22 Oct 2014

Follow Me ...

Do not covet another man’s house, do not covet his wife, his slaves, his cattle, his ass, or anything else that he owns.
All right, with some difficulty, most of us can go along with that. We may be a little envious of someone else’s house or car or whatever; but that’s as far as it goes. (We hope).

I know I don’t envy my neighbour’s ass because he hasn’t got one. As for his wife … well … let’s say she is so frightening that he is most welcome to her. I know my cat is so terrified whenever he sees her that he dashes up a tree to hide. Even the birds are so scared that they’ve returned all the seeds they took last year.
But what about coveting our neighbours’ Blogs, or Facebook or Google accounts, or such other social media?

Why should they have more hits than me? Or more comments and followers and friends? Some people have more friends on their website than the number of real people that I have met in a lifetime.
Is that not as serious a sin as the 10nth Commandment quoted above?
Perhaps we should instead focus on the content of our Blog posts rather than the number of people reading them.
Let our Blog be the one which Jesus would want to read.

Saint Pope John Paul II and the Heroic Minute

Today the church celebrates the first official feast day of Saint Pope John Paul II.  His heroism and total devotion to his prayer time, even during times of illness, injury and suffering, that propelled him to the heights of holiness and made him a compelling witness to the world of a life lived in complete surrender to the Lord.

Click here to read more about Saint Pope John Paul II's morning prayer routine.

The Power of Little Things

Once when I was in charge of the songs for a retreat Mass, things went very wrong. I came too late to begin the opening song, I started one song too high, and so on. After that fiasco, I sat in the chapel feeling ashamed and miserable. As the other sisters filed out, one of them gave my shoulder a little squeeze. Suddenly things weren’t so bad . . . because of that little gesture. Click to continue

My least favorite time of year

My least favorite time of year is when the political ads on TV and phone calls incessantly fill my life.  Facebook is filled with everyone's opinion on politics and my head starts to hurt and then explode.

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

21 Oct 2014

Women of the Bible I would Like to Meet:: Part 2::The Women at the Empty Tomb:: Joanna, Mary, and Mary Magdalene

There were two Mary's who  went to the empty tomb to finish the burial work of Jesus.  One was Mary Magdalene and the other was Mary, the mother of James and Joseph. Both of these women  had been at the cross with Jesus, Mary, His Mother, and John, and Joanna. 

Mary Magdalene is the woman who was weeping in the garden who spoke to Jesus and didn't recognize Him at first in all His Glory.

When I meet her at His Tomb, I would like to ask her so many questions about her meeting with Jesus.

Of course, you were distraught over your Master's death.  How did you feel when you went to His tomb to finish His anointing for burial?

Did you leave the home of Mary early to spare her the duty of finishing the burial rituals?

What are your memories of the cross?  You must have wept with the other courageous women there?
Read More Here at:: His Unending Love

The two videos that rendered me speechless

You can view the videos at Being Catholic ... Really.

How many good works must we do?

File:Image-Basilique de Lisieux crytpte.jpg
Crypt of the Basilica of St. Therese in Lisieux (Wikipedia).
In the thinking of St. Therese, what does it take to be a saint?
Therese grew up in a culture influenced by Jansenism. Jansenism was a heresy from the seventeenth century that over-emphasized the role of grace in man’s salvation. It had a long-lasting effect on  the Church in France. In the late nineteenth century, during Therese’s life, the French clergy often preached “fire and brimstone” sermons. They focused on man’s sinfulness and the horrors of Hell.

During the school retreat before the first anniversary of her reception of first Communion, Therese was greatly frightened by the priest’s warnings against mortal sin. She was suddenly overcome by scruples. How could she be sure she was on the road to salvation? How could she be sure she was in God’s graces? Maybe she was guilty of mortal sin without acknowledging it. How could she ever be good enough to please God?
Continue reading at Contemplative Homeschool.

Praying with Music

Come! Let us sing to the Lord
and shout with joy
to the rock who saves us.
Let us approach him
with praise and thanksgiving
and sing joyful songs to the Lord.
Psalm 95:1-2

"Americans spend more money on music than on sex or prescription drugs."
"There is no known culture now or anytime in the past that lacks [music], and some of the oldest human-made artifacts found at archaeological sites are musical instruments."

Both of these provocative lines come from books written by Dr. Daniel J. Levitin. The first is from his 2006 best seller This Is Your Brain on Music: the Science of a Human Obsession, and the second is from his more recent book (2008), The World in Six Songs: How the Musical Brain Created Human Nature. Once a professional musician, sound engineer, and record producer, Levitin is now a neuroscientist who runs the Laboratory for Musical Perception, Cognition and Expertise at McGill University.

In The World in Six Songs, Levitin explains that when people sing together, the brain releases oxytocin, what Levitin calls a “trust-inducing hormone.” Oxytocin is the same chemical released when a man and a woman create life together, Levitin reminds us. Singing is that dramatic.

Read on at Praying with Grace!

20 Oct 2014

You can go home again

There's an old saying, "you can't go home again," but I have many times.  I live just a few blocks from where I was raised and sometimes when I go on my walk, I visit the neighborhood where I grew up.
Come walk with me:
You can read the rest at Being Catholic ... Really.

The “Yes” God wants from us by Nancy HC Ward

What God wants is for us to say “yes” to him and “no” to everything else. Of the millions of good things available to us, he wants us to have the best. That’s because he loves us so much. He loved us, even while we were yet sinners.

Every one of us doubts that we are loved. After all, each one of us knows who “we” are. It surprises us when someone loves us completely and thoroughly. But the Lord is after us to believe it. He wants us to know that he loves us inside and out.

We can begin by saying “yes” to believing that we are worthy of God’s love. We can say “yes” to believing deep within our being, that God, our Creator and Savior, loves us. We belong to him. He loves and cherishes us. He wants to protect us with his gift of faith and trust in him. Before we can serve him and love him fully we must first say “yes”’ to letting him love us. 

How does he convince us that he loves us? That’s up to us. He’ll do whatever it takes to convince us, but not against our free will. When we can believe it, then we can try it on. Act like he loves us by loving others the same way he love us. By sharing his love we prove to ourselves and to them how much he loves us.

19 Oct 2014

Embrace Real Life (@ Melody's Harmonies)

Somedays life isn't Pinterest or blog post worthy. 
Somedays you don't bother to put on makeup.  
Somedays you don't bother to shower.  
Somedays you wear jeans to mass.  
Somedays you sleep in and arrive at mass late.  
Read the rest here

I am Broken Too

'.....I'm sweeping my kitchen floor and my back is starting to ache a tad more than usual. ('O God, come to my aid; O Lord make haste to help me!')  

Help me to sweep without grumbling today. Help me to be grateful for dust and kitchen crumbs, and a few extra twinges. ('Lord, I offer these pains up for our dear friend who is battling cancer and who loves You so much!')  

Help me choose to do this monotonous housework with a light heart, even though I'd rather be reading a book or gardening. Help me to be careful not to put too much stress on my old broom today... 

and to remember this... I am broken too. 

So broken, You have to reach right down from Heaven itself to make any use of me.... ' (a guest post from our friend Trish. Click here to continue)

Galileo, the Roman Inquisition and the Extraordinary Synod on the Family

Galileo Galilei (1564 - 1642) [Wikipedia]
As I write this at 07:45 GMT/UTC, Sunday 19 October, the above is the main story on the website of the BBC. It was also the lead story on BBC World when I watched the news there at 22:00 Saturday and again at 04:00 today. Both bulletins featured two men in Rome living together, one of them speaking fluent English and telling of his desire to raise the three young children that they have  as Catholics. The 04:00 bulletin also included an interview with a representative of The New Ways Ministry, described on the BBC website report as 'a US Catholic gay rights group'.

James Reynolds' report on the BBC website begins with this sentence: Catholic gay rights groups say they are disappointed after bishops rejected a call for wider acceptance of gay people, which had the Pope's backing.
Full post here.

Yeats, Cthulhu, and Synod 14

Some mainstream news isn't "journalistic infotainment-like art-product," as Hyraxx, the alien reporter in Buck Godot, described her work.

That said, there's a reason for my concentrating on News.va, the Vatican's official news source, for Synod 14 coverage....

...Emotions are part of being human. We're supposed to feel happy, sad, or whatever. But God gave us brains: and expects us to think, too.

I have no problem with emotions: which is a good thing, since I'm a very emotional man. I've enjoyed shows like Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade and Revenge of the Cybermen, but that's entertainment....

More at A Catholic Citizen in America.

18 Oct 2014

Taking the Next Good Step! …on Road of Teleios by Way of “Route 66″

Here I am…
on the road again!
…to “take the next good step” (as Fr. Groeschel dearly liked to say),
in moving forward towards a much better place of health & holiness—
to where I’ve been called to go,
still with the help of some very good friends.
[Thank God for friends in high places!]
And now that I’m getting back on Route again (after being held up in bit of a jam this summer!), I’ve become quite alert these days to the important connection between Route “66” [The Route 66 Challenge™ ] and that of Teleios [that's Greek to me :) ...Greek, that is, for “perfect”]—to take the next good step in answering the call by Jesus to “be perfect” [Mt.5:48]—because we are not on a 'road to nowhere'!  But, Lord, this really sounds like the type of call I’d normally hang up on! …Thankfully, though, I’ve held on for it instead—because this call by Jesus isn’t being made to lead us to discouragement or to a state of hopelessness

Way quote. St John of Kanty_Fight error…Let’s go ahead—Let’s take the next good step on our road of life!
St. Pope John Paul II, pray for us! … St. John of Kanty, pray for us!

17 Oct 2014

I'm Here."

"Mom, why do you go to Mass everyday?"

"Because I love Him."  


"Our Lord."


"You don't understand do you."

"Not really."  


'Render therefore to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.' Sunday Reflections, 29th Sunday in Ordinary Time Year A

'I die His Majesty's good servant - but God's first.' St Thomas More
Readings (New American Bible: Philippines, USA)
Readings (Jerusalem Bible: Australia, England & Wales, India [optional], Ireland, New Zealand, Pakistan, Scotland, South Africa)
Then the Pharisees went and plotted to entrap Jesus in what he said. So they sent their disciples to him, along with the Herodians, saying, ‘Teacher, we know that you are sincere, and teach the way of God in accordance with truth, and show deference to no one; for you do not regard people with partiality. Tell us, then, what you think. Is it lawful to pay taxes to the emperor, or not?’ But Jesus, aware of their malice, said, ‘Why are you putting me to the test, you hypocrites? Show me the coin used for the tax.’ And they brought him a denarius. Then he said to them, ‘Whose head is this, and whose title?’ They answered, ‘The emperor’s.’ Then he said to them, ‘Give therefore to the emperor the things that are the emperor’s, and to God the things that are God’s.’

A denarius from 44 BC showing the head of Julius Caesar and the goddess Venus [Wikipedia]
In the time of Jesus a denarius was a day's wage for an ordinary working man.

I spent three months in the latter part of 1982 working in a hospital in Minneapolis as a chaplain. I was one of seven doing a 'quarter' of Clinical Pastoral Education. One day I had to go to a bank and got chatting with an employee at the information desk. When he heard I was based in the Philippines he told me that in the previous elections in the USA he had considered, among other things, what impact his vote would have on the lives of Filipinos and others outside the USA.
Full post here.

Mystical Contemplation is for All

Żmurko_In_raptureSometime ago I wrote a blog on what I called ‘mystical premonitions’ or ‘touches of God’, nevertheless I would like to write something further to make myself a little clearer. In that blog I used St Augustine to make my point, this time however I would like to make my point by describing common experiences that we have all had particularly in our youth. Here are a few examples to show you what I mean. You may be at a party, having a good time with your friends. There’s plenty of fun and games, plenty of food and drink. There’s music and dancing and everything is in full swing when suddenly it happens – ‘A touch of God.’ It’s not a physical, but a spiritual touch, that amidst all the merriment makes you suddenly feel alone. It makes you feel that you don’t belong, makes you want something further, something higher, something nobler, though you’d be hard put to give a name to what you really do want if someone pressed you. But if you were pressed you’d probably say, ‘God’.  read on.....

Notice How They Preach

'Listen to the sermon preached to you by the flowers, the trees, the shrubs, the sky, and the whole world. Notice how they preach to you a sermon full of love, of praise of God, and how they invite you to glorify the sublimity of that sovereign Artist who has given them being.'

St. Paul of the Cross


Take the 14 Day "Heroic Minute" Challenge

  • Are you addicted to the snooze button?
  • Feel like the rest of your house has begun their day before you?
  • Looking to grow in holiness, but struggling in controlling even the smallest of your desires?
  • Wanting to carve out more time for prayer and silence in your busy life but don't know how?

Join me at Saints 365 as we begin the 14 Day "Heroic Minute" challenge - click the link below to find out which great Saint coined the phrase "Heroic Minute" and read more about the challenge!


The foundation of St. Teresa's teaching

File:Saint-Denis (93), musée d'art et d'histoire, tableau - Sainte Thérèse d'Avila ou de l'Incarnation 1.jpg
On Wednesday the Church celebrated the feast of St. Teresa of Avila, founder of the Order of Discalced Carmelites and Doctor of the Church. The Carmelites are celebrating the 500th anniversary of her birth with an entire year of events beginning this month. Over that time period I hope to have many vibrant discussions here about Teresa, her life, and her teachings.

Sometimes we become interested in a saint when we hear one story about him or her. We don’t always view that story from the total context of a saint’s life and teaching. With my melancholic temperament, I like to look for the unifying principles behind things. This gives me a greater grasp of the meaning of individual facts. For St. Therese, that unifying principle was a childlike trust in God.

So what is the unifying principle behind true Teresian spirituality? Intimacy with Jesus.
Continue reading at Contemplative Homeschool.

October Belonged to Mary First

I wrote this quite a while ago, but never shared it here.

I have gone back to praying the rosary every day.  Usually at night before I go to bed.  The rosary is a prayer that I can easily get lost in.  I can lose my place, lose my focus or even drop it and wonder which bead I'm on!

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

Ebola: Scary, and Beatable

This year's Ebola outbreak has killed thousand of folks in West Africa: and one in the United States. By any reasonable standard, it's a very serious health problem....

...As I've said before, being healthy is okay. (June 13, 2014)

Not being healthy is okay, too: but I'm expected to take care of my health: within reason....

More at A Catholic Citizen in America.

Being bullied

I wrote this piece three years ago, but I thought it appropriate to publish it again.  Being bullied can stay with a child for years.
October is a crowded month.  Hispanic Heritage and Breast Cancer Awareness is but two of the many causes being touted.  It is also Bullying Prevention Month.  Something I know a little bit about.
Me at 3.  How awesome are those red shoes?
You can read the rest at Being Catholic ... Really.

Too busy to care

Alternative Medicine...Is It Right for a Woman of Faith?

Many women today suffer from chronic illness. It may be autoimmune related diseases like Rheumatoid Arthritis or Lupus or it may be digestive issues like Colitis or Crohn’s. 

And those are only the very tip of the iceberg. 

I don’t think there are verifiable statistics for this phenomenon because it doesn’t appear that there is a real awareness of the seriousness of this trend—but it is there.

I see it.

I hear it, too.

Since I’ve spent the better part of the past three decades (and probably even more time than that but I just didn’t put the pieces together) with what can best be described as “chronic illness” that evades concrete diagnosis, I may just be more sensitive to seeing and hearing the telltale signs of this trend among our female population.

16 Oct 2014

This Too Shall Pass

I often use the phrase, “this, too, shall pass”, usually with a grin on my face because it puts my problems in perspective and helps me not become too dramatic about my suffering.
Although the exact words this too shall pass are not in the Bible, the verse in 2 Corinthians 4:17-18 talks about things being temporary.
“For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen,since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.”
Some think this phrase stems from a fable written by Persian Sufi poets. Others credit it to Jewish folklore, saying it originated with King Solomon, even though it is not recorded in the Bible. It is said that the King, feeling blue, asked his advisors to find him a ring he had seen in a dream.
“When I feel satisfied I’m afraid that it won’t last. And when I don’t, I am afraid my sorrow will go on forever. Find me the ring that will ease my suffering.”
Eventually, an advisor met an old jeweler who carved into a simple gold band the Hebrew inscription “gam zeh ya’avor” – “this too shall pass.”
It’s that time of that year again when girls groups are starting in home settings and Catholic parishes.

We’ve received many exciting inquires about the new release of All Things Girl: Friends, Fashion and Faith and wanted to share these two excerpts as an example of what you will find in the book for Catholic tween girls and the accompanying journal

The Table of Contents is also offered here. And if I can be of any help, please just let me know! Cheryl@BezalelBooks.com

Having a Soul Gives You Inherent Dignity…

Joan lives in a neighborhood where the houses are huge and everyone has a pool. Katie lives in a neighborhood where some of the houses have broken windows and lots of kids share bedrooms. Which person has more dignity?

Tamar is from the Middle East and has olive skin, she speaks with a thick accent. Mary has long, beautiful brunette hair and perfect skin. Betty is chubby and has greasy hair. Gertrude is skinny and cuts her own hair. Which girl has more dignity?

Olivia is 99 years old and can’t bathe herself or feed herself. Ruby has a birthmark on the right side of her face. Jessica is a beautiful model who stars in television commercials. Which person has more dignity?

All people are equal in dignity because they’ve been given a soul by God at their creation.

15 Oct 2014

Coming Soon a New Series:Teaching Vocations

So, my real passion and desire is to create a treasure chest of resources for leading little ones to vocations.  I am working on a series of posts for both boys and girls to do just that. My hope is to eventually write a book for children about the different orders, something that would have fascinated me as a child and even now.  I started this blog after searching for years to find these resources but never finding what I really wanted.

Continue reading on Veils and Vocations.

Making Time to Pray:: Is it really possible?

(Photo taken by:: Conniemod 
Found on Wikimedia Commons)

 Yes, you can.  Not only can you find more time to pray, you NEED to find more time to pray.  We all do!  

Prayer is direct communication with God.  God wants to hear from us, and we need to hear from God.  Through prayer, we lift our hearts and minds to God.  

Without prayer, we are dry.  God's love fills us with joy.  This is what happens when we pray--communicate--with God.  His graces flow to us and for us.  We need to find more time in our busy days to open our hearts to God in prayer.

So, how can you find more time to pray?  

Use Sacred Scripture to pray.  Dust off that family bible and begin to read.  

If you have favorite verses,  find those in your Bible.  If you don't own a bible, you can download one into your e-reader.  There are also free resources online.  Check these out and use them.

Read More at:: His Unending Love

To Be a Saint or a Saintly Sinner

Since we are approaching the feast of the halloweds (the saints), I’ve been musing about sainthood. One of my favorite prayers as a teenager was, “O God Who art all powerful, make me a saint.” Some people exclaim, “I’m no saint,” yet we are all called to be saints. As French novelist Leon Bloy pointed out, “The only real failure in life is not to be a saint.” If we are not saints by the time we die, then we will have a miserable eternity. In view of our weakness, faults and temptations around us, being holy may appear farfetched, for some impossible! Keep in mind, though, that saints were sinners too—they had “tilted halos”— yet they loved God and others. The canonized saints are to serve as models for us, although the martyrs’ path to sanctity is not very appealing. The uncanonized saints, some of whom we rub shoulders with, may be easier to imitate.Click to continue

Encounter With The Virgin

This encounter started sometime back, I will begin there.  

For some time after my husband's death, I had been not living a good life.  I was breaking a commandment pretty regularly.  It wasn't I was mad at God for my husband's death, it was because of the intensity of the pain I was suffering because of grief.   In truth, it hurt worse to go to Church than it did to sin.  

I knew better, I had already had the Vision of the Eucharist, so I knew the truth, and I would say to myself, "What are you doing! You know better!!" 

After three years, when my heart had healed sufficiently, it was time to come home.