More Letters to the Editor
Domestic-Church.Com Helps CatechistHello;
Just wanted to let you know how much I enjoyed your site. I am a catechist and the information on the site will be a big help to me. I have placed it on my favorites list.Stephen LaCroix
The AnnunciationDear Catherine
I just logged on this morning and read your lovely piece on the Annunciation.
For years I was one of those Catholics who just didn't "get" Mary. I even found it easier to understand Joseph than his wife. It didn't help that there were then, and there are now, many Catholics who miss the point and try and transform Mary into a mother goddess (something that must pain her more than a little).
I vowed to myself to be "tolerant". I didn't walk around trying to argue with people about Mary and instead sort of quietly tuned everything I heard about her out as if it was just distracting background noise.
Then, I visited Mont Saint Michel on my honeymoon. It was somewhere I had wanted to go to ever since I saw a picture in a coffee table book my parents had when I was three. Having arrived there, I wanted to buy some sort of momento of the occasion. The only thing there that wasn't hopelessly tacky was a rosary, so I bought that.
Having bought a rosary, it seemed silly to just leave it around but I didn't really know how to say the rosary. I hadn't, in fact, said it since I was a child and my mother used to lead us in it all the time. I knew the basic drill of which prayers were repeated but I also remembered my mother starting each decade by refering to a mystery and I didn't know anything about that.
I called my mother and asked for help. She responded by popping a book in the mail. It's called "The Fifteen Mysteries of the Rosary" by Bishop Fulton Sheen. This copy was published in 1944 and it has obviously been lovingly preserved all these years. The pages are all brown and fragile from age.
I gently propped it open and started to read, and then I hit this:
In the Annunciation, the birth of the Son of God in the flesh is made to hinge on the consent of a woman, as the fall of man in the garden of paradise hinged on the consent of a man.
God in His power might have assumed a human nature by force, as the hand of man lays hold of a rose. But He willed not to invade His great gift of freedom without a creature's free response. Through the angel who salutes Mary in the words that have become the first part of the Hail Mary, Mary is asked if she will Give God a man!
[some stuff cut out here]
The Annuniciation is the Mystery of the joy of freedom. Our free will is the only thing in the world that is our own. God can take away anything else, our health, wealth, power, but God will never force us to love Him or to obey Him. The charm of Yes lies in the possibility that one might have said No.
Mary taught us to say Fiat to God. "Be it done according to Thy word." But God Himself has taught us that, since He would not invade the freedom of a woman, then a man should never do so.
And suddenly, it all made sense. There are still many times when I just get uncomfortable when I hear people talk of Mary with what seems like more spirit than sense, but now I have my own little bit of Mariology that I can understand and act on.God bless, Michel
A Great Resource!Dear Catherine and Domestic-Church contributors,
I am just writing to let you know that I really enjoy your website. Even though I am not yet a mom, I have printed out the majority of your articles to put in my book of good ideas for Catholic families. I am getting married this year, and I am sure that it will not be too long before my fiance and I will need just these kinds of ideas. Thank you for all your hard work and keep it up!Rachel
The Editor Replied;Rachel and other readers;
Please feel free to print out anything from Domestic-Church.Com for your personal use. However, please be aware that distributing the material, or using it in another publication is an infringement of copyright.
Thank you so much for your on line information. You are very helpful. Previously I knew nothing of the Saints, but have recently started researching their lives. It is often very sad and tragic, but also very inspiring. So often I break down and cry when I read what the martyrs suffered, and sometimes I just can't read any more. Some day, if God is willing, I hope in heaven to meet all those brave people I'm reading about. May our Blessed Lord and Savior bless and keep you.Lee
Needs Help Finding Some InformationDear Domestic Church,
I'm trying to find out more about the life of Saint Joseph before his marriage to Mary. The "Encyclopedia of Catholicism" says that he was a widower, and had other children. Their source is the second-century "Protevangelium of James". The fourth- century "History of Joseph the Carpenter" tells of Joseph's death.
Can you help me find out more, and just how reliable are these sources? Sincerely,Jeanne
The Editor Appeals to Readers
Anyone have any information on Saint Joseph? Want to pass it along?
Comment on homelessnessHello again,
I know your article on homelessness was posted some time back - I had intended to reply but just never got around to it.
The idea that the homeless generally prefer to remain that way, based on the lack of takers for the subsidised housing, may be unfounded.
A family member involved in pro-life (directional) counselling has found that when a woman gives financial reasons for seeking abortion, and the counsellor offers to find all the financial help required, the pregnant women cannot accept! They understand in the end, but it has often taken more than a week for them to really believe that anyone is willing to help them out of the situation. Of course, once the help is assured, in quite a few cases the problem is seen in a new light, and the finance is not needed, or the need is considerably reduced.
I have come across middle aged street dwellers, living terrifying lives, who could not manage to re-conform - preferring the problems they knew.
My feelings on this subject are: housing, the most basic right and need of any human being, is rife with problems, whether you are in ownership, or trying to rent, or whatever.
Many people who have become homeless, have had it "happen" to them. I would imagine this is more true in the US, than here, where Local Authorities have (had) an obligation to house anyone who became homeless. Many others have rebelled against some unbearable problem, and dropped out of the system by way of escape - inviting them to "rejoin" it may well be unthinkable for them.
I'm sure situations differ between the US and the UK, but I felt I had to speak up......Though I fully agree that this is just one aspect of the whole problem.Moira
I just surfed onto your work and thought it was wonderful. Keep up the good work.Ruth
Always UsefulDear Catherine:
I never know what useful bits of information I will receive when I log onto your page. Keep up the good work. I have printed the story on Matthew's first Confession to read when a break occurs in this hectic schedule. The piece on prayer journalling might also prove helpful to those coming for direction. All in all, very helpful indeed.
God bless you and the family. Please continue to pray for me.Fr. John
A question about Saint Dymphna
This year I am making my comformation and I chose Saint Dymphna for my name. I have to write a report on her and I have to write two miracles she preformed I just wanted to know if you know of any?