Thursday, September 21, 2017

Harvey Brought Me Hope



Hurricane Harvey and its rain brought much destruction and despair to the Texas Gulf Coast region, but what you may not know, is that it also brought Hope.

Before Harvey, I was inundated by arguing, disagreements, violence and indifference on social media, in the news and in popular culture. Everywhere I looked, people seemed at odds with one another. Then Harvey happened.

Harvey came onshore late Friday night south of us. We were on the dirty side of the storm which brought severe thunderstorms, wind gusts and spawned tornadoes. That night a tornado ripped through my neighborhood waking us up with the undeniable sound of a freight train and things pelting the windows. After a few terrifying minutes, the worst was over. We were scared but fine. When the sun came up and we looked outside, we realized the tornado had just barely missed our house while seriously damaging those around us. We were stunned at the damage.

Soon, everyone began pouring out of their homes to check on each other. Thankfully, no one in our area was injured. Almost immediately, people started arriving to the worst hit streets just behind us to begin assessing their needs, cleaning up, cutting up trees, tarping roofs and offering people places to stay. I don’t remember hearing that anyone put out the “word” that help was needed, they just turned up. My husband and son went out to help a neighbor cut trees off his roof while the girls and I went to check on friends. I was amazed by what we saw. The contrast between the destruction of these homes and the sheer number of people out there helping in every way imaginable. It was an awesome sight. There was so much to be thankful for.

My story is just one of thousands such stories from Harvey. You’ve heard the big stories, such as the Catholic Houston businessman who immediately threw open the doors to his furniture stores to anyone needing shelter, or how JJ Watt, NFL superstar, made a quick video on his phone to raise some money for aid and ended up raising over $35 million. How about the Cajun Navy? Those determined men and women who hitched up their boats and headed straight for the Houston area to help out first responders with water rescues.

There are so many stories to tell. What Mattress Mac, JJ Watt and the Cajun Navy did was big and public but those actions are exactly the type of things that many people were doing on a smaller, less public scale with their friends, family, community and even for strangers. Everywhere you looked, you saw the corporal works of mercy in action. Without being asked, told, or even expected people were taking care of one another. Over and over. And it is ongoing as there are still many communities overwhelmed and needing help.

These are the stories from Harvey I want to remember. Heartwarming and selfless actions taken by regular people to help out and support those hurt by Harvey and the floods. When people who were helping were asked “why” by so many reporters, the answer time and again was, “That’s just what you do.” These are the stories that fill me with Hope for our future.

The hard truth is that this will be a long recovery and the full repercussions will not be known for some time, but this tragedy revealed the humanity and compassion we still have for one another.





Tweet: In the midst of the devastation, Harvey brought Hope to @LisaHenleyJones https://ctt.ec/4q7h0+

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Finding Faith during Tough Times

Just a few short weeks ago, we heard about having faith during trials in Matthew 14:22-33 when Jesus walked to the disciples while the boat “was being tossed about by the waves, for the wind was against it.”  

Right now, many of us may be experiencing our own challenges in faith. Our homes, our friends, our community, our city, our church are threatened or flooded with uncertainty, stress, and a long road of recovery ahead.  Do we have doubt? Do we find ourselves wondering – How can this really be God’s plan?  

When Jesus spoke to the disciples, “Take courage, it is I; do not be afraid,” Peter, showing great faith, joined Jesus in walking upon the waves. “But when he saw how strong the wind was he became frightened and, beginning to sink, he cried out, “Lord Save me!”

Even the apostles and saints experienced darkness that caused them to call out - Lord, I Need You!
As confusing as it may be to grasp, sometimes difficulties and stress are necessary to help us grow in our faith. Faith is not a life of “chance,” but the conscious act of purposefully choosing a life with a God who loves us! During our testing times, we must reach deeper to find and cling to our faith. 

Really, there are only two choices for people of faith -  
Do we look up at the heavens and cry out in abandon, “Oh God Why?”
Or do we look deep within us and cry out in faith, “Oh, Lord Save Us.” 

As a people of faith, we know that God never said it would be easy – He said there is a Life to Come. It is our human pride and sin that discourages us, that turns us away.  “We know that all things work for good for those who love God.” (Romans 8:28)  

God has a plan for each of us.  Always.  He will sustain us during our struggles. Always.

Immediately, Jesus stretched out his hand and caught Peter, and said to him, “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?”  After they got into the boat, the wind died down. 

Suggested Playlist for Prayer during times of Stress and Uncertainty

Trust in You
Find You Here
Forever Reign
10,000 Reasons (Bless the Lord)
Great Are You Lord
Your Grace is Enough


This post was inspired and based on a homily given by Fr. John Cahoon on Aug 13, 2017 from Mass Readings. 

Monday, March 20, 2017

Lent is Not about Chocolate

Lenten devotions should lead us closer to Christ for Easter morning.  In this video, Lisa looks at the three pillars of Lent and how they can change us in these 40 days of Lent.





Lenten Posts mentioned in the video



How are your personal Lenten devotions preparing you for Christ on Easter morning? 

 

Monday, February 27, 2017

40 Books for the 40 Days of Lent


Lent is a good time to pause and reflect on Jesus' sacrifice on the cross and how we live our lives following in his footsteps.  In the past few years we've shared our #Givefor40 - 40 ways to give of yourself for Lent.  This year we'd like to share a list of 40 Lenten Books for the 40 days of Lent.  No, we're not expecting or suggesting anyone read all 40 in one year.  Reading new spiritual books to grow in faith is always one of our favorite ways to observe lent and we wanted to share some of our favorites and ones that are sure to become our favorites.

We've included the cover of the book, the title, author and a partial blurb as found on Amazon.  If you click on the book image, you can read more about the book and see reviews on Amazon. 

We believe we've put together a nice cross-section of Lenten spiritual books.  Our hope is that you find one to draw you closer to God during this season of Lent. If we left off your favorite book to read for Lent, please share in the comments.


Bringing Lent Home with Mother Teresa by Donna-Marie Cooper O'Boyle
While many Lenten reflection booklets are designed for individuals or small groups, this one is formatted specifically for families and draws on the wisdom of Blessed Mother Teresa. This daily guide shows parents and children alike how to put her words into practice with practical suggestions on how to live the threefold call of Lent: to fast, pray, and care the poor.


Bread and Wine - Readings for Lent and Easter
A time for self-denial, soul-searching, and spiritual preparation, Lent is traditionally observed by daily reading and reflection. This collection will satisfy the growing hunger for meaningful and accessible devotions. Culled from the wealth of twenty centuries, the selections in Bread and Wine are ecumenical in scope, and represent the best classic and contemporary Christian writers.
Includes more than seventy Lenten and Easter readings by CS Lewis, GK Chesterton, Phillip Yancey, Dorothy Day, Mother Teresa and more.


Simplifying the Soul: Lenten Practices to Renew Your Spirit by Paula Huston
Award-winning author and Benedictine oblate Paula Huston invites readers to de-clutter their minds, hearts, relationships, and souls in a book of daily Lenten practices woven from the gospels, the Desert Fathers, and the author's own wealth of spiritual experience.


Rediscover Jesus: An Invitation by Matthew Kelly
Rediscover Jesus is a profound invitation to seek deeply personal answers to our deeply personal questions. Each page seems to effortlessly reach into every aspect our lives, providing spiritual wisdom and practical insights that help us to know both Jesus and ourselves in a new way.
Some books find us at just the right time, and those books change our lives forever. Rediscover Jesus is one of those books.


The Ignatian Workout for Lent by Tim Muldoon
Tim Muldoon applies the principles of discernment, reflection, and action to guide readers to grow in love and transform their Lenten experience. This bite-sized volume provides forty brief exercises—organized according to the four “weeks” of prayer from the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius—and can be used by anyone during Lent to help readers become both hearers and doers of the Word of God.


The Little Way of Lent: Meditations in the spirit of St. Therese of Lisieux by Fr. Gary Caster
While reading the autobiography of St. Thérèse, Fr. Caster had an 'ah ha' moment that transformed his experience of Lent from one of narrow concern over what to give up to one of joyful freedom to enter into the sacrificial love of Jesus Christ. "What struck me," he says, "was her insistence on the way we do things for God and not the things we do for him. It wasn't about what I was offering; it was about why." The daily Lenten meditations in this book—all colored by St. Thérèse's Little Way of Spiritual Childhood—will transform you, too, helping you focus not so much on what you have done to offend God, but on what he has done to redeem you.


Sacred Reading for Lent 2017
This powerful Lenten prayer book from the Apostleship of Prayer, "the pope's prayer group," engages and inspires readers with the Church's daily scripture readings from Ash Wednesday to Easter Sunday, introducing Catholics and other Christians to the traditional spiritual devotion known as lectio divina, or "sacred reading," in a new way.


Sacred Space for Lent 2017
Sacred Space for Lent invites readers to develop a closer relationship with God during this season of prayer, fasting, and almsgiving. What we know and trust about the Sacred Space online prayer experience is now available in a compact print format to heighten our Lent prayer practice in a way that is accessible, engaging, and meaningful to daily life.


Writing to God: 40 Days of Praying With My Pen by Rachel G. Hackenberg
Writing to God is a Lenten devotional tool, providing forty-seven insightful prayers for personal reflection and an equal number of scripturally-based writing prompts to guide readers/writers in their own praying. Each prayer draws its readers into a moment of meditation, even as it sets an example for the accompanying prompt. Paired together, these prayers and writing prompts offer daily devotions for the Lenten season, including Sundays and Holy Week.


Lent with Saint Teresa of Calcutta by Heidi Hess Saxton
This small book of daily reflections for Lent and Holy Week celebrates the humility, charity and devotion of Saint Teresa of Calcutta, canonized on September 4, 2016, and the Missionaries of Charity—including the four sisters martyred in Yemen in March, 2016.


Lent and Easter Wisdom from Thomas Merton
Let the words of Trappist monk Thomas Merton lead you through the holy season of Lent and into Easter. The author was known for his journaling skills. With that in mind, the daily format includes an explanation of one facet of the season, followed by Mertons' writings, appropriate Scripture passages and a daily journal topic to encourage your own thoughts related to Lent and Easter.


The Hope of Lent - Daily Reflections from Pope Francis by Diane M. Houdek
With prayer reflections drawn from the words of Pope Francis, this Lenten companion helps you prepare for the Easter season. With Scripture citations for each day of the season, selections from the pope’s writings, and ways to bring the pope’s message into your life on judgment, justice, forgiveness and mercy, The Hope for Lent will lend a moment’s meditation to discovers the extraordinary in the ordinary, to be surprised by God’s mercy when we least expect it.


40 Days, 40 Ways: A New Look at Lent by Marcellino D'Ambrosio
If you're looking for a new Lenten experience, here are forty fresh ideas. Some will challenge you to deepen your prayer life; others will open your mind to new ways to serve others. Each of the forty ways includes a reflection to help you understand more about Lent and why it matters. You'll learn how to have a more creative experience of Lent. You'll discover positive, proactive ways to take action instead of the same old routine of giving something up. The result will be spiritual transformation and a closer walk with Christ—not only during Lent but throughout the year.


Lenten Reflections from A Father Who Keeps His Promises by Scott Hahn
From Genesis to Jesus, these Lenten reflections based on A Father Who Keeps His Promises highlight biblical characters such as Adam, Noah, Abraham, Moses, and David that lead us to Christ and his sacrifice for us. Delving into the rich history of God's covenant with us, each day's reading gives the reader much to reflect on throughout Lent, culminating with Easter and ending with Divine Mercy Sunday. In addition to the reflection, there is a daily Scripture verse, a prayer, and a relevant question, all designed to deepen the reader's Lenten experience.


Lent with the Saints: Daily Reflections by Greg Friedman, O.F.M.
With insightful reflections, Fr. Greg Friedman draws on his love of the saints to offer daily inspiration during this season of repentance, forgiveness, and hope. Each day of Lent you can meditate on a Scripture reading, ponder reflections on this holy season, connect and pray with the Church's most beloved saints and holy people—Thomas Merton, Augustine, Francis, Clare, Damien of Molokai, Teresa of Calcutta, and Gianna Molla, to name a few.


Lent with St. Francis: Daily Reflections by Diane M. Houdek
By pairing the words and deeds of St. Francis of Assisi with the Scripture readings for Lent, Lent With St. Francis: Daily Reflections helps readers reflect on how they, too, can live the Gospel in the circumstances of their daily lives. It is written in a simple and engaging style that will draw readers in to the life of Francis, as they grow in their faith and spiritual practice through the inspiration of this beloved saint.


The Sermons of St. Francis de Sales for Lent
Twelve sermons on key aspects of the Christian life given during Lent, 1622--fasting, how to resist temptation, the danger of losing one's soul, living faith vs. dead or dying faith, Christian attitude toward death, proper conduct in illness, God\'s special providence toward those living a spiritual life, the hidden meanings of Our Lord's Passion, eternal happiness, mutual charity, etc. Impr. 230 pgs. 


Seven Last Words: An Invitation to a Deeper Friendship with Jesus by James Martin, SJ
Based on his talks at New York’s St. Patrick’s Cathedral on Good Friday 2015, the New York Times bestselling author and editor at large of America magazine offers a portrait of Jesus, using his last words on the cross to reveal how deeply he understood our predicaments, what it means to be fully human, and why we can turn to Christ completely, in mind, heart, and soul.



Wonderous Encounters: Scripture for Lent by Richard Rohr
Rohr's meditations on the daily readings of Lent are not for the sake of mere information, or even for academia, but for the sake of our transformation into our original "image and likeness," which is the very image of God. What always and finally matters for all of us is encounter.


The Living Gospel: Daily Devotions for Lent 2017 by Tom Fox
Popular Catholic columnist, blogger, and podcaster Deacon Tom Fox guides you along the path to renewal with simple, yet spiritually challenging devotions for every day of Lent, the Triduum, and Easter Sunday. These daily gospel-based devotions will thoughtfully lead you from the solemnness of Ash Wednesday and the passionate sorrow of the Cross to the exuberant joy of the Resurrection.


Lent and Easter Wisdom from Pope John Paul II
Beloved Pope John Paul II was one of the most popular and inspirational religious figures of our time. In Lent and Easter Wisdom From Pope John Paul II, the late Holy Father's thought-provoking words lead readers through a journey of conversion throughout the season Lent and Easter week.
Each daily reflection--from Ash Wednesday through the Second Sunday of Easter--begins with thoughts from Pope John Paul II on some appropriate theme, supported by Scripture, a prayer, and a suggested activity for spiritual growth.


Everyday of Lent and Easter: A Book of Activities for Children - Cycle A
Just for children, Liguori offers Every Day of Lent and Easter, Year A, the perfect tool for teaching youngsters to learn what Lent is about and how they can practice penance, prayer, and almsgiving. Features of Every Day of Lent and Easter: 48-page booklet packed with colorful illustrations; Games, puzzles, mazes, and activities; Explanation of themes and traditions of the season; Lenten calendar; Helps children focus on the meaning of Lent and Easter in their lives; For children in grades 1, 2, & 3


Make Room: A Child's Guide to Lent and Easter by Laura Alary
Make Room presents Lent as a special time for creating a welcoming space for God. Other books offer excellent ideas for going through the Lenten season with children, but Make Room uniquely connects its projects to the story of Jesus. Simple and practical activities such as baking bread, having a neighbor over for dinner, uncluttering your room, and watching less TV become acts of justice and kindness, part of a life of following and imitating Christ, and a way to make room for God in our lives and in the world around us.


2017 Magnificat Lenten Companion
Lent is a time to refocus our hearts and revive our love of the Lord and one another.
A Companion for the Forty Days of Lent (from Ash Wednesday to Easter Sunday).
Designed in a convenient, easy-to-use format:
- Inspiring reflections from some of the most gifted Catholic writers for each day
- Faith-filled essays
- Prayers, poetry, and devotions
- Meditations for the Way of the Cross
- A treasury of spiritual insights


The Way of the Cross by Caryll Houselander
The Way of the Cross is a glorious meditative journey in which readers are led to meet themselves through re-experiencing the Passion of Christ. Each of the 14 meditations concludes with an original prayer. This revised edition is enhanced by 14 of the author's own powerful line drawings.


Bring Lent to Life: Activities & Reflections for Your Family
Don’t just give something up for Lent! Gather your family, and with Kate Basi’s fresh ideas, you will Bring Lent to Life!  Fasting is not just giving up candy, almsgiving is more than giving away your unused allowance, and prayer becomes active. Embark on the adventure of practicing the three tenets of Lent in new ways:
The Easter Tree grows with symbols (nails, an empty egg, three dimes and more) rooted in Scripture, and blooms with flowers through your Lenten observance.
Sunday Love Letters (and drawings) share the love of Christ with family members.
Crafts, family outings, recipes, and other activities help reveal the meaning of Lent.
 

Lent and Easter Wisdom from G.K. Chesterton
G. K. Chesterton is one of the few Christian thinkers admired and quoted equally by Christians of all types and even by non-Christians. Each daily reflection in this book--from Ash Wednesday through the Second Sunday of Easter--begins with thoughts from the finest writings of Chesterton on an appropriate theme and supported by Scripture, a prayer, and a suggested activity for spiritual growth.


Welcome Risen Jesus: Lent and Easter Reflections for Families by Sarah A. Reinhard
Welcome Risen Jesus offers daily reflections and thoughts that encourage families to THINK, PRAY, ACT based on words from scripture. These exercises are designed to engage your household during the Lenten season by tying scripture and reflection to your daily life. With each passing Sunday, your family's faith will grow stronger, and the true meaning of this season will be discovered.


Lent and Easter Wisdom from St. Francis and St. Clare of Assisi
Although they lived nearly 800 years ago, Saint Francis and Saint Clare of Assisi serve as excellent guides for the modern Lenten journey. Saint Francis and Saint Clare of Assisi abandoned their comfortable lifestyles and embraced lives of poverty, humility, and penance to better follow the call to Christian discipleship. Both saints underwent powerful conversion experiences in their lives. In the course of their conversions, they ignited a movement that reformed the medieval Church and that continues to influence and inspire millions of Christians to this day.


Pope Francis: Living Lent with Mercy: Encouragement and Daily Prayers by Fr. Warren J. Savage
Combining the wisdom and humility of Pope Francis with prayers from Fr. Warren J. Savage, Living Lent With Mercy will touch your heart, prompt deep reflection and spark a desire to grow closer to the Lord, one day at a time.


Do I Really Have to Give Something Up for Lent? by Sarah A. Reinhard
Learn about a variety of opportunities to celebrate Lent, such as: giving up something meaningful, doing something for others, and sacrifice and sharing with others. With the thoughtful suggestions in this pamphlet, you will discover ways to help you grow closer to Jesus this Lent-and every day after.


Lent and Easter Wisdome from Fulton J. Sheen
Timeless words from the pen of Bishop Fulton J. Sheen inspire the heart and imagination as readers embark on a Lenten journey toward a better understanding of their spiritual selves. Covering the traditional themes of Lent--sin and salvation, death and Resurrection, sorrow and hope, ashes and lilies--these 50 passages and accompanying mini-prayers offer readers a practical spiritual program as a retreat from the cares and concerns of a secular world view.


The Little Black Book for Lent 2017
This Little Black Book is your companion for Lent. It’s an old-fashioned “vade mecum” (pronounced vahday maykum). That’s Latin for “travel with me” and was used to describe a book that was a constant companion – perhaps a condensed book of prayers for traveling priests, or a handbook for quick reference – something you could take with you anywhere.


The Stations of the Cross: Catholic Coloring Book Devotional
This Catholic Devotional and Adult Coloring Book provides prayer, scripture, reflection, and inspiration as you travel with Jesus Christ through the Stations of the Cross. All scripture passages are from the Catholic Bible and are suitable for family study. Additionally, this book contains fourteen beautiful stained glass coloring book images, one for each Station, allowing you to relax, relieve stress, and color in prayerful meditation.


Praying Lent: Renewing our Lives on the Lenten Journey by Andy Alexander SJ
Praying Lent: Renewing Our Lives on the Lenten Journey reminds the reader that if we focus too much on what we give up we may miss the message of what God wants to give us during this grace-filled time. Created in partnership with Creighton University’s popular Online Ministries, Praying Lent provides readers with a rich, full, and transformative Lenten prayer experience, one in which hearts, minds, and lives are truly renewed as Lent takes on a far deeper and more meaningful purpose.


A Prayer Book of Catholic Devotions: Praying the Seasons and Feasts of the Church Year
This Catholic prayer book by best-selling author William G. Storey contains some of the best traditional devotions to assist in daily prayer throughout the liturgical year. Strongly biblical in tone and content, A Prayer Book of Catholic Devotions was written to carry out a Vatican mandate which promotes the revival of traditional Catholic devotions. This leatherette Catholic prayer book is the first devotional book based on the liturgical year; psalms, canticles, Scripture readings, and traditional prayers help readers celebrate the holy seasons of the year.


What Jesus Saw from the Cross by A. G. Sertillanges
Written early in this century by Rev. A. G. Sertillanges, a priest who lived in Jerusalem, this acclaimed devotional classic gives you vivid and dramatic details not included in the Gospel: With Jesus, you'll be jostled by crowds as you enter Jerusalem, choke on the dust of the narrow streets, experience the exotic oriental smells of the city at festival time, share the Last Supper with the disciples, stare into the face of Jesus' accusers, and be there as He dies on the Cross.
Do you remember when Jesus begged His disciples to "watch one hour" with Him in the Garden of Gethsemane? With this book, you can watch not just one but many hours with Jesus.
Read it slowly and prayerfully. The vivid details and the gripping narrative will soon take over: you'll find yourself engaged in a personal retreat, an interior pilgrimage, and a profound meditation on the love and sufferings of Jesus on the Cross.


Praying with Mother Angelica: Meditations on the Rosary, the Way of the Cross, and Other Prayers
Mother Angelica's meditations combine the spiritual insights of a master with the warmth of a loving mother. Her short but powerful reflections will lift your soul to Heaven and lead you into a thoughtful and penetrating reflection on the love of God and the life of Our Lady.


Bringing Lent Home with St. Therese of Lisieux by Donna Marie Cooper O'Boyle
Bringing Lent Home with St. Thérèse of Lisieux: Prayers, Reflections, and Activities for Families provides everything a parent needs to gather the family together for a time of prayer and conversation, including a daily quotation from St. Thérèse and a story about her life. Cooper O’Boyle also offers practical suggestions on how to put into practice each day the threefold call of Lent: to fast, pray, and give alms or care for the poor. On Sundays, the focus is on the themes assigned to that Sunday of Lent, and a project for the week ahead is suggested. The booklet can be used with any of the three Catholic lectionary cycles and is designed for use with children through the pre-teen years.


Meditations for Lent by Jacques-Bénigne Bossuet
Translator Christopher Blum has selected from Bishop Bossuet's voluminous works fifty brief but remarkably powerful meditations that complement the daily readings at Mass during the Lenten season, thus offering to us the perfect companion for a thoughtful and fruitful Lent.
If you read and meditate briefly on just one of them each day in Lent, this good French bishop's eloquence will soon have you not merely remembering the events of Christ's journey to His Crucifixion; it will have you spiritually walking with Him on that journey . . . which is precisely what we are called to do in Lent.


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