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Archives for January 2014

The F.U.N. Quotient… the giddy joy that God made this for you.

Sometimes the best fun is the kind of giddy joy that comes from knowing the world, as God intended it, is still a very beautiful place… God made this for you…

Huelux from Randy Halverson on Vimeo.

 

H/T: @CatholicWebs or  Catholic Web Services

Among Women 172: Good grief, God!

Among Women 172: Good grief, God!

Has a recent death or loss left you grieving? In this latest episode of Among Women I interview Cheryl Amari of GriefTeach.com who helps us learn about why we need to grieve well — and how our faith helps us to do that. Also hear the words and wisdom of one of the newest Church Doctors, St Hildegard of Bingen, as I share her prose, poetry, and music. Listen here.

Among Women — 2013 in review

Among Women — 2013 in review

Top 5 “Most Downloaded” Episodes of 2013:

 159 Faith-filled Women at Work (With Mary Wallace, PhD)

Mary Wallace, whose dissertation looked at faith in the workplace, shares her findings and her faith. I also share some of Edith Stein’s writings before she entered the convent. We know her today at St Teresa Benedicta of the Cross.

161 Catholic Pediatricians Make a Difference (With Kathleen Berchelmann, MD)

I also chat about one of my favorite modern-day saints, St Gianna Molla, who, as it happens, was a pediatrician besides her vocation as wife and mother. And it leads into an animated discussion about some of the hot topics in pediatrics – especially in the life of teen girls — with Dr Kathleen Berchelmann.

160 Mary’s Astonishing Motherhood (With graphic designer Katherine Robinson Coleman who designed the cover of my book, Blessed, Beautiful, & Bodacious)

Katherine shares her hopes and struggles as a mother to an autistic young adult, and I share about the relationship of St Joseph and the Blessed Mother – and talk about Mary’s astonishing motherhood—being found with Child, conceived by the Holy Spirit!

158 Greeting Our New Pope plus meet Theologian Mom (With Angela Franks, PhD).

In this episode I reflect on the early days of Pope Francis’ pontificate and his love for Mary – by exploring his visit to the Basilica of St Mary Major in Rome, immediately following his election. I also have an enlightening conversation with moral theologian, Dr. Angela Franks of the Theological Institute of the New Evangelization.

155 “Woman, you are a Gift!” – A Look at our Feminine Genius (With writer Rebecca Ryskind Teti)

I couldn’t ask for a better topic to help launch my book, Blessed, Beautiful, and Bodacious, than to converse with the ever-thoughtful Rebecca Ryskind Teti – writer and wife and mother.

Top 5 Countries with Most Downloads (after the US):

Canada

China

United Kingdom

Austrailia

Phillipines

Top Ten States downloading Among Women

California

Texas

Florida

New York

Virginia

Michigan

Massachusetts

Illinois

Ohio

Georgia

This makes me think… about the particular love God has for each us…

Da Vinci painted one Mona Lisa.
Beethoven composed one Fifth Symphony.
And God made one version of you…

We exist to exhibit God, to display His glory.

We serve as canvases for His brushstroke, papers for His pen, soil for His seeds, glimpses of His image.

–Max Lucado, Cure for the Common Life

I write about the enormous blessing of being made in the image of God in my book, Blessed, Beautiful, and Bodacious. You can read an excerpt on Amazon.

 

Welcome to my chaos, Jesus

Welcome to my chaos, Jesus

It’s been a difficult winter season here. No getting around that. And I’m not just talking about the cold and the snowfall. In some ways, that has added some beauty to the landscape, and frankly, the excuse to cocoon a bit. Just a bit, because I’ve been out straight as they say. To compensate I’ve have to let go of a few things in order to embrace whatever fire is burning in front of me. To that end, I’ve missed writing and working consistently, I’ve missed getting together with friends or experiencing restful downtimes, I’ve missed podcasting, I’ve missed walking, and I’ve missed what I call balance-in-my-life. Even my prayer life — the anchor of each day — has been getting shifted into new times and forms, though that’s not always a bad thing.

My heart has been broken over sadnesses within my family, my friends’ lives, and mounting pressures — some unavoidable and some self-inflicted. Thank God for the menopausal crying jags… they cleanse me when I least expect them! If you know me, you can laugh at that last thing. Being a woman is still a wonderful thing — and it’s a wonder that I can recognize this new me on some days! Haha!

I’m not griping or ranting as if I’m looking for pity or for sympathies. I’m just a beggar who knows where her bread comes from, and I’ve written about in my latest over at Patheos. I had one of those Jesus moments that I’ve been mulling over for quite some time.

Here’s some of that…

All I wanted was a minute’s peace.

No, that’s not accurate. All I wanted was world peace, or something akin in my own little corner of it. At the very least, I wanted the noise in the church to go away. I wanted peace and quiet and escape from all that burdened me.

The Christmas season was ebbing away. I closed my eyes to pray after communion at Mass, to adore the Presence of Jesus in that moment. I attempted to pour out my heart, to break free from my troubles, to lean in and let him restore me with his holy food.

Instead I was remarkably distracted.

Normally, in prayer, I can tune out what’s around me. This day my concentration proved inadequate to the distractions.

The church seemed chaotic. I could not escape the scratchy shuffling of communicants in line to receive. After a New England snowfall, the “snowmelt”—salt and sand that sticks to the bottom of shoes—makes a scraping, gritty contact with the floor tiles in our church.

It’s like fingernails on a chalkboard.

Even the music distracted me; the cantor, Lord have mercy,was out of sync with the hymn.

Oh geez, I know I am pitiful as I nitpick others—after communion, no less! Lord have mercy… on me.

There’s the distinctive cry of a newborn baby, and a new momma trying all she can to console, to no avail. She’ll figure it out soon enough. She needs to be here as much as we need her to be here with her little one. And their small chaos jolts me back to where I am.

I refocus, this time on the other baby within my line of sight—the Babe in the manger—in all his poverty and humility; Jesus born into our chaos.

 Read it all. 

:::

You can subscribe to this column here. 

 

 

Reprise: Woman, you are a gift! Respecting women respects life!!

Reprise: Woman, you are a gift! Respecting women respects life!!

Last year, on the anniversary of Roe vs Wade, and the March for Life, I penned this column as a summary of the beauty of womanhood, and her gift of maternity and it was featured in the online version of the Washington Post…

Here it is in its entirety.

Woman, you are a gift!

From the first presentation of woman to man in the Garden of Eden, the gift of who you are is nothing less than “wow!” Your dignity comes from the gift of your being, and the gift of your being created feminine.

Man saw your profound and complementary gifts right away, and rejoiced. In God’s first act of blessing humanity, the creator smiled upon and blessed the union of the first couple, encouraging them be fertile and multiply (Gen 1:28).

Their loving union was a blessed gift to each other, and their offspring, delivered through woman’s maternity, was designed to be a visible sign of that blessing; another gift.

Then sin entered the world. For their failures the woman and man suffered grievous losses, and because we are their progeny, our own pains followed.

Tragically, humanity has habitually lost sight of the true gifts we are to one another, and the treasure of maternity was rarely appreciated as the blessing it is, until Jesus; the savior of all was born of a woman.

In and through Mary, the world heard once more: Woman, you are a gift!

Blessed John Paul II was especially eager to teach that women, by the beauty of their physiology and God-given design, are particularly well-disposed to seeing, comprehending and loving human persons. This is our “feminine genius.” This particular strength of woman bears repeating and rediscovery, as we survey the political rhetoric of the day that tends to degrade maternity, especially as the 40th anniversary of Roe v. Wade comes to pass.

The late pontiff’s major treatise on women, Mulieris Dignatatem, exults in the dignity and beauty of femininity. The gift of maternity, he wrote is a strength, not a weakness.

There’s no mistaking biology. Womanly bodies are wonderfully made, and purposefully created with an empty space of a womb carried under her heart.

A woman’s womb, her uterus, signals that she is made for something and someone more than herself. This reality touches a woman at her very core — physically, emotionally, and spiritually. The womb’s raison d’etre illuminates this gift that welcomes and receives the life of a child, sheltering and nurturing it, until finally, a woman gives birth. We even use the expression — giving birth — denoting the gift that it is. The maternal gift ought to be honored and celebrated.

What’s more, a pregnant mother is entrusted with carrying an immortal soul besides her own — a soul that is destined for eternity. That’s why a woman really needs to be aware of the dignity of her feminine creation, and the sublime gift of her maternity, so she can confer that dignity on her child, and upon others through her love of life.

The gift of maternity is inherent in all women. They are predisposed to motherhood by their design. Yet, as we know, not all women bear children. Even if a woman never gives birth, a woman’s life is still inclined toward mothering. All women are entrusted with the call to care for the people within their sphere of influence. This broadens our ideas of maternity beyond gestation and lactation.

A woman’s relationships with others, even though they may not be fruitful biologically, can be fruitful spiritually. Therefore a woman’s life–her feminine genius–is characterized by physical and/or spiritual motherhood.

When the gift of a woman’s fertility and maternity are devalued, they are misinterpreted as liabilities or threats to a woman’s potential happiness, or earning power, or freedom.

Both women and men are crippled when disrespect for any of the gifts of the other are ignored, stifled, abused, or rejected. But women are demeaned when this precious part of them is reduced to a faculty to be managed, rather than a capability to be treasured.

Our beautiful maternity, and the lives and loves that issue forth from it, is why the church continues to stand in defense of chastity and marriage, along with its opposition to the use of contraception, abortion of the unborn and any other threat to human life.

Finally, dear woman, here’s something else the church teaches: If we’ve failed to live up to this teaching on maternity, if we’ve disrespected or abused the beautiful gifts of our womanhood, we can make our way back. The gifts of grace and forgiveness through the sacraments provide that path.

Let us trust that grace. Let us be gentle and generous in dealing with our own failures as regards our sexuality or our maternity. Jesus wants us to be healed, and especially to be healed of wounds related to our sexuality and maternity.

Let us come to him with our brokenness, and the sins against our genius of maternity, no matter how grievous or painful.

Let us come to know this God who came through the womb to save us.

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The On Faith column of the Washington Post has moved to On Faith at Faithstreet.com. Here’s the link for the column above.

 

Some of us are Marching in our hearts… #MarchForLife

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For a million reasons, there are millions of us who are pro-life  who cannot walk in the March for Life, but we will be marching in our hearts.

We do this in our prayers, in our sacrifices, and in our fasts today.

Watch EWTN for special programming around the March for Life.

 

This makes me think… “Lord… take me from all lukewarmness…”

O Lord, give me a mind
that is humble, quiet, peaceable,
patient and charitable,
and a taste of your Holy Spirit
in all my thoughts, words, and deeds.

O Lord, give me a lively faith, a firm hope,
a fervent charity, a love of you.
Take from me all lukewarmness in meditation
and dullness in prayer.
Give me fervor and delight in thinking of you,
your grace, and your tender compassion toward me.

Give me, good Lord,
the grace to work for
the things we pray for.

-St Thomas More-

 

As found in The Commandments We Keep by Fr Peter J. Vaghi