Saturday, April 30, 2016

After 49 years, I re-lit my baptismal candle today



49 years ago today, I was baptized at the Bethesda Naval Hospital Chapel, at one month old. My parents had given me the gift of natural life, and now they presented me for the gift of eternal life. In this second birth, I was born of water and the Spirit, and my baptismal candle, representing the Light of Christ, was lit for the first time. It was then carefully, lovingly wrapped and packed away.


I wish you could see this in person!
Beautiful three-dimentional images,
stunning detail, yellowed with age.



In the waters of Baptism, I died and rose with Christ. Original Sin was washed away, and my soul was infused with sanctifying grace, the very life of God Himself, without which I could not live in the presence of God, i.e., in Heaven. This baptism was no "symbolic reenactment", no simple "remembrance" of a Bible scene -- I had become, in fact, a new creation in Christ. My soul was literally cleansed and made holy, and I had become incorporated into the Mystical Body of Christ.

Though I was given the gift of supernatural life in abundance, I naturally retained concupiscence, which is the tendency to be drawn to sin. Concupiscence is the one effect of Adam's sin that remains with all of us, even the baptized. So, when life was lived, often in willful ignorance and self-love, and despite prompts and nudges from both the Lord and my Blessed Mother, I went my own way. I squandered the baptismal grace with which the Lord had so lavishly flooded my soul.

Baptism -- effecting a mark or "character" on my soul for all eternity, even an eternity in hell -- could not be repeated. And yet, I needed God's sanctifying grace to enter Heaven someday, as no mere human can survive in God's presence without it. How could I get it back?

Christ never leaves us orphans. He knew that if we sinned gravely, severing our friendship with Him, we would need access to His grace again. When we fall from grace by committing mortal sin, we come back through the Sacrament of Reconciliation (Confession). This is the cycle of redemption: Baptism, which is the ordinary means of salvation, then Confession when we choose evil and need restoration. 

So at 27 years old, when I finally learned and claimed my faith, I drove to my hometown two hours away and entered a Tucson confessional after at least 15 years away. I emerged reconciled, restored, and grace-filled, and I floated out into the sun-drenched parking lot with a spirit lighter than air!

Though I had wounded the Body of Christ through sin, my repentance, confession, penance, and prayers served to lift up and restore that Body. The grace of my baptism was replenished, and the Light of Christ burned bright in me again.

Many people light their baptismal candles every year on the anniversary of their birth in Christ. That has never been our family's tradition, but today I remembered the date, and with infinite gratitude to God and my parents, I sought out my candle.

And today, after 49 years, I lit that candle for the second time.





My soul is full of joy!









Related posts:

Mortal and Venial Sins

The Fall of Adam and Eve








Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Pope Francis, The Joy of Love, and the pastoring of souls





I am not going to lie. I am exhausted. I have been discussing the Pope's latest exhortation on my Facebook page for two days now, in several different posts and threads, and it's taken its toll. But, I have to blog it, and I hope to be coherent.

Pope Francis' post-synodal exhortation, Amoris Laetitia (AL), “The Joy of Love” is a 255-page, nine chapter document about Love and the Family. It's deep, thorough, beautiful, and wonderfully practical. It clearly and unequivocally restates Church teaching that abortion, contraception, and gay "marriage" are objectively, intrinsically immoral. It stresses the right of a child to have a mother and a father, the right of parents to educate their children, and the rights of conscience for health care workers and others.

I've heard almost no one talk about those facts or what else is in the document (and there is so much!). I've only heard people talk about what is not actually in the document, but what they believe is implied in a footnote, and they are upset.

Keep in mind: AL is not a doctrinal document, it is a pastoral one meant to accompany us messy, wounded souls on our journey to the heart of the Trinity. The exhortation is not magisterial in nature and does not intend to change magisterial teaching.

However, the ferocity and malice from some of the "faithful" is appalling. Listen well, please: I am not appalled by those who simply feel confused about some of the language used in the document -- specifically, that one footnote in this vast work, which the pope could not even immediately recall when asked about it on the plane ride on April 16. But on that plane ride, he did express great frustration with the fact that the media was focused on something they considered most important (the question of Holy Communion for the divorced and remarried), not what he considered most important:

"When I convoked the first synod, the great concern of the majority of the media was communion for the divorced and remarried, and, since I am not a saint, this bothered me, and then made me sad. Because...do you not realize that that is not the important problem? Don’t you realize that instead the family throughout the world is in crisis? Don’t we realize that the falling birth rate in Europe is enough to make one cry? And the family is the basis of society. Do you not realize that the youth don’t want to marry? ... Don’t you realize that the lack of work or the little work (available) means that a mother has to get two jobs and the children grow up alone? These are the big problems."

I share the Holy Father's frustration! It is troubling to me that the firestorm of discussion on social media is about something that, frankly, isn't even there. It troubles me that vast numbers of critics have not even read the document.

If nothing else, I urge all those concerned about the exhortation to read the "controversial" chapter, which is Chapter 8. I read it, and I found it true, and good, and beautiful. I kept shaking my head as I read it, wondering on what basis folks were upset? I kept thinking, "But there is nothing new here! I have know all of this for 21 years, since my reversion. It's nothing new!"

I am guessing that this type of passage, below, is what bothers some people, but can someone explain why? These are the same principles the Church has always used when discerning and pastoring individual souls and culpability:


301. For an adequate understanding of the possibility and need of special discernment in certain “irregular” situations, one thing must always be taken into account, lest anyone think that the demands of the Gospel are in any way being compromised. The Church possesses a solid body of reflection concerning mitigating factors and situations. Hence it is can no longer simply be said that all those in any “irregular” situation are living in a state of mortal sin and are deprived of sanctifying grace. More is involved here than mere ignorance of the rule. A subject may know full well the rule, yet have great difficulty in understanding “its inherent values”, or be in a concrete situation which does not allow him or her to act differently and decide otherwise without further sin. As the Synod Fathers put it, “factors may exist which limit the ability to make a decision”.

302. The Catechism of the Catholic Church clearly mentions these factors: “imputability and responsibility for an action can be diminished or even nullified by ignorance, inadvertence, duress, fear, habit, inordinate attachments, and other psychological or social factors”. In another paragraph, the Catechism refers once again to circumstances which mitigate moral responsibility, and mentions at length “affective immaturity, force of acquired habit, conditions of anxiety or other psychological or social factors that lessen or even extenuate moral culpability”. For this reason, a negative judgment about an objective situation does not imply a judgment about the imputability or culpability of the person.

(I urge you to read the entire chapter so that even this perfectly sound passage is put in the context of the whole.)

The Pope exhorts pastors to walk with, to "accompany", the wounded on their journeys to Christ and sanctity. It's what we do, it's what Christ does, it's what mercy and love require. In no way (and the pope says this time and again) does this change the moral law or the teaching of the Church or the requirements of the Gospel. But it acknowledges that in countless cases, due to the messed up cultures we all live in now, and the lack of formed consciences, we find ourselves in some real fixes! Some from which we cannot easily be extricated.

I use merely one example here, and it's a common one (I taught RCIA for five years, I can tell you many more):

A pastor encounters a secular and/or Protestant woman who (civilly) married a divorced man 20 years ago. She is currently moved to become a Catholic, but her beloved husband is not. Her secular husband wants no part of an annulment proceeding for his first marriage (let's say it was a Protestant wedding and assumed sacramental), and he certainly will not agree to live without sex for the rest of his life so that his wife can become Catholic and receive Communion. There are four children in the home, and that happy, stable home will be put at risk and likely be broken apart for those innocent children if the woman suddenly cuts the man off sexually. The Catholic Church recognizes the difficult situation and does not (now or previously) advise breaking apart the family.

So, what is the woman in the scenario to do? How does a pastor advise this particular soul in her particular situation? It's extremely complex (remember, truths and principles are simple, but people and circumstances are complicated), and aside from judicial issues, there are pastoral issues involved for this infinitely valuable soul and the souls of her family. That is exactly the kind of thing, that complexity, that question of levels of culpability, that Pope Francis was addressing in Chapter 8, and there is nothing new there.

The pope is addressing pastors who are dealing with these excruciating situations where individual human beings may not be fully culpable when they find themselves in a type of no-man's land with no easy solution.

We can work to gather people in, or we can push them away.

The hand-wringing, the complaints, the anger, the vitriol, the despairing by otherwise "faithful" Catholics is hard to watch. There is true hatred for this pope, and it's sad and ugly! (And I'm saying this as someone who admittedly prefers the "style" and doctrinal clarity of a Benedict or a St. John Paul II.)

I used to get annoyed when people would focus on the sins of the "older brother" in the Parable of the Prodigal Son, (because I so sympathized with that older brother) but now I see why he is the most miserable of the characters in the story. When we have everything, when all that the Father has is ours, why are we (as I was) so afraid at the idea that someone else might "get away with something"? I also think about the Parable of the Laborers, and those who came late and got the same wage as those of us who worked all day. Have we been treated unjustly? No, we haven't! Our wage is just! Are we envious because God is generous and extends mercy to those who haven't been laboring as long as we have -- or can't just "get it right"?

I reiterate: I am not speaking to those who simply wish to have clarification about the document and those who are sincerely confused. But there is something unholy about the whole-sale ignoring of a 255-page document by the Vicar of Christ on the crisis of marriage and family, when it's a message this world so desperately needs to hear.





Related article:  Amoris Laetitia and the Progressive Pope Myth






Friday, April 15, 2016

"What if your child is gay?" and other questions







Living the Catholic Faith in the western world today is counter-cultural, to say the least. Anyone who assents to the authority of the Church's Magisterium is bound to get lots of questions from lukewarm Catholics and non-Catholics.

Since the assumption is that "Catholic rules are mean!", people are hopeful to hear that I do not actually hate others who "break the rules". I will tell you from the outset that secularists in particular often have philosophical difficulty with making a distinction between the dignity of a person and that person's sinful acts. In other words, the very legitimate "hate the sin, love the sinner" seems like a fraud or a cop-out to them.

Without the ability to make that distinction, mutual understanding on these issues is difficult. But let's try anyway.

Let's tackle the most common questions:

What if your child is gay? (Implied: Would you still love a child who is gay?)

Of course I would still love my child if he told me he was gay! There is nothing in this world or the next that could make me stop loving my children. The entire vocation of a Christian is to love God and to love others. A mother's love for her children knows no bounds, and I will always love my children.

Will you accept his sexual identity?

First, let's define our terms. The only "sexual identity" that we have is our actual, biological sex. Meaning, we are either male or female. Male and female He created us.

My "sexual identity", therefore, is woman -- inherently, intrinsically, essentially, eternally. Even if I had a son with same-sex attraction, his "sexual identity" would still be man, just as intrinsically and eternally as I am a woman. Homosexual women are women. Homosexual men are men.

Of course I understand that the implied question is, Will you be accepting of your child's homosexual temptations and/or actions? and we can break that down into two parts:

First, sexual temptations of whatever stripe are simply that -- temptations. They are not sinful in and of themselves. No mere temptation can ever equal an actual sin. It is only in the willful indulgence of the temptation to sin that we actually sin. Sin is something freely chosen, in thought or in deed. If a thought is unwanted and consciously rejected (even if it continues to tempt), then it's not a sin.

Second, will I accept my child's homosexual actions or willful desires by condoning, confirming, encouraging, or celebrating them? Never. Not in a million years. But that does not translate to "I will disavow and hate my child." I would never cut off or disown my child if he were living a homosexual lifestyle, but at the same time, I would never betray my Lord by rejecting truth and virtue in order to make my child "happy" or to be comfortable in this world.

In fact, I will never accept as "good" any sin that my children commit. This is not hard to understand, I hope. It's so simple: Sin harms my children and could eternally destroy them. Virtue, truth, and goodness, on the other hand, will lead them to Christ and Heaven. I want my kids' highest good, and that highest good is Heaven -- perfect and eternal union with God.

If my child is a thief, I will still love him (though I may not leave valuables laying around the house when he comes for dinner).

If my child is a drug addict, I will still love him.

If my child is a porn star, I will still love him.

If my child is a lying, no-good, nasty, bigot who hates his whole family and God too, I will still love him.

If my son is a rapist, a murderer, or a child predator, I will still love him. Yes, I will. I may have to turn him into the authorities, but I will still love him.

If my son is in prison for crimes against humanity some day, I will still love him, and I will visit him in prison. I will pray daily and do penance for his conversion.

There is not a soul breathing on earth who is beyond God's mercy, and if my child is the most evil person on the face of the planet, I will never stop loving him and praying for his conversion and salvation.


What if your child leaves the Catholic Church?

It would be heartbreaking. I have raised my children to love and understand the Faith and to embrace it on the logical, reasonable, historical, biblical, and spiritual levels. Should a child reject his birthright someday, I will lament that fact. But I will simply turn to St. Monica (oh, St. Augustine... what a time you gave to your mama!) and pray and fast for his eventual return. And I will trust God in all things.


What if your child wants to get married outside of the Catholic Church? Will you attend his wedding?

First, an explanation about Catholics and marriage. A Catholic is obligated to be married in the Church, unless there is a (very rare) dispensation given by the bishop. Note that I speak of a Catholic's obligation to be married in the Church. Two Protestants are not obligated to be married in the Catholic Church, and assuming they are free to marry (no impediments), Protestants may even get married in front of a Justice of the Peace or in Las Vegas by Elvis... and the Church would assume their valid and even sacramental marriage.

But Catholics (yes, even lapsed Catholics) are required to follow the laws of Christ's Church, and that means obeying Canon Law as well as the moral law. So, a Catholic who marries outside the Church would not have a valid marriage.

My answer to the question, then, is, no. I would not attend my child's wedding if my child should get married outside of the Church. It would be an invalid marriage, and I could not in good conscience be there to witness or support the ceremony or celebration. This is my personal choice in the matter, and depending on circumstances**, others might come to different conclusions, but my children were raised to understand and practice their Catholic faith, with no ambiguity. They cannot plead ignorance, and I cannot pretend that they simply do not know.

I can say with confidence that none of my children would ever expect me to attend their non-Catholic wedding, so it's not an issue for us, not even on our radar, and they would not be shocked or appalled by my stance. In fact, I firmly believe they would be shocked and appalled if I compromised on my faith after living it openly and happily and with conviction for their entire lives. Feel free to ask them yourself (I can get them here to the blog), but I am certain that my children would not want me to go against my own convictions, my faith, and my conscience to attend an invalid wedding that would put them in sin.

I hope that makes sense.

And as I stressed earlier, I would continue to love them no matter what, and they know it. Would they and their civil spouse still be welcome in my home, and would I love that civil spouse and my grandchildren and have everyone for Christmas? Of course!!


** The question of whether or not to attend the non-Catholic wedding of a Catholic family member or friend is multi-faceted, and here are three good articles to walk you through some of the issues involved:







What if your child was living with someone? Would you have them over to your house and would you go over to their place?

I would be terribly sad and disappointed if this were the case (and I would, again, be praying for St. Monica's intercession!), but yes, I would certainly have them over to the house and keep all lines of communication and all bonds of charity open. However, no way in one trillion years would I allow a cohabiting couple to stay overnight at my house in the same room, as if they were married. Nope. Fornication is serious sin, and I will never indulge it or look the other way. Not only because of the destruction to their own souls (and to mine if I facilitate it), but because of the scandal it would bring to my other children, especially any school-aged children still in the home.

It's such a no-brainer. It's so easy. No unmarried couples sleeping together under our roof.

As far as going over to their place, that's an interesting question. I have not given it a lot of thought. I'd have to cross that bridge when I come to it, and thank God I haven't come to it yet. Maybe He will spare me that dilemma!


Okay, those are some of the most common questions I get, and if you can think of any more, let me have 'em. And, as always, let's discuss.






Wednesday, April 13, 2016

In Memory of Michelle Habra



This beautiful woman, my cousin and dear friend Michelle, left us a year ago today, in the wee hours of April 13, 2015. At a little after 2:00am, I received a phone call from her sister Nicole, her best friend, who told me simply, "She's gone..." For a year and a half, Michelle had courageously fought her battle with non-smokers lung cancer, and her struggle was finally over.

Michelle, holding one of my babies, Alexander


The last time I saw her was on Divine Mercy Sunday, April 12, the afternoon before she died. She was at home in her bedroom, in and out of consciousness, and along with her parents and one of her daughters, I was blessed to pray the Divine Mercy Chaplet at her bedside. The day before, on Saturday, I had my last personal exchange with her, when I told her how much I loved her and she mouthed those words back to me, her eyes closed. I reminded her that she had a lot of work to do for those of us back here on earth, and she nodded. She knew.

Several times in the previous weeks she had told me and others that she was not afraid to die. She did not want to leave her girls without their mother, but she was not afraid to go to the Lord. She knew Him, His Blessed Mother, and the angels and saints very well, and she loved them with all her heart.

Michelle had received Last Rites from more than one priest during her final weekend. She had hundreds of friends and even strangers praying for her, and her personal friends and prayer warriors included the Sisters of the Society of Our Lady of the Most Holy Trinity and the Daughters of Charity of St. Vincent de Paul, who knew her well from the two Catholic schools in which she taught over the years. She was incredibly beloved by her students, and both schools closed for the day of her funeral mass so that all could attend. It was standing room only in the church that rainy day (she loved the rain).

So many people loved this woman dearly and continue to ache for her today: Her parents, her two sisters and two brothers and their spouses, many adoring nieces and nephews, lots of extended family, and, of course, her three beautiful teenaged daughters.

For a year now, I have wanted to write about Michelle. I have started to type out her story, then stopped. The time is not right, not yet. When the time comes, you will learn more about this holy woman of faith. What Father Dale Craig said repeatedly during her funeral homily was exactly correct: "Her life and her faith were not separate" -- and the story of that faith is incredible. Because of her abandonment to God's will many years before she became ill, the Lord transformed her and brought her close to His Sacred Heart, the manifestations of which are plentiful and astounding -- and which prepared her for her final trial.

For now, though, I will leave you with just a small glimpse of her spiritual life, with a look into her bedside prayer journal that was found after she died. These few images are not all that were there, but again, the rest is a story for another time.

A meditation on Mary, the Woman she loved so very much. It's almost as if she were describing someone right there in her presence:

I love the repetition of "gentle"...


She understood her suffering as a share in Jesus' own suffering:




Michelle offered her suffering by praying every day for a list of friends and family, and for those whom she didn't even know. She also included the following souls at the end of her prayers:





As she got weaker, she did a lot of "waiting". She had a deep devotion to St. Joseph and identified with him:




God was always Michelle's home:



She trusted God with all her heart, as He is the Master Gardener Who never let her down:



Some photos of our beautiful Michelle...

She is the beauty in red as all the female cousins on my dad's side posed at my daughter's wedding on September 28, 2013:
This was the last day she felt good. No one had any idea what was to come. 

Always fun and full of joy!

"The Look"!!



She was never far from the Cross, and the Cross was never far from her.




Her casket was lovingly handcrafted by monks.




Michelle Jean Habra
April 26, 1970 - April 13, 2015


Michelle kept St. Faustina's Diary next to her bed, and it is filled with her penciled margin notes ("wow!" "beautiful" "Uh! Ok, Lord. me too."), starred paragraphs, and underlined passages. As I commemorate the first anniversary of her leaving this world for the next, I offer this quote from St. Faustina, which Michelle herself underlined with joy:


"What is it going to be like in Heaven, 
if already here in exile, God so fills my soul."




I miss you and love you so much, Michelle. May your sweet soul, and the souls of all the faithful departed, rest in peace.



I can't wait to see you again
in the place we always talked about and dreamed of....
You've run the race; pray for me as I'm still running!





Monday, April 11, 2016

Catching you up on lots of news!



A few things to report!

I just got back from a speaking engagement near DC, where I addressed students at a Young America's Foundation (YAF) conference. These high school and college students are so impressive! Intelligent, thoughtful, respectful, mature... everything we hope our young people to be!

Q&A after my talk


Among these wonderful students were two stellar young men from Bellarmine College Prep near San Francisco who spoke to me privately after the talk. They told me about the ugliness and hostility they received from the left when they dared to put up a memorial of crosses in front of the Blessed Virgin Mary's statue on campus, in honor the 55 million children killed after Roe v. Wade. Hundreds of obscene, threatening tweets were heaped upon these courageous young Americans who simply and peacefully remembered the babies. Their responses to the vitriol show the depth of their character:




Pray for our courageous young people, my friends! They are strong, speaking truth to power. It's daunting and even frightening at times, but from what I saw and heard from this group, they are up to the task.

And thank you, YAF, for all you do!


+++++++


I love traveling to different regions of the country, partially because I make a point of meeting up with Bubble readers/friends. I connected with some wonderful ladies, and I was especially thrilled to have lunch with CS, who happened to be in the area! What a treat! She is lovely and gracious and fun! 

Also, my husband and I were able to see our son Eric, who came to the area (from North Carolina) to meet up with his girlfriend who was in town (from Colorado) for a conference in Maryland. We spent a lovely evening with them, and then the following morning, our son proposed to wonderful Larabeth at the national Catholic shrine in DC, the Basilica of the Immaculate Conception! 



The chapel in which he proposed.


She said YES, and we are so incredibly joyful to welcome a new daughter into the family! (Catholic Match strikes again!)


Celebrating later that evening! 


Looks like December nuptials for the happy couple, which is pretty good timing because that is a few weeks after my second daughter and her husband have their second child, due in November! Yes, I'm going to be a grandma for the fourth time! The announcement came just around my grandson David's first birthday. This little guy is walking now and ready to take on all the duties of a big brother!


Sweet birthday boy!!



Meanwhile, my first daughter and her husband are expecting their second daughter any day now! Big sister Felicity has more than enough love and affection for her little sister and more, as you can see demonstrated here:


This little one is feisty and open-hearted!


Well, that's the news for now! I have unpacking and laundry to do! Wait, sleep first....



Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Check out this adorable clump of cells!

Note: If you are accessing this on a cell phone, the video will not be visible. But you can click the link below for the incredible scenes.



Check out this blob-of-tissue non-human non-person! This clump of cells is so cute!!!

Amazing Footage of Life in the Womb
WOW. Check out these 4D ultrasounds videos. Life is a miracle!
Posted by Pro-Life Wisconsin on Thursday, August 27, 2015



I love him or her, because it's in my human nature to love other human beings. It's in my biology as a woman to nurture and cherish the child of the womb. It's in the biology of a man to seek to protect his sons and daughters.

Child welfare is so obviously an obligation of adults that we have myriad child welfare laws.

We reflexively understand our ethical obligation to protect those who are smaller than weaker, and to be a voice for the voiceless. To be violent toward or seek domination over the weak and small is called bullying at best, and oppression at worst.

I have everything in common with the baby on the video, because I was exactly in that place at that stage of my development, and so were you. We are all on a continuum of human life, from conception to death.

I am a "clump of cells", and so are you: A clump of cells called a human being.

I am a "product of conception", and so are you. With the human species, the product of conception is a human being.

I am endowed with human rights not from the government, but from my Creator.

I have human rights because I am human. I don't have to earn human rights, they are inherent.

The baby on the screen is part of our human family, and a civilized society welcomes all human beings to the table!

Enjoy the beautiful antics of that beautiful child above, thank God for your life, and have a wonderful day!


Sunday, April 3, 2016

Answer to Doctrinal Quiz Show! What did Christ's Sacrifice do?




And we are back!

Here we go with the answer to the Doctrinal Quiz Show question, and fabulous prizes to follow!

The (sort of ineloquent and thrice edited) question was:

What was the effect or result of Jesus' Death and Resurrection? "He died to save us from our sins", but what exactly does that mean? How were things different for humanity after His Sacrifice? After He accomplished our redemption, what specifically changed for mankind?

My simple answer is this:

Jesus' Sacrifice on the Cross reopened the gates of Heaven to mankind, which had been closed since the sin of Adam and Eve. 

So many people, even wonderfully faithful Catholics, do not know this. But it's this simple: Heaven was closed at the Fall of Man, and Christ's Sacrifice on the Cross reopened Heaven for us all -- which is what we mean by "redemption". Whether or not a soul actually makes it to Heaven is another story, but the possibility of getting into Heaven is now available to all.

All right! It's time for what you all really have been waiting for, for years! The coveted Bubble Awards!! This was a very difficult choice for the judges (i.e., me), as there were several correct answers. The judges thus decided to take the easy road and award the BUBBLE GRAND PRIZE to the first commenter with the answer I was seeking, and that was....

THE GILLILAND BUNCH!!!

Congratulations!! What have you won, you ask? Well, this beautiful icon, suitable for framing!




There are only a precious few Bubble Grand Prize winners out there roaming the earth, several of whom still sport this lovely icon on their own blogs (and perhaps on their home mantels, but that is less verifiable).

But that's not all! You have also won a Bishop Barron DVD, namely, Episode 6 of his incredible Catholicism series. Email me at littlecatholicbubble@gmail.com with your mailing address, and I will send it immediately.

And, as always, we have fabulous runner-up awards! Let's get to it!


The Perfect Answer For The Question I Originally Asked [But Then Modified Because I Didn't Write It Clearly Enough] Award goes to... JoAnna Wahlund!! (She always has the right answer, even when I write an unclear question!)


The Way To Work The Eucharist Into The Answer, As Well As The Deeper Mysteries Of Redemption And Our Role In It Award goes to... April Y!!


The Been Chomping At The Bit For Years To Finally Get A Crack At A DQS Award goes to... Margo!! And she got the right answer, to boot!


The Brevity Is The Soul Of Wit Award goest to... Beth B!!


The Best Use Of Primitive Smiley Emoticons To Project Both Sorrow And Joy Award goes to... Michelle M!! (And, she worked in the Eucharist as well! Source and Summit points!)


The Proper Use Of "Abraham's Bosom" Award goes to... Crystal Pinto!!


The Not Only Does She Flesh Out Her Answer, But She Also Closes With Leila's Favorite Quote From Easter Vigil Exultat Award goes to... Marie M!!


The Got The Wording The Way Leila Wanted It ("Open/Reopen The Gates of Heaven") Award goes to... Angel and Chong Cheech!!


But I am so impressed with all of you, even the ones who didn't answer the question (Elizabeth Power, I'm talking to you!), that everyone who commented (in the US, sorry Sebastian! Sob!) is going to get a free gift just like the Grand Prize winner! Commenters, for your Bishop Barron DVD (Episode 6 of his incredible Catholicism series), simply email me at littlecatholicbubble@gmail.com with your address!

Congratulations to all, and a special thanks to Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ for re-opening the Gates of Heaven for us with His perfect Sacrifice!! We are eternally grateful!!


Join us next time for another episode of Doctrinal Quiz Show! (Hopefully, it won't be four years before that next episode....)


Applause, applause, applause, and fade....








Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Doctrinal Quiz Show!! What did Christ's Sacrifice do?




Longtime readers of the Bubble will recognize this feature from waaaaay back! We haven't had a Doctrinal Quiz Show in years, but recent conversations made me want to revive it. So, here we go!





Growing up poorly catechized, I was never taught (or maybe never thought about) exactly what was the effect or result of Jesus' Death and Resurrection? Meaning, I knew that "He died to save us from our sins", but what exactly did that mean? How were things different for humanity after His Sacrifice? After He accomplished our redemption, what specifically changed for mankind?

Give me your best answer in the comments, and please remember the rules: 

NO cheating, googling, researching, looking at other answers before writing yours, etc.

I want to hear it straight from your brain to your keyboard, and don't be embarrassed to be wrong.

Okay... GO!


(And to those new to this, I will give the answer and some "prizes" on the next post!)


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In other news: If you are a high school or college student at a Catholic school (or if you know someone who is) I will be speaking in Reston, Virginia at Young America's Foundation in early April, and I would love to see you there! For more information on this incredible weekend, click here:


I spoke in November as well and it's a fantastic program!




Sunday, March 27, 2016

YEE-HAW!!! He Is Risen! Alleluia!


This is it, guys! There is nothing else, and no other hope. This is the be-all and end-all. Nothing tops this, nothing gets better than this.

There is nothing, nothing, NOTHING better than Easter. And it is all true. Every word. It happened. It's not a lie, a fantasy, a fable, an exaggeration.

JESUS CHRIST IS RISEN TODAY!

Noel Coypel, The Resurrection of Christ


It seems a perfect time to point out that Jesus' greatest enemy was never Satan. After all, He created Satan and can flick him away like a pesky fly. Rather, death was His greatest enemy, and death had to be defeated. We note two instances when Christ was greatly disturbed interiorly: When in the presence of the death of His friend Lazarus (Jesus wept, even though He knew He was about to raise Lazarus), and then in the Garden of Gethsemane, as He faced His own torture and death. Death is the wages of our sin. Death is what we deserve. But it is not what God desires for us. He loves us so dearly that, though innocent, He laid down His very life to save us from sin and death. The only ones who cannot escape the wages of sin and will not share in Christ's triumph over death are the ones who do not wish to, who willfully cling to their sins until death comes for them. Until our dying breath, we all are welcome, we all are invited to share in Christ's glorious Resurrection and have eternal life.**

This glorious Easter Day, the Feast of the Resurrection, is the holiest and most joyful feast day of the Church year. Jesus Christ truly rose, bodily, from the dead, and by doing so He defeated the enemy, death, forever!

He is Risen! Indeed, He is Risen! (Don't you all feel like jumping for joy??!)




Luke 24:1-12

At daybreak on the first day of the week
the women who had come from Galilee with Jesus
took the spices they had prepared
and went to the tomb.

They found the stone rolled away from the tomb;
but when they entered,
they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus.

While they were puzzling over this, behold,
two men in dazzling garments appeared to them.
They were terrified and bowed their faces to the ground.

They said to them,
“Why do you seek the living one among the dead?
He is not here, but he has been raised.
Remember what he said to you while he was still in Galilee,
that the Son of Man must be handed over to sinners
and be crucified, and rise on the third day.”

And they remembered his words.
Then they returned from the tomb
and announced all these things to the eleven
and to all the others.

The women were Mary Magdalene, Joanna, and Mary the mother of James;
the others who accompanied them also told this to the apostles,
but their story seemed like nonsense
and they did not believe them.

But Peter got up and ran to the tomb,
bent down, and saw the burial cloths alone;
then he went home amazed at what had happened.







** A big hat tip to my priest, Fr. John Ehrich, whose recent homily I summarized in this paragraph.




Friday, March 25, 2016

Good Friday Meditations



On Good Fridays past, that one day a year when no masses are celebrated, and all the Tabernacles of the world stand empty and dark, I have posted stunning meditations from Venerable Fulton Sheen's 1940 radio address

This year, I offer a mediation by Archbishop Sheen, on video, from 1965. If you are unable to watch the entire talk, don't miss the story he tells of a dying, hateful man, beginning around the 40:00 mark:






Also, consider listening to Dr. Peter Auriemma, a physician and a deacon at my parish, who gives a detailed description of what Our Lord would have suffered during His Passion and Death -- from a medical perspective. Deacon Peter has been speaking on this subject since the 1980s, and you'll come away with a more profound understanding of precisely what Jesus experienced and endured in his human body in order to save us from our sins (the medical discussion begins at around the 10:00 mark):







There is no evil to be faced that Christ does not face with us. There is no enemy that Christ has not already conquered. There is no cross to bear that Christ has not already borne for us, and does not now bear with us. And on the far side of every cross we find the newness of life in the Holy Spirit, that new life which will reach its fulfillment in the resurrection. This is our faith. This is our witness before the world. – St. John Paul II