Sunday, August 31, 2014

But Not the Folly (or: how to face the world)

‘Faith, joy, optimism.  
 But not the folly of closing your eyes to reality.’

St. Josemaria Escriva

Painting:  Frederick Childe Hassam, Summer Evening 1886; in US public domain due to age

Saturday, August 30, 2014

That the Good May Shine the Brighter

"This is why God has left the wicked in the world: so that the good may shine the brighter.

Do you see how great the gain is?  But the gain is not owing to the wicked, but to the courage of the good. Trees tossed about by contrary winds grow stronger. And the wicked gain too, by mixing with the good. They feel confused; they are ashamed; they blush in the presence of the good.  Even if they do not keep from evil, nevertheless they dare what they dare in secret. This is no small thing, not to have sins publicly committed.

The life of the good becomes the accuser of their wickedness. 'It hurts even to see him,' they say of the righteous man. It is no small amendment to be tormented by his presence."

St. John Chysostom

Painting: Adolphe Alexandre Dillens, Capture of Joan of Arc

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

To Stir Our Soul

'People easily forget what they cannot see.... We do not see our God.  Faith tells us He is present.  But since we do not see Him with our own eyes, we're too apt to forget Him and act as though He were far away.

'As a mere matter of reasoning, we know that He is everywhere.  But if we do not keep that truth in mind, the result is the same as if we didn't know it.

'Before beginning to pray, then, we always need to stir our soul to an attentive recollection of the presence of God.'

St. Francis de Sales

Painting:  Winslow Homer, Morning Glories

Monday, August 25, 2014

This Mustard Seed

"I have a 
mustard seed, 
and I am 
not afraid 
to use it."

Pope Benedict XVI

"If you had faith the size of a mustard seed, you would be able to say to this mountain. 'move from here to there,' and it would move. Nothing would be imposible for you." (Matthew 17:20)

Painting: Helen Allingham, Harvest Moon 

Friday, August 22, 2014

With Eyes Fixed on the Sun

‘Although the desert is fearful, 
I walk with lifted head and eyes fixed on the sun; 
that is to say, on the merciful Heart of Jesus.’ 

St. Faustina, Diary 886

 Painting:  Swynnerton, Sense of Sight, detail; in US public domain due to age {{PD-1923}}

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

All for the Greater Glory of God!

'In all your actions, purify your intention. 
Renew it several times a day. 
Often repeat:  All for the greater glory of God!'

St. Paul of the Cross 

Painting:  P.S. Krøyer, Skagen's Beach, Anna Ancher and Marie Krøyer Walking Together, in US public domain due to age 

Monday, August 18, 2014

Notwithstanding Your Distractions

'Go to prayer, not to look
for what you fancy,
not to receive consolations,
but to remain in extreme reverence
and abasement in God's sight,
to pour out your misery
before His mercy,
to keep yourself,
all your distractions,
in His holy presence,
wishing only and seeking only
His good pleasure
and His holy will.'

St. Jane de Chantal

Painting: Eduard Veith,
in US public domain due to age {{PD-1923}}

Sunday, August 17, 2014


'Be careful never to waste an occasion for mortification by complaining.'  

Edith Stein 

Painting:  Anna Ancher, Harvesters, in US public domain due to age, from Wikimedia

see this link for more information about the painting

Saturday, August 16, 2014

They are Your Public

'Do not try 
to please everybody.  
Try to please God, 
the angels, 
and the saints.  
THEY are your public.' 

St. John Vianney

Painting:  Hermann Anton Stilke, Joan of Arc

Monday, August 11, 2014


'Unfurl the sails, and let God steer us where He will.'

St. Bede

Painting:  Thomas Somerscales, Barque, 1910, in US public domain due to age

Saturday, August 9, 2014

These Little Mortifications

'Oh, how I like these little mortifications that are seen by nobody!'

St. John Vianney

Painting:  Winslow Homer, Girl Carrying a Basket, 1882

Friday, August 8, 2014

Just Old

My six year old grandson is kind and thoughtful.   Truly, he is. 

Trying to keep up with him recently (not always an easy task), I explained my slowness by saying: 'I'm coming.  I'm just lazy.' 

Oh dear (I could hear him thinking)....  Could Grandma be feeling unhappy about that?  Why, such a thing would never do. 

'Oh no you're not!' he said quickly.  

He seemed determined to reassure me.  

'You're just tired, Gaga.   And OLD.'

That explains a lot. 

'I say we should look to the young, untarnished, without stereotypes implanted in their minds, no poison, no hatred in their hearts.  When we learn to see life through the eyes of a child, that is when we become truly wise.' (Mother Teresa of Calcutta)

Painting:  Jozef Israëls 

This post is part of Catholic Bloggers Network Linkup Blitz

Thursday, August 7, 2014

You're Sure You'd Haste to Martyrdom

                                  'You read of saints in ecstasies,
                                  in rosy bowers of prayer,
                                  You think it were your heart's delight
                                  to live among them there...

                                  You'd go to China willingly,
                                  to foreign lands you'd roam,
                                  but still you must have everything
                                  you want or like at home.

                                  You cannot bear a chilly breeze,
                                  an over-heated day,
                                  but you're sure you'd haste to martyrdom -
                                  Now, can you be astray.......?

                     (from In Love with the Divine Outcast, by a Religious, Pellegrini, Australia, 1934)

                            Painting: James Tissot, Young Lady in a Boat

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Trusting God With St. Therese, an Interview with Connie Rossini

Connie Rossini, blogger at Contemplative Homeschool and administrator of Catholic Spirituality Blogs Network, has just released a new book.  Connie and I agreed to share an author interview with you, to tell you more about her life and her book...  and she will be stopping in here today to respond to comments or questions you might have! 

I have read Trusting God with St. Therese and can wholeheartedly recommend it.  But before I get too far ahead of myself, here is our interview.

Connie, What is your background? Were you always Catholic?

Yes, I was raised Catholic, but I almost left the Church for Protestantism when I was in college.  I grew up in a Catholic Charismatic household, which had both positive and negative aspects. One of the most positive was that I learned to love the Bible, something I'm passing onto my kids. One of the negative effects was I was very influenced by Protestant theology and came to believe in Sola Scriptura. In my book, I tell about a traumatic experience I had with some non-Catholic Christians that sent me running back to the Catholic Church.

Tells us more about your book. What is it about? Who is it for?

Trusting God with St. Therese tells how Therese of Lisieux trusted God through tragedy, scruples, spiritual darkness, and physical suffering. I pair episodic stories from her life with memories of my own quest to trust. Using Sacred Scripture, the Catechism of the Catholic Church, and insights from psychology, I lead readers to surrender their lives completely to Jesus.  Almost everyone can benefit from growing in trust, but I specifically wrote it for Catholics who want to grow in holiness but find their fears, doubts, and weaknesses are holding them back.

That sounds really interesting. How did you come up with the idea?

I have struggled to trust God all my life.  Shortly after I started blogging, at the end of 2012, I was reading The Way of Trust and Love by Fr. Jacques Philippe. A passage he quoted from one of St. Therese's letters struck me. I had been going nowhere in my spiritual life for a long time, even though I made lots of resolutions and said lots of prayers for help. This passage showed me what the trouble was.

Are you going to share the passage with us?

Sure. Therese was writing to Fr. Belliere, a missionary priest she was encouraging and praying for. Basically she said that when we sin, we should be like a repentant little child who asks his father for a kiss in place of punishment. God will not be able to resist such a request if it's made in childlike trust. He will pour blessings upon us and increase our trust so that in the end we are closer to Him than before we sinned.

I can certainly see why that struck you!  So you started working on trust then?

Yes, I wrote a blog post about that passage. Then as the new year drew closer, I decided to focus on trusting God for all of 2013. I wrote about different challenges to trust I was facing, and how God was helping me overcome them. By June I realized this would be a great topic for a book, so I began to flesh out those posts, eventually adding a lot of stories from my childhood and beyond.

There are probably more books about St. Therese than just about any other saint. Why should people read yours?

I show readers that Therese faced many of the same struggles we all face. I show them how my struggles in the twenty-first century are similar to hers.  I lead them to reflect on the roadblocks to trust in several specific areas of their lives. I invite them deeply into my quest to trust God, so they can learn from my successes and failures. Every chapter ends with practical suggestions they can implement right away.  Many books about St. Therese stay more on an inspirational level. They tell readers about her life, but don't show them how to go about becoming more like Therese in her surrender to God. They might talk about the importance of trusting God, but without demonstrating what that looks like for someone living in our day and culture. I needed something more specific. I think it will benefit my readers too.

I love your approach.  The practicality of it has already proven beneficial to me, personally.  Where can readers get a copy?

Right now, Trusting God with St. Therese is only available through or directly from me. It should be available at more online retailers soon, and I hope eventually to see it in Catholic bookstores.  The Kindle edition is $3.99 and the paperback is $13.70.

And I just found it at Barnes and Noble as well!  Thanks so much for sharing with us, Connie.  May God bless you, your family, and your marketing efforts.

This interview has been the first stop on Connie's Blog Tour.  To visit other blogs along the way, check out the schedule at Contemplative Homeschool.  

Pictures on this post provided by Connie Rossini

Monday, August 4, 2014

A Coming Attraction!

Please join us on Wednesday, August 6th, for a special interview with author Connie Rossini! 

Connie's book Trusting God with St. Therese has just been released, and is swiftly climbing Amazon's list of Catholic best sellers.

Let's not miss this opportunity to hear from the author, herself.  See you then!

Picture on this post  provided by Connie Rossini

That Firm Foundation

'A house founded on the Cross will not fear wind, nor rain, nor storm.'

St. John Vianney

Painting:  Karl Bennewitz von Löfen (edited)

Friday, August 1, 2014

Sometimes God, Sometimes the World

'I compare those who 
serve sometimes God, 
sometimes the World, 
as the case may be,
with dogs who answer 
to every whistle.'

St. John Vianney

'His Master's Voice' painting 
in US public domain due to age