19 Dec 2014

The Mark

Every Catholic Priest that walks the Earth had a mark placed on him at his conception for the Priesthood.   This is a gift by God as a reflection for what God did for Mary in her womb, because every Priest is her son.  The Priest is not immaculate, but only marked as one chosen for the Priesthood.  This is not a guarantee that he will become a Priest, it is up to God whether or not he is called later. 

I am sure that there are a few Priests walking the earth that were not called, although they are very few.  But the Priest, whether called or not will always carry this mark as being chosen to the Priesthood from conception.....

To Read More...CLICK HERE!

18 Dec 2014

Be an Everyday Evangelizer. Share your faith with these FREE creations this Christmas.

Be an everyday evangelizer!  Share the real reason for the season with these free creations.  No matter  whaat your profession is... blogger, secretary, warehouse worker or retired.... use these free images  to share your faith.  Twelve are sized for use as cover images on your facebook page. They could also be used as headers on a blog.    Here are two of the twelve...

I have also created companion images sized for instagram  sharing or other social media purposes.

To see all  twelve images, please visit me on my Blog - EmbeddedFaith, or on Cyndi Canva. Wishing you a most blessed Christmas.  

Journal Prompts for your prayer Journal

1) Father, I love You…

2) Jesus, Thank You…

3) Sweet Lord, Teach me…

4) Holy Spirit, Inspire me…

5) God, Hear me…

6) Lord, I know You know this…

7) When will things change, Lord?

8) We Praise You…

9) I am nothing.  You are my all!

10) Inspire me, Lord,

Read more at:: His Unending Love

Pregnant During Advent

I discovered Advent is a special time for pregnant women when two of my pregnancies were during this season. I really did identify with the pregnant Mary. For one thing I was relieved I did not go to the hospital, huge, uncomfortable and ready to deliver on the back of a donkey! I try to be grateful for big mercies. One Advent baby was born on Christmas Eve and the second, my youngest child, on Jan. 7, still in the Christmas season.
We had just moved to our new farm with a larger house since I was expecting our ninth child. The oldest children attended a small Catholic school with 10 grades from junior kindergarten to grade 8.
One day in December, the  priest led an Advent reflection in the gym and asked the children,
“Who is waiting for  the birth of a new brother or sister this Advent?”
Five hands went up.
“Oh, my isn’t this wonderful”, the priest exclaimed, “So many of you are joining in with Mary, waiting for the birth of a baby!”
Then a voice yelled out, “No Father, those are all Juneau kids with their hands raised!”
 Mary must have experience what all mothers experience the moment Jesus was born, but I imagine her joy was even more profound as all the 
angels rejoiced around them. continue

I met St Joseph in Manila

The Dream of St Joseph,  Georges De La Tour, c.1640 Musée des Beaux-Arts, Nantes,

Gospel for 18 Dec: Matthew 1:18-24
Now the birth of Jesus the Messiah took place in this way. When his mother Mary had been engaged to Joseph, but before they lived together, she was found to be with child from the Holy Spirit. Her husband Joseph, being a righteous man and unwilling to expose her to public disgrace, planned to dismiss her quietly. But just when he had resolved to do this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, ‘Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife, for the child conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will bear a son, and you are to name him Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.’ All this took place to fulfil what had been spoken by the Lord through the prophet:
 ‘Look, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son,
    and they shall name him Emmanuel’,
which means, ‘God is with us.’ When Joseph awoke from sleep, he did as the angel of the Lord commanded him; he took her as his wife. Full post here.

17 Dec 2014

'Merry Christmas' from Japan

St Nicholas Resuscitates the Children, Bon Boullogne, Musée Ingres,
Montauban,France[Web Gallery of Art]

A priest-friend in Canada expressed his thoughts about the present and coming liturgical seasons in a recent email: It’s Advent again. It’s too bad that the beauty of Advent is lost in the Christmas hype. Sometimes I think that we should give Christmas back to the pagans (from whom we hijacked it) and join the Oriental Churches in celebrating the birth of Jesus on January 6.
I'm not quite sure that it would be practical to attempt that, though the Church should consider restoring the Epiphany as a mandatory holyday of obligation throughout the Church. It is such on the universal calendar of the Church but the reality is that in so many countries the bishops have opted for a Sunday celebration of the feast, thereby, I think, diminishing its importance. 
Full post here. 

Dear Santa

I've never written a letter to Santa before.  This is my first one.

You can read it at Being Catholic ... Really.

Pennies from Heaven

First, thank you to all who are praying. I cannot believe the outpouring of love that my middle of the night heart cry has received. God bless you all.

I wrote this after my father died. God has always made His presence known during the hardest times. Yesterday, as I was getting back into my car after dropping my two oldest at a friend's home, I found a penny outside my car door that wasn't there when I had gotten out. It reminded me once more of this story, and I had to share.

Pennies from Heaven
The day my father died was a warm and sunny late spring day.  I awoke
to the phone ringing over and over with my cell phone signaling text
messages simultaneously.  With my heart and soul I knew there was a
problem.  When I finally was awake enough to answer the phone, my
sister calmly recounted the events of the early hours and pleaded with
me sincerely, but sternly, to get to the hospital as soon as possible.
 I at first thought of taking a shower and making the kids breakfast
but then her words sunk in and I quickly dressed and coaxed the kids
to do the same.  I hurriedly called a friend to watch them for awhile
and then piled my two little ones into my car.

Read more on Veils and Vocations.

New on the Blogroll: Catholic Bloggers Network

There's a new item on the blogroll:

I added "Advent: Another Year of the Long Watch" to this year's Catholic Bloggers Advent Linkup.

Their 2014 Catholic Bloggers Blitz is another good idea: but I don't remember participating.

More at A Catholic Citizen in America.

Our Lady of Guadalupe, Protector of the Unborn

Continuing our focus on Mary this Advent, on this, the feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe, I’m writing a bit about her story. This should be of interest to all because under this title, the Blessed Mother is the patroness of the Americas, both north and south. In addition, she is relevant today when abortion is an acceptable practice, for Mary appeared to Juan Diego as a pregnant Aztec woman. click to continue

A Very Special Prayer Request

I have a couple of posts that I am writing, and I apologize that it's been a few days since my last post, but I have a favor to ask. My mom's health is failing. After an almost six and a half year long goodbye, it seems that her time really is getting short. Brain cancer always wins in the end. There are so many emotions right now. I pray for a swift and easy death, but it is hard to wish her gone. However, she is suffering so, and it is selfish to want that to continue for the sake of continuing.


God has been filling my heart and mind with memories of my mom.

Read more at Veils and Vocations, and please pray and share.

16 Dec 2014

What Christmas Shows Children About Self-Esteem

Children are hungry for affirmation. Children are desperate for love, for family, for an understanding of their place in the world. Children who lack these things grow up hating themselves and wanting to disappear, or forcing others to pay attention to their outrageous displays of addiction or terror. The truth about Christmas provides all the affirmation we need: the only reason we exist is because our God created us out of love; and when we forgot this, God proved his love by becoming one of us.

Relentless headlines tell us about school shootings, suicides, rampant drug use, epidemic STDs, teenagers joining terrorist groups. . . . This is not God's plan for us or for our children. And we don't begin to address the crisis by telling children how great they are. We free our children by showing them how great God is.

Read more at Praying with Grace.

Mary did you know?

New Member Tacy Williams Beck

Tacy Williams Beck is a wife and mother living in  Chattanooga, Tennessee. She is a recent convert to the Catholic Church (Easter 2011), and credits St. Therese of Lisieux and Thomas Merton as being most influential in her conversion.  In addition to reading, sewing, and baking,and she and her husband Stephen love learning more about their Catholic faith everyday. They have 3 girls, aged 6,4, and 2, and one boy age 1.  Tacy also writes about their journey as parents and converts; she writes at tacywilliamsbeck.com and realhousekeeping.com. Thank you for reading!

15 Dec 2014

Fathers, Daughters and St. Thérèse by Nancy HC Ward

An interview with Connie Rossini, author of Trusting God with St. Thérèse.

Connie gives practical advice for overcoming fears and frustrations that hamper our relationship with God. I asked her about her father-daughter relationship as compared to that of Louis Martin and his daughter St. Thérèse of Lisieux.

Nancy: Thérèse was blessed with parents who were “more worthy of heaven than of earth.” Thérèse had a special relationship with her father, who called her, “my Queen.” She formed her image of God from her father who never denied her love, affection and care. How did your father-daughter relationship compare to this?

Connie: In some ways, my relationship with my father when I was growing up was miles apart from the relationship between Thérèse and Louis. I am very quiet and reserved. As a child, I was also timid. My dad, in contrast, was outgoing and frank. He was also the primary disciplinarian. My mom often said, "Wait till your dad gets home!" I grew nervous around him. I avoided talking to him about any serious subjects.

In my book, I tell how my dad left me home alone when I was about five. When he returned about an hour later, he didn't show any sympathy for my fears. So that didn't help my relationship with him or God.
Read the entire interview at JOYAlive.net

Fun and Easy Ways to Put Christ Back Into Your Christmas!

It is easy to get caught up in the seasonal frenzy and forget that Christ is at the center of Christmas; so here are ten great ways to put Christ back into Christmas!
  • Purchase cards that say “Merry Christmas” as part of the message; don’t settle for “Happy Holiday” cards! And if it has been a while since you’ve sent Christmas cards, make this the year you start again. Christmas cards with a personal note are a great way to put Christ back into Christmas.
  • Lots of people have service jobs that we often take for granted. Decide which person (or people) you would like to notice at Christmastime and purchase some small gift. Maybe purchase a set of pretty, padded hangers for the school bus driver or a gift card for a coffee shop for the mail carrier. Make sure a Christmas card is included with the gift!
  • This year make sure you have a nativity set for your most used room in the house. The crèche doesn’t have to be large or expensive. A small, inexpensive one put on a pedestal serves the purpose of remembering what Christmas is really all about. Be creative: use a cake pedestal as a platform! 

14 Dec 2014

That Wondrous Interruption

For some of us, the activities of Advent and Christmas can feel like an intrusion. Day to day life is more or less put on hold by an urgent need to shop and wrap and plan. Chairs and tables are displaced by, of all things, a tree in the middle of our house. There is no time to do ordinary things, as everyday life is seriously disrupted for weeks on end.  It can seem like a major interruption.  

A few years ago, the truth of it hit me.  This is what Christmas has been since the instant of the Incarnation: an interruption.  Please stay with me here, because our first reaction to the word “interruption” could be negative.  But interruptions are often quite positive, and this Interruption was the most positive of them all. 

Think of it.  Mary was living a quiet, hidden life.  She was betrothed.  Then one day an angel appeared to her, and with that Holy Interruption Mary’s life was changed forever, as was Joseph’s, as was yours, as was mine.

As we know, there was a Birth.  There were shepherds tending their flocks, and again an angel appeared.  A night of sheep-watching was interrupted.... (continue here)  


Suicide, Sin, and Dealing with Depression

Like I said last week, 'tiz the season to be frazzled. It's also a time of year when folks get together with family, including folks like Yogi Yorgesson's "goofy relations:"
"...After dinner my Aunt and my wife's Uncle Louie
Get into an argument; they're both awful screwy
Then all my wife's family say Louie is right
And my goofy relations, they yoin in the fight.
Back in the corner the radio is playing
And over the racket Gabriel Heater is saying
'Peace on earth everybody and good will toward men'
And yust at that moment someone slugs Uncle Ben....
("I Yust Go Nuts At Christmas," via eLyrics.net)
Oddly enough, December is generally a month with the fewest suicides each year in America. ("Holiday Suicides: Fact or Myth?," Injury Prevention & Control, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (December 31, 2013))

Digging a little deeper, I noticed that those 'December suicides' statistics may or may not include murder-suicides: the sort of thing I talked about in "Psycho Santa's Slaying Spree - The Catholic Connection," back in 2008. That's not quite another topic.

More at A Catholic Citizen in America.

'O felix culpa; O happy fault.' Sunday Reflections, 3rd Sunday of Advent, Year B

St John the Baptist, Donatello, 1438
Santa Maria Gloriosa dei Frari, Venice [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) 
There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. He came as a witness to testify to the light, so that all might believe through him. He himself was not the light, but he came to testify to the light.

This is the testimony given by John when the Jews sent priests and Levites from Jerusalem to ask him, “Who are you?” He confessed and did not deny it, but confessed, “I am not the Messiah.” And they asked him, “What then? Are you Elijah?” He said, “I am not.” “Are you the prophet?” He answered, “No.” Then they said to him, “Who are you? Let us have an answer for those who sent us. What do you say about yourself?” He said,“I am the voice of one crying out in the wilderness,‘Make straight the way of the Lord,’” as the prophet Isaiah said.

Now they had been sent from the Pharisees. They asked him, “Why then are you baptizing if you are neither the Messiah, nor Elijah, nor the prophet?” John answered them, “I baptize with water. Among you stands one whom you do not know,  the one who is coming after me; I am not worthy to untie the thong of his sandal.” This took place in Bethany across the Jordan where John was baptizing.
Mary, Queen of Heaven, Master of the Legend of St Lucy, c.1485-1500
National Gallery of Art, Washington [Web Gallery of Art]
Here in the Philippines we will begin the the Misas de Gallo, also known as Simbang Gabi or Aguinaldo Masses, the novena of pre-dawn Masses leading up to Christmas, or Tuesday the 16th. These are votive Masses in honour of our Blessed Mother and in thanksgiving for the gift of our faith. The Spanish word 'Aguinaldo' means 'gift' and in this context refers to the gift of faith.   Full post here.

13 Dec 2014

Introducing A Vibrant, Catholic Children’s Magazine Appealing to REAL Kids

If you ever dreamed of a Catholic magazine which would capture your children’s interest immediately yet hold it as they delved deeper, look no further than St. Mary’s Messenger.
This attractive magazine, for 7-12-year-olds, entertains as it deepens faith at the same time.

Everything from the colour scheme, the layout and quality of images to the fascinating interactive fun pages tell me that professional staff, who also understand children, put this publication together.

The editors and writers must be parents and/or teachers because they  know what appeals to real kids. Kids can smell a phony, pious publication a mile away, but the tone of St. Mary’s Messenger is direct and unpretentious with a  vibrant spirituality that connects with real kids.

December 13: Saint Lucy

St. Lucy by Francesco del Cossa
National Gallery of Art
Washington D.C. 


Saint Lucy’s name means “light” and she wanted to serve Jesus and bring His light into the world. However, her mom, who was not a Christian, wanted her to get married to a certain man. Some legends say that Lucy prayed God would cure her mother of a sickness she had for a long time, and when He did, her mother believed, too. But the man Lucy was supposed to marry got angry and turned her into the government for being a Christian. When the soldiers came to arrest her, they thought they’d just pick her up and carry her away, but God made her very, very heavy so they couldn’t. 


Even though Lucy lived in Syracuse, the people of Sweden have adopted Saint Lucy – or Saint Lucia as they call her – for their own. Every year on December 13, girls dress up like Saint Lucy in white robes with a red sash and wear wreaths  with white candles on their heads. Then they bring breakfast rolls and coffee to their families. Here are instructions for making a Saint Lucia crown out of paper. If you want to make traditional Swedish Saint Lucia buns, here’s the recipe. (It calls for saffron, which you should find at any grocery store, If you can’t you can substitute 1/8 teaspoon of turmeric and ½ teaspoon of sweet paprika for every ¼ teaspoon of saffron.)

Saint Lucy, pray for us!

More reading for parents:

7 Reasons Why I Love Gaudete Sunday

The third Sunday of Advent is known as Gaudete Sunday. Gaudete Sunday takes its name from the first word of the Entrance Antiphon at Mass which proclaims:

"Rejoice in the Lord always; again I say rejoice!"

which reads in Latin as "Gaudete in Domino semper: iterum dico, gaudete." (Sounds so cool in Latin doesn't it?)

Click here to read 7 reasons why I love Gaudete Sunday...

12 Dec 2014

Why I Cope With Life Better Today (as a Catholic)

I do not know how I would cope with my life if I were not Catholic. I can easily tell you that I would not cope well. Years of living beforehand would bear that out.

Here are some differences in how I get through tough times today vs. during my "heretical" years. 

(1) My emotions do not control my decisions as much

Free will has to do with making decisions without being driven by emotions. I am making more solid, logical and clear choices now than I ever have before. During my "heretical years," I believed that free will had to do with extricating myself from the oppression of moral obligations in order to be free to follow my feelings. How did that work out for me? Hmm.. I'm writing this... so...

(2) I take care to have selfless motives. 

When I pursue being of the greatest service to God above the motives for comfort, public opinion or material things, each decision I make has meaning. When I work to make my life a gift to God rather than a gift to myself, I do not have time to immerse myself in self-pity or resentment.

Good feelings and material things will all pass away. Peace in my heart, mind and soul will never be possible if I waste any time trying to chase any other goal than to serve God. 

Mystical Transformation

Henry_V_of_England_-_Illustration_from_Cassell's_History_of_England_-_Century_Edition_-_published_circa_1902When the Bishop slipped and broke his nose, he cancelled his pilgrimage to Lourdes and decided to grace our school with his presence for ‘speech day’ instead. It was customary to put on some sort of entertainment when he was presiding over the proceedings, but nothing had been prepared, so it was decided, to produce a Shakespearean anthology at the last minute.
It would comprise two comic scenes sandwiched between three serious ones. There were no budding actors in my class so we all drew lots to decide who would play the part of Henry the fifth, - and the lot fell on me. Day after day I practised extravagant gestures in front of my mother's full-length mirror, as I recited his famous speech before the final assault on Harfleur – “Once more into the breach dear friends once more…” At the dress rehearsal I got far more laughs than the grave digger from Hamlet and the porter from Macbeth put together. ....... read on


This story was posted in 2010, in another blog:
  • "Birthright"
    Drifting at the Edge of Time and Space (February 19, 2010)

Despite the stories you've seen, there never were very many Voini. Like any alter, each Voin was expensive to grow.

Also, unlike the Gung Yan, Voini had earned an unpleasant reputation during the recent wars.

Between limited production, judgments after the Suspension and 'Voin hunts,' there are now perhaps only a few dozen surviving Voini.

Perhaps it is best this way....

More at A Catholic Citizen in America.

Something different to think about this Christmas.

At the time of Mary, it was unheard of for a single woman to become pregnant. It would have been a great scandal bringing shame to all the family. To then proclaim that you are carrying the Son of God would have been blasphemy at the very least. Mary would have either been stoned to death or thought of as totally insane. Yet, despite the fear of shame, and fear for her own and her family's safety, she said "Yes" to the Lord. We owe her a lot for that "Yes"!

For a man to find out his girl-friend is pregnant and the baby is not his, is bad enough. Most men would have run a mile in the opposite direction. To be told the baby is the Son of God is more than any man in such circumstances could understand. We owe a lot to Joseph too, for staying by Mary's side.

Homo Erectus Engraving, Long-Lost Relatives

A researcher with a digital camera noticed faint marks on a half-million-old shell. It's the earliest known abstract mark: made by Homo erectus.

Scientists discovered genetic traces of a previously-unknown group of people, Denisovans, in a Neanderthal's DNA a year ago.

Detailed analysis of the Neanderthal DNA reveals details of that Neanderthal family's history: and a few genes from another previously-unknown group....

...The woman we know as KNM ER 3733 lived about 1,700,000 years ago....

...The human family has changed a bit since her time: most of us have shorter arms and legs now; our foreheads are smoother and more nearly vertical; and we're probably better at singing opera. I'll get back to that....

More at A Catholic Citizen in America.

"Is There Anything Else You Need?" Reflections on Our lady of Guadalupe

As the Church once again celebrates the feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe, I find myself pondering her pointed question to Juan Diego: "Is there anything else you need? Over and over that phrase turns in my mind -- is there anything else I need?  Juan Diego could answer that question and place his complete trust in the Mother of God who was standing directly in front of him. I have not been given such a privilege. I am, however, asked to have the same trust and faith that he did.

Click here to

A Baker's Dozen: Thirteen Words Every Catholic Should Know

It makes perfect sense to call the thirteen words every Catholic must know a “Baker’s dozen.” 

Christ, after all, used such references as “yeast” and “leavening,” in his parables. So, with yeast as the foundation of baking, these thirteen words, when part of the Catholic’s every day journey, will grow and expand into a vibrant and exciting understanding of faith.

Redemptive Suffering

What do you want to hear first: the good news or the bad news?

The good news is that Jesus suffered and died for us. He bore our wounds, his stripes healed us.

The bad news is that this does not eliminate suffering in the world.

Enter the often misunderstood teaching of “redemptive suffering.”

This isn’t to say that what Christ suffered was insufficient or lacking; rather, redemptive suffering is the ability to be a co-worker of Christ’s. It is the anointed opportunity to join your own difficulties and afflictions with Christ’s for the sake of others. It is the beautiful way for you to lay your hardships at the foot of the Cross where Christ will pick them up and distribute them as gifts of love to others in need.

Offering your suffering to Christ’s is the ultimate act of service that you can offer the world in imitation of Jesus.

11 Dec 2014

Make Me a Saint!

Let my life always be Yours.
Let my heart always be Yours.
Let my thoughts always be Yours.
Let me praise You with all my being.

Fill me with Your Holy Spirit.
Let Him direct me in  His ways,
For His ways are Your ways.
Let Him guide me and counsel me
So that I will walk in Your Footsteps.

Your burden is easy and Your yoke is light,
Be with me that I might carry my cross with joy
Knowing that by embracing my cross,
I am filled with Your love and peace.

Read More at:: His Unending Love!

Catholic Resources on Extreme Parenting (Special Needs, Adoption, Fostering, and More!)

My request for Catholic online and print resources on extreme parenting circumstances got an amazing response, so I'd like to share it with you. There's more on adoption than I thought, including an excellent new resource scheduled to be released by Pauline Books in 2015 (huge shout-out to author Jaymie Stuart Wolfe and the sisters at Pauline). But there's much less on fostering and step-parenting than I was hoping to find.

Please, please, please if you have more to add to the list, respond in the comments or by email to santoskaree@gmail.com. It's so important to support parents taking on this holy but often incredibly arduous work.

  • Adoption: Room for One More?, by Jaymie Stuart Wolfe (forthcoming from Pauline Books in 2015)
  • Adoption: Choosing It, Living It, Loving It, by Dr. Ray Guarendi (St. Anthony Messenger, 2009)
  • Longing to Love: A Memoir of Desire, Relationships, and Spiritual Transformation, by Tim Muldoon (Loyola Press, 2010)
  • While We Wait: Spiritual and Practical Advice for Those Trying to Adopt, by Heidi Schlumpf (ACTA Publications, 2009)
  • Little Lucy's Family: A Story About Adoption, by Eleanor Gormally (ACTA Publications, 2008) (for children)

10 Dec 2014

Tis the Season... to Prepare!

Happy Advent all! …in our Season of Hope & Preparation!
Still, yet, it can also be a season of many, many challenges [to body, mind, & spirit!]
…in this time of year that’s well known for setting us back [if not completely derailing us]
on the way of wellness & weight management.
Of course, it’s not hopeless!! …And Hope (& Triumph) can certainly be found through the very thing that the Season itself proclaims to us with Joy… Be Prepared! :) 
It is in being prepared that we will best meet the extra challenges of this extra busy time of year!
So, in recalling the previous “Tis the Season…” reflection here on The Way to Nourish… we had 3 options [+3 tips]
>>Click Here to Read More at: The Way to Nourish for Life>>
...including a look at
one such challenge!

Inspired by a Pregnant Mary

In Greenbush, the snow is falling straight down in huge flakes, coating each branch and twig with a thick coating of snow. The snow literally absorbs sound waves and the effect is a quiet, peaceful, pure white oasis. In the middle of this deep silence, the thought popped into my mind that it is also the second week of Advent,  a time of silent waiting. Let these prayers and painting of a pregnant Mary inspire you as you wait with her for the birth of Jesus.
   ADVENT PRAYERS: To Prepare your heart for the birth of Christ 
God of power and mercy, open our hearts in welcome. Remove the things that hinder us from receiving Christ with joy, so that we may share his wisdom and become one with him when he comes in glory, for he lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.  Amen 

Mary, A Consecrated Virgin

The Year of Consecrated Life, which began on November 21, casts the spotlight on religious vocations, such as the calls to be a sister, brother, nun, monk, or priest. Consecration is the setting aside of persons (or objects) exclusively for God and divine service. The word is derived from the Latin for “to make sacred.” The thought occurred to me that the Blessed Virgin Mary was the first consecrated Christian. Her vocation as Mother of God aligns with religious vocations today. click to continue

9 Dec 2014

The Magnificat - Mama Mary's Song of Praise

"My soul magnifies the Lord
And my spirit rejoices in God my Savior;
Because He has regarded the lowliness of His handmaid;
For behold, henceforth all generations shall call me blessed;
Because He who is mighty has done great things for me,
and holy is His name;


Parents, the First Evangelists

Pope Francis has an evangelization prayer close to his heart this month: he is praying for parents. As the Pope puts it, "Pray that parents may be true evangelizers, passing on to their children the precious gift of faith."

Mary and Joseph were the first evangelizers of Jesus. If evangelizing means to bring the good news of salvation to the world, then Mary was a literalist: she physically brought Jesus, the saving Word of God, to the world. Joseph and Mary cared for the Word, loved the Word, and shared the Word with others in their daily lives.

It almost seems unfair, in a way, doesn't it? SAY WHAT?! Read on at Praying with Grace.

Butterfly Kisses

In honor of this feast of St. Juan Diego and the upcoming feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe, I am reposting this blog from 2012. 

Most of the time when I am in prayer it is spent in meditation, contemplation and intercession. I rarely ask the Lord questions but I find when I do I almost always receive an answer. I don't know why but I often do not expect an answer and I don't always recognize the revelation I receive as a direct response to my question. That happened to me a few weeks ago.

Before I tell you what my question was, let me clarify that I am 110% pro-life.  I see it as a grave evil and a spiritual battle. I believe that Satan, through the act of abortion would like to kill as many of these innocent lives as he can because nothing reflects God better than an innocent baby made in his image and likeness. I believe these babies therefore are little martyrs that go to heaven. My heart in the matter has always been very grievous, especially for the mother.  I often feel led to intercede for these women who are damaging themselves psychologically and spiritually through such an unnatural act as to kill their own child. Not to mention that they are rejecting such a precious gift. I know women who have had abortions and at the time they did not fully realize what they were doing but later deeply regretted it and said it was the worst decision they had ever made.  Fortunately, the women I know have taken it to the cross and have received God's mercy.  There are other women however that will try to escape the pain of what they have done through drug and alcohol use and all around continuing to make unhealthy decisions.  There are always repercussions.

So, here was my question:     Continue Reading at Beautifulthorns.com >

8 Dec 2014

Helping Kids Discern a Vocation

(Excerpt is reprinted with permission from All Things Guy: A Guide to Becoming a Man that Matters)

Have you ever been in a religion class or in Church and Father asks you to think about a vocation? Do you get the feeling you want to crawl in a hole and disappear, fearing he will ask you to become a priest?

A vocation is a call from God. It’s not merely a career choice. Everyone, everyone, everyone has a calling from God!

The word vocation refers to three different things:
1.       Vocation comes with baptism. It’s a call to know, love and serve God in your life.
2.     Vocation also means, “state in life,” such as priesthood, religious life, marriage or single life.
3.     Vocation also means a personal relationship you have with Jesus. It’s you, yourself, trying to know, love, and serve God.