25 Oct 2014


What do you really believe?

Front Row With Francis: Ezekiel’s Bones and The Church

Pope Francis invites us to read Ezekiel chapter 37 which describes the Spirit of God breathing life into a Valley ofDry Bones. Francis always emphasizes that God is in charge and in control of the Church, not man. In Ezekiel, it is God who, through the prophet, sends the Spirit upon the skeletons. Ezekiel humbly admits he doesn’t know what God’s plan is. Similarly, it is God Himself who breathes His life into the Body, the Church.
Francis explained that”the vision of Prophet Ezechiel, in which God’s Spirit gives flesh and life to a field of dry bones, is a foreshadowing of the Church, filled with the Spirit’s gift of new life in Christ and united in fellowship and love.”
In addition, it is important to notice God sends Ezekiel in the midst of a rebellious house of the exiled Israelites. The dry bones are Israel, cut off from the of life God. By zeroing in on this scene of the Valley of Dry Bones, the pope makes a parallel connection with individual members of the modern Church who act like the rebellious house of Israel,

The Devil's Heartbeat

One day a new demon was asking questions of his demonic mentor, the elder demon assigned to show him the ropes so to speak. 

"Why does the illustrious evil one hate humans so?" asked the new demon.

"You don't know?"  


'You shall love the Lord your God . . .you shall love your neighbor as yourself.' Sunday Reflections. 30th Sunday in Ordinary Time Year A

St Matthew and the Angel,Vincenzo Campi, 
San Francesco d'Assis, Pavia, Italy [Web Gallery 
Readings (New American Bible: Philippines, 
Readings (Jerusalem Bible: Australia, England & Wales, India [optional], Ireland, New Zealand, Pakistan, Scotland, South Africa)
When the Pharisees heard that Jesus had silenced the Sadducees, they gathered together, and one of them, a lawyer, asked him a question to test him. “Teacher, which commandment in the law is the greatest?” He said to him, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the greatest and first commandment.  And a second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.”

In preparation for the visit of Pope Francis to the Philippines in January 2015 Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle, Archbishop of Manila, reflects on today's gospel.
The first of the three videos in this series has the theme The Works of Mercy. In the second Cardinal Tagle looks at The Beatitudes
Stephen Cardinal Kim Sou-hwan, Archbishop of Seoul (1922 - 2009)
I'm in Korea at the moment, partly because of the ordination to the priesthood on 1 November of revered Lee Jehoon Augustine, a Columban who spent two years working in the Manila area as part of his preparation for the priesthood.
Yesterday, Friday, I went with two Columban priests, Fr Liam O'Keeffe, a classmate from County Clare, Ireland,
 Full post here.

24 Oct 2014

Motivating your phlegmatic child (and yourself?)

File:Thomas Couture - Daydreams - Walters 3744.jpg
Daydreams by Thomas Couture (Wikimedia Commons).
After I wrote a post with tips for your choleric child, a readers asked if I would write one for phlegmatics as well. I’ve been thinking hard about how to motivate phlegmatics, as I work with C, age 8, who is phlegmatic/sanguine. Since I am phlegmatic/melancholic, I have also looked closely at what works for me.

In reading Fr. Conrad Hock’s book about the four temperaments, I was disappointed by his treatment of phlegmatics. He takes about two pages with each of the other three temperaments, but his main section about phlegmatics says only this:

The training of phlegmatic children is very difficult, because external influence has little effect upon them and internal personal motives are lacking. .....
Not very encouraging for parents, is it?
Continue reading at Contemplative Homeschool.

Earth's Wandering Poles, A Comet, a Wobbling Moon

Robot explorers observed a comet as it whizzed past Mars, there's something very odd about a moon of Saturn, and Earth's magnetic field will probably flip much sooner than predicted.

About Earth's magnetic poles switching places: I'm pretty sure we'll notice the event, but it won't be 'apocalyptic.'...

...Earth's magnetic field is weakening a whole lot faster than scientists expected. Our planet's north and south magnetic poles will switch places "soon:" on the geologic time scale.

More at A Catholic Citizen in America.

Catholic Author Jean Heimann of CatholicFire Tells Us How to Stay Married 10 Years & Then Some

Following up on last week's blog tour where I reviewed Jean Heimann's new book Seven Saints for Seven Virtues, Jean and her husband Bill return to Can We Cana? for some advice on How to Stay Married 10 Years & Then Some.

1. How many years have you been married and how many kids do you have?

Bill & Jean:  We have been married 22 years and have no biological children. Bill has an adult son from a previous marriage, which was formally annulled by the Catholic Church prior to our marriage in the Church in 1992.

2. Name 3 things that have helped you to stay married this long.

Jean: Our strong Catholic faith bonded us from the beginning and has kept us together over the years. We are “equally yoked” as the Protestants say. We were both actively involved in leadership roles in various ministries prior to our marriage (and continue to be) and saw eye to eye on the important issues that face engaged couples: openness to life, putting God first in our lives, serving others, stewardship, our roles as husband and wife. We were highly compatible from the beginning and continue to remain that way. ...

23 Oct 2014

Stunning Medieval Church Inspires Praise

I am in awe of incredible architecture of the past, created without modern machinery or even power tools. The results are stunning testaments to faith and dedication to God. They inspire praise and prayer.The experience must be even more powerful in person if mere images can move us.
St. Denis Basilica in Paris, has sheer columns, arches and exceptional stained glass. It is the first monumental masterpiece of Gothic art. The Basilica of St Denis  marked the change from Romanesque architecture to Gothic architecture. The French Gothic was then spread across Europe as the Middle Ages international style. Then after, workshops at cathedral building sites propagated the new way through the training of master builders. continue>

22 Oct 2014

Follow Me ...

Do not covet another man’s house, do not covet his wife, his slaves, his cattle, his ass, or anything else that he owns.
All right, with some difficulty, most of us can go along with that. We may be a little envious of someone else’s house or car or whatever; but that’s as far as it goes. (We hope).

I know I don’t envy my neighbour’s ass because he hasn’t got one. As for his wife … well … let’s say she is so frightening that he is most welcome to her. I know my cat is so terrified whenever he sees her that he dashes up a tree to hide. Even the birds are so scared that they’ve returned all the seeds they took last year.
But what about coveting our neighbours’ Blogs, or Facebook or Google accounts, or such other social media?

Why should they have more hits than me? Or more comments and followers and friends? Some people have more friends on their website than the number of real people that I have met in a lifetime.
Is that not as serious a sin as the 10nth Commandment quoted above?
Perhaps we should instead focus on the content of our Blog posts rather than the number of people reading them.
Let our Blog be the one which Jesus would want to read.

Saint Pope John Paul II and the Heroic Minute

Today the church celebrates the first official feast day of Saint Pope John Paul II.  His heroism and total devotion to his prayer time, even during times of illness, injury and suffering, that propelled him to the heights of holiness and made him a compelling witness to the world of a life lived in complete surrender to the Lord.

Click here to read more about Saint Pope John Paul II's morning prayer routine.

The Power of Little Things

Once when I was in charge of the songs for a retreat Mass, things went very wrong. I came too late to begin the opening song, I started one song too high, and so on. After that fiasco, I sat in the chapel feeling ashamed and miserable. As the other sisters filed out, one of them gave my shoulder a little squeeze. Suddenly things weren’t so bad . . . because of that little gesture. Click to continue

My least favorite time of year

My least favorite time of year is when the political ads on TV and phone calls incessantly fill my life.  Facebook is filled with everyone's opinion on politics and my head starts to hurt and then explode.

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

21 Oct 2014

Women of the Bible I would Like to Meet:: Part 2::The Women at the Empty Tomb:: Joanna, Mary, and Mary Magdalene

There were two Mary's who  went to the empty tomb to finish the burial work of Jesus.  One was Mary Magdalene and the other was Mary, the mother of James and Joseph. Both of these women  had been at the cross with Jesus, Mary, His Mother, and John, and Joanna. 

Mary Magdalene is the woman who was weeping in the garden who spoke to Jesus and didn't recognize Him at first in all His Glory.

When I meet her at His Tomb, I would like to ask her so many questions about her meeting with Jesus.

Of course, you were distraught over your Master's death.  How did you feel when you went to His tomb to finish His anointing for burial?

Did you leave the home of Mary early to spare her the duty of finishing the burial rituals?

What are your memories of the cross?  You must have wept with the other courageous women there?
Read More Here at:: His Unending Love

The two videos that rendered me speechless

You can view the videos at Being Catholic ... Really.

How many good works must we do?

File:Image-Basilique de Lisieux crytpte.jpg
Crypt of the Basilica of St. Therese in Lisieux (Wikipedia).
In the thinking of St. Therese, what does it take to be a saint?
Therese grew up in a culture influenced by Jansenism. Jansenism was a heresy from the seventeenth century that over-emphasized the role of grace in man’s salvation. It had a long-lasting effect on  the Church in France. In the late nineteenth century, during Therese’s life, the French clergy often preached “fire and brimstone” sermons. They focused on man’s sinfulness and the horrors of Hell.

During the school retreat before the first anniversary of her reception of first Communion, Therese was greatly frightened by the priest’s warnings against mortal sin. She was suddenly overcome by scruples. How could she be sure she was on the road to salvation? How could she be sure she was in God’s graces? Maybe she was guilty of mortal sin without acknowledging it. How could she ever be good enough to please God?
Continue reading at Contemplative Homeschool.

Praying with Music

Come! Let us sing to the Lord
and shout with joy
to the rock who saves us.
Let us approach him
with praise and thanksgiving
and sing joyful songs to the Lord.
Psalm 95:1-2

"Americans spend more money on music than on sex or prescription drugs."
"There is no known culture now or anytime in the past that lacks [music], and some of the oldest human-made artifacts found at archaeological sites are musical instruments."

Both of these provocative lines come from books written by Dr. Daniel J. Levitin. The first is from his 2006 best seller This Is Your Brain on Music: the Science of a Human Obsession, and the second is from his more recent book (2008), The World in Six Songs: How the Musical Brain Created Human Nature. Once a professional musician, sound engineer, and record producer, Levitin is now a neuroscientist who runs the Laboratory for Musical Perception, Cognition and Expertise at McGill University.

In The World in Six Songs, Levitin explains that when people sing together, the brain releases oxytocin, what Levitin calls a “trust-inducing hormone.” Oxytocin is the same chemical released when a man and a woman create life together, Levitin reminds us. Singing is that dramatic.

Read on at Praying with Grace!

20 Oct 2014

You can go home again

There's an old saying, "you can't go home again," but I have many times.  I live just a few blocks from where I was raised and sometimes when I go on my walk, I visit the neighborhood where I grew up.
Come walk with me:
You can read the rest at Being Catholic ... Really.

The “Yes” God wants from us by Nancy HC Ward

What God wants is for us to say “yes” to him and “no” to everything else. Of the millions of good things available to us, he wants us to have the best. That’s because he loves us so much. He loved us, even while we were yet sinners.

Every one of us doubts that we are loved. After all, each one of us knows who “we” are. It surprises us when someone loves us completely and thoroughly. But the Lord is after us to believe it. He wants us to know that he loves us inside and out.

We can begin by saying “yes” to believing that we are worthy of God’s love. We can say “yes” to believing deep within our being, that God, our Creator and Savior, loves us. We belong to him. He loves and cherishes us. He wants to protect us with his gift of faith and trust in him. Before we can serve him and love him fully we must first say “yes”’ to letting him love us. 

How does he convince us that he loves us? That’s up to us. He’ll do whatever it takes to convince us, but not against our free will. When we can believe it, then we can try it on. Act like he loves us by loving others the same way he love us. By sharing his love we prove to ourselves and to them how much he loves us.

19 Oct 2014

Embrace Real Life (@ Melody's Harmonies)

Somedays life isn't Pinterest or blog post worthy. 
Somedays you don't bother to put on makeup.  
Somedays you don't bother to shower.  
Somedays you wear jeans to mass.  
Somedays you sleep in and arrive at mass late.  
Read the rest here

I am Broken Too

'.....I'm sweeping my kitchen floor and my back is starting to ache a tad more than usual. ('O God, come to my aid; O Lord make haste to help me!')  

Help me to sweep without grumbling today. Help me to be grateful for dust and kitchen crumbs, and a few extra twinges. ('Lord, I offer these pains up for our dear friend who is battling cancer and who loves You so much!')  

Help me choose to do this monotonous housework with a light heart, even though I'd rather be reading a book or gardening. Help me to be careful not to put too much stress on my old broom today... 

and to remember this... I am broken too. 

So broken, You have to reach right down from Heaven itself to make any use of me.... ' (a guest post from our friend Trish. Click here to continue)

Galileo, the Roman Inquisition and the Extraordinary Synod on the Family

Galileo Galilei (1564 - 1642) [Wikipedia]
As I write this at 07:45 GMT/UTC, Sunday 19 October, the above is the main story on the website of the BBC. It was also the lead story on BBC World when I watched the news there at 22:00 Saturday and again at 04:00 today. Both bulletins featured two men in Rome living together, one of them speaking fluent English and telling of his desire to raise the three young children that they have  as Catholics. The 04:00 bulletin also included an interview with a representative of The New Ways Ministry, described on the BBC website report as 'a US Catholic gay rights group'.

James Reynolds' report on the BBC website begins with this sentence: Catholic gay rights groups say they are disappointed after bishops rejected a call for wider acceptance of gay people, which had the Pope's backing.
Full post here.

Yeats, Cthulhu, and Synod 14

Some mainstream news isn't "journalistic infotainment-like art-product," as Hyraxx, the alien reporter in Buck Godot, described her work.

That said, there's a reason for my concentrating on News.va, the Vatican's official news source, for Synod 14 coverage....

...Emotions are part of being human. We're supposed to feel happy, sad, or whatever. But God gave us brains: and expects us to think, too.

I have no problem with emotions: which is a good thing, since I'm a very emotional man. I've enjoyed shows like Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade and Revenge of the Cybermen, but that's entertainment....

More at A Catholic Citizen in America.

18 Oct 2014

Taking the Next Good Step! …on Road of Teleios by Way of “Route 66″

Here I am…
on the road again!
…to “take the next good step” (as Fr. Groeschel dearly liked to say),
in moving forward towards a much better place of health & holiness—
to where I’ve been called to go,
still with the help of some very good friends.
[Thank God for friends in high places!]
And now that I’m getting back on Route again (after being held up in bit of a jam this summer!), I’ve become quite alert these days to the important connection between Route “66” [The Route 66 Challenge™ ] and that of Teleios [that's Greek to me :) ...Greek, that is, for “perfect”]—to take the next good step in answering the call by Jesus to “be perfect” [Mt.5:48]—because we are not on a 'road to nowhere'!  But, Lord, this really sounds like the type of call I’d normally hang up on! …Thankfully, though, I’ve held on for it instead—because this call by Jesus isn’t being made to lead us to discouragement or to a state of hopelessness

Way quote. St John of Kanty_Fight error…Let’s go ahead—Let’s take the next good step on our road of life!
St. Pope John Paul II, pray for us! … St. John of Kanty, pray for us!

17 Oct 2014

I'm Here."

"Mom, why do you go to Mass everyday?"

"Because I love Him."  


"Our Lord."


"You don't understand do you."

"Not really."  


'Render therefore to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.' Sunday Reflections, 29th Sunday in Ordinary Time Year A

'I die His Majesty's good servant - but God's first.' St Thomas More
Readings (New American Bible: Philippines, USA)
Readings (Jerusalem Bible: Australia, England & Wales, India [optional], Ireland, New Zealand, Pakistan, Scotland, South Africa)
Then the Pharisees went and plotted to entrap Jesus in what he said. So they sent their disciples to him, along with the Herodians, saying, ‘Teacher, we know that you are sincere, and teach the way of God in accordance with truth, and show deference to no one; for you do not regard people with partiality. Tell us, then, what you think. Is it lawful to pay taxes to the emperor, or not?’ But Jesus, aware of their malice, said, ‘Why are you putting me to the test, you hypocrites? Show me the coin used for the tax.’ And they brought him a denarius. Then he said to them, ‘Whose head is this, and whose title?’ They answered, ‘The emperor’s.’ Then he said to them, ‘Give therefore to the emperor the things that are the emperor’s, and to God the things that are God’s.’

A denarius from 44 BC showing the head of Julius Caesar and the goddess Venus [Wikipedia]
In the time of Jesus a denarius was a day's wage for an ordinary working man.

I spent three months in the latter part of 1982 working in a hospital in Minneapolis as a chaplain. I was one of seven doing a 'quarter' of Clinical Pastoral Education. One day I had to go to a bank and got chatting with an employee at the information desk. When he heard I was based in the Philippines he told me that in the previous elections in the USA he had considered, among other things, what impact his vote would have on the lives of Filipinos and others outside the USA.
Full post here.

Mystical Contemplation is for All

Żmurko_In_raptureSometime ago I wrote a blog on what I called ‘mystical premonitions’ or ‘touches of God’, nevertheless I would like to write something further to make myself a little clearer. In that blog I used St Augustine to make my point, this time however I would like to make my point by describing common experiences that we have all had particularly in our youth. Here are a few examples to show you what I mean. You may be at a party, having a good time with your friends. There’s plenty of fun and games, plenty of food and drink. There’s music and dancing and everything is in full swing when suddenly it happens – ‘A touch of God.’ It’s not a physical, but a spiritual touch, that amidst all the merriment makes you suddenly feel alone. It makes you feel that you don’t belong, makes you want something further, something higher, something nobler, though you’d be hard put to give a name to what you really do want if someone pressed you. But if you were pressed you’d probably say, ‘God’.  read on.....

Notice How They Preach

'Listen to the sermon preached to you by the flowers, the trees, the shrubs, the sky, and the whole world. Notice how they preach to you a sermon full of love, of praise of God, and how they invite you to glorify the sublimity of that sovereign Artist who has given them being.'

St. Paul of the Cross