27 Jan 2015

Prayer in the third mansions

We’re going to start discussing the third mansions from St. Teresa of Avila’s Interior Castle with the most exciting part–prayer. In the third mansions, prayer begins simplifying, as the soul prepares herself to receive infused contemplation.

Now, when I say prayer begins simplifying in the third mansions, that doesn’t mean that a stark line lies between one mansion and another. We don’t one day say, “I’m going to take one step forward and leave second mansions behind forever, entering the third.” More likely, we peer through the doorway, thinking, “Those rooms look interesting.” Then we look over our shoulder and say,” But I’m comfortable here.” We might go through the door, make a small circle, and go back out. We might lean against the door frame, with one foot on each side.

My point is that our prayer might start simplifying long before we leave second mansions completely behind. But when it is habitually simpler–and accompanied by growth in virtue–we can assume we have moved on to a new stage.

Continue reading at Contemplative Homeschool.

Crafting Peace with Children

I am not crafty. When normal women set out glue guns, fabric, and paint, I see magic wands, mithril, and pixie dust. The mere thought of "craft time" with my children makes my palms sweat.

Pope Francis, however, inspired me to overcome my fears. This is the Pope's universal prayer intention for January 2015: "Peace: That those from diverse religious traditions and all people of good will may work together for peace." In honor of this prayer intention, I stepped out of my comfort zone. I adapted, published, AND EXECUTED the following Apostleship of Prayer "Sea Bottle" craft activity with my daughter Rose.

A little whisper popped into my head just as Rose and I were delighting in our teamwork. Here I was, spending time with my daughter, relishing the moment, and joining our prayers to the Pope's universal intention for peace. And then, BAM! My heart grew restless; my mind became distracted. With one little whisper, peace vanished.

Instructions for the craft and further reflection at Praying with Grace!

26 Jan 2015

Spirituality Made Simple, but not Easy!

In the second century Bishop Marcion was the son of the Bishop of Sinope, a town on the southern coast of the Black Sea in present day Turkey. He didn’t intend to become a heretic. It was only because of his admiration and adulation for his ‘Divine Lord’ that he became horrified at the very idea that he had to undergo the indignity of being born into, and growing up in, a degraded and decadent material world like the rest of us. That’s why he wrote his own Gospel to put matters right. It began with Jesus fully grown - ‘In the fifteenth year of the Emperor Tiberius, God descended into Capharnaum and taught on the Sabbath’.

Now the truth of the matter is that this is how God could have planned the incarnation, but he didn’t. He didn’t, because he wanted to be like us in every way possible, as St Paul insisted. This would enable us to learn from him and from his own personal spirituality. ...read on..

The Divine Countenance in Stone

 Seek the LORD and His strength; Seek His face continually. 
1 Chronicles 16:11
Images to inspire us to seek His face.

Face of Jesus Crucified - Saints and Sculptures: Stations of the Cross at Kawa-kawa Hills, The Philippines

Bernini sculpture
Christ by Brenda Ahearn

Sage Chapel, Cornell University
see more images

Do you praydream?

Do you praydream?  I had never heard of this term until I read Vinita Hampton Wright's article, Imagination and Praydreaming.

You can read the rest at Being Catholic ... Really.

Celibate Priests

Celibacy of Priests
Please click HERE

25 Jan 2015

"No person is beyond redemption": the power of love in the face of abortion

This is a fan letter. It’s my blog and I can rant or rave however I want. Today, it’s rave. It’s my thank-you to Catherine Adair. She has a life full of blessings; she and her husband are rearing five children. My husband and I brought up five children, too, and we know that’s a pro-life ministry in itself (and it never ends). Catherine, with support from her family, goes above and beyond. She has a story to tell about her own experiences and about women in crisis who didn’t get the help they needed. Her story is also about pro-life conversion.

Catherine came to pro-life commitment by a route different from mine. I’ve learned from that. She makes me think in fresh ways about what it means and takes to be pro-life.
About Catherine: New Hampshire Right to Life scored a coup this year by bringing Massachusetts neighbor Catherine to Concord for the state’s biggest annual outdoor pro-life rally and march. Catherine’s description of herself, from her blog The Harvest is Abundant: “I used to be pro-choice and worked for Planned Parenthood. Now I speak about the horror of working in an abortion clinic, and my personal experience with abortion. I hope to be able to bring more people to the truth.” She does that with charity and clarity, which can be hard to come by some days in the pro-life movement. She speaks out knowing that she could perfectly well say “enough already” to public witness. But she persists, bringing not just truth but also encouragement to her listeners.

Blessings of Your Holy Temple

'Blessed is he whom 
You choose to call 
to dwell in Your courts. 
We are filled 
with the blessings 
of Your house, 
of Your holy temple....' 
Psalm 65:5

Painting: Noia llegint

Moderation and a Pythagorean Dribble Glass

Today's second reading reminded me of Harold Camping's high-profile End Times predictions, a few years back....

...I've read that Hero of Alexandria used Pythagorean cups in his robotic systems. That's probably a reference to Heron's fountain, Heron is another version of Hero's name, and I am not going to wander off-topic again. Not for another paragraph or two, anyway.

Pythagoras of Samos didn't invent the Pythagorean theorem, but he's the first chap to show why it works - --

Let's try this again. It's one of those days.

A Pythagorean cup is a thinking person's dribble glass, sort of....

More at A Catholic Citizen in America.

24 Jan 2015

True Joy:: A Noun and A Verb:: Thoughts

A noun is a person, place or thing.
A verb is an action word.
In God, there is joy.
He is the source of all that is good.
God is love.
God is Joy.
God is all that is good.
He is our Shepherd.

He protects us from the evil one.
If we let Him, He leads us on the right paths.
Joy is in the hearts of the believers
Jesus Christ is Lord!
We are both loved and lovable,
a verb and a noun.

Read more at:: His Unending Love

A Perfect Saint for Bloggers

St. Francis de Sales is patron of Catholic writers. As a blogger, therefore, I happily claim him as patron of me. 

As the Church celebrates his feast today, I can easily imagine him sitting with a laptop, clicking out the good news...   I like to imagine him patting today's Catholic bloggers on the back, encouraging us to 'keep it up' as we distribute our witness to the Truth in THIS age of the Church...

Purgatory - Just like a car wash!

Is Purgatory like a car wash?

Heaven and Battlefield (Part I)

The other day, a friend of mine at OLPH came up to me and said, "I just wanted to say that at Mass, you just light up!  You glow. It makes my heart leap to see you.  I don't know if you know, but I wanted to tell you."   My first thought was, I don't want her looking at me!  I in no way want to be a distraction from what is REALLY happening at Holy Mass.  

Do I know? Yes, in a way I do.  

After Holy Mass, I prayed and sought an answer of the Lord.  I know how important the Holy Mass is for not just those in attendance but for the whole world, and I in no way want to be a stumbling block from those coming to this gift from God.  

"Lord, I don't want to be a distraction, I don't want people looking at me.  What do you want me to do, I can go somewhere else to Mass, (then I thought, it's going to happen their too!) or I can sit in the back or I can cover my face."  At that last suggestion I could feel that Lord did not want that...at all.  I almost felt like I had made him angry at that suggestion.  

Then He spoke to me and said....TO READ MORE CLICK HERE!

'Repent . . . believe . . . follow me.' Sunday Reflections, 3rd Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year B

Jacob Willemsz de Wet the Elder
Private collection [Web Gallery of Art]

Now after John was arrested, Jesus came to Galilee, proclaiming the good news of God, and saying, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God has come near; repent, and believe in the good news.”

As Jesus passed along the Sea of Galilee, he saw Simon and his brother Andrew casting a net into the sea—for they were fishermen. And Jesus said to them, “Follow me and I will make you fish for people.” And immediately they left their nets and followed him. As he went a little farther, he saw James son of Zebedee and his brother John, who were in their boat mending the nets. Immediately he called them; and they left their father Zebedee in the boat with the hired men, and followed him.

Speaking in Rome to members of ecclesial movements on the evening of Saturday 17 May 2013, the Vigil of Pentecost, Pope Francis told this story:

One day in particular, though, was very important to me: 21 September 1953. I was almost 17. It was 'Students’ Day', for us the first day of spring — for you the first day of autumn. Before going to the celebration I passed through the parish I normally attended, I found a priest that I did not know and I felt the need to go to confession. For me this was an experience of encounter: I found that someone was waiting for me,
Full post here.

23 Jan 2015

Pro-life Kids' Books to Mark the Anniversary of Roe v. Wade

Kids don't have to listen to dinner-time conversations about the politics of the pro-life and pro-choice movements in order to know that babies matter. I've never known a little kid who hasn't asked his parents, "Please, can't we have another baby?" Babies are a gift, and sometimes little kids know that more instinctively than the rest of us.

So, with the anniversary of the Supreme Court's Roe v. Wade decision looming, I'd like to highlight a Live Action News list of pro-life kids' books brought to my attention by blog reader Tara Sayani. Thanks, Tara!!

From "Simple ideas for communicating the pro-life message to children":

Storytime is another prime opportunity to instill pro-life values in our children. In general, it’s important to be selective about which books we choose to read to our little ones. And with a little effort, we can find excellent stories that teach why every life matters.
Here are some pro-life values to look for in children’s books. It’s important to point out these values in the book and find fun ways to emphasize them.

To read more, click here... 

Mutant Malaria, Designer Babies and Ethics

Malaria that's resistant to a very successful anti-malaria drug is spreading. The good news is that scientists know where this particular strain's immunity came from.

Other scientists say that "society needs to be prepared" for designer babies, and that "it is time for a serious public debate on the issue."

More at A Catholic Citizen in America.

Looking for Catholic writers

Catholic365.com is looking for Catholic writers and bloggers to contribute. If you or someone you know write from a Catholic perspective consistent with the Magesterium of the Catholic Church, then we want to talk to you.

Visit us at
to see what types of articles we publish.

If interested email us at writers@Catholic365.com or get more info at

Refusing to Play Games

I do not want to die, only to discover I was playing society’s games, games which were dependant on the time and place I was born, rules which changed constantly. 
 I do not want to be so caught up in work, business, squabbles about doctrine and ritual, that I lose sight of Truth.
How devastating to stand before Christ and realize that I could have been His presence on earth, a window of light and joy, radiating His love and mercy but lost my way.
I can be His hands and feet and ears and whisper words I hear the Father speak to his little ones
 I need to allow Love to transform me, so Love flows through me. Period.
I flooded my mind with these verses from scripture today to remind myself everything turns to ash when we die, everything but His Love in us. continue

How to use Facebook for prayer

How to use Facebook for Prayer, an article written by Annie Turner for Busted Halo caught my attention right away.
There are days when I spend an inordinate amount of time on Facebook.  I have to admit that I don't pay a lot of attention to my friends' posts.  Most of the time I'm looking for inspiration for my blog or just something to brighten my own day.  It didn't occur to me as I scrolled through my news feed that some of my friends might need a prayer or two.
You can read the rest at Being Catholic ... Really.

22 Jan 2015

Come After Me

 You find yourself sitting by the sea, alone with your thoughts, watching the activity going on all around you.  You see him in the distance, walking you way.  

You have heard his name mentioned and you think you might want to meet him, someday. Maybe you don't know how you would approach him. What would you say? But there is something about him that draws your attention. You can't explain it, but it's there.  Others have felt it too. People are drawn towards him. Why?

He has your full attention now, even though his gaze is towards the water.

Read more: http://www.restfulwaters.net/come-after-me/

Day of Prayer for the Legal Protection of Unborn Children

Today, January 22, is the day established by the church as a day of penance for abortion.  It is officially called, "Day of Prayer for the Legal Protection of Unborn Children."

You can read the rest at Being Catholic ... Really.

Are you friends with your boss on Facebook?

Are you friends with your boss on Facebook?  My boss and I had this discussion the other day.  Fortunately, we both agree that we will not be friends on Facebook.

You can read the rest at Being Catholic ... Really.

What do you do when the Epiphany chalk means nothing to you?

What do you do when the Epiphany chalk means nothing to you?

I actually got in a teeny-tiny little fight about this with myself this year. Where do I draw the line when my ignorance clashes with expectation. There are so many traditions in the Catholic Church, and keeping up with them, for a convert, is like speaking another language. The tradition of the blessing of the chalk on Epiphany, for one. I had never heard of it, nor did I understand its use or purpose. Not eating meat on Fridays.  Or midnight mass. There are so many new things to get accustomed to as a convert. I remember when we were in RCIA.... the teacher brought up
Holy Days of Obligation.... crickets.
Receiving the Eucharist on the tongue....crickets.
Additionally, as a convert, it can be so overwhelming because there are so many people to know about that I truly knew so little about...  Who is Fulton Sheen? Father Robert Barron? Cardinal Dolan? I literally knew who the Pope was, and that was about it.

So, what is one to do when you feel like singing the song, "It means nothing to me"? What do I do when I just feel like it's all too much?!

If you literally have no clue as to the what or why, here are five options, as I see it:

21 Jan 2015

Roller Coasters, Puppies, and Learning to Fly!

The past eleven days has been a real roller coaster ride! I am not a big fan of roller coasters, either at amusement parks or in real life! They make me nauseous and I'm not a fan of the thrill. Sometimes however the trials of life that feel like roller-coaster rides can help us grow the most in faith. Hopefully the story I am about to tell will produce growth in me. After all, the Lord can use anything (Romans 8:28)!

Our children have been begging us for a while for a puppy. My husband and I have been researching what would be a good breed for our family. We have tried big breed dogs and they usually knock the children over and can be pretty destructive so that did not work for our family.  

Read more @ Beautifulthorns >

God So Loved the World

Read More at:  His Unending Love

Mottos and Brands as Guides for Spirituality

Company brands, or slogans, identify their purpose and are used in publicity. They become familiar to us. What fast-food restaurant’s is “I’m lovin’ it”? What insurance company assures us that we are in good hands? What drugstore is on the corner of happy and healthy? Unless you never watch television, you probably know the answers are McDonalds, Allstate, and Walgreens. On being consecrated, bishops choose a coat of arms and a motto. Pope Francis chose as his motto Miserando atque eligendo, which translated is “looking at him mercifully he chose him.”click to continue

Are You a Querulous and Disillusioned Sourpuss?

I've slowly been reading my way through Pope Francis' apostolic exhortation, Evangelii Gaudium (The Joy of the Gospel).   I will be sharing things that I find particularly edifying over the next several posts.  Today's snippet is talking about not allowing the immense evil we see all around us rob us of the joy of our faith.  He also calls us to not lose hope and become pessimistic sourpusses that want to separate "the wheat from the weeds" before it's time.  In other words, we shouldn't develop a separatist attitude from the Church and the world.  Although we are living in a spiritual desert right now, families are still called to preserve and communicate the faith.  We have to be vigilant in living the Spirit of the Gospel in our homes and workplace and do our part to "point out the way to the Promised Land and keep hope alive."  Pope Francis says "we are called to be living water from which others can drink." 
To read more, visit The Sincere Gift 

"See I am doing something new!"

Do you find yourself in the midst of the mid-winter blues? I do too. In the middle of my pity party that seems to occur every January, the Lord intervened with a word from Scripture. 

Click here to read more....

20 Jan 2015

Catholics and Protestants

There is no room in the new economy of God for Arrogant Catholics.

We are arrogant about our faith with Protestants, and even arrogant among our selves as we have the Latin Mass click who thinks there's is the only Holy Mass.  Somehow their Mass is 'better' than any other.  

Catholics who are arrogant have no clue what it means to truly be a Catholic.  

The demon LOVES to see these squabbles!    

The Catholic is for the OTHER, not for themselves, that mean's everyone.  There is no Holy Mass greater than another, for it is the same Jesus in the Holy Eucharist, and the same Jesus offered to God.    Is the Latin Mass beautiful, yes.  Is it awesome to kneel and receive Holy Communion, yes, but these are gifts, we have no "rights" to them. 


Strengthening Your Family Culture and Identity

I’ve been thinking a lot about the concept of family culture and identity recently. Partially because, with two rapidly growing children and a third ready to pop out, our own family identity is developing more and more, without us even focusing on it. As our kids grow, their individual personalities and likes and interests are emerging more and more, but so are some common characteristics – things that don’t apply only to one individual, but clearly reflect our family. A family culture and sense of identity is bound to occur, whether or not we focus on it. I’d rather focus on it and make it intentional in order to make sure that the culture we end up with is a culture we want and value.
As an international family, both by virtue of moving around and by virtue of an inter-cultural marriage, I have come to appreciate greatly the reality of having a family culture. No matter where we live and what societal culture we form a part of, there are things we agree with and things that just don’t sync, whether because of religious, political or ideological differences, or simply because we just don’t connect with certain traditions or ways of behaving. I have found this to be true not only abroad, but also in my own country. Sure, I still consider myself to be an American. But does that mean I really identify myself with modern American culture? If I were to even attempt to define modern American culture, could I? Would my definition be the same as yours? Probably not. There might be some shared ideas, but there would also be a lot of different ideas, depending on what sub-cultures and individual perspectives we come from.
The best place for our kids to learn who they are and define their own identity is in the family. The family is their immediate support system, and the structure God put in place to give each of us a loving and caring environment that helps us develop as an individual while learning how to be an effective member of a community. What we learn in our family ultimately affects how we interface with broader social realities, and how we think about ourselves. It gives us the foundation we need to later understand how we fit into other aspects of identity, such as nationality, culture and religion.  A positive family culture can be empowering, challenging and fulfilling. But that doesn’t happen magically. It takes intentionality and effort.
For specific ways to help strengthen your family culture and identity, head over to Eyes On Heaven.

The Love of the Filipinos

Jubilant crowd cheers His Holiness Pope Francis as the Papal convoy arrives for the welcome ceremony at the Kalayaan Grounds of the Malacañan Palace for the State Visit and Apostolic Journey to the Republic of the Philippines on Friday, 16 January 2015.
Robert Viñas, Malacañang Photo Bureau, PD, Wikipedia Commons

Papa Francisco! MAHAL NG PILIPINO!
Papa Francisco! MAHAL NG PILIPINO!
Papa Francisco! MAHAL NG PILIPINO!

The rhythm of this energetic chant is stuck in my head. It's my own fault, really, since I keep playing videos of the Pope's visit to the Philippines last week. YouTube has hours and hours of "Pope in Philippines" footage, including a nearly three-hour video of Sunday Mass and a surplus of videos of joyous chanting.

My friend Rena says the best translation of the chant's second part is "Love of the Filipinos." Pope Francis, the love of the Filipinos. How beautiful, to be beloved by a country, an entire people. "I wish I could've been in the Philippines to see Papa Francisco," Rena told me. "Based on friends' Facebook posts and testimonies, he has renewed the faith of so many Filipinos, including mine." Another friend of mine invited me to peek at her news feed, "full of posts from all my relatives about the Pope's visit."

Please join me for more about the Filipino "Pope Crush" at Praying with Grace.

NO to Ecumenicals

NO to Ecumenicals

19 Jan 2015

When Life is Dry and Noisy

Life has not been too hectic to write just too dry and noisy. I have sat down to write but have nothing to say--no interesting craft inspiration, no insightful posts to share, no desire to delve and research. Yet, my life is so full and my heart so at peace. I am incredibly thankful for the provision of my God and the prayers of so many of you.

Read more at Veils and Vocations!

Angry Comments

People are free to disagree with me; in fact, I am grateful to have people point out a fallacy in my facts or in my thinking because it helps me learn and grow as a person and as a writer.
As for negative or angry comments, I have finally become smart enough to understand that the best response to angry comments is silence.
I can repeat or clarify a misunderstanding. I can attempt to reconcile opposing viewpoints but usually someone who is closed to any other opinion is the person to write a negative response. If they refuse to engage in positive dialogue, I don’t bother bashing my head against the wall.
Often an angry person wants to engage in a verbal fight. In fact he is purposefully antagonizing me.

Only when I am filled with divine love, only then will my words pierce hearts, console, bring peace or convict. Only when I live and move and breathe in the Holy Spirit, only then can I really love the angry, agitator who loves to attack and criticize.

Are you married to your soul mate?

Are you married to your soul mate?  To be honest, the phrase, soul mate makes me gag.
Long before I met my husband, I thought I had met my "soul mate."  I was blindly in love and thought we would be together forever.  "Blindly" is the key word here because I chose to not see the many red flags in the relationship until it imploded.
You can read the rest at Being Catholic ... Really.

18 Jan 2015

Not a Change of Physical Dwelling

'No one can approach God without withdrawing from the world. 
By withdrawal I do not mean change of physical dwelling place, 
but withdrawal from worldly affairs. 
The virtue of withdrawal from the world 
consists in not occupying your mind with the world.'

St. Isaak of Syria

Boko Haram: Slavery, Death, and Love

Muslims are still upset about those 'Mohammed' cartoons in Charlie Hebdo.

That, I think, is understandable. Being upset is not an excuse for killing folks, though. (January 11, 2015)

I'm upset when my faith gets described as 'worshiping a cookie.' I was angry about a college professor's photo of a consecrated Host, a page from the Quran, and another book's page: treated as garbage. For that matter, I felt disgust when a preacher burned the Quran. (July 20, 2012; April 1, 2011; March 5, 2010)

Some of that comes from spending my youth in the '60s. When I became a Catholic, however, seeing humanity as one big family was no longer an optional: it's a requirement....

More at A Catholic Citizen in America.

17 Jan 2015

The Inner Prayer Life of Jesus

Here is the key to the spiritual journey to which we are all called. It is to be found in the way in which the helpless child, who was born of the young Jewish virgin, Mary, grew into the masterpiece of God’s creation. As the years passed by, the growth of Jesus’ human body was paralleled by the growth of his inner spiritual being. Just as the exercise of the muscles of his body facilitated the growth of his body, so the exercise of the spiritual muscles of his mind and heart facilitated the growth of his soul.

St Luke draws our attention to this spiritual journey when after the finding of Jesus in the temple he wrote that on returning to Nazareth with his parents, ‘He grew in understanding and in wisdom with the years’(Luke 2:52). This growth was made possible by the action of the Holy Spirit who he received, both indirectly from his immaculate mother, and directly from his infinite Father, through his divine nature into his human nature. The writers of the Gospels show, not just how Jesus was conceived by the Holy Spirit, but how the Holy Spirit continually flowed into him throughout his life on earth making him the most secure, the most mature and the most lovable human being who has ever walked on the face of this earth.   .....read on...

Sunday Reflections, 2nd Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year B; Feast of the Santo Niño (Philippines)

From The Gospel of John, directed by Philip Saville
Readings (New American Bible: Philippines, USA)
Readings (Jerusalem Bible: Australia, England & Wales, India [optional], Ireland, New Zealand, Pakistan, Scotland, South Africa) 

The next day John again was standing with two of his disciples,  and as he watched Jesus walk by, he exclaimed, “Look, here is the Lamb of God!” The two disciples heard him say this, and they followed Jesus.  When Jesus turned and saw them following, he said to them, “What are you looking for?” They said to him, “Rabbi” (which translated means Teacher), “where are you staying?” He said to them, “Come and see.” They came and saw where he was staying, and they remained with him that day. It was about four o’clock in the afternoon.  One of the two who heard John speak and followed him was Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother. He first found his brother Simon and said to him, “We have found the Messiah” (which is translated Anointed). He brought Simon to Jesus, who looked at him and said, “You are Simon son of John. You are to be called Cephas” (which is translated Peter).
Links to the readings and some reflections for the Feast of the Santo Niño  are further down.Second Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year B

God calls each of us to our particular vocation in life in a unique way. Pope Francis has told us, for example, that it was on the occasion of going to confession when he was 17 that he saw clearly that God was calling him to be a priest. A couple at whose wedding I officiated some years ago were members of the same Catholic organisation in the university they attended. They became an 'item', as they say here in the Philippines, when they were the only members of the group to turn up at the appointed time for an outing. While waiting for the others to arrive they discovered that they were more than just casual friends. Now they are happily married.
Full post here.