Contributions and Camp

I’ve written a lot this week, haven’t I? I actually had a post for 7QT that I was working on for today as well, and then I received confirmation that a post I’d written for Catholic Lane would run today! So I took that (along with my writing partner being off today) as a lovely reason to sit back, and watch some basketball. As in, Alex is in basketball camp this week so I’m going to stop work early and watch him shoot some hoops on his last day.

Contributions and Camp via @fillpraycloset

In the meantime, I invite you (maybe there’s a little implore in there) to head over to Catholic Lane and read my post about a Papal Audience (from back in February) about the Eucharist titled, Front Row With Francis: The Eucharist and Renewing Our Hearts. Grab a knife and fork and dig into that post!

When you contribute to a site, especially such a well run aggregate site like Catholic Lane, you want to be sure that what you contribute resonates tangibly (clicks, comments, shares, and the like).

I’ve written for them once before about Judas’ betrayal of Jesus, titled Front Row With Francis: In Our Suffering, God Humbles and Exalts. And why not have this image here, of when I actually got to see Pope Francis in person!?

Pope Francis here on earth.

Pope Francis here on earth. That photobomb though?!

With that, here’s to a Happy Friday and an even happier weekend! See you Monday!

Church Triumphant: Sts. Anne and Joachim

SS Anne and Joachim are the parents of Mary Mother of God. Their feast day is July 26th. I will be sharing the account of St. Joachim, while Tiffany will be relishing in the account of St. Anne for this month’s installment of Church Triumphant where we pick saints each month to discuss and reflect upon. Because who doesn’t love a good saint story? Especially when you share something personal too?

While not mentioned in the bible, the account of SS Anne and Joachim is noted in the Apocryphal Gospel of James. All that means, is that this book wasn’t considered part of the divine revelation, but the contents can be considered historical although we look at it here as part of legend and tradition in the Catholic faith.  In it, Joachim was away from home when an angel visited and told him he would have a child that would be blessed throughout the ages. Joachim, excited, ran home to tell his wife, Anne of his visions to find out that an angel visited her as well and gave the same message. Anne and Joachim, childless, thankful and up to that point, well past their childbearing years, dedicated the child to God. Joachim presented her to the service of the Temple when Mary was just three years old.

St. Joachim is the patron saint of fathers, grandfathers and grandparents. He’s Jesus’ Pop-pop if you think about it. While we shouldn’t get caught up in the concrete (or not) details and facts, what we focus on is why the Church celebrates these two saints. They were the parents of the Immaculate Conception. The womb that held Jesus, “…for us men and for our salvation, he came down from heaven and by the Holy Spirit was incarnate of the Virgin Mary and became man…” (A little Nicene Creed action in there).

Church Triumphant: Sts. Anne and Joachim The Golden Gate detail Giotto #saint #grandparents #catholic

If we can put ourselves in the shoes of a married couple, trying so hard to conceive, and praying every day that it happens, we can begin to understand the strong bond they had with one another and bring these saints to life for ourselves today. Think of St. Joachim, who probably, like my husband and yours, would want to take St. Anne’s hurt away and fix it. He may have had moments of spiritual dryness because he felt like he wasn’t being heard. Just like you and me though, he was being heard and in God’s time his prayers were answered. Finally, when his child is born, all of the saved up love, dreams and hopes for the child they always wanted was lavished on Mary – and she would need it, being the Mother of God and all. This child was raised with love and care from parents who stayed together, prayed together, loved together and suffered together. I mean, look at this holy kiss after they found out they would conceive? The tenderness there? What a model for our own marriages, child rearing and faith.Church Triumphant: Sts. Anne and Joachim The Golden Gate detail Giotto #saint #grandparents #catholic

SS Anne and Joachim pray for us. Pray that we commit ourselves to His will, keep our marriage strong, our faith even stronger and our children always pointed to Our Lord. Amen people!

Traditionally, shellfish is served on this feast day, particularly Lobster, but yours truly is allergic to all things shell, so we are going for Crème Sainte-Anne (St. Anne’s Cream) which kinda looks like flan, so I’m all over that!

Don’t forget to read the other half of this post over at Life of a Catholic Librarian, where you’ll read all about St. Anne. There’ll be a quiz.

Last month we covered SS Peter and Paul and prior to that, SS Michael and Christopher should you need to catch up. So tell me, how do you celebrate or venerate SS Anne and Joachim?


Book Review: Fleeting Glimpses of The Silly, Sentimental and Sublime

Book Review: Fleeting Glimpses of The Silly, Sentimental and Sublime via @fillprayclosetTitle: Fleeting Glimpses of The Silly, Sentimental and Sublime
Author: Michael Seagriff, OP
Ebook Price: $0.99
Paperback: $7.19
Pages: 59
More Info: Harvesting the Fruits of Contemplation

I received this book before I left for Italy. I thought I would be able to get through it and review it before I made the pilgrimage, but isn’t that how life goes? Michael Seagriff’s Fleeting Glimpses of The Silly, Sentimental and Sublime is a book full of personal memories of his life, faith and journey toward grace.

Each time I set to read one vignette, it turned into three and I spent a good amount of time smiling and even more time realizing how my life could be reflected on through the way he “breaks open the bread” of his life.

As I read through, I highlighted what caught me, because as his title suggests, the glimpses he shares are fleeting. I would like to share a few with you here:

…the proud shall be humbled, and pick up your pants.

This comes as a revelation to Seagriff, who after much daydreaming about his glory days on the basketball court, he is asked to play for a fundraiser years later, and has an embarrassing moment. Not one to let it live him down, he brings a sense of humor and perspective that you’d expect from a Lay Dominican.

One of the reasons we don’t always trust Him is our failure to understand the necessity and value of the suffering He asks of us. In our current world, many of us to everything we can to avoid suffering. We see little meaning in it.

How true, this quote is tucked into the chapter entitled “Crosses or Toothpicks”, my favorite chapter. Maybe it’s the season I’m in. I don’t question God for the sketch he’s drawn for my life, but I wonder at the weight in which He draws (and maybe if he can whip out an eraser from time to time).

In the end, I was taken with a prayer he included, which I would love to find out if it was the beginning of how he came upon his second book, Forgotten Truths to Set Faith Afire! A compilation of quotes from scripture, the Catechism of the Catholic Church, Church Doctors, Popes and Saints. This one, is by one of my favorite saints, St. Francis de Sales:

The everlasting God has in His wisdom foreseen from eternity
the cross that He now presents to you as a gift from His inmost heart.
This cross He now sends you
He has considered with His all-knowing eyes,
understood with His Divine mind,
tested with His wise justice,
warmed with loving arms
and weighed with His own hands
to see that it be not one inch too large
and not one ounce too heavy for you.
He has blessed it with His holy Name,
anointed it with His consolation,
taken one last glance at you and your courage,
and then sent it to you from heaven,
a special greeting from God to you,
an alms of the all-merciful love of God.

This book had everything, family, ministry (he does work with prison inmates!), humor and a theology that reads in such a way that you’d never know you were being taught. Pick it up, but don’t let the short chapters deceive ya, he’ll have you thinking long after you turn the page.

For more information, please visit his blog Harvesting the Fruits of Contemplation.

* * *

Next month, I’ll be pairing up with Tiffany at Life of a Catholic Librarian, where we’ll review a book (fiction people!!) written by Erin McCole Cupp titled Don’t You Forget About Me. I am actually meeting up with her in person, in a few weeks to chat about all things DYFAM (as the book fans call it!) I can hardly wait to share the details of the book, the interview and our meeting! In the meantime if you wanna read it before hand…GET IT!

Tiffany and I were chatting and we’d like to pair up and promote Catholic writers going forward, because they need our support too! Please head over to her site where she’s reviewed so many already for your next read!

A Special Third Order Announcement

I am skipping the #goodenoughmom link up this week with my girl Charity. I don’t do this lightly, however. I have a special announcement that could only be shared today.

As you know, I am being received as a Novice with the Lay Dominicans. This means that on the Feast of St. Dominic (or August 8th) I am officially in! Granted, I have two years of study and presentations before I make temporary promises, then another year after before I make final promises. I know it’s a serious commitment on my part, but I keep looking at it from their perspective. They have faith in me, that I will remain committed for that long. For me, this faith in my faith, touches the deepest parts of my heart.

What’s the announcement? I had to choose a saint name that I will formally undertake to signify that I’m starting a new life, in a spiritual sense. Choosing a saint name also helps me have a saintly model to strive towards and also to have their prayers, for me, in heaven. I did some research and thought about it for a while. I even looked up Dominican saint names to choose from, and sure enough, I finally landed on one that I knew instantly that I should take.

A Special Announcement via @fillpraycloset

St. Mary Magdalene is Protectress of the Dominican Order and is referred to in Early Christian writings as “The Apostle to the Apostles”. In Luke 7:36-50 She washed Jesus’ feet with her tears, dried them with her hair, kissed them and anointed them with ointment from a fine alabaster box. Jesus, knew how sorry she was for her sins and forgave her – much to the Pharisees chagrin. From then on, she was the most faithful of disciples. She was with him when he was crucified, weeping and the first to look for him at the tomb and saw He wasn’t there.

In a homily by Pope Saint Gregory the Great he says:

We should reflect on Mary’s attitude and the great love she felt for Christ; for though the disciples had left the tomb, she remained. She was still seeking the one she had not found, and while she sought she wept; burning with the fire of love, she longed for him who she thought had been taken away. And so it happened that the woman who stayed behind to seek Christ was the only one to see him. For perseverance is essential to any good deed, as the voice of truth tells us: Whoever perseveres to the end will be saved.

St. Mary Magdalene is the patron saint of women, penitent sinners, people ridiculed for their piety and contemplatives among others. Today is her feast day. See why I had to post this today? Mark 15:41 tells us that women “followed Him and cared for his needs” The disciples were supporting the ministry while women, St. Mary Magdalene being one of them, probably helped with preparing meals and looked for places to house them. She was preparing soft places for Jesus to lay His head, I imagine. She was probably worried for His well being, had He eaten enough? Was He getting enough water? Did He have enough time to pray in solitude? Her every thought, I imagine was Jesus. She lingered before his tomb, distraught when she found He wasn’t there. She turned around to hear someone ask her why she was weeping? Turned out that “gardener”, that person, was Jesus, comforting her as He had when he released the 7 demons she was possessed with.

Spangler and Syswerda of Women of the Bible write:

The risen Jesus had appeared, not to rulers and kings, nor even first of all to his male disciples, but to a woman whose love had held her at the cross and led her to the grave. Mary Magdalene, a person who had been afflicted by demons, whose testimony would not have held up in a court because she was a woman, was the first witness of the resurrection. Once again, God had revealed himself to the lowly, and it would only be the humble whose hearing was sharp enough to perceive the message of his love.

I chose her because I am the lowly, and God found me with limp arms, unable to carry my load any longer. He knelt before me and looked up at me, it was the only way he could see into my cast-down eyes. I can remember the night when I cried out to Him. I didn’t know that that’s what I was doing. How this cry would forever change my life. But it has. When I pray the morning prayer, it’s this Psalm specifically (one of the penitent psalms) that I identify with:

From Psalm 51
For I know my transgressions;
my sin is always before me.
Against you, you alone have I sinned;
I have done what is evil in your eyes
So that you are just in your word,
and without reproach in your judgment.

St. Mary Magdalene, keep me humble. Keep me always lingering on Our Lord, for it is there that He will come to me, and comfort the weathered wounds of my heart.

Luke 7:47
Therefore I tell you, her sins, which are many, are forgiven, for she loved much; but he who is forgiven little, loves little.