Sunday, December 27, 2015

Mercy in the Christian Family

Feast of the Holy Family

The Feast of the Holy Family is one of the feast days for which we use the same readings every year. This year, I will look at Colossians 3:12-17.

Last year, I looked at the expanded version of these verses, which make a little more clear that Paul is not just outlining for us how Christians are supposed to act toward each other, that it is most particularly important (and most particularly difficult at times) within the contexts of our own families.

Friday, December 18, 2015

Meeting the Incarnation

4th Sunday of Advent

This Sunday, the second reading will be from Hebrews 10:5-10. I’d suggest reading verses 1-18, for a more full context, as well as the other readings.

One who was familiar with the sacrifices of the Old Testament would know that one day each year, the high priest would enter the Holy of Holies to make sacrifices for the sins of the people - would know that he first made a sacrifice for his own sins before he was worthy to offer sacrifices for the whole people. This is exactly the intended audience, and the writer to the Hebrews lays out the ways in which Jesus was the fulfillment of the Old Testament law. Jesus says in Matthew 5:17 that he came not to abolish the the law, but to fulfill it.

Saturday, December 12, 2015


3rd Sunday of Advent

This Sunday, the second reading will be from Philippians 4:4-7. Be sure to read the other readings for added context.

I wrote last week on how Advent is a time of preparation, and the ways in which we are called to live as though constantly in a state of watchful preparation for the return of our savior and king.

There are many different types of preparation. In Advent, we practice both penitential preparation and joyful preparation. This week, we light the pink candle on our Advent wreaths, the candle which traditionally represents Joy. It is easy in a season that is both preparation and penitential to lose sight of the joy with which we prepare for Christ’s return.

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

My (late) Post for Wear a Veil to Mass Day

I have read a number of testimonies regarding why women wear chapel veils. It’s not something I ever considered important when I was younger, and none of my close relatives choose to wear a chapel veil.

The story as to why I wear a chapel veil is perhaps different from others. I started out trying to solve a spiritual problem that I’d become aware of.

Sometime around Pitter Patter’s first birthday, she started getting a lot more active during Mass. I was still struggling pretty hard against the scourge of maternity brain. And the antics of an adorable little infant did not make paying attention during mass very easy. Not at all.

Friday, December 4, 2015

{7 QT 23} - More Life Lately

So... life has been pretty busy for me this last month! Here's a little about what's been going on with me lately.

Quick Prayer Request first: sometime during the month, I misplaced my Bible and haven't been able to find it. It's the Bible I got when I was Confirmed, and so it's very special to me.  I use it for pretty much everything I do. Please pray that I'm able to find it.

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Advent All Year

2nd Sunday of Advent

This Sunday, the second reading will be from Philippians 1:4-6,8-11. Also review the other readings, for greater context.

This second Sunday of Advent, we light the candle of preparation. In Advent, not only do we prepare for Christmas, but also for the Second Coming.

Much like the Jews of the Old Testament, we engage in this preparation with great joy, and with a measure of seriousness.

Saturday, November 28, 2015

Preparing for His Return

1st Sunday of Advent

This Sunday, the second reading will be from 1 Thessalonians 3:12-4:2. But I strongly suggest reading the other readings as well.

Like many of the readings for Advent will, the first reading looks forward to the birth of the messiah, and the gospel looks forward to his return.

We know beyond any shadow of doubt that Jesus is coming back. We know this because he told us that he was coming back, and his word is trustworthy.

In light of this, what should we do to prepare our hearts?

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

St. Maria Goretti

(Don't expect anything too profound... this is just my personal experience of her visit in Baton Rouge.)

So, the big news in Baton Rouge this month is that the major relics of St. Maria Goretti stopped here on their journey around the country.

I have to admit at the outset that I usually hold the practice of venerating relics at a respectful distance; I see a lot of things that I would describe as superstition in the way some Catholics practice such veneration  – but that’s a post for another day. But… since no church in Baton Rouge has ever hosted such a thing in my memory, I couldn’t very well let them leave without trying to get something like an understand of what makes first-class relics so special to so many people.

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Living Differently for Our King

The Feast of Christ the King

This Sunday, the second reading will be from Revelation 1:5-8. Be sure to read the other readings, for broader context.

Jesus says in the Gospel reading for this Sunday that his kingdom does not belong to this world, and it is (in part) because of this that we talk about the Church and its members in the way that we do.

Friday, November 13, 2015

Living in a Type

33rd Sunday of Ordinary Time

This Sunday, the second reading will be from Hebrews 10:11-14,18. Read the other readings for this week, for a more full context.

When I was still pretty young (I don’t remember how young), I asked my parents what heaven was like. I know this question was on my mind for a good long while, because I know I got several different answers.

Saturday, November 7, 2015

Give It Back to God

32nd Sunday of Ordinary Time

This Sunday, the second reading will be from Hebrews 9:24-28, but read the other readings for context.

Does it seem unfair to you that somebody else took the punishment for our sins?

Yeah, me neither. And yet, that’s the way it was under the old and the way it is under the new.

Monday, November 2, 2015

Why We're Trying Cloth Diapers For The New Baby

When I was still working, there was someone I worked with someone who really liked working from a hard copy.  It wasn't unusual at all for this person to generate 2 reams worth of paper in any given week. (I wish I was exaggerating.)

I tried to show him how to adjust the printer settings so he could print out double-sided copies, but his unfortunate response was, "I don't believe in global warming."

To which I would always, always respond, "That's no excuse not to be a good steward of what we've been given."

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Called to Sainthood

Feast of All Saints

This Sunday, the second reading will be from 1 John 3:1-3. I’d also strongly recommend that you read the other readings for today. It’s Lectionary #667, if you’re reading from a hard copy.

We are the children of God - not just figuratively, but literally - because the Father has loved us. Note that the second reading says both that we are called the children of God and that we are the children of God.

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Computer Woes: Don't know when I can post for this weekend.

Due to a coffee-related disaster, I lost the use of eight keys on my laptop's keyboard, and I don't know exactly when I'm going to have the post ready for this Sunday.

At least all of my data is safe, though. I spent the last five hours backing up stuff off of my laptop and looking for a comparable replacement on Best Buy.

I do have all the materials for my blog, but I've been writing pretty much exclusively in Scrivener, and that isn't a standard program. It was only installed on my laptop.

I will be able to retrieve all of my work, but it will take time to get the new laptop, and then to get the new laptop set up for such things.

We've got a target at a local Best Buy that's within our price range, but I may end up calling this weekend's post all together.

I got my data, though. That's the big thing I was worried about.

Saturday, October 24, 2015

Priests: Real People --- Real People: Priests

30th Sunday of Ordinary Time

This Sunday, the second reading will be from Hebrews 5:1-6, but definitely read the other readings for context.

Newsflash, guys: Did you know that priests are real people? People that eat pizza, and like football, and even have families with weirdo kid brothers and evil sisters.

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Reformation Sunday... Day of Prayer for Christian Unity?

In Daniel’s Small Church, there are a great many people who inexplicably feel the need to celebrate “Reformation Sunday”. In case you didn’t know, it’s this weekend (the last Sunday in October).

For the life of me, I cannot cipher out why people think this is an occasion to celebrate. A run-down of what happened:

Thursday, October 15, 2015

The Kind of King We Have

29th Sunday of Ordinary Time

This Sunday, the second reading will be from Hebrews 4:14-16. Make sure you read the other readings for context.

If you do it right, I’m pretty sure it’s no fun being King. People need things from you, they rely on you, they ask for your help with things because they can't do it themselves.

When you are called upon to take up a leadership role, how do you respond?

Jesus himself said, “If it is possible let this cup pass from me," and there are anecdotes about each of the last two popes indicating that at the time that their election seemed certain, each of them begged God to choose someone else.

Friday, October 9, 2015

{7 QT 21} - NaNoWriMo!

A who to the what, now?
National Novel Writing Month - is 100% without a doubt my favorite secular celebration of anything. Way, way cooler than Talk Like a Pirate Day.

NaNoWriMo is a month-long novel writing event that takes place during the month of November. The object is to write 50,000 words worth of first draft, that you can later revise into a novel.

I have been a (very) long-time participant in NaNoWriMo. Eleven years is the figure I keep quoting on the forums, but having done a little napkin math, I am able to rattle off novel titles for eleven previous years, so this may, in fact, be my twelfth year!

And I didn't get "in" on NaNoWriMo until it had already been going strong for five years.

Here are seven quick takes about NaNoWriMo for me, this year, and why it's a red letter year.

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Obedience Out of Fear

28th Sunday of Ordinary Time

This Sunday, the second reading will be from Hebrews 4:12-13. I suggest reading from the beginning of the chapter, for context, and then read the other readings.

The writer to the Hebrews writes in this chapter on the Sabbath rest, though you wouldn’t know it by the brief excerpt we read today. Nowadays, Sundays are starting to look so much like every other day of the week that resting on Sundays is a hard thing for Christians to talk about seriously and really enter into.

Monday, October 5, 2015

Prayer Request for my Hashimoto's Disease

Those who have been following for a little while may be aware that I was diagnosed a few months ago with Hashimoto's Disease. And there's just a few things I need to talk about.

I seriously almost wrote my seven quick takes on Friday about the seven worst things about trying to go gluten-free because of my Hashimoto's. You might notice I didn't do one this week. There's a good reason for that - my Hashimoto's has been making me miserable for the last few days. While I know that whining is unbecoming, it's the only thing I feel like doing right now.

I've made a comparison in the past between Hashimoto's Disease and Diabetes. Hashimoto's Disease is not half so much like Diabetes as it is like Celiac. This is not to make light of either Diabetes or Celiac, just to illustrate a difference.

Image from Wikipedia.
Used under Creative Commons License 3.0.
Hashimoto's Disease (like Celiac) is an autoimmune condition. Any time I "cheat" on my new eating restrictions, my body produces antibodies that try to get my thyroid. And it continues to produce them for a while (the length of time being measured in months, as I understand it).

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Between the Old and New Covenants

27th Sunday in Ordinary Time

This Sunday, the second reading will be from Hebrews 2:9-11. I would suggest beginning at verse 5 - that's where the link goes. Be sure to read the other readings for context - this reflection will not make sense without them!

On description, Daniel indicated that he thought this was a “how it happened to speak to me” type of reflection. Read with that in mind!

Monday, September 28, 2015

Hebrews Is On Deck

It hasn't been all that long since I realized that the "ordered-ness" or ordinary time extends to the second readings as well. For the last five weeks, we've been reading through the letter of James. The next letter on deck is Hebrews.

For those of you who were glad to finish James because it's hard to hear, don't expect Hebrews to be any easier. Hebrews is more theological (I can say this because I just finished reading it in one sitting), but it is no less difficult! We go from hard to hear to hard to understand!

I'd suggest - if you can - that you take some time and read it all - we only read excerpts in mass, and getting the context is good. We spend the next seven weeks in Hebrews, and that takes us through the end of the liturgical year. (We get interrupted by All Saint's Day, which falls on a Sunday this year!)

Friday, September 25, 2015

{7 QT 20} - 7 Ways to Ask About a Pregnant Lady's Health (Without Sounding Like You Think She Might be Dying)

Original Image from Pixabay.
Some weeks ago, I wrote a post on why I didn't like being asked how I was feeling during my first pregnancy. The pattern seems to have held pretty consistently for this one. The first few times I got asked how I was feeling were like hearing a china cabinet go crashing to the floor.

I tried to be nice, and I succeeded. No, really I did! However, I think business cards with a link to that post might be in order.

Still, I feel like I need to give those people who ask because they mean well some options. Nobody asks with the intention of guaranteeing that I answer the same question fifteen times in the space of three hours, but the end result is the same. At the end of the morning, I've answered the same question fifteen times.

So, without further ado, here are seven ways to ask about the health of an expectant mother, without sounding like you think she might be dying!

Thursday, September 24, 2015

To What Extent are We "Unjustly Rich"?

26th Sunday of Ordinary Time

This Sunday, the second reading will be from James 5:1-6.

These are hard words to hear, if you’re the sort of person who has the resources to read this blog, right? In fact, internationally speaking, if you have internet access, you are in the top 3-5%. So you and me - we’re unquestionably “rich”.

Monday, September 21, 2015

One Year Ago...

One year ago, yesterday, a faithful servant went to meet our Master.

This is Wayne King. He was the pastor at Daniel’s small Presbyterian church for ten years, and a very good friend of ours. And before that, he and his wife, Julie, spent 20 years doing Bible translation work in Malaysia, for a language that - I understand - previously didn’t have a written form.

Saturday, September 19, 2015

Sometimes the Villain Gets One Right

25th Sunday of Ordinary Time

This Sunday, the second reading will be from James 3:16-4:3. I suggest reading the other readings as well, for context. It’s lectionary # 134, if you’re reading from a hard copy.

There is a Native American Fable - or maybe an adage - about a boy who talks to his grandfather about two dogs fighting inside of him. One is a good dog, who represents virtues, and the other is an evil dog, who represents vices. The boy asks his grandfather which dog will win, to which the old man replied, “the one you feed.”

Monday, September 14, 2015

What I've Been Doing With My Rosaries Lately

If you’ve been reading for a while, you might be aware that the Rosary isn’t my favorite devotion. (Be Warned: That was before I learned about the wonders of Pixabay and public domain images.) At the same time, I have a LOT of rosaries, and I feel guilty not using any of them.

My husband and I recently took up the practice of couple prayer, and I noticed something in the process of listening to myself pray out loud.

Friday, September 11, 2015

{7 QT 19} - I was in English Class

I'm doing my quick takes this week on the day that we were getting news about the 9/11 attacks, here in Baton Rouge. Just - disclosure - in case you'd rather not read on.

I realize that Louisiana is pretty far removed from New York City, but you never do quite forget exactly where you were and what you were doing when you first find out about truly, truly significant cultural events.

Thursday, September 10, 2015

The Trouble with Works

24th Sunday of Ordinary Time

Original image from Pixabay.

This Sunday, the second reading will be from James 2:14-18 (the link goes to a bit more). I’d strongly encourage you to read the other readings as well. It’s lectionary #131, if you’re reading from a hard copy.

I don’t think there is another issue that is as contentious between Catholics and most Protestants as that of the role of works in salvation.

On the one hand, Protestants have one strong point in their favor. We cannot earn our Salvation. Not by doing good works, not by study, not by any means. And any Catholic who is worth their salt will tell you the same thing.

Thursday, September 3, 2015

If We Do Show Partiality

23rd Sunday of Ordinary Time

Original Image from Pixabay.

This Sunday, the second reading will be from James 2:1-5. Be sure to read the other readings, for better context. It’s Lectionary # 128, if you’re reading from a hard copy.

Partiality is a hard thing to avoid. We all have preferences. We are partial to people who have similar interests and opinions to our own, and we naturally prefer to be around them, and we tend to take their parts in arguments.

Is this necessarily the kind of partiality that James is calling problematic?

Monday, August 31, 2015

Sursum Corda: Here, here!

Original image from Pixabay.
I don't know if you saw Bishop James Conley's article, Sursum Corda in the National Catholic Register a few months ago, but I've been dying to write a followup on it ever since I first saw it.

The overall thrust of the the 4-page spread was this:
Reading is a lost art in our culture, and reading is necessary to reclaim our cultural identity.

I have two words to say in response:

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Laws Given in Love

22nd Sunday of Ordinary Time

Original Image from Pixabay.

This Sunday, the second reading will be from James 1:17-18,21-22,27, but go ahead and read the intervening verses - you’ll lose nothing by it. Also, check out the other readings - it’s Lectionary # 125, if you’re reading from a hard copy.

I’m glad the Church doesn’t ask of us a lot of ritual religious customs in our regular everyday comings and goings. I mean, as customs go, abstaining from meat on Fridays and fasting two days a year really is not that bad! Not when you consider all the religious customs the Jews were required to observe every single day.

Friday, August 21, 2015

{7 QT 18} - Glove Boxes, Duggars, House, and Kids

So, we bought a new-to-us used car last week, and it wasn't until we were leaving for our road trip on Friday that we discovered that one thing that we missed when we were looking at the car.

The handle on the glove box is completely unusable. We can't open it, but we're hoping that our car guy can rig something up.

As undiscovered problems with cars go... it's not so bad. It jut means we don't have a good place to put all of the napkins we get from fast food places!

Thursday, August 20, 2015

The Church: The Bride of Christ

20th Sunday of Ordinary Time

Image from Pixabay.

This Sunday, the second reading will be from Ephesians 5:21-32. I’d strongly encourage you to also read the other readings, if you can - it’s Lectionary #122, if you’re reading from a hard copy.

Ephesians 5 is one of the chapters of the bible that has been rendered most uncomfortable for our modern ears by the sexual revolution. The idea that a woman owes her husband obedience, simply because she is female, grates on our ears like nails on a chalk board. And that's all we hear. We shut down. Nothing else gets through after that.

Certainly there is something to God's design for the human family - and it is here in this chapter, but there is more to this section than that.

Monday, August 17, 2015

Never Underestimate the Power of Your Village

Never underestimate the power of your village.

At our annual Mother's Day gathering this past year, my Mom was playing with Pitter Patter (as per usual), and I was not about to stop her.

When her mom, my Grammy, arrived with my godmother (Nanny), Mom immediately started to show Grammy all of the cool stuff that Pitter Patter knows.

She first started out with the things that I had worked on with her, The ABC's, "what's that letter for", counting, "what sound that animal makes", and then she started into the prayers Pitter Patter knows.

Saturday, August 15, 2015

Choosing God's Will

20th Sunday of Ordinary Time

This Sunday, the second reading will be from Ephesians 5:15-20, but I’d strongly suggest reading the other readings. It’s lectionary # 119, if you’re reading from a hard copy.

In this section of the letter to the Ephesians, St. Paul exhorts members of the church in Ephesus to live wisely, to  make the most of opportunities, to refrain from drunkenness, and to address one another with spiritual language, and give thanks in all things.

Perhaps it is the fact that we were recently in a car accident and had a lot of things to sort out in the aftermath, but I’ve seen these very verses in my life lately.

Friday, August 14, 2015

{7 QT 17} - Used Car Shopping...

So, I think we'll lead off with the good news:

We found a new-to-us car! Yay!

And it's not beige - YAY!

And now... the long, drawn out story, of how we got this car.

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Announcement: Post to be Delayed

I mentioned in a previous post that my family was involved in a car accident a little over a week ago. We're okay, but our car was totaled.

We're actually very blessed that we are all okay - Daniel observed that we were about a foot removed from having a leg get crushed. (Ain't God good!) I will be following up with my OBGYN at my regular appointment on Friday, where I expect it to be verified that she agrees that everything is okay.

Because of the accident, a lot of the time I would ordinarily spend blogging has been spent talking with adjusters (who were all very helpful!) and shopping for a new-to-us used car. (Which we found late Wednesday afternoon, so no more delays from that.)

I want to post good-quality reflections, so I'm going to delay the one for this week. It will not be up tomorrow morning, but I'm not sure exactly when it will be up. It may be up as early as tomorrow afternoon, or as late as Saturday.

I meant to try to write it last night, but I was so tired after traipsing around in the blistering heat on a car lot yesterday that I turned back into a pumpkin last night at like 8:30. (That's over an hour earlier than usual!)

I realize that delay is becoming more of the norm than the exception lately! Lesigh. I hope that the drama comes to an end soon!

I do have a long car ride in my future, so I'm hoping that I'll be able to use that time to get a little ahead.

Monday, August 10, 2015

What to do When They're Not Sorry

Image from Pixabay.

So, you’ve had people hurt you accidentally, right?

They say they’re sorry and really mean it, make amends, and everybody goes their way. I’ve done that recently. It’s not too hard, even when the damage done is pretty serious.

Have you ever had somebody hurt you on purpose?

Harder, right? Harder, even, to think of a personal example, for most people.

Thursday, August 6, 2015

{7 QT 16} - What's up in Life

So, it's been a little while since I've posted a quick takes - since early July. Largely because I've been crazy busy lately. So, here's a little of what I've been up to since then.

Kids: A Great Example

19th Sunday of Ordinary Time

This Sunday, the second reading will be from Ephesians 4:30-5:2, but I’d also strongly encourage you to read the other readings.

We’re enjoined several times in scripture to be like little children. In terms of openness to the truth, in terms of radical trust, in terms of respect for our elders. This is one of few parts of scripture in which the this call is juxtaposed with a call to the imitation of God.

Remember all those places in scripture where we are told to do things like “be perfect, as your heavenly father is perfect”? This is a call to imitate the father in his attributes, and also in his actions.

Children - especially small children - are a perfect example of how to do imitation right.

Monday, August 3, 2015

How am I feeling? I'm Fine... Just Pregnant!

When I was pregnant with Pitter Patter, I got asked how I was feeling a LOT, and I didn't like it. It took a long time before I could really articulate what it was that bothered me about it, but I finally got it all written down. I've had this post written for a long time, but I was waiting to be asked the question a few times before I published this.

My dear friend - My dear, sweet, beautiful friend:

Before I say anything else, let me just say this. Thank you. From the bottom of my heart. You are so kind to be concerned about me and the baby. Pregnancy can be an uncomfortable thing, so thank you. Thank you so much for asking how I’m doing. I want you to know how much I appreciate your concern.

You may not know this, but I have gotten that very same question "how am I feeling"' from more people than I want to count. Some of them I knew. Some I didn’t, and I didn’t quite know how to respond. (Answering the question for strangers is super-awkward, by the way!)

What I am about to say is an awful lot to say all at once, on the spot, so I thought it’d be best to write it out, so I can say everything I mean. There is an awful lot, so please bear with me.

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Has it Changed Me?

18th Sunday of Ordinary Time

This Sunday, the second reading will be from Ephesians 4:17, 20-24, but I strongly suggest reading the skipped verses, as well as the other readings.

I think it was my dad that told me the story of a teacher he had it grade school who could tell whether a child had gone to church by how he behaved on Monday.

And in a manner of speaking, that’s how it’s supposed to be. When we have an encounter with the most high, it should change us.

Monday, July 27, 2015

Gratitude for the Small Things

If you've been reading for about the last two weeks, you've probably noticed two things.
(1) I have been incredibly busy.
(2) I have been sick.

Between being sick and having a funeral to attend, it's easy to get caught in the poor, poor, pitiful me's, like I did when I was first diagnosed with Hashimoto's. (Which, by the by, is even harder to eat for when your sick and ALL of your comfort foods are carbs.)

It's a good deal harder when you're dealing with problems to have a grateful heart, to think of all of the little gifts that God has given you along the way while he's been carrying you through your convalescence.

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Unity Among Christians

17th Sunday of Ordinary Time

This Sunday, the second reading will be from Ephesians 4:1-6.

In this passage in Ephesians, Paul urges the church in Ephesus to nurture and maintain their unity.

How sad it is that Christianity today is so deeply divided! Divided to the point that some Christians refuse to acknowledge one another as fellow laborers for Christ.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Announcement: Post Delayed

Sorry to do this two weeks in a row, but I'm going to have to delay this week's post until Saturday as well.

I've been sick with a bad cold for over a week now, and I'm only just now starting to crawl back into the land of feeling a bit better, but not nearly well.

Daniel and Pitter Patter are both almost completely better, and Daniel caught it after me.  (Kind of infuriating, but I'm glad he's better.)

Please include me in your prayers. I'm attending a class next week to maintain one of my professional designations. There's a test at the end of the week that I really need to pass; I'm really concerned about my ability to pay attention with all the coughing I've been doing.

I do not foresee any delay in posts next week due to my class as my hotel claims to have free wireless; I will post if this turns out to not be the case.

Thanks for your understanding and prayers.

Monday, July 20, 2015

When the Retreat Isn't What You Hoped For

I usually go on a silent retreat in June with my mom. I know a fair few people for whom this would be sheer torture, but I absolutely love the fact that I get left alone all weekend.

On my retreats, there are usually talks twice a day. I’ve been on retreats where there are three or maybe four, but that’s about the limit. These talks are usually interesting and educational, and on a topic that has good application to my spiritual life. I’ve been to retreats on “Praying with Mary,” “Healing our Understanding of God,” “The Practice of Reconciliation,” and “The Beatitudes.” They were all wonderful.

This year was different. This year I found the retreat to be really lousy. I mean really lousy.

Saturday, July 18, 2015

What we can Learn from the Early Church about Loving Other Christians

16th Sunday of Ordinary Time

This Sunday, the second reading will be from Ephesians 2:13-18. I’d suggest reading the other readings. It’s Lectionary #107, if you’re reading from a hard copy.

This section is primarily addressed to the Christians who were once Gentiles. It speaks of how the Messiah is able to reconcile all people in himself, not just the Israelites.

This was kind of a big deal in the early Christian church. The idea that God might have reconciled people from every nation was revolutionary in the Jewish community.

And in some ways we need to take a lesson from this, in the same way as the early Jewish Christians.

Tuesday, July 14, 2015


Daniel and I received word yesterday that someone he was close to in high school passed away suddenly on Saturday. We will be attending the funeral tomorrow.

Because I had not pre-prepped my reading reflection for this week, that post for this week will be delayed until Saturday. (I will hope for Saturday morning, but I think it is unwise to make promises.) This will give me additional time to look after my husband's needs before working on the blog.

Please keep Stephen and his family in your prayers.  He leaves behind a wife and three kids - two of which are under the age of four.

Thanks in advance for your patience and prayers.

Monday, July 13, 2015

The Benedict Option: What We Should Do Instead

Last week, I discussed what is becoming known as “The Benedict Option”, why it’s attractive to some (myself included), and why I don’t think it’s an appropriate option for the Catholic Church.

The question of what should we do instead is a hard one to fully answer, largely because there are a lot of components to it, but we certainly can’t keep banging our heads against a wall like we have been. It leads to the kind of emotional exhaustion that led me to abandon Facebook entirely for over six months.

Something I heard on Catholic Answers recently really touched me. They were taking questions about the SCOTUS marriage decision and where we go from here, and the guest mentioned as part of an answer that before we do anything else, we first have a morale problem to handle.

I immediately knew this woman couldn’t be wrong - because I know that what I have experienced is first and foremost a morale problem.

I don’t think I can fully address the morale problem itself, as I am neither a spiritual director, nor a professional counselor. If you’re frustrated and angry, and really struggling emotionally or spiritually, I would suggest seeing a spiritual or mental health professional to help you dig out of the hole you’ve found yourself in, then I have a few practical suggestions to help keep this from happening again, in addition to whatever they suggest for you.

Friday, July 10, 2015

{7 QT 15} - Baby Updates

So... I lied about doing a post this week about the party. I just didn't manage it, but I'll try again next week. I wanted to do some pregnancy updates instead.

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Unique in the World

Original photo from Pixabay.
15th Sunday of Ordinary Time

This Sunday, the second reading will be from Ephesians 1:3-14. I also suggest reading the other readings, but for the first reading, begin at 7:10.

In this section from the beginning of the letter to the Ephesians, Paul gives thanks for the blessings received from God in the community of the Ephesians, and in the Christian community at large.

God made us to be holy before him, to be adopted by him, he’s give us forgiveness of our sins, and given us rich graces by which we are able to do his will in an unfriendly world, he’s revealed to us his will, and given us knowledge of his plan for us.

Monday, July 6, 2015

The Benedict Option: It's Attractive, but We Shouldn't Do It!

Original Photo from Pixabay.
I’ve seen a few posts in the not-too-distant past regarding something called “The Benedict Option.” I was intrigued by the the idea, and I did some reading.

What is "The Benedict Option"?

As I understand it, the Benedict Option is to withdraw from politics, just like St. Benedict did when he came to Rome, found its morality crumbling before its ultimate collapse, and established the first monasteries.

It’s mostly a response by some members of the so-called “religious right” to the realization that they might no longer represent the way most Americans think about matters of morality (the “moral majority”), because the country’s morality has “crumbled” just as Rome’s did.

This is only a partial characterization, but these were the details that stood out to me. It means that we would focus our evangelistic eyes inward only, and don’t worry about everywhere else.

Friday, July 3, 2015

{7 QT 14} - Good Times

So... last week was REALLY busy for me. I hosted a birthday party for my beautiful little girl, who insisted on eating her cake daintily instead of squishing it like she did last year.
See how dainty?

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Opposition from Within

Original photo from Pixabay.

 14th Sunday of Ordinary Time

This Sunday, the second reading will be from 2 Cor 12:7-10. I’d also strongly recommend the other readings.

God warns Ezekiel in the first reading of opposition in Israel, on account of the Israelites being a rebellious and obstinate people.

In the Gospel, Christ himself encounters resistance in his hometown, which hindered the propagation of the Gospel.

And Paul encounters problem people of his own. There are lots of valid interpretations on what this “thorn in the flesh” was. According to one of my footnotes, it is a similar expression to the English, “A thorn in my side”, which we often use to refer to obnoxious, persistent, and frustrating people.

Monday, June 29, 2015

The Primordial Sacrament: An Encounter With God

Original Photo from Pixabay.
I recently went on retreat on the seven sacraments, and the retreat master closed his first talk with a fairly cryptic statement, which he didn’t expound upon. He said, “The primordial sacrament is an encounter with God.” This is where I thought his talk really should have begun.

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Teaching Generosity

Original Photo from Pixabay. Modified by Shannon Ball.

13th Sunday of Ordinary Time

This Sunday, the second reading will be from 2 Corinthians 8: 7, 9, 13-15, As usual, I am going to suggest that you read more: verses 1-15, and the other readings.

So… what is “this gracious act,” that St. Paul refers to?

Thursday, June 25, 2015

No post today

Hey guys, the reading reflection kind of got away from me this week. We've been super busy planning a birthday party for a certain little girl.

I'll get it up as soon as I can. It will probably be sometime tomorrow at the earliest, or Saturday evening at the latest

Sorry about that!

Monday, June 22, 2015


Everybody is ready to take up their colored pen
and mark up where they think Laudato Si' needs corrections.
This is a wrong attitude.
Original image from Pixabay. Text Added by Shannon Ball
I’d love to know how all of those people who had a statement on Laudato Si’ on the day it was released managed to read and digest a 184-page document in the four and a half hours between the time it was officially released and the time the encyclical was actually posted for public consumption on the Vatican’s website.

There’s no way I could actually digest that amount of theological writing in that amount of time.

Publishing something definitive that quickly is for the people who had their minds made up already.

Friday, June 19, 2015

{7 QT 13} - Diet Updates, a "Small" Announcement, and Insomnia

So... you don't have to have been reading my blog very long to know about my "condition". Nothing serious, just a couple of major diet modification.

There are a few things I've discovered in the process of looking for eligible substitutes, but the most important thing on the list is this:

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Out of Love for Us, God Gave Us a Job to Do

Original photo from Pixabay.

12th Sunday of Ordinary Time

This Sunday, the second reading will be from 2 Corinthians 5:14-17. I would recommend reading verses 11-21, and also the other readings for this week. It's Lectionary # 95, if you're reading from a hard copy.

The first reading and Gospel speak of God’s mastery over the sea. He set their boundaries when he made them, and he can speak a word to calm a mighty storm at sea. Clearly, his power is great, and greater still is his love for us.

Monday, June 15, 2015

It's Hard to be a Dad

In Holly Pierlot’s book A Mother’s Rule of Life, she identifies the five main priorities of a mom’s life, in this order: (1) Prayer, (2) Person (meaning, “self care”), (3) Partner, (4) Parent, (5) Provider.

I think they apply equally to a dad’s life, and in at least one way, I think Dads have things harder than moms, with these priorities.

Thursday, June 11, 2015

At Home in the Lord

This Sunday, the second reading will be from 2 Corinthians 5:6-10. I strongly suggest reading from verse 1, for context, as well as the other readings for this week. It’s lectionary # 92, if you’re reading from a hard copy.

Life is short, right? So short, in fact that Paul describes our bodies, the most permanent things that any of us experience in our lives as a tent - an imminently temporary dwelling. Most of us are accustomed to using tents for… no more than a week at a time, right? So, the analogy of our bodies being like tents is very jarring to us.

Monday, June 8, 2015

I Didn't Start Out With That Great Attitude

You may have caught this on my Quick Takes on Friday, but I’ve recently been diagnosed with a “condition." It not curable, but as far as I know, it is not fatal either. Have a look at that post, it kind of explains the condition.

When I wrote that post, I was contented with the new terms of my healthy existence, and even kind of excited about the diagnosis, but I didn’t start out that way.

No, I had received a voice mail from the doctors office at six on a Friday that we were on vacation, and on Monday I called back at 8AM and spent the morning and part of the afternoon tapping my foot and waiting for them to call back.

Friday, June 5, 2015

{7 QT 12} - Eating with Hashimoto's Disease

So, I was diagnosed this week with Hashimoto's Disease. It's an autoimmune disease (like diabetes) that affects the thyroid. Now, it's not horribly serious; I've evidently had it for a very long time - my thyroid problem has always been caused by this disease, but until now, no doctor has ever thought to check me for antibodies.

According to my sources on the internet and my doctor, there's no "treatment" or "cure" for this, just like there's no cure for diabetes (yet - but I'm sure someone's working on it!)

There are some things you can do to make it better, and I'm starting to work on at least some of it. There's a diet. Apparently, cutting all gluten and (this is the part that stinks...) all dairy really helps most people's thyroid function.

So... here are seven things I've learned about cooking and eating with this disease.

(I'm trying to stay positive about this, so please don't take this as "complaining.")

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Transubstantiation: Prefigured in the Old Testament

  Feast of Corpus Christi

Original photo from Pixabay.
This Sunday, the second reading will be from Hebrews 9:11-15. I’d suggest starting at verse 1, for context, and also reading both of the other readings. It's lectionary #168, if you're reading from a hard copy.

Why do we believe in transubstantiation? Logistically, it seems to cause us nothing but trouble, so why is it theologically so important?

This Sunday, the readings point us to one of the reasons as laid out in the Bible. (To my mind, a case based solely on the Last Supper, when Jesus says, “this is my body”, is not a good one, because it doesn’t lay out any evidence that might actually convince a skeptic.)

In John 6, Jesus says, “Those who eat my flesh and drink my blood have eternal life, and I will raise them up on the last day; for my flesh is true food and my blood is true drink,” and at the last supper he says of the bread they shared, “this is my body.”

These (or something like them) is what most Catholics quote when challenged on transubstantiation and think that’s the end of it, but it can’t be. It may be enough for someone who already trusts the Church, but when you’re challenged like this, you’re speaking to someone who doesn’t yet have that trust. You need to show them the Church’s work, so that you can help lay a strong foundation of reasons to trust.

Monday, June 1, 2015

Building the Kingdom with Less-than-Ideal Materials

Photo from Pixabay.
So, this weekend, we went on vacation to the Sand Castle Festival in Galveston.

It was a whole world of fun. The weekend included Pitter patter’s very first trip to the beach. She found the waves really captivating, and she kept running into them without any trepidation whatsoever. And she kept trying to drink the water, much to our chagrin.

But the real highlight of the trip was going to watch the early stages of building on Saturday morning (we couldn’t stay all day, because Pitter Patter is really miserable in the afternoons if she doesn’t get her nap)… We hoped to return Sunday to see the finished products, but it poured Saturday night.

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Is He Real? Is Any of it Real?

Feast of the Holy Trinity

This Sunday, the second reading will be from Roman 8:14-17, but I highly recommend reading the rest of this week's readings, as this week's reflection really is on all three readings.

So… is God a figment of our imagination? I dare say he can’t be, and that our God is the only true God for this reason: Who would invent a God that was a sequence of mystery-wrapped-enigma-paradoxes?