Monday, January 26, 2015

Abortion: How to bypass the conscience



On January 22, we marked the bloodiest anniversary in our nation's history: 42 years since the legalization of abortion. Over 55 million irreplaceable, unrepeatable human beings directly killed. But how? How did we get here? How is it even possible?

Back in June 2011, I wrote about a phenomenal book called What We Can't Not Know, by Professor J. Budziszewski, former atheist. The book is a primer on Natural Law, and it covers a lot about the human conscience, including how we can circumvent it, ignore it, dull it, lull it, or trick it, but how we ultimately cannot escape it.

In a section called "Denial", Budziszewski hits specifically on the topic of abortion:
We can't not know that it is wrong deliberately to take innocent human life; parsing the rule, we find only six possibilities of rationalization.
To follow, I condense and paraphrase the six possibilities he lays out, beginning with what we all know through the light of human reason alone (i.e., the Natural Law):

"It is wrong deliberately to take innocent human life." 

So, in order to give ourselves permission to take innocent human life deliberately, we play with the rule.

1)  It is wrong deliberately to take innocent human life.

"I didn't want to get pregnant/didn't want my girlfriend to get pregnant, I didn't ask for this baby, so I'm not responsible for the abortion. The circumstance forced me to abortion. The circumstances are responsible."


2)  It is wrong deliberately to take innocent human life.

"I'm not taking this life, the doctors are doing it. I'm not really involved in this act, it's on the abortionist."


3)  It is wrong deliberately to take innocent human life.

"The fetus is not innocent. It is an aggressor, an intruder, an uninvited parasite, practically a rapist."


4)  It is wrong deliberately to take innocent human life.

"The embryo or fetus is a thing, not a human person with human rights. It's too small, it's not sentient. It has the potential to become a human."


5)  It is wrong deliberately to take innocent human life.

"It's not really alive. It's just a blood clot or a blob of tissue."

(This one is harder to slip by the conscience in the age of ultrasounds.)


6)  It is wrong deliberately to take innocent human life.

"But sometimes we have to do what is wrong."

Budziszewski's take on #6 (emphasis mine):
This is the most disturbing rationalization of all, because it embraces the wrong with eyes wide open. The temptation is ancient: "Let us do evil that good may result." .... [I]n the present state of the revolution that began with sex we go on past abortion and explore other kinds of killing, like infanticide and the slaying of the weak, the old, and the sick. You cannot justify one evil yet expect the others to keep their place. The cloth of the moral law is too tightly sewn for that; it is made of a single strand. Pluck loose one stitch, and the rest unravels too.... If we have already reached killing, what comes next?

I would argue that what comes next, specifically within the human psyche, is not a pretty place to be:


Please read it. It's so important. And it all makes sense, doesn't it?

It's often only after we fall into that dark and terrible place that we are moved to turn around again and face the light. Thank heavens for the workings of the conscience (however terrible), the truth of what we can't not know, and the severe mercies of God.



It is wrong deliberately to take innocent human life.





Monday, January 19, 2015

"Breeding like rabbits", eh?






Pope Francis is an incredibly personable man, and he loves to talk. I'd even say that he loves to gab, as if meeting great friends over coffee. His colloquialisms and off-the-cuff style are part of his charm, of course, and it's how he has enchanted most of the world, and certainly the press corps. But the press can also exploit the pope's friendly nature by picking headlines and editing stories in ways that don't quite capture the truth of things. 

I have learned to go to the full transcript of those plane interviews (which are still just a translation of the original) to get some context when I see headlines like these:

 


First of all, he didn't even use the the word "breed", but you'd think that he did, wouldn't you? Here's what he said about rabbits:

"Some think that -- excuse the language -- that in order to be good Catholics, we have to be like rabbits. No. Responsible parenthood." 

In other words: Pope Francis in 2015 is repeating the teaching of Pope St. John Paul the Great in 1984 (see "Responsible Parenthood") who is repeating the teaching of Pope Paul VI in 1968 (see Humanae Vitae). 

And just like his predecessors, Pope Francis spoke these words of responsible parenthood within the overall context of condemning artificial contraception as a moral evil and promoting Natural Family Planning. I'm glad that most of the media reports did put that relevant fact in the body of their pieces, but gosh, if you don't get past the headlines, what would you think was the message?

And if you look above at the headline from Time, you get an even more distorted message: Pope Francis tells Catholics they SHOULDN'T be breeding like rabbits! To any normal human being, that would translate to something like: "Catholics, stop having big families! You should not be having lots and lots of kids!" Isn't that what you take away from the headline?


“In a world often marked by egoism, a large family is a school of solidarity and of mission that’s of benefit to the entire society."

Talk about controversy, the pope even went so far as to say:

“Every family is a cell of society, but large families are richer and more vital cells.”

So what could he have meant when he said that being a good Catholic does not require being "like rabbits"? He means the same thing that I and so many others have said a thousand times, but using slightly different words, namely: 

No, the Catholic Church does not teach (as many believe!) that a woman must have as many babies as physically possible. No one is forcing women to become "breeders" like an animal (hey, like a rabbit!). We Catholics believe in responsible parenthood, which means prudence in deciding what is best for the spouses, their children already born, and the society in which they live. And that prudence can mean either having many children (generously welcoming a houseful!), or having fewer  (and using only moral means to postpone pregnancy). Each couple is different, each family has different needs, and prayerful discernment is required.

And guess what else Pope Francis said immediately after he made the now-infamous "rabbit" comment? He said this:

"...for most poor people, a child is a treasure. It is true that you have to be prudent here too, but for them a child is a treasure.... Responsible paternity, but let us also look at the generosity of that father and mother who see a treasure in every child."

Oh, and did you hear what else he said on the same in-flight interview? Did you see all the headlines about the pope condemning "ideological colonization" (the West pushing its sex agenda on other vulnerable cultures as my dear friend Uju addressed so eloquently on this blog)?  I didn't think so, so here you go:



Thank God for Catholic news sources!

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**Update: The Pope is making headlines again today, this time praising large families. No doubt in response to the massive misunderstanding!


**Update #2: The Pope has apologized for his words causing "disorientation", and reiterating his love for large families. I hope we all already understand this!





Saturday, January 17, 2015

Quick Takes: Thank you for your outpouring of love!


Jen has passed the torch, and Quick Takes has a new host: "This Ain't the Lyceum". Hilarious blog!


1) So, the response to my mother-in-law Carol's three-part conversion story...wow. Just wow! My husband and I have been blown away by the powerful responses we have received. The biggest surprise was how many people wept while reading the story -- and several men admitted that, too! We are so pleased that sharing Carol's beautiful heart and soul with all of you has inspired an increase in the virtue of hope. Sometimes I still can't believe the whole thing happened. God is active, my friends.

Regarding the DVD giveaways, there were 192 entries by the deadline. I assigned each entrant a number, then randomly picked the winners via random.org. I have contacted the lucky winners already, so check your emails.

If you didn't win, don't worry -- I've got some good news for you! I have recently come into possession of a whole case of Episode 6 DVDs, and I am going to eventually mail them out to everyone who entered (finances being my only hold up). And on that note, I might as well just throw this out there: If a generous benefactor (or two) would like to underwrite the cost of mailing the DVDs, I'll get them out much sooner. Just email me at littlecatholicbubble@gmail.com, and let's be partners in getting this done.


2) Dean and I went to see Selma yesterday, and we really enjoyed it! What I truly appreciated was that the filmmakers (Oprah, et al) did not secularize the civil rights movement. It was portrayed as it was: A religious movement. As regular readers know, I quote MLK's Letter From a Birmingham Jail quite often, especially the following:
[T]here are two types of laws: just and unjust. I would be the first to advocate obeying just laws. One has not only a legal but a moral responsibility to obey just laws. Conversely, one has a moral responsibility to disobey unjust laws. I would agree with St. Augustine that "an unjust law is no law at all." 
Now, what is the difference between the two? How does one determine whether a law is just or unjust? A just law is a man made code that squares with the moral law or the law of God. An unjust law is a code that is out of harmony with the moral law. To put it in the terms of St. Thomas Aquinas: An unjust law is a human law that is not rooted in eternal law and natural law. 
God bless MLK for all he did for the cause of human dignity.


3) This beautiful young woman inspires me more than I can say. She is a wife and mother of four young children, and she has advanced, incurable kidney cancer. Can you give her 2 minutes and 44 seconds to teach you something amazing, eternal, real?



"A story's end changes the meaning of every page."

Amen, my dear sister.


4) Do you ever feel like you are learning so much spiritually that you can't catch your breath? It amazes me that 20 years into my reversion, I am just now scratching the surface (and it also amazes me that I've been saying that for 20 years, ha ha). On my heart and mind lately is the necessity of total abandonment to God and the loss of fear and anxiety. I'm pondering, reading, and praying about these things constantly. I think that we women in particular are prone to so much worry and fear and anxiety, and yet Christ is adamant -- He wants us to have His peace. There is so much I want to write on this subject, but I'm still learning so much so fast that I have to wait a bit. And since being honest about my failings with Carol seemed to encourage a lot of you, I want to be honest with you about the big spiritual turning point in my life last summer with regard to an occasion of massive fear (and trust). Worst and best thing that has ever happened to me. God is so good. Stay tuned.


5) Now this is funny!



That's exactly my reaction every time!! Ha ha!

If anyone wants to skip the media filter and get the full transcript (and still just a translation) of what Pope Francis said most recently on one of those plane rides, here ya go:




6) What's that you say? You haven't seen photos of my beautiful granddaughter in quite some time?
Well, then, try this:



Why yes, she is the most adorable baby in the history of all mankind. Thank you for noticing.



7) And yet, all of God's children are beautiful, aren't they? Look at Cody Dean. This handsome 13-year-old boy has hemophilia and will "age out" when he turns 14 in July, meaning he will be legally unadoptable.

Click my photo for more info!
Can you imagine? An orphan forever, simply because of hemophilia? Please pray for Cody Dean, and  spread the word that he needs a family!


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Dear friends, have a wonderful weekend!









Thursday, January 8, 2015

Part Three: My Mother-in-Law Carol's Conversion Story

This is the longest of the Three Parts (Click for Part One and Part Two). I honestly only intended to write one short blog post; thank you for bearing with me, and I hope you will read to the end. The spiritual lessons that Carol taught are the most important part of her story. 


By now you might detect a certain theme in this conversion story: No one really moved to help Carol as she moved toward God and the Church. In fact, nearly six months after her visit, she told me she was unsure of how my husband felt about her future conversion, since Dean didn't respond with a lot of emotion or encouragement when she would speak of her desire to be Catholic. I assured her that he was thrilled and elated, but he had not wanted to influence her in any way, and so had tried to remain neutral. How sad we were to realize that our bending over backwards not to pressure Carol came across to her as indifference!

It’s amazing that she kept persevering, and it’s also a testament to the fact that this movement of grace was between God and Carol and had very little to do with the rest of us. God was working with Carol, whom He had loved tenderly and completely since He formed her in her mother’s womb, and whom He loved even through a lifetime of pain in which, quite honestly, she felt very little deep love from anyone. He was wooing her, her heart was open, and His plan was about to go into overdrive.

And here's where I learned how beautifully God can even put Facebook at the service of His plans.

From the time Carol asked for baptism, I tentatively began to catechize her and answer her questions over the phone when we occasionally talked (she had no computer, didn't text, no email, and was often hard to get via phone). After the fear of pushing her had disappeared, I knew that we had to find the perfect priest for Carol. We were getting excited at the possibility that she would become Catholic in time to receive Communion with us at our daughter's Nuptial Mass coming up in September. I finally got on a private Catholic Facebook group and explained the situation: We needed a priest in the Atlanta area who was loving, kind, compassionate, patient, knowledgeable, articulate, and 100% faithful to the Magisterium. He needed to be willing to help catechize my mother-in-law, who was essentially homebound, so he also needed to be somewhat close to her apartment. Basically, I was asking for the moon.

A wonderful woman, Layna Halstead, messaged me and told me of a monsignor and high school chaplain in Atlanta who was well-respected, and who had helped her cousin spiritually through a battle with leukemia, ministering to his family after he died. And as God would have it, his parish, the Cathedral of Christ the King, was just minutes from Carol’s apartment.

I emailed this priest on May 13, 2013. [Only in writing this post today did I take note of this spiritually significant date -- the first appearance of Our Lady to the children at Fatima -- and I continue to stand in awe of God's plan.]

I stress this: God could not have provided a more perfect priest for Carol than Monsignor Richard Lopez. This man is a gift straight from Heaven. I cannot express in words our gratitude and love for Fr. Lopez and all he did for Carol -- every bit of it with love and care. I sometimes wonder if he is really an angel in disguise? Fr. Lopez is a much-loved, much sought after (read: busy!!) priest, and yet he treated Carol as if she were the most important person on earth. He didn’t hesitate to meet her when I initially contacted him, then have regular visits with her to catechize her, making sure that she truly understood what she was undertaking. He brought her books and videos, and when he sat with her, he catechized her well (you should see his notes and bullet points we found in Carol’s books!) and taught her to pray. When this frail woman on oxygen (well under 100 lbs. and dropping) broke her femur and had surgery and weeks of rehab, he drove many miles to see her. And, Fr. Lopez did something that perhaps no other person on earth had ever done: He delighted in her. Never ridiculed her, never diminished her, but delighted in her. This holy priest truly stood in persona Christi -- in the person of Christ.

The other night I went back through all the emails that Fr. Lopez and I had written, from May 13, 2013 when I first contacted him, to just this month. Peppered in our discussions of catechesis and logistics and Carol’s illness were Father’s descriptions of Carol as “delightful”, “a joy”, with “humor and charm” intact even as she physically deteriorated. Father “really enjoy[ed] her company” and even after she fell and had her surgery, “her humor had me rolling on the floor”. He even mentioned how much he liked her cat! And this: “...thank you for letting me get to know her”.

Seriously? Fr. Lopez was thanking us? We were and are so grateful to him!

Never knowing how much time Carol had, arrangements for her baptism were made. Dean flew to Atlanta, and on August 23, 2013 in the chapel at the Cathedral of Christ the King, Fr. Lopez baptized Carol, confirmed her, and gave her First Holy Communion. It was the first of only three masses she would ever attend as a Catholic.

A beautiful picture of newly-baptized Carol with Fr. Lopez and my husband Dean, her son.
Fittingly, Fr. Lopez's arm is around Carol. 


I honestly have no words for this blessing that God gave to Carol and to us.

The morning after her baptism, Dean took her to Sunday mass in the main church, which was physically difficult for her. From then on, parishioners at the cathedral brought her Communion at home.

A month later, she bravely traveled to Phoenix with her son Jason and his family to attend my older daughter’s wedding. The dream that she would receive Holy Communion with our family at the Nuptial Mass of her granddaughter came true. My own mother, herself a convert, told me that she wept when she saw Carol receive. It was the last mass Carol would ever attend.

September 28, 2013


After the wedding, Carol stayed with us for three days. We talked about the Faith, as we had on the phone for many hours over the past months, and she asked me to teach her how to pray the Rosary. She asked, too, if we could watch more of the religious videos that we had at the house. To my shame, I said "Sure!" but I went upstairs "for a bit" and got caught up on the computer. She waited for me, my children told me later, and I failed her, again. By the time I came back down, she was asleep on the couch. She left the next morning, and it was the last time I would ever see her.

Dean went out to visit her a few more times in the year before her death, and my second daughter and her new husband were able to stop in Atlanta to see Carol while en route to their Charleston home after their wedding last June, a wedding that Carol was unable to attend.

By early December 2014, Carol’s health took a turn. We called Fr. Lopez, and he drove over an hour to see her and administer the Last Rites on December 4th. As Dean made arrangements to fly out, I emailed Fr. Lopez to ask more about the Anointing, and to ask if she had viaticum (one's last Eucharist, “food for the journey”). Carol's beloved priest gave us a response we cherish:

Hi...no Communion as she was not eating anything...but Apostolic Blessing, Absolution and Sacrament of the Sick...she became very alert and her charming self for all those things...and then slipped back into a deep sleep. I also got to give her a kiss and tell her I loved her...which I indeed do...she is ready to go home to God...As both a daughter of Israel and a daughter of the Church she is doubly blessed...take care, love and prayers, Father Lopez 

Carol died in the wee hours of December 6th, just four days shy of her 68th birthday. She was at peace.

We laid Carol to rest on December 17, with Fr. Lopez presiding over her funeral mass in the lovely little chapel where she had been been baptized just 15 months earlier. It was so beautiful, from beginning to end, and though tears were shed by many, there was also so much joy in our hearts. A life that began in pain and abuse and rejection and suffering had ended in peace, joy, and glory. I still don’t have the words to describe it. I keep calling it a miracle.

God hit me with a spiritual 2x4 in all of this, and a chasm as wide as the universe existed between what I had erroneously thought and what was actually true.

What I had always thought: I had a lot to teach Carol. She was a like a frivolous little girl, no knowledge of or desire for anything profound, so many idiosyncrasies and bad habits, no real purpose, no love for God, on the wrong side of every moral issue, had been a mess-up her whole life and in all areas. Yes, she was someone who might well be hopeless. (And yes, I am cringing in shame as I type those words.)

What was actually true: Carol had a lot to teach me. She worked out her sanctity on earth in her 15 months as a Catholic, in the crucible of suffering and poverty and isolation. God plucked her out of obscurity, and made her, in short order, not only a better Catholic than I have ever been, but quite likely a true saint. She was exactly as Jesus asks His disciples to be: Docile, meek, accepting, loving, childlike. She was not the silly little girl, I was. I looked down on her in condescension for a quarter century, and now she looks down on me from eternity, but in love.

He has scattered the proud in their conceit... and has lifted up the lowly.

I am ashamed, but I wouldn't have it any other way. I have learned my lesson. Every single person to whom I have felt superior, every sinner who seemed so far beyond hope in my eyes, those are the very people that may very well make it to Heaven before me. God save me from my pride!

Never in a million years did I think I would look to my mother-in-law as my spiritual role model, that I would ask for her intercession, that I would try to imitate her holiness. Never, never, never, never! It was simply impossible!

With God, all things are possible. 

And as Pope Francis has said time and again: God loves to surprise us!

Looking back, I am in awe. She must have suffered greatly (she was down to about 68 pounds when she died), but she didn't become bitter, she didn't lament and wail at her fate. In fact, her humor and spirits remained intact. How did we not notice? She didn't complain. She accepted and went forward. She laughed and giggled and kept a keen sense of humor. The day before she died, in between deep sleeps and with trouble talking, she was laughing and made a joke. The woman's spirit was indomitable, and docile. How did we not notice?

I have reason to believe that Carol, who was newly baptized, had little to atone for in those 15 months as a Catholic. Remember, baptism makes one a new creation. Every sin that Carol had committed in the 66 years before her baptism into the Body of Christ was washed clean away, including any temporal punishment for those sins. She had nothing of the old Carol for which to atone. And in her 15 months as a Catholic, she was earnest and sincere. She had no desire to sin, and she conformed her life and beliefs to that of the Church. Her suffering was real, and yet she bore it with docility and peace and good humor till the end. This is what sanctity looks like. Indeed, Fr. Lopez said as much in his funeral homily, and in an email the day she died:

...I have always thought one of the signs of true holiness is a combination of humor and courage...those two things were clear in Carol...

Oh, and the surprises and amusing ways of God! Here we had a Jewish woman who adored Christmas all of her life. So much so that her son Jason spoke at length of her love of Christmas in the words of remembrance he gave before her funeral. For decades, Carol relished her Christmas trees and Christmas pins and Christmas lights. They delighted her. And Carol had even gifted our family with a Nativity set years before she had given a thought to being a Christian. This lovely woman who was born during the Advent season also died in the Advent season. And as God's amazing Providence would have it, she died on the Feast of St. Nicholas! Which is as fitting as her very name...Carol.

And there was a final blessing. When Carol was watching the Fr. Barron Catholicism series that started it all, she took an interest in Episode 8, which highlights four saints. I really thought she would connect with St. Edith Stein, the Jewish convert nun who died at Auschwitz, but instead, she was particularly drawn to St. Katharine Drexel. I found this surprising then, but now I realize God was in the details again: Just after Christmas, we held a memorial mass at our parish in Phoenix for those who could not get to Carol's Atlanta funeral. The memorial mass was in none other than the beautiful St. Katharine Drexel Chapel at St. Joan of Arc Catholic Church! St. Katharine's own private altar stands as the altar of repose in that very chapel. Carol's presence, along with St. Katharine's, was felt very keenly that day.

Carol, I love you, I miss you, I am sorry for the many times and ways I failed you, and I cannot wait to see you again.

Carol Sue Goldstein Miller
December 10, 1946 - December 6, 2014
Requiescat In Pace

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Thursday, January 1, 2015

Part Two: My Mother-in-Law Carol's Conversion Story





To read Part One, click here.



As Carol got up from the table, and as I thought about heading upstairs to my computer, she pointed to a boxed DVD set by the TV in the next room and asked:

“Can we watch that?”

I was stunned. It was the DVD set that I consciously debated putting out of sight before she arrived in Phoenix (so as not to be so “in your face” with all the Catholic stuff we have), but that I ultimately, providentially, decided to leave right where it was. It was Father (now Bishop) Robert Barron’s Catholicism.



In one surreal instant, Carol and I had gone from a quarter-century of never speaking of religion to Carol requesting to watch one of the best, newest (and longest!) presentations of the Catholic Faith in existence. It was almost like I had entered the Twilight Zone -- that's how unexpected it was.

Working to keep my shock in check (and wanting to yell for Dean), I answered: “Sure! Do you want to watch it now?” She did, and we sat down together on the couch. I was almost apologetic as I chatted with her as it began, not fully believing that she really wanted to watch, and praying that she would stay awake. She was absolutely notorious for falling asleep while watching television, and sure enough, about ten minutes into Episode 1, she was sound asleep. I lamented the missed opportunity, but I continued to watch alone just in case she woke up; however, in the end, she snoozed through the whole thing. Drat. As I moved to turn off the television, Carol suddenly awoke, looked at me, and said, “That was very interesting! Can we watch more?”

We proceed to watch Episode 2, and then over the course of the next several days, we watched all ten hours, all ten episodes. Every day I thought that she would forget or decide she was not interested in continuing. But she never forgot, and she was always interested. And, to my utter shock, not once in all those hours did she fall asleep again. Trust me, that alone was a miracle!

By Episode 10, the discussion was about the Last Things (Death, Judgement, Heaven, Hell, Purgatory), and Carol’s questions came more frequently. We had an excellent theological discussion -- but it still seemed so odd. Was this really my secular, Jewish, pro-"choice", liberal mother-in-law? Dean and my daughter Priscilla had been watching the final episodes with us that night, and they were equally stunned with this strange and wonderful happening, but we all tried to stay nonchalant.

The series finally completed, Dean went up to bed while we ladies lingered a bit; Carol seemed to want to keep talking, as this was her last night in town. We stood in a hall area, chatting, and then she said this exactly: “I can see the appeal.” Oh gosh, I know what she is getting at, I thought, but what do I say? I don’t want to push in any way.... The normally verbose Catholic blogger/teacher was scrambling for the right words! I sent up a quick prayer to the Holy Spirit.

“Oh, yes," I threw out there, "Now you can see the beauty of the Faith that Dean was drawn to! I know it was hard for you to understand back then. And he never felt he had to abandon his Jewish roots, but he was simply completing his Judaism. He discovered that Jesus is the Messiah, and the Church He founded is the New Jerusalem.”

Those few sentences were the most I'd ever spoken to Carol about her son's conversion in the 15 years since his baptism.

She seemed agreeable to all that I said, and then she asked, “How long does it take?” I hesitated, Priscilla and I glanced at each other (She was asking how long it takes to become a Catholic?!), and I told her that it takes several months to go through the RCIA process, and that I used to teach the converts years ago if she had any questions. I also mentioned that it’s still possible to be privately catechized if one could not physically get to a regular class.

Other than expressing a desire for a book that was discussed on the video, (Seven Storey Mountain, by Thomas Merton, which I promised to send her), Carol didn't request anything more that night. In retrospect, I know that she would have been grateful for more information and guidance, and I'm guessing she was surprised that she didn't get any.

After Carol retired, Priscilla and I quietly marveled together. Did she really say that? Did she really ask that? Is this for real? I was grateful there was another witness there to confirm the things that Carol had said. I knew exactly what had occurred, of course. Carol had watched the series with an open heart, sincerely seeking God. God can work with such a heart. Ten hours of Truth, Goodness, and Beauty streamed through her eyes and ears, and her soul responded in exactly the way a soul is made to respond to Truth, Goodness, and Beauty: it was drawn in, excited, enchanted. One of my favorite sayings, “Truth comes with graces attached”, was played out right in front of my eyes that week. I had the privilege of seeing it happen.

Carol flew home to Atlanta the next morning, I ordered and sent her Merton's book, and that was it. Yes, that was me -- the big, bold Catholic evangelist and teacher, doing essentially nothing! I was too nervous to take another step. Over the weeks, Dean and I were still awestruck over it, occasionally wondering what we should do and praying about it, but since he, also, was entirely too sensitive about not wanting to push or manipulate, and since we kept second-guessing the whole situation, or wondering if she would persevere or drop it, we didn't do a thing and we stopped talking about it.

Carol took the next step. During a phone call in January or February, she mentioned to Dean that she would really like to be baptized. It was so surreal to him that he didn't even tell me about it until we were at dinner that night, and then only casually, as if he were speaking of our shopping list. I responded with elation and motivation, but also with some shame. I imagine she'd hoped that we would talk to her about the Faith in the ensuing months, which of course we never did. Poor Carol had to work up her courage to ask her son for help. As she always had lived in certain timidity of being ridiculed or chastised by others, it was no small thing for her to keep asking. At that point, I finally acted.

And this is where God, who loves to surprise and delight us, made a perfect move.


To be continued....

Part Three is here!




(I am so thankful that Fr. Barron is aware of the miracle of which he was a part! His Word on Fire ministry reprinted this excerpt from Carol's story, here. God is good!)