This makes me think… about my hungry soul…

The prayer that person prays to the best of his ability has great power.

It makes a bitter heart sweet,
a sad heart glad,
a poor heart rich,
a foolish heart wise,
a timid heart bold,
a weak heart strong;
it makes a blind heart see and a cold heart burn.

It draws the great God into the little heart;
it carries the hungry soul upward to God,
the living source,
and brings two lovers together:
God and the soul.

-St Gertrude the Great-

The F.U.N. Quotient… water balloon edition

Here’s a great idea for family and youth ministry fun! It’s a kick-starter campaign you may want to support.

Click: Plano Dad invents something to fill and tie many water balloons at once! 

This makes me think… about how classic hymns can be powerful prayers

This makes me think… about how classic hymns can be powerful prayers

Breathe on me,
Breath of God,
fill me with life anew,
that I may love what thou dost love,
and do what thou wouldst do.

Breathe on me,
Breath of God,
until my heart is pure,
until with thee I will one will,
to do and to endure.

Breathe on me,
Breath of God,
till I am wholly thine,
till all this earthly part of me
glows with thy fire divine.

Breathe on me,
Breath of God,
so shall I never die,
but live with thee
the perfect life of thine eternity.

text by Edwin Hatch, 1835-1889

Here’s a music file of the traditional melody.

Why I love Saint Mary Magdalene

Why I love Saint Mary Magdalene

From my book, Blessed, Beautiful, and Bodacious: Celebrating the Gift of Catholic Womanhood:

Here’s a vision of hope for every woman stung by bad decisions and the pain of sin. It is the life of St. Mary Magdalene.  First, imagine Mary Magdalene, one of the notorious sinners mentioned in the New Testament, from whom seven devils were cast out. When she met the God of love, she turned from her sins, converted, and lived to love and serve Jesus.

Now, here’s a second picture to envision: At the foot of Jesus’s Cross, the Gospel records that Mary Magdalene stood next to the Blessed Virgin Mary—the woman the Church declares and Mother of God, and John Paul II called “the mirror and measure of femininity” (See Angelus Message, 3, June 25, 1995.)

In the New Testament  [Mary Magdalene] is mentioned among the women who accompanied Christ and ministered to Him (Lk 8:2–3), where it is also said that seven devils had been cast out of her (Mk 16:9). She is next named as standing at the foot of the cross (Mk 15:40; Mt 27:56; Jn 19:25; Lk 23:49). She saw Christ laid in the tomb, and she was the first recorded witness of the Resurrection. (Jn 20:11–18)

(Pope, “St. Mary Magdalen ”, New Advent.)

 If Mary Magdalene, with her checkered past, can stand with the Blessed Virgin Mary – the epitome of grace and womanhood – then we all have a chance to do the same. The Blessed Mother is truly the friend and refuge of sinners…

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Catholic Photo Challenge # 5: “Filial trust.” (Or, after Mass in a small town)

Catholic Photo Challenge # 5: “Filial trust.” (Or, after Mass in a small town)

Steve Nelson’s Everything Estaban blog continues to intrigue me with the Catholic Photo Challenge. The theme for this week’s challenge is from the Catechism of the Catholic Church:

“322 Christ invites us to filial trust in the providence of our heavenly Father (cf. Mt 6:26-34),
and St. Peter the apostle repeats: “Cast all your anxieties on him, for he cares about you” (I Pt 5:7; cf. Ps 55:23).”

Steve writes:

For this photo challenge, capture a scene or event that expresses joy in a carefree moment. A scene when you, or someone else, is living in the moment, not fettered by worries or needing to be in total control.

Anyway, since I’m caregiving and not really keeping my usual schedule, I had not planned on participating in this current challenge until something unexpected happened after Mass yesterday.  This was a photo I just happened to snap — without even trying to do the challenge… but it just happened to work out that way.

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I attended Sunday Mass at my parents’ parish which is St Joseph the Worker — a combined collaborative of St John’s in Clyde, St Patrick’s in Savannah, and St Michael’s in Lyons, NY. Dad and attended Mass at St John’s today. Since my mother is still in the nursing home getting rehab, I decided to take a few photos of the church for her, since it has been several weeks since she has been at Mass in this church.

After Mass I was busy taking photos of the tabernacle and the major statues very quietly as the church emptied out. As I focused my lens in on the statue of St Joseph, a woman quickly stepped into my frame just as I pushed the shutter. It was not until I looked at this later on, did I realize that this would make a great depiction of “filial trust in the providence of our heavenly Father.”

From top to bottom… within the artistic rendering of the statue we first see Jesus gazing confidently (with filial trust) into the eyes of St Joseph, his foster father. What a model for us!

Then, in the lower portion of the photo we see this darling woman placing her own filial trust in her patron, St Joseph. She prayerfully lights a candle as she trusts Joseph’s spiritual fatherhood — after all, he is the Patron of he Universal Church — with her special intention.

Finally there is the implicit and ultimate to call to you and to me — as stated in CCC 322 above — to trust in the providence of our heavenly Father. St Joseph was the Heavenly Father’s choice and provision for his Precious Son, Jesus. Joseph, the gospel attests, was an upright and just man. He was a humble follower of God whose own filial trust in God allowed him to carry out his vocation as the earthly father of Jesus.

This photo reminds me that both Jesus and Joseph trusted the Heavenly Father to provide for their ultimate good. Those are pretty good endorsements. May we all aspire to such deep and abiding and childlike trust in our Father, “the one who searches hearts (Rom. 8:27)”.

:::

Check out the latest Catholic Photo Challenge, and be sure to read Maria Johnson’s poignant entry too.

On the Road in Wayne County

On the Road in Wayne County

I’m staying with my parents due to my mother’s long hospital stay and her subsequent recovery in a nursing home for rehab. As I travel through the local countryside, I’m pining for a better camera beyond my iPhone 4s. In recent weeks, I’ve been getting to know the highways and byways of this area and taking many photos of this landscape.

Over a dozen years ago, my folks, Jim and Cathy, transplanted themselves from cacophony of downstate Long Island (one of the most densely populated regions of the USA) to the upstate quietude of Wayne County, New York. Situated on the shore of the great Lake Ontario on its northern border, between Rochester to the west and Syracuse to the east, it’s got a varied history as the Erie Canal runs along its southern edge.

My daily drive to the nursing home takes me through farm and orchard country — especially apple orchards. Driving through the backroads, I spy many family farms and commercial growers, Amish and Mennonite homes and farms too. It’s a lot different than the country lanes I usually zip through in New England. 

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Be patient, therefore, brethren, until the coming of the Lord. Behold, the farmer waits for the precious fruit of the earth, being patient over it until it receives the early and the late rain. — James 5: 7

 

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A few pics from around my parents’ yard…

 

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My Dad's old truck.

My Dad’s old truck.

 

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This is Lilly.

 

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"Good dog."

“Good dog.”

The F.U.N. Quotient… facebook funnies

Both of these made me giggle this week! (Trust me, I needed giggles!)

For you paper lovers out there:

 

Toddler sings the blues:

Among Women 181: Spiritual Muscle for Life’s Curves (with Jennifer Fitz)

Among Women 181: Spiritual Muscle for Life’s Curves (with Jennifer Fitz)

I’m happy to be back with a new episode of Among Women after an unplanned hiatus due to family obligations and spiritual direction school. In this episode I unpack seven spiritual weapons found in the writings of St Catherine of Bologna (with the help of Pope Benedict). This subject is especially helpful to all of us in a struggle as St Catherine is well acquainted with the spiritual warfare and difficulties that increased as her faith and love for Christ increased. Indeed, struggle and suffering plus grace equal spiritual muscle. My guest on this episode also has some wisdom to share about that.AuthorPhoto1

The Among Women guest segment finds me conversing with my colleague from Patheos and the Catholic Writer’s Guild, author-blogger Jennifer Fitz, the Guild’s vice-president. Jennifer shares her life as a blogger-catechist-author and the good work of the Guild, plus she opens her heart describing how her past experience as a competitive cyclist enlightens her faith today as she powers through suffering when it comes.

Listen to this new episode of Among Women!

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