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, Professor, 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, February 24, 2012

Off the cuff?--Amazing!

The Vatican Information Service reports that Pope Benedict XVI gave an "off-the-cuff" commentary on the letter of St. Paul to the Ephesians. It is amazing teaching. And to know that it was unplanned--just what came off the top of Pope Benedict's head make it all the more impressive. Do read the whole thing but enjoy a little snippet here:
According to St. Paul, the primary virtue which must accompany vocation is humility. This is the virtue of the followers of Christ Who, "being equal to God, humbled Himself, accepting the status of servant, and obeying even unto the cross. This was the Son's journey of humility, which we must imitate. ... The opposite of humility is pride, the root of all sin. Pride means arrogance, which above all seeks power and appearance. ... It has no intention of pleasing God; rather of pleasing itself, of being accepted, even venerated, by others. The 'self' becomes the centre of the world; the prideful self which knows everything. Being Christian means overcoming this original temptation, which is also the nucleus of original sin: being like God, but without God".
By contrast "humility is above all truth, ... recognition that I am a thought of God in the construction of His world, that I am irreplaceable as I am, in my smallness, and that only in this way am I great. ... Let us learn this realism; not seeking appearance, but seeking to please God and to accomplish what He has thought out for us, and thus also accepting others. ... Acceptance of self and acceptance of others go together. Only by accepting myself as part of the great divine tapestry can I also accept others, who with me form part of the great symphony of the Church and Creation". In this way, likewise, we learn to accept our position within the Church, knowing that "my small service is great in the eyes of God".
Lack of humility destroys the unity of Christ's Body. Yet at the same time, unity cannot develop without knowledge. "One great problem facing the Church today is the lack of knowledge of the faith, 'religious illiteracy'", the Pope said. "With such illiteracy we cannot grow. ... Therefore we must reappropriate the contents of the faith, not as a packet of dogmas and commandments, but as a unique reality revealed in its all its profoundness and beauty. We must do everything possible for catechetical renewal in order for the faith to be know, God to be known, Christ to be known, the truth to be known, and for unity in the truth to grow".
Every year Lent seems to develop a theme. This year's theme is coming together. With my reading of Surrender! by Fr. Larry Richards, these words of Pope Benedict, and the increased need to defend the Faith in the public square, my Lenten journey has come into focus: learn to faithfully follow the will of God and seek to effectively offer the truth with charity.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Hope

Why we continue to hope:

The Father resurrected Him through the power of His Holy Spirit and Jesus, the new Adam, became the spirit who gives us life, the first fruits of the new creation.

The same spirit that resurrected Jesus from the dead can transform our hearts from hearts of stone to hearts of flesh. We said as much in the psalm: “A pure heart create for me O God, put a steadfast spirit within me, do not cast me away from your presence, nor deprive me of your holy spirit.” That the same God that exiled our first parents from Eden, sent His own Son to this Earth devastated by sin, without sparing Him, so that we, prodigal children, can return, penitent and redeemed through His mercy, to our true homeland. So it be for all of us, and for all believers, and for all those who humbly recognize their need to be saved. Amen.--Pope Benedict XVI, Ash Wednesday 2012

Holiness

This Lent I am reading Fr. Larry Richards' book, Surrender. Fr. Richards is not speaking of a passive giving up. Rather, he is speaking about an active life that lives the prayer Christ taught us: Thy will be done.

It is very easy to say, "I am a good person. I follow the Ten Commandments. I try to be nice to everyone. I help the poor." But God doesn't want us to just be nice. He created each of us for Heaven. He wants each of us to be holy. He calls each of us to be a saint.

Holiness requires that we seek the will of God in all things. How often do I  map out my plan for life and forget to compare it to God's plan for me? Figuring out God's will can be challenging since God does not send us a Powerpoint presentation with bullet statements for our vocation and mission. But He does give us the Church. He does  give us Scripture. And he does speak to us through prayer if we are patient enough to listen.

Fr. Richards ended the first chapter of his book with a prayer from St. Augustine of Hippo. I will end this post with same prayer. Seeking holiness is the first step to seeking God's plan.

Breathe in me, O Holy Spirit, that my thoughts may all be holy.
Act in me, O Holy Spirit, that my work, too, may be holy.
Draw my heart, O Holy Spirit, that I love but what is holy.
Strengthen me, O Holy Spirit, to defend all that is holy.
Guard me, then, O Holy Spirit, that I always may be holy.
Amen.



Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Humility

Over the last few weeks, I along with many others have been sounding the alarm and readying for battle. Our religious freedom in this country is at risk. And while our actions are right and just, they are in vain if we do not first turn our trials and tribulations over to God. All that we do must be seen as serving Him. Without God, we can do nothing. With God, all is possible.

Therefore, I invite you to join me in this Novena for Religious Freedom. If you have not used the praymorenovenas.com service before, I encourage you to register. You will receive the daily novena prayers in your inbox as a daily reminder to pray. You will also have the support of thousands who are praying this novena with you.

I like to think that I am doing great things and accomplishing a great deal. Lent is a good time to remember that I accomplish nothing. God accomplishes good things if I allow Him to use me as his instrument. I put our struggles for religious liberty in His hands. I offer my work for His glory.

ad majorem Dei gloriam

Friday, February 17, 2012

More on the HHS mandate

My latest piece for HLI America was first published at CNSNEWS.COM. It is great to see these points being made in a secular news venue.

It is time to do some fact checking about President Obama’s “compromise” on attacking religious liberty.
First of all, telling Catholics to just close their eyes and keep paying their insurance premiums that will ultimately cover morally objectionable services is not addressing respect for conscience and religious liberty. No matter how you spin it, Catholic institutions will be paying for contraception, sterilization and abortion-inducing drugs. The end result is no different than the original Health and Human Services (HHS) mandate, since insurance companies are not going to just throw these services in for free.
 Continue reading here or here

My Congressional Representative --How Embarrassing



My Congressional Representative, Gerry Connolly, confirming I was right not to vote for him.

A Catholic bishop, a Jewish rabbi, as well as Protestant clergy testified before Congress because of their concern that the HHS mandate would trample their religious freedom. This is their right as US citizens. What does Rep. Connolly do? He scolds them for taking part in the political process and calls them shameful! He was rude, arrogant, and mocking to these men of the cloth.

Now here is the kicker. This man claims to be Catholic. Calling Bishop Loverde. This man resides within your diocese and is publicly insulting Catholic clergy. He is promoting the infringement on our religious liberties. I believe this deserves a personal response.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Where are all those who profess to be so concerned about women's health?

Today, a huge multi-billion dollar industry is exploiting America's young women. Where is the outrage? Where are all those voices who claim they care about women's health? Here is a snippet:
The screening process begins the dehumanization of the egg supplier. Infertile couples specify the ethnicity, height, weight, IQ, test scores, and medical history desired in their egg supplier. A potential oocyte supplier is evaluated like a farm animal against these criteria and matched with a buyer. It is ironic that many of these buyers probably seek hormone-free meat and eggs for their dinner table yet have no compunction about treating a woman like an industrial farm chicken and pumping her full of hormones to make her produce more eggs.
Read the whole article at HLI America

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Connecting the dots between old style feminism and abortion

As a woman of a certain age, I can offer a little perspective as to why the pro-abortion crowd gets so hysterical.

Those of us of who still remember when both the Huntley-Brinkley Report and Walter Cronkite were on television also remember the reports of the women’s liberation movement. Bras were burned in defiance of “male chauvinist pigs”. Virginia Slims cigarettes told us, “You’ve come a long way, Baby!”  Billie Jean King and Bobby Riggs played out the “Battle of the Sexes” on the tennis court. And amidst all of this, the United States Supreme Court ruled that a woman had the right to destroy the child within her womb.
Continue reading at HLI America

Wednesday, February 08, 2012

The HHS mandate is only one reason Obamacare has to go!


Can we take a step back here? Clearly the HHS mandate that requires the Catholic Church to pay for contraception, sterilization, and abortifacients is an affront to religious liberty. This is being acknowledged from both ends of the political spectrum. At least 92% of the bishops who head a diocese in the United States have spoken out forcefully in opposition to the mandate. They have been joined by leaders of many other religious communities. Even the secular press is presenting this as a religious freedom issue. So how did we get here?

This issue is before us because the Secretary of HHS declared that contraception, sterilization, and the use of abortifacients (morning-after pill) are preventive medicine. This is an error as I argued here. Contraception, sterilization, and abortifacients are elective medical interventions. They are lifestyle choices. Preventive medicine prevents disease and maintains health. Contraception, sterilization, and abortifacients take a perfectly healthy reproductive system and render it sterile. So why did the Secretary of HHS include these elective medical options as mandated preventive care? Because Obamacare says she can.

The real danger of Obamacare is not the specific medical requirements outlined in the bill. The danger is the power this bill ceded to HHS. The Secretary of HHS has the power to set up all kinds of committees and commissions to determine what will be covered care and who will get it. For example, Obamacare will fund the Patient Centered Outcome Research Institute (PCORI) to the tune of $600 million dollars a year to research ways of cutting medical costs. Of course that means the PCORI has to “find” $600 million dollars of “unnecessary” care to justify its existence. Would you trust Blue Cross to do research to determine what is the best medical practice? I wouldn’t. Their financial interest in spending as little as possible on medical care would bias their judgment. The same thing will happen with the PCORI. They are tasked to set best medical practice standards with the ultimate goal of cutting costs. However, the cheapest care is not always the optimal care for the patient. Do you want an organization that is tasked with cutting medical expenses to be responsible for setting therapeutic guidelines?

The fight for religious liberty is the only the first battle of Obamacare. The next battle will be the fight for our eligibility for care. Perhaps the PCORI says we are too old for care. Or the PCORI says we are too disabled to warrant care. Or the PCORI says nutrition and hydration are optional care. If this legislation stands we will soon be fighting for our lives.


Sunday, February 05, 2012

Part of something bigger

For those who went to Mass this weekend (and I do hope all my Catholic readers went to Mass!) we recited the Nicene Creed and said, "I believe in one, holy, catholic, and apostolic Church." Catholicism is not ours to design and shape to our individual preferences. The Mass is not ours to personalize. As members of this Mystical Body of Christ, we humbly submit our own will to God's will as revealed through this one, holy, catholic, and apostolic Church. That is why Bishop Braxton, of Bellville, IL had to fire a priest:

For 18 years, the Rev. William Rowe has done a little improvising while celebrating Mass on Sunday mornings at St. Mary's Catholic Church in Mount Carmel, Ill.
Now those deviations have led to his resignation in an incident that may be tied to global changes to the Catholic liturgy.
Last Sunday, instead of saying "Lord our God that we may honor you with all our mind and love everyone in truth of heart," during the opening prayer, he altered the phrasing to better reflect the day's Gospel message, in which Jesus heals a man with a troubled spirit.
"We thank you, God, for giving us Jesus who helped us to be healed in mind and heart and proclaim his love to others," the 72-year-old priest prayed instead.
Three days later, Rowe received a letter from Bishop Edward Braxton accepting his resignation.
This priest endeared himself to many parishioners. Many are heartbroken to see him go. The bishop is being portrayed as an ogre for not tolerating a little tinkering with the Mass. However, the Mass does not belong to the priest, to the choir, or even to the people in the pew. It belongs to the one, holy, catholic, and apostolic Church. The universality of the words at Mass reflect the universality of the Church. Allowing each individual priest to tailor the wording to his own whim puts the individual priest above the Magisterium.  It fosters a cult of personality. The Mass is about the presentation on the altar of the sacrifice of Christ. How the priest feels, how the choir feels, and how the congregation feels are all irrelevant to the Mass. If this priest felt the words as written in the Mass needed clarification, he is certainly free to do so in his homily. But he does not have the right to deprive the people in the pews of the words prescribed by the Roman Missal. When this priest was ordained, he pledged humble obedience. Proclaiming that his personalized prayers are superior to those of the Roman Missal is an affront to this pledge and Bishop Braxton was right to remove him from the parish. It should be a lesson to us all that as members of the Catholic Church we are part of something much bigger than ourselves.