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Showing posts with the label Holiness

A Feminine Style of Holiness

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Sometimes we get so caught up in the hustle and bustle of life that we forget the Good News, the Gospel of Christ.  Oh yes, we keep trudging to Mass, trying to pray, maybe reading a few lines of a spiritual book before we nod off but we lose sight of the real goal of the Christian life. Holiness I would say the goal of the spiritual life is to cooperate with Grace, and so grow slowly closer to our Beloved through the power of His death and resurrection. In even simpler terms, God changes us so we can freely receive His love and let it flow through us to others. This goal—union with God—is not a fairy tale, not only for the saints of old. As Pope Francis has said in GAUDETE ET EXSULTATE, holiness is for all, for all states of life, even for modern, busy people. continue
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One of my greatest attributes is to not only be acutely aware of my many deficiencies; but also very willing to own up to them.  The one deficiency that I regret the most - and try the hardest to overcome is my lack of hospitality and thoughtfulness.  Though, probably a more fair assessment would be my lack of follow through!

I often think of the nice or caring things I could do to help others - however, for a myriad of reasons (none of them good); my follow-through statistics are very low.   At first this behavior came from self-preservation and lack of instruction; but as an adult with fully formed conscience it is not longer acceptable behavior.  

AWARENESS IS NOT HALF THE BATTLE

While I would love to say, that once I realized the necessity of a life in Christ to include reaching out to others my behavior changed - I can not.  I still every day have to resist my self-absorbed ways.  In all too painful ways the Lord has allowed me to feel the DEEP regret of not acting on an inspiration…

Recipe for Holiness: Two Parts Courage

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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

Sanctity for the Average Catholic: Keeping It Real

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I think most, if not all, Catholics like the idea of becoming a saint. Not because everyone wants official recognition but because the bottom line is: saints are in heaven and that’s where we want to be. In this way, the saints become a beacon of hope, a confirmation that the daily struggle is worth plowing through, because success is possible.
Raised in a strong Catholic family, I grew up reading and loving the lives of the saints. I knew from a young age that these people were close to Jesus, and I hoped that some day, I would be close to Jesus too. Our desire for sanctity, in itself, is a good thing – it’s a reflection of our longing for God and innate sense that our hearts are made for him. So looking for some sort of formula or solid role model to follow is natural. Hence the importance we place in our faith on the saints and their example. Over time, however, I realized that finding inspiration in the saints was different from finding a realistic and imitable example in them. Do…

You Can’t Make a Silk Purse Out Of A Sow’s Ear

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Attendance at Mass, regular confession, spiritual exercises, fasting, and prayer are wonderful vehicles of grace but if we think pious activities will sanctify us, we will only appear to be holy on the outside like the Pharisees: Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, you hypocrites. You are like whitewashed tombs, which appear beautiful on the outside, but inside are full of dead men’s bones and every kind of filth.(Matthew 23:27) Now, the Pharisees were not evil men; they were earnestly striving to be good, to follow the Law but they thought they could perfect themselves through religious practices. However, man cannot transform himself into a holy being. As my Irish grandmother would say, “You can’t make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear.” In other words, only Christ can transform us into His image and draw us into the heart of His Father. continue reading

Live Today Well by Fr. Thomas F Daily O.S.F.S - Book Review

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Live Today Well: Saint Francis de Sales’s Simple Approach to Holiness, by Fr. Thomas F. Dailey, O.S.F.S is a gem! This five-star book offers anyone wanting to grow closer to God a practical means of doing so. Fr. Dailey takes the reader through Saint Francis de Sales’ Spiritual Directory, using contemporary ways of applying this ever useful, and timeless instruction of St Francis on how to live today well; from one’s first rising in the morning until one lays their head down to sleep at night. This book offers prayerful ways that we can grow in virtue; thus grow in holiness.

My favorite line from Fr. Dailey’s book is this:
By seeking ways to practice a particular virtue throughout the day, we can counteract those imperfections toward which prior examinations have revealed we may be inclined (page 113).

How to Live Each Day Well
How often have we looked back on our day and said to ourselves... Read more...

Spiritual Freedom

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“You can be right. You can be dead right and bring death to all those around you."- Jean Vanier ( founder of L’Arche)  Holy people realize the closer they actually get to God, the less they really know. They are the simple souls who simply look at God and let Him gaze with love on them in return. continue reading

Real Thing is Irresistible: Three Day Quote Challenge, Day 3

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Reflection Choosing the topic of holiness, I provided a quote on day 1 that addressed holiness stemming from the family. On day two, we moved to the workplace, and today we speak of holiness’ impact when allowed to permeate society:

“How little people know who think that holiness is dull. When one meets the real thing, it is irresistible.” – C.S. Lewis

When we pray together as a family, within the confines of our homes, we become more comfortable with prayer in general. When we pray, we grow closer to Christ. Through our prayers, Jesus gives us the strength to take virtue into the workplace to act with honesty, integrity, generosity, and kindness. These virtues help us to grow in holiness and we become beacons of light to others; beacons of joy. As a beacon of light shone outward, our holiness begins to permeate society. Others see our beacon of light and are drawn to it. Our joy is infectious. Our virtue is esteemed by others. People want what we have – they want holiness, because th…

Holiness is Achievable: Three Day Quote Challenge, Day 2

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Holiness is achievable for you!Do you believe me, or do you buy into the greatest lie ever told?

Holiness is not possible…is the greatest lie that we tell ourselves.” – Matthew Kelly, renowned Catholic public speaker, Dynamic Catholic

I thought this to be an appropriate quote to share for the second of three days in meeting the Three Day Quote Challenge offered to me by Melanie Jean Juneau of Joy of Nine9. Thanks Melanie for this challenge. I am having a lot of fun with it, addressing the virtue of piety that begins at home (day 1’s post), moves to the workplace (today’s post) and permeates throughout society (tomorrow’s post).

The rules of this challenge:Post one quotation a day for three days (they can be from other sources or one of your own).Nominate 3 other bloggers to participate per post.Thank the blogger who nominated you. Reflection It was just yesterday, that I was listening to Matthew Kelly’s audio broadcast, Faith at Work and the Holy Moment, courtesy of Dynamic Catholic…

Pray for Holiness: Three Day Quote Challenge, Day 1

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Melanie Jean Juneau, of Joy of Nine 9, noted for her sense of humor, and motherly skills, has tagged me for the Three Day Quote Challenge. I’m always up for a challenge, so thanks Melanie for the honor of participating in this little endeavor to spread the Good News of Jesus Christ.The rules of this challenge:
Post one quotation a day for three days (they can be from other sources or one of your own).Nominate 3 other bloggers to participate per post.Thank the blogger who nominated you. Being one to blog about the virtues, of course, my quotes will center on the virtues that bring us to holiness. There are so many to choose from, it is going to be hard to pick. However,... Read more...

Does God work for good in our sins?

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The second reading from Sunday’s Mass included a favorite verse of mine, Romans 8:28:
We know that in everything God works for good with those who love him, who are called according to his purpose. The newly ordained priest who said Mass at Holy Trinity Cathedral preached that God works for good even in our sins. Do you believe this? I do, firmly! So did St. Therese of Lisieux.
Today I’d like to examine St. Paul’s teaching on this subject, and what it means for our spiritual lives.
What can separate us from God? St. Paul writes:
For I am sure that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 8:38-39)
I have heard Catholic apologists preach on this passage, noting that Paul did not include “sin” in his list. Sin, they argue, can separate us from God, so that’s why Paul did n…

You're more like St. Therese than you think

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Do you think you have little in common with St. Therese? Think again.

If I’ve learned anything in writing Trusting God with St. Therese, it’s how much Therese’s struggles were like mine. Consider these points:
Therese was born weakened by Original Sin.It took her years of grace and hard work to overcome family tragedy.She had difficulties relating to other children at school.She suffered from scruples. God repeatedly made her wait for things she believed were His will.Her family members misunderstood her spirituality.She felt natural aversion to people with difficult personalities.She feared losing her remaining loved ones.Spiritual darkness and dryness in prayer were her norm.Great deeds for God were beyond her capability.She suffered terrible pain.She was tempted to despair. Now tell me that none of those sound like you.

Think you can’t become a saint? Think again.

Therese believed in the same God you do. He was her strength and her righteousness. He can be yours as well.


Connie Ross…

Why I don't let my boys be crude

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Adults seem to take for granted that being crude is part of the nature of boys. “Let boys be boys,” they say. Let them make jokes about body functions and use crass language. We can’t expect them to be careful in their speech. Well, here’s news for all of you: I am raising four masculine boys and I don’t allow them to speak or act crudely. And they don’t!

The other day, D (nearing 12), brought up the subject of crude talk. Some of his friends have always been looser in their talk than we allow here. As he gets older, the tongues of many of his friends are getting worse. Was I being too strict? He wanted to know.
Here are some of the reasons I gave him for our rules against being crude:
1. We are not beasts Unlike lower animals, humans have reason. We can regulate our behavior. We are not subject to impulses. We should be raising our eyes to Heaven, not lowering them to earth. We should speak about the higher things in life.


Continue reading at Contemplative Homeschool

Becoming your children’s spiritual director

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Have you ever thought of having a spiritual director for your kids or grandkids? Have you ever thought of being one? It’s not enough to teach children “religion”–i.e., Catechism. We also need to teach them how to become saints. I am developing a spiritual growth plan for my three older children. (J is a little too young at age three!) Here are the areas I am considering:

Temperament D is almost purely choleric, M is melancholic-phlegmatic, and C is primarily phlegmatic. (I haven’t completely figured him out yet–he’s eight and doesn’t know himself as well as the others do.)
Each of the four classical temperaments has a different perspective on life. Each has typical strengths and weaknesses. I seek to encourage my boys in their strengths and help them fight their weaknesses. I plan to do much of this through reading. Books will inspire them where lectures won’t.
Continue reading at Contemplative Homeschool.

The Transfiguration teaches us detachment

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Last week’s Gospel was about the Transfiguration of Jesus. As you recall, Jesus took Peter, James, and John up Mt. Tabor. Moses and Elijah appeared and spoke with Him about His coming Passion. Hearing the Gospel, I was struck by what it teaches us about detachment in the spiritual life.

Moses represents the Law. Elijah represents the Prophets. The Law and the Prophets together form the basis of the Old Testament.

From the good to the perfect When Peter saw Moses and Elijah, he said, “Lord, it is good for us to be here.” He suggested building booths or tents in which the three religious figures could stay. No doubt he wanted to speak with Moses and Elijah and hear their wisdom in person.

But this was not God’s plan. God the Father spoke to the Apostles from the cloud. Then they looked up and saw Jesus standing before them alone.

Continue reading at Contemplative Homeschool.

Is there a magic bullet to holiness?

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I don’t know about you, but I’m always looking for a magic bullet to bring me closer to God. Let’s be honest: the Christian life can be a slog. Day in, day out, struggling against sin and making little measurable progress. I’m always looking for the secret to help me reach sanctity faster. But is there one?

St. Therese asked herself this same question. She sought a fast way to climb the ladder to Heaven, as it were. The Little Way of Spiritual Childhood was her discovery. She said that if she made herself little, Jesus could lift her up in His arms. His arms would be her elevator to help her advance quickly.
Why am I still not a saint? But there is a catch. As much as we might think the Little Way means Jesus does all the work for us, we still have to strive against ourselves. The Little Way is not magic. We can’t just say a few words and be instant saints.
Continue reading at Contemplative Homeschool.

Four Marks of the Catholic Church

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Every time a Catholic recites the Nicene Creed, he is proclaimingbelief in the “Four Marks of the Church.” He joins with all other believers and professes a faith which says, “We believe in one,holy,catholic, and apostolic church…” These “four marks” are called “indelible” in that they cannot be changed or removed. They are the same as when Christ founded the church and will remain the same until his return. As indicated in the Nicene Creed, they bind together the believers in a unique and significant way.
The first mark: the church is one.

As diverse as we are, we are also considered one in that we are one body in Christ. Even as we bring our different cultures to the one body of Christ, we all believe that this Christ is our Lord and Savior; in him we have our redemption. All who have been baptized are part of his one, true church. The second mark: the church is holy.

The teachings of the church lead each believer to holiness. They never lead away from God—who calls all to holiness. While…

Bad Reviews are Good for the Soul

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I vividly recall the first really negative review I received on a book. It was for a particular title in the All Things Girl series and the young person who wrote it was fairly scathing in what she said. She identified herself as one of three sisters who ranged in age from 10 to 15. She went on to post her review on all the books. I will freely admit that her words brought tears to my eyes.

Two months later, BAM! Another terrible review. I was reeling from it all. To make matters worse, scores of people were saying how helpful the two terrible reviews were. No one was coming to my defense. Words can’t explain how alone I felt—and utterly defeated in my attempt at serving God’s precious daughters.

And confused…I had prayed each and every time that I had worked on the books. Throughout long days and nights my prayers stormed heaven; I prayed to the Father that every young girl who read the books would be blessed by them; that these books would be instruments of God’s love for his young …

A Daily Examination of Conscience: What Is It Exactly?

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A simple examination of conscience helps build the moral life of a Catholic. It guides a Catholic towards holiness and sainthood. Like taking vitamins or brushing your teeth, it should be done daily!



Find a set time where you will have anywhere between 10 and 20 minutes of quiet and solitude. If possible, also find a specific location. This may be 10 minutes of quiet on your couch or it might be 20 minutes in a prayer corner on a prie dieu. No matter what, when you see this as a sacred responsibility, finding those few minutes each day will be easy. An Examination of Conscience is about reviewing your day and seeing it through the eyes of Christ. It is about offering it up for objective examination where the fruit will be your spiritual growth and maturity. Have a number of questions to get yourself started but be willing to allow the Lord to speak to you and guide where the time goes. To create a list of questions, consider your daily life in a general sense and your vocation. Fo…

Becoming a Saint One Day at a Time

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God calls us each to holiness, to sainthood.

Every day, each experience we have helps us grow in our faith and in our purpose: To achieve holiness; to become saints; to fully become the person God intends us to be.

Each experience, then, has the potential to be “purgative.” Purgation is a process that gets us ready for God. Just as God’s grace was given to the martyrs, so it is given to us to grow in holiness and towards sainthood.
In this process, it is imperative to see God as the Potter and know that we are the clay. Each experience, then, is given over to God for His guidance and our growth. Sainthood means allowing God to mold us just as a Potter molds clay. (Isaiah 64:7)

Everything we experience is an opportunity to grow in our holiness. God can “make us worthy and powerfully bring to fulfillment every good purpose” by giving us circumstances that cause us to depend on Him, to trust in Him, and to respond according to His will

In other words, through our circumstances we allow God to…