Monica E. Smith

Monica E. Smith

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Living by Deed and Action

I read a brilliant article the other day on, by Micaiah Bilger:

It made me think (among other things) what it truly means to be a Catholic. It made me upset that the Catholic church doesn't proclaim this, unapologetically, from pulpit to pulpit to the ends of the earth. It made me disgusted that celebrities/public officials/ can dilute Catholicism and dictate to the Church just what they can or cannot do and still call themselves Catholic. It made me both very happy and sad at the same time; sad, because of the recent events which took place regarding Vice President Biden--and the similar things which repeatedly happen in the world today--prompting this article. I felt happy because these things are being named for what they are--despite probable criticism and with no concern of stature or place in society. 

I encourage everyone to read this article in full (as well as Archbishop Charles Chaput's speech). But in a nutshell, Micaiah Bilger was referring to Archbishop Charles Chaput's speech at the University of Notre Dame recently where he was a guest speaker. The Archbishop spoke about the coming presidential election,  about "sex, family and the liberty of the Church", and also strongly reprimanded the university for awarding Vice President Biden with the Laetare Medal, “the oldest and most prestigious honor accorded to American Catholics.” It is this topic that inspired me to write this entry today.

Vice President Biden is a public figure. He is a public figure who calls himself "a practicing Catholic".* Yet he is pro-abortion and has even officiated at a civil gay marriage ceremony.  I don't know Vice President Biden, and he may be a very nice person, one who has sacrificed much for his children and family, and may have done some good things in his life; but being a champion of the things he espouses and supports which are in direct opposition to Catholicism and in every way a slap in the face to the very church/faith he says he cherishes, is very noxious, let alone confusing and misleading, to Catholics and most especially those who are learning the faith or know nothing of Catholicism.

Micaiah Bilger makes some wonderful points in his article, and quotes Archbishop Chaput on abortion and "irresponsible" sexual attitudes:

“The truth about our sexuality is that infidelity, promiscuity, sexual confusion and mass pornography create human wreckage.”...What you get is what we have now: a dysfunctional culture of frustrated and wounded people increasingly incapable of permanent commitments, self-sacrifice and sustained intimacy, and unwilling to face the reality of their own problems...As families and religious faith break down, the power of the state grows. Government fills in the spaces left behind by mediating institutions.  The individual is freed from his traditional obligations. But he inherits a harder master in the state. Left to itself...democracy tends toward a kind of soft totalitarianism in which even a person’s most intimate concerns, from his sexual relations to his religious convictions, are swallowed by the political process."

These are things we should be hearing from pulpits and podiums in church and everywhere when one speaks about the Church and about Catholics specifically. It is what our children need to be taught, without apology or embarrassment. What respected Catholic institutions  should not be doing is awarding public officials who embrace an entirely opposing belief. Catholicism is not religion--it is a way of life based fully on the teachings of Jesus Christ. One cannot pick and choose to which practice he will adhere, as if in a cafeteria.

For a Catholic university, especially such a highly regarded and respected institution such as Notre Dame, to honor a Catholic who publicly witnesses against his faith by his words and actions, with this prestigious American Catholic award is confusing, absurd, incredulous and inexcusable. Disappointing? Yes. Sad? Absolutely.


Monica E. Smith

Sunday, May 08, 2016

Happy Mother's Day - Olga Vera Stinich

Olga Vera Stinich passed away March 14, 2005. No mother could ever have been more loved. Her life was one of laughter, love and a deep faith in God; but also one of tears, fear, sadness and frustration. It was not free from stress or anxiety, nor of  disappointment, but it had certainly been a life well-lived. It had been all these things that made her who she was.

From this remarkable woman I learned kindness, gentleness, patience; I also learned of prayer and of God and faith, perseverance, hope and, ultimately, Truth. While the lessons were learned--through her living them--I know that, through my own weakness, I have failed miserably to put them into practice at moments in my own life. But I still try.

My mother remains the woman I most admire and respect, and to whom I most look up to. She is never far from thought, and I speak to her often, asking for her prayers and help. I think, if anyone were to describe me, in time to come, the words I would hold most dear would be "She is like her mother"; for it is to this, I aspire.

Poems for My Mother

Forever Remembered


I don't remember
Doing anything special
To deserve the love
Of my mother;
Yet it is always there,
Constant as she is
In showing she cares.

A day is not enough
To honor her,
Yet a simple card,
A mere token of
My love and gratitude
For the happiness
She has given
To so many over the years
Brings tears
To her bright blue eyes.

Dear lady!
“Stay with me”, my cry.
How do I return
The love you have given?
How do I ever hope
To become half the woman
You are?
Perhaps by sharing
The love and beauty and wisdom
The gentleness
Of your heart, passing it on.
It is only a start,
But in emulating you I know
You will always be with me.

 Bright Eyes
(For My Mother)

Bright Eyes lives with style and grace
And a loving smile upon her face
With sadness veiled she grieves inside
One never knows that she has cried

Her heart has broken many times
Yet she remains the most sublime
Desiring only another’s delight
She remains a loving acolyte

In times of trouble, pain or need
Her help is wholly guaranteed
One need never fear to ask
For she’s up to any task

Bright Eyes’ love is evergreen
Will never exist unseen
Her purpose here is simple and clear:
To her God bring others near 

Magic in My Mother’s Hands

There is magic in my mother’s hands
From whence flows her love
A mighty river whose course runs true

And one drop of that sacred water
Poured on painful wounds
Cleanses and leads me to my healing

   (Letter to My Mother)

It hurts, this missing you.
I had seen the sand slipping through
Your hourglass, but could do nothing
To slow--or stop it.
Then, how could I deny you the peace
Which you now surely possess?

Do you know that it is spring,
That the sun now burns
Hot in the April sky?  I remember you
Could hardly wait for the season to change.
Soon daisies will dance, bowing in the warm breeze,
Awaiting their blessing from a cool morning's dew,
And dandelions will scatter their wispy
Transparent seedlings throughout the earth
Like stars breaking free from a constellation,
Tumbling down for our pure pleasure.

Lovely, how you always saw beauty--
Even in a weed, or the God-likeness in everyone.
How I long to share this beauty with you again,
And even that which is not so beautiful,
For it takes one to appreciate the other.

But until such time, I will remain content
To simply welcome your memory in the spirit
Of Namaste, for in no other has the light of God
Shone so brightly.

*Namaste (nah mah stae) is a Sanskrit word commonly used as a greeting in India
and in the practice of yoga.  It can be translated in many ways.  Literally,
it means, "Not me, you."

Briefly, it means, "The Divine in me honors the Divine in you."

The deeper meaning is often translated as:

"I honor the place in you in which the entire Universe dwells - a place
of peace and light and love.  When you are in that place in you, and I am in that place in me, we are One."

Happy Mother's Day to all mothers.


Saturday, March 26, 2016

Christ is Risen! Indeed He is Risen!

The night that sets us free from the sleep of death

Brethren, let us keep watch, for Christ remained in the tomb until this night. It was on this night that the resurrection of his flesh took place. On the cross it was the butt of mockery; today, heaven and earth give it worship. This night already forms part of our Sunday. It was very necessary that Christ should rise in the night because his resurrection has enlightened our darkness… Just as our faith, strengthened by Christ’s resurrection, dispels all sleep, so this night, lightened by our vigils, is filled with brightness. With the Church throughout the earth it causes us to hope we shall never be surprised in the night (Mk 13:33).

Amongst so many peoples whom this feast - kept so solemnly everywhere - gathers together in the name of Christ, the sun has gone down. Yet day has not disappeared; the lights of heaven have taken over from the lights of earth… He who has given us the glory of his name (Ps 28[29]:2) has also illumined this night. He to whom we say “You lighten my darkness” (Ps
18:28) sheds his brightness in our hearts. Just as our dazzled eyes behold these shining torches so our enlightened spirits enable us to see how luminous is this night, this holy night in which our Lord initiated in his own flesh the life that knows neither sleep nor death!

(from Saint Augustine (354-430), Bishop of Hippo (North Africa)and Doctor of the Church (2nd sermon for the Easter Vigil; PLS 2, 549-552 ; Sermon Morin Guelferbytanus 5)

Christ is Risen!
Indeed He is Risen!