Consciously Catholic

Stop going through the motions; awaken to the beauty of Catholicism.

Author: lbharding

Aspiring to Bite-Sized Sainthood

“We are all called to be saints.” Sadly, I don’t think I heard this phrase until I was in my late twenties. I remember being told we are called to be holy during catechism growing up, however, I ignorantly never put the two together. I always saw the saints as better than human, I guess. Near angels called by God to impact the word with great and grandiose works. I was reading a Matthew Kelly book when I first heard/read that we are all called to be saints and, boy, was it convicting. At the time I wasn’t even fulfilling my responsibility to attend weekly mass and it became so apparent how little I expected of myself. My standards were low and I had never even imagined that God had sent me here to impact anyone. I was selfish and living completely for myself truly believing I didn’t have much to offer. Continue reading

For Love of the Church- Facing Victims of Clergy Abuse

Growing up I remember imagining the devil and demons being unable to enter a Catholic church; vividly seeing them shudder from the light, shrieking and cringing with every prayer. I thought everyone who entered our parish was instantly safe and no evil could be done within those walls. The priests and nuns I encountered seemed super-human, as if they didn’t struggle with temptation. They were like religious superheroes in my adolescent mind. As I grew up I realized this wasn’t entirely true, but there was still that sacredness of a Catholic church and the trustworthy faithfulness of those who served her.

When news first broke regarding the appalling behavior of Cardinal McCarrick followed by the Pennsylvania Grand Jury Report, I sadly did everything I could to avoid hearing the disturbing details. Instead I tried to focus on my faith, grateful I’ve only known good shepherds who have faithfully served their parishes and communities. Yes, I was angry about the abuse, especially the incomprehensible manner in which leaders of the Church had dealt with these most awful of crimes for DECADES, but I didn’t want to face the individual victims. It was easier to generalize and not know specifics; to have the ability to hide from their horror.
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Call the Midwife and The Stories that Can’t be Told

I recently became a fan of the British television show Call the Midwife and was particularly captivated by the fifth episode in season two which features a mother of a large family who is experiencing many mental and emotional struggles as she finds herself expecting yet again. Her story is heart wrenching as you see a woman depicted as reaching her breaking point. She ends up having serious complications after a back alley abortion gone wrong.

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Dear Millenial Women, Motherhood is Nothing to Fear

The following is a piece I wrote for a contest by Women Speak for Themselves. I am honored they chose it as the winning entry.

Dear Hesitant Future Mother,

I’ve been there. The youngest of four children I had very little experience with kids except for my nieces and nephews. And, trust me, I wasn’t that fun aunt they couldn’t wait to see or begged to have sleepovers with. I just existed… across the room… unsure how to interact with them. Honestly, kids terrified me and I was convinced they could smell my fear like a wild animal about to attack its prey.

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The Beginning of the Journey

Growing up and through my early 20’s I regret to admit I fed into a stereotype many have about Catholics; I was going through the motions but not investing myself, my time, or my energy into my faith. As I now think of it, I was unconscious, shut down from the beauty of my faith as I strove for acceptance in our growingly secular society. Who wants to be the religious nut?

So where did striving for societal acceptance get me? I had plenty of friends, a nice career, an amazingly wonderful husband (still do), but I felt incomplete. A type of incomplete that I knew could not be remedied by anyone but myself… or so I thought. I knew it wasn’t up to my husband and I knew a simple career change wouldn’t make a difference. I felt it was internal.

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