19 Mar 2018

Murders, Life and Death

Mass murder at a Florida high school is in the news again.

Someone has been accused of killing 17 students and staff on February 14, 2018. He's being tried and may be executed.

I'll be talking about him, one of the dead students and why I think human life matters. All human life....

More at A Catholic Citizen in America.

Feast of Saint Joseph, A Man of Many Virtues

Today is the feast day of one of my favorite saints – Saint Joseph. I claim him as one of my favorites, because he was such a virtuous man; a man for anyone to emulate.

Saint Joseph, A Man of Patience

Saint Joseph exhibited patience, a virtue that seems to elude me! With patience, he quietly persevered through many trials and tribulations. For example, he didn’t seem to get flustered, or annoyed, when told to quickly take Jesus and Mary to Egypt, and to remain there for several years, before returning to his homeland. No, he patiently waited for the sign that it was safe to return.

A Man of Humility, Simplicity and Obedience

Saint Joseph, known for his humility, always placed the needs of Jesus and Mary ahead of his own. In his humility, he... Read more...

17 Mar 2018

Catholic Authors: Pray, Listen, Then Write

Some Catholic authors write as if they belong to a Church Beleaguered, not the Church Triumphant.  Articles tend to be either defensive or angry attacks against adversaries.  Many religious writers retreat, focusing only on like-minded souls, writing for a small, mutual admiration society. The rest are tempted to quit when it seems like the world is wearing a spiritual blindfold. In an online conversation with me, Victor S. E. Moubarak articulated the dilemma of Christian writers today:
Many Christian are busily writing their blogs daily wondering who is visiting them, or whether their efforts are having any effect on anyone. We all write for different reasons.  Some genuinely want to put some positives out there in a negative and dark internet full of bile and cynicism. Others write for pure vanity. Whilst others wonder whether to bother to continue writing or whether they should just give it up. The latter would be a pity because it would turn off yet another of the little lights of hope that shine in a dark internet that mirrors today’s secular society. (To read Victor’s books and blog click here.)
continue reading 

16 Mar 2018

Miami Bridge Collapse

My wife noted that yesterday's bridge collapse near Miami, Florida was "horrible." I think she's right.

What is certain at this point, Friday afternoon, a bit over 24 hours after the incident, is that a structure collapsed and people died.

Others were injured, but are still alive....

More at A Catholic Citizen in America.

'Sir, we wish to see Jesus.' Sunday Reflections, Fifth Sunday of Lent, Year B

Sheaves of Wheat, Van Gogh [Web Gallery of Art]

Very truly, I tell you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains just a single grain; but if it dies, it bears much fruit (John 12:24).

Readings (New American Bible: Philippines, USA)
Readings (Jerusalem Bible: Australia, England & Wales, India, Ireland, New Zealand, Pakistan, Scotland, South Africa)
Gospel John 12:20-33 (NRSV, Anglicised Catholic Edition)

Now among those who went up to worship at the festival were some Greeks. They came to Philip, who was from Bethsaida in Galilee, and said to him, ‘Sir, we wish to see Jesus.’ Philip went and told Andrew; then Andrew and Philip went and told Jesus. Jesus answered them, ‘The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified. Very truly, I tell you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains just a single grain; but if it dies, it bears much fruit. Those who love their life lose it, and those who hate their life in this world will keep it for eternal life. Whoever serves me must follow me, and where I am, there will my servant be also. Whoever serves me, the Father will honour.

‘Now my soul is troubled. And what should I say—“Father, save me from this hour”? No, it is for this reason that I have come to this hour. Father, glorify your name.’ Then a voice came from heaven, ‘I have glorified it, and I will glorify it again.’ The crowd standing there heard it and said that it was thunder. Others said, ‘An angel has spoken to him.’ Jesus answered, ‘This voice has come for your sake, not for mine. Now is the judgement of this world; now the ruler of this world will be driven out. And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself.’ He said this to indicate the kind of death he was to die.

The readings for Year A may be used instead of those above.

Christ in Agony on the Cross, El Greco [Web Gallery of Art]
And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself (John 12:32).

Sir, we wish to see Jesus. This was the request of some Greek pilgrims to Jerusalem who spoke to Philip. Jesus when told of this said to Philip and Andrew, Very truly, I tell you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains just a single grain; but if it dies, it bears much fruit. Those who love their life lose it, and those who hate their life in this world will keep it for eternal life. Whoever serves me must follow me, and where I am, there will my servant be also. Presumably, these words were conveyed to the Greeks by the two apostles or perhaps repeated to them by Jesus himself.

Continue here.

Coming: Robots

The Texas University robot football squad probably won't go pro, replacing the Dallas Cowboys or Houston Texans.

They're too small, for starters.

But they're helping researchers develop robot office assistants. Smart ones. Maybe as effective as today's human office gofers.

I'll be looking at robots, humanoid and otherwise; tech and attitudes; what I see coming, and why I think we'll deal with whatever happens.

More at A Catholic Citizen in America.

15 Mar 2018

From Selfishness to Selflessness

If I have told you this story before, no matter, I want to tell it again. It  was such a great help to me in my own spiritual life, that I am hoping that it might be of help to you too. During a series of talks that I gave to Cistercian monks in the Cameroon, I was able to spend many hours with the holiest man I have ever met. He was in his eighties and I learned far more from him than his fellow monks learnt from me. He told me how for many years he had been in spiritual darkness where many times over he questioned the faith that led him to the monastery where he was called upon to guide others.

Then, one day he became ill and was admitted to the monastery hospital where he received Holy Communion each day. On three distinct occasions, just as he was about to receive communion, he heard these words, “Only you have been keeping me out.” He insisted that he did not hear them in his head, or through some sort of inner revelation, but, “Out loud, and as loud and as clearly as you have been speaking to us during your talks.” Simultaneously he found himself immersed in the love of God in such a way that he became continually caught up in what he could only describe as a weak ecstasy.   read on.....

14 Mar 2018

A Wrinkle in Time is More Flash than Substance

I’ve never read Madeleine L’Engle’s fantasy classic novel. And I only knew very vaguely what it was about, until I googled its plot before watching the movie. So, I’m not at all of the camp that is up in arms with this new film adaptation because it’s too “different” from the book.

I went in with no prejudice at all in that respect. I think my only strikes against it before viewing were knowing it had a fairly low Rotten Tomatoes score, and well, Oprah. But I figured I was probably in for an hour and fifty minutes of visually appealing special effects, if nothing else.

Well, after having seen it, I wouldn’t go so far as to say nothing else, but maybe disappointingly little else... Continue Reading

Do You Hear the Voice of God? Boom or Whisper?

Do you hear the voice of God speaking to you? Sometimes it may come as an inner feeling of peace. Other times it may come to you through the voice of a trusted spouse, or friend. And then there are those times when you might read a piece of Scripture, and in your heart, you know that God is directing you to do something. In today’s Gospel from John 5:17-30, we read,

Amen, amen, I say to you, whoever hears my word and believes in the one who sent me has eternal life, and will not come to condemnation, but has passed from death to life. (John 5:24).
This passage affirms for me that my belief in Christ, and His salvific action of dying on the Cross and rising from the dead, will one day lead me to spending eternity with the Blessed Trinity. Some days, when doubt creeps in, I need to hear this message.

How do you hear the voice of God?

For me, one day, God spoke directly to me through... Read more...

Spending Time Wisely: Priorities Parable

This week my parish St. Dominic offered this parable on its weekly email. I had heard it before, love the irony in it, and thought it worth repeating.  I can imagine Jesus smiling at it— our Teacher who warned against building larger barns to store more and more crops and who suggested garnering treasure in heaven. Perhaps this Lent you might "profit" from reading the following story, too.
An American investment banker was at the pier of a small coastal Mexican village when a small boat with just one fisherman docked.  Inside the small boat were several large yellowfin tuna.  The American complimented the fisherman on the quality of his fish and asked how long it took to catch them.
The fisherman replied, "Only a little while."
The American then asked why didn't he stay out longer and catch more fish? Click to continue

13 Mar 2018

Week of Prayer for persons with dementia, 12 - 19 March 2018

Painting owned by Pastoral Care Project
Pastoral Care Project © Charity No. 1094766.  All rights reserved.

There is more on this painting by Sr Annie Bromhan IBVM along with reflections on the Pastoral Care Project website here.

This is an edited version of a post published on 13 March 2013. May I ask anyone who reads this to check out the website of Pastoral Care Project. This wonderful ecumenical ministry, initiated by Mrs Frances Molloy in the Archdiocese of Birmingham, England, focuses on the spiritual needs of persons with dementia.

This is the tenth annual Dementia Prayer Week initiated by Pastoral Care Project.

Long ago I used to be a young man
and dear Margaret remembers that for me.

The Dutchman is a song written by Michael Peter Smith in 1968. It's about an elderly couple living in Amsterdam, Margaret and the title character. The unnamed Dutchman has dementia and Margaret cares for him with a sadness over what has happened to him over the years. It's a story of unconditional love.

Continue here.

12 Mar 2018

Sacred Silence of Adoration; A Heartfelt Experience

Earlier this month, we had a special evening of Adoration at my Church. We wanted to share this event with those coming into full communion with the Catholic Church at our Easter Vigil. It was a splendid evening, starting with the Stations of the Cross, then the exposition of the Blessed Sacrament. The period of Adoration was accompanied by praiseworthy music, a meditation from St. Teresa of Calcutta and sacred silence. During the time of sacred silence, we were encouraged to approach Jesus and touch the Monstrance. I had never touched the Monstrance during a period of Adoration ever! Let me tell you, it was an overwhelming experience. I couldn’t hold the tears back! The love for Jesus, felt at that moment, cannot be put into words. It was an awesome hour of Adoration, concluding with Benediction. Read more...

11 Mar 2018

Choosing Light or Darkness

I will live forever. Whether that's good news or bad news is up to me.

I'd say 'it depends on me,' but that's not quite true. What I decide and do matters. But having an unending life in God's presence isn't something I achieve.

Today's Gospel reading, John 3:14-21, got me started. That's part of our Lord's conversation with Nicodemus. The fourth Sunday of Lent scrutinies Gospel for this year, John 9:1-41, is the "a man blind from birth" account. It's got a similar theme.

I'll be talking about believing, doing and sinning. That last may need explaining....

More at A Catholic Citizen in America.


9 Mar 2018

Entrusting My Fertility to God

I did not plan on having a large family; I had never even held a baby before our firstborn. I had moved east with Michael after our first baby was born, which cut me off from daily contact with friends and family. Although I enjoyed living in the country, raising our own vegetables and later even all our own meat, it was an isolated existence. I felt like Ruth in a foreign land but without family support because Michael’s mother was busy with a huge extended family. In addition, my husband struggled with depression. Worldly opinion screamed we should not have any more children.
The question we had struggled with for years was,“How could we remain faithful to Church teaching when Natural Family Planning did not seem to work for us?”

Columban Fr Michael McCarthy RIP

Fr Michael McCarthy
(28 October 1939 - 5 March 2018)

Fr Michael McCarthy was born on 28 October 1939 in Bealnadeega, County Kerry, Ireland, and attended Meentogues National School before going to St Brendan's College, Killarney, and joined the Columbans from there in 1958. 

St Mary's Cathedral, Killarney [Wikipedia]

Ordained in 1964, he was appointed to Korea and after language studies was stationed in the southern Diocese of Gwangju. Within a short time he became diocesan chaplain to the Young Christian Workers (YCW). It was the beginning of a life-long involvement with people on the margins of society.

Heuksando Island [Wikipedia]

Before a home vacation in 1970 Father Michael moved from the city to the island parish of Heuksando, eight hours out into the Yellow Sea. So by the time he took charge of his first parish in Sadangdong, Seoul, in 1975 he was well acquainted with Korea, its culture and language as well as the skills required for ministry there at an anxious time. These were years of agitation and political strife as the Church responded to the needs of the workers and the poor in the expanding urban areas.

Continue here.

'For we are what he has made us, created in Christ Jesus for good works . . .' Sunday Reflections, 4th Sunday of Lent, Year B

From The Gospel of John (2003) directed by Philip Saville
[Today's Gospel ends at 3:10]

Readings (New American Bible: Philippines, USA)

Readings (Jerusalem Bible: Australia, England & Wales, India [optional], Ireland, New Zealand, Pakistan, Scotland, South Africa)

Gospel John 3:14-21 (New Revised Standard Version, Anglicised Catholic Edition)

Jesus said to Nicodemus:

Just as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of Man be lifted up, that whoever believes in him may have eternal life.
‘For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life.
‘Indeed, God did not send the Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. Those who believe in him are not condemned; but those who do not believe are condemned already, because they have not believed in the name of the only Son of God. And this is the judgement, that the light has come into the world, and people loved darkness rather than light because their deeds were evil. For all who do evil hate the light and do not come to the light, so that their deeds may not be exposed. But those who do what is true come to the light, so that it may be clearly seen that their deeds have been done in God.’

The readings for Year A may be used instead of those above.
Nicodemus, Unknown Flemish Master [Web Gallery of Art]

The Pharisees generally have a bad name and the adjective 'pharisaical' is defined in Merriam-Webster as marked by hypocritical censorious self-righteousness. Those words could certainly describe most of the Pharisees we meet in the gospels. But they do not apply to Nicodemus. He was patently a good man who said to Jesus when he met him at night, Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher who has come from God; for no one can do these signs that you do apart from the presence of God (John 3:2). He was also with Jesus at the end helping to prepare for the burial. Nicodemus, who had at first come to Jesus by night, also came, bringing a mixture of myrrh and aloes, weighing about a hundred pounds (John 19:39).

Continue here.

Early Birds, Unisex Fish

We still don't know exactly how birds got their wings. Literally and figuratively. But we're learning more about when and how they started.

Scientists in Europe and China found fossils of birds that lived roughly 120,000,000 years ago.

Other scientists found genes with some 'feather' instructions in alligators. That's old news. What's new is that one team coaxed alligator embryo scales into growing as something like very simple feathers. Part of a simple feather, anyway.

I'll be talking about those birds, alligator feathers, and why discovering something new doesn't upset me. Also a chimp, the French Revolution something Benjamin Franklin said and evolution....

More at A Catholic Citizen in America.

8 Mar 2018

7 Mar 2018

Back to Basics: The Importance of Silence

I will never forget the day Andrew “shh-ed” everyone in Church.  He was four or five-years-old at the time and we were still living in Ohio. We had come back to New Jersey for a visit and were in Church for a First Holy Communion.

While waiting for Mass to begin, a lot of people, including some family members behind us, were talking. Hearing the chatter, a person would think that there was a party going on, rather than a Church service about to begin. All of a sudden, Andrew stands up, turns around, and says, ...CONTINUE READING...

The Agony of His Heart in the Garden of Gethsemane (First Station)

By: Laura Durant
The reflection below uses the first station of Scriptural Stations of the Cross proposed by Saint Pope John Paul II, which he based solely on the events recorded in the gospels. The Scriptural Stations are an alternative to the traditional stations and serve as opportunity to reflect more deeply on the Scriptural accounts of the Passion of Jesus Christ.
Then Jesus came with them to a place called Gethsemane, and he said to his disciples, “Sit here while I go over there and pray.” He took along Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, and began to feel sorrow and distress. Then he said to them, “My soul is sorrowful even to death. Remain here and keep watch with me.” He advanced a little and fell prostrate in prayer, saying, “My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from me; yet, not as I will, but as you will.” When he returned to his disciples he found them asleep. He said to Peter, “So you could not keep watch with me for one hour? Watch and pray that you may not undergo the test. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.” (Matthew 26:36-41)
Jesus, as you knelt before your Father in the garden, I know Your Heart was filled with agony and pain. You knew what was to come and the excruciating pain You must suffer. But more than that, Your Heart suffered the agony of knowing Your children whom You loved so much would reject You, condemn You, torture You and crucify You. You had given Your whole life to show them the Way of Love, the Way of Healing, the Way of Mercy, and now, You would show them the Way of the Cross.

The pain Your Heart suffered also was knowing even after the victory You would have over death, You would still be rejected, even in this very day, this very hour...
Read More

What Demons, AKA Vice, Do You Need Driven Out?

We hear from St Luke in the Gospel reading today (Luke 11:14-23) where Jesus is casting out demons with divine authority. Fast forward 2,000+ years. Jesus continues to cast out demons in our lives; those demons we call vice. What vices do you need driven out from your life? Is it one of the seven deadly sins?

Do you suffer from unresolved anger that bubbles to the surface in a moment’s notice? Or perhaps you envy the nice things/attributes possessed by others? Let’s not forget greed and gluttony; an overzealous desire for money, power, fame or food/drink. Maybe your “demons” are more sexually oriented, due to lust. Perhaps you just don’t give a darn about anything because you suffer from sloth. And then there is pride – the root of all evil – deemed the deadliest of the seven deadly sins. With pride, we exhibit a lack of humility, thinking we can handle everything on our own. Well, that’s a surefire sign of pride.

Driving Out Demons

We may suffer from some, or all, of these vices, but we are not lost because of them. No, we have hope in the saving grace of Christ. He shows us... Read more...

The Eucharist: An Everyday Miracle

On Saturday I spoke at my community's Solemn Eucharistic Adoration for five minutes. I thought I would get more mileage out of the talk and use it for my post this week!  I hope you find it inspiring. . . .

At one of our schools, a teacher was taking her little ones to chapel. As they passed classrooms, the teacher said, “Children be very quiet, so quiet that no one knows we are coming, not even Jesus.” As the children filed into chapel, suddenly one little girl called out, “Surprise!” She knew Jesus was there.
Pagans worshiped gods of stone and wood, and we wonder how they could do that. Well, some people wonder how we Catholics can worship bread and wine! Because are blessed with the gift of faith. We believe that Jesus is really, truly present physically, sublimely in the Eucharist. We call this miracle the Real Presence. It is real, not fake news. When Jesus says, “This is my body. This is my blood,” we take his word for it. A Protestant woman once remarked, “If I believed what you believe, I would go down the aisle of church on my knees.” Author Annie Dilliard observed that we should all be wearing crash helmets to church. But for us, who experience the Eucharist every week or even every day, it is easy to take this miracle for granted. We get used to it and forget how stupendous it is. We are like the two disciples on the road to Emmaus. Jesus was walking right alongside them, but they didn’t realize it. Today let’s deepen our awareness of the Real Presence, of Jesus who accompanies us on our journey. Let's rejuvenate our Eucharistic amazement. Click to continue

5 Mar 2018

Reflections of a Mother After Spending Hours Locked in a Chicken Coop

I have always heard the mother is the heart of the family, especially a stay-at-home mother with a crew of kids, who also helps with a hobby farm. So why was I not missed when I spent hours locked in the chicken coop?
You must first understand that even if this was a subconscious belief, I behaved as if a mother was the most important member of the family. It took a drastic experience to shake me out of my arrogance.
God has a sense of humour and will use any and all experiences to teach us. continue reading

Molly McBride and the Party Invitation – Book Review

Molly McBride is back! I was so excited to see Molly McBride and the Party Invitation, by Jean Schoonover-Egolf hit the shelves. This is Egolf’s third installment, in the Molly McBride series. I’m a big fan of Molly McBride, as I love her spunky attitude. I’ve enjoyed reading all three books, courtesy of Egolf. You can read my review of the first two books here.

Molly McBride and the Party Invitation

Now, let’s talk about Molly McBride and the Party Invitation. In this installment, Molly’s birthday is about to occur, and of course, we must have a party! Yet, Momma says that ALL of Molly’s classmates MUST be invited to the party. That includes that mean boy, named Sam. If Sam comes to the party, he’ll ruin it! What is Molly to do? How can she have a great party, AND make sure that Sam doesn’t come?

What ensues is a tale of...

4 Mar 2018

Being Evangelical

I'm a Christian. I take my faith seriously. That's why I think part of my job is evangelizing. Which doesn't necessarily mean I'm an evangelist.

For some folks, an evangelist is someone like Saints Mark, Luke and John. "The Evangelist" often gets added to their name. Saint Matthew is an evangelist, too. So are Saints like Augustine of Hippo, Francis of Assisi, Francis Xavier and Thérèse of Lisieux.1

"Evangelist" has quite a few meanings. Merriam-Webster says it's a Protestant minister or someone who enthusiastically advocates something. Oxforddictionaries.com adds "...the writer of one of the four Gospels...."

I don't know about the 'enthusiastic' part, but I think sharing what I believe is a good idea.

More at A Catholic Citizen in America.


3 Mar 2018

A tribute to Tony Agnesi and his book - 'A Story Tellers Guide to a Grace-Filled Life'

 A Story Tellers Guide to a Grace-Filled Life
Tony Agnesi is a successful broadcast executive and  radio host from the state of Ohio in the USA. He gives generously of his free time to working with prisoners, the homeless and to anyone in need of the compassion and empathy that are the hallmarks of this remarkable man. His wife, Diane, shares his commitment to Christian ministry, serving on the board of the local pregnancy centre and  being involved in Eucharistic Adoration every week for over 25 years.    read on.....

'I want my life, my character, my actions to speak of me and say that I am following Jesus Christ.' Sunday Reflections, 3rd Sunday of Lent, Year B

Year B

Christ Driving the Money-changers from the Temple 
Rembrandt [Web Gallery of Art]

Readings (New American Bible: Philippines, USA)

Readings (Jerusalem Bible: Australia, England & Wales, India [optional], Ireland, New Zealand, Pakistan, Scotland, South Africa)

Gospel John 2:13-25 (New Revised Standard Version, Anglicised Catholic Edition)

The Passover of the Jews was near, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem. In the temple he found people selling cattle, sheep, and doves, and the money-changers seated at their tables. Making a whip of cords, he drove all of them out of the temple, both the sheep and the cattle. He also poured out the coins of the money-changers and overturned their tables. He told those who were selling the doves, ‘Take these things out of here! Stop making my Father’s house a market-place!’ His disciples remembered that it was written, ‘Zeal for your house will consume me.’ The Jews then said to him, ‘What sign can you show us for doing this?’ Jesus answered them, ‘Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.’ The Jews then said, ‘This temple has been under construction for forty-six years, and will you raise it up in three days?’ But he was speaking of the temple of his body. After he was raised from the dead, his disciples remembered that he had said this; and they believed the scripture and the word that Jesus had spoken.
When he was in Jerusalem during the Passover festival, many believed in his name because they saw the signs that he was doing. But Jesus on his part would not entrust himself to them, because he knew all people and needed no one to testify about anyone; for he himself knew what was in everyone.

The readings for Year A may be used instead of those above.

Bus Éireann buses [Wikipedia]

Last Sunday afternoon I took the Bus Éireann bus from Dublin Airport to St Columban's, Dalgan Park, where I'm living, a journey of about one hour and twenty minutes. As I was getting off I told the driver that I love travelling by bus because I see so many acts of kindness and humanity and that he himself was a good example of that. Almost everyone in Ireland says 'Thank you' to the driver as they get off, an act of kindness and gratitude, but I could see that the driver I spoke to was surprised and delighted at my compliment.

Continue here.

2 Mar 2018

My Experience with Cerebral Palsy

Living with Cerebral Palsy

March is National Cerebral Palsy Awareness Month. This is dear to my heart because I have Cerebral Palsy. So, in spirit of the increasing awareness, I thought I would share what Cerebral Palsy is and how it has affected me. (A post I published last year). ...CONTINUE READING...

Art, Evolution and Aquinas

Someone left stenciled handprints on Maltravieso Cave wall. Quite a few 'someones,' apparently.

Marking a wall can leave adolescent graffiti or murals like Orozco's "Omnisciencia."

I think it's a very "human" thing to do. So do scientists. That's why most figured the folks who made cave paintings were like us: Homo Sapiens. That may be so, but it's not what a new analysis shows.

If those stencils are as old as the research says they are, we're going to be reevaluating what "human" means. That got me thinking about art, being human, and a new species of bird that really is new. They didn't exist until a few decades back.

More at A Catholic Citizen in America.

28 Feb 2018

5 Reasons Almsgiving is Important

Image by niekverlaan (2014) via Pixabay, CCO Public Domain

With Lent comes an emphasis on prayer, fasting and almsgiving. The rice bowls or other ministry containers come home and we are reminded to take the money we save from fasting and give to the poor. Some people take this seriously and some people don’t. However, almsgiving is an important part of Lent ...CONTINUE READING...

The Battle Against Yourself, by Greg J. Vogt - Book Review

The Battle Against Yourself is a gripping real-life story from Greg J. Vogt. In Vogt’s debut novel, a memoir, he takes us from despair to hope, from sadness to happiness. He tells us of his battle with depression and attempts at suicide. It started in high school; with what many might overlook as typical teen angst. Yet, if we were to peel away at the layers of the onion, so to speak, we would see that Greg’s depression, at its root, stemmed from an internal feeling of lack of control, coupled with external factors/occurrences that sent him “off the deep-end.” Greg Vogt artfully articulates his internal loneliness, his low self-esteem and feelings of worthlessness, brought on by those eternal factors that exasperated his situation.

Rather Than Battle Against Yourself, Take Control

I found Vogt’s story extremely compelling, authentic and well written. He doesn’t sugar-coat the harshness of reality; nor does he gloss over trivialities. His story is down-to-earth, and uplifting at the same time. The subtitle of the book says it all: Take Control, or Be Your Own Worst Enemy. His advice is... Read more...

Heart to Heart with Mary Review, Thanks to a Friend

Sister Margaret Kerry reviews Heart to Heart with Mary, a daily devotional that makes excellent Lenten reading.  You can purchase this book for $12.00 by emailing the author at kglavich@ndec.org. If you like the book, kindly please place a sentence or two review of it on Amazon.  Click to continue

27 Feb 2018

Am I Writing Like a Worker Ant or a Child of God?

The secular world desperately needs to hear the perspective of Catholics on pressing issues, especially on the sanctity of human life. However, most religious authors write in a small niche, read mainly by fellow Catholics and perhaps a few other critics we would secretly love to block. An amusing analogy came to me the other day which clarifies this dilemma.
Consider the life of an ant, not a queen ant, a worker ant.

26 Feb 2018

Seeking Mercy This Lenten Season

For approximately one year, I have been reading the Diary of Saint Faustina. It started out as a Lenten practice to learn more about Christ’s mercy. Usually, I can read a book within a few days. However, in this instance, it’s taking me quite a long time to work my way through this book. It is so jam-packed with information concerning Christ’s mercy. I read a few pages, at a time, on Mondays, when I attend Adoration. Then I reflect on what Saint Faustina is trying to convey regarding how Christ’s mercy works, and why we should all be seeking mercy.

Seeking Mercy – A Few Tips as to Why We Should

From what I have read to date, here is what I want to share with you:

  1. Christ’s mercy is readily accessible to everyone willing to seek it from Our Lord.
  2. Jesus wants... Read more... 


25 Feb 2018

Training time for the spiritual triathlon of Lent. (Spanish) Ponerse en forma para el Maratón de Cuaresma

 Image result for camino al cielo
En esta temporada de Cuaresma, nuestro Maestro inicia un camino en ascenso y con alto grado de dificultad. No es fácil porque implica mucho esfuerzo y preparación. Pero Él está dispuesto a todo con tal de enseñarnos cuál es la manera de obtener el triunfo. Si están de acuerdo, y quieren triunfar también, preparémonos para seguirlo. Y como seguirlo no es fácil, ¡hay que ponerse en forma! Intentaremos aprender de Él: seremos sus discípulos.
¡¿Y qué es ser un discípulo?! Es ser aprendiz y alumno destacado del Maestro. Para esto es necesario conocerlo e imitarlo. Iniciemos pues como discípulos, con Jesús el Maestro, el ascenso. La Cuaresma es el camino hacia la Pascua.
Image result for camino al cielo(Y por cierto, ¿has oído hablar de Cristo? ¿Lo conoces? O naciste “creyente” por cultura familiar. Porque sólo una verdadera conversión personal nos hace discípulos. Y la Cuaresma es el tiempo por excelencia para convertirnos.)
Pensemos como atletas. Ellos necesitan una rutina, una alimentación, un entrenamiento constante, un deshacerse de malos hábitos, un trabajo de análisis personal para conocer sus cualidades y defectos, una fuerza de voluntad y una constancia que requiere mucha disciplina y esfuerzo. También necesitan ir dejando en su entrenamiento muchas cosas que les gustan, pero que les hace más pesado el llegar a la meta deseada. Comen ligero y soportan los sufrimientos y sacrificios que sean necesarios con tal de llegar a la cima. Y saben transmitir sus conocimientos a sus compañeros de equipo, sus contemporáneos. Además, necesitan tener plena confianza en su entrenador y maestro.

God, Love and Clouds

Today's Gospel, Mark 9:2 through 10, describes the Transfiguration. I'll be talking about that. Partly. Also Peter, perceptions, and laundry detergent.

It seems like a better idea than getting upset that not everybody calls the second Sunday in Lent "Transfiguration Sunday."

Or that some folks read this part of the Gospel on a different Sunday. Or that we had a different second Sunday Gospel reading last year. Or that our Feast of the Transfiguration is August 6 this year. And is a Monday.

Occasions for angst abound. I'd rather look at what today's Gospel says and what's been said about it. Then think for a bit and see what happens.

More at A Catholic Citizen in America.

23 Feb 2018

Oxygen, Alien Life

We haven't found extraterrestrial life. But we're still finding planets circling other stars. Thousands of them.

Some of those planets couldn't possibly support life as we know it. But some might.

Atomic oxygen may be a good biosignature: evidence of life. That's what some scientists said in a recent paper. If they're right, we may be a step closer to finding life in this universe.

More at A Catholic Citizen in America.

22 Feb 2018

Murders, Life and Death

Mass murder at a Florida high school is in the news again. Someone has been accused of killing 17 students and staff on February 14, 2018....