Prayer & Spiritual Life

Dear Steve and Janet,

Teresa and Brian and Tom and I would like to thank you for creating a Holy Land pilgrimage of a lifetime. Our hearts are still ablaze from our experiences.

On Mount Tabor, we heard Peter speak to us, “Lord it is good that we are here.” This became our prayer upon rising for each of the nine days. Like Peter, we wanted to commemorate our experiences. We each began a journal writing down all the stories you shared with us at the holy sites.

Upon arriving home, we created a photo book chronicling our days. But photos were not enough, we wanted to include the stories about each site that would be remembered by our families, generation after generation, just like Amer’s family tradition of visiting the holy sites and telling and retelling the stories. Using our journal notes of your daily talks, your catholicconvert.com website, handbooks and CDs, and other websites, our photo journal turned into a mini catechism.

We wanted to share our photo journal with you, Amer, and Fr. Seiker as well as our tour group. Here is the link to the Dropbox: https://www.dropbox.com/sh/y9xn1b8ligz6j4e/AACvxJtIjg9DfNLaWtZ-BtiEa?dl=0. May I ask you to forward this email to Amer as we do not have his email.

Once the photo book was complete, the fire within us was not quenched. We felt compelled to share our experiences with others outside our immediate families. We hosted a party to share our Holy Land experiences with people who may never visit Israel or inspire others to make such a pilgrimage. As you see from the attached photos, we taped pages from our photo book on the walls and served foods reminiscent of what we ate during our trip. It was an incredible evening of evangelization.

Our guests were ignited and some shed tears as the viewed the overwhelming beauty of Israel and our Catholic faith. The take-home message from our guests was that this evening should be repeated in different venues. We are praying about the next steps as we are still inflamed by the fire of Christ.

We are forever grateful to you both for enkindling within us a fervor to share the Good News with others. We are already planning our next pilgrimage with you in 2021 to Fatima and Lourdes!

Amore Christi, Nina & Tom, Teresa & Brian

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Eight Ways to Pray During Adoration

by Steve Ray on February 8, 2020

For a lot of us prayer is difficult – mind goes blank, mind wanders, not sure quite what to do. When we sit in front of the Blessed Sacrament — OK, now what?

This is an excellent little diagram to give us direction and options. Next thing you know, time flies and you look forward to coming back into the Presence of the Lord and doing it again.

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Catherine of Siena and Leaving the Church

by Steve Ray on February 5, 2020

What this 14th-century mystic can teach us about fidelity to Christ and to a Church in crisis

Thomas McDermott, OP

In the wake of so many clerical sex abuse scandals, too many people the Catholic Church appears hypocritical and bankrupt morally and spiritually. In the midst of such trying times, how can Catholics justify remaining in the Church? The words and deeds of St. Catherine of Siena (1347-1380), Dominican Mantelatta—or penitential woman—who lived during an earlier crisis, can offer us some guidance and hope.

download (6)Catherine lived in worse times than our own because it was not only the Church that seemed to be collapsing but larger society and even the world itself. The Black Death, or bubonic plague—one of the deadliest pandemics in human history—reached Sicily via Genoese trading ships from the Black Sea the year Catherine was born.

It is said that four-fifths of the population of Siena died from the plague the following year. There would be several successive waves of the disease during Catherine’s lifetime. One anonymous chronicler in Siena at the time wrote: “And no bells tolled, and nobody wept no matter what his loss because almost everyone expected death…. And people said and believed, ‘This is the end of the world.’”

At the time, Italy was a conglomeration of feuding monarchies, communes, and republics with factions such as the Guelphs, who supported the papacy, and the Ghibellines, who supported the northern Italian rulers. The Italian peninsula was beset by foreign mercenaries, the most famous of which was the Englishman John Hawkwood, to whom Catherine directed one of her 381 letters.

download (7)Outside of Italy, the Hundred Years War between England and France was raging, and there was the additional threat of militant Islam as seen in the advance of the Turks twice to Vienna.

Catherine lived during a time of pessimism and cynicism. Barbara Tuchman, in her historical narrative A Distant Mirror: The Calamitous 14th Century, described the period as “a time of turmoil, diminished expectations, loss of confidence in institutions, and feelings of helplessness at forces beyond human control.”

The popes lived in exile in Avignon between 1309 and 1377, only returning to Rome after Catherine went personally to the papal court and pleaded with Gregory XI. Monasteries and convents in Europe were decimated by the Plague, and in order to re-populate them unsuitable candidates were often accepted. The secular literature at the time described clerical celibacy as a joke. By the time Catherine died in 1380, the Church was in schism with the election of an anti-pope, Clement VII.

Yikes! For the whole encouraging article, click here.

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Should This Baby Be Aborted? You Decide

January 25, 2020

In the United States, there are many situations in which abortions are recommended, even encouraged by family, counselors, medical personnel and even religious advisors. Sometimes an abortion is recommended because of difficult circumstances and other times simply for convenience. Here are four cases for you to consider. Should these babies be aborted? You decide! Four […]

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How do YOU Read the Bible?

January 24, 2020

A Little Poem about Reading/Studing the Bible in Context I supposed I knew my Bible, Reading piecemeal, hit or miss, Now a bit of John or Matthew, Now a snatch of Genesis, Certain chapters of Isaiah, Certain Psalms (the twenty-third), Twelfth of Romans, first of Proverbs — Yes, I thought I knew the Word! But […]

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Starting the New Year! You Want to Rent – God Wants to Move In and OWN

December 31, 2019

The Father knocks on my door, seeking a home for his Son. “Rent is cheap,” I say. “I don’t want to rent, I want to buy,” says God. “I’m not sure I want to sell, but please come in to look around.” “I think I will,” says God. “I might let you have a room […]

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Reflecting on Turning 65 Today

December 29, 2019

I used to think someone 50 years old was really old — then I turned 50. If that was really old, what now the I turn 65 today? Inside I still feel mid-30’s but my body keeps reminding me it ain’t so. (Picture: Janet and I with baby Cindy in 1978) Five years ago at […]

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Hey Steve: Jesus Taught us to Pray to the Father Alone, not Dead Saints

November 1, 2019

 Barry wrote in my combox today – in response to my post entitled “Where Does the Bible Say We Should Pray to Dead Saints?” – Resources about Communion of the Saints I thought I would respond briefly. Barrry wrote: Would you please read the Lord’s prayer. Jesus prayed it. He was giving an example of how to […]

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Was He Ready to Die?

October 19, 2019

It was just a normal morning — alarm clock, shower, espresso, dress and a saunter down the sidewalk to work. For Paul, it was another day with a whole lifetime ahead of him. But today was different. Someone else got up this morning too. They had their coffee dressed and jumped in the car. They […]

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Etiquette at Mass: Reasonable Do’s and Don’ts for Polite and Proper Worship

October 18, 2019

20 Things TO DO And NOT DO at Mass. These are not rules that will get you banished from the Church, but things that are mostly common sense — polite conduct to enhance our worship and that of those around us. 1. Fast before Mass. It is required that one fasts for at least 1 […]

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Should we pray for ‘our Holy Father’s intentions’ even if a pope has bad intentions?

October 3, 2019

Should we pray for ‘our Holy Father’s intentions’ even if a pope has bad intentions? Peter Kwasniewski October 3, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) — I was in a car driving with a friend, and he said to me: “You know, it’s really hard in this pontificate to know what to do in front of the children. I […]

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Kissing Statues

October 1, 2019

A while ago in Jerusalem I awoke to the loud and intrusive Muslim “call to prayer”, church bells ringing and horns honking. I read this email that came from the United Kingdom… It read, “Hi Steve! I know you are a busy man. Please answer the above issue when the time permits you. I am a Catholic […]

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The Kiss of Mercy

August 28, 2019

My daughter-in-law Anna is very insightful about spiritual things, and in raising our grandkids. Couldn’t ask for a better daughter (in-law, though we consider her our daughter by now :-) She put this up on her FaceBook page a while ago and I was compelled to share it again. Janet and I read this with […]

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Maria Faustina and the Divine Mercy: A Short Biography & History

August 27, 2019

Since today we are praying the Divine Mercy at the bones of St. Maria Faustina Kowalska at the convent in Poland, I thought I would share this short biography and history. Click here for the whole story with pictures…. The Biography of St. Maria Faustina. (August 25, 1905 – October 5, 1938)
 An excerpt from Apostle of Divine Mercy, a […]

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Evangelism Antennas: A Fun Story of One Woman’s Day and the New Evangelism :-)

August 6, 2019

A while ago I gave a talk in Ann Arbor Michigan. It was about the New Evangelization. As part of my talk I explained how Janet and I have our “evangelism antennas” up first thing in the morning – alertly watching for open doors and ways to share our Catholic Faith throughout the day. And […]

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Are you Choosing the Narrow Gate?

July 15, 2019

Jesus said, “Enter by the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way is easy, that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. For the gate is narrow and the way is hard, that leads to life, and those who find it are few.” (Matthew 7:13–14) What kind of choices are […]

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