The Coronavirus and a Sacramental Recession

These days it seems like we are undergoing as much of a sacramental recession as we are an economic one. At a time when COVID-19 has rendered our priests’ public appearances relegated mostly to television, debates about how to deal with this crisis are being waged among Catholic bloggers and Bishops alike. Has COVID-19 resulted in a sacramental as well as economic recession? What is the relationship between the sacraments and our salvation?

To Have and to … Quarantine? Getting Married During a Pandemic

Letting friends and family know our wedding ceremony this June will now have to be private in light of the coronavirus has been a sad and disappointing undertaking. But it has also put for us the sacrament of marriage in perspective. The reality is that matrimony isn’t ultimately about the pomp and circumstance humans create, but what God divinely creates in us as a couple. Read more from Ryan Bilodeau here

The Eucharist as the Real Presence of Jesus

The Eucharist as the real presence of Jesus Christ body and blood, and not just a representative thereof, is an issue debated since the beginning of the Church. For Catholics this debate is not one from which we should run. Without a proper understanding of the Eucharist, after all, one cannot properly understand the liturgy. Continue reading on Prayer to Pen Catholic Blog

Recipe 4 Holiness: Small Acts

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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: 3 parts Fortitude

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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

Bloom Where You Grow

There are a couple of flower boxes on our back deck railing. Anyone who has cats knows what that means – anything growing there has to be pretty persistent or it will be crushed under the furry bellies of our lounging feline friends. In fact, for the past couple of summers we haven’t even bothered to plant anything in them.

That’s where a delicate salmon-colored poppy comes into the story. Even though the parent plants are far below – on the ground below this raised deck – somehow a tiny seed made it to the soil in one of the flower boxes. Not only did it make it, it germinated, set down roots, and has been beautifully blooming for a few days now.

What can we learn from this persistent, lovely little plant?

We aren’t always where we thought we’d be in our lives. Maybe we don’t even want to be where we are at all. It’s easy to focus on an idealistic image of if only. In this imaginary, perfect world we would be saints, may be successful (in a worldly way), or admired by all. Every effort would reap the anticipated reward and failure would only come if we didn’t try hard enough – or didn’t have enough faith.

Yet scripture tells us that we will be tested. That our trials – and how we handle them – will shine a light for others to see. We can become the salt for them and the leaven for their spiritual bread.

Matthew 5:13-16
13“You are the salt of the earth; but if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltness be restored? It is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trodden under foot by men. 14“You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hid. 15Nor do men light a lamp and put it under a bushel, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. 16Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.

It isn’t always ours to choose where life leads us but it is our choice when it comes to how we react. When life hands us an unexpected detour from our search for perfection, we should choose to react with grace. As a sweet little lady used to tell me,

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“We need to bloom where we grow”.

Wherever God has planted us that is our place to shine – to shine with His love and compassion and faithful service. Then we will be headed down the road of success – and toward sainthood!

Do We Trust More in the Power of God or the Devil?

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Why don’t we, as Catholics,  give the Holy Spirit permission to do His job? The Holy Spirit is our inner Companion who leads us; we do not  live in fear of  spiritual revelations. Many of God the Father’s children are so afraid that the devil will lead them astray, they do not even listen to His interior whispers of love. Surely we trust more in God  the Almighty, ruler of heaven and earth than the devil, a mere fallen angel?

”But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all the truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come.” John 16:13

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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.

Why Be Moral?

Before answering the Why question a philosopher would ask the What questions- what is morality? what is a moral life? After answering the What and Why they would likely then proceed to the How questions- how can I live ethically? how can human societies be collectively moral? This helps explain why philosophy books tend to be quite big and not very popular. They seem to spend a lot of time proving what the reader already knows to be true or attempting to disprove what the reader thinks of as ‘common sense.’ Religion appears to offer a way of short-cutting all this tedious playing with words. All religions have associated moralities and within the Abrahamic religions these have the sanction of divine revelation. Morality is what revelation says it is, obedience to God is the only acceptable response to revelation and within the content of that revelation, either in the form of scripture or divinely mandated authority, is all the guidance required for individuals and societies to live out the moral life in practice.

There is no real doubt that if this is an accurate summary of religious belief then many of the criticisms levelled at religion by New Atheists like the late Christopher Hitchens (God grant him rest) and the current Richard Dawkins (God keep him on Twitter) are well merited. Such a rigid structure which requires no moral judgement on the part of believers but merely an acceptance of the first principles of faith would lend them and their belief system to being manipulated in the service of anyone who could pervert the interpretation of revelation to suit their own purposes, as Islamic State and Boko Haram appear to have done with Islam. There are, however, a number of things which could be said about this critique….click here to read more 

Is the Eucharist Really Just A Symbol? Five Very Convincing Proofs that Say that It’s Not

My new friend Brittany has posted another great article in her series Letting God Lead: My Journey Through Protestant and Catholic Beliefs on her blog Equipping Godly Women.
This one is called Is the Eucharist just a Symbol? 5 Convincing Proofs that say that it’s not!

This is a great article of Catholic Apologetics…and Brittany isn’t even Catholic!
Let’s pray for her RCIA journey…we’d love to have her on our team. =)