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October 17, 2016

Living as Faithful Citizens: Download a Prayer for the Election

I wish I knew how to contact Mrs. Andrews. I would love to send her a much-belated thank-you the Civics class she taught when I was a junior in high school. In addition to learning about the structure and functions of the three branches of government, she emphasized our role in becoming good citizens. Part of that entailed the responsibility to be well-informed, thoughtful, and respectful of the democratic process. With the upcoming national election, Mrs. Andrews’ call to responsible citizenship is on my mind.

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WBAS Topics Prayer, WBAS Topics For Families

October 11, 2016

A Halloween Prayer for Families

The neighborhood is starting to light up. Orange lights are strung across porch railings and pumpkins, scarecrows, and witches are perched along curbsides. One household erected a fake cemetery in their front yard while another strung a huge spider web between two enormous pine trees. It’s beginning to look a lot like Halloween.

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WBAS Prayer of the Week, WBAS Topics Holidays

October 4, 2016

Teresa of Avila and the Interior Castle

It sounds like something out of a fairy tale – a crystal castle with a spiraling set of rooms leading to a center point of beauty and mystery. This is the Interior Castle of Teresa of Avila. It is her masterwork, a book on contemplative prayer that she might never have written without the strong urging of the spiritual leaders of her Carmelite order. Likening the soul to a crystal castle, she describes the seven rooms, or “dwellings”, as a progressive path of prayer that leads towards union with God.

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WBAS Topics Saints

September 26, 2016

The Joyful Mystic, Saint Teresa of Avila Prayer Reflections

I read a story recently about a study of the happiest countries on five different continents. Results showed that it wasn’t a surplus of money or goods that equated happiness. Rather it was the absence of worry about the future and a high degree of face-to-face socialization. The findings shouldn’t surprise us. Great saints have been demonstrating for centuries that the road to happiness usually winds its way through simple pleasures.

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WBAS Topics Prayer, WBAS Topics Saints

September 20, 2016

Returning to the Virtue of Modesty

Pope Francis has served for over three years now and we still are still getting used to his humble demeanor and actions. I can still picture him riding back to his hotel on the bus, garbed in his brand new papal vestments. He lives in modest fashion, drives around in a small car, and eschews the trappings that come with being in a position of power and authority. All of this could be dismissed by a cynic as a facade, but Pope Francis continues to exemplify modesty in the way he speaks about his own sinfulness and nudges the followers of Jesus along a similar path. Pope Francis is truly a wonderful example of how to live modestly.

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WBAS Topics Virtues & Values

September 20, 2016

Growing Gracefully

When I grow up, I want to be like Aunt Julia. After a brief visit with her in Orlando this past weekend, I feel warmed by her spirit, her easy laugh, and her generous heart. As the only surviving sibling in a large family, she holds stories and memories that tell of another era. Her father died when she was ten and her older brother had to take on the role of patriarch when he was in his mid-teens. Only two children in their large family went to high school; all of them, except Julia, worked in a local shoe factory. She studied nursing, married, raised a family, and moved from New York to Florida. I am not privy to many other details of her life, having “inherited” her as my aunt-in-law. I just know that I admire her greatly.

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WBAS Topics For Families

September 14, 2016

Reflection on St Francis of Assisi

Is there any other saint who enjoys as much popularity as Francis of Assisi? Google his name and over 7 million results become accessible. Likenesses of him stand in gardens, parks, and churches, usually with birds and animals clustered around him. Such devotion must surely be due to nature – both his love of God’s creation as well as his own gentle demeanor.

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WBAS Topics Saints, WBAS Cat Prayers & Reflections

September 8, 2016

Our Lady of Sorrows Feast Day

I saw them as I entered the supermarket parking lot. A family of four crouched in the shade of a small tree. Two young boys sat with their mother and waved at passing cars. The father held a sign asking for assistance. I parked the car and made a mental note to buy something for them to eat before heading back home. My good intentions slipped away, however, as I made my way up and down the aisles, searching for all of the items on my list. As I exited the store the sight of the family brought me up short. I unloaded my bags and pulled out the lunch meat and rolls I bought for lunch with a friend. After handing over my meager offerings, along with a few dollars, one of the boys looked up and smiled. “God bless you,” he said.

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WBAS Seasonal Feast Days & Holy Days, WBAS Topics Prayer

September 7, 2016

People of Faith Remember: September 11, 2001

I can’t say I gave much thought to flying on the tenth anniversary of the 9/11 attacks. My mind was more focused on the talks I had just given in Tucson, Arizona, as part of a catechetical conference. While standing in line at the airport, however, the significance of the anniversary took hold. The security agents shut down the screening process and we joined with millions of people across the country in observing a moment of silence for those who died on that tragic day.

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WBAS Topics Prayer

September 1, 2016

Making Time for Friendship

Paul Simon, in one of his early songs, described old friends as “bookends.” The image didn’t mean much to me until this past weekend when I drove to Taos, New Mexico, to reunite with two friends from childhood. Bill and I grew up in the same neighborhood and share memories that stretch back to Kindergarten. Stephanie showed up in the middle of our fifth grade year and Bill and I quickly swept her into our little circle. Our friendship remained steadfast well into our twenties when years and careers started to pull each of us in different directions. We stayed in touch sporadically until this past spring. The heart attack that nearly took Bill’s life jolted us into recognition of the time not to waste. We each cleared our calendars in order to reunite for a weekend of sustained conversation and lengthy meals. These two friends have truly bracketed my life with their love and laughter.  

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WBAS Topics For Families, WBAS Cat Prayers & Reflections


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