Recipe 4 Holiness: Small Acts

Pope Francis_Recipe for Holiness


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.


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

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?

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

Pope Francis: The Church of Mercy

pope francis 2

The Church of Mercy, by Pope Francis: Book Review

For the Extraordinary Jubilee Year of Mercy, I decided to learn more about the virtue of Mercy. What better book to read than Pope Francis’ The Church of Mercy?

I found this book very insightful. In this book, Pope Francis provides a selection of his 2013 speeches and homilies. Taking into consideration his election as Pope occurred in March 2013, these speeches and homilies were some of his first. Mercy, a hallmark of Pope Francis’ papacy, remains a priority for moving the church forward, as evidenced by his declaration of the Extraordinary Jubilee Year of Mercy.

Throughout the book, Pope Francis… Read more…

Pope Francis: My Thoughts on the Man


Pope Francis seems to be beloved by many. At the same time, some accuse him of being the Anti-Christ. Those who believe that Pope Francis is the Anti-Christ believe that he will change Church teaching and lead us down the road to Perdition. I have found that most people who take this stance are arch-conservatives, steeped in Tradition, finding Pope Francis too liberal for their liking. These are people who don’t like change. They find the old ways appropriate, because that is what they know to be true. Francis’ approach to finding new ways of reaching the marginalized and oppressed has left these arch-conservatives in fear of Church teaching changing. Yet, Pope Francis has not changed one iota of Church teaching to date, and it doesn’t look like he ever will.

With that in mind, I paid close attention to Pope Francis’ visit to the United States, so that I could come to better understand the man. I am a firm believer that actions speak louder than words. I watched all the coverage and listened to all of his homilies/speeches.

So just exactly what did I observe? I saw… Read more…

Hostile Witness

Pope Francis Angelus

We all know, from our communities, parishes and neighbourhoods, the bad brought to the Church and the scandal caused by those people who call themselves very Catholic, who frequently go to church, but then, in their daily lives, don’t take care of their families, speak ill of others, etc.”

From the inside looking out we might think it possible to be part time Christians. We can sometimes give ourselves a break from being quite so holy, from holding ourselves to quite such a high standard. Pope Francis in his remarks just quoted takes another view. He goes on to point out-

This is that which Jesus condemns because this is a Christian ‘counter-witness.‘“ (Vatican Insider)

From the outside looking in everyone who knows us will consider that anything we do has the mark of ‘Christian’ about it.And when we publicly do things which are discreditable to ourselves we are bringing down scandal upon the Church. Quite literally in fact because the word ‘scandal’ means stumbling block and every time we bear a counter-witness to the Gospel we are putting a stumbling block in the way of others entering the Christian life.
Some of the things we do may be hidden or private but malicious gossip, ‘speaking ill of others’ as the Holy Father puts it, is always by its nature a public act. Very often it becomes more public than we intend since once it is put into circulation who knows where it will end or what damage it may do….click here to read more




Hating Jesus

Christ mocked by a soldier Bloch

 If the world hates you, realize that it hated me first. If you belonged to the world, the world would love its own; but because you do not belong to the world, and I have chosen you out of the world, the world hates you.
John 15:18-19

The ecological crisis is also a summons to profound interior conversion
Laudato Si’ 217

Looking at many of the reactions to the encyclical ‘on care for our common home’ by Pope Francis I began to wonder ‘what is meant by the world hating Jesus and His followers and why is  this hatred felt?’ Given the widespread welcome given to the document outside of rigidly conservative and rigidly liberal circles (one group wishes to go on polluting the other wants to impose artificial sterility on poor people) this may seem like a perverse subject to reflect upon at this time. I am reminded, however, of the time when a fiery sermon by St John Chrysostom against the practice of applauding in church was greeted with a standing ovation by the congregation. Individual propositions by Christ and His Church can be warmly welcomed but the whole package cannot be accepted without the profound interior conversion of which the Holy Father spoke. And it is the determination to resist conversion that is at the root of hatred to Jesus and those who faithfully follow Him. As our Lord put it Himself‘Whoever is not with me is against me, and whoever does not gather with me scatters’ (Lk 11:23)

To begin at the beginning, a very formidable and exceptionally varied coalition was formed to oppose Jesus during the time of His mission. It is easy at this distance to think that what united His opponents was greater than what divided them but really except on this one subject they were completely with odds with each other about almost everything. American Democrats and Republicans are more in harmony with each other than the enemies of our Lord were. From the Gospel we can see that His opponents included the Pharisees, the Sadducees, the Herodians, the High Priestly party and the Roman occupying power. Each of these groups had a distinct agenda and priorities which excluded those of their rivals. The followers of Jesus were mostly the anawim, the humble poor, who were either poor in fact or, like Joseph of Arimathea, poor in spirit. What is significant for our purposes was that it was possible for people to be anawim and Pharisee or anawim and Sadducee or even anawimand Roman and so on. The key to being a follower of our Lord was not outward allegiance but inward conversion. click here to read more

Pope Francis: The Importance of Fathers

On February 04, 2015, Pope Francis continued his catechesis on the family, reflecting on the role of fathers.This week, the pope focuses on the positive roles and qualities of effective fathers. He discusses three great Biblical fathers to illuminate qualities of a good father: the parable of the Prodigal Son, the figure of God “Our Father,” and the figure of St. Joseph.

 First, the pope began this teaching by referring to Book of Proverbs, quoting words a father addresses to his son: 
“ My son, if your heart is wise, my heart too will be glad. My soul will rejoice when your lips speak what is right” (Proverbs 23:15-16). 
 Effective  fathers do not create robot sons who merely repeat verbatim what has been drilled into them. Rather, an effective father transmits wisdom right into his son’s core, enabling him “to feel and act, to speak and judge with wisdom and righteousness.”  It is not easy to transmit this heritage of wisdom; a father must be close, gentle but firm with his children. continue reading

Melanie Jean Juneau is wife and mother of nine children. The very existence of a joyful mother of nine children seems to confound people. Her writing is humorous and heart-warming; thoughtful and thought provoking with a strong current of spirituality running through it. Part of her call and her witness is to write the truth about children, family, marriage and the sacredness of life.She blogs at joy of nine9 and mother of nine9.

Pope Francis: The Greatest Modern Pope?

Theology Degrees contacted me, wondering if I would share their latest infographic entitled “Pope Francis: The Greatest Modern Pope?”  The information  on this infographic is a concise history of Pope Francis, where he came from, what he believes and how he fits into both the history of the Church and modern Catholicism. It is an invaluable aide to help people get to know a little bit more about this unique pope.

To view the infogragh click here

Melanie Jean Juneau is wife and mother of nine children. The very existence of a joyful mother of nine children seems to confound people. Her writing is humorous and heart warming; thoughtful and thought provoking with a strong current of spirituality running through it. Part of her call and her witness is to write the truth about children, family, marriage and the sacredness of life.She blogs at joy of nine9 and mother of nine9 

Ezekiel’s Bones and The Church

Pope Francis invites us to read Ezekiel chapter 37 which describes the Spirit of God breathing life into a Valley of Dry Bones. Francis always emphasizes that God is in charge and in control of the Church, not man. In Ezekiel, it is God who, through the prophet, sends the Spirit upon the skeletons. Ezekiel humbly admits he doesn’t know what God’s plan is. Similarly, it is God Himself who breathes His life into the Body, the Church.
Francis explained that”the vision of Prophet Ezechiel, in which God’s Spirit gives flesh and life to a field of dry bones, is a foreshadowing of the Church, filled with the Spirit’s gift of new life in Christ and united in fellowship and love.”

In addition, it is important to notice God sends Ezekiel in the midst of a rebellious house of the exiled Israelites. The dry bones are Israel, cut off from the of life God. By zeroing in on this scene of the Valley of Dry Bones, the pope makes a parallel connection with individual members of the modern Church who act like the rebellious house of Israel, “with the experience of division, of jealousies, of misunderstandings and marginalizations”. He said this “dismembers us” and moreover is the beginning of a war. “War does not begin on the battlefield: war, wars begin in the heart, with this misunderstanding, division, envy, with this fighting among each other”.
continue reading>

Melanie Jean Juneau is wife and mother of nine children. The very existence of a joyful mother of nine children seems to confound people. Her writing is humorous and heart warming; thoughtful and thought provoking with a strong current of spirituality running through it. Part of her call and her witness is to write the truth about children, family, marriage and the sacredness of life.She blogs at joy of nine9 and mother of nine9