Nooooo...I'm Christine. Silly me! But I do welcome you to the very first Veggie Tales Themed Catholic Carnival! (Thanks, Sarah, for the idea!)
In The Ballad of Little Joe, Joe wonders why, if God thinks he's special and loves him very much, he is stuck going through such difficulties in his life. After all, his jealous brothers shoved him down a mineshaft, sold him to some desperadoes, and then he winds up being jailed for a crime he didn't commit in the land where he's enslaved. But God does remember Joe and hears his prayers from jail. His position of power in the new land gives him the opportunity to save his new countrymen as well as his entire family. He's reunited with his repentant brothers and his father, who had been mourning him as dead.
What are we to do, then, when we are faced with a spiritual dryness? At The Third Way, Melissa has some advice for us on how to rekindle our spiritual fire. She also reminds us that plenty of saints have gone through periods like this, as the world recently learned of Blessed Mother Teresa. Likewise, Frederick (with some help from Saint Augustine) shows us that an old fable about the eagle teaches us that we must break ourselves against the Rock that is Christ and become new men. It's not easy, it's not pleasant sometimes, but in the end, we emerge more ready for the Kingdom. And shouldn't that be our ultimate goal: to know, love and serve God in this life to be happy with Him in the next?
Esther risked everything to speak up and save her people. We don't often risk as much when we speak up for the unborn, but sometimes it's still scary. We can face ridicule, and people who we thought were our friends might turn against us for our stance in favor of the sanctity of life. Christine gives us a short post that just drives home a point about abortion: it hurts women. What kind of ridicule Ellen Burstyn might face for speaking up about what she called her lowest point in her life is unknown, but we should keep her - and all other abortion survivors - in our prayers. Leticia knows something about standing up for life, too. She has some stories about encounters she had while hosting a pro-life table at her local county fair. One thing I admired so much about this post was how Leticia was able to respond so well to everyone's stories, as well as to objections. I pray that I'll be as articulate in such situations. Thomas, too, takes a look at people like Esther, and discusses how the reasons given by Planned Parenthood for opening an abortion clinic in Aurora (which they tried to do with deceptive paperwork) only point to a desperation in our country, which Thomas says does not really exist, thanks to pro-lifers.
Where's God When I'm S-Scared? Life is a scary journey sometimes, and when we are in the midst of it all, we are often tempted to quote Psalm 22. But just like Junior learned in the very first Veggie Tales show, we can know that God is there with us, too. In her post at Mary Meets Dolly, Rebecca discusses what happens when couples who learn that their unborn babies have genetic defects receive counselling - and what happens when they don't. Likewise, Heidi, too, discusses fears that some parents face, but it's one that I didn't expect to read about. What happens when you adopt a child and then face depression? In When Moms Grieve: The Dark Side of Adoption, she gives us a look at a little-acknowledged fact for adoptive couples: it's not all happiness and sunshine. What's really helpful here is that Heidi also offers advice to help people in such a situation. (And I've got multiple friends who are in the process of adopting, so this is an article I will probably pass on to others.)
In Duke and the Great Pie War, we see a love story involving two people whose families are at war. Loving someone else - even in our own family - is not supposed to be easy all the time; sacrifices must be made if you are truly loving someone for the long haul. But such sacrifices are made gladly when you love others as God loves us. Son shows us that fasting is an act of love, just as Jesus' Sacrifice on the Cross was the ultimate act of love: not done because of feelings, which are fleeting, but done for the benefit of someone else. What really drove it home for me was when he said, "Ascending the hill of Calvary, [Jesus] puttered on by the fire of unquenchable love, not by the smoke and fumes of some lower passion. There was nothing to gain for him but what he gained for us." And do we love Christ as He loves us? Chris ponders this idea and asks us to question if our prayers to God are those of someone deeply, madly in love with the Creator of us all. What is the Substance of Prayer?
Sarah tells us of love, too. There are lots of cute e-mails that float around with translations of men's language. Most of them are a bit snarky for my taste. I mean, how do we expect our husbands to act if we continually tell them they are rotten? But Sarah's post is a kind of love-letter to her husband: she hears not only what he says to her, but also what he could say to her - or think about her - but doesn't because he loves her. (I see a lot of Soccer Dad and me in this post, too!) Of course, a post like this is all part of just another day of Catholic pondering.
The Church is our family, too: the Church Triumphant (in Heaven), the Church Militant (here on Earth), and the Church Suffering (in Purgatory). Esther - queen of the blog A Catholic Mom in Hawaii - reminds us that we are supposed to be praying for the Church Suffering and gives us several things we can do to alleviate their suffering.
Rack, Shack, and Benny knew what God expected of them. The believed in Him and wanted to do everything He asked of them. Shouldn't we be the same? In her post Deus Caritas Est, Tiffany tells us that this statement from the Holy Father in his first encyclical is not a contradiction of his former position as "God's Rottweiler." It's actually a perfect (and to-be-expected) fit!
The Sumo of the Opera had to learn how to persevere, just like Dawn did when she was setting up her homeschool area. Her big problem was how to get through the school day without stopping constantly to do household chores while still having her supplies on hand when she needed them. I could certainly relate to her struggles to find the balance between homemaker duties and homeschooler duties! Cathy Weidel discusses Pope John Paul II's perseverance at the end of his own life in her post “Catholics are enjoined to pursue all means to prolong life," which discusses an Italian article that seems to imply that the pope engaged in a kind of euthanasia. She also has something to say about a TIME article that mischaracterizes the Catholic reverence for life. This is not an article that will go softly into the night, and I expect that those involved heavily in the Culture of Death will latch onto it.
Poor Larry nearly had a nervous breakdown when he discovered that the cancellation of "Silly Songs with Larry" was The End of Silliness?! No more music!? No more silliness? What would we do without it? Elena of My Domestic Church read a post that lamented what seems to be silliness at Mass; but while Elena understands the original poster's desire for sacred silence, she also sees some of the noises that might be distracting as signs of life and God's love in His Church. And on the same note (ha - that was punny!), David has a post that discusses the grace that is involved in the creation of a great work of art, music, or theater. Great art can help us reach out and touch the hand of the Infinite!
Madame Blueberry loved to shop, but would she have shopped at your Catholic bookstore? Ian wonders about some of the Catholic bookstores he's seen and gives us a bit of reverse psychology in his post that helps us to know Why People Shouldn't Shop at Your Catholic Store. If you are thinking of starting up a Catholic store, Ian has had several posts on the topic to give you a hand in discerning if it's truly what God wants of you, not to mention what to do if it is! And, in case you didn't know it, Ian knows what he's talking about when it comes to running a store, since he is the owner of Aquinas and More.
Bob and Larry help us to learn about forgiveness in God Wants Me to Forgive Them!?!, and one thing that is important in forgiving others is remember that God forgives us when we are repentant. All Christians believe this fundamental truth, but Catholics do have a different perspective on the idea because of the Sacrament of Confession. In Still Waters Run Deep, I discuss a conversation Big Girl and I had about Confession after our night at Awanas with her friends. She told me of a beautiful image she has of what happens during Confession that nearly brought me to tears! It's found here at Domestic Vocation.
When we are out in The Wonderful World of Auto-Tainment, we have a lot of options. What some people might not realize is that there are plenty of options for bibliophiles who want to read spiritually uplifting materials. Steven specializes in reviews of Catholic and Christian literature at his blog Book Reviews and More, and this week he submits for us a review of an old favorite of his: Sacred Visions, a collection of science fiction/fantasy short stories.But if you're more into the musical aspects of Auto-Tainment, Brian of Christus Vincit has some beautiful audio of an amazing pipe organ and choral Mass at Church of the Holy Family (the United Nations Parish)! For the story and audio links, head over and read his post entitled While I'm on a Roll With Praising People's Work. If for nothing else, though, go over to see "a five-manual organ of 76 ranks built by Robert M. Turner, 1996." It's amazing! (But do stay for the music.)
Well, kids, that's all for now. I hope you enjoyed the first Veggie Tales Catholic Carnival. If you're interested in learning more about the Carnival or hosting one at your blog, you can go here for that information. (No, you don't have to make a theme! I'm just a bit crazy is all.)
Remember kids, God made you special, and He loves you very much.