Grandma Catholic

“When the babushkas [pious grandmothers] of Russia die, the Church will die.” — Joseph Stalin

I have a dear friend who is a woman of faith, joy, humor, humility, who is totally grounded in reality and has a mother’s compassionate heart that extends to everyone she encounters. She’s theologically astute and deeply prayerful. She’s a wife, mom, has worked in both secular and ecclesial professions and has an amazing ability to think in both worlds.

As we’ve shared ideas in the past, I’ve gained lots of wisdom, a bit of which I’d like to share here (with her permission). I’ll put them loosely in her words and follow each of them up with a quote that sprang to mind as I thought of her insights.

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1. “Adore the Lord in his holy court.” — Psalm 29:2. Eucharistic Adoration before the exposed Blessed Sacrament is a life-changing power. Just plant your knees in front of that Host and be prepared for God to act in your life in “crazy” ways. God’s never outdone in generosity. Move an inch, He’ll run a mile. Bring your kids. Go as a couple. Just show up and He’ll show up. It’s a no-brainer way to grow in your spiritual life and to bring others to Christ. You can’t spend time in front of the Blessed Sacrament and NOT change.  You may not feel it then, because it is subtle and happens inch by inch, but you can see your way of looking at things change.  It’s like putting on “spiritual glasses” that give you the ability to see things different – even when life does not make sense or is dragging you where you don’t want to go.  Every now and then I find myself not wanting to go to my scheduled hour because I don’t want to let my mind race over the things I have to worry about.  But I go – knowing that after I share my cross with Him, He will send someone to be my “Simon of Cyrene” when I don’t think I can carry life’s burdens.  

To converse with You, O King of glory, no third person is needed, You are always ready in the Sacrament of the Altar to give audience to all. All who desire You always find You there, and converse with You face to face. — St. Teresa of Avila

2. “The Pharisees saw this and said to his disciples, ‘Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?’” — Matthew 9:11. I like hanging with the sinners, not the perfect people. First, because I relate more to the sinners since I am one.  Secondly, because Jesus hung out with them. Unless you’re going to form an exclusive devout-Catholics-only club, which I don’t think is what we’re supposed to do, you won’t be able to relate to us regular people. Sinners are more likely to recognize the messiness of life and walk with me when my life gets messy. They don’t judge me for not being perfect. Besides, you can’t really evangelize if you won’t let yourself be at home among people who don’t share your enthusiasm for the a life of prayer and faith.  

Evangelizing pre-supposes a desire in the Church to come out of herself. The Church is called to come out of herself and to go to the peripheries, not only geographically, but also the existential peripheries: the mystery of sin, of pain, of injustice, of ignorance and indifference to religion, of intellectual currents, and of all misery.– Pope Francis

3. “I recall your sincere faith that first lived in your grandmother Lois and in your mother Eunice and that I am confident lives also in you.” — 2 Timothy 1:5. I’m proud to be a Grandma Catholic. When I was younger, I was always super self-conscious about public expressions of faith. I was very private and avoided making people uncomfortable by showing my Catholicism in word or action. But now that I’m older, and this is the grace of age, I don’t care so much about what people think of what I say or do. With age comes wisdom, and wisdom makes you realize what’s really important and what’s not. I feel freer to pray with people, to share my faith, to invite people to Adoration. I make full use of my maternal heart which, because of my age, is more and more like a grandmotherly heart. And you know grandmothers, they can get away with just about anything.

Today, as the Church seeks to experience a profound missionary renewal there is a kind of preaching which falls to each of us as a daily responsibility. It has to do with bringing the Gospel to the people we meet, whether they are our neighbors or complete strangers. This is the informal preaching that takes place in the middle of a conversation, something like what a missionary does when visiting a home. Being a disciple means being constantly ready to bring the love of Jesus to others and this can happen unexpectedly anyplace: on the street in a city, or during work or in a city square or on a journey.

In this preaching, which is always gentle, the first step is personal dialogue, when the other person speaks and shares his or her joys, hopes, and concerns for loved ones, or so many other heartfelt needs. Only afterwards is it possible to bring up God’s word, perhaps by reading a Bible verse or relating a story, but always keeping in mind the fundamental message: the personal love of God who became man, who gave himself up for us, who is living and who offers us his salvation and his friendship. This message has to be shared humbly as a testimony on the part of one who is always willing to learn, in the awareness that the message is so rich and so deep that it always exceeds our grasp. — Pope Francis, Evangelii Gaudium

Taken from

5 comments on “Grandma Catholic

  1. Pam H. says:

    I’m a “devout” sinner who’s afraid to open up to to sinners who reject the Church’s teaching. Usually, when I say something to try to help them turn to God, they seem to want to tear me to pieces. And I don’t say things in a harsh, judgmental manner – just expressing (in a toned-down manner) sadness or concern over the bad choices they make. So it’s not cut-and-dried. I know I’m supposed to want persecutions, but I can’t seem to do that. I think it’s partly because I’m not gregarious or an extrovert. I do think I recognize the “messiness of life”, but the sinners I know seem convinced that it’s okay – that that’s just the way things are, and they don’t seem to hope for anything better. So I don’t say much, just share my food and listen. But I don’t feel like I “relate” to them.

  2. Jeane says:

    Love this post, Tom.
    The title drew me in, then the picture (I could see myself). The first section about adoration absolutely rang true. It is a no-brainer. You can’t not be changed (affected positively) by it.

    • Well, that’s because it’s you are the exemplary Grandma Catholic, unafraid to be unabashedly Catholic with anyone you meet! 🙂 Yes re Adoration, and if you knew the woman of whom I speak here you would see it’s radiant effects in her life. Love to all the Clan!

  3. Tory says:

    Frankly I think that’s abustolely good stuff.

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