25 Nov 2015

The Grandest Power

Thanks Be to God and You!

Thanks is an easy word to say…

… but sometimes it doesn’t get expressed as often as it should. Therefore, in the spirit of Thanksgiving, I want to take this time and space to specifically say thank you:
  • To God, for blessing me with abundant graces. He guides me every day. He loves me unconditionally. He forgives my transgressions and extends mercy on my soul.
  • To my husband, for your never-ending, self-giving love, support and friendship.
  • To my family and friends who share my joys and sorrows. Your love is pure gold to me.
  • To all of my followers:...

Is Christ Your King?

We’ve just celebrated the Feast of Christ the King, the climax of the church year. My religious province in Chardon, Ohio, was named Christ the King and used to celebrate this day in grand style, complete with the majestic song “Christus Vincit” in four-part harmony. In those days the feast occurred in October when the surrounding countryside was ablaze with autumn leaves. In my religious community, when the time came to receive a religious name, it was the custom to submit three name choices, usually those of saints. The general superior in Rome would then select your name, and you would celebrate your name day on the saint’s feast day.  Because I had my heart set on having the Feast of Christ the King as my name day, I came up with thirty-two names that stood for him. Some were unique, such as Inri (for the sign on the crucifix, the acronym for Jesus of Nazareth, King of the Jews). Rana, which is “king” in modern Indian, made my list, until I discovered it meant “frog” in Latin! Click to continue

24 Nov 2015

When Your World Crumbles, Remember Where Your House Is

Jesus looked at His accuser,
"My kingdom does not belong to this world."

I can't count the number of times I sat in courtrooms awaiting judgment, wondering what injustice would be brought upon my children and me next, confused by what was happening and the fact that no one wanted to hear my side, frightened by the man who had claimed to love me so deeply only a short time before, concerned for the children I was now solely responsible for, children I'd have to feed and clothe and help with homework and cart around to practices and Scouts and religion classes, children I'd have to teach to be real, Honest, Strong, Faith-filled, Hopeful Loving Men, children I'd have to teach how to treat a Woman while I was being so badly treated myself. How could I do that?

Materially, we lost our house in foreclosure. We relied on family and friends for help to pay mounting attorney bills and then were forced to settle when my ex refused to pay his court ordered share. Local Churches and Pastors and private anonymous Good folk deposited money into our mailbox providing us with food and heat to supplement the firewood my boys and I chopped and hauled in from the backyard. Our elementary school provided Christmas and Thanksgiving dinners. The local hospital provided Christmas presents.

Please join me at SingleMomSmiling.com to read the rest of my Gospel Reflection for Divorced Catholics . . . God Bless..

Peace: Is this the Best We Can Do?

Bombs. Wars. Beheadings of children. Airplanes flying sorties into “enemy” territory. Deaths on the battlefields. Refugees. Explosions. Attacks. Intolerance. Persecutions. Earthquakes. Fear. Anxiety. Hatred. Is this the best we can do? We can’t blame God for this.
God is a loving God, but we brought this on ourselves. When we stray from God who is Love and Peace, we find ourselves enveloped in chaos which is not from God but is from satan. 

Read More at Prayerfully Yours

Works of Mercy Bouquet: Bury the Dead

They are dead and we rejoice in that shred of hope that at least they can commit no more atrocities against humanity.  However, part of me always wonders, what were their last thoughts?  Did they have children, a wife, siblings, friends?  Even in a radical, militarist society, their mothers must weep knowing they are gone.  Surely, even with a mission from Allah, they will be missed.  Even if they aren't, they were all infused with immortal souls at conception, they were blessed by the LORD and their lives were planned before eternity began.  Yes, they have turned against God.  Yes, they have sinned against their fellow man, taking innocent lives and creating fear in a cloud of evil and destruction.  But, do we not all sin?  Does it not grieve the Father when we speak harshly to our brother or child, when we react selfishly and refuse to focus on the other?  Are we any more deserving of mercy because our sins have not become international news?

Read more at Veils and Vocations.

Dear Padre Miguel Pro

November 23rd was the anniversary of the death of Fr. Miguel Pro, SJ. He died a martyr for Christ during the persecution of Catholics following the Mexican Revolution which erupted in 1910.

Dear Michael,

We shared your story at dinner last night. It was the 88th anniversary of your execution, and my husband and I wanted to honor your memory, passing on your story to our children.

Some people may think it’s strange for me to write you a letter, I know. Obviously, I will never find a mailbox capable of getting this letter to you, but I know we’re connected. As Jesus reminds us in Mark 22:32, the Lord proclaims he is “the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.” Even when we die, we live in God who has no beginning and no end. Disciples of Christ needn’t bother about space and time. You’ll get this.

I wanted to write to you because I am so grateful for your life—and your death. While you were still a young man you chose to become a Jesuit, a priest to serve the people of God. You had other options, of course.

Please read the entire letter at Praying with Grace.



23 Nov 2015

A historical perspective. Monasticism to Mendicants

Podcast: In the Carmelite Tradition

Talk to the Discalced Carmelites, Boars Hill, Oxford, England. A historical perspective. Monasticism to Mendicants and back to Contemplation

Maybe You're Grateful for the People You Love, But Do You Appreciate Them?

Of course, Novvember is the month when we focus on being grateful. Thanksgiving is Thursday, so we are heading to the end of the cycle. I’m sure you, like me, have come to realize that we have so much for which we can be grateful, including our families and friends. I’m sure you realized how much you are loved by those you love. Being grateful works, and it helps you to become a much happier person.

While this is good, I want to challenge you with this question: Do you appreciate the people for whom you are thankful? Yes, there is a difference. Here’s how to find out. This exercise won’t take long, but you will come to appreciate those around you whom you love.

Read More at Prayerfully Yours

Lose Weight the Right Way!

Lose weight at this time of year?

Yes, it can be done!

Lose weight the right way – this time for the right reasons and for good! It’s that time of year, when we are tempted to imbibe on eggnog and eat all sorts of baked goods. The temptations are everywhere you look: At the grocery store, on TV, in magazines; even in your own home.

Would you like to get through this holiday season and not gain weight? Maybe even lose a pound or two? If so, let me introduce you to the process I used to lose 60 pounds... Read more...

Thoughts on The Screwtape Letters

Recently, while reading C.S. Lewis’ The Screwtape Letters, I came across this quote, and it stopped me dead in my tracks:

“We want him to be in the maximum uncertainty, so that his mind will be filled with contradictory pictures of the future, every one of which arouses hope or fear.”

And I thought: Imagine if C.S. Lewis— one of the most influential Christian thinkers of his day (and of all time, perhaps?)— listened to the naysayers- and was choked up, grabbed and threatened, and crippled from writing, because of fear? This book suggests that certainly, that would have been a sinful temptation.  To not hold out, to not radiate truth in spite of- or rather, because of- the spirit of negativity? That would be giving in, and not holding out. It might even mean giving up, defeated because of a feeling.

There are all kinds of dryness. And truly daily, I feel crippled by a thousand things.  Spiritual dryness. Selfishness.

{Read the rest at Picture a Skyline}

22 Nov 2015

Finding God When there is no Light

Last summer, when we had an eclipse of the moon and a blood moon in that eclipse, the night got about as dark as it could. We sat outside watching the moon darken and turn red. The situation was erie. It would make the start of a great novel. “The moon was the color of blood, and there was no other light in the world.”
I felt safe watching this miracle of nature because we sat there as a group marveling at the changes we saw, knowing the cause and knowing that, soon, the moon would be bright again against the dark sky. 

Read more at Prayerfully Yours

King of Hearts

Happy Solemnity of Christ the King! I hope you are able to take advantage of the abundant grace available through this Solemnity! One of the graces offered is to help us experience greater interior freedom. We can do this as we more fully surrender our hearts to Jesus and allow Him to reign there. He desires to fully dwell and make a home in our heart!

Continue Reading @ beautifulthorns>

Be for Me a Refuge

A Vision?



Truth and the Big Picture

Pontius Pīlātus was the fifth prefect of the Roman Province of Judea. That sounds important, but Pilate was one of the Equites: Roman aristocrats, but ranking below Patricians.

Think of him as 'middle management.'

Judea was a strategically important border province, giving the empire access to Egypt's agricultural resources, and a measure of protection from the Parthian Empire.

More at A Catholic Citizen in America.

21 Nov 2015

Laughter Turned a Tragedy into a Comedy of Errors


What was my reaction to this overwhelming scene? I leaned against the kitchen wall and slid down till I sat on the floor with my legs sticking straight out. Then I giggled. Then I laughed and laughed and laughed until my stomach ached and tears were streaming down my face. 
continue reading

Did You Find It?

Excerpt from a recent conversation I had with a priest friend as we discussed my frustrations with God and His inability to answer my prayers in the way I saw fit.
“Did you find it?” he said to me.
“What?” I responded.
“The box where you put God.”
He repeated, “The box where you put God until He answered your prayers as you see fit.”
“I didn’t do that!”
“Yes, you did. You are limiting Him by insisting that your way is the only way. You forget, He keeps this universe running. He keeps your heart beating. He makes your cells divide and, each day, He keeps you from floating off the face of the planet through gravity. You put Him in a box by insisting that your way is His Way, when He knows far better than you do what needs to be done with your prayers of petition”
It’s rare, but, I had words.

Read More at Prayerfully Yours

As the Morning Rising: Christ the King Poems

Christ The King We are heralds of the eternal king All of us united in Him. All in heaven and on earth is singing For this is ...

continue reading at As the Morning Rising: Christ the King Poems

20 Nov 2015

The Examen at Eucharistic Adoration Todat

The images of Jesus slide into my mind, the writhing, twisting, agonizing look of pain on Our Savior’s beaten, Holy Face. Tears and sweat pour down from His eyes, and His labored breathing, which becomes more shallow with each painful gulp, reflects His silent pain. The precious blood pours down from His crown of thorns, burning His eyes, blinding His sight. Even blinking is laborious and painful. Yet, He looks at me with a heart burning with love and prayers that His graces will not be rejected by me.

I cannot feel Your pain, Sweet Jesus, and I am grateful for that. I am grateful that You chose to drink of the cup Your Father had prepared for You, a painful cup, a never ending cup, a cup so deep that only the Son of the living God could drink. I am grateful that you accepted this cup, and I watch in sorrow as Your Precious Blood flows down the gaping, open wounds on Your Body causing You to writhe in a burning pain for souls, that even the love of Your Mother cannot relieve. I am grateful for the gift of Your Mother to us. We are her children, too, but You are the gift of pure love to her and to us. I am grateful that You, the eternal High priest, accepted and offered this sacrifice to the Father for the salvation of our souls.

 Read More at Prayerfully Yours

My Badass Review - Inspirations to Dream

The cover image (see above) of this blog post, pretty much sums up how I felt reading, Maria Morera Johnson's new book, My Badass Book of Saints.  There were many reasons for such jubilation - the amazing courageous women she introduced me to, the profound spiritual lessons I took away from not only the women she featured but her own incredible story weaved into the pages as well.  Selfishly what fired me up most aboutMy Badass Book of Saints  was the writing instruction and encouragement.  

That's great for you Allison but how on earth (if you are not inspiring to complete your first novel) will this review help me decided if to get my own copy or not?  Good point - let me address that before moving on. 

Maria highlights so many different fantabulous, inspiring women -- you are bound to find one that connects with where you are right now or where you want to be.  Missionaries, peacemakers, reformers - saints and should be saints - each woman bravely followed God's nudge in their heart to be the best of who He created them to be and all  for His Glory.   The gifts and convictions placed deep within their hearts - motivated and moved them to accomplish tasks that often left me aghast and awed. 

READ MORE.. cuz it is JUST getting good... 

All Rights Reserved Allison Gingras, 2015
Image -Pixabay PD

Europe’s Complex Heritage

I stopped using the term "Caucasian" several years ago. I've discussed the "Anglo-Teutonic" race, Neanderthals, and getting a grip, before. (September 25, 2015; October 31, 2014)

Turns out, folks from the Caucasus moved into Europe at least once — along with many other folks....

We're still learning about humanity's family history. It's a lot more complicated than we thought....

More at A Catholic Citizen in America.

Our Advent Book List

One of our family's favorite Advent traditions is the Advent Book Basket.  Each year I wrap both religious and secular read-alouds in purple and pink paper and we unwrap and read one book per day between December 1 and Christmas Eve.

Click here to see our book list for this Advent! 

What about you - what are your favorite Advent and Christmas books?

Will They Know Us By Our Love?

Over the last few weeks since Pope Francis’ departure, there has been a noticeable divisiveness within the world of Catholic social media. From Ross Douthat’s letter of critique of Pope Francis in the New York Times, to the response of theologians, priests, and Douthat again- we see firsthand a visible polarization. Yet, disagreement and dialogue in and of itself should not be disturbing. For, as Cardinal Dolan has so aptly noted of the most recent synod, “[for] Francis, and those who know better tell me so, that this is part of Ignatian spirituality: a mess, confusion, questions are a good thing.” What is personally disconcerting, however, is the manner in which our discourse is taking place.  Repeatedly, I am seeing a promulgation of an article, or op-ed piece posted on social media in which the dialogue takes on a very ugly, often misinformed and even discriminatory tone having left the realm of discussion altogether. Read More..

'My kingdom is not from this world.' Sunday Reflections. Christ the King, Year B

From The Gospel of John (2003) Directed by Philip Saville.
Gospel John 18:33B-37 (NRSV, CatholicEdition, Can.)
Christ Before Pilate, Tintoretto, 1566-67
Pilate said to Jesus: “Are you the King of the Jews?” Jesus answered, “Do you ask this on your own, or did others tell you about me?” Pilate replied, “I am not a Jew, am I? Your own nation and the chief priests have handed you over to me. What have you done?” Jesus answered, “My kingdom is not from this world. If my kingdom were from this world, my followers would be fighting to keep me from being handed over to the Jews. But as it is, my kingdom is not from here.” Pilate asked him, “So you are a king?” Jesus answered, “You say that I am a king. For this I was born, and for this I came into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone who belongs to the truth listens to my voice.
Last Saturday Pope Francis referred to the attacks in Paris the night before as 'piece' of the 'Piecemeal Third World War'. In recent weeks hundreds have died because of attacks by terrorists, in Egypt, when a plane carrying mostly Russian holidaymakers returning home exploded and crashed in the Sinai Peninsula, in Beirut where more than 40 were killed by suicide bombers, 129 murdered in Paris and since then more than 40 in attacks in Nigeria, in one instance a suicide bomber reported to be a girl aged 11.

Last April 148 persons, most of the students, were murdered in an attack on Garissa University College in Kenya. Two years ago 67 people, from 13 different countries and from every continent, were killed in an attack by terrorists on a shopping mall in Nairobi, Kenya.

None of these incidents, all with an international dimension, reflect the values of the Kingdom of Christ the King. But it is essential that we recognize that Kingdom where it is a reality. And it is a reality, though 'not from this world' but present in this world.

 I came across evidence of the reality of the Kingdom of Christ being a reality in our world, specifically in this instance in Lima. Manuel Duato School was started by Columban Missionary priests more than 30 years ago to respond to the needs of the many young people among the poor of Lima with learning and other disabilities.

‘Team Duato: Two Schools, One Family
The school is now twinned with St Christopher's Primary School in the Archdiocese of Melbourne, Australia

Full post here.

19 Nov 2015

As the Morning Rising: The Pleiades and Orion

When I first enter the chapel on any one of these November mornings there is a definite absence of light...

continue reading As the Morning Rising: The Pleiades and Orion:


Home to Me

It took me well over four decades of life to realize that the bonds of love that exist in so many of our homes exist long after those homes are gone.  Read my reflections on life, death and the family home here....

Faith + Humour = 36 Years of Marriage

My husband, Michael, and I have been married for 36 years, and we are happy and still in love. Surprisingly, we have become one in reality, deeply in tune with each other’s spirits even though we are still opposites in personality. Our tangible joy is inexplicable through secular eyes, because from all outward appearances our life together has been a tough journey including poverty, nine kids, overwhelming chores on a small family farm and long-term, clinical depression.

Accessing Power in the Sacrament of Marriage

The grace available in the Sacrament of Marriage is not some esoteric theology;  it is real and it is powerful. The power available in the sacrament is what kept my husband and I together through the rough years. We both understood, beyond a doubt, that God brought us together. We never questioned this basic call from God, our vocation together, even during the dark years.
I have always managed to keep our difficulties in perspective through humour.  One of my jokes is on the typical marriage vow about for better or worse, for richer or poorer, in sickness and in health. I say, “Well, we’ve seen worse, poorer and sickness and we are more than ready for better, richer and healthier.” Then I dissolve into gales of laughter.  I must admit Michael never fails to simply raise one eyebrow in my direction and smile apologetically at our visitors.

continue reading

18 Nov 2015

Mercy is Falling - The Maria Goretti Story

She was the youngest saint, having died in 1902, at only 11 years old. What was it that such a young saint accomplished in such a short lifetime, worthy of elevating her among the saints, forever known to us as “The little saint of great mercy”? How could her transformative prayers for the sinful heart of her murderer, bring him also to great holiness, even after her death? And how did Maria’s example of mercy save the souls of both her murderer and her mother, as well as many who have sought her holy intercession?
I was one of those sinners who needed Maria’s intercession to be truly saved. During my High School years, I had fallen into such darkness, that I could have been lost to God forever. As I began to seek the face of the Lord through RCIA, I prayed for a saint to find me. A saint to mentor me along the great journey and guide me out of this darkness. A saint who could help me in the areas of virtue that I struggled most severely. For this I prayed.
Continue Reading at The Lion of Design

When Life is Overwhelming...

Do you feel the sadness around you? Do you sense the fear and anxiety in the air? Maybe you’re full of sadness, fear, and/or anxiety?
Life can be difficult these days. The news doesn’t help. I think almost everyone is feeling stressed and anxious now. Our safe world died with 9/11.

Then, I think of my dog, Pixie. She likes to sleep. I have noticed that when things are stressful for her she retreats to her couch, and she sleeps. Being a creature made by God, but lacking an immortal soul, Pixie can only do God’s Will. She was infused with the knowledge of what to do and how to live her life. When my daughter’s kitties make her life miserable, Pixie goes to sleep. That is how she retreats and survives.

Read More at Prayerfully Yours

Association Of Catholic Women Bloggers: #WorthRevisit - Sharing Favorite OLD Posts

Association Of Catholic Women Bloggers: #WorthRevisit - Sharing Favorite OLD Posts
Advent now comes and goes nearly unnoticed. The only thing worth of recognition between Halloween and Christmas is Thanksgiving, and even that has started to take a back seat as major stores start “decking the halls” and major TV stations start putting on Christmas movies in late October and early November. Advent, a delightful period of quiet waiting and anticipation for the coming of the child Jesus passes by largely forgotten.
My husband is a Maronite Catholic. Any of you familiar with Eastern Catholicism may have heard that the Eastern Catholic rites follow a different liturgical calendar. Most major feasts, like Christmas and Easter, fall on the same dates, thereby emphasizing the unity of the Church, but other feasts and the general cycle of the liturgical seasons differs. Since we’re a mixed family (I’m Roman Catholic), I like to joke that we can opt for the longer Advent (Maronite calendar) and shorter Lent (Roman Catholic calendar).
In all seriousness, though, I deeply appreciate the length of the Maronite Advent, which averages out to be six weeks instead of four. This gives more time for contemplating the Gospel narrative leading up to the birth of Jesus and for allowing a sense of longing for the Lord’s coming to grow in our hearts.
Right now, my husband and I have three kids, four and under, all born in the month of February. If you do the math, that means that I’ve been about 6 months pregnant during 3 of the last 5 Advents. Expecting a child is a WONDERFUL way of getting into the Advent season and teaching kids what we mean when we say that we’re waiting for Baby Jesus to arrive. But we can’t count on that natural way of celebrating Advent all the time, so we have to come up with other hands-on family traditions that can teach the kids about Advent and make the season come alive and make a difference.
Keep reading at Eyes On Heaven for Advent activities and traditions that can make your home look, feel and sound like Advent.

My Secret Name

I think of God as having a name for me that takes hours to say. Somehow, the ‘whole me’ will be included in that name, and it won’t be complete until my life is complete.

 My current name is like a symbol of this fully-known and fully-uttered ‘me,’ who has being within Him. At the moment during Mass when we pray, “only say the word, and my soul shall be healed,” I sense Him speaking this one word: my name. I ‘hear,’ “Charlotte,” but my heart hears that whole name, spoken from outside time into the moment of two small syllables. Each time, I hear my Self spoken back into being, healed, renewed, called forth to be me.

What could better prepare me to receive Him than this Love, whose voice continuously upholds my being?? I love this moment! Sometimes, when I need that love to renew the face of my being, I just ask, “Lord, will you just say my name, please,” and He does.

Compassion Has No Shut-Off Valve

Compassion is not seasonal!

Compassion seems popular this time of year. We tend to share our abundance with those less fortunate in the form of donations to shelters and food banks. Why is it that we only tend to take this action predominantly in November and December? People are hungry and homeless all year round. I don’t have a definitive answer for this question, but I think it has something to do with processing tax deductions. Perhaps I’m being a bit cynical. However, I think we need to... Read more...

When Your Time is Up...

When Time Is Up - Clock
Did you ever feel God was speaking to you, that the coincidence that just happened was just too. . . well, too coincidental to be coincidence?

Could Sunday's Gospel have been a coincidence?

Could those who chose our Sunday Mass readings years ago have known what the Western world would be feeling in the days after Friday the 13th of November 2015?

Or could God have planned the Gospel knowing we’d read it while still reeling from the worst attacks on the French since WWII? Could He have planned that reading for a time when we might be more attentive to our own vulnerability specifically to remind us to prepare for our own end?

It can be hard to believe in God’s plan when the world is so full of hate and anger, betrayal and pain, but maybe Sunday's Gospel reading from the Book of Mark was planned for that day to remind all of us that we never know when our time is up.

We expect tomorrow to come, perhaps decades down the road, but it will come someday.

But for 129 Parisian victims (at last count)tomorrow will never be here.For 129 victims, time is up.

read the rest, SingleMomSmiling.com
thank you for liking, commenting, following, God Bless...

Give a Fig and Care

This week I heard two homilies in a row in which a priest mentioned a fig tree. That was the inspiration for this blog. I like Fig Newtons but never ate an “undried” fig until Sister Regina Alfonso brought some home from Tennessee. In Scripture fig trees are a sign of peace and prosperity. Our expression “I don’t give a fig” stems from the fact that fig trees were abundant. It means “I don’t care.” Caring is important, something that human beings do. When one of my nephews had the habit of saying, “Who cares?” my sister fined him a quarter each time he said it. These days people all over the world are caring about those who were affected by the horrendous events in Paris. We sympathize with their suffering and sorrow. The three colors of the French flag are cropping up all over, an attempt at “comforting the sorrowful.” Click to continue

But Did You Love Me?

Via Vimeo

I have no preamble to this wonderfully simple, yet extremely powerful and very moving video message. You may find it here.  

P.S. - Have you visited petersboat.net yet?

Wishing you and yours the very best - 

17 Nov 2015

Day Three of Rain and the Examen

Today is the third day in a row of rain. Some of the rain has been a beautiful mist, but some of the rain has been heavy and dense. As I stand and look out at the scenery, I can feel God settling into the corners of my heart. He is filling my heart with His beauty and strength. His love expands my heart as I see the rain that plunks on the ground. I breathe to the rhythm of the rain. Each beat of my heart beats to the meter of His Sacred Heart.

Read More at:  Prayerfully Yours