My Reading Challenge Pick for…A Book by Pope Benedict XVI

I’ve been sharing what I’m reading throughout the year for the 2017 Catholic Reading Challenge, and we are down to the last few.  

Category: A Book by Pope Benedict XVI (a.k.a. Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger)

My Pick: Daughter Zion: Meditations on the Church’s Marian Belief

This book is a really quick read; I got through it in under two hours. It provides an excellent introduction to the most significant biblical roots of the Catholic Church’s teaching on Mary and how her role is woven into the fabric of our faith. (Since this book was written before Cardinal Ratzinger became pope, I will refer to his authorship here by that name.)

The book is basically divided into two parts. In the first section, Ratzinger states that “the image of Mary in the New Testament is woven entirely of Old Testament threads,” and he identifies three main “strands” (p.12):

  1. Mary resembles the “great mothers” of the old testament — like Sarah and Hannah.
  2. Mary is a picture of “daughter zion” — the people of Israel — with whom God has established his everlasting covenant.
  3. Mary is the “New Eve” — a woman whose “yes” birthed life, where the disobedience of the first woman had birthed death to mankind.

Continue reading “My Reading Challenge Pick for…A Book by Pope Benedict XVI”

My Reading Challenge Pick for “A Book by C. S. Lewis or G. K. Chesterton”

I’ve been sharing what I’m reading throughout the year for the 2017 Catholic Reading Challenge, and I’m very excited to talk about this one… 

Category: A Book by C. S. Lewis or G. K. Chesterton

My Pick: Mere Christianity by C. S. Lewis

If I was forced to pick my top five favorite authors, C. S. Lewis would have to be among them. His wisdom is inspired; his insights are timeless; his tone is, ahhh, so compelling. For the Reading Challenge I decided to re-read Mere Christianity. The first time I read it I was 18, and I still have that copy. It’s funny to see what passages I underlined and noted this time that were not marked before, but I disagreed with none of my previous markings of years ago. They would have all been underlined again (although without the unsteady, florescent highlighter pen). 

Lewis must be the most-quoted Christian author of recent decades, and many of his famous passages that you have heard recited probably came from this book. Just for fun, here are a few examples: Continue reading “My Reading Challenge Pick for “A Book by C. S. Lewis or G. K. Chesterton””

The Rule of Charity in Your Domestic Church

As in life, we all need rules in our homes. Everything and everyone would decend into chaos without them. So, as parents, we discern the best rules and routines to establish in our family life. No doubt we come up with good ones that serve admirable purposes. But it can be easy to lose sight of the fact that there is one rule that should govern and give meaning to all others — the rule of charity.

Love. “For the greatest of these is love,” writes the Apostle Paul in his first letter to the Corinthians. One of the reasons we establish rules in our households is to support the development of virtue in all its members. However, it is impossible to truly develop any other virtue without love. For as St. Paul says earlier in that same passage, though I may do any number of worthy things “but have not love, I am nothing.”

I recently came across these words of St. Vicent de Paul:

“Charity is certainly greater than any rule. Moreover, all rules must lead to charity.” (Epistle 2546)

I sat with these words for a moment, contemplating their relevance to my family’s life. Most of our rules and routines at home stem from a spirit of love. In fact, because we love our children we establish rules that will move them toward truth, goodness, and beauty. But I realize that in the middle of enforcing rules and the disciplining that comes when they are broken, I can often find myself removed from (dare I say in conflict with) the loving intentions that birthed the rules from the beginning. Continue reading “The Rule of Charity in Your Domestic Church”