The Childish Left by Patrick Miron

 

 

The Childish Left

To me, a Roman Catholic Right winger, the actions and hypocrisy of the Left would be amusing, were it not so damaging to themselves, to the Country they CHOOSE to call “home,” and to the Freedoms we cherish.

I have great respect for the freedoms this county grants us, while at the same time am embarrassed by the levels of hypocrisy evidenced by the Left, and modeled for the world to see by the National Democratic Party, who in my opinion betray their pledged -allegiance to America by their childish pranks, such as avoiding there Elected duty, to vote for or against the New Presidents candidates.

I’m 72 years old, and don’t ever recall the Republican Party acting is such a manner. But admit, that I could be wrong on this point?

Because the Left are not now getting “their way” and advancing a further subversion of morality; in an attempt to make America into an amoral country, to reflect their personal beliefs, which is a sadly accurate reflection of today’s Democratic Party, where childish actions seem to be their only response.

Boycotting the Inauguration events, boycotting their elected DUTY to vote; constant complaining, revolts, accusations that border on the insane; such as claiming that “their religious rights” are being taken from them. I actually read this from one of them. That same person claimed to be “embarrassed” by the moral absolutes of the Right. “Who do they think they are?” Implying our Left-wing rights are valid, while yours are not; with no regard, no respect, and I expect very little knowledge of our actual American History.

America was founded with Freedom OF religion; NOT freedom FROM religion. The Left smiles that they were able to impose immorality, same sex “marriage”, Transgender bathrooms, and of course abortion “rights.” The Left act like juvenile-delinquents now that they have lost control of our Government’s highest Offices.  Grow up already!

The Fifth Commandment is “Thou Shalt not kill.” That friend is God’s Law, which supersedes any human contravention of it. Freedom OF Religion, never was Freedom FROM religion.

The Lunacy, the frenzy, the hysteria of the Secular Press is incomprehensible, and fuels the flames of grossly-irrational behaviors to come. The lack of common sense, logic, and charity are profound. What happened to “IN GOD WE TRUST?”

The Left lost, because they LOST touch with America, and American values; values that had made this nation truly great; with what our Founders foresaw, Constituted and that many died for.

Few things better amplify my sediments than the “public” [meaning the Left’s] outcry on President Trumps immigration ban. All he is trying to do is PROCTECT the Country he has sworn to protect; and yet rather than offering suggestions on how to make it more effective, perhaps even more fair; they expend all of their energies in vial idiocrasy,  that serves not a single good or valid purpose, except to make themselves feel good. It is truly sad that the Left is some small manner reflects what once Great America has been turned into.

Today’s National Democratic Party, a Party I proudly belonged to for a great many years is now reflecting priorities, values, and practices that are abhorrent, gravely immoral, largely amoral, and so ineffective that they reduce themselves to childish actions and responses. That is truly embarrassing. WAKE UP AMERICA!

God Bless America, the land that We Love!

Patrick J. Miron

01/31/2017

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I Really liked this so I reblogged it

 

 

7 counter-intuitive keys to a happy life

Fr. Michael Rennier

January 29, 2017

 

As the saying goes, “There is no way to happiness. Happiness is the way.” Here are 7:

The quest for happiness is a strange one. The minute we focus on self-fulfillment, it slips away. So often it seems instead that when we’ve forgotten all about happiness, a look back shows us that it’s been there all along.

When I began writing this article, I kept falling back on wanting to write that happiness isn’t found in social status, wealth, or power; in blindly following the whims of the human heart, or in being true to oneself, or taking “me time.” But I think we already know those approaches don’t work. I suppose that the difficulty lies in the fact that, even though I know happiness isn’t found in a huge paycheck, universal admiration in the eyes of my peers, or doing whatever I want at any given moment, I still desperately want those things.

There’s a real difference between theoretically knowing the path to happiness and putting one foot in front of the other and walking along it, which is why the spiritual writer Thich Nhat Hanh says, “There is no way to happiness. Happiness is the way.” Perhaps that has to do with the fact that happiness isn’t so much a thing to be reached out for and grabbed, but it is found in letting go and allowing it to surround us. This means that happiness is found not when we directly seek it but instead when we do our level best to give it away to each other. So, with that in mind, here are seven counter-intuitive keys to a happy life:

  1. Think of others first

This is fairly typical advice, but what I mean by it is to think of others first as people, not as political units, demographic groups, employees, or any other label that limits who they are as human beings. Sure, everyone has some sort of label attached to them, but no one should be reduced to it. When we think of others as human beings first, we empathize with them more, enjoy the intricacies of their personalities (including the quirks), and find it easier to forget about ourselves and seek joy in the them.

  1. Go to funerals

It might not be fun to take time off and spend and hour not quite knowing what to say to a grieving family, but beside the fact that they will appreciate it greatly, funerals are a healthy outlet for emotions and they put life in perspective. Nothing lasts forever and our time here is short; we are made for eternity. Being reminded of this helps us to avoid being sidetracked by demands on our attention that really aren’t very important.

  1. Live for the next life as much as this one

Mourning the shortness of this life helps us to appreciate its fragile beauty, but also knowing that there’s an even better world right around the corner helps us to let go and enjoy whatever time we have here. Nothing gained here on earth survives death except our souls. The more we adorn our souls and beautify them through love, the more we take with us to heaven—especially if our love helps others make it there too. Personally, my goal is to love this life and get the most out of it that I possibly can, but never to the detriment of my spiritual goals.

  1. Seek excellence

Every time I think I’ve mastered a good habit, it turns out I can do even better. That’s because the human soul will continue growing over the course of our whole lives. Happy people are content with who they are, but they know that when it comes to excellence there isn’t too much of a good thing. They are always looking to improve and build on progress, knowing that none of us is made to simply be comfortable and get by. We are made for greatness.

  1. Be kind to those who are miserable

This seems obvious, but I notice an embarrassingly significant number of occasions when it’s easier to drop my eyes and ignore people, like the beggar on the corner near my house or the really sweet but talkative lady at Church when I’m in a hurry. But truly happy people want to share their happiness, especially with those most in need. This can be challenging, especially when it comes to showing kindness to those who may have hurt us in the past.

  1. Don’t allow emotions to rule you

Emotions are good and natural reactions to events around us, but if they overwhelm us they can cloud our judgment. We often mistake motivations in others (and even ourselves), and our emotions can cause us to feel unhappy when we really don’t need to be. Happiness is a deeper state of being than emotions. When I’m over-emotional, it helps to take a quiet moment and reflect on whether what I’m feeling is truly accurate and if I might benefit from adjusting my perspective.

  1. Find the silver lining

Positivity doesn’t need to be a naive denial of reality. Negativity is sometimes considered more realistic, but it can be every bit as wrong as too much positivity. The balance is somewhere in the middle, the willingness to acknowledge it’s been a bad day, but also understanding that there is good in every situation. Everything life throws at us can build character and bring people closer together. Seek to accentuate what is excellent instead of dwelling on inadequacies and you’ll be on the road to true happiness.

Each week, Fr. Michael Rennier reflects on the Sunday Mass readings and pulls out a theme applicable to our daily lives. Today’s reflection is based on the Gospel for the 4th Sunday in ordinary time

Great Love & Great Hope: rebolgged; please for them

 

Young couple’s faith helped them say ‘yes’ to quintuplets

“God asked me to surrender… Physically, mentally, spiritually,” says new mother Margaret Baudinet.

 

ZOE ROMANOWSKY

 

JANUARY 27, 2017

Courtesy of the Baudinet Family

Please check out the photos from the site

 

After marrying at the University of Virginia in 2011, Margaret and Michael Baudinet were eager to start a family. After the long-awaited news of a pregnancy and subsequent miscarriage, the Virginia-based couple decided quitting wasn’t the answer. They made another visit to the doctor who suggested they take fertility medication to increase their chances of pregnancy. When a test soon came back positive, they were elated, but at their first ultrasound appointment the couple’s happiness turned to astonishment. Margaret had conceived at least four — maybe five — children.

Turns out it was five. And since the odds of all the fetuses making it to a point of a viability without major medical problems were low, the Baudinets were advised to abort all but two (called “selective reduction” in medical terminology). This deeply troubled them, but they were also grieved by the idea that all of the babies could die. In a blog post about that stage of their journey, Margaret wrote:

We agreed to take the weekend to think it over. Michael went to meet with his priest and I met with the pastor at my church. We both spent time in prayer and meditation. We were both, of course, terrified that we wouldn’t be able to agree (…) On my drive to work the next day, I felt as if God was asking me to do one thing. He wasn’t asking me to be brave or to know all the answers or to please everyone in this process. No. God asked me to surrender. Surrender. Physically, mentally, spiritually. God asked me to surrender. To me, this meant that we would keep all five babies and let God determine their fate.

Michael then came cross a story in Newsweek about a doctor in Phoenix, AZ named Dr. John Elliott, who specializes in saving multiples. He has a reputation for getting women to longer-than-average gestation times and reducing the risk of physical/mental handicaps. No other doctor the couple could find had more experience with high order multiples. All of Dr. Elliott’s patients raved about him. The couple contacted him and he called back, spending an hour with them on the phone.
“Dr. Elliott was the first doctor who didn’t tell us that keeping the quints meant that we would ‘hope for the best,’” wrote Margaret in another blog entry. “Instead, he had the attitude that ‘this can be done.’ While he did not sugarcoat the risks, he explained that he could help the pregnancy succeed. It would not be easy, but it could be done.”

According to Margaret’s research, American quintuplets (“quints”) are born around 27-28 weeks gestation on average. At 26 weeks gestation, a baby has approximately an 80% chance of survival, but a nearly 50% chance of a significant long-term physical or mental disability. At 28 weeks gestation, those numbers improve to a 90-95% survival rate with a 25% chance of long-term disability.

The Baudinets’ goal was to make it to 30 weeks, though Dr. Elliott wanted it to be 34. The couple made plans to move temporarily to Phoenix so they could be under the care of Dr. Elliott and the staff at St. Joseph’s Hospital. Their friends and family rallied to help.

Margaret was scheduled for a C-section on December 17, at 34 weeks gestation, but the babies had a different plan and arrived 13 days earlier on December 4. With joy, Margaret and Michael welcomed Ava Louise, Clara Catherine, Camille “Millie” Whitney, Isabelle Frances, and Luke Thomas. Each was released after some time in the PICU (Pediatric Intensive Care Unit) — with the last of the five released on January 8, one week before the family left Arizona.

While feeding and caring for the five newborns requires a team — which currently includes both grandmothers — the next big challenge after the babies were out of the hospital was how to get them from Phoenix back to Virginia. A car ride was too long and bumpy, and a plane ride could expose the babies to dangerous germs their systems aren’t ready to handle. Through some connections Moggie found a generous friend willing to donate a private jet.

“We caused quite a spectacle with our five car seats, dog, and three adults piling onto this luxurious jet,” wrote Margaret on January 20. “Many heads turned as we transferred car seat after car seat out of the car and into the plane. The kids did SO well on the plane—it must’ve been that excellent care!”

Michael’s father, Charlie Baudinet, flew back to Phoenix to retrieve the couple’s car and drive it back to Virginia. “The next order of business is to convince Nissan to make a donation of a Nissan NV Passenger van!” he said.
While these early days of adjustment are daunting, two au pairs will arrive in February, which will hopefully bring some relief to the family, especially when Michael returns to work.

“We take it one day at a time, trusting that God isn’t giving us anything we can’t handle,” says Michael. Margaret adds, “Throughout this process, we’ve heard God simply ask us to surrender. To His will and His choice. God assured us that He would take care of the rest…”

Amidst the current chaos, there is amazement and gratitude for the tremendous blessing the Baudinets have received — for five healthy and beautiful babies, first of all — but also for the tremendous support and generous help so many have provided. “We are very grateful for all the prayers and help that we’ve gotten and that God has taken us this far,” says Michael. In a recent blog update, Margaret wrote:

There are no words to be able to tell you how supported I feel. Thank you. From my parents’ friends from high school to my friends from my hometown to our new friends in Cville to nurses in the NyICU at St. Josephs, thank you for your generosity and love. I believe it’s Proverbs 22:9 that says the “generous will themselves be blessed.” God bless you, generous ones, we are so grateful.

 

Zoe Romanowsky

Zoe Romanowsky is Lifestyle and Video Editor at Aleteia’s English edition

– See more at: http://aleteia.org/2017/01/27/young-couples-faith-helped-them-say-yes-to-quintuplets/?utm_campaign=NL_en&utm_source=daily_newsletter&utm_medium=mail&utm_content=NL_en#sthash.G5NaZXSJ.dpuf

Reflections on today’s March for Life by Patrick Miron

 

REFLECTIONS ON TODAY’S MARCH FOR LIFE

The numbers of abortions is reported to have deceased by some”11%”

 in 2016

by Patrick Miron

As I watched and participated in today’s “closing Mass” for the “March FOR Life” televised by EWTN I was deeply moved and personally edified. I was renewed in the Theological Virtues of Faith, Hope and Love.

 In “Faith” by the sheer numbers of participants and their orderly conduct, so fitting of Christian example.

This is an illustration of how we are all called, in some matter unique to us and God’s expectations for each of us, to live our lives for Christ in the public forum

 Mark.4:21 And he said to them, “Is a lamp brought in to be put under a bushel, or under a bed, and not on a stand? & 5: 15 nor do men light a lamp and put it under a bushel, but on a stand, and it gives light to all In the house

 

In Hope by the large numbers of young people; especially the number of teenagers in evidence by the sheer numbers of young adults present AND their personal piety; yet another example for ALL to see.

It was evident that the younger folks led in the example of “Receiving Christ on their tongue”; rather than in their hands, And Many genuflected, and some even knelt to receive their GOD.

“What’s wrong” with receiving Holy Communion in one/s hand you ask? NOTHING! It is a valid and licit freewill choice to do so. BUT there is theologically a HUGE difference.

Receiving in one’s hand is “Taking Christ”; but Is there a better way? While receiving on the Tongue is RECEIVING Christ. …. Are WE really worthy of holding Christ in our hands?

1Cor.11: 23 to 30 “For I received from the Lord what I also delivered to you, that the Lord Jesus on the night when he was betrayed took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it, and said, “This is my body which is for you. Do this in remembrance of me.” In the same way also the cup, after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood. Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me. “For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes. Whoever, therefore, eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of profaning the body and blood of the Lord.  Let a man examine himself, and so eat of the bread and drink of the cup. For anyone who eats and drinks without discerning the body eats and drinks judgment upon himself. That is why many of you are weak and ill, and some have died. [MEANS have freely chosen eternal hell without repentance & conversion]

Also knowing with great gratitude, the example and sacrifices of parents and the Church in aiding the Rock-Solid-Catholic Faith formation of the consciences of these young people.

 

In Love by the sacrifices that ALL these people made to make evident their beliefs, and to live brightly their Christian faith; as evidenced by their sacrifice and commitment to the unborn AND the Sacrament of Marriage, so derailed in our day.

John.13:34 A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; even as I have loved you, that you also love one another

Rom.13: 8 Owe no one anything, except to love one another; for he who loves his neighbor has fulfilled the law

1Thes.4: 9 But concerning love of the brethren you have no need to have any one write to you, for you yourselves have been taught by God to love one another;

1Pet.1: 22 Having purified your souls by your obedience to the truth for a sincere love of the brethren, love one another earnestly from the heart.

THANK YOU JESUS, AND THANK YOU OUR MOTHER OF THE UNBORN: AMEN! And thanks to all those who cared enough [and were able] to live our Faith so boldly with such commitment!

“Hail Mary, full of Grace; pray for US sinners now and at the hour of OUR death”

“If you love Me, keep My Commandment; Thou Shalt NOT Kill”

With gratitude,

Patrick Miron

Father John A. Hardon S.J. on the Famly reblogged

Fr. John Hardon’s Prophetic Words on the Family

This is what we were destined to be: pilgrims in love with our families, guided by the hand of Almighty God, and blessed with His goodness.

Amanda Evinger

Well, there seems to be a general consensus among die-hard Catholics: Servant of God Fr. John Hardon, S.J., was a truly amazing man, and his words (especially his words about family life) are not to be forgotten. In his time, he not only recognized the looming challenges that the traditional Christian family was facing, but he foresaw even more daunting ones to come. As he once said, “The Catholic family in super-developed countries like the United States is on trial for its existence… One modern pope after another keeps warning the faithful about the deadly struggle going on in the world today, between Christ, the Light of the world, and Satan, the prince of darkness, and the main focus of this struggle is the FAMILY.”

And, because the family is the fundamental, vital cell of society, Fr. Hardon explains that:

  • Where the Christian family — the Catholic Christian Family — is strong, the Catholic Church is strong.
  • Where the family is weak, the Church is weak.
  • Where the family is struggling for survival, the Church is struggling for survival.
  • Where the Catholic family is dying, the Catholic Church in those cultures and countries is dying.
  • And once the Catholic family, as instituted by Christ disappears, the Church of Jesus Christ has been removed from that nation or people.

What Fr. Hardon is saying is that if we want to live the faith we profess, we must make great sacrifices to uplift the mission of the family, day in and day out. Faith and family are the heartbeat of a healthy society, and if we don’t give them due attention, our world will lose hope.

As parents we have received one of the most noble honors that can be given to creatures – the honor of receiving the gift of life, and giving it back to the Creator on high. We have been blessed with a treasure so profound the mind can barely comprehend it. Hardon continues:

Before God, parents have received a sacred trust. No one has a higher trust than they. No one has a higher responsibility than they. But, I must add, no one can take either the trust or the responsibility away. It belongs to the parents because it is given to them by God. The children they call theirs are first of all His. They came from Him and they are destined for Him. That is why God became a child: to teach us how simple it is to reach      heaven, if only we are humble enough to listen to His words, and for parents, courageous enough to lay down their lives, if need be, for the souls entrusted to their loving care.

In his work The Catholic Family in the Modern World, Fr. Hardon reminds us that this trust can be guarded through the honoring of sacramental marriage as an indissoluble, lifelong union.

We know that marriage is not merely a natural institution or social contract legalized by the State. It is a sacred covenant and, indeed, a sacrament of the New Law… a deeply interior commitment in which husband and wife bind themselves to marital fidelity.

And, in turn, the stability which this beautiful union of grace provides gives couples the strength to bring forth the precious gift of children. He also points us to what he calls a “less well-known passage” from the encyclical, The Church in the Modern World:

Wherever Christian spouses in a spirit of sacrifice and trust in divine providence carry out their duties of procreation with generous human and Christian responsibility, they glorify the Creator and perfect themselves in Christ. Among the married couples who thus fulfill their God-given mission, deserving of special mention are those who after prudent reflection and mutual decision courageously undertake the proper upbringing of a large number of children.

In light of all of this, some of us may ask how? How can we fulfill a mission so divine and challenging, when it is hard enough just to get the last-minute diapers changed so we can trek to Mass on time, keep our baby’s fingers out of electric sockets, or pay the electricity bill? According to him, prayer is the answer. Basing our lives on prayer will allow us to do extraordinary things.

Why then must we pray? Prayer is necessary for our sake, so we might humbly admit before God how blind and week, and in fact, helpless we are without the constant support of His help… We have no choice; either we pray or we do not get the divine light and strength that we need. Either husbands and wives pray or they will not receive the grace to even sustain their married love.

So, having heard these prophetic words, just what can we do about it in our daily lives? We can make family a pillar in our world today – family, that forgotten community longing to show forth its beauty once again, longing to be a light of love, mercy and grace.

We can cherish those little moments of family life – you know, the ones that seem ordinary, yet carry a secret, mystical worth within them. We can treasure the turning of our wedding ring on our finger; the irresistible smell of our newborn baby; the first prayers of our toddler; the blooming questions of our five-year-old, awakening to the world; the times we push our grandchild on a swing.

We can make time for what we haven’t made time for — like that extra call a week to Mom and Dad, that family Rosary or anniversary gift. We can support mothers who want to stay home with their children, and fathers who would like to be home more. We can send our children to Catholic schools or homeschool them, make family-friendly events the heart of our parishes, or buy some spare copies of encyclicals on family life, and give them out to friends. We can study the works of Fr. John Hardon and live them out the best we can.

And, we can, essentially, “just be ourselves,” simply embrace what is natural and innate. We can be who we were destined to be, pilgrims in love with our families, guided by the hand of Almighty God, and blessed with His goodness.

 

“In Praise of Mothers” by Tom Hoopes

 

In praise of mothers, whether blessed with children, or not!

Women bring their internal gift of nurturing with them, wherever they go

 

TOM HOOPES

JANUARY 23, 2017

Greg CC

Motherhood is in the air this week.

Today is the Day of Protection of the Unborn in the Church; the day of protection for motherhood. Last week was the Women’s March on Washington, where discussion of motherhood was notably absent from the official statement, though many mothers and children marched. And later this week is the March for Life where motherhood and missed motherhood are at the center of discussion.

Much has been made of the lack of appreciation for masculine virtues in our time. That’s true. But maternal virtues are just as important to recognize and appreciate.

I can’t help but recognize and appreciate them: I live with a mother of nine.

April is in the most difficult phase of her motherhood. The “I only have little kids” phase was really hard, but she was younger then and that phase was quickly followed by the “I have big kids who help a lot with everything” phase. Now, she’s in a phase that big families eventually get to: the “I have little kids at home and my helpers are moving to college and getting married” phase. And that turns out to be the hardest of all.

So, to help her keep her chin up, her nine children and I decided to give her a book of memories for her December birthday. We collected photos and wrote down everyone’s favorite memories of mom. The memories were beautiful and hilarious, but as I organized them into a book I noticed they naturally fell into different categories.

The categories speak well of April, but also say something about motherhood in general: “Mom Spends Time With Us,” “Mom Teaches Us to Pray,” “Mom Knows How to Party,” “Mom Is Strong,” “Mom Is Funny,” “Mom Makes Things Special,” “Mom Is Incredibly Generous,” and my favorite: “Mom Makes You a Better Person.”

Isn’t that what all mothers do? And isn’t that what is best about women? April says all women are called to motherhood, it’s just that some are blessed with children.

I don’t know if that sounds demeaning or not. I know it shouldn’t. She is paraphrasing John Paul II (see No. 21 here). We have probably grown used to thinking of the adjective “maternal” in terms of its weaknesses instead of its strengths. In her book Momnipotent, Danielle Bean lists the connections between both.

Like her, I can praise the maternal strength of empathy, without in any way meaning the weakness of letting emotions rule. I can praise the maternal strength of women’s high ideals without meaning the weakness of becoming demanding or nagging.

Women can be nurturing without being smothering; women can be multitaskers without being meddlers; women can be especially attuned to injustice without being “score-keepers.”

Read more: Raymond Arroyo on Mother Angelica

Throughout my professional life, I have certainly found that to be the case. My first editor at a secular publication was a woman, and my editors at the National Catholic Register and Aleteia are women now. I think it is true that women have transformed the workplace, and business relationships, into something more human and humane, precisely because of the virtues that it should be no slight to call “maternal.”

And vice versa.

Not only has femininity given us better workers; working moms have given us some of the most consequential Catholics of our day. The great figures of the 20th-century Church were raised by working moms: John Paul’s mom was a schoolteacher; Cardinal Ratzinger’s mom was a baker; St. Thérèse’s mom was a lacemaker, and Fulton Sheen’s mom was a farm mom — just like Padre Pio’s and St. John XXIII’s.

So, in this consequential week of focus on women, I praise motherhood and maternal virtues.

I praise the women in my workplace who help me – or force me against my will – to make everything more welcoming, warm and humane, and therefore more productive and effective.

But most of all I praise the woman in my home who has spent herself making us all so much better than we ever could have been without her.

 

Tom Hoopes

 

Tom Hoopes is writer in residence at Benedictine College in Atchison, Kansas, and author of the book What Pope Francis Really Said.

– See more at: http://aleteia.org/2017/01/23/in-praise-of-mothers/?utm_campaign=NL_en&utm_source=daily_newsletter&utm_medium=mail&utm_content=NL_en#sthash.g8IMQWLM.dpuf

WHY its so Awesome to be a Catholic by Amanda Evinger: reblogged

The pope's cathedra in the Basilica of St. John Lateran in Rome (Photo credit: ‘Tango7174’, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons)
The pope’s cathedra in the Basilica of St. John Lateran in Rome (Photo credit: ‘Tango7174’, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons)
BLOGS  |  JAN. 21, 2017
Why It’s So Awesome to Be Catholic
Truly we are a privileged people, a holy nation, a people set apart to emanate the glory of God.

“From her (the Catholic Church) womb we are born, by her milk we are nourished, by her Spirit we are made alive.” —St. Cyprian of Carthage

During the years I spent living and working with Mother Teresa’s Sisters, I visited the homes of the poor numerous times. The Sisters impressed me deeply with their genuine compassion and concern, not only for the bodies of the poor, but also for their souls. Although they cherished a respect for people of all faiths, they were very intent on giving the gift of Catholicism, and drawing souls into the embrace of Mother Church however they could. From time to time they would visit homes of Protestants who were once Catholic and they would plead with them with such love in their eyes, saying, “Don’t you miss receiving the sacraments? Don’t you remember your First Communion; don’t you miss being able to receive Jesus in the Eucharist, and take him straight into your heart?” As they said these things, I knew they were living out the mercy of God because they were living out the truth, and not pushing it aside out of fear. Over and over again, whether it was in lock-down prisons or daily Mass at the crack of dawn, the Sisters reminded me why it is so awesome to be Catholic.

Now, over 10 years later, in my humdrum life as a homeschooling Mom of four little ones I am reminded of this again – in the fitful, waking cry of my newborn being baptized; in the sight of my exhausted husband praying a late night family Rosary; in how easily my daughter forgives me for losing my temper; in the shining of my five-year-old son’s eyes when he finds out we get to go to Adoration tomorrow. As I look at the Catholic world around me, I am reminded of just how awesome our faith is – in the luminous face of our Holy Father as he holds the hand of a poor child; in the unearthly silence of a High Latin Mass and in the sight of Raphael’s majestic religious works.

From the outside looking in, Catholicism can seem either too bland and unemotional, or on the other hand, too daunting to get even involved with. To many it seems like a old-fashioned, packaged religion with stringent rules and requirements. And yet, those of us who have been immersed in the waters of Catholicism and delved into its sacred spirit know that it is like a geode. On the outside it appears to be ruddy, but when it is cracked open, treasures of light, spiritual color and wonders of creation abound for the soul to contemplate. It is a divine mystery and we are truly blessed to have it’s “red carpet” rolled out before us.

As Catholics, we are privileged to belong to the tried and true One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church. The Catholic Church is the only church that can claim this properly on a theological level and can testify to an unbroken succession of papal authority – Apostolic Succession. As St. Augustine of Hippo once put so beautifully:

The Catholic Church is the work of divine providence, achieved through the prophecies of the prophets, through the Incarnation and the teaching of Christ, through the journeys of the Apostles, through the suffering, the crosses, the blood and death of the martyrs, through the admirable lives of the saints… When we see then, so much help on God’s part, so much progress and so much fruit, shall we hesitate to bury ourselves in the bosom of that Church? For beginning with the apostolic chair, down through successions of bishops, even to the open confession of all mankind, it has possessed the crown of teaching authority.

What a relief to have the Magisterium –  a guide to rely on as we try to solve the enigma of life. What a comfort to know God that God the Father has not left us alone on the trek towards our heavenly goal. He has given us the best of teachers to carry us through. Can we fathom a parent who would not love his child enough to give him rules, boundaries and solid guidance?

We can also be grateful for the vibrant religious life that all Catholics, whether mindful of it or not, benefit from on a daily basis. The prayers and sacrifices of all of those clandestine saints tucked away in monasteries and convents are a tremendous help to us all, not to mention a testimony of the preeminence of gaining eternal life. When I was searching for the fullness of Christianity, I was troubled by the fact that the Protestant churches I was looking into almost never (with the exception of a rather wacky Anglican monastery I stumbled upon) had monasteries or convents associated with them, which was something that did not line up with the historical foundations of Christianity itself. If it weren’t for the tedious copying work of medieval monks, we would not have the Sacred Scriptures we have today.