JESUS WEPT.

"Jesus wept." It is the shortest phrase in the Bible (John 11:35) and yet it is, to me, one of the most powerful.

Jesus wept.

What does it mean to weep? I typically don't say I "wept" when I'm crying tears of frustration after being pushed to the brink by my kids, or when I stub my toe so hard on the door frame, or even when I cry tears of joy. No, to me, weeping implies something much deeper. Tears from the soul, that stem from a grief no words can encompass. A sorrow so deep it cannot be contained, so deep it must be given an exit, an exit in the form of saltwater streaming down my cheeks.

Jesus wept.

And I believe He is weeping now, that His sorrow over this massive wound in my beloved Catholic Church is so deep it must have an outlet, so deep it cannot be contained.

I, like so many Catholics, am shaken to my core over the findings of the Pennsylvania Grand Jury report released this week. I am gutted, heartbroken, sick, shattered, confused and, yes, mad as hell. I want to march on...I don't even know...St. Peter's Square with torches burning demanding an answer. I want to know who knew what, who covered what up, how high up does the abuse and scandal go? I want to know. As a member of this Church I call home, I deserve to know.

I believe wholeheartedly in the power of prayer. I believe prayer should be our first step, in every single circumstance. A terrorist attack overseas, a high school shooting in Florida, a police involved shooting in St. Louis. First, and always first, prayer. For the victims, for the perpetrators, for everyone involved. I know that idea is probably unpopular. What good is talking to God - usually in my head, not even out loud - going to do? But I take my model from Jesus, and Jesus prayed. He prayed a lot. He acted, of course. He healed and talked and acted (and flipped tables out of righteous anger) but first and most important, He prayed. He stayed tethered to his Father through an ongoing conversation with Him, and we simply cannot forget that.

I also believe prayer without action is futile. You can pray for a job all you want, but to offer those prayers without putting pen to paper on job applications is ridiculous. "God helps those who help themselves"; I've seen this to be true in my own life again and again. Pray AND act. PRAY and act. Pray and ACT.

We cannot simply pray for the victims of this horrific abuse. We cannot simply pray for healing for our beautiful Church. We cannot simply pray for a resolution. We can pray, and we must pray. And we also must act.

It's usually the acting that feels murky to me. What do you actually do? Who do you actually contact? What do you actually say?

I certainly don't have all the answers, but here is where I've started. I titled every email "Regarding the Pennsylvania Grand Jury Report."

  • I've emailed my bishop. You can copy the wording I used here (taken almost entirely from this post shared by @themerrierworld on instagram.)
  • I've emailed my parish priest. You can copy the wording I used here.
  • I've emailed the Director of Vocations for our diocese. You can copy the wording I used here.
  • I've emailed the Vicar of Clergy for our diocese. You can copy the wording I used here.
  • I've emailed the Papal Nuncio for the United States, who reports directly to the pope. You can copy the wording I used here.

I've been dialoguing with my husband and Catholic friends. Talking about the hard things, the questions we have, the ways our faith has been shaken, how we can move forward amidst such atrocities. Do not underestimate the power of community. The devil wants nothing more than to separate and divide, to make us feel as though we're alone in our sorrow, disgust and outrage. Fight his lies. There are millions of Catholics in the United States and I'd be willing to bet the vast majority feel the way I do.

I've been reminding myself that as gutted as I am, Jesus is a thousand times more so. As angry as I am, Jesus is even more. He yearns for justice more than I ever could, for healing more than I could ever imagine. No one cares about people the way He cares about people. No one wants to see His church rise from the ashes more than Him. And no one is more capable of carrying this heavy, heavy burden than He is.

Finally, let us remember what we're fighting against. It is not us versus priests or us versus bishops or even us versus policies and procedures, it is us versus evil. It is us versus evil.

And one group's hurt does not undermine another's. The victims' deep wounds do not negate the fact that all across the nation and world, righteous priests are also hurting. The priests' hurt does not negate the victims' deep wounds. Focusing on who's hurting more or whose hurt matters more does not unite us to action, it divides and weakens us. We - all of us, all across the Church - are hurting. And I believe Jesus can - and will - bear it all.

Let us rise up together. Let us use our prayers AND our actions. Let us not wait for change, let us demand it. Let us be the hands and feet of Jesus to heal these horrific wounds. Let us be the ones who say "I will not be silent. I will not sit idly by. I will stand it no more. I WILL NOT."

"We've had enough exhortations to be silent. Cry out with a thousand tongues. I see the world is rotten because of silence." St. Catherine of Siena

A few more links and posts I've resonated with, if you care to read:

This instagram post from @brickhouseinthecity was everything I wanted to express.

This instagram post from @shannonkevans

This instagram post from @themerrierworld

This instagram post from @thismessygrace

This instagram post from @findingphilothea

This "open letter from young Catholics" was spot on

Bishop Barron's call for a lay investigation.

Simcha Fisher's letter to priests.

Matt Walsh: there must be a purge in the Catholic Church.

Jenny Uebbing's essay on why she'll never leave the church.

A great article on the virtues of Catholic anger.

And if you're in the Diocese of Lafayette-in-Indiana, here are all the email addresses you need should you want to share your thoughts:

  • Bishop Timothy Doherty: bishop@dol-in.org
  • Fr. Dale Ehrman, Vicar of Clergy: derhman@dol-in.org
  • Fr. Clayton Thompson, Director of Vocations (oversees seminarians): vocations@dol-in.org
  • Papal Nuncio in the USA: nuntiususa@nuntiususa.org

Mary, Mother of God, pray for us.

UPDATE: Cardinal DiNardo's most recent statement is very encouraging, and gives me so much hope. Read it here.

36 hours in louisville

Two weeks ago, Matt and I drove two and a half hours south to Louisville, Kentucky. Our five-year wedding anniversary was at the beginning of July, and wanted to get away, if only for a night, to celebrate. On our honeymoon we decided we'd go to Rome for our 5th anniversary (LOL - a major house renovation derailed that plan) so then we talked about Charleston, Nashville, South Haven? Then we decided to nix a trip altogether, with the renovation and all that we have going on. My mom encouraged us to go somewhere - anywhere - just for some time away to recharge, and I'm so grateful for her encouragement (and babysitting!) Matt is a big bourbon lover, so we settled on Louisville - it was close, super affordable and we could do some of the bourbon trail while we there.

I was totally surprised by how cool Louisville is, even if you aren't a huge bourbon or horse racing fan! There was so much to see and do, the food was amazing and everyone we met was so nice. We will definitely be back!

Tons of instagram followers gave me great suggestions on where to eat and what to do, so I figured I'd pay it forward and share our trip with you, if you ever find yourself in Louisville or decide to plan a trip!

We stayed at the Courtyard Marriott at 2nd and Main, which was a great location. Right on Whiskey Row, walkable to the riverfront and Bats stadium, and a short one-mile walk to East Market/NuLu, which is such a cute area. If I had to do it over again, I'd probably stay at the AC Hotel in NuLu, but the Courtyard was great for one night and a quick stay!

2018-08-07_0008.jpg

After checking in, we headed to Feast BBQ which was a great way to kick off our trip. Matt got the sliced brisket and I got the pulled pork and both were amazing. I really liked the vibe of the place, too. They had some cool-sounding cocktails - we tried the bourbon slushie and it was amazing.

2018-08-07_0022.jpg

We wandered around the East Market/NuLu area after lunch, which is just the coolest neighborhood. I really loved the artwork on the buildings and all the potted plants - like this collection of flowers growing in buckets and old sinks!

2018-08-07_0005.jpg

We checked out some really cool shops, like Scout (above) and Mahonia (below). Both were so well curated and total eye candy. They had me dreaming about the day I own my own shop full of gorgeous home goods, plants, antiques, who knows what else! I got so much inspiration from both places.

2018-08-07_0006.jpg

We popped into Please & Thank You for chocolate chip cookies, which were unanimously recommended as the BEST cookies in Louisville. They definitely did not disappoint, and we even brought one home for Xavier! My parents always brought my brothers and I little treats when they went away on trips, and I love the idea of starting that same tradition.

The Bats were playing at home, so we decided to take in a ball game while we were there (Matt is a huge baseball fan!) and it was fun to check that off the summer bucket list. Afterwards, we stopped by Garage Bar to get a drink, but it was crazy crowded and not necessarily my vibe (loud music and lots of college-aged kids) so we headed down the street a bit further and ended up at Nouvelle, a wine bar that also came highly recommended. There was live jazz in the courtyard and it was the perfect way to end our evening! AKA, we are old.

2018-08-07_0016.jpg

We started day two with breakfast at Toast on Market. Matt had the blueberry cheesecake french toast (amazing!) and I had the blt scramble with a lemon souffle pancake on the side - just as delicious as it sounds. We both enjoyed kentucky mimosas (bourbon, orange, bitters, sparkling wine) and now I am obsessed with this version of my fave bubbly brunch drink!

After breakfast, we drove to the St. Joseph neighborhood to grab coffee at Sunergos (iced chai was amazing) and looked at all the cute old shotgun houses. It looked like a cool area of the city as well, right near the campus of University of Louisville!

IMG_2800.JPG

We headed back to East Market to wander through Joe Ley Antiques, which was THE coolest antique store I've ever been to. Three floors of cool, quirky old stuff. I'd love to explore it way more in depth on our next trip!

2018-08-07_0013.jpg
2018-08-07_0014.jpg

We headed to the Butchertown neighborhood next to tour Copper & King's Distillery. It was so neat to learn about brandy, gin and absinthe distillation, and their rooftop bar has an amazing view of downtown Louisville!

2018-08-07_0019.jpg
2018-08-07_0021.jpg

Butchertown seemed like a cool area as well, with lots of street art and some cute shops. We wandered around Work the Metal, which is kind of like a giant Silver in the City for you Indy folks. There were two ladies from the nearby St. Joseph's Church who were accepting donations for their campaign to save their church steeples - the tallest steeples in Louisville. The church has an amazing history and is so beautiful - we happily donated to the cause! Their parish pastor is currently doing a pilgrimage along the Camino de Santiago to raise funds - you can read all about his journey (and donate to the campaign!) at www.wherespadre.org :)

2018-08-07_0015.jpg

From there, we headed to the historic Stitzel-Weller distillery outside Louisville to do the Bulleit experience. It was so neat to tour the property, learn about the history of the grounds and do a bourbon tasting. The distillery is super historic and so cool-looking, and I highly recommend it as a stop on the bourbon trail! Our tour guide was Greg, and he was fantastic.

2018-08-07_0011.jpg

After Bulleit, we grabbed lunch at Gravely Brewing, which was another instagram recommendation, and it did not disappoint. It has a great view of the city from it's top patio area, the Mayan Street Food tacos were amazing, and it has a super cute photobooth which made for a fun trip souvenir.

2018-08-07_0018.jpg

We made one last stop in NuLu for ice cream at Louisville Cream, and stumbled upon the CUTEST little shotgun house (that pink door!) Then it was time to hit the road and head back home to our babies.

2018-08-07_0024.jpg

It was such a great quick trip, the perfect way to celebrate five sweet years together (how perfect was this wall downtown?!) and we'll definitely be back soon!

2018-08-07_0009.jpg

LOUISVILLE HIGHLIGHTS 

(the sparknotes version)

  • Feast BBQ on East Market
  • Mahonia on East Market
  • Scout on East Market
  • Toast on Market
  • Please & Thank You in NuLu
  • Joe Ley Antiques in NuLu
  • Nouvelle in NuLu
  • Sunergos Coffee Roasters in St. Joseph
  • Copper & King's in Butchertown
  • Work the Metal in Butchertown
  • Gravely Brewing Co. in 
  • Bulleit at Stitzel-Weller Distillery
  • Louisville Cream on East Market

Other recommendations from Instagram friends that we didn't have time to explore:

  • Troll Bar
  • The Seelbach (hotel, cool to wander around)
  • The Brown (hotel, cool to wander around)
  • Silver Dollar (restaurant, get the Kentucky Mule or the Ol Rough & Ready)
  • Big Four Walking Bridge (best views of skyline, go during the daytime, super cute pizza place on Jeffersonville side!)
  • Mussel & Burger Bar (downtown location only, great vibe and some of the best burgers in town)
  • El Taco Luchador
  • Just Creations
  • Lola
  • Ramsi's on Bardstown Road (Bardstown Rd. is also cool to explore!)
  • The Highlands neighborhood
  • Wallace Station in Versailles (good restaurant if you tour Woodford Reserve)

Louisville friends, any other must-sees or must-dos? Would love any and all recommendations!