I thought it a bit odd when I discovered that St. Cecilia—the patron saint of musicians—didn't actually sing or play an instrument. She was one of those saints whom I was familiar with since childhood; I remember seeing illustrations of her in books, her eyes raised wistfully to heaven, her fingers resting on harp strings or ivory keys. You would think that she had written a famous hymn or... something.
Dear pro-choice advocates,
The other day I attended the funeral of a beautiful baby girl. I watched as the grieving family prepared to say goodbye to their tiny daughter, and I know that everyone present was weeping with them.
And yet, none of us, not even her own mother, had ever seen her alive. She had passed away inexplicably just a few hours before she was born. Yet somehow, we all felt her loss as keenly as though we had known her.
Later that day I attended a pro-life banquet, of all things. There was a special guest in attendance: a little girl who had been scheduled for termination by abortion and had been spared because her mother found the counselling and support she needed from the ministry across the street from the clinic. I burst into tears when they introduced her, and when I looked around the hall I could see that I wasn't the only one.
In both these cases, I saw not just a baby, a cluster of cells, or the "product of conception", but a story, a whole life meant to be lived. I felt the excruciating loss of the first and glimpsed the spectacular blossoming of the second.
And this... this is why I am pro-life.
It was a happy weekend. I had a table at the Family Life Conference for the second time and it was fun to see how my newest pieces were being received. But even more exciting—most of my family and friends were there and I was delighted to tell them all that I was expecting our second baby!
Then everything changed early Sunday morning.
When Thérese was a child, her older sister Leonie decided that she had outgrown some of her playthings. Before giving them away, she offered them to her younger sisters. Celine politely chose a single toy. When it came to Thérese’s turn, she grabbed the entire basket and proclaimed, “I choose all!”
This story illustrates well how this future saint approached the spiritual life. She understood that there are many degrees of holiness and she wanted the very highest degree. “My God,” she cried, “I choose all! … ‘I choose all’ that You will!”
"For in him we live and move and have our being."
— Acts 17:28
A rainbow is a curious thing... it is the light we take for granted fragmented into a spectrum of dazzling colours, a familiar yet ever enchanting display.
I was contemplating this during the long drive to my parents’ farm this Easter when it occurred to me that one could propose an intriguing analogy for God by looking at a prism.
It was Holy Thursday, nearing midnight—that's when all the best conversations happen. A friend and I were discussing a book we had both read recently, 33 Days to Merciful Love, and how in the time of St. Thérese of Lisieux, the Jansenism heresy was shaking the Church in its teeth.
"But if you look at the Church's history," she said, "it was in the times of greatest heresy and upheaval that God raised up the greatest saints."
These words landed on my heart like a kick to the chest and I suddenly found myself blinking back tears. I fought to regain my composure as I felt Jesus say, "I want you to be that saint."
"For me to love You as You love me, I would have to borrow Your own love."
—St. Thérese of Lisieux
What love could a soul offer that would compare to Infinite Love itself? It is impossible.
. . . But like a mother who gives her child some money so that he can pay for the bouquet of flowers he wants to give her, our God gives us his own divine love so that we can love him in a way that we are utterly incapable of otherwise.
It's always funny listening to the New Atheists talk about God. They use words like "celestial dictator" to describe him, as though Christians imagine that God just sits in the sky and beams down his mandates which we must blindly follow, even if makes no sense. Even if it goes against our conscience.
Now, I can't speak for other religions or Christian denominations, but as a Catholic, this is not what I believe God does.
The other month I came across this pithy animated video, titled Optimistic Nihilism. I have thought about it frequently ever since. Having been raised Catholic, with the prospect of a heavenly eternity a completely normal thing to think about and sainthood a driving force in my day-to-day decisions, it deeply disturbed me to realize that there are people who not only reject the idea of our immortal souls (I knew that already) but who willingly reject even the idea of a life with purpose.