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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.