Archive for December, 2017

If we stand back from our gift-buying busyness, if we look to the manger, we will see the core message of Christmas which we are to follow: Be humble.

The son of God came to earth as a newborn baby. Why did he come as a helpless baby from a poor family?

Simple humility. The first lesson taught us by Jesus Christ that leads us toward human goodness.

Humility is the tool of human goodness. The opposite of humility is pride. Pride is the tool of evil, causing haughtiness, jealousy, or anger over slights or insults.

Pride is when we worry constantly about what others think of us. When we must be the center of attention, and feel frustrated if we are not. When it is all about us, and not about God and our neighbor, this is pride.

So, how do we grow in humility, and not pride?

This prayer for the virtue of humility has been around a long time, and it is certainly one that I need to pray! It asks for our Lord’s assistance in humbly following in His footsteps and casting aside, or at least offering up to Him, all those nagging doubts and fears that come with our self-centeredness.

Deliver me, Jesus:
From the desire of being loved,
From the desire of being extolled,
From the desire of being honored,
From the desire of being praised,
From the desire of being preferred to others,
From the desire of being consulted,
From the desire of being approved,
From the fear of being humiliated,
From the fear of being despised,
From the fear of suffering rebukes,
From the fear of being calumniated,
From the fear of being forgotten,
From the fear of being ridiculed,
From the fear of being wronged,
From the fear of being suspected,
From the fear that others may be loved more than I.

Grant me the grace to desire:
That others may be esteemed more than I,
That in the opinion of the world,others may increase and I may decrease,
That others may be chosen and I set aside,
That others may be praised and I unnoticed,
That others may be preferred to me in everything,
That others may become holier than I, provided that I may become as holy as I should.



page 70 of CHAPTER NINE

To imagine a day without Arthur was to imagine no sun, or an ocean empty of water, even life without air. He demanded nothing from me, not even verification of my love, while I wanted all he would give. I did not want to be free of him, not ever; or him to be free of me. I wanted to be as essential to him as the beat of his heart.

On the brightest of nights, the moon like an elevated host, Arthur and I wandered farther than I had ever been. An Irish girl is warned of wandering, still I was not afraid. We passed by the jagged trunks of once mighty oaks to the other side of Lough Gill and climbed a hill of alder trees, their ragged leaves rustling like the sound of waves below us. Across the shimmering water was the castle, the rightful home of an Irishman, usurped by England and given to a Scot. The silhouette of the fortress appeared drawn against the sky like a great design, great as my father’s dream for me, until a fog crept up to blur its boundaries and apprehension overtook me. “Do you really love me, Arthur?”

He seemed surprised. “Yes.”

“But why? I’ve only caused you grief.”

“How do I explain loving you? I just do, that’s all.”

“Can’t you give me a reason? I’d like to know if it’s something I can count on.”

“Maybe that’s the reason—I know I can count on you.”

I smiled. “To put you in danger?”

“No, I think you’d die for me, if you had to,” he said solemnly.

“I would, “ I said, and he lifted my chin to kiss me.

I thought I knew what he would say and do next; stroke my face, run a finger down my neck to stop just at the rise of my breast, then kiss me once more, his hand on the center of my back pressing me closer. He would jokingly ask how long I intended to stay as pure as the Virgin Mary and I would give my usual answer, ‘Until no more priests are murdered to keep me from having a proper wedding.’ After months of constant companionship, I believed I knew him so well that I could sense all that, but Arthur simply took my hand and said, “Marry me, Nell.”

I did not ask him to repeat it or explain it; I only asked, “When?” And for a brilliant and brief time, I felt nearly invincible.


Posted: December 17, 2017 in World On The Edge


Many people keep their faith at a distance. They attend Mass or church on Sundays, and that’s that for them. But God is not a Sunday God. He’s an everyday, every hour, every minute, and seconds, God. Every time we make a decision, He is there to assist us. When we are sad–or bad–He is there to help us through whatever the situation. Why? Because He is madly in love with us. We are His children.

His presence is pervasive. His help is there, if we only take note of it. If only we listen to His voice. If only we see Him in others who may be trying to help us.

In our families, we express love for our children, but don’t we also correct them? We correct them because we love them. We hope they listen, we hope they will see their error and do something about it.

Of course, many, many times our children do not listen. They are no different from us in closing their ears. They do their own thing, as we often do, and may suffer because of it. We are crushed to see them suffer, and we don’t want to suffer ourselves. Yet, perhaps through that hard time, we discover a better way, even a better version of US, if we just hang on.

We don’t give up on our children. There is a covenant between parent and child.

God doesn’t ever give up on us, either. Because there is a covenant between God and His People.

No matter what any of us have done, no matter how we have turned our back on Him, His merciful love awaits our return.

What does our return entail?  A decision to Trust Him.

Except, even when we are trying hard, we often have to wait on the change we pray for. We may become discouraged, thinking it will never come. We may think God has deserted us.

How long, LORD? Will you forget me forever? How long will you hide your face from me?How long must I wrestle with my thoughts and day after day have sorrow in my heart? How long will my enemy triumph over me? Look on me and answer, LORD my God. Give light to my eyes, or I will sleep in death, and my enemy will say, “I have overcome him,” and my foes will rejoice when I fall. But I trust in your unfailing love; my heart rejoices in your salvation. I will sing the LORD’s praise, for he has been good to me. –Psalm 13

Unless we quit, change will come.

We need God in our lives. He is the only Truth we can be sure of. No question about it. Our covenant with God is the Reality of why we’re here. When we trust in His unfailing love for us, we are at peace.

Do not look forward to what may happen tomorrow. The same Eternal Father who takes care of you today will take care of you tomorrow, and every day of your life. Either He will shield you from suffering or He will give you unfailing strength to bear it. Be at peace then, and put aside all useless thoughts, all vain dreads and all anxious imaginations.–Saint Francis de Sales

Our covenant with God is a two-way street. If we are still waiting for God’s help, and close to giving-up, we should consider that He may be waiting for us, too. He may be waiting for us to show our love by trusting in Him to lead us in HIS OWN TIME AND WAY.


Posted: December 9, 2017 in World On The Edge



Authors Dr. Ron O’Gorman and Kaye Park Hinckley discuss how their Catholic imaginations influence their writing.

A myriad of perspectives abound in our world: how do we see the world around us, how do we choose to live in it? A writer’s beliefs, whether religious, political, or social, will affect his or her work. It is a matter of degree whether the work becomes art, or whether it is turned into propaganda.

Expression of belief in God does not compromise art, and is not an impediment to the fiction writer. On the contrary, it aids in creativity, providing a component that pushes life and human reason to a higher, non-material level; a lens through which an author translates a very human world, without moralizing propaganda, but rather with an empathy for all that makes us human, both spiritually and physically.

Imagination is more important than knowledge. For knowledge is limited to all we now know and understand, while imagination embraces the entire world, and all there ever will be to know and understand. – Albert Einstein

Well, that would have to be the imagination of our Creator. With a magnitude that is inconceivable to us, only God knows all and understands all.

The root word in “imagination” is image. God used his imagination to create us. We are made in the image and likeness of God. We are made with memory, imagination, and will.

Free will.

For Human Beings, it is our memory that leads to imagination. And imagination causes us to freely act.

We use our memory to recall events of our life, and those events can stoke our imagination positively, such as the memory of our best Christmas or Thanksgiving so far, and that leads to next year, and then the action of how we’ll create an even better Christmas or Thanksgiving.

Memory can also stoke a negative imagination. Someone did me wrong last week, and then the action of how will I get back at him?

Our memories are entirely our own. If we choose to re-hash and re-hash past hurts, it is no one’s fault but ours that we are miserable. It’s no wonder that our lives seem dark and confusing.

We have an imagination that can alleviate that.

Our imagination can bring light back to our lives when we look at the bad situation with a different perspective. Then with our free will, we can choose to ‘act out’ in a positive way.

All this, through our imagination. But too often, we don’t, or won’t, use it.

It’s our imagination that allows us to move on and keep going, because it allows us to forgive. Our Creator never remembers our sins once we’ve repented them. If we are made in His image and likeness, and by His imagination, then shouldn’t we try to do the same?

Got a Sinner’s Heart???

Posted: December 5, 2017 in World On The Edge

sinner's eye

Sin enters the heart of every human being.

The stimuli of our five senses is taken in from our environment and sent to our brain which processes the information. To make it simple, we then have a spiritual ability to choose a response–a good response or a bad response. Sometimes we choose the bad response over the good–because every human being has the capability of sin within his heart.

And we sin frequently.

If it wasn’t true, we wouldn’t have needed the Crucifixion, would we?

The question is: What do we do when our sinner’s heart wins out?

Well, let’s first talk about SIN, that human action we don’t want to recognize, the thing or things in our lives we want to keep secret, the things that we cover up so no one will see.

Some of these thought-to-be-hidden human actions are splattered all over the news today. A public hungry for sensationalism can’t get enough of them. Call them out! Show them up! Punish them with a debilitating crucifixion of their own! The Crowd Mentality.

But watch out for that mentality, for who among us is NOT a sinner?

Watch out for those who cast stones, for they may be next. It’s called Hypocrisy, and hypocrites are sinners, too. And they will never have the last laugh. Evil acts do not go forever unpunished.

There are certain moral laws—yes, laws of morality– that must be followed if we want peace and harmony in our world. Without those laws, sin abounds. An abundance of sinfulness is all around us. We see it– and if we are truthful, we see it in ourselves as well.

So, how do we treat a sinner? How do we treat members of our family, our friends? How do we treat someone like ourselves?

How did Jesus Christ treat them?

Those who are well do not need a physician, but the sick do. I did not come to call the righteous but sinners. Mark 2:17

There is, of course, punishment for sin here on Earth. Our system of laws provides for that. When our country was formed and laws written in the Constitution by our Founders, those laws were based on Spiritual laws that dealt with morality. People break laws when they act immorally—ie. when they do not love their neighbor with  honesty and compassion, or when they do not love themselves as God loves them.

All of us have a sinner’s heart. But we also have a loving heart, set into us by God—a heart of mercy, kindness, and caring about others and our world.

The bottom line is that our human struggle on Earth will always be between the division of good and evil in in the soul of each one of us. Choosing power, or money, or sex, will not satisfy our hearts. Only genuine love–love akin to God’s love–can do that; so shouldn’t aim for it instead? It’s already within us, and stronger than our sinner’s heart. We only have to call out for Him, and follow His lead.