Showing posts from May, 2014

Face of Christ - Work in Progress

This is a piece in-progress with the focus on creating the sense of light, and the style being something the secular world would not reject.  So I figured I would post it for Ascension Sunday.

Guide, Friend, Counselor, Comforter: the Holy Spirit

Readings for the Sixth Sunday of Easter 2014:
Acts 8:5-8, 14-171 Peter 3:15-18John 14:15-21 Sixth Sunday of Easter 2014 By Deacon Lawrence N. Kaas
May 25, 2014
In an anonymous e-mail, we are told a story we need to hear on this Memorial Day weekend. It's about an old man and his wife sitting in the parking lot of a supermarket. The hood is up on their car. Evidently they were having engine problems.

A young man in his early 20s with a grocery bag in his arms walks in the direction of the older couple. The older gentleman emerges from his car and takes a few steps in the young man's direction. He points to the open hood and asks the young man for assistance. The young man puts his grocery bag into his expensive SUV, turns back to the old man and yelled at him: "you shouldn't even be allowed to drive a car at your age." And then with a wave of his hand, he gets into his car and speeds out of the parking lot. The old gentleman pulls out his handkerchief, mops his bro…

Feast of the Visitation Through The Eyes of Art History


'I am with you always . . .' Sunday Reflections. The Ascension; 7th Sunday of Easter

The Ascension of Christ, Rembrandt, 1638 Alte Pinakotech, Munich [Web Gallery of Art] Solemnity of the Ascension  Readings(New American Bible: Philippines, USA)                                  
Readings(Jerusalem Bible: Australia, England & Wales, India [optional], Ireland, New Zealand, Pakistan, Scotland, South Africa) GospelMatthew 28:16-20  (New Revised Standard Version, Catholic Edition, Can)

Now the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain to which Jesus had directed them. When they saw him, they worshiped him; but some doubted.And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,and teaching them to obey everything that I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” The readings above are used whether the Solemnity is celebrated on Ascension Thursday or on the following Sund…

Time For a Smile

Some Catholic Fun: 7 quick takes to make you smile because sometimes we take ourselves too seriously. 

"Nothing in man is more serious than his sense of humor; it is the sign that he wants all the truth." Thomas Merton

Joy cannot be held at heel. ... means to put our lives in the hands of God, especially in our most difficult moments.” — Pope Francis, May 23, 2014, via Twitter ...


7 Lessons From the Visitation

The church celebrates the Feast of the Visitation on May 31, bringing to a conclusion the month devoted to our Blessed Mother. The account of Mary's Visitation to Elizabeth from Luke's Gospel (Luke 1:39-56) is reflected upon by Catholics in  the second Joyful Mystery of the Rosary, and I number it as one of my favorite scriptural accounts. Here are seven lessons the actions of Mary and Elizabeth in the Visitation have taught me.

Lesson 1: Put a little pep in your step. Luke's account of the Visitation opens with the following line: "During those days Mary set out and traveled to the hill country in haste..." (Luke 1:39). The phrase that always jumps off the page at me is "in haste". Mary went in haste to be of service to her cousin, Elizabeth, whom she had just found out was pregnant in her old age.

Let's consider a few things here: First, Mary is pregnant. Second, she didn't jump in her SUV, stop at Dunkin Donuts for an Iced Coffee on the way an…

This week's word is COURAGE.

This week’s word is a call to bring more Courage into the way we are relating. With others, with circumstances, and most of all, with ourselves. What does that mean? Below are a few thoughts:
Courage is not about BIG, BOLD action. The times I’ve behaved most courageously in my life have involved being still, closing my mouth and opening my heart. Offering Empathy. Listening Fully. Being present for someone who is hurting, angry, confused, can feel uncomfortable. It takes courage to stay in the discomfort and connect deeply with another. You can read some thoughts on how exactly to do this, here.Courage means following your heart. The word courage comes from the Old French corage and the Latin cor, both meaning heart, innermost feelings. If I listen to my mind-chatter going round-and-round long enough, I can talk myself into or out of just about anything. When I choose courage, I get still & quiet in my mind so I can tune into my heart. I think of it as tuning into God’s voice wit…

Jadeite from Space; a Moon of Mars; and Kepler's New Mission

A century ago, we didn't realize that mountains fall from the sky at irregular intervals. A century from now, we'll probably be mining asteroids. Today, we're learning that there's much more to learn....

...Knowledge and Dominion
(From ESA/Hubble, via Wikimedia Commons, used w/o permission.)
"Today I would like to highlight another gift of the Holy Spirit: the gift of knowledge. When we speak of knowledge, we immediately think of man's capacity to learn more and more about the reality that surrounds him and to discover the laws that regulate nature and the universe. The knowledge that comes from the Holy Spirit, however, is not limited to human knowledge; it is a special gift, which leads us to grasp, through creation, the greatness and love of God and his profound relationship with every creature...."
(Pope Francis, General Audience. (May 21, 2014)) We live in a beautiful, good, ordered universe: surrounded by wonders which had remained unknown until rece…

Gazing: Find an Image that Speaks to you...

St. Teresa of Avila and other Contemplatives have commented at various times in their writings how prayer is in some fundamental sense responding to Christ who is looking at us by us standing in the presence of God and looking back.  This is not necessarily an easy thing to do, nor immediately obvious what that ‘looking back’ is supposed to involve concretely. However, one thing St. Teresa does say is to find an image of Christ that moves you, that enables you to connect with him, and don’t be influenced by any of the fads of the culture at the moment. So, what that means in this day is that you can go to the internet to any search engine that supports image searches, and search for things like “Face of Christ” or “Face of Jesus” or something like that and scan through them till you find one that speaks to you, that makes Christ present.  I’ve painted several versions of the face of Christ, but you may like none of them and that’s fine.  If your tradition doesn’t use icons, but an ol…

The Most Important Thing...

Recently I had a conversation with a dear friend of mine. She is a Protestant and she has been burned by most of the churches she has been involved with. She and her husband have encountered numerous people in the Church that have been anything but loving; people that have been caught up in a power trip and their own agendas. Currently they are not involved in any church and she was lamenting to me that they do not know where to go anymore. I encouraged her to seek the truth and seek intimacy with Jesus. I told her the problem with many of the churches she has belonged to is they were starting in the wrong place.     Continue Reading>

Teaching Your Child How to Choose Friends Wisely

On Holy Thursday, Jesus told his disciples, "I call you friends" (Jn 15:15). It's interesting to note that he said this AFTER Jesus had left. Jesus was very merciful and open. He invited EVERYONE to be his friend. He wanted everyone to be his friend. But he knew who he could call his friend and who he couldn't.

Teaching our children how to choose their friends wisely from a young age will save them a lot of heartache and confusion when they grow up. On the flip side, this process also instinctively teaches them how to BE a good friend at the same time.

Head over to Eyes On Heaven for 7 ways to help your kids learn how to choose good friends.

Here's Who I Prayed for Today...

I prayed for my children.
I prayed for Pope Francis.
I prayed for priests.
I prayed for the priests whom I have spiritually adopted.
I prayed the sick.
I prayed for the dying
I prayed for the Holy Souls in purgatory.
I prayed for the young man with the baggy pants walking down the street.
I prayed for the woman holding a lit cigarette out the car window as she drove.
I prayed for all of us at Mass.
I prayed for my family.
I prayed for my friends.
I prayed for those who are suffering.
I prayed for my dog.
I prayed for you.

Read More at :: His Unending Love

ACWB is on Pinterest Now

Association Of Catholic Women Bloggers We are a group of committed Christian writers who speak the good news as Catholics Come follow us. Click on the title to link to our pinterset board. So far I have just posted May's articles up until May 28 and we have 116 pins

Saints: Human Like Us

What is your concept of a saint? Do you think of someone pale and sickly, serious (if not downright grim), dressed in religious garb and living in caves or on clouds? Actually the saints had their feet on the ground. They were not all angels, although angels are included in the term “saints.” Saints were human like us. We are to imitate them, but how can we imitate someone we can’t identify with? In the course of time, stories about saints’ lives became exaggerated as the authors tried to emphasize the saints’ holiness. (This happens with other heroes too, like George Washington whose legend of chopping down the cherry tree serves to illustrate his truthfulness.)  Click to continue

Catechism 101 Lesson Plan: Obedience in Faith

I started developing Catechism 101 Lesson Plans a couple of months ago. I'm moving at a snail's pace, but here's Lesson 10 - Obedience in Faith.

The Catechism 101 lesson plans are based directly off the structure of the Catechism of the Catholic Church, and include differentiated activity ideas and resources for different ages (6-8, 9-11, 11-13).

Head over to Eyes On Heaven for the Lesson 10: Obedience in Faith lesson plan, and, if you haven't seen them yet, the first 9 lessons.

Part 1: The Creed and Chapter 1: Laying a Firm Foundation {Lawn Chair Catechism}

We’re introduced to the four pillars of the Catechism of the Catholic Church this week through Paprocki’s H.E.L.P. acronymn: H = We Hold on to our faith that is revealed to us through Scripture and Tradition and is summarized in the Creed.E = We Express our faith in the liturgy and sacraments of the Church.L = We Live our faith according to Catholic morality.P = We Pray our faith by maintaining a healthy prayer life. As we begin Part 1, we’ll be looking at the Creed, the “H” for “Hold” above. At the end of Chapter 1, Paprocki writes, “What difference does it make for Catholics to believe that “Christians are made, not born”? It means that we are called to be receptive. Faith is something that we receive. It does not belong to us but is passed on to us like a family heirloom that we treasure, protect, and pass on faithfully.” My Reflection:  Self righteous indignation is an attitude of us and them, as if Catholics are intrinsically superior to those of other faiths. Unfortunately this sm…

To Love, Honour and Serve (@ Melody's Harmonies)

If you’d asked me five or even just before our wedding last year, whether I would serve my husband when I was married, I would have laughed at you.
A friend recently got engaged and his new fiancée was lamenting the fact that all her elders were giving her marital advice. In that advice, she felt the wife was seen as the man’s servant and the views were old fashioned, misogynistic and did not portray what she believed marriage was. She was very clear to say that she would not be caught “ironing her husband’s underwear”.
At the risk of sounding ridiculous… I would iron my husband’s underwear. If that was how I could serve him and love him. And trust me when I say I HATE ironing and I pretty much don’t do it. We got a nice iron for a wedding gift.. it still has the tags on it. And my favourite dryer setting is definitely the “de-wrinkle” one. But if by ironing his underwear, my husband would be pleased and known my love for him, I would do it. Read the rest here.

How to overcome the Devil’s temptation

Last week I wrote about the three sources of temptation. Now let’s look at temptation by the Devil in more detail.

Two Scripture passages show us how the Devil tempts us. Genesis 3 tells how Adam and Eve gave in to temptation and sinned. Matthew 4 tells how Jesus resisted the Devil’s temptation. The two stories contain striking similarities.
  The lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life When the Devil tempted Eve, the first thing she noticed was that the forbidden fruit was “good for food” (Gen 3:6).  Similarly, the Devil first tempted Jesus by telling Him to turn stones into bread (Mt 4:3). So we see that the Devil often begins by appealing to our natural appetites. In fact, he tempts us with the desires of the flesh.

Apparently, Eve was not completely swayed by this temptation, for she also noticed that the fruit was “a delight to the eyes.” Catholic tradition equates this delight with greed–the desire to have something that is not rightly ours, …



Introducing Ann Chapin, Catholic Artist

Catholic Christian art is tough.  Mainly the reason is that there is a fine line to tread between being too 'sweet' and too abstract and cold.  You want the image to have some sublimity, to be accessible to the modern eye, and still evoke a sense of the transcendent.  I'm working at creating images that are useful in prayer, particularly in gazing at the face of Christ.  There is something about looking back at Christ gazing at you that changes us in a way we can't change ourselves, and may not be even able to put into words.  So, I'm trying to create art to open us up to that.

I'm just starting out as a blogger and I confess I have a long way to go before I master this.  Here's a LINK to some I've posted so far...more to come as I continue to figure this out.

The Holy FaceCreation of art for prayer and contemplation

I also want to post periodically regarding thoughts on the theology of gazing-prayer, as I call it, and welcome conversation about this top…

We Love Blue… Let Us Count the Ways

BLUEand the BLUEBERRY–Mean and Do so much!

The color BLUEcan“MEAN”Symbolize or Represent: Sky, Sea, Air, Water, Cleanliness, Calmness, Tranquility, Stability, Integrity, Fidelity, Sincerity, Power, Success, Knowledge, Understanding, Healing, Contemplation, Faith, Trust, Virtue, Depth, Vastness, Sorrow…
No wonder it’s the color often associated with our Blessed MotherWoman Clothed with the Sun; Star of the Sea; Fountain Sealed; Virgin Most Pure, Most Faithful, Most Powerful; Our Lady of Peace; Our Lady of Victory; Our Lady of Good Counsel; All Fair and Immaculate; Health of the Sick; Ever Virgin; Full of Grace; Mother of Wisdom; Mother of God, our Mother; Our Lady of  Sorrows.
The color BLUE of the Blueberry also can “DO”NOURISH: with highly beneficial blue-related pigments within plants packed with phytochemicals... Click Hereto Read More at The Way to Nourish for Life... including info about this lovely star berry of blue, plus recipes and more.

Memorial Day: War; Celebrating; Remembering; and Building a Better World

(From Remember, Spyder_Monkey; via Wikimedia Commons, used w/o permission.)
"Till the war-drum throbbed no longer, and the battle-flags were furl'd
In the Parliament of man, the Federation of the world.

"There the common sense of most shall hold a fretful realm in awe,
And the kindly earth shall slumber, lapt in universal law....
("Locksley Hall," Alfred, Lord Tennyson) As a youth, those were among my favorite lines of poetry. A half-century later, they still are: although I've learned to temper my optimism with patience.

Remembering Today is Memorial Day, the third day in a three-day weekend that's the unofficial start of summer's vacation season. It's also a day when some of us honor those who died while serving in the United States armed forces.

Following our custom, the American president will probably lay a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknowns.

More at A Catholic Citizen in America

The Silence of Remembering

It was a hot, sunny, day as we made our way to the Tomb. Away from the city noise of D.C., the first thing I noticed at the Tomb was the silence. This was no ordinary silence. It was a silence filled with solemnity, with ritual and with sadness. We stood and watched as the military guard, dressed from head to toe in the most perfectly kept uniform, marched back and forth, back and forth, back and forth before the tomb of his fallen brothers. After a what seemed like an eternity of silent watching, we witnessed the ceremony of the changing of the guard - a ceremony, I later learned, which takes place around the clock, day and night, rain or shine, no matter who is or isn't watching. The guards, it occurred to me, are not putting on a show for the sake of the grumpy adolescent tourist and her family. They are about something far greater.

Click hear to read the rest. 
God knew kids would need to play even before parents did, and so, he gave them the two best toys of all: dirt and water! No toy stores needed!

Even now, with tons of different manufactured toys available, dirt and water still have an unbeatable attraction for kids. Fun, education and exploration all in one!

Head over to Eyes On Heaven for 15 ways to play with dirt and water!

Come, Lord Jesus!

'Come!  I am so bold as to invite You, Lord Jesus, to enter my heart.  I have prepared a place of refuge for You.  Come!

Come!  I ask that You shine Your light into all areas of my heart refuge; not just into the most easily accessible ones, but most especially into the hidden crannies and dimly lit areas.  Come.......'

Making Sense Online: Two 10-Point Lists, and the Golden Rule

Developing and using technology is part of being human. But if we don't use our brains, even basic tech can hurt us.

The problem isn't fire, string, or Hypertext Transfer Protocol. It's the all-too-human knack for getting into trouble mentioned in Job 5:7. (May 9, 2014; April 27, 2014; October 6, 2013)

The good news is that we're human: rational creatures, able to decide how we behave. (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1730-1742)

The Internet: Sharing Information Around the World
(From Matt Britt, via Wikimedia Commons, used w/o permission.)
("Partial map of the Internet based on the January 15, 2005 data found on")

My oldest daughter told me that map of the Internet looked like fireworks, or neurons. I see her point, particularly since it's possible to compare the Internet to the neural wiring that's in our heads....

More at A Catholic Citizen in America

The Advocate? What Advocate is that?

Who is this Advocate? You may be surprised. Find our HERE

A Marian Painting You Haven’t Seen

An interesting Marian painting we haven’t seen before! “The Madonna of the Rose” (1885) by Pascal-Adolphe-Jean Dagnan-Bouveret. See how the illumination around the head of the child Christ shines through Mary’s mantle? Beautiful. In the collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York City. Seen on

A Body in Prayer by Neil Combs reviewed by Nancy Ward

When I met Neil Combs at the 2013 Catholic Writers Guild Live conference, I sensed a connection that was beyond Catholics and writers. He introduced himself to me when we were volunteering at the Catholic Writers Guild booth in the CMN trade show. He was excited about his book, “A Body in Prayer: Praying from Head to Toe,” a subject that fascinates me.

Then I discovered his conversion story from a Lutheran family was similar to mine from an Episcopalian family.  We both converted after our marriage to a Catholic. We both struggle with what to give up in our busy lives to establish a good prayer time. So I relate to his journey to write the book and to convert to the Catholic Church.

The simple organization of the chapters makes it easy to concentrate on the gems of wisdom.  Here are a few of my favorites:

“Open Mouth” –  “A great way to evangelize is to create the opportunity for a conversation about the faith.”

“The Eyes Have It” – “I think that the reason that tears are such e…

24 May, Day of Prayer for China: Our Lady of Sheshan. Our Lady, Help of Christians

Our Lady, Help of ChristiansMexico [Wikipedia]
Day of Prayer for China Pope Benedict XVI designated the 24th May each year as a special day of prayer with the Church in China urging the universal Church to join together with a special prayer at the weekend Masses in all our parishes. There is a special prayer for China to Our Lady of Sheshan written by Pope Benedict  You can read more in an article by John Battle on the website of the Columbans in the USA here.

Our Lady of Sheshan Continue here.

'Because I live, you also will live.' Sunday Reflections, 6th Sunday of Easter Year A

The Last Supper, Tintoretto, 1579-81 Scuola Grande di San Rocco, Venice 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 14:15-21  (New Revised Standard Version, Catholic Edition, Canada) 
 Jesus said to his disciples: “If you love me, you will keepmy commandments.And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate,to be with you forever.This is the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, because  he abides with you, and he will be inyou. “I will not leave you orphaned; I am coming to you.In a little while the world will no longer see me, but you will see me; because I live, you also will live.On that day you will know that I am in my Father, and you in me, and I in you.They who have my commandments and keep them are those w…

Mothers in Control: Holy Vacuum Cleaners?

Ah, mothers. Aren’t we great? Always running around serving, Acting like a combination of Martha and Mary. A+ Mums who are in control, right? . Think again. When any one of us, whether  a mother or not, refuses to give up control, we shut out the power of the Holy Spirit. In fact, we end up acting just like vacuum cleaners when it is God’s job to purify our family in His power, mercy and grace. He desires that we simply become conduits of His Love. It is by Christ’s suffering that mothers and their families are healed, not by the mother acting like a sacrificial lamb or a scapegoat like in the Old Testament. continue reading>

Why I don't let my boys be crude

Adults seem to take for granted that being crude is part of the nature of boys. “Let boys be boys,” they say. Let them make jokes about body functions and use crass language. We can’t expect them to be careful in their speech. Well, here’s news for all of you: I am raising four masculine boys and I don’t allow them to speak or act crudely. And they don’t!

The other day, D (nearing 12), brought up the subject of crude talk. Some of his friends have always been looser in their talk than we allow here. As he gets older, the tongues of many of his friends are getting worse. Was I being too strict? He wanted to know.
Here are some of the reasons I gave him for our rules against being crude:
1. We are not beasts Unlike lower animals, humans have reason. We can regulate our behavior. We are not subject to impulses. We should be raising our eyes to Heaven, not lowering them to earth. We should speak about the higher things in life.

Continue reading at Contemplative Homeschool

10 Ways to Teach Your Child to Share

Have you every watched Finding Nemo? Sometimes I feel like the gulls have raided my living room. For those of you that haven’t seen the film, toward the end there’s a group of seagulls all clamoring for the same fish, saying “Mine” “Mine” “Mine” “Mine”, non-stop. A fairly accurate description of how children can sound when fighting over toys. Sharing can’t be forced. Making your child share a toy leads to resentment, and confuses them regarding the meaning of possession. You teach them that if a toy isn’t theirs, they can’t have it unless the person who owns it agrees. But then, when they own the toy, someone else can use it without them agreeing? That doesn’t make sense to your child, so ownership ceases to have a meaning. Instead of forcing your child to share, teach them to share by creating a positive atmosphere that continually exposes them to sharing and encourages them to share. Help your child foster positive emotions, like empathy, that will help them learn how to share. Head…

South American Dinosaurs, Large and 'Small;' and a Changing World

Leinkupal laticauda isn't the smallest known dinosaur. That honor goes to Compsognathus, a turkey-sized fellow you wouldn't want to meet in a dark alley. Leinkupal may be the smallest sauropod, though: and probably among the last of that line....

...Older than the Mountains

(From Jon Sullivan, via Wikimedia Commons, used w/o permission.)
(Mountains in the Teton Range, seen from Jackson Hole, Wyoming.)

My parents and I visited Yellowstone and Grand Tetons National Parks when I was young, and spent a day in Jackson Hole, Wyoming. Years later, seeing photos we'd taken, I was surprised that my memories of the Teton Mountains were accurate: They really did look as big as I remembered them.

It was summer when we were there, which may explain why one of the glaciers was noticeably lower on the mountain when we left. The mountains themselves hadn't changed, of course. If I went back there today, I doubt that they would be appreciably different.

Over a human lifespan, or even se…

We are Ciborium

I heard it said that Jesus tabernacles in us.
St Faustina asked Jesus to remain with her until the next communion, and He did!! He remained with her until her next communion. But I don’t think He tabernacled in her. I can’t imagine Jesus sitting quietly in a tabernacle. I can’t imagine Jesus sitting quietly at all!! He is shown like that, sitting still on His throne, His Divine Hand in fixed blessing.

I know that it is said that Jesus waits for us in the tabernacle, silent, alone. St Faustina said that He was trapped there, held by His own Love.
His Love, His Infinite Love. I just can’t imagine His Infinite Love just quietly, silently trapped there by His own Infinite Love.

to read the rest