So I’ve been experiencing something I can’t really explain lately, something I can’t quite put my finger on, but it’s there and it’s real. I’ve gone to two meetings of our Cornerstone Retreat core team — we will be the ones who plan and present the retreat to the women of our parish next year — and for some inexplicable reason, I just don’t feel like I belong in the group. Now, this is not me being humble or me looking for encouragement or me doing anything except sitting in our spiritual formation meetings feeling totally and utterly disconnected. I have had nothing to say at these meetings — nada, zip, zilch, zero — and if you know me at all, then you know that this is serious. I can make conversation with a post, so to suddenly find myself with nothing to say leaves me, well, speechless. Read more
You can check out my interview with Tony Rossi on Christopher Closeup by clicking HERE. It will take you to the main page where you will be able to download not only the podcast featuring yours truly, but, among others, podcasts with Passion of the Christ actor Jim Caviezel, CNN Vatican analyst Delia Gallagher, and former American Idol finalist Phil Stacey. Kind of cool company to be hanging with, even if it is only on a Web site. (I have to take my thrills where I can get them.) Thanks to Tony for the radio interview and the podcast.
Dennis spotted this one on a car yesterday while driving down Delaware Avenue in Albany, and it was too good not to share:
What if the Hokey Pokey IS what it’s all about?
Food for thought…
OK, yesterday I rambled on and on about balancing the spiritual and secular, and then today, voilà, a blog reader emailed me about a Catholic New Service story where Pope Benedict XVI talks about the same thing — sort of. Turns out the pope and I are on the same wave length, which should be very scary news for B16. A shout out to Father Mike for the heads up on this. Here’s a snippet of the CNS story by Carol Glatz:
Christians must strike a fruitful balance in their lives by including both prayer and action, Pope Benedict XVI said.
People of faith can “run the risk of reducing themselves to being one-dimensional” either by retreating from the world to dedicate themselves to God and prayer or by totally immersing themselves in the world to help others, the pope said during his June 18 general audience in St. Peter’s Square.
Instead, believers must look for “a middle ground” by imitating Christ, whose life was dedicated to contemplation and action, he said.
If you want to read the official text of today’s papal audience, click HEREto go to the Vatican Web site.
Why, you may ask, is someone who writes about Christian spirituality using a Taoist Yin Yang symbol as art? Well, the easy answer is that it’s all part of the Tao of Mary. My years of dabbling in Eastern philosophy still cling — in a very minimal sort of way — to the periphery of my spiritual life. Not because I’m looking for something outside the Christian Way, but because I find so many elements of Eastern spirituality to be a beautiful supplement to our own practices. The whole notion of Yin Yang — that opposing but complementary aspects of our lives can happily co-exist — is something so basic and, well, Christian, to me. We cannot separate our lives into individual and isolated boxes. Spirituality here, work there, exercise here. They have to overlap and exist in a kind of healthy tension. If they don’t, we end up with everything slipping to one side, figuratively speaking, and suddenly our Yin is left without a Yang, and that’s never good.
I first discovered the ability of Eastern practices to further my Western prayer when I learned Hatha yoga many years ago. Hatha is another Yin Yang sort of philosophy, focusing on the opposing energies of hot and cold, sun and moon. Hatha yoga is about preparing the physical body for a spiritual experience. Not necessarily something mystical but something beyond the norm, whether our “norm” is sitting in a chair with a remote control in hand or driving a car down the highway at 65 MPH with the radio blaring. Read more
In case anyone is wondering why I haven’t been blogging regularly — as if I’m that important — here’s the deal: It has been the craziest June ever. We seem to have at least two events double-booked for every night of the week and weekends. I cannot wait until Friday when school lets out, even if it means I’ll be working from home with all three children circling around me
Last Thursday, which is right around the time I last posted, we had four, count ‘em, four events on one night: baseball, Scouts, dance recital dress rehearsal, and a core team meeting for my retreat group. Since we are not in a position to hire a small staff to assist us, something had to give. We gave Scouts and the retreat meeting the old heave-ho and kept the other two because, when it came down to it, those were the commitments that most needed to be kept. Read more
So here we are, six sweaty but dedicated moms (I’m second from left), doing what we need to do to help our daughters become confident, well-rounded young women by taking them on a Girl Scout “Camporee.” No one told us that this particular camping trip was going to require more than 24 hours in sauna-like conditions in a woods infested with ticks — we had to pull the nasty little critters off of three out of six girls. The tick-to-girl ratio was not good, but we survived, even if we didn’t always do it happily.
Looking back, it was actually a lot of fun. The moms did a lot of laughing and the girls did a lot of learning. Actually, I think we all did quite a bit of learning on this outing. We learned that no matter how bad it sounds from the warnings on the label, DEET is our friend. And that’s coming from someone who never uses bug spray. I was dripping with DEET by Sunday morning and proud of it.
It is somewhat shocking to report the sudden and unexpected death of yet another influential Catholic writer, Father Paul Keenan, a wonderful New York priest who was both a successful Catholic radio personality and a prolific Catholic author. Father Paul was a fellow columnist for Catholic New York, and during the recent papal visit we joked about the fact that we are usually facing each other on those pages once a month.
Father Paul was most recently the host of the weekly inspirational radio program “As You Think” on The Catholic Channel on Sirius Satellite Radio, but he was perhaps best known for the 14 years he spent as co-host of “Religion on the Line” on WABC-AM Radio. I was lucky enough to be a guest of Father Paul’s on “Religion on the Line” back when my first book, Parenting a Grieving Child, came out. I had never done a radio show, no less a live, call-in show, but Fat Read more