How would we celebrate without our mothers? Imagine birthday parties without shopping lists full of food, drink, and decorations. Think of a dinner party without clean dishes, candlelight, or the soap dispenser in the bathroom being refilled. Would anyone hear from your family at Christmas time without your mother’s stationary, stamps, and time spent filling out festive cards? All of these things can be accomplished by men, of course, but by and large, they speak to the attention of a woman. There is a reason we talk about homes and special events needing a “woman’s touch.” That reason is that women have a gift for the particular.
On May 13, 2017, it will be 100 years since the Blessed Virgin Mary first appeared to the three shepherd children in Fatima, Portugal, with a message of peace, but a grave warning as well. Unlike many of the apparitions of the Blessed Virgin Mary (which all are obviously serious in nature), this particular apparition seems to stand out above the others in its intensity and gravity concerning the future of mankind. The world was (and still is) embarking on the path of disaster. The turn of the 20th Century was a time of great progress with the advent of the automobile, moving pictures (cinema), radio, television, aviation, industry, etc. It was a time that brought tremendous change in the way we lived our lives. The so-called “Roaring Twenties” ushered in a time of economic boom and a new type of rebellion, expressed through fashions and behavior. We saw women break from the conventions of the Victorian era (e.g., the flapper) and display a flagrant disregard for social mores through their dress, or lack thereof, in addition to the heavy consumption of alcohol triggered by the Prohibition laws of the time.
My mother began practicing the art of pysanky when I was a kid. I assume it was so she could do something away from us children. Making something beautiful was just a bonus. Pysanky (the word pysanka comes from the verb pysaty, “to write”, as the designs are not painted on, but written with beeswax) egg decorating is a complex and painstaking process, and I really had no interest in getting anywhere near it in my young parenting years – eggs, hot wax, permanent dye, and small children are one of those combinations that parenting books warn you about. But then one year, my very youngest, very artistic sister came to live with us while she finished up her last year of college. And it just so happened that my small children had, by this time, become sort of grown up children who adored their fashionable and artistic aunt. So, pysanky.
For five years now, ever since I saw my oldest child, in her infancy, marked with an ashen cross on Ash Wednesday, a realization has been dawning: I am surprisingly hesitant to introduce my children to the less rosy parts of the Church’s faith. From the martyrdom experienced by the saints to the magnitude of Jesus’ suffering, I find myself wanting to shy away, to simplify, to sweep under the rug. Some of these difficult realities comprise focal points of the Lenten season that have deterred me from including my children in any sort of Lenten practice until very recently. Indeed, this season has proven a hard one for me to make toddler-friendly. Lent lacks the intoxicating anticipation that Advent holds as we wait for Christmas. It is not a time of joy and exultant “Gloria”s or “Alleluia!”s, which are exclaimed throughout the Christmas and Easter seasons. Instead, we are faced, during Lent, with the desert, where Jesus fasted and overcame temptations, and with the Cross, which he journeyed toward bloodied, bruised, and humiliated. It is a wonderful privilege to introduce children to new concepts and ideas, but it is quite difficult for me to tell my small, round-faced little ones – who love Jesus and his Church with a spontaneous innocence – about these somber, painful things. Further, facing the fact that these dear creatures my husband and I have cooperated with the Lord to bring into being are also sinful beings is a somber, painful reality for me. I realize it anew every Ash Wednesday, and it is all I can do not to cry when I see the ashen crosses on their tiny foreheads.
My First Apron
It was red and blue and white all over – the first one that I bought with my uncle. Excitement flowed through my little-girl body, for I know that my uncle and I would get use them – and match! – the following Sunday at Grandma’s house. It was something which symbolized that we could bond through sharing our mutual gifts, together and for the good of our family. Our matching aprons are something I can look back on to see how Christ began to slowly form me into Himself, the woman that God created me to be – and the apron can be a tangible symbol for all of “putting on the Lord Jesus Christ” (Rom. 13:14 RSVCE).
Who wears the Apron?
“A dingy piece of cloth for objectified women?! How does that symbolize Christ and His love?!”
Although the apron’s reputation has been degraded and has traditional ties only to the woman who stays in the home, the apron can be used with a much larger vision: “As each has received a gift, employ it for one another, a good stewards of God’s varied grace” (1 Pt. 4:10). Especially in our current world, men and women, the youth and the aged, have discovered and developed their personal gifts in cooking, baking, and grilling, and both genders tend to contribute to duties around the household scene. As Christ came “not to be served but to serve” (Mt. 20:28), so, too, should we use our daily duties and talents in service of those around us. Although aprons largely fell out of use since the youthful days of our grandmothers, they can become for us a symbol of our interior disposition: “As I put this apron on, I am putting on Christ.” It becomes not a shield or defense mechanism between the wearer and the world but a bridge showing that one is ready to step more deeply into the mess and chaos of the world… that one is not afraid to face the ugliness of the world and sin… that one is ready to serve those in most need as Chris did. Particularly for those with gifs in the kitchen or the grill, the apron can be a symbol that inspires a person to use his or her gifts in service of another.
Christ Provides the Food
Christ came largely to serve by means of providing nourishment for people: the multiplication of the fish and loaves, the wedding feast at Cana, the Last Supper, and even the “last breakfast” after Jesus’ Resurrection, where Jesus tells his disciples, ‘”Come and have breakfast”‘ (Jn. 21:12). Jesus desires to nourish His people, because he wants to remind them that just as they were created to need food in order to live, they ultimately need God to live; that Heaven will be like a wedding banquet with “fat calves” (Mt. 22:4) and a promised land “flowing with milk and honey” (Deut. 27:3); that they must live on Him, the “Bread of Life” (Jn. 6:48), Christ in the Eucharist, his flesh and blood, which man must eat to have life (53-56). Bottom line: nourishing God’s people points to the Divine Nourisher, the Divine Giver of life. Through donning the apron, one can enter into this specific service of God: nourishing His people to point them to Heaven.
Men and Women are Complementary
As Christ shows, providing nourishment is not solely a woman’s role, as the modern world often makes it out to be. The present, sarcastic, “Make me a sandwich!” is geared towards women in the kitchen as slaves of men. Nourishment, however, is not at all about the tyranny of man and the imprisonment of woman! Yes; men and women were most certainly created differently, as “male and female” (Gen. 5:2). This does not necessarily relegate either gender to a certain room at the house. It does, however, point to the different ways in which they give themselves to God and to humanity – the way in which they serve. Both man and woman are called to “submit yourselves to one another, in fear of Christ” (Eph. 5;21). Traditionally, men, with naturally paternal hearts, show this by providing for their families (or their spiritual family – all of God’s children); women, with naturally maternal hearts, show this by nourishing their families. Both of these roles can fit into the service found with the apron: the man, in a more active role, wants to make sure that he makes available and supplies for the needs of his family; he wants to provide their nourishment. With a more passive action, the woman wants to make sure that her family is healthy, strong, and filled with life; she wants her family to be nourished. This, the apron can be a symbol of the mutual service and love between men and women and also, perhaps, a way to highlight the complementarity of male and female.
An Apron as a Symbol of Christ’s Love
Of course, the apron is not the cause of any of these good things, but it can be a symbol to remind us of our service in Christ and Baptism, where we were transformed into Christ (CCC 1265). Being physical beings, it is good and beneficial to have tangible reminders of life’s spiritual realities. Whether we choose to don the apron or not, may we always be renewed in our vigor to “put on the Lord Jesus Christ” (Rom. 13:14) in service to one another by putting to use our gifts for the nourishment of God’s children. May the apron be a reminder for me – and hopefully for you – of the joy of serving our families through the gift of food. May it never be a symbol of division but always a symbol of unity as we choose to dive into the messiness of humanity and become “one even as [the Father and Jesus] are one” (Jn. 17:22).
Lord Jesus Christ,
as I put on this apron, may I be clothed with You.
Help me to serve those around me in love so that I may lead them to You.
Dispel all fear to dive into the messiness of sinful humanity.
I bring to You my own chaos,
along with the mess and brokenness of all those I will serve this day.
And at the end of this adventurous day, as I take the apron off,
may I give You the mess that lies upon it – the mess of Your people –
so that You may make us clean through Your Precious Blood.
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canon 107 par 1: Both through domicile and through quasi-domicile everyone one acquires his or her own parish priest and Ordinary.
In ecclesiastical law a Catholic person’s bishop and priest is determined by the location of one’s residence or domicile. For example, if you live within the boundaries of the diocese of Steubenville then your bishop is Jeffrey Monforton, he is your Ordinary (consider how many people from Weirton, another diocese and province, erroneously think they belong to St. Peters or Holy Family in Steubenville) . In your diocese you will find a grouping of parochial territories in which certain parish priests enjoy special jurisdiction in their respective territories. If you live within the territory of a particular parish, then that is your parish and your parish priest.
It does not matter if you did not “sign up” for envelopes. It does not matter if you “like” him. It does not matter if other priests tell you that the law has changed. If they tell you that then they are giving you incorrect information.
If your parish priest is unkind or unjust then you must approach your bishop. The presumption is that he has already heard the complaints and has either decided to tolerate the problem, or does not see a problem. What you end up with is not a problem with the priest, but rather, the bishop. He allows the issues to perdure.
A parishioner has more of a claim to a parish than a parish priest does. A parish priest is assigned there via administrative law whereas the parishioner is there by virtue of constitutive law. Priests do not enjoy the former “benefice” model in which they had a right to tenure and income. No, now they are to be transferred at the discretion of their Ordinary.
Now back to the domicile issue. If one has more than one domicile, then the domicile where one sleeps is the domicile that would determine the proper parish and/or bishop (if in another diocese).
What if one sleeps in more than one domicile? Then the domicile where one sleeps the most would determine one’s parish and/or diocese/bishop.
What if your domicile is on the line of the boundary of two parochial territories? Then the direction in which your “front door” is facing would determine the correct territory.
I wish all marriages were “gay” insofar as gay means happy. There is much unhappiness in the world today, especially in marriage. Those who endeavor to insist on the validity and acceptability of same-sex attraction and interaction have settled upon the euphemism of “gay” as their identification. I find it odd that same-sex attraction purports to bring happiness when the contrary is evident on so many levels.
Marriage is intrinsic to the creation and genesis (pun) of human life. The man and the woman were created and brought together in a special and natural way to foster and propagate human life. The first man and woman, united by God and directed to go forth and multiply, formed the first community and nucleus of society. Marriage is from God and belongs to Him.
On one level, everything belongs to God. God is the creator of the heavens and the earth, the Lord of the universe, the Author of nature. So, in a general way, everything is His. On a particular level not all is His (so to speak). For example, I go purchase a DVD, the DVD is mine, it does not belong to God. I can watch my DVD, I can give it away or I can even throw it away, it is not God’s, it is mine. My body, however, does belong exclusively to God. I have temporary custody and stewardship of my body, but, it is not mine per se. No, my body belongs to God. Especially, my sexual powers.
The lawful use of my sexual powers can be explained with the analogy of operating a motor vehicle. To operate a motor vehicle one needs some formation and a drivers license. To operate my sexual powers I need some formation and a license (read: marriage). But, just because I have a drivers license to operate a motor vehicle lawfully, it does not portend that I am at liberty to drive the car any way that I wish. No, I am governed by certain legal parameters in which to safely and effectively operate the motor vehicle. Similarly, when one is married and able to operate their sexual powers there are certain moral parameters in which one must conduct themselves.
Human beings were created by God, for God. God is our last and final end. Our life on earth is a trial, a short trial in which we journey back to God. God has provided us help through His Church and certain vocations, for example, marriage. A vocation is a vehicle in which to facilitate sanctity and transport us to God. A vocation is a calling from God to undertake a particular state of life suitable to engendering holiness. Marriage is a vocation. A vocation is meant to sanctify us, to make us holy. A same-sex marriage is not a calling from God because it is not a marriage. Same-sex marriage is not a vocation, but rather, a provocation. It is to deliberately contravene the very laws of nature itself. To go against nature is to go against God, the Author of nature.
How can a proponent of same-sex marriage claim that they have a calling from God to get married? Marriage is not a secular construct. Marriage is from God and ordained to be a sacrament between the baptized. Marriage is not a two-way street, but rather, a three-way street. It takes three to get married, one man + one woman + God. The couple render marital consent promising God to be faithful to each other and His laws. How can two people of the same sex make a vow to commit themselves to each other and God? It is not possible.
Marriage is from God and belongs to God. It is not an arbitrary institution which we may manipulate and fashion according to our designs. Marriage belongs to God. It is not subject to debate or judicial rulings. No human being has jurisdiction to overturn the law of God, not even the Pope.
To defend marriage is to defend God Himself.
God bless you!
The Dead Canonist
Tolerance. Lack of conviction. Trying to please everyone. We all know people like this. They don’t want to step on anyone’s toes, so they refuse to state their opinion and seemingly never stand up for anything.
Our country has become a place of tolerance. When many people first came to America it was to escape religious persecution. They were looking for a place that would allow them to practice their religion in peace. They wanted freedom.
But I would suggest to you that our country is less about freedom and more about tolerance in many ways. And I would also suggest that this will hurt our country far more than it will help it.
Last year, Catholic to the Max was granted an extended one-on-one two-and- half-hour interview with Rev. Michael Maginot from the Diocese of Gary, Indiana. Recently, Maginot has gained a lot of attention from the media for his work as the exorcist in a case of demonic possession that took hold of a family and made news across the world. Rev. Maginot has been a priest for ten years and served as Judicial Vicar back in 2001. A down-to-earth man with a simple heart, he seeks to bring glory to God through his experiences with this case. In a world where atheism is growing in numbers among youth, Fr. Maginot wishes to point the way to the Truth, the power of God, and the very real existence of the devil. In our interview, we were able to focus on the more unique perspective of Fr. Maginot’s work, not just as exorcist, but as a priest. He kindly submitted to and answered our questions concerning his faith life, prayer, and various other theological topics. We are indeed grateful for Rev. Maginot for taking the time to let us interview him. We hope you enjoy the interview.