This Quick Takes was published before the horrific Connecticut shootings. JoAnna's post speaks to the evil that we cannot fathom: The Question of Evil. Lord, have mercy.
1) All eight kids are home tonight (the oldest two back from college), and that means all ten of us are together under the same roof! I know it will start to feel crowded soon, but for now, it is heavenly, and I am so very grateful.
2) Here's something that never crossed my mind for the first 27 years of my Catholic life: Christmas literally means "Christ's Mass"! It's a feast of the Catholic Church, a holy day on her liturgical calendar.
It's also one of the only feasts of the Church that has been retained by Protestants (the other being Easter). I hope one day Christians will be reunited again, and that we will all celebrate the Christ's Mass at holy altars around the world, as the Lord intended.
3) Did you know that the Twelve Days of Christmas are not the twelve days prior to December 25? In fact, the Christmas season does not end on Christmas Day, that's when it begins! Catholic families should live out the true Christmas season (as opposed to confusing it with Advent), and here is a beautiful way to do just that. My dear friend, Rebecca Even, has worked lovingly for years to put together something special to celebrate those twelve days and reclaim the season:
A new take on a familiar song, and so much more for the family to enjoy!
4) I am so, so, so excited. Remember when I told you about the book that changed my life, because it introduced me to the three traditional stages of holiness? Well, I went forth on that path way back then, and made progress. However, it's been a full ten years since I briefly hit a height of prayer that allowed me to glimpse what the prayer masters (Teresa of Avila, John of the Cross) were talking about -- and through my own slothfulness I have failed to get back to that point on the path. Spiritually, I have been treading water for a decade.
But today I took concrete steps to forge ahead again, in a disciplined program of prayer ("Plan of Life", through the Society of Our Lady of the Most Holy Trinity) that bore great fruit for me all those years ago. I will be sure to share my insights as I go along this time.
God is so good, as it took the profound sorrow of Obama's reelection to hammer home the fact that the only answer to the darkness of our times is growth in holiness. We are all (yes, all) called to be saints. Whether we like it or not, we were made for this age. It's time for us to get crackin'!
5) This breathtaking prediction needs no commentary from me:
“The church will become small and will have to start afresh more or less from the beginning.
She will no longer be able to inhabit many of the edifices she built in prosperity. As the number of her adherents diminishes ... she will lose many of her social privileges…. As a small society, [the Church] will make much bigger demands on the initiative of her individual members….
It will be hard-going for the Church, for the process of crystallization and clarification will cost her much valuable energy. It will make her poor and cause her to become the Church of the meek…. The process will be long and wearisome as was the road from the false progressivism on the eve of the French Revolution — when a bishop might be thought smart if he made fun of dogmas and even insinuated that the existence of God was by no means certain…. But when the trial of this sifting is past, a great power will flow from a more spiritualized and simplified Church. Men in a totally planned world will find themselves unspeakably lonely. If they have completely lost sight of God, they will feel the whole horror of their poverty. Then they will discover the little flock of believers as something wholly new. They will discover it as a hope that is meant for them, an answer for which they have always been searching in secret.
And so it seems certain to me that the Church is facing very hard times. The real crisis has scarcely begun. We will have to count on terrific upheavals. But I am equally certain about what will remain at the end: not the Church of the political cult, which is dead already, but the Church of faith. She may well no longer be the dominant social power to the extent that she was until recently; but she will enjoy a fresh blossoming and be seen as man’s home, where he will find life and hope beyond death.”
-- Joseph Ratzinger (Benedict XVI), from his book Faith and the Future
(Pope Benedict has started to tweet! Follow him, here!)
6) God speaks to us through Truth, Goodness, and Beauty. An ode to Beauty:
|San Chapelle Cathedral, Paris|
7) Sweet, beautiful Lilly!
She has been waiting for so long, and yet she doesn't have time to wait. This precious five-year-old has a heart defect that needs surgical correction. The sooner Mama is found, the sooner she will get the medical attention she so desperately needs.
|Click my photo for more info! Single moms and Canadian families welcome!|
The good news is, Lilly has over $10,000 in her adoption grant just waiting to be used to bring her home. More good news? She is sweet and calm, and full of affection.
Is she your daughter? And if she is not your daughter, will you share her face and name with your family and friends? You may very well be the instrument that connects her to her family!
Also, many thanks to everyone who has done their online Christmas shopping through the Amazon link on this blog! I have earned over $140 in commission this month so far, and 100% of what I earn goes to the RR orphans and families. You guys are amazing! Group hug!! Keep those orders coming!
Thanks to Jen for hosting, and although I missed the streaming of the first episode of her reality show, it can now be seen for a short time on YouTube, and right here!
I'll be back next Friday, as I'm doing only Quick Takes during Advent.