"My dear, if you could give me a cup of tea to clear my muddle of a head I should better understand your affairs."~Charles Dickens

Sunday, January 30, 2011

"It's especially hard to hear about children being abused."

Hi Donna-Marie,

What are the virtues that would help against worry?  We hear so much bad news constantly it can sometimes be overwhelming.  It's especially hard to hear about children being abused, etc. 

What should our response be?


Ornella in Virginia.
Dear Ornella,
Thank you for writing. I understand your concerns. To answer your question regarding virtues that would help against worrying,  well, one that comes straight to mind is the theological virtue of hope. I encourage you to read about it in the Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC # 1812).
Hope is the theological virtue by which we desire the kingdom of heaven and eternal life as our happiness, placing our trust in Christ's promises and relying not on our own strength, but on the help of the grace of the Holy Spirit. 'Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful.' 'The Holy Spirit...he poured out upon us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that we might be justified by his grace and become heirs in hope of eternal life.'
The virtue of hope responds to the aspiration to happiness which God has placed in the heart of every man; it takes up the hopes that inspire men's activities and purifies them so as to order them to the Kingdom of heaven; it keeps man from discouragement; it sustains him during times of abandonment; it opens up his heart in expectation of eternal beatitude. Buoyed up by hope, he is preserved from selfishness and led to the happiness that flows from charity..."Christian hope unfolds from the beginning of Jesus' preaching in the proclamation of the beatitudes. The beatitudes raise our hope towards heaven as the new Promised Land; they trace the path that leads through the trials that await the disciples of Jesus. But through the merits of Jesus Christ and His Passion, God keeps us in the 'hope that does not disappoint.' Hope is the sure and steadfast anchor of the soul...that enters where Jesus has gone as a forerunner on our behalf. Hope is also a weapon that protects us in the struggle of salvation: 'Let us.. put on the breastplate of faith and charity, and for a helmet, the hope of salvation.' It affords us joy even under trial: 'Rejoice in your hope, be patient in tribulation. Hope is expressed and nourished in prayer, especially in the Our Father, the summary of everything hope leads us to desire. [emphasis mine]
And since the quote from the Catechism above speaks of the Beatitudes and the Beatitudes are today's Gospel (coincidence? I think not), I'll include the reading here:

Matthew 5:1-12

Seeing the crowds, Jesus went up the hill. There he sat down and was joined by his disciples. Then he began to speak. This is what he taught them:
‘How happy are the poor in spirit;
 theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Happy the gentle:
 they shall have the earth for their heritage.
Happy those who mourn:
 they shall be comforted.
Happy those who hunger and thirst for what is right:
 they shall be satisfied.
Happy the merciful:
 they shall have mercy shown them.
Happy the pure in heart:
 they shall see God.
Happy the peacemakers:
 they shall be called sons of God.
Happy those who are persecuted in the cause of right:
 theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Happy are you when people abuse you and persecute you
 and speak all kinds of calumny against you on my account.
Rejoice and be glad,
 for your reward will be great in heaven.’
When you feel the temptation to worry or find yourself worrying, try to turn to prayer and offer your worry to God. Ask Him to give you peace. When we pray our daily Rosaries, the first three Hail Marys we pray; we are asking for an increase in FAITH, HOPE, and, LOVE.

Yes, Ornella, bad news, as you say, can be overwhelming. We live in an un-godly culture, after all. Surround yourself with other faithful Christians so that you can encourage one another. We must trust in God and pray always.

Let's all ask God for an increase in faith, hope, and love and for all of the graces we need to survive in and even SHINE in this world today so that we may be an instrument to carry HOPE to others.

May God bless you and your family, Ornella. Feel free to come back again for another "cup of tea!"

God bless and hugs,

Friday, January 28, 2011

I miss you...

Well, I have been having cups of tea, but I'm sorry it's not with you! I've been drinking them by myself while I do my work here (and throw out seed to the birds and squirrels). I'm preparing for the Women's Retreat I'll be giving tomorrow in Darien, CT (details on my website), as well as working on my writing projects with strict deadlines. As soon as I catch my breath, I will be back here to answer your questions and savor a "cup of tea" with you.

In the meantime, stay warm and keep smiling.


Wednesday, January 26, 2011

A Cup of Tea and a Prayer

Is it a stressful day for some reason? Put the kettle on, take a breath, say a prayer, and make a cup of tea!

Kids home? Snow day? Running out of things to do with them? Tight deadlines on your work? You don't know where to begin? Other stresses and strains adding to the mix?

Pause for a prayer and a cup of tea, it will work wonders...

What's on your plate today? Leave a comment and let's have a "cup of tea" together!

God bless and hugs,

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Your cup of tea today...

Who will you "have a cup of tea" with today? Will it be someone in your neighborhood who needs a hand with some snow shoveling (for folks in the colder parts)? Might it be a relative you haven't talked to in some time and who would love to hear your voice over the phone? Could it be a single mother you know who could use help watching her kids so she can get out to the grocery store? Will it be someone in your own household who would love to spend some one-on-one time with you playing a game, or having a conversation together?

It's a great day to extend our hands and hearts to someone who needs us in some way. As Blessed Mother Teresa has said, "Small things done with great love bring love and peace." The littlest act of charity can change a heart. God wants to use us today to radiate His love to others.

I will be back soon to have a cup of tea with you. In the meantime, I hope you have a truly BLESSED day!


Friday, January 21, 2011

Don't be shy!

Feel free to leave comments here on the blog or email me at DMCOBoyle@aol.com with your questions about living the Catholic faith. I have questions from readers which I'll answer as time permits.

But, I thought I'd take a moment now to invite you all to ask a question, leave a comment, and also to feel welcome to be a "follower" of this blog.

I hope to visit for a cup of tea soon...

God bless!

Thursday, January 20, 2011

"Do you have any ideas how to ignite her catholic heart again?"

Dear Donna-Marie!

What a wonderful idea of this blog! And what a great opportunity for me to ask you for your words of wisdom and experience in a family matter.
Even though I have a catholic childhood, I just recently, three years ago, returned to the Catholic Church. This summer I am going to host my teenage cousin, she is 16, for a couple of weeks at our house. She is a "proud atheist" even though she has also a catholic family background. I am not quite sure how to approach her in this matter. Insisting to going with us to mass or to pray with us won´t do good. Do you have any ideas how to ignite her catholic heart again?
Thank you so much!
Greetings from Germany,

Dear Magdalena,

Thank you for writing and your kind words about this new blog. It's wonderful to hear that you have returned to the Church. God bless you! I bet you'll have an interesting summer! I have a feeling that it will most likely be filled with blessings you would never have anticipated. God works in mysterious ways. It's interesting that you recently returned to the Church and now you will be hosting a "proud atheist" relative. God has a good sense of humor too. :)

I certainly would not force your teen-aged cousin to go to Mass or to pray with you all. But, you should invite her at least at the beginning of her visit to go to Mass with you. So, that way you are not just assuming that she doesn't want to go. Tell her that she is welcome to join you for Mass. If she reacts in a negative way, remain calm and loving and just let her know that if she happens to change her mind, she is more than welcome to join you. Then, leave it at that. Don't preach or harp. However, try to be very attentive to times that she may seem to be open and may want to talk with you about anything.

I would carry on as you normally do as a family. Go about your normal routine with regards to going to Mass and saying family prayers. Hopefully, you'll say Grace Before Meals at the dinner table, possibly even followed by a short prayer (a Hail Mary or an Our Father). Even if she may feel a bit uncomfortable sitting through it, it's not unreasonable to expect her to sit at the table with you all when you say your Grace before eating. Then you can move into a nice conversation at the table.

Your example of prayer and your commitment to going to Mass on Sundays and holy days (as well as daily Mass, if that's what you are accustomed to) will speak volumes. Nothing needs to be said, with the exception that you'll be leaving to go to Mass at "such and such a time" and will return at "such and such a time."

I believe that love is very powerful. There is no need to preach to an atheistic teenager. It may just turn her away even further. But the love shown to her during her stay with you will be special and will make an impression on her heart. That, along with the many prayers I'm sure you'll be praying for her. You may want to think about even fasting or making sacrifices for the intention of saving her soul if you feel inspired to do so.

Your young cousin may think she's an atheist, but deep down, she still has that foundation of the Catholic faith she was raised with. I am assuming she was also baptized. Perhaps you can ask some trusted prayer warrior friends you know to join you in prayer for your cousin. I'll pray too. Whatever happens, you will have planted the seeds in her heart. It's up to God and your cousin as to when the seeds will blossom and grow.

Have a fun time with her and give her a memorable happy stay with your family. Let her see that Catholics can certainly be fun and interesting people! 

Trust in God. He has a plan to ignite your young cousin's Catholic heart!


Wednesday, January 19, 2011

"This killing place must be one of the most bazaar mills in the country."

I enjoyed your informative article in the issue of the K of C's Columbia magazine. I am familiar with the value of  Ultrasound.  The link below to Prolifecorner.com will show you the abortionist war against a unit that comes once a week to the abortuary here in Rockford. This killing place must be one of the most bazaar mills in the country. Before the motor home ultrasound  first arrival in Rockford a pro life leader met with the Police and City Officials..and they said there were no problems. BUT the second time it arrived from Elgin, IL (approx 60 Miles East) the Police ordered it out of town. The www.prolifecorner.com has many videos and stories about this and other zany, unbelievable stories, one of which is a uniformed Rockford Policeman with a skull emblem on his head gear ordering a pro lifer to not get near him. After the pro lifer ask him about his hat..so the pro lifer walked in the street to avoid being near the officer...and the officer issued him a JAYWALKING ticket.

The link below shows the crazy signs that the mill owner displays by the Motor home: "Woman Raped in Motor home" and "Motor home has bedbugs."   

Have you encountered or heard of these things anywhere else?  Perhaps you  regret inviting me to tea to discuss such disgusting things.

Barney Baxter
Rockford, IL 

Dear Barney,

I'm glad you enjoyed my article, Living Proof in Columbia magazine.
To answer your question, I have not personally witnessed this particular problem you mention. However, I have certainly have witnessed and experienced a lot of trials and tribulations while peacefully sidewalk counseling at the abortuary where I used to go. I would go regularly for many years to meet up with others to prayerfully witness and be there to offer help to the poor confused young women and men. We prayed the Rosary, meeting there faithfully, always following the picketing laws. 

A few times I just missed being run over by angry drivers speeding into the abortuary parking lot, perhaps not wanting to see the prayerful witness of pro-lifers outside the murder chamber doors because it might have hit a bad nerve with them. 

It was all worth it though, knowing that many women changed their minds and decided not to go through with an abortion. One time in particular, I knelt down beside a car (to be at their level) and talked to a couple through the open windows of their car. By the time our conversation was over, they told me that they would go in to the "clinic" and cancel their appointment. And they did! They came out and with tears in their eyes, came over and told me that they would make it, they would live with her parents and bring their baby into the world!

One time, while there, a man came right up to my face and threatened to "bleeping" kill me right there on the spot. I thank the good Lord for sparing my life. I had small children who needed me, after all.

I had to stop going to the abortion mill after my spiritual director (who went there himself and led us in the Rosary and many prayers) told me to pray at home for everyone instead. This was right after someone driving into the abortion mill parking lot swerved and drove over the sidewalk and almost crashed into my child who was by my side in a stroller. Again, God spared us. Father was concerned for our safety and reminded me that I was already "doing" my "pro-life at home" raising my family and also taking in an un-wed mother who was expecting another baby. 

Yes, Barney, it's a horrible battle of life and death and some crazy things go on in the name of the law. We must all pray for these innocent babies, for their expectant mothers, their fathers, and even the abortionists and all who work at these places of killing. Oh, and let's not forget to pray for the police officers you mentioned too.

May God bless you and all those who strive to prayerfully and peacefully protect human life!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

"I find myself wondering if I am doing enough to serve God"

Hi Donna-Marie,

I recently purchased your Prayer book for Mothers and absolutely love it.  I am a 31 year old mother of two, a one year old girl and a two year old boy.  I live in Southern California.  I have a wonderful husband who works very hard so that I can stay home with my kids full time.

I love my children and husband and have completely and utterly devoted my life to them.  But, I find myself wondering if I am doing enough to serve God. On a daily basis I ponder what I can do (with and without my kids) to help others, volunteer, and serve God not just within my own family.  Lately, I've found becoming more and more frustrated with my kids and losing my patience quickly.  I don't know if it's because I'm tired, if I feel like I'm not doing enough in life, etc.  But, I keep praying and asking God for help.

I guess at this point, I don't know where to turn.  I don't know if I am the mother God wants me to be for my kids, and I don't feel as though I'm doing enough outside my family to help others.  Can you provide any guidance?  I would greatly appreciate any suggestions you could offer!

Thank you and God bless,

Anonymous wife and mother in 
Orange County, CA.

Dear "Anonymous" in Orange County,

Thank you for writing. First of all, I'm glad to hear that you're enjoying my book, Catholic Prayer Book for Mothers. It sure sounds like you have a busy life, being a wife and mother of a one-year-old and a two-year-old!

You know, many Catholic and Christian Moms are wondering the same thing as you: How can they do more and if they should do more? It's not surprising that you may feel impatient or frustrated at times because being a Mom is a sublime and busy vocation in which you are "on call" to your family twenty four a day, seven days a week. Even with help from your husband, most of the work in the home and with the children falls squarely on your shoulders. Try to offer your feelings of frustration or impatience to God and ask Him to help you. Pray for the graces to be able to deal with the difficulties that come with the territory of caring for a young family.

It's wonderful that you want to help others, but I don't want you to feel guilty for not doing so right now. You say you are wondering if you are "doing enough to serve God." 

I'd like to gently remind you that your children are very young right now and really need your guidance and presence to them at this point in their lives. I would like to put your mind at ease by letting you know that you are doing exactly what our dear Lord wants you to do by being there for your children and caring for them. God is depending on you to care for your family. He has placed you in the heart of your home specifically to work out your salvation there within your domestic church and to help your family work out theirs as well.

There's nothing wrong with you, from time to time, going out with your children (or without them if your husband or another relative or close friend can watch them for an hour or so) to visit a lonely neighbor or relative to bring them so cheer - to brighten their day with your smiling face and comforting words. You may know a new mother who could use a hand once in a while or merely your moral support. Perhaps you can visit her. You can also make a phone call to a relative or someone who could use some encouragement or would just love to hear a caring voice.

You can send out cards, letters, or emails to people you may know who would enjoy a friendly note. So, you see, there are things you can do from home which may seem little, but remember Blessed Mother Teresa preached that "small things done with great love bring love and peace." There are also things you can do outside your home as I mentioned, (visiting a lonely person, new mother, etc.), again, if you have proper care for your little ones or if you can take them with you without upsetting their routine. 

I'd like to also mention that you should try to get the rest that you need whenever you can because young children, as you know, are full of energy and in need of constant supervision and guidance. Being over-tired can make one feel grouchy, frustrated and impatient, right?

Perhaps you can meet with or talk to other like-minded mothers in your area and share your thoughts and your faith. Is there a Catholic or Christian play-group you can start or join? The kids can play nearby and the Moms can chat or even do a book study. Perhaps you'll even together come up with a wonderful apostolate in which you can help others - something to think and pray about. 

However, please don't be so hard on yourself, worrying about doing more right now. You're exactly where you should be, devoting yourself to the care of your family. Our Lord is pleased, I'm sure.

Enjoy your time with your children. As a mother of five children, I can attest to the fact that life speeds by and our children grow up so fast. My oldest just celebrated a birthday and reminded me once again how fast life speeds by. 

May God bless you and your family in your domestic church!


Stay tuned...

Tea With Donna-Marie is coming up soon!

If you have a question for Donna-Marie Cooper O'Boyle about living the Catholic Faith, email her at DMCOBoyle@aol.com with the words "Tea With Donna-Marie" in the subject line. Then check back here for her responses to your questions. By submitting your question, you are giving permission to have your question published here. Please indicate in your email if you'd like your name to be included or not. If you so desire, your name can be "Anonymous."