Archive for the ‘The Church’ Category

Holy Saturday

I vividly remember Holy Saturday of one year ago. It was April 7th, a beautiful spring morning….and there was SNOW on the ground! It was unbelievable. I took it as a sign of the incredible things to come later that day. 🙂

I have no way of knowing how many of you who stop by here will be welcomed into the Church this weekend. But for those who are coming in, you have my constant prayers today and tomorrow. I still remember the butterflies in my stomach. For many, the butterflies may be accompanied by doubt. I’m praying against that for you. For some, there is grieving of friends you have lost along the journey. I’m praying for our Lord to supply your every need. God may be asking some of you to take a step of faith because it still doesn’t all make sense to you. I’m praying for you to know his strong presence with every step.

I have said it before but I’ll say it again. It. Is. Worth. It. You’ll not regret this decision – hard as it may have been to make. He will meet you in it.

He is waiting.

The apostles, saints, and martyrs of old are waiting.

We’re all (the Church Militant, the Church Expectant, the Church Triumphant) waiting……..to welcome you to the table.

Have a glorious Easter!


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“You are rich”, said the smiling, little Ukrainian lady to me as she admired my 4 runninggals and served out samples of seven layer dip today at Sam’s Club.

“No money, just children”, she continued.

As I walked away teary-eyes, I agreed with her. Yes, seven-layer-dip-lady, I AM rich. You have no idea how rich I am…and many days, I think I don’t either.

Hence the silence of this blog of late.

It seems that daily I become more and more aware of the abundant riches showered on me as a Catholic, Christian, wife and mother. I’ve said it before but I’ll say it again. This Church that I’m a part of is so big. Nine months later I feel I’ve only skimmed the surface.

I’ve made a choice not to post anything here recently. Not because I’ve nothing to say but because I’m so enjoying just living this life. Our Lord is giving me powerful, beautiful opportunities to talk about my faith in real life and it feels so natural. Writing here does not feel natural. Yet, I feel a passion to explain the Catholic Faith, not to convince anyone but just to explain the truth and dispel the lies.

Advent marks the beginning of the Liturgical Year in the Church Calendar. All those resolves to declutter, lose weight, get organized that seem to materialize in our minds between Christmas and New Years can be applied to our hearts as the Church Year begins anew.

What kind of heart clutter have I accumulated? Lies whispered by the Enemy? Idols that distract me from Our Lord? What do I need to do to rid myself of that heart clutter?

Am I carrying extra heart “weight” that I’m not supposed to carry? Unconfessed sin? (Catholics get thee to confession! 😉 ) Guilt? Other peoples’ burdens?

How can I run harder after Jesus? What obstacles are in the way of that? Am I living in this moment, right now, fully embracing all that God has for me here and now? Or do I stay distracted by all the “what-ifs” of the past?

If you’re so inclined, pray for me as I seek discernment about the future of this blog.

A Blessed Advent to you all.

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Someone (a non-Catholic) asked me this question recently. I was a little startled because the question I would want to know is “Why would anyone NOT want to take their kids to a Latin Mass?” I quickly forget how different my perspective is from many of the folks in my life. In fact, I was so startled, that the best response I had at the moment was about the beauty of the Latin language and the desire to expose our kids to beautiful things. While that’s true, my answer just wasn’t enough….for me at least. 😉

This afternoon, the Runningkids and I did a rare thing. We sat in front of the television together. Every Wednesday, you can watch the Papal Audience on EWTN and see the Pope greet, exhort, pray for and pray with the masses of folks who are on pilgrimage to Rome. Each visiting group is recognized by their country and city of origin. in today’s crowd were folks from England, Ireland, New Zealand, Thailand, Canada, and the U.S. The U.S. contention included a group from our parish so we were looking for familiar faces…..and we saw them! After greeting his audience and giving them some words of encouragement, the Holy Father began to pray the Lord’s Prayer. In Latin. And ALL in the crowd joined in. All the English. All the Irish. All the Thai. All the French Canadians. All prayed together with one voice. In Latin.

There’s more that could be said about the use of Latin in the Mass, but for now, I’m thankful to have been able to pray today with those pilgrims who came from all parts of the world.

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I live in a beautiful portion of the Eastern United States, not far from the homes of some very noteable, past presidents of our country. How do I know those men actually lived in those impressive estates or if those are just tales contrived to bring tourist dollars into the area? Fortunately, many details (good, bad, and ugly) of these mens’ lives are recorded for antiquity in their letters and journals. Although I can’t personally vouch for the authenticity of these documents, the proponderance of evidence offered by historians seems to validate that these men did indeed take up residence on these historic farms.

The question of how to determine truth fluttered in and out of my mind for years….sometimes plaguing me but usually getting pushed aside. I just couldn’t understand, with all the differing ideas within christianity about baptism, how we’re saved, how we’re to worship, etc., that anyone could really know….really, REALLY know the truth. Eighteen months ago, I was again wrestling with this question as I was meditating on John 17. It was almost as if I was reading these verses for the first time.

“I do not pray for these only, but also for those who believe in me through their word, that they may all be one, even as you, Father, are in me, and I in you, that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me. The glory which you have given me I have given to them, that they may be one even as we are one, I in them and you in me, that they may become perfectly one, so that the world may know that you have sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.”

Our oneness needs to be visible to the world that they “may believe”. Our oneness should reflect the oneness of God the Father and God the Son. The Father and the Son never bickered or disagreed about anything. This felt like a major newsflash to me. I was dumbfounded. I really had read these verses before but this time was different. It was almost as if I was reading them for the first time. That was the first time I began to feel challenged that all the various denominations and divisions among Christians were not what God intended. For this oneness to exist, truth must be discernable, visible and complete, not vague or contradicting.

Jesus says He is “the way, the truth, and the life”(Jn 14:6) and that “the truth will make you free” (Jn 8:33). To be set free, we must know the truth. But how?

For most of my christian life, I had prayed that the Holy Spirit would guide me into truth whenever I meditated on the Scriptures. Yet how did I make sense of things when “my truth” contradicted “your truth”? Even the most knowledgeable and godly scripture scholars dispute one another. Peter even acknowledges this when he says that some things are “hard to understand” (2 Pt. 3:16). But God wouldn’t put such a high priority on truth and yet make it unattainable.

“….but I am writing these instructions to you so that……you may know how to behave in the household of God, which is the Church of the living, the pillar and bulwark of the truth.” (1Tim. 3:16)

I had found my answer. The Church was the preserver of truth. Now, if I could just determine which church…..

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Headed South

Later this week we will travel south to Florida for our family vacation. Every summer, we head to Ft. Lauderdale for a week, give or take a few days. One year ago, it was on those same sandy beaches I was walking as I was coming to grips with the realization that the Catholic Church might be a very real and unavoidable option for me. The fact that I spent much of the week glued to EWTN after the kids were in bed- we don’t get cable at home – should have been my first clue!

This will be our first trip as a Catholic Christian family and, hence, our first real “taste” of the universality of the Catholic Church. I’ll confess, in the past, that even though we vacation in the same spot every summer, we never went to the effort of finding a church there. Maybe it’s because it’s not so easy to find an Anglican Church or maybe we weren’t sure we would be comfortable with the worship style of the many protestant churches nearby. This time I am excited to go to Mass on vacation. We may still be uncomfortable with the worship style but that’s not what we’re after. We will be seeking the sacraments. It amazes me that anywhere along our trek from our state to Florida, we can stop at any number of Catholic Churches and be at home. This year, that is one of the most exciting aspects of our vacation for me because the universality of Catholicism is partly what drew us to it.

I don’t know how much I’ll post while away, if at all. During the day, we will obviously be on the beach and in the evening, it will just depend on what’s showing on EWTN! 🙂

For the traveling Catholics out there, this website gives Mass times for cities nationwide. I’m secretly hoping I can figure out a way to get here, to Fr. Longenecker’s parish for Mass.

Bon Voyage!

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From My Nightstand…

A few weeks ago I mentioned the book We Look for a Kingdom: The Everyday Lives of the Early Christians.  I’m still making my way through it.  Part two of the book, which is where I finally am now, is focused on the early Christians and the early Church.  I read something last night which fascinated me:

“Today we have a tendency to idealize the early Christians.  A careful study of their history will quickly dispel this tendency.  They were as human as we are today and just as prone to childishness, pride, careerism, and even treachery.  They differed from us in two ways:  (1) the average Christian tended to be much more serious about his faith, since it cost so much to be a Christian, and (2) they were closer to the origins of Christianity.

The second point is actually quite important.  Human nature being what it is, from the very start distortions of the Christian message began to develop everywhere.   Some heretics denied the divinity of Christ, while other denied his humanity.  There were those, called Gnostics, who taught that the flesh was evil, that only the spirit was good, and that only those who were in possession of special knowledge could be saved.

These doctrinal difficulties were not merely theoretical; they caused real problems in the Church and had to be dealt with.  When you consider these doctrinal difficulties along with the ever-present danger of persecution, it seems clear that the early Church needed strong leadership.  It would be a mistake to think the early Church was organized like a modern democracy.  It is true that bishops were elected by popular acclamation.  It is also true that most important decisions were made by a bishop conferring with his presbyters (if the matter were local) or by local synods (if the question involved more than one ecclesia).  But once decisions were made, it was expected that everyone would abide by them.  As mentioned, if controversies proved intractable, an appeal would be made to Rome, and if an appeal was made to Rome, then Rome’s decision had to be followed.”  p. 158

I continue to be so amazed and thankful for all the early Christians endured to preserve the integrity of the gospel and the Church.  God was so wise not to place me during that time of history.  I never would have been able to withstand the heat.

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A friend recently posed a very good question to me. How can the reality that so many Catholics don’t seem to practice, much less know, their Catholic faith be compatible with the Catholic belief that the Catholic Church was and continues to be the Church founded by Jesus? I’ll save my own thoughts on this for another time but for today, Mark Windsor at Rafting the Tiber does a nice job of outlining how the Catholic Church does not equal the sum of its parts.

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