Ash Wednesday: Into the desert again

+JMJ+ Seems like we’ve been in a spiritual wasteland for a couple of years now but here it is again, Ash Wednesday. Time to head into the desert once more. Yet even in the midst of all the trouble and trials we’ve been going through, we can make this a fruitful Lent and a time to grow deeper in our love of God, even if we haven’t been feeling the love for a while.

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Your Best Catolic Lent Yet

+JMJ+ Lent begins on Wednesday. That’s just two days away! At least I don’t have to flail about like I do most years, wondering what to do, what to give up, etc. This year I’m going to do some spiritual exercises from the Sermon on the Mount to make this my best Catholic Lent ever! Join me and make this your best Catholic Lent ever, too. I’ll give a brief overview of these spiritual exercises in this post, but you can read more about them and what they are meant to remedy in the ongoing Catholic Book of the Month series, currently featuring Brant Pitre’s Introduction to the Spiritual Life (scroll down that page for the book’s posts).

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Exploring Genesis, Preparing for Lent

+JMJ+ Inspired by the Bible In A Year podcast, and memories of past Bible studies, I was exploring to see what I could find about something about a certain serpent. The serpent in Genesis is not called a snake, no matter how many times non-Christians try to mock it in that way. It’s more like a monster or dragon like Leviathan. We’ve already covered the serpent’s appearance to Eve and it will come up again later in Job. (See the links at the end of this post.) 

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Book of the Month, March 2021 – Part 4

+JMJ+ Welcome to part 4 of our Catholic Book of the Month for March 2021, Praying with Jesus and Faustina During Lent: and in Times of Suffering, by Susan Tassone. I’m also going to include some things from the Marian site of the Divine Mercy to help us get ready for Holy Week. Notes and links are at the end of this post.

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Book of the Month, March 2021 – Part 3

+JMJ+ Welcome! It’s time for part 3 of the second book in our Catholic Book of the Month series, featuring Praying with Jesus and Faustina During Lent: and in Times of Suffering, by Susan Tassone. If you haven’t gotten a copy of the current Catholic Book of the Month, there are links at the end of the post that you can use if you like. Tonight we’ll be taking a brief look at the section for today, the Fourth Monday of Lent, and chapter 2, Meditations on the Passion and the Way of the Cross with St. Faustina.

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Book of the Month, March 2021 – Part 2

+JMJ+ Welcome! It’s time for part 2 of our second Catholic Book of the Month, Praying with Jesus and Faustina During Lent and in Times of Suffering, by Susan Tassone. (Seems to me we could have used this book for the whole year of 2020, right on up to the current Lenten season and, undoubtedly, it will be useful for the rest of the year and well beyond.) There will be notes and links at the end of this post.

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Book of the Month, March 2021 – Part 1

+JMJ+ Welcome! We’re already in the second week of Lent and I’m pausing the Re-Reading the New Age series at least until after Lent and the Easter Season, which means until after Pentecost, and maybe longer. Lent is the time to focus on spiritual practice and true religion. (Re true religion, see the first posts about Scott Hahn’s book, It Is Right and Just, in this series.)

So, now it’s time to announce our 2nd Catholic Book of the Month title. Drum roll, please: Praying with Jesus and Faustina During Lent and in Times of Suffering, by Susan Tassone. (There will be notes and links at the end of this post.) 

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The Bible and the Church Fathers for Lent

Have to share this with you: During Lent this year the St. Paul Center is offering free viewing of their new series, The Bible and the Church Fathers, with the purchase of a workbook, leader guide, DVD set, or kit. Get to know your Church family and learn how they read the Bible. (Links at the end of this post.)

This Lent, get free streaming of The Bible and the Church Fathers! For a limited time, you can get free access to our premiere video study when you buy a workbook, leader guide, DVDs, or kit.”

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Praying for the Holy Souls, Praying for Despairing Souls

Tonight I watched EWTN Live on Ash Wednesday as Fr. Mitch Pacwa interviewed Susan Tassone, author of many books about the Holy Souls in Purgatory. Her latest book, The Saint Faustina Prayer Book for the Holy Souls, is due to be released in April. Tassone made a study of Saint Faustina’s writings on Purgatory in her Diary: Divine Mercy in My Soul, and collects them in her book, along with prayers and novenas. I’m looking forward to getting a copy of this.

Whenever I hear a train whistle I will think of this article

After watching the show I searched the internet for more about the Holy Souls and stumbled across this article at the Divine Mercy website and I want to share it with you: This is the Sound of a Lost Soul. I will never again hear a train whistle without thinking of this article and of all the despairing souls all over the world, so much in need of our prayers. Lord, have mercy.

Thanks for reading and may your Lenten season be one of deepening holiness, prayer, and interior life. God bless.

Into the desert, Lent begins

Into the desertI used to think of a desert as a flat sandy place with some dunes thrown in because when I thought desert, I thought Sahara. But I know now that a desert is not flat but uneven, always changing, hard to move through. There may be mountains, valleys, canyons that sneak up on you. There may be no rain. There may be rain so sudden and violent that riverbeds that seem dry from ancient times suddenly become raging torrents. Rocks may be sharp as razors. Snakes may be waiting to strike. Scorpions waiting to sting. A devil waiting to tempt.

A devil is always waiting to tempt. The devil himself was waiting for Christ; for someone as weak and insignificant as myself, there is probably only a minor demon. Maybe only a minor minor minor demon. Maybe I don’t even rate a demon of low estate but am left to my own weakness and weaknessses.

Easter will mark the beginning of my nineteenth year as a Catholic. There have been ups and downs. I have felt close to the Lord, I have felt, if not far away, then not as close. I have been faithful in my prayer life, I have let my prayer life slip, and that slipping has made itself known in every aspect of my life. I have felt strong, and I have been brought face to face with what weakness really means and with the realization that, indeed and contrary to what I had always secretly believed, I am a mere mortal, after all. (Okay, I know our souls are immortal. I just mean, I used to think I’d live forever. In this life. I was indestructible. I’d always be young, never sick, always strong, never weak. Ya know?)

So what do I plan to do for Lent? Nothing heroic, as you will see.

What will I do for Lent?

Prayer

I plan to pray daily, using ONE of the numerous devotionals I’ve collected. And pray the rosary and the chaplet of Divine Mercy. All readers of and visitors to the blog and all Twitter contacts are included in my prayers. Even those whose names I do not know; the One Who needs to know knows who you all are already.

Fasting

I’ve already cut down on the amount I eat, elimnated much I don’t need, and will be following the Church’s guidelines for fasting. But there are other appetites: the internet and social media. I won’t be interacting on social media during Lent (I will pass along prayer requests), though I plan to post at the blog, and those posts will be tweeted automatically.

Almsgiving

And I will be choosing a charity or a cause and will set aside or donate money each week for that cause. I may choose a different cause or charity each week. That’s something to ponder on and pray about.

Into the desert

Looking up at the desert hills,
knowing danger lurks in this place,
listening for the Voice not easily heard,
feeding my soul upon His Word,
praying to meet Him face to Face,
bending my will to what He wills.

Ash Wednesday 2015

Now that I am recovering from the plague

In Conversation with God, Lent, Holy Week, EasterNow that I’m recovering from the plague (ugh!) I hope do some writing. Oh, I’ve been posting to Twitter but that’s about it. (Funny how much time one can waste–er, I mean, how time can fly when arguing–er, discussing things on Twitter.) I’ll be spending some time digging out from the clutter and mess that amassed while I was indisposed, then I’ll be tackling some projects I’ve been itching to work on. Itching, I say! (Or that could be the codeine. Double ugh!) Have some things I want to share with you, some things I’ve learned, some (more) books I’ve found. Also getting ready for another session of Camp NaNoWriMo coming up in April. Hopefully I’ll be able to participate. Planning to, anyway. Well, perhaps “planning” is too strong a word for what I’ve been doing. Perhaps “procrastinating” would be nearer the mark. ;)

Meditations for Lent by Jacques-Bénigne Bossuet Hope you’re having a blessed Lenten season. I’ve been enjoying some meditation books: my old standby, In Conversation with God for Lent, Holy Week and Eastertide; and also Meditations for Lent by Jacques-Bénigne Bossuet. And this year I’m also receiving Fr. Robert Barron’s Lent Reflections. Am I behind in all of this reading and reflecting? Heck, yeah, you know I am! But I’m still enjoying it. Tend to get more out of it every year, too. Every year I see something I missed before even when I use the same book over and over, year after year. And I do. That In Conversation with God series is wonderful. Highly recommended!

Author Francis Fernandez-Carvajal makes generous use of the writings of the great saints as he brings you focused and moving meditations on themes taken from the Mass readings for that day, the liturgical season, and more. This work is rich and extensive enough to serve as your spiritual reading for a lifetime, as it helps you relate the particulars of the message of Christ to the ordinary circumstances of your day. Each volume is small enough for you to carry to Adoration or some other suitable place for meditation. The whole set comes with a handsome slipcase that prevents wear-and-tear on the individual volumes.

Print copy: In Conversation with God, Vol 2 Lent, Holy Week and Eastertide. (Amazon’s description says paperback but mine is some sort of vinyl with a pretty dust cover and I suspect that’s what this is, too. Third party sellers.) Also available (for less $) at the EWTN Religious Catalogue for $19, item #213. Or get the full set: Amazon (starting at $96.97 from third party sellers), EWTN #6138 (for $130).

eBooks: Please note that the Kindle ebook Vol 2 is split into two separate books: Part 1 Lent & Holy Week and Part 2 Eastertide.

Meditations for Lent by Jacques-Bénigne Bossuet, Amazon print or Kindle.

And, no, I don’t make one red cent for recommending any of these books or anything else here on the site. I just like sharing what I’ve found, what I like, what I love. (Sometimes I have to share things I’m not so wild about, too, but that’s a post for another time.) Thanks for visiting and for reading. Leave me a comment, recommend prayer and meditation books that have helped you (Catholic Christian, please) or say Hi. I look forward to hearing from you. (And you guys who keep emailing me with messages for Scott Hahn, I wish I could pass them along but I only met him once, we’re not best buds, ya know. Track him down yourselves or I’ll be forced to figure out how to filter you out!) ;) Peace!

For the Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI

Pope_Benedict_AshWednesdayMass_smI know everybody–and I mean, everybody!–has been talking about the Pope renouncing the Chair of Peter. I don’t have anything profound to offer. But I would like to offer a brief Lenten prayer for the Holy Father. In fact, I did offer it on Valentine’s Day via Twitter. (Most days if you don’t see a post here–and most days you won’t–you might catch me on Twitter if only for a few moments at a time.)

LentenPrayerfortheHolyFather_tweet

Pope Benedict, Holy Father, I love you and I’ll be praying for you. God bless you now and always. Amen.