24 Aug 2016

Squeezing Through the Narrow Gate

Most people assume that they will spend eternity in heaven. Some of them might be like the Pharisee who prayed, “God, I thank you that I am not like other people—robbers, evildoers, adulterers. . . . I fast twice a week and give a tenth of all I get.” This man thought he was right with God, but Jesus said he wasn’t. We ourselves might say, “I never killed anyone. I go to Mass. I donate to charitable organizations.” But is this enough to get us through the narrow gate that Jesus mentioned in Sunday’s Gospel? It’s a bit disconcerting to hear him say that many people will not be able to get through it! In other words, they will not be “saved.” Click to continue

Comfort the Sorrowful: Spiritual Work of Mercy Series


As with every month, during this Year of Mercy, we choose a different corporal or spiritual work of mercy and dive into the details. This month we discuss the spiritual work of mercy to comfort the sorrowful.

It seems like every time I attend a wake for someone’s passing, I never know what to say to the bereft family members. Does that happen to you as well? How does one truly comfort the sorrowful at such a time of great loss? Words seem so inadequate; well, at least my words seem inadequate. At such times, I try to remember what it was like when I was on the receiving end, at the wakes of both of my parents. For me, the mere presence of a trusted friend, who did not need to say a single word, brought me much comfort. She showed how much she cared, just by being present. Sometimes all that is needed is... Read more...  

As the Morning Rising: Beauty All Around


As the Morning Rising: Beauty All Around: Waterford Cathedral Blessed Edmund Rice Shrine in Waterford Cathedral Cistercian Church Mount Mellary Waterford Fran...

23 Aug 2016

The Oldest Images of Mary



I love this painting of Mary as the Protectress of the Roman People, created in the 5th century.

A fascinating carving in stone is thought to be from the 3rd century and features the three Magi bringing gifts to the Christ Child on Mary’s lap.

22 Aug 2016

Polio, Zika, and Using Our Brains

Polio is back in Nigeria: only two cases that we know of; which isn’t particularly comforting, since most folks with polio have no symptoms.

The good news is that vaccines are available: and may get to most of those who need them before the disease does.

Zika, another viral disease, is still in the news, this time a case in Texas that affected a baby.

On a happier note, researchers are making progress on a brain-machine interface that could help folks walk again.

More at A Catholic Citizen in America.

Week 3 Prayer Journal Reflections

Honestly I can not believe that I am entering in the last week of this challenge. It has truly been enlightening trying align my life with scripture. It has also been interesting how my problems are spoken about in the Bible. No matter what year it is some problems are just universal. This week has been a huge struggle for me. Even staying committed to the challenge. This week my biggest problems were my lack of faith and trust. I know its crazy to admit but there are moments in my life when I am like seriously :”wtf God”. I get angry and challenge him but I do this with all the important people in my life.

Complete 30-day Prayer Journal Challenge Outline.

I can not believe that I am already in week four of this challenge. I am sad that it is almost over. I can honestly say that taking the time to write this for 15 mins a day, has improve my relationship with God and myself. I think that when we take time out of our day to reflect we are helping us become better people.
Week One Questions
  1. How Do I feel today?
  2. What does the Bible say about my feelings? (My Advice is to use your feelings as key words and list the key words in your journal for future reference; this applies to all verse questions.)
  3. Where was I weak today?
  4. What advice does the Bible give about overcoming my weakness?
  5. What is God’s Message today?
  6. At the end of week one you write a reflection and Prayer to carry you into the next week.
Week 2  Questions
  1. How Do I feel today?
  2. What does the Bible say about my feelings? (My Advice is to use your feelings as key words and list the key words in your journal for future reference; this applies to all verse questions.)
  3. Where was I weak today?
  4. What advice does the Bible give about overcoming my weakness?
  5. Where was I strong today?
  6. What verses in the Bible encourage my strength?
  7. What is God’s Message today
  8. Prayer
  9. Week 2 Reflections
Week 3 and Week 4:
For more info click here. 

My Heart Beats for Christ! For Whom Does Your Heart Beat?


I was recently at the doctor’s office for my annual visit. While sitting in the examining room, with nothing to do but wait, I read the ad on the door. It showed a picture of an older woman, holding a placard that said, “My heart beats for______.” She filled in the blank with “my grandkids.” She had a huge smile on her face. The ad promoted preventative health exams.

As I sat there looking at the ad, I asked myself, for whom does my heart beat? I hope my husband isn’t too disappointed, but my first instinct was to answer, “My Heart beats for Christ!” Sitting there in awe for a minute, I realized my response, as well as my accompanying relationship with Christ. I love my husband very much. We’ve been together almost 40 years (married more than 37 years). Yet my response was Christ. I live for Christ; to do His will.

My Heart Beats for Christ


I cannot say that Christ would have always been my first response. In my early thirties... Read more...

FREE: 365 Day Catholic Devotional

When Kevin Vost, Peggy Bowes and Shane Kapler got together to compose a Catholic devotional, the market was already flooded! But these three Catholics are known for their unique blend of Catholic health and wellness for mind AND body; soul AND spirit.
 
As a guest on EWTN's Journey Home, Peggy Bowes had one of the most watched episodes. Likewise, Vost has shared his story on air and in print. Kapler, whose knowledge in the Jewish faith as the foundation of the Catholic faith, brought a unique perspective as well.
 
Thus, Tending the Temple was born. A popular Catholic devotional, Tending the Temple really covers it all in succinct daily entries that offer something for mind, body, soul and spirit.
 
For a limited time, Tending the Temple is free on Amazon. Take advantage and enjoy!
 
And may God bless you with health of mind, body, soul and spirit.

As the Morning Rising: The Queenship of Mary


As the Morning Rising: The Queenship of Mary: This is a treasured relic in Mount Sion Waterford, the Blessed Edmund Rice  Heritage and Resource Centre. Blessed Edmund had great devoti...

21 Aug 2016

Letters From Home



Rejecting Reality



Why the willingness to believe the ludicrous? I discovered one of the reasons a few years ago during a memorable April First.
It started with a family friend who is a disc jockey. For a while he was working at a local Oldies station, playing hits from the Sixties and Seventies. He’s a terrific guy with a wonderful sense of humor, and one of the things he loved doing was playing an April Fool’s Day prank on his listeners.
One year he asked my husband and me for help with this. He had decided to create a fictitious rock ‘n roll star to interview on his noon show. This fabricated man’s specialty was to be a particular musical instrument, but it had to be something so silly that folks would realize he was playing a joke on them.
I suggested the tambourine. It’s an instrument anybody with rhythm can play, and it’s used in lots of rock ‘n roll songs. Not only that, but two songs from the Sixties–“Mr. Tambournine Man” and “Green Tambourine”–are about it.
And thus was born B.B. McDonald, expert tambourine player. 

WHAT A MARRIED PRIEST CAN TEACH ABOUT CELIBACY IN THE CATHOLIC CHURCH





Resultado de imagen de sotana de sacerdote
 
 
The concept of virginity at this time of deification of sex and the reign of impulses as a method of achieving freedom may sound old-fashioned and even unnatural. In the case of celibacy of priesthood in the Catholic Church,it has been blamed for the decline of priestly vocations and even noted it as the root of the sexual abuse perpetrated by priests. But the experience of married priests that profess in the Catholic Churh of Eastern and Byzantine Rite questions this mainstream reasoning  .

20 Aug 2016

10 Minute Daily Retreat: Ugly or Lovely? Spiritual Gift of Counsel

In an effort to remind us to have the good judgement to not judge His children, as our eyes can only see a portion of the whole, our concentration should be on developing OUR best self.

I envision God reinforcing this gift through Kenneth Slessor's poem: William Street. 'You find it ugly, I find it lovely.'


Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my thoughts.  Psalm 139:23



Read on: http://susannetimpani.blogspot.com.au/

Ben-Hur: the Movie, Real Life Theaters, & Happy Endings

Last night I went to see Ben-Hur, the bloodiest movie I think I've ever seen. It was far worse than Friday the 13th or any of the warped bloodfests I pretended to tolerate but was really disgusted by as a teenager. Ben-Hur is not a movie I'd recommend for children and not one I think I'd see again. At the same time, I am very glad I did read it.

In some ways, I wish I had just read the book and skipped the movie. I'm a writer so you can probably guess that books hold a special place in my heart. In fact, if I were to become a hoarder you'd probably find me tunneling through stacks of books I'd hoped to get to one day even while I knew there'd never be enough time to devour all I'd want to experience and learn through the writings of others.

To continue reading and find out about happy endings, please join me at SingleMomSmiling.com
God Bless...

19 Aug 2016

Bill Donaghy & TOB: Step Away from the Insanity Into Reality

After interviewing Bill Donaghy from The Theology of the Body Institute about their upcoming Congress this September, I was filled with hope and joy for the Church. Bill lives out the core values of the gospel without pretention, probably because he is married with four children and is submerged in” the beautiful mess” of family life. One of his favorite quotes illustrates a profound grasp of what is essential,
“We, the women and men of the Church, we are in the middle of a love story: each of us is a link in this chain of love. And if we do not understand this, we have understood nothing of what the Church is….” – Pope Francis

Bill Donaghy

Ever since Bill discovered the first talks on The Theology of the Body by Pope John Paul II at the age of 16, his life has been formed by this teaching.

'Then people will come from east and west . . .' Sunday Reflections, 21st Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year C


Crowning during a Syro-Malabar Catholic wedding

Gospel Luke 13:22-30 NRSV, Catholic Ed.

Jesus went through one town and village after another, teaching as he made his way to Jerusalem. Someone asked him, “Lord, will only a few be saved?” He said to them, “Strive to enter through the narrow door; for many, I tell you, will try to enter and will not be able. When once the owner of the house has got up and shut the door, and you begin to stand outside and to knock at the door, saying, ‘Lord, open to us,’ then in reply he will say to you, ‘I do not know where you come from.’ Then you will begin to say, ‘We ate and drank with you, and you taught in our streets.’ But he will say, ‘I do not know where you come from; go away from me, all you evildoers!’ There will be weeping and gnashing of teeth when you see Abraham and Isaac and Jacob and all the prophets in the kingdom of God, and you yourselves thrown out. Then people will come from east and west, from north and south, and will eat in the kingdom of God. Indeed, some are last who will be first, and some are first who will be last.”

Three years ago when I was at home in Dublin a friend of mine from the Philippines, Marifel, who was a parishioner of mine in Tangub City, Mindanao, when she was a child and now works as a receptionist for a community of Dominican Sisters near Dublin, invited me for a meal in a hotel. When the waitress came along I asked her if she was from Poland or Lithuania or 'one of those countries. 'One of those countries', she replied with a smile, 'Latvia.' She took our orders but the food was brought by an Indian waiter. Later on an Irish waiter looked after us.



Full post here.

17 Aug 2016

Are you Stealing Christ’s Job?


When I take on the identity of a scapegoat, even if I  live a devout, disciplined, ascetic lifestyle with a daily round of mass, rosaries, Eucharistic Adoration and frequent confession, I still fall into a trap. It is a trap that all of us fall into as we try to become devoted disciples of Jesus. It is a type of piety  which focuses on ourselves, our actions, our devotions, and effort. I am at the front and centre, not God.
Save us, Saviour of the world, for, by your Cross and Resurrection, you have set us free.-  From the Mass
continue reading

Conquering Spelling Demons

This post is quite a departure from my other ones, but I have good reason for putting it up. During this Year of Mercy, it's my attempt to practice the spiritual work of mercy "instruct the ignorant"! For most of my teaching ministry, I taught English. To help my students spell commonly misspelled words, I came up with some devices. These tricks helped me spell, and I thought I'd share them with you. The list here contains my own concoctions as well as traditional ones.
All right:  All right is better than all wrong.
Bulletin:  Who put the bullet in the gun?
Calendar:  It contains days.
Cemetery:  We go to the cemetery with ease.  Click to continue

Our Moral Life in Christ, by Fr. Peter V Armenio - Book Review


Our Moral Life in Christ – College Edition, by Father Peter V. Armenio, is an excellent book for anyone wanting to learn more about moral theology. We live in troubling times, asking ourselves what our world has come to these days. Where have our moral values gone as a society, with all of the terrorist attacks, mass shootings and lack of charity? If you are looking for ways to make this world a better place, then start by reading this book. Change comes from within. We need to look at ourselves first, before pointing the finger at others.

I use Our Moral Life in Christ – College Edition in teaching my Fundamentals of Catholic Moral Theology course at the undergraduate level. I find the text offers the sound basics of moral theology in ways that everyone can identify with... Read more... 

15 Aug 2016

Prayer Journal Challenge week 2

I have to say that as this process continues to go forward, I am shocked about how much I am learning about myself and my relationship with God. I am newly returned to my faith and trying to make the right choices in accordance to scriptures while dealing with worldly problems. I have learned this week that if I cast my burdens to God, he blesses me with motivation from the Holy Spirit. I am actually shocked about how much closer I am to God at the end of these two weeks. I can not believe How well this is working. I am so grateful for the 15 mins a day I have devoted to God, are beginning to show results!!!

Prayer Journal Challenge Outline


I feel so blessed that so many people have reached out to take the challenge. I am truly thankful for each and every one of you.

Hey everyone I love that people are interested in doing the 30 day prayer challenge I wrote. I received a lot of questions so I created an outline for people to follow. This is not set in stone just a basic idea for you to build off of. Weeks 1-3 are available for you now. Week four will be available in week four.
Week One Questions
  1. How Do I feel today?
  2. What does the Bible say about my feelings? (My Advice is to use your feelings as key words and list the key words in your journal for future reference; this applies to all verse questions.)
  3. Where was I weak today?
  4. What advice does the Bible give about overcoming my weakness?
  5. What is God’s Message today?
  6. At the end of week one you write a reflection and Prayer to carry you into the next week.

Assumption of Mary into Heaven; Our Blessed Mother


Because Saint Ann conceived our Blessed Mother in her womb without original sin, and because Mary remained sin-free for her entirely earthly life, God assumed Mary into Heaven, body and soul, at the end of her earthly life. Mary’s refraining from sin resulted in no need for her earthly body to decay; to experience death as we know it.

In stark contrast, for everyone else, our souls separate from our bodies at the time of our earthly deaths. Our bodies decay because of the original sin committed by Adam and Eve, and from our own concupiscence to sin. God created Adam from dust, and as a result of Original Sin, unto dust we all shall return. Our departed souls await the Second Coming of Jesus Christ, when He will resurrect our glorified bodies, reunited with our souls, in perfect union with the Blessed Trinity. This is Catholic dogma, a tenet of our faith.

Our Blessed Mother, A Cause for Hope


Mary’s Assumption into Heaven is cause for our hope in the... Read more... 

13 Aug 2016

Prostitution:from slavery to human right? (Spanish) El trabajo sexual o prostitución ¿Derecho humano o esclavitud?


Resultado de imagen de esclavitud de mujer
La esclavitud, que pensábamos ya estaba abolida, ha tenido mil formas de representación a través de la historia de la humanidad, ha resurgido en muchas regiones del mundo con una cara nueva y moderna. Como en antaño, las que han sido más afectadas por los nuevos grilletes han sido las mujeres y niñas, especialmente por la prostitución sexual. Esta forma de utilización de la mujer, que ha sido una constante a través de los siglos, culturas y medios de comunicación, se ha ido trivializando y minimizando su naturaleza erosiva que, de muchas formas, alimenta el tráfico de personas.

'From now on five in one household will be divided . . .' Sunday Reflections, 20th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year C


The Marriage at Cana,Marten de Vos, 1596-97
Gospel Luke 12:49-53 (NRVS, Catholic Ed, Can)

Jesus said to his disciples: “I came to bring fire to the earth, and how I wish it were already kindled! I have a baptism with which to be baptized, and what stress I am under until it is completed! Do you think that I have come to bring peace to the earth? No, I tell you, but rather division! From now on five in one household will be divided, three against two and two against three; they will be divided:
father against son and son against father,
mother against daughter and daughter against mother,
mother-in-law against her daughter-in-law and daughter-in-law against mother-in-law.”

About 40 years ago when I had some programs on DXDD, a radio station in Ozamiz City, Mindanao, started by a Columban priest, Fr Charles Nolan, and now owned by the Archdiocese of Ozamiz, two friends of mine brought in a boy of about three whom they had found wandering at night. I appealed on the air for his family to come and bring him home. There was no response. My program was the last for the night and I was wondering what we'd do with the boy. The janitor and his wife, whom I'll call Carlos and Teresa, happened to be there and said, 'We'll take him home. What's one more mouth to feed?' They had a small house and a large family.

The boy's mother, who worked in a night club, was found a day or two later and Carlos and Teresa reunited them.

On 25 July 1968 Pope Paul VI issued his encyclical letter Humanae Vitae, which begins with these words:

The transmission of human life is a most serious role in which married people collaborate freely and responsibly with God the Creator. It has always been a source of great joy to them, even though it sometimes entails many difficulties and hardships.
Officiating at the wedding 
of friends in 2007
M & J now have five children

The fulfillment of this duty has always posed problems to the conscience of married people, but the recent course of human society and the concomitant changes have provoked new questions. The Church cannot ignore these questions, for they concern matters intimately connected with the life and happiness of human beings.

The encyclical, which upholds the Church's traditional teaching on family planning, immediately caused dissension within the Church, much of it quite bitter. It still provokes strong feelings and has been dismissed by many, maybe even by a majority of Catholics, especially in the West.

Full post here.

12 Aug 2016

The Secret to Freedom: Stand Still But Don’t Look Back

I want to shout out a secret to authentic interior freedom, a secret which will go against every fiber of your being. The answer to every crisis, every threat you will face in your life on earth is to stand still and trust.
Easier said than done.
As sinful humans, we are wired to fight or flee from any threat to ourselves or those we love. Unfortunately, if we want to live in the kingdom of heaven as children of God, we soon learn this fight or flight reaction is not God’s way of defeating our enemies. Even though we are Catholics who have been confirmed by the Holy Spirit in His power, we often behave exactly as the Israelite slaves in the Old Testament.
Time and time again, the Israelites had witnessed the power of God defeat their enemies in Egypt. However, as they faced the Red Sea and saw Pharaoh’s army draw near, “the Israelites looked back”Exodus 14:103a8e8223dc6da4cdc645b0c7a0d3f514
Big mistake. Lot’s wife looked back and remember what happened to her?
She turned to a pillar of rock salt.

Earth Overshoot Day and Pollinators

Australia's Earth Overshoot Day happened earlier this week. It used to be called Ecological Debt Day, involves a lot of math, and assumes that Earth's glaciers, deserts, and oceans, are pretty much all the same thing. The basic idea, that we shouldn’t waste resources, isn't silly, and I'll get back to that.

Some other scientists say that we should pay attention to pollinators. I think they're right.

More at A Catholic Citizen in America.

11 Aug 2016

Things Always Work Out

I used to be a special education teacher, and we, as teachers, dealt with a student’s disabilities, as well as, the problems the child might face at home. We worked with our school counsolers very closely. Their job involved directly dealing problems with the problems we were not able to handle. They knew what was going on at home with these kids. Some of it was terrible. I asked one of our counselors how she was able to keep sane knowing what she knew. She said, “Things always work out.”

Read More at Prayerfully Yours

My journey of faith told in pictures


I've come a long way over the years.  Like everyone else, I didn't realize just how long a way until I started looking at some old photographs.
You can view the photo gallery and read the article at Being Catholic ... Really.

An Encounter With Christ

Christianity is above all an experiential faith, a living relationship with Christ. A Christian is not a person who merely accumulates intellectual knowledge about God nor simply fulfills tradition and the letter of the law. Pope Benedict and Pope Francis have repeatedly emphasized that Christianity is an encounter with Jesus.
The evangelization of the person and of human communities depends totally on this encounter with Jesus Christ. Pope Benedict XVI
We must always have the courage and the joy of proposing, with respect, an encounter with Christ, and being heralds of his Gospel. Jesus came amongst us to show us the way of salvation and he entrusted to us the mission to make it known to all to the ends of the earth. Pope Francis
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The Spirituality and Miracles of St. Clare of Assisi



August 11 is the memorial of St. Clare, one of my favorite saints. She was the first woman to follow the life of radical poverty practiced by St. Francis of Assisi and is the co-founder of the Poor Clares. Although I am not a Franciscan, I have had Franciscan friends, clergy, and spiritual directors instruct me on the beauty of St. Clare's spirituality. I have also learned a great deal from reading about her over the years. Clare and Francis (2007) is a film which depicts the fascinating story of her dramatic conversion and surrender to the will of God.

St. Clare is the patron saint of television. She is also the patron of eye disorders, embroiderers, good weather, and telephones.

The Contemplative Life

The Lady Clare was born into a noble family in Assisi in 1193 and was admired for her great beauty. When she heard Francis of Assisi preach his Lenten homilies at the Church of San Giorgio, she was captivated by his words. At age eighteen, she heard him say: "When there is poverty with joy, there is inner peace."  She became deeply determined to live out the gospel message in a radical way. On the evening of Palm Sunday, she secretly left her paternal home with her cousin Pacifica, never to return. In the dead of night lit only by torches, Clare met Francis and his friars at the ‘Portiuncola’. There, in the little chapel of ‘Mary of the Angels’, Francis cut her long blond hair and Clare laid aside her fine clothes, clothing herself in a simple dress of sackcloth and a thick veil. She vowed from that moment on to give herself totally to God, her eternal spouse.

Read more at Catholic Fire.

10 Aug 2016

The Conclusion of My Saga of My Novena to Our Lady of Candelaria

Last night was the final night of my Novena. I can’t believe it is over. I can happily say that this Novena brought me closer to God and Our Blessed Mother. It feels bitter sweet that it is over as I felt our connection was growing. So now she has a candle on my alter at home for daily prayer.
Day 9 Prayer:
Immaculate  Virgin of Candelaria, by your
obedience to the Father, conscious of our
pride, we ask you to help us humble ourselves.
We want to accept God’s will and make our
life a constant “yes” to the invitation of the
eternal Father. Amen.
Allowing my life to be a “constant yes” to the invitation of the eternal Father.  This can be taken a few ways and as I lit my candles last night I realized that this constant yes is a daily struggle and test of my faith.

Living in Another Reality



My husband talks in his sleep.
I may not get a lot of sleep some nights, but I always get entertained.
Like the night when we happened to both be lying on our sides, turned toward each other. He opened his eyes, gazed at me intently, and said, “You look like . . .”
As I was thinking Now what? he completed his sentence. “. . . a turtle.”
I look like a turtle?
Squinting and staring at me more intensely, he asked, “How’d you do that?” 

Broken Home; Broken Peace


Timmy and Tammy are ten-year-old twins, who come home from school every day to an empty house. As a society, we commonly refer to such children as “latch-key children.” More and more responsibility is placed on such children to self-discipline themselves to do their homework and complete their chores. It is no longer monetarily feasible for one parent to stay at home. Life gets even more complicated and overwhelming when a person must raise their children without the loving support of a spouse. Timmy and Tammy’s mom, Tiffany, has little time for her twins. Her boss is overbearing, demanding, and unaccommodating when it comes to balancing home and work life. Work usually wins out because Tiffany is a single mom, and sole bread-winner for her family. Their dad is long gone and out of the picture, resulting in just one more broken home.

Tiffany struggles with balancing her time and attention between work and home. Sometimes it is just physically easier to ignore her children’s wants and needs to pay heed to her boss instead. Work provides an escape from her problems at home. At least by making the boss happy, Tiffany gets the money needed to feed and clothe her children, and keep a roof over their heads.

Does this scenario sound familiar to you? Read more...

Proverbs, Adages, and Pithy Sayings

We enjoy proverbs and sayings. Witty ones bring a smile to our face. We post them on Facebook and buy t-shirts and mugs that display them. They capture the wisdom of the people. We admire Benjamin Franklin’s Poor Richard’s Almanac, the source of adages such as “birds of a feather flock together,” “a stitch in time saves nine,” and “necessity is the mother of invention.” The Book of Proverbs in the Bible contains hundreds of them. However, we are not as familiar with it as we are with the Psalms. Let’s take a closer look at this first of the Wisdom books. Click to continue