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Can’t Make the #MarchForLife? Three Powerful Things To Do Instead

Can’t Make the #MarchForLife? Three Powerful Things To Do Instead

There are many of us, for very good reasons, who cannot attend the March for Life in Washington DC on January 22, or the ones scheduled in other cities. Yet we yearn to attend. Let us channel that yearning beyond wishful thinking and DO SOMETHING.

Discern on what front God wants you. Catholics have a consistent life ethic. Preventing abortion is a very important aspect of that ethic, but so is caring for those women. men, and families needing support in their daily needs, and those facing the end-of-life. The USCCB’s Pastoral Plan for Pro-Life Activities has four emphases that you should consider. I’m here just to say we all can DO SOMETHING.

Here are three suggestions:

1. Pray and fast. Offer your intentions for the March and the marchers’ witness to life, for families in need, and for women contemplating abortion. Also discern where God is nudging you to act.

Pray as you are able. Pick one or more:

  • Go to Mass
  • Pray a Rosary or the Chaplet of Divine Mercy
  • Spend an hour in adoration of the Blessed Sacrament.

Fast as you are able. Pick one or more:

  • Fast from lunch, or choose a bread and water fast for the day.
  • Fast from coffee, or whatever your go-to beverage is.
  • Fast from television, or better yet, your internet connection, for a period of several hours or days.

2. Support and celebrate motherhood. 

  • Do you know a single mother? Call her today and tell her you are ready to give her one day a month to serve her. She has the hardest job in the world. Make a plan and let this be your private march for life during the Year of Mercy. March on over to her house and get involved. Perform a chore, babysit, pay a bill if you are able, tutor a child, paint a room. You get the picture. And remember to invite her to church with you, and tell her you’ll help with the children.
  • This is a very unique idea: Offer to host the 2016 Catholic Conference 4 Moms, themed “Faces of Mercy”, at your church or in your living room during Lent. This is an online conference with videos and support materials — a complete “conference in a box”. Listen to this Among Women podcast for a conversation with the conference organizer, Tami Kiser.

3. Donate your time or your money to those who are assisting women with crisis pregnancies, or trying to find healing from “the after affects” of abortion.

These groups support women and babies:

These groups support women in recovery from abortion, with confidential retreats, counseling, etc.

May the “people of life” constantly grow in number and may a new culture of love

and solidarity develop for the true good of the whole of human society.

– Pope John Paul II, The Gospel of Life, no. 101_

 

Among Women 202: Chastity is for Lovers with Arleen Spenceley

Among Women 202: Chastity is for Lovers with Arleen Spenceley

Screen Shot 2016-01-10 at 10.13.08 AMIn this latest episode of Among Women the subject is the virtue of chastity and my guest, Arleen Spenceley, is a writer for the Tampa Bay Times. A few years back, an essay she wrote on being a chaste single adult garnered much discussion in print and went viral online. All this led to her book release Chastity is for Lovers: Single, Happy, and (Still) a Virgin. Join us for a discussion of the influence of St John Paul’s thoughts on love between the sexes, and how chastity is a virtue every person must cultivate.

Also in this episode, a look at a Welch saint who rivals St Valentine as a saint for lover, St Dwynden.

Listen and share this episode!

 

Among Women 200: A Special Edition Celebrating “200”!

Among Women 200: A Special Edition Celebrating “200”!

Whoooooo!  Among Women reaches the milestone of 200 Episodes!

This episode features comments & feedback from Among Women listeners! What a blessing to hear from friends of the podcast!

The “Among Women” Guest: Kelly Wahlquist. We discuss her new book Created to Relate — describing that women are 9781616368760_24eb906a-2e06-4426-bfd6-a28629f8f31f_medium“radically” relational — and it helps us evangelize!

Winners of the AW 200 Drawing Prize Packs are announced! They are:

Jennifer Harned, Angie Wolfe, Debbie Quakkelaar, and Felicia Brown-Anderson.

Thank you to all who entered!

Listen to this new podcast!

Find all the archives of Among Women here.

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A recent video from Catholic Match about our podcast:

It’s First Saturday tomorrow — Make it a Morning with Mom! #5FirstSat4Mary

It’s First Saturday tomorrow — Make it a Morning with Mom! #5FirstSat4Mary

Tomorrow is a First Saturday. I hope you’ll join in beginning this 5-month devotion or continue along with me. This is my #5FirstSat4Mary4th of 5 first Saturdays. Earlier posts are here: the beginning, the second, and third. The first post outlines the “how-to’s” for the First Saturday devotion.

I’ve learned a few things as I’ve invited people to join me in this devotion.

Not all parishes have a Saturday morning or midday Mass. Of course, there’s a showstopper right there. However, if you can, check out surrounding parishes or shrines. I often go to a shrine church, several towns away, that is affiliated with a religious order. Their Mass schedule and confession schedule is different from my local parish, and often more in line with my work schedule. All I’m saying is that if you have the desire, ask Mary to give you a way to complete this devotion. I also know good friends and family who live in rural areas and this is simply not a viable option — having a Mass within an hour’s drive on Saturday. Might I suggest, then, the First Friday devotion?

Mentioning your desire to complete this devotion to a friend or two helps keep you accountable. It’s been years since I’ve made the First Saturdays when I was encouraged to make them again, (from a priest in confession, and no, it was not my penance, just a pious suggestion). I admit, it took me a while to actually commit based on my calendar, but once I did, the days opened up. Funny, right? It helps to join with a friend to do this together. But if you can’t you can always share it in person, try sharing it “long distance” like I did — with my Facebook and Twitter friends.

Monthly confession is truly a holy goal. The 5 First Saturdays require going to confession. It’s a good thing in terms of the practice and, of course, the graces. But what I’ve noticed is that when I’m committed to monthly confession (even if I’m not participating in the First Saturdays), I have a tendency to do an examen all month long. That is, I begin to make notes of what I want to bring to my next confession. And I do it in a relaxed way, as the Lord brings things to mind in the course of the month. It’s really made confession less stressful, or rather, the process of examining my conscience. I’m a journaling person, so I just keep notes there. And then when I get to go to confession, I’m able to summarize my sins and my needs. This is very helpful for the priest who hears my confession, too. I can be direct and succinct and really own up to sins without a lot of meandering or hemming and hawing. He can zone in on giving me good direction and a penance. Plus this is useful if there is a long line for confession before Mass and you want to be courteous to your neighbors waiting in line behind you.

So, join me, won’t you? Give yourself the gift of a morning with Mom. (Mary is your spiritual mother!)

Do it for Mary. Do it for Jesus who loves when we honor his Mother. Do it for Advent.

Maybe ask a friend?

Share #5First Sat4Mary.

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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!

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:

Among Women features Dawn Eden and her book The Thrill of the Chaste

Among Women features Dawn Eden and her book The Thrill of the Chaste

AW-1400x1400-logo-300x300In this episode of Among Women we examine the virtue of chastity with the author of The Thrill of the Chaste, and a returning guest to AW, Dawn Eden. There is something in this conversation for women in every vocation. Chastity needs cultivating in every state of life! Also in this show, in honor of Our Lady of the Rosary this month, a look at Edith Stein’s writings on the relationship between Mary and us.

Note to Parents: some of this subject matter may be a bit mature for children.

I hope you’ll enjoy this latest episode of Among Women!  Listen here, or find it on iTunes.


Dawn_Eden_Thrill_of_the_Chaste_Catholic_Edition

 

Among Women Podcast 191: Jenny’s IVF Story — a powerful story of loss, healing, and redemption

Among Women Podcast 191: Jenny’s IVF Story — a powerful story of loss, healing, and redemption

This is a very important show for the Among Women audience since it is first time we’ve discussed in-vitro fertilization, both in relation to Catholic teaching, AW-1400x1400-logo-300x300and within the life story of a guest. For many years I have searched for a guest who would dare to talk about this subject in a reasonable and faith-filled way. In this special expanded edition of Among Women, I am suspending our normal format in order that I can bring you this important conversation in its entirety. Our focus today is on one woman’s story, Jenny Vaughn, and her personal journey through IVF, in vitro fertilization, and her conversion to a deeper relationship with Jesus and the Catholic Church.

Parental Programming Note: This program is rated PG-13. It contains mature subject matter, not suitable for children.

Go listen now.

There is no quibbling about Catholic teaching on the part of this show, but as we will hear, our guest took a while, for a variety of reasons, to come around to the truth of this teaching. I understand that this is hard subject for many to discuss. We have friends and relatives, who may be Catholic, who have built their families using IVF. There are some people we may love who have left the Church over the Church’s teaching that prohibits the use of IVF. There may be others who have never heard that IVF is prohibited. No matter where we may be on this subject, I humbly offer this testimony of teaching and sharing for your prayerful consideration.

This podcast is also a story of growth in understanding in the life of Jenny. For when we come to know Christ deeper, and ultimately encountering the truth of the Father’s love and forgiveness for us, we can own the truth of knowing our sins and repenting of then. So, dear listener, pay attention to the progressive faith journey that Jenny and her husband undertake, as she talks ever so candidly about the healing she has received in the face of the traumas she and her family sustained as she underwent IVF.

The Catholic perspective is that the use of IVF ignores the dignity of human persons and the dignity of marriage. IVF replaces the marital embrace with invasive third parties, and removes the unitive and procreative means of the conjugal act from the married couple. Plus, the process reduces the dignity of the human person who is created in the petri dish to a commodity, a product of reproduction, rather than being begotten or generated procreativity.

This episode of Among Women also mentions resources to help you learn more about this subject and the teaching of the Catholic Faith with regards to it.

Listen to this new episode of Among Women!

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