KITCHEN TABLE CHATS

Pull up a chair in my domestic church and let's chat!

I have worn many labels (Not in any particular order): Catholic, Wife, Mom,Gramma, Doctor, Major, Soccer Mom, Military Wife, Fellow.

All of these filter my views of the world. I hope that like St. Monica, I can through prayer, words and example, lead my children and others to Faith.
"The important thing is that we do not let a single day go by in vain without putting it to good use for eternity"--Blessed Franz J├Ągerst├Ątter

Friday, August 22, 2014

7 Quick Takes!


The youngest moved into the dorm this week! The 85 pound Lab/German Shepherd mix who shared his bed at night has decided he is lonely and wants to sleep with Mom, Dad, and the 65 pound Lab/Springer Spaniel mix who has already claimed a spot in Mom & Dad's bed.
The youngest moved into the dorm this week! Apparently so did my laundry baskets and laundry detergent. I guess I wanted new ones anyway.
The youngest moved into the dorm this week! But he is only 20 minutes or so down the road. And guess what?! I just got a job as an adjunct professor at the same university. I think I will be reclaiming some laundry baskets.
The youngest moved into the dorm this week! It is so hard to cook for just two people. I think it is time to invite the other empty nesters in the neighborhood to dinner.
The youngest moved into the dorm this week! And I think I should check the temperature of the Netherworld because he left his home bedroom and bathroom scrubbed clean and vacuumed!
The youngest moved into the dorm this week! I already miss him terribly. Praying for him and all the students starting school in the next couple of weeks.
For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Assisted Suicide is not Authentic Compassion


My latest article is up at Zenit.org. I address a bill being considered by the British Parliament to authorize physician assisted suicide. The article is being passed around a bit and the phrase that seems to be catching the attention is : "In every other instance, suicide is viewed as a tragedy...Why should it be any different for the disabled and dying?" 
I wrote and submitted this article before Robin Williams committed suicide. However, after the very public and passionate discussions of depression and suicide that followed his death, the publication of my article and that particular phrase has struck a chord with some. Here is an excerpt, but do go over to Zenit and read the whole article.
It is mental anguish, not physical suffering, that is the impetus for most patients requesting physician-assisted suicide. The legalization of assisted suicide suggests these fears are reasonable and hastening death is a viable solution. There is nothing compassionate about legalizing assisted suicide when it promotes such abject despair.
In every other instance, suicide is viewed as a tragedy. Those left behind often wonder what they could have done or said to prevent such an act of desperation. How could they have given the deceased hope and fostered a will to live? Why should it be any different for the infirm, the disabled, and the dying?
Instead of hastening their death we should be offering authentic compassion. The word “compassion” literally means to suffer with. We should be reassuring those who are tempted by assisted suicide that even though they are physically broken they have dignity and are cherished members of our human family. 

Friday, August 15, 2014

A Blessed Feast of the Assumption of Mary to All!

The Assumption of Mary by Pietro Perugino (1513)


Today is the Solemn Feast of the Assumption of Mary. This is a glorious day. Mary is the first to experience the resurrection of body and soul and join in the eternal joy of Heaven. But this is experience is promised to each of us who is saved through Christ. 

This feast day can be confusing for those who are not Catholic. The dogma of the Assumption does not make Mary a deity. It is not a new dogma that was invented by Pope Pius XII in 1950. The dogma of Assumption was promulgated in the Papal Apostolic Constitution MUNIFICENTISSIMUS DEUS on November 1, 1950 but it has been part of the Church teachings since the early centuries. It is part of the dogma of both the Roman Catholic Church and the Orthodox Church. The wonderful folks over at Aquinas and More Catholic Bookstore have a nice, concise recap of both the dogma and the history of the celebration of this feast.

I would also recommend the reflections of  Fr. Dwight Longenecker on 10 Things To Remember about the Assumption of Mary.

And for those who are used to abstaining from meat on Fridays, this is a feast day so enjoy a burger in Mary's honor.

In all seriousness, today is a beautiful reminder of the glory that awaits all who abide in Christ.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

TBT: Sacramentals for college students...and college grads



It has become all the rage on Facebook to post TBT (Throw-back Thursday) items. These are usually old photos or accounts from "back in the day". I thought I would do something similar on my blog today. Back in 2006 I did a post on sacramentals for college students. As many college students are in the process of packing I thought I would re-share these thoughts from sending a son off to college:

As I reviewed his final round of packing I made sure he had a good supply of sacramentals. He received a small desk-top crucifix for graduation. He has at least one Rosary. I kept pressing holy cards on him. St. Michael, St. Monica, St. Augustine, St. Benedict. He had already packed his Bible. 
He is very patient with me as I fret about his spiritual well-being. I really am not worried. He seems to be pretty grounded in his faith. I was also interested in his take on all the Catholic paraphernalia I was sending with him. He told me appreciated it but he would let his Catholicism publicly unfold gradually. He said, “If I wear my Faith too conspicuously I hear minds shut as I approach. It is better to let them discover my Catholicism after they know other things about me first.” 
I do understand his point. I don’t expect him to make a shrine in his dorm room. If the holy cards occupy a place in his desk drawer, that’s okay too. I know he will see them occasionally and remember his mom and a whole bunch of saints are praying for him. I hope he will then remember to say a prayer too.
This was written in the early years, as I was just starting to send children to college. Now my baby is starting his junior year in college. Would I do anything differently? Not really.  So far, everyone is exiting college with a faith at least as strong if not stronger than when they entered. But my son was very wise when he said he would let his Catholicism unfold gradually. No need to hide it, but there is also no reason to wear it like a flashing neon sign. Catholicism should be something organic to who we are, not an awkward add-on.

Now my children are building their own nests and I have to admit I still add to their collection of sacramentals. When I returned from Italy this summer I had a new Rosary for every child and grandchild. Holy cards make great bookmarks. I still want to remind them that Mom and the saints are still praying for them.


Tuesday, August 12, 2014

School Daze for us Martha types



In just over a week it will be back to school for me. Of course it is a different sort of back to school when you are the teacher instead of the student. Once again I will be teaching Anatomy & Physiology at the local community college. However, I am also adding George Mason University to my teaching venues. I will be teaching three sections of the Anatomy & Physiology lab.

In addition to the teaching I have added Catholic Stand to my regular writing gigs. And I am hoping to revitalize this blog a bit. I still have a monthly column at Zenit.org and I still contribute to the HLI Truth & Charity Forum.

A few days ago I blogged about my empty nest. I guess this is what happens when you no longer have soccer practice, Scouts, high school science projects and college applications to oversee. I am one of those who has a problem sitting still.

So my struggle during these upcoming months of empty nesting is to face the quiet time. I will force myself to look away from the computer with its never-ending stream of pro-life issues that need to be addressed as well as the lectures and lesson plans that need to be polished. I will sip my coffee slowly in the morning and indulge in a glass of wine in the evening every now and then. I will stop bustling like Martha and try to listen like Mary.

When LIfe Begins and Why it Matters



Head on over to Catholic Stand and read my latest article about when life begins and why it matters. 

Friday, August 08, 2014

Gratitude in Public

Saying Grace by Norman Rockwell

Recently, Mary's Gourmet Diner in Winston-Salem, NC was in the news because the staff often offered a 15% discount to patrons who publicly offer a prayer before eating. Even a simple silent bow of the head before chowing down could earn the discount. It was just a feel good story.

Apparently, not everyone felt good about this practice. The Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF) has forced the restaurant to discontinue the discount on the allegation that it is illegal and discriminatory. Rather than become embroiled in a lawsuit, the restaurant has discontinued the discount.

Well, patrons may not get a discount, but they should still feel free to take time to bow their heads and thank God for the food in front of them. I say grace any time I sit down to a meal. It doesn't matter if I am by myself at the kitchen island, with my family around the table, or at a public restaurant. When we are in public we merely take a moment to bow our heads and quietly recite the classic Catholic grace, Bless Us O Lord and these thy gifts. If I am out with friends who do not usually say grace, I do not insist that they join in or even call attention to the fact that I say grace. I just pause before digging in and silently acknowledge my gratitude to God.

There should be no embarrassment or apologies for this pre-meal ritual. I am not offended by those who choose not to pray and they should not be offended if I opt to offer thanks for my meal. I do not know why the public display of religion is so offensive to some people that they feel the need to shut it down. I understand why Mary Haglund chose to discontinue the discounts for praying. It is asking a lot of a small business owner to endure the litigation of militant atheists. While the intolerant FFRF may have stopped the financial rewards earned by prayer, they cannot touch the spiritual rewards. And maybe folding your hands in public even when there is no tangible immediate gratification will serve as a witness to others that serving God is more valuable than a 15% discount on a meal.

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