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Showing posts from March, 2014

The Angelus: Domestic Church Style

Ding. Dong. Ding. Dong. Ding. Dong. The church bell tolls insistently from the iPhone set on my kitchen counter. My daughter comes bouncing in, American Girl doll in tow. From the distance of his room, I hear my son begin: "The angel of the Lord declared unto Mary..." My daughter and I reply in unison: "And she conceived of the Holy Spirit."  Like generations of Catholics before us - following a prayer tradition that possibly stretches all the way back to the thirteenth century, our domestic church stops each day at Noon to pray the Angelus. The Angelus is a short prayer reciting the key scripture verses related to the Incarnation of the Lord, punctuated by three Hail Marys between each verse.  It is traditionally recited three times per day at 6AM, Noon and 6PM and is perhaps best known by the Holy Father's public recitation of it each Sunday at Noon from his balcony overlooking St. Peter's Square.  I have always loved the painting by

Are You Tired of Lent?

Dr. Regis Martin of Franciscan University of Steubenville is tired of Lent . Watch what he has to say here: I have a confession to make: I agree with him.  Here we are at day 17 of the Lenten season and I am tired of Lent. I am worn out by the struggle of giving up my favorite beverage. Like Dr. Martin, I am embarrassed by undertaking such a pathetic fast to begin with, when others around me seem so much more ambitious in their disciplines.  I am disappointed that all my Examinations of Conscience seem to be yielding little change in my day to day behaviors.  I am frustrated that my prayer time seems dry and quite honestly, a bit of a struggle. Each morning I find myself asking: "How many days are left?" Lent isn't easy. Jesus' 40 days in the desert were no picnic and not without temptation. Our Lord's journey on the way to the cross was one filled with mental, physical, spiritual and emotional pain. We can expect to struggle in our attempts to overcom

The Witness of Faithful Fatherhood

"What do you mean Daddy's not coming?" began my son as I turned the ignition key. "Just you and your sister and I are going" was my casual reply. My children and I were headed to my parents' house for an overnight visit, alone. My husband was staying behind to catch up on some work. I didn't think this was a big deal, until I began to field my son's rapid-fire questions. "How will you know how to get there?" "Who will drive the car?" "Will Daddy be there when we fall asleep?"  "Will he be there when we wake up?"  And then the zinger: "Who will protect us?" Who will protect us? I have spent many hours reflecting on my son's questions. My children's instincts tell them that Daddy provides safety and security. They wait anxiously for Daddy's return from work with toys that need to be fixed. It is to him that they run if they have been picked on by a neighborhood kid and they

The Virtues of St. Patrick

With St. Patrick's Day upon us and legends of shamrocks and missing snakes abounding - it seems right to look at the life of this most popular saint in his own words. Reading The Confession of Saint Patrick  highlighted for me the following virtues so abundant in the life of St. Patrick. Humility " I am, then, first of all, countrified, an exile, evidently unlearned, one who is not able to see into the future, but I know for certain, that before I was humbled I was like a stone lying in deep mire, and he that is mighty came and in his mercy raised me up and, indeed, lifted me high up and placed me on top of the wall. And from there I ought to should out in gratitude to the Lord for his great favors in this world and for ever, that the mind of man cannot measure." (art 12) Obedience "So it is that even if I should wish to separate from them in order to go to Britian, and most willingly was I prepared to go to my homeland and kinsfolk...God knows how strongly

"Do Not Worry About Tomorrow..."

"Do not worry about tomorrow; tomorrow will take care of itself.  Sufficient for the day is its own evil."   (Mt 6:34) As I sat at Mass listening to these concluding words of the Gospel I was immediately transported back to a sunny summer afternoon when this scripture first came alive to me. It was early afternoon and I had just collapsed in a heap of frustrated tears onto my bed. I had spent the previous hour or so ping-ponging back and forth between the bedrooms of my newborn daughter and my less than two year old son. It was my first week tackling the task of parenting on my own since my daughter's birth. My parents had returned home and my husband had gone back to work, leaving me alone and outnumbered. Naptime was elusive that day to say the least. Attempting to soothe two crying, overtired children while I myself was sleep-deprived and hormonal resulted in all three of us crying. After what seemed like an eternity, they both finally fell asleep. I lay on my