A ‘must-have’ read.

I purchased this book last year as a digital copy and then almost immediately purchased a hard copy because is is such a wonderful book to ‘have and to hold close’ (in your hands and in your heart!) This is a book I will be purchasing as gifts  for friends and family.

THE BETTER PART, buy Fr John Bartunek

image@http://live.regnumchristi.org/

image@http://live.regnumchristi.org/

is a’ Christ-centred resource for personal prayer.’ It is changing my relationship with Jesus and is helping me through the most difficult time of my Journey to Christ to date. My prayer life is becoming deeper and more meaningful. I feel prepared and eager for a meeting  with the Lord every day.

It’s the only book that has shared with me a 4 step structure to personal meditation, making my prayer life more intimate and meaningful for me.

Here are some titbits to whet your appetite:

  1. ‘ Jesus has made the appointment to meet  with you in prayer’ –  In other words it’s no accident that I am yearning to be closer to Jesus and that a deeply personal relationship is one that I want so much with Him, because he yearns for the same relationship with me. He is the one calling me to prayer.
  2. ‘ Among the most basic prayer commitments is one that can have more bearing on your life that any other, because is is more personalised: the daily meditation.’ - I do much spiritual reading to find out more about my Faith and my Lord and Saviour, I need to keep a daily meeting with my Lord for the sole purpose of getting to know Him better and to recommit myself to uncovering His will for my life. I realise that there is a difference between spiritual reading and meditation in that even the readings of the day can become spiritual reading, and not so much a meditative reading if I merely read them as part of a routine day in and day out. In order to get to know the Lord more intimately and to unwrap His will for my life, His messages for me alone, I need to excavate what’s in the Gospel with tenacity and purpose. This is done through meditation and prayer over the Gospels.
  3. ‘Prayer is similar to walking. To walk everyone has to follow the same principles of physics- friction, gravity, muscle propulsion, momentum. And yet, even though the principles are the same, everyone’s walk is a little bit different. When babies learn to walk, they start out clumsy and awkward, until they develop the rhythm and style proper to their body type, personality, and environment. Meditation follows a similar pattern: the same principles for all, activated uniquely by each. The Better Part can help you wherever you happen to be on the spectrum.’ 

images

If any one of you have read this amazing book please comment on how you have found it deepening your relationship with Jesus. I intend to post more on this book as I read on.

the Story of Mary and MArtha: Mary is doing 'the better part', listening to the Lord's teaching.

In the Story of Mary and Martha: Mary is doing ‘the better part’, listening to the Lord’s teaching.

A moment that mattered.

After a tough week, feeling downtrodden and hopeless, as I walked into Mass this morning, my heart slowly grew lighter. The Mass is the same always and everywhere  no matter how you feel. It remains a constant. Unchanged and unchanging. 2011-09_TheMassIt felt comforting to be in that familiar rhythm, waiting expectantly to receive the Lord, and nothing else really matters.

Quotes from the great St. Paul

“For I am already on the paint of being sacrificed; the time of my departure has come. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Henceforth there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, will award to me on that Day, and not only to me but also to all who have loved his appearing.”
― Saint Paul

Theophanes_the_Cretan_-_St_Paul_-_WGA22199“Where the Spirit of God is, there is liberty.”
― Saint Paul

“For we are not contending against flesh and blood, but against the principalities, against the powers, against the world rulers of this present darkness, against the spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. – Ephesians 6:12”
― Saint PaulThe Epistles of Paul and Acts of the Apostles

 

TE DEUM(a solemn psalm of praise), in thanksgiving for the end of the year.

It’s a Catholic custom that deserves to be maintained, that of praying the Te Deum (a solemn psalm of praise) on New Year’s Eve in recognition of the grace bestowed on us throughout the year that is ending.

PopeBenedictXVI_2434479b

(Vatican Radio) Below, please find the full text of Pope Benedict XVI’s homily for Solemn First Vespers for the Feast of Mary the Mother of God (Monday, 31 Dec 2012): (emphasis mine)

Venerable brothers in the Episcopate and the Priesthood, Distinguished authorities, 

Dear brothers and sisters,

I thank all of you who have chosen to participate in this liturgy of the last hour of the year of the Lord 2012. This “hour” bears a particular intensity and becomes, in a sense, a synthesis of all the hours of the year that is about to come to an end. I cordially greet the Cardinals, Bishops, Priests, consecrated persons and lay faithful, and especially the many people from the ecclesial community of Rome. In a special way I greet the Authorities present, beginning with the Mayor of the City, and thank them for choosing to share with us this moment of prayer and thanksgiving to God.


The “Te Deum” that we raise to the Lord this evening, at the end of a calendar year, is a hymn of thanksgiving that opens with the praise – “We praise you, O God, we proclaim you to be the Lord” – and ends with a profession of faith – “You are our hope, we will not be confounded forever.” For all that came to pass over the course of the year, whether easy or difficult, barren or fruitful, we give thanks to God. The Te Deum, in fact, contains a profound wisdom, the wisdom that makes us say that, despite everything, there is good in the world, and this good is destined to triumph, thanks God, the God of Jesus Christ, who became incarnate, died, and rose again. Certainly, it is difficult, sometimes, to accept this profound reality, since evil makes more noise than the good: a brutal murder, the spread of violence, serious injustices make the news. Gestures of love and service, on the contrary, daily struggles endured with patience and fidelity are often left in the shadows. And this is why we cannot rely solely on the news if we want to understand the world and life. We must be able to remain in silence, in meditation, in calm and prolonged reflection; we must know how to stop and think. In this way, our mind can find healing from the inevitable wounds of daily life, can go deeper into the events that occur in our lives and in the world, and come to the knowledge that allows us to evaluate things with new eyes.
Especially in the recollection of conscience, where God speaks to us, we learn to look truthfully at our own actions, even at the evil within us and around us, to begin a journey of conversion that makes us wiser and better, more capable of creating solidarity and communion, of overcoming evil with good.

The Christian is a man of hope, even and especially in the face of the darkness that often exists in the world, not as a consequence of God’s plans, but because of the wrong choices of man, because the Christian knows that the power of faith can move mountains ( cf. Mt 17:20): the Lord can brighten even the deepest darkness.


The Year of Faith, which the Church is living, should arouse in the heart of each believer a greater awareness that the encounter with Christ is the source of true life and a solid hope. Faith in Jesus allows a constant renewal of goodness and of the ability to rise from the quicksand of sin and to begin anew. In the Word made flesh is possible, to rediscover the true identity of man, who finds himself destined for the infinite love of God and called to a personal communion with Him. This truth, that Jesus Christ came to reveal, is the certainty that drives us to face with confidence the year we are about to begin.


The Church, which has received from her Lord the mission to evangelize, knows well that the Gospel is for all people, especially the younger generations, to quench that thirst for truth that everyone carries in his heart and that is often obscured by all those things that occupy life. This apostolic commitment is all the more necessary when the faith risks being obscured in cultural contexts which hinder its personal roots and its social presence. Rome, too, is a city where the Christian faith must be proclaimed again and again and witnessed in a credible manner. On the one hand, there is the growing number of believers of other religions, the difficulties parish communities have in attracting young people, the spread of lifestyles marked by individualism and moral relativism; on the other, the quest, in so many people, for a sense of their own existence and for a hope that will not disappoint, that cannot leave us indifferent. Like the Apostle Paul (cf. Rom 1:14-15) all the faithful of this city should consider themselves under obligation of the Gospel towards the other inhabitants!
For this reason, for several years now, our Diocese has been committed to highlighting the missionary dimension of ordinary pastoral care, so that the faithful, supported especially by the Sunday Eucharist, can become disciples and coherent witnesses of Jesus Christ. Christian parents, who are for their children the primary educators in the faith, are called in a special way to this coherence in their lives. The complexity of life in a great city like Rome and in a culture that often seems indifferent to God, demands that we not leave fathers and mothers alone in so crucial a task, but rather that we support and accompany them in their spiritual life. In this regard, I encourage those who work in family ministry to implement the pastoral activities that emerged from the last Diocesan Convention, dedicated to baptismal and post-baptismal pastoral care. It requires a generous commitment to develop the paths of spiritual formation that after the baptism of children will go with the parents in order to keep the flame of faith alive, offering concrete suggestions so that, from an early age, the Gospel of Jesus will be announced. The emergence of groups of families, in which the Word of God is heard and the experiences of Christian life are shared helps to strengthen the sense of belonging to the ecclesial community and to grow in friendship with the Lord. It is also important to build a relationship of cordial friendship with those of the faithful who, after having baptized their child, distracted by the demands of everyday life, do not show great interest in living this experience: they will be able to experience the love of the Church, as a caring mother, stands by them to promote their spiritual life.


In order to proclaim the Gospel and to allow those who still do not know Jesus, or have abandoned Him, to cross again the threshold of faith and live in communion with God, it is essential to know in depth the meaning of the truths contained in the Profession of Faith. The commitment to a systematic training of pastoral workers, which for some years now has taken place in the various prefectures of the Diocese of Rome, is a valuable tool that must be pursued with commitment in the future, in order to form lay people who know how to echo the Gospel in every house and in every room, even in those listening centres that have brought so much fruit since the time of the city Missions. In this respect, the “Dialogues in the Cathedral,” which have been held in the Basilica of St. John Lateran for some years, constitute a particularly appropriate experience to encounter the City and to dialogue with those who seek God and truth, and who are inquiring into the into the great questions of human existence.


As in the past, so today the Church of Rome is called to announce and to tirelessly witness to the riches of the Gospel of Christ. It must do so also by supporting the many people living in situations of poverty and marginalization, as well as families in need, especially when they have to assist sick and disabled people. I hope very much that the Institutions at various levels will not allow their activities to cease, so that all citizens might have access to what is essential to a dignified life.


Dear friends, on the last night of the year that is coming to an end, and at the threshold of the new, let us praise the Lord! Let us show to “He who is and who was and who is to come” (Rev. 1:8) repentance and asking for forgiveness for their offenses, as well as the sincere thanks for the countless benefits granted by the divine goodness. In particular, we give thanks for the grace and truth that have come to us through Jesus Christ. In Him the fullness of all human time is placed. The future of every human being is kept safe in him. In Him, the fulfilment of the hopes of the Church and of the world comes true. Amen.

598440_10151042549006942_1824765395_n

Blogathon!

I include an illustration of what my desk usually/can/sometimes looks like, to emphasize that I am certainly not one to wing-it. I have taken a while to respond to the BILTRIX nudging from afar. I needed time to digest this notion of a blogAthon, being careful to include all the necessary components meticulously.

Last week 1catholicsalmon was tagged by the Catholic blogging champion BILTRIX  (THANK YOU!),  and was thereby convinced to take part in this blogaThon: All in the interest of spreading the Faith! How could I refuse to participate?

I am attempting to carry on this honour by participating in said ‘blogAthon.’ The rules (which are not obligatory, by any stretch of the imagination…in other words, please don’t feel obligated to do this if you have been tagged here) are as follows:

1. Each person tagged must post 11 things about themselves.
2. They must also answer the 11 questions the “tagger” has set for them.
3. They must create 11 more questions to ask bloggers they have decided to tag.
4. They must then choose 11 bloggers and tag them in their post.
5. These “lucky” bloggers must then be told.
6. No tag backs.

So here goes:

11 things about myself:

  1. For the first few days on holiday I usually sleep.
  2. My first thought every day is to make it to Mass.
  3. I make conscious Christian choices during the day.
  4. I treasure the Sacrament of Confession. I have learned much through it.
  5. I wear a crucifix as a statement of my faith  and also to show my devotion to the Lord.
  6. I am aware of my responsibilities as a ‘wearer of the Cross’.
  7. I try to hear the Lord through all my dealings with others throughout the day.
  8. I have a brand new daily Missal. Everything’s in there. Everything!
  9. I have downloaded loads of Catholic books onto my Kindle.
  10. Spending an afternoon browsing around the St. Paul’s bookshop in London is my idea of a great afternoon.
  11. I am keen  to ponder the fruits of this year of Faith in a few years time.

Here are the questions for Me to answer:

  1. Have you ever read a dialogue by Plato? I have read some quotes and touched on Greek history at Uni.
  2. Do you know any foreign languages? YES!- Afrikaans and  Portuguese
  3. How good are you at math? Better than I was 5 years ago.
  4. Are you a convert? No, I’m a cradle-Catholic, and I’m still discovering the beauty and depth of the Faith.
  5. Would you like to renew your baptismal promises? Yes
  6. Do you reject Satan? Yes!
  7. And all his works? Yes!
  8. And all his empty promises? Yes!
  9. Do you believe in God, the Father Almighty, creator of heaven and earth? Yes!
  10. Do you believe in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord, who was born of the Virgin Mary was crucified, died, and was buried, rose from the dead, and is now seated at the right hand of the Father? Yes!
  11. Do you believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy Catholic church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and life everlasting? Yes!

If your name is mentioned below, that means I TAGGED you (that means YOU’RE IT, get it?).

AND THE 6  BLOGGERS I TAG ARE:

  1. Conversion Diary : A Catholic convert share’s her life.
  2. Gracie’s Quest : Good Christian reading here.
  3. Catholic1 : Just one in a billion!
  4. Daniel Undum : Author of a new book called, ‘The offensive Catholic’. 
  5. My Hope Box : Friendly Catholic blogging, including good Catechesis.
  6. Transformed in Christ : A Catechist from London.

Now… If your name is one of the names listed above, you got TAGGED, and you may be asking yourself Why did I get tagged? So that you can tag someone else. C’mon! Spread the faith!

Here are the 11 questions the tagged bloggers are to answer about themselves:

  1. What’s the first memory about Church?
  2. Are you invited to speak to your priest as you would speak to a friend?. (Do you know him well enough to feel relaxed in his company?)
  3. Have you ever imagined something funny happening up on the Altar during Mass?
  4. Which character trait makes your parish priest human?
  5. What stays with you after Mass and into the week?
  6. Please recommend a good Christian movie:
  7. Which do you prefer: Gregorian Chant or singing from the hymn book?
  8. Have you experienced a pilgrimage?
  9. Which is your favoured character in the Bible?
  10. Has Confession changed the way you think about your actions?
  11. Which is your chosen Mass time on Sunday: 9:30 am, 11:30 am  or 5:30pm, or do you attend the 6:00 on Saturday evenings?

Prayer of the month

“O Lord, accompany your missionaries in the lands to be evangelized, put the right words on their lips and make their labours fruitful.” 
May  the Virgin Mary, Mother of the Church and Star of Evangelization, accompany all Gospel missionaries.
—from Pope Benedict’s 2012 Message for World Mission Day, quoting Blessed John Henry Newman

New challenges, loads of work and lovely surprises.

I started work this week with a load of new responsibilities and have been working hard to settle in and get my head around things. I think I’m in for a productive and challenging year ahead. This week has left me with little time to visit my favourite blogs or to blog myself, but I did manage to take a peek at notifications  when accessing my emails.

I received two lovely surprises:- This is the first!

A ‘super sweet’ blogging award from BILTRIX.

Only today have I had an opportunity to savour this treat! What a lovely surprise! THANK YOU BILTRIX! I have been following and learning from BILTRIX for many months now. Do be tempted and take a look at BILTRIX – you’re sure to visit over and over again for another taste of the sweet friendship and excellent company available there.

As always, on acceptance of the award, questions are to be answered and the flame is carried on ……..

  • Cookie or cake? Cookies or cake, but not too much of either. I prefer savoury to sweet.
  • Chocolate or Vanilla? A scoop of each.
  • What is your favourite sweet treat? Baklava
  • When do you crave sweet things the most? Late afternoon.
  • If you had a sweet nickname, what would it be? Jelly Baby

The sweet flame of recognition is passed on to:

  1. Father Acervo’s Corner Brimming with all the goodness that the Faith can offer.
  2. Ascending Mount Carmel (almost typed ‘caramel’….) Take a bite of this chunky , solid Catholic teaching and opinion.
  3. A Solitary Bird thoughts on Carmelite spirituality and contemplative prayer
  4. Stages of Prayer Inspirational
  5. Catholic pure and simple  Truly pure and simple
  6. 8 Kids and a business  a place to relax and enjoy

My second lovely surprise is ……another award from the Champion-award-winning BILTRIX team!

THANX TO BILTRIX!

I accept this award with a smile on my face and a warm glow in my heart, because of who passed this batten on to 1catholicsalmon. The team in this camp is well-trained, super-fit and share the best training tips in order to run the best race. BILTRIX ‘approaches cultural apologetics from a logical perspective, in order to bring truth and meaning to cultural discourse where issues are often blurred by the absurd.’

This award is a biggie for Salmon, because 1catholicsalmon came to life because of all the Salmon is thinking about and mulling over. An award that glows.

Here are the award rules:

  1. Post the award on your blog: CHECK
  2. Thank the one who nominated you and link back to their blog: CHECK
  3. Nominate 7-12 other bloggers you admire and enjoy! CHECK
  4. Share 7 things about yourself: CHECK
  5. Inform each person that you have nominated them: CHECK
  • Fra Angelico Institute for the Sacred Arts  ‘Evangelizing the truth, goodness, and beauty of God through the understanding and creation of sacred art.’ Soul food!
  • Transformed in Christ is close to my heart. Sharing ‘some of the experiences of catechesis in our parish in light of the insight and wisdom of the Church’s vision for catechesis.’
  • Secondsightblog.net  ‘ A shared exploration of the relationship between science and faith.’
  • Catholic Pure and Simple ‘For Catholics who love the Faith, for Christians who are well-disposed towards Catholicism, and for genuine enquirers.’
  • Foraging Squirrel  ‘Seeking, cracking and sharing — Soul Nuts • Health Nuts • Mixed Nuts —Delectables for the body and soul!’
  • Reinkat Loves ‘the Lord, icons, my family, my church, dogs, hiking, camping, and the outdoors in general.  I also enjoy reading novels, gardening, and eating chocolate ice cream.’
  • Via Lucis Gorgeous photography of religious architecture.
  • Truth and Tolerance A new one for 1catholicsalmon. Comes highly recommended by BILTRIX.

Seven things about 1catholicsalmon:

  1. Reading is an important daily luxury.
  2. Joined a Cell group meeting last night.
  3. Attends a vibrant and Spirit-filled parish, south of London
  4. Knows that the coming Year of Faith is going to be an exciting experience!
  5. Is saddened by the great divide between those who have and those who have not. It’s just not right.
  6. Seeks to be close to the Lord in Holy Communion daily.
  7. Wants to work for the Lord in any way He sees fit.

Attacked by Tolerance in America

I first watched this at Catholiclibertarian.com The volunteers at the Society of Tradition Family and Property are the victims here of public derision, violence and vitriolic hatred. The fierce attacks shocked me to my core. What really affected me deeply is the obvious hatred of Our Lord displayed by these attacks.

‘Grow in Grace’. Is this simple, straightforward gardening?

I have just read a book called ‘What’s so amazing about Grace?’  I was disappointed to say the least. I am no more literate in my understanding of  Grace than I was before I started reading this book and in fact I disagreed with the author within the first few chapters of the book so much so that I started speed reading through the rest of the book.

Perhaps my perspective on Grace remains infantile but I realise that it’s an area of my Journey with the Lord that I need to investigate further, pray about and unwrap. I then came across the poster telling me to ‘grow in grace’…???

As I understand it, I receive Grace ( a sanctifying/Holy spiritual gift from God) through the Sacraments of the Church, namely Baptism, Reconciliation , Holy Communion, Confirmation, Marriage, Holy Orders and the Sacrament of the Sick. Through these Sacraments, my eyes and ears are opened to God’s messages and communication with me through His Living Word, the people around me and through prayer and fasting. Through this precious gift of Grace my soul is open to receive and understand Revelation. I realise that I have to be ‘in tune’ with the Lord in order to recognise this precious gift of Grace thorough the Sacraments.

Some questions about Grace I need to investigate further: (lots of reading to be done!!)

  1. Is Grace something I just get because I say I am Christian?
  2. Is Grace different from a Blessing
  3. Is Grace free to us because Jesus died on the Cross?
  4. Do I need the Sacraments of the Church to receive Grace?
  5. What does a Blessing bestow as opposed to Grace?

Finally connecting the dots.

Image@scenicreflections.com

I just love this picture because it can be used to represents many different life experiences, emotions, difficulties, challenges, feelings and feats. The second I saw this I knew it would serve it’s purpose for this post.

After many years of hard work (slog), perseverance and grit, I was finally promoted to a position at work that I had aspired to when I was a lot younger.  ( On immigrating to the U.K. in my late thirties, I felt as though I had missed the boat in terms of making a real difference through my chosen career, and carving out a niche of expertise and a personal skill set that would  allow me to climb the career ladder.)

This past year has proved to be both challenging and insightful. My superior, who is set to resign within in the next few years, has experienced a difficult time letting go of any responsibilities and delegating them to me. For my part, it’s been a year wrought with self-doubt, introspection and anxiety.

I ‘ ve known Teri for more that a decade and thought that moving into a senior position alongside someone with 25 years of experience to share would be beneficial. However, it has proved to be a somewhat trying year for me. From the outset, have I felt scrutinised, judged and watched. A few weeks into my new position I was told that another member of staff (a favoured friend of Teri’s ), was passed over for the position, and that I was put forward for the position instead. Why even share this kind of information? I felt really uncomfortable, hurt even, by the audacity of the relaying this information. At this point did I begin to feel doubt. Doubt that we would work successfully together. Doubt that we could ever become good friends. Doubt about whether I would be respected as a right-hand man. Doubt that I would remain confident enough in myself and my skills to ‘win’ approval.

Without going into any further detail, let it suffice for me to say that I have been struggling with self-doubt up until this past week. On Tuesday the penny finally dropped for me. I understood why I have been feeling this way. Teri and I see the world from two very different perspectives. I am a practising Catholic. I take for granted that I am there to assist and guide whomever God puts in my path. I go out of my way to be as pleasant and as accommodating as possible. Teri can be pretty self-centred, highly opinionated and derisive, having no Faith that I know of, openly attacking and questioning decisions I  made in Faith.

During a conversation, again it was repeated,’I’m surely not going to do spoon feed them, it’s up to them to do the job properly’ , saying this  after I ‘d suggested that we share good practice with a neighbouring department. It was then that I realised that I have been put into this position for a purpose. I don’t know how the Lord wants to use me, but I have accepted and  made peace with myself about my role in this position.  I have finally connected the dots after much soul-searching. I have found peace.

‘Remember that men change easily, and that you can not place your trust in them; therefore attach yourself to God alone.’

St. Teresa of Jesus

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