Joy of Nine9, The Cloistered Heart, Rose’s Supposes, Campfires and Cleats and For Better or Worse: Big Click Award Winners for May 2013

Welcome to the
2013 Catholic Blogger Link-Up Blitz.
Announcing the Big Clicks Catholic Bloggers
for May 2013!
In the category of…

Readings and Reflections,
the Big Clicks Catholic Blogger is:
Joy of Nine9 for the post
Mothers, Do You Act Like a Holy vacuum Cleaner?

Catechism and Apologetics,
the Big Clicks Catholic Blogger is
The Cloistered Heart for the post
The Cloistered Heart
 
Liturgical Calendar Crafts and Homeschooling,
the Big Clicks Catholic Blogger is:
Rose’s Supposes for the post
Rosary Flipbook

Catholic Family Journal and Random Ramblings,
the Big Clicks Catholic Bloggers are
Campfires and Cleats for the post
Always Hope: Soldier in the Snapshot
and For Better or Worse for the post
Yes, We’re Scared

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and help promote Catholic Bloggers!

The new Monthly Round-Up for JUNE will be
UP and RUNNING on June 1st!
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Monica is a wife, Mom of 5+ kids, a designer, an architecture school survivor, an author and a crafter who thinks it’s cool to be Catholic! Check out the Arma Dei Shoppe for solid Catholic, fun teaching tools and gifts to celebrate and teach the Catholic Faith and subscribe to Equipping Catholic Families for family-building and Faith-centered crafts!

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What is detachment in the Catholic spiritual life?

File:John of the Cross crucifixion sketch.jpg

Among Carmelite saints, John of the Cross, co-founder of the Discalced Carmelites with Teresa of Avila, is not the most popular. Why not? He insisted that detachment was necessary for holiness. Many Catholics, misunderstanding his teaching, think it too hard and too dull. On first reading his Ascent of Mt. Carmel, they might be tempted to settle for luke-warmness.

On the other hand, nearly everyone loves St. Therese of Lisieux. The irony is that Therese was a true daughter of John, embracing all that he taught. If we reject John, we implicitly reject Therese as well.

Misconceptions about attachment Let’s examine some of the misconceptions about detachment.

First of all, the detachment John of the Cross speaks of is not aloofness. We should have proper affection for our family and friends.  It’s nonsensical to be cold towards your spouse due to a supposed love for God.

Detachment doesn’t mean denying the good that is in the material world. Rather, it means viewing temporal goods as temporal, gifts from God meant to lead us to Him. Unlike some religions, where the physical world is seen as evil, Christianity does not teach asceticism for its own sake. We give up our desires for things in order to make room in our hearts for God.  Detachment is a means, not an end.

Continue reading about detachment.

An Interview with Elizabeth Scalia

One of the awesome things about being a book reviewer is being able to touch base with the authors of the books I review. Yesterday I posted my review of Strange Gods : Unmasking the Idols in Everyday Life. You can find that review here. I was really excited when Elizabeth Scalia, The Anchoress, agreed to take some time out of her busy schedule to answer a few questions. So without further ado….here is my latest author interview at the Catholic Book Blogger. Continue reading……..

Is love or fear the better motivator?

Last week’s post on the Final Judgment (and Mr. Darcy and St. Therese) reminded me of two opposing views I’ve read in books about homeschooling. Some authors say that loving your students is the best way to motivate them to learn. Others say a healthy fear of the teacher is more effective. Here’s my take on the love versus fear debate.

The Machiavellian argument Niccolo Machiavelli famously wrote in The Prince:

“Here a question arises: whether it is better to be loved than feared, or the reverse. The answer is, of course, that it would be best to be both loved and feared. But since the two rarely come together, anyone compelled to choose will find greater security in being feared than in being loved.”

Focus on a child’s fear of his parent(s)–whether it is called fear, respect, or discipline–seems to me to be particularly Protestant. I mean no disrespect to my non-Catholic fellow homeschoolers, but many conservative Protestants have a somber view of humanity. Calvin taught that man was totally depraved. Fundamentalist Christians generally believe that man’s nature is bad since the Fall. Thus a child has a naturally rebellious spirit that must be tamed.

Ruth Beechick was one of the early homeschooling experts among “Bible Christians.” I gleaned much from her book Heart & Mind:What the Bible Says About Learning.  However, her works have the typical Fundamentalist shortcomings, most based on an overly literal interpretation of Scripture.  Since “[t]he fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom” (Proverbs 3:12), she believes that education must start with discipline.  Without a healthy fear (she says), children won’t be motivated to learn anything.

Read more at Contemplative Homeschool.

God, Mr. Darcy, and St. Therese

 

Are you afraid of standing before God on Judgment Day? Does the thought of facing Him make you fear death? Even if you’ve committed mortal sin in your lifetime, you only have to fear God in one circumstance–if you die unrepentant, or with no intention of confessing your sin as soon as possible. Here’s how my husband, St. Therese, and Mr. Darcy taught me to think of the Final Judgment with peace.

My husband and I met through Single Catholics Online (now Ave Maria Singles). After emailing and talking on the phone for several weeks, we decided to meet in person. As I was preparing for our first date, my hands shook from nervousness. I told myself, “There’s nothing to worry about. It’s just Dan.” We had gotten along great in our conversations. We already knew a lot about each other. We were friends. We were old enough to have been completely genuine with each other, rather than acting a part. What did I have to fear? If it wasn’t God’s will for our relationship to deepen, it wouldn’t happen, but I knew Dan would not reject me as a person. Most (I’ll admit–not all) of my nervousness disappeared at these thoughts.

Continue reading at Contemplative Homeschool.

Catholic Homeschool Support Groups on Facebook

Get connected to other Catholic homeschoolers on Facebook. There are a variety of groups.

I am seeing much more activity in the Catholic homeschool Facebook groups than I am seeing in the yahoogroup emails. If you are looking for support and Catholic homeschool info please consider these links to active groups. These communities are helpful and connect us to others like us across the map. 

+ Catholic Homeschool Moms https://www.facebook.com/groups/24164460379/ over 1,000 members

+ Catholic Homeschoolers of NorthEast (PA, NJ,DE,MD) https://www.facebook.com/groups/115513477358/ over 70

+ MODG Moms https://www.facebook.com/groups/29412108736/ almost 200

+ Mater Amabalis(for Catholic Charlotte Mason approach) https://www.facebook.com/groups/materamabilis/ almost 200

+ Catholic Homeschooling Resources https://www.facebook.com/pages/Catholic-Homeschooling-Resources/137231707453 almost 700

+ Totus Tuus Family & Catholic Homeschool FB page https://www.facebook.com/pages/Totus-Tuus-Family-Catholic-Homeschool/285307812834?fref=ts over 700

Did I miss any? Please add to comments.

Do You Love Me?

  A reflection on John 21:  15-19

Picture by Heidi Knofczynski, taken during a lesson on John 21:1-19

Do you pray with the Scriptures?  When you read them, do you allow a word or an scene from the passage to speak to you in your heart and draw out from you a prayer?  It is essential for each of us enter into prayer in this way.  Yet, it is a direction that many “voices” –  from the world, and from your own ego – will dissuade you from; because it will reveal your idols, your weaknesses.  The Lord seeks to lead us out of those “Egypts” in each one of our souls.  To do so demands much; it demands a love that endures all things, hopes all things and to be completely truthful, I do not have that love yet.  That is important for me to understand, not for me to despair but so that I can live in His truth, endure in His light and be drawn up into a more perfect love by following His voice.  


When they had finished breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon, son of John, do you love me more than these?”  Simon Peter answered him, “Yes, Lord, you know that I love you.”  Jesus said to him, “Feed my lambs.” He then said to Simon Peter a second time, “Simon, son of John, do you love me?”  Simon Peter answered him, “Yes, Lord, you know that I love you.”  Jesus said to him, “Tend my sheep.”  Jesus said to him the third time, “Simon, son of John, do you love me?”  Peter was distressed that Jesus had said to him a third time, ‘Do you love me?’ and he said to him, “Lord, you know everything; you know that I love you.”  Jesus said to him, “Feed my sheep.  Amen, amen, I say to you, when you were younger, you used to dress yourself and go where you wanted; but when you grow old, you will stretch out your hands, and someone else will dress you and lead you where you do not want to go.” He said this signifying by what kind of death he would glorify God.  And when he had said this, he said to him, “Follow me.”  John 21: 15-19

Simon, son of John, do you love me?

I need to live in His truth, I need to know who I am and who I am called to be in His truth.  I need it  desperately, and our whole culture is dying for lack of this truth.  In this Gospel, through the questions of Jesus, Peter is taken back into the bitter memory of his betrayal of the Lord, in order to receive the profound, unfathomable mercy of Jesus, and to be drawn up into His perfect love. What courage this takes!  We, who are so easily offended, we, who so often confess our failings in a self-justifying context, are also taken through the drama of the Lord’s threefold questioning of Peter.  Three times he questions Peter’s love for Him, mirroring the three times that Peter denied Him. The anguish of Peter by the third round is palpable. I can understand this, it can be agonizing to allow Christ to plumb the depths of our own individual depravity.  Especially in this hyper-sentimentalized culture, where there is no incentive to grow in a deeper more perfect love, to have cowardice and unwillingness to suffer in order to grow in love revealed in the unflinching light of His gaze is terrifying.  Who really wants to face their own spiritual impotency?  Yet, to grow in His perfect love is to drive out fear (1 Jn, 4:18), because above all we are afraid of our own ultimate futility – our own spiritual impotency.  Christ is the only possible answer to that fear.  Moreover, when Peter submitted to Our Lord’s probing and tending to the wounds of his darkest failure, we are shown that his little love was enough for Jesus, who would transform that little love into perfect love.  And then we see how much potency in the Spirit is released!  
We must obey God rather than men!

Perfect love does drive out fear!  Look at how Peter and the apostles rejoice at the sufferings and worldly dishonor they receive on account of the Lord! (Acts 5:41)  How can I be released from the bonds of my spiritual impotency?  How can I be freed the dark hidden wounds in my soul?  These wounds may not always be obvious, but they have a subtle control over my love, they keep me in bondage.  Again, I am not speaking of the sentimental love of our time, but the passionate, agape love of God.  The love that bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. (1 Cor 13:7)  This is the love that our fears would block us from entering into.  This is the love that Christ will so gently draw you into, if you, like Peter, allow His Spirit to enter into your darkest wounds and heal them.  And not just heal them, but as we see in Peter, transform them!  His cowardice, in the power of this love, is lifted up to courage.  The Fisherman from Galilee will endure humiliation and martyrdom for Christ and His Church.  “I will praise you Lord…You changed my mourning into dancing!” Psalm 30 2;12

Worthy is the Lamb!

It seems a little unbelievable.  In this age of stunted, materialistic love, we may be a bit jaded in our hope that we could encounter Christ so intimately from reading the words of Scripture.  We may be afraid to enter into the contemplative prayer that will bring us to Christ in this profound and personal way.  Do it anyway.  Put aside your fears, suspend you disbelief.   When you read the Gospel, when you hear it proclaimed at Mass, place yourself in the readings in your imagination.  Yes, there may be detracting voices -inner voices, worldly voices- that will hurl all sorts of accusations and distractions at you.  Yes, it may take time to build up an ability to endure in this type of prayer.  Yes, you may have to let go of the insipid, sentimentalized one-dimensional Jesus that is too often presented to us;  this Jesus inoculates us against the One who is the worthy Lamb of God, in whose presence all creation trembles and cries out to in adoration. (Rev 5: 11-14)  Persist!  And be ready, because He will surprise you.  Like He did for Peter, Jesus will ever so gently direct you to true repentance and deep healing. He will take your breath away and you will begin to let the Spirit breath through you.  
You brought my soul up from Sheol

My own experience in this type of prayer is an example of how important it is to persist through those false  voices.  For many years in prayer I have entered into the scene of the sinful woman we read of in Luke’s gospel.  In this prayer I am that women attempting to approach the Lord, but the Pharisees are standing in my way.  They present every objection imaginable to discourage me from persisting to see the Lord.  They accuse me of my own unworthiness and some of their accusations are devastatingly accurate.  The worst one is:  “Just who do you think you are!”  And they go on:  “You do not belong here, you never will.”  “You do not need Him as much as others do, how presumptuous of you!”   “He will just send you away.”   It has really taken me years to get through that gauntlet.  Even when I did persist and I fell at His feet, I could not look at Him, I was too afraid.  And in my day to day life as well, I can tell you that this fear, fundamentally a fear of rejection, has stopped me from doing many, many things that I ought to have done.   But, one day I did look up at Him.  And He looked at me with eyes that were strong and serious, and said “ Well, who do you think you are?”  Wow! Those words from Him seemed to be my worst fear coming true, but the Lord’s eyes never wavered, and drew from me the answer “I am yours.”   And He responds, “ You did not choose Me, I choose you:  Follow me.”

Alleluia!

Take a moment to enter into this Gospel (or whatever scene you are drawn to). What would He ask you?  In moments of prayer, much like Saint Peter’s encounter with the Lord , Jesus will gently draw you to look at yourself with unflinching honesty, but bathed in His light you begin to receive the courage, the power to be so much more than forgiven:  to be transformed, to be potent and fruitful in His Spirit.  Follow Him!
Christ is Risen!  Alleluia!
Heidi@Journey to Wisdom