Got Joy? Latest JOYAlive.net posts 5-26-17

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Featured Favorite: Why I Remain Catholic

The Anchoress Elizabeth Scalia posed the question on her Patheos blog, “Why do I remain Catholic?” to Catholic writers and all media persons in this post. #WhyRemainCatholic is going wild. This conversation is timely for me, for I’ve begun writing and speaking about my faith story. I’m reliving some key moments such as when I gave my life to Jesus at a Protestant youth retreat. In my staunch faith I never dreamed that five years later I would marry in the Catholic Church. The only way God could ever get me to convert to Catholicism was to arrange for me to fall in love with a devout Catholic. My official conversion almost three years later when I realized I belong in the Catholic Church.

Later there’s the story of my renewal, an event that took me from Sunday Catholicism to full time.  It plunged me deep into covenant community 40 years ago. These highlights provide the backdrop of how I arrived where I am today but don’t tell the understory of why I remain Catholic. Why I created a Catholic blog and write incessantly about my faith. Why my career as a writer and speaker winds around my faith. Why l adore the Eucharist. Why I evangelize.

It’s a fact that I feel God’s presence in my beautiful marriage, parishioners and my covenant community. These relationships provide me with spiritual nourishment daily. How could I ever do without these intricate parts of my life? Remaining Catholic doesn’t depend on any earthly structures or relationships, no matter how indispensable they seem right now.

I remain Catholic because it’s who I am, a beloved child of God, best friends with Jesus and a channel of grace and charisms of the Holy Spirit. These don’t depend on whom I’m with or where I worship but on a deep, unshakable conviction that I belong in the Catholic Church where I find the Real Presence of Jesus. He’s my life, my inspiration and my fulfillment. With or without these supportive relationships in my life, he stands alone as my destiny. I was created for him, for Truth. I was meant to be Catholic. There’s no going back from where I belong.

What’s your reason to remain Catholic?

(© 2015 Nancy HC Ward)

Posted in Catholic, Community, Conversion, Covenant, Evangelism, Holy Spirit, Jesus, Joy, Nancy Ward, Renewal, Sacraments, Writing | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

One Sunday in Galilee: Mass in the words Jesus spoke

Mosaic of Last Supper of Jesus by Giacomo Raffaelli from year 1816 as copy of Leonardo da Vinci (DollarPhotoClub)

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An entry in my travel journal describes one Sunday in Galilee in 1988 on a pilgrimage to the Holy Land led by John Michael Talbot. As it does now, the world churned in turmoil with war surrounding the holy sites.

Sunday, March 20, 1988, was a day of connecting to the Christians in the Holy Land and to the Lord. On our way to Mass with the local Christians of Ibillin, in Galilee, we saw our first signs of war: armed khaki-clad street soldiers and transport vehicles full of soldiers. Something we have never had to bear. Among the many olive trees stood burnt out houses, some abandoned and some occupied. Continue reading

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Friars Corner: Jesus and the Holy Spirit defend and plead for us before God

Fr. Bob Hilz, TOR

Fr. Bob Hilz, TOR

Acts 8:5-8, 14-17; Ps 66:1-7, 16 and 20; 1 Peter 3:15-18; John 14:15-21

The readings this weekend give us a “snapshot” of the early Church development. The apostle Philip went north Samaria bringing good news about Jesus our Savior. When they heard him and saw the healings and deliverances from evil spirits Philip was doing among them, there was great joy in the city. They were baptized in the Name of Jesus. When the leaders in Jerusalem heard this, Peter and John were sent up to lay hands on the people to receive the Holy Spirit.

The second reading from 1 Peter 3,15-18 encourages us to be ready to give an explanation to anyone who asked us the cause of our hope and joy. Most Catholics are shy about sharing their faith publically. We are all commissioned at our baptism to live and share the values of our faith, so others can come to know to love and joy of God’s love in their lives.

Continue reading

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Got Joy? Latest JOYAlive.net posts 5-19-17

  • God’s To-Do List for you – Nancy Ward tells a story of a working mother and asks, “What surprises do you imagine God has on his To-Do List for you today?”
Posted in Catholic family, Community, Fr. Bob Hilz, Healing, Joy, Joy Stories, Nancy Ward, Renewal, Scriptures, Sharing YOUR Faith Story | Tagged , | Leave a comment

God’s To-Do List for you

Sunrise over Lake Ray Hubbard (photo by Nancy Ward)

Sunrise over Lake Ray Hubbard (photo by Nancy Ward)

What’s on God’s to-do list for you today?

Does he wake you up early enough to enjoy the beautiful sunrise he created?

As you get dressed, does he prompt you to pray for a divorced friend or cancer-stricken relative?

Perhaps when you get to work and prepare to give a presentation this afternoon, the connector for the projector is nowhere around. You rush out to buy one and are soon drenched by a thunderstorm. But the deluge stops while you are in the store. Driving back to work, the clouds clear and you gasp at the sight of a gorgeous rainbow. Continue reading

Posted in Catholic family, Covenant, Friends, Joy, Nancy Ward, Parenting, Prayer | Tagged , , , , | 1 Comment

Joy Stories: Broken Brain, Fortified Faith

Broken Brain Fortified Faith cover Hi Rez 1 9781942934745 copyBy Virginia Pillars

I consider myself a “Cradle Catholic.” My family and both sets of grandparents attended the same Catholic parish. My first outing after birth was to church where I received the sacrament of Baptism. I grew up in a large farm family with eight brothers and two surviving sisters. For many years, one of us occupied a desk at our parish grade school. Before I hit puberty, I’d received the sacraments of Confession, First Holy Communion and Confirmation. Saturday afternoon trips to the Confessional along with weekly Sunday Mass were part of our routine.

In 1975, I stood next to Roy, a Catholic “boy” from a neighboring farm community and we received the sacrament of Marriage. Together we raised four children as we built our farming operation to a comfortable level. I’m guessing to many around us, we may have seemed like the “ideal Catholic farm family.” And if I’m honest with myself, I felt that life had treated us well.

I felt blessed. Until in late 2004 when my life changed almost overnight. Continue reading

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Friars Corner: Jesus leads us to abundant life now and forever

Fr. Bob Hilz, TOR

Fr. Bob Hilz, TOR

Acts 6:1-7; Ps 33:1-2, 4-5, 18-19; 1 Peter 2:4-9; John 14:1-12

One of the easiest ways to understand our Scriptures is to pray to the Holy Spirit asking him to activate the gift of understanding that we were all given at our baptism and the added gift of understanding from our Confirmation. As we read the scriptures reflectively the Holy Spirit turns the “lights on in our brain.” Then we begin to glow brightly. It really is amazing.

Most of us as adults realize that we are longing for happiness in life. God created us that way and only he can ultimately fill our desires. In John 10:10 last week, said Jesus said he had come to bring us abundant life. Jesus told us he was our shepherd leader and the gate to lead his sheep in and out to good pastures. His sheep know and hear his voice and follow him. Continue reading

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