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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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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In Sickness and in Health: There is Always Good

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A dear friend of mine from college passed away in April after a year-long battle with appendiceal cancer. Well, it started last February when they found out she had cancer. She was told she was in remission this past September, but by December the cancer was stage IV and growing fast. She went to be with the Lord on April 6, 2017. She was only 34.

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“As the family goes, so goes the nation..."

“As the family goes, so goes the nation..."

As the family goes, so goes the nation, and so goes the whole world in which we live.” – St. John Paul II
Last week I wrote on the basics of spiritual warfare: the battle for our souls is real, something we must all engage in by virtue of our baptism, and Jesus is the only one who can win this war.

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Ready Or Not, Here He Comes!

Ready Or Not, Here He Comes!

Right now I have family members who are putting their house on the market. They have been busy packing up and keeping things clean for their open house and subsequent showings. Their house needs to be in order so they are ready at any moment for someone to come take a look. They are busy preparing for when their house sells.

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Raised to Love

Raised to Love

When parents of a newborn baby set out on the big scary adventure of tackling the myriad of challenges in caring for their baby, there's no shortage of advice from family and friends to help them on their way.

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NFP is like eating vegetables: my love/hate relationship with NFP

NFP is like eating vegetables: my love/hate relationship with NFP

Some things that are very overwhelming about using NFP are: how much I don’t know how to use it, how much you have to abstain if you are really trying to avoid having children, and how hard it is post-partum. I have talked to many who are in the same boat, and are wishing someone would have warned them on how challenging it is instead of painting it as a romantic walk on the beach during  a sunset. 

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