When You Think You Think You Have Nothing to Give, Bring Your Drum…

At least that is what a young boy did thousands of years ago when he wanted to honor a new king. You probably can hear the drum beating as he asks “Shall I play for you? On my drum?”  You know the rest. tribal-1215118_1920

Most of my life, I’ve felt I had nothing worthy to put at the feet of the King of the Universe.  Instead, I often ran away from him. But in his wisdom and love, he carried me to the point where I am today.

It was in my parish family during a small group retreat by Father Michael Gaitley, the study on “Consoling the Heart of Jesus” gave me a whole new insight into the love and longing Jesus has for us. Early in the book, Father Gaitley shares a simple message he perceived from Jesus:

“All I want is for you to be my friend. All I want is for you not to be afraid of me and to come to me.” (Page 71)

Loving and Consoling Jesus through His Living Body the Church

 I found great joy in meeting with like-minded souls to talk about our growing love for Jesus and the resulting desire to put faith into action.  It was nothing short of miraculous. God bears his light to us, first through his son and then through others.

They come heeding the call of the Holy Spirit to be in the right place at the right time. We all know people who are beacons – radiating goodness, kindness, love and action. Sometimes, we are the steadying signal, but I never forget who is at the origin.

Therefore let us be grateful for receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, and thus let us offer to God acceptable worship, with reverence and awe;  Hebrews 12:28 

Jesus is the burning heart, the center of this wonderful body of Christ and in loving others, we love him.  In consoling others, we console him. We truly are branches nourished by his living vine.

Bringing Our Drums

heart-2862156_1920So we come back to the little shepherd boy. I hear his drums, “pa rum pa pum pum” a physical declaration of his heart beating with love for the king, a testimony to all that is required of us–offering our own hearts without reserve.

I once thought I had nothing to give, but I was wrong.  Jesus smiled at the drummer boy and his gift while Mary nodded and the ox and lamb kept time. I am certain he smiles at each of us too; we just need to bring him our drum.

 

What Christmas songs stir your heart?  Bring loving memories to mind?  Feel free to share in the comments section.

Posted in Advent, Blogging, Catholic Theme, Faith, Holidays, Inspirational, Love | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

CWG Prayer Chain Post: December 10, 2017

The CWG Prayer Chain Post is a weekly post for members to include their special intentions by adding a comment.

st-_peter_und_paul_bonndorf_jm50586_cropped_5

 

Isaiah 40:1-5, 9-11

Comfort, give comfort to my people, says your God. Speak tenderly to Jerusalem, and proclaim to her that her service is at an end, her guilt is expiated; indeed, she has received from the hand of the LORD double for all her sins. A voice cries out: In the desert prepare the way of the LORD! Make straight in the wasteland a highway for our God! Every valley shall be filled in, every mountain and hill shall be made low; the rugged land shall be made a plain, the rough country, a broad valley. Then the glory of the LORD shall be revealed, and all people shall see it together; for the mouth of the LORD has spoken. Go up on to a high mountain, Zion, herald of glad tidings; cry out at the top of your voice, Jerusalem, herald of good news! Fear not to cry out and say to the cities of Judah: Here is your God! Here comes with power the Lord GOD, who rules by his strong arm; here is his reward with him, his recompense before him. Like a shepherd he feeds his flock; in his arms he gathers the lambs, carrying them in his bosom, and leading the ewes with care.

Advent Reflection: Psalms 98:1, 2-3, 3-4, 5-6

Sing a new song to the Lord, for he has performed wonders, his saving power is in his right hand and his holy arm. God has made known his saving power, revealed his saving justice for the nations to see, mindful of his faithful love and his constancy to the House of Israel. The whole wide world has seen the saving power of our God. Acclaim the Lord, all the earth, burst into shouts of joy! Play to Him on the harp, to the sound of instruments; to the sound of trumpet and horn, acclaim the presence of the King. 


The power of prayer and the power of people praying.


DECEMBER INTENTION PRAYER 

O Come All Ye Faithful

O Come All Ye Faithful
Joyful and triumphant,
O come ye, O come ye to Bethlehem.
Come and behold Him,
Born the King of Angels;
O come, let us adore Him,
O come, let us adore Him,
O come, let us adore Him,
Christ the Lord.

O Sing, choirs of angels,
Sing in exultation,
Sing all that hear in heaven God’s holy word.
Give to our Father glory in the Highest;
O come, let us adore Him,
O come, let us adore Him,
O come, let us adore Him,
Christ the Lord.

All Hail! Lord, we greet Thee,
Born this happy morning,
O Jesus! for evermore be Thy name adored.
Word of the Father, now in flesh appearing;
O come, let us adore Him,
O come, let us adore Him,
O come, let us adore Him,
Christ the Lord.

Please leave a comment with your intention. If you have problems adding an intention, email it to Mike Hays at coachhays(at)gmail(dot)com and I will add it.  God bless.

Posted in Catholic Writing and Publishing | Leave a comment

Chanukkah, Christmas and the Theology of Light: Reflections of a Jewish Convert and Physicist

Christmas, “The Feast of Lights”—Is there a theological significance to this or is it just a hangover from older customs? Let me share my thoughts–informed by my faith as a Catholic, my Jewish heritage, and my vocation as a physicist.

Christmas Window Display, The Bay Department Store, Toronto from Wikimedia Commons

Christmas Window Display, The Bay Department Store, Toronto
from Wikimedia Commons

Some 80 years ago when I was a child, I would pester my Jewish parents (secular, non-religious) for a Christmas Tree.   All around me would be the lights of Christmas–on houses, lawns, and in the fascinating downtown displays of department store windows–and I didn’t understand why we couldn’t take part in all that.  I listened to explanations that we weren’t Christians, we had our own holiday, Chanukkah; but the eight lights of the Menorah didn’t hold a candle (pun intended) to those on any modest Christmas tree, and even though there were eight days of gifts, they were all small potatoes compared to those my Christian friends received on the one day of Christmas.

It took  several years after my conversion to the Catholic faith to realize the full import of Christmas. During the first few years after my conversion I still did not feel totally comfortable during the Christmas holidays–more like the hungry tramp peering into the restaurant window, an outsider.

My wife was a cradle Catholic and we celebrated Christmas in a gift giving mode, although she and the children attended Mass. Although we didn’t celebrate Chanukkah, we explained to our cashew children, (Catholic mother, Jewish father), as part of their heritage, what Chanukkah was about (see below).

ABOUT CHANUKKAH (HANUKKAH)¹

“They made new sacred vessels and brought the lampstand, the altar of incense, and the table into the temple.  Then they burned incense on the altar and lighted the lamps on the lampstand, and these illuminated the temple. 1 Maccabees 4:49-50 (NAB)

How does light enter into the Chanukkah celebration? Here’s a brief account of the story behind the verse from First Maccabees quoted above.  (For more details, see here.)   The Maccabees had revolted against the Syrian ruler, Antiochus, who had tried to instill Greek values and religion on a conquered Jewish nation.  And as the Talmud recounts the tale, in their recapture of the Temple and its rededication to the one true God, they found oil for the lamps, but it would only last one day; still, they filled the lamps and lo and behold, the oil lasted eight days–a miracle!

The holiday is not one of the major Jewish holidays.   In my opinion, it has become more important in recent times as a counterweight to Christmas.  Eight candles are lit in the Chanukkah menorah (one for each day the Temple lamps burnt).   And children receive a present each day, including “Chanukkah gelt” (money).   Latkes (potato pancakes) are also a tradition.²

It is a joyous time, celebrating freedom to worship. and the songs are among the best in the Jewish and Yiddish folk tradition.   One of my favorites is that by the Klezmatic Conservatory Band, Oy Chanukkah; and here are the lyrics.  Note in the last verse, the element of light:

“Oh, Hanukkah, Oh, Hanukkah,
Come light the menorah
Let’s have a party.
We’ll all dance the hora
To remind us of days long ago
One for each night, they shed a sweet light,
To remind us of days long ago.”

I’ll have to admit there’s not much theological significance there, but perhaps physics can shed a little light (again, pun intended).

THE THEOLOGY OF LIGHT?

“Jesus spoke to them again, saying, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”—John 8:12 (NAB)

Here’s the physics³ relevant to a possible theology of light. First, light can be taken to consist of photons, particles with zero mass; second, since photons travel at the speed of light (that should be obvious!), special relativity requires that no time passes for a photon between the time it is created and annihilated. So here’s one connection: photons—light—share a timeless property with God. As St. Augustine pointed out God does not exist in time; he also said God’s Word is always there, without time, no beginning, no end. And as we see below, God’s Word, our Lord, is light.

Another connection? Let’s turn to the Gospel of John:

“In the beginning was the Word
and the Word was with God,
and the Word was God.”– John 1:1

The Greek word in the New Testament translated as “Word” is “λόγος” (“logos”). In addition to the meaning “word”, other general meanings are “principle”, “reason”, “logic.”

Think about the relation between “light” and “logos”.  What do we mean when we say “I see the light!”?  We see the reason, the truth, the rationale in what is said. So light, reason, the Word are connected–to quote St. Augustine:

“The eternal light which is the unchangeable Wisdom of God, by which all things were made, and whom we call the only-begotten Son of God;”
St. Augustine of Hippo, “The City of God,” XI 9

That tells us that Christ is light, the timeless Word— physics and theology hang together, and the physicist in me rejoices in the harmony.

NOTES

¹The two different spellings reflect the guttural Ch sound in Yiddish, and the Anglicized H sound.

²Last year, my wife, a cradle Catholic, but more versed in Jewish tradition and cooking than was my mother, made Chanukkah latkes that would be a prize winner on Chopped.

³For a more complete explanation of the physics of light, see here.

Posted in science | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

St. Margaret of Scotland–This Remarkable, Pious Woman is Patroness to Mothers, Large Families, Widows and Deceased Children

In the year 1066, a displaced English princess, named Margaret, sought refuge in Scotland. Her father had been overthrown by the Danes and before she was born had gone into exile. While still very young, Margaret returned to England to live in the court of her great-uncle, Edward the Confessor.

A weak leader, Edward could not protect his kingdom. Margaret’s mother, Agatha, took Margaret and her other two children, Edgar and Cristina, and fled north to escape the invading Norman armies. It was not long after that the Normans conquered England and overthrew Edward. He was replaced by William of Normandy, AKA William the Conqueror.

Tradition has it that Agatha decided to leave northern England and travel back to the continent. However, a raging storm drove their ship north to Scotland, where they landed at a spot which is today called St. Margaret’s Hope. Before long they all arrived at the palace of King Malcolm.

Margaret, about eighteen years of age at the time, soon found herself in the court of  Malcolm III of Scotland (also known as Malcolm the Canmore, meaning “Great Chief”). Malcolm III was already a widower with two sons. (And yes, this is the Malcolm in Shakespeare’s Macbeth.)

Margaret was not only naturally sweet and charming, she was also a pious and devout Catholic. King Malcolm fell completely in love with her and they were married in Dunfermline, Scotland in 1070. One of the first things Margaret began to do was to read the Bible to her new husband. It is said the daily readings and stories she read to her husband helped “civilize” the king, setting in place the conditions for the growth of the Catholic faith in Scotland.

Margaret initiated religious reforms, striving to make Church practices conform to those of Rome. She followed the advice of the future Archbishop of Canterbury, Lanfranc, and became known as an exemplar of the “just ruler” which was her husband and children. Their youngest son, David, grew up to be considered a “holy ruler.”

Margaret became deeply involved in charitable works and actually served orphans and the poor every day before she herself ate. She even washed the feet of the poor in imitation of Jesus. At midnight she would get up and attend church services. She invited the Benedictine Order to establish a monastery at Dunfermline in 1072 and was responsible for having ferries built to assist pilgrims traveling back and forth across the river to worship. Margaret also initiated the restoration of the monastery at Iona and was responsible for the release of fellow English exiles, captured during the invasion.

Margaret was as devout in her private life as she was in public. She was totally genuine. Much of her time was spent in prayer, devotional readings, and doing ecclesiastical embroidery. All of her hard work and devotion to God had a profound effect on her once-volatile husband. The king who could not read was so impressed with his wife he had her prayer books decorated with gold and silver. One of these, a pocket gospel with grand pictures of the evangelists, is kept at the Bodleian Library in Oxford.

Malcolm never understood the long-term effects of his wife’s many endeavors. He loved her so much he just let her do as she wished. However, heartache came to Margaret unexpectedly. During the Battle of Alnwick on November 13, 1093 Malcolm and their eldest son, Edward, were killed in battle against the English. Margaret’s son, Edgar, had the unenviable task of informing his mom.

Her constant fasting and offering of herself to Jesus had taken its toll. Not yet fifty, she died three days after her husband and son were killed. In recognition of her personal holiness, fidelity to the Church, implementing religious reform and her ongoing works of charity, Pope Innocent IV canonized Margaret a saint in June of 1250.

In  Proverbs 31: 10-12, Lemuel, King of Massa, was given this advice by his mother:

“When one finds a worthy wife, her value is far beyond pearls. Her husband, entrusting his heart to her, has an unfailing prize. She brings him good, and not evil, all the days of her life.”

King Malcolm III of Scotland had such a wife.

St. Margaret of Scotland, pray for us.

Copyright© Larry Peterson 2017

 

Posted in Catholic Writing and Publishing, Inspirational | Tagged , | 1 Comment

CWG Prayer Chain Post: December 3, 2017

The CWG Prayer Chain Post is a weekly post for members to include their special intentions by adding a comment.

st-_peter_und_paul_bonndorf_jm50586_cropped_5

 

1 Corinthians 1:3-9

Brothers and sisters: Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. I give thanks to my God always on your account for the grace of God bestowed on you in Christ Jesus, that in him you were enriched in every way, with all discourse and all knowledge, as the testimony to Christ was confirmed among you, so that you are not lacking in any spiritual gift as you wait for the revelation of our Lord Jesus Christ. He will keep you firm to the end, irreproachable on the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. God is faithful, and by him you were called to fellowship with his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.

Advent Reflection: Psalms 98:1, 2-3, 3-4, 5-6

Sing a new song to the Lord, for he has performed wonders, his saving power is in his right hand and his holy arm. God has made known his saving power, revealed his saving justice for the nations to see, mindful of his faithful love and his constancy to the House of Israel. The whole wide world has seen the saving power of our God. Acclaim the Lord, all the earth, burst into shouts of joy! Play to Him on the harp, to the sound of instruments; to the sound of trumpet and horn, acclaim the presence of the King. 


The power of prayer and the power of people praying.


DECEMBER INTENTION PRAYER 

O Come All Ye Faithful

O Come All Ye Faithful
Joyful and triumphant,
O come ye, O come ye to Bethlehem.
Come and behold Him,
Born the King of Angels;
O come, let us adore Him,
O come, let us adore Him,
O come, let us adore Him,
Christ the Lord.

O Sing, choirs of angels,
Sing in exultation,
Sing all that hear in heaven God’s holy word.
Give to our Father glory in the Highest;
O come, let us adore Him,
O come, let us adore Him,
O come, let us adore Him,
Christ the Lord.

All Hail! Lord, we greet Thee,
Born this happy morning,
O Jesus! for evermore be Thy name adored.
Word of the Father, now in flesh appearing;
O come, let us adore Him,
O come, let us adore Him,
O come, let us adore Him,
Christ the Lord.

Please leave a comment with your intention. If you have problems adding an intention, email it to Mike Hays at coachhays(at)gmail(dot)com and I will add it.  God bless.

Posted in Catholic Writing and Publishing | Leave a comment

CWG Prayer Chain Post: November 26, 2017

The CWG Prayer Chain Post is a weekly post for members to include their special intentions by adding a comment.

Ezekiel 34:11-12, 15-17

Thus says the Lord GOD: I myself will look after and tend my sheep. As a shepherd tends his flock when he finds himself among his scattered sheep, so will I tend my sheep. I will rescue them from every place where they were scattered when it was cloudy and dark. I myself will pasture my sheep; I myself will give them rest, says the Lord GOD. The lost I will seek out, the strayed I will bring back, the injured I will bind up, the sick I will heal, but the sleek and the strong I will destroy, shepherding them rightly. As for you, my sheep, says the Lord GOD, I will judge between one sheep and another, between rams and goats. 


The power of prayer and the power of people praying.


NOVEMBER INTENTION PRAYER 

PRAYER OF THANKSGIVING

O God, of Whose mercies there is no number, and of Whose goodness the treasure is infinite; we render thanks to Your most gracious majesty for the gifts You have bestowed upon us, evermore beseeching Your clemency, that as You grant the petitions of them that ask You, You will never forsake them, but will prepare for the reward to come. Through Christ our Lord.
Amen.

Please leave a comment with your intention. If you have problems adding an intention, email it to Mike Hays at coachhays(at)gmail(dot)com and I will add it.  God bless.

Posted in Catholic Writing and Publishing | Leave a comment

Holy Enough

Ash-Wednesday-Penance-300x214Everything in life is a cycle.  Birth to death, Spring to Winter, river to lake to ocean, seed to fruit, atom to mass to energy, everything.   You could say that about the spiritual life also.  We haltingly learn the prayers, then receive the sacraments then work at “the life” and then dwell in some degree of wisdom until we depart.  I am closer to the departure phase than I am to the beginning and I have suffered and enjoyed the fruits of the cycles.  At this juncture, though, I must admit that there are some situations that still flummox me and leave me scratching my head.

There are two things that seem to be connected and pop up often as I work with prayer ministers and people who seek spiritual direction:  the willingness to pray out loud in a public setting and the idea of personal holiness.   I sometimes hear; “I can’t pray with others.”, “In public…”, “For a group…”, “With a person…”, because I am not holy enough!  Wow, talk about a conversation stopper between you and God, this would be it.  I guess if each of us waited to become “holy enough” by self-definition that heaven would be empty and the waiting lines for purgatory would last millennia just to get in.  Or something like that!  So, what does it mean to be holy?  Was Peter, the betrayer, holy enough? Was Mary, the (supposed) prostitute, holy enough? Was the adulterous, outcast woman, holy enough?  Was the “good thief”, holy enough?
Each of these people received an extraordinary gift from Jesus himself with nary a mention of their past and/or blatantly sinful nature.  Peter was the first leader of the Church and evangelized the world.  Mary saw the resurrected Lord before anyone else and first carried the message of the resurrection.  The woman at the well evangelized her entire town.  The good thief immediately joined Jesus in paradise!  Would you have settled for any of these gifts from the Lord?  Give me all four!  Are any of these people holier than you are?
Stop falling into the trap of self-judgement and take up the gifts that you happen to have at the time.  Deciding if you are “holy enough” for a task is a ruse from the enemy. Praying for and with people in public is a potent witness and tool to spread the Kingdom.  Take advantage of that opportunity when it shows up, it’s from the Lord.  Accept the challenge of spreading the Kingdom whenever the Lord rolls it right under your nose!  Each time you do that, holiness grows.  It’s a practice makes perfect thing.
As far as a level of holiness goes, there are no rules, really.  The Lord expects us to grow in holiness, it’s true.  As far as being holy, that is a pure and generous gift as Peter himself teaches us:
” But you are “a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people of his own, so that you may announce the praises” of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light. (1Peter 2:9)
If you are thinking about being holy and/or doing your best to honor the Lord and practice your faith you are “holy enough”.  Witness the examples I have given.  These are all people who have stumbled or fallen and are just trying to do their best.  That’s the most generous part of the gift we have been given.  Whether it’s small or great, all the Lord expects of us is to do our best with the gift we already have.  Say Thank You with a sincere heart and roll on.  Judgement is not our purview, even for ourselves.  Thank God!

Copyright© 2017, Kathryn M. Cunningham

Posted in Advent, Catholic Writing and Publishing | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

CWG Prayer Chain Post: November 19, 2017

The CWG Prayer Chain Post is a weekly post for members to include their special intentions by adding a comment.

1 Thessalonians 5:1-6

Concerning times and seasons, brothers and sisters, you have no need for anything to be written to you. For you, yourselves know very well that the day of the Lord will come like a thief at night. When people are saying, “Peace and security, ” then sudden disaster comes upon them, like labor pains upon a pregnant woman, and they will not escape. But you, brothers and sisters, are not in darkness, for that day to overtake you like a thief. For all of you are children of the light and children of the day. We are not of the night or of darkness. Therefore, let us not sleep as the rest do, but let us stay alert and sober.


The power of prayer and the power of people praying.


NOVEMBER INTENTION PRAYER 

PRAYER OF THANKSGIVING
O God, of Whose mercies there is no number, and of Whose goodness the treasure is infinite; we render thanks to Your most gracious majesty for the gifts You have bestowed upon us, evermore beseeching Your clemency, that as You grant the petitions of them that ask You, You will never forsake them, but will prepare for the reward to come. Through Christ our Lord.
Amen.

Please leave a comment with your intention. If you have problems adding an intention, email it to Mike Hays at coachhays(at)gmail(dot)com and I will add it.  God bless.

Posted in Catholic Writing and Publishing | Leave a comment

CWG Book Blast! “The Grace Crasher,” by Mara Faro

This month, the Catholic Writers’ Guild is touring Mara Faro’s book, “The Grace Crasher.” It is a CWG Seal of Approval winner! “She’s lost her faith. He’s not her type. This could take a miracle.”

TheGraceCrasher_SML_2400x1600

Summary:

Armed with a Jesus fish that might be swimming in the wrong direction, Julia must pretend to be “born again” for her Christian housemates—cute EMT Mark and his church-lady mom. It’s the only affordable place within walking distance (cough, stalking distance) of Dylan, her latest musician crush.

When Mark finds out the truth—her drunk dad ruined her trust in God—he protects her secret and brings her to his Evangelical church. Hiding her Catholic past, she bumbles her way through hand-raising worship with sin-shredding paper shredders. Other times she sneaks into Mass, but she’s always standing when she should be kneeling. Meanwhile, Mark explains how to be “saved.” But does he just want to save her? Or date her?

Then Dylan sings her a song at open mic. Suddenly she’s torn between Mark and Dylan, flubbing her way through two different churches, and caught between truth and lies. Will it all crash down around her, or will she crash straight into grace?

Excerpt:

Don’t worry about my mom,” [Mark said.] She seems to believe you’re really born again. But I wish it would happen for real.” He walked to the curb and leaned against my car. “I’m paraphrasing, but C.S. Lewis said something like, what we pretend to be we eventually become.”

I’m not doing such a good job of pretending, let alone becoming.”

He took a small piece of paper out of his pocket. “I’m a terrible artist, but can I draw you a picture? Maybe I’ve been too wordy about the gospel. Maybe you’re more of a visual learner.”

What does that mean?” I clomped up and down the sidewalk, swinging my arms like an ape. “Me Julia. Me no like words. Words too hard. Me need pictures.” People glanced at me from the passing cars.

I didn’t mean it like that.”

I know, sorry.” My rudeness toward him was probably just what [his mom] wanted. I reached into my purse and handed him a pen. “Okay, draw me the picture.”

We sat next to each other on the curb. Resting the paper on his knee, he drew a stick figure on a cliff, squiggles of water, and a second cliff on the other side. “This stick figure represents Man.”

Why not a woman?”

Okay. This is a woman. Let’s call her Julia.” He added a triangle skirt and long curly hair to the stick figure.

I smiled. “Thanks for making me skinny in the picture.”

Before we’re saved, we’re separated from God by sin. But Jesus is the bridge to eternal life.” He drew a cross connecting the two cliffs. “To get to the other side, you accept Jesus as your personal Lord and savior.”

I rested my chin in my hand. “Your stick figure has an abnormally large head. And if she’s separated from God, why does she have a smiley face?”

Mark laughed and tossed down the pen. “I don’t know. That’s just how I always draw my stick figures. You’re not taking this very seriously.”

He handed me the paper, but I held it too loosely. The little white square blew into the wind created by passing cars. It tumbled through the air and landed on the back of a speeding pick-up truck. “Uh-oh,” I said. “Sorry.”

There goes my best stick figure ever.”

I glanced over my shoulder at the house. [His mom] was watching us from between the lace curtains. She stepped back and closed them again. I stood up. “Are you sure your mom’s not suspicious of me?”

Mark stood next to me and rubbed his jaw. He touched the [EMT] pager on his belt, even though it wasn’t beeping. “I don’t know….She’s never directly asked about you. But sometimes the way she looks at you—it’s like she’s trying to figure something out, but she doesn’t know what.”

Website: https://marafaro.com
Facebook: Mara Faro, Author 
Twitter: @MaraFaroAuthor 
Pinterest: mara_faro

Bio:

Mara Faro worked as an advertising copywriter and proofreader before becoming an author. The Grace Crasher was inspired by her years of dating confusion and spiritual seeking. A member of the Catholic Writers Guild, she is now happily married and writing a new novel. You can find her at marafaro.com.

Buy Link:

 http://a.co/hUFy4D1

Tweet:

She’s lost her faith, he’s not her type—this could take a miracle. “The Grace Crasher,” romantic comedy drama. http://a.co/hUFy4D1

 

Posted in Catholic book blast, Catholic Fiction, Catholic Theme, Catholic Writing and Publishing, Faith, Fiction, fiction, Inspirational, Novel, romance, Young Adult Novel | Leave a comment

Happy Holidays to the Church Militant

prayerJMJ

We celebrate many holidays during the month of November. Many people would say that Thanksgiving begins the “Holiday Season” which then goes through Christmas and New Year’s covering Hanukkah and Kwanzaa. Catholics know that November 1st truly starts this season. The Feast of All Saints celebrates the Church Triumphant, all those souls who enjoy eternity in the presence of Our Lord in heaven. I always enjoy the singing of the Litany of Saints during this liturgy. With every, “Pray For Us,” we get to commune with the heroes of the church.

The following day we celebrate All Souls’ Day and thereby the Church Penitent. These are the souls who still need to be perfected in the fires of purgatory. They still need our prayers and the church frequently reminds us to do this throughout the month of November. Traditionally, many people visit the graves of their loved ones who have passed during this time or light candles in church in their memory. Remembering the dead should continue all year long through daily prayer and offering Masses when we can.

You probably already know a good deal about those Catholic holidays, but in addition I would like to offer a connection that I only made this year. Two American holidays, one of which occurs in November, and all of three parts of the church, especially the final part, the Church Militant can be linked in a significant way. Americans honor the lives of those who died in service of the United States on Memorial Day. Catholics honor the souls of those who served our Lord on November 1st and 2nd.

On November 11, Americans celebrate Veteran’s Day. We honor all those who served in the Armed Forces. Catholics can also honor themselves throughout November as we all serve in the Church Militant. We fight in the battle of good and evil in the army of Christ. We train through catechesis and the study of Sacred Scripture. We join the ranks through Baptism and advance in rank through Confirmation. We are nourished on the rations of the Eucharist and our wounds healed by Reconciliation. As soldiers, we know that any day could be our last and the eschatology of the readings during Mass at the end of the liturgical year remind us of that. In the “Parable of the Wise and Foolish Virgins”, Jesus reminds us to “Watch therefore, for you don’t know the day nor the hour in which the Son of Man is coming.” (Matthew 25:13) All soldiers know this reality.

Enjoy this month. At Thanksgiving, give thanks that our commander-in-chief, Jesus Christ, has already won the victory for us. Not only that, but He left us the greatest training facility, field hospital, and fortress the world has ever known, the Catholic Church. Thanks be to God.

Copyright 2017 Mark Andrews

Posted in Catholic Writing and Publishing | Leave a comment