May 31, 2015

The Proof of Love

The proof of love is in the works. Where love exists, it works great things. But when it ceases to act, it ceases to exist. -- Pope St. Gregory the Great

If you love God, your works will prove it. If you love your spouse, your works will prove it. If you love yourself, your works will prove it.

Martin Luther, a disgruntled Catholic priest, wanted to throw out the whole book of James from the Bible. He didn't like the idea that you had to work out your salvation with fear and trembling. Did he just want to sit on his sweet little behind and be "saved?" 

God told Abraham, I will bless you and make you a blessing [to others], NOT I will bless you so you can sit on your behind. Did God have different message for Martin than He had for Abraham? God doesn't change.

Do you think God holds us to a different standard than those He created thousands of years ago? He doesn't. What He expected then (Do something!) he expects now. How can we claim we didn't know? Last I checked, James is still one of the canonical Books, and what you do for God and others still proves your love.

Excuse me... I have to go do something now....

May 30, 2015

Money Talks

If people would quit buying plastic crap from China, they'd stop making plastic crap.

If people only bought organic food, you'd find that stores would stock nothing but.

If people refused to pay thousands of dollars for sporting events tickets, the price *would* come down.

I can't change the world. I can, however, be a good steward of the resources with which God has entrusted me.

So can you. Not only can you, you must. Your eternity depends on it.

May 29, 2015

The Cost of "Free"

Words that strike terror in the hearts of mothers everywhere: "Look, Mommy! Mrs. Smith gave us a kitten!"
Oh, but it was free! No cost! No charge! Take it! It's yours!

Next time someone wants to give you something for "free," substitute the word "problem" for the item's name.

Here, take this problem! It's free! I'm giving it to you [so you can be responsible for feeding it, cleaning up after it, and paying for medical care]!

You're such a good friend that I'm going to give you this problem [so that you can pay for insurance, new tires, brakes, and a timing belt and I can feel less guilty about going out and buying something decent].

Honey, look what I got for free - it was put out to the curb! Can you believe someone would just leave a problem out there [for us to haul away so they don't have to look at it, because it's ugly, has no functional value and will take up space in an already cramped living space, bring chaos to our view, our lives and our souls]?

Are you starting to see the cost of free? The only thing people want to get rid of is their problem. They'd love to give it to you.

But you'd have to take it. Does it bring you joy or needed function? Well, ok. Otherwise, don't do it. The cost is too high.

To what "free" gift will you say "No!" today?

Blessed Are the Hump Sitters

Forget texting and driving - the real distraction for drivers is fighting kids. "He touched me!" "She touched me first!" and on it goes. Parents only wish they had eyes in the back of their head, for then justice would be meted out without objection.

So, being the peacemaker that I am, I have taken to sitting on the hump. You know, that back seat middle hump that is the least comfortable in the car. One kid to my right, one to my left, one up front with Dad, no one in touching distance of anyone else, and can we please relax now and stop distracting the driver?

It's a sacrifice I'm willing to make for the safety of all of us. Of course, I'm praying for guardian angels to protect us on our journey, but I think they secretly like and/or appreciate when I do my part.

Blessed are the hump sitters... start of a new set of Beatitudes?

May 28, 2015

Large Families

A common sentiment against large families is that it is "selfish" to have so many kids. I completely disagree. Yes, we use "more" resources (water, electricity, food) than smaller families, but not proportionally so. If the tv is on, there are at least 3 of us watching a show. When the kids were small, they bathed 2 or 3 at a time in the tub. We eat more meals at home, thus reducing the gas emissions and monetary expenditures of eating out.

The God we worship is not up there slapping His forehead, saying, SIX BILLION??? What was I thinking????"  He did not make "too many" people for the Earth. We, who joyfully accept as many gifts from God as He wills to give us, will selflessly go hungry so they may eat. Work a job we hate, so they can have health insurance. Stay home and skip the extra income so that we can teach them at home about God and His creation. Wear old clothes so they can have school and team uniforms. Skip vacations and stay home and blow bubbles and make memories. Drive an old car so they can have dance lessons and soccer fees. We sacrifice for love. Gladly. Again and again. We wouldn't have it any other way.

If I didn't have all these kids, I would not be any richer. I'd be much, much poorer.

May 27, 2015

You're Always Welcome

I have an acquaintance who used to be my friend, until he found out I was Catholic.

Yeah, really.

He said that the Church had persecuted him and his husband, and he wanted nothing to do with it, or my connection to it.

How sad. Somewhere he met up with broken Church members who revealed to him the ugly side of communities: our humanness. There are those, even in the Church (especially in the Church?) who will persecute and judge.

And those judged will argue, or not, and yet be unable to change the Church to their way of thinking, and therefore stomp off, angry and bitter.

It doesn't have to be this way!

Church, wakey wakey! If you will be Christ to someone who needs to be welcomed, loved, and forgiven, you will SAVE SOULS. Can you imagine facing Judgment Day and finding out what your selfish attitude cost another? Lord, have mercy! You can't make the decision for another to follow Christ, but for the sake of all that is holy, please don't block the way!

Let us remember to LOVE those God puts in our path, especially those who are different. Your judgmental attitude, won't bring them home to the Church, but your LOVE might.

May 26, 2015

Addiction and the Age of Loneliness

There is some interesting research that indicates that addiction is not just a matter of your brains being  hijacked by chemicals. Read here for a wake up call: The Likely Cause of Addiction

According to Johann Hari, the opposite of addiction is not sobriety, but human connection. Those who are connected and loved, don't get addicted. Interesting. If this author is correct, tough love is not the answer to your addicted loved ones. Love is.

His Holiness's comment "Who am I to judge?" sent waves of incredulous hope through the internet connected world. People are hungry - starving - to be loved, to be accepted, to be be connected to other humans.

There is no line waiting around the block to be judged. Let God be God. There is a long line (and hospitals and jails) filled with people who long to be loved. To connect. To belong.

To whom will you show Christ's love today?

May 25, 2015

Thanks to Those Who Serve and Have Served


Today, I will let others be my voice.









Heavenly Father,
 On this Memorial Day, we pray for those who courageously laid down their lives for the cause of freedom.  May the examples of their sacrifice inspire in us the selfless love of Your Son, our Lord Jesus Christ. 
 In union with people of goodwill of every nation, embolden us to answer the call to work for peace and justice, and thus, seek an end to violence and conflict around the globe.
Bless the families of our fallen troops, and fill their homes and their lives with Your strength and peace.
We ask this through Christ our Lord.
Amen.


May 24, 2015

The Few, the Proud


To all the men and women who serve and have served the US with your military service, thank you.

Why do the Marines call themselves "the few, the proud?" Because if it were easy, everyone would join. If winning the 6-A ring were easy, all the teams would win. Only one wins.

In the book of Judges, Gideon had to thin the troops, so that when they won the battle with so few men, everyone would know it was only with God's help.

Joel Osteen said, "Everyone cannot go where God is taking you. Someone gets off the bus at every stop." You don't need thousands of Facebook friends, or Twitter followers. You need a few, spiritually mature close friends who encourage you to be the best version of yourself, to be all that God wants you to be.

Now, go be fabulous. But be prepared to say goodbye to people you thought you couldn't live without. God might have other ideas.

May 23, 2015

He's Got It Figured Out


Too much time is spent worrying about things that never happened and never will. We'd all like the crystal ball to see the future, but if we could see it, then it wouldn't require faith, would it? (John 20:29)

So the Almighty gives us a step at a time, inviting us to get out of the boat and walk on the water to Him, trusting each step to His gracious care.

Soon as we take our eyes off Him (or step out in our own "power,") we're sunk.

Even when the days drag on, minute by minute, and you don't know how you will get through another one, I want to encourage us to keep our focus on the One who has it all figured out: the One who knows the end from the beginning, the One who has the authority to *approve* any arrows the devil wants to sling at you.

He's got you figured out, too. He knows what you can handle. You're going to be fine.

Keep trusting God, and keep moving forward.

May 22, 2015

Scouting for Truth

Juliette Gordon Low is rolling in her grave.

The Girl Scouts, according to an article on CNN, now welcomes boys. Of course, most of us define "boys" by their anatomy. Any boy who is confused about his gender identity, and thinks he wants to be a girl, can join.

My girls will not be joining Girl Scouts any time soon, as the Scouts, themselves, seem to be confused about their identity. Are they Girl Scouts, or are they Anything Goes Scouts?

Meantime, The Boy Scouts want to end the ban on gay leaders, according to the New York Times article. Robert Baden-Powell is rolling as well.

My boys will not be joining the Boy Scouts. Sorry, NAMBLA.

I used to be proud of my rank of First Class Scout (the then-equivalent of Eagle Scout.) This is not my sash. I would have to move a rather large tv to dig it out of the cedar chest to photograph it, but it does look very much like this one.

Now I'm almost embarrassed to admit I was ever in Scouting. What do you say to your kids? "You can't be a scout even though I was one, because it's not the same...." It sounds like a really warped reason, the kind that kids don't want to hear.

Parents, hang tough. You must know who leads the group your child is joining.

Choose your friends carefully. What they are, you will become.

As for me and my household...

May 21, 2015

Gluttony is Still a Sin

Did you know? The 7 deadly sins are still sins. Yes, that includes gluttony.

#FirstWorldProblems include gluttony, because not only do we have an abundance of food, but we are sorely tempted to be uncharitable in our consumption of it.

We must eat, but not too much. We must eat, but not "too dainty." (Nothing against Ruth's Chris; it just doesn't pass my hungry baby test.)

We can eat at restaurants, or at home with someone else serving us, but not be uncharitable about it. "I wanted my egg over easy! This one is over medium! Can't I just get an egg the way I want it???"

Eating uncharitably is gluttony. 

Truth.

When you know better, you do better.

May 19, 2015

Hungry Moms

Moms are generally a hungry bunch.

Sometimes, they're hungry for food, because in all the day's craziness, eating somehow didn't happen (and baby leftovers don't count.) Mostly, though, what moms are hungry for, is validation.

Moms need someone to talk to. For the first couple years of a child's life, he's not much of a conversationalist. Some kids grow to adulthood and are never given that gift. It's ok. Kids are not your friends. You need FRIENDS you can talk to. Other moms.

Maybe one who has already been where you are.
Who understands.
Who doesn't judge.

Friends who have kids know that you are doing the best you can, and if you got dressed today, it's been a great day of accomplishment. Between the spills and boo boos, the laughter and tears, every day just sort of blurs into the next, and once in a while you drop into the chair from exhaustion, and someone crawls in your lap, because they need.... a hug, they need.... your attention.

They need... what only you can provide.


Those of us who have been there, are cheering you on. I'd take your place in a heartbeat if I could, but you fill a unique role in the life of that child God gave you. His plan and His purpose require you to be there, even when it's hard. Even when it's crazy. Even when you're hungry, and wondering if anyone understands.

We do. We're cheering you on.

You go, girl.

May 18, 2015

Save the Outrage

The debate in the media and Facebook is whether it is appropriate to "shame" women for the way they dress, turning them away from prom, or sending them home from school to change clothes.

Girls are outraged. They should be able to dress comfortably or in whatever makes them feel pretty, and it's the boys' responsibility to treat them as ladies, not objects.

Did you ever watch Criminal Minds? How about the evening news then? Ok, so you agree that there are some disturbed individuals out there. Everyone doesn't have a good mama.


Girls who go out of the house looking like a hooker maybe don't have a mama who took such matters seriously. My mom's words would have been "You're not going out of the house looking like that!"

Boys who treat women as objects to be used, don't have a mama who took such matters seriously. My mom's words would have been "You won't find steak in a garbage can."

So if you have a good mama, who takes matters of morality quite seriously, then you are obligated to take the high road, and act right. If you're a girl, don't tempt guys to think impure thoughts. Dress modestly. If you're a boy, you can't help how girls dress, but you don't have to entertain the thought. Just think of a bacon cheeseburgers. Or something else. Quickly.

Burn off the energy you spent (being outraged) doing something good.

What good thoughts and deeds will occupy your energy today?

May 17, 2015

"That Catholic Woman"

For almost 6 years, I worked for a (mainstream denomination) protestant faith community. My dad was horrified. (Him: "You're working for the PRODS????" Me: "Dad! I have to! They're the only ones with money because they don't send their kids to Catholic school!")

Dad never did get over it. Neither did some of the "prods." Oh, there were good, gracious, and amazing people there. And then there were the others. Almost six years in, there was still a feeling that I was not good enough because I wasn't "one of them." Less qualified people were promoted over my head, because I was not a member of their faith community. I wouldn't join to get a promotion, because that would be completely phony on my part.

Then there was that member who still called me "that Catholic woman." Yes, like it was a bad thing.

Wow.

 I was a minority. I knew it going in. I didn't think it mattered. It did. What happened to entertaining angels unaware?

The opposite of love is not hate. Ask me what it is.

What minority will you welcome into your midst today?

May 5, 2015

The Works of Mercy

God didn't tell Abraham, I will bless you so that you can sit there and be blessed. No! He said I will bless you and make you a blessing.

Abraham was a blessing to others. God expects the same from us. Here's how:

The Catholic Encyclopedia, Volume X. Published 1911. New York: Robert Appleton Company. Nihil Obstat, October 1, 1911. Remy Lafort, S.T.D., Censor. Imprimatur. +John Cardinal Farley, Archbishop of New York

The traditional enumeration of the corporal works of mercy is as follows:
  • To feed the hungry;
  • To give drink to the thirsty;
  • To clothe the naked;
  • To harbour the harbourless;
  • To visit the sick;
  • To ransom the captive;
  • To bury the dead.
The spiritual works of mercy are:


Whom will you bless today?

May 3, 2015

Identity

Sons and daughters I love so much, please repeat after me: "I am a child of the most high God."

The God we serve does not make mistakes. He is not up there slapping His forehead, saying, "I can't believe I made Jenner a DUDE! What was I thinking?"

If you are suffering from an identity crisis, ask the One who made you to reveal to you who you were made to be and what to do about your confusion. Unite your suffering with Christ's and offer it up for the holy souls in purgatory.

Or for the salvation of the confused/lied to here on Earth.

Amen.