Friday, October 30, 2009

Child Abuse Awareness Video

I am posting this in honor of all children everywhere and my catechists who are doing the difficult job of trying to tell their students they don't have to be abused.

I know all the protests from those who say we shouldn't tell happy and safe children about 'such things'--that we should allow them to remain innocent for as long as possible. For years, I said the same thing. As my own children have grown-up, however, they have gone to public school and met so many of these abused children. These same abused ones are now their classmates, co-workers and friends. Over and over, I hear stories of neglect, mistreatment and violence perpetrated on the young and innocent by parents, step-parents, family members, neighbors and others. Where and when will it stop if we don't speak out?

Jesus said, "Let the children come to me, and do not prevent them; for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these." Mt 19:14

Jesus said, "Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?" He called a child over, placed it in their midst, and said, "Amen, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven." Mt 18:1-3

"See that you do not despise one of these little ones, for I say to you that their angels in heaven always look upon the face of my heavenly Father." Mt 18:10

Our Lord is very clear about His love for His littlest and most defenseless ones. How is it we still have not figured it out?

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Two 'Daughters of the Month'

There’s no such thing as a ‘perfect’ family. There are however moments in the life of a family when things happen which make you realize how blessed you are to be a member in something larger than yourself. It’s humbling and exciting at the same time.

My husband and I have always been very proud of our daughters. They are both smart and talented, but more importantly, they have always been good kids—again not ‘perfect’ but dependable, honest, hard-working and nice girls.

We’ve been proud of their accomplishments, such as good grades, piano recitals, Tae Kwon Do belts and various sundry awards, but we’ve been even more impressed by those things they do which never gain them any recognition. For example, Bear can never forget how proud he was of Michelle in a race where she came in dead last—but she never quit running. And for me, one of Meg’s finest moments was when she kept going back to break a board time after time after time even though her hand was hurting, her knuckles were bruised and tears of frustration were streaming down her cheeks. Eventually the instructor–a black belt—discovered the wood was too hard even for him to break and he gave her a lighter piece of wood. She broke it, sore hand and all.

However, even these poignant memories pale when I think about the girls’ relationship, how they get along, continue to stick up for each other, love, and even like each other—most of the time anyway. So many siblings grow up with an intense dislike of one another; they fight constantly. Meg and Michelle have been best friends for most of their lives ... and still are.

Tonight was a good example. My younger daughter, Michelle, came in bringing the October issue of their high school newspaper, Titan Talk. “Here,” she said. “Meg is on the front page,” she showed me where her sister was pictured with her escort as the Cross Country Princess in the Carl Albert Homecoming Court. “And here she is again, ‘Female Athlete of the Month’. I figured I’d better tell you and get you a copy of the paper because Meg would never tell you. I’ll pick up some more copies for you tomorrow so you can send them to people. I can get them at the Library.”

Now I ask you, is that a generous sister or is that a generous sister? I didn’t know who I was more proud of at that moment: Meg for her athletic accomplishment or Michelle for her thoughtfulness. Truthfully, I was unspeakably proud of both girls—proud and humbled at the same time.

In September, Meg became a National Merit Semi-finalist and was recognized as an AP (Advanced Placement) Scholar with Honor, which means she received at least 3.25 on all AP exams taken and scores of 3 or higher on four or more of these exams. In fact, she got 5’s on three out of the four AP tests she has taken so far: AP European History—5; AP U.S. History (Independent Study)—5; AP English III—5; AP Chemistry—3. She is taking five more AP courses this year.

Besides her academics, Meg has won five medals in Cross Country so far this year and just placed, along with the entire Carl Albert girl’s team, to run at State this coming week-end.

As I write this, Meg is practicing her piano. Michelle just returned home. After she said hello to me, her first words were to her sister, “Did you know you were ‘Athlete of the Month’?”

Thank you God for letting me know, love and play a role in the lives of these wonderful young women. It is an honor and a privilege to be their mother. Please dear Lord continue to watch over and protect them.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Living Water . . . or . . .

I can’t help it; I just like the places in Holy Scripture where Jesus interacts with women. As a child I hungered for stories about children. As a grown woman, I seek out books and other forms of inspirational media involving women. I suppose it is only natural.

One such event described only in the Gospel of St. John is the story of the Woman at the Well. Jesus and his disciples had just left Judea and returned to Galilee passing necessarily through Samaria, alien territory. In the little town of Sychar, near the plot of land that Jacob had given to his son Joseph was a well which still bore the patriarch’s name. John tells us that the disciples had gone into the town to buy food and Jesus, tired from his journey, sat down there at the well about noon. Along comes a woman to draw water.

What the evangelist doesn’t tell us—but most people of the time knew—was that most respectable women got their water in the cool of the morning or late in the evening. This was done as much for practical reasons as for social ones. Therefore, the Samaritan Woman was most likely an outcast. She was getting her water during the heat of the day when she was least likely to encounter her neighbors. Have you ever run errands at ‘safe’ times? To avoid people who didn’t like you? Bullies, maybe or popular groups? I find myself intrigued by this Samaritan Woman.

Jesus asks her for water and she replies, “How can you, a Jew, ask me, a Samaritan woman, for a drink?" She may be a social leper but she’s practical and knows the score; Jews use nothing in common with Samaritans.

But Jesus has something much bigger in mind than social mores. He is thinking, seeing and answering her as God does, "If you knew the gift of God and who is saying to you, 'Give me a drink,' you would have asked him and he would have given you living water."

Her reply is all too human and earthy: "Sir, you do not even have a bucket and the cistern is deep; where then can you get this living water?”

Here I see myself. Here I become the Woman at the Well. I am holding the bucket. He wants to give me Living Water. I persist in asking Jesus ‘bucket’ questions:

‘Where is the water? How do I get it? Are you going to give it to me? What's the 'catch'? The cost? How is this whole thing going to work? Can we get this all arranged so I can get out of here before my unfriendly neighbors come out and I have to deal with them?’

But the real question is, can I let go of my ‘bucket’ questions? My limited perspective?

When will I stop trying to fit God into my little bucket?

I went to the well today at this particular time to avoid meeting people I was afraid would embarrass or upset me—and what did I find?

Who did I meet? God Himself!

And He is offering me something which surpasses my wildest dreams!

His Living Water is more, better, bigger, tastier and more satisfying than anything I can imagine!

Now, can I set my bucket down?

Can I drink fully from His Living Water?

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Don't Be Fooled: Abortion is in Health Care

Watch this new ad: Don’t Be Fooled: Abortion is in Health Care Reform, and tell your friends and family that their tax dollars could go to abortion in health care reform.

Thursday, October 15, 2009


Once upon a time many years ago a little girl was trying to select a Confirmation saint from among the many famous ... and infamous ... Catholic saints. She finally lighted on St. Thérèse de Lisieux or Saint Thérèse of the Child Jesus because of her ‘Little Way’. Fast forward many years and that little girl gives birth to her own first child, a girl, on the Feast Day of The Little Flower of Jesus, as Thérèse is also known. Eighteen more years pass quickly by. The first little girl is middle-aged; her daughter on the threshold of womanhood. The mother thinks she has outgrown her childhood patron saint, so she has adopted a saint she feels suits her age and maturity, Thérèse's senior Carmelite sister, Santa Teresa de Jesus. But saints aren't so fickle as we silly humans. They don't abandon their spiritual children so easily.

I know. I'm that silly little girl who thought she outgrew Thérèse, as if anyone, no matter how old, could ever outgrow the ‘Little Way’.

Two weeks ago I embarked on a new job, more of a career actually. It was a job I'd been offered several times but kept turning down, first because I was still homeschooling my daughters and later because I still wasn't ready for full-time employment. Finally, I was asked a third time to consider this job. I did. It started on the 1st of October, the Feast day of St. Thérèse. That was my first rose. Every day since has been another rose from her ... no not all happiness, but Beauty. To walk the ‘Little Way’ doesn't mean you will travel in peace or comfort or without trouble; it only means you walk with Truth in the Light.

Today is the Feast day of St. Teresa of Ávila or Santa Teresa de Jesus, a doctor of the Church, sixteenth century reformer, who along with St. John of the Cross, was co-founder of the Discalced Carmelites. This was also my first day on my own in my new job. And yet, I knew I wasn't on my own. My two senior sisters-in-faith were there, watching over me. As I've said many times, I believe in the Communion of Saints. We are not alone. Death is not the end.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Face the Truth (1 of 2)

At the Abortion Clinic they told Dave and his girlfriend that their unborn child was "like a little ball." They lied. Dave and his girlfriend scheduled an abortion, and Dave agreed to pay for it.

Then he saw one of our signs in downtown Chicago, at Jackson Street and Lake Shore Drive. Dave saw the truth about abortion. And he couldn't go through with it.

Across the country, babies—and their parents—are being saved from abortion by Face the Truth—a bold and effective pro-life initiative that exposes the truth about abortion:

We Need Your Help To Save Babies
Throughout the year, pro-life activists all around the country are conducting Face the Truth tours. Holding pictures of beautiful unborn babies and huge graphic signs of aborted babies, we line the roads at major intersections, to show Americans the truth about abortion.

We need you to help show people that abortion is the deliberate taking of an unborn child's life. If you believe that abortion is murder, this is your chance to stand up and be counted. Join us this summer as we line the roads at major intersections to show our fellow Americans the ugly truth about abortion.

Go Forth and Teach
Jesus told His followers to "go forth and teach." Face the Truth responds to the Gospel call by teaching the truth about abortion. The truth is that abortion kills innocent human beings, made in the image and likeness of God. That is why we must take the pro-life message to the streets of our cities.

We are living in the midst of a national atrocity. Since the 1973 Supreme Court abortion decisions, over forty million children have been destroyed before they were born. Our signs depicting prenatal life and the aborted child reveal the hidden victims of this atrocity.

While the signs are displayed along the roadways, other volunteers distribute literature to passing motorists and pedestrians to help them understand the gravity of the Culture of Death.

Pictures Expose Lies
Photographs and films of human beings stacked like cordwood outside Nazi concentration camps exposed the murderous truth of Nazi genocide. Disturbing as these images are, we all recognize the value of squarely facing the truth of the Holocaust.

Similarly, our pictures of aborted children lay bare the blatant lies and hypocrisy used by the abortionists to conceal the wholesale slaughter of unborn babies. Photos of these aborted children rip off the mask of "choice." The truth hurts, but the lie hurts so much more. Once people have faced the truth, they are less likely to become involved in abortion.

A Graphic Reminder
When Christ died for us, it was in a very graphic way—a public crucifixion. His body, twisted, disfigured and covered with blood, hung on a cross for three hours in full public view. He said He had to be lifted up in order to show His love for us and to show us the seriousness of sin.

Likewise, our pictures graphically portray the reality of abortion in the public square, and show the seriousness of taking the life of an unborn child.

The Tragedy of the Culture of Death
One of the tragedies of abortion is that innocent children cannot be sheltered from the truth that one-third of their brothers and sisters, classmates and friends have been aborted. We use large warning signs to help parents shield their children from our pictures, but the only way to really protect our children is to stamp out the Culture of Death. We invite all concerned parents to join us in restoring a Culture of Life.

Awaken the Nation
Nationwide, Face the Truth Tours are showing Americans the hidden slaughter of its unborn children. If people are troubled by these graphic pictures, they should stand up against the killing the pictures expose.

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