Sunday, November 25, 2007

We were in WI

for the weekend (since Thursday evening, actually), enjoying good times with extended family and a few nights with Grandpa and Grandma. For me, it was a much-needed mini "getaway" on their farm in the country... and after the grey skies and dampness we'd had here for at least a week, waking up Friday morning to a brilliant blue sky and a coating of sparkling snow on the ground was a welcome change! We were all spoiled by Grandma's wonderful goodies and meals, and had time for some of what I call "the simple joys"... like traipsing around the farm feeling the snow crunch under our boots, laughing and breathing deeply of crisp, cold air, and with no destination in particular.

I looked at Sarah and remarked, "Being here makes me a child again."

But now, we're home, and there's plenty of grown-up work to do, so... adieu for now! I hope your holiday was a joyous one too!

P.S. Don't forget today's Solemnity of Christ the King! There's a nice article here (don't mind that last year's date is on it–the Solemnity is every year!). And Amanda has a lovely prayer posted here.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Blessed Thanksgiving!

"Let us remember that, as much has been given us, much will be expected from us, and that true homage comes from the heart as well as from the lips, and shows itself in deeds."

~Theodore Roosevelt

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

From the Readings for 11/21

"It happened that seven brothers with their mother were arrested
and tortured with whips and scourges by the king,
to force them to eat pork in violation of God’s law.

Most admirable and worthy of everlasting remembrance was the mother,
who saw her seven sons perish in a single day,
yet bore it courageously because of her hope in the Lord.
Filled with a noble spirit that stirred her womanly heart with manly courage,
she exhorted each of them
in the language of their ancestors with these words:
'I do not know how you came into existence in my womb;
it was not I who gave you the breath of life,
nor was it I who set in order
the elements of which each of you is composed.
Therefore, since it is the Creator of the universe
who shapes each man’s beginning,
as he brings about the origin of everything,
he, in his mercy, will give you back both breath and life,
because you now disregard yourselves for the sake of his law.'"

(2 Maccabees)

Oh, what a heart-tugger this reading is! And what a mother! I can never hear or read that passage without a pang of intense sorrow and admiration for her. To see your seven sons killed before your very eyes, and to respond as she did.... what absolute grace, what supernatural strength. This, indeed, was a mother who knew what her life's purpose was: to bring her children to salvation. And her trust was such that she was able to not only endure, but encourage them in the sacrifice of their own lives for the sake of faithfulness. Lord, grant all mothers the same courage, the same trust, the same resolve!

I know this is rather pointless,

but how is it that I never noticed the whole assortment of text color selections in the blogger post-writing box? =) What possibilites!

Well, my family does call me "the font queen", but...what can I say? Give me fonts, give me colors, and I'm pretty happy! ;)


Pope Benedict's visiting the US in April!


Pope Benedict XVI to visit the United States April 15-20, 2008

The Holy Father will arrive in Washington on the evening of April 15, with a visit to the White House on April 16 and a meeting with the bishops of the United States at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception that evening. April 17 will include a public Mass at the new Nationals Stadium in Washington and a meeting with the presidents of Catholic universities and diocesan heads of education at Catholic University of America, as well as a meeting with representatives of other religions at the John Paul II Cultural Center. Pope Benedict XVI will fly to New York City on April 18 for an address to the United Nations. He will also meet with ecumenical leaders at a New York City parish that evening. On April 19 he will celebrate a Mass for priests, deacons and members of religious orders at St. Patrick’s Cathedral and will meet with young Catholics at St. Joseph Seminary in Yonkers. April 20 will include a visit to ground zero, the site of the twin towers of the World Trade Center, and a public Mass at Yankee Stadium.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

I've wanted to write this post for a long time

It was several years ago that a friend first lent me Eric and Leslie Ludy's books When God Writes Your Love Story and When Dreams Come True. I immediately fell in love with their engaging, entertaining style and the beautiful depth of their message. When God Writes Your Love Story put into words, and took to a new level, much of what was engrained in my heart thanks to the goodness of God and the wisdom of my parents. And as anyone who's read the Ludy's own story in When Dreams Come True will agree, their God-scripted romance surpasses that of any fairytale! I must say, it's wonderful and encouraging to read beautiful, pure fictional romances, but even so much more uplifting and convicting to read a true one. It leaves you exulting in the fact that cherished relationships don't only happen within the covers of a good novel, but that by the masterful Divine hand and plan, they actually can take place in reality.

Lately, I've been blessed anew through the Ludy's ardent work. I must admit that the depth of their passion for a life completely and utterly centered around Christ puts me in awe. Their desire to share the joy of this conviction has enabled them to touch and bless so many souls. The email update I received from them the other day included an invitation to visit their newly redone website, and when I re-visited Leslie's site for girls (an extension of her book Authentic Beauty; also wonderful!), I eagerly checked out her rather new online audio series. I haven't listened to all of them yet, but her "Sacred Design" session was so good for me the other day. She speaks straight from her heart about being Christ's "set apart princess", and the personal stories she shares were very moving and convicting for me. I came away meditating on a phrase she used often, and which I love: what it means to be captivated by our Heavenly Prince. I will admit in a heartbeat that I am in love with words, and this one recently was stamped on my "favorites" list... those words that, in and of themselves, make for some beautiful contemplation. Especially since listening to Leslie's talk, I have found myself praying to become completely captivated by my Jesus. And nothing else. Just whispering, reminding myself, "He is enough for me. My Jesus, You are enough."

He is enough. And He is everything. And that, indeed, is captivating.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Enter a Rose

A sweet friend and dear goddaughter has just made her "grand entrance" into the blogsphere! (I am privileged to be her Confirmation sponsor.) She is a gifted writer, and I look forward to plenty of beauty and inspiration from her blog. Please take a minute to drop by and give a warm welcome to Lady of the Rose!

And because I just love the quote she shared today, I have to share it here too. (Hope you don't mind, Amanda!). It is a real gem, from none other than J.R.R. Tolkien.

"Out of the darkness of my life,
so much frustrated,
I place before you
the one great thing to love on earth:
The Blessed Sacrament...
There you will find romance, glory, honor, fidelity
and the true way of all your loves upon earth,
and more than that: Death:
by the divine paradox, that which ends life,
and demands the complete surrender of all,
and yet by the taste of which alone
can what you seek
in your earthly relationships be maintained,
or take on the complexity of reality,
or eternal endurance,
which every man's heart desires."

~ Tolkien in a letter to his son

Friday, November 16, 2007

Have You Seen Bella Yet?

A message from Eduardo Verastegui, lead actor and Producer of Bella:

URGENT!!---- Bella is the #1 Top Rated Movie in the US but if the movie "Bella" does not have high box office scores this weekend IT WILL BE TAKEN OUT OF THEATRES
Because of your help the distributor is doubling the number of theaters showing Bella
We can do it again and make it to the #1 busiest box office weekend of the year....Thanksgiving weekend. It is "do or die" for this film to succeed. We need to mobilize everyone we know to watch this film Fri-Sunday (Nov 16-18).

Complete theater listing here.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

The State of Girlhood

My heart breaks at articles like this and this (warning: descriptive content). So many little girls have lost, or perhaps never experienced, the privilege and joy of being just that: an innocent young girl. They are merely victims of a culture gone mad. Really, when we take a good hard look at what we feed our children—the entertainment we offer, the playthings we buy, the role models we uphold—what can we expect? Likewise, how can we encourage our little girls to be "sexy", teaching them to "flaunt what they've got", and then be surprised at the amount of child molestation and sexual abuse that goes on?

Little girls—and their present, future, and eternal happiness—are very, very close to my heart. Maidenhood—and all the purity, loveliness, innocence, wonder, and charm that goes with it—must not be lost. And this is precisely why I distribute a special book for young girls through my movement.

In contemplating all of these thoughts today, I went running to one of my favorite books: The Privilege of Being a Women by Dr. Alice von Hildebrand. This little book is brimming with pearls of wisdom...

"The fearful sexual decadence that we have witnessed in the course of the last forty years can be traced back, at least in part, to the fashion world's systematic attempt to eradicate in girls the 'holy bashfulness' which is the proper response that women should give to what is personal, intimate, and calls for veiling."

"The fashions of the day are all geared toward destroying women's sensitivity for the dignity of their sex... The state of our contemporary society sheds light on the fact that when women 'no longer know how to blush,' it is a portent that this society is on the verge of moral collapse."

"If little girls were made aware of the great mystery confided to them, their purity would be guaranteed. The very reverence which they would have towards their own bodies would inevitably be perceived by the other sex. Men are talented at reading women's body language... Perceiving women's modesty, they would take their cue and, in return, approach the female sex with reverence, instead of with today's brutal irreverence which unleashes lust and impurity."

The state of romance today is a troubling one because the state of womanhood and of girlhood is a troubling one. I'm not saying that the pervasive misunderstanding and abuse of human sexuality is all our fault, or that men bear no part of the guilt. We both do. But we women have to come to grips with and teach our young girls this simple truth: we can't hope for or demand respect when we don't have it for ourselves.

A maiden of 1902... and today

How Refreshing

that when your ten-year-old brother's friend comes over, the activity of their own instigation and choosing is not computer games, Play Station, or television, but...


I suppose I should title this "Time Marches On"

Wow! So much has happened in the past two weeks. A highlight was hosting six beautiful young women from NET Ministries at our home for two nights the last few days of October. I was thrilled to be able to have their team at St. Joseph's leading a retreat for 85 youth on October 30, and we savored every moment of our time with them. I marveled at how instantly we girls (meaning my sisters and I) were able to connect with these missionary sisters-in-Christ, and how much we were able to do for each other in such a short time. Here were six young women of varying backgrounds and all different parts of the US, and such kindred spirits that we felt like we knew them forever. And it was more than that. It was the penetrating beauty of the Church Militant, the Mystical Body of Christ. I love how the girls refer to those other girls on their team as their "sisterhood" (likewise, the five young men on the team were the "brotherhood"). We felt so blessed to be a part of that sisterhood for the time there were here. Deo Gratias.

And it had struck me that my periodic, unplanned (and rather undesired) "breaks" of stepping away from my corner here for a bit are somewhat needed to help me in the continual effort of finding balance and discipline in my daily life. Each day our Lord stretches me. Each day He challenges me. Each day He has work for me. Some days that includes this. Some days it does not. Sometimes, it's a little hard to realize when it's the latter. :)

Saturday, November 10, 2007

On the Triumph of Love...

"Love cannot triumph unless it becomes the one passion of our life. Without such passion we may produce isolated acts of love; but our life is not really won over or consecrated to an ideal. Until we have a passionate love for our Lord in the Most Blessed Sacrament we shall accomplish nothing."
~St. Peter Julian Eymard