Lately I’ve been running flat out. Staying up late, getting up early….trying to keep things in order - which for this single mom of two teens is always a challenge.
I’m trying my hand at something new besides - this Fall semester I’m teaching an undergraduate course in Church History at Holy Apostles College and Seminary. Most of you know that I’ve worked at Holy Apostles for the past 5 years and recently completed my MA in Church History.
Teaching is a work I love. It is an absolute joy. For me, it is almost like writing - I lose myself in the middle of it. Hours go by. I forget to eat. When I stop the focus and bring myself back to the reality of the next thing that I need to accomplish, I get frustrated. Indeed, it’s very much like writing.
I’m currently working on a new course about the Catholic Response During WWII. It’s slowly taking over my life. I’ve always been interested in this time period of history. Something about it I find so compelling. Perhaps it is the disbelief that I have that an entire people could revere something so evil - not see it for what it is. It’s scary, on a fundamental level. It is selfishness taken to the extreme. And in books today, the truth of it is slowly seeping away.
I believe we have a fundamental duty and obligation to seek the truth of history and to tell it. In the case of the Catholic Church and Pope Pius XII, this truth has been tarnished by a completely fictional adaptation of the Pope’s response during the War told in a play called The Deputy.
What alarms me most about this situation is that a completely fictional adaptation can become truth in the minds of many people just because it’s performed on stage. If this isn’t one of the biggest examples of mass (media) hysteria, I don’t know what is.
Remember, just because you see it in a movie or on tv, hear it on the radio, or read it in an article/on the internet/in a book doesn’t make it truth. Follow the story line. Do some research. Check citations.
We owe it to those who lived through the reality to get the real story and to tell the real story. History is made every day - we live it. Be a speaker of the truth.
It’s been ages and ages since I posted here. I just finished a biography on Dietrich Bonhoeffer and I’m feeling rather pensieve.
What an incredible person! His life’s story was a page-turner. He was the kind of man that everyone loved. He was quirky, intelligent, pastoral. He wrote the most amazing love letters to his fiancee….
I’ve actually already ordered another book Love Letters from Cell 92 which details their correspondence during his time in prison.
Bonhoeffer thought long and hard about how best to answer the call to the Christian life in Nazi Germany. He was a member of the resistance and he explained quite thoroughly how he reconciled this duty, which he felt was a call from God, with Christianity. His comments were enlightening and challenged me to really think about how God expects us to behave in certain circumstances.
I cried in a couple of different sections of the book. I highly recommend it to anyone interested in the time period or the genre of biographies.
Since I last wrote.
We went to Kentucky for the Ordinations of Fr. Ken, Fr. Andy and Dcn. Br. Ricardo. It was a weekend to remember! What an incredibly beautiful chapel; what an incredibly beautiful group of men in service to our Lord.
If you have never heard of The Fathers of Mercy you should take a moment to link over to their website. What a dedicated group of priests and brothers. I am so lucky to be able to count some of these men as real friends of my family!
Alyssa has graduated High School. We had a beautiful Mass and party with our homeschool group. I’m still not too sure how I feel about all that. I know that I do not feel old enough to have a High School graduate.
We got to go to Zach’s graduation as well.
It’s been a couple of months of things ending and new beginnings. Just a small reminder from our Father in Heaven of what we are supposed to be doing here in the first place - getting ready to go :)
Over the years there is one thing I have learned about myself. There are only two days all year when I am hungry. These two days are Ash Wednesday and Good Friday. On any other normal day, I will wake up and run around crazy - sometimes forgetting to even think about food until 3 or 4 in the afternoon. But on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday, I wake up with my stomach growling - every time!
Fasting has been a difficult practice for me to master. I normally do a great job until about 2 in the afternoon. Once 2 pm hits, I find myself glancing at the clock every 15 minutes or so, just thinking about what time dinner will be served. At about the same time, I begin a little inner conversation with myself:
Me: It’s not like you’re going to go hungry
Me2: I know, I know
Me: People are starving all over the world and you’re just fasting until dinner…
Me2: I’m pathetic, what can I say
Me: I promise you aren’t going to die from lack of food
Then I shake myself out of it, determined not to look again at the clock for a good long while, but instead to concentrate on the task at hand realizing that I will indeed live until dinner time.
When dinnertime arrives, I am always amazed at how much better the food tastes. Even the most simple of meals make my taste buds dance and I am reminded how often I take food and access to it for granted.
Finally it’s the last push before bedtime….I have a tendency to snack either while reading or sitting in front of the television. But I am determined not to cave in during these most challenging fasting days. Eventually, I promise myself that if I am still awake once it hits midnight, I will sneak down to the kitchen and reward my self-denial with chocolate and a glass of milk! Inevitably I fall asleep and I wake the next day with food still on my mind but a big smile of success on my lips.
The gift of self-denial comes in the knowledge that I am stronger than my bodily weaknesses. It is a moment of engaging the will to overcome the passions. This practice creates strong character and the ability to confront temptation. On fasting days, the temptation is food but developing a strong will can be brought in to overcome other temptations. Self-denial seeks to help the soul choose what is right and good, especially when that choice is a difficult one to make.
I’ve been gearing up for this day for a long time: Ash Wednesday, the beginning of my Lenten journey. It’s been on my radar for months now. Some time last Fall, my spiritual director mentioned that he felt it would be good practice for me to add some silence to my life. You can’t hear God speaking in all the distractions of the world, he reminded me.
I am by nature what I would call a happy person. I don’t consider myself to be extremely loud or insensitive to situations around me, but I have been called “too friendly” (whatever that means!). I like to laugh - a lot. A colleague once said that he hopes his family laughs as much as mine does. I was momentarily affronted, but he assured me this was a good thing. There’s not enough laughter in the world, he said.
So over the past few months, this idea of silence has been percolating around in my head in between all the chatter and noise that make up most of my days. Then, last week, I made an announcement: for Lent I would be giving up some of the noise in my life.
I didn’t know then what that would look like. I discussed it with my teen daughter and she encouraged me to consider being silent for one hour every day during Lent. Start small, she told me.
I reflected back on what these good people have been sharing with me over the past few months and I agreed it was time to put some real effort into finding some balance between all this laughter and listening to God in the silence.
As our good God so often does, I received confirmation that this indeed was what He had in mind for me this Lent: a great article over at Catholicmom.com about silence spoke volumes to my soul and I do believe Br. Mark Thelen, LC wrote this piece just for me!
So after I finished work for the day, I headed out to the Chapel to spend an hour in silence. I went all by myself. I only brought 1 prayer book. I took some deep breaths and plunged in. I didn’t want to spend the time reciting rote prayers, doing devotions or reading the Bible. I wanted to empty my mind and listen.
I spent a good long time in solid meditation. I worked hard to keep my mind on the task at hand. When I was sure that I was making some real headway, I chanced a glance at my watch: 18 whole minutes.
I spent the remaining 42 minutes chasing songs out of my head, trying not to focus on remembering to call the dentist, mulling over whether there would be enough money for a vacation this summer…. I probably should have counted how many times I thought to say “Get behind me Satan”.
But in the end, I had a great 18 minutes with our Lord and I still have 39 days to work on those other 42 minutes!
- George Weigel, Witness to Hope
…sounds eerily familiar to America, January 2012
It is pressing upon my heart that I talk to you about something that has come up pretty regularly in a house of teen girls: the way that gentlemen treat ladies.
It is such a rare occurance to be treated with respect by a gentleman that whenever it happens, it is the cause of a few days worth of discussion among my teens.
Most recently, our friend met a gentleman with whom she had been corresponding online for some time. This particular guy has made it clear to her that he isn’t interested in her “like that”. It happened that they finally met face-to-face at the March for Life. (I’m already partial to a guy who would be a the March for Life, but that’s another blog post!)
They went to coffee together and here’s where it gets interesting….he opened the door for her, bought her beverage, pulled out her chair. He paid such close attention that our friend began to have second thoughts about his feelings for her.
I have told my daughters time and time again that this is the *proper* way a gentleman should treat a lady. And it isn’t because we ladies can’t open our own doors or are too weak to pull out our own chairs….
It’s because we are cherished creatures of God. We are worth the time and attention it takes a gentleman - any gentleman - to open the door, take our cart back to the store, help with our coat.
These are behaviors that I encourage in all my guy friends - not just the ones who may be interested.
So guys, tell your friends that this is the proper way to treat a lady. And don’t be too hard on us if these little things make us partial to you - we know in our hearts you aren’t leading us on. It’s just that we have been treated like trash for so long, it makes our hearts merry to really be noticed.
Right now, I’m off from work, but I’m working on an article I’m writing on Confession. I’m also working on getting the word out about the sneak peek of our movie scene from Navis Pictures. Do be sure to check it out and let me know what you think!
Getting ready to board the red-eye…isn’t that how all the moviestars travel?? #Navispictures
knitting & tv…home w/my girls. I <3 days like this!
Yay! Spiderman balloon :) #Macysparade
Lunchtime! I hope this day ends soon…
I’ve been working on this little manuscript of a story that I wrote a few years back. I believe that I have done every possible thing to this manuscript except actually send it to a publisher or an agent.
A colleague of mine at the seminary says that I am afraid of success - perhaps. My daughter and I were discussing that maybe I am afraid of failure.
This has led me to wonder - is it possible that fear of success and fear of failure are actually the same thing? It only depends if you are an optimist or a pessimist? What do you think?
In any event, I have promised myself that I am going to send this manuscript out by Thanksgiving - a little present I’m giving myself. Let’s hope it actually happens that way.
(I think it’s fear of failure)
The Lord is not in noise &; The Soul of the Apostolate
Do I really have to go to the store before I can go home? :P
it’s all about the Screwtape Letters #Cslewisweekhere
I am not a nightly news watcher. Most of what I get in terms of news is from my Twitter feed and that streams mainly Catholic content of my choosing. I’ve heard rumblings about Penn State, some guy named Coach Joe and the dreaded words “child sexual abuse”.
Anywhere child sexual abuse happens, it is wrong, it is reprehensible - in my beloved Church or at the local university.
It breaks my heart to hear that once again, we have a group of men in positions of authority, overlooking their moral responsibility to the most helpless among us - our children.
If it is true that Coach Joe reported this horrible behavior to his superiors then I applaud that. That shows true strength - the mark of a real man.
However, if it is also true that nothing was done, it pains me to think he then just turned a blind eye to what was happening and continued to collect his paycheck - telling himself that he had done his part. That shows a cowardice that is rampant in our culture. The consequence of our relativistic mentality.
The other thing that makes me sad is that there is divisiveness over this issue. I mean seriously? There are people angry that these men got fired because they contributed to the cover-up? What is wrong with this picture?
I love my Church, but let me tell you, I wish every single priest who played any part in the cover-up of this abuse of children in my Church was defrocked. I’m sorry, but I see no other way around it. There is no excuse for it, no justification, nothing.
Yes - I believe in repentance, I believe in conversion, I believe that people make mistakes. But to be involved in predatory behavior against children, involved in any way….this is a game changer.
Take these men - all of them - out of action. Let them be repentant and seek forgiveness for their contribution to the demise of our society somewhere out of the spotlight. Strip them of all of their authority. Give them the chance to get right with God…
But then I ask myself - in a society where we kill children every day out of convenience, why are we surprised when other children are bought and sold, used and abused? There is no value given to the child in our society any more.
May God have mercy on us all.
All that is required for Evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing. (E. Burke)
-Moms don’t know everything…all my hopes & dreams have been crushed…my Rebecca.
sometimes taxi-ing is not so bad…now it’s me, my book & a carmel coffee for 4 hrs :D
sneak preview of our summer movie! #WaroftheVendee
<3 Goodspeed. With @Alyssa_Meghan & Rebecca Renee!…. on another note - prayers for you and the family @RobynLee13
So ready to go home. Many great books await my perusal! #readingrocks
My Dad is always a hero :) I <3 him. xoxo
RT @FoxNews: Stacie Crimm refused treatments that might have killed her unborn child — then made one wish before dying http://t.co/LoUObkhX
Mass is the greatest event on earth #therealpresence
awesome b-day dinner with an awesome b-day girl and her sis. <3
My brain hurts. #isitFridayyet
St. James Convent blessing now - by The Most Rev. Joseph Vu Van Thien, Bishop of Hai Phong, Vietnam. I have the best job. #Godisgood
Went to Mass. I’m on a Spiritual upswing these past 2 wks. Trying not to over-analyze & worry about what comes next… #therealpresence
Still thinking about last night’s #Castle ep - @seamusdever @Jon_Huertas @NathanFillion @Stana_Katic @MollyQuinn93 - EPIC! kudos writers!
I love that #Castle calls them by their first name - Kate, Kevin - when it really matters! #castlemonday
YAY! Can’t wait! RT @CastleTV RT @TerriEdda: Those of you who have been craving more Ryan, tonight’s your night! @seamusdever #Castle
My girls r taking a bus to NH … without me … I am old …
Mass is really the coolest thing on earth. And I mean *really* #threalpresence
Coming up next - Holy Mass. Yay. #therealpresence
Oh and I worked some on my article too so it’s not all bad ( @DanielleBean )
Much happier about #Castle - things are looking up :) Thx @AndrewWMarlowe We <3 your show!
RT @seamusdever: Great new #Castle episode tonight. Written by the great David Grae. Don’t miss it.