Monday, April 30, 2012

If you think I was kidding, just watch Kathleen Sebelius squirm

I told you that the left does not care one whit about your religious liberty, and the subsequent comments from secularists confirmed that premise.

But now let's listen to one of the left's great heroes, HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, as she is schooled questioned by Congressman Trey Gowdy (where'd this amazing man come from??) about the contraception/abortifacient mandate. Grab some popcorn, as it's one of the more entertaining bits of film you'll see all year:




Did you love that or what? (I learned a lot that I didn't know. Thanks, Mr. Gowdy!)

That remarkable and elucidating exchange is more evidence that they do not give a flying fig about your religious freedom or the U.S. Constitution.

(And, I'm not so sure that Kathleen Sebelius -- a Catholic -- cares too much about her soul at this point, either. It's actually a bit haunting to watch a fellow Catholic sell her own Faith down the river in the name of abortion politics, but remember that this is the woman who publicly, proudly supports the dismemberment of human children through all nine months of gestation.)

Most Americans don't realize that Obamacare handed Sebelius an unconscionable amount of power. According to that massive, unread law, the head of HHS alone decides what will be considered "preventative services", which can then be mandated. No surprise then when this radical "reproductive rights" ideologue didn't choose free toothpaste for all, but rather free contraception/abortifacients/sterilization. All of which must, according to our dear HHS leader, be forcibly provided by her fellow Catholics, some of whom actually do serve God, obey Church teachings, and still fear hell.

Anyway, the video was a treat, but I really don't want to see any more such displays of raw ignorance wedded to unbridled power ever again. So, can we please vote these dangerous anti-Catholic goofballs out of office in November? Pretty please?





PS: Now you know the kind of video that makes me entertained, but here's one that makes me angry. And it ain't about the left.



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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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Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Listen up! They don't care about your religious liberty

Remember this post?


Well, your rear is getting more exposed by the day.

Yes, Catholic charities have been forced, tragically, to close long-standing foster care and adoption agencies, and yes, Catholics have been told we must violate our consciences and provide free contraception, sterilization and abortifacients or face ruinous fines and jail -- but there's so much more coming down the pike.

For example, proposed laws like this are popping up, which would force churches to act against their own beliefs and missions, even on their own property:


Or for example, proposed federal mandates forcing Catholic hospitals to perform abortions (i.e., commit murder).

Yep, you read that right. Check out what's happening in the great State of Connecticut:

"On Sunday, some Democratic candidates for U.S. Senate said they'd favor the concept of a federal law requiring even Catholic hospitals to perform abortions."

Read more here.

And please note that from Kathleen Sebelius to Joe Biden to Nancy Pelosi to Connecticut's senatorial candidates, even self-professed Catholics are climbing all over each other to sell out Catholicism, happily calling in the power of the government for back-up.

"Force"
"Mandate"
"Law"
"Fines"
"Jail"

It's everywhere now, and if you don't see it, you're not paying attention.

While I should be used to this kind of incrementalism (really, nothing coming from the left and the Democrats should faze me at this point), it's all still kind of jarring. After all, I'm not that old, and when I was growing up in the M-TV generation and educated in public schools, everyone I knew loved God and country. There was nothing controversial or offensive about it. We clearly understood that this nation was founded on the principle of religious liberty. We cherished that fact, and we knew it's what made America different -- and great.

But in the last few years, something has changed. The left has fearlessly asserted its own narrative for this nation, one in which religious liberty is not foundational. In fact, it hit me like a ton of bricks one day recently that those on the left don't care if I, as a Catholic, have religious freedom! They really don't!

I want to be wrong, but I think I'm right on this.

If anyone out there can show me where the left (and/or the Democratic Party) is horrified by the erosion of the rights of Catholics to live our faith freely, and where the left (and/or the Democratic Party) is working hard to stop the outrages I've linked to above, I'm happy to hear it. Because until I see that, I must conclude and warn, again and again: Those on the left don't care one whit about religious liberty.

Not only is religious liberty not a value they hold, it's not even on their radar screen. I believe that many on the left would like to see religious freedom disappear entirely, especially for Catholics.


It's time for courage, folks. I think the U.S. Bishops have finally found some, and now it's our turn.




PS: Thank you, Stacy, for pointing me to this excellent piece:






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Friday, April 20, 2012

Are we really "fringe" Catholics?

Important Disclaimer! This post is not about who is a "better" person than another. As I have said countless times on this blog, only God can read and judge hearts and souls. This post seeks to address only what objectively constitutes the "fringe" of Catholicism vs. what constitutes the normative or mainstream. 


A non-Catholic reader, Johanne, left an interesting comment during a recent discussion on this post.
[A]s a non-Catholic, I only know if someone SAYS they're a Catholic--I can't evaluate whether or not they are living out their faith. For all I know YOU are not a "real" Catholic. I don't mean in any way to imply that you're not, and it's not anyone's obligation to offer their credentials to me, or anyone else. I'm just sharing my bemusement when I hear religious folks claim that other members of their faith are not "real" members of their faith. At times I have described conversations I've been a part of on "The Bubble" to other Catholics and have been told you sound like members of a "fringe." I'm not saying they're accurate, I'm just saying it's confusing. I guess that's why there are so many religions and so many sects within those religions. People feel a need to find their niche. 

The sentiments are nothing new; faithful Catholics hear this sort of thing a lot. Let's look at it: "Fringe" implies that we are on the margins of the Faith, and outside of the mainstream of Catholicism. Interestingly, many Catholics who identify me or the Catholics from this blog as "fringe" have the same thoughts about Pope Benedict XVI. They see him as being extremist, or out-of-touch, or stuck in the past. They have their own ideas about what Catholicism is or should be or must one day become.

And therein lies the problem. Most American Catholics are not operating within the Catholic paradigm!

The Catholic paradigm is hierarchical. We have a Magisterium*. In the Catholic religion, we have an earthly standard-bearer, a touchstone for orthodoxy, and a final authority: The pope. The pope is normative for our Catholic Faith, and he can never be on the fringe, but only in the center. The pope guards and protects the unbroken teachings from Christ, and hands them down, intact. Unlike Protestant denominations, doctrinal truth is not up for a vote, and the faithful cannot pick and choose what is or is not a part of the Faith.
       
But many American Catholics, unaware of this paradigm (or simply disliking it), live as practical Protestants. They refuse to submit to the authority of the pope, reject some or most of the Deposit of Faith, and then label as "extreme" those Catholics who accept the entire Faith. But that's the wrong perspective, of course. In fact, the further away one gets from embracing all the teachings of the Church, the closer he gets to the "fringe".

Here's a good illustration. At the great Easter Vigil -- the universal Church's most important liturgy of the year -- those being received into the fullness of the Catholic Church recite these words at the sacred altar of God:


“I believe and profess all that the holy Catholic Church teaches, believes and proclaims to be revealed by God.” 


This remarkable statement is normative, mainstream Catholicism. It is the very basis of what makes us Catholic. A Catholic who speaks these words and means them is not on the "fringe" of Catholicism, but resides in her very center.

The question may arise, then, just what are the teachings of the Church? Thankfully, that's easy to know. Again, look to the pope. Look to the unchanging teachings of the Church, which have been handed on for 20 centuries. Look to the Catechism of the Catholic Church, which Blessed John Paul the Great called a "sure norm for teaching the faith" and "a sure and authentic reference text." No one has to wonder what the Church teaches, as it's all there for everyone, including non-Christians, to see.

Church teaching is no mystery, and I'm guessing that even dissenting Catholics know the basics. Johanne, ask your Catholic friends what the Church teaches, officially, about homosexual "marriage". Ask them what the Church teaches about abortion, or about contraception. Ask them what the Church teaches about Christ's resurrection, or Mary's perpetual virginity. Chances are good that they already know what the Catholic Church teaches, even if they disagree.

And Johanne, please invite your Catholic friends to read this post. I'd be most interested to hear their reasons for classifying me and others here as "fringe". I truly am curious as to their evidence or thoughts on that. They will be treated respectfully, as you know!

Ultimately, I'd like them to know that faithful Catholics, like those you might find here in the Bubble, are not "fringe" or on the freakish edge of Catholicism; we're simply folks who strive, first and foremost, to be faithful and obedient (oh, that word!) to the Magisterium, living in the the heart of Christ's Church, where there is plenty of room for everyone.






*Magisterium: The teaching authority of the Catholic Church, comprised of the body of bishops in union with the pope.




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Tuesday, April 17, 2012

If the Little Catholic Bubble had a handbook...

I'm always lagging a little behind these days, but I finally read Hallie Lord's Style, Sex, and Substance: 10 Catholic Women Consider the Things that Really Matter! 

I mean seriously, before I read a single word, the cover alone made me feel good:


See what I mean? Don't you feel better?

If the Little Catholic Bubble had a handbook, this would be it. It's sort of a "How to love being a Catholic woman even more than you do now, as if that could even be possible!" or a "These are the women I want to go out to lunch with pretty much every day for the rest of my life and that's saying something because I am classic introvert!"


A quick overview of the chapters:


Jennifer Fulwiler, blogging icon, on "How I Fell Out of My Minivan and Found Myself". The glorious, six-foot, could-be supermodel (who really did spectacularly fall out of her minivan in front of church ladies) asks, what would a holy woman today -- a modern Mary -- look like?


Hallie Lord, our lovely hostess, on "Style: Balance, Beauty, and You". My dear friends, you really do not have to be frumpy and plain to be a faithful Catholic woman! So don't let that fear stop you from converting, k?


Karen Edmisten writes on "God and Godiva". A concise primer for busy women on how to pray and spiritually order your life all day long. (And yes, Karen, bullet points are always good!!)


Elizabeth Duffy covers "Sex, Passion, and Purity". I always chuckle when people think Catholics are prudes. We understand the joy of sex the way God intended it to be enjoyed, which is always the best way. And you can just read the chapter if you want to know more. ;)


Anna Mitchell speaks to all the single gals out there with "Single and Seeking God's Plan". The cross of living one's vocation is preceded by the cross of discerning and then waiting to live one's vocation. Anna deftly walks us through it.


Rachel Balducci writes on "Fruitful Friendship". A much needed discussion about how to be a friend, how to make a friend, how to navigate friendships, and even how to mitigate or end a toxic friendship with grace and peace. 


Danielle Bean gets real in "We Said Yes". Ah, honesty about marriage! The grit right along with the grace, no sugarcoating, but full of hope and joy. Lots of wisdom here for newlyweds looking down the road, and profound reminders for us long-marrieds, too.


Simcha Fisher on "Receiving, Creating, and Letting Go: Motherhood in Body and Soul". All I'm gonna say about this chapter is that Simcha always makes me smile, and she didn't disappoint. But this time, she made me tear up as well. I'll get you for that, Simcha! 


Barbara R. Nicolosi with the important "Plugging in and Embracing Discipleship in the Twenty-First Century". Yes, ladies, we live in an increasingly hostile culture and we may long for a simpler time. But God wants us living, loving, and evangelizing in this time, with this media and technology, and He wants us to do it with beauty and excellence. 


Finally, the chapter that taught me the most.


Rebecca Ryskind Teti on "What Works For You?" This discussion of the feminine genius was timed perfectly. I had just read the following when along came Hilary Rosen's diss of Ann Romney and stay-at-home moms:
In Redeeming Economics, John Mueller points out that there are two forms of capital. Physical capital, such as production plants, machinery, and computers, which includes all of the items businesses invest in so as to be able to operate. Because businesses employ people and generate wealth, we give them incentives to keep investing in capital. There is also human capital: the minds and muscles of people who design, create, or labor in various businesses. 
Mueller performs a rough calculation and concludes that two-thirds of wealth creation is a product not of physical, but human, capital. At present we don’t incentivize investment in human capital. We don't for example, provide the same tax breaks for educating a young person that we do for buying a Mac. This means that every adult whom a stay-at-home mom sends into the workforce is an enormous gift of wealth she’s given her country.
Take that, Ms. Rosen!


And I'm not the only one who saw Rebecca's piece as the perfect foil to Ms. Rosen's dig, as even the good folks at Hot Air quoted this informative nugget from her chapter:

There was a time when each household had to provide everything for itself. Economy, in fact, comes from the Greek word for household management, and it refers to all the activity necessary for a household to have what it needs. Each family planted crops, hunted game, spun its own cloth, and so forth in a division of labor that assured that everyone in the household had what he or she needed to live well. And a household typically included not only a nuclear family, but also extended relatives and servants, because it took a lot of people to perform all the necessary tasks. 
“Business” is a form of task specialization by which the household outsources to others what it used to have to do by itself. Increasing specialization of this kind has led to massive changes in social organization, but it hasn’t changed the essential nature of the activity, which is to provide households with what they need to live well. We don’t talk about economics in these terms because we have become philosophical materialists, interested only in what and how, never concerning ourselves with the questions of origin (Why does this arise?) or purpose (To what end is it ordered?). It’s not necessary for a woman to “contribute” to the world of work. The world of work exists to be sure she has what she needs for her family.
This is the stuff we need to teach our children! Imagine how differently we would view motherhood and things of the home. Which is not to say that the Church in any way condemns women who work outside the home; quite the contrary! The feminine genius extends into the workforce as well. Rebecca quotes Cardinal Ratzinger (now Pope Benedict XVI) who said that mothers "who wish also to engage in other work should be able to do so with an appropriate work schedule, and not have to choose between relinquishing their family life or enduring continual stress, with negative consequences for one's own equilibrium and the harmony of the family."


Amen, Papa!


And, amen to the ladies who opened their hearts and poured out their wisdom in this amazing book. It showcases the best of Catholic womanhood and encourages me in my own slow journey to sanctity. I also think it has the power to change non-Catholics' perceptions of us. (I love Jen Fulwiler's piece about the book: The Secret Lives of Women (Who Don't Use Contraception.))

And you know what? I was going to use my copy of Style, Sex, and Substance for a giveaway, but I liked it so much that I'm keeping it for myself.






Monday, April 16, 2012

Brief Malcolm update!

So many of you have helped little Malcolm in the past couple of months, and things are moving right along for this little boy who turned five this month.

Please read the latest updates, including interesting news about Malcolm's life at the orphanage, at the Smiths' blog:


Take some time to click all around the blog, and you will find tons of info -- including newer photos of Malcolm!

Also, please consider entering their giveaway for a brand new iPad (generously donated by our own Brenda, at Life As We Know It)! No purchase necessary, but donations encouraged and gratefully accepted! Go here for the details:

iPad Giveaway
(And it's the NEW iPad!)


The Smiths' first trip to Russia may come as soon as July, so please keep praying and spreading the word until the day that Malcolm can finally come home (that's a post I cannot wait to write)!








Friday, April 13, 2012

Quick Takes: Too much to talk about!


After a Lent with no political blogging for me (but you should've seen me on facebook, ack!), I have too much to say. So much going on. I could talk about Ms. Rosen's condescending snark attack on Ann Romney and mothers everywhere, but I think y'all know what I would say about that. And hey, she finally had to apologize. So, on to other subjects in this edition of…





1) In light of the protracted fight ahead regarding Obama's HHS mandate, we all need a laugh. Here's something to bring a smile to your face, courtesy of our own Stacy at Accepting Abundance:



(In the next episode the good doctor is visited by agents of the federal government who fine him heavily, put him out of business, and eventually throw him in jail. Ah, good times!)


2) And if you want to keep laughing (or cheering), please, oh please, read this delicious post from Bad Catholic, about the ghoulishly ridiculous "40 Days of Prayer" from those crazy kids at Death, Inc. Planned Parenthood and their clergy (who knew they were so religious?). Their little pamphlet of blasphemy reads like it could be a bad SNL skit.

As Bad Catholic puts it:
True to their aging, crippled form, Planned Parenthood has left me speechless. Not because they’re too offensive, but because they’re too embarrassing for words. They’ve given me 347 ways to mock them, all at once, and I’m left feeling like a hyperactive kid in a candy store.
Read the rest, here. You'll love it.

The pamphlet of "prayers" (to which god the prayers are directed is not specified) is here. Read all forty supplications. If I didn't know better, I'd almost think that these guys were sitting around feeling punchy one night, trying to outdo each other, slapping their knees, belly laughing till beer came out of their noses. Yes, the "prayers" are that bad/outrageous/offensive/ludicrous/ironic/hilarious. And totally sad, for not one of the prayers is in honor or memory of the 54 million shredded and dismembered human children whose bloodied remains ended up in the trash after the abortionist's successful day of "sacred" work.

One of my favorites is Day 36: "Today we pray for the families we’ve chosen. May they know the blessing of choice."

What the…?! Who the hell "chooses" their family members? I'm pretty sure this gem translates to: "We only protect and love the offspring that we handpicked to our liking. They should be damn grateful they're alive and not in the medical waste bucket like their sister!"


3) While the worshippers of Moloch cough out their meaningless "prayers" and methodically continue their killing, those who still keep in touch with their own humanity will be moved by this stunning pro-life sculpture, which takes my breath away:

Martin Hudáček of Slovakia

I have no words. And that's the beauty of this work.


4) Hey, now these are the kind of secularists I can get behind! Loving my SecularProLife.org brother and sisters, who tell it like it is:




5. The predictable "Throw off the shackles of the Church and find the 'historical' Jesus!" media stories were out in time for Easter again (yawn). Andrew Sullivan's Newsweek piece got the most play this year. And a slightly amused Father Barron was there for the rebuttal:



I seriously love Fr. Barron.



6) I also love Blaise Pascal, mathematician, physicist, philosopher, 1623-1662:
There is a pleasure in being in a ship beaten about by a storm, when we are sure that it will not founder. The persecutions which harass the Church are of this nature.
I get almost too much pleasure out of being a Catholic. The fact that centuries and even millennia do not separate the minds and hearts of faithful Catholics simply and always blows my mind.


7) I've saved the most important Take for last. As I reported on my other blog:

Since Carla* introduced us to Reece's Rainbow, I've been struck by the way that our little cadre of Catholic bloggers and facebookers have come together in the past two months to support (and adopt!) the orphans. It's been such a community effort, a time of grace.

So imagine my delight when Rebecca at Shoved to Them announced that her friend at Simply You jewelry offered to host a major fundraiser for the RR orphans! It runs for two weeks (until April 26), with 20% - 30% of all proceeds going to Reece's Rainbow! The quality of the pieces is amazing, as you'll see when you check it out.

The great thing is that Mother's Day is just around the corner. So you know what to do -- get something here for your mom (or mother-in-law), your grandma, or yourself. Then, use the party code below when checking out:
6861

You've gotta shop anyway, so why not simultaneously help those orphans whom we love? Go to Rebecca's blog if you'd like more info:


And, as always, spread the word!!


*Please pray that Carla's Henry, who has been in the hospital for too long now, will be able to get home soon.



Thanks to the wonderful Jen for hosting!
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Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Just Curious: Too old to be open to more children?



I received a heartfelt email from a reader the other day (let's call her Jane), and I think it's worth a discussion. So, with her permission:


Hello Leila,

I stop by and read your blog often. Your last post about the air conditioning man getting fixed is what has me writing to you.

Do you have a post about married couples struggling with one spouse not wanting more children because of age?

My husband, who is 46, is adamant about not wanting anymore children because he says he's too old. We aren't intimate anymore because he respects that I don't want to use birth control, but is serious about no more children. He always says he would be 65 years old by the time the child turned 18 and moved out. (Not that we even want our almost 16yo to consider moving out at 18!!)

I am 41 years old. Sad that my fertility has become a horrible subject in our life. There was a time I couldn't get pregnant. It took 7 years to get pregnant a 3rd time. We are blessed to have 5 children now.

I would LOVE to see a thread and the comments from your readers about AGE. My husband has been reading everything I send to him. He isn't a practicing Catholic. This issue really has turned him against the teachings of the Church.

BTW, we are the oldest in our circle of friends. Everyone is under 40 years old and cannot relate to what my husband is going through. I'd love to read how families have dealt with the age issue. 



Jane, I'll just throw out my thoughts and then open it up to others...

My husband is also 46, and our youngest is two years old. I was just shy of my 43rd birthday when I had him. It's funny, because back in the day (the pre-Church days), we had decided to have our kids (three, max) in our twenties, so that we could be "free" by our forties. We expected to travel and "have fun".

I certainly do think of my age and count the number of years I will attain by "this child's wedding" or "that child's graduation", and I wonder if I will be around long enough to see all of them grown and with kids of their own. It's weird how life works: Our oldest children have very young parents, and our youngest kids are going to have old parents. The "old parents" thing has bothered me less and less as time has passed, however, especially as I see that no child is guaranteed a parent who will always be around, young or old! I know too many young parents -- with young children -- who have passed away. Life is fragile and having children is always a risk. The fact that my kids have life at all is a good thing to me, and, please God, we will all end up in Heaven together. The eternal truths and implications of all our lives are so much more important than whatever happens on this earth, which is utterly unpredictable anyway.

One of the many great aspects of being in my "little Catholic bubble" locally is that many of my friends have had and are having babies well into their forties. It's normal around these parts, and no one bats an eye. My husband is a youngster compared to some of his buddies who have had children born to them past the age of 50. We will not be the oldest parents at our youngest child's high school graduation, which may seem hard to believe in other cultural circles.

I can't say we are actively trying for any new children (in fact, we aren't), but we certainly are always open to new life in our marriage.

I do want to add that it makes me incredibly sad that your husband has gone to the extreme and cut off all intimacy. That cannot be good and healthy for a marriage, and a careful application of Natural Family Planning would be ideal here.

I am curious to hear what others have to say in response to Jane's questions and concerns. Take it away!





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Monday, April 9, 2012

One request…

Happy Easter Monday! (That's right, Easter is not over, not by a long shot. Easter is an entire season! We Catholics do things big!)

I am feeling that itch to start up my political blogging again now that Lent is over, ha ha! But before I dive back in (and find that extra six hours a day that I need), would you all do me a favor and go over to my new blog, Orphan Report, and become a follower? Or subscribe by email? Or put it on your blog roll? Or all of the above? ;)

If you've enjoyed the Bubble over the past two years, this would be the most wonderful gift to me. Exposure, far and wide, is what these babies need, and you all are the hands and feet of Christ. And even if you don't believe in Christ, you can still do a world of good for these little ones, just by making them known.

Okay, stay tuned for a really interesting "Just Curious" in a bit. A reader emailed me a good and poignant question, and I am just curious about what you all think.




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PS: Remember forlorn Miss Carina? Some wonderful soul is doing a big giveaway for her, no donations necessary! Please check out her site and the items here, and enter to help this little girl:





Saturday, April 7, 2012

Christ is Risen! Indeed, He is Risen!



Christianity is not a philosophy, and it's not about a preference for one man's ancient teachings. It's a religion based on one major historical fact:

Jesus of Nazareth truly died, and truly rose again from the dead.

If that central tenet of Christianity is not true, then Christianity is not true.

But the truth is, Jesus Christ is Risen! Alleluia, Alleluia!

A blessed Easter season to all!




Friday, April 6, 2012

Good Friday Darkness

(Reposted from 2011)


The Holy Sacrifice of the Mass is offered continually, hour upon hour, all over the globe -- save for this one day. On Good Friday, there is not one Mass said on this earth. The tabernacles of every nation are empty, the sanctuary lamps across the world have all been extinguished, literally. 

Left in darkness, agony and sin, we wait….


The Crucifixion, by Carl Heinrich Bloch




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Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Today the air conditioning man told me he got "fixed". So, I couldn't resist...

A friendly young air conditioner tech came over to check the system today.

Small talk led to him asking, "So how many kids do you have, anyway?"

"We have eight."

Startled, laughing, "Oh, are you crazy?!"

I was not offended; I could sense a good heart. "Ha ha, well, two are in college, and so only six are in the house right now."

Then he went and said it: "We had three, and then I got fixed."

I didn't even hesitate, and said with a smile:

"Oh, were you broken?"

Nervous laughter, hesitation. He really was not expecting that.

I continued: "My husband definitely isn't broken, ha ha!"

Embarrassed smile, trying to figure out what to say, not quite meeting my gaze: "Well, my wife decided we were done. Three was tough. She is from a big Mormon family, eight brothers and sisters… her sister has six kids… so after three…"

"Uh-huh." (Because I honestly understood.)

"...she said she couldn't handle anymore. So I got, you know…"

I smiled warmly and explained how we hit the same fork in the road, almost took that route: "Gosh, we had the same situation! We had three, and my husband was going to go get…'broken' [I chuckled again, he accepted the joke], but then we changed our minds. He was Jewish, I was a lapsed Catholic, then we had big conversions of heart and went on to have five more kids, all boys."

I sensed his approval, "Yeah, that's so cool. Amazing. We just...I don't know. It's a lot of work."

"I know, it really is. But nothing worth doing is easy. And these boys would not exist…." I gestured toward the two boys nearby.

He nodded. "Yeah, you are so right. We would have been just like you, with eight, if we hadn't have…."

"Yeah…"

We chatted some more. I told him how everything changes, everything is a season, as it's supposed to be. Things become doable as time goes on and children grow up. I explained that we have four of babysitting age now, and my husband and I can go out together on a whim -- and we do. We have a total of five drivers in the family, which changes the dynamics completely. And, far from being put upon, all the children have begged for a new baby, often scolding my husband and me for being the only ones standing in the way of another sibling.

I also reminded this nice man that my kids are going to paying for his Social Security one day, as we have so few young workers coming up to support the aging Baby Boomers. Doing our part for the economy. He laughed and nodded in agreement.

He seemed eager to assure me that he loves children, loves that there are many young faces at his home: "We have all those cousins for the kids, and the neighbor kids come over, too. We have lots of kids around the house all the time, and it's great."

I told him, honestly, how wonderful that is. Big smiles. Have a great day, thanks again, very friendly.

And I am sad. He seemed sad, too. I think he knows what a blessing children are. I sensed this was not his decision. I sensed that he loves his wife, he loves his kids, and he is a good daddy. I sensed that he cut his family short too soon and would have been overflowing with love for any other child(ren) that could have -- would have -- blessed his marriage.

Anyway, that was a vignette from my day. Back to homeschooling now.



Related post:  Sterilization: Is it getting "fixed" or getting broken?





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Tuesday, April 3, 2012

The Bubble turns TWO! And how it all began...

Two years ago today, back when I had a small font and a large wit, I started the Little Catholic Bubble. It was on Holy Saturday, 2010. The Feast of the Great Easter Vigil.

I was lucky, because unlike most new bloggers, I already had a built-in readership by the time I hit "publish" on that first post.

Wanna know how that was possible? Read the somewhat surprising story, here (Part I) and here (Part II).

It may also surprise you to learn who these two people are, whom I describe in Part I:
Then came the summer of '09. I was newly pregnant with my eighth child, and we were thrilled. I was also acutely aware of the pain of two dear friends, devout and worthy, who were suffering from infertility and secondary infertility. I wanted to be sensitive, and I also wanted to help in some way.
Anyone want to take a guess (besides the ladies themselves)? Both will be familiar to regular readers!

Anyway, I am so grateful for two remarkable years (and now two blogs), and I am humbled that so many of you have stuck around from the beginning, even as the Bubble expanded out of the cozy Catholic IF community and into the broader world!

God is good!

xoxoxo




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