Time Marches On

So sorry for my extended absence. I have had a lot on my plate (as I’m sure we all have) with holidays, custody hearings, and registering for another semester with Holy Apostles College. I am looking forward to taking 5 courses again this semester: Church History, Epistemology, Dante: Narrative Thomism, The Gospel of John, & Building Catholic Character. I couldn’t any more highly recommend HACS’ online program. Not only are the classes (undergrad and grad) just off the charts, but they help you keep costs down by providing a lot of the books necessary. Additionally, the medium, Populi–used to perform all class discussions, assignment submissions, etc.–is so easy to navigate, and is comparable to something like Facebook for online learning. The whole college works to cater to the needs of their students, which may result in a bit of a wait time or a few hiccups, but they make sure everything is smoothed out and you get what you need.

I’m not being prompted by anyone to plug the school haha, it’s just that amazing, and I want everyone to learn about their programs because they have something for everyone. Patrick Madrid teaches an Apologetics course certain semesters. Abby Johnson and Matt Fraud have taken courses (Matt was in my Catechism class last semester). So if you won’t take my word for it, take theirs! Haha.

Aside from all this wonderfulness with school in my life, I have also had some difficulties. My ex has returned from National Guard training (where he has been for the past 8 months), and I was really hoping he could let go of resentment and spite, but I think there’s still a long road ahead. I have forgiven all that is in our past, and I realize I wasn’t perfect either while we were together. All I want to do is be parents to our kids and look forward. I want to put them first and communicate well with him for their sake. I want them to have parents who don’t hate each other. But, I think he feels moving forward in a positive way would validate my decision for the divorce, and he doesn’t want to do that. He wants there to be consequences, and he wants to punish me for something I feel I had to do, which I felt God’s blessing in doing. So I ask for your prayers for him, so that he can be released of anger for the sake of Dominic and Siena. I will be praying the novena to Our Lady Undoer of Knots for his hardened heart. My greatest hope is for peace in our children’s lives. Although, I feel a little greedy in asking for it when there are families in the Middle East right now who have scarcely known peace in their lifetimes. They fear for the safety of their children, facing daily perils from radical Islamists or extreme impoverishment. So I pray for these families too, it’s all too easy to get wrapped up in our first world problems. I wish I could do more than pray, but I have to believe my prayers are more powerful than any feeble attempts I could make at helping.

Also, I had to say goodbye yesterday to my dearest friend, my rock, who is committing a year to being a Catholic missionary, ministering to the homeless and imprisoned. I really wish I could have had an opportunity like this earlier in my life. Hopefully, I can get my kids more involved with volunteer work when they get a little older. For now, I am viewing my time at HACS as training for being able to offer people spiritual nourishment in the future. Oh, and this will also be a period of discernment for my friend as well, so if you could keep him in your prayers, I would appreciate it.

I honestly don’t know what I would do without my tremendous Catholic faith to console me and lift me up, and it makes me all the more determined to share my faith with others. It’s a nourishment of the soul we ought not keep to ourselves. I believe God has great things in store for me, as he does for each of us. We need to recognize just how important we are in our mission on this earth, how completely indispensable each human life truly is.

If you’re not seeking, you won’t find Him. How many around us aren’t even bothering to seek Truth? At the very least we ought to encourage those around us to embark on this journey toward Truth, even if they aren’t sold yet by the answers we have to offer. They can’t find the answers if they aren’t asking the questions.

11 For I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. 12 Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will hear you. 13 You will seek me and find me; when you seek me with all your heart, 14 I will be found by you, says the Lord…”

~ Jeremiah 29:11-14

I pray this prayer along with a rosary for the novena…

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Dietrich von Hildebrand’s Battle Against Hitler

MBAH-2Are you a fan of Dietrich or Alice von Hildebrand? Then this is a must-read! If you are unfamiliar with these tremendous Catholic philosophers, well now is the time to get familiar with them!

Right now through Dec. 31st you can get $10 off plus free shipping at the Hildebrand Project Online Store (costs less than Amazon) if you use my discount code: Murphy10

I am anxiously awaiting my copy of this book, and I will be posting my own review at a later date. I am familiar with other writings of the von Hildebrand’s, so I am thrilled to read this over my Christmas break.

If you would like to read Fr. Robert Barron’s review, you can read it HERE. Also, George Weigel has written a short article about it HERE.

This would make a great gift for anyone, especially those interested in Philosophy, Theology, and/or History!

From the Hildebrand Project Online Store Description:
“How does a person become Hitler’s enemy number one? Not through espionage or violence, it turns out, but by striking fearlessly at the intellectual and spiritual roots of National Socialism.

Dietrich von Hildebrand was a German Catholic thinker and teacher who devoted the full force of his intellect to breaking the deadly spell of Nazism that ensnared so many of his beloved countrymen.

His story might well have been lost to us were it not for this memoir he penned in the last decades of his life at the request of his wife, Alice von Hildebrand. In My Battle Against Hitler, covering the years from 1921 to 1938, von Hildebrand tells of the scorn and ridicule he endured for sounding the alarm when many still viewed Hitler as a positive and inevitable force. He expresses the sorrow of having to leave behind his home, friends, and family in Germany to conduct his fight against the Nazis from Austria. He recounts how he defiantly challenged Nazism in the public square, prompting the German ambassador in Vienna to describe him to Hitler as ‘the architect of the intellectual resistance in Austria.’ And in the midst of all the danger he faced, he conveys his unwavering trust in God, even during his harrowing escape from Vienna and his desperate flight across Europe, with the Nazis always just one step behind.
Dietrich von Hildebrand belongs to the very earliest anti-Nazi resistance. His public statements led the Nazis to blacklist him already in 1921, long before the horrors of the Third Reich and more than twenty-three years before the famous assassination attempt on Hitler in July 1944. His battle would culminate in the countless articles he published in Vienna, a selection of which are featured in this volume.
‘It is an immense privilege,’ writes editor John Henry Crosby, founder of the Hildebrand Project, ‘to present to the world the shining witness of one man who risked everything to follow his conscience and stand in defiance of tyranny.’

Relinquishing Roses

Jesus-Picture-With-Little-Girl-Giving-Flowers-Beautiful-Scene

One rainy day in November, Siena (5) and I stopped by the grocery store to return some items. A wilting rose lay on the customer service desk, its long stem hanging over the edge of the counter. Not tall enough to see what it was, Siena reached up and grabbed it to happily discover a beautiful rose bud at the other end. I told her to leave it alone since it wasn’t hers, and she put it down; moments later, she grasped it again to briefly gaze upon the beauty of the rose. I shooed her hand away from it and sternly told her not to touch it. So, she grabbed onto the edge of the counter and started hopping up and down just to steal glimpses of the flower. I finally settled my business, and the kind clerk smiled at Siena and told her she could keep it. Siena’s eyes lit up as they glanced up at me for permission. I nodded and smiled as she hurriedly took possession of her new rose, lest the clerk or I change our minds.

We then headed out to the chapel of perpetual adoration. I peered in my rearview mirror at Siena who was simply twirling her rose, admiring its beauty. We pulled up to the chapel, and I explained to her the importance of what we were about to do: “God wants all people to be like a big family. We should love everyone and help one another reach heaven, even people who have died. Most souls go to purgatory after death, which is fire that cleans their souls so they can be with God forever. Our prayers can help them get cleaner faster so they can go to Heaven.” I briefly told her that the week after Halloween is special because we can request gifts from God called indulgences for the poor souls. We hopped out of the car and raced through the rain. Together we threw open the chapel’s heavy, solid oak door to see 5 elderly women inside. Siena proudly paraded her pretty rose in front of the kneeling ladies, sharing her joy over this wondrous blossom of God’s creation.

Siena plopped down in the front pew while I genuflected. It was such a cozy atmosphere with the warm lighting overhead as the rain streamed down the oversized stained-glass windows. We cozied up to each other, and in a hushed voice I told her that people often leave flowers at graves and statues to show their love for those who are in Heaven, since they can’t get our hugs anymore. Then, I asked if she would like to give her rose to Jesus to show her love. She nodded excitedly, and I took her hand to walk her up to the altar. I unlocked the guardrail, and I didn’t dare look at the faces of the women around me, for fear of looks of disapproval. I kept my eyes fixed on Jesus, hidden in the simplicity of the Eucharist, and I led Siena to the altar, where she placed her beloved rose at the foot of the monstrance. We smiled at each other and exited the altar, locking the guardrail behind us. She glanced over her shoulder as we walked back to the pew, and her smile faded into a fretful frown. Turning to me, she asked in a sweetly sorrowful voice, “Wait, do I have to leave it there forever?” I brushed her hair away from her big blue eyes and sat her on my lap and whispered near her ear: “Oh no, sweetie, you don’t have to leave it. Jesus only wants it if you want to give it to Him. But, you know what? You have a treasure chest up in heaven, and every time you show God or others love, He pours a treasure of graces into your chest. When you get to heaven, He will give you all the treasure you stored up in your life.” I didn’t want her to think Jesus would be disappointed if she didn’t give up the rose, so I told her she could take it back if she wanted; He would still be happy she let Him borrow it for a little while. Siena shook her head and insisted Jesus keep it. She smiled, but that light in her eyes from when she held her rose had clearly been extinguished.

f297734e9ae7178be7dd99e69007fdb1I started to feel guilty, thinking, “Uh oh, did I just guilt her into giving up her rose? Did I make a totally bad Catholic-mom move? Will she grow up and point to this moment as the single reason she will never raise her kids Catholic?” Before I was entirely consumed with worry, I put myself in her shoes, thinking back on my faith as a child. I remembered watching the ushers at mass bringing the baskets of money to the altar. When they returned, their baskets were empty as they placed them on the floor next to our pew. I would sit in awe at every mass, believing God to have magically taken up the money Himself to distribute to the poor. A peace washed over me as I felt confirmed I hadn’t done anything wrong. So, in an attempt to cheer her up, I beckoned the beliefs of my childhood: “Siena, how about we come back tomorrow, and if Jesus wants you to share your rose with someone else, we can take it back from the altar. But, if it isn’t there, it means Jesus took it to heaven to give to the souls who are entering heaven because of our prayers today.” The light beamed in Siena’s eyes once more as she pondered aloud, “I wonder if Jesus will give it to Mary for me.” Then, I told her He absolutely would because Mary loves roses, which is why we have the Rosary; when we pray it, we are offering a bouquet of flowers to Mary, who is our mother in heaven.

We stayed for the Divine Mercy Chaplet, and Siena’s voice was boisterous each time she prayed the responses, “Have mercy on us, and on the whole world.” She probably just liked hearing her voice echo off the walls of the chapel. Nevertheless, it was very moving hearing her little voice among the typical women’s voices at the 3 o’clock hour. I could feel how much Jesus loved this little child’s prayers: “Out of the mouth of babies and infants you have brought perfect praise” (Matthew 21:16). Despite any lack of understanding Siena may have had, there was certainly no lack of belief. To my surprise, when we were leaving the chapel, a woman with a wooden walking stick chased after us. She stopped us to tell Siena she felt so blessed to be there to witness her offering the pretty rose to Jesus. Siena just smiled, clinging to my leg. I was happy I wasn’t the only one to appreciate the beauty of a child’s faith in that moment.

We returned to the chapel the next day, and Siena was all aglow with wonder when she saw the rose was no longer on the altar, “God took it to heaven, mommy!” I told her He must have really loved her rose and wanted to share it with souls in heaven and with Mary. I explained that her love for the rose made the rose so much more valuable as a gift to God, more precious than gold. How often do we forget Christ’s command to be childlike? There’s so much we can learn from the simplicity of children, especially when it comes to the faith.

We are welcomed to stop and appreciate God’s beautiful creations, but we must always have our heart fixed on Christ: “Our Father refreshes us on the journey with some pleasant inns, but will not encourage us to mistake them for home.”[1] We must be ready and willing to give up what we love most because sacrifice is inherent in love. Sometimes we don’t have a choice, and possessions or people are taken away from us too soon. So, it is best we develop the habit while we can, preparing for times when our only options are to accept the path God has called us down or to rebel against Him. Joachim and Ann offered their loveliest rose—the presentation of Mary in the temple. Mary offered her priceless rose—her Son’s presentation in the temple, where she was told a sword would pierce her own heart. The greatest rose of all, however, was God’s gift to man: “For God so loved the world that He gave His only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16). The fruit of this pure, sacrificial love has been our salvation. Are you prepared to relinquish your rose?

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[1] C.S. Lewis, Problem of Pain  

Triumphant Song of Confidence

Today I received a unique penance. I was told to go read whatever Psalm corresponds to my age, so I got Psalm 27. There couldn’t have been a more perfect prayer for me in that very moment. I need this plastered on my wall, or better yet on the inside of my eyelids. Reading this just melted every doubt or worry that weighed heavily on my soul. I just love the Psalms.

Triumphant Song of Confidence

A Psalm of David

27 The Lord is my light and my salvation;
    whom shall I fear?
The Lord is the stronghold[a] of my life;
    of whom shall I be afraid?

When evildoers assail me,
    uttering slanders against me,[b]
my adversaries and foes,
    they shall stumble and fall.

Though a host encamp against me,
    my heart shall not fear;
though war arise against me,
    yet I will be confident.

One thing have I asked of the Lord,
    that will I seek after;
that I may dwell in the house of the Lord
    all the days of my life,
to behold the beauty of the Lord,
    and to inquire in his temple.

For he will hide me in his shelter
    in the day of trouble;
he will conceal me under the cover of his tent,
    he will set me high upon a rock.

And now my head shall be lifted up
    above my enemies round about me;
and I will offer in his tent
    sacrifices with shouts of joy;
I will sing and make melody to the Lord.

Hear, O Lord, when I cry aloud,
    be gracious to me and answer me!
Thou hast said, “Seek ye my face.”
    My heart says to thee,
“Thy face, Lord, do I seek.”
    Hide not thy face from me.

Turn not thy servant away in anger,
    thou who hast been my help.
Cast me not off, forsake me not,
    O God of my salvation!
10 For my father and my mother have forsaken me,
    but the Lord will take me up.

11 Teach me thy way, O Lord;
    and lead me on a level path
    because of my enemies.
12 Give me not up to the will of my adversaries;
    for false witnesses have risen against me,
    and they breathe out violence.

13 I believe that I shall see the goodness of the Lord
    in the land of the living!
14 Wait for the Lord;
    be strong, and let your heart take courage;
    yea, wait for the Lord!

I Need Beautiful Music to Thrive

The radio on Cape Cod is atrocious, to say the least. I’m on a steady diet of the likes of Rihanna and Maroon 5 if I even coax myself into turning on the radio in the car. There’s country, which I tried switching over to, but they’re just as bad in Nashville these days, dripping with misogyny. I’m left wondering, what happened to Love? to Beauty? to Truth? Granted, every now and then providence will have me turn on my radio to “Don’t Stop Believing,” and those always turn out to be good days :). But, I don’t have time to explore music down other avenues, and so I wind up just tuning out altogether, fed up with the music industry as a whole. Even Christian music (which I can only access online) can sometimes get on my nerves because I overthink things, and I wind up cross-examining some of the faulty Theology they’re offering me to chew on. So life moves forward, and stress weighs heavy on my shoulders, and thoughts race around my mind a mile a minute all hours of the night. Then, I hear a beautiful song, of all places on some random TV show Bones. And, I am reminded how important beautiful music is for my soul. I have to make it a prioity because it makes daily life so much more bearable. I play guitar, very poorly, but I’m always trying to improve. It’s a dream that I never thought I would achieve, so when I play, it brings me great joy. Plus, my kids think I’m great because they don’t know better yet, so I better take advantage of their untrained ears. So, I am going to move music up in my priorities, both playing and listening, because it’s something that helps me to thrive throughout each day rather than merely trying to survive. Maybe you should too!

Here’s the song that inspired this post, simplicity is hard to come by these days…

And this song does a great job making fun of all the contemporary country music…

“I Thirst for YOU”

This following post is a beautiful meditation I discovered, which is based on Mother Teresa’s meditations and revelations concerning Jesus’ thirst for souls (source: http://www.mcpriests.com/03_I_thirst_PrayerEN.htm)

I Thirst for You

“Behold, I stand at the door and knock… (Rev. 3, 20)

Jesus Crucified

It is true. I stand at the door of your heart, day and night. Even when you are not listening, even when you doubt it could be Me, I am there. I await even the smallest sign of your response, even the least whispered invitation that will allow Me to enter.

And I want you to know that whenever you invite Me, I do come – always, without fail. Silent and unseen I come, but with infinite power and love, and bringing the many gifts of My Spirit. I come with My mercy, with My desire to forgive and heal you, and with a love for you beyond your comprehension – a love every bit as great as the love I have received from the Father (“As much as the Father has loved me, I have loved you…” (Jn. 15:10) I come – longing to console you and give you strength, to lift you up and bind all your wounds. I bring you My light, to dispel your darkness and all your doubts. I come with My power, that I might carry you and all your burdens; with My grace, to touch your heart and transform your life; and My peace I give to still your soul.

I know you through and through. I know everything about you. The very hairs of your head I have numbered. Nothing in your life is unimportant to Me. I have followed you through the years, and I have always loved you – even in your wanderings. I know every one of your problems. I know your needs and your worries. And yes, I know all your sins. But I tell you again that I love you – not for what you have or haven’t done – I love you for you, for the beauty and dignity My Father gave you by creating you in His own image. It is a dignity you have often forgotten, a beauty you have tarnished by sin. But I love you as you are, and I have shed My Blood to win you back. If you only ask Me with faith, My grace will touch all that needs changing in your life, and I will give you the strength to free yourself from sin and all its destructive power.

I know what is in your heart – I know your loneliness and all your hurts – the rejections, the judgments, the humiliations, I carried it all before you. And I carried it all for you, so you might share My strength and victory. I know especially your need for love – how you are thirsting to be loved and cherished. But how often have you thirsted in vain, by seeking that love selfishly, striving to fill the emptiness inside you with passing pleasures – with the even greater emptiness of sin. Do you thirst for love? “Come to Me all you who thirst…” (Jn. 7: 37). I will satisfy you and fill you. Do you thirst to be cherished? I cherish you more than you can imagine – to the point of dying on a cross for you.

I Thirst for You. Yes, that is the only way to even begin to describe My love for you. I THIRST FOR YOU. I thirst to love you and to be loved by you – that is how precious you are to Me. I THIRST FOR YOU. Come to Me, and I will fill your heart and heal your wounds. I will make you a new creation, and give you peace, even in all your trials I THIRST FOR YOU. You must never doubt My mercy, My acceptance of you, My desire to forgive, My longing to bless you and live My life in you. I THIRST FOR YOU. If you feel unimportant in the eyes of the world, that matters not at all. For Me, there is no one any more important in the entire world than you. I THIRST FOR YOU. Open to Me, come to Me, thirst for Me, give me your life – and I will prove to you how important you are to My Heart.

Don’t you realize that My Father already has a perfect plan to transform your life, beginning from this moment? Trust in Me. Ask Me every day to enter and take charge of your life. – and I will. I promise you before My Father in heaven that I will work miracles in your life. Why would I do this? Because I THIRST FOR YOU. All I ask of you is that you entrust yourself to Me completely. I will do all the rest.

Even now I behold the place My Father has prepared for you in My Kingdom. Remember that you are a pilgrim in this life, on a journey home. Sin can never satisfy you, or bring the peace you seek. All that you have sought outside of Me has only left you more empty, so do not cling to the things of this life. Above all, do not run from Me when you fall. Come to Me without delay. When you give Me your sins, you gave Me the joy of being your Savior. There is nothing I cannot forgive and heal; so come now, and unburden your soul.

No matter how far you may wander, no matter how often you forget Me, no matter how many crosses you may bear in this life; there is one thing I want you to always remember, one thing that will never change. I THIRST FOR YOU – just as you are. You don’t need to change to believe in My love, for it will be your belief in My love that will change you. You forget Me, and yet I am seeking you every moment of the day – standing at the door of your heart and knocking. Do you find this hard to believe? Then look at the cross, look at My Heart that was pierced for you. Have you not understood My cross? Then listen again to the words I spoke there – for they tell you clearly why I endured all this for you: “I THIRST…”(Jn 19: 28). Yes, I thirst for you – as the rest of the psalm – verse I was praying says of Me: “I looked for love, and I found none…” (Ps. 69: 20). All your life I have been looking for your love – I have never stopped seeking to love you and be loved by you. You have tried many other things in your search for happiness; why not try opening your heart to Me, right now, more than you ever have before.

Whenever you do open the door of your heart, whenever you come close enough, you will hear Me say to you again and again, not in mere human words but in spirit. “No matter what you have done, I love you for your own sake Come to Me with your misery and your sins, with your troubles and needs, and with all your longing to be loved. I stand at the door of your heart and knock. Open to Me, for I THIRST FOR YOU…”


“Jesus is God, therefore His love, His Thirst, is infinite. He the creator of the universe,
asked for the love of His creatures.
He thirst for our love… These words:
‘I Thirst’ –
Do they echo in our souls?”

Mother Teresa

Imprimatur
Mons. G. Sergio De la Cerda Z.
Vicar General
Tijuana, B. C. México.

Etsy vs. Pinterest

This blog post is an assignment for my Theology and Social Media course:

Etsy is a marketplace where individuals can start their own little online story to sell what usually tends to be handmade goods. Customers can favorite items and start a collection of goods they would like to purchase perhaps at a later date. Pinterest is more of an image-based website, where you collect images for things like styles of clothing you prefer or home decorating or even your favorite funny memes and e-cards. Photos on Pinterest do have links from their source, often where you can purchase the item if you desire. Actually, a lot of photos on Pinterest come from Etsy. I don’t think their is a necessity to create a Catholic or Christian version of these sites. Rather, I think it is important to maintain a presence amidst the secular interests because, after all, we Christians do not compartmentalize our lives. Christianity is rather something that permeates all aspects of our lives. Also, one might post a thoughtful Christian meme on Pinterest the a non-Christian could appreciate. Non-Christians won’t be exposed to the light and beauty of Christianity if we insist on having our own sites, our own buildings, our own stores. We ought not be ashamed to wear our Christianity on our sleeves, and we shouldn’t be erecting walls between Christians and non-Christians. They may be putting up walls, but we should be breaking them down, not reinforcing them.

Annulment Merry-Go-Round

 

I have finally accomplished writing my first post to contribute to The Dead Philosopher’s Society, which is a blog for Holy Apostles College based in Cromwell, CT. Please visit the site to read the full post, and feel free to comment:

An annulment does not invalidate a marriage, but merely recognizes the reality that binding marriage vows were absent during the entire span the “spouses” were together. Toward the end of my marriage, I would recall the circumstances surrounding our vows, and I would think, “Wow, I am not actually married because I could get an annulment.” Currently undergoing a drawn out divorce, I haven’t even been able to file for an annulment. The thought that an annulment simply validates the reality that my marriage never took place has always circled my mind. It is what eventually led to my justification to venture into the dating scene without an annulment. I figured I deserved to move on with my life, and I had suffered enough. Besides, I told myself, God knows what’s up—I’m not really married.

Never forget the subtlety of the serpent; he has an ingenious way of appealing to our reason, clothing sin in some fraudulent good . . . [Read More Here]