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 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 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, 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!


Dear friends, have a wonderful weekend!


  1. I saw Selma yesterday as well. Great movie; the actor who played MLK was wonderful.

  2. Liz, what to say? Just wow. You are an amazing, inspiring, generous, thoughtful, fearless, beautiful......Bad Ass!! You teach your children to "stay in fight" no matter what! This will serve them and everyone they meet their entire lives. Almost cried but bit my tongue in the face of such courage. God be with you sister and your whole beautiful family. Incredible.

  3. 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.

    A most excellent meditation on the gospel of Matthew that touches on this very topic of "fear not" is called, Fire of Mercy, Heart of the Word vol. 2, by Erasmo Leiva-Merikakis. Amazing writing, amazing knowledge, amazing insights. I cannot gush enough about this meditation. This book will water your faith thoroughly. It is not light snacking material. It is a seven course meal. I return to savor it regularly.
    I always walk away from this book feeling my faith flex and my intellectual knowledge "level-up". Highly recommend.

    In chapter 21, he writes of the fear the disciples had when Christ walked on water and approached them during the storm. They were terrified of the elements. They were terrified thinking He was a ghost. They were in the heart of treacherous circumstances. He goes into great detail on the words used in this exchange, but I find this fascinating, too:

    However, rather than commanding the disciples "do not come near", as God commanded Moses at Horeb (Ex 3:5), Jesus advances toward them, closing the gulf between divinity and humanity, human fear and divine strength, for in the place of "holy ground" (Ex 3:5) we now have holy relationship and sacred trust. "I AM; have no fear."


    Jesus' sharp command here [to have no fear], in the present indicative mood, makes it not just a general prohibition against fearing, but an order that means to put a stop to fear immediately: 'I forbid you to go on fearing for one more second' is the full implication. How about that? He commands us to stop fearing. Not merely a nice suggestion, but a command. I chewed on that for a while ... came away stronger in trust. This God, He really does care ;)

    And your granddaughter, oh. my. sweetness.

  4. Whoa, Nubby, yes! That's exactly it! Thank you for that. And I am a HUGE fan of Erasmo Leiva-Merikakis! I read his Way of the Discipleon the advice of the Poor Clare nuns and was blown away. That is one that stayed in my mind and I have on my list to re-read. Now I'll have to put this book on my list; thank you!

    Chris, amen. I would like to sit at Liz's feet and just learn. Just soak up the wisdom and holiness and grace there. I have no words.

    Johanne, yes, the acting was superb! Dean did mention that most of the criticism about the movie is the portrayal as LBJ as sort of a jerk about the whole civil rights issue, when that was not accurate. It's sad that they took that particular bit of license. And I wish they had mentioned in the epilogue about George Wallace's change of heart later in life. As someone who believes in redemption, I don't like that they deliberately left that out. :(

  5. Leila, sorry I missed out on that awesome contest - I would have LOVED to win a set of those dvds! I am in the process of trying to learn my faith better. I have suffered from fear and anxiety since I was a child. I am trying to learn how to give those fears and anxiety to God. I think I've finally learned that God does care about me very much and the endometriosis and infertility is NOT a punishment. Took me several years to learn this. I know that I am not alone and there are many women out there who have suffered from both. I pray for them all every day, which really gives me peace and comfort. I also pray for all women who are pregnant (I have prayed for both your daughters), for all women and men to choose life, for our goverment to turn back to God and His commandments, and for the end of abortion.

    I will share one thing with you and your dear readers who might suffer from fear and anxiety. Pray the rosary. This has helped me tremendously. Praying the rosary gives me such peace, comfort, and joy. I LOVE the rosary!

    I think God is calling us women to be still, know that He is God, and rest in Him. You are the third Catholic women and friend to mention this theme this month. I am trying to learn how to do that.

    I have it on my heart to write Catholic pro-life fiction and other types of books. My question is: what do you think is the most important pro-life lesson for young adults to know? I have two themes in mind for my book, but would love to know your opinion. Thanks!

    I will have to visit your wonderful blog more often. Thank you so much for having this blog, for sharing, and the contests. You are such a wonderful and generous lady. You and your family are always in my prayers!

    PS. Yes, your grandaughter *is* the cutest! You are blessed!

    Maria :)

  6. Maria, thank you so much for your kind words! You have always been such a dear and wonderful servant of God. And you are so right that infertility is not a punishment from God. Some of the holiness women I've ever known are infertile.

    As for your question, I guess I would say it's that they should understand the innate dignity of ALL human life. No exceptions.

  7. Maria, I loved your comment! I also struggle greatly with anxiety, especially around that not-so-fun time of the month. I too have found great peace with praying the rosary and staying close to Mama Mary. Yet, it is still challenging for me to remain still and trust in God since I tend to be impatient with wanting to know what I'm supposed to do with my life. Being 24 and single isn't always easy, especially when everyone around you seems to be getting engaged, married, and pregnant...

    Anyways, I also wanted to answer your question about the pro-life novel you have it on your heart to write. Being a young adult, I think I can give you a pretty accurate answer :) I think the most important lesson is the HUGE importance of truly living out the virtue of chastity, both physically and emotionally. For me, I won't be satisfied with Roe Vs. Wade being overturned, yes, I would be happy, but it wouldn't be enough for me. I want to see an end to the behavior that causes women to want abortions in the first place. I want to see an end to casual sex and for everyone to know how beautiful sex is...when it occurs between husband and wife, being open to life, giving themselves fully to each other holding nothing back, especially their fertility.

    I was in an intense relationship for 5 months from May-October of last year. Even though my boyfriend and I were devout Catholics, we still struggled with resisting sexual temptations. Praise God we maintained our virginity, yet, deep down, I know we still went further than we should have, both emotionally and physically. So, maybe your novel could mention the struggle against temptation and how the characters conquer their desires?

    Obviously, this is a topic about which I am extremely passionate. It was actually here in Leila's Bubble that God first lit the flame for my passion for the virtue of chastity and where I understood it clearly for the first time (thank you, God for leading me to Leila's blog way back in 2011). Let me know if you (or anyone else really) want to discuss it more. I LOVE the idea of a fictional pro-life novel for Young Adults! Praise God!

    1. You may very much enjoy Jason Evert's If you really loved me. It is a book about chastity and purity and even though I'm married with kids I REALLY enjoyed it.

  8. Well this is timely. I just hit a spiritual brick wall doing 60. I am a Sacrament-frequenting, Adoration attending, work of charity Catholic who was feeling very "high" on the love of God. I was reading 7 Secrets of Confession and A Mother's Rule for Life. In other words, I thought I was doing what I was supposed to. Then three days ago I was laying in bed praying my daily rosary and things started occurring to me and have been destroying me ever since.
    Why, if God is supposed to be all loving, did he create us as miserable, wretched sinners? He knew what we'd do in Eden. He knew we'd fail. He already had the angels with him in Heaven, so why create us lesser beings who can't even take care of ourselves?
    Why does he leave us to ourselves? Why doesn't he interact with us the way he did in the old Testament? For me, I've never questioned God's existence, but I wasn't brought up to. What about everyone else who has 1000 wrong messages a day promising love, fulfillment and happiness? Why would we, the 1001st voice attract them to the truth? People see me and the amazing people around me and they continue on with business as usual. Even my sisters and mother who know better, but have all left the Church spectacularly. And that is a matter of life and death, Heaven and Hell! We can't make anyone see, but saint after saint says there are people in Hell who didn't even believe in it!
    It seems like we get two choices in life: Do it God's way or Burn Forever. That is really a sucker punch to me. I hope this makes sense because every time I think about it, I start freaking out. It's like an arranged marriage and your spouse is perfect. Loves you, does what's best for you, helps you. IF you do it his way. Otherwise you're on your own to spin, flounder and fail. I've seen it in my life. Fellow Catholics keep talking about it. "Until I really turned it over" "Until I submitted" "Until I changed" followed by instances of pain, anxiety and crushing loneliness. And what about everyone who doesn't have the Sacraments? Who can't receive his Body and Blood, who can't be healed, restored, forgiven in Reconciliation? Protestants who have slivers of the Truth? And this Spouse, with his unconditional love, will lock you in the basement with a serial killer to be submitted to torture you can't even imagine if you don't make the cut. I feel sick to my stomach even thinking about that! That the saints like Don Bosco talk about the children, his boys, he saw burning in Hell because they couldn't overcome this sin or that. Because they lost their nerve and made a bad confession. Is that really all it takes?
    "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)" And what if you'd died? What if you had had a car accident before you came back? You'd be in Hell! Can you even imagine? Forever!! FOR EV ER. I can't even wrap my mind around the concept of never, ever ever being able to change, be sorry enough, nothing. A billion years from now and the devils will be peeling the flesh from your bones still. God!!! God that is so awful!!! Because we weren't strong enough. Because we were abused and never found the self esteem to really accept and give love. Because we despaired. I can't take it!

    1. Whoa character limit...
      What about people like my mom? Catholic for years, abused her whole life starting in infancy, now civilly married to a man who isn't my father without an annulment. My two sisters, both married, divorced and one about to remarry? My cousin who is in a psyche ward after trying to take her life because her childhood mirrors Waco Texas and the Killer KoolAide clans. What about them? Apparently you have to ask and ask correctly if you're going to get the grace you need. Otherwise your on your own. He killed everyone in the whole world but three families because they were "good enough". He sent a she-bear to tear little kids to pieces for mocking his prophet. He killed all the firstborn of Egypt, families just like ours, but born into the wrong culture.
      So I sit here and I tremble as I pray, terrified to fail. Terrified that I'm not doing enough by His standards, because for a long time I saw myself as a devout follower, but the more I learn and the more I read, even my pain and suffering isn't good enough. It can never atone, never reach his ears. Only Jesus could have done that. But God set us up that way! He designed us to fail! When he gave his blood to Mary she never sinned. Why didn't he do that for all of us? How many people would have been saved who are now in Hell? It's not a guarantee, you have to work for it. How can he punish us when this is how he made us? Imperfect and messed up? Why make us at all if so many would be lost?
      I'm not here to get reamed. I'm here because Godly people come here, with wisdom and understanding. If you're shaking your head and judging me then leave me alone. I want answers. I need help. I am so scared.

    2. I want to help, and the first thing I want you to do is to read this and tell me if it resonates with your situation. I think you might be struggling with a form of scrupulosity:

    3. Thank you for the link. No, this doesn't feel like scrupulosity. There was a point when I was younger that I felt the way the young lady friend of yours felt, but this isn't it. This is anger and indignation, more than a paralyzing fear. I keep thinking, "God is so MEAN!" Three weeks ago I would have thought that to be borderline blasphemous, depending. I just keep thinking how the deck is stacked against us from the get-go. I worry about everyone else, we're supposed to be the light of the world, but there are a lot of lights IN the world. They're distracting and alluring and sound good on the outside. And people are getting suckered in. My sisters friend got hooked on meth, pregnant twice and ending up putting a shotgun to her head and pulling the trigger. I know I'm supposed to trust God's Mercy and Justice, but if little kids can end up in Hell and people who didn't believe it existed can, what about those around me who "should know better"? I'm thirty and, like you, feel like I'm just starting to really delve into the mysteries, with all the Help the Church affords. What about everyone else? I am angry that we're supposed to be grateful that God made us broken and then sacrificed himself to satisfy the system he rigged in the first place. Now we're supposed to suffer for a lifetime because we owe him. He died for us because that's how he set it up and we'll never be good enough without him. I know that to be truth, I KNOW we can't do anything without him. Even good intentions aren't good enough, we all know that phrase about leading to Hell. And I'm not expecting this life to be easy, it wasn't for our Blessed Mother or St. Joseph either. But I keep hearing about His Divine plan, well, why did he put someone who would end up killing themselves in an abusive family, knowing they couldn't handle it and that no one in their life could convince them of His Love? It just makes me so mad!

  9. Yes, you are definitely wrestling with God right now and you are almost repairing of God's mercy for the world. Jesus came to save the world, not to condemn it. I really hope you find peace and maybe if you read this, about how God judges hearts, it would help:

    Also, for grave sin to be mortal, three things have to be present:

    1) The sin had to actually be serious (grave)
    2) The person has to know that it's a serious sin
    3) The person has to commit the act will full consent of his or her will.

    If any one of those are absent, it's not a mortal sin, but venial, and perhaps there is no culpability at all, depending on the circumstance.

    I will pray for you as you work through this anger at God. God is love, not condemnation. No one accidentally falls into hell. He came to save.

    1. That was great read and the comments were helpful too. I knew about the mortal sin requirements, but what exactly "full consent of the will" entails for each person is hard to understand. Thank you for your replies.

  10. I just keep thinking how the deck is stacked against us from the get-go.

    I would not equate our lack of omniscience with saying "the deck is stacked against us". Saying God has "rigged the system" is try to capture infinite truth and love with finite understanding. Hoping you are able to find some peace in the emotional storm today.

    1. Thank you. I didn't mean lack of omniscience, I meant we are born to sin. Born completely spiritually helpless, and can do nothing without God's help. Our best is never even close to good enough. And if in our life we can't find ways to overcome, then we spend eternity paying for it. People like to say a lot, "God never gives us more than we can handle" which I find to be patently false. I have seen so many people destroyed by what they've been through. I just can't wrap my mind around that also being Unfailing Love and Mercy.

  11. You're sounding upset at our lack of ability to know the mind of God which is why I said 'lack of omniscience'.

    There's no doubt that suffering is a major part of our existence. Maybe back up from the position that 'our best is never good enough' because that is outside the reality of the Catholic faith anyway (meaning we don't earn heaven).

    Regardless of how much suffering (of any kind) that we've witnessed, endured, and/or judged with our very limited view, the crux of the issue really is: do we believe in Divine Friendship?

    When God says, "I am for you, not against you" (ref. Jeremiah, Romans, the Psalms, and John's gospel), and the rubber meets the road, so to speak, and we are drowning in pain, do we really trust that He is for us in all of this, as He promises? Not in some soft, spiritual, feel-good, easy listening way, but a real challenging shove of the mind against the spirit.

    To me, that question is the starting block to brace against before we push off into the sprint.

    1. I do see what you mean. I guess I'm feeling overwhelmed trying to save everyone around me and it seems really unfair. I talked to some people and went to Confession today and what everyone seems to keep imparting is that I have to decide, trust or not trust, like you say. That is a place to start.

  12. SheWhoSeeks, perhaps this video of Fr. Barron on "Extreme Demands, Extreme Mercy" addresses your dilemma:

    The examples he uses may not be directly relevant to you, but towards the end he lays out beautifully the Church's teaching. I wonder if it'll speak to you, too.

  13. Thank you for that video, it was even published on my birthday. And I see what you mean, about the mercy. And that is what I seem to keep getting hung up on. All us Catholics have the Sacraments, what about everyone else? I think I'm taking on too much that doesn't belong to me, I just can't stand the thought of ANYONE burning in Hell forever and ever. Thank you for your kindness.

  14. But this is the essence of Christianity, no? The Son of God became man to take away the sins of the world. This is the meaning of the Cross. Yes, we cannot possibly live up to God, and that is why we pray at every Mass "Lord, I am not worthy that you should enter under my roof, but only say the word, and my soul shall be healed". Christ took on the Cross precisely to wash away all sins, out of infinite love for us, all of us, sinners and saints, Christians and non-Christians. All we have to do is accept His love. What could be more merciful? And precisely because He IS love, He will not force Himself and His love on us. We are free to reject Him, but it only becomes a mortal sin under the circumstances Leila reminded us of. Does that not make you feel joyful beyond words?


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