15 Jan 2018

Martin Luther King Jr., A Man of Peace and Many More Virtues


Today, in the United States, we celebrate the birthday of Martin Luther King Jr. He was a loving father, and husband. Yet, most of us know of him as an influential preacher within the evangelical movement; a solider for Christ. King was a fighter for the underdog, as a Civil Rights leader of the 1960’s. He took Christ’s message to the streets, leading non-violent marches, seeking equality for all. This man truly understood what it meant to work for the common good of all. Today it seems that our leaders would rather work for the benefit of the elite, or few.

Who espouses the qualities of Martin Luther King Jr.  today?


I’m glad that we are remembering this man’s contributions to our society today, for I fear that his message of equality is quickly becoming lost on those in power, who have the ability and charge to work for the common good. Income inequality is skyrocketing. Racial inequality continues to plague our society. As in the 1960’s, we need voices like Martin Luther King Jr. to... Read more... 

14 Jan 2018

A VISION OF HELL

The Lawnmower



God Doesn't Make Junk



We live in a material world. I like it, a lot. Quite a few folks have felt the same way.
"You adorn the year with your bounty; your paths drip with fruitful rain.
"The meadows of the wilderness also drip; the hills are robed with joy." (Psalms 65:12-13)
Some get overly impressed. Others apparently think it's icky.

Earnest folks have celebrated and condemned it. Not necessarily the same folks, and probably not at the same time. Not usually. That'd be a problem by itself.

Plato thought about the reality we live in, artists have been inspired by it.

That's given us a theory of forms, George Harrison's "Living in the Material World" and Madonna's "Like a Virgin" albums, and the "Material World" 1990s sitcom.

More at A Catholic Citizen in America.

13 Jan 2018

'Jesus said to them,"Come and see".' Sunday Reflections, 2nd Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year B


From The Gospel of John, directed by Philip Saville

Readings (New American Bible: Philippines, USA)
Readings (Jerusalem Bible: Australia, England & Wales, India, Ireland, New Zealand, Pakistan, Scotland, South Africa)
Gospel John 1:35-42 (NRSV, Anglicised CatholicEdition)

The next day John again was standing with two of his disciples, and as he watched Jesus walk by, he exclaimed, ‘Look, here is the Lamb of God!’ The two disciples heard him say this, and they followed Jesus. When Jesus turned and saw them following, he said to them, ‘What are you looking for?’ They said to him, ‘Rabbi’ (which translated means Teacher), ‘where are you staying?’ He said to them, ‘Come and see.’ They came and saw where he was staying, and they remained with him that day. It was about four o’clock in the afternoon. One of the two who heard John speak and followed him was Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother. He first found his brother Simon and said to him, ‘We have found the Messiah’ (which is translated Anointed. He brought Simon to Jesus, who looked at him and said, ‘You are Simon son of John. You are to be called Cephas’ (which is translated Peter).

St Andrew the Apostle, El Greco [Web Gallery of Art]

God calls each of us to our particular vocation in life in a unique way. Pope Francis has told us, for example, that it was on the occasion of going to confession when he was 17 that he saw clearly that God was calling him to be a priest. A couple at whose wedding I officiated some years ago were members of the same Catholic organisation in the university they attended. They became an 'item', as they say in the Philippines, when they were the only members of the group to turn up at the appointed time for an outing. While waiting for the others to arrive they discovered that they were more than just casual friends. Now they are happily married with four children.
Continue here.

12 Jan 2018

New approach to new year resolutions (Spanish) Propósitos de Año Nuevo.


Resultado de imagen de SOLO POR HOY
 

      Ya se fueron las fiestas. Ya se fueron los abrazos. los bailes, el chocar de las copas, los convivios y el jolgorio. Supimos tener la excelencia en esos momentos de gozo. Ahora la excelancia nos tiene que acompañar en el trabajo y en el esfuerzo.

       Pero ahora las caras son serias, el entrecejo fruncido ,los labios apretados y el andar cansino para subir "la cuesta de enero".

 El dinero se gastó y el bolsillo está vacío.Los buenos propósitos...¡cómo cuesta poderlos cumplir!: levantarse temprano, no fumar, no comer golosinas, no extralimitarse en la bebida, ser amable, no irritarse por cualquier cosa, estar en paz, no criticar, hacer ejercicio, saludar con una sonrisa al vecino, ser generosos, trabajar con honestidad y buen ánimo, pagar deudas, etcétera, etcétera, y así este mes de enero, serio y formal, se nos antoja un Everest cuya cima es casi inalcanzable. Visto a sí es normal que esto nos desanime y nos desaliente pero hay que buscarle un truco, algo que nos de ánimo en el desaliento, algo que nos de fuerza para poder alcanzar la meta que nos propusimos.
 

11 Jan 2018

Reflections 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 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

10 Jan 2018

Blessed John Duns Scotus - A Theology of Love


My school report was so bad that my eldest brother was commissioned with the task of teaching me to read. But when he could not even manage to teach me how to read the Beano, he resigned his commission and commended me to St Jude of hopeless cases. But even St Jude failed. It seems that in those days it was not only in school, but in heaven too, that dyslexia was unheard of. St Anthony was the only real friend that I had. Most people who now know about dyslexia still do not  realise how it affects your short term memory. That is where St Anthony came in. He might not have known much about dyslexia, but he was able to find the things that I was always losing. It was through him that I found St Francis of Assisi who may not have been dyslexic, but on his own admission he had little more than an elementary school education.
As so often with people who  have little education, they can often see complex truths  far more simply than those befuddled with too much knowledge, especially if they have access to the wisdom that is not taught in schools. St. Francis is a case in point; the moment he experienced God's love reaching out to him as he prayed before the Cross in the little Church of San Damiano, he immediately saw what he must do. If God is full of love and only wishes to give this love to others, then Francis decided to spend the rest of his life trying to receive it and handing it on to others. 
read on.....

My Hand in Yours, Our Hands in His Marriage Workbook - Review


My Hand in Yours, Our Hands in His, by Kimberly Cook, is a wonderful marriage workbook for exploring virtue with your spouse. Cook designed this seven-part series to show how to employ virtue in your marriage, and in the process, live a happier life. She starts with the Cardinal virtues of Prudence, Justice, Fortitude and Temperance. Then she moves on to the Theological virtues of Faith, Hope and Charity. Cook gives you, and your spouse, ample opportunity to address one virtue at a time, before proceeding onward to mastering the next virtue. She sets the stage by providing you with an opening prayer to recite, at the beginning of each session.

What This Marriage Workbook Offers


Within each chapter, she offers a definition of the virtue under study, and how it might best be applied within your marriage. Then Cook gives you a series of exercises to partake in that:

  1. Provide Scriptural reference for embracing the virtue
  2. Evaluate the strength of the virtue within your marriage
  3. Identify areas in need of improvement, with the development of action plans for practicing the virtue

Within each chapter, Cook offers... Read more...

To Brighten and Inspire You

Here is something for the cold, gloomy days we are experiencing:  As I cleaned out things accumulated over decades in preparation for moving, I came across the following clever piece. Whenever I see excellence—such as a stunning ballet, a breathtaking piece of art, or a well-written poem or story—I’m spurred on to do the best I can in my projects. The account here is silly but incredibly well-done. I hope it makes you smile and prompts you to do your utmost in whatever task you undertake today. It might remind you of the movie Ghostbusters and make you chuckle . . . Click to continue

9 Jan 2018

How I Fight Depression *and* Seasonal Affective Disorder


These are the months. The months of the year when you listen to James Vincent McMorrow, buy too many books, there is more darkness than light, more cold air than warmth, your 2-year-old gets a severe burn, and maybe more quiet and loneliness than friendly interaction, as well!

I have struggled over the years with Depression, and I want to share with you how I stay attentive, and keep the demonic of comparison at bay in my life, and I'm talking currently. While I'm attending the second or third degree burn from a baby putting her hand on the stove. Yeah.

If you feel like life is hard, remember that stress, demands, challenges, and disappointments are common to all.  Struggling is universal. Being a Mom has its own set of challenges, but that doesn't mean I am undermining whatever it is you are going through-- I do get it. We are all trying to do our best and enjoy life.  We are all trying to live above the circumstances, not because of them.

This goes without saying that a healthy diet is essential to feeling your best, and aloe vera and soaking in egg nog works wonders. Onward.......!

How do I fight depression and seasonal affective disorder, as a Mom to littles and a person with a lot of responsibility? (I can't check out or a baby will fry her hand)

1. Fill your life up with life

read the rest here

8 Jan 2018

"Imagine All the People"



Someone's 'Tweet' about sin and how someone responded showed up in my Twitter feed Sunday. I noticed an unusually goofy item in my Google news feed that evening.

Instead of expressing outrage and (self?)-righteous indignation over either or both, I made a few notes and went on with my day.

That's no great virtue on my part. I'm no fan of emotional outbursts. I like them even less when I'm the one melting down. Avoiding that sort of eruption is much easier now....

More at A Catholic Citizen in America.

A Personal Story of OCD and Unexpected Healing


By Laura Durant
It was a beautiful fall day this past September. I looked at the clock, and I needed to get moving – I had things to do and places to be! I hurried my bulldog, Winston, into his crate, by luring (and rewarding) him with treats, and then I called out for my kitty, Jake, to ensure he was in the house (and not wandering in the backyard) before I left. And there little Jake was, waiting on the second step from the bottom of our stairway, looking up at me, waiting patiently to be given his treats for delighting me with his presence. All good, I thought, now I can get going.
I locked the house, got in my car, backed it up, put it into drive and headed on my way. As I took a left on my main street to head out into the city, I realized something, something spectacular, something miraculous. Had I been in the Eucharistic chapel at this moment, I surely would have fallen to my knees in praise and thanks to the Almighty for His Great Blessing and Miraculous Healing He had bestowed on me…

Baptism of the Lord Marks Endings, Beginnings


Today we celebrate the Baptism of the Lord, with the Gospel reading from Mark 1:7-11. This occasion introduces Jesus to the world as the Son of God – pretty dramatic entrance to the world stage, wouldn’t you say? This passage catches your attention. The Baptism of the Lord is a really big day for three reasons. It marks the end of:

  1. The Christmas season, and the beginning of Ordinary Time.
  2. Jesus’ private life and the beginning of His ministry.
  3. Our separation from God and the beginning of an open line of communication between heaven and earth. 1 We see the physical manifestation of that claim with multiple people hearing the voice of God the Father, when He states, “You are my beloved Son; with you I am well pleased” (Mark 1:11).

Baptism Marks an Ending and a Beginning


Endings and beginnings remind us of our own baptisms where we died with Christ and became adopted sons and daughters of the Father. Our baptisms... Read more...

7 Jan 2018

"Do Not be Afraid"

4th Sunday of Advent, 2017

By Deacon Lawrence N. Kaas December 24, 2017

Good! Now try to imagine yourself describing the scene in which the Angel Gabriel seeks and speaks to Mary as one that could be played out spectacularly on film or a TV program, it would begin with the panoramic vision or an overall view of the world that solemnly zooms in and spotlights in one tiny little place. We could imagine the overview from the film score to the mission behind Google Earth....

More at A Catholic Citizen in America.

The Magi, Meds and Me



It's Epiphany Sunday. It's not about the magi, wise men from the east. Not exactly. They're involved; along with King Herod, religious experts, Mary and Jesus. But they're not what this is all about.

More at A Catholic Citizen in America.

Celebrating the Courage of the Wise Men


On Epiphany, we ask God to not only shine His light in our hearts but to protect our homes with His light as well. 
So, we mark above each doorway with the wise men’s initials plus a sign of the cross and year: 20+C+B+M+16  because tradition tells us the wise men who came to honor Jesus were called Gaspar (or Caspar), Melchior, and Balthasar. The names mean- Master-of-Treasure, King, and Protect-the-King.
This tradition dates to the 6th century.

5 Jan 2018

'The seed of eternal life.' Sunday Reflections, The Baptism of the Lord, Year B


Baptistry, St Mark's, Venice [Web Gallery of Art]

Readings (New American Bible: Philippines, USA)
Readings (Jerusalem Bible: Australia, England & Wales, India, Ireland, New Zealand, Pakistan, Scotland, South Africa)
Gospel Mark 1:7-11 (NRSV, Anglicised CatholicEdition)

John the Baptist proclaimed, ‘The one who is more powerful than I is coming after me; I am not worthy to stoop down and untie the thong of his sandals. I have baptized you with water; but he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.’
In those days Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee and was baptized by John in the Jordan. And just as he was coming up out of the water, he saw the heavens torn apart and the Spirit descending like a dove on him. And a voice came from heaven, ‘You are my Son, the Beloved; with you I am well pleased.’

In countries where the Baptism of the Lord is celebrated this year on Monday 8 January, eg the Philippines and the USA, there is only one reading before the Gospel and the Creed is omitted.
Feast of the Baptism of the Lord 2013
FEAST OF THE BAPTISM OF THE LORD
MASS AND ADMINISTRATION OF THE SACRAMENT OF BAPTISM
HOMILY OF HIS HOLINESS BENEDICT XVI
Sistine Chapel, Sunday, 8 January 2012
[I have highlighted parts of the Pope's homily]
Continue here.

'We have come to pay him homage.' Sunday Reflections, The Epiphany, Years ABC


The Adoration of the Magi, Luís Tristán de Escamilla [Web Gallery of Art]

Readings (New American Bible: Philippines, USA)
Readings (Jerusalem Bible: Australia, England & Wales, India, Ireland, New Zealand, Pakistan, Scotland, South Africa)
Gospel Matthew 2:1-12 (NRSV, Anglicised CatholicEdition)

In the time of King Herod, after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea, wise men from the East came to Jerusalem, asking, ‘Where is the child who has been born king of the Jews? For we observed his star at its rising, and have come to pay him homage.’ When King Herod heard this, he was frightened, and all Jerusalem with him; and calling together all the chief priests and scribes of the people, he inquired of them where the Messiah was to be born. They told him, ‘In Bethlehem of Judea; for so it has been written by the prophet:
“And you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah,
are by no means least among the rulers of Judah;
for from you shall come a ruler who is to shepherd my people Israel.”’
Then Herod secretly called for the wise men and learned from them the exact time when the star had appeared. Then he sent them to Bethlehem, saying, ‘Go and search diligently for the child; and when you have found him, bring me word so that I may also go and pay him homage.’ When they had heard the king, they set out; and there, ahead of them, went the star that they had seen at its rising, until it stopped over the place where the child was. When they saw that the star had stopped, they were overwhelmed with joy. On entering the house, they saw the child with Mary his mother; and they knelt down and paid him homage. Then, opening their treasure-chests, they offered him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. And having been warned in a dream not to return to Herod, they left for their own country by another road.
In countries where the Epiphany is a Holyday of Obligation it is celebrated on Saturday 6 January. Otherwise it is celebrated on Sunday 7 January this year. The Vigil Mass has its own antiphons and prayers but uses the readings above.

Adoration of the Magi, Blessed Fra Angelico [Web Gallery of Art]

While based in Britain from 2000 till 2002 I was able to spend Christmas with my brother and his family in Dublin, a short flight from England, in 2000 and 2001. During the holiday in 2001 I saw a documentary on RTÉ, Ireland's national broadcasting service, about Filipino nurses in Ireland. These began to arrive in 2000, initially at the invitation of the Irish government to work in government hospitals. Very quickly there was an 'invasion' of Filipino nurses and carers, now to be found in hospitals and nursing homes in every part of the country.
Continue here.

Alien Life: Notions and Research

Scientists have been discussing alien life for some time: where it could be, what it might be like, and how we could find it.

Quite a few non-scientists have been talking about the same thing.

Some have pretty good grip on what we've been learning since Aristotle got famous and Anaxagoras didn't.

Others have contributed to supermarket tabloid covers. And made informed discussion of extraterrestrial intelligence harder.

Or more interesting, depending on your viewpoint. I see it as a bit of both.

More at A Catholic Citizen in America.

4 Jan 2018

It Takes Time and Effort

When my husband & I were on vacation, we went to a local parish for Mass. As we walked in to find a place, I almost chose a “half pew” directly behind a longer one, but we ended up sitting in the next pew back. A group of what appeared to be college kids ended up sitting in the 2 pews ahead of us. It was obvious that only 3 of them were Catholic. My first tip-off was that one of the young men who sat in front of us walked in carrying something that looked like chocolate milk, and they all ranked of cigarette smoke. I took a deep breath and thought, “Well, at least they’re taking time out to go to Mass.” The young man with the drink took a couple of swigs during Mass, and at one point, handed it to a young lady in front of him. She took a swig as well. The thing is: this is one of the young ladies who is Catholic, and this was right before communion. She then proceeded to put a piece of gum in her mouth. You have no idea how badly I wanted to say something to her.
Read more...

3 Jan 2018

THE BOOK OF LIFE

IF YOU READ NO OTHER BOOK EVER
THIS ONE IS A MUST
IT MAY CHANGE YOUR LIFE FOR EVER
FOR YOUR FREE COPY

Hunger for Moral Clarity - Fill the Moral Vacuum with Truth


As a Theology professor, who teaches morality, at the undergraduate level, I can no longer remain silent. I perceive a real hunger for moral clarity, in our society, given the grave number of immoral acts emanating from our halls of government, here in the United States.

A Moral Act


Let’s start with a definition of a moral act, so that we are all on the same page. A moral act has three components: a deliberated choice, moral content and it’s personal. So, as an example, let’s take a tweet on Twitter. It is a deliberate choice to tweet. When the content of the tweet uses demeaning language aimed at another person, it has moral content, because the dignity of another individual is at stake. When that tweet attacks the personal character of another individual, it’s definitely personal.

Read more...

a Polish Saint: Maximilian Kolbe

(See review of "Forgiving Mother" at end of post.)
I’m working on a project for an amateur radio operator who discovered that his hobby had a patron saint. In the process, I realized that this saint would also make a good patron saint for me:  St. Maximilian Kolbe. For one thing he is Polish, and so was my mother. Second, he had a profound love for our Blessed Mother, and I am a Sister of Notre Dame. Third, he was devoted to publishing material to promote the Gospel, and so am I. If you are not familiar with this extraordinary saint, let me introduce you to him. He was canonized in 1982, surprisingly as a “martyr of charity.” He died, not in defense of the faith, but by volunteering to die in place of another prisoner at Auschwitz. His entire life, though, was one of heroic virtue.  Click to continue

2 Jan 2018

Who Is REALLY The Centre of My Universe?

If we are brutally honest, most Catholics must concede we view the world as if we stood at the centre of the universe with everyone and everything else revolving around us.
This egocentric stance affects how we think, feel, act, and pray. Even though many committed disciples have renounced a ruthless pursuit of power and money to serve God and His people, most of us still function more conscious of self than God, living daily life in a state of interior isolation, not in communion with the Holy Spirit.
What this self-centered viewpoint meant in my own life was I only appeared saintly on the surface as I mothered nine little people. Despite the fact I honestly longed to live in constant communion with the Holy Spirit, I was focused more on myself than on Christ.

How was y'er Hogmanay?

DO YOU CELEBRATE HOGMANAY LIKE WE DO?

1 Jan 2018

Happy New Year or Happy Old Ways? A choice to be made...


I hope everyone had a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. With every new year, as with every new day, we receive a new beginning. With this new beginning, Jesus invites us to transform our lives; to move away from sin and to move towards happiness. So, how do we answer this invitation?

Do we have good intentions, yet somehow, our chains of sin don’t allow us to break free? Alas, we succumb to continuing our sinful ways. Every new day begins unsullied, with hope. Yet, somehow, we seem to mar it with snide remarks, untruths, unjustified anger…and the list goes on. We are a sinful people, and God knows that. Yet, He still loves us, unconditionally!

I Choose Happy New Year!


So, on this New Year’s Day, when we all make resolutions, here’s mine: I promise to look to each new day with hope; to see God’s presence in my everyday life. Whether it be in the face of my husband, or the kindness of the grocery store clerk, I will set my sights on Christ. I will shed the old ways, and embrace the new! By doing so, the Holy Spirit will... Read more...

31 Dec 2017

HAPPY NOO YEAR

AS THE OLD YEAR ENDS
AND THE NEW ONE BEGINS
YOU HAVE A CHOICE
EITHER YOU WATCH THIS VIDEO BELOW
OR YOU MAKE A NOO YEAR RESOLUTION HERE

30 Dec 2017

A Heartfelt Plea to Visit Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament

By Laura Durant

....I’ve seen blessings of great proportion due to regular visits to the Blessed Sacrament not just in my life, but in the lives of others around me. I’ve seen courage develop to follow the Lord’s Will, especially with great uncertainty in the outcome, in those whom otherwise would not have taken the leap of faith. I’ve seen, and experienced for myself, leaving behind dreams and plans which had sensible and seemingly certain outcomes, for roads less traveled and less in line with the way of the world which resulted in many blessings, in the development of devout faith and a fast track to great spiritual growth. I’ve seen hearts transform in a matter of months, sometimes weeks, being purified of deeply entrenched sins of the flesh, of mind and heart, such as pride and prejudice, and in their place, be filled with virtue and greater love for the Lord and all His children. All of this through regular visits to the Blessed Sacrament and devotion to Mary and Jesus’ Most Sacred Heart...

...Go to Him. Visit with Him. Spend time with Him. And be ready for great transformation and blessings on a heavenly scale. His Will for your life and blessings will most certainly be of an unexpected nature, but you will see when you are generous with Him, He will give you a joy unspoken of among those who do not know Him, a peace you cannot describe in words and a love that seems it will burst beyond the confines of your heart if you do not share it with others...

Presenting the Holy Family

Today's official name is the Feast of the Holy Family of Jesus, Mary and Joseph.

That's a mouthful, so folks around here generally call it Holy Family Sunday.

We don't see much of the Holy Family in the Gospels, or anywhere else in the Bible. Luke 2:22-40 — The Presentation in the Temple1 — is one of the exceptions.

It's today's Gospel reading. The others are Sirach 2:2-6; and Colossians 3:12-21.

There's a lot to say about all three, but I'll leave nearly all of that for another day. Just the first two verses from Luke are more than enough for a post.... More at A Catholic Citizen in America.

Crocheting The Joyful Mysteries

The Presentation- The Fourth Joyful Mystery

And when the days of her purification according to the law of Moses were accomplished, they brought Him to Jerusalem, to present Him to the Lord; And to offer a sacrifice according to that which is said in the law of the Lord, A pair of turtledoves, or two young pigeons. And, behold, there was a man in Jerusalem, whose name was Simeon; and the same man was just and devout, waiting for the consolation of Israel: and the Holy Ghost was upon Him. ...

continue reading

29 Dec 2017

'And the favour of God was upon him.' Sunday Reflections, Feast of the Holy Family; Mary, Mother of God

Presentation in the Temple- Gerbrand van de Eeckhout [Web Gallery of Art]

Readings (New American Bible: Philippines, USA)
Readings (Jerusalem Bible: Australia, England & Wales, India, Ireland, New Zealand, Pakistan, Scotland, South Africa)
Gospel Luke 2:22-40 [2:22, 39-40] (NRSV,Catholic Edition)

When the time came for their purification according to the law of Moses, they brought him up to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord[ (as it is written in the law of the Lord, ‘Every firstborn male shall be designated as holy to the Lord’), and they offered a sacrifice according to what is stated in the law of the Lord, ‘a pair of turtle-doves or two young pigeons.’
Now there was a man in Jerusalem whose name was Simeon; this man was righteous and devout, looking forward to the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit rested on him. It had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not see death before he had seen the Lord’s Messiah. Guided by the Spirit, Simeon came into the temple; and when the parents brought in the child Jesus, to do for him what was customary under the law, Simeon took him in his arms and praised God, saying,
‘Master, now you are dismissing your servant in peace,
according to your word;
for my eyes have seen your salvation, which you have prepared in the presence of all peoples,
a light for revelation to the Gentiles and for glory to your people Israel.’
And the child’s father and mother were amazed at what was being said about him. Then Simeon blessed them and said to his mother Mary, ‘This child is destined for the falling and the rising of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be opposed so that the inner thoughts of many will be revealed—and a sword will pierce your own soul too.’
There was also a prophet, Anna the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was of a great age, having lived with her husband for seven years after her marriage, then as a widow to the age of eighty-four. She never left the temple but worshipped there with fasting and prayer night and day. At that moment she came, and began to praise God and to speak about the child to all who were looking for the redemption of Jerusalem.]
When they had finished everything required by the law of the Lord, they returned to Galilee, to their own town of Nazareth. The child grew and became strong, filled with wisdom; and the favour of God was upon him.

Note that there are alternative First Readings, Responsorial Psalms and Second Readings. There are also longer and shorter versions of the Gospel.
[Family Theater Productions]


Before Christmas we listened to the words of St Matthew: Now the birth of Jesus the Messiah took place in this way. When his mother Mary had been engaged to Joseph, but before they lived together, she was found to be with child from the Holy Spirit. Her husband Joseph, being a righteous man and unwilling to expose her to public disgrace, planned to dismiss her quietly. But just when he had resolved to do this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, 'Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife, for the child conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will bear a son, and you are to name him Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins' (Matthew 1:18-21). 
Continue here.

Science in 2017

It may not be an 'official' end-of-year custom, but many folks make lists as New Year approaches.

BBC News made a list of eight "amazing science stories" of 2017.

I can see how the stories are "amazing," from their viewpoint, and not surprised that they saw a world politics item as scientific. On the other hand, they included one of the 'gravitational wave' stories, so I won't complain.

More at A Catholic Citizen in America.

28 Dec 2017

Finding Christ’s Joy In My Deepest Wounds

“In my deepest wound, I saw your glory and it dazzled me.”- Saint Augustine. 

Most people assume they will automatically feel cheerful during Christmas.  Not only does the Church celebrate the birth of our Saviour with joy, secular society also promotes the idea that everybody is happy during this season, bombarding us with images in the media of lighthearted people giving gifts and enjoying each other’s company.  In fact, there is so much pressure on people to be in good spirits during Christmas, many sink even deeper into depression when they are unable to force themselves to even crack a smile.  

Continue reading

27 Dec 2017

Do You Now Believe? by Pamela Hedrick - Book Review


Pamela E. Hedrick takes me back into the classroom, with her debut book, Do You Now Believe? In this short, yet jam-packed gem, Hedrick schools us on the balance required between faith and reason.

Faith enables reason. But an uncritical faith – a credulity or an unthinking belief that clings to certitude at the expense of understanding – can undermine faith itself and at least slow down the response to the grace of ongoing conversion (p. 77).
 
What I garnered from reading this book is that many of us have preconceived notions about God and faith, that inhibit us from fully understanding what God wants us to know about Him. It is when we can search beyond our limitations that we position ourselves to understanding God better. It is through this growth of understanding that we experience a transcendence; a conversion. We move from the intellectual to the experiential. We grow in love for God. Read more...

25 Dec 2017

Celebrating Ever Since



We hear quite a bit of Luke 2 during the Christmas Masses, including this....

...The shepherds went to see what was going on, and liked what they saw. So did the magi and Simeon. Jesus didn't stay in the manger, of course....

More at A Catholic Citizen in America.

24 Dec 2017

Through the Looking Glass – A Christmas Message

I saw my grandfather forty years after he died. I loved him with all my heart, not because he gave me toys, bought me ice cream or took me to the funfair, but because he loved me so much. I was only eight years old when he died of a heart attack and I cried myself to sleep. The next day my mother told me that he loved me very specially, so much so that he made special plans for me and so I should always pray for him each day when I said my Morning Prayers. That is why I felt so guilty when I saw him again forty years later. The truth of the matter is I had forgotten to pray for him as often as my mother wanted me to. It was Christmas Eve when I saw him. I usually shaved in the morning, but as I was going to midnight Mass I thought I better make myself a little more presentable. I had removed all the shaving cream from my face apart from a white moustache under my nose, about the same size as the white moustache my grandfather always wore that tickled when he kissed me. I never thought I looked like him, but there he was looking at me from the bathroom mirror. Oh, yes, it was him all right, but he did not look as kind or as loving as the man I remembered.     read on....

Bah! Humbug?



'Tis the season to kvetch about Christmas: because it's too commercial, too religious, or whatever. I won't do that.

I'll look at why we celebrate instead. Also Scrooge and "A Charlie Brown Christmas."

Besides, I think enjoying the holiday and doing what I say I believe makes more sense...."

More at A Catholic Citizen in America.

23 Dec 2017

Inexpensive Christmas Gifts


Looking for some last minute inexpensive gifts for your Christian friends this Christmas? All four of my Christian novels–Rain from Heaven, Nearer the Dawn, Amaranth, and Cherish–are now on sale for just 99¢ each on Amazon Kindle. That’s less than $4 for all four!
For ages young adult and above. All net profits this year go to my parish, which is heavily in debt.

Something for you to read


22 Dec 2017

Secretly Cynical, Surprised by Joy on Christmas Morning

Do we wait for Christmas morning with a joyful expectation or has life’s disappointments left us jaded and closed to any spiritual surprises or gifts from God? Many of us are actually just like Scrooge, that traditional symbol for someone who has been so wounded by disappointment and jaded by life that he cannot embrace the spirit of giving during Christmas. Scrooge wasn’t just stingy, he was miserable, with his heart closed to other people and to love and joy.
Come to think of it, how many of us actually expect to receive any spiritual joy on Christmas morning? When we are secretly cynical, we will not receive a thing, not even a tiny flicker of Light because we have locked the door to our hearts. Then, our cynicism will be confirmed once again, just like last year and we will cement our cynicism in place until next year.
Yet we all long for the dark, empty places within us to be flooded with His light. The answer to our dilemma can be discovered when we observe children because they can teach us how to wait for the Christ Child to be born anew in our hearts.

Merry Christmas

FOR A PERSONAL MESSAGE
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Off the Rails

About 78 folks were on Amtrak Cascades passenger train 501 Monday morning. They'll be late. At best.

I'll be looking at what happened, new and old technology. Also how I see change and progress....

More at A Catholic Citizen in America.

Silent Night




21 Dec 2017

'Both Son of God and Son of Man together had one name.' Sunday Reflections, 4th Sunday of Advent and Christmas



The Annunciation, El Greco [Web Gallery of Art]
Readings (New American Bible: Philippines, USA)
Readings (Jerusalem Bible: Australia, England & Wales, Ireland, New Zealand, Pakistan, Scotland, South Africa)
Gospel Luke 1:26-38 (NRSV, CatholicEd)

In the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent by God to a town in Galilee called Nazareth, to a virgin engaged to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. And he came to her and said, ‘Greetings, favoured one! The Lord is with you.’But she was much perplexed by his words and pondered what sort of greeting this might be. The angel said to her, ‘Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favour with God. And now, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you will name him Jesus. He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Most High, and the Lord God will give to him the throne of his ancestor David. He will reign over the house of Jacob for ever, and of his kingdom there will be no end.’ Mary said to the angel, ‘How can this be, since I am a virgin?’ The angel said to her, ‘The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born will be holy; he will be called Son of God. And now, your relative Elizabeth in her old age has also conceived a son; and this is the sixth month for her who was said to be barren. For nothing will be impossible with God.’ Then Mary said, ‘Here am I, the servant of the Lord; let it be with me according to your word.’ Then the angel departed from her.

The Annunciation, Gerard David [Web Gallery of Art]

The Incarnation by St John of the Cross
Then He summoned an archangel,
Saint Gabriel: and when he came,
Sent him forth to find a maiden,
Mary was her name.
Only through her consenting love
Could the mystery be preferred
That the Trinity in human
Flesh might clothe the Word.
Though the three Persons worked the wonder
It only happened to the One.
So was the Word made incarnation
In Mary's womb, a son.
So He who only had a Father
Now had a Mother undefiled,
Though not as ordinary maids
Had she conceived the Child.
By Mary, and with her own flesh
He was clothed in His own frame:
Both Son of God and Son of Man
Together had one name.
[Translation by Roy Campbell]

In both paintings above Mary has the word of God, the Hebrew Bible, what we Christians call the Old Testament, open in front of her. And when she says, let it be with me according to your word, she is accepting the Word. The opening words of St John's Gospel, read at the Mass During the Day on Christmas Day and read at the end of every Mass in the Extraordinary Form, tells us who the Word is: In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. Further on, in Verse 14, St John writes those magnificent words that are at the centre of our faith: And the Word became flesh and lived among us.
The Catechism of the Catholic Church quotes what St John of the Cross said about this: In giving us his Son, his only Word (for he possesses no other), he spoke everything to us at once in this sole Word - and he has no more to say. . . because what he spoke before to the prophets in parts, he has now spoken all at once by giving us the All Who is His Son. Any person questioning God or desiring some vision or revelation would be guilty not only of foolish behavior but also of offending him, by not fixing his eyes entirely upon Christ and by living with the desire for some other novelty.


The Annunciation in an Initial R -Fra Angelico [Web Gallery of Art]
Continue here.

Jackie Parkes: Memories of a young Irishman

Jackie Parkes: Memories of a young Irishman:



Christmas morning in Old Court  That Christmas morning we awoke earlier than usual under the watchful eyes of mother. “Mother of P...

20 Dec 2017

What Does Jesus Want for His Birthday?


As we near Christmas Day, I want to take some time to wish you and yours a very Merry Christmas! May the celebration of the Incarnation of Christ fill your hearts with His Love, Peace, Joy and Hope. At Christmas, Jesus showers us with many virtues, as His gifts to us. What do you think Jesus would like from you, in return, as His birthday present from you?

Maybe He would like for you to reach out to a relative, or neighbor, who is suffering. You could grace that person with caring compassion. Perhaps He would like for you to forgive a co-worker, or friend, who has wronged you. You could extend that person a little mercy. Might it be a donation to the local food bank/homeless shelter?  Consider giving kindness and comfort to those in need. Or perhaps Jesus wants you to open your own heart, in faith and trust, so that He can heal you of a longstanding inner pain.

What does Jesus want for His birthday?


Have you ever given that any thought?...Read more...

A CHRISTMAS CONFESSION

About Prayer: A Video Christmas Gift

Here is a Christmas gift for you!  My nephew Andy videotaped my presentation on prayer that I gave at the South Euclid-Lyndhurst library on December 1.  If you have time, you might enjoy watching it. Before I began, I asked the audience to state their name and their favorite prayer or favorite way of praying. They had the option of saying, “I pass,” but no one did. What is your favorite prayer or favorite way of praying? Merry Christmas! Click to continue

Martin Luther King Jr., A Man of Peace and Many More Virtues

Today, in the United States, we celebrate the birthday of Martin Luther King Jr. He was a loving father, and husband. Yet, most of us kno...