in honor of tonight


Quote of the Day

As the Republican National Convention gets into full swing, I want to re-post a quote that my sister sent me a few years back.

“If you cannot pluck up bad ideas by the root, or cure long-standing evils to your heart’s content, you must not therefore abandon the commonwealth. Don’t give up the ship in a storm because you cannot direct the winds. . . . You must strive to influence policy indirectly, urge your case vigorously but tactfully, and thus what you cannot turn to good, you may at least make as little bad as possible. For it is impossible to make everything good unless all men are good, and that I don’t expect to see for quite a few years yet.” – St. Thomas More


I’ve been told I am a true Southern girl now.

Yesterday afternoon (after working in the morning), I headed out to the Hanson homestead to spend as much time as possible with my friend Lori before she left forever.  Well, not forever.  But it seems that if the Army pays for you to go to nursing school, they expect you to give them something in return.  So she’s off to Texas.

I didn’t know what we would be doing — I didn’t really care, actually.  I just wanted to hang out with her.  She’s pretty loved, so there were two other families over at the house doing the same thing, and it turned into a really nice afternoon.

Of shooting two-litre bottles off a sawhorse.

Welcome to Tennessee.

I was thinking I would just watch, but one of the guys insisted I should try, and it was actually pretty fun.  I joked to my Mom later that I worked for the Church in the morning and shot in the afternoon.  That’s supposedly what we small-town people in the Midwest are doing, right?  Clinging to our guns and religion?

Then this morning after Mass, we stood and talked and she told everyone goodbye… Father O’Neill blessed her and her car… and I waited until the last possible moment… until she really had to go.  We hugged, I left, and my last look at her was her driving by when I was stopped at a stoplight, waving and smiling, trying to cheer me up even until the end.

I’m really going to miss that girl.  We haven’t been friends for that long, comparatively.  But it doesn’t matter– she’s one of the best.

Lori is amazing and special and one-of-a-kind … and since all those words have been overused, it doesn’t seem to say anything to say she’s special and amazing and one-of-a-kind.  But every once and awhile you run across someone who really IS — and you feel guilty for using those words to describe anything less.  Lori’s one of those people.

One of the first things we ever did together was to grab coffee after Sunday Mass at the little coffeeshop around the corner from our parish.  She and her mom had attended a conference I had been in charge of, and while I had seen her around a bit, I didn’t know who she was.  We got coffee that day because she had decided she wanted to be my friend.  And she told me that.  Straight up.  I’m going to be your friend.

The fact that someone wanted to be my friend and was making a conscious decision to do something about it was humbling and touching and sort of blew me away.  And when I got to know her, I soon found out I wasn’t doing her a favor being her friend — she was the gift to me.

That’s so very “Lori,” too — informing me that she wanted to be my friend.  With Lori, there’s no pretense, no masks, no guile.  She’s another Nathanael. What you see is what you get.  That’s really rare in people these days.  There’s a beautiful vulnerability, receptivity, transparency in that.

She’s incredible. Always serving, always acknowledging the other, always ready to do what needs to be done.  I don’t know how to explain it, except to say she is her “brother’s keeper.”  She cares about everyone — from babies to old people and everyone in between.  And she wants to make sure everyone is taken care of — whether it means everyone is fed or everyone is having a heck of a good time.

And now she’s off to another city, another community, another place that needs her.  With her honesty, her love, and her total self-gift to others, she will transform the world.  No one gets to know Lori and remains unchanged.

Catholic Doctors

I want every Catholic American to read this thought-provoking article:

Is There a Future for Catholic Doctors?

Being a girl my age, I have lots 0f friends starting families.  Inevitably, they begin looking for doctors — ob-gyns, pediatricians, general practitioners.  I hear them lament that their doctors think they’re weird for practicing NFP, that their doctors push the Pill on them as soon as they deliver their first child, or that their doctors don’t understand how they want to raise their children.

I hear lots of complaints about doctors.  And yes, I feel their pain (I want a doctor who is willing to find a different solution to problems other than birth control).

But guess what?  If we think it’s bad now, it’s going to get worse.  (Thanks, Mr. Obama.)

*This post was written by a biased daughter of a general practitioner, a daughter who is tired of everyone assuming all doctors make millions of dollars and enjoy throwing medicine and tests at all their patients

Reawaken the Spiritual Energy

“The Church’s social teaching argues on the basis of reason and natural law, namely, on the basis of what is in accord with the nature of every human being. It recognizes that it is not the Church’s responsibility to make this teaching prevail in political life. Rather, the Church wishes to help form consciences in political life and to stimulate greater insight into the authentic requirements of justice as well as greater readiness to act accordingly, even when this might involve conflict with situations of personal interest. Building a just social and civil order, wherein each person receives what is his or her due, is an essential task which every generation must take up anew. As a political task, this cannot be the Church’s immediate responsibility. Yet, since it is also a most important human responsibility, the Church is duty-bound to offer, through the purification of reason and through ethical formation, her own specific contribution towards understanding the requirements of justice and achieving them politically.

The Church cannot and must not take upon herself the political battle to bring about the most just society possible. She cannot and must not replace the State. Yet at the same time she cannot and must not remain on the sidelines in the fight for justice. She has to play her part through rational argument and she has to reawaken the spiritual energy without which justice, which always demands sacrifice, cannot prevail and prosper. A just society must be the achievement of politics, not of the Church. Yet the promotion of justice through efforts to bring about openness of mind and will to the demands of the common good is something which concerns the Church deeply.”

Pope Benedict, Deus Caritas Est, 28