Space 'Firsts:' New Horizons, Chang'e-4

It's been a month for space exploration 'firsts,' and a 'farthest.'

Ultima Thule became the most distant object visited by a probe on January 1, with the New Horizons flyby.

A few days later, China's Chang'e-4 mission landed in the von Kármán crater, part of the moon that's not visible from Earth. It's the first lunar farside landing, and the first time plants sprouted on the moon...."

(More on A Catholic Citizen in America.)

In a Crisis, I Found Refuge in Infused Prayer

In the midst of a family crisis, I found refuge in the words of the prayer Jesus gave us. When we are open to the Holy Spirit, the Father shines His purifying light on us. The process is often painful, though, because when the light of the Father comes into our hearts and lives, the darkness is pushed out. Looks like I must be open to God’s work because my whole life has been shattered by decades-old secrets revealed by angry adult children. The whole process is messy but God breaks through my anxiety some days so I can respond to His call for complete surrender. However, like most mothers, I try to fix problems only to make situations worse. Back and forth I go, from heavenly peace to a state of sheer panic when I can hardly function. However, through it all, I know God is using this mess to bring healing to the whole family, just like He is healing His entire Church. Our only recourse is to draw closer to the heart of the Lord and give Him our fiat, in the middle of our confusion an…

'Love is always fruitful, were it only because it transforms those who love.' Sunday Reflections, 2nd Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year C

The Marriage at Cana, Marten de Vos [Web Gallery of Art]

Readings(New American Bible: Philippines, USA)
Readings(Jerusalem Bible: Australia, England & Wales, India [optional], Ireland, New Zealand, Pakistan, Scotland, South Africa)
GospelJohn 2:1-11 (New Revised Standard Version, Anglicised Catholic Edition)
On the third day there was a wedding in Cana of Galilee, and the mother of Jesus was there. Jesus and his disciples had also been invited to the wedding. When the wine gave out, the mother of Jesus said to him, ‘They have no wine.’ And Jesus said to her, ‘Woman, what concern is that to you and to me? My hour has not yet come.’ His mother said to the servants, ‘Do whatever he tells you.’ Now standing there were six stone water-jars for the Jewish rites of purification, each holding twenty or thirty gallons.Jesus said to them, ‘Fill the jars with water.’ And they filled them up to the brim. He said to them, ‘Now draw some out, and take it to the chief steward.’ So they took it. When…

Embracing Temperance in the New Year

We’re two weeks into the New Year, and many of us have already failed to live up to our New Year’s resolution to lose weight, and/or to get fit. Why? Because we lack the virtue of Temperance. Embracing Temperance helps us to gain control over our passions, even the passion for food and the lack of passion for exercise! I love to eat good food, and I detest any exercise. As a result, all the weight that I lost a few years ago returned – every pound of it! I know this is not healthy for me. Yet, when your “Temperance Tank” is running on empty, it is very difficult to make positive change. That’s why we fail to live up to our New Year’s resolutions. So, it’s time to fill up on Temperance. Embracing Temperance Temperance is responsible for moderating our attraction to pleasure – and that includes food, drink, sex, excessive shopping, gambling, etc. You get the point. It also provides us with balance in using things, exercising control over our impulses and desires. When we seem to lose th…

Religions in Search of Truth

If you're like me, some nights before you drift off to sleep you ponder questions like is there a God, is there really an afterlife, why do we suffer, and how did creation begin. These questions have engaged and intrigued people of all times and places. Different faith traditions have wrestled with them and ventured to offer answers. For the past two years, I've been focused on them. It all began one day when I went to our Provincial Center for a funeral. In the hall Sister Karita met me and declared, "God has sent you to me!" She and another college professor had arranged to write a book for a publisher about the ultimate questions.* The other professor realized she had too much on her plate and backed out of the project, leaving Sister in the lurch. Desperate, Sister prayed for help, and my name floated into her mind. That morning she unexpectedly met me! Working on the book enlightened me about different religions and my own. I found that we human beings have muc…

For a good January beginning, a moment of quietness (Spanish) ¡Detente por un momento! Escucha el mar..¿Qué te dice?

Take a moment out of the world's rush...listen to the sea!
It reflects a peace and beauty of God!

Por:  Blanca    @mujer_catolica

Embracing Fortitude in the New Year

What have you been afraid to tackle in this new year? Is it a tough conversation with a loved one, a conversation you would rather ignore? Or, maybe it’s summoning the courage to get that physical you have been putting off? Perhaps you haven’t been to Confession in a while. As this new year gets underway, now is the time to address those things you conveniently put out of your mind. By embracing Fortitude, you can succeed in addressing those uncomfortable situations. What Can Embracing Fortitude Do? Fortitude strengthens our resolve. It will also help us to achieve our New Year’s resolutions. How so? Well, Fortitude gives us the courage and strength to be brave in moments of fear; to act to overcome obstacles. In addition, Fortitude gives us the strength to resist temptations. Therefore, if you want to accomplish anything, in this new year, you will need... Read more...

The Holy Spirit is Alive and Well!

If you haven't yet checked out Encounter Ministries, you need to! They are a ministry that God is using powerfully to bring renewal to the Church! 

I just got back from their annual conference that was held in Toledo, Ohio this year. I attended last year as well and it was life-changing. This year was life-changing on another level! Fr. Mathias Thelan and Patrick Reis head up Encounter. The Lord truly works through them, I believe because of their humility and ability to yield to the Holy Spirit. 

Continue Reading @Beautifulthorns>

‘You are my Son, the Beloved; with you I am well pleased.’ Sunday Reflections, The Baptism of the Lord, Year C

Baptism of Christ, El Greco [Web Gallery of Art]

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

Note: In each of the above you will find an alternative First Reading, Responsorial Psalm and Second Reading that may be used in Year C. The Gospel below is always used in Year C.
Gospel Luke 3: 15-16, 21-22 (New Revised Standard Version, Anglicised Catholic Edition)
As the people were filled with expectation, and all were questioning in their hearts concerning John, whether he might be the Messiah,John answered all of them by saying, ‘I baptize you with water; but one who is more powerful than I is coming; I am not worthy to untie the thong of his sandals. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.

Now when all the people were baptized, and when Jesus also had been baptized and was praying, the heaven was opened, and the Holy Spirit descended upon him in bod…