Open to Grace: Two Fruits of Classical Catholic Education

    Today our little Catholic Hybrid School will graduate our senior class.  Through family friendships and school events, I watched two of them grow into peaceful and God Fearing young adults.  These two also became my very first senior photo clients!  

    Neil is a quiet young man of deep thought (like some of my best high school friends).  He will go out west to college, and will begin the study of media production from a Catholic perspective at John Paul the Great Catholic University.  This is a great fit for him.  

    In our school I observed how he is a quiet, humble leader of the younger students.  Many boys looked to him, literally looked directly at him, before doing almost anything to observe the example he would set.  His example became their course of action.  He respectfully fulfilled his duties to the school and family very well.  His quiet leadership leaves a void for the school population, which will be noticeable until another boy fills his vacated role.

    Mikayla is a lovely young woman, of sincere virtue.  She lets God’s grace work through her life to help others.  She will enter studies at Aquinas College in Nashville this fall.  She will be more than a normal student though, as she continues her discernment of vocation with the Dominican Sisters of St. Cecilia, a teaching order of nuns.  

    Again a great fit for this woman’s character.  In our school, and with her family, she is a guidon for a prayerful life. You can see it when she enters a room.  Small children hold her hand, and admire her.  Her baby sister simply adores her.  She also walks with a grace beyond her years.  When she enters chapel with her matillia, she peacefully focuses herself and those around her on the mass and prayer.  She is no wallflower though.  She demands unimproved family campsites, and can rough it with the best of them.

   I hope I captured a bit of the reflected glory of God these two bring to the world.  I enjoyed watching as my children gravitated to them at school and band over the last two years.  I knew their example would be good ones, and not misguide my children on their own path to adulthood.  I continue to learn a great deal from their parents as well, since they are good examples of parenting in a stormy world.

    Mikayla and Neil:  May God’s grace continue to fall on you, and your souls never let your eyes wonder off the prize of heaven.  You’ve started the race for the prize well, and may the finish be even more virtuous in God’s eyes as you change the world for His Glory.  Amen!

-ehw

    

    

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Motherhood and Personal Crosses

Loving our Desert Rose

Loving our Desert Rose

     The epitome of virtuous love is selfless giving of one’s whole self.  I cannot imagine any greater gift than selfless gifting love with a cross of pain on your back.  Christ did this for all of us to open the gates of heaven.  I am proud to say I know quite a few women (three very close to me) who fight through their own crosses and chronic pain and illness to be living pillars of virtuous love as mothers.  

Building a home in Indiana

Building a home in Indiana

    I’ve watched many go home exhausted from work with nerve pain causing a raging fire across the body with no know cure, asthma induced weariness, digestive problems,  hormone imbalances, diabetes, excruciating pregnancy illnesses, and emotional turmoil when children reject good moral choices of living. When I ask why they do it,  the same women tell me, “If I do not push through this pain my children do not get the home life they need in the world to be ready for it when I am gone.”  It is a common theme in each of these women.  This mission is indeed grafted on their souls for life.

Wearing a new airport shirt since Kevin shared his breakfast.

Wearing a new airport shirt since Kevin shared his breakfast.

    I can imagine the temptation these women face when they see other moms bounce through life with the greatest of health and outgoing personalities.  Those people get held up as the great ones in our world.  To know these chronic sufferers will never be able take an “easy” walk with their children, awake without chronic pain, and will be looked down on by many because they supposedly just don’t have the “mental fortitude” to be “more” than they are.  These situations must produce feelings of envy, hopelessness and induce despair.  Yet these chronic suffers, who hold a deep sense of faith in God, turn these vice filled thoughts around and defeat those harmful thoughts time and time again. 

Making joy for Kellie Marie

Making joy for Kellie Marie

   These women are my inspiration.  They create homes with hearts of joy, and communities of charity through their hidden pains.  They take up the Cross of Christ, whether they acknowledge it or not, everyday.  They suffer the pain of pierced hearts like Mary in silence, and turn the pain into graceful living.  These two examples turn other hearts towards God by creating homes and families which match their hearts of sacrifice.

Holding the miracle baby John Paul

Holding the miracle baby John Paul

    For these women I pray for God’s mercy to shower on them forever.  Today I hope you too join me in this noble cause.

Good Friday Quest

Kalen holds the Cross during the Blue Knight led Stations of the Cross

Kalen holds the Cross during the Blue Knight led Stations of the Cross

   On Good Friday I put together a quest for our Blue Knights group.  We visited three churches from noon to two and found short lessons at each church related to the passion of our Lord.  We completed our Quest with a boy led Stations of the Cross in our home chapel of St Micheal the Archangel at Regina Caeli Academy.  You can view a complete report on our Blue Knight website.  

   The regular group of seven had six potential recruits and our teen mentor join us for a day.  During our travels we also met with three other families and five more children.  All total it was a joy to see nine families and nineteen children participate during the day.  It was also wonderful to hear the boys sing, respond to complicated questions, and enjoy being with their fathers.  Our mother daughter team was precious as well, teaching us a lesson from the women of Jerusalem. 

   The funniest moments were at St Benedict at both the beginning and end of Stations.  When the thirteen boys marched in with capes and uniform colored shirts followed by Dads, people stopped and wondered who we were.  You could actually hear the whispers and see the heads turn.  I must admit it was a quiet but very visual spectacle.  At the end of stations I could see the pastor observing the long row of boys…I know he did not know who we were and was wondering where we came from.  I think I’ll drop him a note and thank him.

    It was awesome to have fathers on board taking time with their sons to learn lessons, and mothers who spend great amounts of time building classically formed children inside their homes.  I could see how each family was not using a cookie cutter approach to evangelization.  It was easy to see families identifying what each child in their family needed, and searching out different methods of teaching each child.  It was inspiring, and motivated  me to continue doing the same with my sons.

       The most reflective moment was after the boys completed their stations.  Two boys quickly noted as we reflected on the death of Christ, the clock struck three.  The timing was not choreographed, but perfectly summed up our day traveling with Christ to and through the cross.

    Thank you Jesus for letting us participate with your in your passion on this Good Friday.

-ehw

    

Fear of God at foot of the mountain

Rocky Mountain Sunset

Rocky Mountain Sunset

    Do not let fear of God make you tremble like a child who touched the cookie jar, or the Israelites at the foot of Mount Sinai. Such fear keeps you from internalizing a healthy Fear of God. We should dread disappointing both God and ourselves by not keeping his law close to our hearts, and expressing it in our every thought and deed.

    This healthy Fear of God is what moves families by generation to generation to know and love the Lord. It is this Fear of God which builds Faith, gives Hope and binds us through Charity to other God Fearing people and families. Together we must build an earthly Body of Christ outsiders will recognize as a Catholic (I.e. universal) sign of God’s glory visible in the world. We can do no less in our pursuit of the prize of heaven for ourselves and posterity.

-ehw