Sunday, April 29, 2012

Quick Bytes #24: Pass It On

(This Quick Byte was inspired by one of Victor's comments on my blog.)

That great meal we had.  How many people did we tell?
That awesome sale we found.  How many people did we tell?
The courteous customer service we received.  How many people did we tell?
The tear-jerker movie we saw.  How many people did we tell?
The "We-can't-believe-it" reality show finale. How many people did we tell?
That juicy bit of shocking gossip.  How many people did we tell?

That moving sermon.  The inspirational Bible passage.  God's word.
How many people did we tell?
.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Quick Bytes #23: Recognize

.
Dear Michael,

Instead of wondering how on earth the disciples
could not recognize Jesus after the Resurrection,
perhaps you should ask yourself how many times
you did not recognize Him in your own life.

Sincerely,
The Mirror
.
.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Catholics Called to Witness

This 2012 election is it.  
The time is fast approaching. 
The HHS Mandate is no small matter.  
Religious Freedom is at risk.  
Where do we want our nation to go?  
Will God forsake us for our spiritual apathy?  
Our tolerance of immoral issues?


Pro Life Action League along with others are working hard to organize another Religious Freedom Rally all across our nation on June 8, 2012.  This time, they are trying to get our bishops to lead a procession in each city with the Blessed Sacrament.  I'm praying that the bishops will heed this call and join the priests, nuns and lay people in peaceful protests across our nation.

Last month, over 63,000 Americans gathered at rallies in 145 cities for a massive rally in protest of the HHS Mandate.  I went to the one in Chicago and it was reported to have over 2,500 people that showed up in the pouring rain!  God blessed us and stopped the downpour in time for the rally to start!  

Catholics and Christians need to vote with God's values in mind if we want to 
change the course of American History.  
We need to pray about it, ask for guidance from the Holy Spirit and act on it.  
Tell others about it.  
We can't keep it to ourselves and hope it'll just turn out alright.
We can't just ask Him yesterday for His Divine Mercy and then do nothing.  
God is calling us to action and vote!

Easter Blessings,
Noreen

Saturday, April 14, 2012

FREE BOOK - Father Ignatius Teaches


My latest book FATHER IGNATIUS TEACHES is now available for you to download FREE from HERE.

Please feel free to copy it and distribute it to your family and friends. Or tell others about it on your Blogs.

KINDLE Version is available HERE.

Thank you. God bless.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Easter - Lies and Realities


As we celebrate the Resurrection of Our Lord let us remember that this particular event gave rise to many speculations and rumours all those years ago, and indeed over the years since then.

Let’s consider the facts as we know them.

A man claiming to be the Son of God was crucified and died a most horrible death.

After His death, His followers claimed that He rose from the dead as He had said He would.

Now let’s look at the rumours and the conspiracy theories.

It is possible that Christ’s disciples and followers stole and hid the body of Jesus to perpetuate the story that He is the Son of God and that His Father raised Him from the dead.

But if that were the case; what benefit is there to them to disseminate this story knowing full well that it is a lie? Why suffer persecution, imprisonment, torture and death for something you know to be false? Would you do that?

The other theory is that the Jews, the Sadducees or Pharisees, removed the body in order to stop any beliefs that Christ is the Messiah, the Son of God.

But if that were the case; then why not produce the body once the disciples said that Jesus rose from the dead and invalidate the story of the Resurrection right from the start? Isn't that what one would expect in such circumstances?

Another hypothesis is that Christ never died at all. He just lost consciousness or was in a coma, and He woke up once again and walked out of the tomb.

But the Romans were very thorough people. They made sure that those crucified were indeed dead by breaking their legs whilst hanging there. They did not do so to Jesus because when they checked He was already dead. Even so, they did pierce His side with a spear just to make sure.

And then; there is of course the fact:

Christ died on the Cross and rose from the dead.
 There are times when a light turns on in your head and you see something clearly for the first time and understand something new you’d never realized before.

Father Ignatius was a studious type of person spending many hours reading the Bible as well as many books on theology, ancient history and similar subjects which would soon send any lesser head spinning widely.

One evening he retired to the room he called “my meditation corner” and after reciting the Rosary he started reading the Bible and cross-referencing certain passages with other books to better understand what God is teaching through His Word.

One passage in particular caught his interest. After Christ’s death and burial, we are told that Mary Magdalene visited the tomb and found the stone rolled away from the entrance. She ran to Simon Peter and the other disciple and told them what she had seen. Peter and the other disciple ran to the tomb. When Simon Peter got in and went inside he noticed the linen wrappings lying there, but the cloth that had covered Jesus’ head was folded and lying to the side.

There it was, in the Gospel of John Chapter 20 Verse 7.

Father Ignatius puzzled about this for a moment or two. He’d read that chapter many times and nothing specific occurred to him. But this time, as if a small voice buzzing in his head, he kept wondering the significance of what he had read.

“Why are we told that the cloth which covered Jesus’ head was folded and lying to the side? What’s so important about that?” Father Ignatius asked himself.

Yet somehow, John thought it important enough to mention it. Why?

Father Ignatius checked the other three Gospels but they did not mention this fact. “But why did John consider it so significant to point it out” he wondered silently.

After hours of searching other books and checking on ancient traditions he came upon something he’d never known before.

In ancient Hebrew tradition the folded napkin was symbolic between the master of the house and his servant.

When the servant set the dinner table he made sure that everything was perfectly set out as the master wished and then he would wait out of sight until the master finished eating.

The servant would not clear the table until the master had finished.

When the master finished his meal he would wipe his fingers and mouth with the napkin and then toss the napkin on the table.

The servant would then clear the table, because in those days a tossed napkin meant “I’ve finished.”

However … and this is the significant bit which Father Ignatius discovered for himself, if the master left the table but neatly folded the napkin and laid it beside his plate, the servant would not touch the table.

Because the folded napkin meant “I’m coming back!”

“He’s coming back …” mumbled Father Ignatius in wonderment.

That’s what John was trying to tell us in his Gospel.

More stories about Father Ignatius HERE.

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Easter


Best Wishes for a Blessed and Happy Easter

to all our readers and contributors

May God Bless you and your families always

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Quick Bytes #22: Not So Quick but Unbelievably Powerful

The following was written by Matthew Kelly in a book called Rediscovering Catholicism.  I posted it once on my blog, but wanted to share it with this group of readers because it is one of the most powerful analogies of what we are celebrating this week that I have ever read.   It is an easy read, so please share it.

Have a Blessed Triduum.

-------------------------------------------


You're driving home from work next Monday after a long day. You tune in your radio. You hear a blurb about a little village in India where some villagers have died suddenly, strangely, of a flu that has never been seen before. It's not influenza, but three or four people are dead, and it's kind of interesting, and they are sending some doctors over there to investigate it. You don't think much about it, but coming home from church on Sunday you hear another radio spot. Only they say it's not three villagers, it's 30,000 villagers in the back hills of this particular area of India, and it's on TV that night. CNN runs a little blurb: people are heading there from the disease center in Atlanta because this disease strain has never been seen before.

By Monday morning when you get up, it's the lead story. It's not just India; it's Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iran, and before you know it, you're hearing this story everywhere, and they have now coined it as "the mystery flu." The President has made some comment that he and his family are praying and hoping that all will go well over there. But everyone is wondering, "How are we going to contain it?"

That's when the President of France makes an announcement that shocks Europe. He is closing their borders. No flights from India, Pakistan, or any of the countries where this thing has been seen. And that's why that night you are watching a little bit of CNN before going to bed. Your jaw hits your chest when a weeping woman is translated in English from a French news program. There's a man lying in a hospital in Paris, dying of the mystery flu. It has come to Europe.

Panic strikes. As best they can tell, after contracting the disease, you have it for a week before you even know it. Then you have four days of unbelievable symptoms. And then you die. Britain closes its borders, but it's too late. South Hampton, Liverpool, North Hampton, and it's Tuesday morning when the President of the United States makes the following announcement: "Due to a national-security risk, all flights to and from Europe and Asia have been canceled. If your loved ones are overseas, I'm sorry. They cannot come back until we find a cure for this thing."


Within four days, our nation has been plunged into an unbelievable fear. People are wondering, "What if it comes to this country?" And preachers on Tuesday are saying it's the scourge of God. It's Wednesday night, and you are at a church prayer meeting when somebody runs in from the parking lot and yells, "Turn on a radio, turn on a radio!" And while everyone in church listens to a little transistor radio with a microphone stuck up to it, the announcement is made. Two women are lying, in a Long Island hospital, dying from the mystery flu. Within hours it seems, the disease envelopes the country.


People are working around the clock, trying to find an antidote. Nothing is working. California, Oregon, Arizona, Florida, Massachusetts. It's as though it's just sweeping in from the borders.


And then all of a sudden the news comes out. The code has been broken. A cure can be found. A vaccine can be made. It's going to take the blood of somebody who hasn't been infected, and so, sure enough, all through the Midwest, through all those channels of emergency broadcasting, everyone is asked to do one simple thing: Go to your downtown hospital and have your blood analyzed. That's all we ask of you. When you hear the sirens go off in your neighborhood, please make your way quickly, quietly, and safely to the hospitals.


Sure enough, when you and your family get down there late on that Friday night, there is a long line, and they've got nurses and doctors coming out and pricking fingers and taking blood and putting labels on it. Your spouse and your kids are out there, and they take your blood and say, "Wait here in the parking lot, and if we call your name, you can be dismissed and go home." You stand around, scared, with your neighbors, wondering what on earth is going on, and if this is the end of the world.


Suddenly, a young man comes running out of the hospital screaming. He's yelling a name and waving a clipboard. What? He yells it again! And your son tugs on your jacket and says, "Daddy, that's me." Before you know it, they have grabbed your boy. "Wait a minute. Hold on!" And they say, "It's okay, his blood is clean. His blood is pure. We want to make sure he doesn't have the disease. We think he has the right blood type."

Five tense minutes later, out come the doctors and nurses crying and hugging one another-some are even laughing. It's the first time you have seen anybody laugh in a week, and an old doctor walks up to you and says, "Thank you, sir. Your son's blood is perfect. It's clean, it is pure, and we can make the vaccine."

You begin to sign, and then you see that the box for the number of pints of blood to be taken is empty. "H-h-h-how many pints?" And that is when the old doctor's smile fades, and he says, "We had no idea it would be a little child. We weren't prepared. We need it all!"




"We are talking about the whole world here. Please sign. We...we...need to hurry!"

"But can't you give him a transfusion?" 

"If we had clean blood we would. Please, will you please sign?" 

In numb silence you do. Then they say, "Would you like to have a moment with him before we begin?"

Could you walk back? Could you walk back to that room where he sits on a table saying, "Daddy? Mommy? What's going on?" Could you take his hands and say, "Son, your mommy and I love you, and we would never, ever let anything happen to you that didn't just have to be! Do you understand that?" And when that old doctor comes back in and says, "I'm sorry, we've got to get started. People all over the world are dying," could you leave? Could you walk out while he is saying, "Dad? Mom? Dad? Why...why have you abandoned me?"

And then next week, when they have the ceremony to honor your son, and some folks sleep through it, and some folks don't even bother to come because they have better things to do, and some folks come with a pretentious smile and just pretend to care, would you want to jump up and say, "EXCUSE ME! MY SON DIED FOR YOU! DON'T YOU EVEN CARE? DOES IT MEAN NOTHING TO YOU?"

I wonder, is that what God wants to say? "MY SON DIED FOR YOU! DOES IT MEAN NOTHING? DON'T YOU KNOW HOW MUCH I CARE?"

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Mary's Tears

Victor kindly suggested that I offer this post from my blog of March 1, 2010 for Holy Week on this blog. The post was titled "Mary's Tears."

I really wanted the image at the end of this post but was unable to figure out how to do it. Also, it should be bigger, but when I dragged the corners, the print blurred, so I hope older readers don't have to get a magnifying glass to read it.
The last few days I've been working on this art piece in my digital art program. It's my first try at this kind of look and seemed like a good Lenten project.
Late last November we had rain and, looking out the window, I saw how beautiful the raindrops were on the nandina bushes. The sight made me think of Mary's tears at the cross, so I took my small digital camera out and snapped a few shots. Finding an area on one that I liked, I cropped it and painted the image. Then through other digital machinations I finished the image, wrote the poem and voila!

Monday, April 2, 2012

Three Reasons I Love Holy Week

1. The Triduum
Need I say more? These 3 days - Holy Thursday, Good Friday & Holy Saturday - are the 3 most important days of the church year. Through liturgy, we experience the death and resurrection of Jesus. Inspiring, holy, moving. Words are not enough. They are the highlight of my year.
2. Holy Week is, well, holy.

This week is special. This week is important. It is not business as usual. Holy Week brings my prayer life, my relationship with God, more front and center. My prayers are different. My priorities are different. It is Holy Week.
3. The end of Lent and the beginning of Easter.
Holy Week is the time I look back at Lent and I look at my life and check out my heart. Did I grow during Lent? Did I follow my initial plan for Lent? Did my prayer life change? Did my prayer life grow? Did I now remember to put God first in my life? Did I love my neighbor?
May you all have a blessed Holy Week.
first posted on my blog 4/5/09

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Why no one asked Jesus.

Father Ignatius tried something new with his congregation. He suggested they held an “Any Questions” meeting whereby members of the audience would ask him and Father Donald any question, totally unprepared and unscripted, and they would try to answer it.

It was the first such event held at the church center and that evening in question was well attended. About fifty people turned up, which by all standards was a good attendance on a cold winter evening. Some volunteers had prepared hot chocolate and tea and plenty of cakes had been brought in and enjoyed before the meeting started.

At first the questions were somewhat tentative and easily dealt with by either priest, mainly relating to the running of the church, Mass times in winter, and the diminishing amount received in Sunday collections.

But then a young lady stood up and asked the top table: “May I read something before I ask my question?

“While Jesus was eating, a woman came in with an ababaster jar full of very expensive perfume made from pure nard. She broke the jar and poured the perfume on Jesus’ head. Some of the people there became angry and said to one another, ‘What was the use of wasting the perfume? It could have been sold for more than three hundred silver coins and the money given to the poor!’ And they criticized her harshly.

But Jesus said, ‘Leave her alone! Why are you bothering her? She has done a fine and beautiful thing for me. You will always have poor people with you, and any time you want to, you can help them. But you will not always have me.’

“This is from Mark 14 3-7,” she concluded.

“My question to you Fathers is ‘Why?’” she then asked hesitantly.

“Why what?” asked Father Donald in his broad Glaswegian accent.

“Why did Jesus say ‘You will always have poor people with you?’”

Before either priest could answer a man at the front said; “Good point … Is Jesus saying poverty will be with us always? Is He saying that all our efforts to help the poor are in vain?”

“Might as well not bother,” mumbled another man sitting beside him.

The two priests looked at each other. Father Ignatius cleaned his glasses slowly and said nothing at first.

“Of course we should bother …” declared Father Donald, “it is our duty to help the poor. Jesus was making the point that He would soon be Crucified and gone from the people, whereas the poor will always be with us. Don’t you agree Ignatius?”

“Well …” replied Father Ignatius slowly, “two thousand years later and we still have poverty in this world. So Christ was not far wrong with what He said.

“But let us look at what Jesus said in a wider context.

“Could He perhaps be talking about something more than just material poverty?

“Is He maybe reminding us that there will always be someone worse off than us? Someone who is poor in material things, someone poor in spirit, poor in health, poor in education or even poor in Faith. This may be miss-interpreting Him perhaps but still worth considering.

“We all have a responsibility towards those in poverty in one way or another. No matter how their poverty manifests itself.

“We should always readily recognize our blessings and share them with those less well off than us.

“If we are fortunate to be financially rich, we should give to those who have not.

“If we are in good health, we should help those who are sick. Visit them at home or in hospital, and give a hand when needed.

“If we are clever or intelligent we should be more tolerant towards those not as bright as us and help educate them where we can.

“And if our Faith is strong, we should help and pray for those who falter and fail in their walk with the Lord.”

“Wow … I never saw it this way …” commented the original questioner.

“We’ve all been given some talent or other” added Father Donald, “and we should use them for the benefit of others.”

“So I suppose Jesus could be referring to poverty in the wider sense, as well as physical poverty of course,” continued Father Ignatius, “and such poverty, whatever it may be, will continue with us as a permanent reminder of our responsibilities towards others as well as towards God Himself.

“Our talents are to be used for His glory to help others”

“Talking of talents,” interjected Father Donald, “may I remind you that if any of you has a talent for singing do not confine it to singing in the bath. The choir is always looking for new singers so come along to rehearsals.”

“As long as you don’t bring your bath with you,” chuckled Father Ignatius.

More Father Ignatius stories HERE.