Happy Birthday to the Cohos Trail!

I’m on a business trip in a faraway city right now, when I’d rather be in Stewartstown, New Hampshire. There’s a celebration going on there in honor of a place and people who have come to mean a lot to me. The Cohos Trail is turning 20, and the coming-of-age party is happening today.

In twenty years, I’ve spent maybe eight hours on trail maintenance up there in northern New Hampshire. That’s not even a blip in the tally of volunteer hours and days and weeks given by countless people over the past two decades to build and maintain the CT. If I were at today’s party, I’d be able to meet some of them and offer face-to-face thanks. As it is, this meager post will have to do.

Read the rest of the post at Granite State Walker.

“Advancing the Freedom to Serve”: Archbishop Lori has ideas for the next President

The Obamacare HHS contraceptive mandate prompted the American Catholic bishops a few years ago to speak unanimously in strong terms about the policy’s undermining of religious liberty. Since then, the bishops’ conference has made a point of trying to keep the Catholic faithful apprised of our religious freedoms and some threats those freedoms are facing.

If you tweet, follow @usccbfreedom. If you prefer email, sign up at usccb.org/freedom. Read what Archbishop Lori of Baltimore published today via Catholic News Service about steps the incoming federal Administration can do to respect the rights of all Americans to practice their faith at all times, not just an hour a week inside a designated building.

President-elect Trump has the opportunity to ensure that people of all faiths can continue to do their good work in serving their communities without having to violate their consciences or face crippling fines or onerous lawsuits. Our hope is that the next administration will ensure that Americans remain free to serve.

Read the full post for the steps Archbishop Lori recommends. Repeal of the contraceptive mandate is just one of them.

 

I Will Not Be Joining the New Pro-Life Movement Anytime Soon

Swimming the Depths gives Catholic activists something to think about here: what is it to be pro-life – or rather pro-life enough? “…the right to life holds supremacy and we work from there to achieve the common good through the principles of solidarity and subsidiarity. There is a hierarchy and ‘seamless garment’ arguments only work if the dignity of the human person is at the top of everything else.”

Swimming the Depths

I will not be jumping on the New Pro-Life Movement bandwagon anytime soon. Mainly because I find the constant bandwagons of the Catholic blogosphere tiresome and intentionally divisive. I have studied moral theology and Catholic Social Teaching in-depth. The two are intimately linked with the dignity of the human person grounding all other aspects of her teaching. That means the right to life holds supremacy and we work from there to achieve the common good through the principles of solidarity and subsidiarity. There is a hierarchy and “seamless garment” arguments only work if the dignity of the human person is at the top of everything else.

Like most movements like this, it seems to be predicated largely upon straw men. The idea that the Republican Party is evil (of course it is, it is run by Fallen men, sin is a part of secular institutions just like the Church. The…

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“An ocean of mercy waiting for us”

The Year of Mercy is drawing to a close, leaving us the commission to keep it going in our respective ways. I just encountered the #MercyStories series on the YouTube channel for the Knights of Columbus Supreme Council. I was drawn to “Poster Child of Divine Mercy: The Testimony of Fr. Donald Calloway, MIC” because the Marians of the Immaculate Conception, Father Calloway’s order, have been important to my husband and me for many years. Their promotion of the Divine Mercy devotion has been profoundly effective.

Father Calloway’s story is one for me to keep in my heart as I see the Holy Door at the church near me closing at the end of the liturgical year. The Mercy of God knows no calendar. In hearing each other’s down-to-earth stories of mercy in action, I can see the hand of God reaching out to us in unexpected – not to say unnerving – ways. We can be inspired to hope and act in a way that manifests that mercy, passing it forward.

The full series of 14 videos can be seen at the link below. Pick any one, or binge on the whole thing. As Father Calloway says, there is “an ocean of mercy waiting for us.”

On the let-it-all-out theory

There are a lot of would-be Facebook posts and tweets in my digital shredder. These post-election days are not bringing out my best. Some little angel on my shoulder is keeping me from hitting the Send button too often. I know these are serious times, but I can’t help but laugh at myself for having so many opinions and snappy replies that simply must (not) get out there.

I’m reminded of something I read years ago by Michael Perry in Backpacker magazine, of all places. My commonplacing notebook says this is from the June 2003 issue.

Some say I repress my anger, and I reply, You betcha. I have never had much patience for the “let-it-all-out” theory. I know several people who are forever letting it all out, and their spirits remain consistently unimproved.

Hello, social media.

Here’s to consistent improvement – and here’s to avoiding that Send button.

This post was shared with Theology is a Verb and Reconciled to You.

First feast day for St. Elizabeth of the Trinity

Perfect reminder on Twitter, compliments of the Carmelites, that there’s more to November 8 than the American election. It’s the Feast of St. Elizabeth of the Trinity, a 20th-century woman newly canonized. I look forward to reading more about her, beyond this brief post by the Catholic News Agency.  Something written about her in there is very compelling to me.

“She said her mission was to lead souls out of themselves and into a great silence, where God could imprint himself in them, on their souls, so that they became more God-like.”

 

Trust the Lord with most your heart, and lean on your own understanding.

From the “I Wish I’d Written That” file, I offer this post from the blog Collision of Church and State.

The Collision Blog

I will now paraphrase every Christian “I’m voting for Trump” article so that we can all save some time: 

Hello to my faithful readers, blessings to you and your family. This post may come as a surprise. I’ve embraced a great deal of scriptural guidance and prayerful consideration, and the war of convictions stirring in my soul has been overwhelming. To say I’m grieved is an understatement, but by the grace of God I’ve found solace in my choice. After much prayer and painful reflection, I’ve come to a difficult conclusion: the all powerful and sovereign God, with whom all my trust resides, has His limits.

I’ve reached the understanding that this election is a binary choice, and “standing against evil” isn’t an option. Oh, how my heart aches for my country, constantly clinging to that which is evil. Lowering standards with little regard for God’s word, to the point that even I…

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