The competency test.

Two children. Two babies, more like, and two boys at that! Our little Ambrose arrived six weeks ago, and I find myself mother to the dreaded--nay, feared--"two under two." With my not-so-little Baby J just days away from his second birthday, I've realized that having a second child is like taking the finals of motherhood--and that your first child is only the midterm.

Things this time around seem somewhat more familiar. After going through the 8-month parenting trial that was Baby J's infanthood, I can truly be aware of and grateful for a more mellow baby this time around. To be finally competent in soothing, swaddling, bathing and nursing an infant doesn't hurt, either. This kid sleeps when I sleep, he eats well, he smiles on demand. He's definitely getting a passing grade, even if I might not be.

To say that my writing time has suffered as a result of the care and feeding of two little people is painfully obvious to me. But each blog post is a fresh start at the resolution to get the heck back online--between my exams, of course.


Government (should) mean service.

A dear friend sent this along to me today; it's today's meditation from Magnificat. Timely, no?
Giving to God, Giving to Caesar 
To serve God is to seek a way to human hearts, to serve God is to speak out about evil as a sickness which should be brought to light so it can be cured.  To serve God is to condemn evil in all it's manifestations... 
Government means service.  The first love of the authorities should be for those whom they govern.  And if this really were the case, if this basic Christian truth became a part of real life, if the authorities were moral, if Christian ethics dominated the principles of government, how different our lives would be... 
The whole activity of Jesus Christ was aimed at making people realize that they were created for the freedom of the children of God.  God created man in his image, so he is free; indeed, man can accept or reject his Creator... 
Let us be strong through love praying for our brothers who have been misled, without condemning anybody but condemning and unmasking evil.  Let us pray with the words Christ spoke from the cross: "Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do" (Lk 23:34).  And give us, O Christ, an ever greater awareness that love is stronger than violence and hatred... 
The yearning for freedom cannot be stopped by violence, as violence is the weapon of those who do not posses the truth.  Man can be crushed by violence but not enslaved... 
A Christian fulfills his duties only when he is stalwart, when he professes his principles courageously, when he is neither ashamed of them or renounces them because of fear or material needs.  Woe betide a society whose citizens do not live by fortitude.  They cease to be citizens and become more like slaves.  It is fortitude which creates citizens, for only a courageous man is conscious of all his rights and duties.  If a citizen lacks fortitude, he becomes a slave and causes immeasurable harm not only to himself but to his family, his country and the Church... Fortitude is an essential part of one's life as a citizen.  That is why fortitude is, for a Christian, the most important duty after love.   
In order to remain spiritually free men, we must live in truth.  To live in truth means to bear witness to it to the outside world at all times and in all situations.  The truth is unchangeable.  It cannot be destroyed by any decree or law... Courageous witnessing to the truth leads directly to freedom.  A man who witnesses to the truth can be fee even though he might be in prison... We can overcome fear only if we accept suffering in the name of a greater value.  If the truth becomes for us a value, worthy of suffering and risk, then we shall overcome fear - the direct reason for our enslavement.   
-- Blessed Jerzy Popieluszko 
Blessed Jerzy Popieluszko (+ 1984) was a courageous Polish priest who preached against Communism and who was murdered by agents of the Polish Communist internal intelligence agency.

More to remember about this blessed man:
On October 19, 1984, the young priest was kidnapped by security agents on his way back to Warsaw after a visit to a parish in the neighboring town of Bydgoszcz. He was savagely beaten until he lost consciousness, and his body was tied up in such a way that he would strangle himself by moving. His weighted body was then thrown into a deep reservoir. His killers carried out their task with unprecedented brutality, which shows their hatred of the faith that the priest embodied. Jerzy's driver, who managed to escape, told what had happened to the press. On 30 October, Popieluszko's bound and gagged body was found in the freezing waters of a reservoir near Wloclawek. Fr Jerzy's brutal murder was widely believed to have hastened the collapse of communist rule in Poland. 
Fr Jerzy's funeral was a massive public demonstration with over 400,000 people in attendance. Official delegations of Solidarity appeared from throughout the whole country for the first time since the imposition of martial law. He was buried in the front yard of his parish church of St Stanislaw Kostka, and since that day, 17 million have visited his tomb... 
Because the murdered priest is being proclaimed a martyr for hatred of the faith, Popieluszko's beatification process did not require evidence of a miracle. The formal verification of a miracle is not necessary, even though many have been reported. His beatification is an example for priests, in the light of his total fidelity to Christ. Fr Jerzy provides a model for us, calling us to strive that what we say and do outwardly should always agree with our inward conscience.