Thumbs Up, Baby!

This child is giving a thumbs up sign in an ultrasound. The image was posted by a Reddit user known as meancloth. One of the best ultrasound portraits I’ve seen in months, maybe in this past year.



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Passion of St. John the Baptist

This is the memorial of the Passion of St. John the Baptist.

John was a prophet, the cousin of Jesus, who preached that the Messiah was among the people, then recognized Him and baptized Him. Baptism was already an ancient custom, a sign of renewal or repentance, but John proclaimed a greater baptism than the world had seen before, because the Redeemer was alive.

When Herod married his sister-in-law, who was likely also Herod’s own relative, John declared the marriage invalid. It wasn’t a mere dispute among neighbors. Political powers and dynastic wealth hung in the balance when people of Herod’s and Herodias’s stations married. John was imprisoned, and executed, for speaking the truth.

Here, found at Catholic Culture, is a litany of John the Baptist:

Lord, have mercy on us. Christ, have mercy on us.
Christ, hear us. Christ, graciously hear us.

God the Father of Heaven, Have mercy on us.

God the Son, Redeemer of the world, Have mercy on us.

God the Holy Ghost, Have mercy on us.

Holy Trinity, One God, Have mercy on us.

Holy Mary, pray for us.
Queen of Prophets, pray for us.
Queen of Martyrs, pray for us.
Saint John the Baptist, pray for us.
St. John the Baptist, precursor of Christ, pray for us.
St. John the Baptist, glorious forerunner of the Sun of Justice, pray for us.
St. John the Baptist, minister of baptism to Jesus, pray for us.
St. John the Baptist, burning and shining lamp of the world, pray for us.
St. John the Baptist, angel of purity before thy birth, pray for us.
St. John the Baptist, special friend and favorite of Christ, pray for us.
St. John the Baptist, heavenly contemplative, whose element was prayer, pray for us.
St. John the Baptist, intrepid preacher of truth, pray for us.
St. John the Baptist, voice crying in the wilderness, pray for us.
St. John the Baptist, miracle of mortification and penance, pray for us.
St. John the Baptist, example of profound humility, pray for us.
St. John the Baptist, glorious martyr of zeal for God’s holy law, pray for us.
St. John the Baptist, gloriously fulfilling thy mission, pray for us.
Lamb of God, Who takest away the sins of the world, Spare us, O Lord.

Lamb of God, Who takest away the sins of the world, Hear us, O Lord.

Lamb of God, Who takest away the sins of the world, Have mercy on us.

Christ, hear us. Christ, graciously hear us.

V. Pray for us, O glorious St. John the Baptist,
R. That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.

Let us Pray:

O God, Who hast honored this world by the birth of Saint John the Baptist, grant that Thy faithful people may rejoice in the way of eternal salvation, through Jesus Christ Our Lord.

R. Amen.



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A Few Things I Wish More People Knew: Just My Opinion

The web is full of hacks, tips, hints and facts (some true, some false) that “you need to know” or “you didn’t know”. But while you may get through the day pretty well never organizing your scrapbooking supplies and not knowing which fruit is supposed to help you stay awake, there are some misunderstandings that can affect day-to-day social life for many people.

My experience is not everyone’s experience, and some might see things differently, but here’s my two cents on a few day-to-day social issues on my mind:

When you’re driving, and you are gesturing, and looking at the passenger and slapping the steering wheel without looking out the windshield, your passenger is not impressed with your passionate expression of your position. Your passenger is not aware of the subject, quite likely. Your passenger is likley thinking, please put your hands on the wheel and drive.

On a bus, if someone you don’t know is reading or writing anything, he or she almost certainly does not want to be asked about it, or to be read-over-shoulder.

In any context, if you ask a question and/or make a conversational comment, and there is any reason to think the other person is 1) trying to focus on something such as a complex or precise task, 2) trying to hear something, e.g. is on a phone, or 3) tired or unable to speak, e.g. it is morning, or you are on a cross-country bus in the wee hours, or the person has a swollen cheek as if fresh from dental work, and if that person grunts, nods, shrugs, looks stressed and does not speak, that is a clue that he or she will not be conversing with you and that it is not personal.

If you are at a public gathering, such as church, a meeting or a party, and a person you greet nods and rushes past you, the person needs to deal with something — perhaps a personal hygiene or grooming issue, a parking meter, a vibrating phone, something — and cannot stop right now. The person will probably want to talk as soon as the issue is dealt with. Again, it is not personal.

Speaking of personal, if you ask a personal question of someone you don’t know very well, and the other person gives a nonanswer or changes the subject, do not repeat the question. He or she heard you and is deciding not to answer because it was a personal question.  Likewise, if you state an opinion and the other person is silent and grim, and then avoids the subject, the person very likely disagrees and is not ready to discuss it with you until giving the conversation some thought and planning how to approach the disagreement. Do not keep repeating your opinion more and more loudly, and do not imply agreement, as by stating your view, then grinning and hugging the other person. Just don’t. To do so reduces the odds of ever winning your friend over on the subject.

And if you are talking to someone who keeps backing away, he or she is not — repeat, not — leading you to abetter place to talk. He or she is getting farther away on purpose, because you are standing too close.

Speaking of too close, there are hundreds of degrees of acquaintanceship, from complete strangers to soulmates. Almost everyone you interact with in a normal day will be somewhere in the middle. Though some relationships develop and become closer over time, this involves a lot of time, measured in years or even decades, not seconds, minutes, hours or even days. Not even weeks. It can move either way, as well; people sometimes grow closer, but sometimes they grow away from each other. This can be accidental — a move, a job change, graduation — or personal — someone offended someone, someone has become disappointed with someone — or something in between — someone’s views are changing, making old friendships hard to maintain. The thing is, though, with very, very few exceptions, the one who wants more distance has veto power over the one who wants to be closer. Almost always, if you think someone acted close to you and then suddenly pushed you away, you misread something. There was usually nothing sudden about it.


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Daily Catholic Quote from St. Augustine of Hippo : The Integrated Catholic Life™

August 28th is the Feast of St. Augustine. He was a small-town juvenile delinquent who became a scholar in the big city, lived in sin and spent money like there was no tomorrow, taught heresy, thought he knew everything, and felt increasingly uneasy. Meanwhile, his mother, St. Monica, whose feast day is August 27th, was praying for him night and day. Augustine converted over the course of an afternoon walk around a courtyard with a friend. He said it just grew in him while he walked. He became a doctor of the church and preached against sin and heresy for the rest of his life, expressing his regret at how late in life he had found the truth.

Daily Catholic Quote from St. Augustine of Hippo : The Integrated Catholic Life™.

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Queenship of Mary: Fr. Barron on What It Means; Also, Celebration Ideas


August 22 is the Feast of the Queenship of Mary.

What does it mean to say Mary is Queen of Heaven?

Found at Catholicwideweb’s Blog, here’s Fr. Barron.

If your family likes to bake cakes and cookies, here’s a Crown Cake found at Catholic Cuisine.

Catholic Inspired has these ornament crafts.

And a prayer to Our Lady, Queen of Heaven, found at Catholic Culture:

O Mary, when our eyes close in our last sleep, and open to behold thy Son, the Just Judge, and the Angel opens the Book, and the Enemy accuses us; in that terrible hour, come to our aid. Be with us. When death came to Joseph, you and your Son were with him: Thy Son to judge, thou to console. O Happy Joseph! When death comes for us, be near us. O Mary, when we are held captive in the place of atonement; plead for us, and visit us, that we may find consolation in thy presence. Stretch forth thy hand to help us; deliver us from our bondage. We are thy children: Thou art our Mother. As little children we come to thee; we know no fear. O Mary, He changed water into wine for thee, even as He said: My hour has not yet come. Now He will not refuse thee, when you plead for us thy children. O Mary, come quickly to our aid. Do not let us stray from the Fold. The wolf is waiting to destroy us. There shall be neither night nor day to thy praises. Adoration to the Father Who created thee! Adoration to they Son, Who took flesh from thee! Adoration to the Holy Spirit, Thy Divine Spouse! Three in One, One in Three. Equal in all things. To Him be glory for ever. For ever. For ever. Amen.


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Music Times Interview on Counter Trafficking

Originally posted on DavidMZach:

Here’s an interview I did with a great lady named Kim Jones of Music Times.  We ended up talking for an hour on the phone about human trafficking and the fight against it.


“Remedy Drive’s song, “Commodity,” has spent six weeks at #1 and the story behind it has already made the rounds. In this exclusive interview, David Zach goes deeper into why he is so passionate about human trafficking and doing something to stop it.

Kim Jones – Human trafficking has become a buzz word in the media, but many people really have no concept of what it is or where it happens. How did you personally go from seeing it in the news to actually taking a trip with The Exodus Road to see it up close and personal?

David Zach – My first attachment to the injustice to children was watching the Kony 2012 video where boys…

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Celebrating Assumption Day

August 15th is the Feast of the Assumption, celebrating the physical taking up of the Virgin Mary into Heaven. It is the oldest feast of Mary in the Christian calendar, going back to the Sixth Century AD or earlier.

According to Fr. Francis Weiser in a piece found at Catholic Culture, the month of August, the period from August 15th to September 15th, and especially Assumption Day itself, are times for the blessing of herbs and grapes, believed in Medieval Europe to be especially wholesome if they are harvested at this time.

Armenians fast for a week, then celebrate the feast on the 14th, 15th and 16th, then observe an octave. Similarly, Sicilians abstain from fruit either fully or partly for the first two weeks of August in preparation for the Feast of the Assumption. On the day itself, they bring fruit to church to have it blessed, then give one another baskets of fruit and serve the fruit at dinnertime.

In parts of France, church pageants traditionally celebrated the day, in which “figures of angels descended within the church to a flowery “sepulchre” and reascended again with an image of the Blessed Virgin dazzlingly robed, while boys dressed as angels played [hymns on keyboard] with wooden mallets [.]

Processions have been an Assumption Day tradition for 1300 years. Participants pray, in some places walking in fields to ask for a blessing on the harvest. It is also a day to ask a blessing on animals and on nature itself, the mountains and valleys and forests nearby, and on the sea and the fishing boats.What celebrations can a family partake in at home?Catholic Inspired has this craft idea, and this homemade coloring/pop-up art is posted on Catholic Mom (H/T Simple Catholic Living).Catholic Cuisine suggests this salad and these lavender sticks.Happy Assumption Day.

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