An Engaging Faith: June 22-26th

You are invited to join me this week for An Engaging Faith on Real Life Radio daily at 4pm EST.

  Enter To Win One of 10 Copies!  (Courtesy Of Loyola Press Publishing)  
→Then tune in on Thursday to listen and talk to the author Kerry Weber

This week’s lineup highlights using the diversity of our gifts to bloom and help others to bloom through service and committed action!

,

Monday: Let’s talk -Corporal Works of Mercy

 
 
 
 
Tuesday: Paul Nicholls, Jr., Head Lacrosse Coach, Member of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes and National Christian Athletic Association , talks about Faith and Sports

 

Wednesday: Carlos Castañeda, Hispanic Ministry Program Director for the Roman Catholic Diocese of Charlotte, North Carolina, graduate of Marist College and current graduate theology student of Boston College

Thursday: Kerry Weber, author of Mercy in the City : How to Feed the Hungry, Give Drink to the Thirsty, Visit the Imprisoned, and Keep Your Day Job
 

*My own review on this inspiring book! 

Friday: Jesuit Volunteer Corps Join in with Cassie Clemente, current Program Director at JVC and former Jesuit Volunteer (Milwaukee 06) and Patrick Cassidy, current Program Coordinator at JVC and former Jesuit Volunteer (Belize 08) as we discuss the work of “passionate young people in vital service within poor communities, and  fostering the growth of leaders committed to faith in action. “

 

 

 

Advertisements

Worth Revisiting Wednesday: Can you Spare any Change?

It’s Worth Revisiting Wednesday! A place where you can come and bring a past & treasured post to share, and link-up with fellow bloggers! Co-Hosted with Allison Gingras at Reconciled To You.

If change is a natural reoccurring part of life..why do we avoid and resist it so?  And, I wonder when we are continually in contradiction to change, are we not also missing out on the gifts of the Holy Spirit? How can we accept the gifts of wisdom, understanding, knowledge, counsel, fortitude, piety and fear of the Lord if unwilling to let go and be open to the Holy Spirit at work in our lives?


Can You Spare Any Change?

With the start of each season, new calendars and schedules, and soon-to be clocks, it is no wonder that my mind quite naturally gravitates to the notion of change. Yet, so often we view change as something to be resisted, avoided, and fought. What if, however we flipped our understanding of change as something to embrace, to advocate
and necessary for growth and peace?

  1. “Yesterday is gone. Tomorrow has not yet come. We have only today. Let us begin.”

    Today, as the feast day of Mother Teresa, we remember a woman who not only lived this upturned notion of change but inspired countless others to do the same. In her desire to follow Christ, she was a light of love for the unloved and unwanted, a living witness to the embodiment of change in every life she touched.

  2. Change is to be anticipated. My own awareness to the inevitability of change began early on, as the daughter of a single mom who seeking to acquire a better teaching position hoped also to provide a better life. With each move, came a new school, new church, surroundings and thankfully new friends too. My mom had a knack, which she passed on to me, of discovering the treasure that each relocation offered. On the weekends, we would venture out exploring museums, historical sites, little shops and the new “little pond” we found ourselves in. One of my 

    favorite memories was to wake up and simply pack a picnic tote, throw on a swimsuit and head on down to the Mississippi River with a fishing pole in hand. Did you catch anything, you might ask? Rarely, was it ever fish. Instead our eyes caught a glimpse of the horizon, an embrace of a beautiful day, the gift of time well spent, and an acceptance of the chance of rain tomorrow.

  3. Resistance.

    My own children who have not had the same exposure to change, OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAare quick at times to resist even the slightest alteration of their expectation. This resistance was none more evident than in my then 5 year old son’s response to the removal of the shrub that was growing up, around, and through our back deck. Though it was pushing up the boards and causing significant structural damage, it had been there as long as he had known. Compelling his outcry, “But you can’t. I loved that tree!…I can’t imagine me without it!

  4. file3511268163576 Some resistance is necessary.

    This brings me to the recognition that resistance is preemptive to change. In order to move ahead, we have to give up the comfortable, customary, and conditioned environment that we have become accustomed to. If we seek to remain where we are, despite the ground moving and shifting under our feet we can no longer grow as Our Father intended. There is a fruitlessness then of pouring new wine into old wineskins, for our minds and hearts cannot accept the new good that God has planned if we are content with the old wine. (Lk 5:33-39) Transformation is necessary and this isn’t a onetime deal but a continual openness to the Holy Spirit.

  5. Change with Community

    For those unaware, there are incredible and much needed changes taking place through a collaboration of parishes within the Archdiocese of Boston. In an effort to streamline councils, fully utilize staff and resources, account for a growing shortage of parish priest, pastoral planning is in place to better “meet the needs of the people of God”. (http://www.disciplesinmission.com ) This path is not without challenges and the greatest of these is in accepting that change is necessary and that a new more vibrant community is possible. In letting go of our fears, we are able to foster new relationships, focus our resources on the mission of evangelization before us, and to realize the unity of our Catholic faith as the body of Christ in the world.

  6. file000871375277Embracing change is moving forward from a mindset of consenting to it as a plan B, to conceiving it as your plan A. What was it that Robert Burns so poetically phrased? “The best laid schemes of mice and men oft go awry, and leave us nothing but grief and pain for promised joy!” Where our plans fail, there is such joy in trusting God, the author of change to create our day, to fill it with surprise and yes, change. If asked if you thought you would be where you are today, how many of us could have envisaged the present?
  7. Oh my soul- how I bless you Lord! We ask ourselves “How file0001303010317can we spare change, and you answer how can we not? You have such amazing promises in store for each of us! Though we may experience “growing pains” through challenges , you know that this is the path for true transformation and peace. Holy Spirit, come and help open our hearts to be receptive to change, Father, please take our lives and let us to be the change you wish to see in the world!

     Signature

 

My Grandmother’s Garden: Roots of Faith

Summer is that time that so often brings me back to my childhood. With bare feet in the grass, the sun on my face, and the small quiet hum of the bees I am instantly transported to those quiet reflective moments with God. Many of my earliest memories are replete with these instances where I am drawn into conversation and contemplation, simply by being open to listen and ready to praise. Though I would beg to visit my grandma whenever I could, our time in the summer was especially unhurried and particularly memorable. Perhaps this was in part because my mother was usually either teaching summer school or taking professional development herself and it was just the two of us. Yet, more so because there were no real demands upon either of us but the invitation to simply enjoy one another’s time together.

Effortlessly, my grandma witnessed her own love and commitment to making space for prayer and devotion to God in everything she did.  This began early in the morning while the dew was still on the roses, and the birds could be heard softly chiming, “Get up, and greet this new day that God has given!” There were no other alarm clocks in her house, and I remember thinking that this must be what heaven was like. While she began breakfast, I was given a long sleeved shirt, gloves and a few small baskets to carry outside to hold the treasure of blackberries for the day. As my sometimes sandaled feet brushed against the dewy blades of grass, and the sparrows called out to one another, I realized that I could go no further. With eyes closed, and a content peaceful smile on my face, I felt privileged to be among these first harbingers of the day.

“God thank you for inviting me today to share in this unbelievably beautiful beginning, and to know that your newness is always available. What you have provided for creation, you have allotted for me too!”

Berry after berry, small, large, dark and plump, my basket soon filled and I would joyfully find myself in gratitude for this great harvest. Alone these were delicious enough, but if I was truly lucky my grandma would take a few to bake in a pie. Here I glimpsed the joy of work, singing hymns and chatting as we rolled the cold buttery dough out upon the marble.  Prayer for my Grandma was not regulated to any particular time or activity, but permeated every motion and second of each day.

 
Then, while waiting for the pie to cool, my eyes would soon spy the rope swing under the giant Mimosa tree in garden. This rugged notched plank of wood was my cherished seat under an umbrella of pink airy flowers and sprawling fern like branches. The higher I swung the more exhilarating I felt till I thought my toes would indeed touch the clouds.  Then just like that, I would stop to feel the air rushing past me and the stillness of my heart, breathing in the peace that suddenly seemed to envelope me.

“God you are there in the busy excitement of life, and as we are called to slow down to feel your undeniable presence”.

 

Nighttime, beckoned and I gleefully climbed under the covers in the bedroom adjoining the garden, surrounded on three sides by windows. Atop this goose down mattress, with moonlight streaming in all around, I would fall asleep to the sound of the crickets and my evening prayers.

“Father, how thankful I am that you created this incredibly infinite universe for us to enjoy. Start to finish you have reminded me throughout my day that you are with me. From the first morning rays to the stars that look down on me, I am part of your divine creation. Help me to shine your light and love in all that I do. Help me to be a good steward of your gifts that you have so graciously entrusted to me. Thank you, dear heavenly father for my Grandma who has shown me all of this in her love of you.”

Peace,

Signature

An Engaging Faith- June 15-19th

You are invited to join me this week for An Engaging Faith on Real Life Radio daily at 4pm EST.

Rafflecopter Giveaway!

This week’s lineup is part of our Mission and Evangelization Week. A week where we discuss what it is to be a Church of mission, and evangelization engaged in the work of spreading the Gospel to the ends of the earth. 

Monday: Maureen Crowley Heil, Director of  Programs and Development for the Society for the Propagation of the Faith, in the Archdiocese of Boston speaks on World Mission. 

 

 

 

Tuesday: Maureen Crowley Heil, Director of  Programs and Development for the Society for the Propagation of the Faith, in the Archdiocese of Boston speaks on the work here in the US with the Missionary Childhood Association. 

 

Wednesday: Mary Margaret Kerry,FSP Daughter of St. Paul and current author of “Live Christ, Give Christ”, a collection of prayers for the New Evangelization

 
Thursday: Mission and Evangelization, Connections: ‎Looking at this idea of Mission and Evangelization within our local communities. Laura Chun, Loyola Chicago alum shares with us the beauty of living and serving within the Franciscan Mission of San Luis Rey Parish in Oceanside, California .

 

Friday: Weekly Recap Join me as discuss the past week’s news, events, tweets and posts! What does our Catholic Faith have to do the compassionate care and service to others, including those who are living around the world? 

Worth Revisiting Wednesday: Consecration to Mary

It’s Worth Revisiting Wednesday! A place where you can come and bring a past & treasured post to share, and link-up with fellow bloggers! Co-Hosted with Allison Gingras at Reconciled To You.

As I will be on air Friday chatting about “Saints and Sinners” as part of An Engaging Faith for Real Life Radio, I thought that this would be an apt post to revisit since two of these saints have also been consecrated to Mary. If you haven’t considered this retreat before, there are so many amazing graces to be found in becoming less dependent on ourselves, and to lean more on Mary to lovingly guide us to Christ through humility and submission to God’s will.


Mid Retreat Reflections: Consecration to Mary.

Familiar with Louis de Montfort’s treatise on Mary, I have thoroughly enjoyed Gaitley’s use of modern saint stories that bear vivid witness to lives devoted to Marian consecration. Here we follow St. Maximillian Kolbe, Blessed Mother Teresa and St. JP II. who also had devoted themselves to Mary to glimpse how that was manifested in the course of their everyday.

As a convert to Catholicism, I began this path of understanding and growing in Mary a little more than 20 years ago. Still, it is this later discovery that has prompted a desire to fully seek who Mary is in the life of Christ, the life of the Church and quite personally for me. Oh, how very much I still have to learn!

This retreat is said to be undertaken with ‘fire in one’s heart’ with generosity and desire. Where we lack these things, the Holy Spirit, Mary and the saints are there to lovingly guide and support us.

1. “Doing the Lord’s work does not always turn out according to our plans.”//This is none more evidenced than in the lives of the saints who were often redirected in their efforts to serve. For me, it speaks to the need to let go of the outcome and instead to seek God’s will and guidance in every instance of my desire to serve. Many times, I may never know the results of the work begun.

2. Because of sin, there is a great need to continually renew our baptismal promises and recommit our lives to Christ.// Mary’s life is a beautiful witness to a life fully committed to God’s will, and devoted to the heart of Christ- she is there to help us daily to honor our own promises.

3. Give Mary our prayers, sacrifices and gifts to distribute to those who need it most.// Initially, this was difficult for me to grasp. If I have been asked to pray specifically for someone, how can I let go of who my prayer’s intention is for? Because our efforts are not lost but she “augments, increases and purifies the spiritual gifts we give her”. Moreover, it isn’t that we cannot pray for those we love we just let go of the “final say”.

4. Why did Mary call herself the Immaculate Conception at Lourdes and not rather I am Immaculately Conceived?// I had never given this much thought before and yet much like St. Kolbe I was now enthralled with the distinction. As the spouse of the Holy Spirit she had in fact taken the name of the One who creates, sustains, and renews the face of the earth- the uncreated Immaculate Conception. Born without original sin, Mary also knows within her the Holy Spirit as “uncreated Love” which bears divine fruit within her womb in Jesus.

5. W+ w =S. In short, when we seek to unite God’s will with our own it is then we are led to sanctity or holiness.// Following God’s will is difficult but when look to Mary’s beautiful example we see she is there to lead the way.

6. Every day “people give themselves over to Satan to be possessed by him…why can’t people give themselves over to God to become an instrument of love?// Mary implores us to not be content in our own salvation, but to lead others, indeed the entire world, to conversion and to the love of Christ.

7. Christ longs, undeniably “thirsts” to be close to each one of us. “Hear your name. Not just once. Every day. If you listen with your heart you will understand”.// Moreover, this intimacy calls us to see the suffering of his children who are left lonely, hungry and uncared for. This too is a “thirst” of Christ which goes unfulfilled when we walk away from those most in need.

Father, thank you for this gift of time spent with you to seek how to better serve you in all that I do. Holy Spirit help me to conform and unite my will, as did Mary, with you. “Help me to listen (and respond) to the thirst of Jesus” 

Peace and Love,

Signature

Poetic Resonances: A Spirituality Glimpsed

Every now and then, we are given those moments where we glimpse an aspect of ourselves embodied distinctively in the rather small bodies of our children. We are reckoned with the fact that for better or worse, they have assumed a bit of our personality, abilities, perspective or approach to life. Today, I stood in wonder and amazement, as I held the pages of my ten year old Thomas’ personal poetry anthology in my own hands. Amidst the collection of poems centered on the theme of buildings was this one which caught me completely by surprise and left me speechless.

              “Church”         by Thomas Reardon (age 10)

Today the outside is my church
As I watch the falcons perch.

I look at all of God’s creation
I remember the world’s revelation.

The sun shone bright,
It’s such a wonderful sight.

As I watch the morning sun,
I remember what God has done.

How did he, the boy fearful of writing finally find his voice in the rhythm and rhyme of poetic stanzas?

How did he articulate that deep resonance that I feel when I look out upon creation and see God’s beauty, suddenly aware that God is ever present and close to me?

My grandfather, a poet himself, had published in small circulation a collection of his poems, each speaking too of this experience of God in nature. And since I was quite young, I had followed in these steps finding that poetry combined my love of words with music, expressing my deepest longings. Now, to see my son discover this within himself…was one of the best gifts this mom could have ever received.

What is it that moves or nudges you closer to God, to recognize Him in your day? How do you express this best? Do you notice these gifts in your own children?

Peace,

Signature

An Engaging Faith: June 8-12th

You are invited to join me this week for An Engaging Faith on Real Life Radio daily at 4pm EST.

This week’s lineup includes an encore performances of our 1st and 2nd shows, and the amazing Margaret Felice, who speaks on all the many ways she uses her gifts to awaken others in the faith:

 

Monday: (Encore) Eileen Daily, Director of a Doctoral Transformational Leadership program at Boston University.
 

 

Tuesday: Margaret Felice, Boston College alumnae and faculty member of Religion and Performing Arts at BC High in Boston MA, Opera Singer and blogger.

 

 

Wednesday: (Encore) Paula Kowalkowski,Loyola Chicago alumnae and faculty member of Music at Columbia College in Chicago.

 

 

Thursday: Margaret Felice, ‎speaks on the invaluable lessons learned from many mistakes made and years of teaching, with 7 Tips for New Religion Teachers and its followup article. 
 

 
Friday: Margaret Felice, and I chat about  Saints, Sinners and Catholic things of interest!

Worth Revisiting: God and the Small Stuff

It’s Worth Revisiting Wednesday! A place where you can come and bring a past & treasured post to share, and link-up with fellow bloggers! Co-Hosted with Allison Gingras at Reconciled To You.

There are so many things that we can pass on to our children, and this is one of my most treasured lessons learned from both my mother and grandmother. Going to, leaning on and petitioning God for even the little things in life is not a lack of trust, but just the contrary. In asking God for help, we trust that from the tiniest concern to the grandest dilemma, that He can work all things for good.


God and the Small Stuff: It’s No Bother, Really.

It’s Monday morning and I have reluctantly left the warm comfort of my bed to embrace the day and week ahead of me. Why reluctantly? It wasn’t as if I had failed to enjoy the weekend, or conversely had enjoyed it so much as to need the added rest. Yet, whatever the reason I needed help, indeed strength to rise and greet the sunrise as it would soon be greeting me. So, I prayed.

“Father, you are indeed so great as to set the world in motion- help set my feet and spirit in motion too towards what I am to do today. Yes, You have my yes…Spirit lead and strengthen me.”

As morning routines have ensued, and I have found space and time for reflection, I am reminded again of God’s constant and faithful promise to always walk beside us. Growing up, I watched both my mother and grandmother go to God throughout their day with the great and small stuff of life. For my grandmother, this time was spent with daily scripture, and silent prayer. If she didn’t know the answer she knew who did and went straight to the source. My mom, though less attentive to scripture reading, found also great humility in her immense dependence on God. With petition and praise she thanked God for the food on the table, the roof over our head and gift of one another each day. Yet, she likewise would pray for good news to arrive, the sun to shine, the rain to stop, peace to come or the strength to endure the day ahead.

With a beautiful gleam in her eye, I was invited to listen to her retelling of the story of working the family’s fields alongside her brothers and sister. As the sun would beat down relentlessly in the heat of the day, exhausted and worn, they would sing and lift up this prayer for rain.

Oh, Let “there be showers of blessing..
This is the promise of love;
There shall be seasons refreshing,
Sent from the Savior above.

Refrain:
Showers of blessing,
Showers of blessing we need:
Mercy-drops round us are falling,
But for the showers we plead.

—There shall be showers of blessing:
Oh, that today they might fall,
Now as to God we’re confessing,
Now as on Jesus we call!

There shall be showers of blessing,
If we but trust and obey;
There shall be seasons refreshing,
If we let God have His way.

Daniel Whittle 1883 (Ez. 34:26; Psalm 115:12; Gen 32:26)

What a gift God has in store for us if we come to him not only with our heavy burdens but also with our daily cares, questions, and humble petitions of the heart! Yet, repeatedly in ministry I hear the contrasting refrain of

Doesn’t God have more important things to do? I wouldn’t want to bother God with the small things..shouldn’t I save my requests when I really need Him?

To which I joyfully answer,

“No. God has nothing better to do than to sit and converse with You! He can move the mountains, calm the seas, guide ships, rescue the lost, and listen to the smallest of prayers. He is God after all.”

Our Father wants to be our friend all along- not just when we are in dire trouble. Today, let’s invite God into our day, into the little things of life..He’s here waiting for us to bid him near.

Father you come to me whenever I call! I know you smile to see me reach for you. And like a loving dad you hold out your arms to guide, encourage and catch me when I stumble. You know how difficult those first steps can be each day, and though our strength may fail..Yours always remains!

Peace, Signature

Connections: Writing and Spirituality

With so much going on around us these days, have you ever found yourself in what seems to be the consistent cycle of playing catch up without the necessary time for all the things you love?
Do you feel that you lack the time to reflect on the essential elements of your day or shed those things that should be omitted altogether?
 Who has time for this, much less to write?

Yes, even those in those in the “faith” endeavor, are reminded that they have, at times, neglected to reflect prayerfully on the many things they are called to do and reassess. While I have been attending to these things in prayer, there is something concrete about putting pen to paper. There is an incredible release of all that our hearts and minds have been occupied with to now leave open for God to fill.

Writing, be it journaling, blogging, or correspondence with others can be an indispensable way to assess where you are, how you got there, and where you feel God is leading you today. It need not be lengthy, in fact it could be as short as a sentence. “I really enjoyed my walk today”. Which then might lead to an awareness to make time in your life for that more walks, and lead to the deeper question as to why you enjoy this time so much. Do I need this solitude as a break for the otherwise busyness of life? Is it that I feel close to God out in nature? Do His works remind me of the newness and recreation of the world around me and my place in it?

1.Let it be an honest dialogue with yourself and God. Invite the Spirit to open your heart to ponder and the strength to make even the smallest of changes. In the midst of God’s presence, wait. Let this pause then be your invitation say thank you for the very gift of this moment.

 

2.Where was God in my day? Was I greeted with the morning sunrise, or in the smile of a friend? Was he with me at the bedside of a friend, or in the consoling words of another?

 

3. Review your day, attentive to the times you were happiest, and the times that did not go as expected, both your successes and failures.

 

4.What was thought, said or done? Was there a missed opportunity to grow closer to God? If so, talk to God and ask for forgiveness, the courage to be aware, step forward and accept his offer the next time.

5.Tomorrow is a new day, and God is already there waiting for YOU. There is profound hope and grace in knowing each day is made anew and we too are recreated in this love. Commit to using this gift by striving to be attentive and open to direction.

Peace,

Signature

An Engaging Faith

Not to be outdone, God is truly the author of so many unexpected surprises! Starting next Monday, I have been invited to host a new live radio show entitled An Engaging Faith on Real Life Radio daily at 4pm EST.

The mission of Real Life Radio is “bringing the joy of the Gospel directly to people on the devices that they use to connect to the world as they move through their day…with a focus on topical, cultural and relationship issues all with an uncompromising filter of an authentically Catholic worldview.”    With a Jesuit leaning, An Engaging Faith would look at the discovery of God in our everyday while also engaging the social realities in the world around us.

This week’s lineup takes a look at the diversity of answering the call to be sent forth, guests include:

 

 

 

Monday: Eileen Daily, Director of a Doctoral Transformational Leadership program at Boston University.

 

Tuesday: Paula KowalkowskiLoyola Chicago alumnae and faculty member of Music at Columbia College in Chicago.

 

 

Wednesday: Art Blumberg, ‎Director of Parish Operations at St. Philip the Apostle, fellow Loyola student and alumnae.

 
 
Thursday: Anna Dudek, Loyola Alumnae now with the Office for the New Evangelization in Chicago.

 

 
Friday: Weekly Recap Join me as discuss the past week’s news, events, tweets and posts!