Sunday, September 16, 2018

Bishop Barron on today's Gospel: Sunday, September 16, 2018

Sunday, September 16, 2018
Twenty-fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time
Mark 8:27-35
Friends, today’s Gospel reports Peter’s confession of faith in the midst of the disciples, when Jesus asks that strange question: “Who do people say that I am?” What he gets by way of response is, first, a public opinion survey: John the Baptist, Elijah, Jeremiah or one of the prophets.

Then Jesus turns to those closest to him, and he asks them, But who do you say that I am?” They are silent, afraid, unwilling, unable to speak. Finally it is Peter who speaks: You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” And he gets it right. Does he get it right because he is the most intelligent? Please. Because he is holy and close to Jesus? Please. We know the whole story of Peter’s weakness, betrayal, stupidity.

It is the Father who has given Peter this insight—not Peter’s clever mind or searching heart. It is a supernatural gift, a special charism. And it is upon this inspired confession that the Church is built.

Word on Fire Catholic Ministries, PO Box 170, Des Plaines, IL 60016, United States

Thursday, August 30, 2018

School Days are Back Again, and so are the memories

Back to school pictures are filling up my news-feed on Facebook these days.  Seeing the parents I’ve known for years posting pictures of their children growing bigger and changing accentuates the reality of the days and years flying by.  Our own children now are grown and gone.  Those pictures didn’t have a place like Facebook like they do now.  ‘Let me down easy, let me down slow’ are the words of a song I listen to some days.  Our children have grown up so quickly as if to ensure their survival in the wild like cubs or baby sea turtles.  The bigger they get the better their survival rate is, we can only pray.

When our son was younger, kids bullied at the bus stop.  One summer he shot up several inches and blazed through 5 shoe sizes literally.  That next year, the bullying stopped and his life at school got so much calmer.  Thank the Lord for growth spurts! 

The nights we hovered over our babies with white knuckles wondering if they were OK swiftly moved into the toddler years when bumping their heads or what they just put in their mouths caused such excitement.  Kindergarten and the early grades seemed to pass by like a waterfall of pictures falling in break-neck speed.  Looking back at their little smiles morphed into metal-banded grimaces of complete disdain toward homework or practice time.

The college years could not have gone faster for us.  Attending the orientation each year with a different student was like a dream that wouldn’t stop.  Text pictures of time-stamped hallways at 4 am in the library with study-buddies and the capturing of a long lost sibling eating lunch by themselves until being caught up in a picture sent to mom and dad with the caption, “Look who I found!”  Laughter at the time dad bought Valentines gifts and delivered them to their dorms with chocolates.  Oh the smiles!!

What do we do with all these memories of footsteps down the stairs, violin and piano music playing, or someone playing with a cat in the next room.  The midnight requisition of a sibling’s attire would find a stampede of feet clamoring down the stairs for the judge and jury to convict and the laughter of holiday meals and days together on vacations.  When all the while we loved being parents, witnessing the growth and progress of the human person in our care.  As that phase of our lives ends, theirs are just beginning.  More memories, for sure and more laughter, we hope.

Again, I say:  “Let me down easy, let me down slow.”

Monday, July 2, 2018

The Mass and an interesting twist of thought

I recently purchased Bishop Barron's newest project and gift, The Mass. Since it is in high demand and the warehouse is behind in their shipping, those of us waiting a bit longer for their shipment to arrive got a free pass to watch it online.  Only wanting to get a peek, I watched the Bishop's first episode and introduction to the project.

 In this six-minute presentation, Bishop Barron explained in beautiful detail, the Mass and it's meaning.  He treated us with an interesting twist of thought from Romano Guardini, a German-born Catholic priest and Theologian of the twentieth century.  The bishop quotes Guardini, "The liturgy, the Mass, is the supreme form of play."  Pretty shocking, right?  Bishop Barron explains it like this:  Work is an activity that has a purpose; play, on the other hand, is done entirely for its own sake.  Play has no purpose outside of itself, therefore, it's higher than work, it's more beautiful than work, more precious than work."   GK Chesterton observed, "Children always know how to engage in serious play."  Play is the most useless thing we can do, which means it is the most important thing that we do.  We tend to think work is the most important thing, instead of playing.  In Heaven, we will not be working at all.   There we will be resting or in eternal rest and relaxation, worshiping our God in rest.

The Mass is the supreme moment of worship. When we worship our God and our Lord Jesus Christ, we are right with God and ourselves.  The Mass gives us this chance to direct our worship to the one true God and the highest directive.  Bad praise comes when we do not direct our worship to God and instead raise to the highest place in our minds and hearts things of the earth and of mankind.

Bishop Barron's work for the Church is quite magnificent and boundless in his eloquent style of verbiage.  I am pleased that we have such a theologian as this in our modern day midst to help us along the way in understanding and appreciation of our faith vehicle, called Catholicism.

May God bless and keep our wonderful Bishop for many years to come!

Thursday, June 7, 2018

When it all seems like why pray? Why go to Mass?

Being a mother seems to be a sign that I am somehow bullet-proof.  That, however, is the farthest from the truth!  As a child, I often wondered about being a mother and a wife.  How handsome and wonderful my husband would be and the many would I have and what would it be like to see people who looked like me. All I wanted to be was a mother and wife, oh sure there were spurts of wanting to be a rock singer, actress, or a cashier, but all in all; it was being a wife and mother that I always resorted to. 
For the past thirty-six years, I have been a mom.  Through it all, I have taught my children to love God and believe in his saving gift of Jesus Christ and the Catholic Church.  We prayed and they all made their sacriments under the guidance of our parishes and our homeschooling curricula.  Throughout our eight years of home-educating, I was connected with many families online in various places learning, comparing notes, and making it a successful experience for our family.    My husband was very supportive this time and was the principal, science, and math teacher with his Ph.D. in Biochemistry

Our family went through a crisis with one of our children a few years ago.  As the matriarch of our family and the Catholic in our marriage, I led the family to Mass every Sunday and obligation days, taught our school with Catholic curricula and myself achieved master catechist certification through the diocese.  To say that my husband has been a supportive partner in my Catholic faith, raising the children Catholic and purchasing Catholic books each year is an understatment.  

During the darkest times of this crisis, I became weary of praying to "deaf ears" as I put it.  This child kept disappearing on us and doing things we never fathomed in our minds would do.  She was out of control and we were too. (I had to stop and cry for a minute, sorry) Ok, so one day as she refused to listen to me beg to stay home, our little 5'2" daughter stubbornly and/or bravely got into a taxi and left.  As it went down our street carrying our baby, I gave her to Jesus.

One Sunday morning as my husband finished his morning coffee and came upstairs to check on my progress in getting ready for Mass, he found me sitting on the side of the bathtub in my nightgown.  "Don't you need to be getting ready for Mass?" he asked.  "For what, no one is listening to me anyway!"  "What?"  he's confused.  "I pray and pray and only want the good for her, I am praying all the time and no one is listening!"  I shouted out of complete exhaustion and frustration.  The scientist and searching Christian husband said, "That's not how prayer works."  "How do you know?"  "It just doesn't, that's all I know.  We need to be getting ready for Mass."  "I'm not going, why should I bother, there is no one up there."  In shock, he said, "You're serious?  You aren't going to Mass?  Well, someone has to go.  I'm going to Mass."  he turned around and went to his closet to get ready.  I got up and followed him, "What, why would you go to Mass, you aren't even Catholic!"  He said looking at his shirts, "Well someone has to go to Mass."  I walked away and sat back down on the side of the bathtub and thought, why is he doing this?  In pure resignation, I told him I'd go and got dressed.

Things in our family are constantly changing, including my faith.  The morning made me realize that I didn't want to not have faith.   I started praying the rosary everyday and my husband and I started reading the readings each day before work at the breakfast table.  We started praying the Lord's prayer together before going to sleep.

Our trials are not over and I still have weak moments when I just can't pray.  In those moments
I just get quiet and know that Jesus doesn't need my prayers, I need them, and more than that I need to continue to grow my faith and relationship with Jesus.   He has a plan for me and for our child.

Tuesday, June 5, 2018

A fundraiser for helping families with Prenatal Depression and Anxiety Disorder

This is an organization that I am a team member and soon-to-be trained postpartum doula, helping new mothers with prenatal depression.  HOPE will have trained birth and postpartum doulas in service along with restaurants, therapists, lactation specialists, etc to surround these moms in the "fourth trimester" postpartum period and beyond if need be.   Please see our website and read more about our mission and team and board members and help us if you can.   Thanks!