Showing posts from March, 2014

The Yoke's On You!

Matthew 11:29 - Take  my  yoke upon you and learn from  me ,  for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. When I first gave my life to the Lord at the age of 19, I was like a runaway train. I became very active doing many good things but completely ran ahead of the Lord. Over the years the Lord has taught me to lean back in him and rest. I am still pretty active in my Church and community but I have become better at listening to His promptings, His heartbeat and doing everything I do out of a place of rest; trying to only go where He goes and do the things He is prompting me to do. Continue reading >

When God became an Outlawed

In 1997 I lived in Mexico City for a few months. I went there in my private airline... On the wings of Zeal. I wore it every day as a badge of Christianity. Eager to make myself useful, I plunged into my self made ministry, but I did not really do much in that ministry that I thought I went there for. I found myself overwhelmed by the street kids. to continue reading......

I’ll Try to Say: “Crucify Him” ! next time.

It occurred to me, as I was praying the Divine Mercy Chaplet, that we ought to meditate on His Most Sorrowful Passion, but…why do we? I was deeply asking Jesus to have mercy on us as I imagined how it felt to have the crown of thorns slide down His Most Precious skull. It did not make sense to me to ask Him for mercy as He suffered so unimaginably. Did He not have enough to think about during His agony than to listen to our pleas for mercy?

Faith and a new way of thinking

Have faith. But when you are at the lowest of your moods, how do you have faith?  Where does that ability to have faith come from? Presently I am reading a book about being happy despite your circumstances.  Being happy doesn't fix the problems and concerns of daily life, happiness doesn't even pay the bills or find the lost spirit.  Happiness is fleeting for the most part. Joy is what seems to be lasting, but how do you find joy?  Where does the joy come from?  Someone, I'm sure will come back and say that you find it in Jesus Christ.  Yes, yes, I agree that knowing our Savior should bring us that is everlasting and eternal. But how do you find joy or HAVE joy when you are down, lost, depressed, feeling out of sorts? Read more...

The Mystery of the Butterfly

painting by a daughter If  you feel sorry  for a struggling  butterfly and in empathy,  cut the cocoon to help him  escape, his wings  will be  deformed. If  you allow  a butterfly to struggle,  emerging slowly,  agonizingly from his prison, his wings will be perfectly formed. My tendency and I think all mother's tendency is to want to save our children from suffering, from making mistakes. So I try to intellectually explain everything to death. But really, it rook suffering to strip me , heal me and bring me to place of humility where I could finally perceive reality. Do I really think that I can extricate them from the cocoon they are struggling to emerge from. If I do, all that I will do is to stunt their wings, just like when a butterfly is cut from a cocoon too early. continue

When You Want to Leave Prayer

'Take no notice of that feeling you get of wanting to leave off in the middle of your prayer, but praise the Lord for the desire you have to pray. That, you may be sure, comes from your will which loves to be with God. It is just melancholy that oppresses you and gives you the feeling of constraint.             ' Try occasionally, when you feel yourself oppressed in that way, to go to some place where you can see the sky, and walk up and down a little...    'It is essential that the soul be led gently.'   S t. Teresa of Avila P ainting:  George Hitchcock, Calypso   Post from The Cloistered Heart

Why bother to pray?

People sometimes ask: Why pray? Will it change the will of God, or budge Him in any way? Sometimes we pray and pray for days on end with seemingly no results? Are we wasting our time? Why bother? Please continue HERE

'Surely we are not blind, are we?' Sunday Reflections, 4th Sunday of Lent Year A

Blind Pensioner with a Stick , Van Gogh, November 1882 [ 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  John 9:1-41 [or John 9:1, 6-9, 13-17, 34-38]  ( New Revised Standard Version, Catholic Edition , Canada)    [Shorter form of the Gospel: omit what is in square brackets] As Jesus walked along, he saw a man blind from birth. [ His disciples asked him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?”     Jesus answered, “Neither this man nor his parents sinned; he was born blind so that God’s works might be revealed in him.   We   must work the works of him who sent me   while it is day; night is coming when no one can work.     As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world.”]   When he had said this, he spat on the ground and made mu

The Morning Offering

We know for a fact that the early Christians prayed five times a day, just as Jesus had done with his early disciples. They would rise at midnight to meditate on Christ’s resurrection, so that they would never forget that he was still alive and with them, as he had promised, and that he would be with them to the end of time. This practice wasn’t so unthinkable then as it is today, when most people tended to rise with the sun at dawn and go to bed at sunset.....   read on .....

Raising Catholic Children - Take Your Children to Holy Mass.

 I have had one of those weeks. It was a week for the record books. With one thing piling on top of the other and the cherry on the cake being my husband was away for most of it. It was week that despite feeling like I was being attacked at every turn I had to surrender to the challenges and keep praying through it all. As I laid my head on my pillow last night after the long week before me, I realised two important things. The first is that I don't just want happiness for my children. The second is that I don't just want them to be good people. The reason is "happy" and "good" won't be enough when they are faced with the bad or difficult days, weeks or months  in their life's journey.  Read more...

What are you reading for Lent?

What are you reading for Lent?  Christians who observe Lent know that reading during this time can be a great spiritual exercise ... or not.  I have attempted some books in the past that I eventually abandoned for various reasons. You can see the photo gallery of the books I'm reading for Lent here at Being Catholic ... Really .

In Honor of the GREEN... in Forty − even Fifty Shades!

I promised more COLOR ,   didn't I? ...then what a perfect time to give GREEN its due!    After all, this month brought us the Feast of Saint Patrick (with all its St. Paddy festivities, of course), and now the start of a new season in life!  Yes, Spring has officially sprung here---with shades of grey long dead (!)... So thinking green , seeing green , and anticipating much more green has come quite naturally lately.  And that's something good for us [body, mind & spirit!] and something that involves our food, as well, for all year long.  But if, however, our desire for the color green [from plant foods, that is] has been lost, or maybe never found, let us do something about it now − in this new season, on, for life!  And hopefully, as we come to know these many shades of green, we will see good reason to fall in love with them for their ability to help − to actually do the body good, rather than harm; to foster wellness, rather than disease... And that we will find

Walking the Camino - Acts of Reparation for the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the Immaculate Heart of Mary

We all do it, or have done it, through our sins we have offended the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the Immaculate Heart of Mary.  We have taken the name of Jesus in vain.  We have been indifferent to Him.  We have committed sins of pride and arrogance.  We have insulted our great God by thinking that we know better than He. We have heard others repeat blasphemies against Our Lord and His Mother and have said nothing.  We have returned His Unending Love with grievous hurts.  This is why we need to perform acts of reparation to both the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the Immaculate Heart of Mary. Acts of Reparation can be actions and/or prayers.  We can offer up a stomach ache in reparation for sins.  We can refuse to buy something we really want as reparation for sins.  We can fast anytime in reparation for sins committed against the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the Immaculate Heart of Mary.  We can bite our tongues when we want to return hate filled words for the hate filled words

Lenten Reflections

"Do Not Worry About Tomorrow"

Do not worry about tomorrow; tomorrow will take care of itself.  Sufficient for the day is its own evil."    (Mt 6:34) As I sat at Mass listening to these concluding words of the Gospel  I was immediately transported back to a sunny summer afternoon when this scripture first came alive to me. It was early afternoon and I had just collapsed in a heap of frustrated tears onto my bed. I had spent the previous hour or so ping-ponging back and forth between the bedrooms of my newborn daughter and my less than two year old son. It was my first week tackling the task of parenting on my own since my daughter's birth. My parents had returned home and my husband had gone back to work, leaving me alone and outnumbered. Click hear to read more....

Listening to God: CHILD’S PLAY

We all have an awareness of good and evil or a conscience, even the smallest child.The problem is tapping into and living out from our core where God has inscribed a moral code on our hearts. It is hidden our  deepest self. Actually, if we can block out our own ego and selfishness, and simply stop and listen, even a child knows what is right and what is wrong. In my experience, children are capable of the highest moral action, acting purely from a heart full of love. Best of all, children can hear the voice of God.They do not take themseves too seriously. They do not try too hard. They are simply themseves, children of God. Listen in to this fascinating conversation between my children: continue reading>

Light Breaks Blue

Image courtesy of  Frank1030's Flickr stream  under  Creative Commons It’s dark. He turns right, to the aurora of street lamps along Forest Park Drive, to the diluted light pushing its way through the trees that have arbored this area for generations. Wind whips up under his shirt and slaps his back. Jimmy steps out from the awning. A smoldering cigarette in one hand, an empty beer bottle in the other, he raises his arms over his head breathing in the cold, clean, wet dirt smell. His upturned face receives the sharp needles of rain. A baptism.  (Chapter 58, The Narrow Gate, JBMcCullagh, 2012) The sacramental nature of the ordinary is a recurring theme of mine. I suppose all writers have themes. A few of mine are: finding grace in the ordinary, the communion of saints, the light that darkness cannot overcome, the heroic journey and redemption, no matter how late in life we say yes to it .   Continue Reading...

My Journey from Catholicism to Protestantism and Back

People are often surprised when they find out I went to the Franciscan University (a very dynamically orthodox Catholic college), started a household devoted to the Eucharist, and then ended up leaving the Catholic Church. My  conversion story  is very Eucharistic and I even experienced a Eucharistic miracle which you can read about  here . I really do not have an easy explanation for why my husband and I left. It was really after a series of events. Continue Reading >

God's Presence Everywhere All the Time

     Remember the joke about the little boy who was afraid to get the broom out of the dark closet for his mom? She assured him, “Don’t be afraid. God is everywhere.” So the little boy cracked open the closet door a little and called in, “Hey, God, would you hand me the broom!” Catholic Vitamins is a podcast that presents topics following the alphabet. Last week I spoke on U for the Ubiquity of God. (You can listen to this talk on It’s in the second half of the program.) Ubiquity was a pleasant topic because God’s omnipresence is a comforting attribute. We are never alone because God is constantly with us, and so we needn’t feel lonely or be afraid. God says in Isaiah 41:10, “Do not fear, for I am with you. . . I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”      One thing I like about the Catechism of the Catholic Church is that along with calling God Most High, it calls God Most Near. How can God be eve

Introduction of Maryann D'Amico,Missionary Artist of Saint Therese :A Mission for the Arts

                                          My name is Maryann D'Amico. I am so excited about what  the Association of Catholic Women Bloggers is doing. It's great! I've been so excited since meeting other Catholic Bloggers because it has given me hope,happiness and light. During the Mass that was for Pope John Paul II's beatification, I prayed for his intercession for all those in the arts,to be the light and bring the light of Christ. Prior to his death,I received a Letter he wrote to Artist's in 1999. It happened during the presence of the body of St. Therese in the Carmelite Monastery in Philadelphia. I prayed for three days in the Monastery to find God's Will for my life. In prayer,I was told to go to the bookstore in the Monastery basement and look on the top shelf left corner. There was a copy of ," A Letter to Artists." From Pope John Paul II. There was only one copy. I was not an artist. I became one five years later. I

The Angelus: Domestic Church Style

Ding. Dong. Ding. Dong. Ding. Dong. The church bell tolls insistently from the iPhone set on my kitchen counter. My daughter comes bouncing in, American Girl doll in tow. From the distance of his room, I hear my son begin: "The angel of the Lord declared unto Mary..." My daughter and I reply in unison: "And she conceived of the Holy Spirit."  Like generations of Catholics before us - following a prayer tradition that possibly stretches all the way back to the thirteenth century, our domestic church stops each day at Noon to pray the Angelus. The Angelus is a short prayer reciting the key scripture verses related to the Incarnation of the Lord, punctuated by three Hail Marys between each verse.  It is traditionally recited three times per day at 6AM, Noon and 6PM and is perhaps best known by the Holy Father's public recitation of it each Sunday at Noon from his balcony overlooking St. Peter's Square.  Read more here....

"Finding Religion" - My Conversion Story Part 2

Quick recap from  My Conversion Story, Part 1  from last week: Last January I had a miscarriage and said a prayer for the first time in a long time. Then in February one of my husband's vocal cords became paralyzed, I said more prayers, it sucked. In March, we went to church, my husband bought me coffee as a reward, I believed in God but not in Jesus as His Son. In May I had a brief crisis with Catholicism and felt sad that I might not go to our church anymore, but then it was okay, and I realized I really liked the Catholic Church, but I still did not want to become Catholic. Got it? Good. Moving on. Shortly after I wrote  my first post about why I like the Catholic Church , another blogger wrote her own post ridiculing me for it. This shocked and upset me and led me to think and think and think about my reasons for liking the Church (And to write  another post  about it). And then I got all fired up, because I realized that the other blogger seemed to be using my post and di

The Transfiguration teaches us detachment

Last week’s Gospel was about the Transfiguration of Jesus. As you recall, Jesus took Peter, James, and John up Mt. Tabor. Moses and Elijah appeared and spoke with Him about His coming Passion. Hearing the Gospel, I was struck by what it teaches us about detachment in the spiritual life. Moses represents the Law. Elijah represents the Prophets. The Law and the Prophets together form the basis of the Old Testament. From the good to the perfect When Peter saw Moses and Elijah, he said, “Lord, it is good for us to be here.” He suggested building booths or tents in which the three religious figures could stay. No doubt he wanted to speak with Moses and Elijah and hear their wisdom in person. But this was not God’s plan. God the Father spoke to the Apostles from the cloud. Then they looked up and saw Jesus standing before them alone. Continue reading at Contemplative Homeschool.

To the Woman Who Knows Her Husband Will Never Cheat on Her

The Internet is abuzz with a duel of sorts between Patheos blogger  Simcha Fisher  and young, engaged-to-be-married Emma Smith, who wrote on  Catholic Exchange  that she knows for a fact that she and her husband will never have to face the issue of infidelity. "God is faithful, but we're not marrying God," proclaimed Fisher. "What do we know about human beings? They sin. They sin, and they sin, and they sin. Sometimes they enter into a valid marriage and then they cheat. Sometimes they understand fully what they are supposed to do, and they just don’t feel like doing it," she explained. I'm inclined to agree with Fisher. Because the issue in Catholic marriage is not whether anything will go wrong, but how will you handle it when it does. Read more  here ...

An Unexpected Voice on NPR

Somehow my opinion on what it means to be Catholic in 2014 ended up as part of a round table discussion on NPR. It began when I logged into my Facebook account last week to post photos of Sarah’s birthday party, and I saw that I had a new message waiting for me; it was from my sister-in-law, Katy, who lives in Colorado with her husband and two boys.  It was simply an invitation to send your opinions, views, and convictions to an NPR email address, and I shrugged to myself, thinking, “What the heck?  I’ll give it a shot; no harm in trying.”  So I emailed them with only two short paragraphs; it took me literally two minutes, and the thought of satisfaction that I had reached out was enough for me. That evening I had a phone appointment with my life coach, Eileen.  I was explaining how I am feeling this restlessness, this call within my heart – a burning – that God is beckoning me to do more, but I was unsure of what that entailed.  Eileen told me while I was speaking, s

An Artist Shares in the Mystery of the Annunciation

This painting is the first religious painting for John Meng-Frecker. He explains, " I had an amazing experience with this painting.  I had done some oil painting of landscapes but wanted to get a more transparent look.  When I switched to watercolor, I also tried a landscape technique on my first religious painting. Praying the rosary every day led me to try the painting...... Mary’s face came out so delicately appropriate and shadowed from the angel’s light.  I am an amateur painter (my day job is a civil engineer) and not very good at faces.  That moment of grace when the painting appeared so beautifully was my “yes” and my promise to paint the remaining 19 mysteries. read more>

'Behold the handmaid of the Lord.' The Annunciation

The Annunciation , El Greco, 1595-1600 [ Web Gallery of Art ] Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it done to me according to thy word. Fr Donnchadh Ó Floinn (1902 - 1968) was a priest of the Archdiocese of Dublin who wrote 201 short meditations in Irish Gaelic for  The Far East , the monthly magazine of the Columbans in Ireland, from March 1949 till April 1967. In 2003 they were published by Foilseacháin Ábhair Spioradálta, which specializes in spiritual books in Irish and is run by the Jesuits, under the title  Aibhleoga Crábhaidh ,  ‘Sparks of Devotion’ . Fifty of these had come out in book form before under the same publisher in 1957 with the title  Caoga Árdú Meanman , which could be translated as  'Fifty Raisings of the Spirit’ . The editor of  Aibhleoga Crábhaidh  was Fr Iognáid Ó Maoleachlainn of the Diocese of Ardagh                                                                                                                                                      

Walking The Camino - Almsgiving Through Service At Church

Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few.” Matthew 9: 37 Take a quiz: The phone rings.  Caller ID shows that someone from Church is calling you.  What do you do? a) Think of an excuse quickly because you know that they are looking for volunteers. b) Realize that because you are not going to tell the truth you will have to go to confession, and since it’s Lent you will have to go to confession anyway, if you have time, so that’s okay, but you don’t have time. c) You don’t answer the phone and let it go to voice mail because you don’t have time to help out at church.  (Whew!  You don’t have to lie because you didn’t answer the phone.) d) Answer the phone, but you do feel guilty because you don’t want to help out, I mean don’t have time. e) You answer the phone and politely say “No” to the appeal for help. Read More At:  His Unending Love