“The treasures of the Bible are to be opened up more lavishly so that a richer fare may be provided for the faithful at the table of God’s Word”
(-Sacrosanctum Concililum 51)
The USCCB has declared November 15-21 National Bible Week, in celebration of the 50th Anniversary of the Second Vatican Council Dogmatic Constitution on Divine Revelation, Dei Verbum. This year’s theme is “A Book for the Family.” Any time is the perfect time to study sacred Scripture but I am especially thankful for the opportunity this week.
Three weeks ago, I started a free Bible Study called “Good Morning Girls” (which I talked about on episode #028 my podcast “Good Things Radio.” ) I’ve known about this for years because of a friend, Courtney Joseph who began the ministry several years ago. I just always had an excuse as to why I couldn’t do it. I was too busy, it wasn’t a Catholic-specific, I was working on something else, or reading something else. However, the more I looked into it, the more I knew I had to try it. For the last decade, I’ve poured over the daily readings of the liturgical year but I’ve never really studied the Word of God in a formal way and it was long overdue.
“Ignorance of Scripture is Ignorance of Christ.” -St. Jerome
Since I have a Catholic Bible, that is my trusted resource, and all that was needed to begin. We are currently in the book of Numbers and it has been richer and deeper than I even expected. It simply requires reading one chapter a day. That’s it. I ordered a journal from the website:
I started the study alone. Then a small group began to form. Just a few of us who act as accountability partners, as well as share our reflections from the chapter that day, via text…
“Remember your leaders who spoke the word of God to you. Consider the outcome of their way of life and imitate their faith. ” (Hebrews 13:7)
In the evenings, we re-read the chapter as a family. What surprised me most about this, is that we’ve actually been able to keep up with it. My initial thought of not having any time to fit in a bible study, has not only been proven untrue but I’m finding time for two sessions a day? God is so good!
Needless to say, I was excited about the timing of the USCCB’s announcement of National Bible Week and the encouraging words to families about the importance of studying sacred Scripture.
“Proclaim the word; be persistent whether it is convenient or inconvenient; convince,reprimand, and encourage through all patience and teaching. “– 2 Timothy 4:2
The USSCB website has wonderful resources for this week and beyond. Including a contest to test your Bible IQ! Additionally, I also ran across a website launched by the Vatican Congregation for the Clergy, called Biblia Clerus. It allows researchers to access Bible verses with exegesis from doctors of the Church or cross reference liturgical texts with commentaries from Church Fathers. That may be more of the “advanced” level, but it’s worth noting for all the armchair theologians out there!
May The Good News of Jesus Christ bless you today and always!
Sponsored by Walsh University. Leave your make-up and high heels at home. Bring your lounge clothing, and spirit ready to recieve. This very special weekend is designed to renew your heart and repenish your soul. However, please note that the following schedule is a suggested itinerary. The most important aspect is to “Be still” (-Psalm 46:10) and we want you to enjoy the weekend in the way that meets your needs. There will be times of sharing, re-focusing and connecting with others with the same heart over the course of the weekend. Space is limited to the first 50 ladies. So please don’t delay in registering for this event!
CLICK HERE for more information.
Brooke Taylor noted radio personality to speak at Our Lady of Perpetual Help – Nov. 4th —-In honor of the World Meeting of Families and the Bishops’ Synod on Family, Our Lady of Perpetual Help Parish, 342 S. Chillicothe Rd., Aurora, OH, presents “Meeting the Divine in the Dirt & Grime ~ Catholic Families, Here and Now”, Wednesday, November 4, 2015, 7 p.m. The event’s speaker, Brooke Taylor, is the former co-host of the “Family Friendly Morning (radio) Show” on 95.5 The Fish. She is also a frequent speaker at Christian women’s events and has emceed events with various Christian artists and speakers. Door prizes, Refreshments and Babysitting provided! Admission at the door is $10. Bring the coupon from the church bulletin and get in for 1/2 price!!
Tami Kiser AKA “Smart Martha” with Brooke Taylor. Recording Brooke’s presentation for “Faces of Mercy.” Click here for the website.
We are just a few days away from the Feasts of All Saints and All Souls. It’s times like this that I am reminded how much I love the Liturgical cadence of the year. November is the Month of Holy Souls. A time of change, darkness sets in earlier, vibrant colors fade away, and animals head into hibernation. It also coincides with the end of the Church year and the reminder of our own mortal “end” and what lies ahead. Not usually something we like to think about! But, there is a certain beauty in honoring the souls that have touched our lives and paved the way before us. Since it’s not something I wanted to just blow by in one day, I decided to start a little early to prepare as a family. Granted, this is about as simple as it gets, but I entrust the rest to the Holy Spirit. This is our little mantle for All Saints Day (Nov.1) and All Souls Day (Nov 2.):
Here’s a breakdown of what we have displayed:
We went around the table and wrote the names of the faithful departed. Those (mostly within the last year) that we have loved and lost, and want to remember in a special way. This was surprisingly emotional for me (although I’m always emotional, so that should’t be a surprise! ha). It was a very powerful time of recollection, joy and somber reflection after writing the names of each soul.
Anita Kennedy, Mr. Costanzi, Grandpa, Francois, Ruth Howser, Louis Zamperini, Abigail, and many others.
The clock. I included this as the centerpiece behind the crucifix as a tie-in to both All Souls and All Saints day. A reminder that our minutes are numbered, and we must love and serve God and others with the precious time we have. Inspired by the following story:
“Once there was a king who desired not to forget that, like other men, he must die, and he had a man whose duty it was to come before him each hour and repeat the words: “Remember thou art mortal!”
That is, every hour he had this man remind him that sometime he would have to die. Each time the man came in before the king, he was reminded that he had one hour less to live; so, each and every time that you hear the clock strike, you should be reminded of the fact that another hour has passed, and that you have one less to live. In this sense every clock has a tongue, and when it strikes it tells us that we will now have one hour less to live upon the earth.
Redeem the time: Ephesians v. 16
“Did you ever stop to think that a man who is thirty-five years old has had five solid years of Sundays? And the man who is seventy years old, has had ten solid years of Sundays? With the years given to worship and the study of God’s Word, a man at seventy ought know a great deal concerning the teachings of the Bible. May God teach us so to number our days that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom.”
With that, I also printed out Psalm 90: 12:
“So teach us to number our days, That we may present to You a heart of wisdom.”
I also have my Dad’s memory card from his funeral service (Love that strong smile. Miss you, so much. xoxo). As well as holy cards of the Saints (the Church Triumphant) and a blessing cup chalice.
For All Saints Day, I purchased “Brother Francis presents The Saints Coloring and Activity Book” for Mr. Gus (although this is probably better suited for 5-10 year olds).
I’m hoping we can get to the cemetery over the weekend and pray the Rosary too. Oddly, it’s one of my favorite things to do as a family (I know that sounded weird, but it’s really not..trust me)! Lol. I love praying for the families as we stop at each grave stone. These are people we will never know this side of heaven, but the Lord hears the prayers and applies grace to the people/families who need it, and I just love that.
Do you celebrate the Feasts of All Saints and/or All Souls Day? I would love to hear how you observe them!
Finally, I wanted to share a “soul exercise” I ran across Fr. Ed Hays’ blog. He says the following:
Today the soul is commonly considered to be the totality of the self as a living conscious subject. But what are your thoughts about the soul? One thing for sure, talking about or to your soul would make you more conscious of its invisible mysterious existence. If you care to experiment, the following examples can be a beginning of your own Soul Language Lexicon.
*Coming home tired: “Oh, my poor weary soul, I’m dead on my feet.”
*During a long sermon: “My sorry soul aches for him to stop preaching.”
*Upon winning anything: “O my soul, dance with joy—I’ve won!”
*Finding place to park: “Look, my soul, an empty parking space. God is good!”
*Awakening at dawn: “O my soul—I’m alive! I’ve been gifted with another day.”
May God bless your soul! xoxo
Testing the spirit:
Several weeks ago, my spiritual director challenged me to “test the Spirit” about a little flame that had been flickering in my heart. The little flame, was a retreat. Specifically, a Good Things Radio retreat, which my friend Jennifer and I have dreamed about since our first “Weary Women’s Weekend” getaway in 2012. We didn’t know the “how” or “where” or “when” at the time, but the desire to have a soul-sabattical with other sisters in Christ has remained like a little glowing ember. I have come to learn that when you intend to “test the Spirit…buckle up! Thanks to the blessed wise counsel of this dear priest and the generous support of Walsh University the retreat has come to life! GO Holy Spirit! Jesus, I trust in you!
The last year has brought many hills and valleys and I wasn’t sure I had the stamina to take on something like this but now that it’s happening, I am so energized by stories and souls of those who are being called to attend. Last year when Jennifer and I began the podcast, we floated a little “test balloon” to the listeners to ask the question: are you interested in going on a retreat? Would you come? I thought maybe a few hardy souls might reach out (I hoped!) but what we received was an overwhelming response from women in 22 states who expressed interest. That little light is in the hearts of so many others as well, just waiting to be called to this special place. So it is happening and the prayer going forward now is that those who have been summoned will be there to receive the blessing. My mind is so full of details about the actual gathering that it’s hard to know where to begin. I think the most important aspect is to communicate why these weekends are so important. Retreats can have an immeasurable benefit. In Matthew 14:22-23-Our Lord himself receives profound blessings from “retreating” to the mountains. He is tempted; He preaches, He prays, He is transfigured, He speaks his last words to his disciples. In each instance, Jesus comes and remains close to God by retreating, by praying.That is the purpose of a gathering such as this.
To slow down our breathing.
Relax our souls.
Pull away from the world and graft ourselves onto HIM.
Make new friends.
Learn new things.
Laugh like schoolgirls.
Pray like saints. And enjoy our lives by awakening our souls to the infinite gifts around us.
Here’s the scoop.
The retreat will be held at Loyola Retreat House in Clinton, OH…
Thursday evening, March 10, through Sunday morning, March 14, 2016. (please listen to GTR episode #24 entitled “Retreating” to find out more about why we chose Thurs-Sunday).
Featuring: Fr. Nathan Cromly, Jennifer Willits, Lisa Hendey (founder of Catholicmom.com and author), Sarah Reinhard (author and speaker), Ben Walther (worship leader), Andrea Singarella (craft workshop leader) and most importantly: The Father, the Son and The Holy Spirit. To have an opportunity to “Be Still and know that I Am God.” (Psalms 46:10). To steal away with the Savior in sweet moments of quietude. To enter into the Liturgy of the Hours and draw close enough to His heart to really feel His presence.
As the deer longs for streams of water,
so my soul longs for you, O God.
My soul thirsts for God, the living God.
When can I enter and see the face of God? (-Psalms 42: 2-3)
I love how Fr. Nathan pulls people around him into his prayer life, and that will be the case for this retreat. For those called to join in Holy Mass, and Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, Reconciliation and more. In working with him to build the itinerary, I was overcome with emotion just thinking about the tender way God cares for us, and anticipating the holy gifts that will be unwrapped during these few days.
The ticket includes lodging, all meals unlimited beverages, one-on-one spiritual direction, workshops, presentations and so much more. Pre-sale tickets go on sale for our Good Things Radio listeners on Thursday, October 22 (and if you aren’t a Good Things Radio friend yet, I encourage you to “Like” our page on Facebook) 🙂 We will share the link on the page soon. After that, tickets will go on sale to the public but space is very limited (only 50), so I am just praying that those who are supposed to be there will come.
I thank my wonderful priest friend for challenging me to “test the Spirit” even when I was afraid. I hope you will consider testing the Spirit as well!
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