Monthly Archives: January 2013

Conservative Catholic

Yup. To me those two words go together. Like peanut butter and jelly. But this past election I was told by a couple of people that Catholics can be and (oddly enough) are liberal Democrats. Really? This surprised me. Most, if not all (or at least 99.9 %) of my Catholic friends are conservative. This past year we discussed the HHS mandate and how important it was to vote Obama OUT of office.  So hence: I personally did not (and still don’t) think you can be liberal and be a Catholic…  but I was told, or argued with… that I am wrong… and after seeing the results of the election, many Catholics did vote for Obama (WHAT?! REALLY?! UGH!)!

Though I don’t get why Catholics voted for him since the Bishops expressed over and over and over which issues we as Catholics should vote on. The main one was LIFE… but it seems that most Catholics ignored this… Our parish had pamphlets at the back of the church: Voter’s Guide for Serious Catholics. The “Non-Negotiable” issues were 1. Abortion 2. Euthanasia 3. Embryonic Stem Cell Research 4. Human Cloning and 5. Homosexual Marriage. Okay, where do the candidates stand on these issues?… which ones have beliefs that are in accord with the Catholic teachings? Hm… easy. There was only one candidate that we as Catholics should vote for. (Though, just let me say, I did not think Mitt was the best pick for the Republican ticket…but he was better than the alternative… MUCH better). So SIMPLE… it should have been simple. We as Catholics should have gone out in droves and voted against the man who voted 4 times to shelve babies born alive from late term abortion, …. Right? Huh.  But Catholics didn’t. Why? (WHYWHYWHY?!!!!!!!!) I have read articles by several priests who were angry about how Catholics voted. Fr. Frank Pavone, from Priests for Life, was pretty disturbed. I cannot seem to find the video of his response to the election. He was not happy.

I am Catholic first and foremost. And… I was told this past year that we, as Catholics, should not pick one political party because both are not perfect when it comes to issues important to Catholics. But wait … I found that my views and ideals (which are Catholic) fall in line with Republican’s ideals. I am not saying that they, the Republicans, are perfect. I have some problems with some of the things that are said and done in the Republican party. But if I had to choose a party that had Catholic ideals it would NOT be the Democrats. Many of their beliefs and policies go against what I believe as a Catholic. Like I said before LIFE is the most important.

So why do I consider myself conservative, and how did I become a conservative? Back when I was young and a non-practicing Catholic I was a liberal Democrat. For over twenty years I considered myself a liberal. I did not go to church. I was a wild, rebellious party girl. I did not pray nor did I even think about God or the church. I probably thought the churches teaching on many issues were outdated and wrong.  The liberal Democrats ideals and beliefs kept me farfarfar away from the Christian faith.

So what brought me back to the church?  Actually Jewish conservatives. Back in December of 2003 I was reading articles written by Jewish conservatives about the War on Christmas. They defended Christmas!  I agreed with them… the War on Christmas made me angry! This got me to thinking about my old faith, the one I abandoned to be “free” to do what I wanted. They, non-Christians, were defending the Christian faith. Which made me think, why did I leave it? …  Should I defend it too?…  I needed to learn more… it got me questioning and looking back into my childhood faith.

My husband also made me re-think my beliefs on issues. He asked me, “Do you believe in small government?” Yes.  “Do you believe in lower taxes?” Yes. “Do you believe in more personal responsibility?” Yes. “Welcome to the Republican party.” … uh… huh? …wait… what?  I had always thought my beliefs were liberal, they were not. So I began to read and read and read and watch the politicians… they were not who I thought they were (both parties, I believed the lie that conservatives were evil).  A light went on in my head. Over time and much pondering (and the movie The Passion of the Christ) I came back to my faith. I came back because of the writings of conservatives.  The liberals were saying and doing things that were FAR from the church teachings. And tell me who voted God out of their Convention this past Fall?  Not the Republicans.

I am told that liberal Democrats care more about “social justice” issues. Really? Hm. I am not saying they do not care about social justice issues, some do… and that is awesome. But~ are they saying that conservatives don’t care at all? Those evil, selfish greedy conservatives care only about themselves and their businesses, right?… humph. I think this lie has gone on long enough. Conservatives do care, and they actually do care a lot more than we think and are told.

Arthur C. Brooks, who was a liberal professor at Syracuse University, did a study several years ago to find out who gave more of their time, talent and treasure. When he completed his study he was very surprised at what he found. He wrote a book about it: Who Really Cares: The Surprising Truth About Compassionate Conservatism. Yes, actually Conservatives give more of their time talent and treasure to charities and to social justice issues, not liberals. Then why don’t we hear this? Blame media bias… or maybe it’s because conservatives are more humble, they don’t brag about it as much as their counterparts. The facts don’t lie… we are not those evil uncaring beings we are made out to be… we do care… and we care more than the liberals who get all the credit.

Again I will say, conservatives/Republicans are not perfect and say and do stupid things at times. I belong to that party because their “small government/low taxes/more personal responsibility” goes along with my beliefs.  They are also, for the most part, pro-life, which is my big issue.

I am sorry (wait… HA! Who am I kidding?… no I am not sorry) but right now… I will still say… you cannot BE Catholic and believe in the liberal pro-abortion stance. I have heard people say, “I’m a pro-life Democrat” … but why? Why stay with a party that continues to embrace abortion? Why stay there? I jumped ship… go ahead… do it too… Hey you don’t have to BE a conservative… but stop calling yourself a Democrat. It’s so… un-Catholic.

If at some point the parties change their ideals and beliefs then, yes, sure I will change my party. I know Catholics that are happy to be “independent”… fine, whatever, that’s okay.  But at this point for me the Republican party shares my beliefs as a Catholic. So here I will stay. Conservative and Catholic. Catholic. Yeah. …Amen.

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Are We Doing Enough, Mr. President?

“This is our first task, caring for our children. If we don’t get that right we don’t get anything right. That’s how as a society we will be judged. And by that measure…we honestly say we are doing enough to keep our children, all of them, safe from harm? I’ve been reflecting on this the last few days and if we are honest with ourselves the answer is no…these tragedies must end….” President Barack Obama.

Bet he didn’t expect his words to promote the pro-life movement … but everything he said was perfect. I am so glad Blackstone films used his words in their video. As soon as he made that statement I remember every pro-life site of Facebook ran with it…. all pro-life organizations across the nation nodded their collective heads and said, “Yes, Mr. President, yes, listen to your own words, we do need to keep ALL our children from harm!” All the children, especially the most vulnerable among us, the unborn, must be protected and kept safe from harm. Let us as a nation follow through and do this.

Did he realize once he made that statement that it would, in a sense, “backfire”? The most pro-abortion president ever; who when he was a senator voted four times (FOUR TIMES, not once, not twice, no, not three times… he voted FOUR times!) to SHELVE (read: willingly, knowingly murder) babies born alive from late term abortions. This man happily voted for this and then makes that statement about keeping our children safe from harm… hm. Yes, Mr. President we do need to keep them, ALL of them, safe from harm. Let us as a country end the ultimate atrocity, the largest tragedy, the most despicable holocaust of our time: abortion.

But will we? We (not me, mind you) voted the man back in, knowing full well what his policies were. We have become an ill-informed nation that accepts and/or is indifferent about the murder of innocent babies. We have gladly accepted the lie spewed by so-called ‘feminists’ that women have the ‘right’ to abortion, which they sugar-coat with the words ‘reproductive freedom’ and ‘choice.’ But what choice does the baby have? What about their freedoms and their pursuit of LIFE, liberty and the pursuit of happiness? They say being pro-choice is being pro-women, but is it? What about the 750,000 female babies murdered by abortion every year? Don’t they count? (Obviously not).

The original feminists, Alice Paul, Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton were all pro-life. They believed abortion was an exploitation of women and infanticide (which it is!). How have we traveled so far from their original intent, to protect women and give them rights and freedoms. Abortion does the opposite. It is slavery and ruins women in more ways than one.

Unfortunately I believed the pro-choice lie for over twenty years… now that I have seen the light and am now adamantly and militantly pro-life I just don’t understand how anyone who has a conscience can believe murdering the unborn is “good.”

When I argue with people about this issue their final statement usually is, “I want my daughters to have the right to make their own choices about their bodies. I don’t want someone telling them what to do.” Okay… so, wait… then you are okay with your daughter murdering her baby, your grandchild? Really!?

At times I feel it is all hopeless and I feel helpless… but I trust in the Lord and know that we will win out in the end. The pro-life movement is growing. Pro-lifers are getting younger. And what gives me the most hope is that abortion clinics are shutting down (Yay 40 Days For Life!)! At the end of the month hundreds of thousands will converge on Washington for the annual March for Life. But don’t go looking for coverage from any of the mainstream media. They ‘choose’ to ignore it, or they cover the pro-abortion protesters. If you want to see the whole day watch EWTN. I wish I could go.

…. I will end on one more ridiculous note…. We as a nation care more about the nesting grounds of Piping Plovers, Spotted Owls and Sea turtles … But what about OUR nesting grounds, the womb?

… we need to protect that…right, Mr. President? If we don’t get that right, we don’t get anything right? Right? ….RIGHT?!

Okay… how about this…since we all care more about nature than babies… Image

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Mother of All

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“That is the job that women have, whether we have ever given birth or not; to be a mother to the whole world. God knows the world needs us.” Simcha Fisher

The book club I belong to is reading Style, Sex, & Substance. 10 Catholic Women Consider the Things that Really Matter edited by Hallie Lord.  Great book! I highly recommend it. One of the writers happens to be one of my favorite Catholic writers, Simcha Fisher. You can find her blog on National Catholic Register online. She has nine, yes nine, children and writes hilarious blogs about her life as a Catholic mom.  There are times when I have laughed so hard at her writings that I have peed my pants (which at this point, after having my own brood of kids and being “old-ish” is kinda normal haha). She rocks, check her out.

I am reading her chapter in the book on motherhood and being creative and as soon as I read this quote (the one above ^) I thought, “That is how I feel when I am teaching. They are my kids.” Even if I only ‘have’ those kids for a short period of time each day, they are my kids and I can make an impact and influence their lives.

Yesterday I was called to sub at the high school in an English class (YAY!). For one of the classes the teacher wanted me to show the movie The Crucible. Cool. Fine. But how do I set up the TV/dvd player? So I asked a fellow English teacher and as she was helping me figure it out a student came up behind me and put his arms around me. I turned around and it was a student  I used to “hang out” with in a Freshman science class three years ago. I will call him ‘Sam.’ He said to me, “Mrs. Richardson! I miss you!” which of course made my day (LOVE THAT!!!).  But it made me think of what my first impression was of him three years ago.

I was a Para educator back then, second term had just started and a new student was sitting in the front row of science class where I was an aide. Then I saw “them.”  Gauges. UGH. ICK. I cannot stand looking at people with gauges, especially the big ones. Their ears all pulled taut and looking red and those HOLES! GAPING HOLES. Sure I have my ears pierced, but this is different. This is like a gaping wound without the blood. It disturbs me. A lot.  I literally physically shudder when I see a kid with them.  It grosses me out. And when they take out the ‘jewelry’ and have their ear lobes just hanging like sad rubber bands… AAAAHHHHH!  It freaks me out! So there’s a new kid and I already have my bias against him. And I think, how could his mother let him do that?

…And then I think of my mother and think who I was (a pain in the butt) not so long ago when I was in high school and college. I was the weirdo punk rock chic with the purple Mohawk and the cool sneer. I am sure people thought the same about me. And yes, I was called all sorts of names for being that “weirdo.”

It always seems that God puts people in my life to shake me up a bit, and so that I see them and life in a new and different light.  There have been people I do not like at first that have become great friends. And students who were difficult who have become a sort of friend or have made an impression on my life. Don’t judge a book by its cover. So again …God placed a strange young man in my life…  as the school year progressed I wound up chatting with Sam about everything, from his gauges, his parents, music, school and religion (he hid a bible from me once thinking I wouldn’t think he was cool! Ha! He didn’t know how ‘into’ my faith I was!  I told him, “Never be ashamed of your faith!”). I got to know him really well; he was a great kid, gauges and all.

I have had several students tell me, “You are my favorite teacher!” (even when I wasn’t a teacher). At the beginning of the school year I ran into “tough” kid I used to chat with in resource last year. He thought I was ‘cool.’  When he saw me he stopped short with an angry look on his face and said, “Mrs. Richardson!  Why aren’t you in any of my classes? I miss you!” I had to explain I was student teaching and was no longer a Para. He then swore (which I am used to with these kids) and walked away.

I love these kids. They are awesome. I realized yesterday that I like working with these teenagers. I want to work in a high school.  I feel called to work with teens…. wow I never thought I would say that.

We (teachers, educators) do make a difference in every kid’s life.  I pray for all these kids (as you know I pray the rosary across campus) and I try to relate to them, understand them … and try to make school more fun and interesting for them, knowing what I thought and what I was like back in the day.

It only took me, a total rebellious punk dope, over 40 year to figure out what/who I wanted to be and God has truly blessed me on this teaching journey with amazing kids. The children he has placed in my life are truly a gift, as all children are a gift from God, no matter if they come from broken homes, or have special needs and learning disabilities …or if they choose to wear icky gauges…  God is always showing me, teaching me something, saying “Pray for them, teach them and love them,”… for in this day and age they (we) need it. … we are all “fearfully and wonderfully made.” (Psalm 139: 14)…gauges, and Mohawks and all…

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Cooper and the Prayer Walk

Again~ no call to sub this morning. I know God always has a plan for me so I didn’t worry. And not working also means I can spend some quality time with Jesus at my parish. With God I need to remember no matter what, whatever is happening or going to happen it is a win-win situation because He is with me and has a plan for my life. “Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18. So I just go with it now.

When I got home from adoration and mass this morning Cooper was waiting for me.  He was doing his usual doggie dance and speaking to me in his playful growly way. “You’re home; I want to go for a walk! Get a move on, Lady!”  So I bundled up (yesterday I froze!), hooked him up to his harness and off we went. When I walk I pray. I either pray the rosary or the Divine Mercy Chaplet or both depending on how much time I have. And since I have all the time in the world today I chose to pray both. I have ten fingers so I do not need to carry a rosary, but I have made it a habit to carry them with me always, dangling from my belt like a janitor with his keychain. Today is Thursday. Oh JOY, my favorite: The Luminous Mysteries. Thank you JPII!  One of my favorite gospel readings is the Transfiguration. I can just imagine Christ getting to the top of the mountain, finding the highest place to stand, maybe at the edge looking down at the beautiful view, spreading his arms, smiling and laughing, yes I see him laughing with joy, as he as he glows his divinity all over his freaked out friends. … HA!

So I walk and pray. It takes me about thirty minutes (approximately two miles) to pray both prayers. Physical and spiritual exercise! This brings me peace. A peace I need. Me, the crazy mother bear, who gets mad at everything and needs to be silent and still with God.

This past Fall, during a Secular Franciscan meeting, we were discussing our favorite places to pray. Most people talked about favorite chairs or rooms they liked to pray in. I brought up dog walking. One of the members thought it was wonderful that I did this and said, “You are blessing all the people and houses you pass when you do that.” I hadn’t thought of that before; which reminded me of when I used to pray the rosary as I crossed campus at the high school where I work.

At the time I was a Para educator and I would walk with the students as they went from one class period to the next.  The school campus is huge, more like a small college campus, and it takes seven minutes or more to get from one side of campus to the other. So I made it a habit that school year to pray the rosary as I walked between classes, usually a decade at a time. Now these are high school students we’re talking about… most of the people walking are teens and they will say and do things teenagers this day and age say and do… which usually is slightly disturbing at times: a lot of swearing (it’s a verb, a noun and an adjective all in the same sentence!), sex, drugs and …well, you don’t want to know. So I just keep praying, because I know they need it. One day it came to me (an epiphany!) that as I walk my guardian angel walks with me praying the rosary with me. Cool. Great image. Then the idea struck me: as I walk across campus praying, as I pass each student (we’re talking thousands of kids!) his or her guardian angel begins to pray with me, whether that student believes or not, his or her angel prays with me… so there I am, little ole me, quietly praying… but I am not alone… I have thousands of guardian angels praying with me. How AWESOME is that image?! Pretty cool, huh? You think you are praying alone. Nope. You are praying with angels and saints.

So Cooper is happy that I took him on the extended prayer walk (as opposed to the shorter Divine Mercy prayer walk I normally give him at 6:00 AM), I am peaceful and all is right with the world.

Oh wait… I have to shovel all that old hard snow off the front steps for the oil to be delivered… maybe I need to go on another prayer walk before I tackle that… or I will sound like one of those teenagers… guardian angel… put your sneakers on…

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January 10, 2013 · 10:46 am

I am a precious fool.

ImageAs usual I am “winging it”… trying to figure this whole blogging thing out…so bare with me and I fumble through this process on my first day. Precious fool and all, ya know.

I suppose I should start this blog by explaining who I am and why I chose the title “Precious Fool” for this blog …if I had to explain myself in a nutshell (which immediately made me think of Austin Powers, but please, get that image out of your head!) I would have to say that I am: Catholic, conservative, pro-life, special education teacher, wife and mother of three sons.  I USED to be a liberal, pro-choice wild woman years ago, well, not that long ago … but that’s not to say I am not still wild in my own (new) crazy interesting way. Most people seem to think us conservative Christians are some boring, prudish _________ (fill in the blank with some sort of mindless nasty profanity…)… but let me tell you, being a conservative Catholic is FAR from being boring.

I am having a blast BEING Catholic: practicing and learning about my beautiful faith. Hey, I just got back from Eucharistic adoration, LOTH (praying the Liturgy of the Hours) and daily Mass at my parish. AWESOME! Yes …you heard that right, cousin, I said it was awesome. Yeah, I know, there are those who wonder, “What is this crazy woman talking about? Church is not interesting or cool. It’s boring.” Oh BUT you are sooo wrong about that. Catholic Mass is AMAZING. It is heaven on earth. Seriously. Read the book of Revelation again and get back to me… (or read Scott Hahn’s The Lamb’s Supper… that’ll explain it for ya)… anywho… where was I? Constantly derailed and confused…. oh yeah~ My interesting and exciting Catholic conservative life. Yes. Hm.  Are we (Catholics and all Christians) not being persecuted by our government right now with this whole HHS mandate? If you don’t believe me go ask my man Archbishop Cardinal Timothy Dolan (or Hobby Lobby, God bless them!). Seriously… it’s exciting.. because we have to fight this evil! WOOT! Our religious freedoms are being trampled upon! YET It is disturbing (that more people don’t see this or are indifferent to it!) and scary (what is going to happen?!) … but excitingexcitingexciting at the same time. I am the church militant! I am a prayer warrior! We will defeat this… (or we will have a good time singing songs in our jail cells together)… oh … hm. Which brings me back to the topic at hand… “Precious Fool”… yeah.

So several years ago I was on team for the woman’s May Cursillo at St. Basil’s in Methuen, Massachusetts….wait, what? You don’t know what the Cursillo movement is? … well, if I told you what went on at Cursillo I would have to kill you… (hahaha j/k… but no serious, I would)… it’s a weekend retreat (oh! but it is much more than that! but that is not my point… moving on!!!) so one night during our team meeting, we were praying, preparing, discussing, sharing and singing…   we were singing the song, “You are my All in All” …  great song, right? (OH you need to hear them sing it at Basil’s at Monday night liturgy! Beautiful!  Gives me God bumps! ..but I digress)… so my partner in crime (during Cursillo), Kate, who is not shy and has a great beautiful booming voice, sang this verse: “Seeking you as a precious jewel Lord to give up I’d be a fool.” in a unique and hilarious way. She sang, “Seeking you as a precious fool….” BWUAAhahahahahahahahahahaa …well forget IT! I could NOT stop laughing HYSTERICALLY … I was crying I was laughing so hard… try singing a holy song while trying to control your laughter… it’s not easy!  I could notnotnot control myself…. even when it was over I was trying to stifle a laugh as we went on with our team meeting. I failed. Remember being in school and your friend made you laugh in class and you were overcome with the giggles and you couldn’t stop… but you had to and you tried but didn’t succeed in controlling yourself (and got in trouble with the teacher?!)… yeah that’s what happened. Me…snorkling like a fool. I was useless. Riddled with giggles. Anyway… it made me think. Precious fool. That is perfect. We are all precious in the eyes of God, right? Yes (nod your head). And I am a fool for Christ…. wait, you say,  what does that mean you ask: Well let’s ask St Paul: Do not deceive yourselves. If any one of you thinks he is wise by the standards of this age, he should become a “fool” so that he may become wise. For the wisdom of this world is foolishness in God’s sight. As it is written: “He catches the wise in their craftiness”and again, “The Lord knows that the thoughts of the wise are futile.”So then, no more boasting about men! (1 Cor 3:18-21).  I will happily be mocked, scorned and abused for my belief in Jesus Christ and my Catholic faith. I am a precious fool. So there you go.

Oh St. Francis of Assisi was also called God’s fool. and I am a Secular Franciscan (I am not professed YET, but I am a member of the Greccio Fraternity)…. I will write about being a Sec Fran (as my husband calls it) another time. Man there are many things to write about… I am also writing because at the moment I am not working. I just finished grad school and student teaching special education in a high school (LOVED IT! I miss them!) and I am looking for a job (which is hard mid-year) … and I am on the sub list, but they have only called me once this week… poo. I was a sub in a Spanish class, good thing I took French in high school. HA! …Anyway.. lots to write about… but I should save it for another day… I could go on and on.

Precious fool, signing off.

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