26 May 2016

Can God Heal An Unsuspecting Catholic?

Melanie and a friend were the only Catholics at a non-denominational conference for Sunday School teachers. Melanie was prayed with for her crooked spine. Her legs become the same length and she could stand straight. It was not until weeks later when a chiropractor was struck dumb and Melanie’s agnostic mother wept with joy, that she allowed herself to relax and simply accept the bizarre, the surreal. She was healed.

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25 May 2016

Would You Have Believed? (#RisenMovie)

A Reflection based on the movie Risen  ...

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

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

Honesty: Where Does It Really Get You?

How do you want to be perceived by others? Do you want to be perceived in light of honesty and trustworthiness? I’m sure the answer is yes; who wouldn’t want to be perceived in such a manner? Well, to be considered honest and trustworthy, you have to be honest and trustworthy in your words and actions. Even con men get found out sooner or later; so deception will never win the day for you.

So, “everyone lies,” you say? Even if that were true, does that give you the right to lie? Just because everyone else does it, does that make it morally right for you? The answer is “no!”

For 36 years, I was a banking professional; more specifically, for 23 of those 36 years I was an auditor for a few banks. Therefore, I know what it feels like to be lied to by an audit client. It’s amazing... Read more...

Why Silence Is Golden

As I was working on a book about teaching prayer, it occurred to me that the chapter on silence would make a good blog. So here it is with a few adaptations . . .  All of us have memories stashed away that bear out the truth of the saying “silence is golden.” Maybe you remember walking into the peace of your own home after a noisy party, or taking a stroll before anyone else was awake, or gazing at a baby fast asleep. Such times are valuable because they draw us more deeply into reality. Usually the world packs our minds with a million noises: music, chatter, commercials, traffic sounds, crowds. Sheltered from these distractions, we are free to concentrate on essentials. In silence we find truth goodness, and beauty. In silence we discover who we are. Silence is the air that our spirit must breathe if our spiritual life is to thrive. Click to continue

24 May 2016


Please visit Praying with Grace to enjoy my very last post for the Apostleship of Prayer.

E-book Release:

Today, I am so happy to announce to you that my latest E-book, Beautiful Souls: Holiness in the Home, is finally for sale for 1.99 over on Amazon! {Yaay!}

From the Amazon description:
In this new e-book, Tacy Williams Beck seeks to discover the path to holiness as it relates to parenting, living by the Spirit in the home, and seeking to see the fruit of this holiness as a way of life.
This book has been a process. As you may or may not know, it started as a series on this blog. Although you might think: Why are you selling what is already available on your blog as an e-book? That doesn't make any sense! Well, the answer is simple. I want you to have it in a beautiful format, fully edited and ready to go. No distractions, no hullabaloo. I want you to be able to keep it in a more permanent, put-together form!

Please catch the e-book today, as it is only 1.99 for a limited time!  And if you don't mind, take a second to leave me a quick review on Amazon. I would love it, and it would be a huge favor to me, so that others hear your thoughts.

{read the rest at Picture a Skyline}

As the Morning Rising: Icon Poem - Our Mother of Perpetual Help

As the Morning Rising: Icon Poem - Our Mother of Perpetual Help: Icon The Mother's eyes are sorrowful While the wise eyes of her child are fixed On a future all too visible No matter what the Moth...

23 May 2016

God Sends His Love to Us: My Gulp Moment

Last night, about 10 PM, I searched the darkened sky for the planet Mars. News reports said that Mars would be visible without a telescope. I saw a beautiful “flower” moon rising in the sky. I don’t know why it was called a flower moon, but it was beautiful! 

Read More at Prayerfully Yours

Learning to Love with the Saints - Book Review

Learning to Love with the Saints: A Spiritual Memoir, by Jean M. Heimann, is a beautiful story of Jean’s life and love for Jesus. In this book, Jean artfully uses quotes from Saint Theresé of Lisieux, Saint John Paul II and Saint Teresa of Avila to help her tell her life’s story of pain and suffering, joy and sorrow, but most of all, her love for Christ.

Visit my website. Make a comment regarding this post on my website before 11:59 p.m. 5/23/16, and you might win your own autographed copy. Read more here...

A Prayer For Confirmation

My son is receiving the Sacrament of Confirmation this year.  Preparing him for the Sacrament has given me an opportunity to reflect on this passage from Acts 1:8 where the Lord dispatches the Apostles back to Jerusalem to await the "promise of the Father", the Holy Spirit, who will empower them.

Our children receive that very same Holy Spirit at Confirmation - like the apostles they too are empower to bring the love of Christ to a dark and weary world.  Read more here...

22 May 2016

10 Minute Daily Retreat: Two Dangers in Life

'There are two dangers in life.
First, there is the danger of a too constant activity.
Second, there is the danger of too much withdrawal.
The rhythm of the Christian life is the alternate meeting with God in the secret place and serving people in the marketplace.' (William Barclay)

'He said to them, “Come away to a deserted place all by yourselves and rest a while.” For many were coming and going, and they had no leisure even to eat.'
Mark 6:31-33

Why Not Now?

Jean Heimann's "Learning to Love with the Saints: A Spiritual Memoir"

Learning to Love with the Saints is not an autobiography nor is it a religious essay but rather a unique synthesis of both. Jean Heimann does not simply quote the saints, scripture and the Theology of the Body; the lives of the saints and Catholic spirituality have formed her, becoming part of her inner spirit. As a result, she seamlessly integrates her own life story with quotes as well as personal insights into suffering and the Love of God.
I watched my dad fall to his knees and hug the large cross, tenderly kissing the feet of Jesus. Then, in an instant, my mom was reaching out, bending low, nearly falling off her wheelchair to her knees, to embrace and reverently kiss the feet of the life-sized corpus. It was at that moment that I recognized where the void was in my life.  Jesus had been missing! Only His love could fill that hole.
Her voice is authentic and her words ring true without artifice, enticing the reader to seek intimacy with God for themselves. It is a gripping read.

As the Morning Rising: Icon of Love, Icon of Mercy

21 May 2016

Why Even Faithful Catholics Suffer From Mental Illness

Although most respectable members of our parishes try to look healthy and content in public, mental illness is as common and invisible among the faithful as it is in secular circles. I would wager that mental health issues are especially prevalent among the devout who are serious about their inner life; when people tackle deep inner issues which prevent God from working in their lives, their inner equilibrium is upset by stress, anxiety and depression. This probably explains why most saints experienced profound periods of depression when they finally looked beneath their pious actions to face the reality of their own ingrained sin and subsequent need for inner purification.

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In Divorce, I Met the Holy Spirit

divorce, Holy Spirit - Silhouette Woman, Sunset
I made Confirmation in sixth grade. Big deal. I graduated from the right side of my small public school to my junior/senior high school on the left side of the building that same year. More people came to that so if you're basing importance on people, I'd guess sixth grade graduation was more important.

As I prepared my eighth grade CCD students to receive their Confirmation, I thought back again to that year and tried to remember something from that time.

I remember I wore heels that were too high and a dress I wasn't thrilled with. I remember knowing my hair would NEVER look as good as Kim's, and I couldn't for the life of me remember every word of the Apostle's Creed.

Maybe I could have...

God Bless...

Please join me on Single Mom Smiling for the rest of this piece. 

Thank you for commenting, sharing, and following!

20 May 2016

'The family is the image of God, who is a communion of persons' (Pope Francis). Sunday Reflections, Trinity Sunday, Year C

The Two Trinities, Murillo, 1675-82
John 16:12-15 (NRSV, Catholic Ed., Can.)

Jesus said to his disciples:
“I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth; for he will not speak on his own, but will speak whatever he hears, and he will declare to you the things that are to come. He will glorify me, because he will take what is mine and declare it to you. All that the Father has is mine. For this reason I said that he will take what is mine and declare it to you.

During my kinder, primary and secondary school years, 1947 to 1961, my brother and I had breakfast and dinner - a midday meal in Ireland in those days - with our mother. In the evening we had 'tea', as that lighter meal was known in some English-speaking countries. My father had his dinner and tea combined, the four of us together. I often heard my mother 'complain' about having to prepare two meals for my father in the evening. It would never have crossed her mind, or that of any other working-class housewife in urban Ireland in those days, to have dinner for the whole family in the evening.

However, we did have dinner together on Saturdays and Sunday's. My father, like other construction workers, had a half-day on Saturday. Saturday was the only day when we had soup, very often barley soup, served in cups, not in bowls

Phoenix Park, Dublin, in the summer [Wikipedia]
Sunday dinner was special, as it was for all families, and meant extra work for my mother who would spent the whole morning after Mass and breakfast preparing it. My father would take the two of us to meet our paternal grandfather and then for a walk in the nearby Phoenix Park.

Full post here.

I've Been Thinking about This...

Read more At Prayerfully Yours

19 May 2016

Catholic Artists Capture the Spirit of Pentecost

Icon painters fast and pray as they paint, layering colours one on top of the other. This technique gives the icon a unique richness and depth. The effect of this technique is most obvious in the eyes which do not seem flat but rather realistic with depth and soul.
Stained glass seems to reflect the Light of God


Hello! My name is Gloria J. Pinsker and I am honored to be a new member of this group. I write a blog called "Everyday Life Spirituality," which I started in March 2016.  My "Mission Statement" is to give hope, help, inspiration and encouragement to those who, like me, are striving to lead a good, productive life and stay true to their spiritual ideals, while effectively coping with the stresses and problems of everyday living.

I would love for you to stop by my website, read my posts, and please feel free to comment! Here is a post from May 11, 2016 in honor of Pentecost Sunday -- my loving tribute to the Holy Spirit:


Brother John

Brother John was a man with the best of intentions but a terrible temper that made him impossible to live with. He decided to go into the desert and find a monastery where he could come to terms with his affliction. In less than a year the monks found his temper so impossible that he had to leave.They gave him a fine set of  pots and plates, a large jug of goat's milk and enough food for a month. Then they helped him find a cave in which to live as a hermit. At last he thought, he could come to terms with his temper because there was no one there to try him. read on...

Life in the Upper Room - Waiting in Marriage & Divorce

divorced woman empty room
What was going through the minds of Mary, the disciples, and Jesus' followers as they sat in the Upper Room? Did they exchange eye contact? Did they talk in whispers? Just how afraid were they? Did they, even KNOWING, after SEEING with their own eyes and TOUCHING with their own hands, still question whether Jesus would keep His word? Did they still wonder whether He would truly send someone to be with them? Did they keep fears to themselves, afraid saying them aloud would make them come true? Did they keep quiet, bravely not wanting to drag others down?

We can speculate about thoughts of believers between the Ascension and Pentecost and get nowhere fast, or we can learn from studying what they did while their belief mingled with their lingering human fear, uncertainty, and confusion.

To continue reading and learn 4 Lessons from the Upper Room you can apply to your divorce or struggling Marriage, please join me at Single Mom Smiling.

Thank you for commenting, liking, and sharing!

God Bless...

18 May 2016

Living A Virtuous Life Day Retreat

This past weekend, I was honored to present my “Living a Virtuous Life” day retreat to my home parish. I have to admit, that I was nervous at first. I kept thinking about the biblical passage where Jesus wasn’t accepted within His own home town of Nazareth (Luke 4:14-30). Would my own parish family treat me the same? It wasn’t like I was claiming “Today this scripture passage is fulfilled in your hearing” (Luke 4:21), but I was proclaiming what we as followers of Christ need to do to become more Christ-like; more virtuous. I kept wondering, “why should I be treated any better than Jesus was treated?” If anything, I should be treated worse, because I don’t deserve the level of respect that Jesus deserved. He is God; I am a mere human servant.

Yet, Sunday was Pentecost Sunday; a day to celebrate when the Apostles received the power of the Holy Spirit. My pastor and I decided to... Read more...

Belief in God as One in Three, a Mystery

This Sunday we will celebrate the only feast in honor of God: the feast of the Holy Trinity. Our Muslim and Jewish friends do not believe in the Trinity; we Christians do because the three Persons are revealed in the Gospels. The doctrine of one God but three Persons is the fundamental belief of our faith. It is also the most mystifying. People propose metaphors for the Trinity: the three-leaf clover, the three forms of water, and even an egg (shell, white, and yolk). This week I learned a new one—a candle. The wick is the Father, the flame is the Son, and the warmth and light that emanate from the wick and flame is the Holy Spirit. Click to continue

17 May 2016

Another Stunning Video from Ascension Press

You may want to check out this new video on Christ's call to follow Him in the Gospel of John. It's a concept we dig into in our newest Bible study for parishes.

You can find more details on the study with Dr. Edward Sri here. It will be released this summer. We really hope it'll be a way for parishes to introduce people in small groups to the person of Christ as presented by John.

Talking to God

Pope Francis' universal prayer intention for May is "Respect for Women." One innovative way to pray with the Pope this month is to invite women into prayer. Author Julie Dortch Cragon can help, with her unique and refreshing new book from Franciscan Media, Talking to God: Prayers for Catholic Women

Please join me at Praying with Grace for an excerpt!

"Well... that's obviously a wrong theory, because heh... that was my philosophy way back in the day."
This was how a conversation I was having with a fellow blogger started.
I knew it wasn't going to go well. :-p Or end well.

I was just remembering as we had this conversation, that we had some friends of Polish descent in D.C. The Dad was in the grad program with Stephen at CUA.  They named their first born son Stanislaus and called him Stash. Pronounced "Stahsh." I honestly think that is such a cool name, and I'm tucking it away for future ideas! I remember the first time they had us over for dinner. Laura made steak-frites (homemade french fries and steak) and I saw tons of games on their shelves. I was impressed to learn that they were really big into playing Settlers of Catan and Chess together as husband and wife. Laura also goes down in history as the person who said to me, "I think the coolest thing about being Catholic is that I can 'go get some Jesus' any time I want!" --and I remember thinking, "Someday, I'm going to understand what she means!!!"

Read the rest at Picture a Skyline

As the Morning Rising: St Bernadette of Lourdes

As the Morning Rising: St Bernadette of Lourdes: St Bernadette of Lourdes was asked by Our Lady to scrape away some of the earth on which she was kneeling and drink from the...

16 May 2016

Even If Pentecost is Past, and We're in Ordinary Tiime, We Can Still be Infused by the Holy Spirit...

Infusing oils with herbs is an easy process, but it just takes time. If you want to infuse oils with herbs, you fill a quart jar with herbs, leaving about and inch of open space on the top. You will the jar with oil, preferably olive oil, still leaving about an inch of open space in the jar. Cover the jar, put the jar in the sun, and wait 2-4 weeks. (Bring the jar in at night.) Waiting until 4 weeks to finish the processing of the oil is best because the oil becomes deeply scented. Strain and use as needed.
Insert sound of a needle scratching a phonograph record. 
Read More At Prayerfully Yours

Hope Livingstone's Surprise: The Back Story

The Back Story to Hope's Character

Hope Livingstone, and her family, had just moved into a new house, in a new town. Life was chaotic. Boxes were everywhere. Peanuts were flying out of boxes, thanks to Hope’s little sister Charity. Hope didn’t mind that it would mean that Hope would need to clean it all up. Hope thought moving was exciting! Everywhere she turned, she found a new surprise, as she explored every nook and cranny of their new house!

Hope always looks at life as if it were an adventure; something to explore; treasures to find. So moving was thrilling to Hope, who possesses an optimistic nature. She approaches life with an easy-breezy style. Nothing ever really bothers her; that is, until she couldn’t find... Read more...

15 May 2016

Mary, Jesus Expert

In my day, if I wanted to increase my tennis prowess, I would watch Chris Evert Lloyd’s moves on the court. When my mother cut my hair in the iconic ‘Dorothy Hamill’ pixie, my whole world revolved around the dream of being an Olympic skater. I watched her every skating competition, eager to pick up even the tiniest trick to hone my skills. For the record, my moves were ample for the make-believe Pond Capades but never truly worthy of the hairdo.

Here is a sampling of what I have to learn from Jesus Expert, Mary ...  SEE them here

All Rights Reserved, Allison Gingras 2016

Thughts on Pentecost

Mystery. Holy Trinity. Three Persons, One God. Father, Son, and
Holy Spirit.
Enter into the Upper Room. Open the door and step inside. The Apostles are in prayer, except for those who are sleeping. It’s early in the morning. The light is soft and entering in through the windows. Peter has been praying all night. He looks tired, but he gets up to drink from the pitcher of water. He blows out the lamps that have been burning all night, and he looks out the windows around the room in search of Roman troops coming to arrest them.

Read more at Prayerfully Yours

The Holy Trinity


Whose Hearts are Pure

As the Morning Rising: Fire of God

As the Morning Rising: Fire of God: Come Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of your faithful and kindle in them the fire of your love. Send forth your Spirit   and they shall be ...

10 Minute Daily Retreat: Pentecost Sunday Reflection

A mighty wind invades the world,
So strong and free on beating wing:
It is the Spirit of the Lord
From whom all truth and freedom spring.

The Spirit is a fountain clear
Forever leaping to the sky,
Whose waters give unending life,
Whose timeless source is never dry.

The Spirit comes in tounges of flame,
With love and wisdom burning bright,
The wind, the fountain and the fire
Combine in this great feast of light.

O tranquil Spirit, bring us peace,
With God the Father and the Son.
We praise you, blessed Trinity,
Unchanging, and forever One.

(Hymn from The Divine Office)

14 May 2016

You Can’t Make a Silk Purse Out Of A Sow’s Ear

Attendance at Mass, regular confession, spiritual exercises, fasting, and prayer are wonderful vehicles of grace but if we think pious activities will sanctify us, we will only appear to be holy on the outside like the Pharisees:
Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, you hypocrites. You are like whitewashed tombs, which appear beautiful on the outside, but inside are full of dead men’s bones and every kind of filth. (Matthew 23:27)
Now, the Pharisees were not evil men; they were earnestly striving to be good, to follow the Law but they thought they could perfect themselves through religious practices. However, man cannot transform himself into a holy being. As my Irish grandmother would say, “You can’t make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear.” In other words, only Christ can transform us into His image and draw us into the heart of His Father.

As the Morning Rising: Birdsong at Twilight

As the Morning Rising: Birdsong at Twilight: It was way past dusk when I heard birdsong from a tree in a neighbouring garden – blackbird sweet. And early this morning, around 4am I ...

13 May 2016

'Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them.' Sunday Reflections, Pentecost, Year C

Pentecost, El Greco, 1596-160

Gospel John 20:19-23 (NRSV, Catholic Ed., Can.)

When it was evening on that day, the first day of the week, and the doors of the house where the disciples had met were locked for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you.” After he said this, he showed them his hands and his side. Then the disciples rejoiced when they saw the Lord. Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I send you.” When he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained.”

Gospel John 14:15-16, 23b-26(NRSV,Catholic Ed., Can)
Jesus said to his disciples:

“If you love me, you will keep my commandments. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate, to be with you forever.

“Those who love me will keep my word, and my Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our home with them. Whoever does not love me does not keep my words; and the word that you hear is not mine, but is from the Father who sent me.

“I have said these things to you while I am still with you. But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you everything, and remind you of all that I have said to you.”

More than 20 years ago I was asked to celebrate Mass for a group of girls aged around 14 from a Catholic school in Cebu City in the central Philippines. They were having a recollection day in a retreat house. I made myself available for confession about 30 minutes before Mass. It soon became clear to me that many wanted to go to confession and after half an hour I went to the teacher and suggested we wait a while before starting Mass.
Full post here.