Showing posts from June, 2014

If you could, Would you?

If you could,
Would you?

If you could be told the date, time, place and method of your death, would you want to know?
Would you want to know if you would face death alone or be held in the warm embrace of your family?
Would this knowledge impact your life?  Would you seek to change?  Would you look for
God or live with abandonment, not caring what you did, only seeking worldly pleasures before you died?
If you knew that, as you walked out the door that morning,  you would never return home again, would you walk out that door?  If you knew that tomorrow you would die, what would you do?

Other than this moment, this second, we are not guaranteed another moment of life.  Do you praise God and thank Him for His great gift  of life?  As I have aged, I have come to realize what an amazing gift life is.  I have been given so many chances to right the wrongs.  Each day gives me that gift.  Each day I am granted the opportunity to grow closer to God, to live in His ways and in His t…

Who do you think you are?

Who do you think you are? CLICK HERE

Storm the Gates (Part 2)

Storm the Gates (Part 2) NOTE:  The following of what you are about to read, is for your discernment.  I do not ask nor require anyone's belief.  Also, God did everything in what I am about to tell you, I only asked.  Even in the asking, God gave me the breath to speak it, the will to ask it, so really He did it all.  I am only writing this now because I was told to write, and write I will.

To Find Out What Happened During My Prayer on the 11th Station, CLICK HERE.

Immaculate Conception

The Meaning of the Immaculate Conception
Of course I can’t remember being conceived nor growing into a baby in my mother’s womb. Nor for that matter do I remember being baptised a week later. I was totally dependent on my mother for everything, not just in those first weeks of my life, but for many months to come. I, not only depended on my mother, for my physical growth and development, but for my spiritual development too. I received my first experience of God’s love from her love of me. Exactly the same happened to Jesus. St Paul said that he was ‘like us in every way but sin’, that’s how God had planned things from the beginning. That’s why at the very moment that he decided that his Son would be made flesh, that decision included having a human mother. As Blessed John Duns Scouts put it: - ‘if God willed the end he must have willed the means’. If he chose to enter into this world as a human being he must have a human mother, for without a human mother he could not be a true human…



'Just Routine, Nothing Special' — Thank You, Father Statz

Quite a lot has happened, since Father James Statz came to the Our Lady of the Angels parish here in Sauk Centre, Minnesota. Most of it's routine, like the annual cycle of the liturgical year, some hasn't.

Today is the last time Father Statz celebrates Mass as our parish priest. I'm sorry to see him go, but very glad that he has been here.

Remembering, Mostly 2003
Some of it hasn't been routine, like when the Christmas tree — over a dozen feet tall — fell over behind him. That was in 2003.

I took that photo before the excitement. The choir director had told us that the last song would be "Hark the Herald Angels Sing" when the Christmas tree fell over.

Over a dozen children on the near side of the altar, and probably a few other folks, said "eee!" The tree fell neatly on the altar's far side.

Then we sang "Hark the Herald Angels Sing." Nobody was hurt, much, although Father Statz got clipped as the tree went past him, and the deacon was …

Jesus Turns to the Modern Day Theologian ....

Todays Gospel tells the story of Jesus asking Peter, " Who do you say that I am" and I can't help but repeat this intellectual, theological joke told 30 years ago by a Jesuit priest in front of a university New Testament class. Jesus was walking alongside of the Sea of Galilee when he turned to Simon Peter and asked him, “Who do you say that I am?” Simon Peter answered Him, “Why you are the Christ, the Son of the living God.”  Jesus was pleased with his answer. So, Jesus turns to the modern day theologian and asks, “Who do you say that I am?” The modern day theologian answers, “Why you are the eschatological manifestation in the ground of our being. The kerygma, which finds its fulfillment in interpersonal relationships.” And Jesus says, “What?” kerygma is the basic Christian message, eschatological  a branch of theology dealing with the final, end times



Dealing with Strongholds

Eventually if we live in this world long enough we will experience hurt and disappointment. The hurts we experience in life can create unhealthy patterns and wrong ways of thinking that influences the way we act. In turn we could end up hurting others, push people away or cause unhealthy co-dependent relationships.

Romans 12:2 says, "Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will."
Continue Reading >

Storm The Gates! (Part 1)

And so I say to you, you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church,*and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. Matthew 16:18.

"...and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.".  What does this mean? How can a gate prevail?  Wouldn't it be demons that would prevail, but that isn't want our Lord said, He said 'gates'.    

A gate is something to keep something in, or to keep something out.  It can also be used as a passageway.  

From the scripture we know there is more than one gate. ('gates' plural).  There are supposedly 12 gates into heaven the same as the number of apostles, the demon loves to mock God, so their must be more than one gate into hell, but how many?
To Find out How Many.. Click HERE!!

'But who do you say that I am?' Solemnity of Sts Peter and Paul

Sts Peter and Paul, Guido Reni Pinacoteca di Brera, Milan [Web Gallery of Art]

Solemnity of Sts Peter and Paul. Solemnities take precedence over Sundays in Ordinary Time. At the Vigil Mass (Saturday evening) NB: The Vigil Mass has its own prayers and readings. Those for the Mass During the Day on Sunday should not be used – though some priests seem to be unaware of this. It is incorrect to refer to the Vigil Mass as an ‘anticipated Mass’. It is a celebration proper to the evening before. The Vigil Mass also fulfills the Sunday obligation. Readings(New American Bible: Philippines, USA) Readings(Jerusalem Bible: Australia, England & Wales, India [optional], Ireland, New Zealand, Pakistan, Scotland, South Africa) [This link is to the readings for the Vigil Mass and for the Mass on Sunday] Mass During the Day Readings(New American Bible: Philippines, USA) Readings(Jerusalem Bible: Australia, England & Wales, India [optional], Ireland, New Zealand, Pakistan, Scotland, South Africa)  [This l…

Something Other Than God: A Review (@ Melody's Harmonies)

Well folks, it’s time. It’s time for the very long awaited review of Something Other Than God by Jennifer Fulwiler of Conversion Diary. While the punctuality of my reading of the book and this review may indicate otherwise: I loved this book.

Read the rest here

Tobit’s Dog, A Novel by Michael Nicholas Richard (Reviewed by Nancy Ward)

Tobit’s Dog is a love story amid the battle between heaven and hell for the souls of the good guys as well as the racists, murderers, rapists, thieves and connivers not portrayed in the biblical version of the Book of Tobit. In this imaginary take on the Book of Tobit, exciting enough a tale, Richard skillfully uses the characters, symbols, and scriptural principles. All the vital elements are there: Tobit’s sudden blindness and miraculous healing. Prejudice and bravery — this time, involving a lynching and Tobiah’s arrest for his compassion toward the boy hanging from a tree. Richard sets this, his first professionally published novel, in North Carolina during the depression. The Jim Crow era provides the tension between the black characters (Tobiah and family) and the white businessmen and law enforcement determined to keep the Negros in their place. And they are Catholics. Is this how the enemies of the Jews treated the chosen people during their exile?

More about Tobit's Dog on …

Divorce - Manna From Heaven?

Divorce and its breakup of the family are devastating to say the least. For a faithful Catholic, the experience can rattle faith and force a questioning of self-worth and God's Love. Divorce leaves a hungering for something real, for nourishment beyond the physical. 
Sunday's first reading reminded me of that hunger. In this reading from the book of Deuteronomy, we see Moses leading his people away from slavery but into the desert to wander, isolated, lacking a clear path, and hungering for 40 years. It must have seemed as though the suffering of the Jewish people would never end.
There have been many times over the five years that I've been job searching while raising my five boys alone, that I too have wondered if the exhaustion, the feelings of being overwhelmed and abandoned, the suffering would ever end, if I would ever see an end to the wandering, the isolation, the hungering I so often experience. It is at these times I am drawn to the experiences of those who have…

Life in the Universe, and Titan's Disappearing 'Island'

Some scientists are studying an island that isn't there, and probably isn't an island. Others have found new ways to look for extraterrestrial life; and discovered a planet that's not where it 'should' be....

...Alone in the Universe: Or Not "Thar's only two possibilities: Thar is life out there in the universe which is smarter than we are, or we're the most intelligent life in the universe. Either way, it's a mighty sobering thought."
(Porky Pine, in Walt Kelley's Pogo; via Wikiquote) I don't think that there is life on other planets. I don't think that there is not life elsewhere in the universe. Right now, we don't know.

I'm not going to repeat the mistake made by some European scholars, around the time Thomas Aquinas was writing Summa Theologica. Debate about whether or not other worlds existed had gotten intense, with some scholars claiming that Earth had to be the only world in the universe: because Aristotle said so.

The Unexpected Visitor

What is your house like today? Should you receive an unexpected visitor? CLICK HERE

The Solemnity of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus

Today is the Solemnity of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus a novena used by Padre Pio. A novena is usually started nine days before the feast day, but you can do a novena any time. I am one of those people who can never finish a novena.  I always forget.  I forget to start it.  I forget to finish it.  I forget days in between.  Needless to say, I have stopped trying.  This Catholic form of prayer has fascinated me on and off throughout my conversion years.  I think the fact that I don't finish says a lot about me unfortunately. You can read the rest of my article at Being Catholic ... Really.

A Guided Journey into the Tomb

Go into your quiet place and pray.

Jesus said:: “But whenever you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you.”
Matthew 6: 6

Entering the Tomb. (An exercise in quiet prayer.)

Kneeling or sitting in a quiet place, close your eyes.

Breathe in and out several times to settle yourself down.

Keeping your eyes closed, ask God to open your heart to Him.

Begin to visualize the quiet place of the Tomb.

Read more at:: His Unending Love

Catholic Humour, Eh?

So, it seems that Catholics CAN laugh at themselves after all. These Catholic memes are taken from a Pinterest board I help edit called Catholic Fun, run by CatholicMom. Although just a few weeks old, this board already hosts over 150 pins, all of then hilarious and in good taste. Come pop over and share a smile, a giggle or maybe even a loud belly laugh.Catholic Fun.on Pinterset.
readmore on my blog>

What is Your God "Relationship Status"?

In this age of social media, we all have to have a status, whether it is what we ate for lunch, where we are, or the old nemesis...the relationship status.  We have all seen it multiple times, and we all have those family members or friends that should have a limit on how many times they are allowed to change their relationship status.  

I've had friends that their relationship status changed in hours...not days.  

So, if we were to post our relationship status with God and His Church...what would it be?


For His Greater Glory (and Those Aren't Just Words)

In December of 2011, right around the time I was finishing up my manuscript for Finding Grace, I began to search the Internet for information about how to go about having it published.  My cyber-travels ultimately led me to this 2007 article about Cheryl Dickow, a former middle school teacher who had started her own Catholic publishing house called Bezalel Books.  I was immediately struck by the thought that I'd started writing Finding Grace in 2007, and that was the same year that this article originally appeared in Catholic Review--and I believe the same year that Cheryl started her company.  I felt an immediate connection with Cheryl and it seemed that God was pointing me in the direction of Bezalel Books.

I will always be grateful that I stumbled upon that particular article about this extraordinary woman at that particular time.
Cheryl Dickow is not only a publisher; she is also an editor, a speaker, a blogger, and a contributor to many Catholic periodicals.  She has written…

St. Andrew Parish: Touring Chicago's beautiful churches

What are you doing this summer?  My husband and I are touring Chicago's beautiful churches. A while back I wrote about our choir being on hiatus for the summer.  Our first stop on our summer tour of churches is St. Andrew Parish. When I was growing up (and not Catholic) we lived in St. Andrew's parish.  Back then the Church seemed to play a much larger role in the community.  Whether you were Catholic or not, you attended all the festivities held at the church. You can read the rest here at Being Catholic ... Really.

Overcoming Careless Words

OUCH! Meditating on this Scripture brings to mind a barrage of images of myself in a variety of life situations where I have let loose with careless words including. The idea of rendering an account of each and every one of these situations to the Lord leaves me with a sick feeling in my stomach, especially considering the fact that most of my careless words are not exactly one-hit wonders, but more closely resemble a record with its needle stuck...(and yes, I am dating myself...)

Don't worry. I have no intention in this blog post to leave myself, or you, my readers, wallowing in the depths of despair and considering drastic measures such as fasting on all speech for the next 30 days, weeks, years in order to overcome the careless words in our lives. Fortunately, the Scriptures, the wisdom of the saints, and our Holy Father offer a treasury of wisdom to help overcome the vice of careless speech.

Click here to

Why Taekwondo Won't Save Girls from Date Rape

When asked what should be done about the high rate of sexual assaults on U.S. college campuses, the winner of this year's Miss USA pageant responded that women need to take it upon themselves to learn self-defense. The pageant winner, Nia Sanchez, is a fourth-degree black belt in Taekwondo. Having lived briefly as a young girl in a woman's shelter with her mother, Miss Sanchez learned Taekwondo to increase her sense of security and self-confidence. She intends to promote the art of self-defense for women in her position as Miss USA 2014.

Although women's self-defense is a noble goal, it may do little to cut down the incidence of rape on U.S. college campuses. 1 in 4 of U.S. women of college age have been raped, according to statistics from here. Other estimates put the rate as 1 in 5, but well-known columnist George Will has argued that even a 20 percent assault rate is preposterously high. Part of the confusion is in the definition of rape and particularly date rape, or …

Bad Luck, Good Luck, Redemption

This week I learned a new word, eucatastrophe. J. R. R. Tolkien, the author of TheLord of the Rings, coined it for a calamity in a story that turns out to be something good. It reminded me of a story that Sister Mary St. Jude used to tell:
One day, a farmer's old horse that tilled his fields escaped into the hills. When neighbors sympathized with the old man over his bad luck, the farmer replied, "Bad luck? Good luck? Who knows?" A week later, the horse returned with a herd of horses, and this time the neighbors congratulated the farmer on his good luck. His reply was, "Good luck? Bad luck? Who knows?" Then when the farmer's son was attempting to tame one of the wild horses, he fell off its back and broke his leg. Everyone thought this very bad luck. Not the farmer, whose only reaction was, "Bad luck? Who knows?" Some weeks later the army marched into the village and conscripted every able-bodied youth they found. When they saw the f…

Pope Excommunicates Mafioso


In a statement made on June 21st, Pope Francis issued strong words for people who choose to make a conscious decision to follow the ways of money, sin, and exploitation. The Pope is specifically quoted as saying, “Those who follow the path of evil, like the Mafiosi do, are not in communion with God; they are excommunicated!”
The Pope was speaking to tens of thousands of people in the southern region of Calabria when he issued what is the most severe ecclesiastical penalty within the Catholic Church: excommunication.
But what exactly does it mean to be excommunicated?
And how is it enforced?


101 Reasons Why God is So Awesome!

He is God!
He loves us!
He will never forget us.
He will always forgive us if we ask Him.
He has carved us in the palm of His Hand.
He sent His only begotten Son so that we might have eternal life.
He knows what we will think before we think it.
He has prepared a place for us in Heaven.
He gives us all we need.
He is our strength.
He is our armor.
He can do no wrong.
He forgives us our sins, and they are forgotten.
He is our shepherd.
He gave us free will to chose Him or not.
He's got our backs.
He is the Bread of Life.
He died for us.
He is our creator.
He is the source of life.
He keeps His promises to us.
He is the Living Bread.
He heals us.
He has counted every hair on our heads.

Read More At:: His Unending Love

Curve Ball

So what happens when life throws you a curve ball? And you ask: "Does God love everyone equally"? or "Does He have favorites"? Well ... does He? CLICK HERE

7 Ways to Grow in Devotion to the Sacred Heart

The month of June is traditionally devoted to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, with the feast of the Sacred Heart celebrated at the end of the Octave of Corpus Christi, 19 days after Pentecost. I have childhood memories of the various images of the Sacred Heart which adorned many friends and family member's homes in the Italian - immigrant neighborhood in which I grew up. It wasn't till I was an adult that I became interested in the history of the devotion, and eventually, we had our home enthroned to the Sacred Heart of Jesus. I am by no means an expert on the devotion to the Sacred Heart, so writing this post has been both a reflection of things I have already done to grow in this devotion and a list of things I hope to do.

Click here to read more....

You're more like St. Therese than you think

Do you think you have little in common with St. Therese? Think again.

If I’ve learned anything in writing Trusting God with St. Therese, it’s how much Therese’s struggles were like mine. Consider these points:
Therese was born weakened by Original Sin.It took her years of grace and hard work to overcome family tragedy.She had difficulties relating to other children at school.She suffered from scruples. God repeatedly made her wait for things she believed were His will.Her family members misunderstood her spirituality.She felt natural aversion to people with difficult personalities.She feared losing her remaining loved ones.Spiritual darkness and dryness in prayer were her norm.Great deeds for God were beyond her capability.She suffered terrible pain.She was tempted to despair. Now tell me that none of those sound like you.

Think you can’t become a saint? Think again.

Therese believed in the same God you do. He was her strength and her righteousness. He can be yours as well.

Connie Ross…

3 Virtues Every Parent Needs

Parenting is a rewarding, but challenging job no matter how you look at it. Kids are wonderful, but they also stretch our hearts, minds and wills as far as they can be stretched. It can cause us to grow a lot, or to snap. Here are 3 virtues that help us bring out the best in ourselves, as well as in our kids!

Head over to Eyes On Heaven to read the rest of the post.

Baby Catholic Answers All the Things - The Pope

First of all, I want to say that, in writing this post (or any of the other posts in this series) I am not trying to disparage the beliefs of Protestants or anyone else. I just want to try to explain Catholicism a bit, because it seems there's a lot of misunderstanding about it (most of which I had myself at one time or another). And I want to share why I chose to become Catholic myself. That said, I'm kind of excited to write this post about the pope. Don't you just love Pope Francis? I want to write about why there is a pope and why he has authority. But I realized that I couldn't quite explain all that without getting into the Magisterium (had to look the word up to write this) and Sacred Tradition vs. sola Scriptura a bit too.  Read the rest HERE.

Sanctity: Giving God His Job Back

Listen to this astounding quote on the definition of a saint:
“In fact, a saint is not one who carries out great feats based on the excellence of his human qualities, but one who allowsChrist to penetrate their soul, to act through their person, He being the real protagonistof all their actions and desires, who inspires every initiative and sustains every silence.To let oneself be led by Christ in this way is possible only for one who has an intense life of prayer.“ Pope Benedict XV    St.Thérèse’sthoughts on prayer help clarify;  intense prayer does not mean OUR efforts are intense. No, it is God’s efforts in us that are intense. In fact, sometimes the most intense prayer times are when we are SLEEPING because then we do not get in the way while God works in more>

The Mystical Marriage and the Purifying Power of Parental Love

Some years ago I had lunch with friends in London. On my way out they introduced me to their father who was busy working in the garden. Without thinking I asked him what he was doing and he replied –“I do be digging the garden.” Some months later I met a nun who taught Irish in Dublin and I asked her about this expression that I’d never come across before. She explained that it was an English translation of what in Irish is called the present continuing tense. “Well what does it mean?” I asked, “What was he trying to say to me?” “Oh, what he was saying was this.” she said. “I have been digging the garden, I am digging the garden, and when you stop asking the obvious, I will continue digging the garden!” We haven’t such a tense in English, but the present continuing tense perfectly embodies the meaning of what St John had learned from studying the Old Testament, and from his own personal experience, of being personally loved by Jesus, both before and after the resurrection. When he sai…

A View from my Choir Stall

From the monastery tower, a bell rings.  There is a familiar swish of habits, the sliding of soft soles across floors, a quiet rustle of Breviaries opening and pages being turned.  Sisters move to their places without hesitation.  No one wonders where to go today, for once choir stalls have been assigned, they are easily remembered.  A nun prays in the same one numerous times a day, seven days a week.

Looking over photos of choir stalls the last few days, I've been struck by how different they are from one to another.  Some are carved and ornate.  Some are simple and bare.  And a few look decidedly uncomfortable.... (continue) 

Corpus Christi: "Whoever Eats My Flesh," Two Millennia Later

Earlier this year, someone asked me if I realized that Catholics are cannibals. I responded with something like 'yes, but it wasn't our idea.'

I'm pretty sure that the person wasn't trying to be offensive. I run into odd notions about Catholic beliefs fairly often. I suspect they're often rooted in America's endemic anti-catholicism. (January 6, 2013; February 29, 2012)

Besides: the person was quite right in this case.

Here's part of today's Gospel reading:
"Whoever eats 19 my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him on the last day.

"For my flesh is true food, and my blood is true drink."
(John 6:54-55)
More at A Catholic Citizen in America.

No greater love... (A Eucharistic Miracle story)

Today is the Solemnity of the Body and Blood of Christ (Corpus Christi) in the Catholic Church.  I am reminded of something I got to experience a little over twenty years ago. When I was in college, I had the privilege of witnessing a Eucharistic miracle. The semester had just started and it was around the second week of September, in 1991. I was on my way to class and my roommate was passing me in the middle of campus as she was coming back from class. She asked me if I would like to go see a Eucharistic miracle.  I said, "Sure!"  She told me that she and a friend would pick me up when I got out of class. 

I really didn't know at that time what I was saying yes to, but I was always up for an adventure and I did not have anything else going on. Like she said, they picked me up right after class and there was one other girl that my roommate knew that was in the car as well. I thought we were going to go see a Eucharistic miracle that was on public display but as we were dr…

I Am Free (and it's not what I thought it was). My Conversion Story.

I'm Laura Paxton and I am free.
I am free to play, to create, to express myself, to explore my world. I am freer to think and to reason and daydream than I ever have before. I read more. I have meaningful work that I enjoy very much. I wake up each day with the joy of purpose before me.
Only about five years ago, I existed in a cramped, dark apartment where I had given up on life, agoraphobic, eating mostly chocolate bars for sustenance and playing online scrabble all day long to keep my mind off the pain trapped deep inside. How did I end up there?
Let's face it... I'm autistic. I'm bipolar. I've lived on the dangerous edges of life. I've been raped,  survived a near fatal suicide attempt, was almost successfully murdered and lived homeless at times in my teens. Over the course of my life, I've also been taken advantage of, tricked and abused because of my poor judgment, (which was poorer than most people's to begin with, because I'm…

8 Ways to Help Your Child Grow in Virtue

Building character and teaching our children how to be principled is just as important as caring for their physical and intellectual needs. Each of our children comes with different innate strengths and challenges, so there’s no one-size-fits all program for teaching your child values; what virtues your child needs to work on and when will depend on age, personality and circumstances. Teaching a child to be virtues takes patience, effort and teamwork. It’s not something your child can figure out on their own, and it’s not something you can “make” happen. It’s a combination of your guidance and perseverance with your child’s willingness and effort. Here are a few ideas that can help! Head over to Eyes On Heaven for the ideas and virtue project printable.

found at weekday Mass

Through an "interesting" series of events, I found myself seated in the front row at a weekday Mass. My arrival, though very tardy, was surely the result of the hand of God. Father was in the middle of his sermon and the only available seat not requiring me to step in front of someone in the same pew was directly in the line of the Holy Spirit's "fire" filled gifts. The words Father spoke at that precise  moment were exactly what my soul needed.  At once sobering and comforting, God's direct message rendered me overcome with amazement and joy.
Please continue reading here, @ Thank you.