“When we pray, or are faced with a difficult decision, how can we know if the words or thoughts that enter our mind are from the Holy Spirit, or just our own thoughts? In other words, how can we recognize when it is the Holy Spirit present, speaking to us,...
Liguorian receives a lot of uplifting and engaging content that can’t be published in print simply due to limited space. As a result, we are excited to introduce the “Community Page”—an online outlet designed to share these inspiring pieces with the Liguorian community. Check back often to enjoy creative works from your fellow readers—everything from poems to thought-provoking articles
By Frank R. Iacono In a spot experience I had awhile ago, I was drawn to see and consider the merits of divine faith in elevating life. On that particular day, I had just about ended my usual visit to a family relation at her nursing residence. Before leaving,...
The Mission of Liguori Publications and Liguorian Liguori Publications, a Roman Catholic company, furthers the mission of the Redemptorists founded in 1732 by Saint Alphonsus Liguori whose mission is to spread the Gospel to the poor and most abandoned by providing resources and fostering community to accompany the people of...
Written by: Nanci Mascia When life’s mountains come your way There is one thing I can say. Take the hand of the one you love, And climb each threshold, Till you’re high above As you climb, your tears will flow And as you stumble, you’ll feel, you can’t go on...
No, I’m not talking about weed killer or some other chemical that can damage our health. I am talking about nursing resentments and failing to forgive.
Her name was Sister Mary Benigna, a Roman Catholic nun who taught in a parochial school many years ago. She became a profound influence in my life when I was in the fourth grade. For two years I attended Sacred Heart School in Davenport, Iowa. Sister Mary Benigna was a slender young nun robed in a long black habit, and a starched square of white linen framed her face with her head covered by a long black veil. Swinging from her tiny waist hung a long brown-beaded rosary. She taught her class in a gentle yet firm way, gaining the respect of my classmates.
For some reason she took a liking to me, and I adored her. This incident I will remember forever and has made me regard praise and worship of the Lord in a new and totally different way. Her relationship to Jesus was the most personal one I had ever encountered. One afternoon in the spring of the year she took me aside into a private room to talk to me for only a few moments. What she said struck a lasting chord in my spirit, and I realize the lasting effect our words can have.
“Are you having a good trip with your grandmother?” was a question often put to me when I traveled with my mother. Her hair had turned white in her forties and in those days women accepted their white hair. At least in our locale they did- and they often accepted babies late in life as well. But still we looked, to much of the world, like a grandmother and granddaughter traveling together.
The question bothered me a little because it told me that we didn’t look the way a mother and daughter should look. The polite grown-ups who asked seemed wise so they must be right. We must be different.
But if they looked past the white hair they would have seen the youthful sparkle in my mother’s dark eyes- the eyes that flashed at me from behind a tree when we played hide and seek and made me happy just to be alive.
It is a summer morning and I am seven or eight years old, skinny as a sapling and as lithe as, well, a skinny seven or eight year old. Halfway up a silver maple tree in our front yard, I pause. The wind is coming up. It is a moment of grace, and I feel the arrival of a weather front like a secret just for me. I turn my face into the wind and close my eyes, and the cool air washes over me. The tree begins to creak and sway. It is exhilarating …..for a minute. Then the swaying becomes more violent. I know I ought to climb down, but that means letting go of branches and trying to keep my balance along the way. Instead I cling like Saran Wrap to that tree trunk and start praying—and shouting—for help.
Fast forward many years. It is a Sunday morning in early summer. I am at a Sunday service, with sunlight streaming through the windows and spilling over a cool wood floor. There is a small group of people with me at this Buddhist monastery, 20 or so others, all in our socks or bare feet. There is a sequence of group chants and responses that I cannot understand but can sound out, which somehow feels a little familiar. Then, an interesting talk by the abbot. Again, there is a comfortable feeling.
More chanting. We rise now from the floor and walk silently, in prayer or meditation, depending on our need. We move single-file in a silent line, out of the room on one side, down a hallway, and back into the room again. Ten times, 20 times, I don’t recall. This is the Walking Meditation.
There are very few words recorded in scripture attributed to Mary, the Mother of Jesus. The first time we hear from her is in the gospel of St. Luke when the angel Gabriel appears to her and tells her she has been “greatly blessed.” This statement is an affirmative scriptural reference to Mary’s “Immaculate Conception.” She is not yet pregnant but Gabriel says she has already been prepared for her calling to be the mother of Jesus. The Church teaches that this preparation started with her sinless conception as a worthy “vessel” or “ark” for Jesus. When Mary speaks she questions Gabriel’s message and asks, “How can this be as I am a virgin?” The angel assures Mary and says, “The Holy Spirit will overshadow you and the power of God will rest upon you.” Mary then becomes very humble and submissive to the words of Gabriel and says, “Let it be done to me as you have said.”
Editors Note: Two readers share their thoughts on annulments being seen as part of a healing process and an aid to make second marriages work. With the permission of the authors, we included their full names and credentials.
It snowed the night before the funeral and was still snowing when we arrived at the small country cemetery. Because of the deep snow, none of the vehicles in the procession could traverse the hill leading to the grave site. The casket had to be transferred from the funeral car to a small truck and then moved up the hill. Although it was fourteen years ago, I can clearly remember walking through the blowing snow and thinking of my Mom’s life. She was on this earth for seventy-eight years and I had kept her at a distance. Only at the end of her life, when she was confined to a nursing home, did I acknowledge and return the unconditional love she always gave to me.
Mom grew up in a large God fearing family at a time when there was much hard work and few rewards. She knew the poverty of the Great Depression and the sacrifices of World War II. Life was tough. In her family you practiced the message of Jesus through acts of generosity and kindness but few words. Those beginnings formed the simplistic and frugal manner in which she spent her life. Uneducated about worldly affairs, she performed no publicly renowned feat, sought no attraction but glorified God through her neighborly compassion and charity. While I give from my excess, Mom had no excess, thus her giving and sharing came from her basic existence. If I somehow enrich the life of one person, it is the exception, with Mom it was natural. No neighbor ever went hungry, unclothed or suffered alone. She wouldn’t (and couldn’t) send a check; instead, she took a crock of soup next door. It took little to make her happy; Mom never sought any of the earthly attachments I hold so dear. She never drove a car, never spent a night in a hotel, never saw the ocean, and was never on an airplane. Her life revolved around family, home, neighbors and hard work. When I was young, Mom worked at a variety of jobs not only to augment Dad’s small income but to ensure I had what the other kids had. Her life was an example of putting others first and self second. I was slow to learn that lesson.
In a garden, one warm midsummer’s eve,
As the greens readied for night’s cool reprieve,
And the fireflies’ light suffused the air
All was calm and bright on that evening fair.
But then a small voice, and the silence broke —
The quiet cleared as an Apple bespoke.
“For quite some time, a question I’ve in mind
That’s been eating at me to ask in kind.”
The Peaches rustled, the Plums gave a shake,
And Pears bustled as each fruit yawned awake.
“What?” Orange bristled, “For the time is past
When we should be asleep; so make this fast.”
“Very well,” the Apple crisply replied,
“While we all claim to be the best supplied
Which of us fruit did Eve pluck from the tree?
I, of course, think it was most likely me.”
Written by: Karen Anne Donner We keep descending into our tomb whose walls are built of cold stones of self-centeredness, whose mortar is a sticky paste from our clenched fists. In the darkness we don’t see our true self. We can’t see God. We can’t see others. Then, we think...