25 Jun 2016

As the Morning Rising: Snapshot of Family Life

As the Morning Rising: Snapshot of Family Life: Family Geraniums on windowsills White nets and red blossoms Worked their way into memory So too strange coins, and stamps in little opa...

Centering prayer and distractions


One Centering Prayer practitioner wrote to me in an online conversation, “In this information age of constant texting and tweets I think Centering Prayer is a very practical way to do ‘be still’ and surrender in God’s presence; it’s helped me to detach from negative thoughts and feelings…”

This is a common assertion, one I’m sympathetic to. We certainly do have too much “noise” in our world–not just beeps and drum beats, but also texts and pop-ups and real-time videos. The over-abundance of sensory stimulation distracts us from focusing on God in prayer. How can we be free of such distracting thoughts?

Continue reading at Is Centering Prayer Catholic?

'Another said, “I will follow you, Lord'". Sunday Reflections, 13th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year C

The Disrobing of Christ (El Espolio), El Greco, 1577-79
Gospel Luke 9:51-62 (NRSV, Catholic Ed., Can)

When the days drew near for Jesus to be taken up, he set his face to go to Jerusalem. And he sent messengers ahead of him. On their way they entered a village of the Samaritans to make ready for him; but they did not receive him, because his face was set toward Jerusalem. When his disciples James and John saw it, they said, “Lord, do you want us to command fire to come down from heaven and consume them?” But he turned and rebuked them. Then they went on to another village.

As they were going along the road, someone said to him, “I will follow you wherever you go.” And Jesus said to him, “Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests; but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head.” To another he said, “Follow me.” But he said, “Lord, first let me go and bury my father.” But Jesus said to him, “Let the dead bury their own dead; but as for you, go and proclaim the kingdom of God.” Another said, “I will follow you, Lord; but let me first say farewell to those at my home.” Jesus said to him, “No one who puts a hand to the plow and looks back is fit for the kingdom of God.”
Columban Fr Rufus Halley (1944 -28 Aug. 2001) in Mindanao
Jesus speaks clearly to us in Sunday's gospel about the cost of following him. Christians are still prepared to give up their very lives to follow Jesus. One example is Fr Franҫois Mourad, a Catholic priest, murdered in Syria on 23 June 2013, as Vatican Radio reports.

Fr Franҫois Mourad [AsiaNews.it]
One who paid the same price, on 28 August 2001 in the Philippines, was a very close friend and Columban confrere, Fr Rufus Halley, from County Waterford in Ireland. He entered the Columbans one year after me. Father Rufus came from a relatively wealthy family but lived very simply and chose to spend the last twenty years of his life in a predominantly Muslim area in Mindanao, an area where for centuries there has been distrust, and sometimes open hostility, between Christians and Muslims.
Full post here.

24 Jun 2016

Pope Francis and Holy, Undignified Joy

Joy is not just for Pentecostals; joy is also for Catholics. Joy is not just for a few simple-minded anti- intellectuals, it is also for intellectuals. As C.S. Lewis explains,“Joy is the serious business of heaven”. Pope Francis is explicit when he states:
The joy of the Gospel is for all people: no one can be excluded. Pope Francis
N0 one is exempt from embracing the joy of the Gospel, not even serious Catholics who focus more on social issues than on their inner life, nor sophisticated theologians. Even those who love solemn, traditional ceremony are not exempt because they too are called to live in holy joy as they celebrate the Latin Mass.

As the Morning Rising: Future - Poem

As the Morning Rising: Future - Poem: Future Unafraid to be led by the hand And taken to a place I've not yet seen A place of mystery Of delicate unfolding I journ...

23 Jun 2016

As the Morning Rising: Reserved

As the Morning Rising: Reserved: There should always be a place reserved for God round the table of happy moments.


What would you do if your priest has been arrested and is accused of murder? Would you join the tittle-tattle and gossip amongst parishioners? Would you not believe the accusation and defend the priest; perhaps offering support? Or would you do nothing and wait until events unfold?

When Father Ignatius is accused of murder his whole world is turned upside down. The Church is shaken to its foundation and people jump to all sorts of conclusions.

THE PRIEST AND PROSTITUTE” is a fast-paced story with believable characters and situations. A realistic self-test as to one’s faith and beliefs, as well as the ability to stay focussed on God when it seems He has abandoned you. The author skilfully combines humour with suspense to deliver a Christian message relevant to today's society.

For more information please CLICK HERE

Perfect for Summer! Stations of the Cross:An Adult Coloring Book

This summer, surrender to the feelings of love and gratitude found in contemplating and coloring these beautiful Stations of the Cross renderings by Father Victor KyNam.
Accompanied by Scripture and prayers written by Kathryn Mulderink, OCDS, The Stations of the Cross: an adult coloring book is truly a transformative experience.

22 Jun 2016

Being What God Wants Us to Be

“Holiness consists simply in doing God’s will, and being just what God wants us to be.”
St. Therese of Lisieux
This little bug has been a pest this week! He and his kind have eaten my kale down and made the kale lacey instead of whole. The kale leaves are beautiful thanks to this guy, but they are not edible. This little critter also likes milkweed. He’s been eating the leaves and feasting on any eggs he finds there. I’m hoping that the peppermint tea I sprayed on the leaves this morning will help to deter him, but I don’t know. He’s only doing what he was made to do. He was made to eat leaves and reproduce. He’s doing God’s Will.

Read more at Prayerfully Yours

To pray is human

Since starting my new website Is Centering Prayer Catholic?, I’ve been pondering why certain errors about prayer are so common. I think I’ve hit on a root misunderstanding that’s at the bottom of many of these errors: ignoring the distinction between the natural and the supernatural in prayer.
The Catechism quotes St. John Damascene in saying:
Prayer is the raising of one’s mind and heart to God or the requesting of good things from God.” (No. 2559)
This indicates prayer is a human activity. One raises one’s own mind and heart to God. Note that this is not true of contemplative prayer. Contemplative prayer is a divine activity. As St. Paul says, “We do not know how to pray as we ought” (Rom 8:26), so God steps in to help us.

Continue reading at Contemplative Homeschool

Return to Paradise, by Tim Speer - Book Review

Return to Paradise, by Tim Speer, makes for an interesting read. David Martin, a Catholic investment banker from Dallas, Texas, is in the process of driving to his hometown in Missouri.  OOPS! His car suffers a little mishap near Spring River Missouri, requiring that he stay in town for a few days.

While in Spring River, David learns of some unsavory financial happenings in town.  Such dealings promise to make life miserable for many of the local citizens. David suspects that the action is illegal. His moral values of truth and righteousness urge his conscience to investigate the unsavory business dealings. Might there be anything he could do about it?


Perseverance Pays Off!

Lately I’ve been receiving lessons on perseverance. The most dramatic one was the incredible victory of the Cleveland Cavaliers with odds against them. After a 52-year drought, they clinched the NBA championship to the delight of their many diehard fans. Closer to home, I could not get the DVD player to work with the new television equipment that was installed recently. Last night I tried one more time and bingo. . . it worked! The other day I was telling someone how difficult it was to market my books. I prefer spending my time writing. He said, “Don’t give up. Keep trying.” I came across this quotation: “If you do nothing to market your book, do you know what you’ll get? Nothing.”
These experiences lead me to reflect on other situations that call for perseverance . . . Click to continue

As the Morning Rising: Straight From Him

As the Morning Rising: Straight From Him: There's a little story behind this photo. I had wakened early, had breakfast, checked e-mails etc but I was not motivated enough to ...

21 Jun 2016

Remembering God

When I was a kid, we went to Church every Sunday. No matter what, we were not allowed to miss Mass. We went together as a family. If there were other activities, which was rare, they waited until after Mass. We also ate lunch of supper together, whichever time was more conducive to a gathering. Sometimes, people came and went throughout the day. The cousins played together. We, sometimes, fought with each other, but we had better have a good reason for that. We’d run to the park and swing untili we heard the food bells ringing away. We’d wash our hands and find a spot at the dinner table where we’d make the sign of the cross, say grace, then, even though we were STARVED, we would finally eat. 

Read more at Prayerfully Yours

My Summer Resolutions

Most people make New Year’s Eve resolutions, but I’ve started making summer resolutions.
Mary Schmich, of the Chicago Tribune, wrote an article entitled, “Making the Most of Summer Requires Resolution.” I have found the older I get, the more I look forward to summer.

You can read the article here.

20 Jun 2016

Hello Summer! Embrace the Season with Gratitude

Today marks the first day of Summer. It’s a time of year when families come together to refresh mind, body and spirit. Perhaps it’s a trip to the mountains, or a week at the beach; whatever your pleasure, I hope that you experience much peace, joy and fond memories this summer.

Summer is a time when we can sit back and take stock of all of our blessings. Perhaps it is a stable job and health insurance. Perhaps it is news of improved health of a loved one. Whatever your blessings, I pray that the Holy Spirit fills you with... Read more...  

As the Morning Rising: Belfast City Sunset

As the Morning Rising: Belfast City Sunset: Belfast City Sunset The sun is slipping down behind Black Mountain St. Peter’s spires are lost to me till dawn But in my head the p...

No Matter Our Life Work

19 Jun 2016

St. Joseph, Art, and Modern Fathers

Canadian artist, Michael O'Brien
Modern sculptures and paintings of St. Joseph, emphasize his strength and protective attitude for his young wife and vulnerable infant son. A model for modern dads.

As a Father...

10 Minute Daily Retreat: Spiritual Gifts; Wisdom

I'm working on a new novel and I've struggled to understand the fundamental motivation of one of my own characters.

I know what he wants, but not why. I've had to 'interview' him virtually non-stop for over a week. While I walked, drove, cooked, stared into the computer…I've felt like shaking him, 'why? Why do you desire this goal? It's a crazy goal, but you desperately want it. Why?'

You and I desire many things; a healthy body, a successful novel, recognition in the workplace, a stable income, loving relationships. None of these are bad. Many of these God desires for us.

Wisdom is knowing that if our fundamental desire is for God, He knows best which of these desires He will satisfy.

'Seek first the kingdom of heaven, and all these will be given you.' Matthew 6:33

18 Jun 2016

Father´s Day and the Macho attitude decoded. (Spanish) El Machismo decodificado.

Muy presente en el discurso del feminismo moderno que pretende lograr la equidad de género se encuentran el patriarcado y el machismo como fuentes  centrales de discriminación y violencia hacia la mujer .Muchas mujeres (y también hombres) sufren los efectos de estas actitudes deformadas que están muy enraizadas en varias culturas, sobre todo latinas. Pero ambas realidades han sido erróneamente contextualizadas por muchos años. El patriarcado no es una herencia religiosa, como se le cataloga, y el machismo no se centra solo en el dominio sobre la mujer y no solo lo ejercen los hombres.

'Those who lose their life for my sake will save it.' Sunday Reflections, 12th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year C

Apostle Peter in Prison, Rembrandt, 1631
Gospel Luke 7:9:18-24 (NRSV, Catholic Ed,Can)
Once when Jesus was praying alone, with only the disciples near him, he asked them, “Who do the crowds say that I am?” They answered, “John the Baptist; but others, Elijah; and still others, that one of the ancient prophets has arisen.” He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” Peter answered, “The Messiah of God.”
He sternly ordered and commanded them not to tell anyone, saying, “The Son of Man must undergo great suffering, and be rejected by the elders, chief priests, and scribes, and be killed, and on the third day be raised.”
Then he said to them all, “If any want to become my followers, let them deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me. For those who want to save their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake will save it.
Sir Thomas More, Hans Holbein the Younger, 1527

On 12 June 2013 the Taoiseach (Prime Minister) of the Republic of Ireland stated in the Dáil (parliament) in the context of legislation that the government eventually pushed through that allows abortion in certain situations: I am proud to stand here as a public representative, as a Taoiseach who happens to be a Catholic but not a Catholic Taoiseach. A Taoiseach for all of the people – that's my job.
A number of columnists and writers of letters to the editor in Ireland praised Mr Kenny for this and contrasted it with words spoken by Labour TD (Member of Parliament) Brendan Corish in the Dáil in 1953: I am an Irishman second, I am a Catholic first, and I accept without qualification in all respects the teaching of the hierarchy and the church to which I belong. This statement has been frequently, incorrectly attributed to a previous Taoiseach of the same Fine Gael party as Mr Kenny, John A. Costello. However, Mr Costello, as Taoiseach, said in 1951: I, as a Catholic, obey my Church authorities and will continue to do so, in spite of The Irish Times or anything else . . .
Full post here.



As the Morning Rising: In Memory of My Father

As the Morning Rising: In Memory of My Father: This year marks my father's tenth anniversary. Although he died in hospital it's not the picture of life ebbing away that rema...

17 Jun 2016

Holy, Undignified Joy

A Christian is one who is invited… to join in the feast, to the joy of being saved, to the joy of being redeemed, to the joy of sharing life with Christ. This is a joy! You are called to a party!  Pope Francis

 The Saints Were Not Miserable

Even though some old Catholic icons and holy cards often depict saints and the Holy Family looking miserable, with tears streaming down their pale faces, the truth is the saints lived in God’s Presence and in His joy. Even when saints suffered, their suffering was lived out in, with and through Divine Love. St. Francis of Assisi, a famous joyful saint, wrote “The Canticle of the Sun” while almost completely blind, with a body ravaged by poverty and hard labour, bearing the stigmata.

Look at our pope, whose namesake is Francis; his very countenance radiates kindness and joy even as he bears the burden of shepherding the world’s Catholics and a grueling schedule as the pontiff. Some traditional Catholics disapprove of our joyful pope and seem irritated by his very demeanor; perhaps they embody the church besieged while Pope Francis embodies the spirituality of the gospels and the patristic fathers. It is clear, though, that God is using Pope Francis to challenge present day Catholics to rediscover their roots and live daily in the Resurrection and Pentecost, not just the suffering of the Passion.

Shedding My Pharisee Facade

Jesus warned to not be like the scribes and Pharisees, “For they preach but they do not practice,” another way of looking at that, “practice what you preach.”    Sadly, I can think of at least one (okay, who am I fooling really MANY more than one) example in our lives, either now or in the past, when this could be said about me.

However, as I read these words, I thought of something I am far more often guilty of, “I practice but I do not preach,”  Instead of the ole' do as I say, not as I do, I have created my own version with do as I do, not as I fail to say.  Which is fine, because as St. Francis of Assisi is credited with saying, "Pray the Gospel always, when necessary use words," but sometimes WORDS are necessary.  As this lifelong Catholic, who has just in the last 10 years begun truly practicing her faith, has learned; Catholicism is a very rich and beautiful faith about which most people know very little.  Those who have discovered it ought to be sharing its depth with others. 

After years of being away from the Church, my husband and I felt drawn back in 1993.  We were active in Church activities, but my faith was still very much on the surface.  In 2004, I joined a bible study which transformed my relationship with God – Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Through the study of God’s Holy Word, my heart was opened to living a life of faith not just for one hour on Sundays but every moment of every day. Overtime, I shed my Pharisee ways, of ....    read more

All rights reserved, Allison Gingras 2016

16 Jun 2016

"Father forgive them, for they know not what they do."

I simply worshipped the heroes of ancient Greece when I was at school. I loved to hear stories about Troy and the heroes who fought there. I loved to read about the Persian wars and about the warriors who fought for freedom at Marathon, Salamis and Thermopylae. Most of all I worshipped Alexander the Great and marvelled at the mighty empire that he set up before he was even thirty.
I couldn't help it if the hero I was introduced to in the religious class seemed to be rather weak compared with them. He didn't actually triumph over his enemies as my Greek heroes did, and there wasn't much in it for his followers either, unless you happen to like being thrown to the lions! 
However, I had something of a conversion experience shortly before leaving school  that led me to join a prayer group run by the school’s spiritual director.     read on....

As the Morning Rising: Clonard Novena Mother of Perpetual Help 2016

As the Morning Rising: Clonard Novena Mother of Perpetual Help 2016: http://www.clonard.com/ The annual nine day novena to Our Mother of Perpetual Help has started at Clonard Monastery. The first se...

15 Jun 2016

Presence Evangelism

Now the Spirit of God is moving among the grassroots. It is the time 
for the little people to shine.

 God is choosing humble, ordinary people who have suffered and lived obscure lives faithful to Him and allowed Him to purify and mold them into His presence. 
Such men and women attract others who are hungry for God because people sense the love and power of God in them. There is no room for pride or ego because it is all about God saving them in their littleness.
continue reading

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.

Luke Gabriel: The Back Story Behind the Scenes

In Adventures of Faith, Hope, and Charity: Finding Patience, Mr. Luke Gabriel lives next door to his new neighbors, the Livingstone family. He is retired from corporate life, and a widower. To fill his spare time these days, he breeds Westminster Terriers. Why, you might ask? Because the loss of his dear wife left such a hole, that he attempts to fill that hole with the unconditional love from puppies. He has developed quite a passion for these dogs, and they are fun to have around an empty house.

When Faith, Hope, and Charity moved in next door, Mr. Gabriel was delighted. He loved having children around. Not only did he miss his beloved wife, but he also missed... Read more... 

The Bible: You've Got Mail, Part 2

Here is an excerpt from Chapter 2 of my latest book, Praying with Scripture.
Come to the Bible, not to study the history of God’s action, but to be its object; not to learn what it achieves throughout the centuries and still does, but to be the subject of its operation. ~ Jean-Pierre de Caussade, S.J.

There once was an elderly lady in Scotland who was very poor, even though her son had become a wealthy man in America. Neighbors, who charitably supported the woman, wondered why her son had apparently forgotten her. One day they questioned her about this. The mother stood up for her boy. She said, “Every week he writes me and sends a little picture. See,” she said, opening her Bible. “I keep them in here.” Stashed inside her Bible were hundreds of U.S. bank notes. Ironically the pages of the woman’s Bible held much wealth, but she was unaware of it.

Just as the woman’s Bible contained a hidden gift, so our Bibles hold hidden treasures for us. The Bible is one of the greatest gifts that God has bestowed on us. With it, we can not only survive but live an enriched and enriching life.

The Bible is defined as “the Word of God in the words of human beings.” God deigned to communicate with us through our  means of communication, the written word.
 Click to continue

Death in Orlando: Love and Solidarity

The 49 folks killed at an Orlando entertainment venue late Saturday night/early Sunday morning, and the person who killed them, are still dead. Others are hospitalized, and may or may not survive. A whole lot of folks are mourning the loss of family and friends.

Repeating what I wrote Sunday afternoon, I should love God, love my neighbors, see everybody as my neighbor, and treat others as I want to be treated....

...Here's what a Bishop, an Archbishop, and someone at the Vatican, had to say....

More at A Catholic Citizen in America.

Mass Murder in Orlando

A young man killed more than four dozen folks at an entertainment venue last night/early this morning. He took some of the survivors hostage, and is now dead, too.

I've run into several assumptions about what happened: and a few facts....

More at A Catholic Citizen in America.

13 Jun 2016

Saint Anthony of Padua, My Favorite Saint

On this Feast of Saint Anthony of Padua, I just had to share an experience that my husband and I had while visiting the Basilica of Saint Anthony in Padua, Italy. We had planned on visiting Rome, Florence and a day trip to Tuscany. Padua was not originally on our schedule. However, while travelling from Rome to Florence on their high-speed train, I saw that a trip to Padua from Florence was only a 90-minute high-speed train ride away.

With Saint Anthony of Padua being my all-time favorite saint, I couldn’t travel all the way to Italy and not visit his tomb, when he was only a 90-minute train ride away. So, my husband and I made the trip on June 16, 2011. I’ll never forget this day.

As we entered the Basilica, my husband noticed that Saint Anthony’s tomb was immediately to our left. As we approached the tomb, my husband noticed that everyone was heading toward the back side of the tomb. So we followed. Then we saw people touching the tomb. So we followed suit. Wow! What happened next is hard to describe.

How Saint Anthony Touched My Soul

As I touched the cold stone slab, I felt this... Read more...

As the Morning Rising: Down and Connor Pilgrimage to Knock 2016

As the Morning Rising: Down and Connor Pilgrimage to Knock 2016: http://www.knockshrine.ie/ Pilgrims recite the rosary as hey process to the basilica. http://www.downandconnor.org/ ...

12 Jun 2016

Where Lions Wait

I have never faced the challenge of praying where lions wait. I've never been like Daniel, prohibited from praying, and I haven't endured threats of hungry animals waiting to feast on me if I did ... (....continue....)  

Why no one asked Jesus?

When Jesus said we will always have the poor with us - Mark 14 3-7
Why did no one ask Him why this is so?
What did He mean exactly?
Will we never eradicate poverty?
Is all our charity work a waste of time?

10 Minute Daily Retreat: The Gift of Wisdom Reflection 3

Wisdom Reflection by Malcolm Davies
I've spent many working hours traveling around the country, waiting in airports.
The most powerful experiences of prayer were facing the rising sun out of the windows at Adelaide airport.
Those opportunities opened me to the gift of Wisdom - the integration of spirit and flesh.

The one who gets wisdom loves life; Proverbs 19:8