Weekend Ponderings: Mercy Sunday

auschwitz

What do the Catholic Writers Conference Online, Auschwitz, Servant of God John Paul II, and confessionals have in common? They all make me think of one of my favorite feasts of the year, Mercy Sunday.

At CWCO 2009 this year, Danielle Bean talked about comments she gets from women who disapprove  her choice to combine her vocation inside the home with her work as editor of Faith and Family. That this homeschooling mother of eight manages to find a spare minute to do everything else she does is nothing short of remarkable … and yet she freely admits that she is sometimes taken aback when other moms criticize.

“Women are way too quick to tear each other apart. I think a lot of that comes from pride and insecurity. If I am confident that what I am doing is best for my family, I need to embrace it … And then the ‘snippy’ people can’t even touch me.”

Ironically, it is Christian women — those who have experienced for themselves the boundless grace of God in their own lives — who can be hardest both on themselves and on one another. We are quick to criticize, and slow to see when a sister in Christ needs nothing so much as a word of encouragement. In no time, we become imprisoned by the combined weight of a thousand assumptions, impressions, and assertions … all of which can be released with a single timely word of grace.

And so, in honor of Mercy Sunday I’d like to take a moment to recall a time in my life when I experienced this unexpected brush with grace, in the last place some Catholics expect to find it … in a confessional. The article, “Tender Mercies,” was originally published by Canticle magazine in 2007, examines the origins of Mercy Sunday, and affirms the sacramental graces that are available to those humble enough to ask for them.

John Paul II and National Adoption Month!

“Adopting children, regarding and treating them as one’s own children, means recognizing that the relationship between parents and children is not measured only by genetic standards. Procreative love is first and foremost a gift of self. There is a form of ‘procreation’ which occurs through acceptance, concern and devotion. The resulting relationship is so intimate and enduring that it is in no way inferior to one based on a biological connection. When this is also juridically protected, as it is in adoption, in a family united by the stable bond of marriage, it assures the child that peaceful atmosphere and that paternal and maternal love which he needs for his full human development.”

John Paul II, Letter to Adoptive Families (Sept 5, 2000)

November is National Adoption Month — and today,  November 15 — is National Adoption Day!! Yipee!!!

Are you looking for ways to celebrate adoption? Click here to go to an article from “Adoptive Families” magazine that offers 30 ways families can celebrate!

For more information about this important resource for adoptive parents, or to subscribe, click here!

Calling all Extraordinary Moms… That’s You!

Founder of the Extraordinary Moms Network (EMN)

The simple truth is that every child thinks Mom is extraordinary. Whether that child comes to us the conventional way, or through adoption, or foster care, or some other way. Your presence is what teaches that child about love, about goodness, about kindness, about truth. You ARE those things to your child … and to all the children in whose lives you invest.

Pope John Paul II used to talk about the “feminine genius,” and frequently quoted the Council Fathers of Vatican II who contended that “Women imbued with the Spirit of the Gospel can do so much to aid humanity in not falling.” By our very nature, women have gifts and abilities that are distinctively feminine. We relate differently, both to one another and to God. And that is a good thing.

This website is dedicated in a special way to “Extraordinary Moms” Moms who devote themselves to their families (often but not always large families) to a remarkable degree. And Moms who are “extraordinary” in the sense that (like an “extraordinary” Eucharistic minister) they come alongside the “ordinary” mother and help her raise that child in God’s name.

Adoptive and foster mothers, godmothers and favorite aunts, even teachers and religious education instructors! For each of us has a God-given job to do … and in the words of Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta (a great patron of adoptive and foster families), “God does not call the equipped; He equips those who respond to the call.”

This website is for all women who need encouragement to live out their vocations as fully as God wants them to. There are resources for all kinds of EMs … those with big families and small ones, those who struggle with infertility and who wish they weren’t quite so fertile, those who long for children … and those who are considering, perhaps for the very first time, whether the child who is meant for them has already been born and is waiting for them. Those who are happily married, and those who carry on alone.

So let’s share our experiences … let’s help each other. If you’re considering adoption and are looking for more information, especially about foster-adoption, feel free to check out my adoption blog “Mommy Monsters.” For now, let’s begin, as we begin every good thing, by calling on the Father of us all!

Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be Thy name.
Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done on earth
As it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread,
And forgive us our trespasses as we forgive
Those who trespass against us.
And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. Amen.