Showing posts from September, 2016

Patience, Patience


Europa, Mars, and Someday the Stars

Scientists think they've detected more plumes of water, shooting up from near Europa's south pole. It's early days, but we may have found a comparatively easy way to collect samples from the Jovian moon's subsurface ocean.

Stephen Hawking says humanity needs to keep exploring space. I agree, although not quite for the reasons he gave.

SpaceX tested an engine they plan to use on their Mars transport, and Gaia's data seems to have raised as many questions as it answers.

More at A Catholic Citizen in America.

As the Morning Rising: Little Flower - St Therese of the Child Jesus

As the Morning Rising: Little Flower - St Therese of the Child Jesus: All over the world today and tomorrow and indeed every day in many vastly different places, minds and hearts will be given over to ...

'We have done only what we ought to have done!' Sunday Reflections, 27th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year C

Boy ploughing with water buffalo, Laos 
Gospel Luke 17:5-10 (NRSV, Catholic Ed, Canada)

The apostles said to the Lord, “Increase our faith!” The Lord replied, “If you had faith the size of a mustard seed, you could say to this mulberry tree, ‘Be uprooted and planted in the sea,’ and it would obey you.

“Who among you would say to your slave who has just come in from plowing or tending sheep in the field, ‘Come here at once and take your place at the table’? Would you not rather say to him, ‘Prepare supper for me, put on your apron and serve me while I eat and drink; later you may eat and drink’? Do you thank the slave for doing what was commanded? So you also, when you have done all that you were ordered to do, say, ‘We are worthless slaves; we have done only what we ought to have done!’”

In the summer of 1964, after my third year in the seminary, I spent a couple of weeks working in the Morning Star Hostel in Dublin. It was within walking distance of my home. I had been in the Legion of …
Playing with the SAINTS! blog post #13 Today’s saint has quite a long story.  I hope you enjoy it!
Saint Brigid: Many 100’s of years ago Saint Brigid was born in Ireland.  The year was 452. Her mother was a Christian slave baptized by Saint Patrick;  her father, a pagan chief. Thus when Brigid was born, she too was a slave.  When you are a slave, you must do whatever your master tells you to.  At any time your master may decide to sell you to another family and you must go–most likely never seeing your own family again!  Before Brigid was born her mother was sold to another pagan man.  Luckily for Brigid, she was able to stay with her mother for her first ten years of life. Stories about her growing up are filled with her being a pure and holy child.  She fed the poor and also healed the sick.  One time she gave away all of her mother’s butter that she had stored up.  Later, after Brigid had prayed, the storage area was miraculously refilled with butter.
Continue reading..…

As the Morning Rising: Bright Roses


As the Morning Rising: In His Angels and in His Saints

As the Morning Rising: In His Angels and in His Saints: Blessed be God in His angels and in His Saints.

Laughing Through The Transformation?

Discovering that it is possible to become Christ’s presence on earth was an epiphany for my husband and me about 30 years ago. We suddenly understood that resurrected life  was not just for a few saints.  Every normal Christian can come to the point where they shout with St. Paul,
             “No longer I that lives but Christ that lives in me.” What an awesome thought, mind-boggling, actually. We should be begging Christ to complete His work in us. So, If this journey is so exciting, why do many of us experience periods of depression and anxiety?  continue reading

Envy Will Disappoint You - Every Time! Be Content!

We continue with the second installment of our seven part series on the seven deadly sins. Today we discuss envy.

How many times have you wished that you could buy a fancy new car like the neighbors? Or take a vacation to an exotic place like some friend? Or get a big raise, like your older sibling just got? When you go down this road and allow envy to take hold in your heart, you only set yourself up for disappointment and sorrow – every time! How so? Envy is wanting what others have, that you do not. It is the opposite of contentment. Rather than counting one’s blessings, the envious person... Read more...

Year of Mercy, Part 2: Jesus Teaches about God's Mercy

Even if we didn’t have the Old Testament, we would still know that God is merciful from the teachings of Jesus. The very motto of the year of mercy is from his lips: “Be merciful as your heavenly Father is merciful.”  Jesus revealed the incredible Father’s mercy through not just one, but several parables, in particular, the prodigal son, the lost coin, and the lost sheep.  These are found in Luke, which is dubbed the Gospel of Mercy. In each parable, rejoicing is the response to finding what was lost. Jesus says that the angels rejoice when just one sinner changes his or her ways and God forgives them.  Click to continue


I have to be honest and say that  I never really thought I would enjoy teaching CCD as much as I do. I still talk to my old CCD teacher on occasion and I remember how much of a difference she made in my life. I hope one day I can make a difference in a kid's life as much as she did for me. But enough of that sappy stuff.
So because today is St. Francis of Assisi's feast day today, we made Pet Prayer Cards. I used the following prayer of Sadly I lost it and so I can only credit them and not supply a link.  "Blessed are you Lord God maker of all living creatures. You call fourth the fish in the sea, the birds in the air, and the animals on land. You inspired St. Francis to call them his brothers and sisters. Bless this pet (enter kids pet names here). By the power of love enable my pet to live by your plan. My we praise for for all you beauty" -Amen.   We also learned from our Old Testament Reading of Amos 6:4-7 Since the story is about social justice and…

As the Morning Rising: God's Merciful Love


Fall Family Fun Fest

I just wanted to share the flyer to my Charity Event with you all! I am so blessed to have this opportunity to do what I love with the people I love. For more information click here. 

Anger Will Destroy You, If You Let It - Learn How to Change

This begins a seven part series on the seven deadly sins. Today, in part 1 of 7, we start with Anger.

Do you ever get so angry that your face turns red, your blood pressure rises, and you lose control? When this happens, do you ever stop to think about what really causes you to experience such rage?

Anger arises when an evil persists in the face of our resistance or when a good remains beyond our grasp, despite our efforts.1 Anger is a natural emotion. Even Jesus lost his temper with the money-changers at the Temple. Yet, Jesus’ anger was righteous; used for the purpose of defending His Father’s house. For most of us though, anger arises when we feel unrighteousness crossing our paths. For us then, it is how we deal with it that makes all the difference.

We best channel our anger appropriately when we... Read more... 

The Explosion of Love Unlimited

Although Jesus was full of love and could communicate it to others whilst He was on earth, God’s plan was initially limited. In other words, in entering into a world of space and time, Jesus was necessarily limited by the laws of space and time. To put it simply, he could only be at one place at a time. Meeting him, therefore, would necessitate coming and going, arriving and departing, and even his closest disciples could not be with him all the time. As for the rest of the world, they would not have a chance. However, after the Resurrection, he was not just restored to life, but to a totally new form of life. After being united with God, he re-entered the world in such a way, that he could not only be with but within anyone who chose to receive him. This did not just apply to those living when he rose from the dead, but to those who were to come later, to the end of time. on....

Come, Have a Look Around!

In just a few days, The Cloistered Heart blog will 'celebrate' five years on the Internet. Five years of posts on what it can mean to live for God, cloistered in heart, in the midst of our families and neighborhoods and workplaces; and it seems that in some ways, we are just beginning.....

Because that many pages of quotes and pictures and analogies can be overwhelming, and because we (thankfully) have new visitors on an ongoing basis, I've decided to spend this week re-visiting some of our rooms and corridors. 

So let's have a look around the cloister, shall we?....(continue reading)

Amos and Social Justice

I think social justice is a good idea.

I'd better explain that.

I think acting as if people matter is a good idea: all people, not just the 'right' ones.

I'll be talking about "the poor of the land," private property, the universal destination of goods, and a job that's not even close to being done.

There's nothing wrong with prosperity, by itself. As 1 Timothy 6:10 and Hebrews 13:5 say, it's love of money that gets us in trouble.

Some Saints, like Francis1 and Claire, both of Assisi, were poor. Others, like Elizabeth of Hungary and Sir Thomas More, were anything but....

More at A Catholic Citizen in America.

10 Minute Daily Retreat: September - Gift of Courage

He said to them, “Why are you afraid? Have you still no faith?” Mark 4:40

Reflection by Willam Barclay

'God gives us peace when life's problems involve us in a tempest of doubt and tension and uncertainty. There come times when we do not know what to do; when we stand at some cross-roads in life and do not know which way to take. 
If then we turn to Jesus and say to him, "Lord, what will you have me do?" the way will be clear. The real tragedy is not that we do not know what to do; but that often we do not humbly submit to Jesus' guidance. To ask his will and to submit to it is the way to peace at such a time.
God gives us peace in the storms of anxiety. The chief enemy of peace is worry, worry for ourselves, worry about the unknown future, worry about those we love. 
But Jesus speaks to us of a Father whose hand will never cause his child a needless tear and of a love beyond which neither we nor those we love can ever drift. In the storm of life He brings us the peac…

The community building contribution of "Amoris Laetitia" ( Spanish) La riqueza comunitaria que rodea a "Amoris Laetitia"

La tan esperada Exhortación sobre la familia y el matrimonio del Papa Francisco es un documento que revela no solo la profundidad y necesidad de la reflexión sobre esta realidad humana que tanta discusiones ha provocado en las últimas décadas, sino también la centralidadcon que la Iglesia considera y trata a esta célula por su importancia en la vida de la humanidad, de la Iglesia misma, y lo más importante, en la vida de cada uno de nosotros.
A muchos puede parecer que enesta exhortación es el Papa que solo reacciona para condenar, imponer o limitar sobre el matrimonio y la familia, y solo porque ha sido objeto de manipulación cultural en nuestro tiempo. Pero la realidad es que la familia y su problemática ha estado presente en la historia de la Salvación desde el Antiguo y después en el Nuevo Testamento, donde la mismaSagrada Familia fue pobre, con un embarazo inesperado, desalojada, trabajadora, perseguida, e inclusive migrante.

For Love of God or Money: the Dishonest Steward in Marriage & Divorce

Last Sunday's Gospel is one of my least favorite. It just doesn't seem to make sense.
You have a dishonest steward, caught in his dishonesty, who then is fired but allowed to keep working for a short while. In that short while, he calls in the master's debtors and writes new promissory notes for reduced amounts and is then commended by the very master who fired him for being dishonest in the first place!

 Make sense? Yeah, sure. It sounds a bit like divorce court. Get tired of your spouse. Cheat on your Marriage. Fire your (faithful) spouse through divorce. Have a judge write up some paperwork to break the civil contract required for this Sacramental bond and reward the dishonest spouse financially, materially, and in time with children. 
To read the rest of my post and to find possible meaning behind this difficult to understand parable, the Parable of the Dishonest Steward, please join me at

God Bless...

I Stole a Grape and Broke the Law

"I haven't broken the law in 20+ years." The message was meant as a joke to a friend, and I smiled as I wrote it. Even as a joke, I wanted to be truthful in what I was saying though, and I paused, mentally checking off a list, to be sure it was true before I hit send.

I paid my taxes - check. I didn't throw garbage on the street - check, and I certainly hadn't killed anybody - check.

I went through my day, starting around 5:00 AM. I begin by snuggling into my couch, for a few minutes of "Coffee with Jesus," reading a small piece of the Bible and journaling about what I've discovered. Too often lately, I've skipped "Coffee with Jesus" to work on other things as if they are more important or more urgent. Sometimes I get distracted by email or social media. Usually I write a Single Mom Smiling or Right Path Life Coaching blog post. Coffee with Jesus may not look productive, but my stress levels definitely differ when I take a few moments…

As the Morning Rising: Life's Ups and Downs

As the Morning Rising: Life's Ups and Downs: Through life's ups and downs I have trained my ear to hear that still small voice that puts things into perspective. With God a...



Love Thy Neighber

This Biblical command is sometimes hard to follow. “Love thy neighbor” is easy when your neighbors are lovable. Not so much so when they’re unlovable. Of course by “neighbor” the Bible means any human person, not just the people on your block. But those living close by are the ones you’re going to run into and have to deal with the most. Depending on how you look at it, the street where I grew up was either comical or downright pathetic. We lived only half a block from two bars, and the couple next door worked at one of them. Amazingly, they used to drive to and from work, but considering that they consumed far too much of the product sold at their place of employment, maybe it’s a good thing it was just half a block. Unfortunately, if the husband was too drunk to get his back door open, he tended to answer nature’s call right outside my parents’ bedroom window.  continue

The Minden Monster, What Killed Lucy

The 'Minden Monster,' a whacking great carnivore that lived about a hundred million years before T. Rex, is in the news again. Studying it will help scientists work out details of megalosaur development.

I'm fascinated by that sort of thing. Your experience may vary.

Other scientists think they know what killed Lucy, our name for a famous Australopithecus afarensis skeleton. It looks like Australopithecus afarensis was a little more at home in trees than we are.

More at A Catholic Citizen in America.

‘If they do not listen to Moses and the prophets . . .' Sunday Reflections, 26th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year C

Parable of Dives and Lazarus, Unknown Master, c.1420

Gospel Luke 16:19-31 (NRSV, Catholic Ed, Canada)

Jesus said to the disciples: “There was a rich man who was dressed in purple and fine linen and who feasted sumptuously every day. And at his gate lay a poor man named Lazarus, covered with sores, who longed to satisfy his hunger with what fell from the rich man’s table; even the dogs would come and lick his sores. The poor man died and was carried away by the angels to be with Abraham. The rich man also died and was buried. In Hades, where he was being tormented, he looked up and saw Abraham far away with Lazarus by his side. He called out, ‘Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue; for I am in agony in these flames.’

“But Abraham said, ‘Child, remember that during your lifetime you received your good things, and Lazarus in like manner evil things; but now he is comforted here, and you are in agony. Besides all this, b…

How Mary Burst Into My Life

As a protestant who converted to Catholicism, my walk with God has been a continual story of having the rug ripped from under my feet, forcing me to relinquish my treasured old ways of thinking and embracing new ideas and spiritual truths. Pope Francis described how God surprises us at the EASTER VIGIL on 30 March 2013 at the Vatican Basilica. Newness often makes us fearful, including the newness which God brings us, the newness which God asks of us.  We are afraid of God’s surprises. Dear brothers and sisters, we are afraid of God’s surprises!He always surprises us! The Lord is like that.” continue

Discovery: A Virtual Book Tour

By Jean M. Heimann

I have to admit that while I enjoy watching science fiction films, I am not an avid reader of science fiction books, but I definitely enjoyed reading Discoveryby Karina Fabian. In fact, I loved it! It is authentically Catholic – complete with saint quotes and filled with Catholic themes. Some of these themes include: mercy and redemption, evangelization, respect for human life, and surrender to God’s will.

Discovery is a gripping, suspense-filled science fiction tale that takes you on a journey into the unknown and the unexpected. It is an irresistible page turner! It grabs you by both arms and doesn't let go until the last page.  Discovery is an exhilarating, fun-filled read that contains all the makings of a great book. It has a titillating plot, complex characters, humor, mystery, and romance.

The plot of Discovery is intriguing. The Rescue Sisters, Sister Ann St. Joseph de Cupertino (Ann), Sister Thomas Aquinas Krueger (Tommie), and Sister Rita Aguila…

As the Morning Rising: Sacramental Healing

As the Morning Rising: Sacramental Healing: God is the remedy for every ailment.

Playing with the SAINTS!

Saint Gerard Majella: 
Your playing with a group of new friends and one of them seems very weak and sickly so you don’t include him in the game–he seems too weak–but he is very friendly and so you smile and wave at him.
A few minutes into the game your mom calls you and your friends over and asks if everyone would help her briefly to move the pile of branches to the curb for trash day.  Everyone readily agrees–even the weak kid.  As you are all working you notice that he is moving four times the amount of branches of everyone else.  You realize you misjudged him.
This is sort of what happened to Saint Gerard Majella who was born in 1726 in Italy.  Saint Gerard’s skin always seemed pale and sickly.  When he applied to join a religious order as a young man he kept being denied, “You are not strong enough Gerard for this life.”  Three times he applied and still was told,”No.”  Finally the order of Redemptorists allowed him to enter their order.  They quickly learned to their surprise that …

Year of Mercy, part 1: God's Mercy

In this  Extraordinary Jubilee, Year of Mercy, I’ve given talks on mercy, which meant researching this topic. I gleaned some thoughts on mercy that you might find worth pondering. Pope Francis declared the year in hopes that new flood of mercy will flow over the world. He said, “Mercy is the true power that can save humanity and the world from sin and evil.” The document announcing the year states “We need constantly to contemplate the mystery of mercy. It is a wellspring of joy, serenity, and peace.”
Like a precious jewel, mercy has several facets: God’s mercy in helping those in trouble, God’s mercy in forgiving sinners, our mercy in reaching out to the needy, and our mercy in forgiving others.
According to some theologians mercy is the greatest, most stupendous of God’s attributes…not God’s omnipotence, omniscience, omnipresent, immutability, and so forth. It follows that as sons and daughters of God we resemble him. We should exhibit the “divine gene” of mercy. The …

Saint Matthew: Apostle, Gospel Writer and Beloved Saint

Today we celebrate the Feast Day of Saint Matthew, Apostle to Christ and Gospel Writer of the Gospel According to Matthew. He directed his Gospel toward those of the Jewish faith, who followed Christ. He traveled to places like Ethiopia and Parthia, as a true evangelist and missionary.

After I spent 36 years of my life in the financial industry, I relate well to Saint Matthew, the patron saint of tax collectors, accountants and customs officers. Saint Matthew understood the use, means and purpose of money, and he gave it all up to follow Christ. Saint Matthew and I seem alike, in one way, in that we both gave up financial careers to follow Christ as evangelists and writers. Yet, I will be the first to admit that I’m no Saint Matthew! My writing and evangelistic capabilities couldn’t hold a candle to the magnificent work done by this beloved man.

What Saint Matthew Teaches in His Gospel
Within the Gospel of Saint Matthew, we see... Read more... 

As the Morning Rising: Peace


Shopping Center Attack: Why I Care

Saturday night's attack in a St. Cloud shopping center was uncomfortably close to home. Crossroads Mall is about an hour down the road from where I live, and a place I've enjoyed visiting....

...I'm still upset about the attack: and sorry that the attacker is dead. That, I'd better explain....

...Some of the bad news is good news, sort of, from the 'you're known by the enemies you make' viewpoint...

More at A Catholic Citizen in America.

As the Morning Rising: An Open Window

As the Morning Rising: An Open Window: An open window Is the ear of the soul Turned towards the mouth of the river The source of the God-word From generation to gen...

Catechism Week 1

I am so happy to announce that this week started our first week of Sunday School at our church. I am teaching the 4th grade class and I am super excited that I have a class of awesome students who are excited to learn about the Word of God! So as this is my first time teaching I would like to share it with all of you and get your feedback. Lesson 1 - Luke 16: The Parable of the Rich man. So one of the key lessons I wanted my kids to learn from this story is the idea of privileged. How do you teach privileged of a class of fourth graders!  I did some research and figured that showing the kids that life is not fair would be a good place to start. I wadded up a bunch of paper and made them stand in line and try to get them to make all of the papers in the basket. Of course the kids in the back complained and the children in the front said nothing. This fact went completely unnoticed by the class. This was actually based on a lesson for high school students that I modified for my class, …

From Grief to Grace, by Jeannie Ewing - Book Review

I have to admit that I chose to read From Grief to Grace: The Journey from Tragedy to Triumph, by Jeannie Ewing, because I personally know the author and wanted to support her writing. Little did I know when I opened the first page, just how much I needed to read this book for my own benefit! Like many, I associated grief only with death. No one in my life had recently died. Therefore, I didn’t see a need to read it for any other reason than to support the author. I couldn’t have been more wrong!

My Story of Grief
Grief can result from any type of loss; the loss of a loved one, a home, a job, your good health – anything! As I read the book, simultaneously, my husband lost... Read more...

Do you believe in ghosts?


As the Morning Rising: Lourdes 2016 Clonard Pilgrimage

As the Morning Rising: Lourdes 2016 Clonard Pilgrimage: Lourdes 2016 While at Lourdes, the silence in and around the sanctuary makes it possible for the liste...

The World is at War, but it is not a religious one: Pope Francis ( Spanish)El Mundo está en Guerra pero no de Religión: Papa Francisco

En su visita a Polonia de este año, el Papa Francisco, ante la sombra de actos terroristas y el asesinato de un sacerdote francés en Europa en los últimos meses, contestó a los periodistas las preguntas que al respecto le hicieron en el avión rumbo a Cracovia.
Su contestación fue clara y directa: 
«El mundo está en guerra»
«Nosotros, no tenemos miedo de decir estas verdades, el mundo está en guerra, porque ha perdido la paz».
«No hablo de guerra de religión. Las religiones, todas las religiones, quieren la paz. ¡La guerra la quieren otros! ¡¿Entendido?!». (1)
Las religiones no se están enfrentando unas contra otras, pero ¿serán realmente las religiones las causantes de la violencia que se ha vivido a lo largo de la historia humana como aseguran muchos medios académicos, sociales y de comunicación?

Time to Decide


Space Aliens and Life's Ladder

I'd be surprised if many folks took movies like "Earth vs. the Flying Saucers," "Invaders from Mars," and "Plan 9 from Outer Space," seriously: as something other than entertainment, anyway.

All of which has about as much to do with space exploration, astronomy, and SETI, as Keeping Up with the Kardashians does with family counseling.

I'll be talking about SETI, the search for extraterrestrial intelligence; the Fermi paradox; and whatever else comes to mind — but first, the Copernican principle, which arguably sounds cooler than the mediocrity principle.

More at A Catholic Citizen in America.

10 Minute Daily Retreat: September - Gift of Courage

'...we had courage in our God to declare to you the gospel of God in spite of great opposition.'1 Thessalonians 2:2

At the vigil mass during the recent world youth day in Poland, Pope Francis called on young people today to be ‘courageous and free’ and to ‘leave a mark’ on our world. It takes courage to leave a mark!
What does courage look like for a Christian in today's society? It means standing for truth in a society where truth is reinterpreted according to one’s view; Read on:
Playing with the SAINTS! ~Blog post # 11 If you have a child preparing to make his/her First Communion this year, today’s saint is an important one for them to know about.
Saint Tarcisius: Imagine that if you got caught going to Mass you would be thrown in jail and probably executed!  During the third century, that is how it was in Rome.  Christians had to attend Mass secretly.  Just going to Mass could get you arrested and killed!
Continue reading

Come, Bless God’s Creatures Great and Small

When God’s creatures are blessed and surrounded by the love of God, they absorb and reflect His love back in seemingly miraculous ways. My husband and I stumbled on this truth during the twenty years we raised nine kids and an odd assortment of farm animals and pets on a small family farm in eastern Ontario, Canada. Naturally, I was delighted when Pope Francis’s environmental encyclical, Laudato Si, clearly explained why people must learn how to cherish animals: “Because all creatures are connected, each must be cherished with love and respect, for all of us as living creatures are dependent on one another”. “It would also be mistaken to view other living beings as mere objects subjected to arbitrary human domination”. The Cat Shall Nurse The Bunnies God’s creatures constantly surprised us, especially when they reflected unconditional love to other animals. For example, continue reading

What irks you, Christian?

We may well be Christians, and as such, we may have the patience of a Saint. But let's be honest. There's always something that irks us, annoys us, and makes us see red with rage. What is your pet hate? CLICK HERE

ESA's Gaia, HD 164695, and SETI

Scientists working with ESA's Gaia space observatory published the first part of a three-dimensional sky map this week. It'll be the most comprehensive all-sky survey done so far.

Not unexpectedly, this year's 'ET calling' headlines gave way to something slightly more down-to-Earth.

We may eventually pick up an artificial signal from the stars: but that burst of radio noise from the direction of HD 164695 was almost certainly due to a clerical error of sorts. It wasn't our first false alarm, and I doubt it will be the last.

More at A Catholic Citizen in America.

'Whoever is faithful in a very little is faithful also in much.' Sunday Reflections, 25th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year C

Girl with a Pearl Earring, Johannes Vermeer, c.1685
Gospel Luke 16:1-13 (or 10-13) (NRSV, Catholic Ed, Can)

[Then Jesus said to the disciples, “There was a rich man who had a manager, and charges were brought to him that this man was squandering his property. So he summoned him and said to him, ‘What is this that I hear about you? Give me an accounting of your management, because you cannot be my manager any longer.’ Then the manager said to himself, ‘What will I do, now that my master is taking the position away from me? I am not strong enough to dig, and I am ashamed to beg. I have decided what to do so that, when I am dismissed as manager, people may welcome me into their homes.’ So, summoning his master’s debtors one by one, he asked the first, ‘How much do you owe my master?’ He answered, ‘A hundred jugs of olive oil.’ He said to him, ‘Take your bill, sit down quickly, and make it fifty.’ Then he asked another, ‘And how much do you owe?’ He replied, ‘A hundred containers of wheat.…