2 Sep 2015

Prayer Must be Rooted in Love

For his 100th general audience,Pope Francis continued his catechesis on the family by considering family prayer. In his opening statements, the pope pointed out that most people find it difficult to find time to pray. Pope Francis teaches that love of God, not guilt will inspire us to pray.
Pope Francis zeroed in on the crux our lives as Catholic families by asking if we actually love God. Although we are called to believe in God, thank Him, turn to Him in difficulty, fulfilling our duties to God is not Christianity. Love is at the core of our relationship to God.

How Obedient are You to Christ's Teachings?


Do you cringe when you hear the word? Does simply hearing the word make you assess how obedient you are in this life; whether it be at work, at home, but most importantly in following Christ’s teachings? I think everyone could easily come to the conclusion that when it comes to being obedient, we could all improve.

There is this natural tension within us to want to rebel; to do things our own way, especially in our ever-growing secular, relativistic society. Being obedient requires us to follow certain laws, or rules, set forth by governing bodies. There are four… Read more...

Mindful of the Invisible Ones Who Serve

A few weeks ago, some 400 of us Sisters met at a hotel to plan our future. On the last day, one of the hotel workers commented, “We liked having you because to you we weren’t invisible.” How often we take those who serve us for granted and even overlook them. (Maybe you are one of the “invisible” ones.) So, I’m thinking, what if we put on glasses that enable us to see these special people and acknowledge their presence by saying a word or two, especially a thank you. Yes, we leave a tip for the person who cleans our hotel room, but how much more meaningful if we personally delivered our thanks, looking the person straight in the eye. Who are some of the other people who make our lives smooth and help us in ways that we are scarcely aware of? Click to continue

1 Sep 2015

The Good Samaritan - Modern Version

We don't often get comments on this Blog.
Your views are important.
What would you do if you found someone injured on the road?
Would you behave like these men did?

Finding Patience: A Hare's Testimonial

Meet my guest, Cathy Gilmore, a children's book writer in her own right. Cathy lends her voice to the book tour by reviewing my new book, Adventures of Faith, Hope, and Charity Finding Patience, albeit from the Hare's perspective. You see, Cathy writes about bunnies. So who better to opine on the virtue of patience, whose symbol is the turtle, than the hare!

As CatherineCGilmore@myeasterbunny on Twitter, I’m the “Easter Bunny who spreads the sweet love and JOY of the risen Jesus.” This persona grew out of my collaboration with my sister in creating the storybook, Easter Bunny’s Amazing Day, in which a frightened little bunny discovers that the JOY of Easter is Jesus!

So in charming irony, this bunny is here to celebrate my friend, Virginia Lieto’s book that sports an adorable turtle as the icon of the virtue that was most elusive to Aesop’s rabbit… PATIENCE.

Her story portrays a family in the midst of a move; with the challenges of a new home, new neighbors, and new schools. The refreshing surprise is the way her characters cope. Difficulties are handled with prayer. Children are pictured generously praying for each other, demonstrating trust in Divine providence. Guided by wise, loving parents, the siblings don’t just ask God to fix their problems, they pray for God to bless them with the virtue, in this case… patience; their need for strength in the midst of trial.

Virginia’s way of personifying virtues,...

'O Lord, how manifold are your works!' World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation

Lord, how manifold are your works! 
Psalm 104 [103]:24 [Tagaytay, Philippines]

In a letter dated 6 August 2015, the Feast of the Transfiguration, Pope Francis established the First of September each year as World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation. He stated that the Catholic Church will be following what the Orthodox Church has been doing for some time.

The letter states: The ecological crisis thus summons us to a profound spiritual conversion: Christians are called to 'an ecological conversion whereby the effects of their encounter with Jesus Christ become evident in their relationship with the world around them'. For 'living our vocation to be protectors of God’s handiwork is essential to a life of virtue; it is not an optional or a secondary aspect of our Christian experience'. The quotations are from the Pope's recent encyclical Laudato Si', Nos 216 and 217 respectively.

You make springs gush forth in the valleys;
    they flow between the hills.
Psalm 104 [103]: 10. [Ballachulish, Scotland]

Full post here.

31 Aug 2015

More Good Books for Children

Warning: If you don't like books, then STOP READING!

If, on the other hand, you agree with Cicero that “a room without books is like a body without a soul,” then come with me. . . .

I'm continuing my articles about interesting books for children. I keep running into authors at conventions and discovering new books, you see, so what else can a book lover do?!

Here's the latest from Catholic Kids:
(Enjoy a video of sample book pages here!)

In Gifts from Our Father: A Catholic Prayer Book for Kids, author Tom Wall and illustrator Martin Whitmore offer a truly unique collection of All Things Catholic: prayers, definitions, teachings, devotions, and feast days.

Read all about it at Praying with Grace!

Ecumenism in the 21st Century: Can We Really Be One?

The Gospel of John tells us that, shortly before his Passion began, the Lord prayed, “Holy Father, keep them in your name that you have given me, so that they may be one just as we are” (John 17:11). While we often associate division among Christians with the schisms that led to the Orthodox Churches and the Reformation that led to Protestant denominations, division among Christians goes back to the early Church. Paul himself asked the Church of Corinth, “Has Christ been divided?” when he heard that Christians were claiming to belong to Paul, Apollo or Cephus. He urged the Christians to “be united in the same mind and in the same purpose” (1 Cor 1:10).
Two thousand years later, we look around and see that we are still far from Christian unity and must still work on being of the same mind and purpose. We talk about it. We long for it. We reiterate the significance of Christian unity every time we say the Nicene Creed and refer to the Church the Lord founded as “one, holy, catholic and apostolic”. But we don’t live it, as can be seen by the existence of countless Christian denominations, individual faith communities, megachurches and non-denominational communities.
When we see this division and realize how many differences come between us and full Christian communion, we might get a little discouraged. Nonetheless, each of us, as a baptized Christian, is called to actively engage in ecumenism and trust that the Holy Spirit can bring about the unity the Lord wills for his Church. In the end, Christian unity is possible because it doesn’t rely only on our efforts, but on God’s grace.
Head over to Eyes On Heaven to read about ecumenical challenges, progress and practical tips.

Lord, Save Me From the Latin Mass...

I am old enough to remember the Latin Mass. When I was 7, I made my First Holy Communion, and the Mass was in Latin. Even at that age, I didn’t like the Latin Mass because you couldn’t understand it. Also, the priest never turned around and looked at the Congregation during the Mass. All the readings were in Latin, and, unless you had a Missal, you couldn’t understand what the readings meant. It was way too easy to let my mind wander far away from church, the mass, and everything else around me. If the priest’s homily was based on the readings, it was hard to make a connection between what the priest was saying and the words read by the priest in Latin.

When Vatican II had concluded, and I attended the first Mass said in English, I was stunned.
Read More at:  Prayerfully Yours

We Have a Warrior God

I saw "War Room" this past weekend with friends, and it inspired me to become more disciplined about praying for loved ones. Here's my review.

This movie is produced by the Kendrick brothers, the writers who gave us "Facing the Giants," "Fireproof," and "Courage." I've seen all these movies, and the messages are always good and on target. However, the actors (not well-knowns, other than Kirk Cameron) have not been stellar, and this always trips me up a bit.

I understand that Affirm Pictures (the Kendrick brothers company) is a small outfit. (Hollywood doesn't, in general, produce movies with a Christian message.) But, I support them. I'm going to see every movie they produce, because that's how they will grow and bring in revenue and at some point draw the bigger names. I get that making movies is about money. I hate it, but I get it.

Having said that, I loved "War Room." It's the best yet from the Kendrick brothers. The actress who plays the leading character, Elizabeth, is very good and the 10-year old daughter, Danielle, is played by the most beautiful child I think I've ever seen on screen. Miss Clara, the elderly star (although the actress who plays her is much younger) is a firecracker of fun. Good role models, all these female characters.


Grateful Hearts: Count Your Blessings!

Grateful hearts humbly acknowledge that there is a need to be filled, via the talents of others. We consider it a blessing from God when someone steps up to address the need that we couldn’t otherwise fulfill ourselves. We are grateful to God and to our fellow man for rushing to our aid!

What are you grateful for these days? When was the last time you counted your blessings? I can attest from experience that when I count my blessings and express my gratitude to God, my mood improves. I have had many opportunities to do so, while going through… Read more...

Divorce Thoughts of Revenge & the Evil Within

Divorce Thoughts of Revenge and Evil Within - B&W photo girl with head on hand
Oh the thoughts I've had about my ex and the other woman! The comebacks I've considered for their mean and spiteful comments, the responses I've rehearsed to their false and damaging accusations, the scornful piteous glance I'll offer that other woman when she learns the truth.

I'd be lying if I said I hadn't gone through some of that. I'd be lying if I said I don't catch myself every once in a while falling back into that trap.

But that's exactly what those negative thoughts are - a trap. 

In Sunday's Gospel Reading from Mark Chapter 7, the Pharisees questioned Jesus about the disciples' lack of proper protocol. Why didn't the disciples cleanse their hands? Why didn't they go through proper purification processes? Why didn't they...?

Jesus responded to their questions in this way...

To continue reading, to share, comment, and follow, please join me at Single Mom Smiling. Thank you so much.

God Bless...

The Last Age Before the Messiah Comes: The Age of WAR.

In all history of God there have been three ages and we are in the last of the three ages.

The first age was the Age of the Prophets,  ....to find out what the other two ages are...CLICK HERE!

30 Aug 2015

OUR Cloister

As a cloistered nun or monk lives within a specific area known as the cloister, we can make a specific choice to live within the will of God.... (click to continue)

(Not) 'Going Native'

As a Christian, and a Catholic, I should be 'in the world but not of the world.' That idea shows up in John 15:18-19 and 17:14-16, and Romans 12:2.

Joining a cloistered outfit like the Order of Cistercians of the Strict Observance (Trappists) is one option: they're part of the Benedictine family, contemplative monks and nuns.

More at A Catholic Citizen in America.

The Fear of God


29 Aug 2015

'Because of our traditions, every one of us knows who he is.' Sunday Reflections, 22nd Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year B

Christ, El Greco, c.1606
Cathedral, Toledo, Spain [Web Gallery of Art]

Readings (New American Bible: Philippines, USA)

Readings (Jerusalem Bible: Australia, England & Wales, India [optional], Ireland, New Zealand, Pakistan, Scotland, South Africa)

Gospel Mark 7:1-8, 14-15, 21-23 (New Revised Standard Version, Catholic Edition, Canada) 
Now when the Pharisees and some of the scribes who had come from Jerusalem gathered around Jesus, they noticed that some of his disciples were eating with defiled hands, that is, without washing them. (For the Pharisees, and all the Jews, do not eat unless they thoroughly wash their hands, thus observing the tradition of the elders;  and they do not eat anything from the market unless they wash it; and there are also many other traditions that they observe, the washing of cups, pots, and bronze kettles.) So the Pharisees and the scribes asked him, “Why do your disciples not live according to the tradition of the elders, but eat with defiled hands?” He said to them, “Isaiah prophesied rightly about you hypocrites, as it is written,
‘This people honors me with their lips,
    but their hearts are far from me;
in vain do they worship me,
    teaching human precepts as doctrines.’
You abandon the commandment of God and hold to human tradition.”
Then he called the crowd again and said to them, “Listen to me, all of you, and understand: there is nothing outside a person that by going in can defile, but the things that come out are what defile.”
For it is from within, from the human heart, that evil intentions come: fornication, theft, murder, adultery, avarice, wickedness, deceit, licentiousness, envy, slander, pride, folly. All these evil things come from within, and they defile a person.”

Silver Torah Case [Wikipedia]

Moses said to the people: 'So now, Israel, give heed to the statutes and ordinances that I am teaching you to observe, so that you may live to enter and occupy the land that the Lord, the God of your ancestors, is giving you. You must neither add anything to what I command you nor take away anything from it, but keep the commandments of the Lord your God with which I am charging you.' (First Reading).

A silver cup for for netilat yadayim, the Jewish ritual washing of hands [Wikipedia]

Because of lack of time I shall use, with adaptations, some of the material I used for this Sunday three years ago.

The Indian Rupees 9,000 monthly rent mentioned in the video is the equivalent of about US$135 or Php6,000.

Full post here.

Weekend Poetry:: I Try, I Really Do...

I Try, I Really Do.

I try,
I really try.
Some days, there’s no trying.
Prayer doesn’t come easy,
so I sit,
humbled at adoration.
My God!  My God!
Your mercy covers me.
My God!  My God!
You are all I see
Present in the monstrance,
our God
in one small host.
I don’t understand,
but I trust.
Jesus, I trust in You!

Read more at:  Prayerfully Yours

28 Aug 2015



Early Hands, Mutant Mice

Scientists created "super-intelligent mice" — but this isn't a cartoon, so the mice aren't hatching plans for world domination. The research may lead, eventually, to treatments for Posttraumatic stress disorder, schizophrenia, and Alzheimer's disease.

Other scientists found hand bones shaped pretty much like ours: from at least 1,840,000 years back....

More at A Catholic Citizen in America.

27 Aug 2015

Sometimes When Things Happen,

When the storm hits and hits hard, God is reminding us to pray.
There is nothing else we can do but pray.

Pray! Pray! Pray!

Be the light in this world to those covered in darkness.

Pray for Peace.
Pray for Pope Francis.
Pray for our sister and brother Christians around the world who are persecuted.
Pray for your children.
Pray for your families.
Pray for your soul.
Pray for the souls in Purgatory.

Just get down on your knees and pray.

Read More at:  Prayerfully Yours

The Sin of the Century

Elizabeth Reardon Interviews Melanie on An Engaging Faith

“With 9 children, and a heart full of love, faith and humor, Melanie Jean Juneau shares of her vocation to motherhood and love of writing! ”

Although Elizabeth is a new host on Real Life Radio, she is a gifted interviewer. She adapted her questions according to my comments. Elizabeth focuses on the person she interviews; she researched my blogs, websites where I post articles, the website ACWB which I am the administrator for and even my Pinterest boards. Elizabeth does her homework.

"Melanie Jean Juneau is a mother of nine children who blogs at Joy of nine9. Her writing is humorous and heart warming; thoughtful and thought-provoking. Part of her call and her witness is to write the truth about children, family, marriage and the sacredness of life
continue reading

26 Aug 2015

Touring Chicago's beautiful churches: St. Monica

Touring Chicago's beautiful churches brought my husband and I to St. Monica and to a mini family reunion.

You can read the article and view the gallery at Being Catholic ... Really.

A Question Of Life

If life is a gift, why is there so much suffering? I don’t want to live a life of suffering. I know that unborn babies would feel the same way. Besides, they aren’t really alive. They couldn’t survive outside the womb.

Did you know that during an abortion their is a great deal of suffering, not only for the mothers, but also for the babies? Unborn babies can feel pain even before 20 weeks. Check this out. The fetal heartbeat begins around 5-6 weeks in development. Isn’t that a sign of life? Little ones (fetuses) show signs of movement when touched by a scalpel when medical procedures are needed for the child in utero. Responses that are similar to the responses of an adult in pain, have been observed by doctors as they perform surgery on the little ones.

Read More at Prayerfully Yours 

The Gift of Sufferring

“God loves us, so He makes us 
the gift of suffering.
I once asked a priest what my life would have been like if I had not suffered, if I had married a well-off dentist, had 1.25 kids, and lived in an efficient, modern house. He put on a phony, pious face, put his hands together in prayer, and said in a high, mocking voice,

”Oh, you would be a nice Christian lady, praising the Lord.”

What he meant by that amusing bit of acting was I would be shallow, without depth and strength.
If this is the situation, I say bring on suffering because I want—no I need—to live in reality, in God.

Gratitude is Personal and Reverent

Gratitude is personal. Here is an example. If a person needs to take a taxi to the doctor’s office, he simply does so. However, if this person were to receive a ride to the doctor’s office by a neighbor or friend, then this person would most likely feel a sense of gratitude. He/she would express gratitude by saying thank you for the kindness expressed. Therefore, for gratitude to exist, two human beings must be involved; one that gives, without expecting anything in return, and one that receives. “…gratitude is the expression of a personal encounter in human need.” 1 For the giver, an act of kindness, or the striving to meet another’s need, must be voluntary. No sense of quid-pro-quo should exist.

Besides being personal and voluntary, Father Romano Guardini offers a third condition for gratitude in Learning the Virtues That Lead You to God: Read more...

Where's God When You Can't Pray?

Lately I’ve been writing books on prayer, in particular about praying on empty. Maybe you can identify with this: During your prayer you keep checking the time and the minute hand seems barely to have moved. You understand why St. Teresa of Avila shook her hourglass as she prayed, attempting to speed up the time. Instead of enjoying time with your Lord, you are restless and your mind is full of distractions. You don’t sense God’s presence, and he certainly isn’t speaking to you. It’s as though you are talking to yourself. Periods of dryness in prayer are frustrating and confusing. You might think that God no longer loves you or maybe you did something to displease God or, worse yet, maybe God doesn’t exist! Click to continue

25 Aug 2015

Down to Earth

What is it about having hands in the warm earth that speaks so sincerely to my soul? For as long as I can remember, I have cherished this invitation to connect with the Creator and his creation. To till the soil, plant, and cultivate from its humble beginnings to harvest, that is the essence of a season in time.   Watching the grass grow, enamored by the sudden appearance of each bud, blossom and fruit I wonder the delight that God must have too in each of these small miracles. Yet not only an observer, we are participators and co-creators in caring for this life that has been entrusted to us.  What a blessed and wondrous responsibility! Read More...

Unless By Frequent Rains

Celebration Time! Book Published!

Let the celebration begin! Join in on the fun! Celebrate the launch of my new book with me. Read to learn how to get in on the action. There is a Giveaway! Read more...

Is Centering Prayer Catholic?


“What is Centering Prayer? What are its origins? Is it a form of New Age meditation, or a thoroughly Catholic prayer method that can lead to contemplation? Connie Rossini digs into the writings and public statements of Fr. Thomas Keating, one of Centering Prayer’s foremost proponents. She compares his words with the writings of St. Teresa of Avila on prayer, and the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith on New Age spirituality. Find out if Centering Prayer is a reliable method for union with God, or a counterfeit that Catholics should avoid.”


Is Centering Prayer Catholic? Fr. Thomas Keating Meets Teresa of Avila and the CDFA new book  by Connie Rossini.

Continue reading at Contemplative Homeschool.

Theology of the Body for Children, Part 2

Sooner than I expected, the gender-identity crisis has hit my family. A friend of my high school children recently announced that she occupies the wrong body. She is adopting a male name and look, and asks that everyone embrace the new identity.

My children are struggling to respond. I was about to write that my children are agonizing over how to respond (which is true), but whatever confusion they are experiencing is nothing compared to the agony of their friend. A bright, talented young person, their friend has decided--at the age of eighteen--that her body is a mistake. Every conscious moment must be torture for her. Every time she moves, looks at herself, or speaks, she regrets having the "wrong" body.

Please join me at Praying with Grace to get a glimpse of a new set of books for children (ages 4-7) that can help adults respond with love to gender issues.

24 Aug 2015

Life Lessons from a 90-year-old

I rarely repost but this list is a treasure trove of common sense and practical. 

32. Don’t take yourself so seriously. No one else does.
33. Believe in miracles.
34. God loves you because of who God is, not because of anything you did or didn’t do.
35. Don’t audit life. Show up and make the most of it now.
36. Growing old beats the alternative — dying young.
37. Your children get only one childhood.
38. All that truly matters in the end is that you loved.

I'm not Sure What God is Telling Me, but...

I was very surprised to see this dove sitting on the ground, showing no fear or concern as my dog and I walked by. Even when I stopped to take a picture, she didn’t move. She sat there until she started to peck into the ground looking for food. It was a calm moment, perhaps the calmest moment of my day, when I saw her.

She’s a lovely bird. She was peaceful and calm.
I googled the meaning of a dove in Christianity. Of course, the Holy Spirit was a frequent reference. Other references include a Eucharistic Vessel, inspiration, divine guidance, fortitude, peace and hope in the Resurection. All of these are good things. She was a simple dove representing so much in our faith.

Read More at:  Prayerfully Yours

Thank You! Two Words Never Overused!

“Thank you” can never be said too much. Gratitude is a sense of thankfulness to God and to your fellow man for kindnesses extended to you, expressed in word or in deed.

Everything good that comes our way is a gift from God. We came into this world with nothing. We leave with nothing. All that we obtain in between comes from God. Therefore, we say thank you to God for meeting our needs and blessing us in abundance; for providing us with possibilities and opportunities. We even say thank you to God for times of... Read more...

Reader Q&A: What type of birth is right, for me?

A few weekends ago, I traveled to North Carolina to be with a friend that I have the privilege of calling a lifelong friend, for her after-the-fact wedding reception (she was married out of the country, and was celebrating with a reception in NC). The friend I mentioned above is currently pregnant with her first baby, and we were talking about birth for a little while. She was asking about my experiences with birth, and she asked me what I thought about it.... for her. "What kind of birth is right, for me?" she asked. She's a blog reader (and informed me that so is her sister, hooray!), so even though we already talked about it in person, I'm going to answer her question here!

Q: What kind of birth is "right"? In what direction should I go if I'm on the fence about the whole "birth" thing? Are you "hardcore" about doing birth a certain way, and should I be?
A: This is a very, very good question. Birth.... it's a tough subject, but I feel like I have had enough experience with different types of birth to be able to speak somewhat intelligently about this subject. Which type of birth is "right," for me? 
Read the rest here:

23 Aug 2015

'Lord, to whom can we go? You have the words of eternal life.' Sunday Reflections, 21st Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year B

Saint Peter, El Greco, 1610-13 [Web Gallery of Art]
Monasterio de San Lorenzo, El Escorial, Madrid 
John 6:60-69 (NRV, Catholic Edition, Canada) 

When many of Jesus’ disciples heard it, they said, “This teaching is difficult; who can accept it?” But Jesus, being aware that his disciples were complaining about it, said to them, “Does this offend you? Then what if you were to see the Son of Man ascending to where he was before? It is the spirit that gives life; the flesh is useless. The words that I have spoken to you are spirit and life. But among you there are some who do not believe.” For Jesus knew from the first who were the ones that did not believe, and who was the one that would betray him. And he said, “For this reason I have told you that no one can come to me unless it is granted by the Father.”
Because of this many of his disciples turned back and no longer went about with him. So Jesus asked the twelve, “Do you also wish to go away?” Simon Peter answered him, “Lord, to whom can we go? You have the words of eternal life.  We have come to believe and know that you are the Holy One of God.”

This Sunday's gospel concludes the Eucharistic Discourse of Chapter 6 of St John's Gospel. The teaching of Jesus that many of his disciples could not accept was what we heard last Sunday: "I am the living bread that came down from heaven. Whoever eats of this bread will live forever; and the bread that I will give for the life of the world is my flesh.”
The Jews then disputed among themselves, saying, “How can this man give us his flesh to eat?” So Jesus said to them, “Very truly, I tell you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood. 
St Peter today speaks on behalf of those who stay with Jesus: Lord, to whom can we go? You have the words of eternal life.  We have come to believe and know that you are the Holy One of God.
In his Angelus audience last Sunday Pope Francis spoke these words which are very relevant to today's gospel. I have highlighted parts of the text.

 Today's passage (Jn. 6, 51-58) presents the last part of that discourse, and refers to some of those among the people who are scandalized because Jesus said: "Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him on the last day" (Jn. 6,54).
The astonishment of those listening is understandable; in fact,Jesus uses the typical style of the prophets to provoke in the people – and also in us – questions and, in the end, to make a decision. The first of the questions is: What does "eat Jesus' flesh and drink his blood" mean? Is it only an image, a way of saying, a symbol, or does it indicate something real? To answer this, one needs to guess what is happening in Jesus' heart while he breaks the bread for the hungry crowd. ....

Full post here. [Sorry for being late!]

I attended Mass Here Today

I decided to take a small road trip for Mass today. In truth, I only drove about 15 minutes, but a good part of that time was spent on Highway 94. I really don’t like driving on that road, but it was worth it.

I attended Mass this morning at the Church of the Maternity of the Blessed Virgin Mary in St. Paul. It was a church that I had heard about onFather Rocky’s Facebook page. He had shown the photo of the statue of Mama Mary pregnant with her Son, and I knew that I had to see this church.

Read More at: Prayerfully Yours

Who Know Their Creed So Well

'I want a laity... who know just where they stand, who know what they hold and what they do not, who know their creed so well that they can give an account of it...' (Blessed John Henry Newman) (continue....)