Confirmation Countdown: It’s All About Love!

scholastica2Today is the feast day of my very favorite saint, Benedict’s twin sister, Scholastica. Although she didn’t leave behind any great writings, and (like most women of her day) had very little on record about her life, Pope St. Gregory the Great records one memorable scene from her life that reveals the spirit of this strong yet gentle and prayerful woman. I love her because she reminds me of the power of desperate prayer: When trying to move someone’s heart, prayer can be more persuasive than argument!

In the windows of heaven, the saints shine like stained glass, radiating the light of God to the world below. No two bits of glass — and no two saints — are alike. Together, the “communion of saints” (those following Jesus on earth, those journeying through Purgatory, and those who are already seeing God in heaven) are a mighty force of intercessory light in our cold, dark world. So this week is dedicated to learning about prayer, and especially the most important prayer, the Rosary. We will also be looking at the Sacrament of Baptism, and exploring how we join the family of God through this ancient rite.

On “Book Whisperer” on Wednesday, I’ll share with you some of my favorite books on the saints and prayer! See you then!

 

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Signs and Sacraments: When a Dress (or a Heart) Is Something More…

Parachute Wedding DressThe other day I came across this heart-warming story about a young Jewish couple, interred in one of the work camps during World War II. She wanted to be married in a white dress, and he wanted to make her dreams come true. Sixty years and dozens of brides later, the dress was showcased in the Holocaust Museum. Made from a parachute, the well-worn dress became a symbol of love and hope in a time when hatred and despair prevailed.

Like many of the signs and symbols of our lives, the worth of this sacramental of love far exceeded its monetary value. I recently broke down and replaced my three medallions — tiny silver likenesses of St. Teresa of Avila, St. Teresa Benedicta of the Cross, and St. Scholastica (Benedict’s twin sister). One was actually irreplaceable — I had purchased the original in Avila when my husband and I were in Spain eight years ago. I lost them in the move a year ago, and only now have reconciled myself with the idea that they are never going to materialize . . . So I got a new set when I decided to start blogging again. This time, I added a tiny St. Christopher medal. Somehow, he is never far from my thoughts these days.

The sacramental worldview — informed by the belief that God gives us extraordinary graces through the tangible universe — is an intrinsically “Catholic” one. The God who reached through time and space to relate to us through the Incarnation, by enfleshing himself as one of us forever altered the way the physical universe interacted with the metaphysical one — including the communion of the saints.

One of the most important ways we can lead our children to God is by making the family of God  more “touchable” — engaging all the senses in order to better understand who God is, and what he wants from us. These points of connection, like my faith medals and the heirloom wedding dress, are important signs of life and faith, pointing us not only to where we have been but to our ultimate destiny.

So, moms, what are you going to do this week to make signs of God’s presence come alive in your children’s lives?

Happy Feasting!

Ebeth has posted this week’s Catholic Carnival at “A Catholic Mum Climbing the Pillars.” We foiled her in her “Valentine’s Day” theme … but it is still well worth reading. Enjoy!

Sunday was a special feastday … although I didn’t get anything posted about it (I don’t think she’ll mind … St. Scholastica perfected the feminine virtue of hiddenness.) Instead, four dear friends and I gathered for our annual “Ladies’ Tea.”
Our friendship goes back more than a decade, when I first moved to Michigan to take the managing editor’s job at Servant Publications. Shortly thereafter, I joined St. Thomas the Apostle Parish in Ann Arbor, MI … and started hanging out with Katy, Denise, Lilian, and Patty. At the time, none of us were married or had any children, and so we got together and started praying for our future husbands.
Within a year, three of us (myself included) were married, and a fourth had adopted a child from Ukraine. Fast forward years later, and we still make a point of getting together to pray for one another and catch up on each others’ lives. Usually over pints of tea and plates of treats (good thing I didn’t give up chocolate for Lent this year)!
Each time we get together, I wonder why we don’t make these visits more frequent … and each time, I am grateful for the time we do spend together. I imagine it’s sort of like how Scholastica felt for her twin brother, St. Benedict. (You can read the story here.) Or here.
To be frank, the information we have about St. Scholastica is a bit sketchy … only one story, captured in the hagiography of St. Gregory the Great. Still, I wear her medallion around my neck (along with St. Edith and St. Teresa of Avila) whenever I do any serious writing for one single reason: She understood when it was time to stop arguing, and to step back and let God intervene.
Today is the Feast of Our Lady of Lourdes. In honor of this feast, I’d like to recommend a little gem of a recording called “Famous Blue Raincoat,” by Jennifer Warnes. “Song of Bernadette” and “Joan of Arc” are both wonderful cuts in this album (you can listen to a snippet by clicking on the link). Well worth getting.
Yesterday at tea, Patty talked about her trip last spring to Medjugorje (I always get this apparition confused with Fatima). I understand from Patty that one of the “children” (now an elderly priest) is visited on the 25th of each month by the Blessed Mother — although no one can see her but him. I wonder why she would do that … have a standing appointment at a specific place and time, but not let anyone else see her but the original “seer.” Does anyone have thoughts on this?

Lourdes is a different story. There are many, many accounts of people receiving healing from the spring where Bernadette once stood … and many more who receive the spiritual graces they need to endure. (Of course, I readily admit that the Blessed Mother can do whatever she wishes, whenever she wants, without it needing to “make sense” to me. I’m just puzzled by it, is all.)
Any thoughts?