Cardinal Dolan sits next to Hillary at Catholic charity dinner – fails to address her partial birth abortion comment, days after he speaks at the Bishop’s Respect Life dinner.

Watching Hillary Clinton coldly and unapologetically advocating partial birth abortion on live TV in front of millions of people was probably one of the most chillingly evil things I’ve ever witnessed.

She also promised to stand with America’s largest abortion chain, Planned Parenthood, who have been exposed as selling and making a profit from dismembered babies body parts.

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A Partial Birth Abortion is performed by the baby being delivered feet first. The abortionist will then cut the spinal cord at the back of the baby’s neck while her head is still inside her mother. The abortionist will then use an instrument to suck out the baby’s brains before finally delivering her head, which may or may not still be attached to her body – depending on the severity of force used by the abortionist.

Donald Trump said “If you go with what Hillary is saying, in the ninth month, you can take the baby and rip it out of the womb of the mother, just prior to the birth of the baby. Now, you can say that that’s okay, and Hillary can say that that’s okay, but it’s not okay with me.

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Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump with Cardinal Timothy Dolan at the Al Smith Catholic Charity dinner last night.

Last night both candidates were guests at the Alfred E. Smith Catholic charities dinner. While the tradition of the Alfred E. Smith dinner to invite the Republican and Democrat nominee to raise money for charity is admirable, it was disturbing to see Cardinal Dolan laughing and joking with Hillary Clinton less than twenty-four hours after Hillary announced she supports abortion up to the moment of birth.  Worse, when he spoke at the end, he made a vague oblique reference to the life of the unborn when he said some of the money raised would help poor women give birth.

I understand that the dinner is to raise money and everyone tries to be civil, but both Trump and Hillary took shots at each other as if it were a campaign rally.  Certainly, Cardinal Dolan, archbishop of the Diocese of New York, traditionally viewed as the spokesman for the Catholic Church in the United States, could and should have spoken in plain language that it is wrong to kill the unborn.  He should have said killing an unborn child minutes before the child is born is infanticide, immoral, and an intrinsic evil according the Catholic Church.

I find it ironic that on Monday night this week Cardinal Dolan was speaking at The Bishop’s Respect Life dinner for the Diocese of Colorado Springs.

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What stopped the Cardinal from saying something in defense of the unborn? Was he afraid of spoiling a posh dinner? Is he afraid of offending people? Or is it that he knows that many of the extremely rich and powerful catholics in that room support Hillary and her pro-choice stance, and he doesn’t want to upset them?

Personally, if it was me, I would have waited for that moment between the main course and dessert. I would have got up and simply said “If you vote for Hillary Clinton, then you have the innocent blood of the unborn on your hands. Enjoy your dessert!”

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Sources: http://www.americanthinker.com/blog/2016/10/al_smith_dinner_cardinal_dolan_fails_to_speak_against_abortion.html#ixzz4NiuY1xiM

The Jewish roots of the Eucharist.

Very excited to introduce my mum – Julie Brook who has been reading the amazing book ‘Jesus and the Jewish Roots of the Eucharist’ by Brandt Pitre, and has written this great article for Faith in our Families…

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By Julie Brook

Did you know that the Jews had Sacred Bread which the priests elevated in the Temple before the people every Sabbath saying, ‘Behold God’s love for you’? Or that at every Passover the sacrificial lambs were fixed on a kind of crucifix? Or that the Jews were expecting a new Exodus? Or that a cup of wine was missing at the Last Supper?

Did you think that the Jews were expecting a political figure? What they were really waiting for was the restoration of Israel in a new Exodus. The first Exodus ensured the freedom of the Jews to worship God. By sacrificing on Mount Sinai Moses and the people sealed their Covenant relationship with God concluding the ritual with a great feast. Soon afterwards the Jews broke the Covenant by worshipping the Golden Calf but a thousand years later the prophet Jeremiah foretold a new, everlasting Covenant.

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After the Exodus the Jews built a Tabernacle as the central point of God’s presence in their midst. It was a small, moveable building, the dwelling place of God on earth. The later Temple of Solomon in Jerusalem was permanent and far more splendid but it was destroyed by the Babylonians in 537BC. King Cyrus of Persia permitted it to be rebuilt but it never regained its splendor.

The prophets now forecast a new Covenant, a new Temple that God would build in the age of salvation at the time of a new Exodus. It would bring both Jews and Gentiles into a new Promised Land which they would possess forever. The new Moses would be a Messiah, a king, prophet and miracle-worker who would rain down bread from heaven. Redemption would take place on a Passover night and a new Covenant would end in a heavenly banquet.

This new Exodus would need a new Passover. The procedure for the first Passover was as follows: first, sacrificing an unblemished male lamb (a priestly action), spreading the blood of the lamb on the doorposts (averting the angel of death), and to complete the sacrifice, eating the lamb and finally keeping the Passover as a Remembrance.

Fifteen centuries later, at the time of Jesus, the lamb had to be sacrificed in the Temple and eaten in Jerusalem. The Jews would drive a thin smooth stave of wood through the shoulders of the lamb in order to hang it and skin it. Another spit would transfix it right through from the lower parts right up to the head. Jesus would have gone up to Jerusalem every year and seen lambs bled and crucified – thus prefiguring his own death.

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The last supper

There are similarities between the Last Supper and the traditional Passover which took place in Jerusalem after sunset on Passover night; wine was drunk, the meaning of the bread was explained and a final hymn was sung. The father of the family led the ceremony and explained the meaning of the lamb, unleavened bread and bitter herbs (which fulfilled God’s original command to keep the Passover as a day of ‘Remembrance’).

Jesus, however, acted as host and leader of the Apostles, not as their father. He focused on the New Covenant rather than on the events of the first Exodus. Without mentioning the body and blood of the Passover lamb he spoke of his own body and blood while handling the traditional food – bread and wine – stating ‘This is my Body’ and ‘ This is my Blood’, and commanding the Apostles to  ‘Do this in memory of me.’ Thus, Jesus deliberately changed the format.

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Manna in the desert

The manna in the desert was a miraculous bread from heaven. It appeared in the same quantity, about one litre, never lasted for more than one day, was provided for forty years and stopped the day after the Israelites reached the Promised Land. Some of the manna was preserved in the Temple as being holy, from God. The Jews came to believe that this bread existed in heaven before the world began, and it would return to earth again one day at the new Exodus with the Messiah.

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Bread of the Presence

The holy bread in the Temple – the Bread of the Presence – was in the form of twelve cakes for the twelve tribes of Israel; with the wine offering it was the sign of God’s Presence, his Holy Face, an everlasting Covenant, offered by the High Priest and eaten by priests in Jerusalem. At the Last Supper there were twelve apostles, there was the Bread and Wine of Jesus’ presence, offered by Jesus himself in a new Covenant and eaten by the Apostles (now priests).

The Last Supper was not just a new Passover, or new Manna; it was also the institution of the new Bread and Wine of the Presence i.e. Jesus. Like the priests in the Temple before him, Jesus was saying, ‘Behold God’s love for you’. A mandatory part of the Jewish Passover was the four cups of wine. The first cup was blessed before the food was brought in. The second was drunk after the father’s telling of the Exodus story. After the meal started the third cup was blessed and drunk, and the concluding rites were the singing of the Psalms and the drinking of the fourth cup. It was forbidden to drink any wine between the third and fourth cup.

Luke 22: 14 – 20 mentions only two cups. The first of these was drunk by the Apostles and Jesus said, ‘…I shall not drink of the fruit of the vine until the kingdom of God comes.’ The second cup mentioned came after supper, so it was the traditional third cup. This was the moment when Jesus said, ‘This cup which is poured out for you is the new Covenant in my blood.’ The psalm was sung and they all went out to Gethsemane. There is no mention here of the fourth cup, and yet the Passover was not complete without it.

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A soldier offers Jesus wine with myrrh.

Imagine the bewilderment of the apostles. In the Garden of Gethsemane Jesus prayed three times about the cup he must drink. This must be the fourth cup. On the cross Jesus was offered wine and myrrh, a traditional act of mercy to dull the pain of crucifixion, but Jesus refused it. Later he cried out, ‘I thirst’, thus asking for a drink, and was offered vinegar (sour wine) which he accepted. He then said, ‘It is finished’. This was the fourth cup, taken at the very moment of death.

By vowing not to drink the last cup at the Last Supper, Jesus extended his last Passover meal to include his own death, so uniting the Last Supper to his death on the cross. No Passover meal was complete without the eating of the lamb; now Jesus’ disciples might understand his insistence (John 6:35 – 58) that in order to have life we must eat his flesh and drink his blood. This is the Body and Blood of the resurrected Jesus, holy indeed and the source of everlasting life.

O Sacrament most holy, O Sacrament Divine, all praise and all thanksgiving be every moment thine.

Jesus and the Jewish Roots of the Eucharist by Brandt Pitre. Doubleday.  ISBN 978-0-385-53184-9

 

“The air feels soft – like Christmas.”

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It was August 2015 a few days before the start of my husbands Lightning Process treatment for CFS that I knew something special was about to happen. Lying in bed in the dark and the silence, I could feel that feeling.

Sometimes it feels like the room is filled with angels, sometimes it feels like I am totally present – in front of a mirror of truth, and can see myself for who I really am. Quite often my heart just burns heavily inside my chest, a bit like when you are the early stages of being in love. Sometimes it is Jesus, sometimes it is Mother Mary, sometimes it is Teresa or Therese or Joseph. It is difficult to describe.

I know that not everyone feels this type of thing but for me it is a normal day to day thing. This doesn’t mean I am holier than other people – of course not, far from it! This is just the way that God has always made Himself known to me – ever since I was 4 years old.

So you can imagine my surprise when my  husband rolled over and said to me “Can you feel that? The air feels soft – like Christmas.”

“Yes” I said, “you know I can, But YOU can feel it too?!” 

The air was soft. It was the softness of a mother’s caress that seemed to say “It’s all finished now. Enough suffering, you are going to get well now.” She was  letting us know that she had not just seen our suffering, but she had been standing at the foot of our cross, every day since the beginning.

It happened a second night, and then a third. And it was then that I began to expect a miracle.

Nick’s recovery happened on the second day of the treatment. It was like flicking a switch. In the morning he was sick, in the evening he was well. He actually felt so ill that morning that he called to say that he wasn’t going to make it in. But they convinced him to go in for 10 mins or so 😉

And I knew that this was our last ditch attempt at getting him well before we would have to make some serious life decisions about selling the house and changing the kids schools. It was also pretty much the last strand of hope for keeping the marriage together. I’ve never really spoken of this before, but the effects of long term illness on a marriage with 2 young kids and a newborn baby, and the vulnerable state that puts you in is not to be underestimated. Without the intercession of St Joseph – protector of families, I don’t know what would have become of us.

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But none of that mattered anymore. Nick had gone in on that Tuesday morning as sick as i’ve ever seen him, and when he came out he was well. He has been well ever since. It happened on Tuesday 11th August – the feast of St Clare!

And for those of you who don’t know already he will be going back to work for the first time in 2 years in the new year 🙂 He went for one interview last week and they offered him the job on the spot!

This indescribably difficult period of our lives is now truly coming to an end.  Nick will be stepping back into the usual father/husband role, and I will GET MY HOUSE TO MYSELF once again for the first time in 2 years!!! (I will miss him desperately of course… 😉 )

The baby is 2 now and is going to start a few hours at nursery, and I will get a little more time to sew vestments. Things are really looking up for us now. Praise God! Praise the name of Jesus forever! And God bless His beautiful mother Mary who loves all her children, and stands at the foot of all of our crosses and suffers with us.

 

 

 

 

 

Giving Everything.

 

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Sitting at mass a few days ago I found my mind wandering. This is not unusual. It happens in prayer too – ALL THE TIME. It used to really bother me and so I used to really try to concentrate. Try harder! Pray harder! Block out all unwanted thoughts.

Of course, this was the fool’s way of approaching the situation.

What I was actually trying to do was suppress all thoughts I personally deemed as not holy enough for the situation of praying. Ha!ha! How stupid of me. Do I really think I can hide my thoughts from God?! He knows my thoughts before they enter my head. For goodness sake – He is permitting those thoughts to enter my head, even if they are placed there by Satan. God is in control.

Perhaps I thought If God knew what I was really thinking He wouldn’t like me as much? Perhaps I wouldn’t be good enough for Him? Ahhh… that’s another trick from the Devil.

I have learned since then how to allow my thoughts to manifest themselves during prayer, but without losing my focus on God. Now I am able to allow a thought to remain present, but view it from an objective point of view – from God’s point of view, rather than viewing it subjectively from my own point of view and allowing myself to become distracted by it.

This does require a certain amount of detachment. It also requires a rather large dose of compassion towards oneself and also the humility to accept our imperfectness. You also have to be solid in the reality of God’s unending mercy and love for you as His beautiful child. But once you are secure in those things it is possible to allow our thoughts the freedom to manifest themselves during prayer. We are then able to stand naked (as it were) in front of God – warts and all. And when we do, we can allow God to show us why He is allowing those thoughts to manifest themselves in our heads.

 

For instance – when I was sitting in Mass I suddenly found overwhelming thoughts of sex entering my mind. This is not particularly unusual for me (depending where I am in my cycle) as i’m sure it isn’t for many people.  I used to panic at thoughts like these as they seemed to be the most inappropriate, but now I just take a step back and observe them objectively alongside Christ. He Is my Father, I am His child, and He wants to help me as any good parent does.

I usually tell Him “Oh look! See what has just popped into my head? I  wonder why you have allowed that to arrive in my mind? Let’s look at it together.” 

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So we sit together and observe the thought in complete honesty. I don’t try to hide it or suppress it, and I remain humble enough not to allow guilt or shame to overwhelm me. Sometimes it becomes apparent that this is something or someone that I need to be praying for. Very often it is simply to be honest in a situation in which I am struggling. But at other times it is because God is trying to teach me or show me something. The Holy Spirit doesn’t usually shout – He whispers, and we have to quieten our minds enough to hear Him.

This particular time a few days ago as thoughts of sex entered my mind, I sat alongside Christ in observing why He had allowed these thoughts to manifest – especially during Mass. I allowed Him to direct my thoughts and I felt a great sense of acknowledgment in regards to what it takes for me to live the Church’s teaching regarding marriage and sex. It’s not easy. It is completely different to contracepted sex. I am called to give everything during sex. A total gift of self. And every time I do it becomes not only a repeat of my wedding vows but also a total act of submission to God’s will. I literally couldn’t give anymore at that moment, physically, emotionally or spiritually. That just doesn’t happen during contracepted sex. But it does take a lot to give like that – God only knows! Because of that total gift of self I/we have brought 3 new lives into the world.

Anyway, during that moment as we observed this thought together He did fill me with this overwhelming sense of acknowledgment for giving myself entirely. Which was nice – because remaining open to life is one of  the hardest thing I have ever had to give.

He then directed my thoughts back up onto the altar. It was the consecration. 🙂 God’s ways are perfect! He had taken me down the path of acknowledgment in all I had to give, so I could enter more deeply into the mystery of all He gave for me.

During that moment of the consecration, Jesus was present there on the altar, at Calvary, giving everything He was: Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity – for me. 🙂

Christianity is a love affair.

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I realised at that moment that all I had to give was simply a response to His eternal declaration of love on the cross. In truth, I never would have reached the point where I was able to remain open to life without the Eucharist.

I felt suddenly incredibly special to Him – which of course I am. I wanted to throw my arms around Him. But He wants more than that. Through the Eucharist He wishes to actually dwell within me, just as I do in Him. I remained in that wonderful, beautiful moment for the rest of Mass, and for sometime afterwards.

Later that evening my thoughts were turned to the atrocities in Paris, and the fact that our western secular society, weakened by several generations of cultural marxism, is not strong enough to withstand a 60 million influx of muslim immigrants. I cried bitter tears as I came to terms with the fact that I was not willing to die for a society that honours gay marriage and kills millions of its own children through abortion.

I thought of the warnings and promises of Fatima, and stupidly viewed all these things subjectively  – which promptly became too much and overwhelmed me.

In the morning I was able to sit alongside Christ, objectively viewing these thoughts, and I became aware of my attachments to things I never considered I was attached to: my country, my national identity, my freedom, my safety etc. And then Christ directed my thoughts back 24 hours to the wonderful experience I had at Mass and I realised that He was asking me to respond to our current situation in exactly the same way. He was helping me understand that I was going to, or should I say am going to, be called to possibly give EVERYTHING in His name.

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The only possible solution to the crisis we are facing as a society is Christianity. Now, God’s ways are perfect, and I am just wondering in a bizzar mathematical kinda way if Islam + Cultural marxism = the elimination of the problem of the lukewarm Christian – or perhaps a better way of saying it is: the rise of the solid faithful Christian on fire with the Holy Spirit.

One thing is certain – in the end Our Lady’s immaculate heart will triumph and we will enter the era of peace. But before that we will have to pass through the great tribulation. And we will all be called to give everything. I pray that this will lead all of us into a deeper understanding and appreciation of Our Lord in the Holy Eucharist, and open our hearts to the indescribable joy that there is in this Sacrament. Because that is the one thing that will sustain us.

Ok Jesus, so how exactly am I supposed to love ISIS?

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Jesus’ most radical commandment was to tell us to love our enemies. But how is it possible to love radical Muslims if they are trying to kill you?

Well, I think it is entirely possible.

First of all we must recognise the humanity in each ISIS member. They too were made in the image and likeness of God. And this completely contradicts their own teaching that non-Muslims are infidels and sub human.

Secondly, Jesus didn’t say that to love someone you have to like them. He didn’t say that these people would suddenly not be your enemies anymore just because you have decided to love them. And He certainly didn’t say your enemies are allowed to walk all over you.

If you think Christian love equates to some fluffy hearts and flowers feeling where everyone gets along just fine, and we all live happily ever after then you are wrong. Whoever taught you that was lying to you. Love is not easy. It challenges us to our very core. Do you think it was easy and fluffy and feel-good for Jesus on the cross? No. Of course it wasn’t. And that is the most perfect example of love that humanity has ever had.

There is a fight to be had. Radical Islam is not going to go away quietly. And I for one want my children to be free to practice Christianity in the country they are growing up in. But as I said, it is important to respect that we are fighting human beings, not monsters.

I’m not sure how to love ISIS to be honest, but I think it starts with respecting that each member is a person that needs our help spiritually on the prayer and fasting level, to obtain the graces needed for them to recognise the great evil they have subscribed to and then reject it.

When you feel used…

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I have experienced many negative emotions over the course of my life, but the one that leaves me with the most bitter taste in my mouth is that of feeling used. I am not a resource or an object to be utilised at the whim of the user. I am a human being, a child made in the image and likeness of God. And I deserve to be respected and treated as such.

Be it through disingenuousness, naivety or just plain old wishful thinking I believed I meant more to that person than I actually did. It hurts. It hurts a lot. And it makes me feel very, very angry and very stupid.

But I guess these things happen hey?

Never mind. Forgive and move on. But just before I do…

It is worth just reflecting on whether any other relationships I have are (in the words of Plato) utilitarian relationships – user relationships. After about 5 seconds reflection on this matter, to my horror, I discovered that most of the relationships I have in my life have some sort of utilitarian aspect to them. Either I am being used or I am the user. That was an unpleasant discovery.

Be it my kids, my husband, my parents, friends, whoever… there is always a risk that I could be using or allowing myself to be used. This is not to say of course that we should not be generous in our time or resources to each other, it is just when that delicate balance of giving and getting become, well, taken for granted I suppose.

A priest told me today how he always asks his marriage prep couples why they want to marry their fiance. 9 times out of 10 he said that the answers were “Because she makes me happy” “Because I feel comfortable with him” “Because he makes me feel ‘whole'”. It was all about what their fiance could do for them, rather than what they could do for their fiance. I’m sure I displayed this exact same utilitarian attitude 16 years ago when I got married. Ha! They’ll learn! Lol!

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St. Teresa of Avila

Remember that disastrous silent retreat I went on last June where the silence drove me to cigarettes? You know – the one where the fire alarm went off all night. Yeah – that one. Well, the one thing that I really remember from it was that Teresa of Avila teaches us that our ‘horizontal’ relationships are credible indicators of the ‘vertical’ relationship we have with God. She tells us that “we cannot know whether or not we love God, although there are strong indications for recognizing that we do love Him; but we can know whether we love our neighbor” – (5th Dwelling Place, Interior Castle).

So if pretty much all of my earthly relationships have a utilitarian element to them, then what does that say about my relationship with God?

Yeah.

Feeling small. Feeling bad.

I guess if I honestly examine my verbal prayer life, it is all “please can You” this and “please can You” that. I just want stuff. I want to feel better. I want so-and-so to be better. I want, I want, I want. My gosh it’s all about me. It reminds me very much of the relationship my children have with me. They are always asking me for stuff! Actually I was having a conversation with a seminarian today in which he told me how he was preparing himself for Fatherhood by getting used to the fact that being a priest, like being a parent, is usually a pretty thankless job with a bunch of ungrateful children. I felt sad about that, but I understood what he meant. It made me think about the last time I had thanked my priest for the wonderful job he does. Have I ever thanked him?

Coupled with that, I never realised how one-sided my relationship with God was. It’s probably because i’m a spoiled princess who expects everybody to adore her. The fact that I am very secure in the knowledge that God does actually adore me does add a little bit of confusion to the mix! But I guess the point is that I should be adoring Him as much as He adores me. He gave up His life for me, even though I didn’t deserve it.

I need to dwell on that fact more.

And the more I dwell on that divine generosity, and the more I let it penetrate every aspect of my being – and doing – the more I will allow it to transform me.

So from now on I will continue to give and not to count the cost (St Ignatius of Loyola) but perhaps I might be a little more discerning about my motives for giving, and the attitude of the receiver.

“So Un-Baptise me then…!”

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Poor kid hasn’t even entered the water yet!

I remember that blurry period in my life of hormonal angst and naivety, combined with the self-assurance of the fact that I knew all things. I like to refer to it as my time of self discovery. My parents simply describe it as “The Teenage Years”.

I remember one time announcing to my parents that I wanted to get un-baptised, but I didn’t know how to go about it. After a few seconds of expressionless silence in which they realised I had taken them to new levels of astonishment, they calmly suggested that I “Don’t worry about it too much” knowing that in about an hours time I would have forgotten about it and would be pouring my heart and soul into some new life altering activity.

They were right. And besides – you can’t get un-baptised! Sacraments cannot be undone. You can’t un-make your first holy communion or your first confession. You can’t get unconfirmed or un-make your vows as a priest. You can’t un-receive the sacrament of the sick.

In exactly the same way you can’t un-receive the sacrament of matrimony. The relationship may break down, and you may even decide to divorce (which still leaves you able to receive communion as long as you stay single), but you will still be sacramentally married to that person until one of you dies.

Language is important, and I think it is necessary now for Catholics to start to start referring to it as the Sacrament of Marriage/Matrimony rather than just Marriage – which in secular terms means something very different.

Perhaps if we start referring to it within it’s proper context as a sacrament, we might begin to view it differently, and realise that some things are beyond our authority to change.

Fidelity.

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As you begin reading this blog post you may think it is going to be about faithfulness in marriage. Well its not. It is faithfulness in another relationship: our relationship with Christ.

You see, our God is a jealous God (Exodus 34:14). He made us to know Him, to love Him, and to serve Him in this world, and to be happy with Him for ever in heaven (Baltimore catechism). In fact He considers our relationship with Him to be so atomically crucial that he made it the subject of His first commandment:

1. I am the LORD your God: you shall not have strange Gods before me.

God wants to be in First Place in our lives. But He wont force us. It is up to us to put Him in first place. And if He is not in the First Place in our lives, then what or who is? Because what ever or who ever it is, has become an idol. Man commits idolatry whenever he honours and reveres a creature in place of God (CCC 2113).

I think perhaps the most difficult area to recognise idolatry is in the relationships we have with other human beings. I know that in my life I have certainly been involved in friendships and relationships that were not right in the eyes of God. And I knew it. But I didn’t want to let the other person go. That person was fulfilling a seriously deep seated need in me. I guess this is why I feel pity for Monsignor Krysztof Charamsa.

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Many comments I have read concerning this man have been derogatory at best. People refuse to see beyond the brazen arrogance and disrespect that he flaunts, as he cheerfully chassis along like an 18 year old débutante at her coming out party. And of course that is exactly how he planned and wanted to be seen on the eve of the family synod. But if you look deeper within, you simply see a priest struggling with celibacy, and giving into same sex attraction. It’s nothing more than that.

When asked how he went from denial to being happy about being gay he replied: “Through study, prayer and reflection. A dialogue with God and the study of theology, philosophy and science were crucial. Moreover, I now have a partner who has helped me transform my fears into the power of love… There comes a day when something inside you snaps, and you can’t go on.”

This says to me that Krysztof Charamsa definitely does still have a relationship with God, it’s just that it is all on his terms. His understanding of the word love doesn’t really seem to be reflecting Christ crucified. And his last sentence clearly shows that the day did come when he finally decided to put down his cross and champion his own wants and desires.

Without a doubt he has been given a very heavy cross to bear in the form of SSA, but quite frankly that doesn’t really matter anyway because when he entered the priesthood he freely chose a life of celibacy! I feel so sad that rather than abandoning himself entirely to God, he has instead spent years convincing himself that he is in the right and the church is in the wrong. Ultimately it comes down to the fact that there is something wrong somewhere in his relationship with Christ. The fidelity is gone.

We live in a culture in which we constantly search to satisfy our every need. And we expect others to do that for us: physically, financially, mentally, sexually, emotionally and spiritually. Oh what a life of utilitarian ecstasy! But the truth is that not one person on this entire planet will ever, ever be able to fill that God shaped hole in your heart. Not your spouse, or your kids, or your friends or your parents or anyone. No-one can take the place of God in our lives. But we quite often expect them to. We elevate people way beyond their ‘pay grades’ in terms of satisfying us. In actual fact all we are doing is making them into false idols. Is it any wonder so many marriages fail now? We are actually expecting our spouses to satisfy us in the way that only God can!

Let me tell you something: Your spouse is not God! Your gay partner is not God! Your kids are not God! Your friends are not God! If God does not come first in your relationships with others then something is wrong. If we make each other into false idols then what does that do to our relationship with Christ? The fidelity is gone.

You see, our God is a jealous God. He wants to be in First Place in our lives because ultimately our eternal destiny lies with Him. But He wont force us, because you can’t force love. Love is a choice. Love is the cross.

Of course the ultimate example of fidelity to God the Father and the Son, and the Holy Spirit is Mary. She describes herself as the handmaid of the Lord – His loyal and obedient servant. And as she took up her own crosses in her life, followed her Son to calvary and stood at the foot of His cross, she showed us how to put God first. Which is why I ask her now to take me, and Krysztof Charamsa under her sweet mantle and gently lead us back into a correct relationship of fidelity with her Son.

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When your Baby makes you say Grace in Nando’s.

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In my last post I discussed feelings of shame. And here I am writing another post recounting another event in which I suddenly found myself experiencing shame. It seems I am possibly the most self concious, self obsessed person I know!

We have been going out quite a bit over the last few weeks since my husband became well again and one of these outings was to the famous chicken restaurant Nando’s. All 5 of us were there. Now you may be starting to wonder what the shame aspect is to this story:

Mackenzie, 6, gets messy in a giant kids food fight as part of the Persil "Cook with the Kids Promise", which is encouraging parents to get cooking with their kids. See SWNS story SWCOOK: Almost 90 per cent of parents avoid cooking with their children because they are worried about making a mess, according to a new study. Researchers found that 88 per cent of parents said cooking with their youngsters required too much clearing up.  Just under half of those interviewed said that they were simply too busy to clear up the mess made by their children in the kitchen. The study of 2,000 people, conducted by Persil Washing Up Liquid, discovered that only 12 per cent of adults weren't worried about making a mess when cooking with their children.

Were my children finding new and inventive ways of wearing their lunch? Noooo.

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Was it that after walking the entire length of the restaurant I realised that I had my skirt tucked into my knickers? Noooo.

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Did we forget to bring our wallets and end up having to escape by passing the children to each other out of the bathroom window? No.

So what was it? It must have been absolutely horrific right? Wrong.

As our food came to the table and everyone started eating, the baby sat very still and put her hands together to pray and said “Weddy?!” It was a moment of mixed emotions:

My first responses went kinda like this:

  1. Oh my gosh i’m going to have to sing in Public.
  2. Just tell the kids that we don’t have to say grace today.
  3. OMGosh! You terrible mother! You terrible Catholic!
  4. Your 1 year old is giving a better witness than you are.
  5. I don’t want the kids to think I’m ashamed to pray in public.
  6. Will my husband join in?
  7. Will people stare at us?
  8. What if people think I’m a religious fanatical parent?
  9. Who cares what a bunch of strangers think!
  10. THIS is your JOB!
  11. Get a grip.
  12. I have serious pride/humility issues.
  13. I’m so ashamed of myself for feeling ashamed.
  14. God is watching you RIGHT NOW.
  15. What you gonna do?

The two older kids had already started making the sign of the cross – like it was the most normal natural thing in the world to do. I purposely didn’t make eye contact with my husband in case he told me “This is a bad idea”. I could sense he was probably going through the same set of ridiculous emotions as I was.

And guess what? We said Grace. It was fine! Some people looked at us. Most didn’t. The kids carried on as if it was the most normal thing in the world.

To be honest it kinda reminded me of the early days of wearing my mantilla. I found that absolutely terrifying. And people DID stare at me then. Older ladies did come up to me and abruptly question me as to why I was wearing something “so old fashioned”. But you know what – I got used to it, and so did they. And you know what else – it’s really not up to them to tell me how they think I should be worshipping God. Funny how doing something so simple as wearing a mantilla can bring up such emotions in people isn’t it?

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Now the challenge is to let the general public see my relationship with God. This is something that on the one hand I want to shout about from the rooftops because I am having the most incredible love affair with the creator of the universe! But on the other hand it is the most personal intimate relationship that cuts through to the very depths of who I am, and to have someone criticise that, or to laugh at me for it would be utterly crushing. I’m such a baby!

And here’s the truth: In that restaurant some people may well be offended by seeing our family make the sign of the cross. Some people wont care. And for some people it might just be the thing that pricks their conscience. For some, seeing that tiny, second long prayer will be the thing that re-ignites their own faith. For some it will give hope in a seemingly hopeless world. And for others, it will be a first – just to see a family all together, praying. They may well have never seen that before in their whole lives.

Which leads me to the blindingly obvious conclusion that to pray in public really isn’t about me at all. When people are staring, they are staring at the sign of the cross – at Jesus, not at me. It’s the most beautiful thing in the world. Who am I to deprive them of the opportunity to do that?

We will be saying Grace in public from now on 🙂