Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Lent in September

"Self-denial is the root of all virtue" 

After reading my last post, my sister sent me a text that read, "Hey! I just read your blog. Do you want to give up one thing from your list and we will fast for each other?"

What a brilliant idea! Of course, I said yes and began to discern what I would give up. I decided to tell my mom about it. She wanted in on the fast and graces that would come from it. She told my dad about it, he wanted in to. My older sister found out and joined the gang, and I thought my husband would feel just plum left out if he found out we were all doing this without him, so he is in on it too. A huge family fast...in the month of September.

The next day, my mom and I placed all our names in a basket and prayed for the Holy Spirit to help guide and strengthen us all in our fast. We then picked names (from oldest to youngest) for each person to fast for. I picked my dad (more on that later). My husband picked me. I told him he better pick something big to give up!

I decided to give up sweets for the fast (refer to number one on my list: food). I picked this because it was the only one of my attachments that involve just me, and thus seems the easiest to start with. The rest would require compliance from my husband, so I'm saving them for a later date. Anyways, we decided not to start until the first (that's tomorrow, ya know?) so we could all pray about what we were going to fast from and then pray for the strength to fast. So here it goes...no sweets for thirty days. Hopefully and prayerfully, this 30 day act of self-denial will root me in the virtue of temperance and self-control.

Saturday, August 21, 2010


"When we are who we are called to be, we set the world ablaze" -St. Catherine of Sienna

I love this quote. It hangs on my refridgerator and I read it often. Usually I read it with a moment of awe, and then sadness comes sweeping over me. I am not who I am called to be. There are certain things, I feel, that keep me from being the woman God wants me to be. Attachments to worldy things I just can't seem to break away from. At the top of this very long list is:

Food: As Americans, I'm sure we all struggle with this one. But I happen to have an enormous sweet tooth. I can't even keep them in the house it's so bad. You've never seen a bag of Oreos disapear so fast in your life. The thing that bugs me most is when I walk into the kitchen, not hugry, and I hear God saying, "Give this one to me. Deny yourself and grow in temperance"  and then I eat four cookies.

Movies: My husband and I love to watch movies. Unfortunately, over the years, we have collected some that are extremely violent and some with quite a bit of pre-marital sexual relationships in them. A lot of people say to let this one go, that it's just a movie. But if Christ were sitting on my couch, I would be ashamed for some of our movies to be playing on the television. I have gone to clean the movies out many times and every time, I just can't. I alway think, "I paid so much for this." or "This one is so funny!"  Yeah, guess who's going to be laughing on judgement day. Not me. It's like some supernatural force (satin?) keeps me from taking the movies from the video stand to the trash.

Television: We don't have cable at our house, and by "don't have cable" I mean we don't have one single channel on our television. I do, however, own a few television series I really enjoy. I don't have too much guilt over watching these, except for the fact that my husband and I usually watch them in place of saying our daily prayers, or learning more about our faith. Someday, today actually, God will ask how I spent my time. I'd like to say I spent at least a little in prayer. I don't think saying, "watching The Office" is very pleasing to Him.

Computer: I love getting on the computer. I love checking facebook, reading blogs, and responding to e-mails. The thing is, I think I've gone overboard lately. It's become an addiction instead of a means for communication. I check my facebook every half hour and I feel like I'm neglecting my children when I get on the computer. Heck, who am I kidding, I am neglecting my children when I get on the computer. How can I be truly present to them, when I am reading or writing something else? (As a side note, I only blog when they are asleep, which is why sometimes my post are few and far between). What kind of example am I setting for them when every free second I get I spend it on the computer?

Obviously there is a lot for me to work on. I would really like to get to the root caust as to why I am attached to these things. I just feel very blessed to have a Heavenly Father that is patient, because otherwise I'm sure He would have given up on me a long time ago.

What are you attached to? How to you go about breaking free from these attachments? I would love some ideas!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010


I have a big fear. The fear is that, one day in the future, I will be asked to choose between my life and Christ and I will choose the former. I pray often that if the opportunity for martyrdom should come my way, that I would be given the grace to faithfully and boldly choose Christ. These aren't just words, I literally pray for this all the time.

I'm not a superstitious person. I'm not one you see reading all the apparitions and the book of Revelation trying to figure out what's going to happen next or when the world is going to end. I generally try to live for today, not tomorrow. But recently, something has changed both in my life and that of my family. Persecution. Persecution for holding true to our faith. To be honest, there have always been the "normal" daily persecutions of "you guys worship saints, the pope is the anti-Christ, blah blah blah..." But recent persecution has come from our own friends and even our own family. Even if the world is not going to end tomorrow, I think anyone can see that something is going on out there, something is changing in the intensity and force of the way Satan is acting in our world.

I came across this status update the other day on my Facebook page:

"Getting hammered on the blood of christ is f****** metal". 

Shocker, I know.  I of course, responded to the update, not trying to convince this person of the true prescence of the Eucharist (trust me, I have already spent hundreds of hours in discussion about this with this person) but merely trying to come to an agreement that this was extremely offensive to Catholics and disrespectful to other people's religion. No agreement could be made. In fact, after a while of conversering over the internet, other people started to chime in with comments like:

"I drank the whole cup once. I'm pretty sure it was Easter Vigil, and my mom woke me up for Communion. Y'know, a kid is thirsty when he first wakes up."


"Religion doesn't have to be respected. It shouldn't be respected. It's superstitious, credulous, stifling of reason, and an exaltation of faith, believing things without evidence. People are indoctrinated at infancy and taught never to question those beliefs. Then, they are insulted by those who prefer reason and rationalism. They are owed no special privilege not to be offended. 'Philosophy is questions that may never be answered. Religion is answers that may never be questioned.'"

What a crazy time to be living in. A time where the very idea of God is not only disrespected, but seemingly repulsive. What kind of future can this attitude (one that is becoming more and more popular) possibly hold for Christians? It seems there is a very fine line between not respecting a person's religion and not respecting the person. People today seem to be getting a little too close to that line. I can think of a few times in history where that line was crossed, where one group of people thought that another group of people were undeserving of respect in any form, and we all know how that story ended. God forbid I or my children should ever have to live through something as horrific as the holocaust. But still, even if we do, I am still so thankful for this faith. A faith worth dying for.

***Update: Click on over to The Mantilla Diaries to watch an awesome video on dying for the Faith (plus, you'll love this girl, she has a great name!).

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

From Sister to Friend

St. Lawrence, Pray for Us.

Dear Laura,
A year seems like such a short time, yet so much has changed in this year for you. Heck, who am I kidding, the last few years have been a roller coaster of change for you. In the past few years I have seen you go from a girl who seemed to only care about her feelings and her problems to a glorious woman rooted in finding and doing God's will in her life. I have seen you turn from a girl who spent her spare time with friends doing "normal" teenage stuff, to a woman who spends every second of her free time in prayer, studying scripture or defending the unborn. What a miraculous and wonderful transformation this has been to see. You have grown so much in the last few years.

You see Laura, sometime in the last year something changed. Somewhere along the road you were no longer my baby sister, you became my friend. A friend much braver and holier than me. A friend who would spend a whole year saving money so she could go to a good Catholic University. A friend who had the courage to stand on the streets of a busy highway defending the unborn and be unjustly arrested. Oh, to have your courage! How I wish I had the courage to stand on the sidewalks of the abortion clinics and speak to the hurting women who walk through those doors, to try and talk a security guard into quitting his job. How I wish I had so much trust in the Lord as to give up everything, beg for other people's money and go work for a non profit organization in hopes that maybe just one of the innocent would be saved. Yes, my sweet sister, sometime in this short year, the tables turned. I stopped needing to teach you, to give you advice. Instead, I started looking to you as an example, an example of faith and of trust.

On this 20th celebration of the year of your birth, please know that you bring great joy to everyone you meat and everyone you know. And not just any joy, but the joy of Christ. Your timeless sense of humor and contagious laugh brighten everyone's day. The laughs we have shared and the tears we have cried are forever imprinted in my mind and I am forever grateful for them. I am eternally gratefull you.

Happy Birthday my sweet little sister. Happy Birthday my friend.

I love you,
Dre Dre

Thursday, August 5, 2010

My Second Conscious

There are many expectations I had when I found out I was a mother, but one aspect of motherhood I did not expect was how often my children bring me to my knees. I'm not talking about falling to my knees because of parental failings (which happen often I assure you), but more because my children convict me every single day. Especially these days.

Peanut has entered the "imitation" phase of childhood. You know, the one where he likes to copy everything I do and (at least attempt) to repeat everything I say?  Yeah, that one. Anyways, I found out he had entered this phase the other day after I had a kids movie playing on the television. An innocent children's movie that I put on while trying to get him to drink some pediasure. In one scene in this movie, a male character becomes angry and starts yelling and throwing his fist in the air. After I turned the film off, my 22 month old son went around for a good half hour yelling and throwing his fist up in the air. Wow. The other day I dropped something and let the S-H word slip from my lips and my son promptly said it right after me (this is the kid who says all of 4 words). Great. And then there was me yelling at my husband from our living room to bring me a diaper in a somewhat annoyed tone. Peanut, sitting right next to me, yells and points his finger in the direction of his father.

Having a two year old who imitates things is like having a spiritual mirror to look into every day. I no longer have to make a long examination of conscious before confession because my son is always reminding me of how I fail everyday when he imitates actions that are obviously not virtuous. When people tell you they are like little sponges, this is no exaggeration. I will no longer ever use the excuse,  "oh, it doesn't matter he is too young to understand" when watching a movie or listening to something I maybe shouldn't. Furthermore, this has me thinking, if I don't like Peanut to imitate this action, should I really be doing it or watching it in the first place? Society today has this crazy mentality that you have to be a certain age of "maturity" to sin. Take PG-13 movies for instance; all this is really saying is that society thinks that 13 is a decent age to introduce your kids to sex, violence and cussing. But should any of us really be watching these sort of things? 

I think everyone needs a little toddler to follow them around and imitate their every action. Surely people would act better. As for me, I will be forever grateful to my son for opening my eyes to the things I need to change about myself. This little tiny child makes me a better person everyday. Now that's humbling...