Friday, April 29, 2011

The Fun Quotient... of the heel-clicking variety

I'm home almost 4 days from Rome now, and still having a little trouble finding time to update the blog with news of my travels. There will be a podcast, and a blogpost soon, and there will be pictures, I promise. I've been sidelined with a sinus and bronchial condition upon coming home, then had the pleasure of house guests -- dear friends who visited us after a visit to their son in a New England college. Now, today, my daughter returns from her studies abroad... we must prepare! I'm so grateful for all of these real blessings in life, even more so as I pray for those people in the US who have suffered grave losses in the face of aftermath of the recent tornadoes and thunderstorms that have swept our country.  


My oldest son, Bobby, will be 24 this summer. Immediately after graduation from St. Bonaventure University, he moved to New York to take a job in a public relations firm. Needless, he never really came home from college after graduation and the real goodbye of a parent to a grown up child took place...(you know its coming someday, but you just can't always predict when it will happen.) Deep down, I knew that he was ready to launch.  Since graduation last May, Bobby has been steadily working. So when we approached him with the idea of his joining us in Rome, he jumped at the chance to come.

So our time in Rome was not only one of pilgrimage, but also one of family reunion and bonding. And the opportunity to say "hello" again to one of my favorite people for 10 days straight. I reveled in the easy smile that comes to this young man's lips. And I realized just how much I've really missed him.
Bobby & me - Outside of St. Peter's Basilica, Rome.
Bobby's exuberance at being in Rome matched my own, yet his joyful self-expression of it out loud, is something I could only do in my heart. (I don't think I've ever jumped up and managed clicked my heels, but these photos really capture a few of our favorite moments along the way on this trip.)  Here is my 6'-4'' son at a few of the famous places we visited.
In St. Peter's Square in Rome

On the Roof of St. Peter's Basilica

At the Colosseum

Next to a Bernini fountain in Piazza Navona at night

I'll be back to post more soon!

Thursday, April 28, 2011

The Crowning Truth of our Faith

My latest, over at Patheos looks at the mystery of the resurrection, with some great instruction and inspiration from Pope Benedict...

Jesus’ Resurrection was about breaking out into an entirely new form of life, in to a life that is no longer subject to the law of dying and becoming, but lies beyond it -- a life that opens up a new dimension of human existence. Therefore the Resurrection of Jesus in not an isolated event that we could set aside as something limited to the past, but it constitutes an “evolutionary leap” (to draw an analogy, albeit one that is easily misunderstood). In Jesus’ Resurrection a new possibility of human existence is attained that affects everyone and opens up a future, and new kind of future, for mankind

(Pope Benedict XVI, Jesus of Nazareth, Holy Week: From the Entrance into Jerusalem to the Resurrection, Ignatius Press, 2011.)

There's more here.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Happy Easter!

A classic from Sandy Patty and Larnelle Harris...

He is Risen!

He is Risen, indeed!

Thursday, April 21, 2011

It's Holy Thursday: Go Find Him

The Second Vatican Council rightly proclaimed that the Eucharistic sacrifice is “the source and summit of the Christian life”. “For the most holy Eucharist contains the Church's entire spiritual wealth: Christ himself, our passover and living bread. Through his own flesh, now made living and life-giving by the Holy Spirit, he offers life to men”*. Consequently the gaze of the Church is constantly turned to her Lord, present in the Sacrament of the Altar, in which she discovers the full manifestation of his boundless love. 

---John Paul II, Ecclesia de Eucharistia (On the Eucharist and its Relationship to the Church) (Note: this was the last encyclical John Paul II gave us.)

*Presbyterorum Ordinis, 5.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Among Women on hiatus this week!

Remembering you before the holy altars of Rome...

image credit

Monday, April 18, 2011

Friday, April 15, 2011

The F.U.N Quotient...

Often these Friday posts are silly, random things....  today, not so silly... more joyous as we maintain the solemnity of the final week of Lent....

I work up with this song on my mind... one I learned back when I was in the 8th grade... it has stayed with me all these years....

I promise you that if you sing this chorus a few times this morning, it will put a swing in your step the rest of the day.

Here's the original...

Thursday, April 14, 2011

What's that on your face?

One of the joys you might see on my face each week is cooking up ways I can delight my editor, Elizabeth Scalia, with my column over at Patheos. She has a pen I revere and her wit and wisdom is razor sharp. I really like her and she'd probably give me a wink and a smile and say something encouraging if she heard me say that some weeks this kind of writing just does not come all that natural for me, and I struggle to find the flow between the research, the selection of content, and, heck, just getting the words down in a rational manner.

However, the following article was not one of those. It was one of the easiest ones to write because it was subject that I had readily taught, and I always write down my talk content. So, when Elizabeth asked me months back to begin sharing some of my catechetical material with the Summa This Summa That blog at Patheos there were some weeks when all I did was re-write what I would say to you in person as a catechist.

What follows is the core nugget of a talk I give on Catholic social teaching, to clarify what it is, and to ground it in God's Word and the Church's magisterial documents. In other words, if I had an hour to give you the whole talk -- all 7500+ words of it -- you might be interested. But if you needed the executive summary, "the money quote", you know, if you could only remember ONE THING about Catholic social teaching, THIS SUMMARY would be IT.

I'm pleased that Elizabeth asked to run it again: Something of the Glory of God Shines on Your Face

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

If you can remember "Where is Thumbkin?", you can learn to summarize the content of the Catechism of the Catholic Church. Really.

Amazing Catechists has my column, "You & Me & the CCC." This time around, I'm sharing one of my favorite ways to summarize the content of the Catechism of the Catholic Church... to the tune of the familiar nursery rhyme, "Where is Thumbkin?"  Don't ask me to explain it here. Go there and check it out! (There's other good stuff from a host of catechists writing on various subjects.)

My thoughts on this B-B-Big Church, over at Catholic Mom today

I'm over at one of my favorite websites^^ in the world today, Catholic Mom! And it's a little ditty about our world-wide connectedness as Catholics, as well as world-beyond-heaven connections...
My 21-year old daughter tells me she loves going to Mass at the Oratory in London. She says its a little bit like at home in some ways, but different, you know?  She went to Mass in Ireland recently and experienced the same thing. She loves the catholicity she finds. And I love it when I see one of my children come to experience a truth of our faith in a tangible way.  Indeed, we are part of a big church – much bigger than we dare to really imagine on any given day.
Soon my family will meet my daughter in Rome before she ends her semester abroad. I expect similar connections to be discovered in the Masses we will attend at St. Peter’s Basilica. There will be thousands of pilgrims there, and we’ll experience the Mass we’ve come to know at home in a new way: in Latin and many international languages during the high holy days.
I know just how my daughter feels. It is wonderful to discover that we are members of this amazing global Catholic Church. It is astounding to think that, at every moment of the 24-hour day, a Mass is being offered somewhere, touching every hemisphere.
There's more to it, here.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

I've been tagged with a Lenten meme

I was tagged by Fr. Jay Finelli of iPadre Catholic podcasting with a Lenten meme.
The rules:  Those tagged will share 5 things they “love” about Jesus/ Or why they love Jesus. Those tagged will tag 5 other bloggers. Those tagged will provide a link in the comments section here with their name so that others can read them.
Here's mine:
  1. Jesus came into my life at my infant Baptism, but waited patiently until I was a teen to acknowledge him publicly. I so love that He loved me even when I was unaware and ignored his love, and then drew me into a lasting relationship with him that can last forever.
  2. I never had anyone die for me before, nor can I fathom asking anyone to do so. But Jesus died so that I might live, and he did it without hesitation. I don't think I'll ever get over that one.
  3. His Word and Sacraments are Life for me.
  4. I will forever be grateful for His Love to me through my husband, family, and the family of God on earth and in heaven (Mary and the saints).
  5. I love that He loves me even when I fail in my faith, hope and charity... and offers forgiveness, renewal and healing for the part of me that need it most.
Now I’m  supposed to tag 5 bloggers and spread this meme.

Among Women #94 - Ringing Round the Rosary

Among Women 94 is the third entry in our Lenten series called "Raising the B.A.R." in our prayer lives.  This week's podcast is dedicated to the "R" in BAR, that is the Rosary and its benefits. Pat's opening unpacks some reflections from John Paul II's letter about the Rosary, Rosarium Virginis Mariae.

This week our saint segment reviews some of the wisdom of the saints as to devotion to Our Lady of the Rosary. Our conversation today features Jennifer Willits, co-founder of Rosary Army, and co-host of The Catholics Next Door with her husband, Greg, on Sirius/XM radio. Jennifer shares her own history with the rosary and what it has meant in her life.

Monday, April 11, 2011

This makes me think... about adding more silence to my life...

The word and silence

In their interventions, a good number of Synod Fathers insisted on the importance of silence in relation to the word of God and its reception in the lives of the faithful. The word, in fact, can only be spoken and heard in silence, outward and inward. Ours is not an age which fosters recollection; at times one has the impression that people are afraid of detaching themselves, even for a moment, from the mass media. For this reason, it is necessary nowadays that the People of God be educated in the value of silence. Rediscovering the centrality of God’s word in the life of the Church also means rediscovering a sense of recollection and inner repose. The great patristic tradition teaches us that the mysteries of Christ all involve silence. Only in silence can the word of God find a home in us, as it did in Mary, woman of the word and, inseparably, woman of silence. Our liturgies must facilitate this attitude of authentic listening: Verbo crescente, verba deficiunt.

The importance of all this is particularly evident in the Liturgy of the Word, “which should be celebrated in a way that favours meditation”. Silence, when called for, should be considered “a part of the celebration”. Hence I encourage Pastors to foster moments of recollection whereby, with the assistance of the Holy Spirit, the word of God can find a welcome in our hearts.

---Pope Benedict XVI, Verbum Domini, par. 66.

The Tide is Turning - Pass this one on! (College students: Check this out!)

HT: Patrick Madrid

Saturday, April 9, 2011

On Kneeling and Healing

O come, let us worship and bow down, 

let us kneel before the LORD, our Maker!
(Psalm 95: 6)

I have missed kneeling. It might sound silly. A posture I once loathed, counting the seconds when on my knees as an impatient and wiggly kid, I was now missing it as an integral part of my adult life.

For months my left foot and lower leg were in a cast of one sort or another following surgery to my ankle in mid-November. This was the winter of my discontented hermitage… a forced slow-down, a break from normal activity and driving, and a long recuperation at home.

The sheer size, weight, and angle of my cast made kneeling, impossible.
(This was the second and lightest cast that I wore...)

This was the second time in three years that I have had a surgery that resulted in long months of my inability to stand without crutches, or to kneel down. It was the second time my dear husband rearranged his life and work to tend to my recovery; the second time my young adult children served the family while Mom was out of commission.

You’d think I’d enjoy the break. And on some days I did. I enjoyed someone else doing the cooking, and the bending. I loved the little love notes in the mail and email from long distance family and friends. But most days I bristled against my confinement as the long weeks of New England snow piled up. Sometimes I did not have the graciousness I should have had as I had to rely on others for the least things. I tasted what it is like to be infirmed and housebound, like so many people I have visited to bring holy communion.

Unable to drive and do most household chores, I thought it would be great opportunity to write and read. Ah! More time for the things I love! But the drugs I needed for pain management, the stress of work piling up, the additional doctor visits, and the general state of the household wore me out, provoking the opposite effect. Another side effect was that my writing felt cramped and trapped, hurting and weighed down. One of my editors noted it, and she was right.

I had to submit to being cared for, to let things be... I had to continually find ways to be grateful that I was not in a rehab hospital setting, that I was within the comfort of my own home, with a family member always in earshot.

It was a winter of offering up my little deprivations, my pains, and my prayers. It was like an intense Lent, but my sensibilities were out of sync with the liturgical calendar.

With the harsh winter we had here in New England, my one outing every week was getting in the car to go to Sunday Mass with my husband and son, and crutching down the aisle to find a seat. I would sit on the wooden pew and not really move for the hour or so that we were there.

Still, there was much to be grateful for at each Mass I attended. I was recovering a little more each week; I had my amazing family. I was in a position to intercede for others who needed my prayers.

Often we don’t appreciate what we have until its gone. That’s the hardest lesson of loss. As a woman who has known infirmity and unsettling disease over the last 15 years, I have learned that many times over. But this was merely a temporary loss of mobility. Was I needing to relearn this old lesson of appreciation for God’s providence? Or, was there a deeper lesson this time around?

All I know is that I was leaning very hard on the Lord.

What are you saying to me in this season, Lord? Where are you bringing me, even though I am not walking?

For one thing, he showed me a new appreciation for my kneel. Both in body, and in spirit -- the part of me that acknowledges his Lordship over every little detail of my life.

To kneel before God is a blessed thing. We are the only creatures who roam the earth with a free will… and the only ones with the freedom to give homage by kneeling to the One who is worthy of it.

(Of course, I’ve struck kneeling postures for many reasons besides prayer. As a wife and mother, I’ve often knelt beside the sickbed of a loved one… or to pick up thing… or clean… or serve…)

But there is nothing quite as peaceful as to kneel to adore the One who made your heart; to sink slowly onto bended knee before The Presence.

 I’ve written before about the transforming power of adoration of the Blessed Sacrament. For each person the experience is different and I can barely describe the sacred intimacies that come from those moments of surrender before the Lord… the One who made us and loves us with an unending bounty and unfathomable kindness.

I learn and know something on my knees that is not often clearer in other stances. Posture preaches. Gestures have interpretations. Kneeling makes me smaller. It takes effort. Kneeling is a yielding out of love. I cannot jump up from that posture, at least at my age I cannot. I have to stay put at least for a little while.

But when I kneel something physical unlocks; the upper and lower back muscles relax. My quads stretch. The heart rate lowers.

When I kneel, my focus sharpens. I am closer to the ground, or maybe, I just feel more grounded. I become aware of the heart in the left center of my chest.

Kneeling is reserved. I use it most when I am with God alone, and when I am with the Church.

Kneeling signals prayer for me. It slows me down. It opens up a mental space, a zone where I concentrate only on what it in front of me, and what is within. In a curious paradox, despite the vulnerability of kneeling, I feel more open than closed when I kneel.

Kneeling is a posture of surrender. While some people may see this as a weakness, it can also be a certain posture of strength in that we are asking for divine guidance. We can view it as a sign of deep respect for God. And anyone who knows anything about love knows it grows from being rooted in respect.

In kneeling I am acutely aware of my littleness and my own need. But in so doing, I am most aware of my being me before the One who knows me: warts and all, insecurities and all, infirmities and all. It is the same One who knows me as someone beautiful, someone unrepeatable, someone beloved.

This winter, I longed to just kneel at the foot of Christ and be healed, of my painful ankle, but it was a slow recovery. But there was more than a sore ankle needing healing. 

No, this was a time of learning once again to kneel and heal --to reverence the Lord--within my heart... and to trust that I would find Him there to do what was most needed. The Lord gently showed me that parts of my life were bound and needed freedom. I needed to welcome his healing into some areas that had been left to benign neglect. Fearful things had cramped my heart and held me back from loving Him and others with active abandon. I longed to split open the casts that arrested me… the ones that confined and daunted my heart and mind and love. 

My lack of kneeling ability was a temporary situation. Somewhere in the months ahead I knew I would be restored to my normal activities. I needed patience. I needed to kneel in my heart before the Lord, until I could do it with my body.

I began to develop a greater gratitude for what is, not for what is lost. As circumstances sent me into the hermitage, or the cloister, or the desert, or the wilderness -- take your pick of metaphors -- I learned again what it is to “wait upon the Lord” (Is. 40:31), to let God to make a move.

What I mistook as God’s inertia was merely his way of making my heart a fallow field awaiting new seeds to be sown in the spring. I had to trust God would take me wherever he wanted me to be. In time.

So here it is, early April, and I'm emerging. I'm regaining my mobility and my former strengths. But there is so much more.

Tucked in the last chapter of the Song of Songs is a remarkable image of the lover and beloved emerging from the desert; the beloved leaning on the arm of the lover.

Who is this coming up from the desert, leaning upon her lover?
(Song of Songs 8:5)

The ones who take in the view are surprised that this is the same woman who left them… now transformed by her time in the desert with the one who loves her. It is a surprising recreation of the one they knew. She is the same woman, yet different. The same woman who went into the desert, is now changed in countenance and bearing.

Today, I am feeling like that woman. Between the beginning of February and now, a lot has gone on.

After 10 weeks of immobilization, the cast came off around February 1st and I attended my first Mass in which I could kneel. I wept tears of gratitude for my improved mobility as I leaned heavily on my cane. 

But the Lord showed me that He was not quite finished being my escort into quiet places where he would woo my heart. Much to my surprise, he immediately set me out on a series of brief pilgrimages to adore him in the most amazing places. I was only too happy to comply! Heck, I had a brand new kneel and an ankle brace ready for anything.

So, if you’ll indulge me, I’d like to share just where the Lord has brought me sightseeing… and where I have been privileged to kneel before Him...

In early February, I had a remarkably unexpected opportunity to visit my daughter who is studying abroad in London, in Paris. Here I am, barely out of the cast, taking my cane and my new sneakers to tour Paris with Katie (atop the Arc de Triomphe, with Tour Eiffel in the distance)…
and that same night kneeling down in humble adoration at Sacre Coeur
where perpetual adoration has been taking place for 125 years…

Upon returning to the States, I found myself traveling for a few days with my son Peter to visit my other son Bobby who lives in New York. Whereby I spent time kneeling down in my patron’s cathedral, St. Patrick’s, in midtown Manhattan. There, I just had to kneel in the Lady Chapel…
Photo courtesy of
(Here are "my boys" Peter, 18, Bobby 23, aboard the aircraft carrier USS Intrepid on the West Side.)
Meanwhile, in early March, I got a lovely offer from my pal, Maria Johnson,

to escape the snow zone and fly down to Miami to visit her and her extended family for a few days of sun, 


Cuban cuisine, good wine, and this amazing shrine dedicated to the Patroness of Cuba, Our Lady of Charity…
also known as La Virgen de la Caridad del Cobre.
Where I spent time adoring the Lord, once again…
And talking to Momma Mary a lot too!

Then just last week, I spent time kneeling in prayer and adoring the Lord with the women who attended the Moms Day Away (at another St. Patrick’s!), this time in Stoneham, MA.

But the sweetest kneel has been coming back to my weekly adoration hour right here in my home town…
I started this post by saying it was the kneeling posture that I missed the most. But more than that, I think it was the surrender of my own “kneeling” heart before the Lord that I longed for. For in those times of stillness and enclosure, I received the reassurance of healing graces that come from God, who is not only the healer of ankles, but the lover of my soul. I had more than a torn tendon needing repair, there were other places in the soul that needed a godly touch. I was just a bit too busy for my own good to notice.

Ahh yes... the learning never ends, and the Lord is never done with our transformation and re-creation. And sometimes we've got to 
s-l-o-w down to get it...

Sometimes God needs us to be home for a long while before he sends us out elsewhere.

Sometimes he wants us to learn to be content with what is, rather than to pine for something beyond our reach, or to do things out of season.

Sometimes the physical healing we need is just the first step toward a deeper inner healing that is required. 

Sometimes, the first stop on an exciting pilgrimage is a surprising excursion into the desert. (Maybe it wasn’t on your travel itinerary, but it was on God’s.)

And sometimes, the “breaks” we need most are the ones that reveal our own brokenness… so that we are can be still long enough for the Lord to be “near to the brokenhearted” (Psalm 34:18), and where he can deal with us, doing his most important work of healing and restoration in us.

Only in God’s economy could a loss, or a setback, become gain.  Only in God’s eyes could our humble failing knees become places of exultation. Only on our knees, (either physically or spiritually --if we are unable to kneel)-- and by this I mean our full surrender -- will we find the God who bends low to meet our every need, and then raises us up. 

Have a mentioned that my husband and I are taking a family pilgrimage to Rome next week?

I’m glad my kneel is in good shape.

Friday, April 8, 2011

The F.U.N Quotient... songs...

I like to sing. I'll never cut an album, but I've written quite a few songs over the years for my Christian communities in NY and MA.  Here are a few artists I admire who write and perform their own stuff. Their words are speaking to me this week as we round out another week in Lent!

Thursday, April 7, 2011

The Hairy Truth

Years ago, there was a silly commercial on TV with the line: "Does she, or doesn't she? Only her hairdresser knows."  The spot was promoting a certain brand of color. Women of a certain age, like myself, will often use certain hair treatments with a certain regularity. In much the same vein, Christians in certain situations will avail themselves of going to confession and receiving the Sacrament of Reconciliation. So, one might ask, why put off what makes us look and feel so good? I wonder about that myself...

I have a confession about Confession. I need to go. And I should go. But sometimes I put it off when I otherwise know better.
Here's another confession: I go to the salon to cover my gray. It's a little ritual I do a few times a year. I don't like the cost of the hair makeover, so, by the time I finally make the appointment, I really, really, need to go.
On the confession front, even though I know what's good for me, I often still cajole myself there. Of course, who likes facing up to their vices and sins? So I put it off. But that is not recommended, especially when I start noticing my faltering interior attitude as it leaches out through my weakening defenses—like my muttering of cuss words under my breath when I get cranky. The quality and color of my language is usually the first obvious sign that I'm overdue for an appointment with a confessor.
It's kind of like my hair color...
Read the rest at my weekly column at Patheos.

image credit

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Lessons from the Sauce Pot

My good friend, Maria Johnson, has a fun post about 33 random things about her life. I always appreciate those kinds of posts from the writer's I read, I love to get to know them a little better. So I thought I'd share this piece that came from some of my earliest scribbles on a blog... it's not quite 33 things, but there's some randomness in there... and a little history... 

It was a cold, damp day here in New England... a good day for something warm from the kitchen...

I am adding the final touches to the tomato sauce on the stove that I have just made from scratch…  The smells from the pot make me think of my sister, who gave me her favorite sauce recipe when I was a younger newlywed.  As I carefully pour the red wine into the measuring spoons, struck by the wine’s bouquet, the memory of my French grandmother comes into view. She always had red wine on the table.  

My saucepot musings continue as the Lord is bringing other memories to mind, and I find this cooking session is now a prayerful reverie.

My favorite meatloaf recipe comes from Mom, my favorite bread recipe from a friend I have now lost touch with – and yet I think of both of these women whenever I prepare those recipes. 

And as I reflect, a more profound thought takes over. So many other ingredients that are “in me” really came from the simmering influences of interesting people, the rolling boil of intense circumstances, the fresh produce of education and work, and the salt added by my tears. My genetic make-up, my likes and dislikes, my quirks of personality, and the things that matter to me most yield this-- I am a spicy, saucy combination of what’s been handed on to me, a unique recipe.

I am the only woman of my generation to get blue eyes from my maternal grandmother. 

My love of flowers and bird-watching comes from my mother, and my appreciation for craftsmanship and brick and stone masonry from my father.

My sisters taught me to lighten up and that even though I am the oldest, I don’t know everything.  They are still showing me the way.

I grew up on Long Island and will forever be a beach lover, a bagel eater, and a cheesecake fanatic in search of a great diner.

I give in to the seduction of dark chocolate because my father always gave heart-shaped  Valentines -- filled with Russell Stover chocolates.

I learned to love music by spinning records on my parents’ phonograph. I am captivated by guitar music thanks to Chet Atkins, John Denver, André Segovia, and Eric Clapton, not necessarily in that order.

I love the outdoors, especially mountains, because I was a Girl Scout. I can still tie impressive knots on a campout.

I write because of three memorable teachers I had in junior high and high school. 

I learned about real lasting friendship and Christian fellowship in high school. I began to understand how the aroma of Christ attracts people like me. Thirty years later, I still enjoy friendships from those years, and the fragrance is still sweet.

I am a true road warrior. My mother probably doesn’t think I got this from her, but I did. I was a young child when my mother learned to drive. She’d cart us all around Long Island to beaches, museums, and the City. But “the road” really grabbed me during my 17th summer when my folks let me take a “supervised” road trip 400 miles away with a station wagon full of friends, sleeping bags, and one adult chaperone.

During my college years I sought a God who already knew me by name, and promised me a future and a hope that was yet unseen. I learned to work hard for no pay at college internships and to remember those days when I later earned a good salary.

In marriage, I understood what laying my life down finally meant. 

My love of photography comes from my boyfriend, now husband of 20+ years, Bob.  We need a separate bookcase just to house all the photo albums.  My travel bug comes from Bob too. Over the last two decades we’ve ventured to see the places we had only dreamed about.  In the process, I’ve learned that I’m better with maps and planning details, and he is a much better packer and budgeter.

Most important, Bob taught me about sharing my dreams, and not being afraid of success or failure.

I learned about mothering as a vocation from the women of my prayer groups over the years. My friends of Italian ethnic origin taught me to serve rich food alongside welcoming bear-hugs. Those same women provided me with a few more recipes that are now my own. Their friendships provided nourishment to a hungry soul.

Being a breast cancer survivor has taught me that today is a gift, and to always say “I love you” to your family and best pals. And that it is worth it to make a sauce from scratch. You learn to savor so much in the process.

My Catholic faith comes from the Church and my parents and others who don’t even know they had a holy influence on me. My parents had me baptized, taught me my prayers, sent me to Catholic schools, encouraged me to go on retreats.  My high school youth group helped make Jesus “real” to me, before I truly understood about the “real” presence of Jesus in the Eucharist, and other deep theological truths. 

In my worst times, sufferings taught me to hope and to understand why Jesus suffered and poured out his blood for us. And in my best times, I know why Jesus poured the wine at the Last Supper, and why we will be enjoying a finer vintage someday at a heavenly banquet. (I bet an amazing sauce will also be on the menu!)

So today I stir the sauce and I pray: thankful for all the ingredients –like graces-- that have been stirred into my life. I realize that Christ is calling me to be like this hearty sauce: A warm inviting aroma, nourishment to those I’m called to feed, and poured out for those I serve.

Monday, April 4, 2011

This makes me think... about God's will...

The will of God is simply what ought to happen in the world He created, what ought to emerge from the interplay of natural forces, and what ought to emerge from man's work, from the freedom of the human spirit, so that the world may come to be what God intended it to be. The will of God is the consummations of the divine creation of which man, with his freedom, is part.

That is in itself inconceivably great. But there is more to it than that: the will of God is what God demands of man; in other words, what He requires of me. It is His will for me, for this individual me, as a member of the human race, and His will for the world through me. 

But there is still more to be said. This will of God does not stand "over" me, "in front of" me, and say, "You must do this or that. You must become this sort of person." God does not give me marching orders. He is a living power ruling within me. The will of God is not merely a claim on me; it is also an active force. It is the special way in which he admonishes, urges, helps, sustains, acts, molds, struggles, overcomes, and perfects -- inside me.

The will of God is the power with which He help me to fulfill His demands. Seen in this light, it has another name: it is the power we call grace. When the will of God is done, it is the gift and achievement of this will itself. It is my work, but mine only through His, His will acting in me, the whole process being a mysterious unity. 

---Romano Guardini, The Living God, Sophia Institute Press

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Friday, April 1, 2011

The F.U.N Quotient: Happy April Fools!

Things that made me giggle this week: 

And I could not get enough of this post from Faith and Family featuring "talking" twin boys in a video.

Mom-isms - so true! 

A Special Mary Joke - kudos for keeping it respectful and fun!

And finally, lame silliness from an old joke that has existed in many forms over the years, but I still laughed anyway...

The Pet Funeral

Farmer Joe lived for many years with only his dog for a companion. One sad day he found his dog dead from old age. He went to his parish priest and asked if services could be said for his dog.

The good Father said "Well, Joe, we can't have services for a dog here, but there's a new church down the street that might be wiling."

"Father do you think $50,000 might be enough of a donation?" asked Joe.

To which Father replied, "Well man , why didn't me your dog was a Catholic!"

May you enjoy random silliness today, wherever you find it!

The new Roman Missal (click & learn about the coming changes):

Watch Catholic TV here! Find Women's programs: "WINGs" and "Woman at the Heart of the Church"

A Lovely Reminder for Every Day

Coffee drinkers! Support AW by drinking Mystic Monk Coffee!

Ship a Cake, and Share a Blessing