Tag Archives: Christ

Pentecost Novena (May 10- May 18)

Are you still celebrating Easter?  In these final weeks of the Easter Season I invite you to prepare for Pentecost which is May 19th.    From May 10-18th participate in a Pentecost Novena.  Each day pray for the graces you need from the Holy Spirit at this time in your life.  

For the Seven Gifts of the Holy Spirit

Blessed Spirit of Wisdom, help me to seek God. Make Him the center of my life and order my life to Him, so that love and harmony may reign in my soul.

Blessed Spirit of Understanding, enlighten my mind, that I may know and love the truths of faith and make them truly my own.

Blessed Spirit of Counsel, enlighten and guide me in all my ways, that I may always know and do Your holy Will. Make me prudent and courageous.

Blessed Spirit of Fortitude, uphold my soul in every time of trouble or adversity. Make me loyal and confident.

Blessed Spirit of Knowledge, help me to know good from evil. Teach me to do what is right in the sight of God. Give me clear vision and firmness in decision.

Blessed Spirit of Piety, possess my heart, incline it to a true faith in You, to a holy love of You, my God, that with my whole soul I may seek You, Who are my Father, and find You, my best, my truest joy.

Blessed Spirit of Holy Fear, penetrate my inmost heart that I may ever be mindful of Your presence. Make me fly from sin, and give me intense reverence for God and for my fellow men who are made in God’s image.

Blessed Holy Spirit, at this time I particularly ask for this spiritual gift   ……………… (name the gift you need right now) and for your guidance as I deal with ………………….. (name something you are dealing with right now)


Come Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of your faithful, enkindle in them the fire of your Love.

Send forth your Spirit and they shall be created, and You shall renew the face of the earth.  Let us pray. O God, You have taught the hearts of Your faithful people by sending them the light of Your Holy Spirit. Grant us by the same Spirit to have a right judgment in all things and evermore to rejoice in His holy comfort. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.

Deo Gratias


Deo Gratias is Latin for “Thanks be to God.” Remembering to give thanks for all of our blessings, big and small, helps us to find God in our everyday moments and gives us an attitude of gratitude!

Colleen at Thoughts on Grace has organized this meme and you can contribute by clicking here.


This week I’m thankful for:

  1. The Resurrection! Death and sin are conquered and God came to us and delivered each of us.
  2. Easter. I had a terrific day beginning with mass. They insisted that my friend and I sit up in the choir loft so we got a bird’s eye view of mass and were surrounded by outstanding singers. They did justice to Handel’s Halleluiah! At the end I got this Easter egg, which says “God loves you” in Chinese.
  3. Easter brunch. The Mercure Hotel had colored eggs, chocolate bunnies and lots of delicious food. Twelve of us went and the conversation was great. Pictures here.
  4. Spring is coming and we’ve got lovely cherry blossoms on campus.
  5. My holidays this week. No classes from Wednesday to Sunday. Yep, we have to teach on Sunday to make up for Friday. Go figure.
  6. I love the Latin with Chinese

    I love the Latin with Chinese

Deo Gratias

Deo Gratias is Latin for “Thanks be to God.” Remembering to give thanks for all of our blessings, big and small, helps us to find God in our everyday moments and gives us an attitude of gratitude! 

Here’s where I’ll post my weekly thanks since Thankful Women’s Book of Blessings has ended.

Government Building, Phnom Penh

Government Building, Phnom Penh

This week I’m especially thankful for:

  1. Lent, a special time to examine my life and grow closer to God, to deepen my understanding and appreciation of how Christ lived and sacrificed for us.
  2. The pope, who’s wisely considered what’s best for the church.
  3. My safe arrival in Phnom Penh where I’ll speak at a teacher’s conference on Saturday.
  4. My friend Mary from high school, that she was able to visit me and her family in Chicago. I’m so blessed to have several old friends from my days at Marillac High School, a wonderful girls’ Catholic school.
  5. Our new chaplain who offered a challenge to try to give up and feast upon transformative practices during Lent.

For Lent

Sunday at mass the priest offered a list of Lenten practices that are more trans-formative than, say giving up chocolate.

Fast from worry; feast on God’s providence.
Fast from complaining; feast on appreciation.
Fast from pessimism; feast on optimism.
Fast from hostility; feast on tenderness.
Fast from unrelenting pressures; feast from unceasing prayer.
Fast from judging others; feast on Christ dwelling in them.
Fast from fear of illness; feast on the healing power of God.

Fast from words that pollute; feast on speech that purifies.
Fast from discontent; feast on gratitude.
Fast from anger; feast on patience.
Fast from personal anxiety; feast on the fullness of truth.
Fast from bitterness; feast on forgiveness.
Fast from self-concern; feast on compassion.
Fast from discouragement; feast on hope.

Fast from gossip; feast on purposeful silence.
Fast from problems that overwhelm; feast on prayer that sustains.
Fast from thoughts that weaken; feast on promises that inspire.
Fast from apparent darkness; feast on the reality of light.

From the Writer’s Almanac

Ah, today’s homily earned this sort of criticism. I tried to be patient and was, but I go to an old church with no air conditioning so I really wish the priest could give us more. Sometimes you can tell a priest’s just not gifted as a speaker, but such mediocrity? Aren’t they trying? I’ve reached a point where I do focus more on the scripture and the consecration. I guess the heat made me cranky. But still the mass is so central and these people aren’t just there to pass the time, but to transform lives.

Ralph Waldo Emerson delivered a commencement address to the Harvard Divinity School on this date in 1838. Emerson had graduated from Harvard Divinity in 1826, and the graduating students had chosen him as the speaker for this event. The year before, he had given a lecture called “The American Scholar” to the Harvard Phi Beta Kappa society. It was controversial but popular, and the students were eager to have him back.

Emerson had been a Unitarian minister, but he had resigned and was becoming critical of Christianity as it was currently practiced. He opened the address with a passionate celebration of the “refulgent summer,” and then said: “I once heard a preacher who sorely tempted me to say, I would go to church no more […] He had lived in vain. He had no one word intimating that he had laughed or wept, was married or in love, had been commended, or cheated, or chagrined. If he had ever lived and acted, we were none the wiser for it. The capital secret of his profession, namely, to convert life into truth, he had not learned.” And he also said, “The true Christianity — a faith like Christ‘s in the infinitude of man — is lost.” Many in the audience were incensed by Emerson’s speech, particularly the older faculty and ministers. It was 30 years before Emerson was invited back to speak at Harvard.

Community & Façades

I’ve been shocked to learn that a near and dear one has been hiding a great pain for more than two years. Despite our Christian faith, she’s felt it’s best to hide, to maintain a façade, to live the “Stained Glass Masquerade.” I feel this is a great failing as a Christian community. What is going on if we all go to church, but also hide are real hurts from everyone? If we can’t be real with at least two or three fellow Christians? Seems Christ teaches us to be real above all else.

I wouldn’t expect anyone to share anything deep at church, at any church function or even with some petitions which are real, but seem only used for people who’re sick or recently died. Those are safe petitions and folks in these parts can admit that. We can’t admit our failures. Why are there no petitions at the churches I’ve been to for people out of work? For people whose marriages are failing? For people who’re drinking too much?

We don’t trust each other, even smaller groups with this kind of information. At the parishes near me there are no groups that aren’t for sports or socializing.

What a sad commentary on a faith that should change the world for the better.

Lenten Devotion by Goshen College

This lent I’m reading these devotionals sent Monday through Friday by the community at Goshen College. Each day a student,  professor or staff member offers a personal reflection guaranteed to make you ponder.

SCRIPTURE: Mark 8:31-38 (NRSV)

31 Then he began to teach them that the Son of Man must undergo great suffering, and be rejected by the elders, the chief priests, and the scribes, and be killed, and after three days rise again. 32 He said all this quite openly. And Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him. 33 But turning and looking at his disciples, he rebuked Peter and said, “Get behind me, Satan! For you are setting your mind not on divine things but on human things.” 34 He called the crowd with his disciples, and said to them, “If any want to become my followers, let them deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. 35 For those who want to save their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake, and for the sake of the gospel, will save it. 36 For what will it profit them to gain the whole world and forfeit their life? 37 Indeed, what can they give in return for their life? 38 Those who are ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, of them the Son of Man will also be ashamed when he comes in the glory of his Father with the holy angels.”

Please read the Scripture again before you start reading this devotion. Did you read it? OK, I trust you. Notice the depth of Jesus’ statement, “If any want to become my followers, let them deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me.” The Message translates it this way; “Anyone who intends to come with me has to let me lead. You’re not in the driver’s seat; I am. Don’t run from suffering; embrace it. Follow me and I’ll show you how” (emphasis mine).

Two verses earlier, Peter approached Jesus. This was just after he found out that Jesus must be killed. This did not sound appealing to Peter. Peter loved Jesus. Peter knew that Jesus loved him. Peter was comfortable with this love relationship. Peter felt threatened with the thought of suffering. Jesus responded with comparing Peter to Satan. Whoa! I don’t know about you but being compared with Satan is not what I want from my loving Savior.

Often times we have our own plans of how our walk with Christ should work out. We build safe lives, consuming Christ’s love but not allowing it to flow out of us. We do not lose our lives for Christ’s sake or the Good News.

Often times Christians are like Peter. We love telling Jesus that he is wrong and that our way is best. We become comfortable with the love that we have experienced but are uncomfortable with the conflict that comes because of the controversy of the Gospel. But Jesus calls us to lose ourselves for this controversy.

By Nate Manning, a senior interdisciplinary major from Middleville, Mich.