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
If you’ve been reading along and following the 2017 Catholic Reading Challenge, then you know that I’ve been sharing what I’m reading for each category throughout the year. It helps keep me on track, and I hope it helps inspire you toward your reading goals for 2017!
Category: A Catholic Memoir or Autobiography
I’m going to tell you from the get-go that this might be the most impactful book on my spiritual life that I read this year, perhaps in the last few years. So, here’s the plug that made me want to read it in the first place: Elisabeth was the devoted wife of Felix Leseur, who was an adamant aetheist for their entire marriage. After her death, he discovered all of her journals (the contents of this book). In reading them, not only did he convert to Catholicism, but he became a Catholic priest! After his conversion, he compiled Elisabeth’s journals and various correspondence into this book, travelled around sharing her story, and had her cause opened for canonization.
I read this book with a group of ladies from my parish this summer, and I think we would all say that we were profoundly impacted by Elisabeth’s humble spirituality, profound love, and immense wisdom. There is so much that I could say about her writings, but I am just going to highlight for you some of the major themes along with corresponding quotes from her journals. Continue reading
I hope you have been able to join me for the 2017 Catholic Reading Challenge. I’ve been sharing what I’m reading for each category throughout the year. But even if you aren’t doing the reading challenge, these posts might provide you with recommendations that need to be on your TBR list.
Category: A Book by a Female Saint
I chose to read St. Catherine’s Dialogue for a few reasons. First, she was my Confirmation saint when my husband and I entered the Catholic Church four years ago, and I have really be meaning to read her book since then. I think most people can relate to having a book on their list for years and finally getting around to reading it, and I’m so glad that I finally did (better late than never).
Second, I read Sigrid Undset’s biography of St. Catherine earier this year, and I was deeply moved by it. Not only did it provide an intimate connection for me to St. Catherine, but it seriously raised the bar for me on saint biographies. This is hands-down the biography to read on St. Catherine. Reading about her life and her life’s work compelled me to spend time with her spiritual writing.
Third, St. Catherine is a saint who experienced profound and regular mystical encounters with our Lord. However, the majority of her life was not lived solitarily. She was an servant of the Church who lived an active and vibrant life of ministry very connected to others in the world. I believe that someone who could move so easily between mystical encounters and practical service is a saint to learn from and study. Continue reading