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Showing posts from December, 2013

A Father Ignatius Story: Worry and Doubt. Peace and Certainty by Victor S.E. Moubarak.

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UBI CARITAS ET AMOR. DEUS IBI EST.

It was a lovely Spring evening, quite bright and warm for this time of year, when Steven Milliner, the Youth Club leader, decided to take the children to the park opposite St Vincent Catholic Church for some fresh air and exercise.

Most of the boys had gathered with two Club Leaders at the far end of the park to play football. The rest of the children stayed in the playground area and played on the swings, the slides, round-abouts and seesaws; supervised by a couple of Leaders and Father Ignatius who’d turned up to help.

The priest sat on a bench and kept a watchful eye when he was joined by Tony a young volunteer who helped at the Youth Club every now and then.

“Could I ask you something Father?” he said hesitantly as he sat down.

“Fire away …” replied the priest.

“How is it that you priests can be so strong and steadfast in your Faith. You and Father Donald are so saintly and you preach on Sunday so well … I mean, do you ever have doubts?”

Father Ignatius…

Simmering Soup

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Curiosity about the dazzling beauty of the ice drizzling upon the evergreens turned into caution as I heard the sharp splitting sound of falling branches and crackling icicles. I quickly returned home from my walk. Well, my steps were not as rapid as I would have liked because my feet were sinking through the crusty layer of ice into the snow. The tips of many of the towering pines had snapped, altering the usual appearance of the otherwise majestic trees.
    Our family enjoyed a cozy, quiet evening at home, baking pumpkin chocolate chip cookies while our latest impromptu vegetable soup was simmering in the oven. This blogpost is continued here at mommynovenas.

Did you keep your 2013 New Year's resolutions?

Did you keep your 2013 New Year's resolutions?  I read this article with that very same title and thought, "Did I?" To be honest, I don't think I made any resolutions of my own and if I did, I have no memory of what I may have resolved to do.  That's what blogs are for.  To remind me.  Oops!  
To read more, click here.

Back From The Edge

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Many of us never know how close we have come to going to hell.  I found out today just how close I really came to being in the place of eternal torment.  Really close.

When my husband was alive I had come back to the Catholic Church and I prayed my Rosary and loved to spend time with our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament.  After my husband died, everything hurt, and I mean everything.  Little things like going to the grocery store or watching t.v. was painful, and yes going to church was painful too because everywhere I was, I could feel his absence.  (He never went to church with me, but I prayed for him much there.) 

Well, after his death, I was hurting so bad, that I just didn't care about anything, myself included.  All I wanted was to not hurt just for a little while.  I worked 50 hours a week, because I knew if I kept busy the 'demon' of sadness was kept at bay.  (There is a physical law that you can't think of two things at the same time, so the busier I was, the bett…

The Catholic Prayer of Silence

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The words prayer and contemplation intimidate many people but the reality is that prayer is simple, so simple that it eludes many adults. Rest in God and enjoy God in the silence. Sometimes we need to simply cease our activity, live in the moment and breathe in God. This is reality. When the Spirit flows in and through us we are in sync with everything and everybody. We are part of the Trinity, part of the human community and part of the communion of saints. How do we relax into this state? In and through prayer. Have you ever noticed that every liturgy begins with a blessing of peace and simultaneously a call to prayer because they are intricately connected. L: “Peace be with you” P: “And also with you.” L: “Let us lift up our hearts to the Lord” P: “We lift them up to the Lord” L: Faithful and gracious God, we seek to draw nearer to you in this time of devotion and prayer. Open us to your word that we might be guided in your Spirit toward all truth and love, for we pray in Christ’s nameP…

Did You Keep Your 2013 New Year's Resolutions?

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Don't just forget last year's New Year's resolutions. Evaluate them and use them as a guide for this year's resolutions. For 2014, you can renew the good resolutions from 2013, revise the okay ones, and ditch the impossible ones (or the ones you've fulfilled). Most of all, ask God for his help in setting and achieving these goals. He wants us to be better people with stronger wills, and he wants us to keep our promises to ourselves. So don't give up. Every new year is a second chance to accomplish good things and become the people God wants us to be.

With that back-drop, let's see how I did on my 2013 New Year's Resolutions. I'll even grade myself. You can do the same for yourself, if you like. I made one resolution for each member of my family, and I definitely achieved greater success with some than with others.

Resolution #1: Help to manage my 12-year-old daughter's ADD. Grade: B

We managed to find a kind and empathetic child psychiatrist, who p…

Tis a New Season (Part IV) – A New Year – A New Day…

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A NEW BEGINNING! [with MATTERS TO NOURISH BY] Time, then, to look at what CHALLENGE #3 shall be:  It's actually you! Can you believe it?  Chances are, at some point (especially early on), your own self will start to betray your desire for change, and will challenge your ability to continue on your New & Improved Way. This is because our mindset & emotions & thoughts can either work for us or against us. STRESS BOREDOM WEARINESS LONELINESS SADNESS ANGER WORRY even HAPPINESS So it’s very important for us to recognize & address it… To take action; and talk back to the negative voice within that keeps saying things like: New Season–New Year–New Day–New Way! FOUR more TIPS for 2014 are... ►Click HERE to Read More on "The Way to Nourish for Life" including The Little Way.

Even More, God Is Our Mother

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I don’t really follow Pope Francis; however, as a Catholic I certainly regard the pope with the respect and honor due his position as successor to Peter. What I do read about him, I tend to get from my friends. He seems to be loved or hated and certainly has made people sit up and take notice. I also don’t watch the news in general or read much on the Internet—secular, Catholic or otherwise. I am not on Facebook and I don’t do Twitter. I’ve made a conscious effort in the past couple of years to purposely reduce the chaos of the world by limiting my exposure to it so that my own world now feels purer and a whole lot more peaceful. Amidst that peace, I’ve recently begun researching “Sophia” for my third and final fiction book in a series that started with Elizabeth: A Holy Land Pilgrimage. I share this because my research about this seemingly elusive, somewhat mystical, and definitely female Sophia/Wisdom/Mother keeps crossing paths with what I’ve read about Pope Francis. Francis continues…

Two things I learned on Christmas vacation

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Two things I learned on Christmas vacation: I will always take off the week of Christmas for vacation andAcknowledging people and thanking them makes a difference I actually learned the first one last year when I took the week of Christmas off.  Taking that week off slowed things way down.  I'm not one to shop last minute or get caught up in the Black Friday or day after sales.  Being away from work just put the whole holiday in perspective and this year just confirmed it.
You can read the rest right here.

The Happiest Birth

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'The birth of the Lord gives rise  to a thousand thoughts and reflections in our hearts!   Never could there have been a poorer or happier birth,  nor at the same time a more radiant and happy mother!'  
St. Francis de Sales

Painting:  Edward Burne-Jones, Nativity


from The Cloistered Heart

Celebrating the Feast Day of the Holy Family in Images

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Celebrating the joy of the Holy Family throughout the ages with icons, stained glass, old masters, sculpture and modern paintings.

'An angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream . . .' Sunday Reflections. The Holy Family of Jesus, Mary and Joseph

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The Dream of St Joseph, Rembrandt, 1650-55 [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 Matthew 2:13-15, 19-23 (New Revised Standard Version, Catholic Edition, Canada)
Now after the wise men had left, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream and said, “Get up, take the child and his mother, and flee to Egypt, and remain there until I tell you; for Herod is about to search for the child, to destroy him.”Then Josephgot up, took the child and his mother by night, and went to Egypt,and remained there until the death of Herod. This was to fulfill what had been spoken by the Lord through the prophet, “Out of Egypt I have called my son.”
When Herod died, an angel of the Lord suddenly appeared in a dream to Joseph in Egypt and said,“Get up, take the child and his mother, and go to the land of Is…

Top 10 tips for your spiritual life from 2013

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'Tis the season for reviewing the old year. How did you advance towards God this year? Do you remember those blog posts that really struck you at the time, or have you forgotten them? Here are some reminders of how you can grow closer to Christ, taken from my blog posts over the past year.

1. Read the Gospels
If you want to advance towards God, you must learn to love Him. Read what He revealed about Himself. Need more motivation to read Scripture?
Here are 10 Reasons Catholics should read the Bible.

2. Stop making excuses for missing prayer
You’re not going to grow closer to Christ if you aren’t willing to make sacrifices to spend time with Him.
Read 7 Ways to make time for prayer.

3. Ponder God’s Word in your heart
This follows from #s 1 and 2. It’s a particularly Carmelite way of honoring Mary.
See Mary pondered all these things–do you?

4. Choose to become a saint
St. Thomas Aquinas told his sister that the way to become a saint is to will it.
See the details: Can you become a sa…

Love is Our True Destiny

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Again, just like yesterday,the Church reminds us that Jesus was born as an infant to bring man back to the heart of God. So she chooses to honour the man called the Beloved Disciple today, St. John the Evangelist.John in Hebrew, Yôḥānān,means “Yahweh is gracious”.Traditionally,he is identified as the author of the Gospel of John,the three Epistles of John and the Book of Revelation.


 We do not find the meaning of life by ourselves alone- we find it with another. - Thomas Merton We find meaning in and through God. If we have been afraid of God the Almighty Father then we can look through the eyes of a disciple who loved Jesus and was especially dear to Christ’s heart, John, and with him can look at the helpless form of an infant. 

To quote the poetic John in his opening lines of his gospel:
12 But to all who did accept him and believe in him he gave the right to become children of God. 13 They did not become his children in any human way — by any human parents or human desire. They were bor…

Ten Things to do After Christmas

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1) Savor the Spirit of the New Born King.  Praise Him in song.  Now we sing the Christmas carols!

2) Find a church and attend Mass, not because you have to, but because you want to praise our New Born King.

3) Take 10 minutes to rest in the silence of the Lord.

4) If you did not go to confession during the season of Advent, find a Catholic Church, find a priest and go to confession.

Read More Here at:  His Unending Love

Fruitful Gifts… Come in Pears

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HAPPY SEASON OF CHRISTMAS!! And if, by any chance, you were given [or will ever be given] a partridge in a pear tree, this is a really great time for us to take a much closer look at this tree − well, at its fruit, that is... After all, the PEAR in the pear tree comes with its own special set of “GIFTS” for us to benefit from, which includes: Click HERE to read more aboutpears, the 3rd Day of Christmas, and what "my true love gave to me" that truly matters!

Have Your Goals Overtaken Your Life?

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Where do you see yourself in five years? In ten? What do you want to be when you grow up? If you win the lottery what would you do? We get asked—and ask ourselves—lots of goal-oriented questions. It might be in a classroom or in a job interview. Wherever it is—or whatever causes us to identify goals—we find that we are always looking ahead. We vow to lose ten pounds and fit into a cherished pair of pants. We save our pennies for a new couch or a necklace. Looking ahead can be a good thing; it can motivate us and keep us going forward. On the other hand, becoming too focused on a goal easily makes us lose sight of the journey itself—an important part of any achievement. As the New Year approaches, we may feel we’ve failed because our hopes or thoughts for the year that just passed didn’t materialize; but if we’ve enjoyed the journey, there won’t be the sting of failure. Reproaches won’t haunt us if we found joy in our day-to-day living. read more> Cheryl Dickow
www.BezalelBooks.com
Picture:…

Why Boxing Day is the Feast of the Martyr St. Stephen

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Why would the Church celebrate the death of a martyr the day after Christmas? Well,remember the old English carol Good King Wenceslaus
St. Stephen’s charity is the reason for the songs and customs which have become the traditional way of celebrating his feast. The old English carolGood King Wenceslaus celebrateshow King Wenceslaus went out on St. Stephen’s day to bring food and firewood to the poor. The blood of his freezing feet covered the snow: “Heat was in the very sod which the saint had printed.” The king knew that whatever he did to the least of his subjects he did for Christ in honor of the first martyr. In Yorkshire, England, the people made large goose pies  and distributed them to the poor. The day after Christmas,the feast was known as Boxing Day, since masters filled earthen banks or boxes of their apprentices with money. This was the first form of the piggy bank. Advent brought God to man through the Incarnation of the Word, so the twelve days between Christmas and the E…

Be The One

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"My heart had expected reproach and misery.  And I looked for one that would grieve together with me, and there was none; and I sought one that would console me, and I found none". Psalm 68:21

Mother Teresa responds, "Be the one".  Be the one to console Jesus by satiating His burning thirst for love.  She writes:

Tell Jesus, "I will be the one".  I will comfort, encourage and love Him. ...Be with Jesus.  He prayed and prayed and then He went to look for consolation, but there was none. ... I always write that sentence, "I looked for one to comfort Me, but I found no one".  So now you be that one.  Try to be the one to share with Him, to comfort Him to console Him.  So let us ask Our Lady to help us understand what it means to be a consoler of the Heart of Jesus:

Let us try in a special way to come as close as the human heart can come to the Heart of Jesus and try to understand as much as possible Jesus' terrible pain caused to Him by our sins …

An Unexpected Christmas Gift

A religious acquaintance of mine recently told a friend of mine he didn't think I should waste my time trying to alter the direction of our local public schools because even if this latest problem were solved, another problem would crop up.
The thing is, God calls us to do His work of justice and mercy, places outside church doors. Sometimes, the work we do unexpectedly helps to draw those we encounter back to Christ. That's God's doing, not ours. This was today's Christmas miracle at the 11 a.m. Mass for me.
Read more here...

The Nativity Through The Eyes of the Old Masters

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Share the joy of the Child Jesus through the ages, as captured by some of the greatest artists.

'And the Word became flesh and lived among us.'

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Adoration of the Shepherds, El Greco, c.1614 [Web Gallery of Art]
The beginning of the Holy Gospel according to John (John 1:1-18, read at the Mass during the Day, Christmas Day; New Revised Standard Version Catholic Edition)
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.He was in the beginning with God.All things came into being through him, and without him not one thing came into being. What has come into beingin him was life, and the life was the light of all people.The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it.
There was a man sent from God, whose name was John.He came as a witness to testify to the light, so that all might believe through him.He himself was not the light, but he came to testify to the light.
The true light, which enlightens everyone, was coming into the world. He was in the world, and the world came into being through him; yet the world did not know him.He came to what was his own, and his own people did not ac…

Merry Christmas from Being Catholic ... Really

Merry Christmas from Being Catholic ... Really! Lord, in this holy season of prayer and song and laughter, we praise you for the great wonders you have sent us: for shining star and angel's song, for infant's cry in lowly manger. We praise you for the Word made flesh in a little Child. We behold his glory, and are bathed in its radiance. You can read the rest right here.

Hungry for Hope

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"Hope, O my soul, hope. You know neither the day nor the hour. Watch carefully, for everything passes quickly, even though your impatience makes doubtful what is certain, and turns a very short time into a long one. Dream that the more you struggle, the more you prove the love that you bear your God, and the more you will rejoice one day with your Beloved, in a happiness and rapture that can never end." −St. Teresa of Avila [Excl.15:3*]HOPE is the theological virtue by which we desire the kingdomof heaven and eternal life as our happiness, placing our trust in Christ's promises and relying not on our own strength, but on the help of thegrace of the Holy Spirit. [per Catechism of the Catholic Church,1817*] HUNGRY for HOPE Let Us Pray... Click HERE to Read More

O Key of David

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O come, Thou key of David, come, and open wide our heav’nly home, make safe the way that leads on high, that we no more have cause to sigh.  I recently came across a very ugly antithesis of the Incarnation, presented to me (actually shouted in Church) as Mary’s shame. According to this thesis, Mary was ashamed at the Incarnation, at her pregnancy. Instead of knowing, accepting, welcoming, and rejoicing in the Incarnation, participating in it with her whole soul, strength and body, she was, according to this thesis, ashamed of it, and in fact, she remained ashamed of the whole work of redemption up to and including the culminating moment on the Cross. In the same context as this thesis was presented to me, a “New Age” notion was given as the illusory hope we can have in life as Christians.  According to this notion there is no White Ladder to Heaven but only a drill that we must use to drill our way to the center of the earth, where we are supposed to find something glittering… When my…

The Glorious Interruption

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This time of year can bring both blessing and hassle.  Holy meditations, carols, the contagious wonder of wide-eyed children...  these unwrap great blessings and usually great fun.  

For some of us, however, the activities of Christmas can feel like an intrusion.  Day to day life is more or less put on hold by an urgent need to shop and wrap and plan.  Chairs and tables are displaced by, of all things, a tree in the middle of our house.  There is no time to do ordinary things, as everyday life is seriously disrupted for weeks on end.  It can seem like a major interruption.

Think of it.  Mary was living a quiet, hidden life.   She was betrothed.   Then one day an angel appeared to her, and with that Holy Interruption Mary’s life was changed forever.  As was Joseph’s, as was yours, as was mine.

As we know, there was a Birth.  There were shepherds tending their flocks, and again an angel appeared.  A night of sheep-watching was interrupted.... (click to continue)

from the Cloistere…

Anticipating His Birth: The Magnificat

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My soul doth magnify the Lord. And my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Savior.
Because He hath regarded the humility of His handmaid; for behold, from henceforth all generations shall call me blessed.
Because He that is mighty hath done great things to me; and holy is His name. And His mercy is from generation to generations, to them that fear Him. He hath showed might in His arm; He hath scattered the proud in the conceit of their heart. He hath put down the mighty from their seat; and hath exalted the humble. He hath filled the hungry with good things; and the rich he hath sent empty away. He hath received Israel His servant, being mindful of His mercy. As He spoke to our fathers, to Abraham and to his seed forever. Amen.

War

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I am at war.  Although I may not look like it, trust me I am in a great war that never ceases around me.  I fight a battle everyday for the souls in purgatory and the lost souls that fall into hell everyday.  The loss of souls is one of the greatest tragedies in the universe.  Because God's justice is perfect, lost souls are in hell of their own volition.  There is nothing more heartbreaking to realize that this sentence is for all time.  Those that are falling into hell right now will still be suffering there 1 million years from now, and 100,000 x 100,000 million years and so on..

Stepping on the battlefield for lost souls  is one of the most treacherous things you can do in relation to the status of your own salvation.  The reason for this is that you can't do anything for God.  You aren't doing God any favors by your prayers, even if 1000 souls where to be released from Purgatory with your prayer, you didn't do it, God did.   You just asked that the battle be waged,…