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Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Grace of Yes Day: Saying Yes to God


A great friend of mine and founder of Catholic Mom website , Lisa Hendey , recently wrote a book about the graces of saying yes to God. When we say yes to God, we are participating in His great plan.

Many years ago, the Blessed Mother, Mary, said yes in the ultimate Fiat. Now, in our own lives, we are sharing the ways we say our own yes to God by joining this campaign called, "The Grace of Yes."




We all have our stories, large or small, in how we say yes. I try to make it a point to say yes to God daily - even if it is in some small way.  One larger way I said yes to God was when I began My Light Magazine for Children. While it is not as lively as it was a few years ago, I try to keep it going as much as I can.

When I first started the magazine, I felt a call in my heart to reach our children and inspire them to learn more about their faith. Even though I was not sure of how I would do such a great task, I went through with it using full "blind faith" in Him. I knew that no matter what, God would help me with this because it was His call in the first place. When we cooperate in His plan, things always come through.

While my work has slowed a little due to working, I still try to add content to the magazine as much as possible. See, just in working alone is another Yes. I teach children in a Catholic school now which takes up much of my time before, during, and after work. However, I see this as more "training" from God so that I may continue His work. I will continue His work teaching children daily and I will continue His work in offering a small, safe , spiritual and educational place online.





So how will you say yes to God today? To join in the fun, create a post on social media telling how you "say yes to God". Be sure to add the #graceofyesday to your post. Visit the link below for more resources! 

To learn more about how to participate in this movement, please visit Ave Maria Press-Grace of Yes

If you join in, feel free to leave a comment below to tell me where I can find your post. 

Be sure to visit Catholic Mom as well to read about other stories of YES.







Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Catholic Writer's Conference

Love the Catholic Faith? Love writing? If so, you should check out the Catholic Writer's Guild Live Conference. Every year they work in conjunction with the Catholic Marketing Network's annual trade show.

What should you expect if you make it out there?

There will be:

  • workshops
  • pitch sessions to publishers
  • a chance to market your books to Catholic bookstores
  • plus much more.  


This year it is held from July 29th through August 1st.

Here's the Scoop:
Place: Renaissance Schaumburg Convention Center and Hotel
1551 N. Thoreau Drive
Schaumburg, IL 60173

CWG Member Price: $80.00

Non CWG Member: $85.00

CWG Membership plus registration: $110.00

Student : $45.00

Click the link to register for the Catholic Writer's Conference.




Sunday, May 11, 2014

Beyond this Life

Today, on Good Shepherd Sunday, we have read about the Good Shepherd and how He is the gate to a new and abundant life--a life beyond this one.

During the Homily, our priest Fr Mike, talked to us about the intriguing topic of the afterlife. That was a smart idea, because no matter where you are in your faith, this topic is bound to grab attention. If some one's mind drifted off, I'm sure the topic brought them back.

Father pointed to three examples of miraculous events which point to the proof of Heaven. There were several examples, but the one that spoke to me the most was an example of a young girl, Akiane.  Her entire family was atheist and the little girl was an exceptional artist. She began having visions of Jesus and Heaven at the age of four.



When she was eight years old, she painted this amazing picture of Jesus. Father also mentioned this painting matches Jesus' burial shroud - The Shroud of Turin by 90%.





The story reminded me of an experience I had once. A wonderful Christian friend of mine wanted to show me a music video inspired by the film The Passion of the Christ. I always have a hard time with the Passion because it's painful to see Jesus in such a way. The one who gave up everything for us is being treated so poorly and violently. My friend convinced me to watch the video and I watched as much as I could stomach. That night I had an amazing dream. It was set in Jerusalem around the time of Jesus. The colors everywhere were so pure: pure white stones on which we sat, pure bright sunshine, perfect temperature. I remember having a discussion with Jesus without words.




 It was like He was reading my heart and responded to my anxieties.  It was a calm and reassuring "conversation" that I will never forget. Ever since that night, I've handled the Passion much better. I still might not be able to bring myself to watch graphic shows depicting it, but it no longer tears me to shreds when I think about it. It's because the "conversation" with Him showed me that the Passion was only part of the story. And that is true. We can't leave out the best part: the part where He defeats death and opens the gates of Heaven for us.

The wonderful thing about God, though, is that whether we experience Him through super miracles like Akiane's visions or not, He speaks to us all the time. Sometimes in big ways such as my experience above, on in smaller ways: maybe a song or reading at church touched your heart, maybe it is in something you've seen or read, or maybe it's an inspirational thought in your heart.No matter what, though, when we pay attention and speak with our God, wonderful things happen. And that is proof enough for me that there is more Beyond this Life.



Sunday, February 2, 2014

Presenting the Mass

Since today is the feast of the Presentation of Jesus in the Temple, our parish priest celebrated Mass with a small addition. He gave us a Presentation of the Mass. What does that mean exactly? It is very simple, hopefully not controversial, and highly educational. He explained the "whats" and the "whys" of Mass. I know, I know. I can hear the statements now: "But I'm a cradle Catholic. I KNOW what the Mass is." However, even though I've gone to church every week for many, many years, am a Catholic author and teacher and Editor-in-Chief of an online Catholic magazine, I still learned something new this morning. I think everyone there did.

At the beginning, he told us instead of a long homily, he was going to explain why he is doing something or why our responses are important. It may have been a little unorthodox, but the gift he gave us was monumental and certainly served Christ. He gave us a better understanding of what is happening at Mass. When we get the meaning - the true meaning- of something, it means more to us. We're not just going to say a few prayers and mumble some responses. No!

We are clearing our souls of venial sins,



 praying in unison with the saints and angels,







 and participating in the miracle that joins heaven and earth.



People of all different levels in their faith journey were there. We will never know the lengths of this great service caused today. There could have been a person who usually misses Mass, but made it today. Imagine the good it did if anything Father said today touched this person's heart. That goes for everyone there. We all learned something new, all grew a little more and hopefully deepened our faith a bit more. Two thousand years ago Mary and Joseph gave gifts in celebration of Jesus' Presentation. Today, our priest did the same.



Sunday, September 22, 2013

The Thread

Sometimes people hurt us. It may be people close to us or acquaintances. No matter who it comes from, if the attack is a personal one, it hurts just the same. As humans, we often run through a range of emotions when this happens: Anger, discontent, hurt and frustration. These are all normal, human reactions especially if the offender's actions are chronic.

However, as Christians we are called to a higher behavior. Jesus calls on us repeatedly to "forgive" each other.In Matthew18:21 He tells us we should forgive not 7 times, but seventy times seven. In the Lord's Prayer it even states, "Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us." These are meaningful words-we are asking God to forgive us the way we forgive others. So if we expect God to be merciful to us, we must be merciful to others.

But, not only are we called to forgive those who hurt us, but we are called to pray for them.Praying for those who hurt us seems like a daunting task. Pray for the person who called you those degrading names? Pray for that person who bullies you? Yes! Hurtful people probably need many prayers.

However, this really is as much for us as it is for them. Prayer pulls us closer to God and brings us in His presence. Often times, an offense may be so hurtful that we may be "hanging on by a thread" before giving into the temptations of anger, depression, anxiety, and loneliness. But, I have noticed the times I've been at that point that prayer is the one thing that keeps the "thread" intact. If we pray enough, our hearts will soften, and we let go of the desire for revenge. Instead of a racing mind on "what to say the next time I see them," our hearts and minds will be at peace. Sometimes it may take a few "Hail Marys", other times it could take much more.  But once we have prayed, we can rest peacefully knowing we did right by God and our offender. The peacefulness in our hearts is a much better feeling than the snapping of the "thread" we've been hanging on to.

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Why is the Mass so Important

Even the most devout families hear it from the kids:

 "But Moooommmm, do we have to go? Again?"

"We just went last week."

"We go every week!"

And so went our discussion at breakfast this morning. I discussed how attending Mass is something God asks of us, how it is part of the ten commandments, and how it is the only time during the week in which we participate in the Miracle of the Eucharist. After all, we are responsible for our choices. God will not force us to go to church,. He will not force us to choose Him. However, when we make a choice, we also choose the consequences of that choice.

Some were not impressed, and once again it turned into  a "Well, we're going to Church, deal with it," situation.

We make our way to church, with some grumbling along the way. We pick our seats and kneel down in prayer before Mass starts. Part of my prayer was that my children see the benefit of the Mass and why it is so important. I finish my prayer and sit in the pew. I lean over and whisper to the kids, "I want you to be sure to pay attention to what Father says during the Homily." My hope was that in paying attention, the may see some spiritual benefit in going to church in  addition to Holy Communion. I hoped they would hear something that made them "get it".

The time for the Homily came and I was flabbergasted. Did God just answer my prayer? Already? The Homily was mostly about the importance of a funeral mass (tying into today's Gospel) but the priest also stressed why the Mass is important. He stressed Mass and general prayer (for example a prayer service) are not equal. Mass is The Great Prayer. THE prayer. Why? Because we are joining our living and spiritual brothers and sisters in witnessing the miracle of the Eucharist. Mass is the highest form of prayer.



Our priest gave several examples illustrating all his points.During this homily, I watched my children's hearts soften as they began to understand that the Mass is more than an obligation in which people talk and sing for an hour. As Mass continued, I was in awe. Once again (it happens often) being at Mass addressed an issue I have been struggling with. How wonderful that what I had just been teaching my children at breakfast, had been reiterated by a respected priest.

Thank you God for hearing my prayers once again. And thank you for the gift of a devout and holy priest!

Friday, August 2, 2013

Pope Francis and His Recent Comments

I start the day as any other day. Open my Facebook, scroll down my newsfeed when I see it. Is that a photo of Pope Francis on my friends' pages? For my devoted Catholic friends, I find it no surprise. I see it all the time. But my friends who disagree with,dislike, and/or oppose Catholics? Wow, I say to myself in a brief naive moment. Then I read the quote one more time. "If a person is gay and seeks the Lord and is of good will, who am I to judge him?"




Now I get it. Pope Francis had proved their point. It's obvious,isn't it? Pope Francis said that it is okay to live out the homosexual lifestyle. He just said it: "Who am I to judge?" 

Hold the Facebook share button for a second. Is that what the Pope was saying or was that the liberal spin on what he said.? Would a Pope-CAN a Pope - change the teachings of the church? The answer, my friends is no. 

So, what did he say? The quote above is just part of his statements. When asked about homosexual priests living a celibate life, Pope Francis said, “If someone is gay and he searches for the Lord and has good will, who am I to judge?” 

Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/opinion/2013/07/29/what-pope-francis-really-said-about-gays-and-no-it-not-new/#ixzz2apbWdb1x

People seem to forget, Same sex attraction and homosexuality is not the sin.It is the ACTIONS we do that are sinful.  Orientation is one thing, actions are another. If you are gay (you're orientation), who is to judge? If you act on those desires (action), then it is a sin and must be confessed and turned away from. If you live a chaste, celibate life, and are following the Lord, then who is to judge? 

This does not only apply to homosexuality.It applies to every sin. We are all guilty of sin. It is not what we think about that is sinful, it is the action of that sin (lie,steal,cheat, hit, hurt, kill,swear,missing Mass, worshiping idols, etc) that is sinful. Everyone of us is guilty of sin and in need of God's mercy. All of us deserve His love and forgiveness including homosexuals.That is what our leader was teaching us. 

GOD BLESS POPE FRANCIS