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!

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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

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

A Simple Method of Contemplative Prayer

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The Method

*Adopt a comfortable posture with the spine as nearly straight as possible and the eyes open or half-closed.
*Form a specific intention for your period of prayer.
*Say to yourself or quietly an Our Father, Hail Mary and Glory Be. (the prayers mentioned can be found at CatholiCity dot com))
*Then with your indrawn breath say to yourself or out loud ‘Jesus’ and with your outward breath ‘Mary.’
*Persist in this for whatever time you have decided, I recommend not less than ten minutes and not more than forty-five.
*Finish with a Salve Regina/Hail Holy Queen and offer your thanks to God.

The Rationale

*There is nothing mystical about the posture. Its designed to be comfortable enough to hold for a reasonable length of time without being so comfortable that you fall asleep. If you prefer kneeling to sitting while you pray then do so.
*The intention transforms your action from a solitary one to a communal one. If you intend the spiritual benefits of your prayer to flow to the needs of the world, or the Church or your loved ones then it is not all about you. If your intention is to be strengthened in virtue then, again, the chief beneficiary of your good acts will not be yourself.
*Saying the prayers of the Church is not only a good thing in itself but, psychologically and physiologically it provides a bridge between whatever you were doing before to what you are about to do. It allows your body and mind to relax into their new activity.
*Jesus is the breath of life to us so invoking Him with our inspiration makes good sense. Mary is our mother, our fellow pilgrim, our good companion, so sending our respiration up to heaven with her for company also makes sense.
*Again the prayers at the end are good in themselves and, in the case of the Thanks Be To God, necessary, whilst also acting as a useful bridge…click here to read more

@stevhep

Navigating God’s Way Out of Debt

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Reflection on Week 3 of Navigating Your Finances God’s Way:

Last week, it was time to pull my shopping happy head out of the sand, and make the list I have been dreading – pulling together a list of our current debts (specifically credit card)!

As long as I could make all the monthly minimums (sometimes even a little extra), I never felt the need to add them all up.  Hence, the November disaster of 2015!    We learned in this week’s scripture readings that debt has some stinky consequences (enslaves us*, for one) and that it is NOT what God wants for us (OWE Nothing – Romans 13:8).  As I sheepishly listed credit card balance after credit card balance, I was amazed at how far into the sand I had placed my head.

*Let me just quickly add here – that the Lord made sure I understood this concept first hand this week as I was faced for a few decisions that required me to consider the motives behind why I was or wasn’t accepting an invitation.  It amazed me how many times I have decided not on what I felt I was being called to  but what would bring in some type of payment  –  I have been totally enslaved and I LONG to be free to follow where the SPIRIT guides and not where my creditors require!

I have said it before, spending money is one of my drugs of choice. I know it has addictive qualities by my reaction to when I am in the midst of the behavior (shopping elation is totally a thing) and how I feel as we discuss things such as … read more

All Rights Reserved, Allison Gingras 2016

Lent Musing: Tithing Our Prayers

#lENT2016

Alms-giving or Charity – sometimes it is difficult to decide how one can increase what they give during Lent, especially if you are already generous the rest of the year.

Here are some thoughts I’ve had — would LOVE to hear yours:

  • Tithe your prayers.  I can get REAL self absorbed during prayer time with a lot of my family needs that, O Lord bring me this. So I am making a more concerted effort during Lent to pray for others.
  • Giving more of our talent.  So my wallet may be stretched but that doesn’t mean I have exhausted all I have to give.  I’m trying to find ways to use my gifts to serve the Church and others during Lent.
  • And then there is actual money … for more idea please visit Reconciled To You

 

All Rights Reserved, Allison Gingras 2016

I Gave God a Little and He Surprised Me… again

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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

Jesus-Why Bother?

Gian Lorenzo Bernini Saint Andrew and Saint Thomas

In an earlier blog (Repentance-Why Bother?) I looked at reasons for making a fundamental decision to change your life, to ‘die to self.’ Here I will consider why, that decision having been made, you should make Jesus the focus for your new direction. It might be asked ‘why look to anyone else at all?’ If you are an intelligent adult possessed with the ability to reason should you not be able to work out your own destiny for yourself?

The difficulty here is that by accepting the need to radically transform your Self you have acknowledged that the problem is not something which is external. The thing which is broken cannot repair itself unaided. Archimedes is reputed to have said “Give me the place to stand, and I shall move the earth.” Granted that you necessarily have a share in your own rebirth you still require some kind of partner, catalyst or teacher. Christianity proposes that Jesus is the place you can stand upon in order to move the inert globe of your dead self.

There is a passage in the Gospel according to St John which, I think, is relevant here-
-I am the door. By me, if any man enter in, he shall be saved: and he shall go in, and go out, and shall find pastures. 
-The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I am come that they may have life, and may have it more abundantly.
-I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd giveth his life for his sheep
(John 10:9-11)
This contains three clear propositions.

  1. Jesus is the gateway through which the new self or kingdom can be entered.
  2. In Him we will experience life more fully than ever before
  3. He demonstrates a self-sacrificing love for us of a kind that cannot be exceeded.

If we were to become convinced of these three things then we would have no reason not to accept Him as the place upon which we can stand with perfect confidence and hope…..click here to read more

Pope Francis: Family Prayer

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Authentic prayer is a gift from God, a gift we receive with joy because God initiates and we simply respond.

For his 100th general audience,Pope Francis continued his catechesis on the family by considering family prayer. In his opening statements, the pope pointed out that most people find it difficult to find time to pray.

Pope Francis teaches that love of God, not guilt will inspire us to pray.

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77 Ways to Pray With Your Kids

I am currently working with Peanut Butter & Grace publishing on several projects and have been enjoying this title extensively with my own family.   PB & Grace is a newish publishing company dedicated to family-based catechesis.  There is always more for kids and adults to learn about the rich treasures of our Catholic faith and what better way to learn than together?

Subscribe to the Weekly Family Formation Newsletter, The Bread.

Read my full review of this title and enter to win a copy this week only on Work and Play, Day by Day.