Freedom in Christ

Body-of-ChristMany Catholics believe church culture is the same as basic tenets of the faith. Challenging custom is then synonymous with challenging the faith. 

Every thinking, praying, honest person who seeks the Spirit of in their own heart, experiences conflict with those who are afraid of the inner spiritual life.  They fall back on fulfilling the letter of the law, even if that law is simply tradition.

Jesus called this sort of believer a Pharisee. This religious spirit chains many believers; they focus on outer conformity to tradition. If we understand the difference between cultural tradition and a relationship with God, our focus changes. All we want to do is allow God to love us and pass it on to those around us.

Don’t jump to conclusions. I Do believe that the Catholic Church is the fullest expression of revealed truth that is why I converted 38 years. continue reading

Last Night, I Rocked Baby Jesus

For the life of me, I have no idea why my 17-month-old couldn’t sleep last night. Finally at 2:00 a.m., I brought him downstairs so my husband could get some sleep.

We rocked. I got him a cup of almond milk. We rocked some more. I turned on cartoons. I sang to him. I got him a snack, which he gobbled up. I gave him some water, and we rocked a million times more.

Was he still feeling sick? No, his ears and tummy seemed fine. Teething? Maybe. All I knew was he was fussy and just wouldn’t go back to sleep.

I started to half-ignore him, my patience wearing thin. I dutifully rocked him, sleepily browsing Facebook on my phone and trying not to snap. Nothing was helping him anyway!

Out of the blue, the Holy Spirit made me think of this scripture:

“…for I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you gave me clothing, I was sick and you took care of me, I was in prison and you visited me.”  Matthew 25:35-36

I began picturing Mother Mary rocking baby Jesus. Surely he was fussy or sick at times and she felt the same exhaustion!

madonnachild

 

To read about the rest of my challenging night that turned into a huge blessing, click here to visit The Fruitful Mama!Your Read More Link Text

The Case for Sacred Subtitles and how to ‘get more out of Mass’

 

Sacred Subtitles

I’ve been going to Mass at least once a week for over 44 years. Even with the New Translation of 2011, the text of the Mass is pretty familiar…or is it?

The truth is, I don’t always hear the beautiful words of the Mass. It’s true I’m a little hearing impaired, but I think it’s quite possible for most of us to glaze over and not listen intently to the words of the priest. Heck, it seems like sometimes the priest can even glaze over a little bit and speed-read the prayers of the Mass, taking for granted the wisdom and the diligence of our Church to carefully choose these beautiful and meaningful words invoking the Holy Spirit, rounding up the Faithful and transubstantiating the very Body and Blood of Jesus Christ out of mere bread and wine.

When was the last time you really listened to all the words of the Eucharistic prayer? Even our responses can be kind of rote. We can rattle off the Apostles Creed…the very collection of beliefs we should be able to stake our lives on….as flippantly as we respond “fine thanks, how are you?”

I don’t want to be negative or critical or judgmental…especially knowing how deeply and how quickly I fall short of virtuous or spiritually-disciplined. But I’d feel better if I had some practical tips to put in place to help me and my family participate more deliberately and consciously in Mass.

Want to read my 9 Resolutions to ‘get more out of Mass’?

Click this: Reverent or Routine: The Case for Sacred Subtitles and 9 Resolutions for Equipping Catholic Families

 

 

Ezekiel and ‘Once Saved, Always Saved’

altar

Have you ever heard a Protestant friend refer to the idea of ‘once saved, always saved’? Living in the Bible belt, I sure have! When I heard the recent Mass reading from Ezekiel last week, I found myself questioning how anyone can hold that view. I’ve invited charitable discussion in various social media outlets but have yet to understand…

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Birgit Jones is a 50-something cradle Catholic who is passionate about the Church and the prolife movement. She has been married to her Catholic convert husband, Rick, for 40 years. They have four children and eight living grandchildren (all age eleven and under). Their frequent visits eliminate any fear of an empty nest!

Birgit is Graphics Editor and Columnist at Catholic Stand. She can also be found on her personal blog Designs By Birgit and Facebook fan page Designs By Birgit, where she utilizes her Fine Arts training to promote Life through her prolife memes.

The Grace of Yes Lisa Hendey interview

lisa_hendey-e1413629086108PETE: Your new book, Grace of Yes, seems to have become a banner holder for a saying yes to God movement. Why is having the grace of yes so important in our lives?

LISA HENDEY: Thanks for inviting me into this conversation Pete.

The more work that I do around The Grace of Yes, the more I realize that my “Yes” to God is at the heart of my existence. Giving myself fully to God’s will for my life fuels my work, my relationships, my intellectual pursuits and the way I view the world around me. When I give a full and worthy “Yes”, it motivates me to live more generously in the world—to share the best of what God has blessed me with in a world greatly in need of love. Each of us has a unique “Yes”, but as Catholic Christians, we’re called to emulate our Blessed Mother’s “Fiat” in giving our lives to the service of God and others.

To read more of my interview with Lisa Hendey click here.

Mercy – Is It Only for Christ to Give?

divine mercy 3

Mercy – How elusive is this virtue from one’s grasp? Is it something only Christ can give, or can we give mercy to others? Are we expected to give mercy?

Mercy is as elusive as you want it to be – it’s that simple! Christ is at the ready, waiting to bestow His Mercy upon you. All you need to do is acknowledge that you need His Mercy, and that means acknowledging your sinfulness. For some, that is difficult to do; for others it is easy. Therein lays the answer to the elusiveness of Christ’s Mercy. The choice is yours.

Mercy is defined as a preference to provide a softer attitude toward a repentant sinner rather than the deserved punishment. Mercy was Jesus’ calling card throughout His ministry. He was…Read more…

Review – The Grace of Yes: Eight Virtues for Generous Living

the_grace_of_yesEveryone during their lives is faced with an option. That option is whether we continue to do things for ourselves or we choose to do things for others is adherence to God’s will. In her new book The Grace of Yes: Eight Virtues for Generous Living author Lisa Hendey uses examples from her own life to show how we can make the right decision. Her approach is effective and leaves the reader with much to consider.

The book consists of eight chapters, one on each selected virtue the title alludes to. They are as follows:

The Grace of Belief

The Grace of Generality

The Grace of Creativity

The Grace of Integrity

The Grace of Humility

The Grace of Vulnerability

The Grace of No

The Grace of Rebirth

To read the rest of this review click here.

More Mystics Please

474px-Leonardo,_testa_di_cristo,_1494_circa,_pinacoteca_di_breraA most unusual idea inspired by the actor, Alec McGowan, hit the London stage in the 1970s, when, in a personal tour de force, he rendered the whole of St Mark’s Gospel. Against all predictions he performed to a full house night after night. When the same thing happened in New York, where it was performed at the Marymount Manhattan and Playhouse theatres, a Catholic impresario had an idea. He approached Kieron Moore, who had made a name for himself playing Count Vronsky in the film version of Anna Karenina, opposite Vivien Leigh. He asked Moore, who was a devout Catholic, if he would ‘star’ in a similar stage production, but this time in a rendering of St John’s final discourse of Jesus at the Last Supper.

“It cannot be done,” said Moore, “And it most certainly will not be attempted by me. Only one person could utter such deep and profound mystical truths, and that is Jesus himself, and when they are read they can only be read and understood by those who are inspired by the same ‘Spirit’ who inspired him.”   read on

david-website1I’m David Torkington, a Spiritual Theologian, Author and Speaker. I specialize in Prayer, Christian Spirituality and Mystical Theology. I write and speak predominantly about Prayer which I believe transforms us into Christ in this life, and enables us to share in something of the life and love that continually flows between Christ and his Father. I blog and podcast at http://www.davidtorkington.com

 

Saint Valentine and Chastity

Saint Valentines Day has come and gone but the betrayal of the virtue of Chastity continues. Not only has the feast day for this martyr saint been hijacked by commercialism, but now it has also been used as the springboard for encouraging sexual deviancy and perversion.

In 50 Shades of Chastity and Saint Valentine, the connection is made between the purported freedom of today’s popular culture and the moral decline of human sexuality. This perversion of the freedom has led to the bitter fruit of homosexual ‘marriage’ and promiscuity.

50 shades of grey

The Catechism of the Catholic Church tells us: “So called moral permissiveness rests on an erroneous conception of human freedom; the necessary precondition for the development of true freedom is to let oneself be educated in the moral law. Those in charge of education can reasonably be expected to give young people instruction respectful of the truth, the qualities of the heart, and the moral and spiritual dignity of man.” (CCC #2526)

Find out what you and I can do to stem the tide by reading more here.

 

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Birgit Jones is a 50-something cradle Catholic who is passionate about the Church and the prolife movement. She has been married to her Catholic convert husband, Rick, for 40 years. They have four children and eight living grandchildren (all age eleven and under). Their frequent visits eliminate any fear of an empty nest!

Birgit is Graphics Editor and Columnist at Catholic Stand. She can also be found on her personal blog Designs By Birgit and Facebook fan page Designs By Birgit, where she utilizes her Fine Arts training to promote Life through her prolife memes.

Difficult to Forgive? Pray!

Forgiveness

Pray! Forgiving others is not an easy task. On many occasions, it will take some Divine assistance. Sometimes the hurt is so great we can’t even see or think clearly. We are so caught up in the emotion that forgiveness is the last thing on our minds. It’s during times like this that we must first pray. We need to ask God to alleviate the pain caused by the offense. We then need to pray for the ability to forgive. Actual forgiveness requires us to let go of the harbored anger and resentment. We must relinquish the pain to God, so that He may free our souls to love and trust again.

There are two things to consider when determining whether to forgive someone or not: Read more…