Posts Tagged ‘Catholic faith’

Lent 2020 has arrived and here we are! The Lenten spiritual experience can be different for us each year we progress in our faith, spiritual growth and life experiences.

How can we go deeper into the Lenten experiences? Where do we start?

For most of us, it starts with attending Ash Wednesday Mass and listening to the Readings at Mass and the Homily. We may be inspired by the Readings and Homily and suggestions by the priest.


Most of us have a plan in mind to give up some of our indulgences like eating sweets or drinks and omitting sugar from our meals. Some of us want to tackle the tough vices in life, like giving up idle gossip, laziness, swearing, addictions. It is very tough to give up strong addictions especially for 40 days! We need the help of God to work through these struggles daily by prayer, fasting, almsgiving, abstinence. God gives us the grace required through these thoughtful decisions to change our lives purposefully.

If you can’t give up anything, then you can add something else to your 40 days – reading a book on a saint, e.g. Story of a Soul by St Therese, or St Faustina’s Diary, etc. There are many spiritual books out now on the lives of the saints. If you cannot purchase a book, try borrowing a book from your local catholic library or online version. E.g. https://www.discerninghearts.com/catholic-podcasts/

Do charitable works – feed the hungry, visit the sick, lonely, Help with voluntary work at charitable organisations, help your local church. Donate money and goods to local charities.

Read the Bible – select a chapter which you have put off reading because it is too hard to read usually! The books of the 4 Evangelists or Letters of St Paul.

Try to maintain this for the 40 days. If you miss a day or two, you can still easily catch up. Don’t give up!

For myself, at one time I wanted to read a whole book, but managed to just read a few pages here and there, but caught up after Lent. I try to attend Holy Mass more often during the week and any other prayer services offered at any church, Eucharistic Adoration. I have tried every year to give up my favorite sweets and over time this has led me to not indulge in sweets, even if it is available.

Here is a good resource full of ideas on what you can still do during Lent: What 5 Saints Did for Lent by Ascension Presents.

Wishing you all a Blessed and Holy Lent 2020!

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Living as a christian means reaching out to those in need, which my parents practised regularly. Today I was thinking of our parents and all the good they did for us growing up, so I would like to share some memories! My father did not spare us to face the realities of life when reaching the age of reason of 7 years, when we made our First Holy Communion. He was a a quiet man, tender, loving and we had a peaceful family life, but he was an authoritative figure in the family as well for raising his family with good morals according to the teachings of the catholic church. He did not have to show his anger vocally or physically to invoke fear in his family. He voiced his instructions on how we were to behave or there would be consequences if we didn’t obey. I suppose he inherited this trait from his own father who had many children too. They would just give the ‘stern look’ and cleared their throat, (when in the company of other people) sometimes a few times for us to hear it!

In these days of parents deciding on what to expose their children to, makes me think of other third world countries, where children see life and death first hand and there’s no escaping it. Its a tough world and you have to know that life is not only about being happy and getting whatever you want, there are serious situations to face and think about and act on. We saw poverty on the streets, beggars, disabled people, homeless people. The face of Christ! Living in a very hot climate with limited electricity, water and food is a life challenge, some people give up hope in these situations. If a beggar came to our front door, they were never turned away in vain, my mother would always give them money or food, a coat or blanket if it was cold day. During the riots my parents helped shelter some families escaping persecution.

My first experience of growing up was my dad taking the elder kids to our first funeral of a close relative. I was about 8 years old and a bit nervous about it all as I held my father’s hand walking down the street. I remember him speaking about it that we were old enough to understand this. We were told to pay our respects and say a prayer, which is a duty of every christian to pay their respects to the dead. We learn that in our catechism. I asked many questions about death later and also learned at school from the Catechism. When I was about 13 years old my maternal grandfather passed away and in those days, they kept the body of the deceased at home overnight, so we were around our grandfather’s body while his family prayed non stop. Life also had to go on, house routines kept going on, as there were other family members and children to be cared for. It was very difficult time.

Attending Holy Mass and Confession: My father would take us elder children to Holy Mass on a Sunday or Christmas & Easter and afterwards walk to the cemetery to visit his parents grave, which was a ritual. Holy Mass was usually at 8.30 am at St Xavier’s Church. At the cemetery he would take out his rosary and tearfully say the rosary for his family. At church, I would see my father line up for Confession before Mass every time. There was always Confession at Mass and usually a long line, so you had to try and get in early. If someone didn’t make their Confession, they did not go up to receive Holy Communion, mostly because they knew that they could not receive Holy Communion unless in a state of Grace. They knew their conscience. I myself as a young child would observe this, as my parents would instil this teaching to us as well. If you don’t get a chance to go to Confession and Holy Communion is being distributed at that time, because of the long queue, you cannot go up to receive Holy Communion. It felt disappointing not to receive Jesus, but we had to accept it.

Dad would help mum by taking the elder kids to church sometimes while she was home caring for the other younger kids on a Sunday and preparing the meals for the day.

The 3 Hour Fasting before Holy Communion and Latin Mass!. On the subject of being well behaved and quiet at church at Mass. In those days (1960s before 2nd Vatican Council relaxed the rules), Mass was a good hour, sometimes said in Latin! We had to fast from food 3 hours before Mass to receive Holy Communion! I remember seeing a few people faint in church if it was a hot day and they were weak. People used to carry ‘Smelling Salts’ or strong perfume dabbed on their handkerchief in their handbag to help the fainted person. A few times I would feel faint in church, but would pray earnestly ‘Lord please keep me alert as I dont want to faint, it looks scary!’. Our mother followed the rule of fasting, even though she had little babies to nurse and care for. As long as I can remember, mum would walk straight down the long aisle of the church to the front row with all her little kiddies hanging around her. There was never (or hardly) any behaviour problems in the church, no running after little kiddies. If we misbehaved, it was reported back to my father and he would carry out his discipline as he said. No sweets or toys or going out to the park that day to play with your friends. You had to stay indoors while the rest had a good time outside! And that was enough to remember to behave next time! In those days, there was no television, computer to play on. We only went to a movie once or twice a year when a famous movie was on. We had to handwrite ‘I must not do … again ‘ a hundred lines and crying while we do this thinking of our siblings having fun in the park! A good lesson to learn!

On being respectful to our elders, he would instruct us to go and visit our aunts and uncles to wish them at Christmas, New Years Day, Easter and Birthdays. At family parties, dad also ensured that we did not run around too much in another person’s house, but to behave. If any of the other kids wanted us to join them on a game of chasy or run around the building and end up in a quarrel with someone or some child would fall and be in tears, not allowed. They had to come and ask my father’s permission first. Only if he approved of who he could trust his kids to would he grant permission. He would leave early at parties, to make sure we went to bed early. My dad also would not allow little children to be present when adults were talking about some family issues or any other world views. He would ask us to go play outside, or read a book in another room. He was very firm about this as he would say ‘little piggies have long ears’. We felt a bit left out but this is a lesson I learned and still impart to our family too. It is a wise thing to do and makes sense for family peace in the long term.

Many young friends came and went by our front door of our house wanting to go and play while we were studying inside. Perchance some kid was curious and dropped in, my dad would be sitting outside the door relaxing after a long day at work, enjoying nature as he always did with a cup of tea and a smoke, the kid would look at him for approval to come in, dad would look quietly at him or her, observe quietly, ‘have you got some homework to do or your mum needs help?’. Some would say ‘yes I have done my homework’, ‘Okay then you have to wait while my kids finish their homework, come back later’. He just had this quiet, stern, no nonsense look. That kid would nod and run off! To hear children these days who are a bit rebellious, it would not even cross my mind to question my parents’ decisions on what time to play or with whom we made friends with. I did not even feel a spirit of rebellion to challenge my parents words.

Dad was specific with timetables of a large family household, meals on time, bed time, prayer time, play time. Every night after dinner, all the kids had to kneel and say the rosary or shorter prayers (if we were tired or sick), sing a hymn together. To this day, people who lived around our house remember hearing us say our prayers and sing our hymns. Still he had time to share his love with each of us at the right time.

Life is tough, God gave us the Ten Commandments to follow a good simple set of rules, so that we will find inner peace and as a consequence the rest of society will live in peace. We each have a choice, God gave each of us free will to choose between good and evil. The Ten Commandments relate to honoring God, our family – parents, our spouse and respecting our neighbors. Sometimes we have to give up our selfishness to take whatever we want to gratify ourselves (whether its people, things, food, external material possessions), but when we learn to suffer and endure the hungers, do we receive Grace from God to fortify our souls for life’s tough journey.

Thank you Dad and mum for giving us our life and our faith, for being faithful to one another in life and death and passing on life’s wisdom, teachings, sharing our family history and memories and our catholic faith. I am so grateful for your wisdom and discipline you taught us so many valuable things of respecting and caring for others, what it is to hope for tomorrow in hard times, to keep looking to the light of Jesus, keep praying, have faith in God, suffer in silence for the good of the other, keep moving forward, because our God is faithful, He is always there with you right by your side!

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In today’s (13th April) Gospel reading of Saint John 6:1-15 we hear about the feeding of the 5 thousand people. How after a long day the crowds following Jesus were tired and hungry. His disciples asked Jesus how can we feed 5 thousand with just a few loaves of bread and fish or even the money they had wasnt enough. Jesus knew their thoughts and He does know our thoughts too when we are confronted daily with worries of providing daily food and needs. I heard a good homily explanation today about this parable which challenges us to trust that God is here with us, in this present moment, and He will always provide for every need. We fear for what will happen beyond this present moment we are in. We should realise that God is present in every moment and trust in Him that He will help us.

In the reading of the Psalms today at Mass, we find comfort in this message:

Psalms 27(26):1.4.13-14.
The LORD is my light and my salvation;
whom should I fear?
The LORD is my life’s refuge;
of whom should I be afraid?
One thing I ask of the LORD
this I seek:
to dwell in the house of the LORD
all the days of my life,
that I may gaze on the loveliness of the LORD
and contemplate his temple.
I believe that I shall see the bounty of the LORD
in the land of the living.
Wait for the LORD with courage;
be stouthearted, and wait for the LORD.

Holy Gospel of Jesus Christ according to Saint John 6:1-15.
Jesus went across the Sea of Galilee.
A large crowd followed him, because they saw the signs he was performing on the sick.
Jesus went up on the mountain, and there he sat down with his disciples.
The Jewish feast of Passover was near.
When Jesus raised his eyes and saw that a large crowd was coming to him, he said to Philip, “Where can we buy enough food for them to eat?”
He said this to test him, because he himself knew what he was going to do.
Philip answered him, “Two hundred days’ wages worth of food would not be enough for each of them to have a little (bit).”
One of his disciples, Andrew, the brother of Simon Peter, said to him,
There is a boy here who has five barley loaves and two fish; but what good are these for so many?
Jesus said, “Have the people recline.” Now there was a great deal of grass in that place. So the men reclined, about five thousand in number.
Then Jesus took the loaves, gave thanks, and distributed them to those who were reclining, and also as much of the fish as they wanted.
When they had had their fill, he said to his disciples, “Gather the fragments left over, so that nothing will be wasted.”
So they collected them, and filled twelve wicker baskets with fragments from the five barley loaves that had been more than they could eat.
When the people saw the sign he had done, they said, “This is truly the Prophet, the one who is to come into the world.”
Since Jesus knew that they were going to come and carry him off to make him king, he withdrew again to the mountain alone.

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helping Today I witnessed an incident that touched my heart and I just have to record it! Moments like these are God’s message of hope, love, joy, communion with people. We are all suffering and wounded, but we reach out to one another, wherever we may be. A smile, a touch, a little gesture to show I care, all helps restore our faith in God and brings peace to us and those around us.

Today I was at Mass and Our Lady’s Novena and as usual there are a lot of elderly, sick people at front rows of church, which is usually packed lunchtime. They all love this Novena to Our Lady and they are there with their little prayer books. Today I noticed parents come in front of me with a disabled son, they had their arm around him throughout the service while he knelt. A few of the congregation near to him turned around to smile at him especially and give him a little gift holy card, medal and rosary and say a few words to him, pat him on the back. It was such a lovely moment to feel welcomed as God’s family. Our churches are a haven, oasis of prayer for all. Some people feel disillusioned with life and become hardened, turn away from their faith even, blame people for past mistakes and it makes them bitter internally. But take heart, there is hope in Jesus!




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This is dilemma we face in this current culture we live in. It is so hard to live out your christian faith in the business world. We each need to work and have the tools to learn how to work with people who have a different mindset or beliefs. I found this article today. The University of Mary has introduced leadership course on building up strength of character and virtues.

“What is virtuous leadership? At the University of Mary, leadership is about more than theories, charts and balance sheets. It’s about the strength of character and the virtues that define an individual as a person and business leader.

Today’s world is begging for faithful business leaders. A businessperson doesn’t just leave his Catholic, Christian convictions at the front door when walking into work in the morning. Virtue has been talked about for centuries but has fallen out of fashion in the modern world. Such luminaries as Aristotle, St. Paul, and St. Thomas Aquinas all taught that the human person is made for greatness — a greatness of soul or what we call the virtue of magnanimity.

That’s why the University of Mary, together with the Havard Virtuous Leadership Institute, is offering education in virtuous leadership through graduate-level study in the University of Mary’s Gary Tharaldson School of Business.


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2015-05-19 Vatican Radio

Pope Francis said on Tuesday (May 19th) many people like the Rohingya of Myanmar or the Christians and Yazidis in Iraq have been forced to say farewell to their homes and the lives of all of us are marked by farewells of varying importance.  He said each of us should reflect on our own final farewell from this life and what it means for Christians to entrust themselves to God. The Pope’s words came during his morning Mass at the Santa Marta residence.


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Faith seeks understanding. I do not seek to understand in order to believe, but I believe in order to understand. For I believe this: unless I believe, I will not understand.
– Saint Anselm of Canterbury (1033-1109), Benedictine abbot, Doctor of the Church, Feast day April 21

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“If you are looking for God

you won’t find him sitting on a comfortable couch flicking through a magazine,

or sitting at your computer.

The search for God means having the courage to set out on a risky path,

it means following our restless hearts”.

~  Pope Francis, Homily at Santa Marta, February 10, 2015

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Word on Fire by Fr Robert Barron is a great resource on learning and growing your Catholic faith. There are videos, reading, audios to choose from.


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