Blown Away

After a disquieting Sunday afternoon pacing in front of the radar on TV, listening to tornado sirens in our basementless home, my husband and I  ultimately discerned the moment was now to put the cat in the carrier, the dog on the leash, and the kids  in tow to walk across the street to our kind neighbors who open their home to us during tornado threats.  Our switch from the local paper in hard copy to the cheaper electronic version (thanks to Dave) and my boycott of the television news ever since a certain pro-abortion president had been elected keep me in blissful ignorance of the events our neighboring state just south..

Two days later I opened the newspaper on my phone to read about the Oklahoma tornado tragedy.

I pictured the elementary school leveled by the deadly winds.  I heard the cries of horror of the children huddled in the restrooms as the deafening freight train-sounding winds engulfed them. I felt the heavy, penetrating emotional pain as parents went to the school to see whether their kids’ name would be on the list of survivors or the deceased.

I cried, wondering how anyone could survive such devastation without a faithful life?  I prayed. And I cried more….until I was whirled off by the rest of my day.

The Catholic Women’s Guide to Healthy Relationships Tip:  Invest now in your prayer life, the sacraments, and the relationships with those in your life, so that when the rough winds of life blow, you’ll be fortified for whatever comes.

Fear Produces Satellite Christians

The soft-spoken nature of Pope Francis amplifies the impact of the words he does speak.  He points out that “lukewarm Catholics” build their own church around common sense, resulting in them cutting themselves off from the rest of the Body of Christ.  Becoming Christian Satellites that are not unified with the Church, they don’t have the security of the Holy Spirit, and  they do not make up the Church, professes Pope Francis.

Their “Satellite Status” roots in fear— fear of the risk of following Jesus and fear of getting too close.

“Fear” is the tip-off for the Orthodox Catholic.  Fear and love are incompatible.  God is love.  A way of thinking and living that is based in fear will always separate us from God.  It’s not  hard to identify those who have left or strayed from the Church and her teachings..

Yet, fear creeps in with our relationships with spouses, families, co-workers and friends.  We fear getting hurt.  We don’t risk-take.  We get complacent and okay with mediocrity.

While you may not be a “Satellite Christian” when it comes to the teachings of the Church, have you let fear drive you into outer space from your loved ones in your intimate relationships?

The Catholic Women’s Guide to Healthy Relationships Tip:  Be sure not to be too focused on those “Satellite Christians” who play funny games with Church teachings. But rather make sure your home base is bathed in love, obedience, and acts of intimacy,  not fear.

Gods Loves a Dodo

The coverage of Mother Angelica’s 90th birthday put words to why she is so beloved:  she’s a self-professed dodo.  The now extinct, flightless bird parallels God’s taste in apostles.  Rather than select those who have it all together, He picks the least likely of trusted servants.  He calls those lacking in skills and resources, those others predict to fail in life.

But the dodo has an edge that makes him God’s chosen instrument.  Others whom God calls to great missions analyze his request to ensure the probability of success and how well suited the servant is to achieve the task.

But, the charm of the dodo is that it doesn’t have any idea of the insurmountable request God places on it.  The dodo just does it, and believes it will work because God says so.

A dodo move is kind of like a cloistered nun launching a  tackle business.  Mother Angelica’s community  successfully marketed  Holy St. Peter’s Fishing Lures, founding the engine to   ultimately build the largest Catholic Channel in the world with an audience of 146 million homes, broadcasted in 127 countries.

Isn’t it time you have a little fun being a dodo?

The Catholic Women’s Guide to Healthy Relationships Tip:  Say “yes” to God today – no questions asked.

Divine Intersection

Photo from

CNN’s Pierce Morgan attempted to entangle Senator Rick Santorum into pledging  alliance  to the potentially new Church Doctrine under Pope Francis that condom use would be licit to prevent the transmission of disease.  Dodging the snare, much like Jesus and the Pharisees, Senator Santorum reminded Mr. Morgan that the Catholic Church is in the business of saving souls, not just bodies.  He added that the problem with the Catholic Church is that its members are humans.

While some argue that her “imperfections” put her in “desperate need” of a course correction, I take a different view.  Peruse the Bible for plentiful and colorful depictions of the human race’s undeniable pattern floundering fidelity to her Divine Spouse.   Concurrently, note how the Holy Spirit always injects just perfect event or person to meet the unique world’s need in critical historical moments.

Consider the Juan Diego and the apparitions of the Our Lady of Guadalupe.  God’s intervening hand turned that infanticide-ridden pagan culture into a dominant force for the Roman Catholic Church.

God has spoken again by placing the Vatican’s palm, with simplicity and Latin roots, Pope Francis. Our U.S. generals and the world could learn volumes from a humble cardinal who lives in a modest apartment, prepares his own meals, rides the bus, and confronts his Argentinean president when necessary.

We live in a gadget-driven culture overconfident and imposing with her technology and knowledge.  In a  world that promotes the  illusion that there are no boundaries to what man can and should do, isn’t a Pope Francis exactly what we need?

The Catholic Women’s Guide to Healthy Relationships Tip:  Trust that God knows what He is doing; figure out what He asks of you and do it.

Give to God, Pay Later

My recent ninth annual Ignatian silent retreat climbed to the top of my best retreat list.

What makes for an outstanding retreat?

First, a fruitful retreat leaves me feeling like I’ve had a deep , weekend-long rendezvous  with Jesus.  Second, a great retreat delivers either  that   “aha” moment or the slow cooker  version of gradual increased awareness  to the series of meditations that recalibrate my life.  Thirdly, a retreat that’s worth the inconvenience of getting there  illuminates concrete ways to implement in my daily life the vision God reveals.  A healthy approach to my retreat rejuvenates my body and soul, so I’m not returning home to an unruly crew and  possibly a disaster of a house, with no gas in the tank.

This retreat delivered.  Watch out!

With a renewed commitment to self-care I looked forward to getting to bed early to start the week off right.  However, I was faced with an unanticipated service responsibility that kept me up late in the evening.

My eye was still on the prize of an improved morning routine with my kids memorizing the scripture of the month and reviewing our K4J (Kids for Jesus) Virtue Building materials that I had slacked off on.  Benjamin, our five-year-old, did not cooperate.  From difficulties with shoes and belts and just getting it together for the day, all the time for extra prayers dissipated.  We were lucky to get to school on time.

My earlier rising to be obedient to my spiritual director’s recommendation that I  needed more time in prayer  put a major kink in my already challenging morning / evening routine.  Cranky from not having enough sleep, I felt frustrated and irritated.  I had to refrain from barking at the kids, but my tension emitted in my tone and body language.  Within 36 hours of leaving the Sisters of St. Joseph Convent I started to feel deflated.
But as a regular retreat-goer, I had forgotten a cardinal rule of retreats:  the better the retreat, the worse the week following it will be. I like to see it as Satan’s attempt at negative consequences.  See here’s what you get for trying to do something good.  Now don’t do that again!

Investing in ourselves with a retreat promotes change that repulses the Evil One.  So watch out and sidestep the change back moves he has in store  for you.   In my next blog see how inviting the Holy Spirit back in the mix can help bring back serenity along with positive spiritual results.

The Catholic Women’s Guide to Healthy Relationship Tip:  Prepare for the possible backlash any time you take an important step forward in your spiritual life.