Here are some things I read in the last month. I’m also tracking everything I read in 2018 (the good, the bad, the weird, don’t judge me) on my brand-new Goodreads account.
As Catholic mothers, we have the same vocation. But God calls us to live out this vocation in diverse ways! Although Tolstoy claimed happy families are all alike, we know holy families are all different. Allow me to highlight 7 different ways Catholic moms can go against the current “super-Catholic” grain and still find sanctity.
2017’s reading list had 17 minutely researched, considered, and chosen titles. But I only finished half.
I read lots of other books: new recommendations, book-club picks, and old favorites. My interests evolved. Many of the books I wanted to check out from the library (or purchase) I never got around to. I also give myself full permission to quit books, so that kicked a few off the list.
A blogger I deeply admire recently wrote about why we call God Father, not mother. (Hint: Because He asked us to!) It’s a great post. Be sure to read it! It’s full of meaty quotes from the catechism. As I read it, I considered why people would want to call God mother.
Those who do so are sincerely questing after God. We all make this mistake occasionally. By making God more like us, we hope to bring Him nearer.
But we are made in His image. We cannot remake Him in our own. Then we are just a series of mirrors reflecting and refracting endlessly on. We do not gain a fruitful creation; only mere illusion.
None of this is necessary! God being Father does not invalidate or diminish my vocation as a mother. After all, He is the author of human motherhood. Trust in Him to imbue your state with everything that is necessary!
“Suffering, pain, sorrow, humiliation, feelings of loneliness, are nothing but the kiss of Jesus, a sign that you have come so close that he can kiss you.“-St Teresa of Calcutta
Advent Is A Season Of Waiting
The word Advent means coming. We wait for Christ’s coming at the end of time. We celebrate his coming every day in the Eucharist. And we remember the Israelites waiting for their Messiah before Jesus’s birth. One of my favorite ways to enter into this waiting is to consider Mary awaiting the nativity.
Anyone who has been pregnant can tell you the last month is actually 17 months long. You can’t get around. Everything hurts. Mary had to ride on a donkey like that! Yes, you are huge and uncomfortable, but there’s also a very deep longing to finally meet this new person.
Longing is a love. If you didn’t care then it wouldn’t hurt. Unfortunately, we have lost appreciation for pain for suffering.
So I didn’t read all 17 books on my 2017 reading list. I read lots of other books: new recommendations, book-club picks, and old favorites. I also give myself full permission to quit books, so that kicked a few off the list. And above all, my interests evolved.
The woman who wrote that list in December 2016 is not the same woman writing to you now. Her tastes have changed. Her schedule changed. Her family changed. And her heart changed.
There’s always going to be one more thing on the to-do list. But you can’t pour from an empty cup! That’s why self-care is unquestionably necessary. I’m not making an argument against self-care. Rather, against the terrible amount of bad advice out there.
So often the big suggestions for self-care are something frivolous like “Use a bath bomb or go for a walk.”
It can also be just an excuse for all sorts of self-indulgent behavior, like copious amounts of wine and chocolate.
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I haven’t been on the blog lately. In the world of Catholic-mom-blogging, that usually means the author is pregnant. Unfortunately, I’m still infertile myrtle. But I have been busy with a similarly anticipatory process.
For the past few weeks, I’ve been immersed in work for Advent: the ancient season of expectant waiting. It doesn’t begin until December 3rd, but I had to get a jump on it for a top-secret project.
The month of October will center on St Thérèse. Email subscribers will receive a digital print from Story of a Soul throughout the month of October. I will post in-depth book reviews of my favorite books on the Little Flower here on the blog. You can read more on Facebook. Even Instagram will get a little sprinkle of roses with a flash sale each Sunday.
St. Thérèse of Lisieux, also known by her religious name, St. Thérèse of the Child Jesus and the Holy Face, is one of the most widely-known Saints of the modern era. You might be familiar with the rough outlines of her life and veneration, but how much do you really know about this Saint and her “Little Way”? For an engaging, readable book on St. Thérèse and the essential necessity of trust, I highly recommend Trusting God With St. Thérèse by Connie Rossini.
St. Thérèse was the youngest child in a large, devout, French family. In 1888, she entered the cloistered convent of the Discalced Carmelites at only 15 years old. After many years as de facto novice mistress, in charge of the formation of the entering novices, St. Thérèse died of tuberculosis at age 24. Her canonization came less than 30 years later, and she is only one of four female Doctors of the Church.
St. Thérèse is the only female Doctor who is not a mystic. Perhaps that is one of the deciding factors in her popularity today. We find her story, her spirituality more accessible. She never experienced stigmata or levitation. She did not subscribe to lengthy methods of corporal mortification or purgation. Her way was a Little Way. A way of complete trust in the benevolence of God.
On her deathbed, St. Thérèse made a solemn promise. “After my death, I will let fall a shower of roses. I will spend my heaven doing good upon earth.” Many have sought her aid and been answered. Not only with a resolution of their trial, but also with a literal rose!
Read on for more ways St. Thérèse can help you.