Hope you had a Christmas! 🙏😊
Time for another Catholic Meme Monday.
That’s all I have this week. Stay alert for next week’s Catholic Meme Monday. Receive updates straight to your email inbox by subscribing to The Simple Catholic blog.
Happy First Anniversary of the inaugural Chicoine Family Christmas Card!
This year my parents are too tired and busy (it seems like adults are always tired) to pitch in to help. And my siblings get too distracted doing art, playing carwash or swinging around like Spider-Man. It’s up to me (again) to provide an accurate summary of our year.
I’m going to turn three soon and I like to share my wisdom I learned over the past year along with trying to make my boring family seem interesting. We will go in age order (I hear that phrase all the time— especially when it comes to opening presents).
This year has been the most challenging year of teaching for mommy. She teaches between two buildings. I don’t know their names because I’m a toddler and get easily distracted (wanders off to leap off the couch with siblings).
Mommy is the best and I love her very much. She helped me get speech and OT therapies. And she lets me eat off her dinner plate! She and daddy talk a lot about the basement (it’s getting finished) and enjoys coffee. I think she needs it to stay awake because my brothers and sister wear her out.
Mommy also loves helping everyone learn and enjoys decorating our new home. She also gives great hugs!
I think mommy’s greatest accomplishment this year is helping me learn this year!
Daddy still works evenings. He has to take naps in the morning. I enjoy spending time with daddy because he takes me to the library, watches Blippi with me, and cuddles with me.
I occasionally still try to obtain a sip of his coffee. Daddy doesn’t like this for some reason. Maybe my siblings also wear him out like they make mommy tired. But the times I do get to taste coffee it is awesome!!! I feel so fast and powerful.
Daddy still writes for his blog and includes some of my antics in it. He recently mentioned something about Tea with Tolkien but I don’t know what that means. Maybe he wrote something for them.
Probably the most important of daddy’s accomplishments is giving me horsey rides. It’s fun!
Noah is in fourth grade at “the school whose name I don’t know” (again because I’m a toddler and get easily distracted with details). He played soccer in the spring and fall. According to my parents, Noah scored his first goal in soccer. I wasn’t there because I was too busy playing with toys at home.
Noah loves Marvel superheroes (we jump around like Spider-Man a lot lately) and loves reading. He also finds long division fun and leads the family in creative play.
I think Noah’s greatest accomplishment this year is rocking my to sleep in the rocking chair. I love my big brother!
Amelia is in second grade at “the school whose name I don’t know”. She loves drawing and creating unique things out of paper, cardboard, tape, and other craft supplies. Some of her neatest creations this year were a cardboard platypus and a picture of Wanda (Scarlet Witch). Daddy thought the Wanda drawing was amazing.
Amelia has made a lot of neighborhood friends. (and Noah too). Noah and her learned how to roller blade. I am learning and wear one skate 🛼 to travel in the living room.
My sister is the best because she loves me and helps me get dressed, brushes my hair, and usually lets me play with her toys.
Amelia’s most important accomplishment this year is painting my fingernails. I love my sister!
Josiah is a kindergarten at the “school whose name I don’t know”. He is adjusting pretty well to the elementary school life. He has receives speech, OT, and PT therapy at school which help him a lot.
My brother is obsessed with carwashes and garbage trucks. My dad even for a membership to a “carwash whose name I don’t know” (editor’s note: the carwash membership is for Silverstar Car Wash). Josiah plays carwash or garbage truck most days. He sometimes even lets me help him set up the car wash!
Josiah also got to help the garbage truck worker put the can in the back of the truck. He was so excited. He makes me laugh like no one else. My brother is great at distracting my parents so I can achieve my shenanigan quota for the day (some days I worry I won’t hit my goal)..
Josiah’s biggest accomplishment for this year is teaching me how to cut with scissors and helping me draw. I love my other big brother!
Why do I get my full name displayed? It’s the least I deserve considering I spearheaded my family’s Christmas letter (again).
I don’t go to “school whose name I don’t know” in fact I don’t go to school—yet. Mommy and daddy say I will be going to early childhood starting in January. It will be at a different school that my siblings go to. To avoid confusion I will call it “different school whose name I don’t know”.
This year was one of adventure and growth for me. I learned so many new words and skills. Speech and OT therapies have helped me so much.
I still struggle with the “wigglies” at Mass. My parents have to take me out a decent amount because of how loud my worship is.y reasoning is if Jesus is God and he saved us why not shout it from the pew (I can’t reach a rooftop. Plus my parents stop me even when I stand on a table. They aren’t fun).
Live your life to the fullest. Thank the people who helped you grow and learn. Count your blessings and your stuffed unicorns. And don’t waste time learning the names of schools whose name you don’t know.
ACGC— Muffin Miscreant, Coffee Culprit, and Adventure Seeker
P.S. Special thanks to my daddy for editing the Chicoine Family Christmas Card. I paid him in hugs.
Editor’s Note: This post was originally published on July 4, 2018.
Having taught high school Old and New Testament in the past and being a cradle Catholic, the newness of the Good News found in the Bible sometimes gets taken for granted. During the Liturgy of the Word for Sunday’s Mass, the Gospel reading actually penetrated my theological torpor and liturgical listlessness. Mark 5:21-43 details two healing stories in one gospel proclamation. The evangelist began with a synagogue official named Jarius pleading to Jesus to save his daughter near death.
On the way toward Jarius’ residence, Mark inserts a random tangent. He tells of the woman afflicted with a hemorrhage for a dozen years! Jesus heals this poor woman, and the passage concludes with Jesus raising Jarius’ daughter from the dead.
Reflecting on this passage the following questions invaded my mind:
These questions initially perplexed me, however, when I had time to think about the passage and re-read the evangelist’s words and interpret in light of the teaching of the Catholic Church I learned of the deeper more spiritual meaning hidden within Mark 5:21-43 and how it relates to my life today.
Sandwiched between the beginning and the end of the healing of Jarius’ daughter, Mark inserted Jesus’ encountered a woman suffering from a blood disorder. After careful review, I noticed the juxtaposition between the two individuals. Below is a chart that showing the differences in how Jarius’ daughter and the unnamed woman came to learn about Jesus.
|Jarius’ Daughter||Woman Suffering Hemorrhage|
|Father’s Intercedes Actively||Passive Request for Healing|
|Saw Jesus||Heard Jesus|
John Paul II declared, “[O]nly in Christ do we find real love, and the fullness of life. And so I invite you today to look to Christ.” Certainly, Mark 5 demonstrates people who recognize the importance and power of Jesus.
According to the evangelist, “And Jesus, perceiving in himself that power had gone forth from him, immediately turned about in the crowd, and said, ‘Who touched my garments?’” Obsessed with superheroes, I recently received Legendary: A Marvel Deck Building Game from my wife for Father’s Day. Along with my passion for this geeky deck-building game, I have rented a slew of comic books from the library as well.
While my fandom seems random to the discussion of Mark’s Gospel, I need to provide a little backdrop to my thought process after hearing the priest read Mark 5:30. The first thought that popped into my head, “I did not know Rogue made an appearance. Sapping or draining of power is the hallmark of that X-Men character. Marvelously [no pun intended], merely grazing the cloak of Jesus healed the woman right away.
Joking aside, the healing power of Jesus is quite amazing. Previous consultation with doctors failed to ease the woman’s suffering. The passage that may be interrupted as a “power loss” of Jesus is not meant to infringe on his divine nature. On the contrary, Mark, like the other Synoptic Gospels, never dispute the divinity of Christ, he was utilizing language that his audience would be able to understand.
Mark 5:21-43 also focuses on hope in a seemingly hopeless situation. After healing the woman with a hemorrhage, Jesus arrived too late—at least that was what the crowd thought! Urging Jarius to accept his daughter’s fate the onlookers declared, “Your daughter is dead. Why trouble the Teacher any further?” Men of little faith and tenacity would have resigned themselves to start the grieving process. Yet Jesus urged the synagogue official to not be afraid.
According to Saint Pope John XXII, “Consult not your fears but your hopes and your dreams. Think not about your frustrations, but about your unfulfilled potential. Concern yourself not with what you tried and failed in, but with what it is still possible for you to do.” From the onset of this Gospel reading Jarius actively sought the aid of Jesus and pleaded for the return of his daughter to life when all looked hopeless as she appeared to linger in the shadow of death. Below is a link to a story about Jesus providing miraculous healing to another young daughter—prematurely born!
A final thought that crossed my mind when reflecting on Mark 5:21-43 was that Jesus focuses on the present moment with grace, love, and resolve. Even on the way toward healing a prominent religious official’s child, Christ paused to listen to the needs of an ordinary, poor woman. Saint Mother Teresa said, “Never worry about numbers. Help one person at a time and always start with the person nearest you.” Do not worry about the past nor the future only concern about the need of God’s children in front of you.
This is exactly what Jesus did in Mark 5:25-34. He noticed the presence of the sickly woman. And Christ stopped to show mercy the person in need at the present moment.
As a father of four young children, my focus is frequently divided between juggling the various needs and adventures of my kids growing up. What I learned to devote my attention and time to the present moment and act with love instead of worrying about the various needs and whether it will be adequate or not.
The genius of the Gospel message centers on the individual first. Siphoning sanctity cannot occur as love multiplies not divides when more and more individuals come into your life.
Editor’s Note: This post was originally published on October 12, 2015.
As a cradle Catholic, I grew up hearing the story of the Rich Young Man in Mark 10:17-31 several dozen times. However, it was not until this past year where I was able to truly understand the meaning of this passage. During this last year, I have encountered God through my suffering and specifically showed me have I often display the attitude of the rich young man. In today’s post, I will briefly talk about 3 ways I lacked what Jesus desires from each of us.
What I mean by this statement is that I often thought of how holy I was because of my support for traditional Catholic values: I vote pro-life, I don’t commit adultery, I always go to Mass on Sundays, and I definitely committed no major sins. I truly believed that because I was a good person that was enough to encounter Christ in a satisfying way. Let’s reflect on Mark’s words in 10:20, “Teacher, all of these [commandments] I have observed from my youth”. His thought process sounds eerily similar to mine! But that brings me to my second reason for being just like this young man.
I always interpreted Jesus’ response to the man (see Mark 10:21) in a purely materialistic light. I felt that because I could control the amount of my physical possessions that I could not possibly fit into the same category as this unfortunate youth. I am actually a neat-freak. I hate clutter and am OCD about junk and cleanliness. I live in moderation and don’t live outside my means. But the problem is that I did not give up MY CONTROL. I always wanted to be in control of the situation and though I followed all Catholic doctrine I truly was not letting God in control.
I thought that I knew my path in this life. Even when I got my dream job teaching in a Catholic school, I still felt despair. When I encountered Christ, I still could not give up control of my situation.
During this past year my family and I suffered immensely:
I was driven to grief counseling I had sunk so low in my faith.
Here is where my story changed for the better. Amid this intense and painful suffering, God showed me the greatest love possible. He wanted for me to rely on Him fully. When this happened, I was finally able to do something the Rich Young Man in Mark’s Gospel never did. I gave up all my “possessions” and control I totally relied on God for His love to envelope me. See, I still maintained the sacraments and belief in all Catholic teaching, but the difference is that I had faith IN GOD to help me in my situation. Previously, I tried to be simply a “good person” and seek a joyous life. It is impossible to have authentic joy in this life without encountering God and ultimately accepting Him as your savior.
I finally realized in my heart what my mind already knew. To truly be holy I needed to follow God’s commandments AND ask Him to help me on a daily basis. To paraphrase a personal hero of mine, St. Francis de Sales, “Work as if everything depends on you and pray as if everything depends on God”.
I am still on my pilgrim journey toward Heaven, but God made me realize that my dream to teach the faith will be fulfilled—just not in the ways I expected. And I hope to continue writing my story on a regular basis to draw fringe Catholics to the Church. I truly want people to experience true joy in their life!
2 Reasons Why Jesus’ “Failed” Miracle is the Turning Point of Mark’s Gospel
The Story of the Rich Young Man: Is There Hope For Us?
Homily on the Rich Young Man by Bishop Robert Barron
Siphoning Sanctity? Reconciling Mark 5:21-43’s Peculiar Passage with Reality
Editor’s Note: This post was originally published on December 4, 2018.
The season of Advent usually begins with a perception of being a magical, jovial, and anticipatory time of the birth of Jesus. My Advent began with an anticipation. Yet it lacked marvel and apparent joy. God encountered me in an incarnational way this Advent season. I juggled the infectious side effects of projectile vomit and diaper explosions. Both of my sons came down with the stomach flu over the weekend.
Nothing tests a parent’s patience, will-power or love of their children quite like a continual cleaning of bodily fluids. On top of the symptoms of the stomach flu, my youngest son is also recovering from an adenoidectomy (see below diagram if you never heard of that organ before–as I never did prior to this surgery!) Because the flesh is healing behind his nasal cavity, my two year old’s breath smelled like death since the surgery. The doctors estimate three weeks before his rotting-breath odor stops! What a start to the New Liturgical year!
Too often society places pressure for the perfect “holiday” season: all the gifts must be precisely wrapped and laden under the Christmas tree in a tidy order, the Christmas meal has to be cooked to the exact temperature and paired with the appropriate side dishes depending on the main dish, and family members need to behave–especially your “estranged/weird” uncle [or aunt or other unique relative you may have]. Honestly, I fall into this fallacy almost every year myself.
This year was no different.
I hoped to be able to take my entire family to Mass to celebrate the First Sunday of Advent. Sadly, this didn’t happen. Because of my priority as a parent, I had to miss this Mass to care for my ailing family.
After taking some time to reflect on the apparent failures of the weekends, I realized maybe God was preparing me for something greater—Advent really is all about preparation for the coming of Christ. Revisiting the birth narratives in the Gospels of Matthew and Luke, showed me the arrival of Jesus did not occur in the ideal standards, at least according to the world’s standards.
Luke 2:7 details how Mary and Joseph arrived in Bethlehem “too late” and the innkeeper denied them a room at the inn. Mary had to give birth to Jesus in a humble way—in a simple stable. American novelist Flannery O’Connor wrote the following about the Incarnation,
Man’s maker was made man that He, Ruler of the stars, might nurse at His mother’s breast; that the Bread might hunger, the Fountain thirst, the Light sleep, the Way be tired on its journey; that Truth might be accused of false witnesses, the Teacher be beaten with whips, the Foundation be suspended on wood; that Strength might grow weak; that the Healer might be wounded; that Life might die.
By becoming a human Jesus was able to encounter the entirely of the human condition save for sin. In my children’s pain, suffering, tiredness, and thirstiness this past weekend, Christ was with them in a unique way as he already suffering all those things during his 33 years on Earth.
According to the Catechism of the Catholic Church paragraph 463, “Belief in the true Incarnation of the Son of God is the distinctive sign of Christian faith: “By this you know the Spirit of God: every spirit which confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is of God.” The season of Advent is not about preparing for the “perfect” Christmas where Mary and Joseph get a room at the inn. Advent prepares us for the birth of Jesus Christ. His birth took place in the messiness of the stable. And his Passion and Death took place on the messiness of the Cross.
Not everything in my life will be neatly fit in my control. But after this incarnational and infectious start to Advent, God grace me with the gift of perspective and opportunity in serving my children as Christ served the world.
An Advent Reflection on Finding Gratitude in the Stressful Season
Advent Reminds Us What We Are Waiting For