Bacchus Open House 2019

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This is just a snippet of the family day hosted by the Bacchus organization this year.  We were blessed to be invited, and a good time was had by all!  The menu this year was the most extensive ever – crawfish pie, meat pies, gumbo, muffalettas, Lucky Dogs, pralines, gelato, mimosas, milk punch and bloody Marys, as well as beer, wine, water, soda and more!  The theme of the parade for 2019  is “Starring Louisiana.”  The floats each represent a movie filmed in New Orleans.  The folks at Blaine Kern surely do amazing work!

Posted in photography

I Believe

My heart has been singing this song all morning – a song from my childhood – elementary Catholic school days.  When I did an internet search, I learned the source of the lyrics.  It was written during WW2, on the wall of a cell by a Jewish prisoner in the Cologne concentration camp.  Here is an excerpt:

“I believe in the sun
even when it is not shining
And I believe in love,
even when there’s no one there.
And I believe in God,
even when he is silent.

I believe through any trial,
there is always a way
But sometimes in this suffering
and hopeless despair
My heart cries for shelter,
to know someone’s there
But a voice rises within me, saying hold on
my child, I’ll give you strength,
I’ll give you hope. Just stay a little while…”

I’ve been thinking of the things that I believe too, this morning – trying to verbalize them – set them in my head and heart, knowing that I will surely be called to answer for them and to testify to those beliefs more and more as the world falls deeper into depravity and immorality.

After the news events of previous weeks and months regarding our Church and our country, God may have brought these words to me as consolation – reminding me (us) that we are not alone – even when things seem darkest, or when God seems not to be answering us fast enough for our taste.  Padre Pio once said, ” You can’t give God deadlines.”  (He is one of my favorite saints because he did not mince words and gave of himself untiringly and selflessly to bring souls to Christ.)  If there’s one thing I’ve learned in this life it is that God’s timing is almost never our timing, but His timing is always perfect.  If we are going through a trial – and we are!! – that God will bring a greater good from it.  He is making diamonds from a lump of coal!

May I suggest spending some time in silence today meditating upon God’s Word and praying.    I got up at 5:30 this morning and had a whole hour with the Lord.  It has brought hope (and sunshine:) to me on this gray day.  In the silence, the Spirit’s still small voice may rise within you saying “Hold on, my child, I’ll give you strength, I’ll give you hope.  Just stay a little while…”

Some other quotes from Padre Pio on Spiritual Combat.

 

Posted in Prayer

I’m a Slow Learner

This morning I awakened with these words in my heart and in my head, “Obedience without hesitation.”  You see, I had an experience earlier in the week, where I felt moved to share some words of comfort with someone – a stranger.  I knew that it was what I was supposed to do, but I bungled it up because of my doubt and hesitation.  I felt so disappointed in myself.

I’ve been asking Mother Mary to teach me her ways – the way of self denial, of humble obedience, etc.  Well she gave me a test, and I failed!   Maybe the failure in itself was to teach me a lesson:  “Obedience without hesitation, Dana.”

Funny, as things go…I’ve discovered more and more in these past few years that,” The Word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and spirit, of joints and marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart Hebrews 4:12 (RSVCE)  This is why it so important that we read it daily.  St. Jerome once said, “Ignorance of Scripture is ignorance of Christ.”  When we truly love someone, we want to know EVERYTHING about them.   Do we love Christ enough to give Him and His Father’s word first priority in our day?

As I read the gospel this morning before mass, I revisited the story of Jesus telling his apostles to “cast into the deep.”  Immediately, Peter’s response was BUT LORD WE’VE BEEN casting all night without success.  HESITATION.  At last, in obedience, he cast into the deep and the catch was astounding – to say the least!   He felt ashamed and humbled by his doubt and hesitation.  Christ, in his mercy did not hold it against Peter.  Instead, having learned the lesson, He gave Peter more responsibility – Go and fish for MEN!

We are so blessed to have a heavenly Mother – that Jesus gave her to us while He was on the cross.  I know that if we stay close to her, she will take our hand, bring us to Jesus and teach us her ways!

 

 

Posted in Prayer

The Photography Fast is Over!

My husband gave me the best gift ever – for no special occasion – a refurbished Canon point and shoot camera.  (Thank you, Honey!) Most of you know that I love capturing the beauty of God’s creation in photos.  My old Canon Camera broke nearly a year and a half ago.  I tried to replace it with something cheaper, and, well… that was a bad idea!  This caused me to “hang up” my photography hobby for awhile.

Today, I felt so alive trekking through the woods with a camera in one hand and holding the hand of my husband with the other!  We visited Bogue Chitto State Park in Washington Parish.  It was a brisk, grace-filled day.  With most weekends being rainy and gloomy as of late,  I had really been missing the trees and the sunshine!  I hope you enjoy my slideshow –  including the “Michael Jackson” shot that Eric took of me on the bridge:)

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Posted in Prayer

Catholics and “the Word”

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Catholics get our beliefs from two places – Sacred Scripture and Sacred Tradition.  Unfortunately, we, as a religion, are not well-known for our knowledge of Scripture, as many other denominations are.

Scripture is truly God’s love letter to us.  If we claim to love God, then we should want to know Him more fully each day.    Do you know that if you were to go to mass everyday for three years you would have (nearly) read the entire bible?

Fortunately, there are multiple resources for getting these daily readings – Apps like Verbum or Laudate; or subscriptions like Magnificat, or the Abide in the Word book.  How about the good old-fashioned daily missal?

I must admit that for years, I did not feel moved to read scripture on a regular basis.  I wrongly believed it to be about people thousands of years ago in a time and place that had almost nothing to do with me.   I felt I couldn’t relate.

Then I decided to start each of my religion classes with the gospel reading of the day.  You would be surprised at some of the insights the children have; the respect they show when the Word of God is being read; and the impact this small thing has had on some students in retrospect.  They’ve actually returned to tell me about it!!  That’s a God thing – not a Dana Doyle thing – for sure!

In the past few years of my spiritual journey, these two quotes from the bible have really struck me as being powerful and (of course) true:

Indeed, the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing until it divides soul from spirit, joints from marrow; it is able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart.  Hebrews 4:12

 Your word is a lamp to my feet
 and a light to my path.  Psalm 119: 105

Stop and reread those!  God’s Word is living and active – not old and out of date.  It is able to pierce the soul – to change us.    It is able to direct our paths and show us the way.  I need to know the way in this mine field of a world in which we live.

Think about how reading one line of scripture changed Saul to (St.) Paul!

In our world today, people are longing for Truth.  They are seeking God who is Truth whether they know it or not.  They are hungry for it.

The sad part is that so many want God, but they want Him on their own terms.  They say, “God is merciful.  God loves me.”  Yes, He does! But do you love God?  God is the same yesterday, today and forever.  He does not change to suit changing morals, and the bible is indeed still relevant in 2018!

Oh my goodness!  I’ve been reading the prophets lately: Isaiah, Jeremiah, Amos, Micah…Many of the passages sounds precisely like what is going on in our world today.  Everything has changed, but nothing has changed.  Human beings keep on repeating the same dumb mistakes – or let’s be real and call them what they are – SINS!

Recently, I took a class on Lectio Divina, the prayerful reading of scripture.  It was awesome!  Talk about a powerful way to grow closer in relationship to God!  I’m just getting started practicing what I’ve learned.  Already, it has made a difference in my understanding of and use of scripture to enhance my prayer time.  Do you want to grow closer to God?  I will tell you what I learned and give you a resource in my next post.

For now, here are the mass readings for Sunday, July 29th.

Notice how the first reading with Elisha the prophet foreshadows the gospel story of the multiplication loaves and fish with Jesus.   Do you truly believe with all of your heart that God provides all that you have? Do you believe that He has the power to multiply what little you may have if you will just hand over your “loaves and fish” to Him?

 

 

Posted in Prayer

For You

It has been many months since I have posted anything.  A sweet friend told me the other day that she missed my posts.  You know, I used to get excited about having several hundred readers a day (in the blog’s peak.)  Now, it just seems so unimportant. I’ve all but disappeared from social media. I care, but I don’t care, if that makes sense.

I feel as though I owe an explanation, but don’t think I can give one, really.   I have not felt inspired.  The words that were free flowing for so long just dried up.  Something profound happened to me in December of 2015, and it changed my focus completely.   I became very introspective – trying to discern God’s plan for my life and the lives of my family members.  I started soaking up everything I could read to aid my understanding, including God’s Holy Word and the prophecy of Catholic saints, as well as modern day “prophets.”

I still don’t have many answers.  In my experience, the Lord takes His time in unraveling a plan –  it might blow our feeble minds if it was all laid out before us at once!   I also know that His timing is always perfect.  So I try to wait patiently for that answer.

I read something the other day that suggested meditation upon God’s Word – even if it was just a verse that was meaningful.  I opened my bible and these two lines from Psalms 37 struck me:

Psalm 37:5,7  Commit your way to the Lord; trust in Him and He will act…Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for Him.”

I keep saying that repeatedly to myself and have even posted it in several places I frequent.  The truth is that life is tough for all who love the Lord.  The farther the world departs from God, the more we will stand out – and it is uncomfortable.  The world today does not know God – Truth.  The world did not accept Jesus.  If the world treated Jesus unfairly and even cruelly, how can we expect any less?  We must accept and even embrace persecution – but can only accomplish this with God’s grace.

The world tells us that we should avoid suffering at all costs.  Jesus tells us and shows us the exact opposite.  In fact, there are so many paradoxes in the bible.  It seems radical (maybe even crazy in earthly terms) to say that suffering can be a blessing.  It surely doesn’t feel like it when you’re going through it.

I trust though that God has a plan – a plan that is best for our eternity  – if we will surrender to Him and allow Him to form and use us.  That molding can be grueling, but it can be done with a peace and inner joy that God alone can give – and He wants to give us that grace!   He tells us that He will never test us beyond our strength.  Sometimes, I’m ashamed to say, I doubt this promise – especially when in the height of a personal storm.

I believe that so many good people are suffering now because Christ is allowing us to share in His suffering to help save the millions of souls who are on the path to hell.   We are told that the Lord does not wish that one of His children be lost.  Do we wish the same for our fellow brothers and sisters here on this earth?  Do we care enough to offer all of our pain as a “ginormous” prayer for their repentance and conversion?

Two things have given me peace in the midst of suffering:   The rosary – particularly “The 7 Sorrows of Our Lady.”    I often listen to it at night before I go to sleep,  I feel Mary’s empathy and support in my own sorrows, because she has experienced REALLY tough things herself and yet she remained faithful.   Visits to the Blessed Sacrament also help me keep my peace despite the frequent world wind of trials and challenges. Just sitting in the presence of Jesus is so calming and restorative.  If I skip (because I’m “busy”) then my day inevitably derails.

I hope this has been helpful to someone out there.  Please pray for me – for discernment  and grace.  Know that I often pray for you, my readers and friends.

Posted in Prayer

Absolutely Breathtaking!

I’ve been working on a presentation for a retreat I’m giving.  I stumbled upon these music videos by Audrey Assad.  I love her voice, and I knew of her music, but I did not know of these picturesque videos of some old time hymns she sings.  They are absolutely breathtaking, so I had to share!!     It is Well    Be Thou My Vision   How Can I Keep From Singing    Take a few minutes out of your busy day.  You are sure to be blessed:)

Posted in Christian Music, Inspirational, Prayer | Tagged , , , , ,

The Blue Butterfly

Just had to share this story posted by a fellow I read all of the time, Mark Mallet.  It’s really good – read it all the way through:)  Open your hands and have a great, blue butterfly kind of day!

The Blue Butterfly

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Stop All the Clocks

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My heart is hurting so much for several people who have lost a loved one suddenly as of late.  When you lose someone, one of the many upsetting aspects of it all is how everyone else’s world keeps moving along (seemingly) as usual while yours has completely fallen apart.   When I heard this poem from the movie Four Weddings and a Funeral, long ago it touched me deeply.  I think it explains this feeling I’m talking about eloquently.  To all who are grieving, I pray that God will give you strength and peace and the certainty of knowing how very much you are loved.
Stop all the clocks, cut off the telephone,
Prevent the dog from barking with a juicy bone,
Silence the pianos and with muffled drum
Bring out the coffin, let the mourners come.

Let aeroplanes circle moaning overhead
Scribbling on the sky the message He Is Dead,
Put crêpe bows round the white necks of the public
doves,
Let the traffic policemen wear black cotton gloves.

He was my North, my South, my East and West,
My working week and my Sunday rest,
My noon, my midnight, my talk, my song;
I thought that love would last for ever: I was wrong.

The stars are not wanted now: put out every one;
Pack up the moon and dismantle the sun;
Pour away the ocean and sweep up the wood.
For nothing now can ever come to any good.

W.H. Auden

Posted in poetry, Prayer | Tagged , , ,

Happy Birthday!

images-2  I don’t know why, but I’m actually excited about Pentecost tomorrow.  In all my life, I cannot remember being excited about this feast.  I mean, Christmas & Easter – those are exciting – but Pentecost, hmmm.  All of the feasts in the Church are supposed to be special (hence the term “feasts”), but I guess I’ve never REALLY given much thought to Pentecost.  It’s the day that Jesus’ promise was fulfilled – to never leave us alone – to send us an advocate – His Spirit.  At Pentecost, the birth of the Church, God literally set the hearts and minds of his apostles ablaze, so they were prepared/compelled to courageously go “where no man had gone before” – to preach the gospel in some super hostile places.  Just read the Acts of the Apostles!

I guess, I see the celebration of Pentecost as a hope for us today. The world has become a very hostile place once again – especially where Christians are concerned.  We are called (as always) to stand up for our Faith – to protect it – to do what we know is right – to love Christ with everything we’ve got – even when (not if) it makes us unpopular, persecuted, made fun of, tortured or killed because of it.  It’s getting more and more difficult to do that in a world that has sold its soul to the devil.  We cannot muster this courage of our own accord, my friends!  We NEED a stirring up of the gifts of the Holy Spirit in every Christian, because the battle we are in is the Ultimate one.

I have to admit that sometimes I’ve fallen into the trap of thinking that the gifts of the Holy Spirit are only for those “special people” –  Charismatics or Pentecostals.  I mean, I don’t speak in tongues or anything.  If I had the gift of the Spirit, surely I would be able to speak His language, right?  I came across this quote from a very wise person concerning the Holy Spirit:

The spirit-filled life is not a special, deluxe plan edition of Christianity. It is part and parcel of the total plan of God for His people.” A.W. Tozer

I suppose at times in my life, I have felt somehow that I’ve gotten the “basic” Holy Spirit package and not the “Deluxe Version.”  Have you ever felt that way?

The bible tells us, however, that the Spirit is for all who love and obey Christ:   “I baptize you with water for repentance, but one who is more powerful than I is coming after me; I am not worthy to carry his sandals. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.” Matthew 3:11  And how about this one:  “Do you not know that you are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in you?” 1 Corinthians 3:16

God’s Spirit DWELLS in you and me.  That’s some pretty profound stuff there!  If we truly believe this, shouldn’t we be living accordingly?

I love this quote from St. Catherine of Sienna:

“Be who God meant you to be and you will set the world on fire.”

Oh how I wish the world were ablaze with love for God (1st) and one another. “Come, Holy Spirit!  Fill the hearts of your faithful and kindle in them the fire of your love…”

Holy Spirit Prayer

This is my favorite Holy Spirit prayer that I say a lot:

O, Holy Spirit, beloved of my soul,
I adore you.
Enlighten me, Guide me,
Strengthen me, Console me,
Tell me what I should do.
Give me your orders.
I promise to submit myself
to all that you desire for me
and to accept all
that you permit
to happen to me.
Let me only know your will.

by Cardinal Mercier

The Lord says He will give His spirit to those who ask.  Have we asked?  Do we long for it or do we spend our lives trying to resist the Spirit – afraid to know God’s Will for us as it may not match our own.

If I’ve learned one thing in this life it is that God’s plans are infinitely better than mine.  Come, Holy Spirit!

 

 

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