Friday, September 28, 2012

Awesome Catholic Working Moms and The Year of Faith

Next month begins the start of our Catholic Year of Faith. Pope Benedict XVI is launching this initiative to inspire us to share our Catholic Faith with others and to personally grow closer to God.

Now, my wonderful Catholic Mothers who are Working Outside the Home in a secular job, this post is especially for you. I have been thinking today about how our jobs provide us with a very special challenge and an opportunity to be a Catholic presence and a blessing to our co-workers who we encounter on a daily basis. Not to exclude mom's working in Catholic bookstores, Catholic schools, Churches, or other Catholic institutions, or mom's staying at home and taking care of your children, in fact, I wish I could trade places with you. However, I'm talking about evangelizing today! For me it seems easier to show off your Catholicism when you are sitting in circle time surrounded by the women in your Catholic Mom's prayer group, meeting the other good Holy Catholic Mothers in your Catholic homeschooling co-op group, or hanging out with your 100% supportive and fully practicing Catholic family. Yet some of us are single moms. Some of us are married to non-Catholics. Some of us have teenagers or other family members that may have decided long ago that the Catholic Church is not worth their time. And then some of us just spend the majority of our day surrounded by non believers just trying to survive the daily grind of life. People who are obsessed with their new I-Phones, the stock market, who is going to win the Big Game this weekend, what Lady Gaga is wearing today, and who is performing on Dancing With the Stars this season. When your daily peer group is not religious, there is always a little bit of discomfort with religion. I can tell you personally that I don't like to draw attention to myself. I want to sit quietly alone and do my thing. I do not want to make others uncomfortable, and I definitely do not want to be singled out as some kind of judgemental Holy Roller. However, it is growing more and more evident that at some point you need to foster your courage and convictions and just be who you are. I am getting better at this, but have a lot of work to do. I pray to the Holy Spirit for help with this.

Here are some small steps I have taken to be a positive Catholic influence in my workplace. Maybe this will encourage you in some way at your job. Or better yet, perhaps you can give me some additional ideas and inspiration.

Please share your thoughts!

Here are a few ways that I quietly evangelize and share my faith while at work:
1) I have worn a miraculous medal of Our Lady that I had blessed by a priest almost everyday for the last several years. (The chain it was on recently broke from wear... I really need to get a replacement.)
2) I put a pro-life bumper sticker on my car. "Children are a Gift from God." (And the 3 carseats crammed in there, and the tons of toys and religious books and rosaries scattered around I am sure make an impression.) Hundreds of people in the parking lot see this every day. Who knows what they are thinking? I am going to donate some $ to 2 local Catholic radio stations next and get some of their stickers on my car soon.
3) I finally got the guts to put up a Holy Card of St. Gianna Molla on my cube wall. (What an awesome pro-life, working-Mother, modern day Saint! St. Gianna, pray for us!)
4) I make the sign of the cross and say grace before all my meals at work and home. (Have you ever had to do this in front of your executive VPs at a business lunch meeting? It's a little uncomfortable.)
5) This goes without saying, but as a Working Catholic Mom, don't be a near occasion of sin for your fellow male co-workers. It's great to look feminine, but don't dress slutty. I only wear pants or long skirts these days.
6) Don't gossip.
7) Don't use bad language, swear, or step into inappropriate yet interesting conversations. (This can be challenging, and is a reminder to myself to be stronger in these areas!)
8) I don't hide the fact that I do not eat meat on Fridays. Just today, my boss was asking for lunch recommendations for our team meeting for tomorrow. I asked her to order a "non-meat" pizza via email. She responded and asked if I was a vegetarian or if I just preferred my pizza meatless. I said, "I just don't eat meat on Fridays." (If she mentions it further, I think I'll explain that I do this as a religious observance, "Like Lent, but all year around." or something to that effect.)
9) I try to go to Mass during lunch when I am really stressed out. It's a really great thing to do when I get a chance to actually do it.
10) When someone shares something about a family member or friend in trouble or having health issues, I let them know, "I'll keep them in my prayers" (and then I actually do it, and try to remember their name and inquire about the individual later). I have been thinking about carrying around a little "prayer notebook" to keep track of names of random people. So many people need prayers for so many reasons.

So, how do you bring your Catholic presence to your work? What areas can you push yourself to do more of to bring in the Year of Faith?

Have a great day and thanks for visiting!

Friday, September 14, 2012

Observations from my 1st Bible Study Session

I mentioned earlier that I signed up for Jeff Cavins', The Bible Timeline Catholic Bible Study. This is going to be interesting.

Here are some things I learned and observed from our 1st Session:

1. I never knew that the liturgy readings followed the NAB Bible. (OK, Duh, right? But nobody ever told me. I don't even own an NAB Bible. In fact, I admit, I don't even know what NAB stands for, but I'll look it up as soon as I'm done with this. New American Bible?)

2. The Catechism of the Catholic Church (the one promulgated by Pope John Paul II) uses quotes from the RSV (Revised Standard Version) and the NRSV (New Revised Standard Version).

3. We were encouraged to highlight passages in our Bibles (with colored pencils being one suggestion,because they don't bleed through the pages) and to make notes with a very fine ball point pen in the margins, as a "2-way dialogue" with God. I admit, I get REALLY uncomfortable with this... I don't like writing in my books. However, I decided to give it a try anyway. Hopefully I will not regret marking up my brand new leather Bible!

4. The lack of interest and knowledge of the Catechism by many of the individuals present was mind boggling. While not everyone there was anti-Catechism, I was shocked at some of the comments:

   "This is boring..."

   "What's the point of this thing, anyway? I don't get it..."

   "This just all seems like... legalese to me."

Some of these women, didn't know their faith very well.  (Which is great that they were there to learn, so I hope they stick it out!) One or more are even involved in grade school CCD, which really kind of scares me. As parents, we really need to take a very active role in our childrens' faith formation. Even with the best of intentions, you cannot guarantee that your children are going to be taught authentic Catholic teachings.  We MUST be involved when it comes to our kids and if you have had a poor faith upbringing, I suggest that you learn WITH your kids and take responsibility for catching up. It is never too late. Start with the Baltimore Catechism #1, easy obtainable online or at a Catholic bookstore, and read through it with your children. You will quickly learn the basics and it is very empowering.

5. There are 2 different creation accounts in Genesis. The first in Genesis 1 is chronological:
(On Day 1, God said "Let there be light." and He creates Day and Night,
 on Day 2 the firmament called Heaven,
 on Day 3 dry land called Earth, gathered waters called Seas, and vegetation,
 on Day 4 the Sun, Moon and Stars for signs and seasons,
 on Day 5 swarms of creatures, fish, etc. to fill the waters, and birds to fill the sky,
 on Day 6, animals and "beasts of the earth" and MAN and WOMAN,
 on Day 7, He Rests. )

The 2nd account, in Genesis 2, is from a different perspective: In the beginning, there are "no plants of the field yet on earth", and God formed MAN out of dust and breathed life into him and he became a living soul. Then the garden of Eden was planted. It seemed as if the man was alone for a very long time. "Original Solitude". God wanted to make him a helpmate. Animals were formed and brought forth for Adam to name. Nothing was fit for man. Next, Adam was put to sleep, and Eve was formed from Adam's rib.
"This at last is bone of my bones
and flesh of my flesh." 
I am having a little bit of a struggle reconciling these 2 different accounts into "the Big Picture", but I'm jumping ahead of Session #1 already, so I have some more praying, reading and researching to do until I find something that makes sense.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Words Cannot Express

It feels like we are in the End Times.

May God bless the souls that perished in this attack.

May God bless our Country.

May God bless our Unborn.

May God bless our Religious Freedom.

May God help us be true to our Catholic Faith in thoughts, words, and deeds in this age of utter confusion.

Sancta Maria, Mater Dei, ora pro nobis peccatoribus,
nunc et in hora mortis nostrae. Amen.

Ipsa Conteret Caput Tuum!!!

Saturday, September 8, 2012

A Prayer and an Indulgence for you before Reading your Bible

I signed up for Jeff Cavin's The Great Adventure Bible Timeline Catholic Bible Study at my local parish. I am so excited to delve into this intensive Bible Study.

Here is an awesome prayer I just read while looking through some of the course material.  I think I am going to print this out on business cards and pass it out to the women in my study. I would like to pray this before I read my Bible. It is a prayer from Origen, one of our early Church Fathers who lived in the years 184 to 253. (Isn't it so great to be Catholic?!)

Lord, inspire me to read your Scriptures and to meditate upon them day and night. I beg you to give me real understanding of what I need, that I in turn may put its precepts into practice. Yet, I know that understanding and good intentions are worthless, unless rooted in your graceful love. So I ask that the words of Scripture may also be not just signs on a page, but channels of grace into my heart. Amen.
Also, I wanted to add that there is an indulgence that was granted by Pope Leo XIII in 1898 to all the faithful who "shall read for at least a quarter of an hour the books of the Sacred Scripture with the veneration due to the Divine Word and as spiritual reading, an indulgence of 300 days". (Preces et Pia opera, 645.)

So, next time you are going to read the bible for 15 minutes, remember Pope Leo XIII, and do so with the intention of obtaining your indulgence.

God Bless!