Thursday, January 23, 2020

St. Giana's Poem in Praise of Smiling

This week I am reading St. Gianna, Her Life of Joy and Heroic Sacrifice by Giuliana Pelucchi. In it, Pelucchi shares a poem St. Gianna wrote in praise of smiling. Her husband, Pietro, referred to as a "hymn to joy":

Smile at God, from whom all good things come.
Smile at God the Father with ever more perfect prayer.
Smile at the Holy Spirit.
Smile at Jesus when approaching him at Holy Mass, in Communion, in a visit to the Blessed Sacrament.
Smile at the one who represents Christ, the Pope.
Smile at the one who makes God personal, the confessor, even when he challenges you to reject sin.
Smile at the Blessed Virgin, to whose example you must conform your life, so that, seeing you, please might be led to holy thoughts.
Smile at your Guardian Angel, because this angel has been given to you by God to lead you into Paradise.
Smile at your parents, brothers, and sisters, because you must be a torch burning with joy, even when they challenge your pride.
Smile always in forgiving offenses.
Smile [at all the people you associate with], banishing all criticism and murmuring.
Smile at everyone the Lord sends you during the day.

St. Gianna also had this to say on the subject of happiness:

 I was always told that the secret of happiness is to live moment by moment, and to thank the Lord for everything he sends us, day by day.

Tuesday, January 14, 2020

Rediscover the Saints

For the past several years, my parish has given out a book by Matthew Kelly as a gift to parishioners at Christmas. This year's offering was Rediscover the Saints.

There are many books about saints. What makes this one different? It doesn't offer biographies about the profiled saints. Kelly includes a few details about each saint, but that is not his primary focus. Instead, he shares a lesson we can learn from that saint's life and example. He encourages those who are attracted to a particular saint to seek out additional information.

The subtitle of Rediscover the Saints is "Twenty-Five Questions that Will Change Your Life." Kelly doesn't want readers to simply read about these saints and then continue on with their lives. Kelly wants readers to engage in some serious self-reflection and make the changes that they need to in their lives to grow closer to God. 

For example, for his reflection on St. Benedict, Kelly asks, "Do your daily routines reinvigorate you?" For St. Francis of Assisi, "What are you dissatisfied with at this time in your life?" For St. John Vianney, "Are you open to the possibilities that only God can see for you?"

As with all of Matthew Kelly's books, there is much to ponder in these pages. The chapters are brief, which makes it a great book to pull out whenever you have a few minutes to do some spiritual reading. Rediscover the Saints will give you much food for thought; even if only one of the questions spark you to make a change in your life and progress on your journey towards God, reading it will be worth it.

Monday, January 13, 2020

New Series on Stress, Anxiety, and Mental Health from a Catholic Perspective

The new edition of Ave Explores takes an in-depth look at stress, anxiety, and mental health.

In this multimedia series, clinical experts and those who have struggled with mental health issues will help everyday Catholics better understand grief, addiction, loss, spiritual direction vs. therapy, depression, suicide, and forgiveness from a Catholic perspective. We also offer a list of resources where you can seek more information.

Here's some of the content for the four-week series:

Week 1 focuses on why we need to talk about mental health issues.
Week 2 looks at faith and mental health.
Week 3 considers addiction and grief
Week 4 will wrap up the series with healing and forgiveness

Sign up for limited-time weekly emails with this series of content at

Please note: If you are in crisis, call your doctor or 911 immediately. If you are having suicidal thoughts, call 1-800-273-TALK (8255).

Making the Most of <i>Menopause Moments</i>

  When I unexpectedly got in a review copy of Menopause Moments: A Journal for Nourishing Your Mind, Body and Spirit in Midlife , I must adm...