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The Season of Fireflies

There is an appointed time for everything, and a time for every affair under the heavens. (Eccl 3:1)
The fireflies have returned! A couple of summers ago my husband and I noticed the woods behind our house were twinkling as if decorated by Christmas lights. We enjoyed this nightly show for a little over a week. Then it stopped. We still saw the random firefly on summer nights, but nothing like the extravaganza we had for those few days.  Last summer we again noticed the concentrated firefly activity for a couple of weeks. As it turns out, fireflies put on this two-week show as part of their annual mating ritual. So this summer we have been anticipating the big event. Our evening walks have revealed a lone firefly or maybe two, but no large gatherings. Until last night! Once again the trees took on a magical shimmer as the Lampyridae courtship was in full swing.
It is part of our human nature to look for patterns and rhythms of life. We do not look for constancy as much as predictabilit…

Authentic Feminism

Yesterday, I had the good fortune to attend Women Speak 2018. This gathering that was organized by Americans United for Life and hosted by the Heritage Foundation brought together women to evaluate the questions, “Has Roe v. Wade been good for women?” There was a panel of legal scholars, a panel of medical professionals, and a panel of cultural experts that included an economist, a sociologist, and a journalist. All of them were women. You can find a full list of the esteemed speakers as well as a video of the entire conference here. I think it would be well worth your time to watch.
The conclusion was that Roe v. Wade has not been good for women. Abortion on demand has had unintended consequences that have hindered, not helped, the flourishing of women in the physical, emotional, professional, and cultural realms. Again, watch the video for just a sampling of the innumerable negative consequences of abortion.
Most of the information I had heard before because I have spent a lot of t…

A Reasonable Faith

This past weekend I had the good fortune to spend a weekend on the beach with old friends. The nearby Catholic parish reaches out to the seasonal community of vacationers. On Sunday morning Catholics from near and far gathered in an outdoor pavilion built for this specific purpose and participated in the ultimate prayer, the Mass. Whenever I attend Mass while on vacation I am always reminded of the universality of the Church. She is one, holy, catholic, and apostolic. The hymnal may vary. The preaching style may vary. The customs may vary. But at its essence, the Mass is unifying because there is a consistent theology and doctrine no matter where you go.
Today we celebrate the Feast of St. Barnabas. Though he was not one of the original twelve he is numbered with the Apostles. Along with Paul, he was a great evangelist of the Gentiles. The central Church heard that there were a growing number of converts in Antioch. Barnabas was sent to investigate and teach. He reached out to Paul t…

Catholic Brews

Today is the feast of St. Norbert. He was born in Germany in the late 11thcentury and grew up with a fondness for life’s material pleasures. In fact, there was little he would not do to enjoy life more and avoid any discomfort. However, he found himself caught up in a thunderstorm while on horseback and much like Saul on his way to Damascus, he found himself knocked off his high horse and confronted by the Lord. This sudden mystical experience caused him to completely reform his life. He went on to become a priest and found the Norbertine order. Of course, the Norbertines have not totally given up material pleasures. They are well known for their talents in brewing beer.
Beer is not a brew I particularly enjoy. Coffee, on the other hand, is necessary sustenance. I have some rules about my coffee. It needs to be strong. Most of the time I drink it black. I drink it out of a ceramic cup if at all possible. I refuse to drink coffee out of Styrofoam. A paper cup will do in a pinch but is…

Man on the Beach

A few days ago on June 1, we celebrated the Memorial of St. Justin, Martyr.  He was born around the year 100 A.D. He was a Samarian who avidly studied philosophy but who was left unfulfilled in spite of his academic accomplishments. One day he encountered an elderly man on the beach. This man engaged Justin in a discussion of God and the words of the prophets. This encounter opened Justin to Christianity and he became a Christian philosopher. He traveled widely, proclaiming the Faith to all who would listen. During the reign of Marcus Aurelius, he was arrested for his teaching and in the year 165 A.D., he was sentenced to death. and beheaded.
What strikes me as I reflect on St Justin is his encounter with the man on the beach. This was a chance encounter. The man is not a widely known teacher. He is simple Christian who dares to share his faith. I reflect on this anonymous evangelist from three perspectives.
First, I think about the times I have had the opportunities to be the man on…

Disagreement ala Thomas Aquinas

This appeared in The New York Times and should be read by anyone who thinks he has a correct opinion on one of the many topics headlining today’s cultural news—in other words, by everyone. The money quote is:
In other words, to disagree well you must first understand well. You have to read deeply, listen carefully, watch closely. You need to grant your adversary moral respect; give him the intellectual benefit of doubt; have sympathy for his motives and participate empathically with his line of reasoning. And you need to allow for the possibility that you might yet be persuaded of what he has to say.
This is really nothing new. It is the method of St. Thomas Aquinas in his Summa Theologica. State your opponent’s position accurately and take the time to understand the support for this position before launching in to your rebuttal of his position.
This piece appeared at a very opportune time for me. I have said repeatedly I do not like to engage in Facebook comment discussions because th…

Imago Dei

There are not over a hundred people in the United States who hate the Catholic Church. There are millions, however, who hate what they wrongly believe to be the Catholic Church — which is, of course, quite a different thing.”—Venerable Bishop Fulton Sheen
The Ruth Institute is a non-profit organization dedicated to strengthening marriage and highlighting the devastating effect that broken families have on children. They are in concert with the teaching of the Catholic Church when it comes to marriage including the belief that marriage is the union of one man and one woman. For this reason, the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) has declared them a “hate group”. At no time has the Ruth Institute ever advocated violence against anyone. There is no evidence that any of their work has inspired violence. However, because the SPLC has labeled them a “hate group” Vanco, a credit card processing company affiliated with Wells Fargo, has severed their ties with the Ruth Institute and immediatel…