Category Archives: sacraments

Musings about Marriage

I have a friend getting married in a few months here. She has the luxury of being what some would classify an “older” bride, which I am sure has it’s pros and cons. I think about if I had gotten married right out of college, my wedding would have been so different than what it was when I was 25. The guest list would have been impossibly long, the bridal party would have had to have been strategic and the focus would have been on ME! (After all, pick up any Bridal magazine and that’s what you are told.)

It’s funny when you talk to people about weddings and marriage. Everyone tends to have their own two cents. I have an acquaintance who feels very strongly that any couple even contemplating an engagement should be in therapy, exploring the ills of their past and bringing it all out into the open. Another woman I know looks down on “short” courtships (i.e. fewer than 3 years) because how will you know how a person will act in a crisis when you are married if you are never in a crisis while dating? So in her view, it’s best to date until a crisis hits so you can see how the person you are with will react and upon that base your decision. Another woman I know, eschews the whole marriage ideal and would rather just have fun.

According to recent US Census Data, the median time for divorce in the US is about 8 years. Reasons given for the splits? In part less money and less sex. I’ve been married to the Mister for 5 years… that means we have about three years before we head down to the courthouse, right?


Like it or not, believe it or not, marriage is a promise that you make. I promise that you make to your beloved and with God as the Witness.

An example from a typical Roman Catholic Wedding Ceremony:

I, ____, take you, ____, to be my (husband/wife). I promise to be true to you in good times and in bad, in sickness and in health. I will love you and honor you all the days of my life. I, ____, take you, ____, for my lawful (husband/wife), to have and to hold, from this day forward, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, until death do us part.

And it’s not just Religious Ceremonies that have the cornerstone on marriage vows. From “Civil Ceremony Wedding Vows

[Groom]: do you take [bride] to be your wife? Will you love, honour, and cherish her, in good times and in bad, and do you promise to stay true to her as long as you both shall live?
(Groom): I do.
[Bride]: do you take [groom] to be your husband? Will you love, honour, and cherish him, in good times and in bad, and do you promise to stay true to him as long as you both shall live?
(Bride): I do.

Hindu Weddings involve the Saptapadi, or seven steps:

With each circuit, the couple makes a specific vow to establish some aspect of a happy relationship and household for each other.
To provide for food always.
To give you excellent health and energy.
To make you perform your vrithas (rituals) as ordained in Vedas, during your lifetime.
To give you happiness in life.
To make your cows and good animals grow in strength and in numbers.
To make all the seasons be beneficial to you.
To make the homams (sacrifices to be done in Holy Fire) to be performed by you in your life as ordained in Vedas, successful and free from hindrances.

Traditional Chinese Wedding Vows

, you are willing to marry as your , in sacred marriage together for life?
Whether has sickness or health, poverty or wealth, beauty or is plain, in good times and in bad, you are willing to love her, to comfort her, to respect her, and protect ?
And willing to be forever loyal to ?

Are we seeing a trend here?

Some Catholics like to think that they have the cornerstone on marriage. But in reality, every marriage is sacramental. The husband is a conduit of grace for his wife; The wife is a conduit of grace for her husband.

Don’t get me wrong. Marriage is hard, but the good days outnumber the bad. There are days that I don’t really like the Mister, but I love him dearly and because of that love that I have for him and the promise that I made to God, I will never give up on my marriage. In this land of no-fault divorce and celebrity 55-hour marriages, the focus is more on the day- the dress, the guests, the food, the party- than on the journey after. And what does that lead to? Marriages lasting less than 10 years and people who go when the going gets tough.

What are your thoughts on the state of marriage in our present society? Have we become lassez-faire about it all? Is marriage just another step in one’s life? Now, I do want to clarify, in the above post the marriage to which I was referring does not involve abusive spouses or other dangerous situations. Does that make sense?

Pax Christi!



Filed under family, marriage, sacraments, Thursday, tradition

Wisdom vs. Knowledge

My best friend heard this one at her Bible Study:

Knowledge is knowing that a Squash is a Fruit.
Wisdom is knowing that a Squash does not belong in a Fruit Salad.

OK, so when she told me, the fruit was a tomato, but I altered it, thinking that tomatoes might be pretty good in a fruit salad, but that’s not my point.

I’ve been really pondering things as of late. It might be our Book Club selections (we just finished reading The Screwtape Letters by CS Lewis, and I’ve just finished reading The Great Divorce by the same) or it’s the fact that I am beginning to have more time for deep thoughts… I don’t know. I guess the best way of putting it is that I have experienced a re-conversion.

If you are a reader of this blog, you know that I converted to Catholicism when I was in college and since then, I have gone through the highs and lows that come with being a woman of Faith. I am not just talking about personal highs and lows, but those mountaintops and valleys, oh the valleys of Faith. It’s a funny thing about conversion. When I first entered the Catholic Church, I as on fire for the Lord. I was saying and doing all of the “right” things, but looking back, I really wasn’t feeling them. Almost predictibly, as time went on, that fire began to cool a bit. I can liken it to being in a new relationship, because that is what it is.

You know, when you first start dating or seeing someone, it’s all wine and roses… you are giddy at the thought of their name and there is nothing that you would want to do to disappoint them. You might even make the conscious effort to change for that person. You are so happy and there is nothing that can take that happiness away. But then, the honeymoon period ends. It’s then you start seeing the irritations in your new Beloved. The way he breathes through his mouth, the fact that she refuses to ask for directions, how he never takes you up on your offer to drive… for each of us, there is something. SO, you end up at a crossroads, do you break up with this person or do you persevere?

The same thing happens with Faith. When you are a new convert you want to shout it from the rooftops. You want to prove how many sacraments you know and what differentiates a venial and moral sin and you want everyone to know the names of the twelve apostles and you are a font of knowledge about your faith. And if you are not careful, you may even start looking down on people because they don’t know as much as you do. But sooner or later, something happens and that zeal begins to wear off. A close friend tells you he doesn’t like your change, your spouse tells you that you are not the person she married, a Priest tells you during a conversation that what you are saying is bordering on heresy. Whatever it is, you start to pull back and you find yourself in the desert. You start to question if you have made a mistake because you now feel alone. You did everything right, and now where is Jesus? Why don’t you feel the same thing that you think your neighbor does? And what about that woman who wears a veil at Mass?? What’s she experiencing??

In the nearly ten years that I have been a Catholic, I have experienced highs and lows. I have followed the rules, I have broken the rules. I’ve been excommunicated (I was under a state of mortal sin and had not been to confession. It’s by the Grace of God that I didn’t die in that state…) and in full communion with the church…

As an aside, this might help:

Excommunication of laypeople principally means that they are cut off from receiving the sacraments. It does not mean that the Church is condemning a person to hell. In fact, excommunication is intended to be a medicine to inspire people to repent and be reconciled to the Church. Once reconciled to the Church, that person may again receive the sacraments. If an excommunicated person dies without being formally reconciled to the Church, he can be saved if he truly and sincerely repents all of his mortal sins before death. Certainly we may pray that a person in these circumstances be interiorly reconciled to God and the Church through full repentance before death. (from “This Rock”, Vol 18, Issue 9)

…but a funny thing has happened to me in the last year or so. I have begun to feel comfortable in what I have become. I no longer feel I have to defend who I am or who I have become. I still love learning more and more about Catholicism and I have will defend Catholicism as needed and to the best of my abilities (with the words of the Spirit because I can’t do it alone,) but I no longer go out seeking confrontations. I have surrounded myself with other women of Faith and that, I think, has been the biggest factor as a friend once said: “You can’t be a Christian in isolation.” I don’t feel as if I have to convert anybody or bring anyone into the Church, after all that is NOT my job as a Christian. As St. Francis of Assisi said: “At all times preach the Gospel; when necessary, use words. ” Only Christ can change another’s heart and bring them Home. My job is to act as Witness to Christ’s Love and Mercy. I don’t have all of the answers and the best part is, is that I do not need all of the answers. I have the knowledge and I can always gain more knowledge, but what I am experiencing now is the Wisdom that comes from the Love of the Son.
I know, I know… I still owe you a post on Abortion… I’ll get there. Also, I’ll be reviewing a new children’s christmas book “Little Star” by Anthony DeStefano. Stay Tuned!

Pax Christi!


Filed under Catholic, sacraments, Tuesday

Just icing on the cake

I was reading the St. Louis Review (Catholic News) this weekend and there was a letter to the editor that just made me climb on my soapbox and rant at DH.

The letter, written by a Grandmother, outlined the various grievences that she had with the Mass and people attending said Masses. Her points included:

-people not genuflecting/ bowing before entering the pew
-young people not paying attention
-young children hanging on their parents, turning around, not using books,
-chewing gum and then receiving Communion
-the presence of loud music and singing of songs that are “anything but hymns”

She closes by saying:

What on earth will our faith be like 20 years down the road? Will my young grandchildren have a strong faith to see them through life’s hard times? Singing and shaking hands will not do much with standing by a hospital bed. It all makes me sad and very tired.

So of course, the CCM got all up in arms and was ready to fire her own letter to the editor when I decided to bring it here instead.

Now, I can see some of her points. It does irritate me when I see kids playing on their Nintendo DS or PS3 or iPods during the Mass, my husband does not genuflect and sometimes I just want to tie my 3 year old to the pew, but then I remember a few things:

1. My 3 year old is, after all 3. What I expect a 3 year old to accomplish during the Mass is totally different than what she CAN accomplish.
2. All the other stuff: other people’s behavior, music selections, skills of the choir, quality of the homily, is not why we are there.

We attend Mass to take part in the Holy Sacrifice of the Eucharist, all of that other stuff is just extra. I try my best to remember that fact and when I find myself being disparaged by the extra stuff that I don’t like, I offer it up. Offer the suffering that you might be experiencing because of the extra stuff up for a poor soul in purgatory and pray that the Lord helps you to stay focused on the task at hand.

At our Parish, we are fortunate to have a multitude of Masses to choose from: If you want an early meal, try the 5pm Vigil Mass; want a more contemplative Mass, 7am; want a more grown up Mass, 8:45a; contemporary? 10:30 is for you and if you want to raise the roof with Praise and Worship songs, hit up the LifeTeen Mass at 12:15p.

The writer asks how her grandchildren’s faith will be shaped in 20 years. To that, I have to respond with the hope that their faith is firmly grounded in a love for and of Christ which can only be done with the Church and the Domestic Church (home) working in concert.

And as Saint Augustine said: “Cantare est bis orare.” (To sing is to pray twice.)
Tomorrow is “Ask CCM Tuesday!” If you have questions about Catholicism, conversion, RCIA, Natural Family Planning, Breastfeeding, Cloth Diapering, Frugal Living, Knitting, Crochet, Biology, Forensic Science, Marriage, Parenting, Gentle Discipline, etc., etc., please send me an email at:

CaffeinatedCatholicMama (at) gmail (dot) com

In your email, please include your first name and your location and let me know if you want your name withheld when I answer your question on the blog.

I have no prizes to offer for your questions other than the knowledge that you might be helping others with their questions!

Pax Christi!


Filed under Catholic, sacraments, tradition

To Save a Life…

Recently, the news covered a tragedy that no family wants to face; woman is 11-weeks pregnant and in grave danger of losing her life. According to doctors, the patient was in “heart failure” and if the pregnancy were to continue, mortality of the mother was “close to 100%”

From NPR:

“They were in quite a dilemma,” says Lisa Sowle Cahill, who teaches Catholic theology at Boston College. “There was no good way out of it. The official church position would mandate that the correct solution would be to let both the mother and the child die. I think in the practical situation that would be a very hard choice to make.”

But the hospital felt it could proceed because of an exception — called Directive 47 in the U.S. Catholic Church’s ethical guidelines for health care providers — that allows, in some circumstance, procedures that could kill the fetus to save the mother. Sister Margaret McBride, who was an administrator at the hospital as well as its liaison to the diocese, gave her approval.

In the end Sr. McBride, with the ethics committee, approved the abortion and the woman’s life was saved, but in doing so, Sr. McBride was excommunicated from the Church. Why? Because, Sr. McBride, as a Catholic, has the responsibility to respect all human life, even that of the unborn.

From the Catholic Cathechism:

2270 Human life must be respected and protected absolutely from the moment of conception. From the first moment of his existence, a human being must be recognized as having the rights of a person – among which is the inviolable right of every innocent being to life.72

Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you.73
My frame was not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret, intricately wrought in the depths of the earth.74

2271 Since the first century the Church has affirmed the moral evil of every procured abortion. This teaching has not changed and remains unchangeable. Direct abortion, that is to say, abortion willed either as an end or a means, is gravely contrary to the moral law:

You shall not kill the embryo by abortion and shall not cause the newborn to perish.75
God, the Lord of life, has entrusted to men the noble mission of safeguarding life, and men must carry it out in a manner worthy of themselves. Life must be protected with the utmost care from the moment of conception: abortion and infanticide are abominable crimes.76

2272 Formal cooperation in an abortion constitutes a grave offense. The Church attaches the canonical penalty of excommunication to this crime against human life. “A person who procures a completed abortion incurs excommunication latae sententiae,”77 “by the very commission of the offense,”78 and subject to the conditions provided by Canon Law.79 The Church does not thereby intend to restrict the scope of mercy. Rather, she makes clear the gravity of the crime committed, the irreparable harm done to the innocent who is put to death, as well as to the parents and the whole of society.

2273 The inalienable right to life of every innocent human individual is a constitutive element of a civil society and its legislation:

“The inalienable rights of the person must be recognized and respected by civil society and the political authority. These human rights depend neither on single individuals nor on parents; nor do they represent a concession made by society and the state; they belong to human nature and are inherent in the person by virtue of the creative act from which the person took his origin. Among such fundamental rights one should mention in this regard every human being’s right to life and physical integrity from the moment of conception until death.”80

“The moment a positive law deprives a category of human beings of the protection which civil legislation ought to accord them, the state is denying the equality of all before the law. When the state does not place its power at the service of the rights of each citizen, and in particular of the more vulnerable, the very foundations of a state based on law are undermined. . . . As a consequence of the respect and protection which must be ensured for the unborn child from the moment of conception, the law must provide appropriate penal sanctions for every deliberate violation of the child’s rights.”81

2274 Since it must be treated from conception as a person, the embryo must be defended in its integrity, cared for, and healed, as far as possible, like any other human being.

Prenatal diagnosis is morally licit, “if it respects the life and integrity of the embryo and the human fetus and is directed toward its safe guarding or healing as an individual. . . . It is gravely opposed to the moral law when this is done with the thought of possibly inducing an abortion, depending upon the results: a diagnosis must not be the equivalent of a death sentence.”82

2275 “One must hold as licit procedures carried out on the human embryo which respect the life and integrity of the embryo and do not involve disproportionate risks for it, but are directed toward its healing the improvement of its condition of health, or its individual survival.”83

“It is immoral to produce human embryos intended for exploitation as disposable biological material.”84

“Certain attempts to influence chromosomic or genetic inheritance are not therapeutic but are aimed at producing human beings selected according to sex or other predetermined qualities. Such manipulations are contrary to the personal dignity of the human being and his integrity and identity”85 which are unique and unrepeatable.

(emphasis mine)

The decision of the bishop of excommunicate Sr. McBride has drawn ire from those who disagree him.


The abortion was necessary to save the patient’s life. And of course a fetus couldn’t survive if the woman died at 11 weeks – a fact that wouldn’t change my feelings on saving a woman’s life anyway, but it does show Olmsted’s interest really isn’t in saving life.

The position of the Phoenix archdiocese is clear: a fetus is more valuable than the life of a woman. In fact, it’s more important not to directly terminate a fetus than to save a woman’s life even if the fetus couldn’t survive anyway. Which means a nun who acted to save a life has no place in that church according to its top official.


At the very least, a life-saving abortion such as the one in question should be accepted by the Catholic Church as an act of self-defense. As the Catholic Church’s Catechism says: “Love toward oneself remains a fundamental principle of morality. Therefore it is legitimate to insist on respect for one’s own right to life. Someone who defends his life is not guilty of murder even if he is forced to deal his aggressor a lethal blow. So why, for some elements of the Catholic Church, is the fetus’ so-called “life” the only one sacred and worth saving? Why deny women the ability to defend their own lives, which the Church has stated is a legitimate aspect of morality.

(Edited to add: It took a lot of thinking today to address the section that I’ve bolded and put into italics. The author does make a valid point in that a person is entitled to self defense to preserve their own life, however, in the Arizona case, the fetus was not causing the mother harm, rather it was her own heart acting as aggressor to her life. Now I guess you could say that the pregnancy exacerbated an already dire situation but we still don’t know if the heart condition was in play before the pregnancy.)

I am not going to get into Canon Law (because I am not a Canon Law scholar) and if the bishop was right or wrong to excommunicate but what I know to be clear is this, and rebuffs the two conclusions above: The reason why the abortion was a grave offense is that doctors were not 100% that the woman was going to die. Our faith teaches us that God is always in control and every life is sacred to him. Miracles happen everyday, and this case might have ended in the miracle of God saving both the mother and child had the mother been allowed to carry her pregnancy to term. God may have chosen to take the child home to him before the end of the pregnancy. When human interfere with the Divine Will of God is when problems arise. Faith requires us to trust in God, especially when the road is dark and dangerous.

In 1961, St. Gianna Beretta Molla, an Italian physician and mother, died as a result of saving the life of her unborn child:

In September 1961 towards the end of the second month of pregnancy, she was touched by suffering and the mystery of pain; she had developed a fibroma in her uterus. Before the required surgical operation, and conscious of the risk that her continued pregnancy brought, she pleaded with the surgeon to save the life of the child she was carrying, and entrusted herself to prayer and Providence. The life was saved, for which she thanked the Lord. She spent the seven months remaining until the birth of the child in incomparable strength of spirit and unrelenting dedication to her tasks as mother and doctor. She worried that the baby in her womb might be born in pain, and she asked God to prevent that.

A few days before the child was due, although trusting as always in Providence, she was ready to give her life in order to save that of her child: “If you must decided between me and the child, do not hesitate: choose the child – I insist on it. Save him”. On the morning of April 21, 1962, Gianna Emanuela was born. Despite all efforts and treatments to save both of them, on the morning of April 28, amid unspeakable pain and after repeated exclamations of “Jesus, I love you. Jesus, I love you», the mother died. She was 39 years old. Her funeral was an occasion of profound grief, faith and prayer. The Servant of God lies in the cemetery of Mesero (4 km from Magenta).

As far as excommunication goes:

Excommunication, it must be remembered, is a medicinal penalty intended, above all, for the correction of the culprit; therefore his first duty is to solicit pardon by showing an inclination to obey the orders given him, just as it is the duty of ecclesiastical authority to receive back the sinner as soon as he repents and declares himself disposed to give the required satisfaction.

There are so many difficult decisions in life and God wants us to come to him when we have to make those choices. He will always show us His will which may or may not be aligned with our will. Please remember the mother, the baby, Sr. McBride and the whole ethics committee at St. Joseph’s Hospital in your prayers.

Edited to add: I emailed my priest about excommunication and here is the conversation:

Hi Father!

I wrote a blog post this morning about the Arizona nun who was excommunicated for voting with the ethics committee to OK an abortion to save a mother’s life, and I have a question:

I understand why the nun was excommunicated. Were the priests involved in abuse cases also excommunicated? If not, why?

A quick answer is just that anyone who actively participates in an abortion (including a husband who drives his wife) automatically incurs an abortion. That can be removed in the confessional through absolution. However, since this took place in the public forum, the church was forced to respond publically as well. So the difference canonically is private vs. public sin. In both cases the soul is in mortal peril. If a priest publically supported the abuse of minors, or racism, etc…he would incur the same public penalty.

So, to clairfy, the priest involved in the sex abuse scandals were most likely excommunicated as well? Would they have to be found guilty by a jury first or are the allegations enough?

No, private and public sin are two different realities. Anyone in moral sin is “excommunicated” or out of communion with the church. Formal cases are only made public in public circumstances.
(end of email conversation)

Agree with me? Disagree with me? Let me know your thoughts! But, please keep the debate respectful. Remember sitting behind each screen is a person with feelings.

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Filed under mothering, political, sacraments, tradition

Rockin’ the Chapel Veil

Today, I stepped out of my comfort zone and listened to what the Holy Spirt had been telling me for many weeks and I wore my chapel veil to Mass.

Yesterday, I had the privilege of attending the priestly ordination of my dear friend, Father Anthony Ochoa, and I was astonished to see the number of women extolling their femininity and humbling themselves before God by wearing the veil. I thought about bringing my veil but in the hub-bub of the morning, I forgot to bring it. It was while the men where prostrating themselves that the Spirit spoke to me and said that it was time for me to reclaim my feminine nature and to veil myself during the Mass.

The experience was both enlightening and humbling. When I came to take my place with my family, my husband did give me a “funny” look and asked if I was planning on attending a funeral and I told him that I would explain the veil later. There were times during the Mass that the evil one would whisper to me that I was wearing the veil out of pride, to show others how pious I was but then the Spirit would remind me that the veil is an external symbol of a feminine nature and to see it was pleasing to Him.

I have decided that I will need to either pin the veil to my head or to get a longer one, as my youngest daughter liked to play with it and removed it from my head a few times. 🙂

If you are thinking of wearing the chapel veil but need a little push, I hope this scripture passage will help:

“But I would have you know, that the head of every man is Christ; and the head of the woman is the man; and the head of Christ is God. Every man praying or prophesying with his head covered, disgraceth his head. But every woman praying or prophesying with her head not covered, disgraceth her head: for it is all one as if she were shaven. For if a woman be not covered, let her be shorn. But if it be a shame to a woman to be shorn or made bald, let her cover her head. The man indeed ought not to cover his head, because he is the image and glory of God; but the woman is the glory of the man. For the man is not of the woman, but the woman of the man. For the man was not created for the woman, but the woman for the man. Therefore ought the woman to have a power over her head, because of the angels. In the Lord, however, woman is not independent of man, nor is man independent of woman. For as woman came from man, so also man is born of woman. But everything comes from God.” (1 Cor 11:3-12)

(emphasis mine)

Another good source for easing into the Chapel Veil is at the Catholic Knight

Pax Christi and Pray for all of our Veterans and for the Souls of Fallen Soldiers.


Filed under sacraments, tradition

An Open Letter to Husbands of SAHMs

Dear Husband:

Your wife has chosen a worthy occupation, one that hardly gets any recognition or respect in this day and age. She chose to give up pay, promotion, autonomy to stay home with your children. If things have been a little bumpy or if you want to keep things running smoothly, here are a few things to keep in mind. Now, the same applies to WOHMs or WAHMs but since I am a SAHM, I speak from that point of view. Enjoy!

1. She’s your wife. not your employee, not your housekeeper, not your mother. She is your wife and please remember that. She wouldn’t be a mother, you wouldn’t be a father if she wasn’t your wife first.

2. Never stop courting. If it’s starting to feel like you are living with a roommate rather than your wife, you might have stopped courting her. Women love romance and love the feeling of being swept off their feet (why else would Hollywood keep putting out those gag worthy romantic comedies??) Think about the days when you were trying to win your wife’s heart, what did you do then? Keep it up! Little things will make her feel special, loved and when a wife feels loved… there’s lovin’ in return, if you know what I’m sayin’

3. Help out without being asked. This might be the hardest one because you might see your wife’s job as encompassing all of the housekeeping duties as well, but let’s think about this together. While your day ends when you leave the office, your wife is essentially at work 24/7/365 and her primary work is that of child care. The rest… icing on the cake. But don’t get me wrong, she wants to have the immaculate, perfect house and the immaculate, perfect children but it’s not going to happen and it hurts her. (It’s been said that if you want an always clean house, don’t have kids under the age of 5) Your running the vacuum or finishing the dishes or mopping the floors or taking the kids for a walk after dinner is huge to her and makes her feel loved… and you know where that leads…

4.Support her. And I don’t just mean monetarily. If your wife has goals, dreams, help her fulfill them. Don’t just knock them down as being impractical.

5. Validate her. Being a stay at home mom can be a lonely job. Even if there is some adult interaction during the day, she still spends the bulk of her day around littles. It’s the only job in the world where no one tells you that you are doing a good job. Sure, your kids are well dressed and well mannered and that is a reflection of parenting but nothing will mean more to your wife than if you tell her how important she is to you and to your family and how you couldn’t imagine not having her around. That there is no one out there who can do the things that she can do. And top that off with a hug. A nice, long 30 second hug.

Marriage is a partnership and having kids just enriches the adventure. But like everything in life, it needs effort. If your job is getting more of your effort and time than your marriage, you might want to do a little of looking within to see where your priorities are.

4Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. (1 Cor 13:4-7)

Coming soon… a letter to SAHMs!

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Filed under life, sacraments, tradition

Mass Warm-Up Act

If you missed Mass at St. Joe’s this weekend or are no where near Cottleville, here’s my 3 minute testimony on Reconciliation. Enjoy!

Good evening/ morning/ afternoon!

My name is Karianna and I’d like to take a few minutes to talk to you about a wonderful gift that we have been given, the gift of the Sacrament of Reconciliation also known as Confession. I want to share with you some of the things it has done for me and as an extension, my family.

If you mention Reconciliation to a group, you might get a myriad of opinions: That’s only used if you’ve done something REALLY wrong -or- God knows what I do or haven’t done; I don’t have to tell a priest about it -or- I love the way I feel after getting all of that stuff off of my soul! (Betcha can’t guess my personal opinion!)

I know when I am overdue for a confession. I am a little more short-tempered, impatient and irritable and for a married mother of a toddler and an infant… that’s a bad combination.

What I find best about the Sacrament is the forgiveness and graces that follow. As soon as the words of Absolution are said and the Sign of the Cross is made I fee God’s Grace within me. I am more relaxed, more patient and more loving than before. I am ready to give my vocation it’s all.

Sometimes, receiving the Sacrament is easier than other times, but I feel it is in those hard times that it really matters. Pride is something that I struggle with and Pride can make making a good confession difficult, all because of that little voice trying to shame you out of cleansing your soul.

Although it’s been eight years since I joined the Catholic Faith, I still remember my first confession. I remember being scared- not because of what I was about to tell the Priest- but because I wasn’t sure what to do. So, my pre-confession confession of sorts was “I don’t know how to do this!” I remember the Priest chuckling as he told me that he’d help me along.

Bottom line is this: Nothing bad can come of doing an Examination of Conscience and receiving the Sacrament of Reconciliation, Only good.


Filed under life, mothering, sacraments

Retreat Reflections- The Presentation at the Temple

Sometimes things are given to us in manners that we least expect. Some call them “blessings in disguise,” (or if you watch Ugly Betty, “Blessings in the skies…”) but it reminds us that we should always be alert and on the look out for the unexpected.

22When the time of their purification according to the Law of Moses had been completed, Joseph and Mary took him to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord 23(as it is written in the Law of the Lord, “Every firstborn male is to be consecrated to the Lord”[a]), 24and to offer a sacrifice in keeping with what is said in the Law of the Lord: “a pair of doves or two young pigeons.”[b]

25Now there was a man in Jerusalem called Simeon, who was righteous and devout. He was waiting for the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was upon him. 26It had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not die before he had seen the Lord’s Christ. 27Moved by the Spirit, he went into the temple courts. When the parents brought in the child Jesus to do for him what the custom of the Law required, 28Simeon took him in his arms and praised God, saying:

29″Sovereign Lord, as you have promised,
you now dismiss[c] your servant in peace.
30For my eyes have seen your salvation,
31which you have prepared in the sight of all people,
32a light for revelation to the Gentiles
and for glory to your people Israel.”

33The child’s father and mother marveled at what was said about him. 34Then Simeon blessed them and said to Mary, his mother: “This child is destined to cause the falling and rising of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be spoken against, 35so that the thoughts of many hearts will be revealed. And a sword will pierce your own soul too.”

36There was also a prophetess, Anna, the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was very old; she had lived with her husband seven years after her marriage, 37and then was a widow until she was eighty-four.[d] She never left the temple but worshiped night and day, fasting and praying. 38Coming up to them at that very moment, she gave thanks to God and spoke about the child to all who were looking forward to the redemption of Jerusalem.

39When Joseph and Mary had done everything required by the Law of the Lord, they returned to Galilee to their own town of Nazareth. 40And the child grew and became strong; he was filled with wisdom, and the grace of God was upon him.

After the Birth of Christ, Mary and Joseph, following the rules of the land, took their newborn baby to be presented to the Lord which on the surface is kind of weird considering that their child WAS the Lord but it almost foreshadows when Christ says in Matthew 22:21. Whatever their reasonings, Mary and Joseph followed the law.

At the temple, the young family encountered Simeon and Anna, who had been waiting, waiting, waiting for the coming of the Messiah and there He was! They recognized Him right away! Do you think that Simeon and Anna expected the Savior of the World to be an infant?? Most likely not, but they were ready for Him in whatever form He arrived.

St. Paul in his first Letter to the Corinthians says: “13And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.” (1 Cor 13:13) Simeon and Anna were filled with hope for their Savior’s arrival, their faith lead them to recognize their Savior when He arrived in an unconventional form, and only a hard-hearted person could NOT Love a baby.

The Presentation

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Wordless Wednesday/ Retreat Reflection- the Nativity

The Magi were men of Science and yet they came to adore the newborn King.

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Retreat Reflections- the Visitation

Who are your Elizabeths? Our Blessed Mother gives us the ideal example of female spiritual companionship in her relationship with her cousin Elizabeth. The second Joyful Mystery is The Visitation. As documented in the Gospel of Luke:

39At that time Mary got ready and hurried to a town in the hill country of Judea, 40where she entered Zechariah’s home and greeted Elizabeth. 41When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the baby leaped in her womb, and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit. 42In a loud voice she exclaimed: “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the child you will bear! 43But why am I so favored, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? 44As soon as the sound of your greeting reached my ears, the baby in my womb leaped for joy. 45Blessed is she who has believed that what the Lord has said to her will be accomplished!”

So let’s picture this… you’ve got Mary, about 14 years old who just found out that she was pregnant and carrying the Savior of the World hopping on the nearest donkey to go see her cousin. And not just any cousin, a cousin who is advanced in age and was told that she was barren and she, too, is pregnant! So Mary took off and traveled about 62 miles (100 km) through rocky terrain and hostile territory to go and help. Part of her motivation might have been confirmation of what happened to her. After all if, when she arrived at Elizabeth’s side, Mary found her to indeed be 6 months pregnant, then she too, really had an encounter with an angel.

What does Elizabeth do as soon as she sees Mary? Does she start complaining about sciatic nerve pain or swollen ankles or heartburn or having to pee every 3 minutes? Nope, she is filled with the Holy Spirit, calls Mary “blessed” and Mary, in turn, glorifies the Lord through her Magnificat (and this is one of the reasons I love my faith… we have such fun words… fiat, magnificat…)

46And Mary said:
“My soul glorifies the Lord
47and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior,
48for he has been mindful
of the humble state of his servant.
From now on all generations will call me blessed,
49for the Mighty One has done great things for me—
holy is his name.
50His mercy extends to those who fear him,
from generation to generation.
51He has performed mighty deeds with his arm;
he has scattered those who are proud in their inmost thoughts.
52He has brought down rulers from their thrones
but has lifted up the humble.
53He has filled the hungry with good things
but has sent the rich away empty.
54He has helped his servant Israel,
remembering to be merciful
55to Abraham and his descendants forever,
even as he said to our fathers.”

In a time where women are at constant odds with one another over silly competitions, here are a pair of women not concerned with how much better one is than the other but instead they are taking joy in each others fortunes. Instead of being enemies with one another we need to embrace one another, and not just over man bashing either.

So, who are your Elizabeths? Who are the women you can go to at any time and they will be happy to see you and happy to help? I am eternally grateful for my Elizabeths: Tamara, Paulette, Kim, Suz, Laura, Colleen, Jen, Shannon, Lisa, Valerie, Nina… the list could go on and on. One thing I need to do is to tell my Elizabeths how important they are to me, and I challenge you to do the same. In this age of email, FaceBook, Twitter and blogs, maybe a nice hand written card or letter is just what your Elizabeth needs.

We are all tasked to be Christ-bearers, much like Mary. Mary’s focus was not on herself but rather the child in her womb. When we turn our focus to Christ, He takes care of all the rest.

The Visitation

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