Showing posts from January, 2016

An Enclosed Carmelite Missionary?

It was my mother who first taught me something so profound that I could never forget itShe said even though I may make my Morning Offering alone by the side of my bed or in bed I was not alone. Nor would I be alone even if I became a hermit and lived in the middle of some distant desert or a prisoner locked up in solitary confinement.  My prayer would always be made in with and through Jesus and so with all other living Christians wherever they were. She quoted the Our Father to press her point home. When we petition the Father we do not petition him for ourselves alone as the prayer makes abundantly clear – it is – ‘Give US this day our daily bread and forgive US our trespasses as WE forgive those who trespass against US and lead Us not into temptation, but deliver Us from evil Amen.’  

She taught me further that praying to the Father in Jesus also means praying with all those who have died and who are now alive again in him. That means with Mary and Joseph, with St Peter and St Pau…

As the Morning Rising: St Brigid, Pray For Us

As the Morning Rising: St Brigid, Pray For Us: St Patrick's Church Ringsend Dublin St Patrick, pray for us St Peter's Cathedral Belfast St Patrick&#39...

Purgatory, Unresolved Grief & Freedom in Christ

Unresolved grief is a relatively new concept in mental health circles. Secular doctors are beginning to realize it is the root cause of many emotional problems.  In Catholic terminology, unresolved grief occurs when we cling to those we who have died, refusing to surrender their souls to God or embrace our new relationship to them in the Mystical Body of Christ. A Catholic psychiatrist facilitates a group of faith-filled men and women who are learning how to grieve and release their forgotten ancestors to God, as well as miscarried and aborted souls in their family background. The change in these people, some who have been in therapy for decades, is miraculous.  Even ‘Normal’ Catholics Need therapy Tragically, few Catholis discover the root of their spiritual malaise because often it means seeking psychological help continue reading

Astonished by Beauty

'There was a lush cloister garden,' I wrote several years ago, 'and it was separated from the streets by high walls.  My plan was to sit with Bible and journal and gather together scattered threads of thoughts and prayers.  The sounds of traffic around?  No problem.  I looked upon those as bits of minor background noise.  I would spend the day with God, in peace.  An ideal set up for serenity.

That is, until the band.

From a campus nearby, there were sudden sounds of an outdoor concert.  A LOUD outdoor concert.  I sat in the garden surrounded by trees, statues, birds, and THUD THUD THUD THUD THUD.  Thud thud thuds out of context, setting my nerves on end.  Suddenly, ordinary street sounds began to unsettle me.  How long had there been planes flying overhead, one after another, and so close-by?  The city seemed filled with sirens.  Voices shouted, just outside the enclosure walls. Oh dear.  However could I pray?...' (continue)


Last week I talked about why I don't try to be someone I'm not: more specifically, why I don't insist that God equip me with what's trending in charisms. Also spirit-filled administrators and loose cannons. (January 24, 2016)

That Sunday's second Scripture reading got me started: 1 Corinthians 12:12-30. Today's second reading, 1 Corinthians 12:31-13:13, picks up on the next verse:
"Strive eagerly for the greatest spiritual gifts...."
(1 Corinthians 12:31) I could stop there, and claim that everybody should start clamoring for "the greatest spiritual gifts."

I've talked about cherry picking before. It's a bad idea....

More at A Catholic Citizen in America.

Song of Songs 30 Day Retreat: Epilogue

O my dove, in the clefts of the rock,
in the covert of the cliff,
let me see your face,

let me hear your voice;
for your voice is sweet,

and your face is lovely. SS 2:14
Our God desires to see our faceturned to Him in prayer. He longs to hear our voice lifted in heart-felt praise.

When we read and reflect on God's Wordprayerfully, we provide an opportunity for the Holy Spirit to speak to us. We experience Jesus move from the background of our life to His rightful place in the foreground.

I would love you to continue to participatein these twice weekly Retreats. I write on Sundays, and a volunteer from a small team writes on Wednesdays. The Gospel is taken from the Liturgical Calendar.
You can also access the 10 Minute Daily Retreat via Facebook or by downloading the App.
The Retreats will pause during the month of February as I prepare for the launch of my first novel, 'Twice stolen.'
Thank you for your participation
 in the Song of Songs 30 Day Retreat. God Bless,


As the Morning Rising: Snowdrops - The Footsteps of St Brigid, and Brigid...

As the Morning Rising: Snowdrops - The Footsteps of St Brigid, and Brigid...: Snowdrops - The Footsteps of St...

Meeting Opal in Heaven

I met Opal when she was 99 years old and in hospice. I was working as a volunteer in hospice with my dog Pixie. Opal and I struck a friendship up immediately. Opal could barely speak, but we communicated well. We laughed and talked. We both had a love of Sacred Scripture, and she had a quilt covered with beautiful verses on her quilt. We had our own Bible Study using her quilt. We’d laugh so much out of the joy of knowing each other.
I told her that people would wonder if we were really having a Bible Study because we laughed so much. 
Read more at Prayerfully Yours

Song of Songs 30 Day Retreat: Day 30

Beloved Come away, my beloved,
and be like a gazelle
or like a young stag
on the spice-laden mountains. SS 8:14
Read on Blog:

*Please continue for one more day for a brief prologue.

'Is not this Joseph's Son?' Sunday Reflections, 4th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year C

Elisha Refusing Gifts from Naaman, Pieter de Grebber, c.1630
Private collection [Web Gallery of Art]
Gospel Luke 4:21-30 (New Revised Standard Version, Catholic Edition, Canada)

Jesus began speaking in the synagogue, saying: “Today this scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing.” All spoke well of him and were amazed at the gracious words that came from his mouth. They said, “Is not this Joseph’s son?”
He said to them, “Doubtless you will quote to me this proverb, ‘Doctor, cure yourself!’ And you will say, ‘Do here also in your hometown the things that we have heard you did at Capernaum.’” And he said, “Truly I tell you, no prophet is accepted in the prophet’s hometown. But the truth is, there were many widows in Israel in the time of Elijah, when the heaven was shut up three years and six months, and there was a severe famine over all the land; yet Elijah was sent to none of them except to a widow at Zarephath in Sidon. There were also many lepers in Israel in the time of the prophe…

11 Ways to Celebrate Your Marriage

Once in a while, when I’m bored, or curious (or need a good introduction to a blog post!), I browse through the “Days of the Year” website. I never cease to be amazed at the variety of celebrations on the calendar. In February, people will be celebrating Stuffed Mushroom Day, Don’t Cry Over Spilled Milk Day, World Nutella Day, and Gumdrop Day. Mouth-watering, right? February also includes Thank Your Mailman Day, Take Your Child to the Library Day, and Extraterrestrial Culture Day. If I followed my taste buds here, I’d probably be advocating for World Nutella Day; if I succumbed to my inner geek, I’d go with Extraterrestrial Culture Day. But, given the proximity of Lent, the lack of known alien life, and my focus on marriage and family life both in my job and at home, I’ll rise above the tasty and bizarre, and focus your attention on February 14. This year, February 14 is both Valentine’s Day and World Marriage Day. The two focuses actually go pretty well together, so here are a few id…

Mental Prayer During Adoration

I see Him walking on the road ahead of me. There are millions of people following Him, trying to seize His attention. I keep running towards Him. I fall often, but, in spite of the crowds, I get up, seeking only Him. Before I come near Him, He turns and looks at me. He’s smiling at me with great love. He motions for me to join Him and walk with Him. We walk together on the road. As we walk, He looks at me, and His eyes are full of love, mercy, and peace. He smiles at me.
Read More at Prayerfully Yours

Sleep and Being Human

Humans sleep, which shouldn't be surprising. Just about all critters with brains sleep: mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians, fish — even insects and nematodes experience something like sleep.

Poets and playwrights have written of sleep....

More at A Catholic Citizen in America.

Song of Songs 30 Day Retreat: Day 29

Lover O you who dwell in the gardens,
my companions are listening for your voice;
let me hear it. SS 8:13

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Australasian Christian Writers: Introducing Susanne Timpani, Debut novelist.

Australasian Christian Writers: Introducing Susanne Timpani, Debut novelist.:

Jenny Blake here, I am happy to bring you an interview with  Susanne Timpani who is releasing her debut novel on Feb 12th In my home...

Books available

My Heart is Not in Stuff

A few years ago, a daily writing prompt asked writers if they could only take five objects from a burning house, what would be the most difficult things for them to leave behind?

Well really, the only objects I consider to be important are photos of family, my computer, passport and ID, a Bible and bank card, assuming I am wearing my wedding ring and gold cross like always. That’s it.
As for regrets, I really do not think my heart is in things. Since I was a little girl, I have felt content with what I have materially. Even now, when my adult kids ask me what I want for Christmas, I pause for a moment, with a blank mind.  I have to search to come up with a list.

Rather a strange state to be in because this is not the result of spiritual striving, fasting or prayer, it is just how I am. Living with little people has only strengthened an innate tendency to enjoy the little things, to be grateful to be alive and in communion with the Spirit.
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As the Morning Rising: Right Beginnings

As the Morning Rising: Right Beginnings: Right Beginnings The old church building is gone and a new one is in its place. There are echoes of footsteps on once-familiar paths trace...

Song of Songs 30 Day Retreat: Day 28

Beloved: If a man offered for love
all the wealth of his house,
it would be utterly scorned. SS 8:7

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Grandma and Timmy's Hope!

Grandma and Timmy’s Story of HopeTimmy was waiting by the front window for Grandma to arrive. “Will she remember me?” thought the little four-year old. Timmy remembered Grandma’s sweet perfume, and soft cheeks. He loved her laugh. He was bursting at the seams waiting for her arrival. Then, he saw the car pull up in the driveway. Daddy ran around from the driver’s side and opened the passenger door. There was Grandma! The wait was over!

Timmy ran out the front door and dashed into Grandma’s arms. He hugged her tight, never wanting to let her go. “Grandma, it’s so good to see you,” Timmy said excitedly. “I’ve missed you!” It was only after getting his hug, that Timmy noticed something different about his Grandma. ... Read more...

The Sower

When we read the parable of Jesus about the sower and how some seeds ended on the footpath, and others on rocky ground, and others among thorns and only a few on good ground, we think of the Word of God spread amongst many who would not listen.

But let's consider who is the sower? Is it God teaching us? Or Jesus preaching throughout the Holy Land? Or the prophets and Disciples?

Or is it someone else? Please CLICK HERE

The Difference Between You and Jesus

All right, so you're not God. We can pretty much agree on that.
I'm guessing that if you were God, you'd have changed your life around a bit, made things a little easier on yourself, on some loved ones, and even on some worthy strangers.
Would you have made things more difficult for some others too? If you're like me and if I were being Honest, I'd have to say I'd have probably definitely made life more difficult for some who I think "deserve" to have life made more difficult! I'd claim to be a Just God, but perhaps I'd be more of just a revenge god!
Would you have played with the timing of events a bit too? Would you have opened your eyes to the future of your Marriage before saying "I do" perhaps? Would you have kept working outside your home despite wanting to stay home with your children so you wouldn't be in such financial despair now? How differently could you have made world history turn out if you had just tweaked God's …

Song of Songs 30 Day Retreat: Day 27

Beloved: Many waters cannot quench love,
neither can floods drown it. SS 8:7

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Remedies for Winter Blues and Sadness in General

My sister goes to Florida to escape the dark, dreary days of winter in Cleveland, Ohio. The Florida sun makes her feel better physically and mentally. Not everyone can move to Florida during January and February. So what can we do to shake off the dull sadness that might cloak us at least occasionally during these months? Surprisingly, I've learned that the great St. Thomas Aquinas provided some practical answers, including taking a bath and sleeping! Granted, we will not experience perfect happiness until we move to heaven, where "God will wipe every tear" from our eyes. (Revelation 21:4) Still, we can take steps to stay reasonably happy on earth. Click to continue

Ladislav Záborský: Imprisoned for His Catholic Art

Living Catholic artist, Ladislav Záborský was sentenced in Slovakia for treason to seven years imprisonment in 1954 but was released on Christmas Eve 1957. His crime? He painted Christ as a worker in 1949.  His other religious art was labelled corrupt.

While imprisoned, Ladislav felt as if his hands were nailed to the cross because he could not paint but only seek God in the depths of his soul. 
 He felt as if he was crucified because he could not walk where he wanted to.

 In poems written after his release, Ladislav expressed the deep spiritual transformation which occurred during his imprisonment. The result of his inner crucifixion meant he no longer fulfilled his own desires but only sought God and His desires.
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"Not only among men, but not even among angels is there anything more noble than glorifying the Creator." -St. Ignatius of Loyola

Join me at Praying with Grace to read more Ignatian insights into the glory of God.

As the Morning Rising: Mercy

As the Morning Rising: Mercy: Mercy Make a meal for someone who lives alone, or have a chat with them over a cup of tea. Eagerly read one or two pieces of...

Song of Songs 30 Day Retreat: Day 26

for love is strong as death,
jealousy is cruel as the grave.
Its flashes are flashes of fire,
a most vehement flame.SS 8:6

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How Can You Excel This Lent? #ExcelLent

We know that Lent is a time for praying, fasting and giving.  However, those three words have a multitude of meanings for each of us. What I have come to realize as I peruse the plethora of ideas on what to do for Lent  that can be found online and in print, is  that what makes for a meaningful Lent for me, may not have as much, or  any, meaning for you.      We are each uniquely and wonderfully made by our God.  And we are each called in unique and wonderful ways to serve Him.

So how can you excel this Lent?     I don't have any new ideas that haven't already been shared.  What I do have are some suggestions to help you discern what you could  do this Lent: 

Be authentic.  Don't compare yourself to what others are doing in their Lenten journey.  If giving up one simple thing (sodas, chocolate, meat, etc.)  is what works in your life and allows you to more deeply enter into this season, then do not judge yourself harshly because your friends are giving up something which see…

Song of Songs 30 Day Retreat: Day 25

for love is strong as death,
jealousy is cruel as the grave.
Its flashes are flashes of fire,
a most vehement flame.SS 8:6

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Clothes Shopping with a Conscience

As a "casual Catholic" growing up in an affluent Long Island suburb, I never thought about shopping for clothes as a moral act. I just went out and bought what I wanted. But as my faith has deepened in adulthood, and I take my promises as a Catholic woman to heart, so too has my awareness that every choice that I make, from the car I drive to the clothes I wear, makes a statement about who I am and what I believe.

One choice that most of us take for granted is the choice of what we wear. I'm not talking about whether to wear pants or a skirt, no makeup or makeup. I'm talking about where your clothes come from, and the impact that their manufacture, shipping and sales have made on countless people along the way. From the people making the fabric to the people hunched over sewing machines for 12 hours a day sewing cuffs and collars, your clothing choices can either help or hurt the world around you.
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Saint Paul: From Sinner to Saint

From Saul to Saint Paul Saint Paul, whose Feast Day is celebrated today, serves as the perfect example of a person who turned away from sin and turned toward God. Before his astounding conversion, Saint Paul was known as Saul. As Saul, he participated in the stoning (and killing) of Saint Stephen, our first Martyr of the Christian faith. Saint Paul is well known as originally starting out as a persecutor of the early Christians, as he was a zealot for the Jewish faith.

In his efforts to remain true to the Jewish faith, Saul departed Jerusalem for Damascus, in search of men and women who had sworn allegiance to Jesus. Saul wanted to bring them back to Jerusalem in chains (Acts 9:1). However, Jesus had other designs... Read more...

As the Morning Rising: God the Gatherer

As the Morning Rising: God the Gatherer: God the Gatherer If I am full of myself Where will God who is much bigger than me, find rest? If the house of my ...

Please Pray for Kelly and Fred/An Intense Moment of Grace

Tonight, God assured me that He is in charge and working in our lives. Kelly, Fred, and my daughter showed me that God works in the quiet of our hearts and souls. He seems to have more room to work in silence.
Read More at Prayerfully Yours

It's all in the Trying

The Curé d'Ars said that, “All that we do, without offering it to God, is wasted,” and he is of course right, but it must be emphasized that the Morning Offering isn’t a magic formula. It does not automatically transform the forthcoming day, that’s why something further is required.  My mother told me that after she had made her Morning Offering she would spent a few minutes reviewing the day ahead and making a few resolutions that would enable her   to try and consecrate every moment of the day to loving God directly in prayer , and indirectly  to loving our neighbours through all we say and do. It might be to do humdrum tasks that we keep putting off, like changing the sheets on the bed, putting air into the car tires, defrosting the freezer, or something that’s more important. There’s always that friend or relative who’s sick or in need, who we should ‘phone, or write to, or even visit for a few minutes. Alternatively, perhaps we should make a resolution to apologize to one of …

Grace and Circumstance

We are called to find Christ in them, to lend our voice to their causes, but also to be their friends, to listen to them, to speak for them and to embrace the mysterious wisdom which God wishes to share with us through them. — fromPope Francis and our Call to Joy It’s a balmy 40 degrees outside today, yet even this isn’t meant to stay for very long. Temps will be dropping along with continual rain for the next few days. With a supply of hand and feet warmers and aluminum blanket in hand I prayed “Dear Lord help me to find who these warm essentials are meant for. Help them to know that they are thought of and loved.” Walking up I recognize one woman who I know to be apprehensive of human connection, keeping to herself even among her fellow homeless. Read More...

The Cell in My Heart


Finding life and light in the midst of January doldrums

The prospect of a long winter ahead is daunting especially with memories of the epic snowfall amounts of last year still haunting many of us. I once anticipated January with dread. Winter can be dark, oppressive and confining: the arctic air and biting winds… the deep snows burying the landscape … ice covering the streets and sidewalks … darkness that greets us when we rise and meets us at the end of each work day.

January is a quiet month. Birds don’t come to the feeder; their songs no longer greet me in the morning. Crickets and locusts have gone silent at night.

January was a month without life.

Then I read Henry Beston’s classic, The Outermost House and it changed my perception of winter forever ...

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Spider-Man, Charisms, and Me

William Lamb, 2nd Viscount Melbourne, saw a connection between power and responsibility:
"The possession of great power necessarily implies great responsibility."
("The Parliamentary Debates From The Year 1803 To The Present Time," Vol. 36. (1817)) Quite a few other folks have said pretty much the same thing, including a now-famous comic book writer:
"With great power there must also come —
great responsibility!
(Stan Lee, in Amazing Fantasy #15 (August 1962) (the first Spider-Man story)) It's hardly a new idea:
"...Much will be required of the person entrusted with much, and still more will be demanded of the person entrusted with more."
(Luke 12:48) - - - and that gets me to today's second Scripture reading, 1 Corinthians 12:12-30; the gist of which is in the shorter option....

More at A Catholic Citizen in America.

Song of Songs 30 Day Retreat: Day 24

For love is strong as deathSS 8:6

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Building Our Spiritual Resilience

Join Allison Gingras, host of A Seeking Heart on as she takes a 30 day incredible reflection book and SQUISHES it into one hour! An uplifting, often witty, discussion about this insightful book about Spiritual Resilience:

Theme's covered include: 

Childish vs Childlike faith and relationship with trusting God (tantrum anyone?)Patience LIKE Job -- In Scriptures Job spend 6 chapters in patient trust and waiting, and 36 complaining and lamenting!!  How does this relate to resilience? Anxiety, Depression, Tragedy --  My desire to get God to do things my way and the pseudo-independent game we play when facing the many trials of lifeJacobs wrestles with an angel - an analogy for how we should persist in prayer and pursuit of GodCommunion of Heaven - saints and us.  The gift God bestows to be connected beyond the veil - when the unseen and seen interact and bring us strength!"People LIVE cautiously because they PRAY cautiously" find out how author of Spiritual…

"My God, My God, Why Have You Forsaken Me?..."

We in the flesh are hindered in such a way that with our senses we cannot perceive eternity.   The God who took flesh in the form of Jesus in order to be like us in all things chose to forgo some knowledge in agreement that such temporarily 'forgetting' was part of the perfection of the plan of God.  As God shielded Moses when God passed by, Moses was denied a knowledge of God because his flesh could not look upon the face of God and live.  So to Jesus while incarnate in the flesh would suffer a 'shielding', or a lack of knowledge of some things that He would have had access to prior to the incarnation and would again gain access at the exact moment of His last heart beat.  This 'forgetting' of certain things for a time was part of God's participation in our humanity and the perfection of His passion on the Cross. The God who knows all could by His own will decide to forgo knowledge in order that an infinite benefit could be given to us by His Passion.
What …

Snow in the Scriptures

Snow is NOT the most popular weather topic in the Scriptures, but where it is mentioned it teaches us some valuable lessons about the Lord, His goodness and mercy, and our response to Him. 

Click here to transform a snowy day into a powerful encounter with the Lord through his word:

As the Morning Rising: Miracles of Love

As the Morning Rising: Miracles of Love: How many times has it happened? You're sorting or tidying or moving books about when all of a sudden a little prayer card falls out ...

Song of Songs 30 Day Retreat: Day 23

Beloved: Set me as a seal upon your heart,
as a seal upon your arm;SS 8:6

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Ideas for Refilling Our Grace Well

The most effective way to refill the ‘grace well’ at the heart of how we may more easily choose the things of God over that of the world is by participating, in what I affectionately refer to as, the “Grace Trifecta”. The secret is simple – immerse yourself in God’s abundant grace through the frequent, it not daily, practice of prayer, sacrament and scripture.

For specific ideas on how to embrace the grace God has abundantly available for us through prayer, sacrament and scripture - read more ...
The long Christmas break is over and the letdown is leaving me a bit melancholy. The stretching of the heart that comes with the empty nest made full, and then made empty again, hurts.

Both of our adult children were home for the holidays. Our daughter spent both Christmas Eve and morning with us despite the fact that she also needed to see her fiancé’s family (she got engaged in November). Our son spent the week with us, having come up from New York.

Each time they come it’s an adjustment, requiring me to make room, not just in my house, but in my heart. Of course I do it without hesitation, but it is still an adjustment. It took me ten years to get to where I enjoy the empty nest.

Robert S. Donovan empty nest,Flickr Creative Commons

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DNA, Headless Skeletons of York

We've been learning quite a bit about humanity's family history recently: thanks partly to our increasingly-detailed knowledge of DNA and the human genome.

I'll be taking a look at what scientists are learning about Roman Britain, Anglo-Saxons, and headless skeletons....

...I'll also indulge in an uncharacteristically-terse (for me) explanation of what science is doing in a 'religious' blog....

More at A Catholic Citizen in America.