As a mommy in charge of 5 little souls, I often worry that we do not pray enough together. We forget to pray before meals when there’s five demanding children at the table, we miss bedtime prayers when there are over-tired kiddos, the Divine Mercy Chaplet gets cut short by the trifecta diaper change. Life happens, and as much as I greatly desire to instill habits of prayer and make sure my children receive God’s graces, I mess up.
Preparing our Hearts for Christmas: A Soft Manger, Christkindl, and a Letter to the Christ Child by Jessica @ Shower of Roses
... And then comes another exciting moment. Once more the mother appears with the bowl, which she passes around. This time the pieces of paper contain the names of the members of the family and are neatly rolled up, because the drawing has to be done in great secrecy. The person whose name one has drawn is now in one's special care. From this day until Christmas, one has to do as many little favors for him or her as one can. One has to provide at least one surprise every single day--but without ever being found out. This creates a wonderful atmosphere of joyful suspense, kindness, and thoughtfulness. Perhaps you will find that somebody has made your bed or shined your shoes or has informed you, in a disguised handwriting on a holy card, that "a rosary has been said for you today" or a number of sacrifices have been offered up. This new relationship is called "Christkindl" (Christ Child) in the old country, where children believe that the Christmas tree and the gifts under it are brought down by the Christ Child himself.
Bishops and Birth Rates - A Heroic Solution by Taylor Marshall @ Canterbury Tales
In 2005, His Beatitude Ilia II, Orthodox Patriarch of All Georgia, became aware that the birth rate in his post-Soviet nation of George was in a downward spiral.
Patriarch Ilia began to preach about "large families" as one of the key elements of Christian civilization. To put it simply, the birth rate and the "faith rate" tend to mirror one another. Look at nations that have rejected the Church and you'll see that these have the lowest birth rates. Perfidy and despair go hand in hand.
In 2008, not only did he preach big families, but the Patriarch promised to personally stand as Godfather for all babies born into Georgian homes with more than two children.
His initiative was widely successful and has since increased the birth rate by 25 percent! Meanwhile, the number of abortions in the nation of Georgia decreased by 50 percent!
Theology Matters by Christina @ The Recovered Catholic
So often I hear from other believers that “we’re all Christians and our differences don’t matter.” Just recently I had someone say to me “You’re Catholic but I just love Jesus.” In the context of the conversation, the person was letting me know that they didn’t care about theology. I’ve had family members tell me that theology is “a waste of time.” It struck me as completely nonsensical, and indeed it is – for how can we believe in God yet insist that the details don’t matter? How can we love our Savior yet find satisfaction in ignorance of Him?
Theology matters. Believe in God, but be sure you’re not willfully exchanging a meaningful love for one that is watered down and oversimplified.
The Converts to Catholicism You Didn't Know About by Brantly Millegan @ Young, Evangelical, and Catholic
Yes, people do choose to join the Catholic Church.
Both my wife and I joined the Catholic Church as adults (see My Faith Story). The website Why I'm Catholic has a great (and growing) collection of stories of people who joined the Church. There are so many great stories. Obviously, there's the stories of people like Paul, Augustine, Ambrose, Emperor Constantine, John Cardinal Newman, Dorothy Day, Alasdair MacIntyre, Edith Stein, and G.E.M. Anscombe, Francis Beckwith (who was president of the Evangelical Theological Society when he converted), Scott Hahn, and Richard Neuhaus.
There's also the bisexual atheist blogger who just became Catholic this last summer, the former evangelical/emergent church co-author of the book Jesus for President who found his way back to the Church via Catholic Social Teaching, the pro-life leaders Lila Rose, Abby Johnson, Bernard Nathanson, and Bryan Kemper, the Wheaton College Bible professor who crossed the Tiber a year and a half ago (just a few years after a philosophy professor there did the same thing), and the steady stream of disaffected Anglicans joining the Catholic Church. Even former speaker of the house and recent presidential candidate Newt Gingrich (who produced a great documentary on John Paul II) and former prime minister of the U.K. Tony Blair have jumped aboard.