Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Why Honor Mary?


I woke this morning to this most beautiful exclamation as my daughter sleepily groped for me. As she latched on and began nursing, my mind went to our Blessed Mother. Specifically I thought of one of the five ways of reparation of the First Saturday devotion: "for those who try to publicly implant in children's hearts indifference, comtempt and even hatred of this Immaculate Mother".

My daughter loves Mary, in her own toddler way. And I thought, this is so natural. In fact, what happens in the hearts of children when they are taught not to love Mary? Well, if they are taught to love Jesus, they learn that Jesus is not like them. They need and are naturally attracted to their mothers, loving them in their own needy way. If Jesus never needed his mother, then somehow he isn't human. Or, maybe they start to see their own need for love as a flaw -- the evidence that they are not perfect -- rather than a crowning facet of their human creation. You get big theological problems -- especially Christological ones -- without the right relationship between Jesus and Mary and the soul. If Jesus never matured from toddler needy love to adult human love of his mother, He wasn't fully human. "Well, He's divine" you might say. But do we not believe as non-heretical Christians that He is fully Divine and fully human? There is such a mystery to contemplate there. That God makes Himself dependent on, needy of, a human being. He loves in a deeply personal, individual way.

If we cannot grasp this, how can we ever grasp the role our prayers plan in advancing the Kingdom of God? Our vocation as Christians? What it means to be the Church?

Thursday, February 22, 2007


This is so true... and sometimes the truth hurts!

“Intimacy should never destroy courtesy. You cannot possibly live in constant contact with others without noticing their faults and selfishness. Your own faults, like theirs, are bound to come to the surface…In the small things of daily living, you should treat each other with the same unfailing courtesy that you observe with strangers and friends. Why should you sometimes be [ill-mannered] to each other just because [it’s your family]? The closer you are to each other, the more gracious you ought to be.”

Lawrence G. Lovasik
The Catholic Family Handbook, Sophia Institute Press

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Just to Make You Smile

Have a good day!

And try to smile a little ;)

Monday, February 19, 2007

Quiet Time

Today my children and I practiced what I hope will become a steady feature of our lives, at least through Lent if not beyond as well: after lunch quiet time.

It's not that they have to be completely quiet, but I do. And I need to not hear them for just a few minutes.

It's a great opportunity for them to practice being together calmly, especially for the older one to help the toddler and to focus on doing things for her.

It will give me a few minutes to pray during the day.

I could feel sanity seeping back into my heart as I sat in the warm sunshine quietly today. And as it was practice, it was only about 9 or 10 minutes of uninterrupted quiet.

But, what a treasure!

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Who Do You Say That I Am?

Today I was the privileged recipient of a homily by Fr. Dan Patee on today's gospel, particularly the question "Who do you say that I am?"

Fr. Dan proposed a few different modern cultural answers to that question, such as Jesus being but a relevant human, kind of a cool guy, but someone to whom one might or might not be interested, and whose views and opinions may or may not affect one.

But basically he left the question open for us to answer in our own hearts during that Mass.

In the midst of the din of my children moving about (ok, I have sensitive ears -- it wasn't really THAT loud), I wasn't expecting much of myself as a response. But Jesus put a fairly firm answer in my heart. Who is Jesus to me? Jesus is the one who gives me direction -- who communicates to me the Father's direction for my life, and even more so for the formation of my children.

This morning I was trying to communicate with my son about our differences in learning styles, interests, etc, and how this affects our relationship. He is but 5, so the conversation probably was more for me to hear my own thoughts. But somewhere in the midst of this, I see that if life is just a matter of one person trying to make other people be like them, that doesn't respect the individual. But more than that. Life is for bringing honor and glory to God living in relationship with Him. So our homeschool/unschool life needs to have the same thrust, the same "structure", the same purpose. The same focus that comes not from Mom who happens to love books and words and linear thinking (much to the dismay of visual-spatial son), but from a higher ideal; from the wisdom of the Church and the directive of God in Scripture and in the tradition of His people.

I'm thinking maybe I need to have the family do a "Seven Habits of Highly Effective People" mission statement, as pertains to formation, which includes "education", but certainly isn't limited to academics. Because the answer to that question, "who is Jesus?" should be evident by looking at all facets of our life, if not by looking at them directly, at least for me to be able to know what our ideal, what our goal, what our aim is. Otherwise we have a kind of haphazard "non-directive" (Karl Rogers, as Fr. Dan reminded us) approach and picture of Jesus, where whatever we want to do in life is fine and dandy. Was it St. Augustine who said "Love God and do what you will?" Well, I think in our day and age, or at least in my mind and our family, I need some precision about what it means to love God. So, just define "how does this family aim to love God" -- and then, do what we will.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Anne, A Lay Apostle: It's All About Jesus

This week our family took a little trip, just before a major snow storm hit, to hear Anne speak in a parish a couple of hours away. This was the second time I heard her speak, but the first time for my husband.

Since finishing all the Volumes, I have felt quite certain that the messages Anne reports to receive from Heaven are in fact just that. Hearing her again just makes me all the more unhesitating to say, yes, it is all Jesus.

Not that she personally is so persuasive. Really, quite the opposite. She appeared subdued -- physically ill, really. Her message reminded me of what I have heard of visionaries who patiently repeat the same things to people who ask the same questions again and again. She absolutely does not come off as someone who would be crossing the world to speak of this if not directed by Heaven to do so.

But the focus is not Anne, it is Jesus. The focus is God the Father, who grants great graces of healing and conversion and who longs for the hearts of all to be at peace in Him, in His immense love.

There is such grace that accompanies the call to live as a lay apostle, as Jesus outlines in these messages. Every day when I wake up I have to say I can't wait to offer the day again and pledge my allegiance again to the Father and then undertake my normal daily routine, bringing it into union with heaven as best I can that day.

I heartily recommend this way for anyone who longs for God,or who wants to long for God, or who has problems they'd like God to handle for them. For anyone who wants peace in their heart.

We seek to be united to Jesus in our daily work, and through our vocations, in order to obtain graces for the conversion of sinners. We pledge our allegiance to God the Father. Through our cooperation with the Holy Spirit, we will allow Jesus to flow through us into the world, bringing His Light. We do this in union with Mary, our Blessed Mother, with the communion of saints, with all of God's holy angels, and with our fellow lay apostles in the world.

As lay apostles of Jesus Christ, the Returning King, we agree to perform our basic obligations as practicing Catholics. Additionally, we will adopt the following spiritual practices, as best we can.

1. Morning Offering, along with the Allegiance Prayer and a brief prayer for the Holy Father.
2. One hour of Eucharistic Adoration each week.
3. Participation in a monthly lay apostle prayer group, which includes the Luminous Mysteries of the Holy Rosary, and the reading of the monthly message.
4. Monthly Confession
5. Further, we will follow the example of Jesus Christ, as set out in Holy Scripture, treating all others with His patience and kindness.

Allegiance Prayer
Dear God in Heaven, I pledge my allegiance to you. I give You my life, my work and my heart. In turn, give me the grace of obeying your every direction to the fullest possible extent. Amen.

Morning Offering
O Jesus, through the Immaculate Heart of Mary, I offer you the prayers, works, joys, and sufferings of this day, for all the intentions of Your Sacred Heart, in union with the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass throughout the world, in reparation for my sins, and for the intentions of the Holy Father. Amen.

Prayer for the Holy Father
Blessed Mary, mother of Jesus, protect our Holy Father, Benedict XVI, and bless all of his intentions.

Five Luminous Mysteries
1. Jesus' Baptism in the Jordan
2. Jesus' Self-Manifestation at the wedding of Cana
3. Jesus' Proclamation of the Kingdom of God
4. Jesus' Transfiguration
5. Jesus Institutes the Eucharist

Prayer to the Holy Angels
Angels from Heaven, direct my path today.