Uncategorized

Another Holy Day of (pant, pant) Obligation

Behold, our traditional observation of this wonderful solemnity:

Husband wakes up early, brings two of three high school kids to school A in town B, where they can’t come in late because they have a morning concert in school D and the bus leaving School A won’t wait. He comes home, calls schools A, B, and C about lateness of Kids 1, 5, 6,7, and takes them to early Mass at Church 1 in town B. Also takes baby, because he is superman. Comes home, drops off kids, goes to work in town D. I pack up Kids 1, 9, and 10 and bring them to town B to drop off Kid 1 at work, then take the other two to lunch at Wendy’s because it is Kid 9’s birthday, and then we go to Mass at Church 2 in town B, and then go home. We all go to the bathroom. Then we pack up Kids 9 and 10 and go to School C in Town C, where we pick up Kids 6, 7, and 8, then swing by the library in Town B to pick up Kid 5 who goes to School B, and then pick up Kid 2 who has walked from the bus stop to her doctor appointment in Town B. Then we go back home (Town A), wolf down some hot dogs (leaving kid 4 at home since he already went to Mass and doesn’t sing), scramble into our pretty dresses, hoping kids 2 and 3 have made it home on the bus, and swing by Kid 1’s work in Town B (hoping she has eaten at some point) and bring her with us (not forgetting the cookies which Kid 3 baked last night!) to the Unitarian Church where Kids 5, 6, 7, and 8 have their concert and bake sale; and drop off Kids 2 and 3 so they can walk across town in the dark and the cold to late Mass at Catholic Church 1. After the concert, we drive home, drop off Kids 1, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, and 10 in town A and pick up Kids 2 and 3 in Town B. AND THEN WE ALL GO HOME. And then my husband comes home from Town 4, and we open birthday presents for Kid 9, assuming we’re still able to make our muscles function enough to sit up.

(And no, there was no way of just prudently planning ahead to make things simpler. This was planning ahead. We couldn’t go to a Vigil Mass yesterday, because yesterday looked a lot like today, except with a different kid going to work, my husband having to travel to Town E for work, and one kid going to Roller Derby.)

So when someone asks how we are observing this important feast day, I give a little shudder and say, “Oh, we’re just going to get to Mass.”

And that is pretty good.

When we were figuring out the logistics, I honestly considered skipping Mass. It’s a war of obligations, and the kids truly couldn’t back out of their concerts or be late; but since we’re all healthy and able-bodied and no one is pregnant and the van is running, and my husband was ready and willing to make it happen, I realized that we could do it, and so we should.

We may not be wearing Marian colors or lighting special candles at our charming home altar, or making flower crowns or crafting special crafts; but we are putting forth a huge effort to get to Mass. And this tells our kids (and ourselves!), “THIS IS IMPORTANT.”

So if you had a hard time getting to Mass but you did it anyway, you honored Our Lady. If it was a tight squeeze and maybe you stumbled in late and breathless, with hungry, overtired, confused kids, you showed them, “THIS IS IMPORTANT. This is worth doing. This is The Thing You Make Time For.” And you honored Our Lady! Mass is where Mary wants you to be. Anything else is just icing on the cake.

Uncategorized

Will I see you in Wichita?

Layout_Cover_Cover - 1

One thing I gave short shrift to in my book is the idea of the contraceptive mentality. Where did the phrase come from, what did it originally mean, how is it used most often today, and how much should you be freaking out about it right now?

I’ll be talking about all those things in Wichita in a few weeks at the Midwest Catholic Family Conference. I’m thrilled to be joining a truly illustrious group of speakers and presenters, including Tim Staples, Pia di Solenni, and Matt Maher.  I’ll also be giving one of my favorite talks: “Beautiful Stranger: Making Contact with the Mother of God” — about how a non-Marian person like me learned to know, love, and run to Mary, grubby hands, snot nose and all.

The conference runs August 7-9 and there is still time to register. I can’t wait to meet all my midwest friends in real life!

Uncategorized

Does it matter if Medjugorje is real or not?

Maryja_02

I would say that Mary, my mother in heaven who knows me and loves me, would not be happy to see her children duped into following around a sock puppet that looks like her, even if it makes them say the rosary and go to Mass more often. I would say that, as the eternal queen of Heaven and earth, Mary can work to convert the hearts of sinners without the help of a tour guide agency.  I would say that no one should dare muscle past my Holy Mother and say, “Looks like you need some help with these pesky kids, little lady. You sit back, and I’ll put on a really convincing show, and we’ll have them peaceful and docile in no time!” I would say that no one must dare to lie to Mary’s children, especially in her name. There are some things you don’t mess around with.

Read the rest at the Register.

***

Uncategorized

Mother and Child: A Christmas Gallery of Original Art

Merry Christmas, everybody! I offered up Midnight Mass for all of you, especially for anyone who is lonely or grieving or in pain today. Thanks for another wonderful year of company.

Over at the Register today, nine artists have graciously shared their lovely Madonna and Child artwork with us. Here is just one, by 16-year-old painter Noyuri Umezaki:

 

Christmas art Umizaki

 

Check out the rest here.

Uncategorized

At the Register: Maite Roche is a treasure

 

As a writer with children, I receive lots and lots of Catholic children’s books, and nearly every time, I regretfully decline to review them, because I cannot deal with the way Mary and Jesus’ faces are drawn. The best of them are blank and insipid, giving the impression that the Holy Family was dabbled in narcotics; and the worst are goony and pandering. Take it from me: transferring Spongebob’s features onto a human body and slapping a halo on his head is not, in fact, the best way to attract little children to the Faith.

Maite Roche is different! Read the rest at the Register.

Uncategorized

Mary said “Fanks”

PIC annunciation

From John Herreid, here’s a painting I’ve never seen before:

 

The Annunciation by Master of the Retable of the Reyes Católicos (15th century)

Here is a detail, showing the Word of God proceeding from the mouth of the Father:

Cross already in hands. Oh, Mary.

And a short interview with my daughter, who is almost 5. I am not sure why the conversation started with a discussion of her rabbit Daffodil’s  eating habits; and YES I fluffed at least two opportunities to clear up theological misunderstandings. But around 2:53, she says something that never occurred to me before, but I bet she’s right:

After the angel told her she would have a child, and He would be Son of the Most High, she said . . . “Thank you.”