Showing posts from December, 2012

A New Beginning

O my beloved God,  You are beauty itself,  goodness itself, and love itself...  how foolish I have been.   In my past I have offered numberless insults to You, and I now promise and desire  to repeat every moment of my life  that I may desire You only, O my God, and nothing more.   St. Alphonsus de Liguori

Pope's prayer intentions for January

Little Flower's Crown of Roses...: My Secret Garden....

Little Flower's Crown of Roses...: My Secret Garden....: The Rose of All Roses, Wilhelm Menzler Today at Mass, the Priest mentioned how our souls are a little plot of land that God gives us a...

Embracing Motherhood: Chatting about Rooted in Love and the true Dignity of Women


Sorry, No Steeple

“Sorry, No Steeple…but we do have a drive-thru” is what the clever, cool, hip billboard sign proclaims.

I wasn’t exactly sure what it meant so I didn’t pay it much never-mind. 

Then another one popped up with something that was, to me, similarly vague: We don’t accept perfect people. 

Still, not paying attention. 

Then a topic of conversation was begun in my small Catholic study group. The essence of the conversation, which has taken more than a few twists and turns along the way, was this: Should we allow—or even encourage—our Catholic teens to attend non-denominational churches? In particular, this local one with the clever, cool, hip billboards? In a way, though, the conversation was almost a non-issue since it appeared that our Catholic teens (and even many of our adults) were already attending on their own without our small group’s permission—or seemingly without much guilt, either. 

At first we decided this was a good thing. Maybe because our hand was forced: everyone was doing this…

Thoughts on Grace: Blessed Are Those Who Believe

Thoughts on Grace: Blessed Are Those Who Believe: "Blessed are you who believed that what was spoken to you  by the Lord would be fulfilled." - Luke 1:45     I would like to think that I h...

For the 4th Sunday of Advent: Mary’s Faith

O Antiphon for December 23: "O Emmanuel"

Catholicseeking: O God With Us

Catholicseeking: O God With Us: Emmanuel, our King and our Law-giver, Longing of the Gentiles, yea, and salvation thereof, come to save us, O Lord our God! My soul doth ...

Pope Benedict condemns gay marriage as 'insidious' threat to society

Pope Benedict XVI has condemned gay marriage as an 'insidious' threat to society as he addressed thousands of pilgrims at the shrine of Fatima in Portugal. He encouraged his listeners to work against a proposed law that will legal gay marriage. The Pope was wrapping up his trip to Portugal where more than 90 per cent of the population is officially Catholic. Pope Benedict XVI leads the Rosary at the Chapel of the Apparitions in Fatima's Sanctuary where 500,000 pilgrims attended. He used the event to condemn gay marriage and abortion In his afternoon address to Catholic charity and social workers, the 83-year-old German Pope said he 'deeply appreciated' initiatives aimed at defending what he said were 'essential and primary values of life'. Among these values, he said, was 'the family, founded on indissoluble marriage between a man and a woman', which is Vatican-speak for its opposition to gay marriage. The audience applauded when the Pope said abor…

The Biggest Heart of All

St. John Vianney - Saint of the Confessional
Audio of Blogpost
I think that God gives His priests the biggest hearts.  Because in the confessional we are each given a little piece of that heart of a priest.  After how many thousands of confessions over a lifetime, each one taking a little piece of their hearts, yet the heart still beats and continues in love to give to the next one to come into the confessional.  The heart of a Priest is not diminished by this giving of itself, for each penitent receives the same measure of the heart that reflects God's own heart for the soul seeking absolution.  =========================
What St. John Vianney said about the importance of confession - click HERE
Here is an Audio of the same link above - AUDIO OF ST. JOHN VIANNEY ON CONFESSIONAL

The St Genesius Blog: A Novena to the Holy Innocents

The St Genesius Blog: A Novena to the Holy Innocents: It time for a Novena!   Novena: Pray for an end to abortion and violence against children By Bishop Jaime Soto,  Bishop of Sacram...

Father Reto Preaches: Third O Antiphon - O Radix Jesse

O Antiphons

The 'O' Antiphons are used as the introduction and conclusion to the Magnificat at Evening Prayer and as the text of the Gospel Acclamation during the final days of Advent, 17th - 23rd December. The exact origin of the 'O' Antiphons is not known. Boethius (c. 480-524) made a slight reference to them, thereby suggesting their presence at that time. By the eighth century, they were in use in the liturgical celebrations in Rome. The importance of 'O' Antiphons is twofold: each one highlights a title of the Messiah: O Sapientia (O Wisdom), O Adonai (O Lord), O Radix Jesse(O Root of Jesse), O Clavis David (O Key of David), O Oriens (O Rising Sun), O Rex Gentium (O King of the Nations), and O Emmanuel; also, each one refers to the prophecy of Isaiah looking forward to the coming of the Messiah.

23rd December
Emmanuel, you are our king and judge, the one whom the peoples await and their Saviour. O come and save us, Lord, our God. Emmanuel: 'God-is-with-us'

My soul g…

19 December / Advent Calendar / Featured / Home / Catholic News - The Catholic Church for England and Wales

Mommy of Many Trades: Book review: A Special Mother is Born

My friend Jessica Heeran, the mother of three lovely children including little Joey who has Down syndrome, blogs about my book, "A Special Mother is Born".
Mommy of Many Trades: Book review: A Special Mother is Born: A little over one year ago, my friend Leticia Velaquez, a fellow mother who was also blessed with a child that has Down syndrome.

The Catholic Young Woman: Welcome, Advent

The Catholic Young Woman: Welcome, Advent: As I snuggle under a fleecy snowflake blanket in my cozy chair, devotionals in my lap and a cup of tea in my hand, I watch the single candl...

18 December / Advent Calendar / Featured / Home / Catholic News - The Catholic Church for England and Wales

1. I Heard The Bells On Christmas Day - Casting Crowns



I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day
Their old familiar carols play,
And wild and sweet the words repeat
Of peace on earth, good will to men.
Sunday was Gaudete Sunday!  Rejoice!  It is almost time!  Rose, not purple.   We get a brief reprieve from our preparations to focus on the joy of the season.  
I thought how, as the day had come,
The belfries of all Christendom
Had rolled along the unbroken song
Of peace on earth, good will to men.
As predictable as the sunrise, Christian men and women cannot contain our joyful excitement.  There are pageants and nativity displays.  We sing carols.  Everywhere, people are smiling, even at strangers.  Charities get more donations.  Everyone is focused on giving.  What will I give?  Who will I give to?  
And in despair I bowed my head:
"There is no peace on earth," I said,
"For hate is strong and mocks the song
Of peace on earth, good will to men."
Then the spell of the season is broken.  There is a display in Times Square,  New York depic…

Communion on the Tongue...Think about it!

Want to Listen instead of Read? Here is an Audio of the Following Posting


When we take Holy Communion (note the word "Holy") - do we think about what we are doing? Do we prepare for the most important act we can ever do in our entire lives? Yes, I said the MOST important act you can ever do in your entire life, greater than any stature you may attain or any choices that you make in life.   You are taking into yourself, the Body, (Not bread - it is no longer bread, it is our Lord Jesus in the hidden form - but no less real.) Why do the Eucharistic miracles find the heart muscle when the Eucharist is examined? (See link at bottom of posting). Are we not taking His very heart into ourselves?  It is His Blood - his true and real blood that He shed for love for us and now we take at Holy Mass.  His, that one gets me.  A touching of His soul with ours which fail Him in so many ways, what love is this!  And finally His Divinity... Stop...Re…

17 December / Advent Calendar / Featured / Home / Catholic News - The Catholic Church for England and Wales

Our Lady's Expectation

"Like a secret told by angels, getting known upon the earth,
is the Mother's expectation of Messiah's speedy birth." 

F. Faber, "Our Lady's Expectations" 

17 December / Advent Calendar / Featured / Home / Catholic News - The Catholic Church for England and Wales

Amid Lockdowns, Christ is Coming

As a public school teacher in the United States, I am accustomed to lock-down drills. In fact, as it happened, we had one Friday. We have one once a month, as the state of New Jersey requires. We have "non fire evacuations" and "lockdowns" and "active shooter" drills. The teens in my care know what to do; we turn off the lights, we lower the shades, we huddle in a corner and we stay quiet and we wait until the all clear. I can see from the news coverage that those kindergartners and their teachers were trained too, on how to deal with a shooter in the building....

Read more here...


Sunday, December 16, 2012Pope: prayers at Angelus for victims of Connecticut school massacre
(Vatican Radio) Pope Benedict XVI prayed for the victims of Friday’s mass murder of school children in Newtown, Connecticut on Sunday. Speaking in English to pilgrims gathered in St. Peter’s Square to pray the Angelus with him on this third Sunday in Advent, the Holy Father renewed expressions (first offered on Friday in a Message of condolence to the Diocese of Bridgeport, of which Newtown is part) of his profound grief over the incident, as well as his promises of prayers for the victims and spiritual closeness to their families. The Pope went on to call all the faithful everywhere to renew their prayer and action in favour of the cause of peace. Below, please find the full text and audio of Pope Benedict's English remarks:
I greet all the English-speaking pilgrims and visitors present at today’s Angelus. I was deeply saddened by Friday’s senseless v…

Thoughts on Grace: Rejoice!

Thoughts on Grace: Rejoice!: Exhorting them in many other ways, he preached good news to the people. - Luke 3:18  The Third Sunday of Advent is Guadete Sunday. Guadete...
Question: What Is Gaudete Sunday? Certain Sundays throughout the liturgical year have taken their names from the first word in Latin of the Introit, the entrance antiphon at Mass. Gaudete Sunday is one of these. Answer: Gaudete Sunday is the Third Sunday of Advent. (See theLiturgical Calendar for Advent to find the date of Gaudete Sunday this year.) The Introit for Gaudete Sunday, in both the Traditional Latin Mass and the Novus Ordo, is taken from Philippians 4:4,5: "Gaudete in Domino semper" ("Rejoice in the Lord always"). Like Lent, Advent is a penitential season, so the priest normally wears purple vestments. But on Gaudete Sunday, having passed the midpoint of Advent, the Church lightens the mood a little, and the priest may wear rose vestments. The change in color provides us with encouragement to continue our spiritual preparation—especially prayer andfasting—for Christmas. For this same reason, the third candle of the Advent wreath, first lit on Gaudete Sund…

In the Wake of a School Massacre, the Smallest Actions of Love

The murder of 26 innocents in a Newtown, Connecticut elementary school and the suicide of the shooting suspect are evils I am unable to absorb. I struggle to even pray about this. Words feel inadequate.

Instead, yesterday and today, I have tried to make my actions my prayers, focusing on the children put in front of me: my own children, their friends, and the dozens of students I teach. Is this self-absorption? 

Keep Reading...

Moving Closer To The Crib


The Holy Family – Rembrandt

Reposted from: Costing Not Less Than Everything

I posted this painting in another post and wanted to write more about what I thought and felt about it.
This is a domestic scene, first and foremost – quotidian and earthbound. The dwelling is dark, probably cold, draughty and damp.  Rembrandt painted several similar pictures of the Holy Family, in which the relative meanness of the surroundings contrasts with domestic warmth and love. Saint Joseph is, as is often the case,  back in the shadows, an older, shaded, quieter figure. The Madonna and Child are always foregrounded. That was the convention of the times – but he is not redundant.  Joseph is working at his trade (and there is rather a nice rendition of a drill hanging on the wall). Whatever the artistic convention, Venerable Fulton Sheen contends that the common conception of Joseph as an older, less powerful man than the conventional young Jewish husband of the day is incorrect. He describes Joseph as young, virile…

Moving Closer To The Crib

Saint Lucy's Day - The Year's Midnight

reposted from: Costing Not Less Than Everything.

The Last Communion of Saint Lucy – Tiepolo

A Nocturnal Upon Saint Lucy’s Day, Being the Shortest Day –  John Donne
‘TIS the year’s midnight, and it is the day’s,
Lucy’s, who scarce seven hours herself unmasks;
    The sun is spent, and now his flasks
    Send forth light squibs, no constant rays;
            The world’s whole sap is sunk;
The general balm th’ hydroptic earth hath drunk,
Whither, as to the bed’s-feet, life is shrunk,
Dead and interr’d; yet all these seem to laugh,
Compared with me, who am their epitaph. Study me then, you who shall lovers be
At the next world, that is, at the next spring;
    For I am every dead thing,
    In whom Love wrought new alchemy.
            For his art did express
A quintessence even from nothingness,
From dull privations, and lean emptiness;
He ruin’d me, and I am re-begot
Of absence, darkness, death—things which are not. All others, from all things, draw all that’s good,
Life, soul, form, spirit, whence they bein…

My Domestic Church: An interesting look at the Lady of Guadalupe Image...

'Dear friends... I bless all of you from my heart:' Pope tweets for the first time (with a little help from his aides)

Pope Benedict XVI blessed the possibilities of social media last year but warned it may lead to isolation. 'The Pope's presence on Twitter is a concrete expression of his conviction that the Church must be present in the digital arena,' the Vatican said. 'This initiative is best understood in the context of his reflections on the importance of the cultural space that has been brought into being by the new technologies ... the Pope's presence on Twitter can be seen as the 'tip of the iceberg' that is the Church's presence in the world of new media,' it said in a statement.

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Giving Thanks to a Priest

Our priest, Father Eric Augenstein will be leaving us soon, this is our last Christmas that we will celebrate with him.  I am finding it difficult to convey what I am feeling at this time.  First I am happy that the will of God is being done, for His will is always perfect.  Although I am sad at Fr. Eric's leaving, I know this is selfish so I will turn these feelings to prayer of protection for him and for what he must do in the days ahead. 
How can I thank you, you gave me everything I ever wanted.  You gave me the Holy Mass, the pearl of great price.  One day in the confessional you gave me the foreshadow of  heaven.  I told Father I loved the Holy Mass and I asked him if there was Mass in heaven, and he said, "Mass IS heaven."  I was overwhelmed with joy and hope!  As I walked out of the confessional I turned to him and said, "Thank you Father, you made my day...twice." (I had just gotten the sacrament of reconciliation!) 
How do you thank a priest that doe…

Rooted in Love: Our Calling as Catholic Women: Rooted in Love Blog Tour: Day # 10

Rooted in Love: Our Calling as Catholic Women: Rooted in Love Blog Tour: Day # 10: E komo mai! (Welcome!) to our stopover for Donna's book tour! It is very exciting to be able to participate in this book promotion be...

Lewis and Tolkien Debate Myths and Lies


The First Christmas Tree

St Boniface and the Christmas tree What does a Devon Saint who was born in the 7th century have in common with the tradition of the Christmas tree? We all know the story of how Queen Victoria's consort Albert brought the tradition of Christmas trees to England from Germany but how did the tradition begin there? According to one legend the famous Devon Saint, St Boniface, was the creator of the very first Christmas tree. In the early part of the 8th century, St Boniface was sent into Germany as a missionary, with an aim of converting the pagans to Christianity. St Boniface was later to become the patron saint of brewers, so sending him to beer loving Germany may well have been a masterful mission. He worked tirelessly in the country destroying idols and pagan temples across Germany and building churches in their place. He was named Archbishop of Mainz and founded or restored the diocese of Bavaria. It was on this trip, around the time of Winter Solstice, that he was said to have c…

Rooted in Love: Our Calling as Catholic Women: Rooted in Love Blog Tour Day # 9

Rooted in Love: Our Calling as Catholic Women: Rooted in Love Blog Tour Day # 9: How many books begin with an invitation to a slumber party? This one does! Donna-Marie Cooper O’Boyle’s richly personal, but powerfully...

On the Annunciation and Not Hiding From God

It's taken me until midlife to really understand the Catholic dogma of the Immaculate Conception and to appreciate why it is one of the concepts that keeps me connected to my Catholic faith. I am not aware of any other Christian community that gives so much honor and praise to the role of women in the Christian event. The Advent season is a time of particular focus and honor of the Mother of us all.

When I was a child, Mary felt remote and inaccessible.

Keep Reading...

From Auntie Joanna's Blog

Chatting to... ...young Catholics in their 20s/30s.  Enthusiastic, committed to their Faith. Active with pro-life groups, have been to World Youth Days, Youth 2000 etc. Talked about campaigning in the 1970s and 80s...they cannot really imagine a time when it was normal to have Parliament voting to ban the promotion of homosexual propaganda in schools (Section 28 of the Education Act 1988). They did not know the name Mary Whitehouse. They could not grasp the idea that a campaigner for morality on TV could possibly be awarded  a public honour like the CBE.
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Corpus Christi Procession – Hipolit Lipinski, 1881

This piece is prompted by a couple of posts I saw about a procession being held in Brighton to mark the Feast of the Immaculate Conception.  Such public displays of the Catholic faith are very rare these days and are to be applauded - I think that the more of them that take place, the more people will get used to them. After all, most of us have marched in many a parade or demonstration marking secular or political events – and I have seen large public marches and demonstrations marking other faiths. Not so very long ago, the Salvation Army band used to march up the road I was then living in every Sunday morning.  I do not think that these processions are wholly about witnessing to the faith in public – they are also spiritual occasions and another manifestation of the way in which the Church and the practice of the faith is also material and physical.  And let us not forget that this is a very old tradition; the illustrat…

'Prepare the way of the Lord.' Sunday Reflections, 2nd Sunday of Advent Year C

St John the Baptist Preaching, Rembrandt, c. 1634 (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)
Gospel Luke 3:1-6 (Revised Standard Version – Catholic Edition)
In the fifteenth year of the reign of Tiberius Caesar, Pontius Pilate being governor of Judea, and Herod being tetrarch of Galilee, and his brother Philip tetrarch of the region of Ituraea and Trachonitis, and Lysanias tetrarch of Abilene, in the high-priesthood of Annas and Caiaphas, the word of God came to John the son of Zechariah in the wilderness; and he went into all the region about the Jordan, preaching a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. As it is written in the book of the words of Isaiah the prophet, "The voice of one crying in the wilderness: Prepare the way of the Lord, make his paths straight. Every valley shall be filled, and every mountain and…


By B.J. Cassady

Looking forward to Christmas 1995, to me, described a paradox. How can one enjoy Christmas when their loving spouse recently passed away from cancer, and yet Christmas is a time for celebration...

I had a friend, recently divorced, who was going through his first Christmas without his children that he loved so dearly. I called my friend and invited him over to my house for Christmas. He didn't seem overly thrilled, but had nothing else to do. I did the same for another divorced person who had a day without family or friends. I told them to dress nice but withheld my plans from them.

The three of us, at my house, made Christmas canes from pipe cleaners, and after an hour I told my friends to get in my van, as I had a surprise for them.

So off we went.

First stop, a nursing home, left few dry eyes. We visited the ones who had no company, prayed with them and left them little Christmas canes and some candy. One lady, feeling really bad, asked us to pray for her. So we p…

'I am the Immaculate Conception'

The Virgin of the Immaculate Conception, El Greco, painted 1608-13

Gaudens gaudébo in Dómino, et exsultábit ánima mea in Deo meo; quia índuit me vestiméntis salútis, et induménto iustítiæ circúmdedit me, quasi sponsam ornátam monílibus suis.
Entrance Antiphon
I rejoice heartily in the Lord,  in my God is the joy of my soul;  for he has clothed me with a robe of salvation, and wrapped me in a mantle of justice,  like a bride adorned wit her jewels.
Full post here.