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October 18, 2017

Halloween and All Saints' Day

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 Topics Prayer, WBAS Topics Saints

October 5, 2017

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 6, 2017

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

August 31, 2017

Labor Day Reflections: Work and Christian Spirituality

There is a beautiful golf club down the hill from us. Because so many of its members live in houses on its perimeter, it’s not unusual to see people riding to and fro in their golf carts. For many, this is a classic image of retirement.

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WBAS Topics Holidays, WBAS Topics Prayer

June 29, 2017

Celebrating Our Freedom to Advocate and Care for Others

It isn’t exactly summer reading, but I just finished Blaine Harden’s Escape from Camp 14. It tells the story of Shin Dong-hyuk, the only known person to have been born and raised in a North Korean prison camp who eventually escaped.

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WBAS Topics Holidays, WBAS Topics Prayer

May 9, 2017

A Memorial Day Reflection

When my husband and I set off on a cross-country trip four years ago, we knew we would visit numerous historical sites. We did not think so many of them would include graveyards.

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WBAS Topics Holidays, WBAS Topics Prayer

April 12, 2017

Earth Day and the Joy of God’s Creation

“Our very contact with nature has a deep restorative power; contemplation of its magnificence imparts peace and serenity. The Bible speaks again and again of the beauty of creation, which is called to glorify God.” Saint Pope John Paul II

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WBAS Topics Prayer

February 23, 2017

Discerning Our Vocation

“O that today you would hear his voice harden not your hearts…” Psalm 95:7-8

The reminder to listen for the voice of God runs deep in the Scriptures. Such admonitions are usually partnered with the hardened heart – one closed off to the guidance and grace of God’s love. As a spiritual director, I often sit with those dealing with issues of vocation. Rather than a once-in-a-lifetime call to a career or lifestyle, however, this kind of discernment occurs over and over again as we age or as our circumstances shift. Even those with what might be considered a final vocation, such as the priesthood or religious life, must continue to listen for where God is calling them and how to best use the gifts God has bestowed upon them.

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WBAS Topics Prayer, WBAS Cat Prayers & Reflections

February 7, 2017

A Valentine for God

Valentine’s Day may be two weeks away, but I don’t think it’s too soon to start reflecting on its lovely themes and associations. My affection for the holiday stretches back to childhood. Every year my mother gave each of my siblings and me a small satin-covered, heart-shaped box. It was filled with those candy hearts that taste a bit like Pepto Bismol. I was enchanted with my little box, even though it was the same one I had received the year before. For one thing, it was all mine. Inside, the little candies carried warm messages– “luv u”, “be mine”, and “yours 4ever.” I took each one to heart.

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WBAS Topics Holidays, WBAS Topics Prayer

January 16, 2017

The Ministry and Vocation of Teaching

During a “gap year” in which I was discerning the direction to go with my studies, I served as a volunteer with Head Start. It’s there that I met Mrs. Cranmer and learned how teaching can be both a ministry and a vocation. There is no question that she was called to be a teacher. Her natural ability to talk to little children and nudge them along in their learning was a gift she was truly meant to share. Beyond excelling at the art of developing creative learning experiences, she also treated each child with love and respect. Since many of them came from impoverished homes, she was ever aware of their varying needs and ministered to them with tenderness and endless patience. As such, she built a safe haven for learning and for play. My decision to return to school to pursue a degree in education was largely influenced by Mrs. Cranmer.

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WBAS Topics Prayer, WBAS Cat Prayers & Reflections

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