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. Read more…
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.
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
Fr. Philip Neri Powell, a seminary professor, formation advisor and parish priest, has preached and commented about Christ, the Church, popular culture and events of consequence on his popular blog, Domine mihi hanc aquam! Featured are thought provoking homilies through which readers know and love the mind of Christ. I interviewed Fr. Powell about his blog, his call to the priesthood, the future of the Church, and his advice for those considering a Dominican vocation.
You have written about your past “postmodernist occult life” before coming to the Catholic Church and joining the Order of Preachers. In this increasingly secularized world, where many reject Christ, to what do you attribute your faith? Read more…
From the first century AD to the present, harassment and persecution of the Church by government or cultural elites have followed a pattern:
- Accuse the Church of obstinately clinging to an unpopular teaching out of hostility and bad will.
- Attack the Church, using a false accusation as justification for unjust treatment.
- Offer to relent if the Church will cede a part of the obedience owed to God to the state.
- When the Church refuses, increase the attacks and use that refusal as “proof” of unreasonableness of the Church and justification for continued mistreatment.
Sometimes these attacks have been overt, cruel and barbaric. Sometimes they masquerade as enforcement of an ordinarily good law but is misapplied. But regardless of how it is done [*], the State using these tactics is abusing its authority and often betraying the principles it was established under. In most circumstances, the Church in a region has two choices: To endure the persecution while trying to convert the persecutor or to capitulate to the State and consent to doing evil or having evil done in her name. The goal of the state is to force the second option. The call of the Christian is to choose the first option.
Lent is a time to focus on our discipline of prayer…and sometimes to look back at the power of prayer:
After completing my 54 Day Rosary Novena jaunt around the house – I felt compelled to begin another when given a small tattered copy of Rosary Novenas to Our Lady (see image below) by a stranger when I attended a friend’s Ultreya to hear her give her testimony. As one who believes in GODCIDENCES (if you ask me there are no coincidences in life especially in spiritual matters), there was no way I was going to ignore this invitation from Our Blessed Mother to spend another month and half in prayer with her! The grace and blessings as I closed on the first 54 days was truly remarkable!!
One of the most miraculous moments came when I went to my bank on November 30 – prepared to beg for leniency with overdrafts I was sure had been incurred after paying an unexpected HUGE house bill and then a creditor unwilling to hold off on their payment for just a few days, withdraw another large amount. On that last day of the month, sure that things were as bleak as they could be, I sat down in the branch manager’s office of my small town bank, asking her to pull up the account and assess the damage. As she scrolled and scrolled through the account, her face scrunched with confusion.
She found that …. find out the miraculous finding here…
All rights reserved, Allison Gingras 2016
Really. Don’t leave for Lent. I understand that many use this hiatus to spend more time working on their own personal spiritual growth and I can completely respect that HOWEVER…. please don’t completely disappear for 40 days when social media needs you the most. Okay, I’ve always had a flair for the dramatic but this is a serious situation. Here’s why…
Lent is a time that many people, especially those who may have been lukewarm, maybe a bit disassociated or just plan lax work to spice or rejuvenate their faith life. The internet just happens to be a place many people turn for guidance and even community to make that happen. So, what happens when those who are most likely to post something faith based, could possibly answer questions or would be open to connect as community make a mass exodus off social media during Lent?? There are great missed opportunity to evangelize, catechize and support those seeking meaning through an experience with Christ this Lent.
Some alternatives to consider if you simply must follow some type of social media blackout … Read MORE
All Rights Reserved, Allison Gingras 2016
Image: Social Media, Pixabay.com, PD
One of the most brilliant minds in the history of the Church, St. Thomas Aquinas was born in 1225 at the castle of Roccasecca, in the present day Lazio region of Italy, the youngest of nine children. Thomas’ father was a man of means and nobility. Thomas’s mother would try to prevent Thomas from joining the Dominican Order. His family expected him to enter the Benedictine Abbey where his uncle was the abbot. Thomas Aquinas dedicated his life to creating a complete synthesis of Catholic philosophy and theology. In honor of his feast day, [January 28] here are ten things every Catholic should know about the Angelic Doctor.
1. Before Aquinas was born, a holy hermit told his mother that her son would be a great learner and achieve unrivaled sanctity.
The future holiness of the unborn babe was disclosed to his mother by a holy hermit of the neighbourhood, known simply as Buono, or God’s good man. Clad in a rough garment, and with hair unkempt, he presented himself at Rocca Secca, and pointing to a picture of the holy patriarch Saint Dominic, who was not yet canonized, he thus addressed the Countess: Read more…