Universal Virtue: Nearly Everyone, Everywhere, Returns Cash-Filled Wallet


Published on Jun 24, 2019

 

SCOTUS Rules 7-2 The Bladensburg Memorial Cross Does Not Violate Establishment Clause…


The Blandensburg Cross, aka The Peace Cross, is a war memorial, located in the three-way junction of Bladensburg Road, Baltimore Avenue, and Annapolis Road in Bladensburg, Maryland.

The American Humanist Association had sued the American Legion to have the cross removed, arguing the memorial represented a Christian symbol on public land and violated the establishment clause.

Lower courts had agreed with the plaintiff, against the American Legion, and the memorial was to be removed.  The American Legion appealed the ruling all the way to the Supreme Court.

Today the Supreme Court reversed the lower court rulings (full pdf below).  In a 7-2 decision authored by Justice Alito, the court acknowledged the Bladensburg Cross -as a memorial- represents more than religion and does not violate the establishment clause.

“The cross is undoubtedly a Christian symbol, but that fact should not blind us to everything else that the Bladensburg Cross has come to represent.  For some, that monument is a symbolic resting place for ancestors who never returned home. For others, it is a place for the community to gather and honor all veterans and their sacrifices for our Nation. For others still, it is a historical landmark. For many of these people, destroying or defacing the Cross that has stood undisturbed for nearly a century would not be neutral and would not further the ideals of respect and tolerance embodied in the First Amendment.”

~ Justice Samuel A. Alito Jr.

Happy Father’s Day


 

Fatherhood is the job that pays the least in monetary terms and the most in benefit to the world, along with motherhood. When a man chooses to become a father, biologically or with his heart, he makes a commitment that is lifelong and its impact is to be felt longer than his own life, into the future of his children, grandchildren, and yes, even great grandchildren.

Through his steadfast presence, his wisdom (most of it on the job, but maybe lots of it gained from his own father), his protection, his teaching, his prayers, sacrifice, love, discipline, encouragement and pride he tempers and builds the character and lives of his children.

Today, in gratitude and love, we pause to thank God for His precious gift of fathers, modeled in His own image. For all of you, we give thanks, we pray, we love you. And please, keep up the good work dads, in your job that has no off days, but great benefits.

As A Mother Grows


This post was written in 2012. I have made some additions, but left the bulk of the post intact. For clarity, since my changes involve people and time, the additions are in italics.

This has been a very special year in our family, this past year since Mother’s Day 2011. First, we had a beloved addition to our family in May 2011, Sarah Isabella. She arrived several months early, and many of you Treepers prayed for her and her mother after her birth. Then, in March of this year, the arrival of Sadie made me a grandmother for the first time. These two births, as well as some challenges other friends and family members have faced being mothers has made me think a great deal about motherhood, and the unique challenges it brings.

A recent conversation with another mother whose children are now adults added more perspective. Last year, I did a post about the history of Mother’s Day. Most people think about their mother or grandmother, or perhaps a favorite aunt,  when the topic is Mother’s Day. We adults tend to think of our mature mothers, or perhaps even an elderly mom.

Because two young mothers have been in my thoughts and prayers this year, as well as my heart, I thought about writing something to honor those young women, the mothers who struggle so hard with the demands only a young family faces. A recent conversation inspired me to take it a little further. So, I would like to write about the stages of motherhood, and perhaps, for the sake of coherence and the story, I will make assumptions about families that may not match everyone’s experience. That does not mean I value your experience less.

With the first baby comes overwhelming love, awe, fear, joy, and the gushing happiness specific to motherhood. You have had 9 long months to prepare for this precious little miracle God is entrusting to you, and yet you are not ready, you can never really be prepared. How can you be prepared for that first embrace, the soft, sweet skin, the way your heart just stops at the first cry? How can you anticipate  the perfection of the unfocused stare of your baby? The completion of your family, the way your love for your husband, and his for you, is multiplied and increased, the way that three people have become a little universe of love? How can you possibly imagine the utter weariness of night upon night without sleep? The fear at the first cough or hiccup? The inner warrior woman you never knew existed who is ready to leap into action at any threat to that child? The hopes, the dreams, the plans you and your husband share as you hold that little part of you?

And so a family grows, and so does a mother. She learns that a cry is not a notice of imminent harm to her child, that a sneeze does not require a call to the doctor, that she can indeed care for a family, go to work, pick up the laundry, and live with spots on her clothes, all on four hours of sleep on a good day. Perhaps a year or two down the road, she is blessed with another child, and the cycle of life and love continues.

The little family again finds that love’s multiplicative power is infinite. The second child arrives with a little less fear, but just as much love. This time, Mom knows what she is in for, and she knows that she also has this first little one to care for, as well as the new baby. Now she has gained confidence, emotionally, and physically. She is able to carry a toddler in one arm and a baby in the other, with a diaper bag, purse, and a bag of groceries, all while using a foot to block the dog and open the door. Home life has a routine, and things are not perfect, but very good…and that is fine. Each additional child is a perfect blessing, adding much to the family, each special and needed and loved.

The school years start, and the real juggle begins. School clothes, homework, lunches, field trips, friends, hurt feelings, report cards. Mom learns to be a tutor, a defender, a referee, and an advocate. She must stand strong, proud and often alone, in defense of what is right, which often differs from what is wanted. All of these demands are like Mom boot camp. Hopefully, they have partially prepared her for the teen age years. Nothing short of direct intervention by God could actually prepare a mother for those years, never mind that she herself actually once was a teenager, in a time and land far, far away.

And so, with the years and experiences, the mother has grown, matured, become someone who is so strong, so powerful, she can withstand the whine of a young lady who is sure she is the only one who doesn’t have a snakeskin belly ring, and the indignant glare of the young man who doesn’t get to take the family car out on Saturday night. She sleeps lightly, if at all, when her children are out, knowing the dangers that await them, the terrible choices she can prepare them for, but never make for them. She rejoices at their triumphs, and agonizes at their pain. She knows she must let them pull away, make mistakes, fall and hurt themselves, just as they did when they took their first steps. But, oh, how that hurts.

One fine day, she sits at the front of the church with tears in her eyes as her child makes the vows that will found a new family. This child of hers is now grown, and she thought she would sigh in relief at the easing of responsibility, the freedom she now has. But she has learned a new lesson, a very hard lesson getting to this point. Her sons and daughters must make their own way in a sometimes cruel world, and she knows that now, the less she does for them, the stronger they are. She must let them take the hard knocks, the heartbreak, possibly even the despair. To interfere would be to weaken them, and that she will not do. She must learn when she is truly needed, as a mother will always be needed, and when she can only pray.

Then comes the day when she hears the most magical words in all of the world. “Mom, we’re going to have a baby.” Or perhaps, as in our family, wonderful new children to love come along with their beautiful mothers who marry into the family. More children to love, children who you weren’t able to hold as a babe, children who already belong to other grandparents as well. Love has brought more wonderful young people into your family. And the cycle starts again, for a new mother, and an older mother. One who must learn to nurture and care, and one to hold, and to let go.

The world turns, the seasons change, the children grow up. A new generation is born, and the same responsibilities must be met. One thing holds it all together,  one thing makes it all possible. Love. It takes a whole lot more than love to raise a family, but it all starts there. Love is the essential spark that starts the fire. Love is the foundation, and it never gets used up, or broken, or tarnished. Love shines brightly with an eternal light. It crosses generations, and it breaches the gap between this world and the next. For each of us who have lost our mother, our grandmother, or a beloved mother in law have seen that light, felt the warmth of love long after the loved one is gone.

For the gifts of my own eight grandchildren my heart swells with love and joy, pride and happiness. My prayers will be with you for all eternity, bound together with you through the Communion of Saints. May you know the love of God that keeps you all of your lives. 

Second update, May 12, 2019. It’s really awesome to be a grandmother, and, to my surprise, a little more difficult than I anticipated. Sure, I am leaving the middle of the night feedings, the real juggling of school, soccer, doctor visits, work, and all the many other demands to my kids, but still…

Age and experience have left me with a heart full of hope and some trepidation as I watch my grandchildren grow up in this fast spinning world. It seems to me that when I was a child, and even when my kids were young, there was time to be just a kid. Time to play dodge ball and jump rope, time to ride our bikes until the sun set and moms throughout the neighborhood insistently called from porches as bathwater was running. 

The world now seems less about play and childhood and more about scheduling and expectations. And so I would like to say to our young mothers, don’t let that happen. Take the time that will never come back and be sure that your kids get to be kids and your family gets to savor this time. 

In a world demanding accomplishments and measurements, I am telling you that childhood and playing matter just as much. Let them stomp through mudpuddles. Let them catch toads and worms and peek at the eggs in birds’ nests. Let them stay up late on a school night to cuddle with you and talk about their world every so often. Don’t loose spontaniety and creativity for the marking off of accomplishments. 

The Treehouse wishes all of our mothers a happy and blessed day. We hope you are enjoying the company of family and friends, and that you will perhaps take a moment and share a special memory or two of a beloved woman in your life, or tell a tale or two about your own children.

He Is Risen


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Gospel LK 24:1-12

At daybreak on the first day of the week
the women who had come from Galilee with Jesus
took the spices they had prepared
and went to the tomb.
They found the stone rolled away from the tomb;
but when they entered,
they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus.

While they were puzzling over this, behold,
two men in dazzling garments appeared to them.
They were terrified and bowed their faces to the ground.
They said to them,
“Why do you seek the living one among the dead?
He is not here, but he has been raised.
Remember what he said to you while he was still in Galilee,
that the Son of Man must be handed over to sinners
and be crucified, and rise on the third day.”
And they remembered his words.
Then they returned from the tomb
and announced all these things to the eleven
and to all the others.
The women were Mary Magdalene, Joanna, and Mary the mother of James;
the others who accompanied them also told this to the apostles,
but their story seemed like nonsense
and they did not believe them.
But Peter got up and ran to the tomb,
bent down, and saw the burial cloths alone;
then he went home amazed at what had happened.

Good Friday Reproaches


It Is Finished. Good Friday!


Today we observe Good Friday, the day of the death of Jesus. Many Christian Churches have different ways of observation, to prepare us for the coming resurrection of the Lord on Easter Sunday. Today, the sacrifices we have made during Lent culminate in our internalization of the great offering of Christ’s life. If we have been diligent in our Lenten preparations, Good Friday hits us with a power and force that brings us, literally and figuratively, to our knees with the grasp of what Jesus poured out for us. It becomes personal, a tiny sliver of the cross is buried in our heart. And so each year, we find that we give ourselves over to Christ just a little more through this time of penance and reflection. 

It is our wish here in the Tree that you all, so dear to us, and to each other, have a blessed and holy weekend, this most holy time of the year. May the lamb’s Good Friday sacrifice lead you to the joy we rightfully claim on Easter Sunday. This post mentions some things from my Catholic “language” or viewpoint, if you will.  I would love to have you share some of the traditions and customs from your church or family with us. Are there special observations and services at your church this weekend?

The Easter Triduum, the marking of the days of Jesus’ passion and resurrection, the  most important time of the church year, begins with the evening Mass of Holy Thursday, reaches its high point in the Easter Vigil, and closes on Easter Sunday evening. After preparing during the days of Lent, we celebrate these holiest of days in the Church year.

From John, Chapter 19:

Then Pilate tried to release him, but the Jewish leaders told him, “If you release this man, you are no friend of Caesar’s. Anyone who declares himself a king is a rebel against Caesar.

At these words Pilate brought Jesus out to them again and sat down at the judgement bench on the stone paved platform. It was now about noon of the day before Passover.

And Pilate said to the Jews, “Here is your King!”

“What? Crucify your king?” Pilate asked. “We have no King but Caesar,” the chief priests shouted back.

So they had him at last, and he was taken out of the city, carrying his cross to the place known as “The Skull,” in Hebrew, “Golgotha.” There they crucified him and two others with him, one on either side, with Jesus between them. And Pilate posted a sign over him reading “Jesus of Nazareth, the King of the Jews.” The place where Jesus was crucified was near the city; and the signboard was written in Hebrew, Latin, and Greek, so that many people read it.

Then the chief priests said to Pilate, “Change it from ‘The King of the Jews’ to ‘He said, I am King of the Jews.’ ”

Pilate replied, “What I have written, I have written. It stays exactly as it is.”

When the soldiers had crucified Jesus, they put his garments into four piles, one for each of them. But they said, “Let’s not tear up his robe,” for it was seamless. “Lets throw dice to see who gets it.” This fulfilled the scripture that says, “They divided my clothes among them, and cast lots for my robe.” So that is what they did.

Standing near the cross were Jesus’ mother, Mary, his aunt, the wife of Cleopas, and Mary Magdalene. When Jesus saw his mother standing there beside me, his close friend, he said to her, “He is your son.”

And to me he said, “She is your mother.” And from then on, I took her into my home.

Jesus knew that everything was now finished, and to fulfill the scriptures said, “I’m thirsty.” A jar of sour wine was sitting there, so a sponge was soaked in it and put on a hyssop branch and help up to his lips.

When Jesus had tasted it, he said, “It is finished,” and bowed his head and dismissed his spirit.

 

Today we would like to invite you to share with us your reflections, your thoughts, your favorite readings on Good Friday. We sincerely hope that you will join in this conversation as a sharing of our common faith, an active searching, united in asking in this small way for God’s blessing upon His world this Easter Triduum. So many of us see change as something that is all or nothing. We postpone the changes we need to make in our lives to improve our relationship with God because we aren’t mentally “ready” to make that leap. In reality, our path to God is made in tiny steps, small differences, the little things that take us one step closer in faith.

We ask you to join us, help us, take that step. Together and seperately, may we aid each other through our words and prayers, to make this Good Friday an opening for the light that is Christ to penetrate our darkness.

I would also like to share a paragraph from The Catechism of the Catholic Church.

In Her Magisterial teaching of the faith and in the witness of her saints, the Church has never forgotten that “sinners were the authors and the ministers of all the sufferings the Divine Redeemer endured.” Taking into account the fact that our sins affect Christ himself, the Church does not hesitate to impute to Christians the gravest responsibility for the torment inflicted upon Jesus, a responsiblity with which they have all too often burdened the Jews alone.

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French President Emmanuel Macron Vows: “we will rebuild Notre Dame cathedral even more beautiful”…


French President Emmanuel Macron said today he wants to see the fire-ravaged Notre Dame cathedral rebuilt within five years.  During a televised address to the nation Macron affirmed “we will rebuild Notre Dame cathedral even more beautiful.”  He added “we can do it and once again, we will mobilize” to do so.

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Our Christian faith is larger than a belief; it is a purposeful decision to engage in life… and to live with purpose.  The collapse of timber, brick and mortar does not destroy our fellowship because faith is not built; it exists and flows from purposeful hearts.  It is manifest in our actions, not our buildings.

~Sundance

God Bless our Country, we do still believe in you!


“How can there be so much information in such tiny little stories?” Jordan Peterson


Published on Dec 6, 2018

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