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Among Women 218: Advent and Ignatian Spirituality

Among Women 218: Advent and Ignatian Spirituality

In this latest episode of Among Women, I finally overcome software crashes and bring you a podcast! Yay!

Join me for a look at the “three comings” of Christ in Advent, and a look at Elizabeth’s role in the Gospel as it pertains to Advent. Plus a primer on the Examen prayer and Ignatian Spirituality, together with a nurturing conversation with author Ginny Kubitz Moyer as she describes her latest book, Taste and See: Experiencing the Goodness of God with Our Five Senses.

Listen to the podcast here, or download it from iTunes.

Third Sunday of Advent Music – “Ready the Way”, by Curtis Stephan

In this video, the artist/composer talks about the meaning behind the song for a few minutes. If you just would like to hear the song, skip to 5:26 in the video. I’m liking this one because of its simplicity… I can just sing it as I go through my day.

Books for the Catholics on Your List: 5 Keepsakes, 5 Classics, & 5 Good Stories + Bonus suggestions

Books for the Catholics on Your List: 5 Keepsakes, 5 Classics, & 5 Good Stories + Bonus suggestions

What kinds of books do I like to read, and what makes a good Christmas present?

I like keepsake kinds of books, I like spiritual classics, and I like a good story…

I’m offering this list to see if there’s something on it that might be of interest for your Christmas shopping needs.

(I also mention this with full disclosure, as stated in my sidebar, that any purchases made via the links on my blog will directly benefit this apostolate and keep Among Women up and running.)

Keepsake books

The Ignatius Catholic Study Bible: New Testament

Great Bible Study aids in this volume… love it!

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Divine Intimacy: Meditations on the Interior Life  

A book to pray with. Powerful meditations.

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Queen of Apostles Prayer Book

Another good book to pray with, great prayers from the saints in here alongside classic prayers.

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Jesus, Present Before Me – Fr Peter James Cameron, OP

The perfect companion to bring to adoration, or to use before or after Mass.

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Benedictus – Day by day Meditations by Pope Benedict XVI

A good primer on the mind and heart of this Pope.

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Spiritual Classics

The Reed of God  -Caryll Houselander

One of the best books on Mary, ever!

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Introduction to the Devout Life – St Francis de Sales

If you’ve never read a spiritual classic, De Sales is the place to start!

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Story of a Soul – St Thérèse of Lisieux (study edition)

Here’s the book that turned a young 24 year old woman into a Doctor of the Church.

It didn’t hurt that she was a saint either!

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Divine Mercy in My Soul – The Diary of St Maria Faustian Kowalski

Get to know the Divine Mercy in the Year of Mercy!

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God Alone – A collection of the writing of St Louis de Montfort.

(This includes The Love of Eternal Wisdom, True Devotion to Mary, and Secrets of the Rosary, among others.)

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Good Stories 

The Screwtape Letters – by C.S. Lewis

Many have heard of this book, but how many have read it. Anything by C.S. Lewis is a gift!

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Witness to Hope – The autobiography of John Paul II – By George Weigel

Powerful chronicle of the life of this new saint!

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The Greatest Salesman in the World – Og Mandino

I read this when I was a teenager. I still love it. There are tangential Christmas themes too!

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In This House of Brede – Rumer Godden

A great novel. Timeless.

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The Well – by Stephanie Landsem

One of the newer writers out there, with a great read that gets behind the eyes of the Samaritan woman.

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:::

BONUS: Books that I have contribute to (mostly for women readers), plus a link to my book, Blessed, Beautiful, & Bodacious.

BONUS 2: My favorite journals are the larger sized (7 1/4″ x 9″) hardcover bound journals by Peter Pauper Press

BONUS 3: I recommend Catholic Digest Magazine – yes I write for them, but a great periodical for the home!

BONUS 4: I recommend the Magnificat – this daily devotional for Mass, plus meditations, articles, and morning and evening prayer.

This makes me think… about the challenge of letting the Lord lead every aspect of my life…

The Three Comings of the Lord

We know that there are three comings of the Lord. The third lies between the other two. It is invisible, while the other two are visible. In the first coming he was seen on earth, dwelling among men; he himself testifies that they saw him and hated him. In the final coming all flesh will see the salvation of our God, and they will look on him whom they pierced. The intermediate coming is a hidden one; in it only the elect see the Lord within their own selves, and they are saved. In his first coming our Lord came in our flesh and in our weakness; in this middle coming he comes in spirit and in power; in the final coming he will be seen in glory and majesty.

In case someone should think that what we say about this middle coming is sheer invention, listen to what our Lord himself ways: If anyone loves me, he will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him. There is another passage of Scripture which reads: He who fears God will do good, but something further has been said about the one who loves, that is, that he will keep God’s word. Where is God’s word to be kept? Obviously in the heart, as the prophet says: I have hidden your words in my heart, so that I may not sin against you.

Keep God’s word in this way. Let it enter into your very being, let it take possession of your desires and your whole way of life. Feed on goodness, and your soul will delight in its richness. Remember to eat your bread, or your heart will wither away. Fill your soul with richness and strength.

Because this coming lies between the other two, it is like a road on which we travel from the first coming to the last. In the first, Christ was our redemption; in the last, he will appear as our life; in this middle coming, he is our rest and consolation.

If you keep the word of God in this way, it will also keep you. The Son with the Father will come to you. The great Prophet who will build the new Jerusalem will come, the one who makes all things new. This coming will fulfill what is written: As we have borne the likeness of the earthly man, we shall also bear the likeness of the heavenly man. Just as Adam’s sin spread through all mankind and took hold of all, so Christ, who created and redeemed all, will glorify all, once he takes possession of all.

-St Bernard-
Sermon on Advent, Liturgy of the Hours.

It’s First Saturday tomorrow — Make it a Morning with Mom! #5FirstSat4Mary

It’s First Saturday tomorrow — Make it a Morning with Mom! #5FirstSat4Mary

Tomorrow is a First Saturday. I hope you’ll join in beginning this 5-month devotion or continue along with me. This is my #5FirstSat4Mary4th of 5 first Saturdays. Earlier posts are here: the beginning, the second, and third. The first post outlines the “how-to’s” for the First Saturday devotion.

I’ve learned a few things as I’ve invited people to join me in this devotion.

Not all parishes have a Saturday morning or midday Mass. Of course, there’s a showstopper right there. However, if you can, check out surrounding parishes or shrines. I often go to a shrine church, several towns away, that is affiliated with a religious order. Their Mass schedule and confession schedule is different from my local parish, and often more in line with my work schedule. All I’m saying is that if you have the desire, ask Mary to give you a way to complete this devotion. I also know good friends and family who live in rural areas and this is simply not a viable option — having a Mass within an hour’s drive on Saturday. Might I suggest, then, the First Friday devotion?

Mentioning your desire to complete this devotion to a friend or two helps keep you accountable. It’s been years since I’ve made the First Saturdays when I was encouraged to make them again, (from a priest in confession, and no, it was not my penance, just a pious suggestion). I admit, it took me a while to actually commit based on my calendar, but once I did, the days opened up. Funny, right? It helps to join with a friend to do this together. But if you can’t you can always share it in person, try sharing it “long distance” like I did — with my Facebook and Twitter friends.

Monthly confession is truly a holy goal. The 5 First Saturdays require going to confession. It’s a good thing in terms of the practice and, of course, the graces. But what I’ve noticed is that when I’m committed to monthly confession (even if I’m not participating in the First Saturdays), I have a tendency to do an examen all month long. That is, I begin to make notes of what I want to bring to my next confession. And I do it in a relaxed way, as the Lord brings things to mind in the course of the month. It’s really made confession less stressful, or rather, the process of examining my conscience. I’m a journaling person, so I just keep notes there. And then when I get to go to confession, I’m able to summarize my sins and my needs. This is very helpful for the priest who hears my confession, too. I can be direct and succinct and really own up to sins without a lot of meandering or hemming and hawing. He can zone in on giving me good direction and a penance. Plus this is useful if there is a long line for confession before Mass and you want to be courteous to your neighbors waiting in line behind you.

So, join me, won’t you? Give yourself the gift of a morning with Mom. (Mary is your spiritual mother!)

Do it for Mary. Do it for Jesus who loves when we honor his Mother. Do it for Advent.

Maybe ask a friend?

Share #5First Sat4Mary.

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The Pink Candle and other Musings – from my Patheos archives…

To the uninitiated, that pink candle at church makes no sense from a decorating point of view. It throws off the symmetry of the other three purple candles in the Advent wreath. Yet, it immediately draws attention.

A common sight in Advent, the pink or rose candle lit on the Third Sunday is a harbinger, a signpost, a little light that stirs the imagination. Something is a little bit different this week . . .

And what are we paying attention to? A respite from purple candles? Um, in a way, yes. But there is a much bigger picture, a broader context than ambience and church décor. Like so many visuals in the Mass, color is just one of the things that corresponds to the liturgical season, always pointing to a deeper truth.

If the purple candles are to remind us of the penitential and preparatory season of Advent, then the pink or rose candle is there to remind us of the soon coming joy of Christmas and the future joy of Christ’s coming again. Therefore, the object of our love and devotion should animate our penance, prayer, and service.

In years gone by, most Catholics learned that the Third Sunday was commonly called Gaudete Sunday. Gaudete was translated from the Latin as “rejoice”! Gaudete Sunday gets it name from the opening antiphon and prayers of the Mass that declare: “Rejoice in the Lord always” (“Gaudete in Domino semper”) (Phil 4:4).

This Third Sunday, the Church is harkening to its good news: the Word is made flesh in Jesus, and the Kingdom of Heaven is born in our midst.

The imagery in Sunday’s First Reading from Isaiah, recorded centuries before the first coming Christ, hints at this coming joy.

The desert and the parched land will exult; the steppe will rejoice and bloom.

They will bloom with abundant flowers, and rejoice with joyful song. The glory of Lebanon will be given to them, the splendor of Carmel and Sharon; they will see the glory of the LORD, the splendor of our God . . .

Here is your God, he comes with vindication; with divine recompense he comes to save you . . .

Those whom the LORD has ransomed will return and enter Zion singing, crowned with everlasting joy; 
they will meet with joy and gladness, sorrow and mourning will flee (Is 35:1-2, 4, 10).

As always, there is much to meditate on, but the simple phrase that captures my attention as we come to this Sunday with joy is that once-and-future hope that the prophet gives about one day coming back to our true homeland, “crowned with everlasting glory.”

And I wonder if we could envision ourselves on that special Day, would we live any differently than we do now?

After all, rejoicing, as a verb, means it is something that we do.

Why? Because it is something that we Christians are: Joyful.

Or, are we still works in progress in the joy department?

It is here that the Church is giving hints to what our witness ought to be even within a penitential season. While the ransoming of our lives through Christ takes place long before the crowning occurs, such knowledge is a deep well for joy, hope, and the kind of repentance that leads back to joy.

Joy can be our watchword in this season for it reveals the deepest truth about the deepest reality of Christ’s Coming. But even more profoundly, that he has come and will come for me. And you. This joy is personal as well as corporate.

(Read the rest over at Patheos…)

Among Women 188: Mary’s Spiritual Motherhood and Ours

Among Women 188: Mary’s Spiritual Motherhood and Ours

This new episode of Among Women discusses Mary’s spiritual maternity, her spiritual motherhood of the Church, and of us! The recent Marian feasts of Our Lady of Guadalupe and the Immaculate Conception gives the perfect liturgical setting to call women to go deeper with Mary. Not only that, I give my summarization of spiritual motherhood — an aspect of the feminine genius that all women are called to exercise in imitation of Mary, our mother.

Screen Shot 2014-12-13 at 2.41.32 PMAlso in this show, I enjoy a conversation with Mary Matheus, this year’s Treasurer of the National Council of Catholic Women (NCCW). Together we talk about how the NCCW shines the light on the leadership of women in the Church and in the world.

As a special additional feature of today’s show, I’m sharing my keynote address from the NCCW’s 2013 annual conventional — “What the World Needs Now are Spiritual Mothers.” Be sure to listen to that talk after the interview with Mary Matheus.

photoThe theme of spiritual motherhood is very dear to my heart, and I spend a few chapters on this subject in my book, Blessed, Beautiful, and Bodacious: Celebrating the Gift of Catholic Womanhood. This show features an opportunity to win a free copy of the book in a random drawing I’m having now until Dec 21. Listen for more details on Among Women 188.

Listen the latest show, Among Women 188, or choose a show from our archives.