Recipe for Holiness: 3 parts Fortitude

fortitude francis

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

Recipe for Holiness: 2 Parts Courage

Pope Francis_Recipe for Holiness

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
  • germs
  • 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?

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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

Recipe For Holiness – Ingredient #1: Grace

Pope Francis_Recipe for Holiness

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

God, Money & LOTS of Debt

money mondays

Our money problems did not start overnight.  They built overtime.  Every decision held a consequence, yet we were blissfully unaware as we spent and then after the debt had built, we continued to be blissfully unwilling to change – and consciously choose to ignore it (Problem #1).

To figure out where we are going, first we need to look at how we got here.

Kevin and I met when we were in high school and began dating his freshmen year in college (my junior year of high school).  We were married 5 years later, while I was still in college.  We were 21 and 23, and absolutely clueless on how to manage finances (Problem #2). I had embraced the 1980’s with great zeal — amassing over 15 credit cards (mostly of the store variety) by time I was 20 years old (Problem #3).    Kevin was unaware of most of them (Problem #4).  We were both hard workers but underemployed (Problem #5).

So what now? Where do we start to reclaim our lives? First, we need to rediscover God’s role in our finances … read more 

All Rights Reserved, Allison Gingras 2016

Rediscover Jesus Day 1

rediscover jesus

New Beginnings

Starting each Lenten journey is in fact a new beginning.  It is a chance to slow down re-evaluate, consider and ponder the state of our spiritual life.  At least that how it is for me.

I always have such high expectations that just because it is Lent, I will somehow magically be able to overcome the most habitual temptations.  Like Frodo and the ring, I somehow become invisible to the all Seeing Eye.  The truth is that I become more aware of the habitual temptations and my habitual tendency to succumb.

Like being that poor little mouse on the wheel, running and running and never getting anywhere.  At least that is how it seems with some temptations.

I like to humor myself and think awareness is progress!  But it’s true….. awareness is progress.  Seeing something about ourselves in the stark light of day is a precious grace of God.  Bringing that which is broken within us into the light is the grace of awareness.

The question then becomes: what are we going to do with it?   We could pretend we don’t know it about ourselves and try to go back into the darkness.   Or we could make excuses for it, like:  it’s because of my mother that I am like this. Or we could just sit with it for a while, ponder the reality of it all, maybe it was because of your mother, but that’s not helping you now.

Pondering the grace of awareness about ourselves is another grace from God.  As it means He is drawing us into relationship with him and the deepest parts of ourselves.  The self that only He, who created us can know.

New Beginnings.

 

Voted Off The Island 2016  All rights reserved.

 

Saint Paul: From Sinner to Saint

St Paul

From Saul to Saint Paul

 

Saint Paul, whose Feast Day is celebrated today, serves as the perfect example of a person who turned away from sin and turned toward God. Before his astounding conversion, Saint Paul was known as Saul. As Saul, he participated in the stoning (and killing) of Saint Stephen, our first Martyr of the Christian faith. Saint Paul is well known as originally starting out as a persecutor of the early Christians, as he was a zealot for the Jewish faith.

 

In his efforts to remain true to the Jewish faith, Saul departed Jerusalem for Damascus, in search of men and women who had sworn allegiance to Jesus. Saul wanted to bring them back to Jerusalem in chains (Acts 9:1). However, Jesus had other designs… Read more…

Sharing YOUR Faith Story – DVD Review

Ward DVD Cover

Faith: a very personal word stemming from a very personal relationship with God, resulting in an inability to clearly articulate just what it means to you. Sound familiar? Are you like so many people who steer clear from talking about religion, let alone your own personal faith, for fear of rejection, confrontation, or appearing ignorant? Fear no longer! Your faith sharing story is your story. No one else can write it and no one else can articulate it better than you. Easier said than done? I understand. That’s why I am excited to share with you a new DVD by my friend, Nancy Ward, titled, Sharing YOUR Faith Story DVD.

In this three part DVD, Nancy tells of her… Read more…

Using Temptations To Our Advantage

just anotherI remember the day I met my first truly holy person.  Now, she would tell you she is anything BUT holy.  She was to give a talk at the conclusion of our first Rachel’s Vineyard Weekend Retreat.  She was speaking on the topic of God’s Abundant Mercy and Forgiveness.  I thought this was an excellent choice given the flavor of the weekend.  I digress, the point is, when she crossed the threshold, a sense of serenity filled the room.  A calm that was physically felt, everyone in the room visibly relaxed and became more open and she hadn’t spoken a word,  I imagine Mother Teresa would be the same way.  Continue Reading

 

Effective Mothers

13fdb94fa12ad733f9ba5131d7cd0e65 (1)Obviously, an effective mother is passionate about teaching and loving her kids.

It is passion, an inner drive, that is not dependant on seeing results right away. It is passion from the Holy Spirit that prevents discouragement or burnout because it is an inner fire that motivates and energizes mums.

We must learn to connect spirit to spirit, heart to heart with little people in and through God if we want to teach and form them into children of God.

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Sinking

Reflections on Matthew 14:22

Jesus simply says, “Come.”

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Without hesitation, Peter gets out of the boat and walks on the water.

WOW.

Peter actually walks on the water.

Nobody talks about that shining few seconds of miraculous faith.

No, commentators focus on Peter’s lack of faith.

Would you have even stepped out of that boat while the sea rolled beneath your feet? Could you have walked on water like Peter did, even if it was only for a few moments?

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