Welcome to the Catholic Catalogue Book Club! We’re reading The Catholic Catalogue, by Melissa Musick and Anna Keating.
Chapters 61-73 in The Catholic Catalogue cover a wide range of topics, but the overarching theme is intentionality. From naming a child to finding a spiritual director, these important activities constitute an active faith life.
The chapter that resonated the most with me was “How to Name a Child,” and I couldn’t help but remember my own journey of naming my six children.
When I was expecting my first child, my husband and I decided to be surprised by the baby’s gender. We poured over name books and finally settled on two: Anna Grace for a girl and Joseph Gregory for a boy. I always liked the name Grace, and adding Anna to it meant her name would mean “grace upon grace” (John 1:16). My husband’s name is Gregory, and the tradition in his family is for the firstborn son to have Dad’s first name as his middle name.
So, with two solid names, rooted in faith and filled with tradition, we waited patiently for Baby’s arrival. And she was born in November 2002. As we welcomed Anna into our hearts, we filed away the name Joseph Gregory for (hopefully) another child.
We were blessed with two more girls after Anna, and again we discerned their names through the lens of our Catholic faith: Olivia Mary and Lucia Therese. And then the most surprising news came when our youngest was only 18 months old: we were going to have twins!
We decided to find out the genders of the twins. With so many doctor appointments and ultrasounds, it would be hard to keep it a surprise anyway. Much to our delight, we finally were going to have a boy … and another girl! As we prayed about names for these two blessings, it surprised us that the name Joseph didn’t come up. What? No Joseph? But it was clear that our son would be Luke Gregory (2 Timothy 4:11), and his sister would be Veronica Madeline.
Two years later, we were overjoyed to discover that Luke would have a brother. My husband was confident that his name would be Joseph, but I wasn’t so sure. Then, at the beginning of Advent 2010, I attended a penance service. As I stood in line for Confession, I couldn’t keep my eyes off of the St. Joseph statue. I tried to look away, but he kept inviting me to gaze upon him and the Child Jesus, who he was holding. I held an internal conversation with him. I knew he was encouraging me to name my child after him. Finally, I said, “OK, if I end up going to Confession at the station that is set up directly under you, I will name this baby Joseph.” And sure enough, as I reached the front of the line, the priest right below St. Joseph became available for me to go to Confession. I was overjoyed that St. Joseph invited us to name our son after him in such a special way. I knew that he would watch over our son and entire family from that moment on. Joseph Ignatius was born just days later.
I know this reflection focuses on just one theme from Chapters 61-73, but it’s what touched me the most in the reading. As for the rest of this section, it confirmed in me a real zeal for being a member of God’s family. As Catholic Christians, we are part of an incredibly rich and vibrant history, filled with traditions that are intended to be lived out with purpose. It is exciting! But it can also appear overwhelming, with so much to learn and understand. But with open hearts, God will gradually bless us with a growing faith and a clearer understanding, so we can grow closer to Him and share Him with others.
To Ponder, Reflect, and Discuss:
- In Chapters 61-73, what topic touched you the most?
- What special memories did these chapters call to mind?
- Is there anything in these chapters that you want to know more about, such as retreats or spiritual direction?
Feel free to comment on your own thoughts from this week’s reading, your impressions and reflections, and/or your answers to these questions.
Next week, we’ll complete our Book Club time together with Part Three: Seasons of Life (#74-82). For the complete reading schedule and information about our Book Club, visit the Catholic Catalogue Book Club page.
Copyright 2016 Sarah Damm