Lack of charm

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I’m not going to mention the usual Halloween stuff which surrounds us this time of year. Indeed I highly reccommend reading this on just how bad things have got in our culture around the ghoulish.

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Timeout Time

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I turned 23 not too long ago. My life is just beginning, in a lot of ways. I’m not married (yet) and I don’t have children (yet). I am in a wonderful, incredible relationship, though, and of course that sets me to thinking about the future. Who I want to be as a wife, as a mother: it’s a clean slate. I haven’t made any mistakes in those fields yet. And I’ll be honest, that really scares me sometimes. 

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Exercise Evangelization

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After my 4th baby in 6 years, the “baby fat” didn’t just melt off like everyone promised it would by nursing. Multiple trips to the chiropractor didn’t solve my hip pain either. I had tight muscles in my legs and could barely walk on the treadmill for 10 minutes. I was disgusted with my body and discouraged about ever feeling comfortable in my own skin again.

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School of the Home

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"Back to School!" How that phrase used to fill me with dread when I was a child. I have to say [as a parent] the thought of the children returning to the daily/weekly routine of school timetables and repetition is somewhat of a relief after 6 weeks of a fair degree of disorder and random activity [depending on the weather] around the home. For all of that though, I shall miss something of the "school of the home" atmosphere we have all enjoyed as a family since mid July.

Classroom and home, hearth and assembly hall have got to be synergised in the cherishment of Christian values and faith if the family/school; parent/teacher partnership is to bear the rich fruit it is called to bring forth in grace. For that, there really has to be fresh standards of mutual appreciation and support but especially I feel, for the sacred space that is the Christian home.

I was reflecting on this over the last few days as I was immersed in [of all things] the painting of our humble garden shed. A somewhat mundane task but one which we all enjoyed contributing to [though I had the lion's share] as a family. What's this got to do with my point above? Well, some years ago I addressed an international conference at the University of Torun in Poland on the dignity and purpose of the family. In my talk I reminded the audience of the unique phrase to this island nation of ours; "An Englishman's home is his castle." 

It was established as common law by the lawyer and politician Sir Edward Coke (pronounced Cook), in The Institutes of the Laws of England, 1628:

"For a man's house is his castle, et domus sua cuique est tutissimum refugium [and each man's home is his safest refuge]."

This enshrined into law the popular belief at the time, expressed in print by several authors in the late 16th century. It was even used as an argument to say that outlawed English Catholics still enjoyed the protection of this maxim, at least culturally if not always technically. The Stage of Popish Toyes: containing both tragicall and comicall partes, by Henri Estienne wrote in 1581:

'The English papists owe it to the Queen that "your house is your Castle."'

The English have had a passion for the sovereignty of hearth and home for more than a millennia. The English have the widest variety of chimneys in the world as well as more garden sheds than anywhere else. (Which is why I felt obliged to smarten our's up!)

Seriously though, if the home is meant to be sacred then the family, and the wishes and conscientiously held beliefs of that family [consonant with Gospel values and Catholic teaching] who reside in that home ought to be fully respected and served by all sectors of society and ecclesiastical life. The former grows less and less but the latter [especially the parish and school] must be something the Catholic family can depend upon; if not then something is very drastically wrong. There is no need for me to enunciate the many and diverse risks facing the family. The message of the 2008 World Day of Peace puts it succinctly;

'Consequently, whoever, even unknowingly, circumvents the institution of the family undermines peace in the entire community, national and international, since he weakens what is in effect the primary agency of peace.

So as a new academic year begins I pray the Holy Spirit will pour afresh on parents, teachers, clergy, and catechists a new and deep sense of mutual respect, Christ-like love and dependence upon the Lord to fulfil their shared task of passing on the Faith.

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Seeds of NFP

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Lately, the readings of the liturgical cycle have been focusing on the parable of the sower. And since last week was Natural Family Planning (NFP) Awareness week, I wanted to follow up with some reflections on sowing the seed of NFP.

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Lessons in Love

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Before I got married, I thought I was the perfect catch. I was confident in myself, loved adventure, was disciplined in my job,  went to daily Mass, and frequented the adoration chapel. I was intelligent and happy and was surrounded by good friends.

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Bonding Bucket List

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The other night my husband and I were discussing our bucket lists. Mine went something like this: go to the Grand Canyon, go to the Sand Dunes, go on a cruise, travel to Europe…
His bucket list was a little different: go heli-skiing, go skydiving, go parasailing, get a motorcycle…
Since I am deathly afraid of heights and he gets motion sickness, it doesn’t sound like we will be accomplishing many of our bucket list items together.

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Why?

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Children have the remarkably annoying habit of interrogating us don’t they? They’re obsessed with the fundamental nature of things, why the world is the way it is, and how to logically connect it all together. The endless “why”? questions. It can be maddening at times. 

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A short Message

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Earlier this week the news of the Duke of Edinburgh deciding to step away from his public duties at the age of 96, made big headlines. One commentator said that on a personal level the Duke would really be baffled by all the fuss over it. After all he is 96! But more than that; there was one quote recalled about the Duke which really struck a chord with me.

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He might not give you a million dollars, but God will provide

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In a discussion about NFP, a couple in our marriage prep course told us this:

There’s also the fear of having a child before being ready. And no, God is not going to give me millions of dollars because it will help me prepare for the child. So don’t tell me that god will provide. He provided me with intellect, and abilities to survive and make something of myself. With my intellect, I will be using birth control.”

Well, if we all had to be “ready” to have a baby, not many of us would have children at all! 

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