21 Feb 2018
Lent is an excellent time for seeking God’s forgiveness, via the Sacrament of Reconciliation. In this sacrament, God cleanses us from our sins and reunites us to Christ. Although you may be apprehensive at the onset of disclosing your sins to priest, it is really Christ in whom you are confessing your sins, as the priest is acting in persona Christi, in the person of Christ. You will exit the Confessional filled with God’s graces of gratitude, humility, joy and peace.
As a Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults (RCIA) Coordinator for my parish, I work with people coming from other Christian faiths, (or no faith), who wish to consider becoming Catholic. One of the most common questions I get is “Why do Catholics confess their sins to a priest? Why can’t you just ask God directly for forgiveness?” To answer these questions, this video from Bustedhalo.com gives the best answers: Read more...
19 Feb 2018
Did you know that Saturday was Random Act of Kindness Day? Might someone have provided you with a random act of kindness that simply made you smile? If so, please share the experience in the comments section below. We could all use a little good news about now. It would be nice to know that some people are out there doing good for others. How grand it would be if we applied the principle of Random Act of Kindness Day to our everyday lives! Oh, just think of what a nicer world it would be, if we were all kinder to each other.
Kindness Produces Good Ripples
When someone is kind to you, you naturally want to respond in a positive way. Kindness produces good ripples!!! If everyone did one kind thing for someone else every day, then kindness would spread everywhere. For example, ...Read more...
14 Feb 2018
Wow! Ash Wednesday & Valentine’s Day on the same day! Hearts and Ashes in one fell swoop! Today is the day when we show our love for our spouses and loved ones, with valentines. It is also a day that we show our love for Christ, with ashes on our foreheads; marking ourselves as belonging to Christ. Today, we can consider the ashes on our foreheads as our own personal valentine to God, acknowledging Christ’s sacrifice on the cross because of His love for us.
Talk about bittersweet days! No hearts filled with assorted chocolates this year! Considering that Ash Wednesday is a day of fasting and abstinence, there is no going out to dinner tonight either. Yet, the love of Christ is ever-present on this day, and we soak it up. I’ll give up a candy heart, and a steak dinner, knowing that Jesus loves me. There is no better Valentine than that! My fasting and abstinence is a small sacrifice of self-giving love back to Jesus for His sacrifice on the Cross.
12 Feb 2018
I must start this post by telling you that I have been a friend and fan of Tony Agnesi for approximately four years now. Several years ago, as a fledgling Catholic blogger, I reached out to him, seeking advice. You see, Tony has an awesome blog over at tonyagnesi.com, where he blogs about virtue as well. Where I write more from a theological/academic point of view on virtue, Tony writes from experience. I once asked him, “How do you come up with such great stories? You are quite creative!” His reply, “Those things really happened to me!” God uses Tony, daily, to reach out to the less fortunate; to witness to the faith; and to use his gift for storytelling to reach the hearts of many. In A Storytellers Guide to a Grace Filled Life, we see Tony Agnesi at work in God’s Garden of life.
A Storytellers Guide to a Grace Filled Life
… captures the best of Tony Agnesi’s stories aimed at showing you how to find God’s Grace in your own life. As a master storyteller, Agnesi shares with us stories of virtue and grace found in all aspects of life; from the family, to the workplace, to the streets of your town. With each story, he offers... Read more...
7 Feb 2018
Can you believe it? Lent is only one week away! We’ve barely left the Christmas season, and we are about to walk the journey, with Christ, to Calvary. Are you prepared to enter the Lenten season? Are you ready to make the most of it?
Things You Can Do to Make Your Lent Fruitful
- Prayer: Make a point to set aside a few minutes each day to pray. If you have enough time to say a full Rosary, great! But, sometimes, the day gets away from us. So, a vow to say a single Our Father, Hail Mary, and Glory Be is a commitment I think we all could easily make. Prayer is talking with God. He wants to hear from you!
- Fasting: At a minimum, make the effort to fast on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday. By fasting, I mean a reduced breakfast and lunch, and a full dinner. No desserts! If you can do this on a set day of the week, once weekly during Lent, all the better! Fasting helps us to understand that without God, we are nothing. It is God who provides for us: our homes, our jobs, our food, everything!
- Almsgiving: Make a point to reach out to the less fortunate. Clean your closets and donate some clothes/goods to the poor. Donate your time, money and/or food to a food pantry. Volunteer for a ministry at your Church. Remember what Jesus said, “whatever you did for the least of these, my brothers, you did for Me” (Matt 25:40). Be charitable toward others.
5 Feb 2018
In today’s Gospel reading from Mark 6:53-56, we hear of Christ giving His healing touch to so many people. More than that though, we learn of the faith of the people who believed that “they might touch only the tassel on his cloak” (Matt 6:56) and be healed. And yes, merely touching the tassel of his cloak was sufficient. Fast forward 2,000 years. Do you believe today, that Jesus can heal you? Do you believe in His power? I do!
Jesus Christ Responds to Prayer
Recently, my sister, a paraplegic, entered the hospital, with medical concerns. Many people said many prayers for her healing. The doctors were concerned because after two tries at some tests, the results were inclusive. Her situation required consultation with experts, to obtain a proper diagnosis. For a few weeks, (over the Christmas holidays), we all held our breath, and said many prayers. Then... Read more...
31 Jan 2018
I have a great deal of personal experience when it comes to bullying. You see, I was bullied for eight consecutive years, while attending a Catholic grade school. There were only 38 children in my class, so I was an easy target. Because of my physical deformity of clubbed feet, I wore braces on my legs. This set me apart from the others, making me the “outcast.” (The photo to the left was taken in 1962, at age 5). After what I experienced, it is amazing that I am still alive to tell my story today.
Bullying Has No Grace
The ugliness of the constant and consistent verbal abuse, demeaning my dignity and self-worth, proves to me that bullying has no grace. Bullying is an evil act. My bullies constantly referred to me as “metal legs,” “cootie bug,” – you get the picture. Their derisive behavior played havoc on my self-worth, leaving me changed, and not for the better. They scarred my psyche.
The Lingering Effects of Bullying
As I progressed through high school and college, I always felt like I needed to prove myself. No matter what I did, it was never good enough (in my mind). I didn’t realize how damaged my dignity and self-worth was until I was approximately 40 years old. I was at lunch one day, and had an epiphany. This epiphany was the beginning of a very slow process to recovery and forgiveness of my bullies.
I came to realize that... Read more...
24 Jan 2018
Today we celebrate the Feast of Saint Francis de Sales, a 16th century Bishop of Geneva, who is also designated as a Doctor of the Church. What better way to celebrate this man, then to discuss one of his masterpieces. I found Philothea, or An Introduction to a Devout Life to be a gem!
We start with the title. “Philothea” translates to the study of God. How better to study God than by trying to emulate Him via living a devout life. How does one go about living a devout life? By embracing virtue and incorporating said virtue into the fabric of one’s life.
Saint Francis de Sales, A Master of Virtue
In Philothea or An Introduction to a Devout Life, Saint Francis de Sales does a masterful job of setting the stage by counseling us in understanding a desire for a devout life. He then instructs us on our approach to God in prayer and through the sacraments. Then, de Sales devotes an entire part of the book to the practice of virtue. He places special emphasis on dealing with temptation. Saint Francis de Sales concludes his book with an entire part devoted to the renewal of the soul and the confirmation of the devotion. Read more...
22 Jan 2018
You know what you do well, and you know where you fall short. The question is do you know why? In the areas that you do well, where the task comes easy to you, these are the results of God’s grace. He has showered you with talents. In the areas in need of improvement, these are your imperfections. It is with the imperfections, aka faults, that God gives us an opportunity to transcend beyond our current state, and grow in virtue; come closer to perfection. But, before we can strive for perfection, we first need to assess our Virtue Maturity.
Assessing Virtue Maturity
So, how do we assess our good qualities and those areas in need of improvement? We do so by evaluating how well we... Read more...
17 Jan 2018
It seems to be common practice to take stock of our lives, as we turn the calendar on one year and welcome the next. January makes for a good time for reflection. Everything seems to calm down after the holidays, offering us an opportunity to assess our lives. In this assessment, we tend to look at the pros and cons that make up us. We identify our good qualities, as well as our faults. By doing so, we gain perspective on where we are at, on this journey we call life.
Time for Reflection: Finding the “Gold”
Sometimes it is a scary endeavor to face reality. We may not like what we find. But, if we look close enough, and dig deep enough, we may just find gold! Looking deep, we find some virtues that come innately easy to us. We find that there are many things for which we excel at. For example, perhaps... Read more...
15 Jan 2018
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...
11 Dec 2017
Most people think of Advent as the time for preparation for the celebration of the incarnation of Christ; when Jesus entered humanity. Advent is just that, but it is also a time for healing and forgiveness, as we see in today’s Gospel from Luke 5:17-26, In this Gospel reading, we learn of the power and authority of Jesus to forgive sins. We hear about the paralyzed man lowered from the roof into the place where Jesus was preaching. Jesus not only forgives the man of his sins, but because of the confidence in God, expressed by his friends, Jesus also heals the man of his paralysis.
What sin may be paralyzing you; preventing you from embracing the joy and peace of the Christmas season? Now is the time to seek...Read more...
6 Dec 2017
The Feast of Saint Nicholas is one of my favorite feast days for a few reasons. First, this day marks my husband, Nick’s, Feast Name Day. Happy Feast Name Day Nick! Second, I just love the story of Saint Nicholas, Bishop of Myra! Let me tell you some interesting facts about this holy man.
The Real Saint Nicholas
Saint Nicholas was born into wealth, in 270 A.D., in a town along the southern coast of Turkey. He was raised as a devout Christian. However, his parents died, from an epidemic, when Nicholas was very young. They left their money to Nicholas. Literally following the biblical passage, “sell what you own and give the money to the poor,” (Matt 19:21), Nicholas used all his wealth to give aid and comfort to the sick and the poor. Therefore, known for his generosity, Saint Nicholas has become... Read more...
27 Nov 2017
Most of you have gotten to know me through my blog posts on this website. By sharing my thoughts and experiences, I hope that you grow in virtue and grow closer to God. I am blessed that my blog has been named in the top 100 websites worldwide by Feedspot.com. Yet, a blog can only reach so many people. There are so many more who need to hear the message of Jesus’ Way – via the virtues, prayer and spirituality. So, in addition to blogging on the virtues (and other points of interest), I also do public speaking engagements on matters related to the Catholic faith. In my engagements, I bring the virtues, prayer and spirituality to life, showing others how they can more easily incorporate them into their daily lives. It is truly a rewarding experience. It is my mission to bring to life Jesus’ Way to others. And now, my mission expands.
In moving from my desktop computer, to the parish hall, I take Christ’s words of wisdom to His faithful. To date, my speaking engagements have been at parishes within my Diocese. Now it’s time to expand my mission. With that expansion, there is a lot of preparatory work involved. For example, a public speaker needs...Read more...
22 Nov 2017
I can’t believe that another holiday season is upon us! This year just zoomed past me. Yet, I have much to be thankful for this year. On this eve of Thanksgiving, I give thanks for:
- Each of you, for your support and friendship. May God bless every one of you.
- My loving husband of 38+ years. May we have many more together.
- Good health for both my husband and me. We had a health scare earlier this year, but God is good, and all is well. May we all continue to be in good health.
- The opportunity to serve as RCIA Coordinator for my parish. What a blessing to be able to share the faith with people who really want to have a close relationship with Jesus. We have seven women going through the program, with the hope of entering into full communion with the Catholic Church at Easter. Please keep them, and me, in your prayers.
- A roof over my head, clothes on my back, shoes on my feet, and food on my table. God provides! Sometimes, I don’t know how He does it, but He does it!
Give Thanks with Me
For what do you wish to give thanks for this Thanksgiving? Add your thoughts... Read more...
15 Nov 2017
Do you know “Debbie Downer?” She’s that person that always has something to gripe about. You never see her in a good mood. She is too busy feeling sorry for herself to ever say “thank you” for anything. Debbie doesn’t have many friends, and maybe that’s because ungratefulness is ugly.
We tend to steer away from the Debbie Downers of the world, because as human beings we are drawn to the good, and virtuous qualities, we see in others. Innately, we like to be around positive people, because they lift our spirits. If you are a Debbie Downer, or know someone who has negative traits (and don’t we all know someone who has those traits?), then consider the need for a mind shift.
Changing the Heart from Ungratefulness to One of Gratitude
I think we could all call ourselves Debbie Downers from time to time, especially when...Read more...
13 Nov 2017
Forgiveness can take seventy times just to get it right! I thought I had forgiven the bullies who verbally abused me in grade school, until one recent Sunday, when I heard the Gospel from Matthew where it states,
Then Peter approaching Him asked, ‘Lord, if my brother sins against me, how often must I forgive him? As many as seven times’? Jesus answered, ‘I say to you, not seven times but seventy times’ (Matt 18:21-22).
I didn’t want to hold on to the pain any longer. That day, I gave the pain to Jesus – literally! After receiving Communion, I went back to my seat to kneel and give thanks. As I closed my eyes, I saw...Read more...
6 Nov 2017
The definition of self-giving love is to give without expecting repayment. With self-giving love, one gives from the heart, solely because he/she loves another for the sake of that person. There is no self-interest; only concern for the other person.
In today’s Gospel from Luke 14:12-14, Jesus tells us, via one of His parables, not to invite the wealthy to a banquet, for we may be asked to return the favor one day. Rather,
…when you hold a banquet, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind; blessed indeed will you be because of their inability to repay you. For you will be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous.
How to discern self-giving love
Let me take this one step further and ask you: When you give to the poor, do you... Read more...
1 Nov 2017
We take this day to remember all those saints who walked our path before us, triumphing in the face of adversity by placing their trust in God. Some of those saints are famous, like Saint Augustine, or Saint Francis of Assisi. And then, there are those saints who remain unknown to us; but, nonetheless, strove to do God’s will while on earth. Whether famous, or unknown, they now reap the reward of everlasting life with God. With perfected souls, they pray for us. They ask God to give us strength to resist evil. Through their intercession, we receive grace to persevere on our own journeys. These souls are a source of virtuous inspiration, making All Saints Day a day of remembrance and celebration.
All Saints Have a Story to Tell
Each saint has their own history, or story to tell. Saint Therese of Lisieux tells us of her “little way” of growing closer to God in The Story of a Soul. Saint Faustina shows us... Read more...
30 Oct 2017
In today’s first reading from Romans 8:12-17, Saint Paul encourages us to live by the spirit and not by the flesh. What does it actually mean to live by the spirit? And for that matter, what does it mean to live by the flesh? Let’s clear up the answers to those questions first, before we can determine how we should live.
To Live by the Spirit
As a baptized Christian, you are an adopted son or daughter of God. That makes you a rightful heir of God. As an heir of God, your inheritance is Heaven. Therefore, how you live your life on earth, will determine how you live for eternity. Will you squander your inheritance, or will you live your life in accordance with the Holy Spirit’s guidance? Saint Paul strongly urges us to live our lives in accordance with the Holy Spirit’s guidance. That’s what it means to live by the Spirit.
To Live According to the Flesh
Do you place more importance on the here and now, rather than eternity? Is it most important to you to...Read more...