Archive for August, 2011

Mary’s Assumption and Crowning

In the month of August, we celebrate not only the Assumption of the Blessed Mother’s body into heaven on the 15th, but also the crowning of Our Lady as Queen of Heaven on the 22nd of August.

Questions We Are Asked – August 2011

I am a little surprised at the number of books in the box for my child to work on this year.

It may seem like a lot of books when you open the box, but remember that you do have a whole school year ahead of you for your child to accomplish the work. You should realize, as well, that the lesson plans don’t necessarily call for every page in every book to be completed. Also, not an equal amount of time is needed for each subject for each day. Some subjects—such as music and art—you won’t be teaching every day. Other subjects—such as spelling and vocabulary—should not take more than 20 minutes a day.

The World is Charged with the Grandeur of God

One of the greatest of Catholic poets, Gerard Manley Hopkins, S.J., is best known for his appreciation of the beauty, variety, and individuality (“this-ness”) of God’s creation. As a poet he saw God’s hand everywhere in nature and in human nature. As he wrote in one of his poems, “Christ plays in ten thousand places”: in the world above of stars and sky (“Look at the stars! look, look up at the skies!”); in the world below of the changing seasons (“Nothing is so beautiful as Spring”); in the kingdom of animals and plants, the “brute beauty” of powerful birds like the windhover and of stalwart stallions, and the delicate beauty of the bluebell (“I know the beauty of Our Lord by it”); and in the realm of human nature, whose wonderful diversity and richness he compares to the abundance of tastes and aromas that enhance the art of cooking.

Lost in Translation

In ancient times, the Egyptians, lacking an advanced alphabet, used a combination of pictures to express their ideas. That might amuse us in this day and age, but it seems that the Egyptians were actually ahead of their time. Teenagers have now adopted a similar system of communication.

The Cardinal Virtues

Every Catholic knows the primacy of love in the Christian life. Jesus’ words (Mt. 19:19 and 22:37) about love of God and love of one’s neighbor as oneself immediately come to mind, as does St. Paul’s warning (I Cor. 1:13) that without charity as a motive, all that we do becomes “sounding brass and tinkling cymbal.” The Christian family is “the school of love,” where spouses and children teach each other and learn, by trial and error, by mutual forgiveness and good example, how to love, how to go with Jesus to the Father.

The Priestly Calling

“Non iam dicam servos, sed amicos” – “I no longer call you servants, but friends” (cf. Jn 15:15).

Sixty years on from the day of my priestly ordination, I hear once again deep within me these words of Jesus that were addressed to us new priests at the end of the ordination ceremony by the Archbishop, Cardinal Faulhaber, in his slightly frail yet firm voice. According to the liturgical practice of that time, these words conferred on the newly-ordained priests the authority to forgive sins.

St. Joachim and St. Anne

On July 26, we celebrate the feast of St. Anne and St. Joachim, the parents of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Anne became the mother of Mary when she was quite advanced in age. Anne and Joachim had almost given up hope for a baby; nevertheless, they continued to pray for a miracle.

Questions We Are Asked – July 2009

It seems like we are always finishing up the book analysis at the end of each quarter. What do you suggest to make the book analysis easier?

At the beginning of the quarter, read over the requirements for the Book Report or Book Analysis. Make a step-by-step schedule at the beginning of each quarter, writing down the calendar dates when each step needs to be completed. Plan on having the report done at least two weeks prior to the end of the quarter, when your student needs to be studying for tests for other courses. If you follow this type of schedule, the book analysis will be much easier.

Gender and Home Schooling

Figures released by the United States Department of Education show the changing face of home education in the country. One attention-grabbing statistic shows the number of home-schooled children in the United States nearly doubled from 1999 to 2007. A whopping 6.8% of college-educated parents have chosen home schooling over institutional schools, which may indicate greater confidence in their own abilities or perhaps less confidence in the American institutional school system based on their own experience. “Dissatisfaction with academic instruction”, however, was given as the motivation for only 17% of parents who responded to the survey.

Hello, Good Men

When my oldest son Athanasius was about five years old, I observed him playing with his Star Wars toys, imagining a great battle of the good Jedi knights against “the bad guys.” As I watched him play, I asked him: “Athan, if Jedi were real, who would be more powerful: a Jedi knight or Father John (our parish priest)?” Immediately, he answered: “A priest, because only a priest can change bread and wine into the body and blood of Jesus.” It’s an observation that we adults often forget. In home schooling families, and in all Catholic families, the role of the priest is so important that life without them is literally unimaginable.