The Visitation, by Master MS, 1506 (detail). The iris and peonies are symbols of Our Lady, whose hand St. Elizabeth kisses.

Happy Friday!

Today I’ve compiled a number of items of interest into a digest of sorts. Some are things of which we all should be aware, and some are purely for our spiritual enrichment.

Here’s a heads up from Catholic News Agency regarding the Defense of Marriage Act, which recently suffered a blow when the federal appeals court ruled part of it unconstitutional, thus further threatening the sanctity of marriage:

You might want to warn Granny about this one…Looks like her heirloom cakes and cookies are suspect and subject to confiscation and legal action. The same goes for those naughty parents who pack lunches for their kids. Seriously, everybody knows processed, institutional chicken nuggets are totally healthier than a home made turkey sandwich, right? And for Pete’s sake! Don’t even think of packing fresh fruit.

Looks like our friend the Green Lantern has come out of the closet. I’d be careful opening this link with impressionable young children around, since the artwork accompanying the article could be a bit confusing. Even if my kids were still young, I guarantee I will have bought my last DC comic book (Marvel is out, too, since they recently featured a same-sex “marriage”).

It’s no fun to be bearer of disconcerting news, and I’m sure it’s no fun to receive it. However, keeping my readers informed about things that affect the family is part of the mission of this blog. If we don’t keep on top of things, they can easily slip past us (much as President Obama nearly succeeded in slipping ObamaCare past an unsuspecting American public). It may seem like a lot to digest, but please keep in mind that we do have recourse to action. There are ways politically to fight these evils, but even more powerful are the spiritual ways we have to fight them – frequent reception of the sacraments, ardent prayer life, and of repentance and sacrifice for strength for those who work to uphold what is right and just, and conversion for those who do not.

Part if the mission of families is to evangelize and defend the Church. That includes helping to set the record straight when mainstream media attempts to twist the truth and harm the Catholic Church. Below is the link to the Archdiocese of Milwaukee website that contains an official letter sent yesterday by Archdiocesan Chief of Staff, Jerry Topczewski, refuting the claim that the archdiocese paid off abusive priests. That can’t be further from the truth, and Mr. Topczewski clarifies the situation in his letter. I promise that the Archdiocese of Milwaukee has not been, and will not be, the only diocese to come under attack.

Now, on to some good stuff. Yesterday, the Church celebrated the feast of the Visitation – that wonderful, blessed  moment when Mary visited her cousin, Elizabeth. Mary, pregnant with  our Lord, and Elizabeth, pregnant with St. John the Baptist greet, embrace, and rejoice together. It was such a glorious moment, that the child John leaped in his mother’s womb!

Below is a poem I copped from a friend’s post on my Catholic writer’s e-list. It’s a beautiful description of the meeting of Mary and Elizabeth. I’ve also included a quote from Blessed John Paul II and a link to with some great background info about this feast. I had meant to post these for you yesterday, but things got away from me. Still, it’s not too late to reflect upon this important event in salvation history.


Two women meet,
cousins yet more than kin–
bound now to one another
by pregnant surprise.

Their unpredictable God has laughed at nature
and made the childless and the virgin bear.
She of the leaping womb, thought barren,
bears the restlessness of her God.

And the virgin unknown
becomes the magnifying glass
that makes great her God for all to see.

The women embrace;
forgotten hope surprised by life
embraces surpassing love.

Meeting they touch
the old and the new
the forgotten and the unknown
now revealed in mystery
as ancient desire and time’s fulness.

The simple majesty
of their common meeting
is remembered as the uncommon visitation
of God come among us.
Shall our own forgotten hope
protect us from surprise?


Shall our fear of being known
cause us to turn and hide
from this–God’s embrace?

It is possible.

Shall we trade
the restlessness of God
for oblivion?

Also possible.

But these women
Elizabeth and Mary,
desire and fulness,
call us to laugh with our unpredictable God
who comes to visit
such a warm and generous embrace
upon our quaking hearts.

Fr. Harry Hagan, OSB, in Thirsting for God

“Moved by charity, therefore, Mary goes to the house of her kinswoman…. While every word of Elizabeth’s is filled with meaning, her final words would seem to have a fundamental importance: ‘And blessed is she who believed that there would be a fulfillment of what had been spoken to her from the Lord’ (Luke 1:45). These words can be linked with the title ‘full of grace’ of the angel’s greeting. Both of these texts reveal an essential Mariological content, namely the truth about Mary, who has become really present in the mystery of Christ precisely because she ‘has believed.’ The fullness of grace announced by the angel means the gift of God himself. Mary’s faith, proclaimed by Elizabeth at the visitation, indicates how the Virgin of Nazareth responded to this gift” (Pope John Paul II, The Mother of the Redeemer, 12).

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