Posted on March 3, 2014 by Cathy
As Mass begins, a new crop of Christians-in-training processes into Our Lady of Mercy Church in what has to be one of the most moving ceremonies of the church year. They stand in the center aisle, facing their sponsors, who begin by tracing the sign of the cross on their foreheads as the priest prays, “It is Christ himself who now strengthens you with this sign of his love. Learn to know and follow him.” We pray as the sponsor crosses the catechumen’s ears, eyes, lips, shoulders, heart, and hands, ending with: “Receive the sign of the cross on your feet, that you may walk in the way of Christ.”
A blessing of such beauty and power makes me wish that all Catholics could get one like it every year or two, to strengthen and focus our faith. Consider for a moment just the blessing of the feet. Let’s be concrete: Where might the way of Christ take my feet during the months ahead? To what places are our family’s calendar commitments actually bringing us? Continue reading
Filed under: Family spirituality, Handing on the faith | Tagged: Families and Lent, family calendar, Julie Hanlon Rubio | Leave a comment »
Posted on February 24, 2014 by Cathy
The gospel of Jesus turning water into wine gives us three strong messages: Jesus, an adult, taking the advice of his mother; Jesus “revealing his glory” publicly for the first time; and Jesus serving the people of God by making sure the celebration of the wedding could continue.
Yes, you’re the Messiah, but I’m still your mom. Thirty-year-old Jesus had a different perspective than did his 40-something mother on how involved to become in the problem of the wine shortage. He said that the time wasn’t quite right; she nudged him to do the miracle anyway. His change of mind showed the value he placed on his relationship with his mother. We would be wise, in our own decision-making, to consider the advice of our parents, who may see talent or opportunity where we miss it. Continue reading
Filed under: Family spirituality, Handing on the faith, Marriage enrichment | Tagged: catholic theology marriage, Franciscan Father Mike Bertram, Wedding feast at Cana | 1 Comment »
Posted on February 10, 2014 by Cathy
Grace beyond this moment. Brigid and Bob, married 19 years with four children, believe that part of being open to the grace of God in marriage is understanding that bumpy times will not last forever and good times should not be taken for granted. “In good times, it is good to stop and ask, ‘Why is this good? What are we doing right? Can we replicate and maintain the qualities of this time?’ ” Brigid says. In asking what we are doing right, we avail ourselves of what being open to God’s grace looks like in real life, and we can more easily hold on to what we learn. Continue reading
Filed under: Family spirituality, Marriage enrichment | Tagged: build a strong marriage, marriage, sacrament of marriage | Leave a comment »
Posted on February 3, 2014 by Cathy
Jennifer and Dave, married 14 years, with two boys ages 10 and 8, rely on their differences to build a strong marriage.
“Dave always says to me that together we compensate for each other’s weaknesses,” Jennifer explains. “Dave is more relaxed and does not worry as much. I am more structured and want a plan. The longer we are married, the more we realize that working together we can get through life, because I keep us organized and Dave makes sure we take time to relax.” Continue reading
Filed under: Family spirituality, Marriage enrichment | Tagged: build a strong marriage, sacrament of marriage, sacramental nature of marriage | Leave a comment »
Posted on January 27, 2014 by Cathy
Amanda, mother of two teens, can relate to Peter’s sinking in the story of Jesus walking on the water (Matthew 14:22-33). “During those times in my life when I am not as connected to God, I tend to feel more stressed and irritated. Things don’t go as well.” She admits that her faith life is not where she’d like it to be.
Amanda’s story is a common one. While Jesus is eager to walk with us on the water of seemingly impossible challenges, we often struggle to believe he can truly help us. Like Peter, we are frightened by the strong winds—whether they are challenges with our family, our health, or our jobs—and we take our eyes from Jesus. We may stop going to church regularly. We may give up our moments of prayer. We may try to do it all ourselves. And we start to sink. Continue reading
Filed under: Family spirituality, Handing on the faith | 1 Comment »
Posted on January 20, 2014 by Cathy
• “Do your best and let God do the rest.” Sharen, mother of two, says this with her children every day before school. She says the first part, and the kids respond with the second part. “If I don’t do it, the girls will loudly exclaim, ‘Say it, Mama!’ as if they can’t leave the car and go into school without it,” Sharen says.
• “What’s one way you helped someone today?” Continue reading
Filed under: Family spirituality, Handing on the faith | Tagged: “Do your best and let God do the rest.”, “What’s one way you helped someone today?” | 1 Comment »
Posted on January 13, 2014 by Cathy
My daughter just finished her college application essays. Those of you with grade-schoolers, beware. You too will find yourself supervising your offspring during this torturous process before you know it.
Despite the wonderful Common Application—one form plus one essay that your child can send to as many schools as she chooses (limited only by how much dough you as parent want to cough up for application fees)—many schools insist that applicants write a separate essay just for them. Or two, or even three. Some schools opt out of the Common App altogether, requiring forms and essays tailored strictly to their overdeveloped sense of importance. Continue reading
Filed under: Family spirituality, Handing on the faith | Tagged: college applications, Plato's cave allegory, Star Wars action figures, What can't you live without? | 1 Comment »
Posted on January 6, 2014 by Cathy
Casting off the “rerun” arguments. Many marriages have one or more repeating areas of friction. Recurring issues also come up between parents and children. Arguments are not bad in themselves. If both parties leave the argument having made points that the other person has acknowledged, and both parties take responsibility for changing an area of themselves as a result, the argument, while uncomfortable, was necessary for growth. Continue reading
Filed under: Family spirituality, Handing on the faith, Marriage enrichment | Tagged: Annemarie Scobey, family denial, marriage counselor | Leave a comment »
Posted on December 30, 2013 by Cathy
Francis and Liz live in a neighborhood with many Orthodox Jews. One of their neighbors’ traditions for the celebration of Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, is called Tashlich, meaning “casting off.” It involves symbolically casting off the sins of the previous year by tossing pieces of bread into a body of flowing water. Just as the water carries away the bits of bread, so too are the sins of the previous year symbolically carried away.
“While our neighbors celebrate their Jewish New Year in the fall, we feel this tradition has something to say to us now as we ring in 2013,” Francis says. “Our friends have reframed New Year’s for us—beyond the typical resolutions. We won’t actually be throwing bread into the water, but we’re applying their idea of ‘casting off’ to those areas of our family life that weren’t so good last year.” Continue reading
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Posted on December 23, 2013 by Cathy
This year again, God willing, our friend John will come over to help us put up our Christmas tree—well, really just to put on the ornaments. My husband insists we put up the tree in advance, which deprives our guest of our witty holiday repartee, like “Why didn’t you tell me the tree was crooked before I tightened all the screws in the stand?!”
The best part is when John comes upon the simple little paper ornament our daughter made for him years ago that says simply, in magic marker, “Sox.” Now, you have to understand that as fervent Cubs fans, our family does not cheer for the Chicago White Sox. (This would be putting it mildly.) We do not have White Sox paraphernalia in our house. Period. Our friend, likewise, is a Sox fan who I don’t believe has ever been to a Cubs game in his life. Yet my daughter decided, in his honor, that he deserved to have a Sox ornament to hang every year. Continue reading
Filed under: Family spirituality, Handing on the faith | 1 Comment »