Picture / video of the Day: April 25, 2018
The following article is from CatholicMom.com
The death of a family pet can be devastating. Here are 5 ways to help Catholic families cope.
“Mom. You just can’t give up on an animal who is suffering. We’re Catholic. Euthanasia is morally wrong.”
Her gray eyes flashed. I knew this was coming. I set my tea mug on the counter and sighed.
Eliot stood, or, rather, leaned, in the corner of the dining room. He had just turned 14 years old. That’s roughly 150 when you convert bunny years to human.
His old age was taking a major toll.
Eliot came to live with us 14 years ago when our first bunny, Bean, passed away. We mourned Bean’s loss (heavily — I had to take off from work for a few days), then began canvassing Rabbit Rescue organizations online. We found Eliot, his brother Ted, and his mother Viola at a foster home about 20 miles away. Dan and I went to visit one afternoon and were smitten: We adopted all three the following week.
A presence appeared at my elbow. I turned and saw my seven-year-old daughter, tears in her eyes. “Are you really going to let them kill Eliot? How could you do that, mom?! He’s ours!”
Viola had been put to sleep several years ago but the girls weren’t old enough then to understand. Eliot’s brother Ted had passed away peacefully at home about seven months prior: He had been fine that morning, only to lie down and not get back up. Eliot was the last of the old guard and he was failing. Despite heavy medication, his arthritis was out of control. His back legs had begun to atrophy. He often fell over. He’d developed pressure sores on the sides of his feet.
True, our little El hadn’t stopped eating, nor was he giving the appearance of suffering or pain. But he was losing weight, suffering from anemia, and steadily declining. I knew what the vet was going to say.
The next day we said goodbye to our little Eliot. We stroked his ears and kissed his furry nose. We cried on the way home. The girls asked if animals go to heaven.
I told them I didn’t know.
Animals, Death, and Catholic Teaching
While the Church has no official stance on the subject of eternal life for animals, it is clear our furry companions don’t have an immortal soul. The best we can say with certainty is that we have a loving Father. He created and cares for all of his creatures, and we can surely entrust them to the mercy of the Lord.
For some children this answer is sufficient. For others, it decidedly is not. Grief over the loss of an animal is real and it is heavy — especially when you’re dealing with highly sensitive kids. The question for us became a matter of helping my children work through it. It’s true they’d suffered the loss twice previously, but I think the finality of Eliot’s death, our last bunny, hit them very hard.
5 Ideas for Honoring Your Pet’s Memory, Perfect for Catholic Moms and their Kids
Read From Scripture
God’s loving care for His creatures is evident throughout Scripture. Sit down with your children and read the following:
Then God said: Let the earth bring forth every kind of living creature: tame animals, crawling things, and every kind of wild animal. And so it happened. God made every kind of wild animal, every kind of tame animal, and every kind of thing that crawls on the ground. God saw that it was good. –Genesis 1:24-25
Of all living creatures, you shall bring two of every kind into the ark, one male, and one female, to keep them alive along with you. Of every kind of bird, of every kind of animal, and of every kind of thing that crawls on the ground, two of each will come to you, that you may keep them alive. –Genesis 6:19-20
Turn to the Saints
St. Francis, of course, is a favorite; legend tells of his relationship with a wolf. But there’s also St. John Paul II (often pictured holding animals) and St. Jerome, who legend says remove a thorn from the paw of a lion. These saints are a great example of the beautiful relationship we have with God’s creation, and the great gift he has given us in our animal friends. For us, reading about saints who loved animals and looking at their pictures have been quite the balm for their wounded hearts.
Make a Memorial Stone
Memorial stones are a lovely way to honor the memory of furry family members. Roll and cut air-dry clay into a circle; decorate with faux gemstones, rocks, or shells. When the stone is dry, paint your animal’s name and any saying you’d like to include. Then seal it with acrylic spray.
Choose a Memory Spot
Is there a place in your home or outside in the garden where your pet used to spend a lot of time? Hang a photo, a picture, or even a set of windchimes in that area. The children can visit that spot when they are sad.
Encourage Journaling or Illustration
Children can have big feelings, especially over the death of a pet. Give them a space to communicate their emotions on paper, either through writing their feelings or creating art.
For many children, the death of a family pet is their first experience with suffering and dying.
It’s a hard thing to wrap your head around, even for adults. Fortunately, though, our loving Father cares for us and for the animals. We can help our children take comfort in that, and in the beauty of our Catholic faith.
Has your family suffered the loss of a pet? How have you commemorated the loss?
Copyright 2018 Ginny Kochis
The following article is from CatholicMom.com
Today’ ings Gospel: John 10: 22-30
Due to the sheep might be distracted by the message or calls of the wilderness, our children can easily be preoccupied by the voices of the culture premier them away from the flock. Our motherly voice is a constant source of forewarning, instructing, commanding, and yet it is also a house of encouragement and love the best our children back to Christ. As mother, we are responsible for teaching our children to check on the voice of the shepherd as well as associate that sound with completely love, compassion and mercy.
In the scripture, Jesus referred to, “ I know them. ” In the same manner God knows us, we can are produced in know our children. As moms, into the help of the Holy Spirit, we regularly have keen insight into our children’ s behaviors, temperaments and lure. Each child is like the lambs in the scripture that needs constant on top of that consistent loving care. And yet, by so doing, we need to take refuge in the speech of Christ, “ I desserts eternal life, and they shall hardly ever perish. No one can take them out of me. ” Our Lord wants to help you us parent our flock, as well as wants to protect them from harm.
Each child is like the lamb that needs constant and consistent nurturing care. By @emilyjaminet
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Does your voice resemble the singing of the Good Shepherd? Do you current compassion, mercy and love to your young ones?
How do you need to change your voice and behaviors for you to resemble the Good Shepherd?
Pricey Lord, please help us during our vocation of motherhood. Help a person’s voice to be loving, compassionate and additionally merciful, especially when we are frustrated and so upset. May we learn how to in order to Your voice as our enjoying shepherd and know that You desire to be around all of us in heaven. Amen
Rettighed 2018 Emily Jaminet
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Theresa Linden’s newest Catholic novel, Anyone But Him, centers on the theme of forgiveness and making a new start. Some of my favorite characters from Roland West, Loner and the other novels in the West Brothers series are all grown up in this novel directed at the new-adult audience.
In a surprising twist right off the bat, Caitlyn wakes up one morning to discover she’s married to her friend Roland’s bad-boy older brother, Jarret — and she’s horrified. She also can’t remember anything that’s happened in the past two or three years. How could she be married to the man who’d tormented her good friend for so long?Her coworkers at the private detective agency aren’t much help, and Jarret’s trying to solve the problem by keeping her locked in the house and not letting her call her family. There’s plenty of suspense to keep this story moving along, between strange encounters with both Caitlyn and Jarret’s coworkers and Caitlyn’s various escape attempts. Jarret seems like he’s changed since high school, and Caitlyn’s biggest mission is to find out if that’s for real.
I like that Theresa Linden has continued the West Brothers series into the characters’ young adulthood, and that she’s framed this novel for the new-adult audience, which has protagonists and readers in the 18-30 age bracket. The first four West Brothers novels are for teens and young adults, but this one, I think, is better aimed at new-adult readers.
The West Brothers Series (in order)
Here’s an excerpt from Anyone But Him:
A STRANGE TAP-TAP-TAPPING sucked me from a dark sleep, making me aware of something warm and comforting draped over my waist. An arm? No, not possible.
Shadows shifted, a breeze tickled my cheek, and a burst of light turned my closed eyelids orange. The tap-tap-tapping started up again, my last hope for sleep slipping away. Inhaling a deep breath of lilac-scented air, I reached to adjust my pillow, but pain made my hand shoot to my throbbing head. Why did it ache so? I never got headaches.
I opened my eyes and tried focusing on what should’ve been my closet door. Curtains swished in the breeze and a drawstring tapped the window frame. The window didn’t belong there.
The thing draped over my waist moved. It was an arm! Then a hand touched my side and slid over my abdomen. A man with a deep, sleepy voice said, “You still mad at me?”
Wide awake now, I stopped breathing. I threw back the covers—and the hand—and tore out of bed.
“I guess that’s a yes,” the man said.
In my mind, jagged, edgy lines zipped in every direction, splintering off again and again over the picture of my life, turning it into a puzzle. What was a guy doing in my—
I stood in the middle of a large shadowy room, next to a queen-size bed with a curved headrest behind it and a bare-chested man in it. A dark old-fashioned dresser with a huge mirror dominated the opposite wall. The room had three closed doors that probably led to a bathroom, a closet, and the way out. This was not my bedroom.
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About Theresa Linden
Theresa Linden is the author of award-winning Catholic teen fiction. Raised in a military family, she developed a strong patriotism and a sense of adventure. Her Catholic faith inspires the belief that there is no greater adventure than the reality we can’t see, the spiritual side of life. She has six published novels, and two short stories in Image and Likeness: Literary Reflections on the Theology of the Body (Full Quiver Publishing). She holds a Catechetical Diploma from Catholic Distance University and is a member of the Catholic Writers Guild and the International Writers Society. A wife, homeschooling mom, and Secular Franciscan, she resides in northeast Ohio with her husband and three teenage boys. To learn more, visit TheresaLinden.com, or follow her on Facebook, Twitter, or Goodreads.
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Copyright 2018 Barb Szyszkiewicz, OFS
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How many of you woke up on Ash Wednesday with your Lenten plan? How many of you got to Ash Wednesday Mass and realized it was Ash Wednesday? Every year it’s a different journey for me. Some years, I come into the season with my list all made — a prayer, a fasting, and an almsgiving idea. I usually have a few of each, end up getting overwhelmed and fail at everything within a day or two.
Another typical tradition for myself is start strong for about a week, bottoming out the middle two or three weeks, and trying to finish up Lent in a cramming sort of style. This year I started a few weeks before Lent. I had a note on my phone that I was brainstorming and debating over. Going in, I felt strong. I had picked some “good ones,” and had a plan of attack!
This year, Ash Wednesday ended up falling on the first day of a statewide teacher’s conference my husband was running. I feel like I need to admit something right away: I am not a fan of fasting, to say the least, and each year I dream of being in my 60s, outside of the fasting requirement age. I know, it’s awful and I’m sure I’m wasting such an opportunity for spiritual growth. I’m working to embrace it, but I just don’t like starving! I’m so spoiled! Anyway, I digress. We were staying at a hotel for a few days and I felt like I was almost forgetting it was Lent. Room service and housekeeping don’t make me feel very penitential, but I was trying to keep with my plan. We got home on a Monday, and that following Wednesday I left to help my dad, who was having surgery.
Here’s where it got tricky. My Lenten plan flew out the window, and I realized that each year I tell God what I’m going to do; I mean it’s like I send him an evite to my Lenten adventure and just wait for him to RSVP. This year He sent me the evite. He had a whole different plan on what my Lent would look like. Some brief highlights:
Week 1: We came home on the Monday after Ash Wednesday to find that our poor family cat had died while we were gone. It was a good lesson in comforting my kids and detaching from my desire to save them from sadness and grief in their lives.
Week 2: I left the Wednesday after coming home from the conference, and spent five days taking care of my dad, who had had surgery. I came home Sunday night and jumped back into life with three kids first thing Monday morning.
Week 3 was mostly a blur, but it ended, just five days after I came back home, with my husband taking his music students to NY for five days.
Week 4: While my husband was gone, things continued to be entertaining here! Some highlights include: waking up the day after he left, to sick kids. The kids graciously took turns getting sick and so the illness ran through our house the whole time he was gone. I had all kinds of plans for fun activities while my husband was gone, and I learned to detach from my plans and just realize I’m not always in control. On the night before he came home, I put in one last load of laundry so he’d come home to a clean laundry. I woke up the next morning to a wet floor in the laundry room and a broken washing machine. He ended up getting snowed in and had to stay in NY longer. Side note: After a week without a washing machine, we got our new one and that same night, the laundry room flooded just like before! Now I was learning to detach from luxury!
Week 5: I think if I remember correctly, at this point we were up to the Thursday before Palm Sunday. Since it was winter, there was a rainstorm and my windshield wiper had broken a few days earlier. It snapped off while I was driving through a rainstorm. I decided to borrow my husband’s truck to take the kids around to their activities. He has a big truck that I never drive, and by this I mean, I’ve driven it maybe three days in the two years we’ve owned it. I ended up having to drive it for four straight days because I could never get to the dealership to order my new windshield wiper piece. On the last morning of having to drive the truck, I stopped for gas and thought I was pulling out wide enough but misjudged and scratched/dented the truck by hitting a rock-covered trash can. Another lesson in detaching from my possessions (and my husband’s).
I knew God was in control in each moment and that He’d get me through whatever the latest ‘crisis’…
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Who knows what happened during Holy Week, but one thing that kept resonating with me, through all of this, was a sense of peace, that I so rarely feel. I knew God was in control in each moment and that He’d get me through whatever the latest “crisis” was! I knew He was supporting me through each one of these steps and while I wondered what the heck was going on in my Lent, I knew for sure that God was with me and that Easter would be glorious.
This was different for me too, because I usually relate more to the cross and the sorrow of the Triduum, but this year I was more moved by the Resurrection. I’d like to think I finished strong, but then there’s the whole complaining about fasting on Good Friday thing again. BUT when Easter came, I made my whole family attend sunrise Mass, and when that sun came up just after we received Communion, I got all choked up. Lent was over! Christ had risen! And it was time to celebrate!
So am I ready for sainthood? Well, I think based on my attachment to my washing machine and the dented truck, I may need some more time! When I think about sainthood, I think about saints like St. Joan of Arc, who was burned at the stake for proclaiming her faith. I think about St. Maximillian Kolbe, who died by lethal injection in a concentration camp, after taking the place of a fellow prisoner who was convicted of stealing.
I have been reading about the saints of the day on the Laudate App, and it’s interesting because it lists the saints who I’m familiar with and then a bunch that I’m not familiar with. Have any of you ever heard of Blessed Boniface Zukowski? He was a Friar Minor, who was arrested by the Gestapo in 1941 because he worked under St. Maximillian Kolbe in publishing and used the printing press to publish Catholic newspapers. He was sent to Dachau and was forced to labor in the terrible weather; he was beaten and died from his abuse. He is considered a martyr. He died in a concentration camp for defending his faith. I’m over here worrying because my indoor washing machine is broken.
How about Blessed James Duckett, husband and father who was killed in 1602, after being arrested multiple times for printing and selling Catholic books? He is also considered a martyr.
Finally, there’s Blessed Bernard of Sithiu, who spent the later part of his life trying to make up for his sinful life and for a murder he committed. He wore rags and ate whatever he could find. He spent his final years in private doing penance and praying.
So if I’m comparing myself to them, I’m sure I’m there yet, but I’m working on it. I’m hoping that one day I can echo St. Paul in 2 Tim 4:7 “I have competed well; I have finished the race; I have kept the faith.” Considering my Lent, I might be working toward being the patron saint of washing machines or car dents, but I’m always reminded of St Matthew’s Gospel on the dependence on God.
So I challenge each of us to go back and read Matthew 6: 25-34. I laughed to myself when I read verse 27-28:
“Can any of you, by worrying add a single moment to your life-span? Why are you anxious about clothes? Learn from the way the wild flowers grow. They do not work or spin.”
Maybe it was referring to my broken washing machine! In any case, I encourage each of us, no matter what our crosses are, to continue the good fight, to continue to trust in our God and to be completely aware of His awe struck love for us! I admit I’m pretty thankful my washing machine broke, because my new one is incredible!
Copyright 2018 Courtney Vallejo
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This morning I sit here as being a with some bright sunlight streaming by using through the window. I am still agape that it is almost May! Where receive the months gone? In Michigan invest in we are, it seems the winter may rarely quit! And yet here we are, getting close to Mother’ s Day and the few weeks of Mary.
Linda and I have had a growing relationship during the last ten years, and more especially so just like the birth of my children. I think roughly her caring for Jesus, surrendering micro for Him in every way under the rainbow. What did she hope for your in life and then in death plus resurrection? How did she really feel hearing the vile things of us said, seeing the cruel suggestions and violence against Him? Condition mama bear instincts would have helped me angry, made me lash out to stop those who dared to hurt each child. Mary knew, of course , at some level what would come to pass and the swear of new life from it.
I imagine now, as I look at Mary’ s motherhood, that within and after the death and reappearance; regrowth, her mama heart wants larger. Union with her Son – for use with herself and for us. She cravings us to know Him, to know the facts of who He is, of does not she is in Him. And so… I pick up my Rosary – not always with great faithfulness, good results . great intention to contemplate the head of Christ alongside His mama who loved Him dearly.
To help in the quest to ponder more fully Jesus alongside Mary, Take Up & Learning has created a beautiful (I mean truly beautiful) study magazine, Ponder . Through it, we explore the Scriptural roots of the Rosary. As St John Paul II stated,
The Rosary, if clearly Marian in character, was at heart a Christocentric prayer. Within your sobriety of its elements, it has most of the depth of the Gospel message within the entirety, of which it can be said to be hacia compendium. It is an echo of the plea of Mary, her perennial Magnificat for the work of the redemptive Transformation which began in her incólume womb. With the Rosary, the Orlando people sits at the school attached to Mary and is led to contemplate the worthiness on the face of Christ and to gain benefit from the depths of his love. Simply because Rosary the faithful receive effuse grace, as though from the very hands and wrists of the Mother of the Redeemer.
Every page and consequently drop of ink in this paper has been created with great meaning and as well as intention. The artwork of Katrina Harrington on the cover and on the pages is steeped in indicates, drawing us to contemplate Erlöser in beauty. The calligraphy web sites I created highlighting the week by week memory verses are designed to sweep us to up under the mantle of the Lucky Virgin as we look at Jesus by using her eyes. The design of the reserve itself by Kristin Foss – with ample pages for Lectio Divina, Actio/Planning, Daily Examen, a date to catch our breath within Selah, and so much more — is meant to have space for the reader to begin a particular conversation with Jesus as they hope with Him in the Word and also for his Mother. The reflections through the devotional writers gathered by Elizabeth Foss share the most intimate the corners of these faithful women’ s paper hearts, providing a glimpse of the power of Christ.
While there are many products out there to help us pray finally, the Rosary, I truly believe this one might be a staple over the years. I know I am eager to growing deeper in love with Erlöser through it.
New #rosary resource against @totakeupandread, lettering by @rakstardesigns: ‘ Ponder’ this May!
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Do you wish the Rosary? What helps keep your personal gaze focused on Christ?
*Full disclosure – I designed the calligraphy pages that accompany the memory compared to and am part of the creative staff for Take Up & Read. Regardless of this, I’ d be singing the book’ s praises even without within connection. It truly is a work of great appeal of and prayer.
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Copyright 2018 Rakhi McCormick
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