Showing posts with label faith. Show all posts
Showing posts with label faith. Show all posts

23 Apr 2017

Looking for Life: Enceladus and Gliese 1132 b

We haven't found life on — or in — Enceladus. But we've found organic compounds in the Saturnian moon's salt-water geysers.

Scientists detected an atmosphere around Gliese 1132 b, a planet about 39 light-years away. It's Earth-like, in terms of size; but too hot for life as we know it. We'll almost certainly learn a great deal, though, by studying its atmosphere....

...Abraham, Moses, and Minnesota


I take the Bible, Sacred Scripture, very seriously. (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 101-133)

I don't, however, insist on believing only what I find in the Bible. That's just as well, since I live near the center of North America.

I'm pretty sure that Abraham, Moses, Joshua, Saint Peter, and the rest, didn't know that the land I live on exists. But I'm quite sure that the State of Minnesota is real: even if it's not "Biblical."...

More at A Catholic Citizen in America.

19 Apr 2017

Flee Your Road to Emmaus; Turn Your Sights on Jesus

Today’s Gospel reading from Luke 24:13-35 speaks to us of Jesus’ walk with two men on the Road to Emmaus. We begin with two men departing Jerusalem, saddened in the realization that Jesus was not who they thought him to be. They were disappointed, for they thought He was their savior; yet He died. So much for being a savior! How often can we say that we are like the two men on the Road to Emmaus? Do we give up on Jesus when He does not do what we wish, or what we think is right?  These men wanted Jesus to rise to the level of King, but He died, and with that their belief in Him.

Road to Emmaus: Signs of Faith


As the men were walking, Jesus approached them. However, Jesus disguised Himself, disabling them to “see” Jesus as the Risen Lord. While walking with the men, Jesus asked them what they were discussing. The two men informed Jesus about the events of recent days: Jesus’ arrest, humiliation, crucifixion and death. They had hoped that “he would be the one to redeem Israel” (Luke 24: 21). Even with the declaration from the women who visited the tomb, that the tomb was empty and that the Lord had risen, these two men were walking away from Jerusalem, downcast; their faith shattered. How often do we see signs of faith, but choose to ignore them? Read more...

1 Mar 2017

Lent Does Not Have to be a Dreary Time! Want Some Positive Ideas?


Today is Ash Wednesday, the beginning of Lent. Many of us look at this period on the Church calendar as a time of suffering and deprivation. Lent has historically been synonymous with a desert experience of dryness; a sense of loneliness, as if God is on vacation somewhere else. This connotes a sense of negativity. Yet, Lent affords us so much more, if we are willing to open our minds, hearts and souls to the various opportunities that make the Lenten season special in a positive way.

Lent, a Season of Faith, Hope and Love


Lent can be a time of renewal and personal growth; a time for getting to know Our Savior much better by... Read more... 

26 Feb 2017

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.

19 Feb 2017

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.

29 Jan 2017

Making a Universe: Why Bother?


"The heavens declare the glory of God; the sky proclaims its builder's craft." (Psalms 19:2)
Okay, so who is this message proclaimed to?

Us, apparently.

One of the ways we can learn about God is by noticing order and beauty in the universe. (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 31-32, 319)

St. Bonaventure said that the universe communicates God's glory, St. Thomas Aquinas said that the Almighty creates because God is good and loving. (Catechism, 293)

I think they're right.

More at A Catholic Citizen in America.

4 Dec 2016

Sin, Awareness, Repentance

Today's reading from the Gospels, Matthew 3:1-12, doesn't seem particularly Christmassy. Not in the 'presents wrapped under the tree' sense.
"1 2 In those days John the Baptist appeared, preaching in the desert of Judea. "(and) saying, 'Repent, 3 for the kingdom of heaven is at hand!' ...

"...When he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees 7 coming to his baptism, he said to them, 'You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the coming wrath?
"Produce good fruit as evidence of your repentance....."
(Matthew 3:1-2, 7-8)
More at A Catholic Citizen in America.

21 Oct 2016

Grace in a graceless season: notes from a Catholic in politics


Spare a moment and a prayer for the political types, please and thank you. I’m one of them.
The bitter election-year exchanges on every platform are part of my daily life. Whether on television on online, shutting them down altogether is not an option, appealing though it may be. Politics is part of my vocation. Times like these, I’m tempted to wish it were otherwise.
This is a plague-on-both-your-houses year, looking at the major parties’ candidates for president. I am reading  C.S. Lewis’s  Mere Christianity this month, and something he wrote in there captures my attitude.
I feel a strong desire to tell you – and I expect you feel a strong desire to tell me – which of these two errors is the worse. That is the devil getting at us. He always sends errors into the world in pairs – pairs of opposites. And he always encourages us to spend a lot of time thinking which is the worse. You see why, of course? He relies on your extra dislike of the one error to draw you gradually into the opposite one. But do not let us be fooled. We have to keep our eyes on the goal and go straight through between both errors. We have no other concern than that with either of them.
Providence was at work when I pulled that book off the shelf days ago.
We have to keep our eyes on the goal – the absolute goal of eternity in the Kingdom of God. Few things are harder for me to do. In politics, the goal is the next vote or the next election. In the greater scheme of things, in the Kingdom, the goal is something different.
I lose sight of that sometimes as a veteran campaign staffer, pro-life lobbyist, and policy blogger. Urgency inheres in those occupations: this vote, this minute, this interview, this crisis, leading up to a defined point: a specific vote or a specific election. Votes and elections are important, but they’re not final.

11 Oct 2016

Why Even Faithful Catholics Suffer From Mental Illness



Although most respectable members of our parishes try to look healthy and content in public, mental illness is as common and invisible among the faithful as it is in secular circles. I would wager that mental health issues are especially prevalent among the devout who are serious about their inner life; when people tackle deep inner issues which prevent God from working in their lives, their inner equilibrium is upset by stress, anxiety, and depression. 


This probably explains why most saints experienced profound periods of depression when they finally looked beneath their pious actions to face the reality of their own ingrained sin and subsequent need for inner purification.


God offers His children the means to become free from sin, bad habits and mental illness through the Church, prayer, confession but also through therapy. Let's bring mental illness out of the shadows of shame and into the Light of Christ.

continue

10 Oct 2016

Greed Will Debilitate You; Fear is Behind All Greed


We continue with the fifth installment of our seven-part series on the seven deadly sins. Today we discuss Greed.

Greed, also known as avarice, will debilitate you because you’re dealing with a bottomless pit; an abyss. The unending desire for more money, power or fame, leaves a person feeling empty, insecure and unfulfilled no matter how much one tries to garner. There is no amount of money that guarantees security, for the fear of losing it all is ever-present. No amount of power garners confidence and self-assuredness, for the fear of losing control is ever-present. No amount of fame makes one feel like he/she “has arrived,” for the fear of being discounted and dismissed never goes away. Anyone who seeks more money, power or fame, for the purpose of filling a void, fights a losing battle. Read more...

7 Oct 2016

Faith That Matters



Twenty-seventh Sunday in Ordinary Time, 2016:

Twenty-seventh Sunday in Ordinary Time, 2016

By Deacon Lawrence N. Kaas October 2, 2016

I'm sure we are all saddened to hear that by this time Father Tom is back home. ... He will be missed!

There is one word that is repeated in all of the readings for this day. That word is Faith....

...Now we can't just let this word Faith hang out there alone without some support....

...If now we should take our Catechism and referred to paragraphs 142 through 165 we get a far more complete explanation of Obedience and Faith....

More at A Catholic Citizen in America.

3 Sep 2016

Mother Teresa: "The Moment Passed"

Mother Teresa of Kolkata/Calcutta gets canonized today. Here's how she described herself:
"By blood, I am Albanian. By citizenship, an Indian. By faith, I am a Catholic nun. As to my calling, I belong to the world. As to my heart, I belong entirely to the Heart of Jesus."
("Mother Teresa of Calcutta (1910-1997),," vatican.va)
She established the Missionaries of Charity in 1950 and died in 1997, but the Missionaries of Charity are still around: giving “wholehearted free service to the poorest of the poor."

Their facilities don't look much like Mayo Clinic here in Minnesota, or Bumrungrad International Hospital in Thailand; and that's another topic.

One of these days I'll probably ramble on about Saints, miracles, and canonization. But today I'll say that a Saint is someone recognized by the Church as someone who practiced heroic virtue and is currently dead, and leave it at that. (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 828, and see 61, 946, 1477, 2030)...

...I was going to write about Mother Teresa, but the my mind wandered — nothing unusual there — and this is what happened....

More at A Catholic Citizen in America.

7 Jul 2016

TRUE Death with Dignity

My brother-in-law passed away on June 27--at home, peacefully, with his wife and two other loved ones by his side and the local parish priest (who'd just administered Last Rites) singing softly in his ear.  He had recently converted to Catholicism and received First Holy Communion just before the cancer that had ravaged his body made it impossible for him to swallow solid food.
Shortly before he left this world, I wrote about how he was teaching all of us how to face death with courage, grace, and true dignity.  If you'd like to read that full String of Pearls post, click here.

27 Jun 2016

Handling Disappointments Appropriately

Disappointments come our way from time to time. It’s how we handle those disappointments that matter. For example, I recently learned that a big-time Catholic catalogue would not carry my book, Adventures of Faith, Hope and Charity: Finding Patience, simply because I self-published the book. It didn’t matter to them that the book was named a 2016 National Indie Excellence Award Finalist. In fact, they commented that they thought it was a really good book. They just don’t like dealing with my printing company. For that reason alone, they were declining to carry the book in their catalogue. My immediate reaction: Major disappointment!

Handling Disappointments Appropriately


With every disappointment there are lessons to learn; lessons that can shape your future for the better. Let’s face it: no one ever learns anything from success. They learn from failure. So, what am I going to do about this disappointment?

Read more...

15 Jun 2016

Sanctity for the Average Catholic: Keeping It Real



I think most, if not all, Catholics like the idea of becoming a saint. Not because everyone wants official recognition but because the bottom line is: saints are in heaven and that’s where we want to be. In this way, the saints become a beacon of hope, a confirmation that the daily struggle is worth plowing through, because success is possible.
Raised in a strong Catholic family, I grew up reading and loving the lives of the saints. I knew from a young age that these people were close to Jesus, and I hoped that some day, I would be close to Jesus too. Our desire for sanctity, in itself, is a good thing – it’s a reflection of our longing for God and innate sense that our hearts are made for him. So looking for some sort of formula or solid role model to follow is natural. Hence the importance we place in our faith on the saints and their example. Over time, however, I realized that finding inspiration in the saints was different from finding a realistic and imitable example in them. Don’t get me wrong – there are many ways we can, and SHOULD imitate the saints.
But there are also some pitfalls we can fall into.
Continue reading at Eyes On Heaven.

7 Jun 2016

Ways Faith Can Help Overcome Stress and Restore Peace


I’m sure I’m not the only one who has plenty to worry about in daily life. Worry seems to be one of those things you just can’t get away from. As soon as we let go of one worry, another comes along. Major worries take priority, but when those run out, there are plenty of trivial ones to fill their place. I can worry about world peace, the future of this nation, and whether or not there’s too much fluoride in my toothpaste all in the same breath. I worry about catastrophes that never take place (thank heaven!) but certainly do drain a lot of mental energy as I envision every possible ending to the story. I second-guess things that I can’t change and aren’t that important anyway in the grand scheme of things. I worry that there just isn’t enough of me to go around enough for my family and people I care about.
Sometimes it helps me to step back for a minute and remember where God is in all of this (...)
Continue reading about ways faith can help move away from stress and restore peace at Eyes On Heaven

25 May 2016

Would You Have Believed? (#RisenMovie)


A Reflection based on the movie Risen  ...

Halfway through our viewing of the movie Risen (DVD available May 24th) - my husband, Kevin, turned to me and said; "Do you ever wonder what you would have believed if you were there during the Passion, Death and Resurrection of Jesus?"  While it is impossible to know how exactly I have believe, there is way too much hindsight and history behind my contemplation - I am very certain I would have been like Nicodemus.  The one who was curious, sensed there was something to what this man was preaching, and followed him in secret; however in the end, after all he had heard and witnessed, was truly convinced Jesus was the Messiah.  If 2000 years later, this is who I am, why would I have been any different if it was unfolding before my very eyes.  

 Read more and view exclusive movie content 
All Rights Reserved, Allison Gingras 2016 

4 May 2016

Singing through the Pain


by Nancy Ward

Last Mother’s Day we went to the 10:00 a.m. Mass at St. Jude’s in Allen, TX,  with my son Andrew and his family. We arrived early while the choir was practicing and sat in the third row behind their two reserved rows. Andrew prepared his French horn and joined the music practice.

When the practice was over, just before Mass started, I observed this young man come from the row of choir microphones and around the pews with an armful of pillows. He headed toward the pew in front of us where an elderly woman and a couple of young people were sitting. He motioned that he wanted to sit in that pew and they moved toward the aisle to allow him to move past them. He hesitated, said something to them and after a short conversation, they moved to another pew. He arranged his pillows in the pew and lay down on his back. 
I turned to my daughter-in-law inquisitively and she told me about the man’s back problems and recent back surgery. His name was Patrick Underwood. He lay there until time to sing the processional, then painstakingly pulled himself to his feet by grasping the back of the pew in front of him and forcing his body erect. He had a booming voice and played the bongo drums during the Alleluia with a passion I had never seen—at least not at mass!
Read more of this Mother's Day Story on JoyAlive.net

29 Apr 2016

Cryonics, Smallpox, and Pope Pius VII

I remember when heart transplants were front-page international news, not local human interest stories: and when polio vaccinations were new. I really do not miss the 'good old days.' I remember them, and they weren't.

I also remember when cryonics was 'science fiction stuff,' not a highly-experimental and controversial medical procedure. I probably won't live long enough to see whether it works. But if you're young enough: you might....

...Since I'll be talking about life, death, and medical practices, I'd better start by saying that I'm a Christian: a Catholic.

Like it says in the Apostles Creed, "I believe in ... the resurrection of the body, and the life everlasting." I'll be explaining why I don't see a conflict between that belief and trying to save lives....

More at A Catholic Citizen in America.

Journeying with Jesus

The first time I was to fly alone to Abu Dhabi to speak at a religious conference, I was rather frightened—petrified would be more accur...