24 May 2015

The Choir Stall of My Heart

It is morning in the monastery. Sister silently enters the chapel and takes her place in a choir stall, a chair made exclusively to be a place of prayer.... 

In the cloister of my heart, I, too, have a "choir stall."  Mine is a portable place of prayer, traveling with me to supermarket, airplane, mall.  I can "sit down" in this prayer-chair regardless of surroundings, seeking God's touch upon my life and on the lives of those around me.

There are no bells to call me to the choir stall. I must build reminders into my own life. For me, discipline is quite difficult; therefore, I find the following practices helpful. Actually, I find them personally necessary if I hope to keep my life focused and on track... (click here to continue)

On This Memorial Day Weekend, Praying for all the Souls in Purgatory.

Artists, Popes, priests, nuns, accountants, tech support, police, gangstas, moms, dads, aunts, uncles, granparents, shoe makers, sock makers, ballerinas, actors, criminals, florists, writers, dog groomers, what do all of these people in various occupations have in common, when they die, if they did not go to heaven or hell, they went to Purgatory. We can’t judge. We don’t know. We’ll be surprised by many we meet in Purgatory or in Heaven.

Read More At::  Prayerfully Yours


Review: Mercy in the City

If you find yourself wanting to grow spiritually, and to understand the connection in our shared journey as a people of faith, this is a sincerely beautiful witness! Available through Loyola Press.
Mercy in the City is a witty and truly authentic grappling with the living out of our faith and call to do more for others, in a society that often seems to run counter to these. As a single “millennial” in the heart of NYC, Kerry decides to embark on a self-imposed Lenten challenge to engage the Corporal Works of Mercy.  While many of us might consider attempting one of these in 40 days…Kerry goes for all seven.  She does this not from an “overly pious” approach, but from an honest encounter with love and mercy. Read More...

We are Many, We are One

One my favorite bits from the Bible is in this morning's readings:
"...We are Parthians, Medes, and Elamites, inhabitants of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia,

"Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the districts of Libya near Cyrene, as well as travelers from Rome,

"both Jews and converts to Judaism, Cretans and Arabs, yet we hear them speaking in our own tongues of the mighty acts of God.' "
(Acts 2:9-11)
That was about two thousand years ago.

Some things have changed.

Phrygia's land became part of Rome's holdings about a century after the "tongues as of fire" appeared....

More at A Catholic Citizen in America.

23 May 2015

Images of Pentecost

When the Holy Spirit inspires artists to create art with, through and in Him, their creations touch our inner selves. They are not only beautiful but also imbued with a mystical essence which gives them spiritual power.
When light shines through stained glass windows, they can lift our souls up from our own narrow miserable awareness into His presence as we contemplate them. Light is more powerful than darkness and beautiful colourful glass works of art can touch us with a mystical, heavenly light that moves our hearts and souls towards God. No wonder stained glass windows were developed in the Middle Ages as a way of teaching illiterate parishioners the basic Christian message and inspiring them to live holy, prayerful lives.

22 May 2015

Lord Send Me

...On Being Chosen and Sent Forth

As a young girl, competitive athletic teams and outdoor events were not my forte. The last or next to last chosen, I waited to hear my name called and then silently prayed that I wouldn’t prove to be a disappointment to whatever team I was put on. That is not to say that I did not recognize that I had abilities, I was just quite aware that my talents lay elsewhere. With a love of singing and dance I had found a home in performing. Yet, with a love of learning, serving and leadership I found other opportunities that called forth the truly unique gifts that I could offer. Imbued within my very soul, I had been chosen, not because of these gifts but to use these gifts.
I have been thinking of this story lately, the closer we move as a Church to celebrating the feast of Pentecost... Read More

Pentecost - Inside the Holy Sepulchre

‘If you want old ideas read new books, but if you want new ideas read old books’. With these words my spiritual director gave me - ‘Abandonment to Divine Providence’ by the Jesuit French mystic Jean Pierre de Caussade SJ, who died in 1751. The book is perhaps better known under the title- ‘The Sacrament of the Present Moment’ more usually used when the book is translated into English, because this title embodies its central idea. I packed the book in my hand luggage and set off for London Airport to lead a group of pilgrims to the Holy Land for my friend Fr Kenneth Campbell OFM. To thanks me for my help he arranged for me to spend a night in the Holy Sepulchre on the last night of the pilgrimage. I have already described how, after the midnight office, I had had a profound experience that gave me a new understanding of the Resurrection. However while I was praying at Calvary, before the midnight office, I had another experience that gradually led me to an ever deepening understanding of the events that took place on the first Pentecost.  read on...

Intercessory Prayer: A Blessing of Love

Prayer is the glue that holds me together. Life has been difficult these last few years, and it’s prayer that keeps me moving. My Church is a prayerful community, and it is within these walls that prayers are said for me and my family. Prayers that bind. Prayers that empower. Prayers that hold. Prayers that enable. Prayers that bless. Prayer holds me when I’m down and lifts me up when I feel I can’t get up. Intercessory prayer for us is a blessing of love.

Our Lady tells us that she intercedes for us before the Throne of God each and every day. She prays for us and blesses us through the majestic gift of her intercession. She, who is the Mother of God, prays for us.

Read More at:  Prayerfully Yours

Love begets love: how can something you love to do spread love to others?

Sweet reflection

cake decorating - the-icing-on-the-cake. (Jo) The rear viewUpon returning home and today too as I write, I can’t stop thinking about those wonderful and insightful women and how their daily activities, their “creations,” honor our beautiful Creator.

What do you love to do? Do you see it as a way of honoring your Creator?

Continue reading ...

A Robotic Tentacle, and Disney’s Baymax

Disney Studio's film version of Baymax is fiction. Robots designed to work with people are real: although they're nowhere near as smart as their fictional counterparts.

More at A Catholic Citizen in America.

Desperate Prayers

When you have prayed and prayed and prayed some more ...
And there seems to be no answer ...
What then?
I hope you find these thoughts of some comfort: CLICK HERE

21 May 2015

Catholic Writers: Stand Up for the Truth in LOVE

vermeer007The challenge is to witness to the validity of our Catholic spirituality with a mature love, without stooping to ridicule our Protestant brothers and sisters. 
I am proud to proclaim I am a Catholic writer. A saved, born again, Spirit-filled lover of Jesus who expects to be accepted by Protestant lovers of Jesus, because I am a sister in Christ. However, my culture conspires against my attempts at reconciliation, because my language habits sound foreign to Protestant ears.  I am misunderstood and judged to be against the true faith by Bible-based Christians.
Initially, I wrote for secular and Protestant sites and felt I had to hide my Catholicism. When I finally wrote about my Catholic faith, I was immediately grilled and interrogated by shocked readers and co-authors. Yet God had His own agenda and through the moderator, forgiveness and unity began. Of course, the site decided to simply ignore my Catholicism and centre on my love of God.
When I discovered Catholic sites and was accepted as a writer, I was thrilled to finally be free to write about my faith without filters.
continue reading. Also on CatholicStand May22,2015

Announcing my first book to be published this Fall! River of Grace: Creative Passages Through Difficult Times

River of Grace Creative Passages Through Difficult Times I am pleased to announce that my very first book, River of Grace: Creative Passages Through Difficult Times will be released this Fall, published by Ave Maria Press!

A memoir with life application

River of Grace is part spiritual memoir and part life application, offering true and hopeful stories of growth and transformation after hard losses.

Father Robert Reed, president of CatholicTV and author of Renewed writes of the book:
"If you, like me, have experienced failure or loss and can't quite find your way out of the darkness, Susan Bailey offers gentle reflections with graceful tools that bring light, creative renewal and a fuller Christian life."
Continue reading...

20 May 2015

In the aged is prudence

In the aged is prudence: "In antiques best prudent!"

Please read the rest at Being Catholic ... Really.

Evangelizing: Mary, Me, and My Family

Before Mary’s month of May ends, I thought I’d better put up at least one post devoted to her. Let’s focus on Mary as an evangelizer, someone who proclaimed the Gospel, the good news of the Savior. Mary was actually the first one evangelized. She was the first to hear the news and from the lips of an angel no less. Then Mary became the first evangelizer. She hurried to her cousin Elizabeth and sang the Magnificat about God’s fulfilling his promise. After Pentecost undoubtedly Mary shared stories about her son with the early Christians. She was instrumental in bringing the faith to the Americas. Columbus prayed before an image of Our Lady of Guadalupe before beginning his voyage and took a replica of the image with him. Then Mary appeared to St. Juan Diego in Mexico City, resulting in eight million Aztecs coming to know Jesus. For good reason Mary’s latest title is Star of Evangelization, an appropriate title in this time when popes are calling for a new evangelization. Click to continue

The Non-Chaucer Pilgrimage


19 May 2015

St. Gerard Majella

I first discovered Saint Gerard Majella when I was pregnant with my third daughter, as I wondered what saints I could ask for intercession during my pregnancy. It surprised me that a male saint would be a patron of expectant mothers—somehow I expected a woman would be better able to pray for me through this experience that only women have. Then I read his story and put an image of St. Gerard along with a prayer to him in my room, where I laboured and gave birth.

St. Gerard’s patronage of pregnant women comes from a story in which Gerard dropped a handkerchief while visiting friends. One of the daughters noticed this and ran to return it to him, but he told her to keep it.

Read the rest of the story and download my FREE St. Gerard prayer cards at The Koala Bear Writer.

5 Ways to Avoid "The Blur" When you Pray...

Have you ever done this? You have the time to pray. You have the place to pray. You have the desire to pray. You kneel or sit down to pray.

Then…you realize your time to pray was like a blur. You were distracted. You were tired. You watched the clock. You were stuck.
You would rather be anywhere else than where you are now…

You were in the blur zone when you prayed.

Here are 5 ways to avoid the “Blur.”

Read More at Prayerfully Yours...

Make Room for Mary

The most fascinating mother I like to consider is the mother of Jesus. The Bible tells many stories involving Mary, which means the Holy Spirit invites us to contemplate her role in the Christian story. The wedding feast at Cana (John 2:1-12) is my favorite scriptural encounter with Jesus and Mary. Today's video explores why.

Jan Cossiers - The wedding at Cana, Jesus blesses the water
Jan Cossiers [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
Not all of my Christian friends are entirely comfortable with the idea of asking Mary to pray for them, but the Bible shows Mary's intimate relationship with--and unparalleled faith in--her son. People who have been in love know that meeting the mother of their beloved is a big deal. Whether that momentous first encounter turns out to be splendid or horrid, the ongoing relationship with the beloved's mom has a deep and lasting effect on the two lovers.

Lovers of Jesus and readers of the Bible can't avoid encountering Mary. Jesus pays close attention to her, even when it seems he doesn't want to, as at the wedding feast. Imitators of Christ benefit from cultivating their relationship with the mother of our Lord.

Read the entire article and watch the two-minute video at Praying with Grace.

5th mansions: the prayer of union

Souls generally remain in the fourth mansions of the Interior Castle for years. But for those who are raised beyond them, even greater intimacy with God lies ahead. Today we begin exploring  Teresa of Avila’s fifth mansions.

The prayer of union begins in the fifth mansions. How does it differ from the prayer of quiet? As I said last time, the prayer of quiet primarily involves the will. In the prayer of union, the intellect, the memory, and the imagination also share in contemplation.

The sign of true union

St. Teresa says true union always produces a sign of its authenticity. That sign is the soul’s certitude. She knows just as surely as if she had been speaking to Christ in the flesh that she has been in union with God. Even when spiritual directors or companions try to persuade her otherwise, she doesn’t believe them.

Continue reading at Contemplative Homeschool.

18 May 2015

The Meaning of the Immaculate Conception - for the month of May

390px-mcb-icon7Perfect Man Perfect Mother

Of course I can’t remember being conceived nor growing into a baby in my mother’s womb. Nor for that matter do I remember being baptised a week later. I was totally dependent on my mother for everything, not just in those first weeks of my life, but for many months to come. I, not only depended on my mother, for my physical growth and development, but for my spiritual development too. I received my first experience of God’s love from her love of me. Exactly the same happened to Jesus. St Paul said that he was ‘like us in every way but sin’, that’s how God had planned things from the beginning. That’s why at the very moment that he decided that his Son would be made flesh, that decision included having a human mother. As Blessed John Duns Scouts put it: - ‘if God willed the end he must have willed the means’. If he chose to enter into this world as a human being he must have a human mother, for without a human mother he could not be a true human being, the incarnation simply could not happen.  read on

It was so simple! Why didn't I think of it Before?

We have an amazing God! The Father, Creator, Jesus our Brother and Son of the Father, and the Holy Spirit, our Counselor. Three persons in One God.

Father is the Creator and Sustainer.

Jesus, the Promised Messiah, died that we may live.

The Holy Spirit pours forth His gifts upon the earth.

Read more at: Prayerfully Yours

Theology of the Body Thursday #1: Running from Reality

I heard the lyrics “sex club” and I almost turned the radio off. Then I thought, wait a sec, let’s see what this song is about. Maybe I can blog about it.
This sad song is about a woman trying to escape in food, sex and drugs from the pain of losing someone. She can’t deal with the suffering so she’s filling herself with all the hedonistic pleasures she can find.
In the artist’s defense, the song and the video doesn’t promote this coping mechanism. It shows these coping mechanisms warts and all. She’s shown laughing and smiling and making out with random people, that’s for sure. But she also looks very lost and broken. She’s suffering from a hang-over. She’s hiding in the bathroom so no one can see her crying. A very realistic view of how all of these things cannot fill the hole this loved one left behind....
Read more at True Dignity of Women.

Fr. John Giuliani Paints Native Madonna’s and Christ Figures

Fr. Giuliani explains his art: 

"As a Catholic priest and son of Italian immigrants I bear the religious and ethnic burden of ancestral crimes perpetrated on the first inhabitants of the Americas.  Many have been converted to Christianity, but in doing so some find it difficult to retain their indigenous culture.  My intent, therefore, in depicting Christian saints as Native Americans is to honor them and to acknowledge their original spiritual presence on this land.  It is this original Native American spirituality that I attempt to celebrate in rendering the beauty and excellence of their craft as well as the dignity of their persons."


17 May 2015

Got Hate? …Please RSVP Within Then

An invitation is here, along with vital words to share, from my newest of friends.
…Addressing a matter capable of affecting all components of health—that in body, and in mind, and (most importantly) in soul.
Way quote. An-Invite-We-Cant-RefuseII
How perfectly fitting, therefore, for The Way to Nourish for Life!
Words to truly live by

A Little Break

I am sorry that I have been off line all week. It has been a rough week. I lost my grandmother, my best friend, early Thursday morning.  I am really struggling with all the emotions and deep sense of loneliness.

Read more on Veils and Vocations.

To Be A Bethany

I was seven years old when I learned I had a soul.  This was where Jesus would come when I received Holy Communion, and I was to prepare the place carefully.  Sweep it clean and tidy, Sister instructed; no sin allowed.  

I pictured this item of my personhood quite vividly.  I saw it as oval shaped, pearly white, and resting in the center of my chest.  A venial sin would spot it, a mortal sin (heaven forbid) would turn it black as a lump of coal.  It was like a little house inside me, where Jesus could come and rest. 

I’m now many years past seven.  I no longer envision a white oval, shining like a pearl.  I do, however, marvel at the truth embedded in this simple childhood picture. “Here I stand, knocking at the door.  If anyone hears Me calling and opens the door, I will enter his house and have supper with Him, and he with Me.”  (Revelation 3:20)....(click here to continue)

Boston Bombing Verdict: Death, Life, Consequences

At 2:49:43 and 2:49:57 pm EDT/18:49 UTC, April 15, 2013, two pressure cooker bombs exploded on Boylston Street near Copley Square in Boston.

They were about 210 yards, 190 meters, apart; near the finish line of the Boston Marathon.

Dzhokhar and Tamerlan Tsarnaev's bombs killed Krystle Marie Campbell, Lu Lingzi (吕令子), Martin William Richard, and Sean A. Collier.

Dzhokhar said that he and his brother wanted to defend Islam from America. I think their experiences as Chechens and Avars may have been a factor, too.

Don't expect a rant against Muslims, 'foreigners,' Americans, or anyone else....

More at A Catholic Citizen in America.

Dealing with the problems in our country: One person, one step at a time

This is my most recent column in The Catholic Free Press:

stephen's classroom
Our son called the other day to share a lovely story about a former student. Until recently Stephen had been a pre-school teacher in Brooklyn, NY. Although he had neither experience nor background in education, he took the job because he was desperate, having been unemployed for months. Even as he fumbled in the dark with no idea as to what he was doing, Stephen managed to touch the life of a then 3-year-old boy.

Surprising encounter

Stephen knew well the thankless nature of teaching. So imagine his surprise when the now five-year-old boy recognized him on the street and ran up to him, throwing his arms around him. The family followed up with a phone call and Stephen is planning an outing with them as a result.

Give what little we have

We never know how we will affect other people’s lives. We think we have to be experts; my son’s experience says otherwise. We don’t need to know anything—we just need to be open and vulnerable, willing to give whatever we have.
Click here to continue reading ...

16 May 2015

The Ascension and the Eternal Liturgy

This is from Jean Corbon, The Wellspring of Worship, San Francisco CA: Ignatius Press, 2005.

They have carefully sealed up the tomb again and filled up the fountain with sand; they continue to "look among the dead for someone who is alive" and they return to their narrow lives in which some things have to do with morality and others with cult, as in the case of the upright men and women of the old covenant.But in fact the ascension is a decisive turning point. It does indeed mark the end of something that is not simply to be cast aside: the end of a relationship to Jesus that is still wholly external. Above all, however, it marks the beginning of an entirely new relationship of faith and of a new time: the liturgy of the last times.

Read more at lenkdesigns.blogspot.com.au

'Go into all the world and proclaim the good news to the whole creation.' Solemnity of the Ascension of the Lord, Year B

Jesus said to his disciples: 
“Go into all the world and proclaim the good news to the whole creation. The one who believes and is baptized will be saved; but the one who does not believe will be condemned. And these signs will accompany those who believe: by using my name they will cast out demons; they will speak in new tongues; they will pick up snakes in their hands, and if they drink any deadly thing, it will not hurt them; they will lay their hands on the sick, and they will recover.”
So then the Lord Jesus, after he had spoken to them, was taken up into heaven and sat down at the right hand of God. And they went out and proclaimed the good news everywhere, while the Lord worked with them and confirmed the message by the signs that accompanied it.
In Regions where the Solemnity is observed on Ascension Thursday the following Sunday is the Seventh Sunday of Easter 
Seventh Sunday of Easter, Year B
Chapel of the Ascension, Jerusalem [Wikipedia]

As far as I can recall I was ten when my father taught me how to ride a bicycle. I borrowed the child's bicycle of my cousin Deirdre who was - and happily still is! - a year older than me. I can't remember whether I needed a number of lessons or whether everything fitted in to one summer's evening. But what I remember was my father's encouraging patience and his holding on to the back of the saddle so that I wouldn't fall. After a few efforts I managed to keep more or less straight for a few metres before getting wobbly. But Dad was still there holding on to the saddle.
Full post here.

Three bells to Paradise


15 May 2015

Dear Sister Helen Prejean you are wrong about Dzhokhar Tsarnaev

You are wrong about Dzhokhar Tsarnaev.  He is not "genuinely sorry" about the bombing at the Boston Marathon.  He is not sorry about killing and maiming people.
You can read the rest of the article at Being Catholic ... Really.

What a friend I have in Jesus

Catholic artist Michael O'Brien
There were times when I was deep down in a pit. When I believed the lies my enemies told me about myself.

When I truly believed I was worthless. When I genuinely agreed I was a loser. When I felt unloved and therefore angry with everyone.These times have come and gone at various points in my life. But this time, it was different.

Read on at J.A.M.

It’s release day for A Spiritual Growth Plan for Your Choleric Child!
Enjoy the slide show on the temperaments I put together for the upcoming Minnesota Home Education and Curriculum Conference. I included lots of photos of my kids to make you smile.

Have you ordered your copy?

If you pre-ordered the ebook, you can access it now. The ebook is $3.99 on Amazon. The paperback is available for $12.95 at Amazon. You can also buy the paperback at CreateSpace.
As always, if you buy five paperbacks directly from me, I’ll sign them all and give you a sixth free–with no shipping cost. Email me at crossini4774 at comcast dot net if you are interested.

Fire Ant Engineering and Bungee Nerves

The last I heard, Rubenstein's robot swarm was pretty good at forming different shapes: but not much else. (August 22, 2014)

What we're learning about how fire ants build their nests may change that. Scientists discovered that the pests use different excavating techniques, depending on what sort of soil they're in.

Other scientists found stretchy nerves in rorqual whales. The nerves are made from the same stuff found in other animals — what makes them stretchy is how the nerve fibers fold up....

...Looking up rorqual whales and baleen encouraged a (very brief) tangent on evolution. I figure I'd better review why I don't argue with the Almighty about this world's development: and don't fear a robot revolution....

More at A Catholic Citizen in America.

14 May 2015

Mary's Memories: Meditaions on the Glorious Mysteries

The Resurrection
My Son was here!  He has Risen from the dead as He Promised!  He is glorious!  He spoke to me asking me not to tell anyone.  The women would bring the good news to His Apostles.  It was necessary.  Women would be very important when spreading His Gospel. They were chosen to be the first to see Him.  His angels had rolled back the stone on His tomb, and the Roman soldiers ran away.  The women are back.  Peter doesn’t believe what they are saying.
He and John have left the upper room running to the tomb where my Son had been laying.  Mary has also run back to the tomb.  She will see my Son.  She will not recognize Him at first, but He will reveal Himself to her.  She will spread the good news, too!
My Son Has Risen!  My Son Has Risen!

Read more at Prayerfully Yours

The Secret

The Secret to the Survival of a Humane Society.

 Treasure each human,

 No matter how Little or Weak.

 Honour Family

 As it is the Foundation;

A training ground for living.

continue reading

13 May 2015

Laying down one’s life: the decision to adopt a special needs child—a conversation with Allison Gingras, host of “A Seeking Heart” on Real Life Radio

“This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” John 15:12-13
In this new commandment Jesus took, “Love your neighbor as yourself” several steps further. Now love involves sacrifice. His greatest demonstration of this commandment was his death on the cross. But because he was willing to sacrifice his life, he rose again to new life in a body glorified.
Waiting For The Word Resurrection 60, from Flickr Creative Commons
Waiting For The Word Resurrection 60, from Flickr Creative Commons

from right to left: Allison and Kevin Gingras and their daughter, FaithThis is the love he requires from us. It’s a radical love, a sacrificial love.
What does it mean to lay down one’s life? Are we literally to die a martyr’s death? What other ways are there to lay down one’s life? Recently I had a chance to hear fellow Catholicmom columnist Allison Gingras describe a way.

from right to left: Allison and Kevin Gingras and their daughter, Faith

Click here to continue reading.