Why does the priest pray for our anxieties at Mass?
At night when I exhaustedly flop down on my son’s bed to say evening prayers with him, I inevitably have to curb his tendency to race through the words. The problem is when I slow him down, he cannot remember what comes next. When he returns to his rushing slur, his prayers become an inarticulate jumble. I am fairly certain he could not isolate and restate the phrase “fruit of thy womb, Jesus” if he were asked. And while focusing on the individual words within a prayer is not always the point, it’s remarkable what we can learn when we do.
When my 2-year-old grabbed my chin to pull my eyes up from my phone yelling, “Put down your phone!” I knew I had reached rock bottom.
In the early ’80s, when home computers were first widely available, my family plugged in early. My dad took a corner in the large room my brothers shared and made an office where we all took turns playing 2-bit graphic games or writing code in DOS that translated into a noisily printed image on our dot matrix printer. After that it was Atari, then Nintendo NES, and annual computer upgrades as we shot from the floppy disc era into the present era of all-consuming internet access and digital cloud storage. I came of age in a simpler time but not one without a reliance on technology.
Steer clear of Beelzebub or Baal.
When our first son was born, my husband and I, both writers, labored over the choice of what to name him. It had to be right. It had to be original. It was, my poet husband declared with much gravity, “naming a life.” The burden of that weighed heavily on us. We scoured bookstores and online lists of baby names. We wanted something our son could live up to, something that was different, but not weird. After months of combing through thousands of names, we finally landed on Atticus Levi, a nod to both Atticus Finch and my husband’s favorite poet, Larry Levis.
First communion is a day worth commemorating with something special.
Last fall, our son and the rest of his second grade class at St. Elizabeth Ann Seton in Fort Wayne, Indiana started preparing for their first communion. First communion prep began with a meeting where he and his friends created prayer dice. The two cardboard die have prayers printed on each side. At night, we rolled the dice on his bed and said whichever prayers landed face up. It was a fun way to get him started on the road toward deeper initiation into the church.
I look forward to a time when these two advocacies are understood as forces not in opposition to each other.
These are the times that try women’s souls, or at least, this woman’s soul. A few weeks back on an unseasonably warm Saturday, women across the country met in Chicago, Washington D.C., Los Angeles, and hundreds of other locations to support women’s rights and protest what many of us recognize as reprehensible behavior and forthcoming policies from our new President.
None of us is eager to expose our children to the state of the world.
“It’s a good thing we’re white,” our 7-year-old son Atticus said, prompting my husband to almost leap out of his chair in pausing the movie we were in the middle of watching. The movie was The Help from Kathyrn Stockett’s novel by the same name, which exposes the continued slave treatment of “the help” in Jackson, Mississippi in 1962. The scene responsible for our son’s precocious observation of his white privilege involves the violent arrest of maid Yule May.
Pro: Emily Gilmore and Paris Geller. Con: Lorelai Gilmore hiking in the wilderness.
In the spirit of Rory Gilmore’s love of the pro/con list, this review of the long-awaited return of our favorite mother and daughter duo will take the same form. While I’ll refrain from quoting the final four words, references to it will take place as I assume most readers will have pulled a Lorelai and Rory and binged all four episodes over the weekend while eating pizza and Pop-Tarts.
The silence surrounding miscarriage doesn’t help anyone. Loss needs a voice. Grief needs to be spoken.
I’m part of a top secret club. Membership was granted to me about three years ago when I had my first miscarriage. A few weeks after the loss, in requisite hushed tones, I admitted the miscarriage to one of my best friends. “Me, too,” she rushed in, sharing the particulars of her multiple losses and ushering me into a club I didn’t know existed.
Knowing the other shoe is about to drop is a reminder to enjoy in the small, perfect moments of everyday life.
In 2002 Spike Lee came out with the compelling film 25th Hour. Edward Norton plays the lead, a convicted drug felon who has 24 hours of freedom before his seven-year sentence in jail begins. The film moves at a slow, anxious pace even as it careens toward that hour of surrender.
Catholics are called to live a joy-filled life, even when happiness is hard to maintain.
“Joy is the most infallible sign of the existence of God.”
—Pierre Teilhard de Chardin
A few nights ago, my son and I sat on the floor in his bedroom reading Dear Pope Francis: The Pope Answers Letters from Around the World (Loyola Press). One of the children asked, “What more do you want to do in your life to make the world more beautiful and fair?” Pope Francis answered: “I would like to smile always—smile at God . . . to thank him for all the good he does for people.”