12 Feb 2016

‘Worship the Lord your God, and serve only him.’ Sunday Reflections, 1st Sunday of Lent, Year C

Sistine Chapel, Vatican [Web Gallery of Art]

Readings (New American Bible: Philippines, USA)

Readings (Jerusalem Bible: Australia, England & Wales, India [optional], Ireland, New Zealand, Pakistan, Scotland, South Africa)

Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led by the Spirit in the wilderness, where for forty days he was tempted by the devil. He ate nothing at all during those days, and when they were over, he was famished. The devil said to him, “If you are the Son of God, command this stone to become a loaf of bread.”  Jesus answered him, “It is written, ‘One does not live by bread alone.’”
Then the devil  led him up and showed him in an instant all the kingdoms of the world. And the devil said to him, “To you I will give their glory and all this authority; for it has been given over to me, and I give it to anyone I please. If you, then, will worship me, it will all be yours.”  Jesus answered him, “It is written,
‘Worship the Lord your God,
    and serve only him.’”
Then the devil took him to Jerusalem, and placed him on the pinnacle of the temple, saying to him, “If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down from here, for it is written,
‘He will command his angels concerning you,
    to protect you,’
‘On their hands they will bear you up,
    so that you will not dash your foot against a stone.’”

Jesus answered him, “It is said, ‘Do not put the Lord your God to the test.’” When the devil had finished every test, he departed from him until an opportune time.

Kyrie eleison, and Intercessions in different languages
Taizé - Pilgrimage of Trust in Rome
Prayer presided by Holy Father Benedict XVI
St Peter's Square, 29 December 2012

I first posted this reflection on 14 February 2013 just after Pope Benedict had announced that he was stepping down.

I can't help reflecting on this gospel in the light of Pope Benedict's announcement last Monday when he said, Well aware of the seriousness of this act, with full freedom I declare that I renounce the ministry of Bishop of Rome.

When the devil tempts Jesus with the promise of glory and power Jesus quotes from Scripture, You shall worship the Lord your God, and him only shall you serve.

Tomb of St Gregory the Great, St Peter's, Rome [Wikipedia]

In an audience in 2008 speaking about St Gregory the Great, who reluctantly had become Pope Gregory I, Pope Benedict said, Recognizing the will of God in what had happened, the new Pontiff immediately and enthusiastically set to work. From the beginning he showed a singular enlightened vision of the reality with which he had to deal, an extraordinary capacity for work confronting both ecclesial and civil affairs, a constant and even balance in making decisions, at times with courage, imposed on him by his office.

Full post here.

As the Morning Rising: Belfast

As the Morning Rising: Belfast: Belfast Five minutes walk from home Too often I overlook the beauty of this place Blinded by familiarity Or so caught up in a mad ...

Tiny Eyeballs and Purple Socks

Some cyanobacteria — pond scum — swim toward brighter areas. Scientists didn't know how the microorganisms could tell where the light is, until now.

Other scientists discovered four new species of an odd-looking sort of critter: including one that looks like a purple sock.

I'm fascinated by this sort of thing, your experience may vary....

More at A Catholic Citizen in America.

11 Feb 2016

Miraculous Medal Giveaway

During Lent, I will be giving away a total of 500 blessed Miraculous Medals on my blog.  If you're a teacher, religious ed instructor, homeschooler, parent, or grandparent who would like some of these medals for your classroom, co-op group, or loved ones, stop on over at String of Pearls for more details.

Four things to do this Lent

What are you doing for Lent? Every year I try to do something a little different to make my Lenten experience more meaningful. This year, I decided I was going to get fit and I returned to an exercise routine I had given up. I know that doesn’t sound very spiritual, but when I feel better physically, it does help my prayer life.

You can read the rest at Catholic365.

Facebook Memories: On This Day

I'm sure whenever you log into Facebook, you've noticed the Facebook Memories: On This Day.  It can either be seen through a friend's sharing of their memories or there's a tab on the left of your newsfeed under "Apps" that you can click on and see your own.
Sometimes I wonder what's in other peoples' On this Day.  Is it the same political stuff they're posting now?  Their favorite cause?  They never seem to post anything very personal, so I wonder what their life is really like.
You can read the article and view the photo gallery at Being Catholic ... Really.

10 Feb 2016

No Other Road

As the Morning Rising: Our Lady of Lourdes

As the Morning Rising: Our Lady of Lourdes: When I think of Our Lady of Lourdes I think more of joy than sorrow, more of promise than dread. In some cases a pilgrimage to Lo...

Lent: But What Does GOD Want From Us ?

Often we tend to think of Lent as a time to share in the suffering of Christ yet when we do so, we become morose and end up centering more on our own sacrificial devotions than on God.
Lent is a time to get rid of the flub in our lives but only so we are able to connect more to the Heart of our Beloved, more on the people around us who are in need. Lent is not an excuse for dramatic acts of fasting  by wearing sackcloth and ashes, figuratively or literally. As Isaiah says:
Is this the manner of fasting I wish,
of keeping a day of penance:
That a man bow his head like a reed
and lie in sackcloth and ashes?
Do you call this a fast,
a day acceptable to the LORD?

Seek Virtue This Lent!

Rather than giving up chocolate, only to devour the solid chocolate Easter Bunny on Easter Sunday, seek virtue this Lent. Rather than giving up drinking alcohol, only to pop the cork on the Champagne this Easter Sunday, seek virtue this Lent. Rather than giving up television, only to sit in front of the TV all day Easter Sunday watching your shows on demand, seek virtue this Lent.

So many times, year after year, we temporarily give up something we love as a sacrifice for Lent in remembrance of Jesus’ sacrifice on the Cross. I suggest taking a different and possibly more... Read more... 

A Valentine for God

Remember how we celebrated St. Valentine’s Day in grade school by passing out valentines to our classmates? In the fourth grade I was crushed when the boy I liked best did not give me a valentine. But then after school, he appeared at our house and handed me a valentine. It wasn’t one of those penny ones that come in a collection, but a special large 25¢ one! My nine-year-old heart was healed. He loved me after all! Every February we focus on telling people “I love you.” Interestingly, the first and greatest commandment is to love God with every atom of our being and every ounce of strength. In prayer, we tell God we love him. But words are not enough. Recently I came across the story of a boy whose father told him “I love you” every day. But the father never showed the boy love. The father’s words were empty. How sad. So, how can we show God love? The same ways that we show people in our lives that we love them. Here are six “valentines” we can give to God. Click to continue

9 Feb 2016

Your Name, O Lord...

Public domain.  Wikimedia Commons.
Your name, O Lord, is holiness.
Your name, O Lord, is mercy.
Your name, O Lord, is divine.
Your name, O Lord is eternal.
Your name, O Lord, makes demons tremble and flee.
Your name, O Lord, makes the earth quake and roar.
Your name, O Lord, destroys the boundaries of earth.
Your name, O Lord, empties the swiftly flowing rivers.
Your name, O Lord, makes waste of our enemies.

Read More at Prayerfully Yours.

"Soup-of-the-Day" Recipe Feature – Nourishment for Body, Mind, & Spirit!

Love Soup?
Yes, indeed! 

...What’s not to love??
After all, soup can be oh-so nourishing & satisfying & comforting & hydrating & healing & abounding with endless possibilities, even fitting to our Lenten practices!
Today's featured "Soup of the Day" [just in time for Lent]...

Lord, Have Mercy on My Lent

Have you READ this little gem yet?

My Lent will never be the same. Join me at Praying with Grace to hear why this book can transform Lent. Also, free printable!

As the Morning Rising: Christ Be Near At Either Hand

As the Morning Rising: Christ Be Near At Either Hand: No matter how hard people try, no matter how skilled they have become at concealment, the hurt they carry within has a way of slipping o...

8 Feb 2016

An update on the Veil...

A year ago, I returned to the practice of covering my head in Church.
You can read the article HERE. After a year of inspirations and promptings from the Holy Spirit, I wore my first veil at Mass since the 1970’s when it was no longer required for women to cover their heads. Wearing the veil, began on Ash Wednesday, 2015. It was to be a Lenten practice. I decided I would evaluate this practice at the end of Lent.

Read More at Prayerfully Yours

The Perils of Charitable Giving


"Did you find everything you needed today?"

Yes, thank you, but it took all afternoon wandering through aisles and aisles of stuff that I don’t need now or ever, and getting stressed out that I was losing precious time I wanted to spend with my family.
This happens almost every time I go into Walmart or some other mega-store. Our local Walmart is big enough to be a village. Seriously. I’ve been around the world, and some ancient villages really and truly would have fit inside the Walmart, with room to spare.
Yesterday’s holdup: birthday candles. After getting misdirected a couple of times, I did find my way to the party section: FIVE aisles of cards, hats, dishes, decorations, and more party favors than you can imagine. I was feeling pretty good with myself because I’ll be throwing several kid birthday parties in the next couple of weeks (I have 3 kids and they all have February birthdays) and I was stocking up everything I needed for all of them. Forward thinking, right? The mom next to me in the party aisle was also thinking in advance – she was stockpiling stuff for next Halloween. I guess foresight is a matter of perspective.
Anyway, I eventually saw the candles and found myself sorting through all the sparklers, Spiderman candles, animal candles and trick candles to finally grab what I was looking for: regular, good, old-fashioned birthday candles.
So I always smirk a little when I arrive at the cashier and they ask “Did you find everything you needed today?” Yes, I did. I have sore feet. I wasted a lot of time. I have a chain of text messages back and forth with my husband explaining why things were taking so long. But yes, I did find everything.
Continue reading at Eyes On Heaven.

Clothe the Naked. Shelter the Homeless.

Clothing those in need and sheltering the homeless are considered “corporal” acts of mercy because they physically impact the human body. Everyone has a need to be physically clothed and sheltered from the weather. They have a human right to these things; to act otherwise, would be disrespecting the dignity of the human person. Expressing such indifference towards the naked and homeless indicates that we do not live up to Jesus’ command to “love your neighbor as yourself” (Mark 12:31).
In this Year of Mercy we are given ample opportunity to extend acts of mercy to those in need of clothes and shelter; ample opportunity to “love our neighbors as ourselves.”

What Can You Do to Help the Homeless?

Read to learn more...

Want Love in Marriage? Cast Your Net Again!

Want Love in Marriage? Cast Your Net Again SIngleMom- old, red fishing boat

It's so hard to be stuck in a loveless Marriage. It's so hard to wake up every day, day after day knowing your spouse thinks you're not good enough. It's so hard going through the motions to get through the day while your concentration is scattered and your attention is elsewhere. It's so hard dreading the moment he walks through the door with the long hair that doesn't match yours on his shirt and smelling like the other woman's perfume. It's so hard dreading the moment you walk through the door after a hard day at work to find the house a mess and your wife nagging about whatever it is you didn't do right today.

It's so hard going to bed each night to lie next to someone you can't stand anymore. It's so hard to lie in the darkness wondering how you made such a mistake and how you can get out of it. It's so hard to silently, desperately lie in the darkness searching for a Get-Out-of-Jail-Free card to release you from the bonds of the marital prison your trapped in.

But what's even harder is cashing in that card because that card does't really exist. There is no real Get-Out-of-Jail-Free card in Marriage. There is just the divorce card and, divorce costs a fortune.

Join me for the rest of this post on saving your Marriage and finding Love again on SingleMomSmiling.com

God Bless...

Beautiful Souls: A Series on Parenting Pt. 3~ We Interrupt This Program (Practical Parenting Tips)

Beautiful Souls: A Series on Parenting Pt. 3~ We Interrupt This Program (Practical Parenting Tips)

Today what was scheduled for my Parenting series -
Was: Why bother with Baptism and the other Sacraments?
-the anticipatory act of Baptism
-the comprehension that we are changed by the Sacraments
-learning healing from the Grace of God

However, I'm interrupting the regularly scheduled programming to share a fun little quiz/interview I did with my kids and to just give you a few practical parenting tips...

read the rest at Picture a Skyline

7 Feb 2016

Catholic Author discusses Australian Aboriginal themes in debut novel

Twice stolen by Susanne Timpani

Prayer - How to get started

Many years ago I used to run a retreat and conference centre in London. As I had to run the place on a shoe string I tried to do as many of the odd jobs myself to save money. But I always had to call in the plumber when the drains were blocked. One day when he was having his lunch I went to look inside his tool box to see if I could find the tool that he used to save me calling him again. It was then that I saw these words written in Latin inside the lid. ‘All for the greater  honour and glory of God’ (Ad maiorem Dei gloriam).This was the ‘be all and end all’ of all that  he said and did each day, as it has been for all sincerely practicing Christians from the very beginning, as it had been for Jesus himself.   read on.....

Lent, Faith, and Ashes

(From U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Brian May, via Wikimedia Commons, used w/o permission.)
(Ash Wednesday celebration aboard the amphibious assault ship USS Wasp.)

Ash Wednesday comes this week, so I'll get ashes on my forehead and start doing my Lenten routines — along with folks around the world.

That won't include the usual fasting: I'm past the 18-to-59 age requirement for Catholics in my region, and diabetic to boot. We're called to holiness, not stupidity; common sense applies, or should; and I'm putting a 'resources' link list at the end of this post.1

More at A Catholic Citizen in America.

6 Feb 2016

The Dialogue of St. Catherine of Siena

What is it? A book which St. Catherine dictated while she was in ecstasy over the course of 5 days and 5 nights. In it are recorded verbatim the words spoken to her by God the Father. In this marvellous book:
...every well-known form of Christian life, healthy or parasitic, is treated of, detailed, analysed incisively, remorselessly, and then subsumed under the general conception of God's infinite loving-kindness and mercy... In the Dialogo we have a great saint, one of the most extraordinary women who every lived, treating, in a manner so simple and familiar as at times to become almost colloquial, of the elements of practical Christianity. Passages occur frequently of lofty eloquence, and also of such literary perfection that this book is held by critics to be one of the classics of the age and land which produced Boccaccio and Petrarch. (Algar Thorold, Introduction).
Treatise on Divine Providence

The Dialogue is divided into four sections. The first is the Treatise on Divine Providence. Here's a summary and reflection on this treatise.
At the beginning of the spiritual life, we have to come to know ourselves — which means facing up to all our weaknesses, faults and sins. At the same time, we need to come to acknowledge that everything that is good — both within us and externally — is a gift from God.

Read more at helenkablog.weebly.com

His Refuge

Please Do Not Leave Social Media for Lent ... pretty please

Really. Don't leave for Lent.  I understand that many use this hiatus to spend more 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 this is a serious situation.  Here's why... 

Lent is a time that many people, especially those who may have been lukewarm, maybe a bit disassociated or just plan lax work to spice or rejuvenate their faith life.  The internet just happens to be a place many people turn for guidance and even community to make that happen.  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 are great missed opportunity to evangelize, catechize and support those seeking meaning through an experience with Christ this Lent.

Some alternatives to consider if you simply must follow a social media blackout  ... read more 

All Rights Reserved, Allison Gingras 2016   ....Image: Pixabay.com PD

Alone in a Crowd


'Yet if you say so . . .' Sunday Reflections, 5th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year C

Miraculous Draught of Fishes, Raphael, 1515 Victoria &Albert Museum, LondonGospel Luke 5:1-11 (NRSV, Catholic Edition, Canada) 
Once while Jesus was standing beside the lake of Gennesaret, and the crowd was pressing in on him to hear the word of God, he saw two boats there at the shore of the lake; the fishermen had gone out of them and were washing their nets. He got into one of the boats, the one belonging to Simon, and asked him to put out a little way from the shore. Then he sat down and taught the crowds from the boat. When he had finished speaking, he said to Simon, “Put out into the deep water and let down your nets for a catch.” Simon answered, “Master, we have worked all night long but have caught nothing. Yet if you say so, I will let down the nets.” When they had done this, they caught so many fish that their nets were beginning to break. So they signaled their partners in the other boat to come and help them. And they came and filled both boats, so that they began to sink. But when Simon Peter saw it, he fell down at Jesus’ knees, saying, “Go away from me, Lord, for I am a sinful man!” For he and all who were with him were amazed at the catch of fish that they had taken; and so also were James and John, sons of Zebedee, who were partners with Simon. Then Jesus said to Simon, “Do not be afraid; from now on you will be catching people.” When they had brought their boats to shore, they left everything and followed him.

The painter Raphael captures something of the awe of St Peter when he saw how much fish he and his companions had caught, despite their misgivings as experienced fishermen in following the advice of someone they knew to be a carpenter from the mountains of Galilee. St Peter, who had a long way to go in his formation as a follower of Jesus, recognised the utter generosity of God's providence.

Columban Fr John Griffin, a New Zealander who worked for many years both in the Philippines and Chile tells a story about St Alberto Hurtado SJ (1901 - 1952) - still known and loved in Chile as 'Padre Hurtado' - and his trust in God's providence in A priest, I bless you - Alberto.

Benedict XVI canonized San Alberto on 23 October 2005
Full post here.

5 Feb 2016

As the Morning Rising: Make Her Known to the World

As the Morning Rising: Make Her Known to the World: http://clonard.com/ Make her known to the world, Our Mother of Perpetual Help Icon surrounded by beautiful flowers. After the Noven...

How can you grow in prayer?


So, you have set aside a certain time every day to converse with God. You are reading short passages of Scripture as a basis for your conversation. You recognize that dryness is a normal part of prayer that even the saints experience.

Meditation on Sacred Scripture is just the beginning. God has much more in store for you. He desires the closest union with you. Now that you have taken the first big step, how can you continue to grow? Let’s explore what you need in order to steadily come into more intimate union with God.

St. Teresa of Avila wrote about the virtues necessary for continued prayer growth. The first virtue is perseverance. In Interior Castle she says to beginners in prayer, “Perseverance is the most necessary thing here.”

Continue reading at Contemplative Homeschool.

Luxembourg and Asteroid Mining

Stories like "Rip Foster Rides the Gray Planet" and "Red Dwarf's" Dave Lister singing "...Lived an old plutonium miner / And his daughter Clementine..." probably didn't help make asteroid mining seem like a serious idea.

Then there's the 1966 Outer Space Treaty treaty: a tribute to the high ideals, and international politics, of the '60s. The idea was that anything we find outside Earth's atmosphere would belong to everyone. Nifty idea, not entirely wrong, and I'll get back to that.

More at A Catholic Citizen in America.

Not Being Loved on Valentine's Day

Unloved on Valentine's Day - Single Mom Heart in Darkness
Valentine's Day may be one of the most dreaded holidays for the divorced and separated, maybe more so for Christians who understand the meaning of Valentine's Day and what Saint Valentine, a man who strove to bring Love to the world, would have wanted his special day to mean.

Today we associate Valentine's Day with cards and candy hearts, bouquets and lingerie. We say we celebrate the Love we have for a significant other by giving them overpriced, obligatory flowers and oversized teddy bears advertised with sexual innuendoes and thinly veiled promises of what a man will get in return.
To make matters worse, when you don't have a special person in your life, Valentine's Day can make you feel worth less or find you searching internet dating sites and settling mistaking Mr. Right Now for Mr. Right rather than choosing to be alone on another Valentine's Day.

That's because we know Love is everything, the greatest of all is Love. Without Love You Are Nothing Especially on Valentine's Day!

Even the Bible tells us Love is everything. In Sunday's second reading, Saint Paul's Letter to the Colossians, we see Love. Is. Everything. Without Love we gain nothing. Without Love we are nothing!

As a single Mom of five boys, suddenly abandoned during the pregnancy of our fifth little guy, I know the ache many Catholics will feel this Valentine's Day.

Please join me for the rest of this post and some Hope for the Love you have on Single Mom Smiling!

God Bless...

4 Feb 2016

Inspired Thinking

As I mature in my walk with Christ, I have learned to not depend solely on my own logic but to take the time to listen to the Spirit. Divine inspiration always supplies new ideas and solutions, solutions I could never have come up with on my own.  Since we are all immersed in His Spirit, He is an integral part of every aspect of our lives. God is with me and cares about the tiniest details and problems I face.

There are several ways of looking at a problematic situation. Early on in my mothering career, I learned that I had a choice. I could either catastrophize every dilemma or consider each crisis as an interesting challenge.

With limited funds, surrounded by lots of little people on a hobby farm, I had to discover innovative ways of coping. When I relaxed, often an unusual, creative or even funny solution popped into my head. I just needed to keep everything in perspective and listen to my own inner voice as well as the whispers of the Spirit.
continue reading

FOR HEART & HEALTH: First Friday Reminder & National Wear Red Day!

A Little Reminder For Wearing Of The RED
In Devotion To The HEART
Along With 3 Wholesome Recipes For Heart-Healthy Treats of Red... [which could be perfect for this weekend, before Lent begins – if giving up chocolate:] ...

a Chocolate-Filled-Raspberries

3 Feb 2016

Mercy Music

St. Augustine once famously quipped: "Singing is praying twice." 

In celebration of the Jubilee Year of Mercy, Contemporary Christian music provides some beautiful insights into the power of God's love and mercy.

Click here for five favorite images....

Reading to Children: Tops on My List!

Reading to the Children During Catholic Schools Week

Yesterday, I got to meet with 120 children at Saint Pius X Catholic School in Greensboro, NC. As part of the Catholic Schools Week festivities, I read my new book, Adventures of Faith, Hope, and Charity: Finding Patience to the Kindergartners, as well as the First and Second Graders.


Wjhy Penance? Why Friday? Why Fish?

I grew up near Lake Erie. Every so often our neighbor Joe brought my mother some fish he caught. She was grateful, except for the fact that she would have to clean and debone them. You might wonder why we Catholics eat fish on Lenten Fridays. It began when Christians gave up meat as a penance, a way to atone for sin. In those early days, meat was expensive, the food of the wealthy, and a treat enjoyed mostly on feast days. Therefore it would hurt to give it up. On the other hand, fish, which was cheap and abundant, made a good substitute for meat. (Meat comes from mammals, not fish.) Click to continue

2 Feb 2016

Effects of Sanctifying Grace

1: Adopted Children of God

Only Christ is begotten of the Father by natural generation. We are children of God through adoptive generation or filiation. We are “begotten of God” through Sanctifying Grace.
For all who are led by the Spirit of God are children of God. For you did not receive a spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received a spirit of adoption. When we cry, ‘Abba! Father!’ it is that very Spirit bearing witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs, heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ—if, in fact, we suffer with him so that we may also be glorified with him. (Romans 8.14-17)
We are in the family of the Trinity! This is more than being adopted into a human family: through sanctifying grace we share in a mysterious way in the Divine Nature.

Number 2: Heirs of God

Read more at helenkablog.weebly.com

Never Distrust His Mercy