15 Apr 2014

Our Daughter's Reflections on Lent

Our daughter wrote about her reflections on the Lenten season last year for me.  She had it as her status on Facebook and I asked her to turn it into a blog post.

You can read her reflection at Being Catholic ... Really.

Keeping watch with Jesus--unexpectedly

The memorial to the martyrs of Unzen, Japan. (Photo by Connie Rossini).
Memorial to the Japanese martyrs of Unzen. (Photo by Connie Rossini.)

This is the week for keeping watch with Jesus in a special way. Although God calls us to spend time with Him in prayer daily, we rightly feel that we should spend extra time with Him during Holy Week. But how should we go about it?

When I was a teenager, my family started a tradition of an all-night prayer vigil on Holy Thursday. Beginning at 10 p.m., my parents, siblings, and I took turns praying in one or two one-hour slots for the next eight hours. I loved offering this extra sacrifice to Jesus, this extra sign of love. Jesus would not be alone in the Garden of Gethsemane if I could help it.

After I graduated from college, I spent two years as a lay missionary in Japan, teaching English to support the evangelization work of an American priest. During spring break of the first year, my roommate Mary Beth and I traveled to the island of Kyushu. We planned to be in Nagasaki for Easter.

On Holy Thursday we were in the resort town of Unzen. Known for its hot springs, in which the Japanese bathe for health, Unzen is also the site of mass martyrdoms in the 17th century. In one of the most heinous instances of torture in history,  Japanese officials hung Catholics upside-down to slowly roast over the hot springs. They punctured holes in the martyrs’ foreheads, so that the rush of blood to their heads would not kill them prematurely.

Read the rest at Contemplative Homeschool.

New Contributor's Button and Request for Bios

At the suggestion of Jeannie Ewing, I just whipped up a contributor's button for writers to put on their blogs, if they so wish, with a link back to this site. The button is in the sidebar.
For those on wordpress, it is possible to copy and paste the URL of the button posted below for an image widget and add a link back to ACWB manually.

I actually figured out how to make a HTML grab button with an automatic link back to this site with Cristina T.'s tips!! It is on our sidebar. This is a miracle....but...it does NOT work on my wordpress site...YET.

You have probably noticed that I have created a page for writer's biographies and any books our writers have published. Intially, I simply dug up old introductory posts written by a few of our writers but in the last week writers are rewiting their bios or writing ones for the first time and including small pictures of themselves. Feel free to rewrite or write your bio for the first time and email it to me; I will add it to our bio page.

Thank-you for all your well written articles. I am so pleased and I am thrilled at this sign of the diversity, life and creativity in the Body of Christ.

Apert Syndrome: A Father's Perspective

My husband, Ben, offered to write a blog post as a reflection on the past year – since Sarah was born – from a father’s perspective.  I thought this was an ingenious idea, and it would especially be fruitful and beneficial to all readers (including Catholic women who are wives and mothers), extending from family and friends and reaching to others who have never met our family.  Please enjoy this personal reflection written by my amazing husband as a tribute to fathers everywhere:

There are few moments that I can recall in my life that have had massive impacts: graduating from college is certainly one, followed by marriage being another (and certainly greater) event. The birth of my first daughter ranks in there as an impacting experience too, but these are all happy occasions, and one would expect a happy occasion to be something that brings joy to the heart. Not all experiences that have a lasting impact are necessarily happy, but rather, some suddenly become shocking because they have changed your life and your worldview forever. If I were to gauge the impact and shock of an event and think of what has changed the course of my life there is only one that comes to mind: the birth of Sarah.

To read more, visit Love Alone Creates.

14 Apr 2014

Walking the Camino - The end of our Camino is Near - We are Marked by God in our Hearts

"He has made everything beautiful in its time; also he has put eternity into man’s mind, yet so that he cannot find out what God has done from the beginning to the end."
Ecclesiastes 3:11

Read more at:
His Unending Love

The Face of Christ?

The following images are all based on the Shroud of Turin.The icon is contemporary, painted by Ann Chapman

In the next set, the first image is a 3-D image of the Risen Christ from an image of The Shroud. Beside it is the Shroud of Turin overlaid on the Sinai icons.

to see more images>

Am I Pilate?

Pilate is full of questions for Jesus - "Are you a king?", "Are you the king of the Jews", "Where are you from?", and finally, the infamous "What is truth?" In his interrogation of Jesus, you can almost hear the desperation in his voice. Here is a man caught between the proverbial rock and a hard place...

Read more here....

The Gift of Fecundity

The Gift of Fecundity
What we are coming to understand, though still shrouded in deep mystery, is the magnificent masterpiece that is Woman. She is a complex symphony of mind, body and spirit, the crescendo of which renders her capable of bearing life, both physically and spiritually, in this world.  It is a miracle of miracles that she, co-creator and cooperator with our Unseen and Eternal God, carries and brings forth the fruit of His hope and infinite love. 
The gift of fecundity, given to women, is meant to be preserved, cherished and safeguarded.  It is a Divine gift, not meant to be manipulated, exploited or artificially intruded upon, even for arguably admirable reasons or causes.  No matter how sophisticated or scientifically advanced, or seemingly intelligent we think we have become… God’s Divine Law, will and ways are infinitely deeper, wider and more perfect than our greatest human achievement or potentiality.  We will never be God… not ever.
That fact doesn’t seem to stop many of us from trying, though.  We take life (and death) into our own hands on a daily basis.  Even as Pope Francis echoes the words of Pope John Paul II by reminding us that  Calling a woman to maternity, God entrusted the human being to her in an altogether special manner,” we continue to see women trapped in a cycle of utilitarianism and self-destruction.  Woman betrays and deceives herself every time she allows the intrusion of technology to manipulate the perfection of her reproductive potential.
She is not a machine, but a masterpiece and even when she is unable to bare, children naturally, she can be a mother, both spiritually and physically,  through adoption.  Maternity is not a right, it is a Divine privilege; a gift from God, who alone is the Giver of Life.

I carry a Cross in my pocket

The Lost Flower

Some years ago, I was living in Mystic, Ct. It was a time in my life of many changes. I went from being a mother, house wife, business  owner, foster mom, independent, with lots of ministries leaning on me for sustenance,  in short, on the top of the world, …….to none of those and homeless and totally dependent on God.
             It happens. I was not the first nor will I ever be the last. But it was me. It happened to me.
              Before, I felt like  I was right at the feet of Christ, following His every move, but somehow I got distracted for a minute and He went right and I kept on straight…… right into dead end dark ally. No doors, nor windows, and the sky miles above, hardly visible to me. I felt like God had taken my life, crumpled it up and thrown it to the cosmic garbage can and as my life was flying across the cosmos I’d be yelling….
                           ” Waaaaaaiiit!!! You got the wrong life!!!!!”

to follow link    http://theoutlawedgod.wordpress.com/2012/03/26/74/

13 Apr 2014

When I saw the Light

Although my book –‘Wisdom from the Western Isles’, charting the journey from first beginnings to the heights of Mystical Contemplation was selling well, and had received such wonderful reviews, I couldn’t help wondering what it would mean to outsiders, who knew little if anything of the Christian faith. How could I reach these people; after all the Good News of the Gospel is for all, and what I had written was only for the few. These were the thoughts that were going through my mind as I waited for my train on London’s Waterloo station .
I watched all the commuters, all the tourists, all the retail therapists and all the other miscellaneous men and women rushing past me. They were of all ages, of all colours, and of all different shapes and sizes, but they all seemed to have one thing in common..... read on

To See Your True King

'Rise now, O handmaid of the Lord,
and go in the procession of the daughters of Zion
to see your true king....' 


William Adolphe Bouguereau painting

Hosannas: Still Upsetting the Status Quo

Our granddaughter's baptism was yesterday, which was a very happy occasion. We had a few folks over to celebrate, so my quiet Saturday afternoon was anything but.

As a result, this post may be less organized than most: which is saying something....

(Palm fronds at Our Lady of Angels church. April 1, 2012.)

...It's Palm Sunday, when Christians remember Jesus' enthusiastic welcome in Jerusalem: followed by equally-enthusiastic cries of 'crucify him!'

We'll be holding palm fronds and reading parts of Matthew 21:1-11; Matthew 26:14-27:66 this morning. I enjoy echoing the crowd's hosanna. What comes after that isn't much fun: even though I know what happened on the first Easter....

I don't enjoy some parts of our Palm Sunday reenactment: I'm too aware of my personal contributions to humanity's guilt.

But I think it's prudent to get reminded of the big picture now and then. Besides, like I've said before, Jesus didn't stay dead.

More at A Catholic Citizen in America."

Am I Peter

Visit Saints 365 each day during Holy Week fora daily reflection entitled "Am I...." Each reflection will provide a scripture verse, an exploration of  the characteristics of one of the people present during Lord's passion, and a prayer. I invite you to stop by each day for these reflections and pray that they help us to enter more deeply into the celebration of Christ's redeeming acts during this Holy Week.

Today's post is entitled "Am I Peter?" Perhaps we identify with Peter this Holy Week: afraid and ashamed of our own failings.  Then, like Peter, we must persist in following Jesus in spite of our weaknesses, sins, and missteps along the way. We must trust completely in Jesus' mercy and seek his forgiveness when we fall. 

Improving Your Body Image Through Catholic Teaching

Dr. John Aquaviva’s Book Reaches Best Seller’s List
Dr. John Aquaviva’s new book,Reached Number 3 on the Amazon Kindle Best Seller  List for books in Catholic Self Help on April 5 , 2014 after only 30 days on the market.
The Book also received a wonderful Review from the Catholic Herald on April 11,2014
“…what Dr. Acquaviva does with this book. “He takes us to the heart of who we are and what we were meant to be. It is only from that starting point that we can begin to heal and offer hope to others struggling to find out, as it says in Psalm 139, just how wonderfully made we are, being made in the image and likeness of God.”
See the full review by going to the Catholic Herald of Charlotte Through this link: Improving Your Body Image
For more information or to order Acquaviva’s book, go to Amazon.com.          
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12 Apr 2014

Let the Little Children Come

I have a lot of of Protestant friends whom I love dearly. I am always encouraged and built up by their faith. One thing they often worry about however that I do not have to worry about as a Catholic is when my children will allow Jesus to come into their heart. You see, Jesus already lives in their heart through baptism. It is now up to me to cultivate that and help them fall in love with Him. Some ways I do this is through the rosary, reading scripture, playing worship music in our home and helping them to encounter Him everyday.

Continue Reading >

7 Lessons From Keeping A Spiritual Journal

Keeping a spiritual journal can be a great asset to growing in our relationship with the Lord Jesus. I began keeping a journal about eight years ago and it has proven to be one of the most fruitful practices I have. I am not an expert, but here are seven lessons I have learned through journaling.

Many of the saints kept journals. 
Journaling has a long-standing history in the Catholic Church and some of the greatest saints have kept spiritual journals. Two examples of well known saints' journals which have been published are St. Therese of Lisieux's The Story of a Soul and St. Ignatius Loyola's Spiritual Exercises. These journals, published many years after the saint's death, continue to be a source of  inspiration and encouragement to millions of people.

More recently, Blessed John XXIII kept a personal journal from the age of 14 until his death, which is available in a book entitled The Journal of a Soul.  Read more about his journal here. The personal notes of Blessed John Paul II, are also soon to be published in English. Through these spiritual journals, we are able to grow and learn from the interior lives of these great saints of our times.

Click here to read #2-7

How shall I pray You?

Father Ignatius sat in the empty church right up front by Our Lady’s statue. He watched for a while the votive candles burning at her feet and then started his Rosary.

Suddenly, out of nowhere, these words came whirling fast into his head, totally uncontrollable and spontaneous, yet as clear as if they were spoken to him there and then.

Continue reading about Father Ignatius' encounter with Our Lord. Please click HERE

11 Apr 2014

'My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?' Sunday Reflections, Palm Sunday Year A

Melozzo da Forli, 1477-82, Fresco, Basilica of Santa Casa, Loreto [Web Gallery of Art]
The Commemoration of the Lord's Entrance into Jerusalem 
Gospel Matthew 21:1-11 (New Revised Standard Version, Catholic Edition, Canada)

When they had come near Jerusalem and had reached Bethphage, at the Mount of Olives, Jesus sent two disciples, saying to them, “Go into the village ahead of you, and immediately you will find a donkey tied, and a colt with her; untie them and bring them to me. If anyone says anything to you, just say this, ‘The Lord needs them.’ And he will send them immediately. This took place to fulfill what had been spoken through the prophet, saying,
“Tell the daughter of Zion,
Look, your king is coming to you,
 humble, and mounted on a donkey,
 and on a colt, the foal of a donkey.”
The disciples went and did as Jesus had directed them; they brought the donkey and the colt, and put their cloaks on them, and he sat on them. A very large crowd spread their cloaks on the road, and others cut branches from the trees and spread them on the road. The crowds that went ahead of him and that followed were shouting,

“Hosanna to the Son of David!
Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord!
Hosanna in the highest heaven!”
When he entered Jerusalem, the whole city was in turmoil, asking, “Who is this?” The crowds were saying, “This is the prophet Jesus from Nazareth in Galilee.”

The following Hymn to Christ the King may be sung during the procession.
Gloria, laus et honor tibi sit,
     rex Christe redemptor,
cui puerile decus prompsit
     Hosanna pium.
Glory and honour and praise be to you,
     Christ, Kind and Redeemer,
to whom young children cried out
     loving Hosannas with joy.

El Greco, c.1608, Szépmûvészeti Múzeum, Budapest [Web Gallery of Art]
The response for today's Responsorial Psalm is My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? ('abandoned me' in the NAB Lectionary), the last words of Jesus according to St Matthew, whose version of the Passion is read today. The readings carry that theme, explicitly or implicitly. The Prophet Isaiah says, I gave my back to those who beat me, my cheeks to those who plucked my beard; my face I did not shield from buffets and spitting. The church applies these words to the sufferings of Jesus. Yet there isn't total abandonment: The Lord GOD is my help, therefore I am not disgraced; I have set my face like flint, knowing that I shall not be put to shame.
Full post here.

Everything within me cries Holy! Holy! is the Lamb that was slain

  I have watched Mel Gibson's movie, The Passion Of The Christ a number of times especially during Holy week. 
   The scenes in the movies are forever implanted in my memory and heart. As I pray the sorrowful mystery of the Rosary or pray the Chaplet of Divine Mercy, my mind and heart go to these images of the Passion of Christ. I share my reflections on the scenes of the movie below

Everything within me cries Holy! Holy! Holy is the Lamb that was slain.” These words are from an inspiring worship song that I have song occasionally at Mass and at pray group.

   However, after watching Mel Gibson’s movie, The Passion Of The Christ, the words of this song have taken on a deeper meaning for me. I have always understood and believed intellectually that Jesus had to suffer and die for my sins. But watching this movie has made me intensely aware of the extent of his inconceivable suffering. Continue reading