Friday, April 27, 2012

Quick Takes: Lots of good stuff

Be sure to read to the end, where there'll be a payoff for some lucky reader….





1) A while back I received the coolest email from a lovely teen girl:

Hi!

My name is Maddi, I'm the 16-year-old daughter of Ellyn. (She emailed you a while back asking if you could direct her to specific points that would be easy teachings for me.) Now, as a part of my home school curriculum, I read a "Little Teaching" every morning.

I just wanted to thank you, first of all, for emailing my mom back with the links. Also, for writing these lovely lessons. They're easy to understand, and I really do enjoy them. I find it a good way to grow closer to God during Lent by learning more about Him, and why He does what He does for me! Every time I read one, or two :) , I feel more of God's love. Especially reading those about sin, and our freedom God gave us.

I could rant-on some more, but I'll keep this short...!

Sincere thanks,
Maddison

That got me thinking that the Little Teachings and some of the other posts would be good for parents to use with their teens, to nail down the basics of the Faith.

So, I recently added a new tab to the top of my blog, called "Little Teachings". Not only does it contain the past LT posts, but also the "What I Never Learned in CCD" posts, and the answers to the Doctrinal Quiz Shows. I may throw in a few more past links if I find them, and I will certainly add more as I write them, but at least now they're all in one place. Let me know what you think. (By the way, I think they are good for adults, too!)


2) I just like these (facebook is good for something besides sucking my life away)...



That last line says: "Regardless of whether they are born, unborn, big, small, black, white, weak, strong, wealthy, poor, planned, unplanned, wanted or not."


(And yes, I am mortified to discover typos in my posts and even in my comments. Sometimes my fuzzy brain or tendency to rush overtakes even my grammar nazi-ness. But please know that I never condone my own grammatical errors; I am properly appalled and ashamed whenever they occur, and I apologize for letting other grammar nazis down.)


3) Okay, the weirdest thing! I saw a huge increase in my stats this week, and I noticed that I've had almost 2,000 hits in the past few days on this post that ran last October:

(And many hits on this related post as well.)

I can tell that the readers were coming from a reprint of the same article on LifeSiteNews, which ended up as one of the top ten most-read articles on their site in 2011 (how nice that a list of all my faults was so widely read -- yay for humility!). But the posts have been dormant for months. So it's intriguing to me that suddenly this week a wave of folks were sent to that LifeSite article from…somewhere, and then a boatload of those folks made their way here. The point I'm trying to get to is that I don't know what the original source was! Do any of you know?? I am just so curious who or what could generate this kind of interest in an old post!


4) Finally saw October Baby! Whoa… that was a powerful ending and the most powerful part of all came during the credits. Really worth your time. 


5) So maybe you all heard the news reports that the big, bad Vatican meanies are bringing the hammer down on the sweet little nuns of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR)? Well, before you feel all sorry for the ladies, please take a gander at this:


Yes, it should shock you -- if you haven't been plugged into the shenanigans of that group before.

Now, this stuff has been festering for decades, and the real story is not how the heavy hand of the hierarchy "suddenly" came down on the sisters, but rather how the Church moves so dang slowly in these matters of scandal and dissent, giving the sisters decades to conform their religious orders to the teachings of Church that they profess to serve. 

Think of it this way: An organization of vegans decides, after many decades and many warnings, to crack down on a group of its members who insist upon eating meat every day, proudly and loudly, while still proclaiming themselves vegans. Everyone in the world would see that action by the vegan hierarchy as just, and would wonder what took them so long. The press would report it accurately, as well.

If only the same consideration would be given to the Vatican.


6) Malcolm has a family in process of adopting him now all because they saw a video of him.

If it worked for Malcolm, it can work for Beau. Check out this sweet angel and just try to resist him (be sure to watch at least to the point where you see him walking -- such a good boy!):


Go here for more info on Beau. (I am his Guardian Angel, which means that I am committed to praying for him and advocating for him until he finds a home.)


7) Considering the debt I owe to the infertile Catholic blog community, I am thrilled to be today's stop on the blog book tour for The Infertility Companion for Catholics, written by Angelique Ruhi-López and Carmen Santamaría.


In the authors' own words:

Spiritual healing, encouraging hope and a new perspective: these are what we hope people will experience when reading The Infertility Companion for Catholics: Spiritual and Practical Support for Couples. We co-authored this book because we know first-hand the struggles inherent in the infertility journey and wanted to provide a companion book for the journey, one that, as our preface says, “you can consult and rely on when you need to be challenged, encouraged, and understood.” The book provides moral and spiritual support as well as guidance on the many options that infertile couples face and how to make necessary choices while remaining faithful to the teachings of the magisterium. “Its purpose is to give voice to the reality of infertility among those who seek to live as faithful Catholics.”


In addition to the spiritual and practical support provided toward the middle and end of the book, the first four chapters lay the ground work of what the Church teaches on infertility and why the Church only has our best interests in mind. Here is an excerpt from the chapter entitled, “What Does the Catholic Church Have to Do with Infertility?”
God doesn’t only work through us and what we think. He uses our friends and family as well as the Church to speak to us. The scriptures tell us, “Oh, that today you would hear his voice: Do not harden your hearts” (Ps 95:7–8). We know how hard it can be to see the truth in the Church’s teaching. The pain of infertility can be so profound it can cloud our vision and make us only focus on one goal—having a baby. But in the end, “what profit is there for one to gain the whole world and forfeit his life?” (Mk 8:36). With obedience, we can properly hear God’s voice as we walk along this infertility journey instead of allowing society to dictate our decisions.
This is particularly challenging when one considers all the competing voices in the world. We must know God well enough to recognize his voice above all others in the stirring of our consciences. God should first be our friend, as Blessed Teresa of Calcutta said. The Lord is our Good Shepherd, and “the sheep follow him, because they recognize his voice. But they will not follow a stranger; they will run away from him, because they do not recognize the voice of strangers” (Jn 10:4–5). When reading Church teaching, we form our consciences and learn to recognize God’s loving voice. In a similar way, if we learn to recognize God’s voice and his promptings in our everyday life, we will be better equipped to hear his voice while navigating the confusing world of infertility treatments, instead of the voice of the stranger that we do not recognize. (…) 
The Church is for us, not against us, when it comes to helping us walk this arduous path of infertility. The Church is our mother, and just as the loving parents we also desire to be, it seeks only our good. We need only open our minds and our hearts to understanding why it teaches as it does. Angelique explains her initial encounter with Church teaching on infertility treatment:
I had always heard that the Church did not accept some infertility treatments, but before we were faced with infertility, I never knew why. I am an avid researcher by nature and as the months continued to pass without a positive pregnancy test, I began doing online searches on the Catholic Church and infertility. I don’t know what surprised me most about what I found: the wealth of Church materials on the subject or the fact that the information is not widely known. Initially, what I read overwhelmed me because of how profound it was; later, as I continued to read it and pray about it, that same material overwhelmed me because it made me realize God’s profound love for me.
Amen, ladies, and thank you for consolidating what Catholics need to know about dealing with infertility in this morally confused age.

I'm excited to say that I have a brand new copy of this book to give away! To enter the drawing, simply leave a comment below stating that you would like the book. If you feel more comfortable remaining anonymous, please email me at littlecatholicbubble (at) gmail (dot) com.

But wait!! To sweeten the pot, I will give you two additional chances to win if you become a new subscriber to or official follower of my Orphan Report blog (be sure to let me know), and I will give you five additional chances to win if you donate in any amount to Malcolm's iPad giveaway, here. (Yes, I am still obsessed with the orphans, and I don't see that changing anytime soon, so y'all will have to live with it.)

I will pick a winner on Sunday night at random, yay!


Have a great weekend, and thanks to Jen for hosting!




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30 comments:

  1. I love the chapter name "What does the Catholic church have to do with infertility!"

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  2. Please enter me for the book drawing!

    I was talking with my sister just yesterday about why I will never do IVF or anything that the Church prohibits in regards to my IF. I need to send her the link to this post!

    -January

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  3. 5- Thank you! I tried to explain it in terms of support organization (a SGK group supporting testicular cancer) but this vegan analogy is much better! Thanks for sharing it. :)

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  4. 1. THAT is awesome!! I love that your stuff helps teens. I know it helps me explain things to hubby.

    2. LOL!!

    3. Lifesite reposted it on their FB. That's where. :)

    YAY for advocating for orphans!

    Happy Friday. *skips off to try to come up with 7 quick takes*

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  5. How do you become a Guardian Angel for a RR kid?

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  6. Great list! Enter me for the drawing! I adore the work you are doing for the orphans!

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  7. JoAnna, go here, and there is an email link for Laurie. You request a child with her. The GA program is for the kids who do not have Down Syndrome. For DS kids, you become a Prayer Warrior, but they don't get an icon… I think that part's confusing, but oh well, ha ha!

    http://reecesrainbow.org/sponsorship/guardian-angel-project

    Do you have a child in mind for being a GA?

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  8. I want beau.....And Masha.....I can't even handle it. I want them.

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  9. I'm so glad you still like me even though my grammar is horrible! :) Especially at 1am.... :) hahaha

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  10. No, not in particular. I thought that GAs did more advocacy and prayer warriors only did prayer - I didn't realize that GAs were for non-DS kids. Why the difference, I wonder?

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  11. #4 Still waiting to see it, thanks for thumbs up on it !

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  12. JoAnna: I think maybe they need GA's for kids without DS because there's the belief that those kids may not be as much in need? (Just speculating -- I have no idea if that's the case.)

    Leila: this grammar nazi thanks you for #2. I also have a bunch of Protestant friends who read your post via LifeSite and shared it around on Facebook.

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  13. Hi Leila-

    Like a previous commenter stated... it was FB. I noticed that A TON of my friends have been reposting it and I thought "Isn't that an old article of Leila's?" Everyone loves it!

    Have a great weekend!

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  14. Guys, thanks for solving the mystery! Weird, no one posted it on my facebook ha ha!

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  15. Regarding the LCWR, your vegan analogy is an apt one. I've had the thought recently that the Catholic Church will probably get a lot smaller before it gets bigger. While this would not be my preference, I think it could actually be a good and perhaps even necessary development.

    How can we effectively call others to the Church when the message is distorted by untruths and poor examples proffered by those who don't really believe (let alone live) the Magisterium, yet identify themselves as Catholics?

    Like meat-eating vegans, Catholics-in-name-only (Cath-INOs -- did I just coin that phrase or have I just never heard it before?) act as a barrier to Christ's message reaching those who don't know the Truth but might be open to it. When I tell friends who are non-believers what an enormous impact the Eucharist has had on my life, they often respond by repeating some instance of poor behavior or hypocrisy they've perceived in observing Catholics. Would we be better off evangelizing from a smaller but more adherent base?

    I know no one down here is without fault, but there's a difference between trying to live the faith but sometimes failing and consciously deciding the faith could be improved with some self-devised tweaking.

    I don't think I would miss the nuns of the LCWR if they were somehow expelled, but am I wrong to think this way? Should we be thinking more of bringing the stray flock back in or should we let the strays wander off and focus on those who want to follow the shepherd?

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  16. Steve, great question. My thoughts on that have always been that I'd rather have a smaller, more faithful Church. The Catholics who seem to be embarrassed by the Pope and Church teachings seem to undermine her at every turn, thus causing confusion and scandal. There are some who will be set aright simply by getting proper catechesis and new information (like me… I was a horrible Catholic, then I learned my Faith), and then there are those like the nuns who don't seem to care what the Church teaches, no matter how many times they have been corrected or shown the truth. That is why the Church moves so slowly, I guess. But at a certain point, enough is enough.

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  17. I need to add that Beau video to my post. He's so sweet.

    I'd prefer a smaller, more orthodox Catholic Church as a whole. We could do so many good things if we were united in faith and didn't have to deal with Cafeteria Catholics all the time.

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  18. Kara and Leila,

    I'd prefer the smaller, more faithful option too. I just need to avoid the temptation to judge others' worthiness or faithfulness -- I fear I could fall into that bad and unvirtuous habit.

    For me, the key distinction is whether someone is intentionally renouncing the Church or the Pope's teachings (which, by definition, is not something a Catholic would do) or whether that person's words or actions come from thoughtlessness or lack of knowledge. We probably all know people in that latter group, and we may even love some of them dearly.

    A separate question is how best to react to people we observe in that latter group. If such a person wanders into the Little Catholic Bubble, then I can see a clear path to constructive enlightenment amd/or disabusement (thanks, Leila).

    But what about encounters outside the Bubble? Certainly we don't have to react to every comment or action we encounter, but what if it comes from a member of our parish or school community? What if parts of our Catholic community have become a little lax on this? What I mean is, my gut says we might need to initiate a bit more dialog, a bit more pushback, in my community anyway. Constructive but firm seems like the right tone to me, although simply leading by example is always a good start.

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  19. Leila, is there a link to this video of Beau somewhere where I can embed it for my blog?

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    1. Oh, I figured it out.:-) He is such a cutie!!!

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  20. Love that you have a new "little teachings page!" That will be easy to access when my kids get old enough.

    I posted about the Infertility Companion too, and Angelique commented on my post! :) I already ordered a copy, so no need to be entered into the giveaway!

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  21. No need to enter me in that book give away.
    I like the grammar cartoon.
    That's a very nice letter from the teen girl.
    I went to that LCWR link and read some science-fiction. The noosphere! What?!?
    Well, I'm off to the couch-o-sphere to relax.

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  22. Please enter me in the drawing...would love to get my hands on that book! :)

    I love all the advocating you're doing for the orphans and wish I could bring them all home! Maybe one day... :)

    Have a great weekend Leila!

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  23. Steve - IJH said "Should we be thinking more of bringing the stray flock back in or should we let the strays wander off and focus on those who want to follow the shepherd?" Like you, I'm often (usually) tempted to prefer a smaller, stronger Church. I live in Western Europe, and I can tell you, though the country I live in is nominally about 80% Catholic, only about 10% go to Mass every Sunday - and of those 10%, my guess is the vast majority believe the Faith is in need of improvement, including the priest. It is very, very sad. The Holy Father himself said that Europe is in need of re-evangelization, and we have priests from all over - Eastern Europe, Africa, Latin America. Wonderful. But the reality is - it's probably harder to evangelize here than in a land which has never know Christianity, because people think they know it - when they really don't. But I have hope. We know the Church will never die. We know it grows fast on a global scale. And I believe the Americans are once more leading the way in strengthening the Faith in the Western world - witness Leila's blog and many like it, witness the American bishops, witness the pro-life movement. All very encouraging. Give us 15-20 years, we may yet get there. With God's help, as He is helping you. (Sorry, didn't really answer your question - just want to say we need more of the discipline the Vatican has handed out to the LCWR).

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  24. Beau is precious beyond words. It breaks my heart that these children don't have forever families, but I will keep spreading the word!!

    DD

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  25. Beau is so sweet! My five-year-old daughter said, "I think he should live with us! He can learn English here." I hope someday we will be eligible to adopt. I highly doubt we would qualify at this stage in our lives...but maybe in three or four years? (Not that I've ever seriously mentioned it to my husband -- haha!)

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  26. Sebastian,

    That does sound sad and it's what I am afraid will happen here in the US, if we are not there already. I will pray for the faithful of Western Europe -- that they will discern God's will for them and be a light for others there to follow.

    God Bless.

    Do you mind sharing with us the name of the country you love in?

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  27. Thanks for encouragement, Steve - IJH. I live in Austria, but the situation is similar in Germany, worse in France - all majority "Catholic" countries if I'm not mistaken. But at least they have a very strong core remaining, unlike here. It's no coincidence the Holy Father is German himself. But boy is he reviled here and in large parts of Germany...

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  28. Sebastian, I would love to hear your story someday, how you are so faithful and devout!! It would be very inspiring!

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  29. Okay, I just did the random drawing for the book, and a woman who emailed me privately has won! Thanks so much, guys!!

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