Month: April 2015

Why Be Catholic?

I spent a good majority of this year’s Lenten season reflecting on the question, “Why Be Catholic?” It wasn’t just because I had a book review* due, which I do, but because the question was (and still is) at the epicenter of MY decision to convert […]

Dear Facebook

After 45 days, I regret to inform you that I did not miss you! Only on one occasion was I even tempted by you, on the day of my children’s first karate tournament. But seeing as I have now begun taking karate myself, I’ll be […]

Day 46: Holy Saturday

Today’s Saint: St. Isidore of Seville

Gospel reading: Mark 16:1-7  Today was a quiet, contemplative day. It feels like time has stopped somehow. I can’t explain it.

“His cross stands empty in a world grown silent
Through hours of anguish and of dread;
In stillness, earth awaits the Resurrection
While Christ goes down to wake the dead.”
-Holy Saturday Divine Office Hymn

Having run out of time yesterday, my husband took the four older children bowling – a last request for the birthday boy – while I stayed at home with the two youngest during our normal Quiet Time, i.e., nap time.  Later, we christened our new grill, reflected on the day’s Gospel reading, and colored Easter eggs… something that our 10 year-old daughter, who is still in foster status, had never done before.

Perhaps I shouldn’t be by now, having been a foster parent for seven years now, but I am still amazed by the number of seemingly “small” things our children experience for the first time in our home.  The same happy sadness that swells in my heart on Good Friday resurfaces during moments like these.  I am happy that they get to experience these kinds of “firsts” with me, but I am also sad that they never shared moments like these with their biological families.

Anyone who knows me knows that I don’t hold out or hold back when it comes to my foster children. I treat them as my own from the moment they arrive and include them in all family activities, even trips to Disney World. I live without regret… not only for myself, but for them. Whether for a short time or forever, we are their family; the rock upon which they lean, a foundation upon which they gain confidence and learn to live and be loved again.

“I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and your joy may be complete.
This is my commandment: love one another as I love you.
No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.
You are my friends if you do what I command you.
I no longer call you slaves, because a slave does not know what his master is doing. I have called you friends, because I have told you everything I have heard from my Father.
It was not you who chose me, but I who chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit that will remain, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name he may give you.
This I command you: love one another.” -John 15:11-17

Never underestimate your value in the eyes of another, especially in Him on whom you rely for your salvation. In the quiet hours of the day, in the seemingly dark hours of the night, may you always know that what you do is never for naught. You are loved.

Day 45: Good Friday

Today’s Saint: Sts. Agape, Chiona, and Irene Gospel reading: John 18:1-19:42 It was on this day that Jesus was crucified, a final chapter in His beautiful story of life on earth, as well as a conclusion to the excruciatingly painful circumstances by which he died. It is a day […]

Day 44: Maundy Thursday

Today’s Saint: St. Francis of Paola Gospel reading: John 13:1-15 It was on this day that Jesus shared a Last Supper with his disciples, calling them to courageously share the Gospel with the world and commanding them to “love one another. As I have loved you, […]

Day 43: Karate Mom

Today’s Saint: St. Hugh
Gospel reading: Matthew 26:14-25

I did it. I took my first ever karate lesson last night.
(370-365) Ghost fight (6326423113)

Although the thought DID cross my mind, I did NOT chicken out in the end.  Nope, I set aside all of my apprehension and, as promised, attended Family Training with my four older children. They insisted that the instructor give me a gi (karate uniform) right away, even though I won’t be able to test for my white belt for another three classes. I cannot exaggerate how “beyond thrilled” my children were that I was following their footsteps into the realm of karate.   Of course, much celebration ensued afterward. Can you say, “chocolate ice cream party?”

Overall, my first karate lesson was a good experience… and, I might add, a good workout.  And while part of my reasoning behind taking classes is fitness-related, i.e., the need to get my core back in shape, the bigger reason is being able to share the experience with my children.  Okay, so maybe there exists a teensy weeny desire for a black belt to complement my wardrobe… but we won’t go there just yet.

“My strength lies in prayer and sacrifice; they are invincible weapons, and touch hearts more surely than words can do, as I have learned by experience.”-St. Therese of Lisieux

On a slightly more serious note, we cannot overlook the fact that today is Spy Wednesday, the day that Judas met with the high priests and agreed to hand over Jesus for 30 pieces of silver. What momentary (and instantly regrettable) lapse of strength he must have experienced! It surely calls to mind the importance of NOT making rash decisions… of thinking through our actions in terms of how they will impact the lives of those whom we hold dear… and even those others whom we don’t, since the impact [on life after life after life] is sometimes so far-reaching!

Over the next few days, the impact of Judas’ choice – although, perhaps, predestined – will be seen and felt and heard the whole world over.  And although we cannot undo what was done, we can move forward in the light of His grace.  This is a truth that applies as much to Jesus’ time as our own… as much to Judas as to ourselves.

Let us live a life of no regret, but should we regret just a little, let us long for the day when life begins anew and we are once again graced by His presence.  Until then, let us learn from our experiences and use prayer as both a shield of strength and a conduit to the forgiveness of sin.