My family . . . the blessings of my life!

My family . . . the blessings of my life!
Sean, Mackenzie, Pat (hubby), me, Jeneah

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Great article: On the Birth of Mary

On the Birth of Mary
Reflections on Our Lady's Birthday
by Sarah Reinhard in Faith on Tuesday, September 08, 2009 6:00 AM

This year, on Mary’s birthday, I’ll be recuperating from a Labor Day weekend involving a backhoe and at least one cookout and probably tomato canning.

Labor Day seems like the perfect backdrop for a reflection of the Blessed Mother, though. It’s a chance to stop and honor the work and toil we do in our everyday lives, women and men.
We can look to Mary’s example in the house at Nazareth and see a loving model for a fresh approach to what was dull and routine before. We can think of the miracle of her birth—not to mention the birth of her Son—and open our eyes to the miracles that are around us in the bustle of traffic, the piles of laundry, and the demands of children.

The Power of Prayer
Saint Anne’s heart was broken because of her infertility. Saint Joachim was ridiculed at the Temple and even spent forty days fasting in the desert as penance for his childlessness.

All they wanted was a child.

They had lived a good, holy, blameless life. Back then, children were seen not just as a blessing, but as a sign of how much God loved you; if you didn’t have children, you had obviously done something wrong.

I can’t separate myself from the women I’ve known who have struggled with infertility. I think of Anne, alone in her house, and I see so many other faces. I see the red-rimmed eyes and the desire, feel the emptiness, wonder with her ... when? Why? Why?

Anne and Joachim did not give up. It would have been so easy to throw up their hands, to snub the whispering neighbors, to withdraw into their own misery.

Instead, they offered their pain to God in prayer. They remained open, even when everything looked hopeless.

And in old age, at a time when their friends were grandparents (or perhaps even great grandparents), Anne and Joachim were rewarded.

God Asks Great Things…of ALL of Us

Having a child is no small thing. It changes you. But to have a child who is to be the Mother of God…

Anne and Joachim knew their child would be special. Mary’s birth was preceded by angelic visits to each of her parents, and they had promised to dedicate her to God.

But did they know?

We might not feel like God has given us quite the important task He gave Anne and Joachim or other saints. Who am I? I often wonder to myself. Just another woman, just another mom, just another worker.

Except that’s not true. God made each of us for a purpose, and we are the only ones who can fulfill that mission in life. He’s asking something great of each of us, and we can look to Mary for help in following God’s will toward that purpose.

I often have to remind myself that the really important things God has in store for me don’t need fireworks or flashing lights. I might not even realize the impact I’m having.

Mary wasn’t born in a palace, and neither was Jesus. Their lives didn’t follow the pattern we might have chosen, if we were planning out the path for “Mother of God” and “God made Man.”
God had a better plan. We’re all better for it.

A Purpose for Life
At an early age, Mary was dedicated to God. Her mother made sure that Mary took her first steps at the Temple. At age three, we’re told, she was taken to live at the Temple with other consecrated virgins. She had to leave at age twelve, the age of womanhood, because she would be ritually unclean.

She married Joseph, so that she was protected, safe, taken care of, though “the deal” was that she would remain a virgin. Then the plan took an unexpected turn. Gabriel showed up and announced something so far beyond what anyone could have imagined that I think Mary must have just gasped.

Her “yes” continues to inspire us today. I look to it when I’m feeling like the world is too much or that maybe God had someone else in mind for my life.

If a teenage girl can say “yes” to being the Mother of God, then maybe I can say “yes” to the clean-up of a Labor Day work weekend. If she can keep saying “yes” even as she saw where it would take her Son, then maybe I can “yes” my way through splashtime in the bathtub.
If she can hold her Son after standing at the foot of the Cross and still say “yes,” I shouldn’t even hesitate to put down my gripes and pick up my own cross with a smile on my face.

—Sarah Reinhard writes and blogs about Mary, motherhood, and more
at Just Another Day of Catholic Pondering.


When Bush spoke to students, Democrats investigated, held hearings

When Bush spoke to students, Democrats investigated, held hearings

By: Byron YorkChief Political Correspondent09/08/09 7:11 AM EDT

The controversy over President Obama's speech to the nation's schoolchildren will likely be over shortly after Obama speaks today at Wakefield High School in Arlington, Virginia. But when President George H.W. Bush delivered a similar speech on October 1, 1991, from Alice Deal Junior High School in Washington DC, the controversy was just beginning. Democrats, then the majority party in Congress, not only denounced Bush's speech -- they also ordered the General Accounting Office to investigate its production and later summoned top Bush administration officials to Capitol Hill for an extensive hearing on the issue.

Unlike the Obama speech, in 1991 most of the controversy came after, not before, the president's school appearance. The day after Bush spoke, the Washington Post published a front-page story suggesting the speech was carefully staged for the president's political benefit. "The White House turned a Northwest Washington junior high classroom into a television studio and its students into props," the Post reported.

With the Post article in hand, Democrats pounced. "The Department of Education should not be producing paid political advertising for the president, it should be helping us to produce smarter students," said Richard Gephardt, then the House Majority Leader. "And the president should be doing more about education than saying, 'Lights, camera, action.'"

Democrats did not stop with words. Rep. William Ford, then chairman of the House Education and Labor Committee, ordered the General Accounting Office to investigate the cost and legality of Bush's appearance. On October 17, 1991, Ford summoned then-Education Secretary Lamar Alexander and other top Bush administration officials to testify at a hearing devoted to the speech. "The hearing this morning is to really examine the expenditure of $26,750 of the Department of Education funds to produce and televise an appearance by President Bush at Alice Deal Junior High School in Washington, DC," Ford began. "As the chairman of the committee charged with the authorization and implementation of education programs, I am very much interested in the justification, rationale for giving the White House scarce education funds to produce a media event."

Unfortunately for Ford, the General Accounting Office concluded that the Bush administration had not acted improperly. "The speech itself and the use of the department's funds to support it, including the cost of the production contract, appear to be legal," the GAO wrote in a letter to Chairman Ford. "The speech also does not appear to have violated the restrictions on the use of appropriations for publicity and propaganda."

That didn't stop Democratic allies from taking their own shots at Bush. The National Education Association denounced the speech, saying it "cannot endorse a president who spends $26,000 of taxpayers' money on a staged media event at Alice Deal Junior High School in Washington, D.C. -- while cutting school lunch funds for our neediest youngsters."

Lost in all the denouncing and investigating was the fact that Bush's speech itself, like Obama's today, was entirely unremarkable. "Block out the kids who think it's not cool to be smart," the president told students. "If someone goofs off today, are they cool? Are they still cool years from now, when they're stuck in a dead end job. Don't let peer pressure stand between you and your dreams.


Dedication to Jesus
Lord Jesus Christ, take away my freedom, my memory, my understanding, and my will. All that I have and cherish you have given me. I surrender it all to be guided by your will. Your love and your grace are wealth enough for me. Give me these, Lord Jesus, and I ask for nothing more. Amen.
St. Ignatius Loyola (1491-1556)

St. Teresa of Avila
“For mental prayer…is nothing more than an intimate sharing between friends; it means taking time frequently to be alone with Him who we know loves us. The important thing is not to think much but to love much…Love is not great delight but desire to please God in everything.”

St. Thérèse of Lisieux
"...So I sought in holy Scripture some idea of what this life I wanted would be, and I read these words: 'Whosoever is a little one, come to me.' It is your arms, Jesus, that are the lift to carry me to heaven. And so there is no need for me to grow up; I must stay little and become less and less."

My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord, my spirit rejoices in God my Savior for he has looked with favor on his lowly servant. From this day all generations will call me blessed: the Almighty has done great things for me, and holy is his Name. He has mercy on those who fear him in every generation. He has shown the strength of his arm, he has scattered the proud in their conceit. He has cast down the mighty from their thrones, and has lifted up the lowly. He has filled the hungry with good things, and the rich he has sent away empty. He has come to the help of his servant Israel for he has remembered his promise of mercy, the promise he made to our fathers, to Abraham and his children forever.