Ink Slingers

Mark’s Questions

I read the gospel of Mark over the weekend, beginning with the historical prologue. I love this information, as the New Testament did not fall intact from heaven, but was hard-fought by Church leaders for hundreds of years. The earliest manuscripts of this book are titled, “According to Mark” and it has been the Church’s uniform tradition that the author was that disciple of Peter’s whom he called his son (I Peter 5:13). Also referred to as John Mark, a combination of his Jewish and Roman names, he traveled with Paul, too (Acts 12:25). It seems that his gospel was written before AD 70. He relates Christ’s prophesy that the temple would be destroyed, which occurred in AD 70, with no mention of it as a past event. Some ancient writers (Irenaeus and Eusebius) hold that Mark wrote soon after Peter’s martyrdom in AD 67 or even earlier, during the reign of Emperor Claudius (AD 41-54). Either idea, it is safe to say it was written by AD 70. He wrote for Gentile believers in Rome, often explaining Jewish customs for his readers and translating Aramaic words into Latin or Greek. The climax of his Gospel is the exclamation by a Roman soldier, “Truly this man was the Son of God” (It’s really hard to read that in anything other than a John Wayne accent!).


Mark’s Questions

There are dozens of questions peppered throughout this book, asked by every character. I think that Mark wanted his readers to be questioned and challenged and driven toward a reckoning. Here are many of those questions I found and who asked them, in my reading from beginning to end:

What is this? A new teaching?
People in synagogue

Why does this man speak like this? Who can forgive sins but God alone?

Why do you question like this in your hearts? Is it easier to say ‘Your sins are forgiven or rise and walk’?

Why does he eat with tax collectors and sinners? 

Why are they doing what is not lawful on the Sabbath (plucking grain to eat)?

Have you never read what David and his men did when they were hungry?

Is it lawful on the Sabbath to do good or harm; to save life or kill?

Who are my mother and brothers?

Do you understand this parable? How will you understand all the parables?

Teacher, do you not care if we perish?

Why are you afraid? Have you no faith?

Who then is this, that even wind and sea obey him?

What have you to do with me, Jesus, Son of the most high God?
Unclean spirit in a man

What is your name?

Who touched me?

Why do you make a tumult and weep?

Where did this man get all this? What is the wisdom given to him?
People from home

What shall I ask?

Shall we buy 200 denarii worth of bread and give it to them? 

How many loaves do you have?

Why does this generation seek a sign?

Do you not remember?

Who do you say I am?

What are you discussing?

Oh faithless generation, how long am I to be with you?

Why could we not cast it out?

What must I do to inherit eternal life?
Rich man

Who can be saved?

Are you able to drink the chalice that I drink or be baptized with my baptism?

What do you want me to do for you?

Is it not written, my house shall be a house of prayer for the nations?

Is it lawful to pay taxes to Caesar or not?

Which commandment is the first of all?

Why was the ointment wasted?

Why do you trouble her?

Are you sleeping? Could you not watch one hour?

Are you the Christ, the son of the blessed?
Priests and scribes

What evil has he done?

My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?

Who will roll away the stone for us?



The answers can change a life and begin ripples of goodness. Jesus is God and man. He heals, forgives, eats, gives, speaks, loves. We, His friends and brothers, can listen, believe, give, act, join, and love. Another noteworthy tidbit is that the word “immediately” appears over forty times in the sixteen chapters: the spirit immediately drove him; they immediately left their nets; Jesus immediately left the synagogue. It is a new year; let us consider these questions and our answers immediately.

7 Quick Takes AnnMarie C. Getting to Know the Ink Slingers Ink Slingers Kerri

7 Quick Takes Friday, no. 7

Welcome to 7 Quick Takes at Catholic Sistas! If you are new to our site we hope you will enjoy this little interview with one of our contributors, or Ink Slingers as we like to say in these parts, and stick around to explore more of our offerings. In this seven question interview we are chatting with Ink Slinger AnnMarie C. who is a devout Catholic, busy homeschool mom and wife and a published author. Keep reading to learn more about AnnMarie’s favorite song, her challenges in homschooling, what she loves about the Church, and where she finds her inspiration for her writing (and a link to her new book is included). Enjoy!


What is your favorite song or who is your favorite singer? 

One of my very favorite singers is my father.  He sang in clubs in NY when he was in college and even made an album.  His stage name was Peter Mitchell.  When I was a child he made me listen to the Rat Pack and I grumbled about it. Now I have very eclectic taste in music, from Fr. Stan Fortuna to Dean Martin to Aerosmith.  I will admit that my “shower song” is Etta James’ At Last.  I love to belt that one out when I think no one is listening!


What do you wish everyone knew about the Church?

That, contrary to popular belief, women find freedom here!  The church has such high esteem for women.  This is evident particularly through the writings of Bl. John Paul II in his encyclical on the dignity of women, the Theology of the Body talks and in his book Love and Responsibility.


What inspires you when you write?

Love.  Love inspires me.  The book The Song of Solomon in the Bible is particularly an inspiration.  In fact, I used it constantly when writing Angela’s Song.  When I write, I start by asking the Holy Spirit to guide me and I always have a Bible on hand.


If you homeschool, what is your favorite part of homeschooling and what is your greatest challenge?

My greatest challenge is balancing the housework, shopping and all the other responsibilities with teaching.  My favorite part is that I get to hang out with my kids all day.  We pray together and I see them learning, playing and being creative.  I wouldn’t trade that for anything.


Tell us about some unusual things that make you happy?

The aroma of coffee, watching my kids play, choosing the right gift for someone’s birthday, stormy weather, a phone call from someone I haven’t heard from in a while, singing Psalm 63, talking with my husband, making a traditional Italian Christmas Eve dinner for my family (shrimp scampi, baked clams, fried fish, calamari and linguini with clam sauce), crisp fall mornings, getting a hug from my son with autism, an hour of adoration in front of the Blessed Sacrament,  the fragrance of frankincense,  the sound of boots crunching in the snow.


Where were you born and do you still live there (or nearby)?  If not, how many places have you lived and which were the most interesting?

I was born in Brooklyn, NY and grew up on the north shore of Long Island.  After we got married, my husband and I lived in Queens for awhile, then we relocated to a far west Chicago suburb for about 15 years.  Now our family lives in the Kansas City, Missouri area.  It was a big adjustment moving so far west.  It’s very different from the east coast!  But this is definitely where God wants us to be and all of us are happy here.


What is your most embarrassing moment?

Goodness, I constantly embarrass myself!  Last year, at the Catholic Writer’s Conference in Philadelphia, I hired Ellen Gable to critique the first three chapters of my manuscript.  The Catholic Writers Guild offered this service and provided several authors to choose from.  Usually I’m more thorough, but it was a very busy time for me so I wound up just  picking a name off the list and leaving it at that.  When we finally met, Ellen said, “I know why you picked me to critique you r work. You must have read my novels.”   I think I said something like, “Oh…you write books?”

It turns out that she writes Catholic fiction with a Theology of the Body theme.  A year later, Ellen is my editor, publisher and good friend.  I’m thankful she had the grace to overlook my faux pas!

For more Quick Takes go visit Jen at Conversion Diary.

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Catholicism 101: The Unity and Trinity of God

We bless ourselves daily, “in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost.”  These words came from the twentieth chapter of the Gospel of Matthew, verse nineteen (Matthew 29:19).  This is what is called the Unity and Trinity of God.


The image below (black & white) helps us to get some idea of the Blessed Trinity.  I placed a ring around the triangle in this picture to show that the Trinity, perfectly made, does not have a beginning or an end; just like a ring is a symbol of unity.  {A similar union is found in Holy Matrimony between husband, wife, and God.  Those of you married, every time you look at your wedding ring, think of that!}  God told us that in Himself there are three distinct (really different) Persons; the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost.  Each one is God almighty.  This is why we call each of them Divine.  Yet they are not three Gods.  None is older, nor greater than the other.  The three Divine Persons are one and the same God.  To our little minds this truth is a mystery (a truth we cannot fully understand).  There are many natural mysteries about things we can naturally know, such as electricity, radio, and magnetism.  But since God revealed the knowledge of the Blessed Trinity to us, we call it a supernatural mystery.  The three Persons of God are equal to the other as they have the exact same perfections or qualities, as knowledge, goodness and beauty as the other.  They are three in one.

I would like you to think of an apple, one apple has three parts:  the core where the seeds are found, the meat which we eat for nourishment, and the peal which protects the apple’s “meat”.  The core is the God the Spirit, Holy Ghost which plants seeds in our hearts, minds, and souls daily.  The meat is God the Son, Jesus Christ, most especially in the Holy Eucharist who feeds our souls and gives us nourishment.  The peal is God the Father, who protects us and watches over us daily.  (this little analogy can be found in a children’s book about the Holy Trinity called “3 in 1” by author, Joanne Marxhausen.

We cannot talk about the Trinity and end this post without discussing a saint known for his love for the Blessed Trinity, Saint Patrick whose feast we celebrate on the 17th of March (a day when everyone suddenly becomes Irish, even non-Catholics).  Though Scottish by birth (gasp!), the Lord called Patrick to bring the Gospel of Christ to the people of Ireland.  He did this and became a Bishop around the year 433 AD.  Here he explained to the Irish people, particularly the unbelievers, in very simple terms, what the Blessed Trinity was all about by using a shamrock.  Patrick would hold up a shamrock and challenge them by asking, “Is it one leaf or three?” “It is both one leaf and three,” was their reply.   So he would conclude, “and so it is with God!”  One shamrock leaf, with three parts…a simple concept again, three in one.  Here is an excerpt from his book, entitled Confessions regarding the Trinity:

“For there is no other God, nor ever was before, nor shall be hereafter, but God the Father, unbegotten and without beginning, in whom all things began, whose are all things, as we have been taught; and his son Jesus Christ, who manifestly always existed with the Father, before the beginning of time in the spirit with the Father, indescribably begotten before all things, and all things visible and invisible were made by him. He was made man, conquered death and was received into Heaven, to the Father who gave him all power over every name in Heaven and on Earth and in Hell, so that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord and God, in whom we believe. And we look to his imminent coming again, the judge of the living and the dead, who will render to each according to his deeds. And he poured out his Holy Spirit on us in abundance, the gift and pledge of immortality, which makes the believers and the obedient into sons of God and co-heirs of Christ who is revealed, and we worship one God in the Trinity of holy name.”

Saint Patrick is one of many examples of Tradition passed down to us about the Truth of the Blessed Trinity.  Now lets turn to Sacred Scripture where we find several passages about this Unity.  Even in the Old Testament we can find a passage where God is referred to as more than one:  In Genesis 1:26, “And God said, Let Us make man in Our image, after Our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the Earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the Earth.”  Then in Genesis 3:22, “And the LORD God said, Behold, the man is become as one of Us, to know good and evil.”  In Isaiah 48:16 we also find reference to God being spoken of as three in one: “Come ye near unto Me, hear ye this; I have not spoken in secret from The Beginning; from the time that it was, there am I: and now the LORD GOD, and His Spirit, hath sent Me.”

When it comes to the equality of the three Persons, in Sacred Scripture we find more passages.  In reference to God the Father, we turn to Isaiah 63:16, “Doubtless Thou art our Father, though Abraham be ignorant of us, and Israel acknowledge us not: Thou, O LORD, art our Father, our Redeemer; Thy Name is from Everlasting.”  Then in the New Testament in the Gospel of John 6:27, “Labour not for the meat which perisheth, but for that meat which endureth unto Everlasting Life, which the Son of Man shall give unto you: for Him hath God the Father sealed.”   God the Son, Jesus Christ, was referred to in Isaiah 9:6, “For unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given: and the government shall be upon His shoulder: and His Name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The Mighty God, The Everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.”  Then again we find this mention in Jesus’ own words found in the Gospel of John, Chapter 10, verses 27-36, “My sheep hear My Voice, and I know them, and they follow Me: and I give unto them Eternal Life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of My hand.  My Father, which gave them Me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of My Father’s hand.  I and My Father are One.  Then the Jews took up stones again to stone Him.  Jesus answered them, Many good works have I shewed you from My Father; for which of those works do ye stone Me?  The Jews answered Him, saying, For a good work we stone Thee not; but for blasphemy; and because that Thou, being a man, makest Thyself God.  Jesus answered them, Is it not written in your Law, I said, Ye are gods?  If He called them gods, unto whom the Word of God came, and the Scripture cannot be broken; say ye of Him, Whom the Father hath sanctified, and sent into the world, Thou blasphemest; because I said, I am the Son of God?”

In reference to the Holy Ghost, we also find in Scripture several passages beginning with Genesis 1:2 when the Lord is describing Creation, “And the Earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.”  In the beautiful Psalms, Chapter 139, verses seven through ten, “Whither shall I go from Thy Spirit? or whither shall I flee from Thy presence?  If I ascend up into Heaven, Thou art there: if I make my bed in Hell, behold, Thou art there.  If I take the wings of the morning, and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea; even there shall Thy hand lead me, and Thy right hand shall hold me.”  In the Acts of the Apostles, Saint Paul tells us in Chapter five, Verses three and four, “But Peter said, Ananias, why hath Satan filled thine heart to lie to the Holy Ghost… thou hast not lied unto men, but unto God.”

Now I know what you are thinking “but what about Pentecost?”   Well it’s simple the Father sent the Son, who sent forth His Spirit, the Holy Ghost, at Pentecost.  For this we turn to John, the Beloved, in his Gospel.  The ever popular John 3:16, “For God so loved the world, that He gave His Only Begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have Everlasting Life.”  Then in Chapter 20, Verse 21, “Then said Jesus to them again, Peace be unto you: as My Father hath sent Me, even so send I you.”  Then we find that God the Son sends His Spirit in the same Gospel of John, “But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, Whom the Father will send in My Name, He shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you” (14:26).  “But when the Comforter is come, Whom I will send unto you from the Father, even the Spirit of Truth, which proceedeth from the Father, He shall testify of Me” (15:26). “Nevertheless I tell you the Truth; It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send Him unto you” (16:7).

To the doubting Apostle Thomas, Jesus said that those who do not actually see and fully understand a truth which God teaches are more blessed if they believe in it, than those who believe only after they see and understand it.  It is an act of Faith.  We believe many facts of history because we have the word of good men for them.  BUT it really is much easier for us to firmly believe in the mystery of the Blessed Trinity.  Why so?  Basically because this Truth of our Catholic Faith, the Unity and Trinity of God as the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, is once again revealed to us in both Sacred Scripture and Tradition.


If you missed the first of this series, Catholicism 101, you can find it here: The Purpose of Man’s Existance