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A Love Story

“Which Mass do you go to?” It was an innocent enough question. “I don’t go to Mass” “Oh… You wanna come with us?” Two of my neighbours went together each week. They walked down and back when the weather was nice. “If we go to the 10:15, there’s donuts after.” “Sure. Let me check with my mom and see if it’s OK.” I checked. It was OK. Mom wasn’t the church-going type but she believed in letting me explore things. I knew about God, I knew about Jesus, we had even read little bits out of her King James Version Bible. I had been around people of all faiths – Jehovah’s Witnesses, Mormons, Jews, and Protestants of all kinds. And Catholics. I liked it all. I liked that there were people who believed so much in something that it governed how they behaved. I liked that they had neat holidays and traditions to celebrate who they were and what they believed. I only remembered going to church once before. I was probably about three, which …

Normal?

Our kids don’t go to ‘regular’ school. My husband and I work from home. We own a menagerie of pigs and goats, and geese, and chickens and turkeys… and sheep. We are the parents of eight children, and would happily welcome more. We rarely go to the mall. We seldom go to the movies. Our kids don’t have their own televisions or telephones. They wait until their sixteenth birthdays for an iPod – and they are not allowed to put the buds in when they are around other people. There are meatless Fridays, family rosary nights, and evening prayer. We light votive candles and keep bottles of holy water… everywhere. No one works on Sunday, except my husband, who is serving the weekend Mass on his diaconate internship. We are mean parents. We say “no”. No to jeans at Mass; no to bare shoulders or knees either. We make our kids do chores, and lots of them, many involving manure. They learn to prepare meals and to clean up messes. We have rules about language …

More Than a Feeling

Love. It is the greatest of virtues. It is also, perhaps, the least understood. Modern culture defines love as a feeling, an emotion. But feelings, by their very nature, are temporary. What happens when the feeling goes away? What happens if that feeling never even manifests itself in us in relation to another person? We become disenchanted by our mate and seek a new one. We become disillusioned about parenthood, and perhaps begin to resent it. We become indifferent to the pain of others, ignoring their needs. Viewing love as a mere emotion – and perpetuating that view in our children – will have disastrous consequences for our families, our communities, our world… and ultimately for our very souls. But if we start to see love as it really is – an action – we begin to understand everything that is wonderful, and special, and challenging about being Christian. We begin to comprehend how it is that love makes us holy. One of professors put love in terms of the following example: Let’s say you …

All Manner of Thing

We all have those moments. God knows we do. We burn dinner, forget birthdays, lose our tempers, wait until too late to call mother back. We say things we don’t mean, eat the wrong foods, lose our tempers, and nurse grudges. We lose our tempers. All manner of thing can go wrong in the life of an ordinary person. Spouses lose jobs, family members get sick, pets die, and we are sometimes disappointed when a long-cherished hope is dashed. And we can be left feeling anxious and worried. When life gets me down, I look for a little pick-me-up from a medieval hermitess. Julian of Norwich is one of the most well-known English mystics of the fourteenth century. She is held in high esteem by Catholics, Anglicans, and Lutherans alike for her glorious description of 16 mystical visions of God, which were given her during a grave illness at the age of 30. Her Revelations of Divine Love permeate a tenderness for Christ that is both immense and exquisite . This love motivated her to …