As we settled into the pew for Ash Wednesday Mass, I’d reminded my kids to “talk to Jesus” before Mass starts. At 11 years old, she knows the drill by now. Elizabeth leaned over to me as we both knelt in prayer, and she shared what had just happened.
Over the past few years, as my spiritual life has deepened, I have learned that sometimes God speaks to us through a Scripture that hits us a certain way, a poem, or a song lyric.Sometimes, He uses a more subtle approach, whispering into our hearts during time with nature or as we study beautiful art. So when she pulled me aside to tell to me about the connection she’d made, I was filled with a feeling of joy –joy for my girl’s discovery at what I am sure was the prompting of the Holy Spirit. So what was this sweet insight?
It’s the last day of the year, and we wanted to make sure to end 2017 with Confession and Mass. Experiencing the cleansing mercy of absolution, closely followed by the reception of Our Lord in the Eucharist, was just what my soul needed on a day when the temperature outside is dropping like a rock and the hours of the year dwindle to a close. We went to one of the only parishes in Houston that offers Reconciliation on Sundays – Our Lady of Czestochowa on Blalock. Would you just look at this gorgeousness?
Without further ado, here’s where my head’s at we venture in 2018, knowing full well that the Lord is the one in charge and there’s no telling where I will actually be 365 days from now. Continue reading →
***This is the final post of a three-part series chronicling the spiritual journey of our marriage. Born and raised a devout Catholic, I didn’t take my faith as seriously in college and began dating a pro-choice agnostic. This is the story of how we balanced the yoke. If you’ve ever wondered if a Catholic can marry an agnostic without compromising the Catholic’s faith, read on. Our story may help you discern whether a marriage of “mixed cult,” or between a baptized and unbaptized party, is a good idea.
Well, we got pregnant again, and I suffered a temporary setback. I remember throwing my pregnancy test against the wall, and yelling that I just couldn’t do this. I literally threw temper tantrum while my five month old slept soundly. My husband just stared at me – I have a feeling he was trying to figure out how my hissy fit factored into my Catholic belief of being “open to life” and babies being a blessing. Though he was happy about a new baby, he announced that he would be getting a vasectomy (he announced that he was seriously considering a vasectomy). I was crushed. I knew this was against God’s plan for our marriage, and that it would only cause more heartache in the long run. I also remembered thinking maybe, just maybe, I should get some formal instruction in this NFP thing, because clearly I wasn’t getting something right. I decided right then that every prayer and every bit of suffering of the next nine months would be offered for Superman to change his mind about his vasectomy. I began to pray and open my heart to God in ways I never had before. I began to ask for His will to be done, not my own.
More often than not lately, I’m empathizing with the Israelites and their golden calf worship. OK, not really the ones that did the actual worshipping, but more like the ones who awkwardly stood on the edges of the crowd watching everything go down but doing nothing to stop it. I would’ve been one of the ones, mouth agape, discreetly taking pics on my phone to post to IG with the hashtag #prayforthesedamnedfools while secretly agreeing with them in frustration. Now before you go thinking I’m going to melt down all of my gold jewelry (all four pieces) and cast them into the likeness of Elsie the cow, let me explain a bit. Continue reading →
Though I have NOT been grateful for the hateful, ugly, and painful discourses it has ignited on social media, I’m glad for the Supreme Court’s ruling earlier this week in the Hobby Lobby case. As Catholics, we certainly identify with the Green family’s moral objection to paying for employees’ abortifacient contraception. May God bless them, and may those of us who have friends and family lashing out over this decision remember that we are all in different pats of our spiritual journeys, and that we should respond with love and empathy. Though it may be hard to endure and to not take their insults personally, we must continue to pray for our loved ones and for our nation. The Gospel reading for Tuesday was Matthew 8:23-27. When I read this selection, the day after the Supreme Court ruling, I completely identified with the disciples. I was in the boat, rocking in the wind and waves during that tumultuous storm, and fearing our country would drown. And Jesus is seemingly asleep! But oh how convicted I was by Christ’s admonition:
They came and woke him, saying,
“Lord, save us! We are perishing!”
He said to them, “Why are you terrified, O you of little faith?”
Then he got up, rebuked the winds and the sea,
and there was great calm.
And just like that, my anxiety lessened. He will calm the storm. We are called to great faith.
I’m truly looking forward to celebrating today with some wonderful friends, with whom we’ve spent the last several Independence Days. When it’s all said and done, over 25 kids and 30 adults will gather for bbq, beverages, fruit, desserts, queso, guacamole, and lots of laughter. And…my kids’ favorite part…the monster water slide of awesomeness. What a blessing to be able to share this day amongst our close friends!
Our “Must Make” dessert that we bring to this function every year is the delicious Golden Corral knockoff Banana Pudding. This stuff is so good, we fill an entire roasting pan by quadrupling the recipe…and we never come home with leftovers! It’s not clean eating, but we only do it a few times a year, so…mmmmmmm.
My brother, who recently graduated high school, is passionate about his patriotism. While other seniors quoted Justin Bieber or Lady Gaga (I wish I were exaggerating) in their yearbook, he chose a quote from the Declaration of Independence. He shared this video today on Twitter and his facebook page. It’s a great, straightforward reading of the Declaration. If you’ve never read it, or just would like to review, you can find it here:
“A spirit of license makes a man refuse to commit himself to any standards. The right time is the way he sets his watch. The yardstick has the number of inches that he wills it to have. Liberty becomes licenseand unbounded license leads to unbounded tyranny. When society reaches this stage, and there is no standard of right and wrong outside of the individual himself, then the individual is defenseless against the onslaughts of cruder and more violent men who proclaim their own subjective sense of values.”
One July 4th when I was a teenager, my mom suggested that we go as a family to Mass in the morning. We all looked at her strangely. The pool needed to be vacuumed, there were sparklers and firecrackers to purchase, and Daddy had a brisket that needed to smoke for 10 hours. We did NOT have time to go to Mass. Why should we, anyway? Independence Day isn’t a Holy Day. Well, she ignored our whining and my dad’s forlorn stare at his marinating brisket sitting in the fridge, and hauled us out the door. And oh how glad I was that she did! The hymns were all patriotic, and the priest gave a moving homily on how blessed we are to live in a land free of religious persecution. The 4th degree Knights of Columbus were there, and it was a very beautiful Mass. Ever since, we’ve done our best to attend, and I’ve been happy to pass this tradition on to our kids. Do you have a Mass you can attend today? I encourage you to take an hour out of your celebrations today to give thanks to God for this beautiful land He has given to us. Especially in light of the heightened persecution of Christians around the world presently, has there ever been a better time to offer praise and thanks for the Land of the Free, and the Home of the Brave?