On Prayer

I found this unexpected gem of a quote while reading an article on the current IRS scandal.  Don’t think I’m getting all political on you.  It’s a quote about prayer.  And a very well-stated quote, I might add.

There’s a certain impression that non prayer-ers have about those who do pray.  Somehow, the idea of prayer and religion is associated with those who perceive themselves as holy and self-righteous.  While there may be some of those types in the mix, it’s unfortunate that the misuse of something so sacred has turned so many away from God.  Those who have had real and heartfelt prayer encounters, will surely relate:

Prayer, by its very character and definition, is a highly personal, private, and even intimate activity. Prayer may once in a while find us at our boldest and most audacious. But much more typically, it exposes us at our weakest, most vulnerable, and unattractive moments.

Prayer is for beggars. It is for needy down-and-outers. Very often, it is for the desperate—those who are so far gone they can’t think of any alternative. That’s why they’re praying in the first place.
– Joel Belz, World Magazine

If you’d like to read the article, IRS scandal and all, you can find it here.

The Ten Commandments Revisited

To borrow a phrase from a priest friend of ours, my husband and I are “red-hot Catholics”.  It’s a zeal that has endured since we both discovered the richness and truth of the faith not too many years ago.

Faith wasn’t always important to us, though.  Before we met, my not-yet husband at the time and I were each busy taking our pick of the daily specials on the worldly buffet.   But all of that eventually gets old.  While people may scoff at the seemingly mundane routine of married couples, social scenes, chasing career goals, and keeping up with the Joneses, eventually finds itself in the dictionary under “banal”.  Been there, done that, seen it, heard about it.  When we step back from our noisy lives, most of us will inevitably ask, “Is this all there is?”


While we can get caught up trying to attain the life that the media sells us, hopefully, time and maturity, sprinkled with grace, reveal to us that a real life, truly lived, isn’t styled and air-brushed.  For me and my husband, the Catholic faith picked up where that revelation left off, and has shown us that we are all made for so much more.


Our morally relative world sees religion, with all its rules, as confining and unnecessary.  Spoiler Alert:  It is neither.  Consider our traffic safety laws.  We may not always find it easy to keep it at 60 on the interstate, but reasonable people understand our need to follow the laws, and agree that there is a benefit to all of us when we all abide by them.  Those same benefits, but at a much deeper level, are achieved through Christian living.


Rules are needed in every aspect of our lives, not just for safety, but for good health, etiquette, etc.:  Brush your teeth so you don’t get cavities; Don’t hit your brother when he takes your spot on the couch; Always wear clean underwear in case you’re in an accident.

So it follows that we need rules for our spiritual life as well.


Which is why I was glad to see Pope Francis speak about the freedom that comes from following the Ten Commandments.  It’s an unexpected freedom for most, but true freedom nonetheless.


“We must not see the Ten Commandments as limitations to liberty. No, they are not this, but we must see them as indications for liberty. They are not limitations but indications for liberty! They teach us to avoid the slavery to which the many idols reduce us that we build ourselves – we have experienced this so many times in history and we are experiencing it also today.  They teach us to open ourselves to a dimension that is larger than the material, to live respect for persons, overcoming the avidity for power, for possession, for money and to be honest and sincere in our relations, to protect the whole of creation and to nourish in our planet lofty, noble and spiritual ideals. To follow the Ten Commandments means to be faithful to ourselves, to our more authentic nature, and to walk towards the genuine liberty that Christ taught in the Beatitudes.” -Pope Francis


In our common longing for such freedom, we all owe it to ourselves, at the very least, to consider this point-of-view, and ask ourselves whether these commandments could truly be a help to us.  If we’re really being honest, how can they not?

Read more from the Pope on this subject here and here.

(all pictures are from Grandma & Grandpa’s garden last year)

Happy Father’s Day!

Prayer for Fathers

God our Father,
you govern and protect your people
and shepherd them with a father’s love.
You place a father in a family as a sign
of your love, care, and constant protection.
May fathers everywhere be faithful to the
example shown in the Scriptures: steadfast
in love, forgiving transgressions, sustaining
the family, caring for those in need.
Give your wisdom to fathers
that they may encourage and guide their children.
Keep them healthy so they may support a family.
Guide every father with the Spirit of your love
that they may grow in holiness
and draw their family ever closer to you.

Switching Gears for Spring

It’s a month or so behind schedule, but I think Spring is finally here.  Our allergies have subsided too, so we can get on with the business of enjoying the great outdoors before the hot, sticky days of summer arrive.

even the geese come out to play

even the geese come out to play

goose down which the geese have shed in anticipation of the warmer weather–incredibly soft, light, and warm. Your palms get sweaty after holding it for just a few seconds. 

new baby chicks

We’ve had quite a few rainy days these last couple of weeks, so I’m making sure the kids maximize their outdoor play time on the dry days.  Not an easy task when they’re coming off their main winter staple of entertainment–video games.

Don’t even get me started.


But they’re loving it.  They might not admit it, but these pictures don’t lie.

Being outdoors is much better for young sprouts than wasting away in front of a screen.


They’ll have plenty of time to do that when they’re older.  When the lure of e-mail, daily news, and blogging tempt them daily.

Like I said, don’t even get me started.