19 Jan 2017

As the Morning Rising: Lasting Truth, Enduring Love

As the Morning Rising: Lasting Truth, Enduring Love: Open my heart to the beauty of lasting truth Lord, so that I will rest safe in the knowledge that nothing can come between me and Your ...

18 Jan 2017

Stealing God’s Job: Defying Reality

Just like most people, I do not simply break a rule here and there;  no, like every other human being, I continually break the most fundamental law of the universe without any conscious effort by refusing to accept reality. 

Instead of realizing my place in the universe, as one of God’s creations, I put on masks and false personalities in a vain attempt to deny my very nature. 

In pride, I act like a queen at the centre my own little world. Even worse, I steal God’s job by trying to save myself by my own efforts.

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St Francis of Assisi - Part 7 - Lady Poverty

Ever since Charlemagne was enthroned as Holy Roman Emperor in AD 800 Europe gradually became a safer place in which to live. It became increasingly easier to travel and to trade as the centuries rolled by. It was a slow process, but by the time Francis was a young man his father was only one of many merchants who had made a fortune in the sort of trading that would have been impossible before, when sacking and pillaging was the most common way of becoming rich. In the Middle Ages the best sackers and pillagers tended to become the worst landowners, as they enslaved most of their minions and taxed the rest into permanent penury, offering only safety from other sackers and pillagers for their pains. Gradually in Europe the survival of the fittest dictated the arrival of a new world order with the strongest at the top and the weakest at the bottom. This new world order came to be called feudalism.  read on...

Virtuous Leadership, by Alexandre Havard - Book Review

If you are looking for a way to bring virtue to the workplace, without coming across as a “Holy Roller,” then Virtuous Leadership, by Alexandre Havard is the book for you! Right from the book’s introduction you learn that “leadership is character” (Introduction xi). Havard tells us that people obtain good character as a the result of perseverance toward personal excellence. So, how do we achieve personal excellence? We do so through the practice of virtue. Havard is a man after my own heart! He speaks my language; the language of virtue.

We perceive and interpret things through the lens of character. By strengthening our character – i.e., by growing in virtue – we improve our ability to deliberate in the light of reason (p. 70).
In Virtuous Leadership, the author deftly covers the major components of virtuous leadership; ... Read more...

Reaching Across Divides

In November as I sat in a Newark airport at a crowded gate, across from me was a dark-skinned man in a turban, a Sikh. Suddenly he left. When he reappeared, he was pushing an elderly woman in a wheelchair, which he parked by me. Her husband sat on the other side of the empty chair beside me. The four of us chatted, and I gestured to the Sikh that he sit in the empty chair. He shook his head, probably because he was thoughtfully leaving it for someone else. Shortly, a Black woman dressed elegantly for a funeral sat in the chair. The woman in the wheelchair asked the Sufi if he were a doctor. He was. She said she thought so because of his kindness. He explained that in his religion when someone was in need, you must act to help. It has to be so much a part of you that you don’t think twice. You respond spontaneously. And then you don’t reflect on your good deed later, or you will get a swelled ego! Boarding the plane, I glanced back and the Sikh gave me a thumbs-up. Click to continue

16 Jan 2017

Suffering from January´s spiritual hangover? (Spanish) Sufres la cuesta de Enero ¿también en lo emocional?

El Señor Jesús se ha donado y sigue donándose a nosotros, para llenarnos de toda la misericordia y la gracia del Padre. Somos nosotros, por tanto, los que podemos convertirnos en cierto sentido en jueces de nosotros mismos, auto condenándonos a la exclusión de la comunión con Dios y con los hermanos, con la profunda soledad y tristeza que esto produce.

Pray as You Can, Not as You Can't

I was determined to leave my mark before leaving school, but, as I could not make it in the academic field, I decided that I would have to do it on the athletic field. I spent hours in the gym building up my muscles, on the track increasing my speed, and with my trainer perfecting my technique. On the very last day, I broke the school record at the pole vault and won a gold medal for winning the county Championships at the same time. But, as there were no other competitors, I threw my medal into the bin – it was not worthy of a place in the school’s trophy cabinet. I thought the whole thing was a waste of time, but on reflection, it did teach me something worthwhile that I have never forgotten.
There is no accomplishment of any kind that you can attain merely by desiring to have it. It must be learned and this means giving ever increasing time and energy to perfecting it. As my trainer used to say,  practice makes perfect. This is particularly true of trying to master the most important human accomplishment of all, learning to love. 
read on....

As the Morning Rising: Purity of Intention

As the Morning Rising: Purity of Intention: Purity of intention Sometimes we do something with the intention of pleasing another and the whole thing is misunderstood. We can...

Facing Struggles? You are Never Alone!

Do you ever get the feeling that when you are facing struggles, you are alone? That no one other than you face such challenges? That everyone else seems to have it so much easier? That is exactly what happened to me recently.

Back in 2008, when the US suffered the financial meltdown, and many people lost their jobs, I was one of the lucky ones who maintained my job. Selfishly, at the time, I didn’t give this national problem much attention, because it didn’t impact me directly. Now eight+ years later, with an unemployment rate lower than 5%, my husband lost his job in August, and at 63 is having difficulty finding a new job. With such a low unemployment rate, we don’t know anyone else in such a position – therefore, we feel as though we face this struggle alone.

Then one day, I was standing... Read more... 


15 Jan 2017

My Refuge

Life, Death, and Choices

Last week's Gospel reading, Matthew 2:1-12, ends with a sort of cliffhanger. "Magi from the east" arrived in Bethlehem, found our Lord's house, and paid their respects....

...Or maybe not so much — we read Matthew 2:13-18 on December 28. I don't suppose we'll see the massacre of the innocents1 in an animated Christmas special any time soon. It's far from the most cheerful parts of the Bible.

That didn't keep folks in Coventry from including it in their Shearmen and Tailors' Pageant. We got "Coventry Carol" from that mystery play....

More at A Catholic Citizen in America.

14 Jan 2017

'I myself have seen and have testified that this is the Son of God.’ Sunday Reflections, 2nd Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year A

Madonna and Child with the Lamb of God, Cesare da Sesto
Readings (New American Bible: Philippines, USA)
Readings (Jerusalem Bible: Australia, England & Wales,)
Gospel John 1:29-34 (NRSV)

The next day John saw Jesus coming towards him and declared, ‘Here is the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world! This is he of whom I said, “After me comes a man who ranks ahead of me because he was before me.” I myself did not know him; but I came baptizing with water for this reason, that he might be revealed to Israel.’ And John testified, ‘I saw the Spirit descending from heaven like a dove, and it remained on him. I myself did not know him, but the one who sent me to baptize with water said to me, “He on whom you see the Spirit descend and remain is the one who baptizes with the Holy Spirit.” And I myself have seen and have testified that this is the Son of God.’

Sunday Reflections for the Feast of the Santo Niño (Philippines) are here.

San Alfonso de Liguori Parish, Rome, 6 January 2014.
Some wonderful photos of Pope Francis with the lamb here.

My friend Frances Molloy in England, founder and project manager of Pastoral Care Project, a ministry in the Archdiocese of Birmingham to persons with dementia and to their carers, told me a beautiful story in an email just after Christmas:

Behold . . . My granddaughter aged 4 was playing with 'Jesus' family', as they are known to her, our hand-knitted nativity set, and she noticed the empty manger. A little later she came to me and said, 'Grandma, I've put the lamb in the manger'. Quite a moment . . .

The Lamb of God is one of the names of Jesus, pointing towards his sacrificial death on Calvary. St John the Baptist, who introduces Jesus to us with the words Here is the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world! was to be martyred not long afterwards. The purpose of the mission of St John the Baptist was that he [Jesus] might be revealed to Israel. This is the mission to which each of us is called.

In his letter to the ten new cardinals he announced in January 2014 Francis writes: And, although this may appear paradoxical, the ability to look further and to love more universally with greater intensity may be acquired only by following the same path of the Lord: the path of self-effacement and humility, taking on the role of a servant.

St John the Baptist followed that path: After me comes a man who ranks ahead of me because he was before me. His mission was to lead people towards Jesus. One of the ten new cardinals was Archbishop Orlando B. Quevedo OMI of Cotabato where just more than half of the 12,000,000 plus people are Catholics. Most of the others are Muslims.

Full post here.

13 Jan 2017

Urban Evolution and Big Brains

Life, and evolution, has been happening for quite a while. Cities are new, but the same processes happen there; with slightly different results. We're learning how urban environments affect critters, and are piecing together more of humanity's story....

...I see no problem with believing that God is creating a universe that's following knowable physical laws. That's just as well, since it's what we're told to believe....

More at A Catholic Citizen in America.

As the Morning Rising: The Cross ( Poetry Pamphlet )

As the Morning Rising: The Cross ( Poetry Pamphlet ): I'm happy to announce the publication of a new pamphlet - the third in a series of five. It contains 33 poems and refl...

12 Jan 2017

Eating Toast and Drinking Tea vs. The Body and Blood of Christ

When I eat a piece of toast and drink a cup of tea,
The tea and toast become part of me.
When I eat His Body and drink His Blood,
I become part of Christ.
Too often
I think  I am making room for the Eucharist within the confines of my puny self.
YET . . .  continue

An Unusual Path to Happiness

The Call to Follow 

In August, 2014, Pope Francis resumed his catechesis on the Church, during his first General Audience since June. He focused his teaching on how Jesus fulfills the Old Testament by giving a new teaching on mercy in the beatitudes.

Key Points:
1.)“John points to Jesus and calls us to follow him in repentance and conversion. The new law which Jesus gives in the Sermon on the Mount perfects the law given to Moses on Mount Sinai.”

In the Sermon on the Mount we are introduced to The Golden Rule – “In everything do to others as you would have them do to you; for this is the law and the prophets.” (NRSV- Catholic Ed). What I find particularly appealing about this translation is the first two words – IN EVERYTHING.

All Rights Reserved, Allison Gingras 2017


11 Jan 2017

Maintaining Self-Control as Willpower Wanes

Eleven days into the new year – How’s that resolution coming along? Still going strong, or has the willpower waned? Making positive change is not always so easy. We all have good intentions as the ball drops at midnight on New Year’s Day. We even have that gung-ho attitude on the first Monday back to work. Everyone is ready to hit the salad bar rather than the burger joint. The local gym is overcrowded with people working out. Self-Control is on steroids!

Then, after a few days, the desire to keep up the diet, or go to the gym, or resist that cigarette seems to wane. What is one to do? How can you keep your new year’s resolution to improve your life when your willpower seems to desert you and your self-control becomes non-existent? Read more...

What's in the Name Jesus?

When someone calls me Catherine, I don’t like it. My name is Kathleen. We are sensitive about our names because they stand for us. I wonder how the Savior feels when we call him Jesus. He and his people spoke  Aramaic, which has no “J” sound.  His name would have been Yeshua, a common Jewish name. It’s akin to the name of Joshua, the great leader who succeeded Moses and led the people through Jericho into the promised land. Both names are short forms of Jehoshua, which means “Yahweh is his salvation.” The name Yeshua then is appropriate for the savior of the world. We use the Greek equivalent Jesus. I don’t suppose he minds it, no more than my Italian friend Lorenzo minds being called Lawrence here in America. As Shakespeare observed, “A rose by any other name would smell as sweet.” Click to continue

10 Jan 2017

Deciding Who Dies

Death at a Bible study back in 2015, and at Fort Lauderdale airport last week, has been in the news.

It's probably not as exciting as what glitterati were wearing and saying at the Golden Globe Awards; but I figured now would be a good time to talk about those deaths, and decisions

More at A Catholic Citizen in America.

Discovering a New Catholic Artist: Pavol Olsavsky

“Where Art Meets Your Soul”
I enjoy discovering and promoting contemporary Catholic artists. Pavol Olsavsky III, a Slovakian-born artist, stepped out and contacted me after seeing my post, Ladislav Zaborsky: Imprisoned for His Art.  Olsavsky has been influenced mainly by this Slovakian master, who just died before Christmas 2016. I can see Zaborsky’s influence in Olsavsky’s use of brilliant colours and light.

9 Jan 2017

Baptism of the Lord - A Day to Remember God's Love

Today we celebrate the Baptism of the Lord. This day marks the end of Jesus’ private life and the beginning of His public ministry. On the River Jordan, Jesus allowed Himself to be baptized with water by Saint John the Baptist. As Jesus came out of the water, the Holy Spirit descended like a dove, hovering over Jesus’ head, with the Father’s voice resounding “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased” (Matt 3:17). God the Father makes this declarative statement, clearly articulating that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. The second half of the commentary is an expression of the Father’s love for His Son. Jesus is Our God, and He is loved by the Father in union with the Holy Spirit – Trinitarian Love expressed at the Baptism of Our Lord.

Correlation to Our Own Baptism

We experienced that same Trinitarian love when we were baptized. The Father... Read more... 

8 Jan 2017

The Magi Sought Fearlessly, Adored Humbly

Around the 14th century, the magi were said to represent the three known races of the time, European, Asian, and African.

Whatever the truth, the wise men were brave, curious and open to God’s inspiration as they studied the Hebrew Scriptures and the Messianic prophecies of the Old Testament. Among these, they found the words of Balaam:

 “A Star shall come out of Jacob; a Scepter shall rise out of Israel” (Numbers 24:17, )

Letting Go: A Chance for Sparks

James squinted, taking a moment to truly look at her. 

Beryl's black hair was tugged into a tight ponytail. She'd shielded her figure in a snow white sweater, black leggings and ankle boots. The sleeves were tugged past her wrist, hiding every inch of skin, even her fingertips. Her arms were folded tight. Her balance kept shifting. Her striking eyes, in the rare moments they rose to meet his, looked more bruised-violet than true blue. He'd seen other students addled during finals week, but none who looked like this. 
Read the rest of the excerpt from my newest romantic novel here! A Chance for Sparks

Year 2017 among youngsters: no sex for me thank you! (Spanish) Sexo moderno: de viejo tabú a nuevo tabu

El sexo en diversas culturas de siglos pasados había permanecido oculto como  un tema tabú. Los movimientos liberales nos aseguraron que eso traumaba, causaba numerosos problemas y provocaba infelicidad. En esos tiempos pudo haber algo de cierto en que la omisión de la preparación para una sexualidad sana afectara a millones de personas en sus vidas.

Pero, a pesar de la aceptación final de la revolución sexual que sucedió más adelante, hoy la actitud hacia el sexo y el placer sexual libre de las nuevas generaciones de milenials  de países desarrollados y progresistas nos está revelando secretos ocultos sobre este aspecto de nuestro ser y que han surgido del fondo del corazón humano.

Repent Greatly

Epiphany Sunday

Statues1 of Caspar, Melchior, and Balthazar started near the clock in our living room. I took those pictures of them on Wednesday. Their trip to the nativity scene ended today, Epiphany Sunday.

We read about "magi from the east" in today's Gospel: Matthew 2:1 through 12:
"1 When Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea, in the days of King Herod, 2 behold, magi from the east arrived in Jerusalem,
"saying, 'Where is the newborn king of the Jews? We saw his star 3 at its rising and have come to do him homage.'"
(Matthew 2:1-2)
"Magi" is how μάγοι, mágoi, looks in my native language. That's the Greek version of an Old Persian word that would sound something like "magus" if I tried pronouncing it.

More at A Catholic Citizen in America.

As the Morning Rising: Divine Encounter

As the Morning Rising: Divine Encounter: When we think of the effect that an encounter with a really good person can have on us, often staying in our memory and tucked away in a...

7 Jan 2017

As the Morning Rising: Baptism of The Lord

As the Morning Rising: Baptism of The Lord: When I think of Christ's church on earth I come to understand what a great honour it is to belong, and yet I am humbled at the thoug...

6 Jan 2017

'When they saw that the star had stopped, they were overwhelmed with joy.' Sunday Reflections. The Epiphany

The Adoration of the MagiVelázquez [Web Gallery of Art]

Readings for the Solemnity of the Epiphany

Readings (New American Bible: Philippines, USA)

Readings (Jerusalem Bible: Australia, England & Wales, India [optional], Ireland, New Zealand, Pakistan, Scotland, South Africa) 

The readings above are used both at the Vigil Mass and at the Mass during the Day. Each Mass has its own set of prayers and antiphons.


In countries where the Epiphany is observed as a Holyday of Obligation on 6 January, eg, Ireland, the Baptism of the Lord is celebrated, not the Mass of the Second Sunday after the Nativity as I had posted earlier. Here is the link to the readings for Year A. 

Readings (Jerusalem Bible)

Alleluia and Gospel for the Epiphany

Alleluia, alleluia!
Vidimus stellam eius in Oriente,
We have seen his star in the East,
et venimus cum muneribus adorare Dominum.
and have come with gifts to adore the Lord.
Alleluia, alleluia!

The same text (cf. Matthew 2:2), without 'Alleluia, alleluia,' is used as the Communion Antiphon at the Mass during the Day.

In the time of King Herod, after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea, wise men from the East came to Jerusalem, asking, ‘Where is the child who has been born king of the Jews? For we observed his star at its rising, and have come to pay him homage.’ When King Herod heard this, he was frightened, and all Jerusalem with him; and calling together all the chief priests and scribes of the people, he inquired of them where the Messiah was to be born. They told him, ‘In Bethlehem of Judea; for so it has been written by the prophet:
“And you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah,
    are by no means least among the rulers of Judah;
for from you shall come a ruler
    who is to shepherd my people Israel.”’
Then Herod secretly called for the wise men and learned from them the exact time when the star had appeared. Then he sent them to Bethlehem, saying, ‘Go and search diligently for the child; and when you have found him, bring me word so that I may also go and pay him homage.’ When they had heard the king, they set out; and there, ahead of them, went the star that they had seen at its rising, until it stopped over the place where the child was. When they saw that the star had stopped, they were overwhelmed with joy. On entering the house, they saw the child with Mary his mother; and they knelt down and paid him homage. Then, opening their treasure-chests, they offered him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. And having been warned in a dream not to return to Herod, they left for their own country by another road.
Adoration of the MagiFilippino Lippi [Web Gallery of Art]

While based in Britain from 2000 till 2002 I was able to spend Christmas with my brother and his family in Dublin, a short flight from England, in 2000 and 2001. During the holiday in 2001 I saw a documentary on RTÉ, Ireland's national broadcasting service, about Filipino nurses in Ireland. These began to arrive in 2000, initially at the invitation of the Irish government to work in government hospitals. Very quickly there was an 'invasion' of Filipino nurses and carers, now to be found in hospitals and nursing homes in every part of the country. 

One of the nurses interviewed told how many Filipinos, knowing that the Irish celebrate Christmas on the 25th, unlike the Philippines where the culmination of the feast is on the night of the 24th, offered to work on Christmas Day so that their Irish companions could be with their families. This also helped to dull the pain of being away from their own families.

Continue here.

5 Jan 2017

Thoughts on Epiphany - Twelfth Night

Of the whole gamut of myths, legends and fairy tales that have been told in human history, not even the most outrageous or outlandish can compare with the message that we can so easily take for granted. It is the message first delivered to poor shepherds as they tended their flocks in the early hours of the first Christmas day.  The message was simply unbelievable, yet because it was delivered by an angel sent by God, they immediately believed without question the greatest news that the world has ever received. It is simply that the all-holy and utterly other, the God who created the world, in the beginning, was made flesh and was born in a humble stable at the back of an inn in a small hamlet of no importance. The full meaning and implications of this epoch-making event would take a long time to penetrate the hearts and minds of all who initially just wanted to bend their knees and adore. Even the greatest of the prophets had never foreseen that the Messiah whose coming they had indeed foretold.
read on....

Only Spirit Inspired Evangelization Is Effective

Trained to evangelize, with social media at their fingertips, modern Catholics might be surprised to discover that the most effective missionaries are still those who humbly carry Christ like a donkey.  Yet, when Catholics actually carry Christ, they are filled with the love and joy of the Lord.  These ordinary folk spread the Good News to those who still live in darkness, existing outside the heart of the Church.  The Heavenly Father asks such disciples, who are attuned to His voice, to write and speak about their spiritual experiences and to share the truths found in the Church.  In this way, modern Catholics are like jet landing strips, or perhaps modems, connecting the presence of the Unseen God in a tangible way to those on earth who are seeking heaven.
joy is a net of love by which you can catch souls.” St. Teresa of Calcutta.

Evangelization Techniques

No matter how articulate we are, our best erudite arguments will not reveal the true Presence of God to an unbeliever unless we have listened to God and only say or write what He tells us to. Since Christianity is an experiential faith, a relationship with the Living God, we must help a seeker connect with the Father. 

4 Jan 2017

Money Matters (but GOD is always First)

Letting Go of Bad Habits

In January, 2016, on A Seeking Heart with Allison Gingras, I had the pleasure of interviewing Manage Your Money God's Way hosts, Jon and Evelyn Bean.   The version of the book I featured on the show that week was Your Money Counts, written Howard Dayton and adapted to reflect a Catholic approach by the Beans.  As usual the Holy Spirit is bringing just what I need, just WHEN I need it.  Well, truth be told I probably NEEDED it 25 years ago but... now that we are drowning in the financial mess not having this book for 25 years has brought us, the timing works!

2017 UPDATE: We have learned to doggy-paddle; by this time next year we should be onto the breast-stroke.  This system, rooted solidly in biblical principle and reliant on God's grace are a HOME RUN!

At the end of my show, I mentioned I would be definitely blogging my progress as I tried to implement the lessons I learned in reading Your Money Counts.   The Beans had a wonderful idea and a generous offer to make this blog experience even more fruitful and enriching for all of us - and offered to send me a copy of Navigating Your Finances God's Way (Catholic Edition).    
And so the Journey began... read more here

Finding Solace in the Winter Blues Through Prayer

The holiday season has come to an end. The decorations might already be packed away. The house seems quiet and barren without all of the colorful decorations, let alone the family and friends that filled the house throughout the holiday season. The family members have packed up and headed out. You feel a sense of emptiness after such a time of celebration. The winter blues have set in. What is one to do?

Find Solace in the Winter Blues

The quietude of January is a wonderful time to appreciate some one-on-one time with God. It is a great time to reacquaint ourselves with prayer. Engaging in conversation with God can... Read more...

First Days of the New Year 2017

I remember looking forward to 1984 when it was the title of a book about the future. All of a sudden it’s 2017! How did that happen? In case you are still deciding on your new year’s resolutions, here are some tips culled from Pope Francis and from my previous New Year posts:
First, Pope Francis’s ten practical suggestions for resolutions:
  1. Don’t gossip.
  2. Finish your meals.
  3. Make time for others.
  4. Choose the “more humble” purchase.
  5. Meet the poor “in the flesh.”
  6. Stop judging others.    Click to continue

2 Jan 2017

Artists Reveal Mary The Mother of God

Michael O'Brien

The Solemnity of Mary, the Holy Mother of God is a feast day of the Blessed Virgin Mary which celebrates her motherhood as the mother of Jesus Christ, Lord, Son of God.
It is celebrated on 1 January, the Octave (8th) day of Christmastide.


 En esta época moderna en la que las comunicaciones y los trasportes han progresado como nunca antes en la historia y en que el comercio e intercambio entre las naciones es más boyante, se presenta una paradoja que evidencia la necesidad del desarrollo humanitario y espiritual de cada hombre para lograr el desarrollo sustentable para todos: el hambre que sufren todavía millones de personas en el planeta.

¿Dónde está el problema? ¿Por qué hay hambre en muchos rincones del mundo, ese mundo moderno y comunicado?

Al parecer el centro del problema no está en la cantidad de alimento sino en la distribución. Mientras en los países desarrollados se desperdicia casi un tercio de los alimentos que se producen, en los países pobres los insumos no llegan. (1)

New Year Brings Change, Like It or Not

Out with the old, in with the new! As we welcome the promise of the New Year, let us not forget all that God provides. Everything God gives us is a gift, right down to every breath we take.

Many times when we experience struggle and illness, we want to push the pain away as soon as we can, and forget the incident. Out of sight – out of mind! We certainly do not consider struggle and illness as gifts coming from God! However, that is not necessarily true. Even times of difficulty can be a gift from God. It is at these times that He graces us with opportunity to grow closer to Him. No – He does not give you hardships and illnesses. Let’s make that perfectly clear. But, He is with you always through the struggle and the pain. He graces you with... Read more...

As the Morning Rising: Psalm 139

As the Morning Rising: Psalm 139: Sometimes we arrive, barely aware that we had been travelling. God answers our prayer before we had pieced together its bare bones and t...