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Current Events Parenting Victoria K

Children Versus the World: Reflections on “It”

A couple of notes before I start. First off—I have recently begun teaching at a elementary school, so my interest in topics pertaining to childhood, growing up, and family have really caught my attention (you can see that in my post on “Hatchet”).  This one is in a very similar vein.

Second off—Spoilers below.  Also, “It” was terrifying.  I spent most of the movie with my eyes closed or my head buried in my husband’s shoulder.  Overall, it was a great Halloween-season horror–great horror without being excessively gory or gross.   Don’t see it if you can’t handle horror—I’m glad I saw it, but it was definitely great material for nightmares.

Overcoming Fear

The movie It focuses around a group of outcast children faced with the terrifying reality of a killer clown (I mean, no big deal, right?).  And this clown is scary.  I never really thought that clowns were all that scary but man this clown convinced me.  The clown feeds off of the children’s deepest fears: illness, fire, clowns (conveniently enough), and death.

I actually cried at the end of It.  Like, not out of fear.  In the end, the children band together and overcome their fears.  I was bawling bold, emotional, tears.  

Why? Because, there is so much truth in It.   Truth be told, the world swells with terrors for children: the unknown, loss, abandonment, abuse, bullying, all stings the heart of a child.  

In both Hatchet and It, we learn that overcoming your fears is something that you must do internally.  It is a personal choice.

But It takes it a step further.  It shows that the greatest lesson we can learn is how to love—how to struggle for each other, how to sacrifice for each other, how to overcome our fears for each other.

When I’m teaching these students, students with real, overwhelming struggles, I should work to foster their independence, their strength, their confidence.  But It has taught me something important: when I see a group of kids running around at recess, when I see a kid reach out to someone that’s left out, when kids are working together to solve their own conflicts…when these kids are at work at the school of love, they make the world a little less scary for each other.

 

Where are the adults?!?

So all that stuff about kids working together to overcome fear is all well and good.  Awesome.  But I have one major critique on It.

Well, maybe not a critique.  You could call it an internal debate.  In It, there are zero, absolutely zero adults who positively impact these children.   There’s the over-controlling, paranoid mom, there’s the angry dad who can’t cope with his grief, there are a couple abusive fathers, there’s the creepy guy working at the pharmacy, and there’s the grandpa whose brand of “tough love” may’ve forgotten about the “love” part.

There are no “good guy” adults, which doesn’t sit well in my stomach.  

 

The Debate

On the one hand, I think I see what the movie was going for.  These kids are called to be strong as individuals.  They need to face their fears on their own.  Some kids really are out on their own and need to overcome

On the other hand, I think that this negates the importance of adults working to support and encourage children.  For many of my students working through tough situations, they have awesome adults working to support them.  They have single parents struggling and sacrificing each and every day to give their children opportunities at a better life.  They have grandparents and friends who have reached out in support.  At my school, we are really blessed to have a team of loving faculty and staff who are mindful of each child’s individual struggles.  

Sure, kids need to learn how to overcome challenges.  Kids need to learn how to rely on each other. But that doesn’t change the fact that they also need the stability to know that they are loved unconditionally in face of these challenges.

For this reason, children need to be strong, but adults need to be stronger.   We need to face our fears, but our fears might not be clowns, they might come as money, work, friends, family, failure, rejection, depression, anxiety, the list goes on.

I’m more than a little tired of media that touts the power of children and disregards the importance of family and adult community.  Do you know what keeps children Catholic more than anything?  It isn’t Catholic peers or Catholic social gatherings. It’s parents first.  Another is having strong Catholic adults around them who are concerned about their life and encourage them in their faith.

 

My Horror Movie

I want to make some kind of horror movie where a group of parents and guardians are being pursued by monsters and they find that the only way to defeat the monster is by giving sacrificial love to their children.  Anyone with me?

Categories
Allison Current Events Easter Ink Slingers Liturgical Year Year of Mercy

Mercy in Our Stories

The word mercy has been falling into my lap a lot lately. One of the books I read during Lent was Pope Francis’ The Name of God is Mercy, from which I was reminded of our Lord’s great love that leads to precious mercy. Several weekends ago I was privileged to sing through the Divine Mercy Chaplet with friends. This is a prayer of repetition: “For the sake of your sorrowful passion, have mercy on us and on the whole world. Holy God, holy mighty one, holy immortal one, have mercy on us and on the whole world.” It felt like John’s revelatory visions of heaven with angels and saints singing “Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty.”

I asked my kids what they knew of mercy, reading them our catechism’s definition, “The lovingkindness, compassion, and forbearance shown to one who offends (e.g. the mercy of God to sinners)” and parsing it down for them to “Receiving goodness when you do not deserve it.”

Our 14-year-old, a bona fide Potter-head, immediately answered with a passage from a Harry Potter book. She said, “Evil people think mercy is when they have someone under their control, like when Draco told Dumbledore that he was at his mercy. But Dumbledore said quietly (Yes, she has practically memorized some portions.), ‘No Draco, it is not your mercy that matters now; it is mine’.” Draco deserved death or imprisonment but Dumbledore’s love for the boy’s soul washed him in mercy and gave him another chance to turn his life around, as he did indeed.

“How about Aslan?” piped up my nine-year-old, who is working through the Narnia books, “He had mercy on Edmund and it made him become a good man. He was called Edmund the Just when he grew up.” Edmund knew more of Aslan’s love than the others. Love and mercy go hand in hand.

“Star Wars,” hollered my 11-year-old from the kitchen (he seems to be there often, making sandwiches). “Darth Vader deserved to die but Luke had mercy on him.” And that mercy, borne from love, led to forgiveness and more love.

My 21-year-old popped in before work, looking for leftovers, and jumped into the conversation. “Tolkien’s hobbits are the best examples of mercy,” he said, “Because it didn’t always end up with a perfect love-fest but you knew that Frodo’s mercy was right.”

“Oh yeah,” interjected the 14-year-old again, “Like Redwall’s Veil. They had mercy on him but he was rotten. Well, not at the very end when he saved his mother. The mercy was definitely right.”

Yes, good point, Honey. We are called to be merciful without any thought of conclusion. Jesus said it straight up in Luke 6:36, the final verse in a passage about loving our enemies, “Be merciful, even as your Father is merciful.” He also gave us a wincing account of a man who received mercy for an unpaid debt but did not show mercy to someone owing a debt to him. This is called the Parable of the Ungrateful Servant, found in Matthew 18. It ends with the man being thrown into prison and this shocking statement from Jesus: “So also my heavenly Father will do to you if you do not forgive your brother from the heart.”

We then talked about the powerful evil in all our literary and movie examples, from Harry Potter’s death eaters, to Narnia’s White Witch, to Star Wars’ Empire, to Middle Earth’s Sauron, to Mossflower’s ferrets, to the very real Roman Empire at the time of Christ. My 18-year-old, who has never once gotten lost in a novel, shrugged. “You guys keep telling the same story over and over again. It’s history. Physical power rises and falls everywhere and for all times. Love and mercy run through it all, but quietly.” He grinned and grabbed his helmet as he headed out to ride his dirt bike.

Love and mercy run through it all, but quietly. Love and mercy change lives one at a time. It certainly did for Antonio, from Shakespears’s “The Merchant of Venice.” Portia argued before the court hoping to change Antonio’s life. “The quality of mercy is not strained. It droppeth as the gentle rain from heaven upon the place beneath. It is twice blest: It blesseth him that gives and him that takes… it becomes the throned monarch better than his crown … And earthly power doth then show likest God’s when mercy seasons justice.” There is always room for mercy. It is not strained. It falls ever fresh.

As we come to end of this Easter season, may we look for mercy in our stories, may we give mercy to people in our lives, and may our hearts be filled with joy to think of the perfect mercy that comes to us from our loving Jesus. He is risen and our lives are changed by love and mercy!
Mercy in Our StoriesMercy in Our StoriesMercy in Our Stories

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7 Quick Takes Christi Christmas Ink Slingers Movies Reviews

Seven Quick Takes: 7 Fun Movies for December

Here we are already – it feels like just days away from Christmas and yet there’s really 3 weeks left in the Advent season – our time of waiting. It’s very hard to distance ourselves from the crazy hustle and bustle that the rest of the world is engaged in! I always have this vision of  all the days between the first Advent Sunday and Christmas being filled with quiet prayerful time spent peacefully and joyfully with my family. In reality we still have busy school/work days, groceries to buy, bills to pay and just the ordinary hustle and bustle of every day life that is suddenly vying with the extra to do lists we all have to complete before Christmas Eve suddenly appears and evaporates before our eyes. 

To survive this and somehow snatch some of that dreamed of quiet peaceful time spent with our loved ones I believe we have to make a conscious decision to actually carve out that time.  In addition to lighting those Advent candles and engaging in some special prayers, we can decide to pick at least one evening each week of Advent to spend with just our family members. Maybe one night you can pack up some treats and take a drive to enjoy the neighborhood lights and another night spend some time singing or listening to some Advent or Christmas carols while enjoying a hot cup of cocoa together. Another very fun option is to pop a huge bowl of popcorn and pick a new, or an old favorite, movie to watch all together. (How many families today find themselves all watching a movie but on different screens and in different rooms?) In case the option of some family movie time is something that you might be interested in doing, I have picked some fun, lively and possibly not so well known movie options for you to peruse…. 
 
Louise at the Placa Xmas1) Eloise at Christmastime is about 6 yr old Eloise (Sofia Vassilieva) and is based off of the books about Eloise . The principal plotline is that of Eloise trying to reunite the hotel owners’ only daughter with former boyfriend Bill (who happens to be one of Eloise’s favorite hotel employes) before she marries another man (Brookes Oliver the third!!) whom she has brought back home to introduce to Dad. 
Eloise is a precocious little six year old who has most of the Plaza’s employees wrapped around her adorable little pinky.  Her “raaather British” nanny is played by Julie Andrews. But don’t be fooled by the inclusion of this actress who is so famous for her musical voice and have expectations of some wonderful musical pieces sung by Nanny. Sadly in 1997 a botched throat surgery cost Julie Andrews her incredible singing voice. Still there are a few little diddies in the movie that are enjoyable, they just aren’t performed by Nanny! This is a fun movie that has been enjoyed by all age groups in our family – though I no longer have toddlers and preschoolers in that audience anymore – for that I will have to borrow my sons’ or daughter’s children. 
(Note: there is one occasion when Eloise exclaims “for Lord’s sake”.)
 
 
 
Eloise_at_the_Plaza
 
2) Eloise at the Plaza staring many of the same cast of Eloise at Christmastime, is another fun and innocent movie. To read my full review of this movie just click here.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
3) Great RupertThe Great Rupert (or as it’s known now –  A Christmas Wish) stars the great Jimmy Durante! I found this movie on the one dollar rack  of DVDs in the grocery store way back in the day when I still had oodles of toddlers and preschoolers combined with elementary, middle school, high school and college kids to entertain all at once. Since the colleges kids were, well, in college – I can’t speak to their interest in this movie but everyone else enjoyed it. To read the full review that I wrote you can click here.
 
 
 
 
Christmas in C4) Christmas In Connecticut is an older movie released in 1945 staring Barbara Stanwyck along with other well known names of that era. (Apparently there is a 1992 tv remake of  this movie which I have not seen and thus cannot recommend! But I will be investigating this so look for a review on this at a later time.) How did I come across an old classic like this since I am of a much, much, later era than 1945? Well – you can click here and find out for yourself just how I did stumble across such an amusing and fun movie and read my review of it. 
 
 
fiddler5) Fiddler on the Roof: I’m not sure how this became a Christmas tradition for us but every year we watch part of, or all of this version of Fiddler on the Roof. It is an incredibly moving story of life within the Jewish community on the eve of the Bolshevik Revolution and gives hints of the political tension of the time, as well as the societal changes that would eventually sweep the world in the following decades.  It is filled with lively, as well as beautiful emotionally moving musical pieces. One of our favorites is the Jewish prayer sung by the parents before the Sabbath dinner.  Holding a very close second is the song which our second oldest chose for her bride’s waltz with her father…. (Yes, I cried!)
Jenny and Daddy
 
There is some violence (not bloody but potentially scary for the younger fry) in this movie when the cossacks raid a community celebration and a very scary scene when  Tevye shares his “nightmare” with Golde, his wife. I first saw this movie as a child in the early seventies on the big screen and was terrified. It is not as scary on the small screen but keep in mind the individual sensitivities of your own littles. Ours have not been very scared cuddled on one of their parents laps or that of an older sibling but I would suggest viewing the movie first if you think your child might be frightened.  (You can click here to get a preview of the various pogrom scenes from the movie – if you have not seen this movie it is a bit of a spoiler if you pay close attention. Still, it might be a good idea to view them before watching the movies with your children so as to prepare for a lot of historical questions.) 
Now if the links to two of my favorite musical pieces have not yet convinced you to include this in your holiday viewing let me share this clip (Tevye celebrating his daughter’s engagement to the butcher) and this clip with you and perhaps you will then find yourself convinced to give it a try. (This movie is 3 hours long so you might want to plan on splitting it over two nights and make sure your bowl of popcorn is especially deep!)
 
Christmas-Angel6) Christmas Angel is a sweet story about a little girl, Olivia, who helps children’s wishes come true though the mysterious assistance of what she thinks is an angel hidden in the decrypt house next to Olivia’s home. As Olivia becomes convinced that an angel must be granting her wishes for other children, her mother has a lovely conversation with her about what  angels really are (messengers of God) and that they are not genies who magically grant wishes.  Olivia’s Christmas wish is for her mother to find a husband whom she can love and share her life with and not just be only taking care of her. It’s never explained where Olivia’s father is – we just know that he is not in the picture. A sweet, feel good movie with a happy ending that focuses more on the Spirit of Christmas as God and not Santa… 
This movie is currently available on Netflix under their Holiday selection – or just search by its title. I’m sorry but I don’t know if companies such as Amazon or Hulu are offering this for viewing or not. Amazon does sell it, but it is currently out of stock. 
 
Switchmas7) Switchmas – a cute story of two young boys very discontent about where they are being sent to spend the holidays. Ira J. Finkelstein is a  young Jewish boy who has always desired to celebrate Christmas complete with a tree and snow. His parents are involved in the movie industry and hollywood scene. Clearly there is no snow in Ira’s future though he’s hoping to finally experience the magic of a winter wonderland as his parents have promised him a skiing vacation up north. These plans are thrown out the window when the Dad lands an opportunity to film with a big celebrity that could really open doors for him. Ira soon finds himself on the plane heading for Florida to meet his very Jewish grandparents and even more sunshine. In the Chicago airport he bumps into another child who looks rather similar to himself but is a little Christian boy heading for the state of Washington aka winter wonderland. Ira suddenly hatches the plot of the two of them exchanging tickets since the relatives at either end of their flights have not seen these two boys in ages. And as the saying goes, the rest is history!
Though Ira is searching for the fairy land picture of Christmas he ends up learning more about faith, love for family and what it means to face one’s fears. And our kids get to see a movie that is not selling us the idea that the reason of the season is the jolly old elf from the North pole.  This movie is available for viewing on Netflix and is also for sale on Amazon.
(Note: there are a couple of incidents of bullying taking place that end up being resolved in a positive manner.)
 
It’s hard to believe but I wont “see” you again until next year , so though it’s still Advent I will close this month’s Seven Quick Takes by wishing you a very peaceful Advent and a blessed Merry Christmas. Don’t forget to head over to This Ain’t the Lyceum and I’ll see you next year with Catholic Sista’s first  7QT of 2016! (Please feel free to suggest some future themes you might be interested in reading here in our Seven Quick Takes.)
 
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Advent Colleen Domestic Church Faith Formation Mary Movies Reviews

Catholic Children’s Movies – a Review of CCC and a Fantastic Giveaway!

CCCKIDS-DEC-CATHOLICSISTAS (1)

CCCKids Saints campaign from Tuesday 12/02-Friday 12/05: 3 movie giveawaysWatch the spirit of giving and the magic of Christmas sparkle in your children’s eyes as they watch CCC of America’s award-winning animated films. This month we are featuring three saints with feast days in December.

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We absolutely love the CCC saints and heroes movies in our house; they are truly great aids to our children’s faith formation! They make the saints approachable for our children as we fall in love with the characters in the story. Several of the saints depicted in the movies have feast days this month, and we were glad to sit and watch them as a family as a way of learning about each saint. In honor of the CCCKids Campaign this week, they graciously sent us three saint movies to watch and review.

{We couldn’t pick a favorite movie at first, but eventually my boys settled on St. Nicholas (although probably because we have been talking a lot about his upcoming feast day, as they dream about the candy that will show up in their shoes!) Each of the movies is truly a treasure, and they would make wonderful Christmas gifts for children or godchildren.}

Francis Xavier and the Samurai’s Lost Treasure (feast day: December 3)

francisThe story begins with St. Francis as a university student, and depicts the friendship between St. Francis and St. Ignatius of Loyola; Francis learns about sacrifice from his friend, Ignatius, who secretly works to earn money to pay Francis’s tuition. Francis, inspired by his friend’s example, soon devotes his life to Christ, becomes a priest, and is sent to a village in India as a missionary. The villagers are pearl divers, and are required to fill a chest with pearls in order to pay their tax to the government; however, raiders continually descend upon their village to steal their chests of pearls. With Francis’ help, they are able to outsmart the raiders and save the village. Francis wins their friendship and the villagers ask to be baptized.

While in India, Francis also meets a displaced samurai in the village who is searching for a special black pearl to take back to the Emperor in his home country of Japan. When the samurai finds his pearl and returns to Japan, Francis decides to go with him to bring the Gospel to the Japanese. First, he must approach the Emperor to ask permission to preach. The pearl is stolen from the samurai, and is accidentally dropped in the Emperor’s crocodile pool. Francis not only saves the pearl, but also wins the samurai’s heart for Christ. His compassion on the pearl thieves also touches the Emperor’s heart, who allows the Good News of Jesus to be preached throughout Japan. Francis is an example of heroism and of the importance of preaching the Gospel despite impossible circumstances.

Nicholas: The Boy Who Became Santa (feast day: December 6)

nicholasNicholas is the son of a wealthy Christian man; even as a child, his generosity shines through. He trades his brand new horse in order to purchase a slave child, Adrian, about his own age, simply to set him free. When his parents die, he gives nearly all of his wealth to the church, and uses the rest to bless his neighbors. Nicholas’s love of Jesus causes the bishop to appoint him as his successor. He is well-loved by the people of his town, and many convert because of his example.

Soon, Emperor Diocletian issues a proclamation for the persecution of Christians. Nicholas’s cathedral is burned, and he is imprisoned for many years. When Constantine becomes Emperor, Nicholas is released, but he is told that Christianity has been all but wiped out. What a wonderful surprise when he walks into the newly rebuilt cathedral for Midnight Mass on Christmas and sees a full congregation, as well as his friend Adrian, now a priest, celebrating Mass!

The movie ends by explaining how Nicholas, the generous gift giver, was emulated through the centuries by other Christians, and how his memory lives on as he has been assimilated into different cultures. In American culture, the man we know as Santa Claus is actually our interpretation of St. Nicholas. “Nicholas: The Boy Who Became Santa” really does a wonderful job of tying in Santa with the good Saint, so as not to cause confusion among children. (In our house, we celebrate St. Nicholas Day and while we don’t really “do” Santa, our kids know that Santa is actually a representation of St. Nicholas, thanks to the explanation in the movie.)

Juan Diego: Messenger of Guadalupe (feast day: December 9; feast day of Our Lady of Guadalupe: December 12)

juandiegoThis movie is a beautiful depiction of the love the Blessed Mother has for each one of us. Juan is a poor Indian convert who is struggling to reconcile his former Aztec beliefs with his new belief in Catholicism. He becomes discouraged as he is asked not to teach the children anymore because some of his ideas about religion are confused. Mary appears to Juan at the Hill of Tepeyac, reassuring him of her love for him, calling him “my littlest son.” After several days of appearing to him, she gives him roses to take to the Bishop so that he will believe the apparitions, and to convince him to build a church on the hill. Juan hurries to the Bishop’s house, and shows him the roses, which do not normally grow in Mexico in December. As the roses spill from his tilma, the image of Our Lady appears imprinted on the fabric – the image that we know as Our Lady of Guadalupe. The Bishop then believes Juan and has a church built there in honor of Mary.

This story not only illustrates Mary’s love for her spiritual children, but also has many humorous parts intertwined; a salesman is constantly trying to sell Juan a new tilma, but Juan insists that he prefers his old one. Of course, when Mary’s image appears, Juan must get a new one, and the salesman ends up giving one to Juan for free. The movie is truly delightful!

I really cannot recommend these movies enough; they are innocent, wholesome, educational, and entertaining. My only wish is that CCC produces more movies with new saints, and soon! I can give some suggestions as to what I’d love to see – St. Therese of Lisieux, St. Elizabeth of Hungary, St. Catherine of Siena, St. John Bosco… 😉

(I received 3 complimentary movies from CCC to review; all opinions expressed are my own and I have not been compensated for this review.)

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Giveaway:

Rejoice this Advent season with these beautifully animated stories learning charity from the real Saint Nick, discovering the courage of Juan Diego, and experience the importance of missionary work like Saint Francis Xavier. CCC of America will send the winners the DVDs along with other sweet treats!
[CCC PRODUCTIONS ARE 30 MIN AVAILABLE IN ENGLISH, SPANISH AND FRENCH)

Enter through the Rafflecopter widget below. Giveaway ends Friday, December 5, at midnight EST. US residents only.

 

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Guest Posts Offering your suffering Revelation: Public vs. Private Sacramentals

Spiritual Advice for Chicken Little

Dear Chicken Little (AKA Henny Penny, AKA All Christians today),

I know you are screaming, “The sky is falling!  The sky is falling!”  and you have good reasons to feel this way.  In today’s world all you have to do to become sad, scared and feel hopeless, is open a newspaper, even a Catholic one.  Then when you go online and see or read of other things going on, it intensifies the feeling that there’s no way to combat those feelings because the forces of evil are so potent and so intricately woven into our culture. I bet you feel like St. Peter- you take notice of the storm and the violent waves around you and you think you are sinking.

But take heart!  If you have taken any time to listen to Pope Francis’s words, you will soon learn that he is paying attention to this horrid world we live in.  His message, that of the Gospel, is that everything will be okay. If anyone is surrounded by wolves and Judases, it’s the Holy Father! He knows this–and yet look at his sweet face radiating Joy and Love as he reaches out to your heart, mine, the unevangelized, Catholics and everyone! It’s important to keep up with what’s going on, however, balance is important, too. I’m sure you pray–but our prayers ought not be ones of desperation, but praise in spite of our affliction.

So here is a little list of spiritual advice for our “Chicken Little Moments” and what I do to help me remember this and balance all the bad news:

1.  READ ABOUT THE SAINTS:  

Find good biographies of Saints (bah for dry pieces that do not inspire but read like encyclopedia write ups; or romanticized pieces that make sainthood seem like it’s for only “the chosen ones” like Luke Skywalker instead of EVERYone). The saints were every bit as broken and human as you and I.  They suffered addictions, abuse, tendencies to lust, gluttony, messed up family, etc. None of them *liked* suffering. They all had their Agony in the Garden, Dark Night of the Soul, and Passion.

2.  WATCH MOVIES THAT INSPIRE:

  • For Greater Glory & There Be Dragons–excellent movies about true events during violent revolutions where Catholics were persecuted. We’ve been here before! It will be okay! And which is harder? The long, tedious sacrifice of the white martyrdom that takes decades to kill bodies? Or the quicker, compressed pain and violence of bloody martyrdom? Either way, martyrdom is our call and the gift of courage from the Holy Spirit is needed. And faith–faith is a gift of the Holy Spirit that we MUST pray for! It will be okay!

  • The Passion of Bernadette<–one of my favorites

  • The War of the Vendee — done by homeschooled children, lovely movie and pretty great acting for kids!

3.  READ GOOD BOOKS:

  •  “The Shadow of His Wings: The True Story of Fr. Gereon Goldmann, OFM” the amazing and 100% true story about a Seminarian being forced into the Nazi army.  I recommend it to anyone who is troubled about what’s going down here in the US (because we look an awful lot like Nazi Germany in many ways here–politically speaking with our foreign policy that promotes say, Eugenics). He is spiritually attacked. He is put into the SS because of his outstanding ability, in spite of his openly resisting the Nazi philosophy. He ends up as a POW. This isn’t a flowery book of bragging, but rather a direct autobiography with some hard realities. And it’s incredible. Read it and have hope! God is in charge–even in the midst of the enemy.

  • With God in Russia” is an autobiography of a priest who survives being a POW in Russia during WWII (the Communists were guilty of more devastation than the Nazis: 60M murdered as opposed to 10M).

  • The Miracle of Father Kapaun: Priest, Soldier, and Korean War Hero” Fr. Kapaun is given the medal of honor–by THIS president? That’s a miracle in itself. He was a POW as well.

  • The Island of the World” is one of the most heart wrenching and devastating books of Hope and Faith that I’ve ever read. He’s long winded, but he’s one of THE best Catholic authors out there IMO.

4.  LISTEN TO INSPIRING HOMILIES:

  • Audio Sancto offers anonymous homilies from good orthodox priests.

  • Sensus Traditionis offers more great homilies as well as texts of talks by subject. A webpage dedicated to the defense of the orthodox Catholic faith as well as a promotion of serious academic thought in the areas of Catholic theology and philosophy.

5.  GO ON A MINI-RETREAT:

For me when I need a mini-retreat from the world,  I read a Michael O’Brien book. He’s one of my all time favorite authors. His fiction books show me how to carry my cross–in detail–with the most impossible situations for his protagonists. One of my favorites is “Island of the World.” Talk about the world coming crashing down around the main character who, as a child was in a beautiful Catholic community untouched by the influences of the West–and in a Catholic home, loses everything–violently, in just moments! This is based on true events of Fascists and Communists ravaging the former Yugoslavia (before it was even that) and what happened to the people there. The story line is fictional, but the history is true. He interviewed many people before writing this book. I wept through a good part of the book, because it was just so hard. It’s a testimony of the stoicism of people of faith who have stuck out the worst of conditions with their lives hanging in the balance.

6. LOOK TO HISTORY:  Remember history repeats itself:

  • It happened in Spain.

  • It happened in France (once the Church’s “Eldest Daughter”).

  • It happened in Mexico.

  • It happened in Cuba.

  • It happened in Russia.

  • It happened in the Balkans.

It will continue to happen. Remember the scene on LOTR where the Balrog is falling into the pit? He knows he’s lost and so he goes down thrashing and gnashing–and at the last moment whips his tail up to Gandalf to pull him down as he falls. This is Satan. He knows he’s lost and is on borrowed time. So he’s going to lie and cheat–even murder as he knows he can’t make us go to Hell, but he wants to make us think he can.  He can’t. They can kill my body, but cannot touch my soul. And if they do kill my body, for the sake of Christ–my soul is all the more glorified in His bloody Passion! For my Salvation and the Salvation of others! Deo Gratias!

7.  PRAY:  Going to Adoration and praying is really important in these hard times.  But you can also pray anywhere…and there are several important daily prayers that some Catholics have forgotten about, here’s a handy dandy list:

Lastly, take heart and trust in God because this the day and age and we have yet to have our crisis of faith here in terms of violent revolution. Good and bad. Bad that there’s fear. But good that we have so much history to take comfort from. And it’s okay to feel like St. Peter and feel yourself sinking but remember to stop looking down and look up because Jesus Christ, your Lord and Savior, is close by ready to calm the waters.

 

GUEST POST:  Written by Monica, mother to five beautiful children out in Texas!