Posted by: akostecka | November 1, 2008

All Hallow’s Hospitality

All Hallow’s Eve was the perfect evening for trick-or-treating for our little family and a few friends in our little town.  What wonderful community spirit as we drove into town for a neighborhood experience.  Many from the outlying rural community are welcomed by the “in-town” neighborhood where houses are open to the immigrant young people who would knock on their doors. 

Posted by: akostecka | October 27, 2008

Get Your Rosaries on those Voting Booths!

Yes, it’s time to be a prayer warrior, so get out your rosaries and pray for this election!  Start your rosary novena for the election today!

This, from Catholic Exchange:

At first glance, there does not seem to be any commonality between the 1571 Battle of Lepanto and the presidential election of 2008. But there is an unmistakable link rooted in our history, our culture and in our shared Western Civilization. Though we are separated by generations from our ancestors who fought in the Mediterranean, the ideals and core beliefs that inspired Don Juan of Austria should impel Catholics today to martial and spiritual battle.

Two vastly differing ideas and world views are represented by the two leading candidates. Senator John McCain represents the noble idea of American exceptionalism: the belief that America is the inheritor of the best pearls of Western Civilization. America stands today as the most virile representative of that tradition, Europe having long since been rendered weak and bewildered after devastating wars and poisonous ideologies led her astray. America, while tolerant of and welcoming to all law-abiding peoples of any creed or none at all, is nevertheless a Christian nation. Even a superficial familiarity with the writings and intentions of our founding fathers reveal this fact. Furthermore, most of the founders were well-versed and steeped in the wisdom of the classics — what is sometime called the “Canon of Western Civilization.” John McCain will defend this tradition against the onslaught of relativism brought on by Senator Barack Obama.

In Obama, we see a man who, for decades, marinated his mind in the angry screeds and tracks of numerous radicals hostile to Western Civilization. Obama is a paragon of the multi-culturalist apostle wrapped in deceptive “rhetorical flourishes.” As Michael Knox Beran recently observed in National Review: “In Berlin, [Obama] spoke of tearing down the walls that separate Western nations from the rest of the world…This wall-wrecking sentiment is in some ways admirable, but those with a heritage as unique as ours can consent to such a demolition only if we are certain that the culture that has made us what we are will afterwards be safe.” With his relentless dabbling in moral relativism (the answer to when life begins as being “above my pay grade,” etc.) and multi-culturalism, Obama offers us few assurances that he cares a wit about the fate of Western Civilization, a civilization that has some very clear, unequivocal things to say about Truth and real culture.

No, this is not a military battle we face in the days leading up to November 4. But that hard-fought sea battle of 1571 and the political battle of ideas we face today are, mutatis mutandis, one and the same because our way of life, our Western heritage of Jerusalem, Athens, Rome, London and yes, Philadelphia, are at stake, just as it was when Don Juan took up his charge centuries ago aboard a ship under the banner of the Holy League. 

Posted by: akostecka | October 26, 2008

Change of Heart

Our family has taken part in the vigil called for in front of a nearby Planned Parenthood abortion facility.   With our six kids, we stand outside to peacefully (OK, so how peaceful can it really  be chasing around a three-year-old?) pray for an end to abortion, help for mothers seeking abortions, healing for mothers and fathers who have already had or assisted abortions, and a change of heart for those who agree with abortion. 

What is needed for a change of heart?  A change of heart is a change that takes place because of love, not fear.  I wouldn’t consider the saving of Niniveh a change of heart, but rather a change that was fear-based.  Mary’s anointing of Jesus’ feet and Zaccheus’ invitation were responses due to a real change of heart.  It was Pharoh’s hard and unchangeing heart which brought plague and death to his country.  There is a real battle going on out there.  While we stood in prayer, the friends of Planned Parenthood came out to counter-demonstrate in a sort of pary atmosphere with signs saying “Honk if you love Planned Parenthood” or “Planned Parenthood Saves Lives”  (you mean “says lies,” right?).  There is a battle for hard hearts.  The only hope is Jesus himself.  Jesus’ mercy.  Jesus’ suffering.  Jesus’ most humble love (pray for Divine Mercy ).

I am sorry that perhaps the Church has not always portrayed such love, suffering and mercy, but it is the truth she defends; it is the hard hearts that refuse to see how she is faithful to that very Jesus on the crucifix.  Has this bride of Christ become too pampered and not gritty enough in this country?  It is certainly not so in other countries where persecutions are on the rise. 

Please pray for Spain and our Latin American neighbors to the south.  See here what change of heart is needed for women who think that they must grasp at “freedom” by asserting their rights.  Such grasping (cf. Phil. 2:6)would not be necessary if there were real men who would die for their brides (cf. Ephesians 5). 

Pray for good and holy men.  Pray for good and holy women who would trust and receive them with hearts of flesh.

Posted by: akostecka | October 21, 2008

Attention Voters!

Two things:

1.   Form your conscience.

2.   Vote your conscience.

Posted by: akostecka | October 14, 2008

Who Wants to be a Martyr?

The path to holiness is so hard to choose.  A group of friends mused together that it would be easier to be a dramatic martyr who, when asked to renounce God at knife-point, would look the accuser in the eye and say with confidence, “no! Never!  God is God and I live and die for God, take my life!”  Most of us, though in choosing a holy path are not faced with such dramatic situations, but there is a sort of martyrdom that we face; the daily struggle with sin in our lives.  Sins that come from the world (ie. materialism and greed) and from the flesh (ie. pleasure and comfort).  All sins are selfish at the heart of them and it is the dying to self that is martyrdom for most of us as we struggle with our own particular crosses. 

My husband and I were praying the sorrowful mysteries of the rosary together this morning when God’s grace helped me realize something.  The fourth sorrowful mystery is “the carrying of the cross;” while meditating on that, I saw my cross as the sins that I regularly struggle with, the ones which I regularly have to die to in the sense of a martyr.  A martyr is faced with life and death, and so are we when we choose God or we choose our selfishness.  We face a hundred little martyrdoms every day.  A hundred little deaths every day.  A hundred opportunities to tell the accuser, “I live for God alone!” and die to self. 

With so any little occasions every day to selfishly give in or to die to self and live for God, how can we stay strong and have the grace to choose the right thing?  Praying the rosary and meditating on the mystery of the carrying of the cross gave me the answer I needed to become a little saint!  God’s grace!  Who can we imitate?  Who is FULL of grace?  Mary.  “Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with you…”  O that we can empty ourselves of all that is selfish and sinful and let God’s grace fill us! 

With so any little occasions every day to selfishly give in or to die to self and live for God, how can we have the strength to die to our selfishness?  By God’s grace and by the holy prayers of Mary at the very time we need it the most–the hour of our dying to self.  We need prayers for grace to overcome sin and self every time we are at knife-point when we can choose selfishness or God.  “…pray for us sinners now and at the hour of our death” to self!  It’s no wonder that we say this line 53 times in the course of a rosary because we plead God for the grace to be able to persevere now and at the hour of our death to self.  There are probably many more occasions to die to self, but it is that moment, at knife-point that we need Our Lady’s prayers that we be filled with the grace of God to be a martyr.

Posted by: akostecka | October 9, 2008

Economic Prophecy

You must read this article that I didn’t have time to write, but Rev. Dwight Longnecker did it for me, here it is from Inside Catholic:

Pope John Paul II prophesied just such a collapse. He said that there were two materialistic, atheistic, economic and social systems: communism and secular capitalism. Both were doomed because both were built on a system without God, and therefore without morality, without respect for human rights, without concern for others, and without real concern for either individual human beings or society as a whole.

John Paul II said that both systems would eventually collapse because it was impossible — given their philosophical presuppositions — to stand. Pope Benedict XVI has reasserted the same truth by saying that the whole monetary system is a house built on sand. Such a house cannot stand, and the fall of a splendidly, luxurious house built on sand is even more spectacular and tragic to behold.


Please read the rest of this article because you will ba amazed at how JPII appeals to the conscience of those in power to look out for the common good of people.  We have seen not only a collapse of the market, but a collapse of (well-formed) conscience driven economy that the MBA ethics classes didn’t influence.


Posted by: akostecka | October 9, 2008

True Freedom

Eric Foner of Columbia University argues that traditionally-held American values of free-market capitalism and Christian morality are inherently contradictory.  I think that absolutely necessary for a good free market are people working within it who have well-formed consciences!!  Without SELF RESTRAINT, and a concern for the COMMON GOOD, the invisible hand of the free market becomes selfish and miserable.  The speaker sounds a lot like JPII to me who said, “If freedom is not used, is not taken advantage of by love, it becomes a negative thing and gives human beings a feeling of emptiness and unfulfillment.”   Further, the Catechism of the Catholic Church says,

The more one does what is good, the freer one becomes.  There is no true freedom except in the service of what is good and just.  #1733


Posted by: akostecka | October 7, 2008

Grace in Hard Times

Hard times are hard, no question, but what good ever came from anything too easy?  Today’s New York Times has an article about the state of health in hard economic times.  Knowing that hardship brings out the best in humans, I welcome an economic recession and rely on God’s grace to bring out the best in me and my fellow man.  The greatest grace that comes from hard times seems to be a re-orientation to the things that matter most–family, love of neighbor and may I add, love of God. 

 “…economic studies suggest that people tend not to take care of themselves in boom times — drinking too much (especially before driving), dining on fat-laden restaurant meals and skipping exercise and doctors’ appointments because of work-related time commitments.

“The value of time is higher during good economic times,” said Grant Miller, an assistant professor of medicine at Stanford. “So people work more and do less of the things that are good for them, like cooking at home and exercising; and people experience more stress due to the rigors of hard work during booms.”

Similar patterns have been seen in some developing nations. Dr. Miller, who is studying the effects of fluctuating coffee prices on health in Colombia, says that even though falling prices are bad for the economy, they appear to improve health and mortality rates. When prices are low, laborers have more time to care for their children.

Could it be that during economic boom times we become so distracted by money and the things it can buy that we loose sight of what in life is really important?  If an economic downturn is what we need to regain sight of what is important (love God, love others), then I joyfully and hopefully welcome it!!

Posted by: akostecka | September 30, 2008

Economic Truth

You gotta check out the table of contents of this Compendium.  Whoa.  Looks rich indeed, and speaks the Truth about our economic times.

This from 354.:

With a view to the common good, it is necessary to pursue always and with untiring determination the goal of a proper equilibrium between private freedom and public action, understood both as direct intervention in economic matters and as activity supportive of economic development. In any case, public intervention must be carried out with equity, rationality and effectiveness, and without replacing the action of individuals, which would be contrary to their right to the free exercise of economic initiative. In such cases, the State becomes detrimental to society: a direct intervention that is too extensive ends up depriving citizens of responsibility and creates excessive growth in public agencies guided more by bureaucratic logic than by the goal of satisfying the needs of the person.[738]

So much to chew on here.  No time to ruminate, must sleep tonight. 

I heard about this from Fr. Roderick’s Daily Breakfast #550.  Give it a listen!

Posted by: akostecka | September 9, 2008

It takes a Family

I am a recovering feminist, I admit.  This beautiful mind tells us why.  Someone like Sarah Pallin is a living testimony to true femininity in all it’s beauty and complexity!!

OK, I’ve just heard a lecture here and a few things here about author Dr. Jennifer Roback Morse.  I can’t wait to read her book, It Takes a Family to Raise a Village.

From an article,

If it takes a village to raise a child, what does it take to raise a village?

It takes a family to raise a village. Without the family, the village itself can not function. If the family breaks down, or fails to form in the first place, the “village” can not possibly provide adequate help to repair the damage. The family does something the “village” can not do for itself, namely bring the next generation into being, and socialize them into the kind of people who can participate in a free society. Without the family doing its job, the state will necessarily grow larger, more expensive and more intrusive.

See why I can’t wait?  Who else needs to read this book?

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