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Showing posts from April, 2018

A Life Such as Heaven Intended - Book Review

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Let me take you back in time, to the early 1860’s, when the American Civil War was raging. There, we meet Brigid McGinnis, in Amanda Lauer’s A Life Such as Heaven Intended.  Brigid is 17, and coming of age, as a typical southern belle. However, rather than marrying, Brigid sees herself giving her life to God as a nun. That is, until one day, when Brigid finds a very handsome stranger, lying injured in her backyard. Charitable young thing that she is, Brigid tends to the injured soldier, who seems to have lost his memory because of a head injury. Together, she and the injured soldier try to make sense of what might have happened to him. As he recovers under Brigid’s care, love blossoms between the two. From the onset, Lauer takes us on a romantic journey of chaste love, valuing the virtue of chastity. In this second book in a series, we see the virtues of charity, compassion, honesty and love on full display. There are fascinating sub-plots addressing the horror of slavery, and the ba…

Don't expect to arrive in Heaven if you never talked to the Guide who knows the way. (SPANISH) En tu muerte no reconocerás al que se acerca...es Dios...al que nunca trataste.

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En nuestra vida tenemos muy bien programadas nuestras horas, nuestras semanas. Tiempo para trabajar, tiempo para el ejercicio, tiempo para tomar alimentos, de preferencia los que más nos gustan, tiempo para descansar o divertirnos, pero...


  ¿y el tiempo para Dios?. 
No encontramos tiempo para Dios, para orar. teniendo comunicación con El que es quién precisamente nos da ese tiempo que repartimos en nuestro muy personal plan de vida. Y llega el domingo... Si estamos en un lugar de descanso, de monte o de playa, ¡qué difícil es programarnos para ir a misa!. Si nos hemos quedado en la ciudad, ¡con qué mezquindad le damos a Dios la media hora de misa de los domingos!

ver más...



Ghosts?

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Whether or not I believe in ghosts depends on what's meant by "believe in" and "ghosts." And how I see myself, for that matter. I'll be talking about ghosts and why I think seances are a bad idea. Also, briefly, superstition and metaphysics.

I don't fear that an ancestral banshee might come to the new world and find me. Or think spirit photographers were selling pictures of ghosts.

If that's 'believing in ghosts,' then I don't. On the other hand, I'm not a materialist. I think part of me won't die, no matter what happens to my body....

More at A Catholic Citizen in America.

Father Ignatius Faces Failure

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FATHER IGNATIUS FACES FAILURE CLICK HERE

Gnosticism

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Some folks act as if they think physical reality is bad and having a body is icky. The notion's 'Biblical,' sort of.

Galatians 5:19 through 21 call bad ideas like licentiousness, hatreds and idolatry "works of the flesh." With a little paraphrasing, I could claim that 1 Corinthians 3:3 says jealousy and rivalry are "of the flesh." Romans 8:3 mentions "sinful flesh."

Taking those verses, ignoring Genesis 1:31, Psalms 84:3, Ecclesiastes 2:24-25 and two millennia of Catholic teaching, and I might see loathing physical reality as an option. But not, I think, a reasonable one....

More at A Catholic Citizen in America.

My Kids Taught Me The Key to Joy

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“The secret of happiness is to live moment by moment and to thank God for what He is sending us every day in His goodness.” –St. Gianna Beretta Molla As I raised a large family on a small farm with little disposable income, I received free Christian cognitive therapy. It was my children who taught me how to live in the present moment with joy. I couldn’t help but learn how to live a child of God because I was surrounded by a crew of little people who greeted each morning with wonder and awe. Gratefulness is the key to spiritual joy, no matter how little we think we have in the eyes of modern society. In fact, St. Teresa of Avila once said she “thanked God for the things she did NOT own.” St. Teresa always stressed the need for gratitude: “In all created things discern the providence and wisdom of God, and in all things give Him thanks.” When Joy Eludes Uscontinue reading

'Abide in me as I abide in you.' Sunday Reflections, 5th Sunday of Easter, Year B

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The Red Vineyard, Van Gogh [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)
Gospel John 15:1-8 (New Revised Standard Version, Anglicised Catholic Edition)
Jesus said to his disciples:
‘I am the true vine, and my Father is the vine-grower. He removes every branch in me that bears no fruit. Every branch that bears fruit he prunes to make it bear more fruit. You have already been cleansedby the word that I have spoken to you. Abide in me as I abide in you. Just as the branch cannot bear fruit by itself unless it abides in the vine, neither can you unless you abide in me. I am the vine, you are the branches. Those who abide in me and I in them bear much fruit, because apart from me you can do nothing. Whoever does not abide in me is thrown away like a branch and withers; such branches are gathered, thrown into the fire, and burned. If you abide …

Saint Mark: Gospel Writer, Evangelist and My Inspiration

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I have a special affinity for Saint Mark, especially for his writing style. Like Saint Mark, I try to say what I need to say in as few words as possible. When reading the Gospel of Mark, you find crisp, clear passages, delivered with precision; no fluff. As an evangelist, Saint Mark was the first to document the life, death and resurrection of Jesus. He considered his Gospel as a message, or announcement, of the Good News of Jesus’ salvific actions. In true evangelical form, the message, as documented, is timeless. Consider this: Within the Gospel of Mark, Jesus asks 42 questions. Here’s just a few: Who are my mother and brothers? (Mark 3:33)Why are you terrified? Do you not yet have faith? (Mark 4:40)Who do people say that I am? (Mark 8:27)What do you wish me to do for you? (Mark 10:51)Why are you testing me? (Mark 12:15-16) Saint Mark: My Inspiration! Over the next few months, as we traverse through the Year B cycle of Gospel readings from Saint Mark, I will address these questions …

Still More Mass Murder

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Fourteen high-profile murders are in the news. Four died at a Waffle House in Nashville, 10 were killed on Yonge Street in Toronto. The accused killers have been caught. I put links to BBC News and Wikipedia pages about the murders at the end of this post.1

I'll mostly be saying why I think murder is a bad idea, and how I see being human and making sense — or not, in some cases.

More at A Catholic Citizen in America.

Mary, May, Mothers and Flowers

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Well, spring is officially here! Despite the recent snow and cold weather, a few daffodils bravely appeared in front of my house. Did you know that a daffodil is called Mary's star? In doing research for my book "The Catholic Companion to Mary," I discovered that more than 700 flowers and plants have been named for Mary or are connected to her through legends.  This makes sense because our Blessed Mother is the most beautiful of women, and flowers are arguably the loveliest of God's creations. Chaucer called Mary “the flower of flowers.” This Scripture verse is applied to her: “I am a rose of Sharon, a lily of the valleys" (Song of Solomon 2:1). Mary gardens, where "Mary" flowers grow, beautify the grounds of our National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, D.C. and some parishes.
Here is a "bouquet" of Marian flowers for you as found in my book: Click to continue

Sins and Pink Elephants

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There’s something universal about kids: how they try to manipulate their parents. Take, for example, an incident with my younger daughter when she was about three. My husband had taken her with him to the swap meet one Sunday. She happened to see a vendor with a lot of stuffed animals, including a couple of quite desirable pink elephants. Of course she wanted one. Now, normally you’d think she would have asked her Daddy if he would please buy it for her. Nope. That’s not the way kids go about something like this. Instead she informed him, “I don’t have a pink elephant.” What, exactly, did she think her father would do? Drop to his knees, raise his hands to heaven, and cry out in utter agony, “Oh no! She doesn’t have a pink elephant! Whatever can we do?” Well, my husband took the hint and bought her one. When they arrived home, I took one glance at this new acquisition of hers, folded my arms across my chest, and stared my husband in the eye. “Sucker,” I told him. “You sucker.” He mer…

Thirsting for God, Daily Meditations by Mother Teresa

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In Thirsting for God, by Mother Teresa (in conjunction with her editor, Angelo D. Scolozzi, M.T.), we catch a glimpse of Mother Teresa’s insights, via 366 daily meditations. These meditations shed light on Mother Teresa’s call to bring souls to Christ; to satisfy Christ’s thirst for souls. She teaches us that by thirsting for God, we satisfy His thirst for each of us. A love given, a love returned, is what it means to thirst for souls; to thirst for God. Everything Mother Teresa teaches us, through her many quoted adages, comes down to loving God as He loves us. Mother Teresa drives home the message that we can show our love for God by loving our neighbor. It is through acts of kindness, forgiveness and mercy, that we express charity. She says it best in her meditation of March 12th: “Be kind and loving with each other, for you cannot love Christ in his distressing disguise if you cannot love Jesus in the hearts of your neighbors” (p.45). When we humble ourselves, we find truth and s…

The Hidden Years of Jesus – Private Revelations

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I couldn’t fault my doctor when I went for a private consultation, but in his own home on his own pet enthusiasm he seemed to have left his  common sense in the surgery. He was fascinated by visionaries and their private revelations and seemed to assume that most religious had them. When a local mother superior sent a nun to him who said she was hearing voices, he sent her back with a clean bill of health. There was nothing wrong with her, he told me, the voices she was hearing were not coming from her head, but from the tabernacle! Whenever I visited him at home he  was engrossed in a massive three-volume tome detailing the private revelations of some obscure seventeenth century German nun. Apparently her revelations filled in all the gaps in the Gospel story with outrageously pious nonsense that made me bite my lip to blood to stop me laughing.  read on....

'I lay down my life for the sheep.' Sunday Reflections, Fourth Sunday of Easter, Year B

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Christ the Good Shepherd, Murillo [WikiArt]

Readings(New American Bible: Philippines, USA)
Readings(Jerusalem Bible: Australia, England & Wales, India [optional], Ireland, New Zealand, Pakistan, Scotland, South Africa)
Gospel John 10:11-18 (New Revised Standard Version, Anglicised Catholic Edition)
Jesus said:
‘I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. The hired hand, who is not the shepherd and does not own the sheep, sees the wolf coming and leaves the sheep and runs away—and the wolf snatches them and scatters them. The hired hand runs away because a hired hand does not care for the sheep. I am the good shepherd. I know my own and my own know me, just as the Father knows me and I know the Father. And I lay down my life for the sheep. I have other sheep that do not belong to this fold. I must bring them also, and they will listen to my voice. So there will be one flock, one shepherd. For this reason the Father loves me, because I lay down my life in …

The Good Sheperd is still looking for you and me. (Spanish) El buen pastor en busca de ti y de mi ...todavía.

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Why Family Time is Important

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As parents, all we want is for our children to be happy and healthy. You hope that you raise your child right so that they develop into an amazing adult. An influential component of raising your child comes with spending time with them. Early bonding between you and your child can impact their mental health, including their communication and social skills. Your child’s values and personality traits are going to develop as they grow, and you want to have the knowledge and control to help them be the best version of themselves...Continue Reading...

Novena to Saint Zita of Lucca begins

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The novena to Saint Zita begins today.  Repeat the following prayer for 9 days in a row. Her feast day is April 27.

Saint Zita is the patron saint of housekeepers, domestic workers, servants, and waitresses. She is also invoked to help find lost keys.

Saint Zita came from a poor, but deeply pious family. To help support the family, she became a maid of the Fatinelli family, in the nearby Tuscan city of Lucca, serving them loyally for 48 years. Continue reading.

Christian’s Calling: To Preach the Gospel

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As Christians, we are all called to preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ. We can do this in several ways. You don’t need to be a Catholic blogger/author/public speaker like myself. You can preach the Gospel, without ever saying a word; by the mere witness of your charitable actions. Most people will never remember eloquent words spoken to them. But, they will remember a kindness done for them.

Deeds speak volumes!
A police officer who runs toward danger, when others run away. The witness of his or her bravery and courage speaks volumes.A man or woman who volunteers at the local soup kitchen to serve the needy. The witness of his or her generosity and love speaks volumes.A child who... Read more...

Signs of Compassion

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Recently a group of us Sisters met and talked about compassion. Using quotations about it as a springboard, we reflected on how Jesus told us to be compassionate as our Father is compassionate, how God's amazing compassion was shown in sending Jesus and ways Jesus had compassion, and how compassion is an infinite ocean of love that spills over into all of creation. All who studied Latin are aware that our word "com-passion" comes from two Latin words meaning "to suffer with." We women especially liked the fact that the Hebrew word for compassion (rachum) is comparable to "womb." This implies that being compassionate is life-giving, nourishing, and protective. Compassion means being responsible for the needs of others both near and far. Sister Carol McHenry put a lot of thought into preparing for our conversation. She asked herself, What does it mean to be compassionate. Here is the list she shared with us that I found insightful and inspiring, and yo…

Appreciating the Little Things is a Key to Joy

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I received free cognitive therapy because I was surrounded by a crew of little people who greeted each morning with wonder and awe. Gratefulness is the key to spiritual joy, no matter how little we think we have in the eyes of modern society. In fact, St. Teresa thanked God for the Things she did NOT own.

The fleeting dream which eludes many of us is happiness. We are running around, miserable in our insular little worlds, only catching glimpses of the world around us through dung coloured glasses. The solution to our dilemma is easy. continue reading

Saint Benedict Joseph Labre, Patron of the Homeless

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The saint of the day for April 17 is Saint Benedict Joseph Labre, a Third Order Franciscan and pilgrim. He is the patron saint of homeless people.

Born in northern France in 1748, he was the oldest of fifteen children of a prosperous shopkeeper and his wife. He was a quiet, thoughtful child with a friendly nature who was both serious and a bit sad.

At the age of 12, he studied under his uncle, a parish priest, to prepare for the priesthood. His uncle taught him Latin and the Scriptures. Due to poor health and a lack of appropriate academic preparation, he was unsuccessful in his efforts to enter the religious life in the Trappist, Cistercian, and Carthusian orders.Continue reading.

Saint Bernadette Soubirous: Mystic and Visionary

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Image: Saint Bernadette Soubirous
April 16 is the feast of Saint Bernadette Soubirous, a mystic and visionary at Lourdes, France. Saint Bernadette is the patron saint of: Lourdes, the poor, the sick, and people ridiculed for their piety.

Born in Lourdes, France, on January 7, 1844, Bernadette was the first child of Francois and Louise Soubirous, a poor peasant family. A severe asthma sufferer, Bernadette was such a poor student that she was unable to make her First Holy Communion until she was 14. She had many trials to contend with as a child — poverty, health problems, which caused her to be behind in school, many responsibilities as the oldest child of six siblings, moving from one poor place to another, and a father who escaped from his financial problems by drowning them in alcohol.  Continue reading.

Do You Believe in Jesus' Power?

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Do you believe in Jesus’ power? I don’t ask this question flippantly. I really want to know if you place your full faith and trust in Jesus Christ. Do you believe that all things are possible with God (Matt 19:26)? Can you begin to fathom the extent of Jesus’ power?

We live in turbulent, vitriol times. It would be hard to miss the massive corruption, dishonesty and incivility, originating from the halls of government, that permeate throughout our society as well. As human beings, we like to think that we are in charge. We don’t like anyone else trying to usurp the power that we think we possess. When someone tries to usurp our perceived power, times become even more turbulent and vitriol. It’s a vicious cycle. All the while, we lose focus on who really has the power – Jesus Christ!

I believe in Jesus’ Power!
I’ll admit, that I’ve been grappling with this internal tug-of-war. I want to place my full faith and trust in Jesus. But, there are days when I ask, “God, where are you? Where i…

On The Tongue

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UNSOLVED DILEMMA CLICK HERE

Materialism, Robots and Attitudes

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Robots are starting to look and act a lot like humans.

Wondering if robots can be people, or if humans are merely biological robots, involves assumptions about reality. I'll look at one of those assumptions in this post and why I believe there's more to me than chemicals.

Whether a robot could be a person is more of a philosophical question than a legal issue. So far. The question would be particularly interesting if a robot asked to be recognized as a person. Or disturbing, depending on how you look at it.

More at A Catholic Citizen in America.

We Draw Our Strength From the Resurrection

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Unless I embrace the cross, I cannot embrace the Resurrection. Don’t get stuck on the cross. We draw our strength from the resurrection.

My life as a mother helped me learn how to live out my call to live with the resurrected Christ. When life was stripped down to the basics of survival I was forced to turn to God. Suffering was actually the key to learning how to live in joy. My difficult life was miraculous when I relaxed and allowed myself to live in the moment,  continue reading

Apples and Bullying

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Recently I saw a Facebook post that described one teacher's attempt to end bullying in her class. She got two apples and, while the students were not present, dropped the second one on the floor several times. After her class came in for the day, she had them individually praise the first apple. When they were done, she sliced it in half, showing a nice, juicy apple.
            Then she had the kids demean the second apple, the one she had dropped. She had them call it names and tell it how ugly and stupid it was. When she sliced it open, it was of course bruised inside. She told the kids that that's what happens when you bully someone.
            Frankly, I have a couple of objections to this demonstration. First, it would teach little kids a lie, that name-calling bruises apples.
            Second—and more importantly--it would increase bullying rather than decrease it.   https://reflections911.wordpress.com/2017/06/21/apples-and-bullying/

Live the Truth; Come to the Light of Christ

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Are you doing things that you prefer would never see the light of day? Things that might bring you shame? Or, do you live the truth, and walk in the light of Christ; where your deeds are worthy of God’s praise?

“Whoever lives the truth comes to the light, so that his works may be clearly seen as done in God” (John 3:21). If you live with shame, then I invite you to live the truth. Come bask in the light of Christ. I invite you to change your ways.

Choose to Live the Truth
When you do the right thing, with good intentions, then your deeds are good and clearly done in service to the Lord. God has given each one of us a conscience. This conscience informs us of right from wrong. It’s amazing how our consciences speak to us. It’s as if God hard-wired each of us with a rule book, and that rule book is called God’s Natural Law. When we listen to our consciences, we receive error-free advice from the Holy Spirit. Sometimes, we disregard what our consciences tell us. When this happens, we...

Helpful Catholic Book on Annulments

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Mending the Heart: A Catholic Annulment Companion by Lisa Duffy
This is a valuable book for anyone who is divorced and considering an annulment—especially those who fear or question the process.
Because the author has endured the horrible, heartbreaking experience of an unexpected divorce, she can identify with other divorced people. In addition, she has spent almost twenty years helping people recover from divorce and move on.  As a result, she has put together a practical and thorough explanation of the annulment process, including Pope Francis’s recent changes.  More than that, in a gentle, compassionate way, she offers advice for recovering from the pain of divorce. Click to continue

Spirit Photographs

The Dream

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She was a young mother when she had the dream, just thirty, with four little boys between the ages of one and five.  She would not give birth to her fifth, and last, son for several years.

She was normally not a dreamer.  Always an exceptionally deep sleeper (the alarm had not yet been invented that would easily wake her--except, of course, for the middle-of-the-night cries and calls of her children), she rarely dreamed--and even when she did, she even more rarely remembered the details of her dreams, which would grow hazy as soon as she opened her eyes and then quickly evaporate, like a misty fog being chased off by the sun.  "I was having the strangest dream," she might tell her husband.  But when he asked her what it was about, she could almost never clearly recall the particulars.
This dream was different.
THIS one the heavy-sleeping young mother remembered vividly upon waking--every excruciatingly painful detail of it.
If you'd like to read the whole post, it's he…

A Practical Guide for Daily Prayer

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In answer to a recent letter asking me how to pray, I sent back nine prayers that have been a great help to me over the years. It seems  the receiver found them very useful and so did her friends. I thought therefore they may be of some help to you too, so here they are.
Begin with Psalm sixty-nine with which St Benedict instructed his monks to start the divine office. Then it can be followed by the Glory Be, immediately followed by Psalm sixty-two.

O God, come to my aid
O Lord, make haste to help me (Psalm 69).
Glory be to the Father and to the son and to the Holy Spirit. Amen.

O God, you are my God, for you I long;
For you my soul is thirsting.
My body pines for you
Like dry weary land without water (Psalm 62)  read on...

Hail Mary

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          "‘The Holy Spirit will come upon you’ the angel answered ‘and the power of the Most High will cover you with its shadow. And so the child will be holy and will be called Son of God.'"     Luke 1:35



What comes is the holy will of God we turn toward or away in our willful multitudes.
Rather, we would open  like a desert rose receiving light  from descending light.
May we give our "yes" 
to You as Mary now and long ago, allowing herself to be carried

into the impossible; shining her faith  like a lamp of grace into Your will.
Even now, she wields her fierce light
through the harsh exiles of our hearts, so far from Eden,
so far from You.