Thursday, August 25, 2016

Small Success Thursday

It's Thursday...and I write these things before we get to Thursday so I have to come clean. We haven't made it to the barber's yet.  We have procured shoes and lunch boxes and school supplies.  I'm trying to summon the will to fill out forms.   It's going to take prayer and I'll probably have to bribe the 12 year old with milk shakes. (Plural).  

Come join us for Small Success Thursday!

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Fasting Wednesday

Everyone who reads this knows I'm a big fan of Fr. John Riccardo of Our Lady of Good Counsel. He's calling for people to pray and fast for our country as we prepare for the upcoming election.  Here is his first talk, but I recommend listening to all of the ones he's presented as part of the discussion.

Pray and Fast Why?

I know fasting and prayer are recommended to us as whens, not ifs, of a vigilant Catholic prayer life. I also know I stink at it.  It seems like nothing, but it is not nothing, for as Saint Therese of Lisieux says, "to pick up a pin for love can convert a soul." My fasting tends to be of the pin variety.  If I go without diet coke, it will be a fast, because I do seek it daily and often.  But it is as a friend of mine, Larry D once wrote, a cross of toothpicks. (I love that phrase), and the soul it will most likely work on, is mine.

The rest of his talks on fasting for this nation are available here.  I've put off doing this in part because I've usually heard about this after I've not only had breakfast but usually lunch.  However, diets, prayer regimens, writing regimens, budget plans, fasting, any thing we want to pursue seriously, can start at the moment our heart answers.  Anything else, is an excuse, a delay, a triumph of sloth over the opportunity for grace.  Any quitting because we messed up or forgot, is also a form of mini despair, and again, the hooks of despair pulling the soul away from the possibility of greater grace and growth in virtue.  

I hope others will join me, I hope we get a collective not just of Catholics, but of all patriots for this nation, to consider offering something up, surrendering some habit, some gift, for the good of the nation, and that all of us pray for the candidates we have, will grow in discernment, grace, wisdom and charity.   Pray especially for the candidate you despise.  Fast for him or her.  Give alms.  Offer masses for them.  Offer rosaries, offer holy hours.  We're going to need them, whoever wins, to be blessed, be graced, and be touched deeply by God, so that our nation may be a people of hope, a people of generosity, and a people of peace.

Monday, August 22, 2016

So Are the Rest of Us too Tepid? Or is it Just Me?

This past week, several friends in the Catholic blogosphere lost their spots as featured regular columnists at a national paper I sometimes write for and respect.  However, as the third person fell, I had to wonder, why are they being dismissed?  All three live their Catholicism, one is an intellectual, one is a humorist, and the third, an evangelist/mother.  All three had an edge to their writing, such that sometimes, it cut, meaning it spoke to the heart and challenged.  

I loved all three for their ability to be so fearless.   As someone who sometimes struggles with writing everything I think for fear of injuring people, I admire their tenacity, their willingness to speak and be unafraid.

However, with the third firing, it brings the question, are the rest of us (and I will mean primarily me) being too tepid in our witnessing to the faith online?  Am I avoiding the harder issues, the ones that rankle the soul because they demand I think and wrestle with convictions and find courage?  You know, the biggies like politics, marriage, abortion, social justice, Pope Francis, right and left wing thinking in the Church, birth control, priesthood, the true nature of the Eucharist, the real consequence of prayer, all that stuff.   Am I too comfortable being a comfortable Catholic blogger?   Ought I to do more and if so, what?

The coward me answers, I have such a small corner of the internet.  It's a happy perky mostly Chocolate coated candy bar type of experience.  Such musings may be sweet and easy to consume, but they don't have as much nutrition as the three authors I admired.   My writings have peanuts by comparison.  It will hold you over, but it's never enough to make a meal.  Why mess things up?

Because we aren't called to a neat and tidy life. As I told my mom the other day, if there's a hard road, I find it and take it.   She'll love reading that in my blog. Loving me as a child and as an adult must be the equivalent of a roller coaster experience where you keep thinking, have we had enough fun yet?

I go back to my original creed in writing.  Truth has to lace everything, even charity, if it is to be true charity, just as charity has to lace every truth, so it may be received.  However, it will mean I must not be afraid to use both charity and truth in equal parts.  What is it I'm supposed to write?  I know relevancy in writing is determined by the willingness to bleed on the page, to think about those things that matter, and to risk something beyond approval.  Answer: ask the Holy Spirit to lead on, and follow.

I hate that I've answered my own question, but it's the lesson I keep learning.  Study more, get back to work and buckle up.

****and then, real life interferes giving me the perfect Chocolate moment...my teenager is pretending to be an elephant and tormenting my five year old by snorting imaginary boogers in her hair.   Sometimes, humor is healing. Sometimes it reveals how far we have to go even on the everyday issues before we can get to the big ones.

Leaving a comment is a form of free tipping. But this lets me purchase diet coke and chocolate.

If you sneak my work, No Chocolate for You!