3 Reasons to Marry an Irish Girl

1) We sing like angels

2) We smile with our eyes

3) We make kick-ass Irish Soda Bread. (See Testimony)

I got this recipe, btw, from my Italian mother in law!

Maria Lucia’s Irish Soda Bread

4 c sifted flour
1 1/2 tsps baking soda
1 tsp salt
3/4 c sugar
1 c raisins (or cranberries for a nice change)
2 tblspns melted butter
2 eggs, beaten
2 cups buttermilk

Mix dry ingredients. Mix butter, eggs and buttermilk. Stir into dry ingredients. Use a 2 qt pan (like a pyrex) because it works the best. Bake at 350 degrees for 1.25 hours.

And as the thing is baking, trundle on over to the Catholic Portal Main Page and grab Pat McNamara’s excellent piece on Why St. Patrick’s Day Matters for Everyone.

And then Pray the Breastplate

And here’s some background music for you!

And while you’re there, read Deacon Greg’s very personal and helpful essay on his difficulties with the sacrament of Confession and how he came to love it.

Somehow, I left the confessional feeling worse than when I went in.

I remained skeptical of the sacrament for years after that. I drifted away from regular Mass attendance, and went for years without darkening the door of a reconciliation room or slipping behind the velvet curtain of a confessional. What was the point? In my mind, I was right with God: He knew where I was coming from (and, no doubt, where I was going) and I apologized to him, privately, when it seemed like the right thing to do. End of discussion.

But no.

And, um…Heather King’s musings on the importance of having a story and why that matters to believers, and should matter to atheists

I’ve . . . come to see there is only one story, and an infinite number of ways to tell it: the story of death and resurrection.

The story can’t be “I’m a victim” and it also can’t be “I’m a hero,” though in some sense you are telling of the hero’s journey. But what makes for an authentic personal story is that the hero is not you; the heroes are the people who put up with you, or helped you, or accompanied you along the way.

The star of the story is not you; the star is something greater than you.

The astonishment of the story is never that the world finally recognized your genius and showered you with the love and attention you so richly deserved. Nor is the story that the world finally admitted its terrible betrayal of your innocence and apologized. The story is that a God exists who is so kind, so loving, so merciful, that he sees fit to forgive all your transgressions, wrong turns, and mistakes; a God who ministers, with infinite tenderness, to all the hurt that’s been done to you and all the hurt you’ve done to others, and welcomes you back to the banquet table.

For those with teens, or who teach/deal with/mentor young people, Lisa Mladinich has culled together some terrific resources to encourage discussions on chastity and modesty:

Our teens today are inundated with ugliness. Fashions objectify their sexuality in the crudest and most blatant terms, while the media sells them the lie that promiscuity is freedom and not the horrifying, debilitating slavery that it is. [. . .] For Catholic parents and catechists, our work is cut out for us. Young people need to hear the Church’s unique and transcendent teachings on human sexuality, and to share it with them, you’ve got to do some homework.

If you’ve not read Slubgrip’s Seventh Lesson from Hell you’d better catch up; lesson VIII appears on Friday! Meanwhile you can also read Dwight Longenecker’s take on what the devil really, really hates!:

When considering conflict with Satan some people think it is all about crucifixes and holy water and exorcisms and putting on the spiritual armor of God and wading into battle like mortal versions of St Michael the Archangel. That’s not for us. We best trample down the head of Satan through supernatural normalcy.

What do I mean by ‘supernatural normalcy’? First you have to start by understanding Satan and all his works. Satan has nothing original in his toolkit. He can’t create sin because sin is the absence of grace or the distortion of something good. God made everything and everything he made is good. Evil is therefore nothing positive in itself, but the perversion and destruction and distortion of all that is good. It follow therefore that Satan loves everything that is perverted, twisted, destroyed and diseased. He can’t do anything good or create anything good. All he can do is twist or attempt to destroy that which is good.

And don’t miss Max Lindenman’s fascinating advice to the priesthood

Todd Aglioloro writes of a new breed of clergy who assume a “husbandly” posture toward the Church and affect a decidedly butch style. Here he quotes Monsignor Stewart Swetland of the Franciscan University of Steubenville: “[Younger priests and seminarians] work out, they play sports, they want to look and dress and act like men.”

Though published two years ago, Aglioloro’s article fascinates me, for several reasons. He sees the Church as a battleground—girls on one side, boys on the other. “The post-conciliar Church in this country,” he writes mournfully, “has . . . been run by women.” Aglioloro proceeds to snap wet towels at those he considers fifth columnists in the struggle: “the effete”; “priests with squishy handshakes”; “Father Reilly, once his mother’s darling”; “the Phil Donahue generation, limp caricatures of sensitivity.”

To his credit, Aglioloro stops short of making any facile equations between homosexuality and pedophilia, or even between effeminacy and homosexuality. But what he does do, in a way, is even more daring. In short, he blames femininity for everything he doesn’t like about the Church, from bad catechesis to “the worst crimes of the Lavender Mafia.” He does write critically of the “rough or aloof” priests of the postwar generation and their “hyper-rationalized” theology. Still, when he writes of “manly virtue,” one gets the sense that, for him, manliness is virtue.

There – all that good stuff should take you until the bread is baked to get through!

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