Starting today, you can get Grieving Together: A Couple's Journey through Miscarriage from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, or direct from Our Sunday Visitor (with free shipping)! We're thrilled that Grieving Together is making its way into the hands of parents who need it after infertility, stillbirth, miscarriage, or the loss of a child. The greatest joy has been hearing from couples who are reading it together or talking about aspects of grief they might not have shared or understood before. (In the words of Billy Collins' poem on sending a book out into the world, "stay out as late as you like, don't bother to call or write, and talk to as many strangers as you can.") Learn more here and here about what makes the book unique. To learn more about Grieving Together, check out these resources: Franco and I did a live webcast with Our Sunday Visitor to share more about why we wrote the book and how all of us can support people in our lives who are grieving. You can listen … [Read more...] about p.s. the book is here!
What's leftover after the bread has been eaten? Crusts and crumbs. If your kids' plates or lunch boxes look anything like ours, there's always something left behind. One doesn't like crusts. (Another doesn't like bread.) The oldest always picks apart the sandwich, leaving a pile of crumbs. The littlest throws his extra bits on the floor for the dog. But there's still good bread there! I find myself encouraging them. My mother's own words ring in my head from childhood: "It's not the heel's fault it's at the end of the bread!" (From time immemorial, parents have coaxed children to please, just eat.) . . . Today at Mass I heard a stirring homily. Our pastor can preach, and preach he does. Every Sunday he challenges, coaxes, and encourages us in the pews. This Sunday morning, like so many others, I caught small echoes between my life and the Scripture readings. Parenting and marriage are my primary callings right now. Naturally I see the world - and hear the Word - … [Read more...] about crusts & crumbs
He leans forward, eyes bright. Three Hail Marys are his. Each one he has started, and we have followed. He is four years old, sandy brown curls flopped in his eyes. His brothers have taken turns leading decades for weeks, and now he clamors for his chance, with all the gusto of younger siblings. He knows more than I realize. He hesitates in spots, but with a glance and a gentle prompt, his eyes sparkle again and he is off. Here is where he catches me. That breath between "...the fruit of thy womb, Jesus" and "Holy Mary, Mother of God." Where the prayer pauses. Where the first half ends and the second begins. Where Jesus meets Mary, child meets mother, leader meets follower, call meets response, breath meets breath, prayer meets prayer. I see the spark - in his eyes, in my body, in the space between us. It is the rare dazzle of holy. . . . Before I was bored, I am unashamed to admit. Catholic school kid in the pew, winding plastic beads around my hand. Not my … [Read more...] about the spark of prayer
If a word is mysterious and also a mouthful, it’s sure to become my favorite. When I heard “anamnesis” for the first time, I was sparked. The concept is deceptively simple. By calling to mind the passion, death, and resurrection of Christ (as Catholics do at Mass in each Eucharistic prayer), we enter into these mysteries of salvation. Let me put this more simply and shockingly: we do not simply remember, in a past, passive way. We participate in a present, palpable reality. Memory is a powerful, potent process. We return in our minds to a time and place that is not here and now. We sift through the impressions of experience, in constant conversation with the changes that have happened since. Beyond mere recollection, memory is the deeper imprinting of what mattered in the past that we carry with us into the future. In Catholic theology, memory is an act of prayer, faith, and transformation. Celebrating communion is not a memory of the Last Supper; it is a participation in … [Read more...] about do this in memory of me