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Apr 22, 2014

When I was in university, I wanted to carry out something great, heroic even. Like all young people, I wanted to make a difference in the world. After spending 18 years pregnant and/or nursing, I have done nothing noteworthy. Yet I intuitively understand that by mothering, by doing simple things I have changed the world.  Even though I do not always feel that I serve with love or bring light into the world, even though I feel like a failure, I know that the light of one candle, pushed back the deepest darkness because darkness is simply the lack of light, not a force

Do Small Things When I was in university, I wanted to carry out something great, heroic even. Like all young people, I wanted to make a difference in the world.
Apr 21, 2014 / 1 note

Simple stories and parables sometimes explain spiritual truths better than intricately worded essays because parables shine light on the inexplicable. Metaphors, or word pictures, are the language of God in the Old Testament, the language of Jesus in the Gospels and the Holy Spirit in the Epistles because images bypass the sceptical reasoning of our human minds and pierce our hearts.display_image

 

Myadoratnstery cannot be explained and understood  with the intellect alone. That’s why the Educated Scribes and Pharisees could not grasp Jesus’s message. Rather it was simple, uneducated people and little children who understood His message with their hearts because they were humble and hungry; they needed more than their mundane life could supply. The simple stories which Jesus told did not explain spiritual truths intellectually but His parables reached their hearts and feed their inner spirit.

Analogies are still the most effective way to reach man’s inner spirit because the human spirit learns intuitively. And symbols, word pictures speak right to our inner spirits the most powerfully.

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I discovered a fascinating list of biblical symbols at  http://www.biblegateway.com/resources/dictionary-of-bible-themes/1670-symbols based onDictionary of Bible Themes Scripture index copyright Martin H. Manser, 2009. As Editor, Martin Manser wishes to thank all those who compiled or edited the NIV Thematic Study Bible.

Objects, actions or creatures that have a deeper significance and are so understood by those who see them or use them.Symbolic objects

The rainbow: a symbol of God’s covenant See also Ge 9:13Eze 1:28Rev 4:3

A stairway: a symbol of the way to God Ge 28:11-13Jn 1:51

Thunder, lightning, cloud and smoke: symbols of God’s majesty Ex 19:16-18Ex 24:17Ps 97:2,4Rev 4:5Rev 8:5Rev 11:19

Thunder: a symbol of God’s voice Ps 29:3Ps 68:33

Trumpets: a symbol of God speaking Ex 19:19Rev 8:6

The pillar of cloud and fire: a symbol of guidance Ex 13:21Ravenna.sheep

A throne: a symbol of God’s glory Isa 6:1Eze 1:26Rev 4:2Rev 22:3

Dry bones: a symbol of spiritual death Eze 37:1-2,11

White hair: a symbol of wisdom Da 7:9Rev 1:14

The wind: a symbol of the Holy Spirit Jn 3:8Ac 2:2

Fire: a symbol of the Holy Spirit Ac 2:3

Stars and lampstands: symbols of God’s ministers Rev 1:20

A signet ring: a symbol of authority Est 8:10Hag 2:23

Arrows: symbols of God’s judgments Ps 38:2Ps 120:4

A sceptre: a symbol of God’s rule Ps 2:9Rev 2:27Rev 19:15

The capstone: a symbol of pre-eminence Mt 21:42 pp Mk 12:10-11 pp Lk 20:17Ps 118:22

A rock: a symbol of stability Ps 18:2Ps 40:2

The human body: a symbol of interdependence 1Co 12:27

Grass: a symbol of human frailty Ps 90:5-61Pe 1:24christian-symbols-stained-glass-church-window-background

Symbolic creatures

The serpent: a symbol of Satan’s subtlety Ge 3:1Rev 12:9Rev 20:1-3zzz78

Locusts: a symbol of God’s judgment Ex 10:12Joel 1:4Rev 9:3

Beasts: symbols of earthly kingdoms Da 7:2-7,17Da 8:20-22

A dove: a symbol of the Holy Spirit Mt 3:16 pp Mk 1:10 pp Lk 3:22

A lamb: a symbol of Jesus Christ’s sacrifice Rev 5:6

Symbolic actions

Breaking a jar: a symbol of the destruction of Jerusalem Jer 19:10-11

The cursing of a fig-tree: a symbol of judgment Mt 21:18-19 pp Mk 11:12-14

Washing hands: a symbol of innocence Mt 27:24

Being thirsty: a symbol of spiritual need Ps 63:1Jn 7:37

Baptism: a symbol of salvation in Jesus Christ Ac 22:16Ro 6:3-41Pe 3:21

The Lord’s Supper: a symbol of union with Christ Mt 26:26-29 pp Mk 14:22-24 pp Lk 22:19-20 pp 1Co 11:23-26

Anointing: a symbol of empowering by God’s Spirit 1Sa 16:13Lk 4:18Isa 61:114_subcat

Harvesting: a symbol of judgment day Joel 3:12-13Mt 13:29-30Rev 14:15

Tearing garments: a symbol of anger and sorrow Ge 37:29,34Jos 7:6

Spitting: a symbol of contempt Isa 50:6Mt 26:67 pp Mk 14:65

Shaking off dust: a symbol of rejection Mt 10:14 pp Lk 9:5Ac 13:51

Sitting in sackcloth and ashes: a symbol of repentance Ps 69:11Isa 22:12Jnh 3:5-6Mt 11:21

Lifting of hands: a symbol of prayer Ps 63:41Ti 2:8

Covering the head: a symbol of submission 1Co 11:3-10Symbols expressing God’s nature and character

God’s face: a symbol of his presence Nu 6:25-26Ps 34:16

God’s arm or hand: a symbol of his power Ps 21:8Ps 89:13

God’s eyes: a symbol of his awareness Pr 15:31Pe 3:12

God’s ear: a symbol of God listening Ps 31:2Isa 59:1237814_f248

The Power of Symbols Simple stories and parables sometimes explain spiritual truths better than intricately worded essays because parables shine light on the inexplicable.
Apr 20, 2014

Maybe this strange bear can inspire you… http://awe.sm/t6GIS

Apr 20, 2014

Rejoice, Heavenly Powers! Sing, Choirs of Angels! Exult, all Creation

Rejoice, Heavenly Powers! Sing, Choirs of Angels! Exult, all Creation

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Rejoice, heavenly powers! Sing, choirs of angels! Exult, all creation around God’s throne! Jesus Christ, our King, is risen! Sound the trumpet of salvation!

Rejoice, O earth, in shining splendor, radiant in the brightness of your King! Christ has conquered! Glory fills you! Darkness vanishes for ever!

Rejoice, O Mother Church! Exult in glory! The risen Savior shines upon you! Let this place…

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Apr 19, 2014

Exodus 14:10-31; 15:20-21   The Israelites Cross the Red Sea

 “As Pharaoh drew near, the Israelites looked back”.  

Big mistake. Lot’s wife looked back and remember what happened to her? She turned to a pillar of rock salt. What did the Israelites do? They looked back. What do we do when we are trying to leave our former lives of sin? We look back with longing to our days of comfortable slavery where  every detail of our lives were familiar to us.These first words from Exodus show not only the Israelite’s weakness every time they find themselves in a crisis, but our weakness, as well. Itis always a big mistake to look back when we are breaking out from our own slavery because our enemies are usually advancing on us.

The journey to freedom is never easy; it is hard to make a clean break from any state of bondage. Freedom does not come cheap. Often we complain, with the Israelites, that life was much easier in slavery than in freedom.The journey to  freedom is a journey into the unknown  where the greatest challenge is not only the hardship of living as free men and women of God, but that we must face of our own fears. Just like the Israelites we lack faith in the strength of God to keep us safe.

What is the answer to every crisis, every threat to our freedom? As Moses said to the people,

“Do not be afraid, stand firm…The LORD will fight for you, and you have only to keep still.”

We only have to keep still and trust.Standing still in the face of threats is the most difficult stance to keep up because everything in us wants to run back into the comfort of the life we are familiar with, the life of slavery. Every counselor understands this tendency to take two steps forward and one step back. We are afraid of freedom, afraid of living as free, healed people because it is not comfortable; it is a life that is in the unknown.

 We are called to standing still and trust just like the Israelite in the 3rd reading for the Easter Vigil  Mass, looking forward and trusting in God. If we can learn this lesson perhaps we will not have to journey for 40 years in the desert like the Israelites did. Then we will sing  and dance with Miriam  “Sing to the LORD, for he has triumphed gloriously” All credit and praise to God, not for our own wit and schemes because we stood form and waited for God to save us.



                                                                                  In your steadfast love you led the people whom you redeemed;

you guided them by your strength to your holy abode.

 The LORD will reign forever and ever.

“You Only Have to Keep Still.” Exodus 14:10-31; 15:20-21   The Israelites Cross the Red Sea  ”As Pharaoh drew near, the Israelites looked back”.  
You are Not Too Broken
Apr 19, 2014
Apr 18, 2014
Painting the Passion
Apr 18, 2014

The Mundane Is Profound

The Mundane Is Profound

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C. S. Lewis is one of the most quoted authors on Twitter. Brilliant quotes from him that remind us how crucial our mundane, day-to-day lives are. I had wanted to become something heroic like a missionary. I was disappointed when I ended up married. 35 years and 9 kids later, I am thrilled that I listened to my inner self, of course. I learned mysteries that can only be learned with your…

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Apr 18, 2014

Ponder:  Stop for a moment and remember the women in two thirds of the world who face the threat of death during every delivery.

Prayer: Lord, bless all mothers and expectant mothers. Open our eyes to see and use our fingertips to write to help expectant mothers in the third world.

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My daughter almost died during childbirth 6 days ago when she almost bled out, loosing a litre of blood

I gazed down at her limp form,

As a tear trickled down her pale face.

She whispered,

“I felt myself slipping away…”

My daughter  thought for a moment that she was dying,

Her husband carried her weak body to the washroom.

The nurse held her new son’s weight, as she nursed.

Life and death are not as far apart as I had presumed.

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The largest threat in third world countries is the lack of proper maternal health care for women. In these countries, the women often die of haemorrhaging. This usually occurs while they are giving birth or after the process because there are no doctors or nurses in their presence. When the women begin losing a lot of blood, there is nothing anyone can do.

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It is Good Friday, a day we reflect on our Lord’s passion and death. Yet a day that I am thinking of birth, as well..Jesus’ birth in a stable, with no doctor, in an era where mothers died during childbirth, especially young girl-mothers like Mary. I wonder what thoughts or fears went through her head? Of course God was with her and within her in a unique way, yet….

In this painting, young Mary is exhausted, asleep as angels entertain baby Jesus

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Marianne Stokes..

Birth: Life or Death? 1  Ponder:  Stop for a moment and remember the women in two thirds of the world who face the threat of death during every delivery.
Apr 17, 2014

Ann Chapman:St. John the Evangelist laid his head upon Jesus’ Chest at the Last Supper.- living artist

Gaston La Touche, “The Last Supper,” 1897.

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Leonardo de Vinci’s painting,

The Last Supper With Catholic Artists
Apr 17, 2014

Friendship Friday

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 A poem about

Life and death.

Darkness and light.

Agony and joy.

On this Good Friday I reflect that just 6 days ago I almost lost my daughter in childbirth.

I could have lost a daughter in childbirth on Saturday.

My daughter almost bled out when she lost a litre of blood in mere seconds after an emergency C-section.

Of course, in a modern hospital, an emergency team of no less than ten…

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Apr 16, 2014

Humourous Wednesday Quotables

by pere_borrell_del_caso

A joke is a very serious thing. Winston Churchill

Humor is perhaps a sense of intellectual perspective: an awareness that some things are really important, others not, and that the two kinds are most oddly jumbled in everyday affairs. Christopher Morley

When humor goes, there goes civilization. Erma Bombeck

Like a welcome summer rain, humor may suddenly cleanse and cool the earth, the air and you

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Apr 16, 2014 / 1 note

Where Do I Stand This Night?

Where Do I Stand This Night?

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It is Holy Thursday, the night we celebrate the Chrism Mass.Tonight, churches around the entire globe will wait in  prayerful450px-AbbeyofOurLadyofMontserratjf1921_05l vigil, with lights dimmed, all images covered with the congregation in respectful, sombre silence. The Church is remembering the end of Jesus’s public life as a teacher and healer and walking with Him as He begins His most important work, the work of salvation in His…

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Apr 15, 2014

Life is Fragile

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I could have lost a daughter in childbirth on Saturday.

She almost bled out when she lost a litre of blood in seconds. Of course, in a modern hospital, an emergency team of no less than ten people, descended on her, whipped off all sheets, nightgown and the screen in place for her emergency C- section which upset her husband. HE had to be dragged out and told why she was treated like a piece of…

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Apr 15, 2014

What Makes a “Good” Parent?

What Makes a “Good” Parent?

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What makes a good parent? In one word? Humility. In two words, a sense of humour and humility.Think about it for a minute and you see why.

Children are  well…little and vulnerable, vulnerable to the large, often clueless adults,  who care for them. Put yourself in a baby’s situation. Preverbal for years it must be frustrating to be  tired or in pain, only to have a bottle thrust into your mouth…

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