Saturday, May 29, 2010

In Loving Memory of Dad

I have never posted anything my father wrote. I suppose that is odd, considering that I inherited my love for writing from him. So, in honor of Memorial Day Weekend (and in loving memory of my dad), I offer you one of his pieces . . .

Scripture: But those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint. (Isaiah 40:31)

I love ships. I don't get nearly enough exposure to them by living in landlocked Illinois. That's why I tour every historic ship in every port every chance I get. Last summer, I had my itinerary planned; I could hardly wait to step aboard. She was a thing of glory, had never known a losing conflict. But, after the War of 1812, outdated and outclassed, she was replaced by the new breed of steam-powered vessels. While the debate to scrap her heated up, Oliver Wendell Holmes asked the question, "Shall the harpies of the shore pluck the Eagle of the Sea?"

Old Ironsides.

Her name said it all. But, when I saw her, she certainly looked as though the harpies had been at her. All of her masts were gone, along with miles of rigging. The cannons which had studded her decks were no longer there. Her rudder lay on the edge of the pier like a large bronze whale, as if some denizen of the deep had tossed it ashore. All that remained was the hull, picked clean. She quietly rested now in dry-dock in the midst of refitting and refurbishing. It saddened me to look at her, the oldest commissioned warship in the world. Disappointed, I walked away.

Warships, war horses, or warriors all need a respite from the battles of life. As a matter of fact, that's why I happened to be in Boston. In a sense, I was in dry-dock. That realization hit me hard. Our ideal is to be at our fighting b est every second, never give up, burn out, or rust. Aren't we supposed to be like eagles, mounting up on our wings, never growing wear? But Isaiah tells us to "wait on the Lord." We don't always have to be strong. Sometimes we need to be stripped down to the water line of our soul and be renewed. That's true whether we are an "Eagle of the Sea" or an eagle just like me. Then, we can be made to soar again.
-Dennis Johnson

Artwork by Jennifer Bossert

It Doesn't Get Better Than That!

One of my favorite moments is when the pastor or priest pauses at the end of the wedding ceremony and turns to the guests to say, "I present to you Mr. and Mrs. Smith."

If you'd look in my direction about then, I'd have this dopey grin on my face. There might even be a tear or two slipping down my cheek. It's simply the moment we've all been waiting for, the climax of our collective witness to their growing love, the turning point in the lives of these two people.

It just doesn't get any better than this.

Or does it?

The book of Jude is largely overlooked. Yet, there's this little passage at the end of chapter one--the only chapter in the whole book. It says, "To him who is able to . . . present you without fault and with great joy - to the only God our Savior be glory, majesty, power and authority, through Jesus Christ our Lord, before all ages, now and forevermore! Amen." As my husband would say, how cool is that! Our prayer should be that someday, with God's divine mercy and our yes to grace, we may hear those words as Jesus Christ introduces us to God the Father. What's more, Sacred Scripture tells us that this is quite simply the moment Jesus has been waiting for, the climax of events, the turning point.

The day Jesus welcomes the Bride of Christ into that eternal welcome and everlasting embrace.

It doesn't get any better than that!


Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Quote by St. Philip Neri on his Feast Day

We are not saints yet, but we, too, should beware. Uprightness and virtue do have their rewards, in self-respect and in respect from others, and it is easy to find ourselves aiming for the result rather than the cause. Let us aim for joy, rather than respectability. Let us make fools of ourselves from time to time, and thus see ourselves, for a moment, as the all-wise God sees us.

Monday, May 24, 2010

North Texas Catholic Puts CBG at 39 Papers . . . and counting

North Texas Catholic ran the May Catholic by Grace column. They are the 39th diocesan paper to run CBG articles. Thanks NTC!

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Catholic Church must always be universal, Pope proclaims on Pentecost :: Catholic News Agency (CNA)

Catholic Church must always be universal, Pope proclaims on Pentecost :: Catholic News Agency (CNA)

Friday, May 21, 2010

Pentecost Power

Pentecost Sunday is around the corner!
Have you prayed for the Holy Spirit to come in a mighty way?

Come, Holy Spirit,
Fill the hears of the faithful,
and enkindle in them the fire of your love.
Send forth your Spirit,
and they shall be created,
and you shall renew the face of the earth.

Send your Spirit upon us,
to be our helper and guide.
Give us the Spirit of wisdom and understanding,
the Spirit of right judgment and courage,
the Spirit of knowledge and reverence.
Fill us with the wonder and awe of your Presence.
We ask this through Jesus Christ, our Lord.



Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Where the Double Portion of Grace is Found

The hardest section to cut with our push lawnmower is the area of the yard that slopes along the back of the house toward my Mary Garden.

The grass grows lush and deep because the rain and morning dew hang out there longer than any other place on our four-acre property. Because of this, the grass grows faster and longer and thicker there.

It has rained for days. Today, the sun finally came out, and I set my mind and body to the task of cutting the grass. I was forced to save that little section for last, to give it time enough to dry.

That meant that I had to tackle the slope and the longest grass when I was at the end of my strength.

As I rounded the corner and pointed the mower toward the Mary Garden, I saw Our Lady of Grace standing there.

And I remembered how difficult She was for me during my journey into Mother Church. I left Her for last.

I checked off Apostolic Succession and Purgatory and the Communion of Saints. One by one, I investigated Church Teaching and, once I got it, I moved on to the next Teaching.

Except Our Lady.

When I finally stopped by the nearest parish to find out how to finalize this journey, I told the priest that I was ready to come in . . . but I didn't think I could ever worship Mary. He told me I wouldn't have to. Catholics do NOT worship Mary, he said. We only worship God.

So I signed up for RCIA. But I still held on to a bias I had toward the Teaching on the Immaculate Conception. That one was too hard.

So I saved it for last.

I almost quit when December 8th rolled around. It was too much for me. But I opened my heart to whatever grace might be lingering in the journey . . . to help me persevere even now . . . even at the Immaculate Conception.

It was, indeed, the most difficult part of the journey.

But I have found that those who choose to grow near Our Lady are blessed with a greater portion of grace. The dew and rain of Baptism lingers here and the blades of grass grow stronger and taller and thicker.

And so, as I rounded that corner and aimed the mower for the most important part of the property, I offered the task up to the Cross of Christ. I prayed for those who abandon the mission here, for those who say no at this point, for those who cannot embrace the Teachings on Our Blessed Mother.

For those of you who have always called the Catholic Church your home, you may not understand how difficult this part of the journey can be for the convert.

There is enough grace, though. Grace enough for blind eyes to see, deaf ears to hear, and atrophied muscles to regenerate.

She is my Mother.

Praises to Our Lord Jesus Christ. He has shared His Mother with even me.


Monday, May 17, 2010

Coming Home Network International to Run Denise Bossert's Conversion Story in July!

If any of you receive the Coming Home Network International newsletter (or watch Journey Home on EWTN), just wanted to let you know they will be running my conversion story this July. More about that in later posts. . .


Novena to mark end of Year for Priests on Independent Catholic News

Novena to mark end of Year for Priests on Independent Catholic News

Friday, May 14, 2010

May Catholic by Grace Article

My mother turns 67 in a few weeks. She created a Facebook page the other day. She’s not the typical age for joining the digital world, but I understand her decision to embrace technology.

Five of her ten grandchildren are on Facebook, and their lives have become so busy the only way to keep up with them is to go where they hang out.

And so that’s what she did.

As Catholics, we could learn some things from grandmothers who tackle new social media for the sole purpose of connecting with the grandchildren they love.

I’m intrigued by the dynamic duo that we find in Pope John Paul II and Pope Benedict XVI. The first one called us to the New Evangelization and the second one continues that call by directing us to go where the crowds gather. It’s no longer Judea, Samaria, and to the ends of the earth (Acts 1:8). It’s no longer the highways and byways (Luke 14:23). Now, the crowds meet on the Internet superhighways. Facebook. My Space. Twitter. The blogosphere. Podcasts.

Pope Benedict understands this. That’s why his Message on World Day of Communications 2010 encouraged priests to get on Facebook. That's why he has encouraged the faithful to have a presence on the Internet. Basically, he has asked all of us to go where the people gather.

In his 2009 message, the Holy Father called this generation the digital generation and highlighted the “extraordinary potential of the new technologies” which permit us to communicate almost instantaneously with anyone in the world. What we can do with our laptops and iphones is quite amazing.

But to whom much is given, much is required (Luke 12:48). And that is certainly true with the gift of the new media. Do you have access to the Internet? Are you on Facebook? Do you have a blog? Well, that’s a little like giving one of those early Apostles a private jet and letting him loose on the world. The possibilities are endless.

The Holy Father concluded his Communications Day message by turning his attention to young Catholics. He encouraged them to share their faith in the digital world. If you are already part of this digital generation, then his message is for you in particular, because you “have an almost spontaneous affinity for the new means of communication,” Pope Benedict says. And for this reason, you must “take responsibility for the evangelization” and spread the Good News to a “digital continent”.

Don’t be afraid to put up a status now and then that shares a little of the love you have for your Catholic faith. Don’t shy away from writing a post on your blog that indicates that you love Jesus Christ and His Church. Tweet about it. Let it be a natural part of your communication with the Internet community that surrounds you. Consider it your digital continent and you are the one being sent to spread the Good News.

It’s quite easy, really. How about this for a status: On my way to Mass . . . my favorite part of the week.

Or wondering if I have any Facebook friends who are thinking about the Catholic faith. Would love to sponsor you. Call or text.

It isn’t easy to be salt of the earth to this digital continent. One of the hardest things about Facebook and other social media is that you can’t wear more than one mask. You can’t be one thing to your friends and another thing altogether to your grandmother. Everyone sees your status. Anyone can read your tweets.

It’s a good time to begin reconciling the image you present to the world with the real person you are inside. If you are a Catholic who loves the faith, let it show.

Go into all the world, including the digital continent, and share the good news.


Spectator Column: Acting up with early Christians: Our Sunday Visitor

Spectator Column: Acting up with early Christians: Our Sunday Visitor

Salt and Light Blog - this one's excellent

Baby Steps.