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Archives for October 2015

Among Women 196: Finding God’s Peace

Among Women 196: Finding God’s Peace

Screen Shot 2015-10-29 at 9.33.26 PMIn this new episode, I happily welcome author Heidi Bratton to Among Women. Together, we discuss her new book, Finding God’s Peace in Everyday Challenges.

Heidi is an author I’ve long admired and I think you’ll be blessed by hearing this conversation. Also in this show, I’m reviewing what we mean when say, “rest in peace”. Plus, our saint profile is the founder of the Society of the Sacred Heart, St Madeleine Sophie Barat.

Listen to Among Women today!

This makes me think… Nothing makes sense unless God wants us in heaven to share his joy.

God created us only so that we could share in His joy. It is were not true God created us so that we could share eternally in His Life, existence would have absolutely no meaning; the world would be absurd. It is only in faith in the intentions of God’s love that the world finds its meaning. There world has no other justification than its having been destined in Christ for divine beatitude. This is the response to all those who would object that “a good God would not have been able to created a world so full of misery and suffering.” St Paul responds that it is through this that God seeks to build — and will irrevocably and ultimately succeed in building — the city of God in which his children will be bathed in the light of the Trinity.

–Jean Daniélou, Prayer: The Mission of the Church.

Dear St John Paul II… a thanksgiving for your holy influence in my life

Dear St John Paul II… a thanksgiving for your holy influence in my life

Dear St John Paul II,

What a blessing to go to Mass this morning on your feast day! Your life had such a big impact on mine; your holy influence has fueled some of my best prayer practices and my most earnest studies.

Long before you instituted World Youth Days, you struck a chord with me as a youngish youth minister when I accompanied my youth group to Madison Square Garden. You told us: “Look to Christ!” So simple, yet so life-changing. We have so much that distracts us in this age. Only one thing is needed: keeping our eyes on Jesus.

Screen Shot 2014-04-27 at 4.23.47 PMYour love for the Blessed Mother caught my attention. I had mixed emotions about Mary until I read your advice in Redemptoris Mater about Total Consecration to Jesus through Mary. You said it was a way to better live my baptismal promises. That inspired me to say yes to Marian Consecration when I was invited by some local friends to do so. Who knew the timing would be just months before my breast cancer diagnosis? I would need Momma Mary all the more during that time. But you know that ANY TIME is a good time to get closer to Mary.

To this day, I remember my profound shock and joy when the The Catechism of the Catholic Church came out in English in 1994. I have a first edition. Some people laughed that I cared to read it. Yet its teaching grounded my love for Christ and the wisdom of the Church. It’s amazing footnotes and multiple indices sent me back to grad school for my Masters to learn what all that “alphabet soup” meant — all those abbreviations! — all the magisterial teaching and the wisdom of the church doctors and saints continues to thrill and inspire my life and my work. I’m still learning from it, by the way. I’m grateful that I’ve been blessed to write a monthly column in Catholic Digest about it for the last few years.

A happy fallout of learning the Catechism in the 90s is that it put me in touch with the profound theological master, our dear Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI. Reading you and reading him made me grow to love Christ and the Church all the more.  What a legacy your remarkable friendship has given the world!

Your Theology of the Body renewed my marriage and gave me a path for raising my teens — sharing with them God’s plan for marital love and fidelity to whatever vocation that God gives them.

I remember standing with my Bob and my daughter Katie in St Peter’s Square with you, toward the end of your earthly life. It was our first general audience in 2004. That was a long time since our youthful selves were at the Garden in ’79. But your age and infirmity did not matter, you were still happy to be with us. By then I knew you were a living saint. I yelled out my love and prayers with that crazy throng as you passed by in your Popemobile.

Let me tell you one last thing. When I was a young mom, I stumbled upon your musings about “the feminine genius”, in Mulieris Dignitatem and Letter to Women… Little did I know the impact they would have. Later, those writings, and related homilies, and your encyclical Evangelium Vitae (The Gospel of Life), would eventually become the basis of my book, Blessed, Beautiful, and Bodacious: Celebrating the Gift of Catholic Womanhood.  How can I ever thank you for that? Maybe someday in heaven, right? I’m hoping my work is part of that great thank you. Did you have a hand in my book being recently translated into Polish is advance of the next World Youth Day in Krakow? Either way, I’m crediting your influence.

Speaking of all good things Polish! I have loved the Divine Mercy devotion and St Faustina for years, thanks to you! It has changed my 3 o’clock hour. Not to mention your addition of the Luminous Mysteries of the Rosary. That was brilliant.

Okay I’m rambling here, but you get the point. Thank you, thank you, dear Papa! There’s so much more I could write and gush about. I know you are praying for the universal church, and for your little friend here, who is writing a new manuscript with fear and trembling, and looking to you again for your holy tutelage. What a gift to ask for your intercession!

St John Paul II, pray for us!

Among Women 195: Praying With Your Children

Among Women 195: Praying With Your Children

Among Women 195 is all about praying with your children.

In this new Among Women podcast, my guest, Grace Mazza Urbanski, and I met while we were both attending the World Meeting of Families last month. Grace’s ministry in the Apostleship of Prayer led to her new book, Pray With Me: Seven Simple Ways to Pray with Your Children. This is a beautiful new resource for families and I’m happy to share some great tips from Grace and the book in this interview. Also profiled in this episode is the life of St Silvia, mother to St Gregory the Great.

In other news: Something is amiss with the post editor over at the AW site, so I’m archiving the links to this show here, until the fix happens over at Among Women.

Links for Episode 195 of Among Women with Grace Mazza Urbanski

Listen to the this latest Among Women pScreen Shot 2015-10-20 at 3.52.44 PModcast here, or at iTunes — episode 195

Grace Mazza Urbanski’s Book: Pray With Me

Grace’s Blog: Praying with Grace

Apostleship of Prayer

Bio of St Silvia

Book: Prayers for Married Couples

Other shows of related interest:

AW 186 with guest Leila Marie Lawler

AW 76 with guest Laura Lee Richard

AW 104 and AW 105 with guest Melanie Bettinelli

 

The blog tour buzzing about Lisa Mladinich’s “True Radiance” is underway! Here’s where it will be!

Screen Shot 2015-08-17 at 4.33.17 PMThe TRUE RADIANCE BLOG TOUR starts today and many of the bloggers will be giving away a copy of Lisa Mladinich’s book! I’ll be interviewing Lisa for Among Women soon, and we’ll be doing our own giveaway at that time in a couple weeks. In the meantime, you could win a book at one of these fine blogs….or you can buy the book here.

 Today, Oct. 19 kicks off at Kathy Schiffer‘s Seasons of Grace! Kathy will be writing about Interior Beauty.

 Tuesday, Oct. 20, Mary Ellen Barrett will blog at Tales From the Bonnie Blue House  about the Sacred Mentality–the sacramentality of our bodies.

Wednesday, Oct. 21 features Leticia Velasquez at Cause of Our Joy, discussing the chapter on Brain Health.

Monday, Oct. 26 Sister Margaret Kerry Fsp will cover Women’s Spirituality at CatholicMom.com, from the chapter on Wisdom and Witness.

Tuesday, Oct. 27 Sarah Reinhard will talk about Women’s Friendships at Snoring Scholar!

Wednesday, Oct. 28, Jen Fitz will cover the Vocations chapter at Sticking the Corners.

Thursday, Oct. 29, Lisa will be interviewed at Donna-Marie Cooper O’Boyle‘s author blog, discussing one of the Common Pitfalls for Women in the second half of life: complaining!

Friday, Oct. 30, Lisa will again be interviewed at Maria Morera Johnson‘s personal blog about one of the Roadblocks to Peace (impurity)and what to do about it!

Read all about it at Lisa’s blog Water into Wine.

I was honored to write the Foreword to this book. Here’s a few of my thoughts.

True Radiance takes aim at some of the falsehoods that mar and malign our feminine genius. Besides her own encounters with the healing love of God, Lisa Mladinich’s personal research and discussions with other women in the second half of life offer perspective and encouragement from the front lines of post-menopausal living.

Mladinich’s anecdotes and her confident faith challenge us to lovingly reconsider the things that distract us from understanding true beauty. She writes, “like anything that isn’t God himself, the quest for physical beauty can consume too much of our time, money, and attention—when, in the second half of our lives, quite frankly, we’ve got better things to do.”

We do have better things to do! For me, I love reading books that tell honest stories. I appreciate that Lisa Mladinich writes in a way that honors my faith and my intellect. She’s an all-in Catholic. Her awe and zeal for the faith is refreshingly invigorating. Yet she manages to tickle my funny bone while offering a reverential look at this blessed and, at times, bewildering phase of life.

Is it possible to find God speaking to you through a hot flash? Or truth as you battle with a bout of brain fog? Can you sense a smile from heaven in your dog’s antics? Or find peace in a sentence from the Catechism? Lisa Mladinich’s book offers that and more.

Proverbs 31:30 reveals that a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised.” Faith and true beauty go hand in hand. And often, we women learn that best from the examples of other women. From her touching reversion story describing the Blessed Mother leading her closer to Jesus, to her chapter on the need for friendships with saints and other women, Lisa Mladinich never forgets that it is grace that fuels a heart’s movement toward God and others. She, and the women she profiles in this book, offers authentic ways to uncover grace in our own experiences as we mature.

Go on and get your copy right here!

 

This Makes Me Think… about what being sold-out for God really looks like — even martyrdom becomes a gift

I am writing to all the churches to let it be known that I will gladly die for God if only you do not stand in my way. I plead with you: show me no untimely kindness. Let me be food for the wild beasts, for they are my way to God. I am God’s wheat and shall be ground by their teeth so that I may become Christ’s pure bread. Pray to Christ for me that the animals will be the means of making me a sacrificial victim for God.

No earthly pleasures, no kingdoms of this world can benefit me in any way. I prefer death in Christ Jesus to power over the farthest limits of the earth. He who died in place of us is the one object of my quest. He who rose for our sakes is my one desire. The time for my birth is close at hand. Forgive me, my brothers. Do not stand in the way of my birth to real life; do not wish me stillborn. My desire is to belong to God. Do not, then, hand me back to the world. Do not try to tempt me with material things. Let me attain pure light. Only on my arrival there can I be fully a human being. Give me the privilege of imitating the passion of my God. If you have him in your heart, you will understand what I wish. You will sympathize with me because you will know what urges me on.

My love of this life has been crucified, and there is no yearning in me for any earthly thing. Rather within me is the living water which says deep inside me: “Come to the Father.” I no longer take pleasure in perishable food or in the delights of this world. I want only God’s bread, which is the flesh of Jesus Christ, formed of the seed of David, and for drink I crave his blood, which is love that cannot perish.

-St Ignatius of Antioch, Letter to the Romans, en route to certain martyrdom.

 

History footnotes: St Ignatius of Antioch, in his 80s, was being carried to Rome from his church in Antioch to be tried, and likely killed by lions or other wild animals in an arena during a time of persecution between 98 and 117AD. He wrote this letter to the church of Rome to ask the church members there who might otherwise intervene to save him from certain death, to allow him to stand trial and to die for the faith. He did not have “a death wish”, he was deeply devoted to Christ and was ready to die for him if necessary.  You can read more of his letter here. You can read more about his life here. 

 

– See more at:

#Autumn down a country lane in New England Take Two: Sugar Maple Splendor

#Autumn down a country lane in New England Take Two: Sugar Maple Splendor

I found a few more photos in my iPhone…

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We have several historic cemeteries in town with beautiful trees.


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Consider this a continuation of yesterday’s post. (There’s even some identification going on regarding the “oreo cows”. File that under “things I never thought I’d discuss in a combox”, but it’s been fun!)

Note: Something is wacky with my latest IOS upgrade. Sometimes, photos are sideways when viewed on different devices. I don’t know how to correct this yet. So apologies on those portrait-style photos. I’m trying to find out why as they look right side up when I put the post together. Hm. Any insights on this, please leave me a note in the comments. Thanks.

#Autumn down a country lane in New England. (Yes, I do live in a postcard.)

#Autumn down a country lane in New England. (Yes, I do live in a postcard.)

The first real frost is forecasted. After that, well, you never know what the colors will be. So late this afternoon as I drove home from my weekly grocery run, the cows called to me and I had to stop and take their picture. The light was coming in at a beautiful angle, and I was dreaming of buying an expensive camera in that moment. I got over it. The iPhone will have to do. I’ve driven past this scene, and many of the cows’ brethren, for twenty years. But there’s always something a bit whimsical seeing it in fall. When I first moved here from the hustle of Long Island, I used to joke with my friends that I now live in a post card. It’s not a joke anymore. I really do. And I’ve learned to live in the woods rather than at the beach, and I’ve learned there is peace in rolling footpaths are there are in rolling waves.

You can click on any photo to make it larger.

Happy Fall!

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These are the cows. We called them “oreo” cows when the kids were small. I’m sorry I don’t know the exact breed, but they are always this color, with a creamy white middle. That tree out in the middle of the field is one I watch in every season. I love that tree.

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Something about the expression on this bovine’s face reminds me of my dog. If you knew my dog, you’d know.

 

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Stone walls are everywhere here. Lots of granite and such.

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I loved this tree too. As I walked past, the sunlight made it even more golden. See the next photo.

 

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It was a moment. The photo does not do it justice, but God loves this tree.

 

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Pond is a bit still, usually there is a strong spring that feeds it, but its been a little droughty here.

 

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St Francis

 

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These might be the last of the mums before the frost comes.

 

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Tree canopy overhead.

My previous fall post from last year is here, and from the old blog here, and this one has some of my favorite barns in it, here.