Sunday, January 29, 2012

A Grand Adventure

(Book Study:  The Ten Habits of Happy Mothers by Meg Meeker - Habit #1)

Let me start this reflection with a quote from the book – If every mother . . . could wrap her mind around her true value as a woman and mother, her life would never be the same.  We would wake up every morning excited for the day rather than feeling as though we’d been hit by a truck during the night.  Although we do many things for our families, we tend not to consider them of much value.  How often we rattle off the list – chef, laundress, nurse, teacher, chauffeur – but because we are not “really” any of these, we must be nothing.  Not every mother is all of these, but every mother is something.  We are needed and loved by our children, even when they don’t want to need or love us.  So what does this have to do with waking each morning with anticipation?  My son is taking a college history course from a professor who has blended his Catholic Faith with Eastern Spirituality.  This strange blend often creates conflicting beliefs, but is nevertheless, an exhilarating adventure to the young people looking for meaning and excitement in a world that is largely negative and boring.  Am I much different?  Not really – I am looking for adventure as well.  Most of us approach our lives as a series of tasks to complete – not very exciting to be sure.  But our lives can be different if we embrace the value that God has given us, and view each day as an opportunity to use our gifts for the good of others.  The challenge is to begin the journey so that we can experience the adventure. 
The first step (or habit) is to recognize that we are valuable and to like who we are.  In a culture where motherhood and mothers are viewed as unnecessary, we must be strong in order to survive.  But we are not alone in our vocation.  Back to the book – Finally, I believe that every mother is born to fill a higher calling.  Every mother is gifted uniquely and she is to use those gifts to make her world better.  A mother uses those gifts in parenting.  Many mothers use them only there, but others use them outside their parenting.  God has given each of us gifts, unique to us, that we are meant to use first in our own homes, and then sometimes outside.  As a mother, I often (daily) feel inadequate to raising nine children, two with special needs.  I worry that I can’t meet all of their needs, and to be honest, I can’t.  And perhaps, it is best that I can’t.  However, the gifts that God has given me correspond to my children’s greatest needs.  That knowledge is not only comforting but exciting as well.  For mothers, the hardest part is often identifying and acknowledging our unique gifts, but with humility, we can do it.  Once we understand God’s purpose for our lives and begin to use our gifts, our lives take on a fullness that we never anticipated.

How do you approach each day?  What are your God-given gifts?  How do you use them in service to others?


Thursday, January 26, 2012

Why I Hate Religion but Love Jesus: Respone

Many of you have teenagers or have personally seen the video sweeping the country titled "Why I Hate Religion but Love Jesus." For Catholics this video is something we will need to explain to your children.  Fr. Barron has released a very good Catholic response to this video.  I hope you find this helpful when discussing this with your kids!
Original Video:

Fr. Barron's Response:

Monday, January 23, 2012

Welcome to Saint Gabriel's Group

In lieu of recreating the wheel, I've chosen to copy Deanna's email to the group.  She precisely describes where we are headed with the group.
In this new year, we have some great surprises.  Jessica Morgan used the break to come up with some new ideas for our group.  First, we have a name - Saint Gabriel's Group.  The name is taken from the Annunciation in which St. Gabriel appears to St. Mary to ask her to be the Mother of God.  Of course, she said "Yes."  Like St. Mary, God has called each of us to motherhood, and we also have answered "Yes."  Jessica is working to develop this idea further, and to represent it visually.  This leads to a second development - Jessica is creating a blog for our group.  This is very, very exciting because it will give us the opportunity to meet other local Catholic mothers, to offer and receive encouragement and support, to learn more deeply the Faith we profess, and to share ideas for teaching the Faith and customs to our children.  The blog will be open to anyone, so that those women who cannot attend our weekly meetings can participate online in our book studies.  I will let you know when the site is launched and provide you with a link.  I thank Jessica for sharing her spiritual gifts with all of us.

Speaking of spiritual gifts, I want to encourage all of you to take advantage of the spiritual gifts inventory provided by the Parish.  I have already completed mine, and while I was not surprised by my gifts, I was surprised by what were not my gifts.  I will be sharing more of this at our first weekly meeting a week from tomorrow.  Every Wednesday, from January 25 through March 28, we will meet from 9:30 to 11:30 am at St. Joseph Parish to discuss The Ten Habits of Happy Mothers by Meg Meeker.  This book by a Catholic mother and doctor is encouraging, uplifting, helpful, and enjoyable.  We will cover one of the habits at each meeting for the next ten weeks.  Don't delay - get your book now, and read the First Habit for our first meeting.  We will pray the Rosary together at the start of the meeting, and then enjoy tea, coffee, and dessert while we talk about "our value as mothers."  I will be using material from the book and the spiritual gifts inventory to introduce the topic and provide some direction for our discussion.  If you need childcare, please contact me right away so that I can make those arrangements.  

I look forward to seeing you again.

In Christ,
Please stay tuned for our first online discussion.  I believe the plan is for a summary of topics discussed at each weekly meeting to be posted here for further discussion.  As is the case with every weekly meeting we tend to leave with lingering questions.  Please use this outlet as our vehicle for further discussion. See you all on Wednesday!