Monday, October 30, 2017

Do you Want to Have a Heart like Mary's?

Among all the wonderful and holy saints, Mary is our ultimate role model for what it means to be a faithful disciple of Christ. “Her heart is sinless, immaculate, and pure. Mary’s heart is capable of pure love of God and for others.” Father Edward Looney wanted to have a heart like Mary’s and so each day he began to pray, “Mary, give me a heart like yours, attentive to the needs of others, generous, loving, and pure. Help me to treasure what happens today in the depths of my heart and to make intercession for others.”After some time, he felt called by Mary to write A Heart like Mary’s: 31 Meditations to Help You Live and Love as She Does (Ave Maria Press, 2017) which “is intended for any person who wants to experience a greater transformation of heart.”

This collection of 31 meditations is meant to be read on a daily basis for one month. Each meditation begins with a quote from Scripture or an approved Marian apparition. This is followed by a reflection, a prayer, and then a practical step you can take to put this aspect of a Marian heart into practice.

May and October are both months dedicated to Mary. Each has 31 days and would be a perfect time to use this book. It could also be used for 31 days prior to any Marian feast as a special devotion or as part of a preparation for Marian consecration. The first 21 reflections are dedicated to “the attributes of Mary’s heart, as derived from the scriptures.” The last 10 days are dedicated to exploring the “desires of Mary’s heart as made known through approved private revelations.” 

Father Looney has a personal, accessible writing style. There is much to ponder within these pages and each step will take you one step closer to having a heart like Mary’s, one full of love for Christ and neighbor. This is a small book – perfect to keep on a nightstand or tucked in a purse to be used whenever one has a free moment in a busy day. A Heart like Mary’s can be read over and over with new insights and meaning being discovered each time depending on what is going on in one’s life. 

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Sunday, October 22, 2017

Book Review: Wishtree by Katherine Applegate

Sunday is my leisure reading day. It’s one way that I set the day of rest apart from the other days of the week. Not that I don’t enjoy my regular reading. I’m blessed that I have an overflowing pile of books (both in print and ebooks) that people send me to review, but once a week it is a pleasure to read something I’ve picked out for myself, whether that be a magazine, novel, or work of non-fiction.

Today’s pick was Wishtree by Katherine Applegate. I had been on the holds list at the library for a while on this one and was so pleased to have it come this week. This is a middle grade book but is suitable for anyone that age or older. 

I’ve always had a special place in my heart for trees, and this story is told from the perspective of a special northern red oak that has seen quite a lot in its 216 years. It is used as a wishing tree, where people tie their wishes to its branches every spring in the hopes that they might come true. But when a mean-spirited teen carves a hateful message into its bark aimed at a new family in town, it seems like the tree’s days might finally be numbered. The tree is resigned to its fate, but is determined if at all possible to grant one last wish.

Applegate is a Newbery Medal winning author and she knows how to weave a story well. This one is a tale of belonging and friendship and welcoming the stranger which we so desperately need in our angry world. I was sitting at the park crying my eyes out as I read this. It’s sweet and beautiful and meaningful. It will only take you an hour or so to read and you might just decide to pass it on to some young person in your life. 

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Sunday, October 08, 2017

The Catholic Mom's Desk Calendar: One-Minute Prayers for Every Day

Lisa Hendey just released her latest project: The Catholic Mom's Desk Calendar - a perpetual calendar that can be used each year.

She shares:While I was writing this project, I considered the needs of women like my two sisters, both busy working moms who give so much of themselves to the world around them. I prayed for young homeschooling moms I know, who need and deserve daily "hugs" from God! I pondered my own mom, a retired "nana" who still is the major prayer warrior for our family. And I even thought of myself, desiring to create a resource that could easily be tucked into my carry on to go with me wherever on earth I'm praying each morning.

 The Catholic Mom's Desk Calendar would be a perfect gift for any Catholic Mom you know. Purchase it from Amazon and help support this site.

Sunday, October 01, 2017

Struck by Lightning - A Must-Read Near Death Experience

Last week, a member of the mom's Bible Study group I attend was talking about a near-death experience a woman had who was struck by lightning. I made a mental note to look it up, but hadn't had the opportunity to do that. This past Friday when I went to Bible Study, a different mom had picked up the book from her parish library, had read it, and offered it to any of us who would like to read it.  I jumped at the opportunity.

Before I could read it, my fourteen-year-old son grabbed it and read it. He said it was amazing and that everyone should read it. I then read it and couldn't agree more. I've read a lot of near-death experiences in my life, but this was the most powerful in terms of discussing of what happens when we face God for judgment.

Most near-death experiences only include the first stage when the person sees the light and the beauty of heaven and feels God's incredible love. Some see people that they have known who have died before them. Some have seen hell. A few reach the point where they are reviewing their lives.

Dr. Gloria Polo Ortiz is a dentist from Bogota, Colombia who was hit by lightning on May 5, 1995. She thought she was living a good life and that her sins were relatively small. But then, she died, and she faced God's judgment. She saw the sins of her life with great clarity - not only the things she had done, but the things she had failed to do. She speaks of the interconnectedness of all people, the power of prayer, the sanctity of life, and the beauty of God's mercy and love. Her return to this life and her recovery were nothing short of miraculous.

This is a short book - it won't take you more than an hour or two to read, but it has the power to change your life. Our time on this earth is so short compared to eternity. We need to focus on what matters in the eyes of God.

Struck by Lightning is available on Amazon but the price is high. It is much more affordable at the Divine Mercy Gift Shop

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