Thursday, October 28, 2010

Cardinal-designate Burke reminds Catholics of the duty to vote for life

In case there are any straggling questions about which way Catholics are obligated to vote in the upcoming election, our beloved Cardinal-designate Burke is communicating the message clearly, without equivocation. His concern is the soul of the voter and the protection of the unborn, two concerns that are not bound by the intimidation of 501(c)(3) statutes.

This is truly clarity of Church teaching by a good shepherd.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Institute for Pastoral Theology open class weekend

I am getting ready to attend another weekend of classes through Ave Maria University's Institute for Pastoral Theology. All of them are excellent lectures packed with solid theology and philosophy...challenging, but not so heady as to remain aloof to the students' comprehension. In case any one wants a taste of what I get to experience once a month, I am happy to provide you with the information about an upcoming "open class" weekend. I am linking to the flyer for the Janesville, WI class to be held the weekend before Thanksgiving, Nov. 19-21.

Free lecture. Excellent speakers. Come and check it out!

Archbishop Burke named one of the new Cardinals

Congratulations, our beloved Archbishop, soon-to-be Cardinal Burke! Our hearts are rejoicing because of the marvelous work He has accomplished in you. We have benefitted by Christ’s light shining through your holy examples of joy, humility, courage, faith and love. You are a great hope for us and the future of the Church. Certainly, as you often request, we are keeping you in our prayers. Deo gratias!

I would love to write more on this happy occasion, but since I am getting ready for another weekend of classes, please visit my friend Badger Catholic for more insight and some great quotes. Click here for the full statement by Cardinal-designate Burke.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Spending time with my little guy

The greatest blessings are those unexpected gifts which come straight from Heaven. The time spent with my youngest son these past three and a half years that has impressed this truth upon my heart. His existence began with a fortuitous miscalculation, opening the door for God to bless us with a most needed addition to our family. We didn’t know we needed him until he was here, but we trusted in the excitement of our children despite our own concerns (money, space, time – the usual).

It wasn’t until a test revealed a concern about my pregnancy that we realized our material concerns were mere cobwebs in comparison to a possible threat to the life of our unborn child. The rest of the pregnancy consisted of monthly blood tests, multiple sonograms, and then a miraculous solution which the doctors could not explain. Our little Sebastian was born just before the spring of 2007, perfectly normal and healthy.

He now accompanies me in my daily errands, asking me questions, exploring the world, and keeping me stocked with an abundant supply of hugs and kisses. The older children are in school, so we have our special time together each day. Since I am not distracted by other things or people at this time in my life, I find myself imagining through this special relationship with my son, what joy Mary experiences in her Son.

My little guy has awakened in me a deeper love for Christ in the midst of our daily routine. I’m his girl, you see...his breakfast date, his lunch date, his dance partner, his carpool ride. He is always with me at this special time in his life, just as Jesus accompanied Mary during His first thirty years on earth. When people underrate the special relationship between Mary and her Son, I have to wonder if they have ever fully appreciated or accepted the love between mother and child. It is truly a gift from God.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Pray the Rosary, soothe the soul

On this feast of Our Lady of the Rosary, I wanted to share some bits and pieces about praying it that I have collected throughout the years. One overarching theme stands out in my mind, however, that this devotion is something that each and every one of us can comprehend, incorporate into our lives, and spiritually benefit from.

The first misconception about the Rosary is that it is “vain repetition”. Usually, this criticism comes from people who claim scripture alone is the only authority (left up to the interpretation of each individual, of course). The term “vain” is key here. Repetition itself is not a bad thing. In fact, beauty is most often observed in the perfection of patterns. Humans were designed to enjoy repetition. Think about favorite songs, traditional family holidays, the daily routine that gives us a sense of peace. “Vain repetition” is a very different thing, however. It is an action that is not directed towards anything in particular. Its repetition does not have a purpose. Its words are empty. It does not invite contemplation. The Rosary, on the other hand, is directed towards the contemplation of the life of Christ, each repetition beseeching Mary to pray for us as we come to know and love her Son more deeply. Therefore, the Rosary could not be considered “vain” in its repetition.

Once we have overcome the squeamishness about repetition, the question of practicality often arises. Often people will say, “I would love to pray the Rosary if only I had the time.” Time is often not the real issue. It is desire. But, for the sake of argument, if time really is an obstacle, there are a variety of ways to overcome this. I have found that praying the Rosary in the car is most effective for a variety of reasons: 1) It keeps the kids from starting silly disagreements with one another 2) They are all strapped in, prevented from moving around and 3) Happy moms pray better. Another helpful idea is to break up the Rosary. Say one decade a night before bed. The family gets the benefit of the Rosary while taking into account the attention span of its tiniest members.

One of the greatest things about the Rosary is its universality. The Rosary has continued to thrive as a devotion in cultures throughout the world. My husband grew up saying it in Vietnamese. I learned to pray it in English. Our whole family has learned to pray it in Latin. Its beauty is unmistakable in any language. To the devoted Catholic who prays the Rosary with regularity, the comfort and the peace bestowed upon the soul by the prayer of our Blessed Mother is truly priceless.