28 Aug 2016

Cloistered Anytime. Even Now.

I was drawn to the idea of a cloister in my heart. I longed for a place to retreat from the world, to be alone with Jesus. I not only longed for a place where I could escape the noise of life around me, but I also dreamed of providing a place in my heart where Jesus could find respite from this world... (continue) 

As the Morning Rising: Does God Exist?

As the Morning Rising: Does God Exist?: Is there such a being as God? I asked in the desert of my loneliness, but nothing stirred at all. Is there really a God? I asked the...

Faith, the Universe, and Wisdom

I think the universe is billions, not thousands, of years old; Earth isn't flat; Adam and Eve aren't German; poetry isn't science; and thinking is not a sin.

If you've been reading my posts, you know why being a Christian doesn't interfere with my interest in science.

Feel free to skip the rest of this post. It's mostly about reading the Bible, the universe, and getting a grip.

I'll be back next Friday,1 most likely talking about Proxima Centauri b, a planet orbiting the next star over from ours: in Proxima's habitable zone.

More at A Catholic Citizen in America.

Right now the Kindle version of my novel Nearer the Dawn is on sale for just 99¢. You can find it here: https://www.amazon.com/Nearer-Dawn-J-Avila-ebook/dp/B00J1AVQLM
As usual, all net profits go to charity.
If you don’t own a Kindle, you can download Kindle onto your computer absolutely free at https://www.amazon.com/Amazon-Digital-Services-LLC-Download/dp/B00UB76290
This is one of the top rated novels on Catholic Fiction.net, where it received a glowing review that will give you some idea what the book’s about: http://catholicfiction.net/book-review/nearer-th-dawn.php
How this book came to be: I wondered what an atheist would do if he witnessed a miracle.  continue reading

10 Minute Daily Retreat: August - Gift of Right Judgement

The word paraclete means someone who stands by to help. It can be used of a witness, or an advocate to plead our cause.

In the Gospel, the Holy Spirit is referred to as the paraclete. In the day of trouble, we don't need to fear. No less a person than the Holy Spirit of God stands by to help.

We just need to trust.

When they bring you before the synagogues, the rulers, and the authorities, do not worry about how[a] you are to defend yourselves or what you are to say; for the Holy Spirit will teach you at that very hour what you ought to say.”

27 Aug 2016

For women´s well being we should promote men´s catholic formation. ( Spanish) Por el bien de la mujeres apoyemos la formación católica de los hombres

Resultado de imagen de hombre con biblia

Por @mujer_catolica

En la sociedad actual, la preocupación por el bienestar de las mujeres es una prioridad, sobre todo a nivel de políticas gubernamentales y líneas de acción de miles de organizaciones que se han entregado a la labor de lograr la llamada “equidad de género”. Con todos los logros que este trabajo ha alcanzado, la mayor parte del esfuerzo se ha quedado en cambios estructurales de leyes y beneficios cuantitativos, que han sido importantes, pero que no han logrado permear esta equidad a la fibra social y cultural, dejando sobrevivir actitudes y métodos de relaciones interpersonales que afectan a las mujeres en su área más vulnerable: su vida personal.

Go to Heaven. Go directly to Heaven. Do not pass GO. Do not collect ...


26 Aug 2016

'But when you give a banquet, invite the poor . . .' Sunday Reflections, 22nd Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year C

Baptism, Confirmation and First Holy Communion at Holy Family Home for Girls, Bacolod City
Gospel Luke 14:1, 7-14 (NRSV, Catholic Ed, Canada)

On one occasion when Jesus was going to the house of a leader of the Pharisees to eat a meal on the sabbath, they were watching him closely.
When he noticed how the guests chose the places of honor, he told them a parable. “When you are invited by someone to a wedding banquet, do not sit down at the place of honor, in case someone more distinguished than you has been invited by your host; and the host who invited both of you may come and say to you, ‘Give this person your place,’ and then in disgrace you would start to take the lowest place. But when you are invited, go and sit down at the lowest place, so that when your host comes, he may say to you, ‘Friend, move up higher’; then you will be honored in the presence of all who sit at the table with you. For all who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.”
He said also to the one who had invited him, “When you give a luncheon or a dinner, do not invite your friends or your brothers or your relatives or rich neighbors, in case they may invite you in return, and you would be repaid. But when you give a banquet, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, and the blind. And you will be blessed, because they cannot repay you, for you will be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous.”

But when you give a banquet, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, and the blind. And you will be blessed . . .
Last Sunday I experienced this after Mass at Holy Family Home for Girls (HFH) here in Bacolod City. Kathy wished to share her birthday joy - the day itself was actually the day before - with the girls at Holy Family Home along with her family and co-workers. Most of the more than 30 girls in Holy Family Home have had traumatic experiences in their lives and the majority are from poor families.

Kathy and her husband Hernan have been celebrating their birthdays with the girls at HFH and the Capuchin Tertiary Sisters of the Holy Family who run it for some years now. There are other families who have been doing the same, some in HFH, some in orphanages or homes for the aged in Bacolod City.

And you will be blessed, because they cannot repay you . . .
Most of these girls have had experiences that no child or young person should ever have. But in HFH they get the best of truly caring professional help that enables them to feel the healing power of God's love. Much of that healing comes form their interaction with each other and from their shared responsibilities. For example, each cubicle for personal hygiene is used by three girls, who also have to maintain it. And something that touched me when I first began to go to HFH and given the 'grand tour' was to learn that each new girl, whether still a child or already an adolescent, is given a cuddly toy which she keeps on her bed. There are two large dormitories, again maintained by the girls. And they make their bed first thing in the morning, have an early breakfast, gather for prayers and then go off to the local elementary and high schools, both within walking distance.
Full post here.

Brogdar, Öetzi, and Piltdown Man

Archeologists found a big stone structure buried under a 43-century-old garbage dump in the Orkney Islands.

Öetzi, Europe’s frozen mummy, got his wardrobe from many different critters: why, we don’t know.

Piltdown Man’s in the news again, too. Looks like Dawson was the only culprit.

More at A Catholic Citizen in America.

25 Aug 2016

The Day of Dread is Almost Over

I struggle, at times, to make myself believe that God is working in our lives. On one level, I know He is always there, guiding us, pouring His graces down on us, but on another level, my doubts and anxieties surface. I don’t recall every asking God, “Why,” but when the pain is burning inside of me, I ask “Why not?” Everyone suffers, some people more than others, but everyone bears a cross. No one gets out of life without something. some kind of pain or suffering. Absolutely no one.

Read more at:  Prayerfully Yours

Feeling a little down in the dumps today, so I thought I'd share something humorous I posted back in April. After listening to my sister describe her online debates with anti-Catholics, I put this humble offering together.

Your Anti-Catholic Guide

As a public service (and with tongue firmly implanted in cheek), I give you the following methods for responding to reasonable arguments made by Catholics. Feel free to choose one or more—whatever’s best suited for you!
  1. Shift the burden of proof. It’s true that you are the one who has made the accusation, and you do believe in Innocent Until Proven Guilty, but Catholics a priori are guilty, so it falls to them to prove their innocence. Therefore demand that, rather than you proving your claim, it is the Catholic’s responsibility to debunk it. However, don’t forget that because they are guilty, any evidence they provide is always tainted.

  1. It’s okay to lie! First of all, you’re saved no matter what you do. Second, the prohibition against lying states “Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor” and Catholics, being the spawn of Satan, are not your neighbors. (Bonus points for also despising them since it’s only your neighbor you have to love as yourself.)

24 Aug 2016

Squeezing Through the Narrow Gate

Most people assume that they will spend eternity in heaven. Some of them might be like the Pharisee who prayed, “God, I thank you that I am not like other people—robbers, evildoers, adulterers. . . . I fast twice a week and give a tenth of all I get.” This man thought he was right with God, but Jesus said he wasn’t. We ourselves might say, “I never killed anyone. I go to Mass. I donate to charitable organizations.” But is this enough to get us through the narrow gate that Jesus mentioned in Sunday’s Gospel? It’s a bit disconcerting to hear him say that many people will not be able to get through it! In other words, they will not be “saved.” Click to continue

Comfort the Sorrowful: Spiritual Work of Mercy Series

As with every month, during this Year of Mercy, we choose a different corporal or spiritual work of mercy and dive into the details. This month we discuss the spiritual work of mercy to comfort the sorrowful.

It seems like every time I attend a wake for someone’s passing, I never know what to say to the bereft family members. Does that happen to you as well? How does one truly comfort the sorrowful at such a time of great loss? Words seem so inadequate; well, at least my words seem inadequate. At such times, I try to remember what it was like when I was on the receiving end, at the wakes of both of my parents. For me, the mere presence of a trusted friend, who did not need to say a single word, brought me much comfort. She showed how much she cared, just by being present. Sometimes all that is needed is... Read more...  

As the Morning Rising: Beauty All Around

As the Morning Rising: Beauty All Around: Waterford Cathedral Blessed Edmund Rice Shrine in Waterford Cathedral Cistercian Church Mount Mellary Waterford Fran...

23 Aug 2016

The Oldest Images of Mary

I love this painting of Mary as the Protectress of the Roman People, created in the 5th century.

A fascinating carving in stone is thought to be from the 3rd century and features the three Magi bringing gifts to the Christ Child on Mary’s lap.

22 Aug 2016

Polio, Zika, and Using Our Brains

Polio is back in Nigeria: only two cases that we know of; which isn’t particularly comforting, since most folks with polio have no symptoms.

The good news is that vaccines are available: and may get to most of those who need them before the disease does.

Zika, another viral disease, is still in the news, this time a case in Texas that affected a baby.

On a happier note, researchers are making progress on a brain-machine interface that could help folks walk again.

More at A Catholic Citizen in America.

Week 3 Prayer Journal Reflections

Honestly I can not believe that I am entering in the last week of this challenge. It has truly been enlightening trying align my life with scripture. It has also been interesting how my problems are spoken about in the Bible. No matter what year it is some problems are just universal. This week has been a huge struggle for me. Even staying committed to the challenge. This week my biggest problems were my lack of faith and trust. I know its crazy to admit but there are moments in my life when I am like seriously :”wtf God”. I get angry and challenge him but I do this with all the important people in my life.

Complete 30-day Prayer Journal Challenge Outline.

I can not believe that I am already in week four of this challenge. I am sad that it is almost over. I can honestly say that taking the time to write this for 15 mins a day, has improve my relationship with God and myself. I think that when we take time out of our day to reflect we are helping us become better people.
Week One Questions
  1. How Do I feel today?
  2. What does the Bible say about my feelings? (My Advice is to use your feelings as key words and list the key words in your journal for future reference; this applies to all verse questions.)
  3. Where was I weak today?
  4. What advice does the Bible give about overcoming my weakness?
  5. What is God’s Message today?
  6. At the end of week one you write a reflection and Prayer to carry you into the next week.
Week 2  Questions
  1. How Do I feel today?
  2. What does the Bible say about my feelings? (My Advice is to use your feelings as key words and list the key words in your journal for future reference; this applies to all verse questions.)
  3. Where was I weak today?
  4. What advice does the Bible give about overcoming my weakness?
  5. Where was I strong today?
  6. What verses in the Bible encourage my strength?
  7. What is God’s Message today
  8. Prayer
  9. Week 2 Reflections
Week 3 and Week 4:
For more info click here. 

My Heart Beats for Christ! For Whom Does Your Heart Beat?

I was recently at the doctor’s office for my annual visit. While sitting in the examining room, with nothing to do but wait, I read the ad on the door. It showed a picture of an older woman, holding a placard that said, “My heart beats for______.” She filled in the blank with “my grandkids.” She had a huge smile on her face. The ad promoted preventative health exams.

As I sat there looking at the ad, I asked myself, for whom does my heart beat? I hope my husband isn’t too disappointed, but my first instinct was to answer, “My Heart beats for Christ!” Sitting there in awe for a minute, I realized my response, as well as my accompanying relationship with Christ. I love my husband very much. We’ve been together almost 40 years (married more than 37 years). Yet my response was Christ. I live for Christ; to do His will.

My Heart Beats for Christ

I cannot say that Christ would have always been my first response. In my early thirties... Read more...

FREE: 365 Day Catholic Devotional

When Kevin Vost, Peggy Bowes and Shane Kapler got together to compose a Catholic devotional, the market was already flooded! But these three Catholics are known for their unique blend of Catholic health and wellness for mind AND body; soul AND spirit.
As a guest on EWTN's Journey Home, Peggy Bowes had one of the most watched episodes. Likewise, Vost has shared his story on air and in print. Kapler, whose knowledge in the Jewish faith as the foundation of the Catholic faith, brought a unique perspective as well.
Thus, Tending the Temple was born. A popular Catholic devotional, Tending the Temple really covers it all in succinct daily entries that offer something for mind, body, soul and spirit.
For a limited time, Tending the Temple is free on Amazon. Take advantage and enjoy!
And may God bless you with health of mind, body, soul and spirit.

As the Morning Rising: The Queenship of Mary

As the Morning Rising: The Queenship of Mary: This is a treasured relic in Mount Sion Waterford, the Blessed Edmund Rice  Heritage and Resource Centre. Blessed Edmund had great devoti...

21 Aug 2016

Letters From Home

Rejecting Reality

Why the willingness to believe the ludicrous? I discovered one of the reasons a few years ago during a memorable April First.
It started with a family friend who is a disc jockey. For a while he was working at a local Oldies station, playing hits from the Sixties and Seventies. He’s a terrific guy with a wonderful sense of humor, and one of the things he loved doing was playing an April Fool’s Day prank on his listeners.
One year he asked my husband and me for help with this. He had decided to create a fictitious rock ‘n roll star to interview on his noon show. This fabricated man’s specialty was to be a particular musical instrument, but it had to be something so silly that folks would realize he was playing a joke on them.
I suggested the tambourine. It’s an instrument anybody with rhythm can play, and it’s used in lots of rock ‘n roll songs. Not only that, but two songs from the Sixties–“Mr. Tambournine Man” and “Green Tambourine”–are about it.
And thus was born B.B. McDonald, expert tambourine player. 


Resultado de imagen de sotana de sacerdote
The concept of virginity at this time of deification of sex and the reign of impulses as a method of achieving freedom may sound old-fashioned and even unnatural. In the case of celibacy of priesthood in the Catholic Church,it has been blamed for the decline of priestly vocations and even noted it as the root of the sexual abuse perpetrated by priests. But the experience of married priests that profess in the Catholic Churh of Eastern and Byzantine Rite questions this mainstream reasoning  .

20 Aug 2016

10 Minute Daily Retreat: Ugly or Lovely? Spiritual Gift of Counsel

In an effort to remind us to have the good judgement to not judge His children, as our eyes can only see a portion of the whole, our concentration should be on developing OUR best self.

I envision God reinforcing this gift through Kenneth Slessor's poem: William Street. 'You find it ugly, I find it lovely.'

Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my thoughts.  Psalm 139:23

Read on: http://susannetimpani.blogspot.com.au/

Ben-Hur: the Movie, Real Life Theaters, & Happy Endings

Last night I went to see Ben-Hur, the bloodiest movie I think I've ever seen. It was far worse than Friday the 13th or any of the warped bloodfests I pretended to tolerate but was really disgusted by as a teenager. Ben-Hur is not a movie I'd recommend for children and not one I think I'd see again. At the same time, I am very glad I did read it.

In some ways, I wish I had just read the book and skipped the movie. I'm a writer so you can probably guess that books hold a special place in my heart. In fact, if I were to become a hoarder you'd probably find me tunneling through stacks of books I'd hoped to get to one day even while I knew there'd never be enough time to devour all I'd want to experience and learn through the writings of others.

To continue reading and find out about happy endings, please join me at SingleMomSmiling.com
God Bless...

19 Aug 2016

Bill Donaghy & TOB: Step Away from the Insanity Into Reality

After interviewing Bill Donaghy from The Theology of the Body Institute about their upcoming Congress this September, I was filled with hope and joy for the Church. Bill lives out the core values of the gospel without pretention, probably because he is married with four children and is submerged in” the beautiful mess” of family life. One of his favorite quotes illustrates a profound grasp of what is essential,
“We, the women and men of the Church, we are in the middle of a love story: each of us is a link in this chain of love. And if we do not understand this, we have understood nothing of what the Church is….” – Pope Francis

Bill Donaghy

Ever since Bill discovered the first talks on The Theology of the Body by Pope John Paul II at the age of 16, his life has been formed by this teaching.

'Then people will come from east and west . . .' Sunday Reflections, 21st Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year C

Crowning during a Syro-Malabar Catholic wedding

Gospel Luke 13:22-30 NRSV, Catholic Ed.

Jesus went through one town and village after another, teaching as he made his way to Jerusalem. Someone asked him, “Lord, will only a few be saved?” He said to them, “Strive to enter through the narrow door; for many, I tell you, will try to enter and will not be able. When once the owner of the house has got up and shut the door, and you begin to stand outside and to knock at the door, saying, ‘Lord, open to us,’ then in reply he will say to you, ‘I do not know where you come from.’ Then you will begin to say, ‘We ate and drank with you, and you taught in our streets.’ But he will say, ‘I do not know where you come from; go away from me, all you evildoers!’ There will be weeping and gnashing of teeth when you see Abraham and Isaac and Jacob and all the prophets in the kingdom of God, and you yourselves thrown out. Then people will come from east and west, from north and south, and will eat in the kingdom of God. Indeed, some are last who will be first, and some are first who will be last.”

Three years ago when I was at home in Dublin a friend of mine from the Philippines, Marifel, who was a parishioner of mine in Tangub City, Mindanao, when she was a child and now works as a receptionist for a community of Dominican Sisters near Dublin, invited me for a meal in a hotel. When the waitress came along I asked her if she was from Poland or Lithuania or 'one of those countries. 'One of those countries', she replied with a smile, 'Latvia.' She took our orders but the food was brought by an Indian waiter. Later on an Irish waiter looked after us.

Full post here.

17 Aug 2016

Are you Stealing Christ’s Job?

When I take on the identity of a scapegoat, even if I  live a devout, disciplined, ascetic lifestyle with a daily round of mass, rosaries, Eucharistic Adoration and frequent confession, I still fall into a trap. It is a trap that all of us fall into as we try to become devoted disciples of Jesus. It is a type of piety  which focuses on ourselves, our actions, our devotions, and effort. I am at the front and centre, not God.
Save us, Saviour of the world, for, by your Cross and Resurrection, you have set us free.-  From the Mass
continue reading

Conquering Spelling Demons

This post is quite a departure from my other ones, but I have good reason for putting it up. During this Year of Mercy, it's my attempt to practice the spiritual work of mercy "instruct the ignorant"! For most of my teaching ministry, I taught English. To help my students spell commonly misspelled words, I came up with some devices. These tricks helped me spell, and I thought I'd share them with you. The list here contains my own concoctions as well as traditional ones.
All right:  All right is better than all wrong.
Bulletin:  Who put the bullet in the gun?
Calendar:  It contains days.
Cemetery:  We go to the cemetery with ease.  Click to continue

Our Moral Life in Christ, by Fr. Peter V Armenio - Book Review

Our Moral Life in Christ – College Edition, by Father Peter V. Armenio, is an excellent book for anyone wanting to learn more about moral theology. We live in troubling times, asking ourselves what our world has come to these days. Where have our moral values gone as a society, with all of the terrorist attacks, mass shootings and lack of charity? If you are looking for ways to make this world a better place, then start by reading this book. Change comes from within. We need to look at ourselves first, before pointing the finger at others.

I use Our Moral Life in Christ – College Edition in teaching my Fundamentals of Catholic Moral Theology course at the undergraduate level. I find the text offers the sound basics of moral theology in ways that everyone can identify with... Read more... 

15 Aug 2016

Prayer Journal Challenge week 2

I have to say that as this process continues to go forward, I am shocked about how much I am learning about myself and my relationship with God. I am newly returned to my faith and trying to make the right choices in accordance to scriptures while dealing with worldly problems. I have learned this week that if I cast my burdens to God, he blesses me with motivation from the Holy Spirit. I am actually shocked about how much closer I am to God at the end of these two weeks. I can not believe How well this is working. I am so grateful for the 15 mins a day I have devoted to God, are beginning to show results!!!

Prayer Journal Challenge Outline

I feel so blessed that so many people have reached out to take the challenge. I am truly thankful for each and every one of you.

Hey everyone I love that people are interested in doing the 30 day prayer challenge I wrote. I received a lot of questions so I created an outline for people to follow. This is not set in stone just a basic idea for you to build off of. Weeks 1-3 are available for you now. Week four will be available in week four.
Week One Questions
  1. How Do I feel today?
  2. What does the Bible say about my feelings? (My Advice is to use your feelings as key words and list the key words in your journal for future reference; this applies to all verse questions.)
  3. Where was I weak today?
  4. What advice does the Bible give about overcoming my weakness?
  5. What is God’s Message today?
  6. At the end of week one you write a reflection and Prayer to carry you into the next week.

Assumption of Mary into Heaven; Our Blessed Mother

Because Saint Ann conceived our Blessed Mother in her womb without original sin, and because Mary remained sin-free for her entirely earthly life, God assumed Mary into Heaven, body and soul, at the end of her earthly life. Mary’s refraining from sin resulted in no need for her earthly body to decay; to experience death as we know it.

In stark contrast, for everyone else, our souls separate from our bodies at the time of our earthly deaths. Our bodies decay because of the original sin committed by Adam and Eve, and from our own concupiscence to sin. God created Adam from dust, and as a result of Original Sin, unto dust we all shall return. Our departed souls await the Second Coming of Jesus Christ, when He will resurrect our glorified bodies, reunited with our souls, in perfect union with the Blessed Trinity. This is Catholic dogma, a tenet of our faith.

Our Blessed Mother, A Cause for Hope

Mary’s Assumption into Heaven is cause for our hope in the... Read more... 

13 Aug 2016

Prostitution:from slavery to human right? (Spanish) El trabajo sexual o prostitución ¿Derecho humano o esclavitud?

Resultado de imagen de esclavitud de mujer
La esclavitud, que pensábamos ya estaba abolida, ha tenido mil formas de representación a través de la historia de la humanidad, ha resurgido en muchas regiones del mundo con una cara nueva y moderna. Como en antaño, las que han sido más afectadas por los nuevos grilletes han sido las mujeres y niñas, especialmente por la prostitución sexual. Esta forma de utilización de la mujer, que ha sido una constante a través de los siglos, culturas y medios de comunicación, se ha ido trivializando y minimizando su naturaleza erosiva que, de muchas formas, alimenta el tráfico de personas.