Wednesday, November 30, 2011

The Invitation to Come And Follow


I wrote this brief reflection as part of my Advent Reflections last year on the Feast of St Andrew. I thought I would reprint it here this year to commemorate the feast of this Apostle this year.

The Invitation
John the Baptist pointed Andrew in the direction of the Messiah. Andrew went, found Jesus and responded to His call and invitation to "Come and follow me."
We too have been called and invited by Jesus. How can we answer and accept this invitation? Andrew's acceptance led him to the cross, quite literally. Our acceptance will lead us there as well in the particular way Jesus has chosen for each of us.
Jesus came into this world to save us. His becoming a man sanctifies our humanity.
Let us ask St Andrew to intercede for us and help us to answer the call and invitation of Christ to Come and follow, just as he did.

Prayer
Lord Jesus,
Through the intercession of St Andrew, may we have the courage to hear your call and accept your invitation to come and follow You. May we never be afraid to proclaim You no matter the cost. May our preparations this Advent draw us closer to You.
Amen.
 


Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Approaching the Sacrament of Confession


Some, maybe many, people have an ambivalent attitude towards the Sacrament of Penance (or Confession, or Reconciliation). I did for years. It was mainly because I didn't want to face certain things about myself and I was attached to certain sins I didn't want to give up. But all that changed one day when I made my mind up about something...

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Monday, November 28, 2011

Looking down

One day Jesus was walking around Heaven and He noticed a few Angels looking down to earth and saying: "Two minutes ... four minutes ... one minute ... six minutes ...".

"What are you doing?" He asked.

"We're checking how long it will take these people to thank God after they wake up from a night's sleep!"

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Quick Bytes #9: Change



"And all so with y .... I mean ... and with your spirit"


"And peace to His people on  ... wait ... what?"


"We believe ...no wait ... I believe ..."


"Lord I am not worthy to receive you ... huh? That changed too? ...."


"And all so ... with your spirit ... ah I give up"

Praying that change brings us all closer to the Lord, as we focus more on what we are saying, and less on habit.

(And I hope your first Mass with the new translation went smoother than mine!)

God Bless you.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Quick Bytes #8: The Day After Thanksgiving

Remember how much time those of us in the U.S. spent yesterday being thankful for everything God has given us?  For His only Son.  For forgiveness.  For our families, our friends, and our loved ones.  Our freedom to worship without fear.  Our parishes, priests, and spiritual leaders. 

We should spend just as much time today, tomorrow and the next day doing the same thing with the same emotion and passion.

God Bless.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

An Attitude of Gratitude

“If the only prayer you say in your life is ‘thank you,’ that would suffice." – Meister Eckhart
I can remember my spiritual director telling me that giving thanks everyday, even when times are tough for us, is one of the most meaningful prayers we can offer. I didn’t know how that was possible. I thought I had to FEEL grateful in order to give thanks. And how am I supposed to feel grateful when I’m sad or afraid?
Eventually I began to understand that an attitude of gratitude is more than just a feeling. It is more than being grateful for the good things that come our way.
An attitude of gratitude is about seeing the blessings in all the ups and downs of our lives, even in the darkest of storms. It is about seeing God’s loving presence in everything.
However, we don’t arrive at this attitude by ourselves. We need God’s grace. In looking back, I can see such moments of grace in my life, moments that have helped me to learn what it means to be truly thankful.
I remember those years when I attended a Catholic charismatic prayer group meeting. The main purpose of these meetings was to praise and worship God. I felt drawn to go there every week, giving thanks and praise to God over and over. And every week I went home, filled with joy.
There was the time when my husband had open heart surgery and serious complications and yet, all I could say was “thank you, Lord.” I felt such a strong sense of God’s presence with me, carrying me through every agonizing moment.
There were the years I spent working on my memoir about my healing journey as an incest survivor. And in writing it, I found hope and healing, and the understanding that there are two sides to every coin – the blessing and the curse. And I was grateful that God gave me the grace to see the blessing side to my suffering.
When I think about suffering, I think about Jesus and His suffering on the Cross. And yet, on the night He was to be betrayed, He gave thanks.
“… the Lord Jesus, on the night he was handed over, took bread, and, after he had given thanks, broke it and said, ‘This is my body that is for you. Do this in remembrance of me.’” 1 Cor 11:23-24
If there is to be one reason for me to have an attitude of gratitude, it would have to be the Eucharist. Over 20 years ago, I converted to the Catholic Church and I have been grateful ever since.
The word “eucharist” comes from a Greek word meaning “grateful” or “thanksgiving.”
Eucharist.
Thanksgiving.
Two words. Same meaning.
At the Last Supper, Jesus gave thanks, before breaking the bread. He gave thanks, knowing what he was going to go through; knowing the pain and suffering He would endure for us.
And everyday, during Mass, Jesus gives us the gift of Himself.
And we give thanks.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

What's the point?

What's the point of giving someone a second chance when you could quite easily give him a third, fourth, fifth and more?

Can you imagine what it would be like if God only gave us a second chance?

Thursday, November 17, 2011

A GIFT FOR YOU

Here's an early Christmas gift for you to share.
 My latest book
LIFE - It makes ME laugh!
Is available for you to download FREE from HERE


It is also available on AMAZON Kindle USA HERE

And in the UK HERE

Thank you and God bless. 

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Scripture Leads Us to Eternal Life

St. Bonaventure:
The end or fruit of Holy Scripture is not something restricted, but the fullness of eternal happiness.  These writings which contain "the message of eternal life" (Jn 6:63) were written, not only that we might believe in, but also that we might possess that everlasting life in which we shall see, and love, and be fulfilled of all we desire.  Then we shall really know that "love of Christ, which is beyond knowledge," and thus "be filled with the utter fullness of God" (Ephesians 3:19). . . . Such . . . must be our goal and our intent in studying and in teaching the Scriptures, and also in hearing them. . . . We must reach out in a spirit of pure faith to the Father of all light, and kneeling in our hearts, ask him to give us, through his Son and in the Holy Spirit, the true knowledge of Jesus Christ, and together with knowledge, love for him.  By knowing and loving Christ, by being confirmed in faith and "planted in love" (Ephesians 3:17), we can know the breadth, length, and depth of Scripture, and, through such knowledge, attain unto the all-surpassing knowledge and measureless love which is the Blessed Trinity.


Please take this short hop to
read a little more. 

Monday, November 14, 2011

Quick Bytes #7: An Exercise

Since you were faithful in small matters, I will give you great responsibilities. Come, share your master’s joy.  (Mt 25:21)

1)  List your top 3 talents that our Lord has given you.  If you need help, ask someone close to you.

2)  Next to each talent, write one simple way you can use it to spread God's kingdom here on earth. 

3)  Take the first step to do each of those this week.

Remember, doing even the smallest thing is better than burying your gifts.

God Bless you.

P.S.  Is writing one of your gifts?  Become a guest blogger here! 

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Preparing to Prepare

I'm not sure why, exactly, but I'm really looking forward to Advent this year. I always look forward to it...but this year my eagerness for this Liturgical Season to arrive feels especially "eager".
This morning, that thought made me laugh; that I'm looking forward to the season of looking forward...I am preparing to prepare; anticipating the anticipation!

Advent is such a beautiful season; as are many in the Liturgical year.

One of my good blogging friends wrote that her goal for this year's Advent season is to "simplify"...in all ways: decor, activities, music...everything.

That sounds good.
It sounds right.
It sounds like just what I need.

You know the Scripture verse (Psalm 46:10) that says, "Be still and know that I am God"?
Well, all I have to do to feel peace inside is to THINK that verse. Have you ever noticed that?
Just pondering those words brings a quietness and restful joy to the soul.

This is how I see Advent.

A time to be still. A time to wait on the Lord. A time to rest in His quiet presence and look forward to the great celebration of the day of His birth.

Prepare our hearts, oh Lord; that we may right our paths and ready ourselves for Your coming!

For now, I will keep looking forward to looking forward.

Care to join me?

Friday, November 11, 2011

Burning in Hell

"The Fall of the Damned" by Peter Paul Rubens

Picture source

If I had my way, I would prefer to skip Purgatory. However, I realize that my soul is in need of a good cleansing and purging. Only after it is properly cleansed and purged of all impurities left behind by my many sins will I be deemed ready for Heaven. Even though I am not looking forward to spending time in Purgatory, I would hate to be a soul that damns his or herself to Hell.

The other day while baking cookies I carelessly touched the hot cookie sheet onto my arm. It immediately began to hurt and blister. Then yesterday, I carelessly went near the whistling of the tea kettle, burning my finger. Both times the pain was very intense.

That pain helped me to reflect on eternity.

Can you imagine what it will be like for the souls who up to the very end of their lives continued to reject God's love and mercy? Our loving Father will have given them every chance He could possibly give them to repent, to turn back into His loving arms. But these obstinate souls in their misguided pride will reject Him still again for the final time, and will go of their own volition, into the waiting arms of the Prince of Darkness and Father of Lies.

I am currently reading The End of the Present World and the Mysteries of the Future Life by Father Charles Arminjon*. He quotes an eminent yet nameless theologian regarding the resurrection of our bodies. It is my understanding that not only the sheep will have their bodies reunited with their soul but the goats will too.

"in the body of a man...there is both something essential and something secondary and accessory. The essential part is what he shares with no one, what he alone possess and will possess forever; it is the part of him that existed at the moment he was formed, animated and vivified by his soul. These essential elements he will always keep. They will always be his. The rest, that which is produced by nutrition, digestion, and assimilation, is not he. He can lose it, and does lose it, without ceasing to be himself. It will be with these essential, personal elements that God will resurrect the glorious, spiritual bodies, as also He will resurrect the immortal corruption of the damned. The soul being the same, the real kernel, the constitutive element remaining the same, the rest is of little importance and its identity will remain eternally...."

The above description of the body's resurrection seems to indicate that the damned will not only feel physical pain...actually agonizing physical pain of the burning fires of Hell, but that pain will never cease. It will be for all eternity. They will never have a respite from that agony. Yet even this endless torture will not compare to the spiritual pain they will feel knowing they have lost God's love forever because of their rejection, not of Satan and all his empty promises, but that of their loving creator.

Available through Sophia Press.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Easy Chaplet for the Poor Souls


OK, it's November and I keep having thoughts about the Holy Souls in purgatory and how much they need us. I picked up this chaplet from Father Mark Kirby's blog, Vultus Christi, a couple of years ago and posted about it at my blog with some commentary. I thought many readers of this blog would like to have it, too.

The more I study and contemplate the Poor Souls, the more I want to do for them. Reading St. Catherine of Genoa's work on purgatory has given me the desire to grow in charity through remembering them in my prayers. So here is the easy chaplet for the Poor Souls you can say anytime you want:

On the large beads:

V. Eternal Father, I offer Thee the Precious Blood of Thy Beloved Son, Our Lord Jesus Christ, the lamb without blemish or spot (1 Ps 1:19)

R. For the refreshment and deliverance of the souls in Purgatory

(One can add here, especially those of my family, or of my ancestry, or of priests. The Holy Spirit sometimes moves one to pray for particular groups of Holy Souls.)

Ten times on the small beads:

V. By Thy Precious Blood, O Jesus –

R. Purify and deliver their souls.

After having said five decades, one concludes with:

V. Eternal rest grant unto them, O Lord.

R. And let perpetual light shine upon them.

V. May they rest in peace.

R. Amen.

If you have the opportunity to pass this on in your parishes or families, I'm sure the Holy Souls in purgatory will be very happy.

Monday, November 7, 2011

On Vocations

Recently I found myself reacting to some opinions about priests leaving their vocation and being laicized. It set me thinking about the meaning of vocation and I began praying about the subject. It seemed to me that the use of the word "vocation" was much too narrow in the ordinary discussions at the diocesan and parish level. The result was a series of posts that I hope others will find helpful and broaden understanding.

I am not shamelessly promoting my blog here, but I am shamelessly promoting information about what vocations are, what they are not, the meaning of vocation, and how to discern what one's vocation is. Perhaps in the following posts you might find something helpful for yourself, your kids, or a friend.

What is a Vocation?
Distinct Vocations
Vocations Are Not...
Discerning One's Vocation

I think that if people understood the meaning of vocation earlier in life, they would experience a lot fewer false starts and a lot less confusion and suffering. Plus, we all could appreciate the gifts God bestows on the world through the callings He gives to each one of us.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Quick Bytes #6: Ordinary Things

Our priest repeated this phrase three times at mass on All Saints' Day:

"The Saints were people who did ordinary things in extraordinary ways."

It was almost like he was daring us to contemplate why we couldn't be one someday ...

Friday, November 4, 2011

Why the Catholic Church Prays for the Dead

When I was growing up the good nuns in school taught us to always remember the Poor Souls in purgatory in our prayers. Years later I appreciate that advice more than ever. Just think - if a prayer, alms, or sacrifice we offer provides a soul entrance into heaven, who will remember us the most when we need help ourselves? I decided I needed to collect as many friends in heaven as I could so I would be sure to have plenty of help getting there myself.

The doctrine of purgatory is ancient in terms of earth time. Because there are non-Catholics in my family who dispute the doctrine, I wrote an article that I hoped would help explain better where our doctrine of purgatory originates and how it is referenced in the Bible. In the process I learned a lot myself. If you'd like to read more, check out