Write In Between

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Writer's Wednesday - Julian of Norwich

whooops! missed posting this yesterday...

Mercy is a compassionate quality. It belongs to motherhood in tender love.  Grace is worthy of praise, too, because it is a quality that belongs to God's magnificent power in the same love.  Mercy protects, endures, energizes, and heals, and is every tenderness of love.  Grace is mercy's helper.  It raises, rewards, and always exceeds what our love and labor deserve.

Grace is evidence of God's amazing abundance, and we see through it that this divine generosity emanates from God's kingly authority and wonderful kindnesses. Grace comes from this abundant, unending consolation.  Grace alters our shameful falling into a  high, honorable rising, and grace transforms our sorrowful dying into holy, joyful living.

---Julian of Norwich, Revelations.  

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Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Rosary Carnival!

Yours truly is participating in the Blog Carnival dedicated to the Rosary over at Behold Your Mother. Check it out here!

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Breast Cancer Awareness

It's breast cancer awareness month.

I'm afraid I'm much too aware. I've just returned from my own annual mammogram and check up--which is always a bittersweet returning to the scene of the crime when you are a 12 year veteran b.c. survivor like I am. I'm also in the throes of trying to sort out my own feelings of being survivor who is trying to stand alongside her mother who is a 7 year survivor, but who recently heard the words we all dread: reoccurance.

Still we stand. Still we fight. Still we pray. And we ask for your help and prayers. Not just this month, but every day.

I'm no celebrity. I have very little name recognition outside of a few Catholic writing circles. But I have to admire any woman, no matter her creed, who has taken the time to stand and shout and fight this dreaded disease that tears at our hearts, our humanity, and our femininity. A few of the famous faces are here. They valiantly take this fight to the streets of the world.
Make a donation here.

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Writer's Wednesday -- Alice Von Hildebrand


Whereas few men are called upon to become priests, all women, without exception, are called upon to be mothers. The saintly Cardinal Mindzenty has written a book about motherhood which--thanks to the inspiration and example given him by his holy mother--contains the most sublime reflections ever made about this topic. Indeed, "maternity is God's tenderness." Maternity is the great female charism which corresponds to the charism of priesthood granted to some men. God has decided that the two charism are not compatible.

In her book, The Eternal Woman, Gertrud von le Fort writes: "To be a mother, to feel maternally, means to turn especially to the helpless, to incline lovingly and helpfully to every small and weak thing upon the earth." The diabolical work that has taken place since the legalization of abortion is that it has destroyed, in those tragic women who have allowed their child to be murdered, their sense for the sacredness of maternity. Abortion not only murders the innocent; it spiritually murders women. Those who devote their loving attention to these victims of our decadent society know that the wound created in their souls is so deep that only God's grace can heal it. The very soul of the woman is meant to be maternal. Once this subline calling has been trampled upon, such women become "unsexed"; they are "sick unto death." Maternity is a sublime calling, and even though man's ungrateful heart often forget's his mother's sufferings to bring him into the world and her endless devotion in order to bring him up, it is well-known that when a man faces death on the battlefield, his last words, his last thoughts are often directed to his mother. Dying soldiers scream, "Mother."

---Alice von Hildebrand, PhD, The Privilege of Being a Woman.

[Photo credit.]

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Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Writer's Wednesday -- Lisa O. Engelhardt

Hang It On The Cross

If you have a secret sorrow,

a burden or a loss,

An aching need for healing...

Hang It On The Cross.

If worry steals your sleep

and makes you turn and toss,

If your heart is feeling heavy...

Hang It On The Cross.

Every obstacle to faith

or doubt you come across,

Every prayer unanswered...

Hang It On The Cross.

For Christ has borne

our brokenness

and dearly paid the cost

To turn our trials to triumpn...

Hanging On The Cross.

----Lisa O. Engelhardt

Lisa is a writer of books for children and adults, often publishing through Abbey Press.

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The Feast of Our Lady of the Rosary - Today!

Our Lady of the Rosary...
...is also known as Our Lady of Victory!
Find out why here.

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Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Falling for Mary

Dashing out of the rain, I hastened down the wet chapel steps trying not to be late for midday Mass. Seconds later, missing two of the steps, I landed with a thud in the narthex. Excruciating pain in my ankle momentarily blinded me to the reality of where I was sprawled on the floor… I lay at Mary’s feet, as she looked down at me from the Lourdes grotto built into the alcove.

I whimpered a prayer: Here I am again at your feet, Mary, and, as usual, it’s not pretty. Please help me!

Three months ago I had my hip replaced. This was fall might be a serious setback in my recovery.

Remarkably, I took comfort in the fact I took my fall in front of Mary. (Of course, I realize her statue had no power of its own to help me, but its presence reminded me of the Mother who did.) My meager prayer was heard. With faith in her maternal protection, I assessed the damage, and slowly stood, hobbling into the last pew. After Mass I limped back to my car and drove myself to the hospital for x-rays.

I sat in the ER contemplating my crash at Mary’s feet. This was not the first time I have found myself looking to her in desperation.

This points to my thesis: all of us should fall for Mary. Not that I’m suggesting personal accidents, but rather, we should fall in love with Mary, and not wait for tragedy to strike before we invite Mary into our lives.

As a younger woman, I avoided the suggestion that Mary should be a part of my life, or worse, a role model for me. To my way thinking, with a feminism formed-by-the-culture and not necessarily by the gospel, Mary was a weak role model for me. Despite this bias, I never doubted Mary’s role in God’s plan. I just didn’t include her in any of mine.

Back then, for me, Mary was more of a historical character—necessary for God to take on flesh—an iconic reminder of the Jesus story. I knew she showed up at Christmas and at Calvary, but I didn’t appreciate much beyond that.

My Catholic education taught me Mary was the mother of Jesus, the mother to the Church, and a mother to me. I accepted the first two titles fine, but I denied she had any connection with me. I had no “relationship” with her, other than praying the “Hail Mary,” and an occasional rosary.

As a teenager, I had a dynamic conversion to Christ. But even with a growing faith, outside influences still swayed me. I confused staid depictions of Mary with the truth about her nature as a human person brimming with grace. I was influenced by prevalent skepticisms about Mary. My false impressions were not rooted in Scripture or Church teaching.

Two events in my adult life drew me toward love of Mary. The first was my first pregnancy. At the time, I was so sick I vomited around the clock. My life was in tatters. My only prayer was “Lord, help me!”

Jesus answered my prayers by sending me his Mother, armed with the “girl talk” and strong feminine connection I needed. And I was desperate enough to accept Mary’s help and example.

It wasn’t pretty, and I often faltered, but for the first time, I asked Mary to pray for me.

Over those nine months, I began to see what was missing. I traced Mary’s life through the scriptures, discovering the many lessons she had for me. The rosary and its meditations on the life of Christ and Mary became sources of inspiration.

I no longer kept Mary on a distant shelf—like a statue—now she became a living, holy presence in my life. She never diminished my relationship with Jesus; she only increased it. And I began to trust the wisdom of the Catholic Church—not outside opinions—about Mary and Marian devotions.

Mary took me in—the one who denied her for so long—mothering me as I entered motherhood, forgiving my years of neglect. I trusted her. She wanted the best for me: faith, hope, and love in the Holy Trinity. After all, she is Daughter of the Father, Mother to the Son, and Spouse of the Holy Spirit.

Ten years later, a second event deepened my relationship with Mary. At 36, as a mother of three small children, I was diagnosed with breast cancer. I faced my own kind of Calvary.

Recall John’s Gospel:

[At Calvary,]…standing by the cross of Jesus [was Mary]… When Jesus saw his mother, and the disciple whom he loved standing near, he said to his mother, "Woman, behold, your son!" Then he said to the disciple, "Behold, your mother!" And from that hour the disciple took her to his own home. (John 19:25-27.)

Mary, who stood at the foot of her Son’s cross, and later embraced his broken body, now stood by me. I was broken. It wasn’t pretty. But there she was… filling me with her gifts of grace-filled power… a mother at Calvary beside the child she loves.

Twelve years later, I still take my cue from Jesus’ words, and the action of St. John: I have made a place for Mary in my home. More important, I have embraced being Mary’s daughter.

My falling for Mary continues… I still have messy stuff in my life that needs cleaning up. I still fall and Mary picks me up and dusts me off. With her help, I’m becoming a better woman, a stronger Christian.

The ankle x-rays reported a sprain. No other damage; none to my newly replaced hip joint. You could say that I had the best possible fall, given my circumstances. I believe Mary had a hand in that.

If you haven’t already, let yourself fall for Mary, our Mother. But don’t just drop by “by accident,” call on her today!

©2008 Patricia W. Gohn

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Writer's Wednesday -- Benedict J. Groeschel, CFR

When we say we believe in God, we plunge ourselves into the most profound mystery. A mystery is something we know exists, but we are not able to comprehend what it means completely. God is the greatest of all mysteries because of His nature, His existence from all eternity, His infinite power, and His ability to be aware of all things great and small. Of all the people in the ancient world, the Jews had the most profound knowledge of God because He revealed Himself to Abraham and to others in the Old Testament. Jesus, however, revealed things about God that the Jewish scriptures could not reveal. Jesus revealed God as our loving Father, the one who welcomes back the Prodigal Son, the one who sends His beloved Son into the world to save our souls. When we believe, we cast ourselves into the mystery of God, but at the same time into the mystery of God's love. To accept the mystery of God is to pass beyond the commonplace, the limited, the narrow-minded. But we must live up to our belief by not putting anything in the world before God. Then we can love others and enjoy in moderation all the good things He has given us because we have put our faith in God first. Putting things in proper order is what gives people peace.

-----Fr. Benedict Groeschel, CFR, Praying With the Creed: Meditations from the Oratory.

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