Friday, November 22, 2013

Gratefulness, Happiness and Faith-Happy Thanksgiving!

Children and adults who practice gratefulness and express gratitude are happier. Such an easy way to be happier. According to many articles I've read, as well as the most recent one at HuffPost, "Practicing gratitude increases students' positive emotions and optimism, decreases their negative emotions..and makes them feel more connected and satisfied with school and with life in general." There are so many positive health benefits-both physical and psychological, that can be gained from practicing gratefulness. You can reflect,  name or write down what you are grateful for, a simple way to increase optimism and happiness. (Optimistic people live longer too.) Of course there are also many benefits to believing in God and having faith, which I've mentioned over and over again on this blog.
And so for what am I happy for this Thanksgiving:
*For my relationship with God, for "knowing God" and having faith and belief, which has enriched my life.
*For Jesus
*For all the blessings in my life-my family and friends
*For being born in the U.S.A and having the freedoms I enjoy and the opportunities that has given me
*For my deep faith
*For the gifts I received at my baptism and Confirmation
*For my love of knowledge especially religious knowledge
*For the path I've chosen as an adult to study my faith and continue to grow in it
*For my writing and ability to share that knowledge with others
*For being loved be God and for being a child of God
*For Eucharist and my faith community
*For the delicious food my family will share on Thanksgiving, for all who will be present at the table
*For New York City, its beautiful churches and cultural institutions and most especially the Metropolitan Museum of Art (which I love to visit).
*For prayer that sustains me
*For being a Third Order Carmelite and for the Carmelite family
*For Jesus, Mary and all the Saints

Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family, wherever you are!
Remember to be grateful!

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Medjugorje-What's Happening There?

I have always been perplexed by the apparitions and visionaries of Medjugorje. Though I have never been there, I know many very faithful Catholics who have gone on pilgrimages to Medjugorje. They come back praising the experience and express complete faith in the apparitions, visionaries, messages and supernatural occurrences they've experienced. Yet I remain unconvinced. Firstly, the apparitions are still being investigated and have not been found to be authentic by the Church. Secondly, I've studied mysticism, mystical experiences, visions and other supernatural phenomena, especially phenomena experienced by the saints, for many years. The most difficult thing for me to understand and accept is the duration and frequency of these apparitions and visions. Supposedly, the Blessed Mother has been appearing to the visionaries and giving messages for over 30 years. It's not impossible, of course, for this to be true or authentic, it's just unlikely that supernatural, mystical occurrences (of this kind) would be happening for so long. It doesn't fit what I've read or studied. Which doesn't mean it can't be true. It's just outside the realm of what usually occurs, according to my studies. Private revelations are difficult to discern which is why the Church is still investigating these apparitions. Yet, according to Bishop Ratko Peric, "The numerous absurd messages, insincerities, falsehoods and disobedience associated with the events and 'apparitions' of Medjugorje from the very outset all disprove any claims of authenticity."
God prefers hiddenness, it's God's preference. It seems to be Mary's preference as well. Though, Marian apparitions have happened throughout history and many have been approved by the Church, I share the same concerns about the apparitions as I'm sure those investigating have. It just doesn't make sense that Mary would be appearing each day or week for over 30 years with messages. But again, who am I to judge or to say this is not true? And if it's not true, how could this have gone on for so long, deceiving so many different types of people, some very holy and good people? I'll wait for the extensive investigation to be done by the Church, before I am totally convinced either way.
But a recent development may give us an idea of how the investigation is going. A recent letter sent to U. S. Bishops by the Papal nuncio states that "clerics and the faithful are not permitted to participate in meetings, conferences or public celebrations during which the credibility of the Medjugorje apparitions would be taken for granted. This letter from the Vatican cancelled the U. S. tour of a Medjugorje visionary (see article below at
And so I am very curious as to what the final outcome will be and if and when the Church will either confirm or disprove the apparitions. It's a fascinating case.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Pope Kisses Disfigured Man-Seeing Goodness In The World- Through the Pope

Pope Francis continues to do remarkable things, showing Christ's love and compassion. In the latest news worthy photograph he is shown kissing the head of a disfigured man. Such a saintly action. It is well documented in the lives of the saints that they often kissed and touched the most sickly, most disfigured people, without caring for their own welfare. (Think of St. Damien of Molakai as just one example.)  Can you imagine how life changing that kiss must of been for that poor disfigured man? I can't even imagine how it transformed his life and gave him hope.
Sometimes I complain about the presence of evil in the world, it certainly upsets me and confuses me why so many people do such evil and cruel acts. But here we have a Pope who is showing Christ-like actions everyday and it's so uplifting to see God's goodness being shown through the actions of Pope Francis.
In an article I recently came across by Fr. Robert Lauder that he wrote in The Tablet (Brooklyn's Diocesan newspaper), in writing about Hans Urs Von Balthasar, Fr. Lauder wrote, " On a retreat Balthasar experienced a spiritual conversion which had a profound impact on him and on his work. He came to believe that we should not approach God by looking at ourselves but rather by making space within our lives for the gift of God. Balthasar looks at faith as more God's doing than our doing." So true. And it seems Pope Francis has made a lot of space within his life for God and for the Holy Spirit to act though him. People are moved by his generosity of spirit, his goodness and willingness to reach out and touch the marginalized and sick.
It's all very touching and very, very good for modern day Catholicism. He is such a great evangelizer.

The Eucharist commits us to the poor. To receive in truth the body and blood of Christ.....we must recognize Christ in the poorest.......(CCC #1397)

Let no one ever come to you without leaving better and happier. Be the living expression of God's kindness, kindness in your face, kindness in your eyes, kindness in your smile. 
(Blessed Mother Teresa)