Living the Hidden Years

Liturgically, we’re taking a brief breath in ordinary time.  We’ve lived the long wait of Advent, and Christmas has been celebrated and it’s trappings stored away – nativity sets snuggled in attic alcoves and ornaments stacked in garage bins. Read the rest…

Live in the Moment or Go Crazy

We have never needed the message in this video (below) more.

Our nation-and the world-are slowly grinding to a standstill in the wake of a virus we were barely aware of a few weeks ago. How quickly things change…it wasn’t part of my ‘plan’ this year to have my kids doing all schoolwork at home, my college son’s commencement canceled, all public Masses halted. I don’t even think it has totally sunk in, honestly. I’ve been wandering around in a daze, trying to figure out what to do next and where to get Lysol wipes and eggs. Read the rest…

St. Monica: Carrying the Family Cross

The canonized women who are mothers add to our altars a special kind of incense – a two-fold fragrance of motherhood, both natural and spiritual. The very definition of their sainthood reveals that the life of the soul was sacrosanct to them and that while they nurtured the physical life of their children, it was eternal life which they desired to impart above all. Read the rest…

My Father’s House: On the Sacredness of Our Places and Spaces

We pulled up to my childhood home in the middle of the night, the Wisconsin green shrouded in darkness. I immediately sensed all the summers of my childhood in the dim stillness as the screen door squeaked shut behind us. Whispering, I led five of my desert-dwelling children upstairs to the bedrooms, each step groaning with a familiar creak in the century-old bungalow.

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Heaven Begins Now: Elizabeth of the Trinity

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Young Elizabeth

Next month the Catholic galaxy will become a little brighter as the Church receives a new cluster of saints. Among the holy handful will be just one woman, a French Carmelite considered by Pope Saint John Paul II to be one the most influential mystics of his life.

Blessed Elizabeth of the Trinity was born as Elizabeth Catez, “Sabeth” to her friends, in 1880. She was a hot-tempered child with sometimes “furious eyes” whose father died while she was young, forcing her mother to move Sabeth and her younger sister from their home in Dijon to a smaller second-story flat. From her window, little Sabeth could look down into the garden of the Carmelite convent. Read the rest…

A Mom on Mount Carmel

Along_Camelback_Mountain_trail_September_2008I took a fascinating online class on the nature of Mystical Theology in the Church this Spring. What precious time I could carve out from my busy life as a mom six, I spent delving into the works of St. John of the Cross and meeting a new friend, a little Carmelite mystic named Blessed Elizabeth of the Trinity, often called a “spiritual sister” to St. Therese, the Little Flower. Late at night, huddled on the couch while the household slept, I read about the ascent of Mount Carmel, the famous allegory used by St. John of the Cross to describe the spiritual life, the journey of the soul’s toward union with God.

Our professor asked us to write our final paper on our own journey on this mystical mountain. He challenged us to reflect on how we could embrace the self-renunciation necessary to climb closer to the summit. After a few days of mulling this over mounds of laundry and miles of carpooling, here is what I came up with:

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