Showing posts with label being Catholic. Show all posts
Showing posts with label being Catholic. Show all posts

23 Apr 2017

Divine Mercy



I care about God's mercy because I'm a sinner. What that means depends on who says it.

I think and hope Jonathan Edwards meant well, and wish some of his imitators would be less enthusiastic. Or at least think about what he said.

Hollywood theology — I'd like to believe that many folks don't get their religious education from the movies, and that's another topic.

Basically, Americans have lots of options for what we think "sin" and "sinners" mean.

I'm a Catholic, so my view is 'none of the above.'...

More at A Catholic Citizen in America.

17 Apr 2017

That Time the Nice Boy Swore at Me


Or ... Teaching the Faith Sometimes Means Carrying a Cross

Teaching the faith can be a challenge. The Confirmation retreat was nearly over, so we settled back in the main hall after a few hours in the church to receive the Sacrament of Reconciliation and spend time in Eucharistic Adoration. Though I’ve presented to teenagers for years, it never gets any easier. Corralling them for 8 hours, most against their own will, usually creates a less than friendly atmosphere. This particular group, despite my attempts to provide engaging activities and quick witted presentations, was very difficult to reach.

It was a huge relief to glance at the clock and realize there were fewer than two hours left.“You got this,” I murmured to myself, and grabbed the microphone to begin my last presentation. I barely completed the sign of the cross, when suddenly a young man dressed in a suit stood up.

“Excuse me,” I politely addressed him, “break is over and we are clearly about to pray. We are almost finished; we just have one more subject to cover.” What happened next, even as I type it, still astounds me. “Who,” he began, “do you expletive think you are. This has been complete bull-expletive you have been shoveling at us all day.” Perhaps he saw an opportunity to pounce, since the room had emptied of all adults except me. Before I could answer, he continued with more sentence enhancers and crazy accusations. He had clearly come with preconceived and very misguided notions of Catholicism. My presentations always focus on living the faith in our everyday life and I purposely steer clear of controversial subjects – because I am fully aware that Apologetics are my Achilles heel. This young man perhaps sensed that as well.

The part of my brain that was presently retrieving all of my training in youth ministry and facilitating retreats was screaming “halt, do not fall into this trap, cease all arguments now”! How I wish my brain had won. Instead .... read more 

All Rights Reserved, Allison Gingras

26 Mar 2017

Knowledge: Opening the Gift



The quote is from Tennyson's "Ulysses," among my favorite poems; and the source for my Google Plus tagline:
"...To follow knowledge, like a sinking star,
"Beyond the utmost bound of human thought...."
("Ulysses," Tennyson (1833))
I'm not "an idle king," and take my family obligations seriously, so I won't be setting off on a voyage of discovery. Thanks to a pretty good Internet connection and research skills, I can "follow knowledge" without leaving my desk.

My shameless curiosity may need some explanation. Or maybe not, if you read my Friday 'science' posts.

More at A Catholic Citizen in America.

12 Mar 2017

Trinity

I say "in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit" a lot: mostly when I start praying. I generally make the sign of the Cross at the same time.

The sign of the Cross is a very "Catholic" gesture. It "reminds us in a physical way of the Paschal Mystery we celebrate: the death and Resurrection of our Savior Jesus Christ."1

It's a prayer, a blessing, and a sacramental; and that's another topic. (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1668-1670)

Dali's "Crucifixion (Corpus Hypercubus)" is very "Catholic," too; although not it's not like the mass-produced 19th-century stuff many associate with our faith.

I wouldn't be surprised if a half-millennium from now, some tight-collar Catholics will be upset by new art that doesn't present the Cross as an unfolded tesseract, and that's yet another topic. Topics.

More at A Catholic Citizen in America.

5 Mar 2017

Living With Consequences



I've missed one morning set, and several of the evening prayer sequences, in the routine I started February 13. (February 19, 2017)

I'm doing a little better with so far with the Lenten Chaplet. I started that Ash Wednesday.

Emphasis on "so far." I nearly forgot twice, which doesn't surprise me. There's a very good reason for my wife handling the household's schedules, and that's another topic.

This is where I could quote Romans 7:19 and launch into a 'wretcheder than thou' lament. It'd be accurate, on one level, since I've felt this way often enough....

More at A Catholic Citizen in America.

27 Feb 2017

Olathe: Death and Hope

Murder and attempted murder in the Kansas City metropolitan area last week is international news.

If the suspect's neighbor is right, the 'drunken mess' who killed an engineer from India was having trouble dealing with his father's death.1

I think he could have found a better outlet for his grief....

More at A Catholic Citizen in America.

26 Feb 2017

Oatmeal For Lent



I'll be eating oatmeal for breakfast during Lent, and walking around more. If I was in England, I'd probably call it porridge, and that's another topic.

It'll be be good for my health, and I'm sure that's one reason my wife suggested it. But that's not the only, or the main, reason.

Lent isn't about me....

...Lent is when we join Jesus in the desert. Sort of....

More at A Catholic Citizen in America.

19 Feb 2017

New Daily Prayer Routine



I tried — briefly — bargaining with God when we lost Elizabeth, our youngest child. (October 9, 2016)

When the somewhat one-sided conversation was over, I was accepting the unpleasant realities, and asking for help dealing with them: so I don't feel particularly guilty.

I suspect that some folks say bargaining with God is always wrong because they see it as trying to manipulate God. That's a bad idea: also impossible. The Almighty is just that. I can't make God do anything....

More at A Catholic Citizen in America.

5 Feb 2017

Natural Law, Our Rules



Back in my 'good old days,' a half-century back, some claimed that science, technology, and a changing culture, made the 'outmoded morality' we'd been working with obsolete.

Others apparently believed that moral decay was caused by newfangled gadgets like the telephone and television: and, of course, 'Satanic' rock music....

...Folks who claimed that a changing world made 'conventional morality' obsolete were right: sort of.

That may seem odd, coming from a Catholic who agrees with Fulton Sheen....

More at A Catholic Citizen in America.

31 Jan 2017

Who is My Neighbor?



Folks were hanging around after an evening prayer service Sunday, when someone came into the building and started shooting. 19 of the 50-plus folks there were injured, five hospitalized in critical condition. Six are now dead....

...This week's news hasn't been all bad. A GoFundMe page raising funds for the Islamic Center of Victoria, Texas, that burned last Saturday has collected upwards of $900,000 so far.1

I've never met the men who died Sunday night, I don't know their families. The same goes for folks affected by Saturday's fire. Why should I care what happens to them?

I've got reasons: some involving enlightened self-interest.

More at A Catholic Citizen in America.

29 Jan 2017

Making a Universe: Why Bother?


"The heavens declare the glory of God; the sky proclaims its builder's craft." (Psalms 19:2)
Okay, so who is this message proclaimed to?

Us, apparently.

One of the ways we can learn about God is by noticing order and beauty in the universe. (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 31-32, 319)

St. Bonaventure said that the universe communicates God's glory, St. Thomas Aquinas said that the Almighty creates because God is good and loving. (Catechism, 293)

I think they're right.

More at A Catholic Citizen in America.

22 Jan 2017

Conservative? Liberal? No: Catholic

My father-in-law has been asked if he's conservative — or liberal.

His answer: "I'm Catholic."

I'd give the same answer.

Catholic teachings are quite definite, so it's possible to peg them on the American political spectrum — as long as you don't look at the big picture.

Taking bits and pieces of Catholic beliefs, and the history of Catholics in America, I could claim that the Catholic Church is conservative or liberal. That would be as big a mistake as seeing all conservatives as hate-fueled foes of diversity, or all liberals as irresponsible lunatics.

More at A Catholic Citizen in America.

1 Jan 2017

Blessing the House

I 'blessed the house' today, sprinkling holy water in each room.

It isn't the formal blessing of the home and household that's sometimes done on Epiphany.

The formal blessing is a wonderful ceremony: and one we don't do.

By not performing the formal blessing, we're missing out on part of what it is to be Catholic. That doesn't bother me.

More at A Catholic Citizen in America.

13 Dec 2016

God, Angels, and Belshazzar

I don't know why encounters with angels,1 and God, aren't all alike.

Sometimes, like Abraham's meeting with the Almighty and two angels, described in Genesis 18:2, or Habakkuk's getting airlifted in Daniel 14:33-37, it's apparently much like meeting another human.

Other times, like Daniel's interview with Gabriel, it takes days to recover. I suspect that it depends on the personalities involved, and on just how much unshielded power we're exposed to.

"The writing on the wall" is still an idiom in my language, meaning "the likelihood that something bad will happen." (TheFreeDictionary by Farlex)

It comes from a reality check Belshazzar experienced....

More at A Catholic Citizen in America.

11 Dec 2016

Jesus and Expectations



Pip's Christmas doesn't have much to do with Christmas, or Advent, but I figured this post should have something that looks 'seasonal.'

"...Blessed is the One Who Takes No Offense at Me"


We'll be hearing Matthew 11:2-11 this morning. The readings still aren't particularly 'Christmassy.'
"2 When John heard in prison 3 of the works of the Messiah, he sent his disciples to him "4 with this question, 'Are you the one who is to come, or should we look for another?'
"Jesus said to them in reply, 'Go and tell John what you hear and see:
"5 the blind regain their sight, the lame walk, lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the poor have the good news proclaimed to them. "And blessed is the one who takes no offense at me.' "
(Matthew 11:4-6)
Our Lord balanced that rebuke with a reminder of the Baptist's great function in Matthew 11:7-15, and a complaint about folks who wouldn't listen to John or Jesus....

More at A Catholic Citizen in America.

4 Dec 2016

Sin, Awareness, Repentance

Today's reading from the Gospels, Matthew 3:1-12, doesn't seem particularly Christmassy. Not in the 'presents wrapped under the tree' sense.
"1 2 In those days John the Baptist appeared, preaching in the desert of Judea. "(and) saying, 'Repent, 3 for the kingdom of heaven is at hand!' ...

"...When he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees 7 coming to his baptism, he said to them, 'You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the coming wrath?
"Produce good fruit as evidence of your repentance....."
(Matthew 3:1-2, 7-8)
More at A Catholic Citizen in America.

27 Nov 2016

Advent and Being Prepared

Today's the start of this year's Advent cycle, leading up to another Christmas.

With my culture's annual focus on flying reindeer, decorated trees, and overflow crowds in Bethlehem, this verse from today's Gospel reading might sound odd:
"25 Therefore, stay awake! For you do not know on which day your Lord will come."
(Matthew 24:42)
We know when Jesus came, and where. That happened about two thousand years ago, near the east end of the Mediterranean.

Advent is the season when we look back at our Lord's first arrival. That's important.

It's also when we look ahead, to the day when the Son of man returns. That's important, too.

More at A Catholic Citizen in America.

3 Aug 2016

Works of Mercy - Way Beyond Our Comfort Zone



When introducing the Corporal and Spiritual works of mercy, in her book Blessed Are You, Melanie Rigney writes “both types can come free and easy, … or hard and challenging”. Sort of like the healthy benefits of exercise – I can stroll around the park with the kids or I can strap on the boxing gloves and go a round with the punching bag.

As I read about Blessed Mother Teresa, St Maria Karlowska, St. Frances Xavier Cabrini and others, in this chapter about mercy, it brought one important question to mind. How do I approach that responsibility in my own life to show mercy to others – and not just the “even though you hurt me (again) and this is all your fault, and you are being a toad -- I will still forgive you” kind. The words into action kind of mercy.  The works of mercy encourages us beyond ourselves, like Blessed Mother Teresa beyond ourselves. Though we may not all be called to the streets of India, we are responsible to care for the poorest of the poor – spiritually and physically.

Take for instance, praying for the living (*and the dead – but we are going to focus on the living for this reflection). There is an easy way to accomplish this – I can include prayer intentions for others in my daily prayers. One of my favorite ways to include praying for others – that definitely falls into the 'free and easy' category is to post on Facebook when I am going to Eucharistic Adoration. In my post I include an image of my parish's chapel along with a simple, “Can I pray for you?”. It humbles and amazes me the response this garners; typically I receive a 100 or more likes and/or comments. Sitting in the chapel before Jesus in the Eucharist, praying for each by name – there is a sense of peace and hope; though the requests often break my heart – this is still very much an easy act of mercy.

Late last year, after completing a novena to St. Ann for help with a serious financial matter; I felt this spiritual nudge to give back for our blessings by asking in prayer for an idea on how else I may serve the church. In my heart came this inspiration to rejoin the ministry of bringing Communion to the home-bound. My pastor was happy to have my help but it would require me to attend the 8 am Mass; and to make the tough decision to run an encore in place of my usually live radio show once a week. Ooh, wow – didn't see that coming! Hard and challenging. It wouldn't stop being so even after I made those sacrifices to participate in this work of mercy.

First, you have to know I am extremely germophobic .. and my trust was about to be tested!!

How did the grace of God help me to overcome this fear to complete my mission of mercy?  
Find out over on ....Reconciled To You  


All Rights Reserved, Allison Gingras 2016

17 Jul 2016

Art, Truth, and Reflecting


("Not All Times" – posters, art prints, greeting cards, and postcards available on DeviantArt.com.)

"l'art pour l'art," "Art for art's sake," popped up in the early 19th century.

The idea is that "the only "true" art, is divorced from any didactic, moral, or utilitarian function." George Sand, Friedrich Nietzsche, and Chinua Achebe, said it was an empty phrase, self-contradictory, and Eurocentric, respectively. (Wikipedia)

I wouldn't go that far, but I think it's a silly idea: at least when applied to anything other than doodling to pass the time.

More at A Catholic Citizen in America.

17 Jun 2016

Shedding My Pharisee Facade


Jesus warned to not be like the scribes and Pharisees, “For they preach but they do not practice,” another way of looking at that, “practice what you preach.”    Sadly, I can think of at least one (okay, who am I fooling really MANY more than one) example in our lives, either now or in the past, when this could be said about me.

However, as I read these words, I thought of something I am far more often guilty of, “I practice but I do not preach,”  Instead of the ole' do as I say, not as I do, I have created my own version with do as I do, not as I fail to say.  Which is fine, because as St. Francis of Assisi is credited with saying, "Pray the Gospel always, when necessary use words," but sometimes WORDS are necessary.  As this lifelong Catholic, who has just in the last 10 years begun truly practicing her faith, has learned; Catholicism is a very rich and beautiful faith about which most people know very little.  Those who have discovered it ought to be sharing its depth with others. 

After years of being away from the Church, my husband and I felt drawn back in 1993.  We were active in Church activities, but my faith was still very much on the surface.  In 2004, I joined a bible study which transformed my relationship with God – Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Through the study of God’s Holy Word, my heart was opened to living a life of faith not just for one hour on Sundays but every moment of every day. Overtime, I shed my Pharisee ways, of ....    read more


All rights reserved, Allison Gingras 2016

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...