27 Feb 2017

What Carnival time tell us about our spiritual life (Spanish) Martes de Carnaval que nos habla de nuestra vida interior.



 

     El carnaval, como todos sabemos, es una fiesta popular que consiste en mascaradas, comparsas, bailes y regocijos bulliciosos.

  Son tres días que preceden al miércoles de ceniza y que en muchos lugares ya son de ocho días, toda una semana y hasta diez y doce días. Es una expansión que nos atrae y nos envuelve en su loca alegría, un tanto disparatada y desbordante, quizá por el hecho de vivirla en la incógnita de un disfraz y un antifaz enigmático... Esta especie de desbordamiento festivalero  nos trae a la mente  el deseo de todo ser humano de desembarazarnos de las preocupaciones, de aligerar nuestros hombros de la carga de obligaciones cotidianas y de dar "rienda suelta" al placer y a la alegría. Pero … ¡cuidado ! pues pudiéramos caer en la inmadurez de llegar a creer que la vida es semejante a un  carnaval... Y así vamos por el mundo tratando de mostrar un rostro y un ropaje que no son los verdaderos. Parece que somos una cosa y somos otra en realidad.
 

Olathe: Death and Hope

Murder and attempted murder in the Kansas City metropolitan area last week is international news.

If the suspect's neighbor is right, the 'drunken mess' who killed an engineer from India was having trouble dealing with his father's death.1

I think he could have found a better outlet for his grief....

More at A Catholic Citizen in America.

Resisting Happiness, by Matthew Kelly - Book Review


I cannot thank my brother Ed, enough, for gifting me with Resisting Happiness, by Matthew Kelly. This book was a real eye-opener for me! As human beings, we naturally resist happiness, and when we do so, we resist God, the source of all happiness. “Why do we resist God? Because deep down we don’t trust Him…deep down we think that God is trying to limit our freedom” (p. 214). Kelly tells us throughout the book that we need to become “the best version of ourselves.” How do we do that: by stopping the resistance.

Throughout the book, Matthew Kelly shows us how we can find happiness by tackling our urge to be resistant. Let me share with you just two golden nuggets, gleaned from reading this wonderful book, that I believe will make me happier – just a couple of things I can do to fight the resistance to be happy.

Idea #1: Prioritize Your Life in Accordance with God’s Plan


Matthew Kelly comments in the book that when he conducts his various speaking engagements, he comes across people he has met in the past. Since Mr. Kelly always brings up the concept of setting aside 10 minutes a day in prayer with the Lord, he always asks “How many days last week did you spend ten minutes in quiet conversation with God” (p. 53)? Read more...

*Love one another as I have loved you" - IMPOSSIBLE

"Love one another as I have loved you"
IMPOSSIBLE

Why bother to pray?

WHY BOTHER TO PRAY?

26 Feb 2017

Eating Disorder Awareness… “IT’S TIME TO TALK ABOUT IT”! [Part 2 of 5]

#NEDAwareness [Part 2 of 5] …In honor of National Eating Disorders Awareness Week:
"We all have our own unique struggles but it’s what we do with our struggles that matters most. Accepting who you are, where you are right now, that is truly courageous. So be brave. Take the first step for you and for those you love.” –National Eating Disorders Association (NEDA)
It’s Time to Talk About It…
Renoir.Pierre-Auguste_Gabrielle Holding Mirror 1905
Renoir’s Gabrielle Holding A Mirror
NOTE: Further info provided via 5-part-"It's Time To Talk..." series including potential signs/symptoms, screening option, health consequences, and more. 

One Thing


Oatmeal For Lent



I'll be eating oatmeal for breakfast during Lent, and walking around more. If I was in England, I'd probably call it porridge, and that's another topic.

It'll be be good for my health, and I'm sure that's one reason my wife suggested it. But that's not the only, or the main, reason.

Lent isn't about me....

...Lent is when we join Jesus in the desert. Sort of....

More at A Catholic Citizen in America.

The Desolation Dog

Lent starts in just a few days. The first day is Wednesday, March 1st. If you are looking to grow deeper in your faith this Lent, you might want to consider reading the book, Discernment of Spirits  by Fr.Timothy Gallagher. It is based on the rules of discernment by St. Ignatius of Loyola.

The rule I personally found most helpful and one of the hardest to follow is rule number 5. Rule number 5 advises that you do not make a change during times of spiritual desolation.

Continue Reading @ Beautifulthorns>

As the Morning Rising: Water of Salvation

As the Morning Rising: Water of Salvation: Water of salvation Wash over me Invigorate me Cleanse me from sin Remind me of your power Especially in periods of drynes...

24 Feb 2017

'I want my life, my character, my actions to speak of me and say that I am following Jesus Christ.' Sunday Reflections, 8th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year A


Rest on the Flight into Egypt (detail), Caravaggio [Web Gallery of Art]

But Zion said, ‘The Lord has forsaken me,
my Lord has forgotten me.’
Can a woman forget her nursing-child, or show no compassion for the child of her womb?
Even these may forget,yet I will not forget you
(Isaiah 49:14-15).
Readings (New American Bible: Philippines, USA)
Readings (Jerusalem Bible: Australia, England & Wales, India [optional], Ireland, New Zealand, Pakistan, Scotland, South Africa)
Gospel Matthew 6:24-34 (NRSV, Anglicised Catholic Edition

Jesus said to his disciples:
‘No one can serve two masters; for a slave will either hate the one and love the other, or be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and wealth.
‘Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air; they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? And can any of you by worrying add a single hour to your span of life? And why do you worry about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not clothed like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith? Therefore do not worry, saying, “What will we eat?” or “What will we drink?” or “What will we wear?” For it is the Gentiles who strive for all these things; and indeed your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But strive first for the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.

‘So do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring worries of its own. Today’s trouble is enough for today.


Thursday 2 March is the sixth anniversary of the death of Shahbaz Bhatti, seen with Pope Benedict in the video above during an audience in September 2010. He was assassinated in Islamabad, Pakistan, shortly after leaving his mother's home. Mr Bhatti, a Catholic, was the first Christian to be appointed to the Cabinet in Pakistan and was responsible for minorities. The Pakistan Taliban claimed responsibility for his death.

Full post here.

Who is My Neighbor?

This past weekend, the first Mass reading was from Leviticus 19 which talks about loving your neighbor as yourself. The Gospel reading was from Matthew 5 and was about not only loving your neighbor but also your enemy.

I believe that we are asked to love our neighbor because sometimes our neighbor is the hardest to love. They can often annoy and frustrate us the most! Especially those neighbors who are rude, obnoxious and do not understand boundaries.  Often, if we can learn to love our neighbors, we can love anyone. Also, if we are not able to love our neighbor whom we can see, how can we love God whom we can not see (1John 4:20)? Continue Reading @ Beautifulthorns >

Face Transplant at Mayo

Andy Sandness wasn't born looking like that. He's lived with the consequences of a "wrong choice" for more than a decade.

Agreeing to get Mayo Clinic's first face transplant won't undo his decision. But now he has a second chance for a normal life.

More at A Catholic Citizen in America.

#CatholicsinAnnapolis

I have to say that when I saw an advertisement for this event in my Church Bulletin, I was probably more excited than most people. However I do really feel as Catholics we live our faith through our works. Service work of all kinds is doing Gods work. This does include political public service (I know this fact surprises a lot of people but it is true). The MCC (MD Catholic Conference) describes their mission as “The public policy arm of the Catholic Bishops serving Maryland in the Archdiocese of Baltimore, Wilmington (DE), & Washington (DC)”.
I know what you’re thinking. The Church has a public policy arm? Why would they need a public policy arm? According to the Church:
“Role of the Church in Politics The Catholic Church, its parishes and Church organizations are prohibited by federal law from participating in partisan political activities. The tax-exempt status of a parish or Church organization may be revoked if there is a violation of the law, and other penalties and taxes may also be imposed on any funds spent on prohibited political activities. However, the Church does have a role in politics and public policy formation through activities such as:

The cauldron of hatred

THE CAULDRON OF HATRED

23 Feb 2017

As the Morning Rising: Silence and a Sense of Order

As the Morning Rising: Silence and a Sense of Order: If a horse breaks free from a paddock and runs amok in amongst well-tended flowerbeds, up-rooting and trampling at the same time, ...

Pope Francis: A Corrupt Creation, Christian Hope, and Rebirth

On February 22, Pope Francis continued his catechesis on the importance of  Christian hope in the face sin during his weekly General Audience. Although his reflections focused on the corruption of creation, they are not the opinions of a left-leaning environmentalist but the profound insights of a man of God.

The Environment

Unfortunately, many Catholics might overreact when they read the title of the pope's latest address, just like they did in September when Pope Francis said it was a sin to destroy the environment, turning it into ‘wasteland full of debris, desolation and filth’  and called for concrete action on climate change. Again, last year, his controversial encyclical on the environment, Laudato si’, seemed to upset some conservatives. However, if we do not react to sensational headlines but actually read the Pontiff's homilies, encyclicals and addresses on the environment in their entirety, we will unearth deep spiritual inspiration which stands on the pronouncements of his predecessors.
continue reading

22 Feb 2017

SAINTS365: Life Lessons From St. Peter




I LOVE St. Peter. The Scriptural accounts of the missteps of this outspoken, hot-tempered, passionate first Pope reveal a man who is flawed and weak. I can relate. Equally, the Scriptures reveal to us  a man whose life has been thoroughly transformed by the power of the Holy Spirit - his flaws are remade into his greatest strengths. I can relate.

St. Peter's life, like that of all the Saints, opens up to us a litany of examples that we can both meditate upon and imitate in our own striving for the heights of holiness in the trenches of everyday life.

Click here to visit SAINTS365 for seven life lessons that we can draw from St. Peter. 

Chair of Saint Peter Feast Day - Why a Feast Day for a Chair?


Today we celebrate a very special feast day: The Chair of Saint Peter. On this day we reflect on Christ’s declaration to make Peter the leader of His Church:

…you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church, and the gates of the netherworld shall not prevail against it. I will give you the keys to the kingdom of heaven. Whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven; and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven (Matt 16:18-19).
 

Importance of the Chair of Saint Peter


Today we celebrate the papal authority of the Catholic Church; granted to Peter and his successors, by Christ. It is through Saint Peter, as our first pope, that Christ... Read more...

Lent Lessons from a Little Known Woman

Last week I found lessons for us in the life of Zacchaeus. Because I’m so engrossed in the people of the New Testament after writing that book about them, this week I’m reflecting on another one, Salome, to see what she can teach us as we near the season of Lent. Salome was the mother of the apostles James and John. Since John is reputed to be about nineteen when he followed Jesus, Salome was likely in her thirties when she decided to follow him too. Lesson one: Give up things to draw closer to Jesus. Sure, James and John left their boats and nets, but Salome left her husband, Zebedee, and her house to wander the roads with Jesus. She was so taken with this new preacher that she wanted to be with him every day. (Of course, this way she could also be with her sons!)  What can we give up this Lent in order to be with Jesus? A few minutes of sleep, rising early for morning prayers? Time in front of the TV or computer in order to go to Mass and receive Jesus in Communion? Reading novels so instead we have time to spend with Jesus as he comes in the distressing guise of the poor?  Click to continue

21 Feb 2017

A Lenten Overachiever (CWBN Blog Hop)


The Lent 2017 Kickoff

Here we are at the beginning of another Lent.  I am not sure when my Lenten love affair began, but I can tell you that it is currently in full bloom!   I feel energized during this time of sacrifice. The grace of a Christian world praying, fasting and helping others in order to strengthen their relationship with Christ, is exciting! This year, as I contemplated what areas of my life could use a booster shot of faith - 6 ideas came to me.  Being the overachiever that I am - instead of picking and choosing, I'm going to do my best to rock all of 6 them!

St Francis of Assisi - Part 9 - The Whole World is a Friary

When St Francis of Assisi had rebuilt a tumbledown little church given to him by the Benedictines he called it St Mary of the Angels. It was here, over 800 years ago that he heard God speaking to him through the Gospels whilst attending Mass. The message was simple – now your time living as a Hermit is over, you and your disciples must go out preaching the Gospel to all, as Jesus had done with his disciples. He so loved this little church, the Portziuncula, that he said it would always be the hub and the home of his Franciscan Family forever. When the first friars landed in America they immediately built a church and called it after that little church that St Francis had built with his own hands. Naturally they called it after their spiritual home, St Mary of the Angels or in the Spanish language that they spoke: - Santa Maria de los Ángeles. The town that grew up around it took the same name, until it came to be known simply as Los Angeles as it is still known today.   read on....

Why I Write

I am part of a little Catholic book called Love Rebel: Reclaiming Motherhood. One of the contributors, Bonnie Way, asked me questions about blogging for her own blog, The Kola Mom.

First, tell us a bit about yourself.

It took me years to finally decide to start writing again. I had taken a 30-year sabbatical after leaving university to raise nine children. I just couldn’t seem to start writing, probably because the computer still intimidated me before I started blogging. No wonder- I had written all my university papers on a MANUEL typewriter. However, realistically there was simply too much work running a household for eleven people and helping with the farm animals and our large vegetable garden.

20 Feb 2017


Cristina Trinidad visits A Seeking Heart with Allison Gingras on BreadboxMedia.com.  
We discuss a fabulous new book that I was sent to review 
and fell in love with How to Read Your Way to Heaven 
by Vicki Burbach (Sophia Institute Press)




All Rights Reserved, Allison Gingras 2017

"Presidential" Virtuous Values - A Celebration of Past Presidents


Today is Presidents Day in the United States. On this day, we celebrate the contributions of past Presidents. What we remember most about these men stems from their character – their virtuous values.

Cherishing Virtuous Values


For example, we have the adage of George Washington, “I cannot tell a lie,” leading us to see George Washington as a man of truth and honor. We remember Abraham Lincoln for his fight for justice and peace; where “all men are created equal,” including those of color. Franklin D. Roosevelt said that “The only thing we have to fear, is fear itself,” making Roosevelt a man of fortitude and courage. These men possessed virtuous values. Read more...

As the Morning Rising: Shepherd Children of Fatima, Pray for Us.

As the Morning Rising: Shepherd Children of Fatima, Pray for Us.: When we have seen the beauty of the purity of grace in Our Blessed Mother and then look at the sheer ugliness of sin, it would take a ...

19 Feb 2017

A TATOO FOR SURVIVAL (SPANISH) UN TATUAJE QUE SALVA LA VIDA



“Por años aconsejé a mis hijos mantenerse lejos de los tatuajes, y ahora, a los 81 años de edad he tenido que recurrir a un tatuador yo misma.”

Así habla Christine Nagel de Canada que ha tenido que recurrir a un mensaje tatuado en su brazo:  “No me mates” ante el temor de ser una más de las víctimas del sistema de salud canadiense que está promoviendo el suicidio asistido como la forma más digna, además de económica, de tratar a la población envejecida de su país, donde ya es legal la eutanasia. (1)


The Nights of Many Bells

In some monasteries, the new day begins in the middle of the night. "Not long after midnight," writes Mother Mary Francis PCC, "Sister Sacristan...sets her jaw for what is at once a beautiful and a grim task:  to rouse all the other sleeping nuns.  It is a beautiful task because the sacristan's bell is summoning the community to a midnight tryst with God.  It is a grim business because Poor Clares unfortunately carry their souls about in the same clay casing found on the rest of humanity..." (A Right to Be Merry, pp. 115-118)

Out here in the world, I can't identify with bells that rattle me from sleep in the middle of the ni...

O but wait. O yes. Yes, I can. The nights of many bells were several decades ago for me now, but some of you are reading these very words between two such nights.  We know what it's like.  We're deep into a sound sleep, having finally fallen exhausted into bed, when the baby cries.  Is it time for her to eat again?... oh, it can't be!  We drag to our feet, get the baby, feed her, and now she needs a diaper change.  Three hours later, this sweet voiced little "bell" rings again.... (click here to continue) 

New Daily Prayer Routine



I tried — briefly — bargaining with God when we lost Elizabeth, our youngest child. (October 9, 2016)

When the somewhat one-sided conversation was over, I was accepting the unpleasant realities, and asking for help dealing with them: so I don't feel particularly guilty.

I suspect that some folks say bargaining with God is always wrong because they see it as trying to manipulate God. That's a bad idea: also impossible. The Almighty is just that. I can't make God do anything....

More at A Catholic Citizen in America.

10 Minute Daily Retreat: Sacred Space Matthew 6:6



Susanna Wesley, the mother of the famous preachers John and Charles, gave birth to nineteen children and lived in a tiny house. The only place she could retreat to pray was the corner of her kitchen. Her children knew that when she sat there with her face hidden behind her apron, woe betide anyone who disturbed her. This was her sacred space.

The word, sacrosanct, first came into use around the 15th Century. It virtually disappeared from everyday English for a few hundred years, making a comeback in recent times. It is derived from two Latin words: sacro 'by a sacred rite' and sanctus, 'holy.' Read on: susannetimpani.blogspot.com.au

Find Something Besides Facebook to Give Up for Lent


Really. Please don't leave Social Media for Lent.  I understand that many people use this hiatus to spend time working on their own personal spiritual growth; and I can completely respect that HOWEVER.... please don't completely disappear for 40 days when social media needs you the most.  Okay, I've always had a flair for the dramatic but here's why I am begging you to stay:

'Tis the Season

Lent is a season when many people make a resolution to investigate or rejuvenate a faith life. The internet just happens to be a place many people will turn for guidance and even perhaps seek a community to take the journey with.  So, what happens when those who are most likely to post something faith based, could possibly answer questions or would be open to connect as community make a mass exodus off social media during Lent?? There is a risk for missed opportunity to evangelize, catechize and support those seeking meaning through an experience with Christ this Lent.

18 Feb 2017

'But I say to you, Love your enemies . . .' Sunday Reflections, 7th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year A


The Inspiration of St Matthew, Caravaggio
Readings (New American Bible: Philippines, USA)
Readings (Jerusalem Bible: Australia, England & Wale)
Gospel Matthew 5: 38-48 (NRSV, Anglicised Catholic Ed)


Jesus said to his disciples:
‘You have heard that it was said, “An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.” But I say to you, Do not resist an evildoer. But if anyone strikes you on the right cheek, turn the other also; and if anyone wants to sue you and take your coat, give your cloak as well; and if anyone forces you to go one mile, go also the second mile. Give to everyone who begs from you, and do not refuse anyone who wants to borrow from you.

‘You have heard that it was said, “You shall love your neighbour and hate your enemy.” But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be children of your Father in heaven; for he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the righteous and on the unrighteous. For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax-collectors do the same? And if you greet only your brothers and sisters, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same? Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.



Columban Fr Rufus Halley (1944 - 28 August 2001)
 
Father Rufus Halley was one year behind me in the Columban seminary in Ireland. We were close friends. He came to the Philippines in 1969, two years before I did. He spent his early years in the country in Tagalog-speaking parishes in an area of the Archdiocese of Manila south of the metropolitan area, now the Diocese of Antipolo. He was fluent in the language. He began to feel a clear call from God to leave the security of working in an area overwhelmingly Christian and mostly Catholic to a part of Mindanao where Columbans had worked for many years that is overwhelmingly Muslim, the Prelature of Marawi. There he became fluent in two more Filipino languages, Meranao, spoken by the majority of Muslims in the area, and Cebuano, spoken by most of the Christians.

Full post here.

17 Feb 2017

Book Review: Meeting God in the Upper Room


Meeting God in the Upper Room: Three Moments to Change Your Life (Servant, 2017) is a compelling, well-written narrative which engages the interest of modern readers while explaining traditional Catholic teaching and history at the same time. Msgr. Peter Vaghi reveals a unique talent to pierce the hearts of modern Catholics with his honest, personal reflections on the core message of the Gospel as well as the words of Pope Francis. His authentic spirituality shines through the entire book, enticing the reader to enter his or her own ‘upper room’, to enrich and develop his own inner spirit.

continue reading

Christian Mysticism and its Counterfeit

A Reflection on the Vatican’s document on New Age Spirituality.
The Vatican document on New Age Spirituality is subtitled, Jesus Christ the Bearer of the Water of Life – A Christian reflection on the New Age. Published in 2003, it insists that a clear understanding of our own tradition is the best antidote to alien influences that have already led many astray. This is particularly true of the theory and practice of Mystical Theology where ignorance of their own tradition has led “many people to be convinced that there is no harm in ‘borrowing’ from the wisdom of the East”. The document continues by warning that, “The example of Transcendental Meditation (TM) should make Christians cautious.”
In the Western Christian tradition, a mystic is a person who not only knows with the eye of faith that God loves them but one who tangibly experiences that love as it rests and then rises within them to degrees of intensity that are totally dependent on the grace of God. The first Mystic was Christ himself...... read on 

As the Morning Rising: Vocations

As the Morning Rising: Vocations: It is a new day. The sun has risen in the east. Work has begun. New labourers are always required.

Pollution: Still Learning

Scientists found PCBs and PBDEs in deep-sea critters, armyworms are on the march in Africa, and Mexico City's air isn't as clean as we'd hoped.

Rational concern seems reasonable....

...Last week I talked about blaming our tools for our mistakes. (February 10, 2017)

This week I'll revisit Lovecraft's "placid island of ignorance,"sort of....

More at A Catholic Citizen in America.

16 Feb 2017

Nineveh90 for Kids

Are you doing "the Nineveh thing"?  I've come up with a plan just for kids to participate, too.


Read all about it at Veils and Vocations!  #nineveh90  #kidscandoittoo

15 Feb 2017

What Does It Take to Truly Be Kind? Do You Have it In You?


Have you ever given it much thought: What does it take to truly be kind? What does it cost you in terms of time, talent or treasure?

Be Kind with Your Time


In terms of time, it can cost you nothing more than a fleeting second to smile at someone. Or, it can cost you all you have to give, to care for someone that you love who is ill. Many acts of kindness run somewhere in between these two extremes.

Be Kind with Your Talent


As to talent, perhaps you are gifted in understanding mathematical equations (I know I am not). Perhaps you could give of your time, as a tutor, one hour a week. Or, perhaps you are a subject matter expert on a given topic. If so, you can lend your life’s work to solving problems for the common good. Odds are that... Read more...

Rerouting...

We can often think that God has a Plan A and if we blow it, that's it! We think he will give up on us and we will never be able to be used by him. That isn't true however. God has a way of making straight our crooked paths. He is the God of second chances and limitless mercy! If we mess up our "Plan A", he will give us a "Plan B". If we mess up our "Plan B", he will give us Plan C and so on.       
 Continue Reading @ Beautifulthorns

Up a Tree for Jesus' Sake

My new book “Bible People for Young People” (“reviewed” at the end of this post) shows Zacchaeus on the cover. I thought I’d draw some lessons today from this man’s story. If you recall, Zacchaeus, who collected taxes for Rome and pocketed some for himself, was possibly the most despised man in Jericho. Perhaps as a child you sang “Zacchaeus Was a Wee Little Man.” If so, you know that he was height-challenged. Lesson one: When Zacchaeus couldn’t see over the heads of the crowd to catch a glimpse of Jesus, he climbed a tree. If you lack something, deal with it. Compensate. If you can’t do math in your head, resort to a calculator. If you can’t drive a car, become an expert in bus routes. If you weren’t gifted with good looks, be the best dresser in your family. If you can’t hit home runs, be a cheerleader. And so on. Click to continue