Pizza and disordered attachments

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On Sunday I made pizza for supper. Herbed crust, thick, garlicky sauce, uncured pepperoni, black olives, and two cheeses. Is your mouth watering yet? Is pizza among your disordered attachments?

As you may know, I’m focusing on being more truly detached from everything except God this year. Before you read the rest of this post, you may want to read or review these:

What is detachment in the Catholic spiritual life?Why is detachment necessary?How can you know what your spiritual attachments are?Why do you have inordinate attachments?I can’t work on every possible type of spiritual detachment at once. I have to slice it into small pieces. Here is an easy way I’m trying to start. Every time I experience pleasure or enjoyment, I am immediately turning my thoughts towards God.

As I’ve said before, we are not Puritans. We don’t reject the goodness in God’s creation. The world was damaged by Adam’s fall, but not destroyed.

Enjoying pizza, a good movie, splashing in the rain, or time with your spouse is not sinful. But when we dwell on these pleasures we take them out of their proper context.

Continue reading at Contemplative Homeschool.

Some Marveling at Super-Pope Francis via Graffiti Art

Artist Mauro Pallotta with his graffiti art “Superpope” Francis (photo:  Andreas Dueren/CNA)

Mauro Pallotta is a 41 year old artist and sculptor based in Rome.  But Pallotta may better be known as a celebrated street artist based on widespread notoriety of his graffiti “Super-Pope” Francis on the Via Plauto, a tiny cobble stoned street in the Borgo Pio district near St. Peter’s Square in Rome (Vatican City).

Pallotta (a.k.a. Maupal) was inspired to do the piece one evening when he was reading a comic book and the image of the Pope appeared on television.  Pallotta opined:

“I thought of representing this Pope, Francis, as a super hero of the Marvel (Heroes), simply because, according to me, he is one of the few people who, having a real power as a Pope, he uses it for the good like the superheroes of the American Marvel.” It dawned on the artist that this Pope also had superpowers in the form of humility and empathy.

Pallotta likened Super-Pope  to  “It’s  a little bit like Greek mythology brought to modernity.”   In depicting Pope Francis as a superhero using his papal authority for the good, the pontiff is shown as a pop style dressed in his understated white cassock, simple shoes and an iron pectoral crosscross as the Super-Pope carrying a black briefcase labeled “Valores” (meaning values in both Latin and Spanish).  This symbolizes that the first New World  Pope only carries his Christian values.

A red and blue scarf is hanging out of the briefcase, which is for the Argentine San Lorenzo de Football (soccer) club, which the Pope been a fan of this underdog team since his boyhood.

Graffiti art in Buenos Aires, Argentina of Pope Francis and San Lorenzo Football Club (photo TripAdvisor)

Pope Francis greeted players from San Lorenzo at the Vatican in December after a Wednesday general audience to congratulate them on winning the Tornial Incial championship.

 Pope Francis has repeatedly spoken of the spiritual values of sports teams.  His Holiness exhorted Argentine and Italians sports clubs that:  “[R]ugby is like life because we are all heading for a goal, we need to run together and pass the ball from hand to hand until we get to it”.

The artist explained that the San Lorenzo soccer scarf brought Super-Pope Francis to being human.  However, considering Pope Francis’ connection between sports and spirituality, carrying  the San Lorenzo scarf with his values “baggage” , it can be seen as a reminder that even a “Super-Pope” needs the support of his underdog team to achieve the goal of advancing the kingdom of God.

Vatican Communications embraced Pallotta’s Super-Pope folk art tribute by posting it on  its Twitter feed.

The Super-Pope graffiti art lasted but a day, as Rome’s decorum police acted faster than a speeding bullet took down this street art in record time. 

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Create a guided Christian meditation for kids, step by step

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David and Goliath from the Breviari di Marti, 14th-15th century
(photo credit: Wikipedia).

 
I’ve had a lot of requests lately, especially since my interview on Carmelite Conversations, for more details on teaching children to pray. So I’ve decided to write a step-by-step post to help you create these meditations for your children or students.

I will walk you through a meditation I created for my boys. We’ll use the story of David and Goliath as a basis for this meditation, because everyone is familiar with it.

You can write a meditation for your kids without first praying over the Scripture passage yourself. I was making a Bible-based curriculum for the boys for a few years before I realized how akin it was to Christian meditation. At that point, I tried meditating on the Scripture passage first. What happened?

The lesson became more personal. I was more excited about it. My kids and I were then focusing on the same things in our spiritual lives. How cool is that? I taught with more enthusiasm and gained a deeper connection with them.
 Step 1: Read and Meditate on the story yourselfSo, find a Bible and read I Kings 17. This is a long story, so I encourage you to read it outside your prayer time. You don’t want to spend all your time with God reading. You want to spend your time in conversation with Him.

Then set aside about thirty minutes for prayer, alone in a quiet place where no one will interrupt you. Place yourself in God’s presence. Ask the Holy Spirit to guide your meditation.

Read the rest at  Contemplative Homeschool.

Honoring St. Francis de Sales, the Patron Saint of Writers

Today is the feast day of St. Francis de Sales (1567-1622).  Francis de Sales was canonized in 1665.  St. Francis de Sales was known both for his medium as well as his message.  St. Francis de Sales was named a doctor of the Church by Pope Blessed Pius IX in 1877 for works like “An Introduction to a Devout Life”.   

In 1924, Pope Pius XII  proclaimed St. Francis de Sales the patron saint of writers and journalists (and now bloggers) since he extensively used media (flyers and books in his spiritual direction and his apologetics to convert Calvinists in the region.   During his missionary work in Switzerland, Francis de Sales was able to help up to 70,000 people return to the faith.  Aside from his prolific wring, St. Francis de Sales was known for his concern for writing with truth and charity.  Hence, he is also considered a patron for Christian Unity. 


 Through your prayers, St. Francis de Sales, I ask for your intercession as I attempt to bring the written word to the world. Let us pray that God takes me in the palm of His hand and inspires my creativity and inspires my success. St. Francis de Sales, you understand the dedication required in this profession. Pray for God to inspire and allow ideas to flow. In His name, let my words reflect my faith for others to read. Amen.

10 ways dads can help their children grow in holiness

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Today is my dad’s 75th birthday. I’ve been thinking about my relationship with him a lot lately, especially while writing a chapter on fathers in my upcoming book, Trusting God with St. Therese. Louis Martin was St. Therese’s prime example of God’s character. God made all human fathers to be mediators between Himself and their children. Fathers are the priests of their family.
Here are 10 ways dads can help their children grow in holiness.
Practice authoritative parenting.
Authoritative dads are firm, but affectionate. They discipline when their kids break the rules. They show mercy when their kids are repentant. They kiss owies when moms aren’t available.Love and respect your wife.
Fathers represent God in their families. Mothers represent the Church. Lay down your life for your wife. Tell her you love her often–in front of the kids. Never tolerate a child’s disrespect for her.Be humble.
Don’t pretend you have all the answers. Any kid above 10 knows it isn’t true. Admit your mistakes. Apologize. Take your whole family to Confession.
Read the rest at Contemplative Homeschool.

Bible verses for your kids (and you!) to memorize

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Reading back over some old posts recently, I realized I had promised to share with you some of the Bible verses we use for memory and copy work in our homeschool. Well, better late than never!

These verses are helpful for adults to know by heart as well as children. They teach about virtue, the importance of prayer, God’s character, and other aspects of the spiritual life.

Over the past several years, our family has  experienced the Bible as unit studies. Reading chronologically through the Golden Children’s Bible, I look for themes that can help us bring other subjects into our study of Scripture. (See more details on my homeschooling method here.)

I choose a verse for memorization and handwriting practice. Sometimes the verse comes right from the story. Other times I search through a concordance or consult my memory for a verse that encapsulates one of the themes we are considering.

Read more at Contemplative Homeschool..

Why do you have inordinate attachments?

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The Golden Calf by Tissot

 

Have you discerned what you are too attached to? Are you ready to begin working on those inordinate attachments? Let’s take the first step together, by looking at the reasons we are attached to things other than God.
 Why am I doing this?
This week I sent family members a copy of the family tree I created for my dad. Genealogy is a favorite hobby of mine. One relative emailed back that he was too bored with it even to finish the first page. “Can you explain to me why this interests you?” he asked. “I just don’t get it.”

We emailed back and forth a bit as I told him how I loved family and history. I still don’t think my answers satisfied him.

I would not have written about this, except that the genealogy bug hit me again. It’s been a while since I’ve looked at my mom’s family, I thought. I’ll just do a quick search to see if there’s anything new. Before long, I had spent all the time I should have been writing my book (and more) researching my ancestors. I began asking myself the same question. Why am I doing this? What am I really getting out of it?

Continue reading at Contemplative Homeschool.

A Gospel Reflection

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Today’s Gospel: John 1:35-42
It is amazing, really, that John’s disciples simply hear their teacher announce that Jesus is “the Lamb of God” and they follow Him, without question, without speaking a word. They are on a journey, so they do not cling to John possessively but let go to continue their search for God. These men are hungry for God and they are open, recognizing the light when they see it.
These former followers of John cannot even answer Jesus when He asks them, “What do you seek?” They probably don’t have a clue what they are really seeking: they simply know in their deepest selves that He is who John says He is—the Lamb of God—and that is enough for them. They are seekers of the truth. Yet they cannot articulate that fact,  so instead they answer with another mundane question, “Where are you staying?” Even that question is not answered because Jesus basically says, “Well, if you trust me, if you want to follow me and learn from me as my disciple, come, and you will  see.”
Andrew, of the two former disciples of John, fetches his brother Simon, not to see the Lamb of God, as John calls Jesus, but to come and see the Messiah, the Christ. The man who will be called Cephas, Peter, the man who becomes the rock, the first pope, this man comes because his brother trusted his inner heart, saw, heard and  had the courage to act when he knew he had encountered the truth.

PONDER:

Have you ever had a defining moment when you knew, without a doubt, that it was God calling you to drop everything and step out to follow His leading?

PRAY:

Oh Lord, open my eyes and open my ears to hear and recognize each truth as You show it to me. Give me the humility to let go of former things and follow you without fear into the unknown, deeper into a more intimate union with You.
Copyright 2014 Melanie Jean Juneau

http://melaniejeanjuneau.wordpress.com/2014/01/04/a-gospel-reflection-for-sabbath-moments/

Forgiveness and the word "As"

Forgiveness and the Lord’s Prayer

Of course, I could have written the title of this post the other way, but forgiveness seems to be the main lesson God is trying to get through my thick, red-haired head these days.

Without any kind of a prayer life, how can we accomplish the least of the tasks in our daily lives, much less forgiveness of another.  Reflecting on the Lord’s Prayer, I am completely in awe at how perfectly the words are, I know, consider the author.  Jesus taught the apostles this prayer which covers all bases in a very short and simple way.  But it also puts us to task in a very blunt and severe way in the forgiveness department; He will forgive us, AS we forgive others around us…ouch!

“As”
Now, we all remember the Clinton days when he fought the infidelity accusations with an idiotic argument on the meaning of the word “is”.  He wanted to escape the reality of his marital sinfulness with a present/past tense wording.  How truly petty and evil could you get?  A lie is a lie and the truth is the truth…past, present, or in the future.  His intentions, responsibility, and actions were the true evidence of the sin he committed and continued to commit in his lies to his family, himself, and the entire world!  No single word, in his case, could ever clear him of his mortal sin.

OK, so on to the word “as” in the prayer of our Lord: “and forgive us our trespasses, AS we forgive those who trespass against us.”

Now, has a single word ever struck such a difficult…near impossible note?  Our God and Creator forgives us AS only He can in His inconceivable nature, but we must follow His lead with each other. Forgiving each other is the charitable thing to do in all cases of human interaction…AS our heavenly father offers the forgiveness to us.  In some cases, this is easy to offer and feel good about; has there been a time or a case that this is true?  It truly feels good to let these feelings go and clear the slate for a new beginning.  But there are those certain instances that forgiveness is much more trying.  Forgiveness is not an emotion, it is a gift and a decision made each and every day to forgive and let go of anger, disappointment, and resentment.  If extended, and received, it is a blessings AS we know it in God’s loving forgiveness.

Jesus intentionally made this little, tiny word carry a heavy responsibility to the world.  In the Catechism of the Catholic Church, #2842 talks about how it “is not unique in Jesus’ teaching:  “You, therefore, must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.”; “Be merciful, even as your Father is merciful”; “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another.” (Mt 5:48; Lk6:36;Jn13:34)

Love thy neighbor AS thyself, treat your brother AS you would be treated, we can’t ignore this word…really.  How can we ask for forgiveness if we are unable to forgive another?  How can we ask for something we are unwilling to give?  How can ignore our heavenly Father’s request?  It’s not a suggestion, it’s not a favor, it’s not something intended to be selective either.  God wants us to do as He asks all the time!

A new year a fast approaching, and though I am not a resolution maker, I am going to work on being a better forgiver-er in 2014 with lots of prayer and conversations with our Lord along the way.

How about you?