31 Jan 2015

A Beautiful Move of the Holy Spirit

Vatican II can be properly understood only as being in continuity with the church's millennial traditions, not as a radical break with the past. Pope Benedict

Man likes to be in control, even of God. Of course, most of us would deny trying to box in the Almighty because we realize how ridiculous this sounds.  Yet because we really do not like to change, we end up resisting even God.  We like our comfort zone. We especially don't like the rug ripped from under us and that is usually how God must most often snag our attention.

God is not stagnant. He is not the God of the past, but God of the present,  alive, a dynamic powerhouse seeking to heal, transform and draw us ever closer to His heart.

This week I was wondering why so many Traditionalists are against Vatican II, labelling all the popes which came after as illegitimate and even heretics, especially Pope Francis. When I researched the question, an insightful homily popped up by Pope Francis from May 29, 2013.

 He called our resistance to change “being stubborn; this is called wanting to tame the Holy Spirit, this is called becoming fools and slow of heart.” The pope points to Traditionalists who resist changes, but even worse, to Modernists who twist the teachings of Vatican II to suit their own purposes, entrenching  Traditionalists even further.

What a conundrum!      continue

Today is Thomas Merton's 100th birthday

Today is Thomas Merton's 100th birthday.  Thomas Merton (January 31, 1915- December 10, 1968) was a Catholic convert who became a Trappist Monk, a writer and even a peace activist.  Why does Merton still matter?

You can read the rest at Being Catholic ... Really.

30 Jan 2015

'A new teaching - with authority!' Sunday Reflections, 4th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year B

Museo de Santa Cruz, Toledo, Spain [Web Gallery of Art

They went to Capernaum; and when the sabbath came, Jesus entered the synagogue and taught. They were astounded at his teaching, for he taught them as one having authority, and not as the scribes. Just then there was in their synagogue a man with an unclean spirit, and he cried out, “What have you to do with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are, the Holy One of God.” But Jesus rebuked him, saying, “Be silent, and come out of him!” And the unclean spirit, convulsing him and crying with a loud voice, came out of him.  They were all amazed, and they kept on asking one another, “What is this? A new teaching—with authority! He commands even the unclean spirits, and they obey him.” At once his fame began to spread throughout the surrounding region of Galilee.

Remains of the 4th century synagogue, Capernaum
[Wikipedia, David Shankbone]

On Friday 9 January my brother Paddy, with many of his classmates, attended the funeral in Dublin of the man they knew in 1954-55 as 'Mr O'Donohue' when he taught them in Second Class (Grade Two) in O'Connell Schools, Dublin. At the time they saw him as very senior in age but he was only 22, starting out as a primary school teacher. Years later they were to come to know Sean Gerard O'Donohue as their friend 'Gerry' because of the enormous and formative impact he had on their lives.

Full post here.

Reasons to rest on a Sunday

I am from an era when everything was closed by 5 PM on Saturday and all day Sunday.  Not a gas station, grocery store, department store or anything else I can think of was open.  Sunday was truly a day of rest and for family.

You can read the rest at Being Catholic ... Really.

Precision-Grip Thumbs and an A 'New' Archosaur

Humans have hands. So do apes, monkeys, lemurs, and koalas. For that matter, a chameleon's feet look and act a lot like hands. But they don't have precision-grip thumbs that can line up with any finger.

We do: and apparently have had a firm grip on tools for over two million years.

Scientists had a pretty good idea about how the common ancestor of dinosaurs, crocodiles and alligators, and birds, developed. A quarter-billion-year-old fossil shows that the situation is more complicated than scientists thought....

More at A Catholic Citizen in America.

29 Jan 2015


The darkest month.january-calendar
The sky is mostly gray. The wind is cold. The trees are bare.  The days are short and the nights are long.
My  mind fills with memories.
My daughter's cancer diagnosis several years ago. My dad's short, final bout with cancer three years ago.
Day after day I relive the pain I felt through their struggles. Each day of this month I can tell you what I was doing on this day then.  It is as if no time has passed at all. Some days I feel as if I am lost in the past.  Other days I worry what is out there in my future. I find it difficult to fully embrace the present. I spend my time turning back, looking forward--unsettled.
I have lost my focus. I ask my husband if this is all there is.  Struggling to get up in the morning. Going back to bed at night. With little thought of what I have done in between.  To an outsider, I may look still, but my mind is racing. Thinking. Remembering.  To read more: http://www.restfulwaters.net/january/

One of the Glories of Scripture

'One of the glories of Scripture is that it can embrace many meanings in a single passage.'

St. Thomas Aquinas

From The Breadbox Letters

Church Triumphant: St. Agnes of Rome

Every month, my dear friend Tiffany at Life of a Catholic Librarian and I pair up and share a saint whose feast day is celebrated within the respective month. The saint has to speak to us. This month, I didn't know who I would "adopt". I opened my Magnificat for January, and flipped to read the last pages first, don't you? The artwork is always stunning. There she was, St. Agnes found me.

St. Agnes of Rome in Prison post by @fillpraycloset
St. Agnes was born c. 291 A.D. Her feast day is January 21st, but before 1970, an additional feast was celebrated on January 28th. More important than when St. Agnes was born was when and how she died. When St. Agnes was thirteen years old, she refused Eutropius, then the son of the prefect of Rome. Eutropius fell in love (some say lust) with the young girl and just had to have her. He tried to win her over with gold and jewels, asking her parents for Agnes' hand in marriage. She flatly refused claiming that she already belonged to someone else. How could this be? How could anyone in 304 A.D. refuse precious jewels, and status to boot? Who would refuse that now?

Eutropius was lovesick and fell ill and told his father, the prefect, that he had to do everything in his power to change her mind, or he would die. He just had to have her. Eutropius' father tried to persuade her and she replied with complete and utter refusal. The prefect was outraged and jealous for his son that she would prefer another so he inquired as to who this "other" could be. He found out that the "other" she preferred was Jesus Christ (but we already knew that.) Doesn't this read like a novel?!

Read more at Filling My Prayer Closet.

Act of Contrition by Perry Como

Those of us of a certain age will remember the singer, Perry Como.

You can listen to Perry at Being Catholic ... Really.


Remembering Home

With cleaning out my childhood home and house hunting, the concept of home has been on my mind a lot. Where is home? What makes it home? What happens when home is no longer your own?

We have been evaluating foreclosures and pursuing real estate listing--often getting side tracked with the absurd, such as the home that is listed so cheaply that it obviously is barely standing but has "tons of potential for those with vision" and the $8 million estate with 15 bedrooms and it's own lake.  So far, nothing has felt right and the homes we have seriously considered have all fallen through for various reasons.

28 Jan 2015

Formula for Prayer

Praise God.

Adore God.

Acknowledge Him as your Creator.

Thank God.

Love God.

Talk to God.

Rest in the presence of God.

Sing to God.

Love God.

Adore God.

Read more at:: His Unending Love

In the News: “Sitting for Long Periods Increases Risk of Disease and Death, Regardless of Exercise”

“More than one half of an average person’s day is spent being sedentary—sitting, watching television, or working at a computer,” said Dr. David Alter [Senior Scientist, Toronto Rehab...].
Okay, you may want to stand for this… He goes on to say:
“It is not good enough to exercise for 30 minutes a day and be sedentary for 23 and half hours.”  [...ah, yes, just like with our spiritual lives]
with simple strategies from Dr. Atler on how to reduce sitting time, plus a little extra motivation to STAND... in the place where you live... and work... think about it. ;) ;)

Sandra Lubreto Dettori: Catholic Artist

892cd49f1533863b3ec851188aeadc4fiusa_75x75.29278285_9lekSince faith influences every part of  Sandra Dettori’s life, she creates religious art. As a Catholic mom and artist, she loves images which bring  glory to God and  blessings to others. Sandra understands that beautiful religious art can uplift our spirit and our thoughts. Through her art, Sandra shares her faith with others and offers her talents to God.

7 Ideas for Giving Your Children a Vocations' Mindset

Vocations being at home - as small seeds planted in the hearts of children, that, with the proper care and feeding can develop into lives of self-giving witness to the Gospel. Parents can and should plant these seeds in their domestic churches. If you are looking for ways to promote an openness to priesthood or religious life in your children, grandchildren, classroom, homeschool group, etc. -  click here  for ideas, resources and prayer support for giving your children a vocations' mindset.

Tapping into the Active Word of God

Scripture says, “The Word of God is living and effective.” It speaks to us personally. In the terrific book The Greatest Reformer, a biography of Pope Francis, there is an incident that illustrates this. Shortly after Pope Francis was made pope, a few evangelical pastors he used to pray with in Argentina visited him. One confided that God had given him a word for the new pope. From his iPad he read from Jeremiah, chapter 1: “Before I formed you in the womb, I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you; I appointed you a prophet to the nations . . . . See, today I appoint you over nations and over kingdoms, to pluck up and to pull down, to destroy and overthrow, to build and to plant.” With that, another pastor handed the pope a paper with a word he had brought for him. It had the same word on it.click to continue

Our Lady of Lourdes Feast Day Coming Soon!

February 11

Feast of Our Lady of Lourdes

From this grotto I issue a special call to women. Appearing here, Mary entrusted her message to a young girl, as if to emphasize the special mission of women in our own time, tempted as it is by materialism and secularism: to be in today's society a witness of those essential values which are seen only with the eyes of the heart. To you, women, falls the task of being sentinels of the Invisible! Pope John Paul II

ow fortunate we are to have so many ways and so many days to honor Mother Mary. Through her fiat—the yes, let it be done—that she answered to God, the omnipotent Lord of the universe took on human flesh to redeem us. Countless great saints and learned theologians, from St. Bernard of Clairvaux to St. Albert the Great to Pope John Paul II in our own time have felt and expressed their powerful and heartfelt devotions to Mary.

27 Jan 2015

Prayer in the third mansions

We’re going to start discussing the third mansions from St. Teresa of Avila’s Interior Castle with the most exciting part–prayer. In the third mansions, prayer begins simplifying, as the soul prepares herself to receive infused contemplation.

Now, when I say prayer begins simplifying in the third mansions, that doesn’t mean that a stark line lies between one mansion and another. We don’t one day say, “I’m going to take one step forward and leave second mansions behind forever, entering the third.” More likely, we peer through the doorway, thinking, “Those rooms look interesting.” Then we look over our shoulder and say,” But I’m comfortable here.” We might go through the door, make a small circle, and go back out. We might lean against the door frame, with one foot on each side.

My point is that our prayer might start simplifying long before we leave second mansions completely behind. But when it is habitually simpler–and accompanied by growth in virtue–we can assume we have moved on to a new stage.

Continue reading at Contemplative Homeschool.

Crafting Peace with Children

I am not crafty. When normal women set out glue guns, fabric, and paint, I see magic wands, mithril, and pixie dust. The mere thought of "craft time" with my children makes my palms sweat.

Pope Francis, however, inspired me to overcome my fears. This is the Pope's universal prayer intention for January 2015: "Peace: That those from diverse religious traditions and all people of good will may work together for peace." In honor of this prayer intention, I stepped out of my comfort zone. I adapted, published, AND EXECUTED the following Apostleship of Prayer "Sea Bottle" craft activity with my daughter Rose.

A little whisper popped into my head just as Rose and I were delighting in our teamwork. Here I was, spending time with my daughter, relishing the moment, and joining our prayers to the Pope's universal intention for peace. And then, BAM! My heart grew restless; my mind became distracted. With one little whisper, peace vanished.

Instructions for the craft and further reflection at Praying with Grace!

26 Jan 2015

Spirituality Made Simple, but not Easy!

In the second century Bishop Marcion was the son of the Bishop of Sinope, a town on the southern coast of the Black Sea in present day Turkey. He didn’t intend to become a heretic. It was only because of his admiration and adulation for his ‘Divine Lord’ that he became horrified at the very idea that he had to undergo the indignity of being born into, and growing up in, a degraded and decadent material world like the rest of us. That’s why he wrote his own Gospel to put matters right. It began with Jesus fully grown - ‘In the fifteenth year of the Emperor Tiberius, God descended into Capharnaum and taught on the Sabbath’.

Now the truth of the matter is that this is how God could have planned the incarnation, but he didn’t. He didn’t, because he wanted to be like us in every way possible, as St Paul insisted. This would enable us to learn from him and from his own personal spirituality. ...read on..

The Divine Countenance in Stone

 Seek the LORD and His strength; Seek His face continually. 
1 Chronicles 16:11
Images to inspire us to seek His face.

Face of Jesus Crucified - Saints and Sculptures: Stations of the Cross at Kawa-kawa Hills, The Philippines

Bernini sculpture
Christ by Brenda Ahearn

Sage Chapel, Cornell University
see more images

Do you praydream?

Do you praydream?  I had never heard of this term until I read Vinita Hampton Wright's article, Imagination and Praydreaming.

You can read the rest at Being Catholic ... Really.

Celibate Priests

Celibacy of Priests
Please click HERE

25 Jan 2015

"No person is beyond redemption": the power of love in the face of abortion

This is a fan letter. It’s my blog and I can rant or rave however I want. Today, it’s rave. It’s my thank-you to Catherine Adair. She has a life full of blessings; she and her husband are rearing five children. My husband and I brought up five children, too, and we know that’s a pro-life ministry in itself (and it never ends). Catherine, with support from her family, goes above and beyond. She has a story to tell about her own experiences and about women in crisis who didn’t get the help they needed. Her story is also about pro-life conversion.

Catherine came to pro-life commitment by a route different from mine. I’ve learned from that. She makes me think in fresh ways about what it means and takes to be pro-life.
About Catherine: New Hampshire Right to Life scored a coup this year by bringing Massachusetts neighbor Catherine to Concord for the state’s biggest annual outdoor pro-life rally and march. Catherine’s description of herself, from her blog The Harvest is Abundant: “I used to be pro-choice and worked for Planned Parenthood. Now I speak about the horror of working in an abortion clinic, and my personal experience with abortion. I hope to be able to bring more people to the truth.” She does that with charity and clarity, which can be hard to come by some days in the pro-life movement. She speaks out knowing that she could perfectly well say “enough already” to public witness. But she persists, bringing not just truth but also encouragement to her listeners.

Blessings of Your Holy Temple

'Blessed is he whom 
You choose to call 
to dwell in Your courts. 
We are filled 
with the blessings 
of Your house, 
of Your holy temple....' 
Psalm 65:5

Painting: Noia llegint

Moderation and a Pythagorean Dribble Glass

Today's second reading reminded me of Harold Camping's high-profile End Times predictions, a few years back....

...I've read that Hero of Alexandria used Pythagorean cups in his robotic systems. That's probably a reference to Heron's fountain, Heron is another version of Hero's name, and I am not going to wander off-topic again. Not for another paragraph or two, anyway.

Pythagoras of Samos didn't invent the Pythagorean theorem, but he's the first chap to show why it works - --

Let's try this again. It's one of those days.

A Pythagorean cup is a thinking person's dribble glass, sort of....

More at A Catholic Citizen in America.

24 Jan 2015

True Joy:: A Noun and A Verb:: Thoughts

A noun is a person, place or thing.
A verb is an action word.
In God, there is joy.
He is the source of all that is good.
God is love.
God is Joy.
God is all that is good.
He is our Shepherd.

He protects us from the evil one.
If we let Him, He leads us on the right paths.
Joy is in the hearts of the believers
Jesus Christ is Lord!
We are both loved and lovable,
a verb and a noun.

Read more at:: His Unending Love

A Perfect Saint for Bloggers

St. Francis de Sales is patron of Catholic writers. As a blogger, therefore, I happily claim him as patron of me. 

As the Church celebrates his feast today, I can easily imagine him sitting with a laptop, clicking out the good news...   I like to imagine him patting today's Catholic bloggers on the back, encouraging us to 'keep it up' as we distribute our witness to the Truth in THIS age of the Church...

Purgatory - Just like a car wash!

Is Purgatory like a car wash?

Heaven and Battlefield (Part I)

The other day, a friend of mine at OLPH came up to me and said, "I just wanted to say that at Mass, you just light up!  You glow. It makes my heart leap to see you.  I don't know if you know, but I wanted to tell you."   My first thought was, I don't want her looking at me!  I in no way want to be a distraction from what is REALLY happening at Holy Mass.  

Do I know? Yes, in a way I do.  

After Holy Mass, I prayed and sought an answer of the Lord.  I know how important the Holy Mass is for not just those in attendance but for the whole world, and I in no way want to be a stumbling block from those coming to this gift from God.  

"Lord, I don't want to be a distraction, I don't want people looking at me.  What do you want me to do, I can go somewhere else to Mass, (then I thought, it's going to happen their too!) or I can sit in the back or I can cover my face."  At that last suggestion I could feel that Lord did not want that...at all.  I almost felt like I had made him angry at that suggestion.  

Then He spoke to me and said....TO READ MORE CLICK HERE!

'Repent . . . believe . . . follow me.' Sunday Reflections, 3rd Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year B

Jacob Willemsz de Wet the Elder
Private collection [Web Gallery of Art]

Now after John was arrested, Jesus came to Galilee, proclaiming the good news of God, and saying, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God has come near; repent, and believe in the good news.”

As Jesus passed along the Sea of Galilee, he saw Simon and his brother Andrew casting a net into the sea—for they were fishermen. And Jesus said to them, “Follow me and I will make you fish for people.” And immediately they left their nets and followed him. As he went a little farther, he saw James son of Zebedee and his brother John, who were in their boat mending the nets. Immediately he called them; and they left their father Zebedee in the boat with the hired men, and followed him.

Speaking in Rome to members of ecclesial movements on the evening of Saturday 17 May 2013, the Vigil of Pentecost, Pope Francis told this story:

One day in particular, though, was very important to me: 21 September 1953. I was almost 17. It was 'Students’ Day', for us the first day of spring — for you the first day of autumn. Before going to the celebration I passed through the parish I normally attended, I found a priest that I did not know and I felt the need to go to confession. For me this was an experience of encounter: I found that someone was waiting for me,
Full post here.

23 Jan 2015

Pro-life Kids' Books to Mark the Anniversary of Roe v. Wade

Kids don't have to listen to dinner-time conversations about the politics of the pro-life and pro-choice movements in order to know that babies matter. I've never known a little kid who hasn't asked his parents, "Please, can't we have another baby?" Babies are a gift, and sometimes little kids know that more instinctively than the rest of us.

So, with the anniversary of the Supreme Court's Roe v. Wade decision looming, I'd like to highlight a Live Action News list of pro-life kids' books brought to my attention by blog reader Tara Sayani. Thanks, Tara!!

From "Simple ideas for communicating the pro-life message to children":

Storytime is another prime opportunity to instill pro-life values in our children. In general, it’s important to be selective about which books we choose to read to our little ones. And with a little effort, we can find excellent stories that teach why every life matters.
Here are some pro-life values to look for in children’s books. It’s important to point out these values in the book and find fun ways to emphasize them.

To read more, click here... 

Mutant Malaria, Designer Babies and Ethics

Malaria that's resistant to a very successful anti-malaria drug is spreading. The good news is that scientists know where this particular strain's immunity came from.

Other scientists say that "society needs to be prepared" for designer babies, and that "it is time for a serious public debate on the issue."

More at A Catholic Citizen in America.

Looking for Catholic writers

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Refusing to Play Games

I do not want to die, only to discover I was playing society’s games, games which were dependant on the time and place I was born, rules which changed constantly. 
 I do not want to be so caught up in work, business, squabbles about doctrine and ritual, that I lose sight of Truth.
How devastating to stand before Christ and realize that I could have been His presence on earth, a window of light and joy, radiating His love and mercy but lost my way.
I can be His hands and feet and ears and whisper words I hear the Father speak to his little ones
 I need to allow Love to transform me, so Love flows through me. Period.
I flooded my mind with these verses from scripture today to remind myself everything turns to ash when we die, everything but His Love in us. continue

How to use Facebook for prayer

How to use Facebook for Prayer, an article written by Annie Turner for Busted Halo caught my attention right away.
There are days when I spend an inordinate amount of time on Facebook.  I have to admit that I don't pay a lot of attention to my friends' posts.  Most of the time I'm looking for inspiration for my blog or just something to brighten my own day.  It didn't occur to me as I scrolled through my news feed that some of my friends might need a prayer or two.
You can read the rest at Being Catholic ... Really.

22 Jan 2015

Come After Me

 You find yourself sitting by the sea, alone with your thoughts, watching the activity going on all around you.  You see him in the distance, walking you way.  

You have heard his name mentioned and you think you might want to meet him, someday. Maybe you don't know how you would approach him. What would you say? But there is something about him that draws your attention. You can't explain it, but it's there.  Others have felt it too. People are drawn towards him. Why?

He has your full attention now, even though his gaze is towards the water.

Read more: http://www.restfulwaters.net/come-after-me/