Showing posts from January, 2018

'They brought to him all who were sick.' Sunday Reflections, 5th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year B

Christ Raises the Daughter of Jairus- Friedrich Overbeck [Web Gallery of Art]

Readings (New American Bible: Philippines, USA)
Readings (Jerusalem Bible: Australia, England & Wales, India, Ireland, New Zealand, Pakistan, Scotland, South Africa)
Gospel Mark 1:29-39 (NRSV, Anglicised Catholic Edition)

As soon as they left the synagogue, Jesus entered the house of Simon and Andrew, with James and John. Now Simon’s mother-in-law was in bed with a fever, and they told him about her at once. He came and took her by the hand and lifted her up. Then the fever left her, and she began to serve them.

That evening, at sunset, they brought to him all who were sick or possessed with demons. And the whole city was gathered around the door. And he cured many who were sick with various diseases, and cast out many demons; and he would not permit the demons to speak, because they knew him.

In the morning, while it was still very dark, he got up and went out to a deserted place, and there he prayed. And Si…

Bullying Has No Grace; But Forgiveness Does! Here's My Story

I have a great deal of personal experience when it comes to bullying. You see, I was bullied for eight consecutive years, while attending a Catholic grade school. There were only 38 children in my class, so I was an easy target. Because of my physical deformity of clubbed feet, I wore braces on my legs. This set me apart from the others, making me the “outcast.” (The photo to the left was taken in 1962, at age 5). After what I experienced, it is amazing that I am still alive to tell my story today.

Bullying Has No Grace
The ugliness of the constant and consistent verbal abuse, demeaning my dignity and self-worth, proves to me that bullying has no grace. Bullying is an evil act. My bullies constantly referred to me as “metal legs,” “cootie bug,” – you get the picture. Their derisive behavior played havoc on my self-worth, leaving me changed, and not for the better. They scarred my psyche.

The Lingering Effects of Bullying
As I progressed through high school and college, I always felt …

Mary Calls Us to Lent

These days I am busy preparing to give a three-day parish mission on our Blessed Mother entitled "Mary Calls Us to Lent." My aim is twofold: 1) to convince the parishioners to pray to Mary as their God-given loving mother and powerful intercessor and 2) to inspire them to imitate her as the first and best Christian. Because my mind is focused on the Mother of God today, this post includes an excerpt from my new book Heart to Heart with Mary: A Yearly Devotional. It is the reading for Wednesday, January 31. The realistic statue of Mary on the cover is in our chapel at the provincial center. I love how she looks—not like a distant goddess but like a simple, approachable woman, someone you can converse with and pour out your heart. Click to continue

The Holocaust and its missed opportunity for unity. ( SPANISH ) EL HOLOCAUSTO Y SU RECUERDO:UNA OCASIÓN PERDIDA.

Entre las grandes tragedias de la historia humana hay una que ha sido especialmente recordada, llorada y enmarcada con museos, monumentos y aniversarios a través de los años y alrededor del orbe por nuestros hermanos en la fe, los judíos para que su recuerdo y remembranza prevenga otra atrocidad de tanto odio: el Holocausto.

Pero, tristemente, estas memorias del sufrimiento del hombre a manos del mismo hombre se han mostrado, en su mayoría parciales, pues reflejan solo parte del gran horror perpetrado contra millones de personas, olvidando el contexto completo del genocidio. Esto sucede porque la mayoría de las veces no recuerdan cómo sufrieron una suerte parecida judíos, católicos y cristianos y borran la forma como se apoyaron entre hermanos de fe, poniendo a un lado sus diferencias para ayudarse a sobrevivir.

Learning to Love - The Meaning of Mystical Theology

Many years ago Bishop Casey of Brentwood, England,  asked me to set up a Residential Retreat and Conference Centre in Chingford, London. He wanted to use it as a place where priests, religious and laity could come to learn about the Biblical Theology that had made the Second Vatican Council possible. I made it my prime objective to recruit the best and most qualified lecturers in the country to  this end, from whom I too could learn with everyone else. One particular theologian was outstanding in his mastery of what we then called the New Biblical Theology, although he was initially trained in Thomistic Theology in Rome where he received the highest degree possible, a summa cum laude. I therefore approached him with my misgivings about the demise of Mystical Theology. Until four hundred years ago its practical teaching from the very beginning was the bedrock of authentic Catholic Spirituality.      read on.....

Hey Devil, You're Fake News!

Last week for World Communications Day, Pope Francis released a statement saying that “fake news” is as old as the Garden of Eden. He urged the faithful to share information responsibly. He said that the spread of fake news leads to an increase of arrogance and hatred. He’s right.
The devil isn’t just the inventor of fake news. He hasn’t let up since that story in Genesis. He is and always will be the Father of Lies and yes, the Prince of Fake News too. To prove my point, take a look at some of his best (or worst, I suppose) headlines. THE NEW SUPERFOOD THAT GOD DOESN'T WANT YOU TO KNOW ABOUT!!
Ah, yes. The First Fake News. Pope Francis talked about how this incident was so similar to what happens today. The devil used manipulation and fabrication of facts to confuse and trick Eve. She thought she was getting an easy way to find equal footing with God. Boy, was she in for a miserable surprise!

Evangelical Catholic, by Troy L. Guy - Book Review

Have you ever wondered why Catholics do the things they do, and why they call themselves “Christians?” Then Evangelical Catholic, by Troy Guy, is the book for you! Guy takes us through the evangelical arguments, one by one, and shows us the truth of the Catholic faith. He then addresses the faith, pre-Protestantism (from year 1 AD to 1500 AD). Guy then ventures into the hot topics: sola scriptura, papal infallibility, Mary, and the Eucharist.
Evangelical Catholic is for Everyone! As a Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults (RCIA) Coordinator for my parish, I propose that this book should be given to every individual seeking to understand the Catholic faith. Guy does a masterful job at laying out the facts; facts that convinced him to convert to the Catholic faith. Guy’s use of language makes this book easy to understand. His source referencing is outstanding. He draws on the early Church fathers to convey the facts, so that you need not take his word for it.

The Universe and all that

You are a child of the Universe, No less than the trees and the stars; You have a right to be here, So click HERE - what are you waiting for?



'He taught them as one having authority.' Sunday Reflections, 4th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year B

4th-century synagogue, Capernaum [Wikipedia]

Readings (New American Bible: Philippines, USA)
Readings (Jerusalem Bible: Australia, England & Wales, India, Ireland, New Zealand, Pakistan, Scotland, South Africa)
Gospel Mark 1:21-28 (NRSV, Anglicised Catholic Edition)

They went to Capernaum; and when the Sabbath came, Jesus entered the synagogue and taught. They were astounded at his teaching, for he taught them as one having authority, and not as the scribes. Just then there was in their synagogue a man with an unclean spirit, and he cried out, ‘What have you to do with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are, the Holy One of God.’ But Jesus rebuked him, saying, ‘Be silent, and come out of him!’ And the unclean spirit, throwing him into convulsions and crying with a loud voice, came out of him. They were all amazed, and they kept on asking one another, ‘What is this? A new teaching—with authority! He commands even the unclean spirits, and they obey him.’…

Reflections After Spending Hours Locked in a Chicken Coop

I have always heard the mother is the heart of the family, especially a stay at home mother with a crew of kids, who also helps with a hobby farm. So why was I not missed when I spent hours locked in the chicken coop? You must first understand that even if this was a subconscious belief, I behaved as if I was the most important member of the family. It took a drastic experience to shake me out of my arrogance. God has a sense of humour and will use any and all experiences to teach us. continue

Columban Fr Donal O'Farrell RIP

Fr Donal Gerard Patrick O’Farrell  (29 October 1928 - 22 January 2018)

Father Donal was born in Limerick on 29 October 1928 when the family lived in Dungarvan, County Waterford, Ireland. He was educated at Presentation Convent, Lismore, Christian Brothers' School, Lismore and St Joseph’s College, Ballinasloe, County Galway. He entered St Columban's College, Dalgan Park, in 1946 and was ordained priest there on 21 December 1953.

St Senan's, Cahiracon, County Clare

Father Donal suffered from tuberculosis, and while being treated for it he spent the first years after ordination in Ireland doing temporary pastoral work in Ardee, County Louth, in Clonfert, County Galway, and later serving for a four- year period as chaplain to the Columban Sisters at St Senan's, Cahiracon.

In 1965, he was appointed to the United States and served in New Jersey, and then Philadelphia, before being transferred to Los Angeles where he served as bursar, superior, and in every other role over a twen…

When I Pray, I Never Have to Say Goodbye

I am not just reciting theology when I remind you there is neither time nor distance when we live and move and breathe in the Spirit. When someone dies or moves far away, I don’t have to say goodbye just whisper hello, a different kind of hello which moves with the speed of light to brighten each heart when I think of them. God is the great “I AM” who exists in yesterday, today and tomorrow. His Spirit mysteriously unites all of us, intimately present to each soul, all at the same time. Our whispered hello to God and each other is called prayer. continue

Philothea, or An Introduction to a Devout Life, by Saint Francis de Sales

Today we celebrate the Feast of Saint Francis de Sales, a 16th century Bishop of Geneva, who is also designated as a Doctor of the Church. What better way to celebrate this man, then to discuss one of his masterpieces. I found Philothea, or An Introduction to a Devout Life to be a gem!
We start with the title. “Philothea” translates to the study of God. How better to study God than by trying to emulate Him via living a devout life. How does one go about living a devout life? By embracing virtue and incorporating said virtue into the fabric of one’s life.

Saint Francis de Sales, A Master of Virtue
In Philothea or An Introduction to a Devout Life, Saint Francis de Sales does a masterful job of setting the stage by counseling us in understanding a desire for a devout life. He then instructs us on our approach to God in prayer and through the sacraments. Then, de Sales devotes an entire part of the book to the practice of virtue. He places special emphasis on dealing with temptation. Sai…

Mountains, Real and Metaphorical, in Spirituality

On the way to Germany, when we flew over the Alps, a Sister with me had tears running down her face as she gazed at the beauty spread out below us. Mountains are awe-inspiring. No wonder people imagined their gods living on a mountain. For example, the Greeks and Romans believed their gods dwelt on Mount Olympus. Mountains play a role frequently in the Bible. Noah's ark settles on Mount Ararat, God orders Abraham to take Isaac up a mountain and sacrifice him as a test of faith, Moses receives the Commandments on Mount Sinai and dies on Mount Nebo, God speaks to the prophet Elijah on a mountain, and the Temple is built on a mount. Today that Temple Mount is holy to Christians, Jews, and Muslims. The psalmist, because of a mountain's solid endurance, calls God a mountain. God says in Isaiah, "Though the mountains may fall, my steadfast love will never leave you" (Isaiah 54:10).  Hikers are drawn to climb mountains like Mt. Everest. Scaling a mountain is a…

Doubling Up on Prayer

There are so many causes to pray for. Go to any Christian forum, and you’ll see an abundance of prayer requests like begging for the miraculous healing of a dying child to asking that a dog come through surgery okay. With so much to pray for, how does one choose? I found myself in a bit of a personal dilemma when trying to decide whom to pray for. Two of my siblings left the Church decades ago, and I do want to pray for their return. On the other hand, I read a book about how greatly the souls in Purgatory suffer. If you saw someone on fire, and you could alleviate his suffering just by praying, wouldn’t you? Well, wouldn’t you? I was caught between these two needs. Which should take priority? Or should I perhaps split my prayer and give 50% to each? Then I came up with a solution that covers both.    continue

Columban Fr Matthew Reilly RIP

Fr Matthew Reilly 5 April 1934 - 17 January 2018
Fr Matthew ('Mattie') Reilly was born in Bellair, Moynalty, County Meath, Ireland, on 5 April 1934. Educated at Moynalty National School and St Finian's College, Mullingar, he entered St Columban's, Dalgan Park, in September 1952 and was ordained priest there on 21 December 1958. He was a younger brother of the late Columban Fr Patrick Reilly who died in 1998.

Father Mattie's first appointment, in 1959, was to Korea where he was to spend twelve years. After language studies he worked in the Kwangju area, spent some time as secretary to the Papal Nuncio, completed a course in catechetics atthe East Asian Pastoral Institute, Quezon City, Philippines, and served as pastor of Youngsanpo, Gwangju, before doing pastoral work in Seoul.
Continue here. 

Darwin and the Future You

Charles Darwin and Evolution. PLEASE CLICK HERE

Assessing Your Virtue Maturity: How Do You Fare?

You know what you do well, and you know where you fall short. The question is do you know why? In the areas that you do well, where the task comes easy to you, these are the results of God’s grace. He has showered you with talents. In the areas in need of improvement, these are your imperfections. It is with the imperfections, aka faults, that God gives us an opportunity to transcend beyond our current state, and grow in virtue; come closer to perfection. But, before we can strive for perfection, we first need to assess our Virtue Maturity.

Assessing Virtue Maturity
So, how do we assess our good qualities and those areas in need of improvement? We do so by evaluating how well we... Read more...

Remembering Wisdom

I'm a Christian. So why, one might ask, am I not denouncing something most folks enjoy: like demon rum or Bingo? Or playing the Grinch for Halloween?

Or enjoying a friendly pint with the boys, but adding my voice to the ensemble 'prophesying' the purported perils of fantasy and imagination?

Or at least stalwartly refusing to learn anything we didn't know before the 18th century....

More at A Catholic Citizen in America.

We need more men! (Spanish) ¡Urgen hombres! Necesitamos hombres buenos.


'Repent . . . and follow me.' Sunday Reflections, 3rd Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year B

Calling of Peter and Andrew Duccio di Buoninsegna [Web Gallery of Art]
Readings(New American Bible: Philippines, USA)
Readings(Jerusalem Bible: Australia, England & Wales, India [optional], Ireland, New Zealand, Pakistan, Scotland, South Africa)
GospelMark 1:14-20 (New Revised  Standard Version, Anglicised CatholicEdition)
Now after John was arrested, Jesus came to Galilee, proclaiming the good news of God,and saying, ‘The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God has come near; repent, and believe in the good news.’
As Jesus passed along the Sea of Galilee, he saw Simon and his brother Andrew casting a net into the lake—for they were fishermen. And Jesus said to them, ‘Follow me and I will make you fish for people.’ And immediately they left their nets and followed him. As he went a little farther, he saw James son of Zebedee and his brother John, who were in their boat mending the nets. Immediately he called them; and they left their father Zebedee in the boat with the hired men, and …

Hope Lost Hope Regained


The Battle Belongs to the Lord!

Sometimes you go on retreats or to conferences and it is like a mountain top experience, then you enter back into the real world and nothing really changes. I do not feel that is the case with the Encounter conference I went to two weeks ago. I truly believe it was life-changing and the right timing for me. It has been two weeks so I've had some time to process and start applying what was imparted to me at the conference.

Continue Reading @ Beautifulthorns>

Chasing Butterflies and Truth

Which came first? The butterfly or the flower? And how did flowers happen at all?

The question hasn't been answered yet, not quite. But scientists are closer to finding answers. Meanwhile, wondering whether chickens or eggs came first gives philosophers something to do.

Aristotle came up with an answer. So did Anaximander, who figured thunder and lightning were natural events: not evidence of divine anger issues. I'll talk about those two, beetles, and Orlando Ferguson's flat Earth map.

Also butterflies, flowers and why I think pursuing truth and seeking God work together.

More at A Catholic Citizen in America.

The Journey to Love (with help from ye olde theology notes)

The weather is unreliable, we were eager for a heavy snow day with temps warm enough to enjoy it, and instead we got flurries and freezing temps.  In spite of these circumstances, everyday, my goal as I raise my little people, is to truly love them.  It led me to dig through my old notes.... and I came across an almost theological treatise in the pages of my old NKJV Bible.  Now that I'm Catholic, it is fun to apply ye olde theological classes from college to my life now.

We live in an age when "true care" is rare and the computer screen becomes a nice "perfect haven" to hide behind. We can hide our wounds, our true selves, and we can hide from God's call on our life... whatever it may be and wherever it leads us. For me, that looks like joyful motherhood to six and living the happy domestic life.  But instagram and other social media channels can easily steal our joy, or at least threaten it!

St. Therese had something to say about the modernity of her age, a…

Death Wish


God Saved Me From Myself

Christian spirituality, inner transformation, and contemplation are not at all what I first imagined them to be. I initially began the inner journey striving, depending on my discipline and willpower.
JUST LIKE EVERY OTHER HUMAN, l failed miserably. Striving to transform spiritually into a person of Love and Light is sort of like an ant straining and trying to turn himself into a human. Like my Irish grandmother used to say,”You can’t turn a sow’s ear into a silk purse.” When I admitted defeat, God had an opportunity to save me from myselfcontinue

Time for Reflection, Finding the Gold in Your Life

It seems to be common practice to take stock of our lives, as we turn the calendar on one year and welcome the next. January makes for a good time for reflection. Everything seems to calm down after the holidays, offering us an opportunity to assess our lives. In this assessment, we tend to look at the pros and cons that make up us. We identify our good qualities, as well as our faults. By doing so, we gain perspective on where we are at, on this journey we call life.

Time for Reflection: Finding the “Gold”
Sometimes it is a scary endeavor to face reality. We may not like what we find. But, if we look close enough, and dig deep enough, we may just find gold! Looking deep, we find some virtues that come innately easy to us. We find that there are many things for which we excel at. For example, perhaps... Read more... 

Speaking Up to Do God's Will

This week when the first reading at Mass was the story of the boy Samuel being called by God during the night, Fr. John Christman did not give the expected homily. Usually this story is a springboard for a vocation talk. Instead Father focused on the sequel to the reading. After Samuel replies to God, "Speak, Lord, your servant is listening," God gives him a daunting task. He is to tell the priest Eli, Samuel's beloved mentor, that his family would be punished because his two sons were blaspheming and Eli did nothing to stop them. The message of this reading on two levels is "Speak up!" Imagine how Samuel dreaded bearing the bad news to Eli. It would have been much easier to keep quiet. But Samuel did what God expected of him. He spoke to Eli. On the other hand, there is Eli's silence when he should have spoken up. That had dire consequences: his two sons were killed in battle and he fell over backwards, broke his neck, and died. Today some br…

Martin Luther King Jr., A Man of Peace and Many More Virtues

Today, in the United States, we celebrate the birthday of Martin Luther King Jr. He was a loving father, and husband. Yet, most of us know of him as an influential preacher within the evangelical movement; a solider for Christ. King was a fighter for the underdog, as a Civil Rights leader of the 1960’s. He took Christ’s message to the streets, leading non-violent marches, seeking equality for all. This man truly understood what it meant to work for the common good of all. Today it seems that our leaders would rather work for the benefit of the elite, or few.

Who espouses the qualities of Martin Luther King Jr.  today?
I’m glad that we are remembering this man’s contributions to our society today, for I fear that his message of equality is quickly becoming lost on those in power, who have the ability and charge to work for the common good. Income inequality is skyrocketing. Racial inequality continues to plague our society. As in the 1960’s, we need voices like Martin Luther King Jr. …



The Lawnmower


God Doesn't Make Junk

We live in a material world. I like it, a lot. Quite a few folks have felt the same way.
"You adorn the year with your bounty; your paths drip with fruitful rain.
"The meadows of the wilderness also drip; the hills are robed with joy." (Psalms 65:12-13) Some get overly impressed. Others apparently think it's icky.

Earnest folks have celebrated and condemned it. Not necessarily the same folks, and probably not at the same time. Not usually. That'd be a problem by itself.

Plato thought about the reality we live in, artists have been inspired by it.

That's given us a theory of forms, George Harrison's "Living in the Material World" and Madonna's "Like a Virgin" albums, and the "Material World" 1990s sitcom.

More at A Catholic Citizen in America.

'Jesus said to them,"Come and see".' Sunday Reflections, 2nd Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year B

From The Gospel of John, directed by Philip Saville
Readings (New American Bible: Philippines, USA)
Readings (Jerusalem Bible: Australia, England & Wales, India, Ireland, New Zealand, Pakistan, Scotland, South Africa)
Gospel John 1:35-42 (NRSV, Anglicised CatholicEdition)

The next day John again was standing with two of his disciples, and as he watched Jesus walk by, he exclaimed, ‘Look, here is the Lamb of God!’ The two disciples heard him say this, and they followed Jesus. When Jesus turned and saw them following, he said to them, ‘What are you looking for?’ They said to him, ‘Rabbi’ (which translated means Teacher), ‘where are you staying?’ He said to them, ‘Come and see.’ They came and saw where he was staying, and they remained with him that day. It was about four o’clock in the afternoon. One of the two who heard John speak and followed him was Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother. He first found his brother Simon and said to him, ‘We have found the Messiah’ (which is translated Anoi…

New approach to new year resolutions (Spanish) Propósitos de Año Nuevo.

Ya se fueron las fiestas. Ya se fueron los abrazos. los bailes, el chocar de las copas, los convivios y el jolgorio. Supimos tener la excelencia en esos momentos de gozo. Ahora la excelancia nos tiene que acompañar en el trabajo y en el esfuerzo.
Pero ahora las caras son serias, el entrecejo fruncido ,los labios apretados y el andar cansino para subir "la cuesta de enero".
El dinero se gastó y el bolsillo está vacío.Los buenos propósitos...¡cómo cuesta poderlos cumplir!: levantarse temprano, no fumar, no comer golosinas, no extralimitarse en la bebida, ser amable, no irritarse por cualquier cosa, estar en paz, no criticar, hacer ejercicio, saludar con una sonrisa al vecino, ser generosos, trabajar con honestidad y buen ánimo, pagar deudas, etcétera, etcétera, y así este mes de enero, serio y formal, se nos antoja un Everest cuya cima es casi inalcanzable. Visto a sí es normal que esto nos desanime y nos desaliente pero hay que buscarle un truco, algo que nos de ánimo en el des…

Reflections After Spending Hours Locked in a Chicken Coop

I have always heard the mother is the heart of the family, especially a stay at home mother with a crew of kids, who also helps with a hobby farm.

So why was I not missed when I spent hours locked in the chicken coop?

You must first understand that even if this was a subconscious belief, I behaved as if was the most important member of the family. It took a drastic experience to shake me out of my arrogance.

God has a sense of humour and will use any and all experiences to teach us.

continue reading

Blessed John Duns Scotus - A Theology of Love

My school report was so bad that my eldest brother was commissioned with the task of teaching me to read. But when he could not even manage to teach me how to read the Beano, he resigned his commission and commended me to St Jude of hopeless cases. But even St Jude failed. It seems that in those days it was not only in school, but in heaven too, that dyslexia was unheard of. St Anthony was the only real friend that I had. Most people who now know about dyslexia still do not  realise how it affects your short term memory. That is where St Anthony came in. He might not have known much about dyslexia, but he was able to find the things that I was always losing. It was through him that I found St Francis of Assisi who may not have been dyslexic, but on his own admission he had little more than an elementary school education.
As so often with people who  have little education, they can often see complex truths  far more simply than those befuddled with too much knowledge, especially if they…