Saint Teresa of Ávila, the 16th century Carmelite nun, mystic, reformer and doctor, was graced with spiritual insights into prayer, the soul and the ineffable love of God. With the blessing of Pope Pius IV, she departed her cloister at Avila, and together with Saint John of the Cross, set up a reformed Carmelite Order in Spain and Portugal. Throughout her life, she endured great suffering with joy and equanimity. Among her literary works, her autobiography (The Life of Teresa of Jesus) is a testament to the power of faith and living in imitation of Jesus Christ.
Born in 1891, Edith Stein grew up in a devout Jewish family, but would espouse atheism as an aspiring academic and activist. A young woman with immense intellectual gifts, she dedicated herself to the search for truth. After extensive studies at major German universities, Edith became an influential philosopher in her own right, and a renowned speaker on feminism. In 1913, she enrolled in Gottingen University, to study under the guidance of Edmund Husserl. There she encountered Catholics whose intellectual and spiritual lives she greatly admired.
While visiting Catholic friends, Edith came across the autobiography of Saint Teresa of Ávila, and spent the entire night reading it. The next year, (January 1, 1922) she was baptized into the Catholic Church. After her conversion to Catholicism, she continued to be a major force in German intellectual life. Although she had intended to do so following her conversion, Edith entered the Discalced Carmelites in 1933. (The Order founded by Saint Teresa of Ávila.) Read more…
Raising children is not a default chore for women who were not successful in the world of business, power, and wealth. However, the trend in the last few decades has been to delegate childcare to women who are often treated like second-class citizens. Society seems to dismiss and even ridicule women’s most sacred, natural role as nurturing mothers.
I fully realize most mothers have no choice but to work in our present economy. My contention is with prevailing attitudes about children, mothers and child care. From preschool, we are groomed to get ahead, surpass our peers by getting into the best universities and snatch prized careers. But success alone will not make us happy. Just take a look at the generations who have gone before us. The all-too-common mid-life crisis is a testament to the failure of a life focused on career advancement to the exclusion of family. Many women bemoan the fact they did not have time to nurture their children like they would have liked to. Family life often crumbles to ashes, sacrificed on the altar of success.
In this milieu, Catholic women continue to grapple with how to live faithful to the teachings of the Church while remaining true to themselves as members of modern society. Sadly, young mothers are dealing with the same issues I did thirty-eight years ago. The problem is a pro-life stance seems to clash with concepts of feminism.
The Resurrection, means that Jesus has been swept up out of the world of space and time in which he’d lived before, not to leave us alone, but to be closer to us than ever before, and as he promised ‘even to the end of time.’ Before the Resurrection Jesus was limited by the physical body into which he had freely chosen to enter. His choice meant that he could only be in one place at a time, so meeting him would have been as difficult as meeting any major celebrity in our time. But that’s all changed now, because the same otherworldly power that raised him out of this world on the first Easter day enabled him to re-enter it on every day. So now he can enter into us, as he promised, so that he can make his home in us and we can make our home in him. In the words of St Augustine this means that – ‘He can be closer to us than we are to ourselves’. All this can be possible, not in some distant pipe dream, but here and now. That’s why de Caussade said that ‘The present moment contains far more than we have the capacity to receive, for it is full of infinite treasures’. read on……
Super Cute Bible Tabs to get you flipping through the Bible from Catholic Icing. I turned a soft cover Catholic Bible into a Hardcover Bible and while I was at it, a Journaling Bible.
Easy as Abacus Stations of the Cross Just released last week! Kelly Saints Stations of the Cross on a wood frame Abacus, perfect for little fingers to keep track of the Stations!
Letters of Love: A Lenten Meditation for Families I’ve signed up and I think I’m ready! I’m hoping that the colorful post it notes, index cards, notepaper, notebook and pens will entice my whole family (including our 4 kids living at home ~from 6 years to 18 years) to reflect, write and draw as soon as we receive the prompts!
You can sign up too at Not So Formulaic. I’ll be posting our progress …and any special tips we come up with, after we begin on Ash Wednesday!
Easy as Abacus Rosary for hands-on Rosary praying with Kelly Saints illustrations and chalkboard prayer intentions!
Pray, Fast, Give Printable from Look to Him and Be Radiant This is a great, FREE printable to help you Pray, Fast and Give! Pick new do-able challenges each day and avoid the discouragement of Lenten Sacrifice burnout.
…and one more #CatholicCraft! Not a printable…but a FREE Tutorial!
Simple Good Deed Bead Bracelets that even the littlest hands can help make…with beads that slide and stay in place to count special sacrifices and prayers throughout each day! FREE Tutorial at Equipping Catholic Families.
Copyright 2017 Monica McConkey.
Monica McConkey is a Mom of 5, creator of Catholic teaching tools and gifts and she is the original founder of this website. She spends most of her time posting about crafts and family fun at Equipping Catholic Families and creating things for her Shoppe
This past Sunday, the Gospel reading was Luke 16:1-13. In this reading, a steward, (a trusted servant responsible for the household of his master), has wasted his master’s goods. He is told to prepare an accounting, as he will be removed from his position. In something of a panic, he calls in his master’s debtors and reduces their debts to curry favor with them that he might have some recourse after losing his position. On its face, he appears to continue to mismanage his master’s affairs, again for his own benefit. And then we have this odd reaction from his master:
“The master commended the dishonest steward for his prudence…” Luke 16:8a
This is followed by Jesus saying to the Pharisees: “And I tell you, make friends for yourselves by means of unrighteous mammon, so that when it fails they may receive you into the eternal habitations.” Luke 16: 9
So, am I the only one that was ever confused by this? Looks to me like Jesus is telling us to lie, cheat and steal to gain heaven. I’ve never been particularly enlightened by any of the homilies I’ve heard on this either. Most times the focus is on the earlier reading from Amos, which talks about how the people “observe the Sabbath” by not selling and cheating in the marketplace, yet, their hearts and minds are focused on when they can resume their dishonest lives instead of on the worship of God. Let’s face it, there is a lot of material to work with there, in our time as much as 2000 years ago.
Is joy at the heart of your life in Christ? Many Catholics feel beleaguered as they struggle to stand up for the truth in an increasingly hostile environment. Of course, it is easy to become so busy addressing serious moral and religious issues that our spirituality is relegated to Sunday Mass and a few Hail Marys rattled off on the run. However, if we are determined to be effective agents of change in society, we must make time to learn how to live in, with, and through Christ. Only when we are filled with the power of Holy Spirit, we will witness effectively with joy, with a dance in our step.
To our #Recipe4Holiness we will now add a special ingredient, that is actually many ingredients in one… Small Acts – those often unseen moments our of lives that create a saints heart within us!
If you’ve been reading my blog for a while – or even a few days – you are acutely aware of my many deficiencies. The one that I regret the most – and try the most to overcome is my lack of hospitality and thoughtfulness. Though, probably a more fair assessment would be my lack of follow through!
I often think of the nice or caring things I could do to help others – however, for a myriad of reasons (none of them good); my follow-through statistics are very low. At first this behavior came from self-preservation and lack of instruction; but as an adult with fully formed conscience it is not longer acceptable behavior.
AWARENESS IS NOT HALF THE BATTLE
While I would love to say, that once I realized the necessity of a life in Christ to include reaching out to others my behavior changed – I can not. I still every day have to resist my self-absorbed ways. In all too painful ways the Lord has allowed me to feel the DEEP regret of not acting on an inspiration of the Spirit to reach out to another.
All Rights Reserved, Allison Gingras 2016
“If you need wisdom, ask our generous God, and he will give it to you. He will not rebuke you for asking.”James 1:5 Where I lack the greatest wisdom without a doubt is in discerning the Will of God. There are several factors that block my clearly hearing God speak in my life – primarily my own voice and will are often drowning out God’s voice. A very anxious person by nature – I erroneously believe the more of my life I control; the better my life will be. I seem to have this crazy notion that I know better than the creator of the universe what is needed for me to be happy.
God is not in the happiness business – he is in the holiness business. Paradoxical however the more I order my life to holiness – the truly happier I will be. Not the fading worldly happy but a much deeper, “it can’t be taken away from you” joy! His ways are always ‘different and higher’ (Isaiah 55) from any ideas I may hold onto. I see tomorrow, and the next day – he sees into infinity (and… oh come on we have to go there… BEYOND!). My greatest desire is always to avoid pain and suffering – though God did not spare his only begotten Son this fate; why would mine be any different. Jesus willingness to accept the Father’s will, to drink from the cup that was not passed him by – opened the gates of Heaven. Jesus instructions are clear. If you want to follow him – if you want to journey toward those open gates – pick up your cross DAILY and follow him.
A few years ago I was leading a Confirmation retreat – at the end of the day – one young man stood up and began to YELL at me!! Yell… swear… berate — completely misunderstanding and twisting my words, he stirred the entire class into a frenzy. In my arrogance, I fought back.
FIND OUT how this all turned out … read more on Reconciled To You ….
All Rights Reserved, Allison Gingras 2016
Personally, I am not good with courage or living simply. My anxieties have me afraid of pretty much everything:
- lightning storms
- spiders, snakes, anything that creeps
- being alone
- injury or illness to my kids
…just to name a few.
As I have well documented in my Money Monday series; my inability to live within my means for the last 30+ years has wreaked havoc on my finances and my peace of mind. Where was Pope Francis’ message when I needed it? If I’m honest, would I have even listened back then?
Well, luckily as long as I’m breathing – there is always time to find out. Here’s the amazing thing about being a believer and a friend of God – “see I make all things new
” (Revelation 21:5); today I can make the changes necessary to embrace this message and apply its teaching to my current (and for hence forth) circumstances.
Life requires courage. That is clear in the horrific events of this year – just making the decision to leave our homes can be cause for pause. In the case of my dear friend from our parish, stabbed in her own home by a random act by a distraught young man, even home doesn’t feel safe any longer. There is illness and accidents; and so much beyond our control that can lead our hearts to ache; and fall into despair and fear. As a person who has battled anxiety her entire life (diagnosed with a ‘nervous stomach’ at age 9); just watching the news or reading social media can send me spiraling into a panic attack.
So what do we do? … read more on Reconciled To You
All Rights Reserved, Allison Gingras 2016
Cover photo copyright – Debbie Guadino, Saints 365
The Grace Trifecta
Standing before a room of 30 or so women facilitating my first faith sharing back in 2006, I fumbled around for the proper words as I tried to answer one participant’s seemingly simple question on the grace of God. What is grace? While I had this innate understanding, I could not formulate the right words to express what I believed it to be. I realized, I had no definition.
Fast forward a few years, I am sitting in a small chapel in adoration of the Blessed Sacrament (aka Jesus in the Eucharist). In my reading I once again face the question, what is grace? This time I open the Catechism of the Catholic Church; and prayed for guidance from the Holy Spirit. That day the Allison abridged version of how I define the grace of God, was born … Read More at Reconciled To You
All Rights Reserved, Allison Gingras 2016