Saturday, March 30, 2013

A Faithful Mother

I have given the Blessed Mother all of my most difficult petitions. I don't know why. I guess it's because, somewhere deep inside, I know that mothers can handle the worst of the worst.

They don't give up.

And when it comes to family, they know how to love with fierce passion.

So, maybe that's why I have given the Blessed Mother my most difficult petitions.

When I entered the Catholic Church, my first petition was the conversion of my little girl. I wanted her to come into the Church early so that she would have no inherited bias against the Church. I wanted her to grow up loving the Saints, and Mother Mary, and the Holy Father. I wanted her to grow up with an understanding of the One who waits for her in the Eucharist.

But my husband was Baptist, and he had other plans for our daughter.

Then, one day in the car, he said that it was time for Jennifer to become Catholic. I could call the parish and get her into PSR. He was thinking she would benefit from a Catholic high school education, but he didn't want her to feel like the oddball non-Catholic when she entered 9th grade--better to get her into the Church early so that she would feel like she fits in with everyone else. He was thinking about high school. I didn't care about his reasons. All I cared was that he had given his blessing, and Mother Mary had interceded well.

I also wanted my husband to enter the Church. But, like I said, he was happily Southern Baptist.

Then, one Christmas Eve, he handed me a Christmas card. Inside the card, his hand-written message said that he had changed his mind. He had been secretly studying with our RCIA instructor, and he had overcome every difficulty he'd once had with Catholic teaching. All I know is that he had told me once that he would never convert - but Mother Mary had interceded well once again.

I have prayed for two-and-a-half years for my grandson. He is not baptized. That's a great sorrow for any Catholic grandmother. Tonight, he will be washed clean. My precious little darling. Oh, how the

My older daughter and her two boys
Blessed Mother has interceded for me!

I have prayed for my grown daughter. She will enter the Church on Pentecost Sunday.

These are the conversions I prayed for after becoming Catholic. But the Blessed Mother was already interceding long before that.

I almost didn't become Catholic. Not very many people know that about me. But I was hung up on the Immaculate Conception, and I placed my first petition before the Blessed Mother eight months before I entered the Church.

I laid it on the line. If you are as they say you are - Immaculately Conceived - show me.

There was no way that she could answer this petition I presented. I asked her to give me a sign - and that sign was next to impossible to pull off.

Guess what. She answered that petition precisely as I had asked. It was so clear, so sure, so absolute... I entered the Church and haven't looked back.

She has proven herself a faithful mother whose greatest joy is in bringing my dear ones to the Eucharist!

Today is a day of great grace.

Once again, the Blessed Mother has interceded well.

Thank you, Holy Mother of God.

What can I give that would be a worthy gift for such a Mother?

Another convert?


Yes, indeed.

Friday, March 29, 2013

Veneration of the Cross, Beautiful & Mysterious

There is nothing like it outside of the Catholic Church.

On this night, they come. The children. The parents. Those in wheelchairs. Some with canes.

Some who have lost a spouse, some who come with a spouse.

A father with a son. A mother with her infant.

My daughter is an altar server tonight. She stands at His side and holds His cross. We genuflect. We kiss His feet. We worship. It is so different from every other ritual. Nothing like it anywhere.

But here.

Quietly, they process forward. And wait for their moment at the cross. They do what they would have done that night so long ago. A night that is now.

Not then.

This night. In the midst of the three-day Liturgy, they are there. There... is Golgotha.

Not an Old Rugged Cross on a Hill Far Away.

Now. This is that Friday. In this place, we meet the Crucified stretched out on a Tree.

And I feel the tears on my face because it beautiful - and yet, it is also terrible. This is the cross of Christ. These are the ones who love His cross. I know it. I see it. I feel it with them.

And we worship... For by His cross, He has redeemed the world.


Making all things new - The Passion of Christ

Beautiful. A Good Friday song.

We Are There

I've been in a number of Easter plays (when I was an Evangelical). Each one was a wonderful opportunity to remember the Lord's death and resurrection. I memorized my lines - we all did or the play would have been a disaster. I worked at my part, and I was pretty good at delivering a solid performance.

Twice, I was a lead character. I love Easter musicals.

But I doubt that I will go to another one. I'm not likely to be in another one, either.

The real "lines" are found in the liturgies of Triduum. I have a new part, a true part. I am not a character in a play about the death and resurrection of Our Lord.

Each time I enter into Holy Week, I take my place in the heavenly liturgy. I enter into these three days.

And I realize that this is not a play to watch. This is not something in the past that we recreate. This Passion is now. It is the everlasting now. It is the once-for-all-time Passion.

We don't crucify Him all over again, and we don't recreate it like a play so we can remember.

FRIENDS, we enter in. The divine liturgy takes us there - to that once-for-all-time event.

Christ has died . . .

Tonight, we enter into Good Friday. We don't merely remember. We don't try to recreate. The God of all time-
and-place takes us there. We stand at the cross.

And this is consistent with Jewish understanding of a Memorial Feast. They believe that they enter into Passover. God takes them there. They don't merely remember. They don't try to recreate. The God of all time-and-place takes them there. They enter into the Passover.

As with these, our ancestors, who entered the Passover each year, God has made a way for us to enter into the Passion.

No need for a play about it.


We are there.



Thursday, March 28, 2013

Remembering Maundy Thursday 2011

I am reposting something I wrote two years ago because it is as true
today as it was then. And today, I'm thinking about Holy Thursday in a special way, because the Chrism Mass that takes place today will yield the holy oils that will be used when my grandsons are baptized (one on Holy Saturday and one soon after his birth this summer) and when my daughter is Confirmed and received into the Church at Pentecost.

Yes. Today is a very special day.

(Reposted from Maundy Thursday 2011)

Today, dioceses across the world will celebrate the Holy Thursday Mass of the Chrism.

The holy oils will be blessed. Three holy oils. The oil for anointing catechumens. The oil for anointing the sick. And the oil that confers the gift of the Holy Spirit in the Sacraments of Holy Orders and Confirmation.

I remember the Holy Chrism Oil. How it smelled when I was Confirmed. What it was like to be anointed. To sense the Presence of the Holy Spirit. To be sealed in Him, with Him, for Him.

I'm discerning things now. I'm at a bend in the road. Waiting for next things.

It's not unsettling, though. I know that God has ordered all things well. He has anointed me with the Holy Spirit and the calling on my life is for His glory.

Whether that is writing and speaking.

Or teaching.

Or mostly one and some of the other.

For there is one thing I know, one thing I sense deeply. I have been anointed with holy Chrism and Confirmed. Isaiah spoke of it. Luke repeats it. My soul demands it, and my spirit says yes to it.

"The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to bring glad tidings to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim liberty to captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to let the oppressed go free, and to proclaim a year acceptable to the Lord."


Friday, March 22, 2013

Note To Self


Okay, God. I Got the Message.

I had a great day yesterday.

On the way into church for morning Mass, I ran into Maria. We were both free after Mass; so we decided to grab a bagel and chat awhile.

I told Maria that I had a dream that she had sent me a Facebook message. I told her the message in my dream. She looked at me strangely and said that she HAD sent me that message. It wasn't a dream.

The oddest conversation ensued, and I told her I must be getting senile. I thought it was a dream, and yet, here she was, telling me about the day she had written and sent the message. How an old message from me had popped up on her Facebook page, and she couldn't believe she hadn't seen it earlier. She was in a hurry, but she took a few minutes to dash off a note to me. She said, "Yes, that's what I wrote. It really happened, Denise."

I mentioned that I couldn't wait to get home and check Facebook. I had to look at the messages, because I was so confused.

Maria pulled out her phone and called up Facebook right then and there. She scanned messages.

Our Facebook message conversation wasn't there. That's when we realized that we had both had the same dream.

Here's the kicker. The message in the dream was about a play I had written for her over a year ago, and that we both felt it was time to get it up and running.

The play? A one-woman show, featuring a woman's encounter with the Blessed Mother.

We laughed about the dream.

We laughed at ourselves and the conversation we had just had.

And then we laughed because the whole thing is so very unlikely to begin with. It may not seem so odd to you. Maria is an actress, and I am a writer. Not odd at all. Right?

Unless you stop to realize that we are both converts. We are the most unlikely actress and writer to do a work like this.

But the Blessed Mother certainly has our attention now. If yesterday was any indication... things are about to get really interesting.

If any should ask, just say that the Lord has need of it...


Thursday, March 21, 2013

Apathy is Unacceptable


Wednesday, March 20, 2013

John 17 Unfolding

Pope Francis. Demonstrating the humility that is integral to unity - and to the path that takes us there.
 We have much to learn from him.


Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Catholic by Grace March Column

Catholic by Grace | Image of Infant of Prague provokes a turnaround

Last spring, I wanted a statue of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. My web search yielded many images, including a few of the Infant of Prague. I made my decision on the Sacred Heart statue and placed the order, but I couldn't stop thinking about the Infant of Prague images.

Every now and then, my former Protestant bias resurfaces. It happened last spring as I studied the images of the Infant of Prague. I did not feel any affection for this devotion. Not a bit. I've learned to pause when I feel like this and try to go deeper. What was it about this image that bothered me?

The clothes. Yes, the clothes and the crown — it was all so ostentatious. It didn't fit with the Christ Child who chose to be born in a stable or the Messiah who deliberately chose His own parents from the poorest of the poor. I tried to tell myself that I was being ridiculous because, of course, Jesus is the king of kings. Perhaps the outward appearance of this little Child reflected the spiritual reality of Jesus Christ, king of heaven and earth.

Further research revealed that St. Teresa of Avila had a great devotion to the Infant of Prague. That didn't help.

But I paused because something amazing happens every time I agree to let God give me an attitude adjustment.

About that time, my youngest grandson was on my mind. He's never been baptized, and his mom (my daughter) had never settled in any church or denomination. I pray about this every time I receive the Eucharist.

I began to realize that there was a link in my mind between the Infant of Prague and my infant grandson, Omry. Every time I thought about the Infant of Prague, I felt I could entrust my grandson to the one who held the world in the palm of His divine, albeit infant, hand.

Last June, I went to our parish rummage sale. I was almost ready to pay for my items when I saw a print of the Infant of Prague. The colors were muted, the child's face -- lovely. It was different from all the images I had seen online. I muttered something and walked over to it. "I want this, too," I told the cashier. Another web search linked the print to 20th-century Italian artist Adolfo Simeone.

I keep the print in my bedroom as a reminder to pray for Omry.

Recently, I wrote about the events surrounding my granddaughter's birth -- how she was born without life signs and was oxygen-deprived for 12 additional minutes. She is home and doing well.

God is merciful, and the manifestation of that mercy has affected the entire extended family, including my prodigal daughter. She began attending RCIA. She was part of the Rite of Election a few weeks ago, and on Pentecost Sunday she will enter the Church. Omry will be baptized. Omry's little brother will be baptized soon after he is born. A series of conversions have occurred, like a line of falling dominoes.

I know the Church has many devotions, and we are given great latitude in choosing the ones we cherish most, but I am glad that I went a little deeper. I have come to love the image I discovered at a church rummage sale.

And now when I see the Adolfo Simeone print, I say a prayer of thanks.

You are Kepha


Sunday, March 17, 2013

Catholic Vitamins: Vitamin G for Grace

Click here to listen to Catholic Vitamins.
Vitamin G for Grace - including 30 minute interview with Denise Bossert.


A Great Quote and Story from St. Patrick

I stopped by the public library a couple of years ago to find a book. I did as I always do, and made my way to the religion section. Most of the public library fare in this section is miserable. Not worth my time at all. But a couple of titles were trustworthy. A book on the saints. A book by JPII. And Confessions of St. Patrick.

That's where I began.

Later in the evening, I curled up with my 1st pick - Confessions. Soon after, I noticed a lovely scent. Dismissed it. Read a couple more pages. There it was again. I smelled my hands. Had I used a new lotion? No. It wasn't my hands. I turned the page. Once again, the faint scent of Holy Chrism Oil. I'd know that smell anywhere. I stopped reading. I stopped turning pages.

I held the book up to my face and inhaled deeply. This book smells like Confirmation! How is it possible that a public library book would smell like this? Who had owned this book before the St. Charles Public Library System? A parish priest? A bishop? Had it sat on a shelf in an Adoration Chapel for decades before finally coming to rest on this shelf, where any man or woman could find it?

I drank in the aroma of the Holy Spirit and settled back in for two hours of reading.

I've decided that St. Patrick is one of my favorite saints. Here's one of my favorite quotes:

I pray my God that he will grant me perseverance and allow me to prove a faithful witness right up to the time of my passing over, for my God's sake.


Thursday, March 14, 2013

Pope Francis & Ricardo

In 1982, my American Foreign-exchange Student (AFS) brother lived with my parents for a year. Ricardo was from Chile, South America.

Many people in our small town would approach Ricardo and ask him, "How are things different here in America?"

Privately, Ricardo told us that he was frustrated by the insensitivity of those who asked that question. "I'm American." He said proudly. "I'm from America just as you are. I'm from South America. And you are from North America. Why do you say you are from America, like I am not from America?"

I must confess, the thought had never occurred to me that Ricardo was as American as I was.

* * *
Yesterday, the Catholic Church received her first Holy Father from The Americas. I don't know if we have become a more global society since 1982, or if we are just proud to be able to claim Pope Francis as "one of our own." But those of us in the United States are very proud of our first American Pope. Yes, Pope Francis is from America. South America. Argentina, to be exact.
My AFS brother had many things to teach me about the brotherhood of all Americans; so, too, my Holy Father has many things to teach me about the brotherhood of all believers.
I am ready to learn. Ready to look at preconceived ideas and let them go. Ready to be led by our (Universal) Holy Father.
The lessons are already afoot.
Something is different. There's something about this Holy Father that is already shaking things up in my spirit. Like another South American I once knew.
What does it mean to be an American? That was the lesson in 1982.
What does it mean to be Catholic? That's the lesson of 2013.
It means being little. Humble. Frugal. Riding the bus when everyone else in your position has a personal driver. Making your own meals when everyone else in your position has a personal chef, perhaps many personal chefs. Making your home in a little apartment when everyone else in your position lives in grand style. Finding your brothers and sisters in the poorest of the poor and the sickest of the sick when everyone else in your position mixes and mingles with the rich and famous.
It's changing me - this story of a very humble Archbishop of Buenos Aires.
I'm American, like he is.
But I have much to learn from this kind of an American.
I come from a society that has too much and wants even more. I come from a society that spends too much on food and entertainment and manicures and Pinterest-featured home improvements, and hair extensions, and glitzy public relations efforts and massages and purses covered in the letter C and summer vacations and time shares and elite sports teams.
I come from a society that can't remember what it was like to live simply - that all might simply live.
Yes. I have something to learn from this American.
And if you are reading this, you at least have a computer or a smart phone. So I guess that probably means you come from a world that is very much like my own. You probably have a few things to learn from Pope Francis as well.
It's time to be teachable.
What might Our Heavenly Father be trying to say to us through our new Holy Father?
All I have to do is step into my walk-in closet, and I suspect I already know what the first lesson is - at least for me.


Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Our New Holy Father, Pope Francis

Holy Father, Pope Francis
Felicitaciones a todos de la America del Sur!!!!
Y gracias -- Ustedes nos han dado nuestro Papa.


Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Is the Catholic Church a Cult?

When I was a child, I had the impression that the Catholic Church was a cult. I don't have a memory of anyone making this assertion, but my conscience was formed on the assumption that any church that claimed to be the church that Jesus Christ established was definitely a cult. And there were a few churches that fit the bill. If you are an Evangelical, I bet you can name them.

And the Catholic Church was on that list.

On days like today, when every news source is covering the Conclave and anxiously waiting to hear the name of our next Peter I realize a few things.

The Catholic Church is clearly universal. The shepherds are gathered from every corner of the world. No other church is universal in this regard.

The Catholic Church is historical. The successor to Peter will be number 266 in the long line of names that make up the Papal List. The first name on that list is St. Peter himself.

The Catholic Church is holy. Yes, the gates of hell have tarnished her name at times, but they have never prevailed against this church. She is over 2000 years old - and the eyes of the whole world are upon her.

The Catholic Church is one. In a few hours or a few days or a few weeks, that unity will bear fruit. And a new name will be entered into the annals of history. One name. Representing one Church. Having one Faith. Believing in one Baptism. Serving the One Lord of all (Ephesians 4:5).

When I was a child, I had the impression that the Catholic Church was a cult.

After all, she claimed to be the Church Jesus Christ founded.

Today, I realize that there was one other possibility that I had not considered: What if the Catholic Church really is the Church Jesus Christ founded? If so, then she would not be a cult at all - even though she claimed to be the historical Church founded upon Christ. There is not one possibility. There are two possibilities. She is a cult. Or she is The Church.

The One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church.

I believe in one, holy, catholic and apostolic church...

God bless the Conclave. Come, Holy Spirit!

Friday, March 8, 2013

Adopt a Cardinal!

To adopt a cardinal, click here.
Denise Bossert, you have adopted a Cardinal!

This cardinal has just been adopted by you:
Christoph Schönborn OP

Day of birth: 1945-1-22
Cardinal since 1998-2-21;
Archbishop of Vienna, Austria
Thank you and God bless!



Wednesday, March 6, 2013

I Double Dog Dare You!

Just before I travelled to share my conversion story for the first time, someone asked me if I was joining "The Circuit." I knew what he meant.

Did I think that I might become one of those Catholic headliners? Did I really think that I would join the ranks of Scott and Kimberly Hahn?

Perhaps it was time to get over myself.
I could tell by the way he said "The Circuit," he thought I was taking myself too seriously.

I remember feeling a little irritated. No. I’m no Kimberly Hahn. I’m just a convert who can’t shut up about the greatest joy in my life.
What do I hope to accomplish?

I simply want other Catholics to realize that the country could sure use a few people like Lori Wyatt, who invited me to my first Mass. She was only in 7th grade.

The country could use someone like Bob Johanns who challenged me, saying “I don’t get why you aren’t Catholic. I mean, all of the saints were Catholic and look how holy they were.” After I told him that his saints weren’t my saints, he tossed out one more challenge. “Yes, but look at the long line of Popes. There has always been shepherds who took the place of those first disciples. Your church history doesn’t go back to Jesus. I just don’t get it.”

Bob was a junior in high school when he defended the Faith - and he was just the son of a layperson, and I was the daughter of a Protestant preacher. Yeah. If he can defend the faith, you can, too.

The Church needs religious who will eagerly share the good news – like Brother Roger and Fr. Larry. I had questions, and they presented me with the answers to those questions. They didn't see the end result. I didn't convert right away. But they planted seeds. They tended the garden and let someone else watch it grow.

The world needs RCIA leaders like Shawn Mueller who didn’t let me off the hook when I wanted to convert without accepting my most difficult Church Teaching. “Either you believe that Mother Church is terra firma, Denise, or you don’t. If you tried to embrace this teaching and you simply don’t know how you can do it in all sincerity, then ask Mary to show you. Place a petition before her and let her do what she does so well… lead you to the fullness of Truth." I took up the challenge. Mary came through. And today, I'm blissfully, enthusiastically, ecstatically, courageously, unwaveringly, thoroughly, contentedly, gratefully Catholic.

No, the world doesn’t need more Catholic headliners.

But God could sure use an army of Catholics who aren’t afraid to tell their own little stories of conversion to anyone who will listen. The world could sure use a host of Catholics who don't care about becoming headliners; they just want to share their faith.

I don’t care if you are in 7th grade, 11th grade, a religious or a member of the laity – YOU HAVE BEEN COMMISSIONED!

It’s the Year of Faith.

Time to join the Catholic Circuit.

If you take the challenge, leave a comment and tell us when, where, and how you shared your love for Jesus Christ and His Church.
Your story will encourage and inspire others to do the same thing.


Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Vatican Calls Universal Church to Pray

The Vatican has called the universal church to pray for the Cardinal-Electors at 5 PM Rome time on Wednesday. The Cardinal-Electors will soon select a new Pope. So, be sure to pray - that’s Wednesday, March 6th at 10 AM Central Time. Please spread the word.


Monday, March 4, 2013

A Child Slave; A Child Witness for the Faith

(Published in 2009 and reprinted in 2011)

It’s every mother’s worst nightmare. Your child is abducted. It doesn’t matter that the abduction took place centuries ago or that the little girl was from ancient Israel. She was someone’s daughter, and she was taken from her homeland when the Arameans led a raid on Israel.

What strikes me as incredible, though, is what happens next. As a slave in the house of Naaman, the army commander of the king of Aram, the little girl has the ear of the master and his wife. When Naaman contracts leprosy, the little girl finds the courage to speak to her mistress about it.

“If only my master would present himself to the prophet in Samaria, he would cure him of his leprosy.” We know this prophet. His name is Elisha, successor to Elijah. He is the one who asked for a double portion of the Spirit of the Living God – and got it.

Now, isn’t it incredible that this little girl remembered her faith at all, that her memory of the prophet of the Lord was so strong that she was able to pass the message along to her mistress, and that she even had the courage to speak, though she was a servant girl?

Even more amazing, Naaman took her advice, and with the king’s approval, he went to Israel and found Elisha. Naaman was healed, and the story has been captured for all time in Holy Scripture.

The net result of the child’s faithfulness is that the message and reality of God’s power spread throughout the land and throughout time.

Here’s the thing. We are that little girl. In a very real way, we are living in a foreign land. When it matters most, do we speak up and tell those in positions of power that there is one who can heal them? Do we even remember the faith at all, or have we forgotten to carry it with us as we labor in a foreign land. Do we consider ourselves unimportant in the presence of leaders and those with more money and prestige? Are we afraid to speak up? Or would we be willing to share the Good News as courageously as this little girl?

Our Mother, the Blessed Mother (and the archetype of Mother Church), has guided us and prepared us for every encounter we may have as we journey to our final homeland. While she longs for us to come safely into the arms of the Heavenly Father, she also instills in us the needs of those we meet along the way. She longs for them to encounter for themselves the Spirit of the Living God. And she knows that you may be the only mouthpiece God has to get their attention.

If a little girl, a slave in a foreign land, can share the good news of God without restraint, then so should we who have access to the Mother of Perpetual Help and the Lord Most High.