Showing posts with label Grace. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Grace. Show all posts

14 Apr 2017

Grief and Gratitude on Good Friday

Great griefs are like great joys: they bend time. My sister died twenty years ago. Sometimes it seems so long ago that mercifully, I can barely remember the details. Other times, those details rush back at me so sharply I have to steel myself for impact.

Suicide does that.

I can smile now at the memory of my sister. I felt disloyal the first time I did that, as though permanent grief could be the only fitting monument to her memory. Time, mercy, and God’s grace have done their work, bit by bit.

For the first time since her death, I am writing about her and about losing her. This is an anniversary, and the time is right. For years, I thought she had taken Easter away with her and left nothing behind but wreckage. Gradually I found that she left me other things: a greater appreciation for the gift of my family, and how to live with gratitude despite wounds that are bone-deep. Those aren’t compensations. They don’t cancel out anything. They are gifts nonetheless.

I extend my hand to anyone who’s facing a loss, or anniversary of a loss, this Good Friday. I can’t make the pain go away. I can only say that you’re not alone. All I have is compassion, “suffering with,” in whatever way I can manage. The time and mercy and grace I mentioned were not my doing, and I couldn’t rush them.

Read the rest of the post at ellenkolb.com.

21 Oct 2016

Grace in a graceless season: notes from a Catholic in politics


Spare a moment and a prayer for the political types, please and thank you. I’m one of them.
The bitter election-year exchanges on every platform are part of my daily life. Whether on television on online, shutting them down altogether is not an option, appealing though it may be. Politics is part of my vocation. Times like these, I’m tempted to wish it were otherwise.
This is a plague-on-both-your-houses year, looking at the major parties’ candidates for president. I am reading  C.S. Lewis’s  Mere Christianity this month, and something he wrote in there captures my attitude.
I feel a strong desire to tell you – and I expect you feel a strong desire to tell me – which of these two errors is the worse. That is the devil getting at us. He always sends errors into the world in pairs – pairs of opposites. And he always encourages us to spend a lot of time thinking which is the worse. You see why, of course? He relies on your extra dislike of the one error to draw you gradually into the opposite one. But do not let us be fooled. We have to keep our eyes on the goal and go straight through between both errors. We have no other concern than that with either of them.
Providence was at work when I pulled that book off the shelf days ago.
We have to keep our eyes on the goal – the absolute goal of eternity in the Kingdom of God. Few things are harder for me to do. In politics, the goal is the next vote or the next election. In the greater scheme of things, in the Kingdom, the goal is something different.
I lose sight of that sometimes as a veteran campaign staffer, pro-life lobbyist, and policy blogger. Urgency inheres in those occupations: this vote, this minute, this interview, this crisis, leading up to a defined point: a specific vote or a specific election. Votes and elections are important, but they’re not final.

19 Sep 2016

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...

19 Jul 2016

Recipe for Holiness: Two Parts Courage


Life requires courage.  That is clear in the horrific events of this year - just making the decision to leave our homes can be cause for pause.  In the case of my dear friend from our parish, stabbed in her own home by a random act by a distraught young man, even home doesn't feel safe any longer.  There is illness and accidents; and so much beyond our control that can lead our hearts to ache; and fall into despair and fear.   As a person who has battled anxiety her entire life (actually diagnosed with a 'nervous stomach' at age 9); just watching the news or reading social media can send me spiraling into a panic attack.  

So what do we do? Where do we find the courage and strength to get out of bed each morning, to love life and those you are blessed to share it with, and to embrace the promise and hope of an unseen heavenly abode?  ...  read full post on my blog: Reconciled To
All rights reserved,  Allison Gingras

12 Jul 2016

Pope Francis' Recipe for Holiness - One Part Grace

The Grace Trifecta

Standing before a room of 30 or so women facilitating my first faith sharing back in 2006, I fumbled around for the proper words as I tried to answer one participant's seemingly simple question on the grace of God.  What is grace?  While I had this innate understanding, I could not formulate the right words to express what I believed it to be. I realized, I had no definition.
Fast forward a few years, I am sitting in a small chapel in adoration of the Blessed Sacrament (aka Jesus in the Eucharist). In my reading I once again face the question, what is grace? This time I open the Catechism of the Catholic Church; and prayed for guidance from the Holy Spirit.   That day the Allison abridged version of how I define the grace of God, was born (see image above) and I discovered the GRACE TRIFECTA ... Read More 


All rights reserved, Allison Gingras 2016

4 May 2016

Singing through the Pain


by Nancy Ward

Last Mother’s Day we went to the 10:00 a.m. Mass at St. Jude’s in Allen, TX,  with my son Andrew and his family. We arrived early while the choir was practicing and sat in the third row behind their two reserved rows. Andrew prepared his French horn and joined the music practice.

When the practice was over, just before Mass started, I observed this young man come from the row of choir microphones and around the pews with an armful of pillows. He headed toward the pew in front of us where an elderly woman and a couple of young people were sitting. He motioned that he wanted to sit in that pew and they moved toward the aisle to allow him to move past them. He hesitated, said something to them and after a short conversation, they moved to another pew. He arranged his pillows in the pew and lay down on his back. 
I turned to my daughter-in-law inquisitively and she told me about the man’s back problems and recent back surgery. His name was Patrick Underwood. He lay there until time to sing the processional, then painstakingly pulled himself to his feet by grasping the back of the pew in front of him and forcing his body erect. He had a booming voice and played the bongo drums during the Alleluia with a passion I had never seen—at least not at mass!
Read more of this Mother's Day Story on JoyAlive.net

22 Jan 2016

Ideas for Refilling Our Grace Well


The most effective way to refill the ‘grace well’ at the heart of how we may more easily choose the things of God over that of the world is by participating, in what I affectionately refer to as, the “Grace Trifecta”. The secret is simple – immerse yourself in God’s abundant grace through the frequent, it not daily, practice of prayer, sacrament and scripture.

For specific ideas on how to embrace the grace God has abundantly available for us through prayer, sacrament and scripture - read more ...

20 Oct 2014

The “Yes” God wants from us by Nancy HC Ward


What God wants is for us to say “yes” to him and “no” to everything else. Of the millions of good things available to us, he wants us to have the best. That’s because he loves us so much. He loved us, even while we were yet sinners.

Every one of us doubts that we are loved. After all, each one of us knows who “we” are. It surprises us when someone loves us completely and thoroughly. But the Lord is after us to believe it. He wants us to know that he loves us inside and out.

We can begin by saying “yes” to believing that we are worthy of God’s love. We can say “yes” to believing deep within our being, that God, our Creator and Savior, loves us. We belong to him. He loves and cherishes us. He wants to protect us with his gift of faith and trust in him. Before we can serve him and love him fully we must first say “yes”’ to letting him love us. 

How does he convince us that he loves us? That’s up to us. He’ll do whatever it takes to convince us, but not against our free will. When we can believe it, then we can try it on. Act like he loves us by loving others the same way he love us. By sharing his love we prove to ourselves and to them how much he loves us.


19 Sep 2014

Grace-Filled Tuesdays

I'm so happy to announce that Laura Pearl (author Finding Grace and upcoming Erin's Ring) is going to be offering an online book club this winter!

Right about now, people are settling into their routines and especially in the midwest we are feeling the beauty of autumn begin to descend. Some trees are changing colors and many of us are ready to settle in with a good book at the ready.

Honestly, nothing is better to do during the shorter days where there is a bit of time now and again than to turn to a great read and Laura's book, Finding Grace, is just such a read. It is a book that takes you deep into the story (Just read any of the great Amazon reviews!) and brings you out the other end incredibly satisfied.

So if you are looking for something that is extra fun, consider reading Finding Grace this fall and joining Laura for her online bookclub come early 2015 for Grace-Filled Tuesdays!

Right now Finding Grace is available on Kindle for just $4.99 and you can follow Laura's blog to keep updated about her online bookclub.

Finding Grace has received the Catholic Writer's Guild Seal of Approval so you can be assured it is good for you and good for your teen daughters, too!

God bless!

21 Aug 2014

No More Striving

No more striving.
Become HIS child. Carl Heinrich Bloch1834 – 1890
No more work.
Strong words,
Commands actually.
The words reverberate in my mind
Over and over,
Like a mantra.
A Divine mantra.
A Holy reminder to let God work in my core self,
Unhindered by my meddling.
This work of transforming
Is a Holy work
I just get in the way

6 Aug 2014

Gearing Up!

I can't believe the summer is almost over. I have been gearing up for the new school year; trying to get organized, ordering curriculum and hoping this will be a better year than last year. Last school year felt like juggling most of the time except I did not feel I did a very good job at it. 

Homeschooling multiple age children, trying to keep up with the housework and also taking care of a baby or toddler requires being able to multi-task big time, which I am not very good at.


Continue Reading at Beautifulthorns.com>

9 Jul 2014

How much is enough?

Once I was at a meeting with a group of church leaders. One woman there was the mother of a teenage daughter. She was lamenting how some of her daughter's friends had gone astray and she was wondering how we could keep our own children from going astray. One of the men spoke up and said, "We just need to pray continuously for them!". This didn't sit well with me. Afterall, how much prayer would be enough? Also, that seems to put it all on us. It also makes God out to be an ogre who witholds his mercy and grace from his children. Continue Reading>

5 Jun 2014

LORD, That I May BREATHE

Through You, with You, in You… All in All.
It’s there in the newborn cry,
there in the light of every sunrise, there in the shadows of this life,
Your great grace.
It’s there on the mountain top, there in the everyday and the mundane,
there in the sorrow and the dancing,
Your great grace. Oh such grace..." ...
Way quote. Grace is_IV
Holy Spirit, Come

1 May 2014

My Top 10 Favorite Quotes from Pope Francis (Some Will Surprise You!)



Pope Francis has proved himself to be a revolutionary, setting some hearts on fire with love and other hearts on fire with anger and dismay. After nearly every telephone call or off-the-cuff remark by Pope Francis, at least one Catholic commentator complains that Pope Francis should just stop speaking so freely. I don't see that happening any time soon.

Some of Pope Francis' most controversial comments are actually my favorites. But all of his comments display a clear-sighted vision of the problems facing people today and the immense possibility our Church has to solve those problems through grace and action. Without further ado, here are my top 10 favorite Francis quotes:

Read more here...

30 Mar 2013

How To Always Be Successful

"We are not called to be successful. We are called to be faithful." -Mother Teresa of Calcutta

Lately, I ponder this quote and its meaning on a daily basis. In my mind, I am never successful enough. I never get enough done in a day. The work I actually do is not productive enough. No matter how much I do, it does not make enough impact on society.

And, you know what? It won't. Ever.

I can't do anything without God. I can't blog. I can't brainstorm. I can't even breathe. Without God, not only is doing anything at all impossible, but everything I do becomes meaningless and pointless.

Our new pope said something today which rang true for me. He said, ""...self-help courses can be useful in life, but to live by going from one course to another, from one method to another, leads us to become pelagians and to minimize the power of grace, which comes alive and flourishes to the extent that we, in faith, go out and give ourselves and the Gospel to others, giving what little ointment we have to those who have nothing, nothing at all."

Before becoming Christian, that's what I did. I hopped from course to course, method to method, believing I would eventually get somewhere. I had gurus and teachers who told me there was nowhere to arrive at and that I was perfect as I was but those same teachers would sell me the very courses and methods that propagated the illusion. 

Amazing thing, grace. It's not just a "feel good" song. It's the truth. 

Grace gives us reason for living and the power to do it. Grace makes it okay to be human, because we let go and let God do what we alone cannot do. He becomes the fiber of our being, the blood in our cells.

So, what is being faithful? Being faithful is remembering just that. Believing and trusting in the power of grace. 

That's all God expects from us.  

Yet, just remembering the truth isn't really faithfulness. God expects us to embody and practice that faithfulness, through demonstrating our faith in all we do.  

But, when we let Christ live in us, everything we do is enough, no matter what our neighbors think, the government thinks, the media thinks, or anyone else for that matter.

Jesus expected the disciples to stay awake for an hour while he prayed. He expected them to be loyal and faithful. They all failed Him. Yet, was Jesus a failure? 

Jesus was the greatest success in history. We will always be a failure without Him.
 


11 Feb 2013

Grace Before Meals

Our gracious heavenly Father, in Jesus' name I ask you to bless this food that by its nourishment I may better serve you. That it will fill me up without filling me out. I thank you for being a guest at our table. Amen.

My dear friend offers this prayer before meals and when she recently said it while we were at a restaurant, I asked her for a copy so that I could share with others.

Cheryl Dickow
www.BezalelBooks.com

6 Dec 2011

Redemption: The Thane of Cawdor, Ivan Ilyich and the Rest of Us

This fall I've been teaching Shakespeare's The Tragedy of Macbeth to high school juniors. And this week I finished reading Tolstoy's novella The Death of Ivan Ilyich. In both stories, writers describe men at the end of their earthly lives, men guilty of serious sins and yet who find redemption at the very end of their days.

The possibility of redemption: I can think of no more compelling message this Advent season, a season in which we Christians await the birth of our Redeemer.

5 Oct 2011

A Mighty River

Grace is on my mind. Why don't people notice God's grace in their lives at times? Part of it can be from sin:

Imagine a stream dammed (damned) up. The water cannot flow, it pools and becomes very dirty from stagnation. This is a soul in grave sin. It is very ill and the water inside the pool is poisonous. The soul is choking on  the noxious fumes of its own sin. Hopefully, the person gets disgusted and looks to God for help. This makes a chink in the dam and water starts trickling through. Water (grace) is strong and the chink grows into a hole and the water begins to flow more steadily. As the hole grows bigger pieces of the dam (sin) start breaking off. More and more water flows with increasing strength and power until the dam collapses and water floods through it. This is grace, a free gift from God.

Streams flow into rivers. As a stream grows stronger obstacles are swept away by its current. Rivers are even more powerful and not much can stop them from flowing. They flow into the sea, which is the mightiest of all. Who can stop the sea?

The stream knocking down the dam is purgation. The river is illumination. The sea is union with God.

Lord, I have a long way to go.

28 Sep 2011

Marie-Antoinette and the Carmelite Order

The connection between the Carmelite Order and the Royal House of France originated in the Middle Ages, when St. Louis IX encountered the hermits on Mt. Carmel and brought them to France. When the Discalced Reform came to France from Spain in the early seventeenth century, the royal family assisted the nuns with their patronage. The French court was shaken in 1674 when Louise de la Vallière, the former mistress of Louis XIV, publicly begged the queen's forgiveness and entered a Carmelite monastery. In his book To Quell the Terror, William Bush details the many connections of the later Bourbons with Carmel, particularly the patronage of Queen Marie Lesczynska and her daughter Madame Louise. When Louise herself chose to become a Carmelite nun in 1770, it cemented the spiritual ties between those in the worldliness of Versailles and those in the austerity of the cloister.

Marie-Antoinette of Austria married the Dauphin in the same year that Madame Louise entered the monastery. The young princess offered to represent Louis XV at the ceremony at which his daughter Louise received the habit of Carmel, since it was too painful for the king and the rest of his family to be present. So it was the teenage Marie-Antoinette who veiled the new "Soeur Thérèse de Saint-Augustin."

In the years the followed, Marie-Antoinette would visit her husband's aunt three times year at the Carmel, of which she was a benefactress. As the Queen's maid Madame Campan relates in her Memoirs:

The Court went to visit her about three times a year, and I recollect that the Queen, intending to take her daughter there, ordered me to get a doll dressed like a Carmelite for her, that the young Princess might be accustomed, before she went into the convent, to the habit of her aunt, the nun.
According to Madame Campan, Madame Louise as a nun was deeply involved in church affairs; she was always petitioning her nephew's wife, so that Marie-Antoinette called her: "t
he most intriguing little Carmelite in the kingdom." It was at the request of Madame Louise, however, that Marie-Antoinette granted a dowry to a poor, pious girl named Mademoiselle Lidoine, so that she could enter the Carmel of Compiègne. Mademoiselle Lidoine became the Mother Prioress of the heroic Martyrs of Compiègne, who like Marie-Antoinette, died on the guillotine during the French Revolution.
--
Elena Maria Vidal is the author of the historical novels Trianon, Madame Royale, and The Night's Dark Shade. Please visit Elena at her Tea at Trianon blog and on Facebook and Twitter.

4 Sep 2011

Feeling Grateful and Hopeful After My First Bar Mitvah

 
 
 
Yesterday morning my family attended the bar mitvah of a neighborhood boy we have known since he was a baby. I never had attended a Conservative Jewish Shabbat morning service, much less a bar mitvah. It was exquisite, reverent and beautiful. (The sanctuary is pictured above) I wiped tears from my eyes as I considered the overwhelming faith and courage of Jews through the centuries of persecution that enabled this boy to encounter this moment.

I also meditated on the links between my Catholic faith and Judaism as I listened to the prayers of the worshipers. As the Catechism teaches us: When she delves into her own mystery, the Church, the People of God in the New Covenant, discovers her link with the Jewish People, "the first to hear the Word of God."  I always have been taught that Judaism is the root of the tree of our faith. And that without that root, our faith would not have flowered. For the most part, this insight has remained an intellectual abstraction to me. But this morning, in the faces and voices of those gathered for worship, I could see and hear that.

Among the readings in this morning's liturgy were was this one from the prophet Isaiah. It reminds me that we are begotten, not made. We do not make ourselves, and we cannot reinvent ourselves. We are not the result of a random pairing of sperm and egg; rather all that we are and all that we become is a result of the Presence among us. When we face the terror of hurricanes or the terror of men, we can stand before the Presence like beggars. And we can have hope.


Listen to me, you who pursue justice, who seek the LORD; Look to the rock from which you were hewn, to the pit from which you were quarried;Look to Abraham, your father, and to Sarah, who gave you birth; When he was but one I called him, I blessed him and made him many. Yes, the LORD shall comfort Zion and have pity on all her ruins; Her deserts he shall make like Eden, her wasteland like the garden of the LORD; Joy and gladness shall be found in her, thanksgiving and the sound of song.

Be attentive to me, my people; my folk, give ear to me. For law shall go forth from my presence, and my judgment, as the light of the peoples. I will make my justice come speedily; my salvation shall go forth (and my arm shall judge the nations); In me shall the coastlands hope, and my arm they shall await.

Raise your eyes to the heavens, and look at the earth below; Though the heavens grow thin like smoke, the earth wears out like a garment and its inhabitants die like flies, My salvation shall remain forever and my justice shall never be dismayed.

Hear me, you who know justice, you people who have my teaching at heart: Fear not the reproach of men, be not dismayed at their revilings. They shall be like a garment eaten by moths, like wool consumed by grubs; But my justice shall remain forever and my salvation, for all generations.


Mindsets are Powerful but Mercy is More Powerful!

So, I have 6 kids - not because I have good pregnancies, but because Tom and I believed that to be God's will for our life. I actually h...