Remembering My Mother

Mom and Dad Duffy

Today would have been my mother’s 95th birthday has she still been alive. Virginia Christesen Duffy was smart as a whip, yet only received a high school education. She’s the only person I know that would dare to complete the New York Times Sunday Puzzle in ink! I fondly remember the time my parents took me to Europe for a vacation. I was 19 years old. I took French for three years in high school, and I was ready and anxious to use it! We were in a French café, one day, looking at… Read More…

Love Endures All Things

Love Endures

Love endures all things” (1 Corinthians 13:7).

 

I have to admit that this well known passage on Love from 1 Corinthians is one of my favorites. At our wedding ceremony, my husband and I included this passage at our Wedding Mass some 36+ years ago. Little did I know then what this passage would mean over time. When you are young, you think you know everything as you enter the early years of adulthood. Yet, some 36+ years later, this passage continues to teach me what Love is all about.

I am married to a wonderful man. We have endured times of financial stress together,… Read more…

Saint Augustine on the Three Goods of Marriage

wedding%20bride%20and%20groomIn his treatise De bono coniugali (Of the Good of Marriage) St. Augustine answers two competing views of matrimony. The Manicheans, to whom his treatise was largely addressed, saw the created material world as debased and corrupt. Human souls were spirits trapped within the created order (i.e. the body). The enlightened must free the soul and thus achieve beatitude by rejecting the material order and its sins of the flesh. Marriage and reproduction were manifestly evil.  Read more…

Bloom Where You Grow

There are a couple of flower boxes on our back deck railing. Anyone who has cats knows what that means – anything growing there has to be pretty persistent or it will be crushed under the furry bellies of our lounging feline friends. In fact, for the past couple of summers we haven’t even bothered to plant anything in them.

That’s where a delicate salmon-colored poppy comes into the story. Even though the parent plants are far below – on the ground below this raised deck – somehow a tiny seed made it to the soil in one of the flower boxes. Not only did it make it, it germinated, set down roots, and has been beautifully blooming for a few days now.

What can we learn from this persistent, lovely little plant?

We aren’t always where we thought we’d be in our lives. Maybe we don’t even want to be where we are at all. It’s easy to focus on an idealistic image of if only. In this imaginary, perfect world we would be saints, may be successful (in a worldly way), or admired by all. Every effort would reap the anticipated reward and failure would only come if we didn’t try hard enough – or didn’t have enough faith.

Yet scripture tells us that we will be tested. That our trials – and how we handle them – will shine a light for others to see. We can become the salt for them and the leaven for their spiritual bread.

Matthew 5:13-16
13“You are the salt of the earth; but if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltness be restored? It is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trodden under foot by men. 14“You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hid. 15Nor do men light a lamp and put it under a bushel, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. 16Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.

It isn’t always ours to choose where life leads us but it is our choice when it comes to how we react. When life hands us an unexpected detour from our search for perfection, we should choose to react with grace. As a sweet little lady used to tell me,

Bloom Where You Grow smaller file size

“We need to bloom where we grow”.

Wherever God has planted us that is our place to shine – to shine with His love and compassion and faithful service. Then we will be headed down the road of success – and toward sainthood!

Evangelium Vitae and a Prolife Novena

On March 25th, 1995 Pope John Paul II gave us the beautifully rich and prolife encyclical, Evangelium Vitae. This year we will be celebrating the 20th anniversary on the Feast of the Annunciation. What a fitting feast day to celebrate life, as we call the mind Mary’s ‘yes’ to becoming the Mother of God!

A special Novena has begun – with nine individual petitions, the Prayer to our Lady written by Pope John Paul II (now Saint John Paul II), and a relevant excerpt from Evangelium Vitae.

Won’t you join this worldwide effort and pray these simple Novena prayers with us? Participants range from the United States all the way to our friends ‘down under’ in Australia! For more information you can read a bit of history at Evangelium Vitae: 20th Anniversary Novena – Catholic Stand.

EV all petitions

A daily post explaining the petition and including all of the relevant prayers can be found on Designs by Birgit. There is also a Facebook group for the Evangelium Vitae Anniversary Novena. I hope you’ll join us and invite your friends and family to pray for an increase in the respect for all life – from fertilization until natural death.

Freedom in Christ

Body-of-ChristMany Catholics believe church culture is the same as basic tenets of the faith. Challenging custom is then synonymous with challenging the faith. 

Every thinking, praying, honest person who seeks the Spirit of in their own heart, experiences conflict with those who are afraid of the inner spiritual life.  They fall back on fulfilling the letter of the law, even if that law is simply tradition.

Jesus called this sort of believer a Pharisee. This religious spirit chains many believers; they focus on outer conformity to tradition. If we understand the difference between cultural tradition and a relationship with God, our focus changes. All we want to do is allow God to love us and pass it on to those around us.

Don’t jump to conclusions. I Do believe that the Catholic Church is the fullest expression of revealed truth that is why I converted 38 years. continue reading

Saint Valentine and Chastity

Saint Valentines Day has come and gone but the betrayal of the virtue of Chastity continues. Not only has the feast day for this martyr saint been hijacked by commercialism, but now it has also been used as the springboard for encouraging sexual deviancy and perversion.

In 50 Shades of Chastity and Saint Valentine, the connection is made between the purported freedom of today’s popular culture and the moral decline of human sexuality. This perversion of the freedom has led to the bitter fruit of homosexual ‘marriage’ and promiscuity.

50 shades of grey

The Catechism of the Catholic Church tells us: “So called moral permissiveness rests on an erroneous conception of human freedom; the necessary precondition for the development of true freedom is to let oneself be educated in the moral law. Those in charge of education can reasonably be expected to give young people instruction respectful of the truth, the qualities of the heart, and the moral and spiritual dignity of man.” (CCC #2526)

Find out what you and I can do to stem the tide by reading more here.

 

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Birgit Jones is a 50-something cradle Catholic who is passionate about the Church and the prolife movement. She has been married to her Catholic convert husband, Rick, for 40 years. They have four children and eight living grandchildren (all age eleven and under). Their frequent visits eliminate any fear of an empty nest!

Birgit is Graphics Editor and Columnist at Catholic Stand. She can also be found on her personal blog Designs By Birgit and Facebook fan page Designs By Birgit, where she utilizes her Fine Arts training to promote Life through her prolife memes.

Family Love: The Glue of Life

Family Love – the love between siblings and cousins, the love for grandparents, parents, aunts and uncles, nieces and nephews. You can choose your friends, but not your family – how true! Many of us have relatives that if given a choice, might not be our “friend.” Nonetheless, they are a part of our family. It is that family bond that keeps us together in the good times and in the bad – we are there for each other, especially in those bad times, when “friends” run in the opposite direction.

What we show to our friends is our good side for the most part, with the not-so-good stuff kept buried in our past. However, it is the family members who have seen it all and in spite of that are by our side when needed most. Why? Read more…

Unconditional Love: Parental Love

Have you experienced the unconditional love of a parent? How about from God, the Father? Read more to learn about the connection between the two…

Unconditional Love – I was blessed to have two wonderful parents, who were married for 54 years prior to my father’s passing in 1999. My mother died 28 weeks later. (The photo was taken at my First Communion in 1965, at age 8). For the first 42 years of my life, they were living examples of parental love to me. They loved me unconditionally, as all parents do so well.

I did not come from a wealthy family. My father worked in a printer’s shop, and my mother was a stay-at-home mom, until I turned 10 years of age. Read more…

Enduring Marital Love: The Secret?

Want to know the secret to an enduring marital love after 35+ years of marriage? How can you have such a love?

With 35+ years of marriage to the same wonderful man, of this I can speak from experience. Many people ask me, “What’s your secret?”  Let’s face the truth – in this day and age, at least in the United States, we don’t see one-time marriages with longevity much anymore. When we do see them, we see a consistent theme: an enduring love that has weathered the storms of life. So, you ask, what is the secret to maintaining that enduring love?

Read more…