Catholic Carnival #171: Lending a Hand
For most of us Cradle Catholics, the hands of our childhood faith were held by other believing adults, who ensured that we, at a minimum, entered the Church through Baptism, and received the sacraments. As we grew older, we may have questioned church teaching or, perhaps, experimented with other faiths and maybe even let go of that first hand that mentored us in our youth. Somewhere along the way, however, other hands, strong and faith-filled, reached out to us. And with a firm grasp and a yank, we were suddenly pulled to our feet. We looked around and although our legs may have been shaking, we found ourselves standing, as adults who, for the first time, owned our faith completely. Given the path that we might have taken, the reality of being a *grown-up* in the faith may seem nothing short of a miracle.
But it shouldn't surprise us.
The Church teaches and we believe that our God is an incarnational God. Throughout time, He has used others to reveal Himself to us. Each one of those hands we've held on our journey was truly the hand of God touching us via a hand we might tangibly grasp. The Catholic Carnival is no different. Each one of these posts is like God's hand reaching out into cyberspace, ready to lend a hand to those who need it most.
To each of the participants, you may have been uncertain about your topic this week, or doubtful that you might even participate. But for someone out there reading your words, may it literally be God's hand reaching out to someone in need.
The Strong Hands
Along the journey some of the hardest hands to hold are these. Why? Because they are the ones who keep us from straying off the path and sometimes they squeeze so tightly our hands ache. But these posts speak the truth in love and motivate us to stay the course.
The Scratching Post mulls over the decline of marriage in America and looks for someone in secular society to lead us back to traditional morality--perhaps Bill Cosby?--in Where is the Secular St. Augustine?
From Visits to Candyland, The Wedding at Cana or the Big Mary Smackdown? looks into the Wedding at Cana from 's book, Hail Holy Queen, and how Jesus is establishing Mary in her role as mother and the New Eve. Excellent resource for those wondering about Mary's role in the Catholic Church.
For another top-notch defense of all things Mary-related, check out the Red Neck Woman's post on Why The Necklaces I Wear Are Not Proof of Mary Worship.
Weighing in with her book review of Behold Your Mother: Mary Stories and reflections from a Catholic Convert by Heidi Hess Saxton --Jean of Catholic Fire discusses this beautiful collection of meditations which will draw us closer to the heart of our Mother.
Jen shares an epiphany she had after reading a booklet about the Mass and how we can all "offer" something more during The Offertory.
If you've ever been caught off guard at your own front door, then make sure to take a look at Teresa's post Reacting to Jehovah's Witness's proselytizing literature.
Finally, David at The Apostolate of the Laity confirms my firm belief that if no one is willing to admit the highly-touted public school program "Character Counts" has its roots deep in Christian virtue, we begin down a slippery slope of moral relativism. Don't miss Virtues Gone Wild.
The Supportive Hands
This collection of posts are those hands that reach out and encourage those on the journey. Whether you've been on the journey for many years or just starting off today, these posts will cheer for you to continue running the race.
From the field of blue children considers the different seasons of her life (and where blogging fits into it all) in light of a familiar old tune and the words of scripture in Turn, Turn, Turn.
And she's not the only one. Sarah also reflects on blogging and its place in her life in this season with To Post or Not to Post
Elena, writing the third installment in her series presents "How to have a Domestic Church-Part 3". Recalling the "hands" that have lifted her up on her own journey, she also shares some practical tips and resources.
Catholic Mom-Denise-knows that grabbing hold of a teenage boy's hand to motivate him to grow in his faith is no small feat. So to find a group of SIX eighth-grade boys spending ninety minutes talking about God, you know you have a special book. Because God is Real by is that kind of book. Read about it in Pizza, Prayer and Peter Kreeft.
The readings from the Feast of the Ascension are beautifully and carefully reflected upon by Kevin from Heart, Mind and Strength in his post Above All.
The Aggie Catholics (aka Mary's Aggies) are setting about to restore pride to one of many Aggie traditions. From the update that follows their post about The New Aggie Ring Dunking Tradition, it looks like it may still be possible to teach an old dog a new trick or two!
A lyrical post from Stina of Lord, Guard and Guide reminds us in her post Please, Don't Stop the Music! that sometimes the "hands" of an artist (or in this case a musician) can offer inspiration and encouragement long after the song has ended.
The Wrinkled Hands
Sometimes we forget the value in the weaker hands; those quiet ones covered in translucent skin, wisdom tucked between each crease. Take a moment and lift one of these aged hands and place it into your own. You'll be amazed at what you might find.
Brian, of Silent Insight, shares the "Four Cornernstones of Drawing Closer to God" based on insights from many silent retreats, wise priests and the spiritual exercises of St. Ignatius.
At Mommy Monsters, Heidi writes a tribute to an aunt she remembers fondly...and a nephew she will probably never know called Remembering Aunt Rosemary and a little boy. If you've any connection to adoption, the wisdom of this post is a must read.
Christianity: The First 325 Years is a thorough essay looking at the conflict leading up to the Council of Nicaea in 325. Thanks, Steve, of Book Reviews and More for delving back in history to remind us of the great debates out of which the early Church was formed.
"I asked, 'What am I to do, Lord?' the Lord said to me, 'Get up and go to Damascus; there you will be told everything that has been assigned to you to do. Since I could not see because of the brightness of that light, those who were with me took my hand and led me to Damascus." Acts 22: 10-11