it, we got in the car, we drove off. Were we kinda robotic by then? Um, yeah.  Did we crash the car in our blinding tears? No.  But, Tom was driving.  Ahem.  Still.

I write all this not to ratchet up your emotions, but to confirm them.  I get it.  And to tell you the most important part of this.  Today the worst part of this.  Period.  And it’s fast and it’s done.  Like ripping a bandaid in a way.  YOWCH!  Gasp!  But then, the task is done.  You’ve delivered your son into God’s hands; this priory, his house.  Well done!  Faithful, hopeful you.

All day, especially, grace abounds, only to increase in this transitional year.  I promise.  And your son? Well, he is in [spiritual] boot camp of sorts; but it’s one he chose and it will lead him to be the man he was made to be, either way.  New ways, new folks, new modes, new tasks.  Some of it is so beautiful it made me grin just to hear him when he would call and describe it.  Some of the life is a chore, literally.  (He will develop great expert skill sets: dishes, laundry, mopping, minor carpentry, landscaping, tutoring….)  And, if this life is for him, he will grow into it.  He will.  It’s so very cool, actually.  If it’s not for him, he will figure it out and that in itself is a great gift and part of the process.  This process, this novitiate, works.  It’s our process too, the whole year of loving him and connecting to him in a deeper, more prayerful way.  A process that actually does bring a closer joyful connection.  I promise.

And for the practical concerns? Those parishioners are so great! They feed the Novices, take them under their wings like their own sons, they bring them cookies and cakes and hug them.  The priory cook is a great cook, plus terrific and caring and kind.  They don’t go hungry, I’m just saying.  The priory is not plush but it is sufficient, totally, to their needs.  They have medicine and privacy and time to be goofy and exercise, they walk into town together, they can watch a big game in the common room.  They laugh, all the time.  They are funny!  Let me repeat, they laugh, so much!  They study, they pray, they serve, they sing. The rigor of the ordered days strengthens them, even as they adjust. It conditions them, seriously, just as if they were training for a marathon.  They are training.  They are laying the foundation for a Dominican life.  As dear Fr. Benedict told me, “The foundations they lay in the novitiate are absolutely necessary to live a (happy) Dominican life.

And so, they begin.  You do too.  You’re a Dominican mom now. Your sons just increased in number, tenfold.  See, that’s the beginning of it in the most tangible way: Grace abounding.

It’s all gonna be ok.  It’s all gonna be better than ok, it’s gonna be wonderful.  And, for what it’s worth, I’m praying for  you, all the way through.


ps, if you’d like to reach me, just email {info in “about me”}.  

A Man for All Seasons….

It’s the feast of St Thomas More!

He is an awesome saint, and a fascinating person…plus he’s a patron of my dear Tom.  So, I have to mark the day, though simply.  So, go see the movie if you haven’t and read up on him.  He was a wealthy and sucessful businessman and lawyer, had a large family (biological and adopted children, gotta love it) and rather a menagerie as well.  He was the confident of his close friend the king, until the king decided the Church’s rules were restrictive to his fickle love life.  Then it all went bad, to the point of martyrdom.  St. Thomas More represents, to us, to me…, courage, conviction, perseverance, loyalty, generosity, and acceptance (of children, life situations, the truth, and the present moment) of what life brings you.  Quite a bit to emulate and to virtues to pray for as well.

Painting, St. Thomas More, by Lydia Mahan, 2011

St. Thomas More, pray for us. My Thomas, Happy Feast Day!

From a letter to his daughter, Meg, while imprisoned by  his friend, the king:

And, therefore, my own good daughter, do not let your mind be troubled over anything that shall happen to me in this world.  Nothing can come but what God wills.  And I am very sure that whatever that be, however bad it may seem it shall indeed be the best.”

Knot Again….

Remember this?

Yeah, I wrote about this here.   Go, read it if you will and get caught up. Yes, it’s a rosary, but this one…we think it’s kinda special.  Just to recap: that rosary, right up there, is the rosary the Tom/Coffedoc/theDad made for Chris/Brother Peter Joseph as he entered the Novitiate.  All Dominican’s (like many or most or all living in a Catholic religious order – brothers sisters monks priests nuns) wear a full 15 decade rosary attached to the belt of their habit.  Thus, this was one of the items of a very short list we actually were to send along with him as he entered his Novice year.  Tom, being who he is, thought to make the rosary.  And so he did.  Again, read all about it here, it’s kinda cool.

The rosary was working great…so to speak.  Peter Joseph prayed it daily, it hung just right on his habit and all was well.  Until sometime midway through the year…and then, it hit a little snag.  Or, to be precise, it got caught on a doorknob as Peter Joseph was running along a hallway to go grab a guitar (boys are boys are men are boys….).  And it didn’t exactly break.  But it did rather streeetch the rosary out and pull on the (vintage, weaker) loop of the crucifix.  So.  Peter Joseph asked his Dad if anything could be done.

Now, we know the answer to that one:  Of course!

So, Tom decided it was best to not just fix it.  No, it was best to REMAKE it.  You know, We can rebuild it.  Better. Faster.{..ahem, ok mabye not that part} Stronger...”  And so he did.  It took him months to research a better source for the cord – one that won’t stretch out if pulled, hard, with the translational momentum and torque of running friars.  The loop attaching the crucifix has been finely welded together to be stronger and more secure, despite it’s age.  The knots have been redesigned and retied, my math isn’t up to the precise number of knots but there are knots between each bead and there over 150 of those.  Yeah, my fingers ache just thinking about it….

The knot for the centerpiece has been redone, and in fact created from an original knot design by Tom because he couldn’t find a suitable and strong enough knot that he liked; though he tested out too many to count.  So he designed his own.  Each bead has been prayed over and with.

This rosary, the beads the knots, once again. still, carry Toms heart and head and hands.  They are a gift of himself to his son, in the most complete way. And I’m not trying to blather on about this to  boast…but rather to point out the joy in the effort and the meaning of these simple beads.  

They are, of course, beautiful in and of themselves.  They are beautiful for the prayers they represent and encourage.

But for me, they are beautiful for the simplest reason of all: These beads carry our prayers with them, to our son, and join his.  

Corpus Christie: mind blowing feast day

It’s the feast of Corpus Christi: the Body of Christ.
It’s one of the greatest Mysteries of the faith, capital “M” mystery again…one of those that boggle and baffle the mind. One of those you believe or you don’t. Period.
I do.

It’s the Eucharist. The body of Christ. It’s a gift, a sacrament, it’s utterly holy and sacred and, at the same time, the most intimate thing on earth.

I can’t do this justice of course. To read more about this, with historical support, go here.
To read a good piece on how to bring together your mind, heart and senses on this, go here.

All I know is that I like thinking about connections a lot. You know that. I like that whole connected relational brought together linked adopted bonded sense in (my) life. I see it so many places that it gives me chills if I stop to think about it. And that is what I find to the utmost, mindblowing, heart zinging way in the sacrament of Communion and the Eucharist: the most intimate connection and unity that can be. Ever – in this world. And I yearn for it and reach for it and I sink into it with relief and gratitude and wallowing comfort and thankfulness.
And I don’t understand it with my mind.
But my heart and soul know it’s more real than anything else.
John 6

*reposted from a few years ago. This doesn’t change for me, just keeps me sighing in awe and relief.*

The Triplet: Feast of the Holy Trinity

Triples.  Triplets.  It’s all about the abundance, of course.  That’s one of the best things about faith, our faith, the Catholic church.  Abundanza!

It’s the Feast of the Holy Trinity!

Which means it’s another day of mystery, with a capital M.  This mystery is one of the biggies, of course.  Uber Catholic to boot {we Catholics love a good mystery!}.  One that really, we are not truly meant to fully figure out – because as soon as you think you have; you’ve probably fallen into presumption (with a capital P) and are not on target to boot.

So, here’s what we do know, ok, let’s be more precise, what I think about this day: it’s a feast of love, really.  How’s that? Well, God the Father so loved everything, but even more so,us, that he gave us his Son, and the love between those two was so immeasurably great that it begat it’s own third “person”: the Holy Spirit.  Thus those three began the “begatting” that we read in the Old Testament (pages and pages of it, right?) and that, when we are doing it right, here on earth, begets us each other.

El Greco, “The Holy Trinity”

The Trinity was and is (and ever will be) the prime, premier, example of how to love – well and truly.  And that right there, is enough mystery for my little brain for, um, the rest of  my life.  Which is really, of course, part of it’s charm.  Mind blowing charm and goodness.  Something to celebrate. And that’s why it’s a feast day: was then, is now, and will be forever.  Amen.

Happy Feast of the Holy Trinity!

Going Visiting: Feast day!

It’s the Feast of the Visitation!

I love this feast (Ok, I love most any feast!)…because I really think of it as a girl feast, in a way.  It’s about how we girls support each other.  We women, we support each other.  Sometimes it takes getting past those crazy younger years maybe, when there is that weird competition thing going on (do you all still have/do that?).  But, we women are there for each other.  And it’s one of the great riches in life.  So on this feast day I think about that.  Mary went to her older cousin, Elizabeth, and stayed with her to help her as she approached the end of her amazing surprise pregnancy (carrying John the Baptist).  It’s what we do when we can and it’s such a vital part of being a woman that we see it even in the mother of God.  Cool, huh?

I think on this day of all my great good girlfriends and sister and how they have helped me up when I’ve tripped or messed up, listened to me ramble, cooked and cleaned for me and watched me sob to the point of puffy eyes and running snot.  They’ve listened through gulping tears and through seemingly endless venting and pondering and navel gazing rambling.  And that was all just yesterday!!  Kidding…  Still… They’ve consoled and cheered me on in more ways than I can count, saved my marriage and assisted my kids.  This is a feast, in my mind at least, for all of us gals. So, let’s celebrate, lift a glass of something cold and yummy and toast the women and girlfriends, sisters and  moms.  We’re some of each other’s best gifts.  Thank you for that, ladies!

Mariotto Albertinelli
1503 – Oil on wood, 232 x 146 cm
Galleria degli Uffizi, Florence {I saw this with my own eyes! Gorgeous, one of my favs!}

Happy Feast Day!

Lovely Rita….

It’s the  Feast of St Rita today.

Now I have grown fond of her over the years.  She is a patron of ‘lost causes,’ officially, because so many seemingly impossible things happened to her during her lifetime.  Unofficially, I kind of consider her a patron saint of marriages and persevering during rocky times.  Her husband was a rough tough man, reportedly mean and ill-tempered; involved in all sorts of sketchy dealings and questionable conduct.  Through Rita’s constant prayer and kindness, she eventually “converted her cruel husband from his wicked ways, making their home a peaceful sanctuary of holy bliss.” (from a bio).  So, she must also have had some real inner strength and savvy on knowing how to stand her ground and be strong and assertive but in a loving manner…which we all need to work on, right?

Marriage and living a holy life is a challenge, every day.  St Rita gives us a patron who ‘gets it.”  I’m sure she is a great intercessor, for marriages, for challenges, for those impossible causes.  She ultimately entered religious life; surely  her skills at conflict resolution and mediation and strength in prayer was an asset in the convent too.  So, I like her.  You might too, she’s an old saint, but a goodie.  If you have any ‘lost causes’ or struggles, she might be a good one to hit up for a little extra prayer on your behalf.

St Rita, pray for us!

Like Sun Shook Foil

Yesterday my Little Man, my Anthony made his First Holy Communion.

Yes, I got a little teary…just a little.  But, it was, ever again, one of those frozen in time moments.  Something about First Communion: the sweetness, the wild loud kids dressed in their best ever, trying so hard to find some decorum, sometimes failing.  The juxtaposition of their still flashing bright nature with the hovering pause before the consecration and them each approaching the altar….it makes me blink hard and hold my breath.  I smile as I see those wiggly boys just not quite be able to contain those wiggles or those distractions.  I gasp a little to see those sweet girls look like angels – old fashioned, maybe – but oh their sweet shining faces, glowing with the excitement of the afternoon and the fuss and hubub of veils and standing just so.

It’s a beautiful sacrament, one of the core foundations of our faith and our, ok – MY, strength and essential need.  These kids are old enough to “get it” and young enough to not be too jaded to care.  They really do embody the heart and flame of the love in this sacrament, to use Hopkins’ better words {one of my fav poems}, “like shining from shook foil.”

No wonder all of us parents and older folks stand around gaping and snuffling and grinning.  I’m so happy for my Little Man.  This sacrament is pure gift.

It was a sweet, happy day.

Going UP, please….

Today is the Feast of the Ascension of Christ.

“Ascension of Christ” by Salvadore Dali

Really.  Doesn’t the entire concept just blow the mind?
Well, it does mine, anyhow.  Now, I have written before about this, and how it kind of always boggles my mind.  Because I am a visual kind of gal, I always get stuck in the imagining of this event, in the unimaginable visuals.  My mind wants to do a whole movie panorama on it, more old Cecil B DeMille flicks, less Spielberg…but I digress.  My point is that I can get all hung up in trying to SEE this, visualize and understand it….which of course totally misses the point.  As usual.
But there are two cool parts to this that I could spend the rest of my life meditating upon, and in fact it would surely do me much good. I won’t, but I should.
The first part is the whole concept that Jesus went to prepare a place for us.   He went to get things ready for us, at HOME.  Home.  Not our current abodes, apartments, houses, condos…but our true home.  And that is with Him, eternally, in heaven (I hope and pray). I mean,  how cool is that?? I don’t know about  you, but I’m  not the greatest hostess on the planet.  I failed Martha Stewart 101.  I have to write post-its to remember to put nice folded towels in the guest bath.  But here, the God of the Universe, of everything, is heading off to prepare a place for us! Now I don’t know what that entails in heaven and all, but even still, he’s already on the details and is prepping with each of us in mind.  Really, how cool is that?
I know I know, this is really talking about bigger picture stuff, but even so, God is in the details too and  you know it.  Ever looked at the marbling in granite?? Or the  marbling in marble? Huh? Stared into a tiger lily? Don’t tell me that God doesn’t pay attention to the tiny details…so I can marvel that Christ left the apostles, ascended even (another spectacular detail),  to go and prepare a place for us, the best place: Home.  Ahhhhh……joy.
The second part of this very cool event, this mind tripping visual, is that this ascension also signified a new and different status for the apostles…which of course trickles right down to us, to me.  He said to them that he would go, but he would send the Holy Spirit and then they were going to be sent too.  Out.  To witness.  To tell the world about this wild amazing truth, this mind blowing love.  That it was real.  He let those apostles SEE him ascend, not just fade away like the Cheshire Cat with his grin the last to go…
Nope, Christ ascended as they watched (and surely, gaped and pointed, nudged and grabbed each other and held out their hands and maybe both laughed a bit and cried a bit too).    But certainly they had to be electrified; how could you not? Surely, this very change from followers of the earthly bodily Jesus to witnesses was facilitated by this ascension.  I mean, literally, they witnessed it.  They witnessed it all: yeah, the ascension, but also Christ himself on earth, his miracles, his passion, his resurrection, his heart, his voice, his smell, his smile.
They knew him, like the world could not.
And thus they were the first, sent out with a bang – a spectacular electric jolt – to bring that excitement to everyone.  Big job, but then again, big cool.  Much to think about with this day….

Ascension of Christ, by Garofalo, 1520

O King of Glory,
Lord of Hosts,
Who didst this day ascend in triumph
above all the heavens!
Leave us not orphans,
but send upon us the Spirit of Truth,
promised by the Father.
The Liturgical Year: Book 9
*disclaimer: some of this post from several years back.  Very swamped w/ family life, but liturgical life is still so cool that I want to mark it, always!

For the month of May: Mind your Mom…

Happy May! Thank goodness, it’s May!  Now, for us Catholics, May is the month of honoring Mary as the Mother of God, indeed, as our  mother too.  It’s the month for remembering we have a role model and someone who really “gets it.”

As we all should, it’s the month to tell your mom you love her and to just give her a break and treat each other well.  So, to that end, we have the annual video put out by the May Feelings folks, drawn from the witness of Pope John Paul II and his encouragement to youth the world over to go out and be a light in this world.

We are all so connected, more than we realize, even with the pervasive reach of social media.  We need each other, it’s our greatest gift: connection, caring.  Mind your mom:


Easter Greetings!  

These are my favorite traditional greeting today:

“Jesus Christ is Risen, indeed!  Indeed he is Risen!

Christ is Risen: The world below lies desolate
Christ is Risen: The spirits of evil are fallen
Christ is Risen: The angels of God are rejoicing
Christ is Risen: The tombs of the dead are empty
Christ is Risen indeed from the dead,
the first of the sleepers,
Glory and power are his forever and ever
St. Hippolytus (AD 190-236)

Grunewald, Risen Christ, from Isenheim Altarpiece

Happy Happy Easter to you all!

O Jerusalem…

It’s Palm Sunday.

Tissot, Christ's Procession into Jerusalem

It’s the day we commemorate Christ’s “joyful” entry into Jerusalem. This day he fulfills the prophecy and enters not only Jerusalem but the walk to his Passion.

It’s an odd day; joyful and hard too. It’s the day I face my not so hidden inner hypocrite, every year. That’s always uncomfortable, like getting snared in brambles. But these are of my own selfish thorns. It’s the day that we ALL enter into Holy Week. Lent is refined and the chaff of it burned off…into the high holy days of the year, the silent clanging shuffle of the Via Dolorosa.

Tissot, Christ's entry to Jerusalem

But, look more closely at that painting just above. See there, under Christ’s feet? Those heads don’t look so joyous, so awestruck. They are not waving to get his attention or autograph…there is an undercurrent of malevolence. And that, right there, is what Christ was really approaching. He knew it. We do too.

So, this morning, what sticks in my head are his words from that moment, right before he entered Jerusalem and kickstarted the week of his passion:

“O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and you were not willing.” Matthew 23:37

So, as I stand in Mass this morning, juggling my palm and the palm swords of my distracted little boys….as I choke out the words of the gospel, “crucify him,” I will remember that he just wanted to gather us in. And we would not.

Have a blessed Holy Week….it begins…

Saying Yes, Annunciation

Painting by Henry Tanner

It’s the Solemnity of the Annunciation. This is the day the church celebrates the feast of the Annunciation: the Archangel Gabriel coming to Mary and the most important “yes” ever in history. Fiat. “Yes, I will.” Her consent to become the Mother of God. Read more if you like here.

As an adoptive mom, and a mom of biological kids, I trembled (with that adrenaline rush of shocked thrill and joy, but also with the ‘bigness’ of it all) each time we were presented with a child, or even when the child was “announced.” I cannot imagine how she must have trembled. And yet, she said “let it be done.” It is an awesome and fearsome responsibility, to care for a child and give them what they need – this gift from God.

Now you all know that this feast just resonates with me.  For me.
Really, I could and probably should, meditate on this feast, these images for a long time, oh…for the rest of my days.

Because this feast is all about the letting go.  It’s about the letting go, in blind faith…the kind of faith I can only dream of, reach toward, and pray for a glimmer.  It’s about a kind of trust I can only gape at and wonder.

That kind of faith, that kind of willingness to “let go” and accept challenging, don’t know the road ahead but I’ll keep on and do my best without whining endlessly and relentlessly nagging questioning sort of faith just astounds me.  Humbles me.  Blows my mind.  Still.  Ever.

But she did.
Mary was a girl, a mere girl.  Not old, with decades of life to measure the probability of it turning out ok in the end, or to compare to another girl she heard of in the same spot.  She had no measuring stick but faith.  And she was able to hold her breath, think about it for a moment (Because she was not programmed like a robot, she could have said ‘no,’….Indeed, we are taught that all of creation held it’s breath.)…and say, “fiat.”
Fiat.  Yes.  “I say yes.
I’ll do it.  “Thy will be done, not mine.”

On this special day I pray for the willingness and ability to be able to say the same.

Considering Joseph

Ah… Joseph.  He’s the man.  Really.  He is the model of quiet strength.  A doer.

Now, I have always been drawn closer to Mary, of course. You all know that, and I think St. Joseph would be ok with that, being a gallant spouse.  But even so, I am gathering more and more connections to Joseph as I walk through this life.   As you all know by now, my son is now a Dominican with the eastern province of St. Joseph.  His religious name is now Brother Peter Joseph.  Bricks on the head.  I am being reeled into considering Joseph.  So, in honor of this feast day I am buying myself a hard  hat with the name Joseph across the top.

But, Joseph.  What’s up with him anyhow? Many outside of the Catholic church rarely ever even think of him. Heck, many inside the Catholic church rarely ever think of  him…except for that passing “foster father of Jesus” bit.

Permit me this: it just irks me every time I hear that particular phrasing.  Maybe it’s my own chip on my own shoulder.  But, “foster” father.  Hmmm.  Sure, Joseph nurtured Jesus…if that’s what is meant by ‘foster.’  Perhaps this is a holdover term from a different era, with different connotations.  But in our modern day, it seems foster father get’s short shrift (and no disrespect to modern foster fathers, as it’s a heroic job).  Somehow, that term feels rather “less than.”  Don’t flame me now….

But, as an adoptive mom let me tell you that I don’t consider Joseph anything but Jesus’ dad – his earthly, human father.  His place was, um, irreplaceable.  Joseph was the dad in place, on earth, loving and caring and protecting and raising and teaching his son just like any dad of any era.  He was the father.  Not a stand-in or temp; he was Jesus’ father, hand picked by God to raise and love and care for his Son.  For Joseph and Mary’s son.  He was/is head of the Holy Family.  So, I guess I want to make sure that Joseph get’s his cred…he’s all humble and everything so he wouldn’t push for it.  But he did the work, his heart broke and worried and swelled with love over his family and that boy…just like any dad.  In fact he did more, because he had to take the hit and the heat (from Mary even, I’m sure) upon fleeing to Egypt for safety, for bunking down in a stable,  for obediently doing whatever it took to safely care for his wife and child.   So, I’m just saying, let’s not diminish his role, ok?  Thank you.

There is SO much to ponder when considering Joseph.  He loved even when he didn’t understand it all, he was faithful to the core and to the end.  He was humble; didn’t go around bragging on his amazing kid and trying to get the local papers or Nazarene media to scout his boy.  He was a dutiful husband and dad.  He is a model for us all in quiet steady faith and deep giving love.  I tend to, as I said, look to Mary as a role model for how to do better and stop screwing up.  But, I’ll tell ya, I look to Joseph in my heart and prayers, more and more, especially when I am fretful or worried.  I look to Joseph when I yearn for a deep steady loving hand.  I see him in my own husband and my sons.  And, I’m grateful.

 I’m grateful for dear Joseph.

Today is his feast day.  Happy feast day Buddybug, Peter Joseph!

St. Joseph, pray for us!


It’s Saint Patricks Day!  

And this is the gist of it, especially as we meet the midpoint of lent

(from the prayer “St Patrick’s breastplate”):

Christ be with me, Christ within me,
Christ behind me, Christ before me,
Christ beside me, Christ to win me,
Christ to comfort and restore me.
Christ beneath me, Christ above me,
Christ in quiet, Christ in danger,
Christ in hearts of all that love me,
Christ in mouth of friend and stranger.

More links for St Paddy's here, click pic

Happy St Patrick’s Day! 

Stepping forward.

Today is the day.  Ash Wednesday.  I’ve written a bunch about this in years past.  But this link at Aggie Catholics has the yearly roundup (always updated to be current w/ good links) and here is what’s important to remember as well.  So, instead of my yammering on about it, this video below is a good quickie summary for us attention and/or time challenged folks. Take a look, it’s the fast 411 on Lent.

So, wishing you a rich and good Lent.  Into the desert.  Steady on…..

Flipping Out

Oh yeah, it’s Fat Tuesday!

Or, our personal favorite: Shrove Tuesday.
Or, many other’s personal favorite: Mardi Gras.
Or, Fasching.
Or, Carnival.
You get the idea….

Yup, it’s the day before Ash Wednesday, the eve before the fast. The vigil before the beginning of the season of Lent.

Because you can never have enough pics of flipping's just fun (click pic for source)

Now some of us love those Mardi Gras celebrations, floats, beads, revelry….and it is our biggest American Carnival tradition. I’ve never been a big one for the real Mardi Gras. Maybe because I’m not from the Big Easy and I am simply a foreigner to it all. Maybe because I could never hold my liquor, or maybe because I’ve never been a night owl, or maybe because those masks (like clowns) just tend to creep me out. I don’t know.

But I do like the tradition of Shrove Tuesday and even more so with children. It’s a minor thrill for them to have pancakes for supper, it’s a fun and positive start to a challenging season. It’s nice to sit around the table and go over all the Lenten resolutions and discuss what we’ll each work on individually and also as a family. The kids look forward to this and remember it, each year, and it’s a good way for them to understand the richness to be found in both feasting and fasting. It’s a tradition, it’s bonding, it’s literally sticky (kids, syrup, ’nuff said).

So, Happy Shrove Tuesday.

A timely new world record! (click for source)

It’s not an official Church feast day, but it certainly is, unofficially, a popular and traditional day of feasting. And really, a little cheer right now is much welcome and how can you not grin at an image like this?

Enjoy your own Mardi Gras or Shrove Tuesday. Let’s go eat some pancakes.

{text reprinted from 2009, because Shrove Tuesday is fun no matter the year, and I”m busy clearing out my cupboards…I’m sure you understand!}

Further Up, Further In

So, it’s just past the half year mark for my son at the Novitiate.  So people ask me all the time, “How is he?  How’s it going?”  And…I don’t have a perfect answer for that.  So I say, “He’s good.  Please keep praying for him.

That seems to sum it up, really.  He’s good. He sounds like himself when we talk.  That alone is such a big deal!  He still has the essence of ‘him’ and doesn’t sound or talk differently when we chat on the phone.  Stupid, I know, to think he might.  But, ya worry.  Ok, I worry.  I worried. Past tense now.

This year is such a huge year of change for him; a radical year of leaving behind and choosing other…that I guess deep down part of me worried that I’d lose the essence of him somehow too.  But, I have seen and heard that it is not so.  In fact, of course, it is much the opposite.  He is becoming  MORE him.  That is the really radical beautiful part of this choice….by growing closer to God, we become more ourselves, our truest selves.  By him living this life, intentionally and fully without reserve, he too is growing closer to God and thus becoming more and more himself.  It’s kind of like a warp speed growing out and growing in all at the same time.  Rather Narnian. “Further up, further in!” as the children were called into the Aslan’s country; and the land became bigger and more beautiful the further  and the higher in they went.  So too, it seems, novice life, Dominican life.

Not that Novice life is all easy.  It’s rigorous. It’s spiritual bootcamp, as I’ve noted many times before.  And, now, of course it’s February <Shudder>.  February is a tough month no matter where  you are, I think.  It is/was the dreaded month in the homeschool calendar.  It’s the  housebound gray cold dull month where everyone gets on each other’s last nerve.  Ok, well, it is here at any rate.  I can only imagine that it must be that way for the novices too.  I’m guessing.  But, still.  Thankfully, it’s the shortest month in the year.

Spring approaches.  But first, lent.  And this is where the real crux of the novice year (I think) lies.  The novices have completely settled into their life.  They have new clothes, habits.  They have new religious names: my son, now  Brother Peter Joseph.  They  have new jobs and learn new skills, they have classes, they study, the do work outside the parish in the community.  They know each other very well, are becoming a sort of family.

But lent is upon us and I have been told that this lent is the one lent they will get the opportunity to really, FULLY, live the liturgical season of lent.  I have been told its the most beautiful lent they will ever have (due to really mindfully living it, daily) but also the most rigorous and with the most spiritual growth.   This lent, this growth, will help lay the foundation these novices need if they are to go on and live the call to Dominican life.  If my son is called to this, I want him to have that foundation to stand on.  Thus, this next forty days will be an intense growth period for these young men.  It will be rigorous, challenging; filled with hard and beautiful both.   So, I will ask for your prayers for my son, for all these novices.  They will need them.

So, how is it going? It’s going well.  It’s a struggle, it’s a joy.  It’s funny and hard and happy and peaceful and difficult.  It’s a year of living prayer; of learning to live prayer.  Please, keep them in yours.  They are halfway through.  Further up and further in….

Now, they will be spending much much time in prayer over this lent, of course.  But this video shows the Irish Dominicans, having a bit of fun.  These Dominicans, globally, they have such laughter and fun, even with their deep prayer life – it just  makes me grin.  And it’s totally in sync with that whole ‘further up, further in” thing……


It’s the Feast of the Presentation today! Also known as Candlemass.

Oh my.  This day, this feast has such resonance for me, this year.  I’m not sure I can even write it; not fully or well enough.  It’s almost, almost, a little kick in my chest at the same time as a soft smile.

Rembrandt: "Simeon with the Christ Child"

But……this feast is when we remember, liturgically in our Catholic church, but also in our prayers and hearts, how Mary took her son, her baby, to the temple.  She was dutifully fulfilling her obligation, as all good Jewish moms did, to present her baby boy to the temple elders. Little did she know what prophecy she was gonna run smack into.  Little did she know she’d run into Simeon, Anna, and their words.  And I’m guessing she was just gobsmacked by it all.  I would’a been.  I would have been really rattled.  But, then again, I’m just me.  I’m figuring she was held up by a waterfall of grace and maybe a few guardian angels to keep her on her feet and find her breath.

There is so much to this event, this feast.  Go, read.

But this is where it gets a little personal.  Because, this year, I’ve spent, well, the past  year, mulling over this entire concept: presenting.  Presenting my son to the Lord.  Because that’s what I did.  I know, I know, ya’ll will shout at me and say, um, “HE chose this, not you.”  “I KNOW Mary, and you Ma’am, are NO Mary.” “I know Jesus, and I know your son Chris, and he is not Jesus.”  I know.  Shhh.  Stop shouting and pointing.  I’m NOT saying that.

What I’m saying is that I, a regular old mom, literally took my son, my firstborn, and presented him back to the the Lord.  I hugged him tight.  I shook hands with the other priests and novices and hugged them as I choked back tears and yet they welled behind  my sunglasses.  I watched his father hoist his few chosen possessions out of our car and into waiting helping  hands.  I stood aside as I watched him, getting edgy, wait to hug his dad, me.  I watched him  hug his dad goodbye.

The tears overflowed, I bowed my head.  I hugged him tight, kissed him, crossed his forehead, again.  Pressed my cheek to his and then gave him a weak smile as his dad and I grabbed hands and turned to go; letting him go.  I felt that pierce of my heart.  Even as I felt that swell of love too, knowing that he was going to God and to answer his call.

I let him go.  That’s what presenting is, isn’t it? In many ways, I think so.  You present and let go. You don’t present something and wrap it up tight and keep it hidden away. You present it and let go.  Open your hands.  Let go.  We miss him so.  Some days more than others.  But it’s also a great joy to see him happy and taking on a whole new mantle, add a layer to who he is and who he is becoming.  But, my hands are open now; having presented him, I love him, but let go.

So.  It’s a gift this feast.  For me, I can unwrap this gift in a new and fuller and more meaningful poignant way than ever before.  Even more so than last year, when I knew, I knew, this presentation was approaching.  Now I have done it.  I am not Mary.  My son is just my boy, my dear son, now a man.  But.  Just as any family can model in a tiny fractionated shadowy way the truths in our faith and life, so to can my messy family in our teeny way.  So, today, I get a gift of remembering that other mothers, so many, have given their child back to God.  The Blessed Mother did it, not only because it was prophesied …. but perhaps so we could have the courage to do so as well.

Today I am grateful for this feast.  It means so much.  To us all, yes.  But, oh, so much, to me.

No Dumb Ox There

Today is the feast of St Thomas Aquinas!

We have a special devotion to St. Thomas in our family, for a number of different reasons.  Not the least of which is this one’s special devotion to him too:

Anyhow, there is SO much to say about Aquinas. I’m sure many of you are familiar with him, him being one of the greatest Doctors of the Church and most profound theologians we have.  His writings span denominations and bridge gaps because he writes about the truth of faith, which is love.  He lived it, he embodied it.  He was taunted for his size and his quiet gentle ways: hence, the epithet, “dumb ox.”  But, oh, so not.  He was brilliant.  He was large, yes, but I like to think that perhaps he was bodily large simply to house the largesse of his faith hope and love.  His size was such, perhaps, so that our own dumb minds could maybe make the connection; that he was more than most of us, we just had to look closer, with better eyes. Perhaps not. Our bodies are our bodies, whatever they are.  But, his mind, heart, faith…well, it was bigger than any of us can fathom.  Or, than I can truly fathom.

Aquinas is the patron of students, which also means I hit him up for prayers quite often.  But, one of the things that I love about him is his humility. Despite being one of the greatest minds in the Church, ever, he held that prayer had taught him more than study.  Now, that is where I need to dwell.  Prayer.  So much of the time I turn to me,  my mind, to figure things out. I need to ever keep steady in prayer to find the same , no, better, calming reassurance.  So, today, again, I ask St Thomas Aquinas, to pray for THIS dumb ox to grow in humility and faith.  No dumb ox there.  But oh yes, here.

Happy Feast Day!

St Thomas Aquinas, pray for us!

And, now that you’ve read my quick gloss simple mom thoughts on why I love this saint, if you want to have more erudite thoughts and a much broader intellectual taste of what he’s about, watch this (from the excellent Fr Barron, and his Word on Fire series):

Gentle One

It’s the Feast of St. Francis de Sales!

Tapestry by John Nava

I love this saint, his book Introduction to the Devout Life is a classic and worth reading, oh at least once a year.  It is literally filled with such depth and goodness, yet so accessible to us, me, today that as I read it I have to stop and smack myself in the forehead, again and again.  “Doh! Of course!”  Then I have to put it down for a bit to let it all soak in.  And every time I read it I am reminded of how hard I make the easiest thing in the world: to love.

So, with that, for today, his feast day, I give you this quote (From the Breviary):

“Ah, I would rather account to God for too great gentleness than for too great severity.  Is not God all love? God the Father is the Father of mercy; God the Son is a Lamb; God the Holy Ghost is a Dove – that is, gentleness itself.  Are you wiser than God?”

Doh! Of Course! (sigh)

St Francis de Sales, pray for us!

Forward March!

So, today is the annual March for Life on in Washington, D.C.  It’s live streaming on EWTN, right here.  It gets rolling around noon, I think, and is worth a peek or staying tuned in. My Tom and Hannah and Marta and Hannah’s best buddy Anna are all there, cold and tired but standing up for what they believe.  I’m proud of them for it!

Many of you might not be comfortable with the advocacy for this issue. I get that.  And I spent years, years ago, in the camp of “pro-choice, not my place to dictate to others” etc etc etc.  And, it’s not  my place to dictate to anyone, to be sure.   But it is my place and my blog to say what I believe and why I  believe this March for Life means something.

The March for Life is important because in our modern culture, life has been trivialized and denigrated and devalued.  It has.  Look around  you, look at the news.  Our popular culture and the focus on celebrities marginalize anyone who isn’t “hot” or the new “it” tabloid darling.  We feed on sound bites and scandal; effectively turning even those with true tangible need into mere commodities.  The images provide the hook and maybe, if they’re lucky, a soundbite.  Sound cynical? Well, maybe.  But I see it.  And that mindset provides the slippery slope to dismiss, or worse, to rank people by a skewed perceived ability to meet or attain the feeding frenzy of our warp speed. attention deficit, pop media values. And it’s wrong.  It is, in fact, I’ll say it, evil.  Evil devalues us, all of us.

This March for Life also is a march for ALL life, the unborn, yes, but also the disabled, the aged, all who are devalued because somehow, they are not good enough.  This March fights stands up against the tide of ingrained racism and stereotypes and valuation that has become entrenched in our culture.  This march is a march to stand up for the value of ALL human life, for it’s dignity, period.  I am Catholic.  I am prolife.  I am a mom.  I am pro-life.  I am a woman. I am pro-life.

But here, once again, is why I’m prolife.  These are what turned me for good and for ever.  Take a look, again: