Catholicmom.com – Self-Denial versus Self-Emptying

I have a hard time saying “no.” And I know, “no” is not a four-letter word, or eight-letter, or however many letters it takes to make it sound complicated. “No” should be a clean-cut breakaway from whatever we were holding onto or whatever was holding onto us.

As a mom with four young kids, I say “No” or “No thank you” quite often. “No, you can’t climb/jump/twirl on the table.” “No, the books should be put away instead of strewn across the floor.” “No, you can’t eat rocks/boogers/legos.” No, no, no.

I also have to say “no” to myself. Some days it feels like motherhood is one gigantic exercise in self-denial. “No, you can’t read right now, the dinner needs to be prepared.” “No, there isn’t time for you to sign up for that exercise class, the kids have art camp/husband has to work/the baby needs to nap.” “No, you shouldn’t get 18 lbs. of fresh apricots to make jam, even though it’s delicious, the work involved is too much for this weekend (true story, folks).” No, no, no.

I was really getting frustrated, especially about that apricot one. I love to create, be it a sewing project, a blog post, or yes, close to 10 pints of jam. A lot of these projects are for someone else or in service for my family, but they fill me with joy as well. Here was a good project, that would bring me some fulfillment and something tasty to the table. I felt like I was drowning in self-denial, completely trapped by the constraints of family responsibilities.

Thank goodness I have been working on a project that involves some deep reflection and reading on St. Paul’s Christ Hymn found in Philippians 2:5-11.

Continue reading at Catholicmom.com

Daily Graces. kktaliaferro.wordpress.com

The Crown and why Mary’s is Different

I’ve been watching Netflix’s The Crown lately. I enjoy historical dramas, and historical fiction, both TV and books. It has been so interesting to learn about Queen Elizabeth II and the people around her. Of course there have been inaccuracies, or dramatizations but all in all I have greatly enjoyed it.

I recently watched an episode where Elizabeth is struggling with a decision regarding her sister, Margaret. Margaret has had quite the time trying to find her way in the world and was struggling with politics, protocol and the Church in her efforts to get married. Ultimately, the decision falls to Elizabeth as head of the family and head of the Church of England. At a certain point, Elizabeth is having formal photographs taken in all her “get up” – full crown, blue sash etc. As she poses, the photographer recites this somewhat speech in the background to set the tone for her.

“All hail sage Lady, whom a grateful Isle hath blessed. Not moving, not breathing. Our very own goddess. Glorious Gloriana. Forgetting Elizabeth Windsor now. Now only Elizabeth Regina”

Elizabeth finds herself torn in two. She is both sister and queen. As a sister, she wants to help her sister in her quest for love. As queen, she is compelled to deny her sister because of Church tradition and political ramifications. Elizabeth, as a mere human, simply isn’t capable of holding both facets of her identity at the same time. She has to choose.

All this talk of queenship got me thinking about another queen, one far more powerful than Elizabeth could ever be. Our blessed Mother of course!

What is so incredible about Mary is that this scenario that Elizabeth faced – am I to be queen or sister – never happens with Mary. Never does she choose between being our Queen and our Mother. Let’s face it, there are probably a whole host of moments in each of our lives where a queen would have ruled one way but our mother would plead for our second chance.

When I watch Elizabeth as queen I see the distance it puts between her and her children. It’s not so hard to assume that Mary, Queen of Heaven is now more distant than simply, Mary, our Mother. But not so! Pope John Paul II said:

Thus far from creating distance between her and us, Mary’s glorious state brings about a continuous and caring closeness. She knows everything that happens in our life and supports us with maternal love in life’s trials.

Taken up into heavenly glory, Mary dedicates herself totally to the work of salvation in order to communicate to every living person the happiness granted to her. She is a Queen who gives all that she possesses, participating above all in the life and love of Christ.

Mary is solely focused on our salvation. Her whole purpose, both as queen and mother, is to draw us closer to her Son. Her Queenship isn’t about gathering power, but as JPII said, she “gives all that she possesses” so that we might see Jesus a little more clearly.

Daily Graces. kktaliaferro.wordpress.com

Catholicmom.com May Post – Live the Good

If I were ever going to get a tattoo, it would be a toss up between St. Julian of Norwich’s “All will be well” or St. Julie Billiart’s “Live the Good.” Probably one of those script ones, either on the inside of my wrist or along the top of my foot or something. I feel like either of these two phrases would stand the test of time and would have something to say to me for years to come. However, I am also a chicken, so it also probably won’t be happening anytime soon! I have known about St. Julie for a while, having studied some of her writings in school. Only recently have I heard about St. Julie, her Order, and her story.

– Continue reading at Catholicmom.com

Daily Graces. kktaliaferro.wordpress.com