Skip to main content

Posts

Showing posts from 2014

The Thrill of Hope

One of my favorite lines from the Christmas hymn "O Holy Night" is: "the thrill of hope, a weary world rejoices..." This year I find myself reflecting with gratitude on the hope that the Incarnation of our Lord brought 2000+ years ago to all humanity and brings to me and you and all of our loved ones today - the hope of eternal life.  After all the cookies are eaten, and gifts are unwrapped, and the memories of the festive celebrations are images on our photos and in our minds, what remains is the hope that is at the heart of our Christmas celebrations. I n Jesus' birth, death, and resurrection , we have the hope of freedom from the slavery of sin, the promise of the peace of the Kingdom, and the pledge of eternal glory in the life to come. What greater gift is there than that. What greater cause for rejoicing than this truth! Let us all ask the Holy Spirit to allow us to experience this "thrill of hope" that the Nativity of the Lord brings in a n

New (Liturgical) Year's Resolutions

Happy New Year!  No - I haven't mis-scheduled a blog post. On the first Sunday of Advent, the Church marks the first day of a new Liturgical year.  As with the celebration of the new calendar year each January, the new Church year is a time of new beginnings, of fresh starts, and of renewed purpose. It is with good reason that the church chooses a penitential season to begin each new year. Advent, contrary to what every blaring cyber-Monday commercial and glittering fully-decorated Christmas trees at the local Mall would have you believe, is a season of interior preparation, not merely for the infant Jesus' birth into history which we celebrate on Christmas, but for the Lord's second coming in glory and for our own personal judgment which comes at our deaths. Like the other penitential season in the Church's calendar - Lent, it is a time of interior purification and renewal - preparing our hearts and souls to more fully live in union with God in this life in order

5 Ways to Grow in Gratitude

As we look forward to the annual celebration of Thanksgiving, I'm participating in "Worth Revisiting Wednesday" over at Theology is a Verb and Reconciled to You by sharing this post on growing in the virtue of gratitude. If you have ever watched at toddler, you will quickly conclude that gratitude is not an innate response that flows off the tongue with ease. Gratitude, like all virtues, needs to be practiced - built like a muscle through constant use and discipline. "Blow, blow thou winter wind, thou art not so unkind as man's ingratitude." The past several years, our winters here in the Northeast have been particularly harsh. In the midst of those long, cold, snowy winter days,  Shakespeare's words have taken on a whole new meaning. That winter wind is  nasty. Yet, Shakespeare suggests, its bitter bite is not as wicked as man's ingratitude. Ingratitude, it seems, has been a problem for people forever - rearing its ugly head long before Shake

Saints Quotes on Gratitude

As we look ahead to the celebration of Thanksgiving, here are five powerful quotes from the Saints on gratitude. What struck me the most about these quotes is that taken together they provide a broad picture of the "attitude of gratitude" which we should have towards the Lord. Our gratitude should be expressed in prayer, for God's mercy, his goodness and the blessings of the past. It should be lived out in both the joy-filled times in our lives and in the struggles as well. Finally, our gratitude should lead us to live radically for Jesus - to the point, as St. Ignatius bluntly states, of being considered a fool. Have you thanked the Lord today?  -1- -2-   -3- -4- -5- Receive new posts directly via email. Sign up for free today by entering your email address below!

Novermber Daybook: A Snapshot into My Life

Outside My Window... Fall foliage is fully present in my neighborhood. Fall is my favorite season and I am always amazed at the beauty of the colors. This photo was taken at the end of my street. Just gorgeous! I am thankful... For the road trip we took with our Pastor and a few families from our parish this past weekend to the Catholic Underground in NYC.  The Catholic Underground is an apostolate of the Franciscan Friars of the Renewal. The Underground is a Eucharistic Holy Hour accompanied by the melodic chanting of the friars. During the Holy Hour, the lights of the church are shut off and the Monstrance is illuminated by spotlight and candles. It was such a powerful night of prayer and worship of our Lord Jesus. Truly a glimpse of heaven. The congregation was comprised primarily of young adults - what a witness and a joy to see a church packed to capacity on a Saturday night in the middle of NYC! Here's a picture of the sanctuary of the church immediately prior to the

Testimonies From the Heroic Minute Challenge

Many, many thanks to all who participated in the 14 Day "Heroic Minute" Challenge . I'd like to share with you some testimonies from people's experience with the challenge. God truly cannot be outdone in generosity. When we set our minds to knowing, loving and serving him from the moment our eyes first open in the morning, he truly does respond by showering us with grace, strength and blessing. Hearing the testimonies, struggles and victories of others has been a great source of witness and inspiration for me and I hope they will be for you too! From Charisse T:  "'Just as man cannot live in the flesh unless he is born in the flesh, even so a man cannot have the spiritual life of grace unless he is born again spiritually.'    St. Thomas Aquinas   I've done this heroic minute thing before.  I read some of St. Josemaria Escriva's writings a few months ago, taped a Miraculous Mary medal to my snooze button, and committed.  5:30am on the dot every

Scriptures For the Morning

As we enter into the home stretch of the 14 Day "Heroic Minute" Challenge , here are five of my favorite scripture verses related to the morning. In contemplating these it seems that there is a few consistent themes among them: Our morning should begin with praise and thanksgiving to God. This seems straightforward - the very fact that we are alive to see another day is reason enough to praise God! Yet, more often than I care to admit, my day begins with something far more mundane than praise. The opening antiphon for the Liturgy of the Hours, to be recited first thing in the morning, comes from Psalm 51 and reads: "Lord open my lips and my mouth shall declare your praise." Over the course of this challenge I have begun reciting that phrase as soon as I shut off my alarm clock.  The Lord's mercy is available to us each morning. I take such comfort in this! With God, there is always an opportunity to begin again. Each brand new day brings with it a fresh start

Overcoming Discouragement Through the Stations of the Cross

Lately, I have been feeling discouraged about my spiritual life and all the areas of my heart that I still have not yet fully surrendered to the Lord. My prayer life has seen better days and I am desperately in need of a good confession, but seem to be doing my level best to avoid any and all opportunities to avail myself of one. The most humiliating part of all is that I am teaching a class on the virtues at my children's co-op and that has just served to highlight just how un-virtuous some of my day to day behavior really is - a fact that my 10 year old, who is in the class, is quick to point out.... The truth is, giving into the temptation to throw a daily pity-party complete with long sighs and lots of woe-is-me's is not an attitude that is likely to lift our discouragement any time soon.  I stress to my children every day that if they used the time they spent whining about doing their school work in actually doing their schoolwork they would be shocked at how quickly

October Daybook: A Snapshot Into My Life

Outside My Window It is a crisp fall day with the wind blowing the leaves off the trees in a steady stream of falling color. Autumn is my favorite time of year and I am grateful for the beautiful scenery that the Lord paints during this season.   I am thankful... ...that my son has recently had the opportunity to begin Altar Serving at our parish. What an honor and privilege it is for him and a joy to watch for my husband and I. Serving at the altar has given him a new and deeper reverence and understanding of the Mass. A dear friend and mother of a the seminarian who trained my son shared this video with me  - it is a much watch for all Altar Servers and gives a moving display of the great dignity of their role in the Mass.  I am going... ...to the Adoration Chapel this afternoon for some much needed time in the presence of the Lord. If you have never spent time in prayer in front of the Blessed Sacrament, I invite you to do so.  St. John Vianney says: "Our L

"Frozen" and the Lie of False Freedom

Before we even begin here, I g et that Frozen is sooooo "yesterday's news", but my 9 year old daughter's chorale group just performed "Let it Go" at a recent concert and, having been  torutured,  ahem,  treated to my children belting it out at the top of their lungs for several weeks now, I must confess that I have some major gripes with that song. Let me just state for the record: I loved Frozen . I bawled like a baby watching it and the instant it ended I called my sister and blubbered how much I loved her over the phone. A week later, I watched it with my sister and we both sobbed together and hugged each other as our baffled husbands shook their heads and poured themselves another glass of wine. It is a great movie about the bond of sisterhood and climaxes with a wonderful message about the healing power of self-sacrificing love. My gripe is with the song "Let It Go" and the erroneous message it sends - erroneous, that is, if your live ou

Quotes From St. Josemarie Escriva

The church celebrates the feast of  St. Josemarie Escriva,  founder of Opus Dei, on June 26. His classic book,  The Way: The Essential Classic of Opus Dei's Founder , has sold over 4.5 million copies since it was originally published in 1939. This book is a treasury of spiritual wisdom, drawn from the saint's own personal letters and conversations. Organized into categories, the book is filled with bite-sized nuggets which challenge readers in every state of life to grow in personal holiness. If you are looking for ways to grow in your spiritual life, pick up a copy of St. Escriva's book today and read, meditate on and implement just one exhortation per day. It will change your life!  The quotes below are some of my favorites and have directly impacted my own spiritual growth. -1- I try, many times unsuccessfully, to live out this quote - rising without hitting the snooze button at a fixed time each day.  On days that I am successful at this, I have truly won "

Overcoming Careless Words

Pope Francis has not minced words when it comes to the sin of gossip,  speaking about its perils on multiple occasions:  In one  homily  he likened the act of gossip to Judas' betrayal of the Lord, saying that when we gossip about someone we are turning them into a  "commodity"  and selling them for 30 pieces of silver, which is the pleasure or other gain we receive through the gossip.  On another  occasion , he warned that slander is a grave sin which  "wants to destroy God's work and is spawned by something very nasty... by hatred."  Finally, in a separate  homily , he explains that the consequence of gossip is to  "transform our communities as well as our family into ‘hell’  .  The Pope cautions that none of us are exempt from this sin and that he himself is tempted by it each day. YIKES!  It gets worse...If you think the Pope's words are tough - read these words of the Lord, who doesn't limit his warnings to gossip, but rather cast

7 Ways to Grow in Devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus

The month of June is traditionally devoted to the Sacred Heart of Jesus , with the feast of the Sacred Heart celebrated at the end of the Octave of Corpus Christi, 19 days after Pentecost. I have childhood memories of the various images of the Sacred Heart which adorned many friends and family member's homes in the Italian - immigrant neighborhood in which I grew up. It wasn't till I was an adult that I became interested in the history of the devotion, and eventually, we had our home enthroned to the Sacred Heart of Jesus. I am by no means an expert on the devotion to the Sacred Heart, so writing this post has been both a reflection of things I have already done to grow in this devotion and a list of things I hope to do. 1. Learn In order to for any devotion to bear good fruit, it is essential that we know the history and significance of the devotion. Catholics have long been accused of entering into dubious and suspicious devotional practices. Understanding our own beautifu