Thursday, January 31, 2019

A Serious Question

St. Therese of Lisieux (right) with her sister Celine.
Just before Christmas I found myself in line at Walmart with some gift wrap.  Behind me was a woman with her two granddaughters.  I happened to notice that the girls were dressed nicely and so I said so.  The grandmother sorrowfully replied that it was because they had come from a funeral.  She said she was buying the girls each a toy to cheer them up.  The older girl had chosen a small pillow that was popular among her friends.  It was designed like a disgusting inanimate object that is also a smartphone emoji.  What a strange thing to pick out, I thought!  Then I noticed that the couple checking out before me were taking quite a long time.  They had a huge amount of cheap plastic toys and were now paying with a very shiny credit card.  I could hear them raving about how special they would make their child's Christmas!

This situation stayed in my mind because it represents many Americans.  We rush around buying trashy toys for our children just to stimulate a squeal or a smile.  I must admit that I have participated.  But isn't this at least a little bit sad?

Cheap, ugly toys are so popular!  The isles of Walmart are filled with scary monsters, strange beasts, blue haired dolls that look like strippers, plastic creatures with magic powers and even some plush TV characters known for their "tolerance".  There are also many worthless books, violent video games and lots of iPads, which according to science encourage children to be much too hyperactive.

Are we trying to educate our children or to distract them?

 Is it healthy to make life into a joke, especially when it is at the expense of everything sacred?

What happens when everything is mocked, everything is for pleasure and superficiality is encouraged?  What happens when spoiled, bad mannered, bratty and entitled children are rewarded?  Take a good look at the TV shows!

Is the purpose of life to laugh at nothing- a joke?
On the other hand, the Catholic seriousness is a great part of healthy development.  It fosters the child's innocence, ability to marvel, attraction to sacred objects and ideas, sacrifice, heroism and righteousness.  This child becomes calm because he is entertained by the true, the good and the beautiful.

Of course we do not constantly have to discuss the serious threats to the civilized world or admire classical art and brilliant intellectual works.  But then again, full term abortion was just legalized in the state of New York.  This does seem like an appropriate time to end the party.

What if we were to ask, "How is your soul doing today?"

It should not surprise us when today's child lifts his eyes with grave wonder that life is deeper than a joke.

Children need to be asked serious questions.

Wednesday, January 30, 2019

The Horror of a Nation

"Indeed, a loud, dissonant gong has sounded in history.

It brings dark and foreboding tidings. For if even tiny fully formed infants about to be born are no longer safe from the butcher’s hand, no life is safe. If all pretense of compassion or ignorance is now discarded, there is no cruelty that cannot be openly conceived."


READ MORE HERE




Wednesday, January 23, 2019

The Ideological Clash in Washington

The March for Life is a soul-stirring sight,
some admitting abortion is only a horrible result of moral decay.
The Women's March descended on Washington for the third time this weekend.  The event drew smaller numbers as its liberal leaders ironically face accusations of bigotry and corruption.

Only a day before, much larger crowds marched down the same street at the forty-sixth annual March for Life.

The feminist movement markets itself as a magic remedy for the ills of mankind.  Feminists believe that if we destroy "oppressive" and "toxic" masculinity we will reach the utopia.  They narcissistically think the answer to the world's problems is within themselves.  "And the Serpent said to the woman: No, you shall not die the death.  For God doth know that in what day soever you shall eat therof, your eyes shall be opened: and you shall be as gods, knowing good and evil." (Gen 1:4-5) 

On the other side, Catholics defend the smallest victims of feminism.  The March for Life is a soul-stirring sight.  The streets are filled with half a million people outraged at the slaughter of innocent babies, some admitting abortion is only a horrible result of moral decay.

The feminist movement markets itself as a magic remedy for
the ills of mankind.
It seems impossible for these two movements to mesh.  But mingled in the ranks of pro-life marchers are signs that declare, "Feminists for life" and "Feminists for Nonviolent Choices".

Here is an ideological clash!  Feminism profoundly contradicts Christianity.  We forget that Eve, consumed with pride, participated in the Fall of man.  She ate the apple and gave it to her husband.  Yet we refuse women equality in this one essential thing: her fallen nature, tendency to sin and consequential dependence on the protection of the family and the Church.

All mankind is inherently dependent, even more so after the Fall"To the woman also He said...thou shall be under thy husband's power, and he shall have dominion over thee." (Gen. 1:16)  But dependence is rejected.  Feminism removes women from the home, encouraging both men and women to recklessly disobey more of God's commands.  Concupiscence is indulged.  The magnitude of social disorder is tremendous.  Instead of embracing the Church, the clergy, the nobility, the elites and the fathers of families as channels of God's benevolence and mainstays of our dignity, we seek to topple them.  Pride and rebellion threaten all sacred institutions.


All mankind is inherently dependent, even more so after the Fall.
We must counter this anarchical revolution which challenges the very essence of nature.  We risk loosing not only the light of grace which spiritually enlightens man but also the temporal guidance of order.  Without psychological grounding in metaphysical truths, the structures of civilization are crumbling into dysfunctional remnants.

We are living in a social, political and spiritual clash which threatens to usher us into a world of chaos.  Will we return to order and to God?


"In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.  The same was in the beginning with God.  All things were made by Him: and without Him was made nothing that was made.  In him was life, and the life was the light of men.  And the light shineth in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it.  There was a man sent from God, whose name was John.  This man came for a witness, to give testimony of the light, that all men might believe through him.  He was not the light, but was to give testimony of the light.  That was the true light, which enlighteneth every man that cometh into this world.  He was in the world, and the world was made by him, and the world knew him not.  He came unto his own, and his own received him not.  But as many as received him, he gave them power to be made the sons of God, to them that believe in his name.  Who are born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.  And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we saw his glory, the glory as it were of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth." (John 1:1-14)

Wednesday, December 26, 2018

Merry Christmas!!


Merry Christmas to all you readers!!
May the glorious and marvelous birth of the Infant King bring you joy!
May His Holy Mother ask your favors to the Christ Child.

Love,
Thomas & Colette
Thomas, Beatrice, Rebecca, Oliver & Henry

















Monday, December 24, 2018

A Weekend In Feminine Dress: Theresa!

Welcome to A Weekend In Feminine Dress on The Catholic Lady Blog!  This is where I post pictures of a modest, feminine outfit to encourage women in the apostolate of femininity.  Thanks for visiting!  If you have photos to share, please contact me at: thecatholiclady@gmail.com.


I am excited to share these beautiful photos and message for Weekend In Feminine Dress today:


"Outfit of the day for Mass this morning. Sweater is from dressbarn (should still be on clearance), skirt is custom made by Colette Zimmerman, Seamstress. My headband is from Garlands of Grace, my boots are secondhand (I have seen them at Payless Shoes, though), my earrings and necklace are from Mrs. Leane VanderPutten and her shop, Meadows of Grace. I am also wearing some brown leggings I purchased from Amazon. It is quite cold here in the Midwest!"




Thank you, Theresa!  You and your home look so lovely!!  What a beautiful Christmas inspiration for all of us!





















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Friday, December 7, 2018

Feminine Dress from India!

Welcome to A Weekend In Feminine Dress on The Catholic Lady Blog!  This is where I post pictures of a modest, feminine outfit to encourage women in the apostolate of femininity.  Thanks for visiting!  If you have photos to share, please contact me at: thecatholiclady@gmail.com.




I am happy and excited to be able to share more pictures with you today!  This is Esmee from Goa, India and she graciously sent me these of her lovely family.  We are blessed to share an apostolate with Catholic ladies all across the world!  Thank you so much, Esmee!  You are so beautiful and inspiring!



















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Wednesday, November 28, 2018

The Grace of the Moment


How many invaluable moments are lost
because we are not looking?
While visiting with a few friends one afternoon, I became aware of a singular presence.  Pausing, I looked around.  The sight that met my eyes was as commonplace as it was disturbing: the phones were getting more attention than the babies.

That picture was vividly ingrained into my memory: mothers kneeling over their babies, focused not on beautiful faces and little toes but on the tyrannical screens they held in their hands.

The first feeling I had was one of great sadness.  How many invaluable moments are lost because we are not looking?  A baptized child is the image of God.  Looking into it's eyes we can see a soul so sublime, it is like an angel.  What on earth is more precious than this?  The joy of motherhood is of marvels and innocence.

And grace?  This gift of God that comes to us through the Sacraments also surrounds us in everything.  Being in a state of grace allows us to see the truths of nature.  As St. Thomas says, "Grace perfects nature."  So we gaze upon a baby and understanding it's spiritual perfection we ask, who is like unto God?

Smartphones are opposed to grace.  By their humanistic nature they are purely secular and functional.  Furthermore, they disrupt and exploit what is hidden and sacred and effectively obscure divine providence.  The soul suffocates without breathing in the surroundings of grace!  Living on phones, our eyes are closed to the grace of the moment.

Our smartphones betray us.  They become our friends and then our oppressors.  The relationship turns into a war of dominion.  Or perhaps, "No man can serve two masters."

What on earth is more precious than this?
The joy of motherhood is of marvels and innocence.
Painting by Giuseppe Magni
I began to desire an omnipresent God.  I wanted His benevolence to totally envelop me.  It is not enough to ask for grace.  We must seek grace in the moment, totally abandoning ourselves.  I felt an intense love for the idea of living on grace.  After all, as many of the saints have said, "Everything is grace."

I never again want to be the mother who chooses the smartphone.  Indeed, what is it worth if it rivals a priceless child with an eternal soul?  Considering this, I was immediately overwhelmed by so many treasures.  Supernatural light shone through my kitchen windows, my children's eyes in a way that made the lights from my smartphone darken.  And finally gratitude was not hindered by distraction.


"For where thy treasure is, there is they heart also.  The light of thy body is thy eye.  If thy eye be single, thy whole body shall be lightsome.  But if thy eye be evil thy whole body shall be darksome.  If then the light that is in thee, be darkness: the darkness itself how great shall it be!  No man can serve two masters.  For either he will hate the one, and love the other: or he will sustain the one, and despise the other.  You cannot serve God and mammon.  Therefore I say to you, be solicitous for your life, what you shall eat, nor for your body, what you shall put on.  Is not the life more than the meat: and the body more than the raiment?" (Matt 6:21-25)




WHAT DO YOU THINK?

Monday, November 26, 2018

A Weekend In Feminine Dress: Beatrice

Welcome to A Weekend In Feminine Dress on The Catholic Lady Blog!  This is where I post pictures of a modest, feminine outfit to encourage women in the apostolate of femininity.  Thanks for visiting!  If you have photos to share, please contact me at: thecatholiclady@gmail.com.






We had a great (very long) day on Thanksgiving visiting our families and it was amazing!  I hope you had a very happy Thanksgiving too!

I get to share a picture of Beatrice with you all today!  She is my wonderful helper.  She's only almost six and I find myself depending on her tough go-getter attitude!  Today my husband took the older children to the zoo and they loved it.  I had to stay home because I have a bad cold (but I don't love the zoo anyway so it worked).  When people ask what we have been doing, I just say school!  It takes up all our time but I actually really enjoy teaching them.






Beatrice is Wearing:
Dress and Shirt- The Children's Place (hand me downs)





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Thursday, November 8, 2018

Catching Excellence

Notre-Dame Cathedral Paris, France.
Who is not affected by the splendor of a beautiful cathedral?  The stained glass windows magically dazzle light throughout the church.  The myriad shades of glass cast shadows that tease our dimmed intellects with the infinite meanings of Creation.  The overtones seem to rise up until they reach God.

Impossible to bask forever in this heavenly place, we return to the less glorious modern world.  The contrast begs the question: considering that we are more educated and industrious than ever before, why can't we create things as stunningly beautiful as the stained glass windows of Notre-Dame?

The fine things of life fade as our spiritual eyes darken.  "Beauty is in the eye of the beholder," is an error of relativism held by those who do not believe in sin.  In fact, St. Thomas Aquinas taught the opposite, that beauty is objective and has four attributes: truth, goodness, oneness and symmetry.  And St Paul also directs, "Whatsoever things are true, whatsoever modest, whatsoever just, whatsoever holy, whatsoever lovely, whatsoever of good fame, if there be any virtue, if any praise of discipline, think on these things." (Philippians 4:8)

Sarris Candies Canonsburg, PA.
Interestingly, the cathedral feeling followed me recently into a candy store.  The chocolate castle on display was overwhelmingly intricate and strangely analogous to the stained glass windows.  "What is this principle?" I wondered.  Then a sign inside the candy store enlightened me,

"Perfection is not obtainable, but if we chase perfection we can catch excellence."

This quote by American football coach Vince Lombardi reveals a powerful understanding of vocation and culture.  The process of "catching excellence" is not easy.  It requires endless refinement by human discipline and Supernatural grace.  But when successful, we are capable of reaching heights like the Cathedral of Notre-Dame.

This is also true in reverse.  Without the motivation of excellence, people become less likely to behave ethically.  For example, pagan environmentalists complain about plastic.  They are right that the overuse of plastic puts chemicals and waste into our systems.  Furthermore, plastic is ugly.  But they do not seek the origin of pollution.

American football coach Vince Lombardi said, "Perfection is not obtainable,
but if we chase perfection we can catch excellence."
We don't care about environmental responsibility because we don't have moral responsibility.  Morality naturally disposes us to like reality and authenticity.   Plastic on the other hand is representative of life without consequences.  We do not want to look beyond the moment or admit the spiritual- let alone temporal- repercussions of everything.  It is this selfish mentality that pollutes the planet.

Excellence is only obtained by high caliber ethics.  It is when the spiritual part of man overcomes the slavery of concupiscence.  This life of chasing perfection and taking it seriously is the Catholic way.  In the words of St. Francis de Sales,

"Do not wish to be anything but what you are, and try to be that perfectly."


Monday, November 5, 2018

A Weekend In Feminine Dress: All the Way from Hungary

Welcome to A Weekend In Feminine Dress on The Catholic Lady Blog!  This is where I post pictures of a modest, feminine outfit to encourage women in the apostolate of femininity.  Thanks for visiting!  If you have photos to share, please contact me at: thecatholiclady@gmail.com.



Today I am excited to share a photo sent to me all the way from Hungary!  This is Anna, a beautiful example of modesty and elegance.  I think it is hard for women to feel alone in the apostolate of femininity.  As our priest said this week about the Gospel, "We must strive to be the ten good men!"

So thank you ladies for being my encouragement!  And thank you so much Anna for your inspiring picture!








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