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Showing posts from April, 2016

Stand Inside the Fire

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We have a choice to let go of fear and trust in the fire of the Holy Spirit. However, as we mature, we are conditioned by society to resist the latent firepower within. The saints show us how to let go of control and allow God to do His job within our souls because the truth is only the fire of God can purify, refine and changes us into the Image of Jesus Christ so Love shines through us into the world. God will use anything to help use let go. "Standing Outside the Fire", by Garth Brooks, always brings me to tears because it triggers my own yearning for the fire of God hidden deep in my soul. It is easy to lose touch with this longing, focusing on the business of each day as I function efficiently, approved of by society. On the other hand, whenever someone surrenders to the power of the fire, the ensuing process of transformation usually looks messy and foolish.
continue reading

'We will come to them and make our home with them.' Sunday Reflections, 6th Sunday of Easter, Year C

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Gospel John 14:23-29 (NRSV,Catholic Ed, Can)

Jesus said to his disciples:

“Those who love me will keep my word, and my Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our home with them. Whoever does not love me does not keep my words; and the word that you hear is not mine, but is from the Father who sent me.

“I have said these things to you while I am still with you. But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you everything, and remind you of all that I have said to you. Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled, and do not let them be afraid. You heard me say to you, ‘I am going away, and I am coming to you.’ If you loved me, you would rejoice that I am going to the Father, because the Father is greater than I. And now I have told you this before it occurs, so that when it does occur, you may believe.

The late Bishop Bienvenido 'Benny' S. Tudtu…

Some Days...

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There are days you can do it, and days that you can’t. I personally think I should become a hermit, perhaps, then, I could lead a life of holiness and good example for the secular world because when I fall, I don’t just fall, I implode and explode at the same time. At times like these, I am thankful that to become a saint, you don’t have to be perfect, but you do have to love God above all else; love yourself as God loves you; and love your neighbor as yourself. 
Read More at Prayerfully Yours

Debt Reduction: A Very SLOW Learning Process

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My biggest issue.  I want everything to be a PIECE OF CAKE - or a yummy gluten-free cupcake as my case may be. When I first opened the Navigating Your Finances God's Way small group study back on February 21st, my subconscious expectation was to have all my financial woes FIXED by time I reached Lesson 10!  Well, we are only on Lesson 8, and I can attest that many of our fiscal problems still exist.  

We still live paycheck to paycheck, we still occasionally need a boost from our lone credit card to make our ends meet, I still do not have a steady stream of income, and our cars are still both on their last leg.  

I paint such a pretty picture every week don't I!  Well, that comes from some years in marketing and others in human resources - you always give the negative 'strokes' before launching into the positive.
IT will not be the quick fix ... READ MORE of how we are pulling ourselves out of debt
All Rights Reserved, Allison Gingras 2016

Cryonics, Smallpox, and Pope Pius VII

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I remember when heart transplants were front-page international news, not local human interest stories: and when polio vaccinations were new. I really do not miss the 'good old days.' I remember them, and they weren't.

I also remember when cryonics was 'science fiction stuff,' not a highly-experimental and controversial medical procedure. I probably won't live long enough to see whether it works. But if you're young enough: you might....

...Since I'll be talking about life, death, and medical practices, I'd better start by saying that I'm a Christian: a Catholic.

Like it says in the Apostles Creed, "I believe in ... the resurrection of the body, and the life everlasting." I'll be explaining why I don't see a conflict between that belief and trying to save lives....

More at A Catholic Citizen in America.

Praying about Memories

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Last week my nephew Andy videotaped my sister and me recalling our experiences growing up in our house on Donald Avenue and the people who made up our family, immediate and extended. This trip down memory lane was a lovely experience. It unearthed events that I had long forgotten about. My sister and I remembered different things. By coincidence, in a homily last week, Pope Francis spoke of the value of treasuring memories. They can be a great source of prayer. So how do we let our memories inspire prayer? We replay them in our minds, aware of the presence of God as we do so. click to continue

Faith Alone Won't Save You: The Command to Love in Marriage & Divorce

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The Christian woman beamed when I told her I'd accepted Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior but had never heard of the Salvation Prayer. After receiving permission, she put her hands on me and prayed the Salvation Prayer over me. When it was completed, she practically squealed with delight at having "saved" me and ran off to tell others.

It was overly simple. I'd accepted Christ as Savior, said The Salvation Prayer,  and  - BOOM! -  she said I was now going to Heaven. In those few moments, I'd received a golden ticket to paradise.
It was an experience I was happy to have, but it was also one that made me think more deeply about what it means to be Catholic-Christian. The more cynical part of me wondered if I could be saved simply because of my faith and saying the Salvation Prayer as many Christians profess.
I'd accepted Jesus, but I had before I'd known the Salvation Prayer existed. I'd sought out faith in Jesus and the Holy Trinity, but the fact that I w…

As the Morning Rising: Going Places

As the Morning Rising: Going Places: Going Places Bedraggled Unwashed untended Toe-peeping shoes past needing mended Clothed in a carnival coloured shawl and wrap-ro...

Finding God on a Cold, Windy Day at the end of April When we all feel it should be much warmer outside!

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Today is April 27, 2016, and it’s cold. The wind is blowing making it feel colder. Yes, we have a wind chill. The actual air temperature is 47 degrees. That’s cold! My joints ache. I’m tired. I’m cranky. I need a nap, but, because it’s cold, my dog is hogging the couch where I should be taking a well deserved morning nap, right now. Then there’s the politics. I’m more discouraged than I have ever been in my adult life about the state of our candidates. I’m wondering which candidate is the one for whom I will vote. Should I simply vote for me? I don’t know. Right now, I don’t care. I feel disconnected, not only from God, but from everyone I know. 
Read more at Prayerfully Yours

Spending April God's Way; Not Necessarily My Way!

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April is a time of renewal; new beginnings! I spent most of this past month of April caring for a friend, who underwent her second hip replacement. Throughout the month, I was repeatedly reminded of God’s presence in the midst of all that went on; from the day of her surgery, until she departed to return to her own home, with her brand, spanking, new hip.

It started with the day of her surgery (March 30th). While walking down the hall to my friend’s hospital room, I noticed that each room had signs under the room numbers with unique quotes . For my friend’s room we had a quote from Saint Thomas Aquinas (my virtues mentor!). It read: “There is nothing on this earth more to be prized than true friendship.”

As I read this quote I realized... Read more...

After the Storms

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Sidelined by Gratitude and Grace

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Remember, One Day, with Luck, You Will be a Soul in Purgatory

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Not only were we made to live, we were made to die. I think back to the people who lived and walked with Jesus, and I am reminded of my mortality. The Obituary Section of the paper is never empty. There are always names and stories there. I had one ancestor who fought in the Civil War. He’s dead now, along with his wife who outlived him and claimed the benefits due to her after he died. She died 20 years later. My grandparents are dead. My parents are deceased. We were made to live, but, one day, we have to die. There’s no getting out of that. We cannot stay in this world forever. Our real home is in eternity.
Read More at Prayerfully Yours:

As the Morning Rising: Prayer, Power, and the Universal Church

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As the Morning Rising: Prayer, Power, and the Universal Church: I spent some time today in the Adoration Chapel in my local parish. There were others there too. The fact that our personal or communal pra...

Gospel According to Saint Mark: Time of Fulfillment (Mark 1:15)

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Mark’s Gospel Today we celebrate the Feast of St. Mark, author of the Gospel According to Saint Mark. In Mark’s Gospel, we read succinct passages central to the life of Christ. Mark was not loquacious, but, rather to the point! His gospel was termed, urgent, brief and direct. For example, the evangelist’s entire message can be considered summed up within one verse: “This is the time of fulfillment. The Kingdom of God is at hand. Repent and believe in the gospel.” (Mark 1:15)

Mark wrote his gospel for the Roman Gentiles. Therefore, he wrote it in Greek, sometime around 67-70 A.D. It is considered to be the first of the four Gospels to be documented in writing. Saint Mark portrayed Jesus as... Read more... 

Arise, North Wind!

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Flat Earth, Psalms 150:1 — and Joy

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(From N. F. Gier, University of Idaho; adapted from an illustration in the New American Bible: St. Joseph Edition; used w/o permission.)
(A Mesopotamian cosmology, about two dozen centuries back.)

'The Bible says Earth is flat.'

If you live in America, and haven't heard that as a reason for rejecting Christianity: you're not paying attention.

Word seems to be getting around, though that the "dark" ages were anything but. I've discussed post-Roman Europe, science, and autopsies, before. (January 22, 2016; August 28, 2015; August 15, 2014)

About Earth being flat — I've yet to run into a Christian who says that; although I did meet one who informed me that our sun goes around Earth, not the other way around.

More at A Catholic Citizen in America.

10 Minute Daily Retreat: 'He will wipe away every tear...' Rev 21:3-4

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Have you ever shed tears over the experience of utter rejection? The devastation in relationship breakdown runs about as deep as it gets. Or perhaps the rejection is the loss of a dream, a goal we worked so desperately to achieve? 
Writers are encouraged to re-enter those experiences, examine them and from the depths, produce a story written from the heart.
Yet, it's not the pain readers want to experience. That's only part of the story. Whether Fact or Fiction, the power of a story is in victory over adversity. It's the power of love, the promise of hope, the moment when tears are wiped away.
No one can escape episodes of grief and pain. Today's reading tells us that God is with us in those moments, and that He promises to wipe away our tears.  
This is a sampler of the heavenly promise that one day there will be no more tears at all.

As the Morning Rising: Music

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As the Morning Rising: Music: Music We lift up our hearts. The buried song resounds Once more. From ocean depths To highest heaven There soars In silenc...

A HAPPY BLOG

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A HAPPY BLOG NOT INTERESTED? THEN DON'T CLICK HERE

'By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.' Sunday Reflections, 5th Sunday of Easter, Year C

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Gospel John 13:31-33a, 34-35 (NRSV, Catholic Ed)

When Judas had gone out, Jesus said, “Now the Son of Man has been glorified, and God has been glorified in him. If God has been glorified in him, God will also glorify him in himself and will glorify him at once. Little children, I am with you only a little longer.
I give you a new commandment, that you love one another. Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”

On the evening of 29 January 1918 an extraordinary event took place in Dalgan Park, Shrule, a remote village on the borders of County Mayo and County Galway in the west of Ireland. At the time Ireland was part of the United Kingdom, which was engaged in the Great War. Thousands of Irishmen were fighting in the trenches in France and Belgium. Many, including my great-uncle Corporal Lawrence Dowd, never came home. There was a movement for independence in Ireland that led to th…

God Smiles When He Teaches Me Patience

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Going to the doctor can be a trial if you are not feeling well and you have to wait to be seen in the waiting room filled with other sick people. When you’ve waited for a long time, it’s difficult to be pleasant and kind to the people who will serve you, once you get into the examining room. God uses so many ways to teach us what we need to know, and one of the things I need to learn is patience. Today, when I visited our local Urgent Care Center, I could almost feel God smiling as He directed my lesson in the Virtue of Patience. 
Read More At Prayerfully Yours

As the Morning Rising: Earth Day

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As the Morning Rising: Earth Day: Earth earth is the song of songs the grass at dawn dew-laden earth is clay and wattle ocean and wind fish in an opal...

Chameleons, Crystals: and Curiosity

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Chameleons may be more famous for changing color than for their rapid-fire tongues: but today I'll be talking about both....

More at A Catholic Citizen in America.

Pondering the Year of Mercy Logo

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The logo in honor of the extraordinary jubilee year of mercy, designed by Father Marko Rupnik, S.J., is in the style of an icon. This means that all of its elements symbolize something. Learning about the significance of these various parts can deepen our understanding of this year established, “in hopes that a new flood of mercy will flow over the world.” In case you aren’t aware of the meaning of icon features—and if you haven’t been introduced to the mercy logo already,—here is some information. The two figures stand for Christ, who has the halo, and “Adam” or humanity…us. Christ carries the person over his shoulders the way a shepherd carries a sheep. This obviously refers to the Good Shepherd, Jesus who rescued the human race that had gone astray. The Divine Shepherd laid down his life for his sheep. The black slats Jesus stands on in the logo remind us of the cross. The wounds in his hands and feet are scars from his redeeming sacrifice. The redemption of the worl…

Cheer Up

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COME ON - CHEER UP IT COULD BE WORSE CLICK HERE (If you dare).

Sabbath Moments in My Garden

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For me, gardening helps me relax as I allow the Spirit of God to heal and soothe my inner spirit. It is the perfect way to let go of distractions to prepare to receive even more of God’s Presence. ( All the photos in this article, including the header, were taken at our home.) continue reading

I Guess I'm Old

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I don’t know when it happened, but things have changed. Today would have been my husband’s 70th birthday. I met friends today at a local “hangout” to “celebrate” the day. When I walked into the restaurant, before my friends arrived, I I saw them! All the “OLD” people there! Oh, my goodness! I almost ran out of the restaurant. This can’t be! What happened? When did it happen?
Read more at Prayerfully Yours

Welcome, Lord!

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To invite God into our hearts to love and heal us is an act of Mercy, a gift from God, the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. The invitiation is ours, but the gift is from God. This offer to come into our beings is not a request that God will refuse. He seeks us, but waits until we are ready, if ever. 
Read more at Prayerfully Yours

How Theology of the Body Impacted My Life

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On our 6th wedding anniversary, sitting in a busy pizza place, I was flipping through our local diocesan paper when an article jumped out at me. I was excited as I read a statement by Pope JPII which stated that using contraceptives not only damaged a couple’s intimacy but also harmed their spirituality. We were both struck dumb, sensing a powerful Presence of God as this truth pierced our hearts. Michael and I try to never let anything hinder our journey into God’s heart, so this truth now meant artificial contraception was definitely not an option. Of course, I cannot find the exact quotes we read that day but the following is close enough: read more

Fruits of the Spirit: Virtues to Cherish

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“…the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control” (Gal. 5:22-23)

Do you notice something in common with all of these fruits of the Spirit? Each one of them is also a virtue! As I was studying for my Master of Arts Degree in Pastoral Theology, I came across this passage from Galatians, and it hit me: Virtue must be very important to the Holy Spirit, when six of the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit, received at Confirmation are virtues, and all nine of the fruits of the Spirit are virtues.

Bearing fruits of the Spirit is the outcome that results from... Read more...

Praying Your News Feed

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#WorthRevisit - Praying Your Newsfeed         4/20/20160 Comments Prayer is a power gift. Perhaps you have not thought prayer in terms of gift.
The interesting thing about gifts to be USEFUL — they need to be:
Received,Opened, andwell...Used. In putting it to use the receiver can truly express gratitude for the gift. If we are presented with a new book, dress or game, and put it in a drawer never to be touched again, couldn’t we be considered ungracious?  The irony is the only one missing out from not using the gift is the recipient.  Even Great Aunt Hilda’s itchy multi-color sweater can be put to some use with a little imagination; and should we not want to try to figure out how to do that, after all Great Aunt Hilda put into getting it for us?
Every good thing given and every perfect gift is from above.    James 1:17 If it is important to be attentive to sweet Auntie Hilda, how much more should my response be then to every good gift God offers such as faithgrace, and of course, prayer

As the Morning Rising: Bread of Life

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As the Morning Rising: Bread of Life: Bread of Life The bread of life come down from heaven Is alive in me. I will live forever If I abide in the One who loves me - The same...

Reflections

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I’ve been watching the old series, The Twilight Zone . I think I’m on season 3 now. Even by modern standards, the series is strong on odd and unexpected. One of my favorite shows in the series, so far, has been the one in which a woman is tormented because the doctors have tried everything to make her beautiful rather than the hideous woman that she is. The woman’s face is wrapped in bandages until the end of the show. When her face is revealed, she is a beautiful, blond haired woman. She is in despair because the doctors and nurses have told her that nothing else can be done, and she is going to be sent away to live with other people who look like she does.
Read more at Prayerfully Yours

E-Book Cover Reveal: Holiness in the Home

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Cover design by Rhonda Ortiz: a thing of beauty

My first e-book, The Lost Sun: Looking for Light in the Midst of Depression, was about acedia, spiritual sloth, and the need for medication in cases of anxiety and depression and other mental disorders.  I'm thankful to God for this opportunity to write another e-book, and I am so thankful for all of you, my wonderful, faithful readers! It is because of you that this was possible. I have learned so much from this process, and I'm taking that into the next step of my writing journey.

My newest e-book, Beautiful Souls was born out of a realization. I suddenly realized that autonomous, I am not. It was a process that has been actualized with help. The e-book was written entirely by me, but it did not end there. The helper was Rhonda Ortiz. The copyediting and formatting was all done by her. The editing was done by her. The inspiration for the cover was conceived and carried out by her! The end product of that team effort is what I am…

Whispers in the Pew, Part 5

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Most paintings of the Last Supper show the Apostles shifting restlessly--just like our children at Mass!
How long is your child’s attention span?

Most research suggests that children’s attention spans relate to their age: how many years old are they? That’s the same number of minutes they can sustain interest in an activity.

Four-year-old children, for example, can pay attention for four minutes. Some studies claim attention spans extend up to two times the child’s age. In that case, under the right circumstances, our 4-year-old children can accomplish eight minutes of acceptable church behavior.

Depending on your parish, the eucharistic prayer occurs about 40 minutes into the celebration of Mass. Forty minutes of liturgy is FIVE TIMES those eight minutes we can expect from our little ones. And some of our children struggle with medical or behavioral challenges that make the basic eight-minute mark a miracle.
Read the rest at Praying with Grace!

As the Morning Rising: Breath of the Living God

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As the Morning Rising: Breath of the Living God: There's a kind of quiet we experience when the din of traffic noise dies down after the rush hour. Then there's the kind of silence...

Resistance - Is There Hope to Ever Change

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So ... Where Are We in this Process I thought I would take this week to share where Kevin (my hubby of 26 years) and I are mentally in this process. As I begin my Weight Watchers journey this month, I realized the similarity of the discipline the Lord is trying to create in my heart.  This mind shift from spending as we wish on what we wish, much like my eating what I want and when I want, is a process.  IT is not overnight.  As we say in the weight loss world - YOU did not get 20 lbs over weight overnight, you will NOT shed it overnight.

It has been literally 32 years of mistakes and missteps; along with some serious emotional and mental baggage that has brought us to be this over our heads with debt.  Add to that my desire to serve God in the ever lucrative (read only for Joel Osteen) ministry world - and this is not going to be a quick fix.  The Navigating Your Finances God's Way  study has truly been a God Send - but it has not been the miraculous fix all I had hoped.  IT WIL…

Called to be Courageous

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“…we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope.  And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.Romans 5:3-5 With the Easter season upon us, once again my thoughts turn to the witness of the disciples and experience of new believers in an unbelieving world. Where, such witness of faith in a risen Christ required courage in the face of certain punishment or death. Here in the Western world, we may feel a measure of comfort, secluded from persecution or reproof. Though one glace at the evening news reminds us that death is but a daily reality for countless Christians in other parts of the world.  And yet we too are called to witness, resisting the temptation to become complacent or falsely secure in the practice of our faith. In this current culture of relative truth, quite often we might even fail to speak to the soundness of our belief for fear of…

Faith's Patience: The Back Story to Finding Patience

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Adventures of Faith, Hope, and Charity: Finding Patience (The Back Story) Faith was anxious about moving to a new town. That meant a new house, new school, and new friends. Faith was shy and found it difficult to make new friends. She dreaded the move and all of the change that would ensue. Faith had very little patience. She wanted to claim her “new normal,” ASAP, for she knew that once things settled down, she would feel more comfortable about this move. Faith did not welcome change!

It was all her Daddy’s fault for getting that new job. If it wasn’t for him, she would be at home in her old house, with her friends from her old school. Being eight years old stunk! If it was up to her, she would have stayed put, where she felt most comfortable. Yet, it wasn’t up to her, so... Read more...

Know Thyself

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Archbishop Anthony Bloom gave one of the best retreats I ever attended. He began by telling the story of a retired headmistress who offered her services to him as his chauffeur. As they were returning home one Monday afternoon she stopped the car in London to pick up her new glasses from the opticians and proceeded to try them out for the remainder of the journey.  It was less than a mile, but it turned out to be the most terrifying journey either of them had ever made; her driving was simply atrocious.  She got out of the car shaking all over, opened her handbag, took out her driving licence and ceremoniously ripped it into little pieces. "I'll never drive again". she said. "Why ever not?" asked the Archbishop...  continue..

A Morning Habit

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Nuns and monks dress anew in their habits every morning, usually turning even the act of dressing into an opportunity to renew their consecrations to Christ.

And what about those of us who do not wear the pieces of a habit?

I find great richness in the following morning prayer...


(continue...)

Good Shepherd Sunday: Pray for Priestly Vocations

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A special collection was taken up today at Mass. It was for the seminarians in our diocese, for their continuing education, as they discern their call to the priesthood or not. We are extremely blessed in our parish.
Read more at PrayerfullyYours

Syrian Migrants Traveled With the Pope

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A dozen folks, three families, rode back to the Vatican with Pope Francis.

I think that's a good thing, since their homes in Syria aren't there any more. They survived, obviously, and had made it as far as Lesbos,1 an island in the Aegean Sea.

"A Gesture of Welcome"

(From AFP, via BBC News, used w/o permission.)
("The migrants are travelling on the same plane as the Pope back to the Vatican"
(BBC News))

More at A Catholic Citizen in America.

As the Morning Rising: Vocations - Alleluia! Alleluia!

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As the Morning Rising: Vocations - Alleluia! Alleluia!: If I think of my life as a work in progress well then today is a good day in which to give thanks for the many, who through the graces o...

10 Minute Daily Retreat: Stop and Listen

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John 10:27"My sheep hear my voice. I know them, and they ...[stop and listen].


A Path to Sainthood

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As the Morning Rising: World Day of Prayer for Vocations 2016

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As the Morning Rising: World Day of Prayer for Vocations 2016: Calling Over dew-wet fields Among the whisper of reeds The Spirit blows Gentle as a child’s knock On the door of time. He is gra...

'My sheep hear my voice.' Sunday Reflections, 4th Sunday of Easter, Year C

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The Good Shepherd, Marten van Cleve GospelJohn 10:27-30 (NRSV, Catholic Ed., Canada) 
Jesus said: “My sheep hear my voice. I know them, and they follow me.I give them eternal life, and they will never perish. No one will snatch them out of my hand.What my Father has given me is greater than all else, and no one can snatch it out of the Father’s hand.The Father and I are one.” 'My sheep hear my voice' I know nothing about tending sheep and until I looked at the video above never quite understood the reality of the words of Jesus in today's gospel:  ‘My sheep hear my voice. I know them, and they follow me'.
An extraordinary example of the power of words is a story involvingFr Willie Doyle SJ, the army chaplain who was killed in 1917 in Belgium during the Great War. Some years before the War he was giving a retreat to a community of nuns in Ireland. He got a telegram on the last day from his Provincial Superior telling him to get back to Dublin immediately so that he could cat…