Donations—A Thank You

I wanted to say thank you for the donations I’ve received so far through the blog. I never thought about adding a donation option until a reader expressly asked me to. I did pray for God to help me find a way to be able to provide books and resources for priests and seminarians that will help them on the path to holiness. The donations through this blog are a part of the answer to that prayer!

I use the donations to pay my yearly subscription fee for maintaining this blog and then the rest for ministering to the priests and seminarians Our Lady sends my way. Thank you again for your generosity. It’s greatly appreciated.

Please pray daily for our Holy Father, bishops, priests, deacons, and an increase in holy vocations to the priesthood.

Crisis Magazine: A Woman’s Case Against Women-Priests

**This piece was not intended to be a systematic argument against women’s ordination. I would have done that as a theologian and in line with Sacred Scripture and Sacred Tradition. This piece was meant to be a call to my sisters in Christ to abandon the radical feminism that pits us against our spiritual fathers in endless power struggles. This includes in calls to the priesthood, but also the endless battles of women in ministry or in parishes with their priests.

Instead, I’m calling on women to embrace their feminine gifts and to love and serve priests with the Immaculate Heart of Mary. For some this will be a more dedicated calling to spiritual motherhood, which is what I have been called to, for others it will be to serve in some other capacity. The point is that it should be charity and service that guide us as women in the Church in relation to the priesthood.**

***I don’t select titles or images on the sites that publish my work***

In order for women to embrace our proper role in sanctifying the priesthood, we must be willing to abandon the adversarial position we often place ourselves in with men. Great damage has been done in the dynamic between men and women, thanks to radical forms of feminism that seek to pit men and women against one another in an endless power struggle. This has served to drive a wedge in all male-female relationships, including between priests and women.

The priesthood needs the influence of holy women, but this influence is not meant to be from a position of power, which so many want to grasp at in the call for women’s ordination to the priesthood and permanent diaconate, as well as other lay leadership roles within the Church. (The latter is ironic, considering that women dominate most leadership  positions within both parishes and dioceses.)

If a woman’s primary objective is having a place of authority within the hierarchy when she argues for equality, then she is misunderstanding both the nature of the priesthood and her call to serve Christ as a woman in the Church. Any movement on the part of men or women in the Church that is predicated on power in relation to the priesthood becomes unmoored from the priesthood Christ instituted at the Last Supper.

When Our Lord instituted His priesthood, He did so by showing His apostles that to be one of His priests is to be a man of service and radical self-emptying. It is to abandon the desire for power, honor, and status in the world in order to take the lowest place on the cross. They are not to lord over the world, or even the Church. Instead, they’re to follow the path of the Suffering Servant who pours Himself out in kenotic love to the Father for the salvation of the world. This means any argument for equality between the sexes that focuses on women’s ordination and greater power for women within the Church is the antithesis of what and Whom the priesthood represents.

Read the rest at Crisis Magazine.

The Saints and the Cross Episode 14: Mary, Undoer of Knots

In this episode of The Saints and the Cross, I return once more to Our Lady, this time under her title Undoer of Knots. All of us have knots in our lives and this pandemic and exile are creating even more as we try to discern what we are supposed to do. A lot of people are struggling right now. Our Lady is Our Loving Mother who wants to help untie the Knots in our lives.

Mary, Undoer of Knots Novena

The Saints and the Cross Episode 13: St. Paul

Today I talk about St. Paul and the nature of the communion we share in Christ. With this exile from one another comes the temptation to division, whether due to our politics, beliefs in relation to the Church, or how best to deal with this pandemic. The vitriol and anger in social media that breeds division is from the Enemy, not Christ. We must seek to be a light in these dark times in order to enter more deeply into communion with Christ Our Glorified Head and one another.

Hope in the Real Presence

I know from comments on some of my articles and in social media that some people are feeling abandoned by the Church during this time. I wanted to share this brief video of my pastor bestowing Benediction on our city. Christ is with us in these dark and difficult days. Cling to Him in hope. Trust Him in faith. Turn to Him in love and meet His loving gaze. See how He loves us in giving Himself to us as true food and true drink for our salvation. He is with us always.

The Saints and the Cross Episode 3: Our Lady of Sorrows

William-Adolphe Bouguereau (1825-1905) – Pieta (1876)

A blessed Holy Week to you all! Today I cover Our Lady of Sorrows in the next episode of The Saints and the Cross. Let us turn to Our Lady of Sorrows to help us unite our will fully to Christ’s and to allow ourselves to be pierced with the agony, mystery, and love of the Cross.

Are We Building One Another Up in Social Media?

I was scrolling through my Facebook newsfeed recently and realized that I know very little about the people I’m friends with in social media. I don’t seek out Facebook friends I haven’t known personally, but since I’m a writer and connected to other writers, I will get a few new friend requests a week from fellow Catholics. I don’t mind and I’ve added quite a few of these people, but I’m also selective since I actually share posts about my life, my family, and my daughter.

The original idea behind websites like Facebook or the now defunct MySpace, was the opportunity to connect with other people. To catch up with long lost friends from decades prior. Since I served in the military, I literally know people who live across the globe, so it has been nice to see what people are up to these days decades later.

The problem I now see is that rather than social media being a place to connect with others, it’s devolved into a constant stream of political posts. Our identity and our lives are not predominately political, regardless of what our culture tells us. Politics play an essential role in promoting the common good and we should stay informed and work to overcome injustice, but it in no way makes up the vast majority of our lives unless we actually work in politics.

My Facebook newsfeed is a war of constant opposing political posts. I myself have joined the American Solidarity Party and I rarely post anything political anymore. I use to, all of the time, and I lost friends for it. I understand why now. It’s not so much that we had differing views. It’s the fact that 10 years ago when I worked in politics, it was all I posted. All I would share is my political ideology, and I was an ideologue.

A lot of people who send me friend requests–like me years ago–largely only posts political posts. I must admit I groan a little bit. When a new outrage wagon comes rolling into town, my newsfeed explodes and I usually have to walk away until it’s gone. It makes social media miserable to only see my friends and family posting their competing narratives while those of us who tend to take a more middle-of-the-road approach are attacked from both sides. Regardless of what folks claim, there is no political party in the U.S. that conforms fully to Catholic Social Teaching. That means there’s no Catholic party. People are free to argue conscience and their views, but no one can claim their party is Catholic, even if abortion is the supreme human rights issue of our day.

I enjoy discussing current events and many of my posts are related to what is going on in the Church, but I also post a lot of satire because we need more levity in a polarized digital age. More than anything, I try to share what is going on in my life both in the day-to-day and spiritually. I’m a Catholic writer, so the spiritual life is the most important thing to me other than my family. I share the good and the bad.

Since most of my Facebook friends focus solely on politics or current events, I know absolutely nothing about their lives. All I know is what political party they are affiliated with. It seems to me that this flies in the face of the whole point of connecting with other people. Shared interests are one thing, but complete tunnel vision and focus on one topic makes it very difficult to connect with other people on anything other than a superficial level. Often we use social media to be a reflection of our own political beliefs, rather than using it to learn more about other people or to connect with our brothers and sisters in Christ.

I always find it interesting when someone finally posts a personal post, usually a prayer request, and they put in “I rarely do this, but I need prayers.” Since when is requesting prayers from the Mystical Body supposed to be rare? Why do we view prayer as a burden? It’s the most real thing that a person may post. It’s a reminder that there is a living, breathing person made imago Dei behind the posts. Why should relying on one another be rare? Why does social media need to be a constant stream of current affairs and political fights? It’s a tool that can be used for so much good.

When I started sharing my family’s struggles with others and requesting prayers things changed for us. I’m convinced the prayers of my friends in social media, my parish, and elsewhere were the reason my husband was diagnosed quickly and he’s still here. We are the Mystical Body. We are meant to lift one another up.

Why is asking for prayers considered shameful? In our weakness we are made strong according to St. Paul. Showing that we are human and struggling with the afflictions of this life is a witness to the need for Christ and one another. It shouldn’t be a source of embarrassment or seen as a burden to others. We can’t go it alone. That’s one of the major lessons of the spiritual life. I’d rather know more about what is going on in someone’s life than read 15 political posts from them.

Part of the reason we are becoming more divided and polarized is because we no longer view social media as a place to connect with others. Instead, it’s becoming our own individual sounding board where we can throw out our political beliefs at high speed. Have any of us changed someone’s mind through all of these posts? I never have. I never did back in the days when that was what I mainly posted.

There’s nothing wrong with sharing them and engaging in debate. My concern is simply that all I see are political posts. I know nothing about most of the people who have requested my friendship on social media. So I guess the question would be: why do you want to be friends with me on social media or anyone else for that matter? I ignore the vast majority of political posts in my newsfeed and I head straight for theology, Church news, the outdoors, or satire. Are we building community or are we simply adding to a list? It’s worth considering. And for the record, I’m happy to pray for you anytime.

Featured image taken from Wiki Commons.

God Is In The Details: My Secondary Vocation to Spiritual Motherhood

It’s amazing how the smallest of details are a part of God’s plan for our lives. We often ignore the minutiae in the busyness of our lives, but God is there working on our salvation in what appears to simply be a day on the calendar. We can see it in the lives of the saints who die on significant feast days or many died at the age of 33. I have come to see in my own spiritual life that certain feast days are filled with greater graces and often I will be asked to do something on one of those days that I wouldn’t do on any other day. Marian feast days and Holy Week are the greatest of these in my own life.

I’m starting to see these small details and how they weave into the very fabric of how Christ is leading me towards Him. I never paid attention before, largely because of my own self-absorption and partly because I didn’t consider how God is always working even when I don’t see it. I was born in Helena, MT and handed guardianship of three holy relics of the True Cross at 33 years of age. The holy relic that was the instrument of Our Lord’s death and our salvation found by *St. Helena* in the 4th century. I only drew the connection nearly 5 years later and it was like being struck by lightning.

On March 23, 2012, a Friday, I had my second miscarriage. A child I firmly believe to have been a son: Caleb Augustine. I have had the deepest longing in my heart to have a son to give to Our Lord in the priesthood. Since I can’t have anymore children, I was confused as to why this longing was so deeply imbedded within me. On March 23, 2018, a Friday, after a significant experience that happened to me during the Mass that dramatically changed my spiritual life, I was handed my secondary vocation of spiritual motherhood to priests. God only revealed the connection between these two dates to me this past weekend as we approach that anniversary this weekend. The realization has been nothing short of mind-blowing for me. God doesn’t miss any details. The same priest was even with me on both days at two different parishes six years apart.

On the painful anniversary of losing my first son–I believe I lost my second son on August 8, 2016 on the feast of St. Dominic when we had already named him for a Dominican as Andrew Thomas (see those small details are actually big ones!)–six years to the day, God handed me the secondary vocation of being a spiritual mother to His priests in a time of crisis, scandal, pain, and confusion. To pray and sacrifice for them in love, as so many others have done before me, including one of my closest friends in the Communion of Saints: St. Therese of Lisieux. God is working in every area of our lives every single day.

I miss my babies, but God has already blessed me a great deal through this secondary vocation. As I told the ladies last weekend at the retreat when I discussed Mary and Spiritual Motherhood, being a spiritual mother comes with great joys and sorrows, just like being a biological/adoptive mother. It requires sacrifice and since it’s a vocation it is also a path to learning how to die to self in love. Spiritual motherhood comes from Our Lady who teaches us how to open our hearts up more expansively, even in the midst of grief. 

When I realized that I would not be able to have more children, I wondered in prayer if I’d ever experience that level of joy again as the day when I first held my daughter. So many of my friends are still being blessed with children and I am not. In my grief, I wasn’t sure. The answer is yes. Spiritual motherhood is yet another path to charity and it comes with incredible joy. In order to be able to open myself up to that joy God had to teach me how to let go of what I wanted, including my desire for more children. When I let go and gave everything back to God, just as Our Heavenly Mother did at the foot of the Cross, Christ was able to break open deeper wellsprings of charity within me that I didn’t even know existed. It’s hard to let go of what we want, but God’s ways are not our own and He is not to be outdone in generosity.