1) Happy New Year, everyone! Wheeeeeee!
I love that (almost) the whole world celebrates together each year, this time ringing in 2014 A.D. That number, 2,014, is simply counting time forward (give or take a few years) from the center of history, which is the arrival Our Lord Jesus Christ on this planet. That's what A.D. stands for after all: Anno Domini -- "In the Year of Our Lord". And of course, B.C. stands for "Before Christ".
In recent decades, secular academics have tried to wipe out such Christ-ly references, substituting "BCE" (Before the Common Era) and "CE" (Common Era) for B.C and A.D. But that makes me chuckle, because, uh, what exactly is it that delineates the "Common Era" from "Before the Common Era"? Ah, that's right! It's the arrival of Jesus Christ!
No matter how you spin it, Christ and His Cross stand at the focal point of human history. As it should be.
2) January 1 was not only New Year's Day, but was also the Solemnity of Mary, the Mother of God -- a holy day of obligation. During my reversion journey, I was surprised to discover that the title "Mother of God" is controversial to most Protestants. I sort of understood their confusion about her perpetual virginity and her immaculate conception, but not this. After all, it's right there in Scripture, as Elizabeth greets a pregnant Mary:
"And why is this granted me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me?"
-- Luke 1:43
Jesus is God. Mary is His Mother. Mary is the Mother of God. Not the Mother of the Trinity, by the way (no one is claiming that), but the Mother of God Incarnate. This teaching is ancient, and to claim that Mary is not the Mother of God is a Christological heresy that was put down by the Council of Ephesus in 431 AD.
For more, check out Catholic Answers' Mary Mother of God.
3) Ick. Ick. Yuck. Ick. That's all I could think when I was reading through this piece that made the rounds on facebook recently:
It's icky to read through, but then in its aftermath there is sadness. It is sad to know that a good portion of American and western youth feel as the author does.
Contrast those sentiments to the words of Pope Francis at World Youth Day last summer:
Today, there are those who say that marriage is out of fashion; in a culture of relativism and the ephemeral, many preach the importance of "enjoying" the moment. They say that it is not worth making a life-long commitment, making a definitive decision, "forever", because we do not know what tomorrow will bring.
I ask you, instead, to be revolutionaries, to swim against the tide; yes, I am asking you to rebel against this culture that sees everything as temporary and that ultimately believes that you are incapable of responsibility, that you are incapable of true love. I have confidence in you and I pray for you. Have the courage "to swim against the tide". Have the courage to be happy.
Be a rebel for marriage, dear youth!
4) Some of you followed the heartbreaking yet beautiful journey of a young wife and mother, Angela Faddis, as she fought her battle with advanced colon cancer (diagnosed on Easter Day 2011, died last year). The grace surrounding this woman and her family was palpable, and it spread throughout the world.
I saw a wonderful update from her dear husband Chris the other day, and it's worth your time:
And, read this from a mother at Sandy Hook who, before the tragedy there (her children survived, her friend Jenny's child did not), found inspiration from Angela's journey, though she had never met her:
This is our Catholic Faith, friends. It's the crucible, and it's ultimately unspeakable joy.
5) I do not like tattoos, but I'd consider tattooing this quote by St. Maximilian Kolbe to the inside of my eyeballs if it could be forever in my sight:
“To combat evil… is to fight with love for all men, including those who are less good. It is to put goodness in relief, so as to make it more attractive, rather than to propagate evil by describing it. When the occasion presents itself to call the attention of society, or of authority, to some evil, it must be done with love for the person to blame, and with delicacy. Do not exaggerate; do not go into detail about the evil any more than is necessary to remedy it.”
This from a man who stared the greatest of evil square in the eye, who was tortured and murdered in a Nazi concentration camp after volunteering to be starved (and ultimately injected with poison) in place of a condemned man who had children and begged to be spared. St. Maximilian Kolbe comforted his fellow prisoners in their long agonies, and loved and forgave his murderers to the end.
He, along with the other myriad saints of our Church, has earned the moral authority to tell me what to do to combat evil. I am trying to listen.
6) Parents, this is long but do not let the length deter you. Every situation is unique, and we should all modify according to our own situation and children, but there is wisdom here to mine:
7) I believe it was last winter that I profiled sweet Giselle, wondering if this malnourished little girl would last through that brutal Eastern European winter. This winter I wonder the same thing.
Will she ever find a family? Please pray for her, and consider sharing her plight with others. Or, perhaps she belongs in your own family?
|Please click my photo for more information!|
A Blessed New Year to all of you, and thanks to Jen for hosting Quick Takes!