Throwback Thursday Reruns — Old Catholicism Nerd Post!

Here’s an oldie-but-goodie post from my Catholicism Nerd series. You know, the series I haven’t written a new post on in forever?? I actually just checked and I have all of THREE posts on this label. I really ought to come up with a new one.

Enjoy.

It dawned on me recently that perhaps I have become somewhat of a Catholicism Nerd.  

I have decided to give you the option to become a Catholicism Nerd, too!  This will be the first (of many, I hope!) posts tackling something little (or big) that Catholics do and why.  I might explain a bit how I learned because…truth be told…I had 8 years of Catholic education and I didn’t learn most of what I know until I was in my late 20’s!
Just for some reference, Dictionary.com’s definition of the word, NERD, follows:

nerd

[nurd] Show IPA

noun Slang.

1.a stupid, irritating, ineffectual, or unattractive person.  (Nah, I don’t think I fit THIS part of the definition –Pipe Down in the cheap seats!)

2.an intelligent but single-minded person obsessed with a nonsocial hobby or pursuit: a computer Catholicism nerd.

I was recently asked by another lifelong Catholic (Catholic school educated and everything…just like me!) “Why do some people bow down during the Creed at Mass when we say, ‘by the power of the Holy Spirit’?”
I know I am not the only Catholic to have actually read in whole, or in part, the General Instruction of the Roman Missal (GIRM) in an attempt to teach myself and my children the proper way to attend Mass.  It came in handy that I’d studied it though.

You see, I am one of “those people” who makes a profound bow at that point in the Creed.  

The first time I consciously noticed someone (a priest) bowing at that point in the creed, I was 28 and I wondered why he was doing it.  At first I thought that I should do it even if I don’t know why simply because the priest was doing it.  But then I remembered that there are some things the priest is supposed to do that the congregation is not supposed to do.  
So…then I was confused.  
Back then, whenever I was confused, I had a Catholic co-worker friend that I turned to whenever I needed answers.  I asked him about it and he directed me to the GIRM.  
While it’s intimidating to tackle the GIRM, it is helpful to understand some of the things we do during Mass.  I highly recommend you put the GIRM on your list of reference materials if you’re interested in learning more about Catholic Mass.
The GIRM addresses many details of “Mass With A Congregation.”  Since I’m sticking to the one question, I’ll only mention that part.  You can go to the site linked above and read through the GIRM on the Vatican website.
And now…
Why do those crazy Catholics bow during the Creed at Mass when saying “by the power of the Holy Spirit?”
The first (and easy) answer is:  Because the GIRM says so.  Really.  Item #137 under “Mass With A Congregation” states:

137. The Creed is sung or recited by the priest together with the people (cf. no. 68) with everyone standing. At the words et incarnatus est (by the power of the Holy Spirit . . . and became man) all make a profound bow; but on the solemnities of the Annunciation and of the Nativity of the Lord, all genuflect.

A more detailed answer is given here.  

The profound bow is to show reverence to the Incarnation.  We begin the bow at the words, “by the power of the Holy Spirit” and rise back up after “and became man.”  The profound bow shows that we understand and respect the importance of this event, of God becoming man.

So the profound bow occurs while saying the following (bolded) part of the creed:

…For us men and for our salvation, he came down from heaven: by the power of the Holy Spirit he was born of the Virgin Mary, and became man. For our sake he was crucified under Pontius Pilate; he suffered, died, and was buried…

Furthermore, this article (137) of the GIRM mentions two times where you’re actually supposed to GENUFLECT at those words. If you’re at Mass on March 25 (solemnity of the Annunciation) or December 25 (Nativity of the Lord), you are required to genuflect as you say those words of the Creed.

On every other day that you are at Mass, if you see someone bowing at that point in the Creed…they are not doing anything wrong.  In fact, you should probably consider joining them.

And as you make your profound bow, you can join the rest of us Catholic Nerds when someone asks you why you are doing that!




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Faith, Morals, Sex-Ed, oh my! A post about sharing information with my Preteen

A couple of weeks ago, I posted my thoughts on Sharing Fertility Awareness with my Preteen.  I stuck to just the physical aspects of Fertility Awareness and what it means. Of course, I realize that the changes that happen to my daughter now as she is growing into an adult physically are accompanied by emotional and intellectual development that will continue over the next 10-13 years.

Over the past couple of years, my daughter and I have had discussions about sex – what it is logistically and theologically, and how it fits into God’s plan for our lives. She’s discovered that she can hear a lot of information outside of our home that is not in line with our Catholic faith. She’s a smart kid so she knows that everyone does not believe or think about these things the way we do. I want my children to be able to express themselves. They should feel comfortable enough to ask questions and get clarification on this stuff, whether it’s with me or with someone else they trust. I hope my daughter wants to get this information from me, but I’m realistic enough to know she might seek counsel elsewhere at some point.

After I posted a couple weeks ago, I thought it might be helpful to some people to write about how I share our Catholic Faith and the Church’s teaching on Marriage and Sexuality with my Preteen, too. I doubt this is groundbreaking or complete. I’m sure our conversations will mature as she continues to grow up. But I am of the opinion that if she’s ready to ask the questions, then she’s ready to hear the answers and I pray I have the right words.

Following are some things I have tried to remember as we began sharing information on sexuality in the context of our faith and morals with our Preteen:

·         Use proper names for body parts. This is something we started when my now-Preteen was 2 or 3 years old. With our children, we have always used the words “vagina” and “penis” and “ovaries” and “scrotum” and any other words to describe anything related to body parts much like we use “hand” and “arm” and “foot.”
Early on my rationale for this was that if my child were to ever be abused, there would be no question about what body part had been touched inappropriately if my child were to confidently state exactly, using anatomically correct language, where s/he was touched. Now that I have a Preteen, with whom I have had discussions about sex, I find the added bonus that there’s no confusion and there’s less embarrassment. She’s always known the names of girl and boy “parts” and so the discussion had a very “matter-of-fact” flavor to it.
·         Explain exactly how intercourse happens. I remember being so confused growing up about the actual sexual act itself. I was almost relieved when my daughter had the exact same questions I did and that she felt comfortable asking me. I used frames of reference for her. We were blessed that we’d had a son by the time this conversation took place so she had seen diaper changes for both boys and girls and it made the discussion run a little smoother.
·         Understand that the child will be uncomfortable about the idea of you and your spouse engaging in sexual intercourse. I remember when the light went off for my daughter that what we were discussing was something that had actually occurred between her parents. My daughter was very cute as she said, “Wow, you mean you did that FOUR times?!?” (We had four children at the time.) And then, when we told the kids Vincent was on the way, she pulled me aside and said, “Mom, you guys did THAT…AGAIN?!?!” I will cherish that memory because it was so darn cute!

Take that opportunity to explain to your child that getting pregnant is not a given just because a couple has sex. The world will provide plenty of misinformation for your child, so we, as parents, have to counter it early and often. Initially, it was uncomfortable helping my daughter understand that her mom and dad have sex and that it does not always result in a baby. But that led to the Fertility Awareness / NFP discussions.  

·         Explain that sex is a gift from God to married men and women. The pleasure that comes from sex is a gift. The babies that come from sex are gifts. Explain that engaging in sex outside of marriage goes against God’s plan for marriage and sex. It’s okay to use the word “sin.” I tried not to go overboard, since I don’t think a lot comes from the pre-emptive use of hellfire and brimstone to make a point. Kids want to do good naturally. They want to please their parents and, it’s been my experience, they want to please God. I try to reiterate that sin is a turning away from God, meaning we are not following God’s Plan.

When discussing the act of intercourse, my daughter mentioned “gross” and “disgusting.” This led naturally into a discussion about how it could seem that way when intercourse is taken out of the context of a marriage. Of course, I let her know that some time in the not-so-distant future, her opinions of intercourse will probably change. I hope she will remember our discussions, though, and they will remind her to consider what God’s plan for her life is so she will act accordingly.

·         Remember that your Preteen probably already knows more than you think they do. The whole reason we have discussed this at all is because my daughter asked questions. The fact that she had the questions to ask helps me understand just how far she had gotten on her own.
·         Be honest. I remember when we heard a news blurb on the radio one day that mentioned sexually active eleven year olds. My daughter’s eyes about popped out of her head and she looked at me and said, “But, I’m eleven…” This led to me asking questions of her about how she felt about learning that children her age would be having sex or whether she knew how those opportunities arose. Without getting too personal, suffice it to say, it was eye opening for her to know there were circumstances in the world that led to children her age becoming parents. But I didn’t shy away from it.

Throughout these discussions, I have had an opportunity to reiterate to my Preteen daughter:

·         That God loves her and us and that our Church has taught on these subjects in such a way to protect us and draw us closer to Him in all things
·         That her parents love each other very much and that we love her and her siblings
·         That we try our best to be honest with her and will do the same with her siblings
·         That boundaries are something set out of love for her guidance and protection

I hope my Preteen will continue to ask questions and communicate with us as she grows older. I know the questions have only just begun. There will be many more opportunities for growth in the coming years.

I am linking to Jennifer Fulwiler at Conversion Diary and posting every day this week! Click HERE to see who else took the challenge!
 

And Then It Was Nothing

The ultrasound was uneventful, in more ways than one.

First of all, as I drove there, I remembered how difficult it was to go see my Doctor last Friday and how I suddenly was overcome and began crying while I was checking in and then cried more as I was walked back to a room to wait.  So, I gave myself a pep talk, of sorts.  I was going back to the same place where I had been when I found out Gregory had passed away.  I told myself, “It’s okay.  It’s just an ultrasound and it’s just a building.  Try to keep it together.”  Rebecca texted me just before I was going in that she was praying for me, and I’m so glad she was.

I went through registration and then, the technician came out to get me…and…it was the same guy who had verified for the girl doing my ultrasound that she was not seeing heart movement.  I just took a deep breath when I saw him and reminded myself that this procedure will be quick, no need to worry about it too much, no tears…

So, it was uneventful initially in the fact that I was able to get out of there with no tears.  I decided I won on that front.

When my doctor called with the results, it was pretty much inconclusive.  There was something they saw that couldn’t be ruled out as a piece of placenta.  But they noted that, “It could be a fibroid.”  Well.  Okay then.  So, based on his confidence that I had indeed passed the placenta very quickly after delivering Gregory, he thought everything was probably fine and the bleeding I experienced was probably within the “normal” range.  He consulted with another doctor and advised that I should take an antibiotic as a precautionary measure and told me that I should expect spontaneous bleeding episodes like the one I had Sunday over the next 10-14 days.  

And I got a return to work date of tomorrow.

Finally, before getting off the phone, he offered me some spiritual healing by recommending that I read Chapter 4 of the Book of Wisdom.  I haven’t done that yet.  But I will.  I had school board meeting last night and then was getting kids in bed, etc.  But I will grab my Bible sometime today and read that.

It’s interesting.  When I packed for the hospital, I took along my Bible and my “Shorter Christian Prayer” book.  Here’s the thing about not being an avid Bible reader, or someone who knows passages by heart, etc:  I may have had my Bible, but I would never have known where to look in the Bible for anything that could help me.  

In that vein, how grateful I am to my doctor!  I haven’t even read it yet, but I know it will help me.  Just the fact that he shares my Catholic faith and seems to have a strong faith life himself has made me feel better.  Truly…another blessing for which I am so very grateful.

I plan to run a few errands today and get myself in the right frame of mind to return to work tomorrow.  I plan to pick up some stationery and a few particular Thank-You cards.  I have many people to thank for their love, kindness, generosity, support and compassion over the past two weeks.

I had a pretty good day emotionally  yesterday even with everything going on.  My children continue to be a source of immense joy for me that help me process and understand Gregory’s role in our family.  My husband continues to be a huge source of strength for me as I wade through this grief.  There are more days coming that will be hard, I know.  One will happen in the next week, when the cemetery sends us information on ordering a marker for Gregory’s grave.  There will be another week anniversary to ponder in just a couple of days.  At some point, I know I will mark the time in months, and then finally in years.  It’s strange, I’ve noticed that sometimes women focus on the due date of their baby as a sort of milestone or marker.  Perhaps I will, too.  I’m not sure.  Right now, March 1st is the day I will always remember my precious Gregory, I think.  But, who knows?  The due date hasn’t approached yet, so I don’t know how I’ll feel then.

Vincent started wanting me again.  A few months back he kind of got a “Daddy Crush” and would only want Craig to hold him or to play with him or comfort him.  In the last week, he has reverted to wanting me more, and that has been very helpful.  Although, as we walked into the daycare today, he insisted I put him down and he walk himself up to the door.  He’s been taking his pants off and putting his socks on.  And, he’s been showing signs of potty-training readiness.  And, it hits me — that he is growing and maturing and will no longer be a “baby” with diapers and such in a fairly short time.  I’m not sure how that is going to hit me.  It’s been so long since we have lived without a baby in the house or on the way.  

Thank you all for the kind words you have sent me through comments, or facebook messages, or texts, or e-mail.  I do want you to know how helpful it has been.  Our family has been lifted up in prayer to heights I have never been aware of before, and I know that is why we are where we are emotionally and physically.  So, thank you for all of your caring and your compassion.  It has helped to bring grace and peace to our lives at a time when those two things have been so necessary.

 

Incarnation – Crucifixion: The Mystery of Christ’s Life

During the days leading up to Christmas, I read a piece of writing reflecting on the idea that Jesus was  born to die, and contesting with the notion that Jesus was only born to live for us.  The writer wrote that he was “sad that anyone could reduce the mystery of incarnation to the tragedy of crucifixion.” 

I bookmarked the piece and thought about it for the past few weeks.  Why does it not bother me to think of Jesus’ birth as simply the means to his death?  I celebrate Jesus’ birth fully and am overcome with gratitude that my Lord and Savior humbled himself to become like me – a human – though he retained his divine nature.  Do I consider his death to be more important than his life?  Why do I pair his crucifixion with his Incarnation as though they are equal and desirable pieces to the puzzle of my faith?

A recent e-mail in my inbox titled “Read the Catechism in a Year” (day 76) contained a Catholic perspective on this very topic that I’d like to share with you:

The Catechism states [in Part 1:  The Profession of Faith, Chapter 2: I believe in Jesus Christ, the Only Son of God, Article3, Paragraph 3 (pertaining to The Mysteries of Christ’s Life)]:

512     Concerning Christ’s life the Creed speaks only about the mysteries of the Incarnation (conception and birth) and Paschal mystery (passion, crucifixion, death, burial, descent into hell, resurrection and ascension).  It says nothing explicitly about the mysteries of Jesus’ hidden or public life, but the articles of faith concerning his Incarnation and Passover do shed light on the whole of his earthly life.  “All that Jesus did and taught, from the beginning until the day when he was taken up to heaven”, is to be seen in the light of the mysteries of Christmas and Easter. (emphasis, mine)

We do have some stories of Jesus’ life in the Gospels, but those stories that are present in the Gospels are written down “so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in his name.”  As humans, we desire to see Jesus more as the “man” and less like the “God” but our faith, as Catholic Christians, is that he was equally man and God, therefore, we cannot make one nature greater than the other.  Only God could endure the suffering Jesus did, no mere man.  I think these assertions that we should focus more on the fact that Jesus came to live for us, as it is put in the article, are more like attempts to mold God into our image, as opposed to maintaining the truth that man is made in God’s image.

It is not a natural human inclination, to dwell on the death of our Savior.  As humans we eschew all that is pain and suffering and cling to anything that makes us feel good.  However, just because we, as humans, have a hard time understanding that Jesus’ suffering through His passion and death was freely chosen by Him and lovingly endured in order to save us from our sins doesn’t mean that it isn’t truly the point of his coming.  What other point was there for him to take on humanity?  The author of the article contends that it was to show us how to live.  I would contend that God had been doing that for centuries before Jesus’ coming.  Did He not provide the Ten Commandments to Moses?

And while I understand the desire to focus more on the life of Christ rather than his death,  the honest truth of the matter is that most of Jesus’ life is not written down anywhere for us to reference and learn about.  The Catechism speaks to this as well:

I.                    CHRIST’S WHOLE LIFE IS MYSTERY

514     Many things about Jesus of interest to human curiosity do not figure in the Gospels.  Almost nothing is said about his hidden life at Nazareth, and even a great part of his public life is not recounted.  (emphasis, mine) What is written in the Gospels was set down there “so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in his name.”

I’m not sad when I see a message reminding me that Jesus was born to die.  I know what He died for and that I’m not worthy.  Jesus’ death and resurrection is not tragic – it is beautiful.  And I believe it has every bit of a place paired with his Incarnation.  His death and resurrection brings the greatest purpose of all to His coming.  Earth, to my understanding, cannot compete with the beauty of heaven.

We celebrate His birth, not because he died, but because he humbled himself to become man at all. We celebrate His death, not because we’re masochistic and that 33 years of his life were meaningless, but because his death was the Victory over sin and death itself. We celebrate Jesus as our savior because life on Earth is NOT eternal life, it is temporal and it is not free of suffering and sacrifice and we look toward the life after death in union with our Creator.

I DO believe Jesus came to live for us, but my faith remains that the death and resurrection of Jesus conquered sin and death once and for all and is the only reason for him to humble himself to humanity at all.  And THAT is why I celebrate the Crucifixion alongside the Incarnation.
PHOTO CREDIT



 

Humanae Vitae Mass — A Request for Help

NFP Awareness week – 2012 was last week. I made a concerted effort on this blog to write a bit about NFP, the fear, challenged others to consider how it can positively impact marriage, why it is good for the body and why we should talk to our children about it alongside any other information they get as they enter puberty and adulthood.


Last week, I organized a Mass on the anniversary of Humanae Vitae.  It was our 2nd year to have the Humanae Vitae Mass, as we called it.  I am trying hard not to feel disappointed in the turnout because the people who did show up were so grateful to have the Mass said and to hear Father’s words of encouragement.  It can be a lonely life of sacrifice when families embrace and faithfully live the Church’s teaching on marriage and sexuality.  Those of us walking the walk need a Mass like this to lift us up and help us remember why it’s worth it.  For the most part, I had been pretty successful at suppressing the disappointed feelings…


Until Father came and spoke with me after Mass yesterday and asked if we had gotten the word out and wondered why more people hadn’t shown up.  Yes, we got it into the Catholic Key (diocesan newspaper).  Yes, we had gotten it in bulletins.  Yes, we had gotten it out on e-mail loops.


Part of me wants to make excuses.  There are ball games and vacations and lots of busy things happening the latter part of July.  Many of the families that might have come to the Mass (who didn’t) had already attended Mass that day through the Totus Tuus program.  Our parish had Totus Tuus that evening at the same time Mass was going on.


And then, part of me wants to ask Father if we could please have this special Mass worked into a Sunday.  In his homily, Father mentioned that maybe he was “preaching to the choir” at the Humanae Vitae Mass…well, if we were to add this Mass on a Sunday he could reach others.  The people who are coming to a Humanae Vitae Mass on a Wednesday night in the middle of an already packed summer week already believe and live this value and Church teaching in their marriages. We appreciated the Mass for sure.  We still wanted it.  We NEEDED it.  But, if the goal is to spread the Good News about the Church’s teaching on marriage and sexuality, unfortunately, it’s just a fact of life that we’re gonna have better luck reaching a broader audience on a Sunday.  


My perfect vision of a big Mass celebrating Humanae Vitae and the Catholic church’s unwavering and loving teaching on marriage and sexuality includes the Mass being on Sunday including a forum for information sharing afterwards. Perhaps, in the parish hall, in addition to the information re: NFP, we can offer some healing information for post-sterilization, or a support system to help couples make that leap out of the contraception culture.  There are lots of couples out there that didn’t hear, know or understand the Church’s teaching that made some irreversible decisions and they are hurting but may feel like they have nowhere to turn.  And it’s difficult to make such a drastic change in marriage to accept and learn NFP vs. continuing on using hormonal contraception or barriers or other devices.  Maybe we could have information and support for educating teens within the family structure.  Perhaps have stock of books like The Good News about Sex & Marriage or something on Pope John Paul II’s Theology of the Body or TOB for Teens, or Pure Manhood.  I admit…that’s a lofty “perfect” scenario.


Since we have started this thing of having a special Mass on the anniversary of Humanae Vitae …how can I drum up the support for this Mass?  How can I get more people of our diocese, let alone more people from our Parish, to attend this Mass?  Are people queasy about bringing their families with children (my children come to this, I don’t find it objectionable…but is this one of those instances where I am weird?)


I suppose I could try to have some influence as to when Totus Tuus happens at our Parish.  The past two years it has been the last week in July.  If our parish is going to continue to have a Special Mass on July 25, we should try to make sure no other big attendance-draining activities are happening.


I have a year to try and do this thing better. I would like it to continue, so I’m afraid that I need to grow my vision and make it happen.  I know the families who attended the Mass the last two years would also like to see it continue. We have two supportive priests at our parish and on that I’d like to capitalize. 


Help me?  Please?  Email me at EndlessStrengthBlog@gmail.com.  Tweet me:  MichellePHughes.  Leave a comment.  Retweet this for me to your followers.  I would like to get some ideas that I could get started on to make next year’s Humanae Vitae Mass more memorable.


 

Love God the Most

The Gospel reading at Daily Mass yesterday was one of those really hard ones to hear and probably even more difficult to completely understand.  I could have many different reflections with regard to this Gospel reading, but this time, I was struck by the part I have italicized and bolded below:

GOSPEL: Matthew 10: 34 — 11: 1 34 

“Do not think that I have come to bring peace on earth; I have not come to bring peace, but a sword. For I have come to set a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law; and a man’s foes will be those of his own household. He who loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; and he who loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me; and he who does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me. He who finds his life will lose it, and he who loses his life for my sake will find it.  He who receives you receives me, and he who receives me receives him who sent me. He who receives a prophet because he is a prophet shall receive a prophet’s reward, and he who receives a righteous man because he is a righteous man shall receive a righteous man’s reward. And whoever gives to one of these little ones even a cup of cold water because he is a disciple, truly, I say to you, he shall not lose his reward.” And when Jesus had finished instructing his twelve disciples, he went on from there to teach and preach in their cities.

There are similar passages in Mark and Luke where Jesus says that we must love God more than anything else…more than our family and friends.  This is a hard thing to comprehend because I think it’s a pretty normal thing for most of us to feel like we love our spouse more than we could love anyone or anything else. Or maybe we look at our children and we acknowledge a level of love that we cannot fathom being surpassed.  Yet, Jesus still commands us to love God the most.  


The homily centered on the fact that we are not to love God because HE has any NEED for our love.  That idea is preposterous because God, Himself, IS love.  There is nothing we can give to God.  But, our happiness (whether to be had on this earth, in this lifetime or in the next life) depends on our ability to love God the most.  If we love God more than we love our family, our friends, our things, our jobs, our activities…then we order our actions in such a way that we are happy.  

Photo Credit

What are the implications of ordering our love in this manner?  When our spouse desires something either from us or from him/herself, if that is not ordered in such a manner that God is served, first and foremost – and we recognize that – then we must try to serve God and deny our spouse’s wishes, or at the very least…attempt to influence our spouse to order desires with love of God in mind.  As we raise our children they will reach the age of reason and discernment.  Very likely, they will want certain things in a material sense, or they will desire to participate in something which is not ordered to a love of God.  And if/when we recognize that, we, as parents, have a duty to guide our children away from their own personal desires to take action that is ordered to love of God.


If we order our actions to a love of God, we will be happy.  But that happiness is not necessarily immediate…most likely it will not be reached until we meet God face-to-face when our earthly life is done.


Our society tends to think of happiness in the here and now.  We don’t like to suffer and we think that if an action helps us to feel happiness, then God must surely approve.  I’m not convinced that God approves of our happiness in the here and now.  It seems to me that Jesus usually speaks of our happiness in the future tense.  


It also follows, for me, that happiness on earth doesn’t seem to jive with happiness for eternity.  It seems there are many times that Jesus infers that we must forego earthly happiness to attain true happiness with Him in Heaven.  So, even loving and being happy with my spouse, or loving and being happy with my children doesn’t mean that I will have happiness with Jesus for eternity.  I would imagine that ultimately, the suffering I may endure here on earth will help me appreciate and attain happiness for eternity. 


Our lives on earth are full of suffering…for some of us suffering looks very different than it does for others.  Perhaps we have financial struggles.  Perhaps our marriage is put to the test.  Perhaps we endure spiritual warfare.  Perhaps we raise our children in the Catholic faith, only to have them eschew it as soon as they are on their own.  Perhaps we struggle with our state of fertility.  Or perhaps there’s an addiction to drugs, alcohol or pornography.


Through these bouts of suffering, it seems that Jesus is asking us to love Him the most.  In the times it is probably the hardest to do, He is commanding that we do it.  
There is a lot more suffering in this world than there is happiness.  But I’m trying to remember that happiness on Earth isn’t the ultimate goal.  Possibly understanding that happiness with our state here on Earth isn’t necessarily what we should strive for is the biggest step in Heaven’s direction.  


True happiness is loving God the most.

 

A Fortnight for Freedom – Who’s In?

June 21, 2012 is the beginning of a Fortnight for Freedom.  The Bishop Helmsing Institute Blog had this post explaining what the Bishops prescribe and how to carry it out.  It’s a time for increased, focused prayer, study, fasting and public action.  

The fourteen days from June 21—the vigil of the Feasts of St. John Fisher and St. Thomas More—to July 4, Independence Day, are dedicated to this “fortnight for freedom”—a great hymn of prayer for our country. Our liturgical calendar celebrates a series of great martyrs who remained faithful in the face of persecution by political power—St. John Fisher and St. Thomas More, St. John the Baptist, SS. Peter and Paul, and the First Martyrs of the Church of Rome.  Culminating on Independence Day, this special period of prayer, study, catechesis, and public action will emphasize both our Christian and American heritage of liberty. Dioceses and parishes around the country have scheduled special events that support a great national campaign of teaching and witness for religious liberty.

Today, I commit to a rosary every day for a fortnight (14 days) for the intercession of our blessed mother as we seek to be heard and have our freedom to practice our faith protected.  
I’m not sure what kind of public action I can take, but I do intend to do a video to share with many other women through the Women Speak For Themselves initiative. 

I also intend to try and make it to Mass on Friday, the dual feast days of St. Thomas More and St. John Fischer.

14 days – a Fortnight 
PRAYER. STUDY. FASTING.

Are You In?