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August 23, 2016

Catholic Virtues Series: Uncovering Virtue

Much as I love the season of fall, I am going to miss my mornings on the front porch. I start most summer days there, reading from a book of reflections and writing in my journal. The birds have gotten quieter in recent days. Their babies have exited the nest so perhaps they, like me, can take it a little easier. Every once in a while a hummingbird flits into my space but, lacking anything of interest, flies off again. The soft rustling of the trees and the absence of extraneous noises makes my morning contemplation all the sweeter.

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WBAS Topics Prayer, WBAS Topics Virtues & Values

August 18, 2016

Holy Labor Day

It’s been a few years since I wrote the “Ripples” reflection for my online column, From My Home to Yours. Nevertheless, I remember the story well. I popped into a convenience store on my way to give a talk to catechists in northern California. After a long, uncomfortable plane ride and with another two-hour drive ahead of me, I wasn’t a paragon of patience as I waited for the friendly clerk to assist the person in front of me. When she extended her graciousness to me, however, I shifted emotional gears. In doing so, I recognized the rippling effect that emanates from small acts of kindness.

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WBAS Topics Holidays, WBAS Cat Prayers & Reflections

August 9, 2016

Catechetical Sunday 2016: Learning to Pray

“I know how to say prayers but I’m not sure I know how to pray.” I have heard this from catechists, teachers, and parents over the years. Distinguishing between prayers and praying is at least a starting point for those unsure of how to deepen their spiritual lives. Did Jesus’ disciples face a similar dilemma when they requested a lesson on prayer? “Teach us to pray,” they asked, not “teach us a prayer.” Jesus responds by giving them one of our most cherished prayers – the Our Father – but it is clear this is more than a single prayer. It is a way to pray.

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WBAS Cat Prayers & Reflections

August 4, 2016

Cultivating the Gifts of the Holy Spirit

“What if this year we were to let the Holy Spirit turn us into people of overflowing fullness?” Brother Roger of Taizé

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WBAS Topics For Families, WBAS Topics Virtues & Values

July 20, 2016

The Grace in Grief

As mid-July approaches I remember my daughter, Jenny, and my father, Albert. The anniversaries of their deaths fall two days apart and wrap me in a paradoxical shroud of both grief and gratitude. Since both of these beloved figures passed out of my life decades ago – first my daughter and then my father – the sharp edges of loss have blunted somewhat. In place of the immediate anguish and the aftermath of extended sadness comes peace and deep thankfulness for the gift of two wonderful people in my life. This is grief for the long haul.

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WBAS Topics Prayer

July 14, 2016

Gifts of the Holy Spirit– Understanding

Of all the gifts of the Holy Spirit, understanding seems to be the most multi-leveled. It brings to mind a Russian nesting doll in which each one opens into another and another until we reach the smallest and yet most central place. The outermost shell is wrapped around the level of comprehension – those wonderful ah-ha moments in which the light dawns and the problem at hand suddenly becomes clear. As a teacher, I remember the delight in a student’s face when she finally tackled a mathematical concept or deciphered the words on the page. It was an enlightened moment for me as well.

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WBAS Topics Prayer, WBAS Cat Prayers & Reflections, WBAS Topics Virtues & Values

June 29, 2016

The Joy of Summer

“…The important thing is not to think much, but to love much…” Teresa of Avila

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WBAS Topics Prayer, WBAS Topics For Families

June 21, 2016

Celebrating Freedom

The more media I am exposed to, the more I appreciate the Cardinal Virtues. While justice is always a timely pursuit, the other three virtues – prudence, temperance, and fortitude - sound stodgy and out-of-step with contemporary needs and desires. Nevertheless, when the Founding Fathers drafted the Declaration of Independence, I’m pretty sure they didn’t define “pursuit of happiness” as unbridled hedonism or the license to say anything publically that comes to one’s mind, no matter how inflammatory.

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WBAS Topics Holidays, WBAS Topics Prayer, WBAS Cat Prayers & Reflections

June 15, 2016

Getting Ready for a Summer Catechetical Program

I once visited a church that was getting ready for a summer catechetical program. The air of excitement was palpable as volunteers bustled around getting classrooms ready for the two-week event. The games, songfests, outdoor activities, and food that were part of it had the makings of a memorable experience.

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WBAS Topics For Families, WBAS Cat Prayers & Reflections

June 9, 2016

School’s Out– This Summer Reconnect with God's Creation

Yesterday I set up an “anti-gravity” chair on our deck. It reminds me of patio furniture from my childhood that my parents referred to as “bar-wise chairs.” I have no idea what that meant, but I do recall the hours spent relaxing on them, as well as the times my siblings and I converted them into forts and other imaginative spaces. Roughly in the shape of a cockeyed “W”, the chairs rocked back and forth and were ideal for daydreaming. One of my fondest summer memories is lounging on one of them as the stars came out.

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WBAS Topics Prayer, WBAS Topics For Families


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