Showing posts from March, 2017

'Everyone who lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?’ Sunday Reflections, Fifth Sunday of Lent, Year A

The Raising of Lazarus, Rembrandt [ Web Gallery of Art ] Readings (New American Bible: Philippines, USA) Readings (Jerusalem Bible) For the shorter form of the Gospel omit the passages [in square brackets]. Gospel John 11:1-44 [11:3-7, 17, 20-27, 33b-45] ( NRSV,Catholic Ed )  [Now a certain man was ill, Lazarus of Bethany, the village of Mary and her sister Martha. Mary was the one who anointed the Lord with perfume and wiped his feet with her hair; her brother Lazarus was ill.] So the sisters sent a message to Jesus, ‘Lord, he whom you love is ill.’ But when Jesus heard it, he said, ‘This illness does not lead to death; rather it is for God’s glory, so that the Son of God may be glorified through it.’ Accordingly, though Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus, after having heard that Lazarus was ill, he stayed two days longer in the place where he was. Then after this he said to the disciples, ‘Let us go to Judea again.’ [The disciples said to him, ‘Rabbi, the Je

The Gift Of Prayer - Only Useful When Being Used

Gifts are Meant to be Used “What is the gift of prayer?” is the first question asked in the  Walk in Her Sandals’ journal  with regard to Pat’s reflection. Personally, I see prayer as part of what I’ve dubbed, “The Grace Trifecta.” This trifecta consists of one engaging in prayer, participating in the Sacraments, as well as reading and reflecting on Scripture — prayer, Sacrament and Scripture. It truly amazes me that God allows us to communicate with Him in this intimate way. What a gift that he allows us to enter into conversation with Him. When I was a child, my mother would wrap every single item in our Christmas stocking. Opening each individual present was what I looked forward to the most about Christmas; I enjoyed it so much I continue that tradition today with my own children. This is how I have experienced prayer in my life — as many small gifts. The first prayer gift to be unwrapped was opening up a more frequent line of communication with God. This came after reading S

DNA and Cancer

Apparently quiet a few sorts of cancer 'just happen,' no matter how much fiber we eat, how much we don't smoke, and how far we run each day. Or exercise, in my case. Thanks in part to now-replaced defective hips, my running days never really happened. That doesn't mean that we're all gonna die from random cancer. I think it means we should think about paying more attention to testing before symptoms appear.... After talking about oddly-under-reported 'cancer' news, I kept going; mostly about mutations, and why being healthy is okay... More at A Catholic Citizen in America .

10 Minute Daily Retreat: Sixth Station: Jesus is Scourged and Crowned with Thorns

Then Pilate took Jesus and had him scourged. And the soldiers wove a crown out of thorns and placed it on his head, and clothed him in a purple cloak, and they came to him and said,"Hail, King of the Jews!" And they struck him repeatedly.  John 19:1-3 By Margaret Kirchener The bathroom seems  so far away. My arthritis has flared up and every step is torture. I crawl through  the house using a broom as a crutch. I desperately need my medication. Everything else in  my life fades. All that exists is me and the throbbing pain... Read on:

Laughter in Heaven

  I would appreciate your views and comments about this video.

The Past: What We Know, What We Don'’t

I was writing about cancer and medical knowledge we've accumulated over the last few millennia, when I realized that I'd gotten more off-topic than usual. For me, that's saying something. When I catch myself rambling I've got options. Sometimes I delete and start over from where I was making sense; or copy and paste the ramble into a text file for later use, delete and start over. Sometimes I delete, get up, make myself a cup of coffee, and try desperately to remember what, if anything, I had in mind.... ...Like the title says, it's about what we know and what we don't about the past: and why we're not all that certain about so much.... More at A Catholic Citizen in America .

As the Morning Rising: The Trees and Countless Stars

As the Morning Rising: The Trees and Countless Stars : Sometimes all we need do is take God in, the way a new-born baby takes a first breath – this too is prayer. To look in awe at a...

Motherhood as a Feminist Career Choice

Raising children  is not a default chore for women who were  not successful  in the world of business, power, and wealth. However, the trend in the last few decades has been to  delegate childcare  to women who are often treated like second-class citizens. Society seems to dismiss and even ridicule  women’s most sacred, natural role  as  nurturing mothers . continue reading on CTS Catholic Compass

Finding Virtue in the Mundane: Even Doing Dishes!

So, how is doing the dishes well, or any other mundane task for that matter, virtuous? Well, let’s answer that question by first defining virtue: “A virtue is an habitual and firm disposition to do the good. It allows the person not only to perform good acts, but to give the best of himself.” 1   If you strive to always give your best to every task performed, even something so mundane as doing the dishes, then your action can be virtuous. I remember, as a child, having the chore of doing the dinner dishes with my two sisters. The oldest sister always needed to go to the bathroom immediately after dinner. How convenient for her! She always got out of doing the dishes, unbeknownst to my mother. That left my middle sister and me, the youngest, to clear the table, wash and dry the dishes. (Yes, I am old! This was in the day before every household had an automatic dishwasher. But I digress.) My middle sister and I always fought over who would do what, and... Read more... 

Take a Dose of Vitamin N ~ Nature

Spring is upon us, so venture outside! Recent reports claim that contact with nature makes us healthier and happier. In Greek mythology, Antaeus was invincible as long as he was in contact with his mother, Earth. Apparently we too gain strength by being in touch with Mother Earth, whose clay we were made from. Spring is a good time to be refreshed and renewed by taking a walk though the woods, in a park, along a beach, or in your own backyard. When I walk outside in the country— gazing on violets, mushrooms, and honeybees and filling my lungs with fresh air— I feel at peace. I’m sure my blood pressure sinks.  click to continue

As the Morning Rising: Prodigal - Lenten Poem

As the Morning Rising: Prodigal - Lenten Poem : Prodigal Sometime between now and Easter I will die to my old self Rise to the challenge Of putting on a new garment Befitting one ...

The Virtue Driven Life, by Fr. Benedict J. Groeschel, C.F.R. - Book Review

The Virtue Driven Life , by Fr. Benedict J. Groeschel, C.F.R., offers insightful information about the cardinal virtues of Prudence, Justice, Fortitude and Temperance, along with scriptural passages, simple prayers, and citations from the Catechism of the Catholic Church . This gem of a book offers the basic information on these virtues in part I. He saves the best for last, though, when in part II, we learn some in-depth information on the Theological virtues of Faith, Hope and Charity. Part II also provides scriptural passages, prayers and citations from the Catechism , in relation to the Theological virtues. I was most impressed with Fr. Groeschel’s insight into the... Read more...


Do you ever pray for dead relatives and friends? Do you offer Masses for them? Do you sometimes "speak" to them; perhaps in your thoughts? Do you visit their graves? Why do you do these things? Where are your dead relatives and friends anyway? Heaven? Hell? Purgatory? If they are in one of these places then God has decided their fate anyway. So why pray for them? Your comments and thoughts are very welcome. JOIN THE DISCUSSION HERE

The gift of confession (Spanish) El regalo de la confesión.

    Las plantas y los animales para crecer y desarrollarse, necesitan luz y aire, agua y alimento. Si estos le faltan pierden color, frescura, energía, y poco a poco mueren. Y los animales necesitan crecer sin ataduras, para llegar a ser lo que tienen que ser. Por ejemplo, a un águila cuando le cortan las alas, no puede volar a las alturas, que es su medio natural. Se quedará a ras del suelo. Y si le empiezan a crecer las alas pero está atada con un cordel, tampoco podrá volar, y aunque lo intente, el resultado será el mismo: se quedará en el suelo y no podrá evitar la muerte.   Pues lo mismo sucede con nosotros los hombres. Fuimos creados por Nuestro Padre Dios con todo amor, pero por el pecado estamos atados y no podemos llegar a ser lo que Él quiere que seamos. Y porque nos quiere tanto, porque somos tan importantes para Él, envió a su único hijo, Jesucristo, a liberarnos del pecado y abrirnos las puertas del cielo.  

Revisiting the Real Jesus

Recently I read something touting a "politically correct" (but unmistakably warned against in Scripture) lifestyle as being something Jesus would applaud.  I immediately thought:  "Oh, really?"   Just who, I asked, is this jesus of whom the writer is speaking?  It's definitely not the Jesus quoted and taught about in Scripture and 2,000 years of the Church.  The real Christ clearly taught against what the author was endorsing. This is extremely important.  Nothing in our lives could be more important.  If we intend to respond to the world through the "grillwork" of God's will, a knowledge of the real Jesus is critical.  If I am going to see the world through Scripture and the teachings of the Church, I must have a working knowledge of what these are. I cannot make them up for myself. And certainly I can't invent my own jesus, one who will approve of everything I do.. even sin. The real Jesus loves me; He genuinely loves me. He cares

Knowledge: Opening the Gift

The quote is from Tennyson's " Ulysses ," among my favorite poems; and the source for my Google Plus tagline: "...To follow knowledge, like a sinking star, "Beyond the utmost bound of human thought...." (" Ulysses ," Tennyson (1833)) I'm not "an idle king," and take my family obligations seriously, so I won't be setting off on a voyage of discovery. Thanks to a pretty good Internet connection and research skills, I can "follow knowledge" without leaving my desk. My shameless curiosity may need some explanation. Or maybe not, if you read my Friday 'science' posts. More at A Catholic Citizen in America .

10 Minute Daily Retreat 5th Station: Jesus is judged by Pilate

Being judged and  wrongly declared guilty is a horrible experience. I had a taste of this once when a valuable item went missing in my share household and everything pointed to me. It's equally as devastating when you are judged and victimised for standing up for something you believe in. A sense of our own powerlessness can make us feel incredibly vulnerable and rejected. What kind of  God is willingly vulnerable to the opinions and judgements of humans? Standing before Pilate, was Jesus thinking about the divine power He could invoke to escape from the fate of death? Read on:

Our Lady: Queen of Ireland

I'm a week late in sharing this, but I always love learning new Irish things, and I thought you might too! My March column at has some fun info about the Irish love for Our Lady: Our Lady: Queen of Ireland . Happy Feast of the Annunciation!

The Annunciation Through The Eyes Of Modern Artists

Modern artists are still fascinated by Mary and her encounter with the angel Gabriel. There are so many moments to capture her initial shock, fear, sense of awe and wonder, questions, acceptance and final glorious infilling by the Holy Spirit. Each artist reflects a different facet of truth with the Spirit of God shining through each painting in a myriad of different hues and tones and nuances. continue

As the Morning Rising: A Paste of Clay and Spittle

As the Morning Rising: A Paste of Clay and Spittle : Sight I did not see the wind But I saw a rain drop Blown clean off a leaf That had been shaken I did not see the secret ...

A Core Fact

So, if you have been following my blog for any length of time, you have probably figured out that I like analogies. It is also the way God gets my attention and speaks to me. I believe the Lord gave me an analogy that some people reading this blog post may need to hear. I share it in order to encourage you in your walk with the Lord. Continue Reading @ beautifulthorns>

Much Ado About Mary

Once upon a time there was an old priest who became rather forgetful and tired of giving sermons at Mass on Sunday. He used to write down his sermons and then read them at Mass; but more often than not he used to forget bringing his sermons to church; so at sermon time he had nothing to read anyway. He reasoned that if he had to write down his sermons in order to remember them, then how could the congregation be expected to remember them after leaving church. PLEASE CLICK HERE TO FIND OUT WHAT HAPPENED NEXT

Baryons, Gravity Waves

These are exciting, or disquieting, times. Which it is depends partly on how much a person likes living in a world where scientific knowledge is rapidly changing. I like it, a lot.... ...Since this is a "religious" blog, I'll be discussing — briefly, for me — how my faith relates to experiments using CERN's Large Hadron Collider and science in general.... More at A Catholic Citizen in America .

'One thing I do know, that though I was blind, now I see.' Sunday Reflections. Fourth Sunday of Lent, Year A

Blind Pensioner with a Stick, Van Gogh [ Web Gallery of Ar t] Readings (New American Bible: Philippines, USA) Readings (Jerusalem Bible: Australia, England & Wales, India Gospel John 9:1-41 [9: 1, 6-9, 13-17, 34-38] ( NRSV, Anglicised Catholic Ed ) As Jesus walked along, he saw a man blind from birth. [His disciples asked him, ‘Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?’ Jesus answered, ‘Neither this man nor his parents sinned; he was born blind so that God’s works might be revealed in him. We must work the works of him who sent me while it is day; night is coming when no one can work. As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world.’] When he had said this, he spat on the ground and made mud with the saliva and spread the mud on the man’s eyes, saying to him, ‘Go, wash in the pool of Siloam’ (which means Sent). Then he went and washed and came back able to see. The neighbours and those who had seen him before as a beggar began to ask, ‘I

Columban parish in Peru cut off by devastating floods

March 24, 2017 Media Release – Flooding in Peru. In wake of the unprecedented flooding in Peru, Columban Fr Kevin McDonagh in his parish in Samanco near Chimbote [420 kms north of Lima], has been cut off from the outside world. He is managing ok, but the situation is getting precarious for the people. The worst is not quite yet over as rain is still expected over the next few weeks, with some of it moving south. The challenges ahead are enormous in terms of reconstruction, etc. There is little bottled water available, but fortunately there is water flowing again in Lima though with low pressure. It is worrying to think of so many people without clean water especially in the provincial areas. So far there are 75 known deaths and over 100,000 people who are homeless. That figure will be multiplied when help reaches all the areas that have been incommunicado since the flooding began. It is mind boggling. We had bad flooding in 1982, and we all thought it was terrible. But that was

10 Minute Daily Retreat: Fourth (Scriptural) Station: Jesus is Denied by Peter

Then Peter remembered the word that Jesus had spoken: "Before the cock crows you will deny me three times." He went out and began to weep bitterly.  Matthew 26: 69-75     When Jesus first  met Peter, He fixed his gaze upon him and said, 'You are Simon, son of John; you will be called Peter'. ( John 1:42 )That was an experience of the grace of God in giving the fisherman a new vocation to proclaim the love and mercy of God. Later on, Peter  had a unique experience of grace with James and John when they witnessed the Transfiguration whereby the body of Jesus was transformed by Light.  Matthew 17:1-13 Despite experiencing miracles , healings and the Transfiguration, Peter was still full of fear of death and therefore denied knowing Jesus in the courtyard. Read on:

As the Morning Rising: Radiant Lights of Fatima

As the Morning Rising: Radiant Lights of Fatima : Radiant lights emerging from shadows, the hope of the world and the light of the church of tomorrow.

Much Ado About Laughter


Even Our Guinea Pig Had a Household Chore

No able-bodied human or animal would live in my house without contributing in some way to our household The Catechism of the Catholic Church describes the family as the original cell of society which teaches children all about justice and responsibility. There are countless ways to teach kids about responsibility and one of the best ways is assigning everybody a chore. Even family pets are not exempt. continue

Seeking Mercy This Lenten Season: A "See" Change

I’ve been slowly reading the Diary of Saint Maria Faustina Kowalska; a little each week during my time in Adoration. I read a few pages and then stop to meditate on what she and Christ are communicating to me. You see, it is a story of Saint Faustina’s visions of the Lord, who instructed her on His mercy. It’s packed with a lot of great information; digestible in small bits. At this point, maybe I’ll finish the book by the end of this year! I started this book prior to the end of the Year of Mercy, because I wanted to learn more about Christ’s mercy. My Lenten mission is one of seeking mercy from Christ. Oh, am I learning a lot about His mercy! Seeking Mercy: A “See” Change This Lenten season has been fruitful in that I see a change occurring within me because of reading this book. I find myself seeking mercy a lot more than I had ever done in the past, and not just for myself. I find myself saying the Divine Mercy Chaplet for our country, my family and friends. And, to be hone

Who Is This God We Believe In?

Last week I listened to a panel discussion about God, sponsored by Notre Dame College's Abrahamic Center. A Jesuit priest, a rabbi, and a Muslim were to answer three questions, but never got beyond the first one, "Who is God?" Their talks and the discussion that followed provided much rich food for thought. In this post I share some of the information and insights gathered there. You might find them as stimulating as I did.     The rabbi began by pointing out that naming animals was the first thing Adam was told to do. Names reveal people, and our names for God reflect what we think of him—like El Shaddai, the almighty one, or God of Hosts (a military title). A name for God in the Bible is Elohim. This name is mysterious because it is composed of a feminine beginning and a plural masculine ending. Click to continue

As the Morning Rising: Singing His Praise

As the Morning Rising: Singing His Praise : To call God my Saviour is to bear the Cross while singing His praise.

St. Joseph Through the Eyes of Modern Artists

St. Joseph was a worker, strong, capable but spiritual enough to see and hear messages from God. He was courageous enough act on those commands even though they went against all common sense. His young betrothed pregnant yet a virgin? A move to Egypt, the place of slavery in the minds for the Jews? How many of us could obey such ludicrous messages? Modern artists reject sappy images of St. Joseph, choosing to capture a strong, loving man but supported by divine strength. continue

As the Morning Rising: Joseph's Dream

As the Morning Rising: Joseph's Dream : Joseph's Dream Quickly now, we must leave this place - The baby's life is in danger! We will travel lightly And return ...

Saint Joseph: The Silent Saint of Salvific Service

Saint Joseph, a man of few words; no – make that no words –had a huge impact on salvation history. He is portrayed in the Bible, without ever having spoken one word. All mention of him is in the third person. Yet, silent Saint Joseph was one of the most important instruments of Christ’s salvific action. Had Joseph refused to take Mary as his wife, Mary would have been placed in a tenuous situation, and so would the safety of her child, Jesus. You see, in Mary’s day, if a woman was caught having relations with a man out of wedlock, she could have been stoned to death. Because Mary was pregnant with Jesus, everyone else would have assumed that Mary was having relations with a man. Therefore, no one would have understood that Mary’s pregnancy was a result of the Holy Spirit’s overshadowing of Mary. Saint Joseph’s silent “yes,” – his own “fiat,” to taking Mary as his wife – paved the way for fulfilling God’s plan for salvation. Thus, Jesus could be given a safe and secure means to gr

Let's Find Our Way Back!

Recently I watched the new Disney animated movie,  Moana . The Producers spent 5 years researching and visiting the islands in the South Pacific before making the movie. In doing so, they were able to get acquainted with Polynesian culture. Under the special features section of the  Moana  DVD, one can learn about the culture as well.  While I was watching the "making of the movie", it occurred to me just how far we have strayed from the way God originally intended the world to be .   Continue Reading @ beautifulthorns>

Saint Joseph


Amoris Laetitia is a pro woman document (Spanish) La mujer en la Amoris Laetitia.

  La Exhortación Apostólica del Papa Francisco, que fue el resultado de un trabajo colegiado de los últimos dos años, reúne muchos de los temas que son especialmente importantes para las mujeres dentro y fuera de la Iglesia. Aporta una perspectiva novedosa, cercana y realista de la realidad que ellas viven. En un estilo casi parroquial, el Papa confiere a la parte humana y particular de cada vida un lugar muy importante y propone un modo igual de cercano e incluyente para mejorar la situación de las familias, y por ende, de las mujeres. Las situaciones familiares realista que trata y deshebra dejan ver la complejidad de las dinámicas familiares: violencia, madres solteras, inequidades, madres trabajadoras, abuso, viudas,   mujeres separadas, abandono, mujeres divorciadas y vueltas a casar. Además trata temas esenciales para las mujeres: educación de los hijos, preparación como pareja en el noviazgo y en las diferentes etapas de la vida, educación sexual, homosexualidad. Tod

The Purpose of Life

(from The Cloistered Heart)

Internet Friends, Real People

Near the end of a self-help book, the author wrote that social connections we make with others online aren't "real." The next sentence said that online communities are "pretend communities." The author explained that they don't "come close to fulfilling the legitimate needs we have." I understand the point he was making, but don't entirely agree. It's true that folks I know online won't notice if I left the garage door open, or lend me a few dollars until next payday. In nearly all cases, they can't. They live too far away. Some aren't even on the same continent.... More at A Catholic Citizen in America .

As the Morning Rising: St Joseph

As the Morning Rising: St Joseph : St Joseph J for the joy you brought to Mother and Child O for the ocean as symbol of the depth ...

To ask for a drink is no big request but to ask it of me?' Sunday Reflections, Third Sunday of Lent, Year A

Christ and the Samaritan Woman, Duccio di Buoninsegna Readings (New American Bible) Readings (Jerusalem Bible: Australia, England & Wales, India [optional], Ireland, New Zealand, Pakistan, Scotland, South Africa)  For the shorter form of the Gospel omit the passages in square brackets   Gospel John 4:5-42  [5:5-15, 19b-26, 39a, 40-42]   ( NRSV, Anglicised Catholic Ed .)   Jesus came to a Samaritan city called Sychar, near the plot of ground that Jacob had given to his son Joseph. Jacob’s well was there, and Jesus, tired out by his journey, was sitting by the well. It was about noon. ... The video is taken from The Gospel of John directed by Philip Saville. I remember reading a story about Pope John Paul I when he was still known as Albino Luciani, Patriarch of Venice. One of his priests in a rural parish was known more for being absent from his parish than for being present. Cardinal Luciani went to visit the parish - and the priest was away. So the Cardinal cov