Wednesday, October 31, 2012

To follow through or not to follow through


A couple of years ago, during the inaugural young adult book study at Ruah Woods, we used Edward Sri's book, "Men, Women and the Mystery of Love." It's an excellent overview of Bl. John Paul II's pre-papal work, "Love and Responsibility." In any event, one of the sections that I have heard the participants quote to this day regards the way we use people. Sri's example is the friend who calls and asks if we would like to get together on Friday night. Our response? "Maybe. I'll have to see." And what we have to see is if something better comes along. Sri's point is that we are using our friends to see who can bring us the most pleasure. What if a better offer comes along?

Our generation is especially reluctant to commit to any number of things. Br. Tomas Rosado reflects on three steps to help us overcome our flakiness in his recent post on Dominicana:

What is at the root of the problem? Are people just overextended? Sometimes. Do people have shorter attention spans? Almost certainly. Is it just a matter of eating less sugar and more fish? Doubtful. The problem of not being able to persevere in tasks or decisions is not solely a problem for employers, but it is also a serious spiritual problem. “The one who perseveres to the end will be saved” (Mt 24:13). What is to become of us who cannot persevere?

Read it all here



Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Storm update

Hurricane Sandy was not as fierce as originally predicted for our area.  We never lost power, and everything outside our window appears to be fine.

Many prayers for those, especially in New York and New Jersey who were tragically impacted by the storm.  

Not your everyday Hollywood stories

With the impending hurricane, I wanted to pre-post a bit.  Generally, I shy around from celebrity endorsements of life and authentic love.  For one, they are often prone to change their minds, leading the most vulnerable to question their own views.  And secondly, I'm not about to reduce the beauty of the Church's teaching to the soundbites of a few movie stars or singers.

But there have been a couple of stories lately that have caught my attention, and I think are still worth sharing:

Taylor Swift explained why her approach to clothing is much more modest than most would expect of a celebrity.  

Christian Bale recently spoke out against forced abortions in China.  

Does this mean Taylor Swift is a saint or that Christian Bale is the most pro-life man?  I'm not making celebrity endorsements, but I wanted to pass along these two stories as a little glimmer of hope.

*** This was pre-posted, since I anticipate the hurricane will impact my Internet access this week. 

Monday, October 29, 2012

A loud storm, a quiet blog

It's looking quite possible that the blog will be a little quiet this week.  Since I'm on the east coast, and "Frankenstorm" is rolling in, power outages have been forecast as "likely" and "probable," even for "several days."  So, if you don't hear from me for a few, I hope to be posting as normal in a few days.  

Please pray for those who will be impacted by the storm -- especially for those who live closest to the water or in New Jersey and New York.  

Quote book


"But [Catholics who support 'pro-choice' candidates] also need a compelling proportionate reason to justify it.  What is a 'proportionate' reason when it comes to the abortion issue? It's the kind of reason we will be able to explain, with a clean heart, to the victims of abortion when we meet them face to face in the next life -which we most certainly will. If we're confident that these victims will accept our motives as something more than an alibi, then we can proceed." -- Archbishop Charles Chaput

Saturday, October 27, 2012

A modern day "Screwtape"

This is quite insightful!  Msgr. Charles Pope recently shared the efforts of some students to create a video based on C.S. Lewis' "Screwtape Letters."  

Friday, October 26, 2012

"Defining Marriage"


If marriage is "just a piece of paper," as so many in our day and age suggest, then this logic transfers to how we view marriage laws. Br. Clement Dickie, OP, explores the issue in his recent article on "Dominicana" --
Our national conversation seems to assume that marriage is whatever the state licenses as marriage. But would we say the same thing about other activities licensed by the state? Does a driver’s license make someone a driver or a medical license, a doctor? Of course not! After all, there are unlicensed drivers and unlicensed doctors. They may be breaking the law, and they may be dangerous, but they do exist. On the other hand, if the state handed out medical licenses to all who applied without examining their qualifications, would we rightly call those licensed “doctors”?

Read the rest here.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

My daddy is a celebrity

A couple of year's ago the study, "My Daddy's Name Is Donor" was released, delving into the experiences of children who were "donor-conceived."  Many of the stories are heartbreaking, as they share their challenges with feeling produced for their parent's sake, instead of loved for their own sake.  Many share a strong desire to know their father, to know where they came from.

Now, a group in the United Kingdom is preparing to open a "celebrity sperm bank," where women can choose an anonymous man with a celebrity status to become the father of their children.
Mr Richards said: "Our vision is to help women give their children the very best chance in life.
"To be able to harvest potential from the global gene pool, rather than from the more limited selection of the men she comes into direct contact with, is a major evolutionary leap for women.
"Our aim is to provide excellent levels of medical care in a supportive and nurturing environment. We will offer a range of top quality celebrity surrogate fathers whose contributions are exclusively available at our fertility clinic.
"Whether it is talent on the stage or pitch, having a world beating voice, or just being very beautiful, Fame Daddy will have the perfect celebrity surrogate daddy."

Does Dan Richards of "Fame Daddy" think he's doing these future children a real service?  Or is it the women with whom he's more concerned?  If the website, and its corresponding quiz that helps "girls reach for the stars," is any indication, I'd say the focus is on Mom, which means, unfortunately, that the focus is largely on money.  

How did we get into the business of buying and selling babies?  

Just when we think there can't possibly be anything more to the craziness of our world right now ... 

Monday, October 22, 2012

Happy feast day ... of Bl. John Paul II!


Last November, the USCCB approved the country-wide celebration of Bl. John Paul II's feast day on Oct. 22.  Typically, a beatified person's feast is limited to celebration in his home diocese or other place of particular importance to the  beatified in question.  Last year, Bl. John Paul II's first feast was not an officially recognized day in the United States.  

The approved-prayer for Masses celebrating his feast is:

O God, who are rich in mercy
and who willed that the blessed John Paul the Second
should preside as Pope over your universal Church,
grant, we pray, that instructed by his teaching,
we may open our hearts to the saving grace of Christ,
the sole Redeemer of mankind.
Who lives and reigns.

Happy feast day, or as a friend texted me in Polish today: Szczęśliwy dzień święto!

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Taking a look at "headship" in marriage, Part IV

To conclude our recent look at the nature of "headship" in marriage, I'd like to invite you to click to the links below for Church documents that explore the issue:

(“Redemptoris Custos,” #8 – John Paul II) (The whole apostolic exhortation is helpful on this point)
- Familiaris Consortio, #25 – John Paul II
- Mulieris Dignitatem, #10 – John Paul II
-- “Casti Connubi,” Pius XI, #26-30 
-- St. John Crysostom’s “Homily 20” on Ephesians 5 is also an excellent resource. 
 Conclusion! 

On a more practical, psychological level, I know that the witness of a man who is strong in the faith, willing to lead, etc., is a tremendous example for children (boys and girls alike), as well as to his wife. Our society needs to see more men who are stepping out, confident in Christ, humble, and willing to live in service of love.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Taking a look at "headship" in marriage, Part III

http://www.wikipaintings.org/en/boris-kustodiev/on-the-terrace-1906
Continuing our look into the nature of "headship" in marriage ...


IV. Practically speaking, what is the nature of headship in marriage?
The Church doesn’t say that headship requires women to be barefoot and pregnant in the kitchen, or to provide a hot dinner every night, or to be the slave of men. In fact, the Church isn’t too specific about what it means to be the head of the household. 
What we do know is that men as head of the household, as husbands and fathers, are called to: 

- Unity with one’s wife. She is, after all, the “body” in the analogy of Ephesians 5. Although husband and wife remain two distinct persons, they are united in a new, sacramental way in marriage.
- “The essential goal of the love of Christ for the Church is her sanctification” (TOB 91:6). The same can be said of husband for wife. Husbands are called to lead their wives and their family to eternal salvation. 
- Love their wives self-sacrificially. What this means on a practical level is different in each concrete situation. Perhaps it means playing a sport less competitively if his wife is learning how to play with him. Perhaps it means enjoying some of the wife’s favorite activities simply because she enjoys them. Perhaps it means spending time with one’s children, even when the husband feels tired. Perhaps it means dedicating time for prayer each day to be a better servant-leader. Whatever the concrete actions are, the overarching principal is to be a man who loves unconditionally. 
- Guardian of children. “Guardian” here does not refer to a mere legal role. Rather, the husband/father is called to guard and protect his children, to lead them along the path of the Lord, to protect them from harm, and to reflect God’s love to them. 
- Be a provider and protector for the family – physically, spiritually, emotionally, etc. This does not mean eradicating any sort of painful experience, difficulty or trial. It entails being discerning about God’s path for the family, sacrificing to ensure that the family is cared for (whether the practical means entail work, budgeting, sacrificing for the other’s good, spending time with the other, etc.). 
- Be the defender of the dignity of the family. 
Each of these characteristics of the man who is the head of the household may be lived slightly differently depending upon the situation. Each of the overarching themes or tasks are vital to the family, who deserves to be prayerfully and humbly led in the service of love. 
V. An example 
I have long appreciated this example of a young married couple I knew years ago. The wife was a stay-at-home mom who volunteered for a local organization, compiling statistics for them and typing feedback forms. She needed to pick up the latest forms, but her husband told her not to go. At first glance, this sounds like a patriarchal man who derived pleasure from ordering around his wife, monitoring her comings and goings. In reality, what he said to her was this: “I don’t want you to go pick up those forms. It’s so cold outside, and since you’d have to bring our son with you, I know it would take a long time to get him ready, drive 40 minutes and pick up the forms in the cold. I’ll pick them up tomorrow on my way home from work, so you don’t have to.” The wife said yes. You could say she was “submissive.” 
But to what was she submissive? She was obedient to her husband’s desire to look out for her and their son, to will their good. He had the humility to seek her good over his. She had the humility to receive his care and his protection. 
This example illustrates a key factor in headship. It’s about love and about service. It takes humility and grace, both to give and to receive. 
I think it’s safe to say that this order of a marital relationship challenges our post-Fall tendencies. Women have more of a temptation to take control, to dominate, to do things “our way, the best way,” to disrespect men by making them feel irrelevant. But men have a different temptation – to sit back, to not fight or risk or sacrifice, to become complacent (ie. “perpetual adolescence” of young men today). 
So, the headship in marriage is an opportunity for both men and women to grow in holiness – for men to grow in their giving, for women to grow in their receiving. One is not easier than another. This order in marriage safeguards that both husband and wife will have to grow, to sacrifice and to love. 
VI. Final Note 
It’s important to mention, as well, that the beginning of Ephesians 5 speaks of mutual submission of husband and wife to one another, rooted in Christ. The relationship is not such that only the husband gives, only the wife receives. Both give, both receive. But to preserve unity, there must be order within the relationship, and therefore, there is a priority to the husband as leader-head-giver, and to the wife as receiver-body. Both husband and wife learn from each other. Both support one another. Both sacrifice for the good of the family.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Taking a look at "headship" in marriage, Part II

http://www.wikipaintings.org/en/nikolay-bogdanov-belsky/coming-after-the-daily-work

Continuing our look into the nature of "headship" in marriage ...

II. Is headship about power? 

If headship is about power, then women are right to be upset at the idea. Let’s think about the head of a body for a moment. The head cannot survive without its body. The body cannot survive without its head. Both serve different roles, but both are necessary. One is not better than the other. They are different, but they complement each other. They serve each other. Marital headship, properly understood, is about service and love, not about power.

III. Does a man being the head of the household mean the woman’s role is irrelevant, inferior or unimportant? 
This question was partially answered above. A woman’s role is no less important than a man’s. It is simply different. This difference is beautiful, necessary and good. This difference allows both man and woman to see – “I do not encompass the whole of reality. I will never be the opposite sex. I will never experience the world as someone from the opposite sex. Who I am is limited. I am creature.” But being a creature is good – it means I was created out of love by God, who is Love. It means that I was loved into existence, that God wanted to create me, though He did not have to create me.

The complementary roles of the sexual difference of men and women highlight that I come from someone and am created for someone. I am a gift.

Rather than extinguish the importance of a woman’s role, the man’s headship highlights, supports and unites with woman’s role. 

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Taking a look at "headship" in marriage, Part I

I was recently asked to share some reflections on the question of "headship" in marriage.  It's a complicated and controversial question, and one that often leaves us grappling for a sense of how it should be practically lived out.  My response was long, and so I will share it here in stages ...

http://www.wikipaintings.org/en/norman-rockwell/marriage-license-1935
To think about what “headship” means in marriage, we have to work out a few presuppositions: 

1) What does it mean to receive? Does receiving make someone inferior?

2) Is headship about power?

3) Does a man being the head of the household mean the woman’s role is irrelevant, inferior or unimportant?
After we look at these issues, we can ask what the nature of headship is in marriage. 
I. What does it mean to receive? Does receiving make someone inferior? 
Hopefully we can all agree that love involves both giving and receiving. And both people have to give and receive. But there is also an “order” to love. If two people are dancing and both are trying to lead, then it’s not going to go so well. It will be a bit messy. So, there is a kind of “priority” to one person giving/leading/pursuing and one person receiving/being pursued. Now for ages and ages, philosophers and other people assumed that receiving made someone “less” or inferior. And that’s why for years people thought that women were the “second sex” and were inferior, because they received, so they didn’t have the same “power” and were therefore not as good as men. 

Eventually St. Thomas Aquinas noticed something about God. God is a Communion of Persons – Father, Son and Holy Spirit, and God is love. If love is giving and receiving, then that means that in some sense there is both giving and receiving in God. God is perfect. So, if there is “receiving” in God, then it can’t be bad or inferior. 
If we look at Christ, and specifically if we look at Philippians 2, we see that He “received” Himself from the Father, but He is not “less” than the Father. He is “equally” God. And over time, philosophers and theologians were able to see that if Jesus Christ, who is fully God, could receive Himself from the Father and not be any less than the Father, then receptivity does not make someone less. 
So, if we get back to the man/woman thing, we see that a woman receiving/being pursued doesn’t make her inferior. But there has to be an “order” to love, and both giving and receiving. Now, women also give; they don’t just receive. But the way that they receive is also a form of giving. For example, if a man opens a door for a woman, and the woman receives his gift, then she is also giving to the man, by allowing him to give, affirming his masculinity, etc. I think this is a lost art. We tend to want to outgive and never receive, because we are so afraid that if we receive something we are “less,” or it makes us vulnerable or we feel like we “owe” something. 

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Praying for religious liberty


“When man and woman are no longer perceived to be created in the image of God, then, sooner or later, their lives and their liberties become dispensable." So said Archbishop William Lori of Baltimore at Sunday's Mass and Pilgrimage for Life and Liberty in Washington, DC. 
Details from the event -- including a summary of the Archbishop's outstanding homily are available here

34 years ago today ...

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Quote book

"Man needs this loving look.  He needs to know that he is loved, loved eternally and chosen from eternity.  At the same time, this eternal love of divine election accompanies man during life as Christ's look of love.  And perhaps most powerfully at the moment of trial, humiliation, persecution, defeat, when our humanity is as it were blotted out in the eyes of other people, insulted and trampled upon.  At that moment the awareness that the Father has always loved us in his Son, that Christ always loves each of us, becomes a solid support for our whole human existence.  When everything would make us doubt ourselves and the meaning of our life, then this look of Christ, the awareness of the love that in him has shown itself more powerful than any evil and destruction, this awareness enables us to survive.

"My wish for you then is that you may experience what the young man in the Gospel experienced: 'Jesus, looking upon him, loved him.'" -- Bl. John Paul II ("Dilecti Amici" #7)

Saturday, October 13, 2012

"Commitment is Fulfillment"


A brave student at the University of Michigan, Jeffrey McMahon, recently shared his thoughts on masculinity, femininity and the hook-up culture in the student newspaper.
I subscribed to this so-called “Hook-up Culture.” As an underclassman, if you found me out on a Saturday night, I’d be the one holding a Gatorade bottle full of vodka coming home drunk and trying to remember the name of the girl that I just made out with. I slept with four different women during my first three years on campus and rarely made the claim that any of them were my “girlfriend." I bought in to all of the hype, but did so without ever reading the fine print. I wasn’t ever told that I would cause a young girl to cry her heart out in front of me while feeling completely numb myself. The world kindly left out the deep emptiness I could always feel the morning after, the same feeling that I’d just pretend wasn’t there. There was no mention of the walk up to a pharmacy counter hoping for the best, but fearing my luck had come to an end. This is the reality that comes with the bright lights and shining glory of “hooking up."

Read the rest at Creative Minority Report.  It's a reminder that we are all called to more, that good men do exist and that our culture is losing its ability to authentically love.  

Friday, October 12, 2012

"Why Contraception Doesn't Prevent Abortions"


Jennny always has a wonderful way with words. This time she tackles the ever-argued line of (il)logic that contraception prevents abortion.
"Look," the argument goes, "People are going to have sex - lots of it. They need to have access to substances or contraptions which prevent pregnancies from resulting from all that sex. Otherwise, the world will be overrun with unwanted adult fetuses. Can you imagine?!"
Contraception, in other words, is a solution to the problem of people. Too many, too closely-spaced in age, too much medical baggage, wrong chromosomal or genetic makeup...you name it.

The thing is, abortion is also a solution to the problem of people. It's just a solution which acts a bit further down the line, in most cases.

So, go visit Jenny to hear the rest of Why Contraception Doesn't Prevent Abortions.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

The Year of Faith has begun!


From Pope Benedict XVI's homily opening the Year of Faith today:

"Recent decades have seen the advance of a spiritual “desertification”. In the Council’s time it was already possible from a few tragic pages of history to know what a life or a world without God looked like, but now we see it every day around us. This void has spread. But it is in starting from the experience of this desert, from this void, that we can again discover the joy of believing, its vital importance for us, men and women. In the desert we rediscover the value of what is essential for living; thus in today’s world there are innumerable signs, often expressed implicitly or negatively, of the thirst for God, for the ultimate meaning of life. And in the desert people of faith are needed who, with their own lives, point out the way to the Promised Land and keep hope alive. Living faith opens the heart to the grace of God which frees us from pessimism. Today, more than ever, evangelizing means witnessing to the new life, transformed by God, and thus showing the path."


Monday, October 8, 2012

Joy to the World -- Ted Kremer, the happiest batboy


Awesome story from the "Cincinnati Enquirer" about a highlight of the season for the Reds:
In a Reds season of mostly sweetness and light, maybe the sweetest and lightest thing of all happened on Aug. 17.
http://news.cincinnati.com/article/20120915/NEWS10/309150118?nclick_check=1
A young man with Down syndrome who really wasn’t supposed to be the batboy – not in the typical sense of the word, anyway – put some spring in the Reds’ steps.
The remarkable thing wasn’t that Teddy Kremer retrieved bats and foul balls and brought baseballs to the home plate umpire, it is that he did it with such aplomb, gusto and unbridled joy.
But if you know Ted – that’s what he likes being called, even though everybody calls him Teddy – it wasn’t remarkable at all.
Teddy was just being himself.
When Cheryl gave birth to Teddy, she was told the next day by the doctor that her son would likely never smile, probably wouldn’t talk, might not walk, and would never have more than a 40 IQ.
Those were tough words to hear, but Cheryl and her husband, Dave, were both in education, and they weren’t about to let what somebody said turn into a self-fulfilling prophecy.

Be sure to read the whole story here.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Quote book

“Her witness is of particular significance to young people. It’s enough to see how she lived her illness and how the experience of her death resonated with the youth. Such a shining example could not be neglected. There is a need for sanctity today. Young people yearn for direction, for a goal worth living for. They need a means of addressing their sense of insecurity, their solitude; they need an answer to the failures they experience, to suffering and death. But theory will never convince them; they need the witness of others.” -- Bishop Maritano about Bl. Chiara "Luce" Badano (who died 22 years ago today)

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Baseball wasn't big enough


There are occasionally stories about men and women considered extraordinarily talented -- in sports, in Hollywood, in academia -- who give up the adulation, the comfort, the reputation ... and disappear. They change their names, they wear new clothes, and they live life as a professed religious.

A recent article chronicles in great depth the decision of Grant Desme, a baseball player, to become a Norbertine monk.
It was easy to look at Grant Desme and think he was crazy, for leaving behind the sport, the riches, the lifestyle, the family, the wife, the kids, the spoils of the bubble in which athletes live, giving that up for the same day, every day, forever. He needed to trust. God hadn't spoken to him, not one-on-one. He doesn't call like that. It's more an emptiness that only something bigger can fulfill, even if that something still has questions.
Baseball wasn't big enough. St. Michael's was.
The first phone call went to Billy Beane. It was less than a month before Grant Desme needed to report to spring training, and he was about to call one of the most powerful men in the game to which he dedicated his life – the person Brad Pitt would portray in the "Moneyball" movie – and tell him he was quitting to spend the next decade becoming a priest.
And it was then he knew this was the right choice.
Because he wasn't nervous. No jitters, no anxiety. Just 10 digits to freedom. Desme felt a little on the defensive when explaining it to his parents. When he got a call from his friend Logan Schafer, now a rookie outfielder with the Milwaukee Brewers, Desme danced around the subject, fearful of the reaction from someone inside the baseball world. Top 100 prospects don't leave the game. Arizona Fall League MVPs go to cathedrals like Yankee Stadium, not St. Michael's Abbey.
"At first, I didn't really know what to say," Schafer says. "Then I realized it's a simple answer. It's how he explained it to me. He knew he had a career in baseball. But his love for God took over his love for baseball. He loved baseball so much, but he realized there was something greater in life that he had to do. This calling wasn't a one-time thing.
"For those of us who haven't had that call or that overwhelming need to do something, we can't understand. He's turning into the most selfless human I know. It's humbling to see. He made a decision as a human being, not a baseball player."

Read the entire article here.




Friday, October 5, 2012

Why promoting a genderless world in schools makes no sense

The idea that gender is just a social construct, extrinsic, unimportant, malleable thing we must endure is a culturally mainstream attitude I have addressed on this blog before.  We've talked about the Canadian couple who is raising their third child, Storm, "genderless" -- not revealing to anyone whether they have a son or a daughter.  We've mentioned the Swedish pre-school that forbids the words, "him" and "her" and arranges toys in such a way to encourage gender diversity.

And perhaps more fundamentally, we have analyzed our culture that drains the meaning out of our bodies, ignores the differences of masculinity and femininity, and tells us there is no order to life.  

I suppose it shouldn't be such a great shock, then, that the Toronto School District Board in Canada is providing these posters (among others) to their schools:

http://www.tdsb.on.ca/_site/ViewItem.asp?siteid=10471&menuid=34019&pageid=28961


And, note that the second poster includes "couples" of three within their cartoon hearts.  So, apparently, love has no gender and no number.  

In other words -- "Kids, if that which has the most intrinsic meaning, revealing that you were created from Someone and for Someone, is irrelevant and a social construct, then how can we tell you that you should do anything?  Why do we need laws, a social sense of morality, respect for authority when it's all up for definition?"

Really, I'm not sure why one should have to go to school at all, if one feels that school isn't "for me." 

Unless, of course, going to school is necessary to see the posters ... 

Thursday, October 4, 2012

A twenty minutes worth "spending"

Don't forget to watch the latest lecture in Sr. Jane Dominic OP's new series, "The Rich Gift of Love."  Thus far, every lesson has been excellent.  

"Whatever you did for one of these least brothers ..."


This seems appropriate for the feast of St. Francis. Kristen at "The Love of God Impels Us" shared this wonderful story:

Today, as I was riding a Winnipeg Transit bus from Unicity to Downtown I did not realize that I would be a witness to something amazing.
The ride was, as usual, long and uneventful, until we reached the corner of Portage and Main. That’s when the driver pulled over. This of course surprised all of the passengers on the bus. But, what happened next still brings tears to my eyes.
The bus driver jumped off the bus to chat with a man that looked to be down on his luck; by all accounts, a homeless man.

Read what happened here.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

A different walk down the aisle

The Diocese of Covington's newspaper, "The Messenger," featured a touching column written by Tom Kissel about his daughter's walk down the aisle this past August:

I doubt there is a father who, when handed his daughter to hold for the first time in the hospital, doesn’t project years forward to the day he will give her away after escorting her down the aisle. Aug. 15, the feast of the Assumption, approached like the 51 times before in my life, except this time the feast day would include my daughter Lauren’s walk down the aisle.
Instead of the traditional procession of bridesmaids and groomsmen, in processed a cardinal, four bishops and an additional 60 clergy from multiple dioceses to concelebrate this special Mass. After the procession of clergy I turned to the back of church to find my daughter, Lauren, ready to lead 18 women forward in a celebration of commitment. Lauren finally stood before her bishop, Most Rev. Thomas John Paprocki (Springfield, Ill.), her Provincial Mother Regina Pacis, her community of sisters and the congregation, not to commit her life and fidelity to one man, but to commit her life to Jesus Christ in service to her community, and be received into the Sisters of St. Francis of the Martyr St. George.
I often dreamt of the day I would lift Lauren’s white veil, kiss her gently and give her away. This day, however, instead of a lace veil covering her face, she would leave the sanctuary and return in her habit crowned in a white veil that she will wear for the next two years, taking the name not of her husband, but one divinely chosen — Sister Mary Gemma. This is Sister Gemma’s first formal step in answering God’s call to consecrated life. How often in the New Testament are we confronted with the request, “Come Follow Me”? My daughter, Sister Gemma, was beckoned to follow Christ, a call she could not ignore. She accepted and changed her life and the lives of all those who love her ... forever.

To read the rest, click here and go to page 8.  It's a beautiful reflection.  

Monday, October 1, 2012

Quote book: St. Therese

Archbishop Fulton Sheen on St. Therese:

"The way of St. Therese is very easy.  It's living the life that you are living now, only making it holy.  You sacramentalize it.
For example, take the water in the baptismal font.  See how the Church uses that as a symbol for cleaning the soul?  The bread is matter that's used to communicate to you the divine life in the Eucharist, and oil is for healing in the Sacrament of the Sick.  So your housework, your office work, whatever you happen to do, that's where you start to be a saint.  There. What the Little Flower gives us is this supreme lesson in contrast with the past.  She's very modern.  There is no need of anyone wearing a hair shirt.  Our neighbors are hair shirts!  Life is a hair shirt!  We have to put up with it.
So if you want to know where you start to be a saint, start right where you are now.  Only want to be perfect, saying to God, 'I want everything.  I want You.'  That's love.  That's happiness."

- Excerpted from, "Archbishop Fulton Sheen's 'St. Thererse: A Treasured Love Story'"