This blog's mission is simple--to encourage moms who are married to non-Catholics and raising their children in the Faith. If you know a mom who needs a little encouragement in continuing her efforts, I would be delighted if you would share Kathleen's Catholic with her. Thank you!

Friday, April 30, 2010

Form Your Conscience

Sound advice from a priest:

Your conscience must be formed by Jesus Christ, your King, a king who rules only of love. Do not let the state, the society, the media and the internet form your conscience. Only Jesus should form your conscience.

If you want to know about about the Church, turn to Christ for answers. If you want to know about you, turn to Christ and your Creator, our Father in Heaven. If you want to know His Creation, turn to Christ. Turn to Christ, the source for knowledge of all things, and form your conscience with Christ alone.

Be with me and form my mind, my Lord, Jesus Christ. Amen.

God bless.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Receiving Christ with a Single Shoe

Every mom goes through it. It's a time in her life when she realizes that Mass is not fun and/or peaceful and fulfilling, but it's a time of training her children. Any chance of hearing the gospel, contemplating the homily, or receiving Christ in perfect peace becomes pretty slim. Yet, there is a fullness that comes from this all-important maternal task.

My all time low was when my toddler was sitting on my lap and began spitting on my arm. He then took his finger and drew in his spittle. It was the final straw at the end of a long line of antics, and I was sure the entire parish heard me when I stood up and flew my arms in the air and yelled, "Yuck. Oh, yuck. Just stop. Just stop!" But, no. No one heard me. In fact, when I returned to my senses I was still sitting squarely in my seat, facing forward trying with deep breaths to absorb Father's words.

Yes, every parent has this moment. You will love to read about Jennifer's. Click here to visit her blog, Conversion Diary. In her article When Church Isn't Fun she explains beautifully how our sweet Jesus still comes to us in the Eucharist, with our arms wrapped around a drooling toddler dressed in a single shoe and shirt pulled over his ears. (Wait...those are my kids.)

God bless.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Boy Scout, Be A Man!

Father told a group of Boy Scouts how to be real men.

Below is the link to one of Fr. Samuel Medley's homilies, which he posted at his blog, Magnificat Anima Mea Domino. Fr. Samuel devotes his blog to posting his homilies. Turn the volume up to hear this well enough. You won't want to miss a word!

This is the homily Father delivered to the Boy Scouts who were receiving their Ad Altare Dei or Pope Pius XII religion emblem awards in Corpus Christi, Texas. (I had the honor this year of counseling 6 Boy Scouts in earning the Ad Altare Dei Award, and they just attended the required retreat in the Pocono Mountains of Pennsylvania.)

Click here for the homily:

Boy Scout, Be A Man!

You will love what Father has to say. With humor and candor, he explains why every Boy Scout should "triangulate" his life, attend Mass regularly, go to Confession at least monthly, and turn to Our Blessed Mother always. These are the ways to be a man. Men and women--true men and women--are not so common in our world today. Father explains why.

This is for every Boy Scout to hear. Listen with your sons!

Posted using ShareThis

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Great Promises: The Apple Blossom

How can so much come from so little?
Potential--one of the glorious mysteries of His Creation.

(photo copyrighted by Roger L. Blease)

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Hungry for Salvation?

Many, many thanks to the Totus Tuus Family Blog for this wonderful explanation of how salvation works. It's a long post but well worth the time to read it! God bless.

There was a certain Professor of Religion named Dr. Christianson, a studious man who taught at a small college in the western United States.

Dr. Christianson taught the required survey course in Christianity at this particular institution. Every student was required to take this course their freshman year, regardless of his or her major.

Although Dr. Christianson tried hard to communicate the essence of the Gospel in his class, he found that most of his students looked upon the course as nothing but required drudgery. Despite his best efforts, most students refused to take Christianity seriously.

This year, Dr. Christianson had a special student named Steve. Steve was only a freshman, but was studying with the intent of going on to a seminary. Steve was popular, he was well liked, and he was an imposing physical specimen. He was now the starting center on the school football team, and was the best student in the professor's class.

One day, Dr. Christianson asked Steve to stay after class so he could talk with him.
"How many push-ups can you do?"

Steve said, "I do about 200 every night."

"200? That's pretty good, Steve," Dr. Christianson said. "Do you think you could do 300?"

Steve replied, "I don't know.... I've never done 300 at a time"

"Do you think you could?" again asked Dr. Christianson.

"Well, I can try," said Steve.

"Can you do 300 in sets of 10? I have a class project in mind and I need you to do about 300 push-ups in sets of ten for this to work. Can you do it? I need you to tell me you can do it," said the professor.

Steve said, "Well... I think I can...yeah, I can do it."

Dr. Christianson said, "Good! I need you to do this on Friday. Let me explain what I have in mind."

Friday came and Steve got to class early and sat in the front of the room. When class started, the professor pulled out a big box of donuts. No, these weren't the normal kinds of donuts, they were the extra fancy BIG kind, with cream centers and frosting swirls. Everyone was pretty excited it was Friday, the last class of the day, and they were going to get an early start on the weekend with a party in Dr. Christianson's class.

Dr. Christianson went to the first girl in the first row and asked, "Cynthia, do you want to have one of these donuts?"

Cynthia said, "Yes."

Dr. Christianson then turned to Steve and asked, "Steve, would you do ten push-ups so that Cynthia can have a donut?"

"Sure!" Steve jumped down from his desk to do a quick ten. Then Steve again sat in his desk.
Dr. Christianson put a donut on Cynthia's desk.

Dr. Christianson then went to Joe, the next person, and asked, "Joe, do you want a donut?"

Joe said, "Yes."

Dr. Christianson asked, "Steve would you do ten push-ups so Joe can have a donut?"

Steve did ten push-ups, Joe got a donut. And so it went, down the first aisle, Steve did ten push-ups for every person before they got their donut.

Walking down the second aisle, Dr. Christianson came to Scott. Scott was on the basketball team, and in as good condition as Steve. He was very popular and never lacking for female companionship.

When the professor asked, "Scott do you want a donut?"

Scott's reply was, "Well, can I do my own push-ups?"

Dr. Christianson said, "No, Steve has to do them."

Then Scott said, "Well, I don't want one then."

Dr. Christianson shrugged and then turned to Steve and asked, "Steve, would you do ten push-ups so Scott can have a donut he doesn't want?"

With perfect obedience Steve started to do ten push-ups.

Scott said, "HEY! I said I didn't want one!"

Dr. Christianson said, "Look! This is my classroom, my class, my desks, and these are my donuts. Just leave it on the desk if you don't want it." And he put a donut on Scott's desk.
Now by this time, Steve had begun to slow down a little. He just stayed on the floor between sets because it took too much effort to be getting up and down. You could start to see a little perspiration coming out around his brow.

Dr. Christianson started down the third row. Now the students were beginning to get a little angry. Dr. Christianson asked Jenny, "Jenny, do you want a donut?"

Sternly, Jenny said, "No."

Then Dr. Christianson asked Steve, "Steve, would you do ten more push-ups so Jenny can have a donut that she doesn't want?"

Steve did ten....Jenny got a donut.

By now, a growing sense of uneasiness filled the room. The students were beginning to say, "No!" and there were all these uneaten donuts on the desks.

Steve also had to really put forth a lot of extra effort to get these push-ups done for each donut. There began to be a small pool of sweat on the floor beneath his face, his arms and brow were beginning to get red because of the physical effort involved.

Dr. Christianson asked Robert, who was the most vocal unbeliever in the class, to watch Steve do each push up to make sure he did the full ten push-ups in a set because he couldn't bear to watch all of Steve's work for all of those uneaten donuts. He sent Robert over to where Steve was so Robert could count the set and watch Steve closely.

Dr. Christianson started down the fourth row. During his class, however, some students from other classes had wandered in and sat down on the steps along the radiators that ran down the sides of the room. When the professor realized this, he did a quick count and saw that now there were 34 students in the room. He started to worry if Steve would be able to make it.
Dr. Christianson went on to the next person and the next and the next. Near the end of that row, Steve was really having a rough time.. He was taking a lot more time to complete each set.

Steve asked Dr. Christianson, "Do I have to make my nose touch on each one?"

Dr. Christianson thought for a moment, "Well, they're your push-ups. You are in charge now.

You can do them any way that you want." And Dr. Christianson went on.

A few moments later, Jason, a recent transfer student, came to the room and was about to come in when all the students yelled in one voice, "NO! Don't come in! Stay out!"

Jason didn't know what was going on. Steve picked up his head and said, "No, let him come."

Professor Christianson said, "You realize that if Jason comes in you will have to do ten push-ups for him?"

Steve said, "Yes, let him come in. Give him a donut."

Dr. Christianson said, "Okay, Steve, I'll let you get Jason's out of the way right now. Jason, do you want a donut?"

Jason, new to the room, hardly knew what was going on. "Yes," he said, "give me a donut.."

"Steve, will you do ten push-ups so that Jason can have a donut?"

Steve did ten push-ups very slowly and with great effort. Jason, bewildered, was handed a donut and sat down.

Dr Christianson finished the fourth row, and then started on those visitors seated by the heaters. Steve's arms were now shaking with each push-up in a struggle to lift himself against the force of gravity. By this time sweat was profusely dropping off of his face, there was no sound except his heavy breathing; there was not a dry eye in the room.

The very last two students in the room were two young women, both cheerleaders, and very popular. Dr. Christianson went to Linda, the second to last, and asked, "Linda, do you want a doughnut?"

Linda said, very sadly, "No, thank you."

Professor Christianson quietly asked, "Steve, would you do ten push-ups so that Linda can have a donut she doesn't want?"

Grunting from the effort, Steve did ten very slow push-ups for Linda.

Then Dr. Christianson turned to the last girl, Susan. "Susan, do you want a donut?"

Susan, with tears flowing down her face, began to cry. "Dr. Christianson, why can't I help him?"

Dr Christianson, with tears of his own, said, "No, Steve has to do it alone; I have given him this task and he is in charge of seeing that everyone has an opportunity for a donut whether they want it or not. When I decided to have a party this last day of class, I looked at my grade book. Steve here is the only student with a perfect grade. Everyone else has failed a test, skipped class, or offered me inferior work. Steve told me that in football practice, when a player messes up he must do push-ups. I told Steve that none of you could come to my party unless he paid the price by doing your push-ups. He and I made a deal for your sakes."

"Steve, would you do ten push-ups so Susan can have a donut?"

As Steve very slowly finished his last push-up, with the understanding that he had accomplished all that was required of him, having done 350 push-ups, his arms buckled beneath him and he fell to the floor.

Dr. Christianson turned to the room and said, "And so it was, that our Savior, Jesus Christ, on the cross, plead to the Father, 'Into thy hands I commend my spirit.' With the understanding that He had done everything that was required of Him, He yielded up His life. And like some of those in this room, many of us leave the gift on the desk, uneaten. "

Two students helped Steve up off the floor and to a seat, physically exhausted, but wearing a thin smile.

"Wouldn't you be foolish and ungrateful to leave it lying on the desk?"

"Well done, good and faithful servant," said the professor, adding, "Not all sermons are preached in words."

Turning to his class, the professor said, "My wish is that you might understand and fully comprehend all the riches of grace and mercy that have been given to you through the sacrifice of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. God did not spare His Only Son, but gave Him up for us all, now and forever. Whether or not we choose to accept His gift to us, the price has been paid."

Share this with someone. It's bound to touch their heart and demonstrate Salvation in a very special way.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Fix My Eyes

I just love this video. It appeared on Facebook, and I couldn't resist sharing it with you. Many, many thanks to Josephine Sylvia Loh, from Singapore, for finding it.

You might also like to read my post called Come, Let Us Adore Him.

Monday, April 19, 2010

New Feature: aStore called Kathleen's Catholic Books Shop

I'm trying a new Amazon feature, called an aStore. It allows my readers to shop at Amazon, including checking out, without leaving the blog. I've included Catholic titles that have really helped me understand our rich and wonderful faith. I hope you enjoy them, too. I'm providing this to help you find the very best resources for your spiritual development. We all need nourishment, even tiny morsels!

You will find the little aStore in the right column, under the title Spiritual Nourishment. Click on the title Kathleen's Catholic Book Shop, and you're there! (It is small print, I know. One thing about technology: it does have its limits. The aStore won't let me change the font size.) You will also see on this screen Kathleen's Catholic Book Shop for Kids.

Stop by regularly. I'll be adding new titles often. If you'd like to recommend a title--or any product, such as medals and rosaries, etc.--feel free let me know. You can reach me at Please include the words Kathleen's Catholic in the subject line, so if it falls into my junk email folder it won't be deleted. You can also reach me at Facebook under the name Kathleen's Catholic.

Well, friends, let me know what you think about this new feature. I really want to hear your honest opinion.

God bless!

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Easy Does It!

by Kathleen Blease

Check out my new recipes in The Recipe Box. Either click here or click on the link above. Colonial Cookies, a luscious Chocolate Cake that will make you look like a pro (very easy!), a Rice Pilaf with Roasted Pecans and Dried Cranberries that keeps well in the fridge, and an easy cheesy Apple Pastry. Those are just the new recipes. Hungry yet? Also visit the page for cooking and baking tips. Just scroll way down.

Easy is my way to cook. If a recipe is complicated, I won't attempt it. Quite frankly, I have the skills and experience (thank you very much!) but I don't have the time, and I hate cooking while under pressure. My husband, however, loves trying new things, so fancy recipes go to him.

Do I love to cook? Not really. I would be happy to hand over the responsibility to a private chef!  But I do love the idea that my family eats a home cooked meal, nourishing and made from scratch. I rarely use prepared items, like canned spaghetti sauces or dinner rolls.

The basic criteria for my favorite recipes are: 1) they are made from scratch, 2) they use ingredients that are as fresh as possible, and 3) they are easy to prepare. A few standard and basic cooking techniques--the right way to braise, saute, and roast, for example--and a good sense of timing go a long way in making a meal fabulous. Really, it's just the basics that count. Hint: buy yourself a meat thermometer.

My interest in cooking stems from many years ago when I was single, owned my own home, and was a freelance book editor. I barely made enough to pay the tiny mortgage and the outrageous taxes. I sold my car back to the dealership because I didn't use it enough to warrant the expense. I lived in a downtown, so it was easy for me to walk to the bank and post office, the two most important places to a freelancer. The hills in this particular downtown, however, were killers. While my knees suffered, I do have to say that my waist line didn't. It stayed cinched in for many years--well, relatively speaking.

Still, and despite all the exercise, there was one issue I was particularly concerned about. I couldn't afford to get sick. Just as it is today, private health insurance was prohibitively expensive. So, there was one thing I knew I could do to help keep me out of the doctor's office--healthy cooking. I learned about beans, legumes, homemade chicken stock made with bones, yogurts, brown rices and lean meats. Believe it or not, I sustained myself, my cats, and my household necessities on ten dollars a week. It all came down to the cooking...and lots of coupon clipping.

How did I learn to cook? Watching my mom, mostly. Well, I didn't learn the specific techniques by standing and cooking at my mother's side. I didn't have the patience back then. Still, it's pretty clear to me that my cooking mores came directly from Mom's.

I grew up on a small farm, and my mother maintained a large garden, a herd of goats, and a flock of sheep. Mom had a licensed goat dairy, and we had plenty of goat milk everyday. I still remember how the cats hung around in the milking room to lap up the little streams of the white stuff that hit the ground. Those felines has amazingly shiny coats. Mom made lots and lots of goat cheese. I devoured the stuff long before it became bistro posh. It took, what, three gallons of milk to make one pound of cheese? And after that, we still had a lot of milk left over, even though we had a steady stream of dairy customers. Well, then, it was time to get some hogs. Each year, Mom and Dad would bring home some runts and in no time they were hefty hogs.

Yep, our freezers and shelves were full. Produce and meat--fresh, fresh, fresh. Oh, and mom made lots of fresh bread long before the bread machines hit the market. Her Easter bread--with the colored eggs--was gorgeous.

But, of course, I took all this for granted, as most kids do, until I graduated from college and had my own place. When I was stumped, my mom gave me great advice right over the phone. I don't think she had much written down; it was all just common sense to her, really. I do believe Mom made each and every Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, New Years Day, and Easter dinner by memory--from shrimp cocktail to stuffed artichokes to savory hams and turkeys. (Hey, Mom, don't correct me here. If you did have a recipe, don't tell me. ;-) I love languishing in this bubble.)

Today, I try to follow her lead. Of course, as with anything else, it has become my own--my own way to measure a pinch of this and a dab of own way to knead bread, chop nuts and veggies. And I have to say, being a book editor and writer, research certainly made the mix. As a matter of fact, for several years I really enjoyed reading Cook's Illustrated from America's Test Kitchen. The mag gave me lots of advice on sound cooking and baking principles.

But what was the most important lesson Mom taught me? The sit down dinner. Dinner was at six sharp. Better be there. We always ate as a family, even with our crazy schedules. Today I do the same, although I have to admit that the actual dinner time floats a bit. And we still say the same prayer..."Bless us, O Lord, and these thy gifts which we are about to receive, from thy bounty through Christ Our Lord. Amen." I love it when the whole family--my folks, in-laws, and nieces and nephews--get together and in unison we proclaim the same verse!

Well, now, enough of all this food memory. Check out the recipes and see what you can make tonight. Easy does it!!

God bless.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

It's a Jungle! Let the Little Bird Guide You

by Kathleen Blease

As you can see from my lack of posts this past week, I have been finding it very difficult to write. My writing is usually connected to my ability to pray and contemplate. When these two dry up, so do my words. Aridity.

Today, I visited A Solitary Bird, who posted a few paragraphs on aridity and praying with a book. I love the imagery of the bird drinking.

When we face these dry times, we should turn to spiritual books--such as the gospels or books written by saints--to help us settle and/or direct our minds. This is where the little bird comes in. Have you ever watched a bird drink water? It will dip its beak into the water and take a few sips. Then, it turns its face to the sky to let the water go down. Little by little, dip by dip, the bird replenishes itself.

Just as the little bird takes these drops then turns its face skyward, so we, too, should take a few words from God or a Heavenly saint. Then, put the book down for a moment and turn our faces to Heaven to contemplate these tiny bits of nourishment for our souls.

Don't be in a rush. Don't force yourself  to be productive again in this way. This certainly isn't the first time I faced such a dry spell of creativity and aridity in spirituality, and it won't be the last! Perhaps these times are designed for us by God to slow us down, to find a new path. Hey, sometimes it looks like a jungle out there, and finding the straight and narrow path takes time to cut through the overgrowth and cast away the unnecessary.  It can be a tedious chore that appears to get us nowhere. But suddenly, with the help of Our Savior, we find our new path. If we drink from His fountain, bit by bit, and turn our eyes to Heaven, even our aridity becomes a bountiful time. How's that for a paradox?

God bless.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Lacy's Easter Link-Up

Easter Link-Up
Over at Catholic Icing, Lacy has organized her latest link-up. Catholic bloggers from all over are invited to feature their posts about Easter. You will find reflections, meditations, and ideas on how to celebrate the entire season (fifty days!) with your family and friends.

Click here to visit Catholic Icing.

While you're there, don't forget to page through all of Lacy's blog, not just the link-up. If you're a teacher, mom, or grandmom, you will find it particularly helpful with lots of craft projects, recipes, and printables that will help bring the Easter story to life for children...and for you. Check it out and have fun!

But before you go, you might want to read my "Easter Joy Inside and Out," a funny little Easter story, which I include in Lacy's link-up. I posted it yesterday. Scroll down or check my archives in right column. Look for the Easter Bunny costume.

Be sure to leave a comment for Lacy and tell her that you came from Kathleen's Catholic!  Happy Easter!

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Easter Joy Inside and Out

by Kathleen Blease

When my oldest son was just four years old, and his brother was two, the three of us made a visit to our favorite mom-and-pop toy store. While my little one was enjoying the Thomas the Tank Engine playset at the back of the store, a surprise guest walked through the front door. Ben saw him right away, and clapped his hands. Then, he ran to get his baby brother. Spring was in the air, and the promise of baskets brimming with candy and goodies was so close!

Ben collected his little brother, who wouldn't give up his Percy, the green engine. "Look, Max, look! It's the Easter Bunny, Max! He'll be coming to our house real soon and bring us some yummy baskets!"

I was marvelling over my son's enthusiasm. His little brother stood with his mouth wide open and his eyes like Little Orphan Annie's--amazed and dazed and a little unsteady on his toddler feet as he gazed up at this holiday giant. His big brother was educating him on the finer points of the sweet holiday just before us.

Ben's thrill was obvious. "Oh, it's the Easter Bunny! The Easter Bunny!" He drew close to my legs and looked at me with a smile full of enthusiam and childlike pure joy.

"Mommy, it's the Easter Bunny."

"I see that, Honey."

He jumped around a bit. Then he waved his long arms in the air and asked, "Mommy, who's in the costume?"

Out of the mouths of babes. Somehow I managed to do what any mother of sound mind would do: I looked at him and put my finger over my lips to convey to him the secrecy of the moment. Shh. Don't give it away.

Oh to see the joy of the Easter Bunny--inside and out!
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