Friday, July 12, 2013

Great Pro-Life Novels for Summer Reading

I am so excited to share with you these fictional novels with pro-life messages. I think there is a real power to a story with real life characters to help better understand all the aspects of being pro-life. These books specifically cover the issues of contraception, natural family planning (NFP), abortion, sterilization, divorce, unplanned pregnancy, infertility and invitro fertilization (IVF) all from a Catholic world view. What makes them so powerful is the characters are people just like us--people who live in our culture and are constantly bombarded with the message of the secular world. 

Presence of My EnemiesPresence of My Enemies by Christopher Gladu

I really, really enjoyed this short novel about a young college girl, Rachel, facing an unplanned pregnancy. The author successfully uses story telling to convey so many truths about a woman's "choice" and the influences surrounding her in America today.

Written from a Catholic world view, Gladu incorporates the powers and principalities, not seen, that are very real and present when life and death decisions are being made. These angles and devils take form as humans and interact with Rachel in the story. His portrayal of the abortion industry is very eye opening. Challenged with incompetent staff, whack doctors and owners who's only goal is to make money, he paints a picture of the reality of these centers who are not truly interesting in helping women in crisis.

A very striking part of the novel to me is part that the communion of saints plays in our lives. Gladu beautiful describes the soul of Rachel's grandmother being forgiven of her past sins and then interceding for her family members from heaven. I could hardly see the words on the page as tears of joy filled my eyes.

I think this book will motivate many to see the battle for Life as a very important struggle that we all need to be involved in. It will encourage those already working at pregnancy centers and walking the picket lines outside abortion clinics. It will, please God, transform the hearts of the those women in troubled or unexpected pregnancies  to see the bigger vision of the amazing plan God has for their life and the life of their unborn child.

This is a book everyone needs to read and share!


The Life I Dreamed by Kari Burke

Just a year ago, Kari Burke published her first novel, The Life I Dreamed. At that time I wrote "I really enjoyed Kari Burke's novel of a 30 something married couple with 4 young children. Burke's descriptions are so realistic and poignant. She shares the daily struggle  but is able to let the reader see the joy that comes from being faithful to one's call to marriage and family life. This is a super pro-life story. In our culture with all the noise of which side is right and wrong, this story shows how one family's actions quietly done speaks loudly." CLICK HERE for complete review.


Fatherless, Motherless, Childless 
A Trilogy of Books by Brian Gail

This past winter and spring, my husband Bob and I both tore through all three of these thick novels by Brian Gail. They were all three books that I literally shirked all my household duties to read. 

Gail uses wonderful real-to-life characters whose stories cover the end of the twentieth century into the present time and then into the future. As these real people struggle with "making it" in America, family relationships, friendships, and faith questions, the reader feels like Maggie, Joe, Fr. Sweeney, and Michael are actual people we know and love.

About Fatherless: An intensely human tour of the great spiritual battles in the US Catholic church during the late 20th century. Brian Gail takes us out into the “trenches” and shows what life was like for Catholics during this critical time. Meticulously researched, brilliantly crafted, Fatherless takes the reader on an unforgettable journey inside Fortune 500 boardrooms and Madison Avenue screening rooms, behind one-way mirrors in America’s heartland and two-way screens in church confessionals, to the very peak of Ireland’s highest mountain and inside the papal dining room of John Paul II in Rome.
Motherless takes the reader on a riveting behind-the-scenes journey around the globe to the boardrooms and laboratories where the architects of The Life Sciences Revolution are preparing Mankind’s Final Solution… and into the confessionals and chanceries where the Church’s response is being challenged.

About Childless: The reader is propelled from Manhattan boardrooms to European capitals to Middle East laboratories to Church chanceries and confessionals. Step into these pages and follow Fr. John Sweeney and the families he serves as they struggle to live their Catholic faith in a world that grows more hostile with every turn of the page. Gail throws back the veil on the architecture of the Life Sciences Revolution and its carefully planned milestones—from the abortifacients pill to in-vitro fertilization to embryonic stem cell testing, and ultimately, to the very door of the Transhumanist project itself.

Rather listen than read?

Great talk by one of the foremost abortionists in the USA and how did a 180 degree turn, became a Catholic and did all he could to help the prolife movement. 
Click HERE to hear the amazing talk by Dr. Bernard Nathanson, available on CD or MP3.

Monday, July 8, 2013

Summer Mealtime & Prayertime

So anyone who knows me might guess the topic of this blog post will be about how the Musselman Family prays BECAUSE mom is cooking. HaHa. Although I neither like to cook, nor am very good at it, believe it or not the Musselmans haven't missed a meal. (Thanks be to God for the GREAT cooking of Bob Musselman,)

One of the things I love best about Summer is that we are "off the treadmill." During the school year, in addition to homework and dinner and bath and bedtime routines, we also have multiply sports, music lessons,  alter serving, choir, jobs and clubs! While dinner together as a family is a priority, it can be hard. But summer time opens up the evenings for us to eat together more regularly and pray together more regularly.

Below are some great ideas and quotes from the book My Brother the Pope. My Brother the Pope was written by Msgr. Georg Ratzinger, brother of  Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI . In the book, Msgr. Ratzinger shares some the things their parents did that developed a loving Catholic home and helped spark the priestly vocations of both of their sons.

1. Make Simple Meals
Their Mother, Maria Ratzinger, "knew how to prepare a tasty meal from the simplest ingredients" pg 22
During this time of year when it is so hot outside, it is great to make meals that require little or no cooking, especially salads and sandwiches. Use fresh summer ingredients like Watermelon, Corn,Tomatoes, Cucumbers, Eggplant, Peas, Green Beans, Okra, Peppers and Zucchini. There are so many great recipes that use all these that are freshest in the summer months. Ask the older children to give you a hand by looking up recipes on line, helping to shop and doing simple prep things like cutting vegetables. Working together as a family is fun and makes great memories.

2. Say prayers before and after meals
Every day the Ratzinger family "prayed together, and in fact before and after each meal (we ate our breakfast, dinner and supper together. ) The main prayer time was after the midday dinner, when the particular concerns of the family were expressed." pg 45
Be sure to say prayers at every meal both round the dinner table at home or when eating out.
You can pray extemporaneously or use a traditional prayer like:

 before meals~
 "Bless us O Lord and these, thy gifts, which we are about to receive from they bounty, through Christ our Lord, Amen."

and after meals~
"We give Thee thanks for all Thy benefits, O Almighty God, who livest and reignest world without end, Amen."

3. Clean up together, be cheerful and Sing
Their Mother, Maria Ratzinger was "always cheerful and friendly toward everyone and use to sing Marian hymns while washing the dishes."  pg 21
Ask all the family members to help clean the kitchen after dinner. Divide the jobs up (clearing the table, loading the dishwasher, hand washing pots and pans and sweeping the floor.) Sing a Marian hymn or any kind of praise and worship song, and if you aren't a good singer, play great Christian music.

4. Pray the Rosary as a family
"Praying the Rosary was a usual thing in our family, often daily, but at least every Saturday" in the Ratzinger Family. pg 43
Many of us have tried in the past to get the family together regularly to pray the rosary. One thing that can help bring success to this practice include setting a regular day and time, even putting it on the calendar so you make it happen. Once you get the habit going, it will be easier. If the children are really young, start with just a decade and don't get worried if they are fidgety.

The Holy Family by Murillo
5. Celebrate the Saints feasts days for each person names and invoke the Holy Family to intercede for your family.
"Of course, we (the Ratzinger family) always celebrated our name days in a special way: Maria (September 12), Joseph (March 19) and Georg (April 23.) On those occasions, there was always a particular tablecloth..." pg 51

Just as you might already do for birthdays, make a special dinner for each person's Name Day. The Name day is simply the feast day of the Saint for whom you are named. You can just do first names or if you really like to celebrate, add the middle names too. CLICK HERE for a list of feast days by name.

Want to get more ideas for your family and learn more about the Ratzinger Family?  Excerpts from the books are read on this one hour presentation via CD or MP3, CLICK HERE to order.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

One cause of the current same-sex "marriage" crisis (and how to fix it)

Guest post by Matt Warner
Founder of Flocknote
and Author of daily Flocknote: Read the Catechism in a Year

Hey catechism fans - I'm both saddened and energized. 

I'm saddened because recently, as you probably know, the cause for Marriage has taken some blows. But what saddens me most about it is that we could have done more to stop it.

The Church gives us beautiful answers and meaningful explanations for the truth about Marriage. But we have been ineffective at articulating them to our peers and at inspiring our children to embrace them (which is understandable - it's hard to do!).

Yet, I am energized. 

I'm energized because it doesn't have to be *that* hard. This crisis is a huge opportunity. But we have to be able to share the genius and beauty of true marriage. And at the same time, we have to make sure that every person, no matter their struggles (homosexual, heterosexual, whatever), knows they belong in the Catholic Church. That God loves them and that the truth about Marriage and sexuality is what will set them free to be who they were made to be. 

If we can't explain this convincingly, we need to learn how. Here is a phenomenal talk (CD or MP3) by Fr. Mike Schmitz on just this topic. Listen to it 10 times. Give it to your friends, family and children to do the same. Let's jump into the public discussion energized and equipped to change hearts. 

Matt Warner

from-love-by-love-for-love.png  "If you struggle with defending the Catholic Church's stance on the issue, this is the talk for you!"