Saturday, August 26, 2017

Royal Road of the Cross


The "royal road of pain" is a phrase that Fr. Owen Francis Dudley (English author of several Catholic novels) uses in his book, The Shadow on the Earth. In this work of fiction, the reader is introduced to Father Dudley’s iconic character, the Masterful Monk, also known as Br. Anselm. The novel begins with a mountain climber who has been injured on the Alps and is brought to the monastery of Issano where Brother Anselm lives as a monk. Having served as a doctor in the war, Br. Anselm is called, and it doesn’t take long for him to determine the mountain climber will be crippled for life. The “Cripple” as he is to be called undergoes a search for meaning in a life that has been stripped of all worldly hopes and possibilities for the future.

Three major players in The Shadow on the Earth are the Atheist, Optimist, and Pessimist, all of whom share their ideas about life with the Cripple. Dudley uses Br. Anselm’s character to refute these positions with Catholic teaching to reconcile a good God with a suffering world. While the Atheist, Optimist, and Pessimist all argue from different angles, the answer to their questions is the same. Br. Anselm confirms the goodness of God, Who contains all infinite perfections in Himself and shows that, when understood through the Crucifixion of Christ, suffering is redemptive and valuable. The Cripple’s witness of these arguments sets his mind working on accepting his own sufferings and lot in life through a gradual conversion from despair to hope. Despite the firm objections of the Atheist, Optimist, and Pessimist, the Cripple considers the claims of the Catholic Church, not because of Br. Anselm but because the Cripple has found God. And in finding Him, the Cripple is willing to endure all pain in union with Christ on the Cross.

The idea that inspires me most in this work of Dudley's is the concept of the royal road of the cross. Every suffering no matter how great or small is Jesus asking us if we will share His Cross with Him. To accept is to follow a royal road, a road that our King has chosen before us and laid out for us as the path to Heaven. Dudley's character the "Cripple" asks Br. Anselm, "Supposing you were in my position; supposing you knew that you had to lie on your back for the rest of your days, cut off from the pleasures of life, and having at times to suffer pain like this--how exactly would you take it?" Brother Anselm answers, "How would I take it? I would take it as an honour--an honour to be chosen for the royal road of pain; and I would take it as a privilege, to be asked to share so fully the Cross with Christ."

When seen in this light, suffering becomes a gift--a means of uniting ourselves more closely to God and offering these pains for the salvation of souls. Let us value suffering because through it we share in the great honor of resembling our God Who died for us.

                                                                                          ~ Therese

Saturday, August 19, 2017

Attachment to Heaven

St. Mary's Cathedral Basilica of the Assumption (Covington, KY)
All spiritual writers frequently talk about detachment from the world and earthly things, which is the same as saying "attachment to Heaven." We just celebrated the feast of the Assumption of Mary into Heaven, which helps us remember we are pilgrims on this earth and our true home lies in eternity with God.

Divine Intimacy, one of my favorite books, has an excellent passage on this topic: "The Feast of the Assumption is a strong appeal to us to live ever intent upon heavenly things, and not to allow ourselves to be carried away by the vicissitudes and seductions of the world. . . . Mary's Assumption shows us the route we must follow in our spiritual ascent: detachment from the earth, flight toward God, and union with God." To reach this end, we must fulfill the will of God in our lives and accept all our sufferings because the closer we are to Christ on the Cross in this life, the closer union we shall share in His reign in the next.

To aid us in fulfilling the will of God, we should try to remove all obstacles to His grace acting in our day to day life. This means detaching from the things of this world. Yes we have to live in this world, but we must live in this world as Christ did while on earth, which was with mind and heart always fixed on the things above. If there are worldly things in our lives that are dragging us and attaching us to earth so much that we cannot keep our gaze on the things that are eternal, then we need to examine our situation and see what can be removed so we can better serve God. For example, I recently discovered how much social media was weighing me down (not that it cannot be used for good) but it was leaving a negative impact on my life. Removing social media seems to have made it easier to think on the things of Heaven rather than of earth.

Let us imitate the Blessed Virgin Mary (who appeared to the Fatima children today) and make many sacrifices for sinners who have no one to pray for them, which will keep us focused on God and Heaven.

                                                                    ~ Therese

Saturday, August 12, 2017

Excitement of DIY Projects


Do you like DIY projects? In my book, being able to do something yourself is very important. Why pay someone else to do it if you can? My parents are big on DIY so I guess you could say I grew up with the idea, but with so much information available now anyone can really get into DIY.

There is something very satisfying in stepping back and looking at a project that you brought to completion. And usually (if you did it right) the project will stand the test of time and maybe you can pass it onto your children. 


DIY projects can be as simple as these window boxes which I was very excited to put together! Or as complicated as house renovation with ripping up tile, new kitchen cabinets, or repainting. One of my favorite DIY projects was building bookcases with my dad for either side of the fireplace for my mom's birthday. To me the best part of DIY is the memories.

The memory for these window boxes is the state on the bottom, which comes from my mom's childhood home! It's been brought along through six different houses! So whatever your project is good luck and have fun! And it's always more fun if the whole family gets involved. 

                                                                                    ~ Therese

Friday, August 4, 2017

Blueberry Crumble (Gluten + Dairy Free)


This has become a new family favorite, guys! A must try! 

Ingredients:

3 cups quick oats
1 cup GF flour
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 t baking soda
1/2 t salt
2/3 cup vegetable oil
2 cups (medium sized) blueberries
1 1/2 T maple syrup
1 T corn starch
1 T orange juice

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Stir together oats, flour, brown sugar, baking soda, and salt. Pour oil in slowly until well mixed and/or crumbs begin to form. Take half the mixture and line a 7x11 glass pan with the crumb mixture as the bottom crust (packed firmly). Save the other half for the top. Bake crust for 10 minutes. Put berries, maple syrup, corn starch, and juice in a saucepan and stir over medium heat for two minutes or until juices begin to thicken. (Blueberries should still be round not completely smushed). Pour filling on top of the baked crust and add the rest of the crumb mixture over the top and pack down. Bake entire mixture for additional 25 minutes. Serves eight-ten. Enjoy!

                                                                                   ~ Therese