Humility: How utterly misunderstood this virtue can be in the minds of humankind! I will be the first to admit that I fall into the camp of those who have truly misunderstood the value of the virtue of humility until I started to research this virtue in depth. Once I knew what humility was really all about, I began praying to Jesus for a clean and humble heart.
When I decided to write a mystery set in Tudor England, it took me a while to decide who my main character should be. A queen or princess? No! It’s been done and done and done. An ordinary woman? Perhaps, but….what about a nun? I started to get very excited as I thought about the possibilities.
Henry VIII famously broke with Rome and dissolved the monasteries. But what does it mean to “dissolve” a religious institution going back a century? I spent the next five years researching monastic life in late medieval England. It wasn’t easy. There are a hundred books about Anne Boleyn. But the nuns and monks and friars were largely forgotten.
I didn’t give up. I kept reading and digging and talking to experts. The real-life priory that I set my novels in was the only Dominican Order for nuns in England, located in Dartford. And I was, after much persistence, able to find out what happened to those nuns after their home was demolished and they were expelled.
Their stories contain more than one surprise.
To read about my discoveries, go here.
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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
At the Catholic Men’s Conference in Boston in 2010, Andy LaValle met Jim Caviezel, not knowing he portrayed Jesus in The Passion of Christ. Jim dared Andy to go with him to Medjugorje, an obscure, poor village in Croatia. For more than thirty years, it has been alleged that the Virgin Mary has been appearing there and calling her children to live lives of prayer, penance and fasting.
Andy writes, “At the time, Medjugorje was not on my radar; in fact I could not even spell it or know where it was. . . . I boldly told Jim, ‘Do not get your hopes up. I am not flying 15 hours to say a rosary.’ Today I pray the rosary, not say the rosary.”
Andy wrote his reconversion story, From the Hub to the Heart: My Journey, with Leticia Velasquez. In my favorite chapter, Andy compassionately explains how fasting on bread relates to the Eucharistic bread. This comes from a man who never fasted before making a pilgrimage to Medjugorje in 2010.
Read Andy’s conversion story on JoyAlive.netYour Read More Link Text
Forgiveness does not always come easily. Forgiveness, when given to others, is done more for yourself, than for the person being forgiven. To forgive someone for an offense committed against you is to release yourself from the bond that the offense has created. I have an excellent example from my own life to prove the point. It took about 40 years to forgive a life changing hurt; yet through forgiveness, I became a better person. Read more…
It’s Random Acts of Kindness week. Want some ideas on how you can spread kindness?
Good deeds are acts of kindness, filled with love and compassion. Any good deed performed is a virtuous act, as long as it is accompanied by good intentions. Therefore, good deeds are virtuous. There are several ways to practice good deeds; each one bringing joy not only to the recipient, but also to the giver, with a rippling effect that spreads outward. Here are a few suggestions:
On the spur of the moment, do something nice for someone else! Let the inspiration seize you and act upon it! After all, this is Random Acts of Kindness week! Give a smile…Read more…
Random Acts of Kindness Week starts today and ends February 15th! Are you with me? Are you willing to perform random acts of kindness this week?
“Much unkindness results from envy.”1 If we cannot find it within ourselves to be kind to others, it is because we are too worried about what we do not have. Perhaps it’s not enough money, clothes, food, etc. Thus, we are reluctant to give from our excess, let alone our need. If we possess the virtue of kindness then we are willing to share with others, even from our meager means. Take a look at this video. It demonstrates that to be kind, you also need to be compassionate; to give of yourself to another: Read more…
“Kindness is the language which the deaf can hear and the blind can see.” ~Mark Twain
As Mark Twain so aptly infers, everyone comprehends when an act of kindness has been bestowed upon them, because they are outward signs of graciousness towards others. Acts of kindness produce good ripples; they can be contagious! Smile at someone and you put a smile on their face, which in turn puts a smile on someone else’s face. Hold a door open for someone and it alleviates their stress, which in turn puts them in a good mood, as they engage with others. Serve food in a soup kitchen and you help someone live for another day, which in turn helps them to move with God’s grace to be of assistance to someone else. Whatever the act of kindness, it evokes a positive response. Sometimes it’s gratitude (another virtue), and sometimes it leads to something even more wonderful. Read more…
Family Love – the love between siblings and cousins, the love for grandparents, parents, aunts and uncles, nieces and nephews. You can choose your friends, but not your family – how true! Many of us have relatives that if given a choice, might not be our “friend.” Nonetheless, they are a part of our family. It is that family bond that keeps us together in the good times and in the bad – we are there for each other, especially in those bad times, when “friends” run in the opposite direction.
What we show to our friends is our good side for the most part, with the not-so-good stuff kept buried in our past. However, it is the family members who have seen it all and in spite of that are by our side when needed most. Why? Read more…