Our Members' Blogs

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Changes at Catholic Spirituality Blogs Network

Dear Readers,

I'm sure you have noticed how few new posts we have had on our blog at CSBN in the past few months. I have been busy publishing and promoting my new book, Trusting God with St. Therese. I have also become very active in working with other Catholic writers at my new Google+ Community and website, Indie Catholic Authors. I am no longer able to post other bloggers' work here as I have done in the past, because there are only so many hours in a day. I also have parenting, household, and homeschool duties.

Beginning today, I am changing the blog over to links with excerpts from our members' blogs. The old posts will remain here. You can still find them through searches, the Popular Posts link, or the Labels at the bottom of this page.

Our facebook page will continue just as it has in the past, pulling in posts from a few members' blogs.

I hope you will continue to visit and comment on the blogs of our members.

Blessings to you and your loved ones.

Connie Rossini

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Fathers, Daughters and St. Thérèse

By Nancy Ward


An interview with Connie Rossini, author of Trusting God with St. Thérèse.

Connie gives practical advice for overcoming fears and frustrations that hamper our relationship with God. I asked her about her father-daughter relationship as compared to that of Louis Martin and his daughter St. Thérèse of Lisieux.
Nancy: Thérèse was blessed with parents who were “more worthy of heaven than of earth.” Thérèse had a special relationship with her father, who called her, “my Queen.” She formed her image of God from her father who never denied her love, affection and care. How did your father-daughter relationship compare to this?
Connie: In some ways, my relationship with my father when I was growing up was miles apart from the relationship between Thérèse and Louis. I am very quiet and reserved. As a child, I was also timid. My dad, in contrast, was outgoing and frank. He was also the primary disciplinarian. My mom often said, "Wait till your dad gets home!" I grew nervous around him. I avoided talking to him about any serious subjects.
In my book, I tell how my dad left me home alone when I was about five. When he returned about an hour later, he didn't show any sympathy for my fears. So that didn't help my relationship with him or God.
Read the entire interview at JOYAlive.net

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Into the Dark Night

By David Torkington

By Marie Ellenreider Kneides (Wikimedia Commons)

For many of us the first brief glimpses of God came through His creation. It might have been through a beautiful sunset, a breathtaking stretch of countryside. It might have come through gazing upon a single blade of grass, an insect crawling through the undergrowth, or a caterpillar climbing up a rose bush. When your contemplation of creation enabled you to experience the Creator, you found yourself drawn inward. It was as if some soothing sedative stilled your mind and heart and made you mourn for your Maker, as for a lost friend. And yet this strange melancholy was as sweet as it was sad and you wanted it to go on and on to envelop you more and more completely. Once this had happened, you no longer needed to gaze at the scene before you, you could close your eyes and still savour the mysterious presence. The physical senses and the feelings and emotions that depend upon them have no part in what now becomes a predominantly spiritual experience.

When the experience vanishes, as it always will, the heart mourns for what has been lost. The restless heart that yearns for love unlimited is a commonplace experience for the young, who have been ‘touched’ in this way. When, like St Augustine they eventually begin to realise, or are taught, that the fullness of God’s love on earth is ultimately to be found in His Masterwork Jesus Christ, it is the beginning of a new departure in their spiritual journey.

St Jerome said that, “to be ignorant of the scriptures is to be ignorant of Christ,” so it is now the time to turn to the sacred scriptures, and follow the practice of the Desert Fathers and the most ancient and hallowed traditions of our faith, reading and re-reading everything that Jesus said and did in the Gospels. This is the only way to come to know and love the Father, made flesh and blood, in the Son, for as William of Thierry said, “You cannot love someone unless you know them”, but he adds, “You will never really know them unless you love them.”

Continue reading at David Torkington.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Retreats: a small cell to meet with God

By Carlos X.
Christ’s prayer in the Garden of Gethsemane on the eve of His crucifixion is poignant because of its devastating description of the agony of the Lord as He was about to make His ultimate sacrifice.  His fleeting fancy, “If it is possible, let this cup pass” and subsequent, solemn affirmation, “If this cup cannot pass by me, but I must drink it, your will be done” (St. Matthew 26:42), is a powerful testament to Christ’s love for humanity and obedience to the will of God.  It is also an important illustration of the value of the spiritual retreat as a source of fortitude in Christian life.

Archbishop Óscar A. Romero of El Salvador is said to have had his moment in the Garden during a spiritual retreat just weeks before his March 1980 assassination.  I want this retreat to join me more closely to His will,” Romero wrote in his notes for that retreat.  Romero was an enthusiastic advocate of spiritual retreats.  In everyone’s heart there is, as it were, a small intimate cell where God is able to speak with everyone individually,” he had preached to his flock upon taking up his ministry three years before.  If every one of us who are so concerned about so many different problems and situations were to enter this ‘small cell’ and from there listen to the voice of the Lord who speaks to us in our conscience, how much more would we be able to do to better our situation and the situation of our society and family,” he said.
Continue reading at Carlos' blog Super Martyrio.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

How to behave in these end times

St. John the Evangelist’s Vision of Heaven by Alonso Cano
(Wikimedia Commons). No matter what times we live in,
our basic duty as Christians remains the same.

Another friend on Facebook this weekend was bemoaning all the struggles in the world right now. I say another, because this happens often. Something is wrong with the world and many of us sense it.

The other night I watched an interview with the journalist who introduced Edward Snowdon to the world. When she spoke of how the government was watching her every move, trying to force her to reveal her sources, I was eerily reminded of the fight for religious liberty. Priests are being subpoenaed to break the seal of Confession. Pastors in Houston have had their sermons subpoenaed. The Bill of Rights is crumbling.

Isis is beheading Christians in the Middle East. The last week saw terrorist attacks in the US and Canada. There’s an Ebola epidemic, great moral decay, and the scandal over the relatio from the Synod on the Family.

Are we living in the end times?

Are these the end times?

This answer is unequivocally yes.
Since the Ascension God’s plan has entered into its fulfillment. We are already at ‘the last hour.’ ‘Already the final age of the world is with us, and the renewal of the world is irrevocably under way; it is even now anticipated in a certain real way, for the Church on earth is endowed already with a sanctity that is real but imperfect.'” (CCC 670)
The end times began 2000 years ago.

Continue reading at Contemplative Homeschool.

Friday, October 24, 2014

The gift of suffering

By Melanie Jean Juneau

File:Andrea Mantegna - Christ as the Suffering Redeemer - Google Art Project.jpg
Christ as the Suffering Redeemer by Mantegna
(Wikimedia Commons)

“God loves us, so He makes us the gift of suffering.

Through suffering, we release our hold on the toys of this world, and know our true good lies in another world.

We’re like blocks of stone, out of which the sculptor carves the forms of men.

The blows of his chisel, which hurt us so much, are what make us perfect.

The suffering in this world is not the failure of God’s love for us;it is that love in action.

For believe me, this world that seems to us so substantial is no more than the shadlowlands.

Real life has not begun yet.” (“Shadowlands,” p. 1)

I once asked a priest what my life would have been like if I had not suffered, if I had married a well-off dentist, had 1.25 kids and lived in an efficient, modern house. He put on a phony, pious face, put his hands together in prayer, and said in a high, mocking voice, ”Oh, you would be a nice Christian lady, praising the Lord.”

Continue reading at Melanie's blog, joyofnine9.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Swept up by the Spirit, Journey of Transformation by Gary Garner

By Nancy Ward

Art: The Ideal by Louis Janmot

“I have lived two vastly different lives—one spent exalting materialism and filled with spiritual darkness, the other spent exalting Jesus the Lord and filled with light and hope.” Because Gary’s conversion was so “life and death,” he sees it that way for everyone.

He recounts how the Spirit plainly revealed some of the traps he and his family narrowly avoided. He credits angels, signposts and appointed helpers, “pinpoints of light in the darkness, placed there for us to discover and to show us the way—without them we couldn’t possibly have made it to where we are now. There is hardly an hour that I don’t feel an urgency toward others of the impending dangers and perils that await them, much like someone who barely avoided a collapsing bridge.”

His journey of transformation eventually brought him from his agnostic-pro-Catholic religious view into the Catholic Church by way of the charismatic renewal. His conversion began with a voice telling him to buckle his seatbelt, saving his life. Then Fr. Walt, a young, motorcycle-riding priest invited him and his wife Nancy to a parish prayer meeting. The people shared their Spirit-led encounters with unbelievable praise reports. They spoke as if the Holy Spirit was telling them what to do and enabling them to do it.

In Swept Up by the Spirit, Gary tells story after story of how he opened everything in this life to the Holy Spirit who indeed did tell him what to do and enabled him to do it. Much of his leadings from “the Voice” involved ministries with groups of Protestant and Catholic men praying and evangelizing together in street ministry in rough neighborhoods or at abortion clinics. Often this involved marches with a handful or hundreds of people singing and carrying large crosses, or praying behind bars or gambling houses. He prayed with strangers for physical healings, deliverance and conversion.“It was only after I stopped worrying about what other people thought of me out there that I could begin to be effective at all,” he says of his sidewalk ministry at Planned Parenthood.

Read more about Gary's journey of transformation on JOYAlive.net