Teach your kids the one thing necessary

Are you teaching your kids to do mental prayer? I’ve written about this in the past with a few examples  of kids’ meditations. Today I’m sharing with you a meditation for kids about… mental prayer.

You may want to print this out.

File:Georg Friedrich Stettner (attr) Christus im Hause der Martha.jpg
1. Read aloud to your children Luke 10:38-42, using your favorite children’s Bible. This is the Gospel from last Sunday, so they should recognize it.
2. Study the painting above. (It’s Christ in the House of Martha and Mary, attributed to Georg Friedrich Stettner). Ask them to identify the people in the painting. Discuss the painting in this manner: “Martha and Mary are both holding something. What do you think those objects are? What does each represent? (Mary is reading the Bible. This represents meditating on Sacred Scripture. Martha is holding a duck, symbolizing being busy with household tasks.) Who are the other people in the picture? What are they doing? How many people appear to have been listening to Jesus? (Only Mary does.) Does Mary look disturbed by what Martha is saying? (No, she looks peaceful.)
3. Discuss: Why do you think the artist filled the foreground of the picture with food? (To show how much work Martha had to do or had been doing.) Do you think Martha was doing something important? (Yes, Jesus and His disciples needed to eat.) What could she have done differently so she could sit and listen to Jesus too? (She could have made a simpler meal.)
4. Remind your children of the Feeding of the 5000. How much food did Jesus need to feed all those people? (5 loaves of bread and 2 fish.) Do you think Martha needed to work all day to cook for Jesus? (Probably not, because He could have fed them miraculously, as He had done before.) Why do you think Martha was working so hard? (She was probably trying to show Jesus how much she loved Him by making Him a great meal.)

Continue reading at  Contemplative Homeschool.

Ignatian Discernment Found In Homeboy Industries

One of the important charisms that St. Igantius of Loyola brought through his spiritual insights is the notion of finding God in all  things.  In anticipation of the founder of the Society of Jesus’ feast day, the website Find Your Inner Iggy is s running a series of stories about finding God in unlikely places.

The text was written by Fr. Greg Boyle, S.J. who discerned his spiritual mission working with the poor and outcast in Los Angeles.  The language may be earthy but by keeping it real, it demonstrates the miracle of finding God in unlikely places.

Louie finished his 18-month training program with us at Homeboy Industries. A gang member and drug dealer, he was tattooed and had a long prison record.

“I was disguised as that guy,” he told me once.

He was now thriving in the new job we found him. He texted me one day: “My little fridge just died. Can you help me get a new one?” I text back: “Sears at 4:00.” He responds: “Got it. Beers at 4:00.” When I arrive at the Sears Appliance section, Louie spots me, gallops over, and gives me a bear hug. “Have they called security on your ass yet?’ “Nope,” he says, “but it’s just a matter of time.” We buy a small refrigerator on lay-away, and I drive him to his small, humble apartment.

Before he gets out, he says, “Can I tell you something, G?” He pauses. “Lately… I’ve been havin’ a lot a’ one-on-ones … you know… with God. And … the Dude shows up.”

I chuckle a little, but he is quite serious. He turns to me, “Now why would he do that?” His tears make a get-away, and he can barely speak. “I mean … after all the shit I’ve done … why would He do that?

While it is good that Louie is getting some one-on-ones with the Divine Dude, he missed out on a key insight which those who take the 30 day Ignatian silent retreat should learn.  Much like a spiritual drill sergeant, the Ignatian retreat breaks you down by reminding you of your own sin but in the end build you up by emphasizing that God loves our imperfect selves. But appreciating this unconditional love can tattoo the heart  and can draw us to build the kingdom of God. 
Fr. Boyle began Homeboy Industries in 1992 to help parolees and former gang members lead a better life by finding honest work.  Homeboy Industries does mental health counseling, education  tattoo removal,  and employment services. 

In 2011, Fr. Boyle wrote a book Tattoos on the Heart: The Power of Boundless Compassion (2011) in which the ghetto Jesuit distilled twenty years of his experience into faith filled parables centering on how we could live full lives if we could find the joy of loving others and in being loved unconditionally. 
It is amazing where we can find the divine if we only look lovingly.

Pray for Me : The Life and Spiritual Vision of Pope Francis, First Pope From the America’s

This week at the Catholic Book Blogger I reviewed the book Pray for Me by Robert Moynihan. You can find the review for the book here. I also had the pleasure to interview the author Robert Moynihan. That was a fantastic interview and can be found here. Lastly you can enter my weekly giveaway for a chance to your own copy of Pray for Me. Enter Here.

Drawn to Eternal Truths–"The Truth Is Out There" Comic

A cloistered Eastern Rite  Catholic monk drew upon his lifelong love of comics to spread the Good News of Jesus Christ.  Amadeus, the nom de plum of the author who is part of the Maronite Monks of The Most Holy Trinity  in Petersham, Massachusetts, penned the short graphic novel “The Truth Is Out There” (2013) to explain the truths of the faith in an understandable manner.

The germ for the graphic novel was based on a conversation that the author had prior to entering the monastery with several cradle Catholics who were born and raised in the faith.  As they conversed, Amadeus realized how little any of them knew the faith.  He concluded that the ignorance of this splendor of truth was a stumbling block for his generation of Catholics.

“The Truth Is Out There” depicts two space aged mail carriers discussing life, the universe and everything at a coffee bar.  As the protagonists Brendon and Eric  contemplate the right path to truth and true happiness , one finds his answers ensconced in the Catholic Church.

Although Amadeus seeks to educate readers, since the characters start at the very beginning readers do not have to possess any faith to appreciate the thoughful ideas which they will encounter.  “The Truth Is Out There” seems to avoid shallow and syrupy characterizations typical of Christian media. And the plot allows the space aged couriers to put their coffee house principles to the test in the real “world”.

The author Amadeus had a lifelong love of comics and was inspired by the “Adventures of Tintin”.  His love of drafting prompted him to become an aerospace engineer.  Yet  in 2003, he answered the call to become a contemplative monk, so Amadeus  tried to put those illustration influences aside for his vocation of Eucharistic Adoration as well as praying the Divine Office and the Divine Liturgy.

Maronite Monks in worship

Amadeus found that: “[T]he moment I entered the silence of the cloister, it was like my head was flooded with cartoons. It was nonstop: I just had all these great ideas.”  With much mortification, Amadeus put the project off for a couple of years.  But Amadeus wanted to share the riches of Truth in philosophy and theology which he had discerned in his life as a contemplative monk.

Initially, Amadeus thought of sharing these insights in an illustrated letter, copying the traditions of illuminated manuscripts.  But he found that too boring and decided to do a series of comic strips because that is what he does best. Amadeus opined that: “The harder an idea is, the more helpful it is to draw it out.”

Pope-emeritus Benedict XVI proclaimed this liturgical year to be the Year of Faith.  While it celebrated the Golden Anniversary of the start of the Vatican II Council, it also embraced Pope Blessed John Paul II’s call for the New Evangelization.  The New Evangelization is meant to repropose the Gospel to those who have heard and forgotten the Good News as well as to those never exposed to the Christian message.

Even though a cloistered Maronite Monk seems like an unlikely messenger for a contemporary call to faith via pop art, the Holy Spirit works in mysterious ways.  Bishop Gregory Mansour, of the Maronite Eparchy of Brooklyn, wrote that :

[S]omehow the words ‘comic book’ and ‘intellectually challenging’ don’t usually go together, but they do in ‘The Truth is Out There’ by Amadeus…Thank you, Amadeus, for presenting the journey from the prison walls of our mind to the exhilarating freedom of the truth in such an exciting way.
While comics are not my favored medium of entertainment or education, if a graphic novel can inspire other readers to see that “The Truth Is Out There” and contemplate eternal truths, that’s wonderful.

h/t: Catholic News Agency

God calls you to holy poverty

File:Giovanni Paolo I e II.jpg

When Karol Wojtyla (later Pope John Paul II) was bishop of Krakow, friends used to buy him new cassocks, which he would promptly give to poor priests in his diocese. He would continue wearing his old, worn-out cassock. In doing so, he imitated Christ, who “for your sake made Himself poor though He was rich, so that you might become rich by His poverty (2 Corinthians 8:9).” Not only those who take religious vows, but all of us are called to this evangelical (Gospel) poverty.

In the world, people avoid poverty. The Bible, however, blesses the poor and celebrates the virtues of the poor in spirit. The widow who was destitute gave generously to the temple; the rich young man “went away sad,” because he could not give up his many possessions to follow Christ.

When we have too many possessions, we easily become attached to them and place our trust in our own resources, rather than relying on God. Our many earthly concerns distract us from heavenly matters. We find it difficult to advance in holiness.

Read the rest at Contemplative Homeschool.

The Catholic Faith Handbook for Youth

This week we have another great giveaway at The Catholic Book Blogger I would like to share with you. One lucky winner will receive a copy of the book The Catholic Faith Handbook for Youth by Saint Mary’s Press.Head on over to the blog by clicking here to enter. While there also check out my review of the book…..its a good one!

Sin: Practice makes perfect

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Sunday, June 30, 2013

Sin: Practice makes perfect

“Sin creates a proclivity to sin, it engenders vice by repetition of the same acts.  This results in perverse inclinations which cloud conscience and corrupt the concrete judgment of good and evil.  Thus sin tends to reproduce itself and reinforce itself, but it cannot destroy the moral sense of its root.”  CCC 1865

In other words, done over and over again, the act of making a decision and carrying out something contrary to good and moral thinking will make each future act of sin easier.  Practice makes perfect!  For years I would tell my children to practice their instruments each day, “Practice makes perfect, keep playing to get better.” I would say.  So they would grumble at me and head off to practice.  Year after year, they would practice after my constant insistence, and year after year, they honed their craft to the point that they began to win awards, get hired to play for events, and find their voices as musicians.

Do you think repeating bad behavior, alias sinning, is any different?  Likened to learning an instrument and achieving confidence and skill as a  musician, sin is an act, a decision to do something..and one can get good at it!  Good or bad, practice makes perfect.

This is where confession comes in; to come face to face with a bad decision and the desire for forgiveness.  A chance to start over without the heavy baggage of sin.  In order for forgiveness to happen, remorse must be truly internally felt with the desire to be wiped clean of the sin and be able to start over.  The desire to be able to start over and get it right the next time.  Just like learning an instrument, it is a conscience decision one makes from their free will.  A God-given gift for a reason.

I need to go to confession.

 
 

 

 

Catholic Homeschool Styles & Curriculum Predictor

Take the Quiz and let me know, in comments, if you think it predicts your style accurately.


Homeschooling Style Quiz: (by Dr. Chen – see below)
Use the following scale in answering the questions. Be sure to circle the number that corresponds with your answer.

123456
That’s not me at allRarely true, only 20% of the timeOccasionally true, about 40% of timeOften true, about 60% of timeUsually true, about 80% of timeAlmost always true


Group 1A questions
I look forward to homeschooling 1 2 3 4 5 6
My husband wants me to homeschool 1 2 3 4 5 6
I love to study and learn new things 1 2 3 4 5 6
I enjoy reading aloud to my children every day 1 2 3 4 5 6
I find myself naturally explaining things to the children 1 2 3 4 5 6
I’m in the middle of reading a book (romance novels excluded) right now. 1 2 3 4 5 6
Average (total divided by 6) for 1A=______________

Group 1B questions
There is a show or movie on TV that I want to watch almost every night 1 2 3 4 5 6
I spend an hour or more each day visiting friends or chatting on the phone 1 2 3 4 5 6
My husband wants me to homeschool, but I dread it. 1 2 3 4 5 6
I can’t find time to read. 1 2 3 4 5 6
It’s very hard to find time to play with or read to the children. 1 2 3 4 5 6
I often feel guilty about not getting enough accomplished. . 1 2 3 4 5 6
Average (total divided by 6) for 1B=______________

Group 2A questions
The inside of my kitchen cupboards are clean and organized . 1 2 3 4 5 6
We all make our beds, put away our clothes and do our chores without a lot of problem . 1 2 3 4 5 6
I rarely misplace things. 1 2 3 4 5 6
I enjoy paying the bills, planning the details of a trip or organizing an activity . 1 2 3 4 5 6
The books in our personal library are categorized so that I can easily find them 1 2 3 4 5 6
The inside of our refrigerator is clean. . 1 2 3 4 5 6
Average (total divided by 6) for 2A=______________

Group 2B questions
Usually there is laundry to be done and piles around that need to be folded . 1 2 3 4 5 6
I have a hard time getting my children to do chores . 1 2 3 4 5 6
I want to teach my children but there are so many choices that I don’t know where to begin . 1 2 3 4 5 6
When my children ask me where something is it takes a long time for us to find it . 1 2 3 4 5 6
I don’t know what we will be having for dinner until it’s time to cook the meal. 1 2 3 4 5 6
I procrastinate a lot. 1 2 3 4 5 6
Average (total divided by 6) for 2B=______________

Group 3A questions
I like to plan things down to the last detail 1 2 3 4 5 6
I like doing craft activities or taking trips to the zoo or library with the children 1 2 3 4 5 6
I think a great way to learn is curled up on the couch with a book 1 2 3 4 5 6
I would let my children do their schoolwork on the floor if they wanted to 1 2 3 4 5 6
Kids can learn more about nature by walking around outside than they can from a book 1 2 3 4 5 6
I hated my textbooks and workbooks when I was in school 1 2 3 4 5 6
Average (total divided by 6) for 3A=______________

Group 3B questions
I like the idea of my children sitting at desks quietly working 1 2 3 4 5 6
It’s important for me to know what and how to teach my children each step of the way 1 2 3 4 5 6
I’m afraid my kids will have “gaps” in their education 1 2 3 4 5 6
I want my children to be at the same place in their subjects as the children in school 1 2 3 4 5 6
I like the idea of having just one book for each subject 1 2 3 4 5 6
I worry that I won’t be able to teach my children what they need to know. 1 2 3 4 5 6
Average (total divided by 6) for 3B=______________

Analyzing the Results:

The average from 1B, 2B and 3B must be reversed in order to analyze the results of this test.
6 becomes 1
5 becomes 2
4 becomes 3
3 becomes 4
2 becomes 5
1 becomes 6

After you have reversed the score for those 3 groups take a final total. Your total score should be between 6 and 36.
What your total score indicates:

6-12 total strongly suggests that you should use a homeschool program such as the Angelicum Academy or Seton HomeStudy. [I’d imagine that would apply to Our Lady of Victory, as well..maybe Kolbe, too. ]

13-18 total suggests you should use a program, but that you could add or change a small part of the program without a problem.

19-24 totalindicates you would be comfortable using some type of lesson plan system that you can modify to suit your needs. Good options might be the lesson plans from Catholic Heritage Curriculum or syllabi offered by Mother of Divine Grace or SaintThomas Aquinas Academy. [Could Kolbe fit in here, too, as it also allows modifications?]

(BINGO!  This is where my test puts me.  But, I *feel* that I meet the description of 13-18 as I do use a program – MODG- but enjoy its flexibility to add in Seton, OLVS ,CHC books and other resources suggested by my mentor, Paola of EmmanuelBooks.)

25-30 totalsuggests you could develop your own lesson plans, but would need support and guidance which could be found in DesigningYour Own Classical Curriculum or the suggested curricula at Catholic Heritage Curriculum.  It would also be helpful for you to examine lesson plans that others have written before creating your own. [ Consider, MaterAmabilis, I would think.]

30-36 total strongly suggests you would have no problem creating your children’s educational program.

If your score “doesn’t make sense” go back and recalculate making sure that you reversed the appropriate scores  as directed at the top of the page.

Quiz designed by Andrea Chen, Catholic Homeschool Mom of six, director of Mercy Academy Homeschool Program (http://www.mercyacademy.net), with a Phd. in Psychology.

It was put together based on her experience and knowledge of tests, measurement and homeschooling. This questionnaire has been tested on over 100 homeschooling mothers and found to be valid.

Do you agree?

in +JMJ+

Allison from

Save our country. Be a saint.

Uncle-Sam

This can be a frustrating and anxious time for Christians in America. The final version of the HHS mandate was issued on Friday. The Supreme Court overturned DOMA and refused to rule on California’s Proposition 8. Here in Minnesota, wedding vendors are starting to advertise to same-sex couples as the date for the legalization of same-sex “marriage” approaches.

Last year, I prayed and fasted and wrote letters to the editor supporting a marriage amendment. I voted for pro-family candidates. I have discussed these issues on others’ blogs and on Facebook. It seems to have made no difference. I sometimes feel helpless.

There is one thing we can all do to celebrate this Independence Day, one thing that will make an eternal difference for true freedom. We can give ourselves completely to God.

We have had it easy in the USA for a long time. That era is past. We can cave, we can cry in self-pity, or we can change the world.

America doesn’t need more politicians. America doesn’t need more letters to the editor. America doesn’t need more parades or blog posts or debates.

America needs saints.

Continue reading at  Contemplative Homeschool.

This past week at the Catholic Book Blogger I did an interview with author Dr. Diane Moczar which can be found here. Additionally I posted a review of her great book The Church Under Attack : Five Hundred Years That Split the Church and Scattered the Flock. That review can be found here. I would also like to invite all of you to enter the Weekly Book Giveaway. One copy of Kevin Lowry’s Faith at Work : Finding Purpose Beyond the Paycheck. Enter Here!