Merry Christmas !

(Holy Card image re-print permission granted from Holy Cards for Your Inspiration blog)
Hello my dear friends!

I have intentionally stayed off of the Web to spend time with my family that traveled so many miles to spend Christmas with us. I am glad to be back, though, to chat again about our lovely, precious Catholic faith.

My message today is simple: Praise God that in His infinite wisdom and infinite love for His sinful children, He sent His Son, Jesus Christ, to us in the form of a human baby, in the most humble of conditions, in order to teach us the Word (which is God) and to ultimately die for our salvation and eternal life in Heaven.

Merry Christmas!

~ Bella

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The Fourth Sunday of Advent: Staying Close to Mary in Our Season of HOPE !

(Holy Card re-print permission granted from "Holy Cards for Your Inspiration"
http://thewindowshowsitall.blogspot.com )

Hello my dear friends in Christ!

This is such a special week as we wait for the celebration of our Lord and Savior's birth! Can you just imagine how Mary felt when she found out that she was pregnant with the Son of GOD? I can only remember my humble days of waiting for my first child's birth, also in December. . . oh the joy, and oh the waiting!

And here we are, in waiting still. How close are we to our Blessed Mother, our spiritual mother? To stay close to Mary every day of our lives is essential to finding Christ in this life and to living with Him in eternity.

I know that I need to grow closer to our Lady more each day and trust in her intercession with her Son more and more. Mary teaches us to hope and to be patient. We are so impatient in today's culture and society; wanting 'things' now, now, NOW . . . or better yet: yesterday! Those who do not aspire and believe in the attainment of eternal life with our heavenly Father and Son are those who give up, complain, who have either lukewarm or non-existant faith, and who cling to earthly 'things' above all else.

How many of us are becoming overwhelmed with the never-ending negative news around us? When we keep our minds, hearts, and souls focused on what is coming soon, we will stay focused RIGHTLY and we will be filled with JOY knowing what is to come! That JOY and that HOPE will conquer and push out all of the discouragement!

Jesus told us in Matthew 6:19, that our hope is not to be placed in the things of this worldly life, which mothes and rust destroy, and which thieves can steal, but rather our hope is to be placed in the pure treasures of unimaginable joy living in eternity with God! My hopes and prayers are that I will grow ever so much closer to Mary, and to Christ and our Heavenly Father each and every moment, to forgive my never-ending human sinfulness, and to recieve His blessings and GRACE! THAT IS MY CHRISTMAS WISH AND HOPE!

We're not just suffering now and in the past; but we are always going to do so until we find our JOY in heaven. Hope in our Lord strengthens our patience in our adversities.

Let's not forget to always place our TRUST in Jesus, for He is perfect in His timing to help us and to give us the graces that we need. Let's continue to wait for the Lord, and know that all will be well in HIS timing and not ours. Let's keep hoping and living with JOY despite our earthly dispairs.

And let us remember to be ever more devoted to our Blessed Mother, who is Christ's Mother and a necessary advocate for our salvation. In these few days before we celebrate our Lord's birth, it behooves us to look to her example of HOPE in her Son!

With amore' to you,

~ Bella

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We Need "Poverty of Spirit" to Recieve God

"No one can celebrate a genuine Christmas without being truly poor.
The self-sufficient, the proud, those who, because they have everything,
look down on others,
those who have no need even of God — for them there will be no Christmas.
Only the poor, the hungry,
those who need someone to come on their behalf, will have that someone.
That someone is God, Emmanuel, God-with-us.
Without poverty of spirit there can be no abundance of God."

- Archbishop Oscar Romero (December 24, 1978)
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The Third Sunday in Advent 2008 -- REJOICE in the Lord, for the Lord is at Hand

(Holy Card re-print permission granted from "Holy Cards for Your Inspiration"
http://thewindowshowsitall.blogspot.com )

Rejoice in the Lord! For the Lord is at hand!

Our joy during Advent is because we, Catholics and Christians, know that Jesus is near us and is coming closer to us each and every day. We, not Jesus, are the ones who separate ourselves from Him through our own sins, whether petty or large.

Joy comes naturally when we have Jesus in our lives and when we welcome Him to live in our hearts, minds, and souls each and every day of our lives on this plane called earth. We are at our most unhappiest when we walk without Him. . . we are the lost sheep without our divine Shephard. We can NEVER find joy in things that separate us from our Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. That type of joy and happiness is ELUSIVE . . . FLEETING. In fact, the wrong 'things' and paths that we have or take in our earthly journey home to our Father only bring us more misery and sorrow. And oh how I can attest to this, having, you know, "been there, done that"! I have lived so much of my life in darkness before and it was all because I was not living a Christ-filled life. Thank God, in His divine grace, gently woke me up to look up at Him instead of at other people and things! Praise the Lord for His "Amazing Grace" to save a poor wretch like me. But oh how I need to continue to improve each and every day in my attempts to live as Christ and our Father want me to live.

As we read in Psalm 71:7 --
Sing for JOY,
O Heavens, and exult, O earth.
Break forth, O mountains into singing,
for our Lord is coming!
Christ and our Divine Father are the wellspring of our joy and happiness. Let us remember to stay close to God so that nothing and nobody can take away our joy and our inner peace.

It seems that everyone you talk to today has reasons to be unhappy. For example, my husband was informed that his department at his university will be eliminated in the next four years (so that those students enrolled in his programs can graduate). He will be 70 years old at that time. I told him that when God closes one door, he opens another and that this is perfect timing anyway, because that is the age at which my husband wants to retire from his current vocation anyway. The sad thing is that my husband never thought that this would be the way his career would end . . . the dissolution of a discipline that he so dearly has loved and been so dedicated to.

But there are so many state budget cuts currently throughout our nation in this economic situation. I just pray that people could understand that social services to OUR PEOPLE of this great nation cannot ALL be cut.....most especially public education, the field that helps so many people lift themselves out of situations that they don't want to find themselves in! Yet, through all of this bad news, my husband remains joyful because he knows that there is a divine hand in everything.

And yet there are still so many people who are worse off than us with so many problems these days. Thankfully, Christmas is truly about our Lord's birth and not about monetary things that so many people have been socialized to believe. I think those that are the most materialistic are having 'some' of the hardest times right now with how they are being forced to live without so many unnecessary luxuries. Luxury items were reported to be down in sales by approximately 20% for this month. Please understand that I am not referring to the poor, homeless, and jobless who have genuine hardships that we can and should help them with. JOY IS IN GIVING . . . not getting.

There is more that I wish to write about on this subject of joy and bringing joy into others lives by little gestures and kindnesses, and I'll write again shortly, when I can. I hope you'll join me in this little chat!

Amore' and JOY!

~ Bella

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CHRISTMAS IS NEAR! The celebration for our Lord's birth is cause for our JOY!


Peace, Joy and Love to You This Christmas

Merry Christmas, Peace, Joy and Love
to You This Christmas!
Amore' e' Buon Natale,
~ Bella
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The Second Sunday of Advent 2008 -- Bringing Light Into Our World

(Holy Card re-print permission granted from "Holy Cards for Your Inspiration"
http://thewindowshowsitall.blogspot.com )

Hello my dear friends in Christ,

"Behold, the Lord will come . . . " said John the Baptist. Yet are we stopping in our busy-ness and daily holiday madness to stop and remember that? The world was in darkness before our Lord's birth, and here we are today, closer to His second coming, but still in darkness.

Let's ask ourselves if we are living in a way to bring the Light of Christ into our world. For me in higher education, it is a difficult time of the year because when the end of the fall semester takes place (right now) during the Christmas season, I still must 'assign' the grades that students have earned. I'm in a joyful Christmas mood of giving and loving, yet I have to get real and be the bearer of negative news to some of my students.

Oh yes, there are those 5 or 6 students in each of my classes that SHINE LIKE A STAR OF LIGHT each and every day!!! And these are the students that I LOVE assigning their grades. There is only joy in this activity! But, on the other hand, there are those students who performed poorly, or who had poor attitudes, or for whatever the reason might have been, consequently received poor grades.

In this season of preparing for the Lord, I want so badly to engage in random acts of forgiveness and kindness and just give them ALL good grades. Yet, this is truly a dishonest thing to do. Even our Lord and Heavenly Father loves us so much to discipline us. So for those who receive a more negative grade, I just write a kind note to them on their term papers and try to encourage them to do better next semester. This is also in fairness to those students who performed well.

Just as John the Baptist had a role in proclaiming the Lord, each of us in our own vocations, large or small, have a duty to live out our beautiful Catholic faith through not only our words, but also our DEEDS. Let's find ways to shine Christ's light on others around us in our own surrounding world, and hopefully, that light will ripple further into the other parts of the world? You never know the extent of your positive Christian impact!

I hope that you have a blessed day!


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The First Sunday of Advent 2008 -- Preparing for Christ's Coming

(Holy Card re-print permission granted from "Holy Cards for Your Inspiration"
http://thewindowshowsitall.blogspot.com )

Hello dear friends in Christ,
The special Advent time of year is here again when we celebrate the preparation of the birth of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Advent means "coming".
Jesus tells us (Romans 3:11) to WAKE FROM OUR SLEEP!!! For we FORGET what is the most fundamental reason for our existence: to know, love, honor, obey, and serve God who sent His Son to be born among us, live among us, and teach us how to live as Catholics and Christians.

Additionally, we not only prepare for the celebration of Christ's birth and first coming, but we also continue to ardently prepare for His final coming. I need to constantly ask myself if I am prepared for the second and final advent (coming) of my Father, for when I pass away and for Christ's return at the end of time? I think that I am so far away from being worthy of His coming. I have so many issues and shortcomings to work on. You and I cannot forget that we are all called TO BE SAINTS . . . to be the best that we can be as Catholics, living out our beautiful Faith.

Each of us needs to rid ourselves of those specific issues and shortcomings that we each have to conquer, and we can do so with the help of God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit. A good examination of conscience each day and for confession would do our souls so much good! We need to have interior purification for the coming of God.

What are the issues and shortcomings that are separating me and you from God? I know that I need to be very strict and scrutinous and dig deep into my heart, mind and soul about whatever behaviors separate me from the Father. This is where some really serious spiritual warfare takes place! Lust of my eyes towards nice things, pride of life's accomplishments (which are truly from God anyway and not me!), selfishness, and more.

When we celebrate our Lords' birth and first coming, and when He returns for His final coming, will you and I have everything in order in our hearts, minds, and souls? Our whole reason for living here on earth and for being is for our constant preparation to see God! It is amazing how many people do not know this!

Jesus said to His Apostles: Take heed, watch and pray; for you do not know when the time will come when the Master of the house will come . . . in the evening, or at midnight, or at cockcrow, or in the morning . . . lest he come suddenly and FIND YOU ASLEEP. And what I say to you I say to all:

Let us remain ready by being more prayerful, more tolerant of our mortifications, and more through in the examination of our consciences, and by engaging in the Sacrament of Penance.

Let us ask the Holy Spirit and our Lady to help us prepare for our Lord's arrival this Advent season and for His final return.

In Jesus precious name, I pray. Amen

Blessings to you this Advent season,

~ Bella
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Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving Everyone!

We're off to visit our family and will be back to post and chat when we return!


~ Bella
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Keep Our Eyes on Christ Above and Not The Things of This World

Hello dear amici (friends) in Christ,

I have not posted in over a week because it is an incredibly busy time of the year in education before the semester ends in a few weeks. Also, my computer came down with a few flu bugs itself and had to have a few computer doctor house calls to get it well again......make sure your adware and spyware and virus protection software is on and run those checks weekly! What a mess my computer was in!

We all know that the economy is on everyone's minds AROUND THE WORLD now.....what proof that 'no man is an island'!

This week in my little local newspaper was an article written by Jim Mullen in which he compares the real suffering of those who lived through the Great Depression and those of us who are living through this current recession. It really helps you ask yourself, "What truly is SUFFERING?"

In the Great Depression:

  • people had to walk everywhere . . . not take their heated and air conditioned cars with DVD players and navigation systems!
  • people were not in debt up to their eyeballs with home mortgages way beyond the ability to pay with their earnings.
  • people did not drink $5 - 6.00 cups of gourmet coffee!
  • people knew how to 'do it themselves' and did not hire out every service - they painted their homes themselves, repaired their cars, re-used and recycled or went without things, they washed and ironed their own clothes and did not drop clothes off at the dry cleaners, they did not eat out at restaurants, movies were a treat.
  • people did not have cable or satellite services added to their TVs, nor had the added premium channels such as HBO, Showtime, the Disney Channel or Starz.
  • people drove cars and repaired them until they couldn't drive anymore; they didn't buy a new car every 2 years (who started that stupid idea anyway?)
  • people cooked meals at home and did not rely on dining out or purchasing packaged, fast-food, or take-out meals.
  • people gave humble, but love-filled gifts at Christmas, and did not worry about the high priced gifts that are expected by kids today (Wii's, Xbox's) or adults expecting jewelry, vacations, etc.
  • people went to the local parks to play for free and did not go to expensive theme parks (that are also expensive to get to and pay for lodging on top of it all).

So for this year's (and forever hopefully), let's all get REAL around the world ! Truly put Christ back into Christmas and don't make that saying another cliche'.....live our beautiful Catholic faith. What a perfect gift!

Blessings and amore',

~ Bella

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Prayer for Return of Lapsed, Non-Practicing, or Strengthening of Weak Catholic Family Members and / or Friends

Holy Card image reprinted with loving permission from "Holy Cards for Your Inspiration" blog

Dear Lord, Jesus Christ, in your precious name, I pray for the strengthening of the Catholic faith among my two children and for the return to your blessed Church of all lapsed and non-practicing Catholics . . . for the strengthening and/or return of your Catholic flock of sheep to you, our Divine Shepard, and to your divinely ordained Holy Catholic Church.
Dear friends in Christ,
I can't think of anything more important than this issue of fallen away Catholics. How many of us Catholics have drifted away from the Church during our lifetime? Let's be honest now, God knows all. Or maybe you know someone who was baptized Catholic, but is not living the beautiful Catholic Faith.

I must admit to you, that one of my rosary petitions to our Blessed Lady is to strengthen my two adult-children's Catholic faith. Truthfully, I was not raised in a strong Catholic family. As a result, I passed along that which I knew . . . not very much, sadly!!!
I am what is called a "CRADLE CATHOLIC" (the true definition is not something I have right at this point). I was born into an Italian-Catholic family that just sort of went about going through the some (not all) of the motions of being Catholic, but yet I NEVER really KNEW and UNDERSTOOD what this beautiful Catholic faith was really about!
What I have learned about the depths of our beautiful Catholic faith has been moreso on my own through reading Catholic literature and the Catechism, listening to Catholic podcasts during my commute to work, and watching programs on EWTN . . . and yes, of course through the priests at Mass and devout fellow parishioners that I have met along my spiritual journey -- beginning with my first-born child's babysitter (a lady in her 40's)!
Truthfully, what led me to explore the Catholic faith were protestants themselves who challenged me to defend my Catholic faith . . . and do you know what, my friends? I was completely unable to defend it!!! So to my protestant friends who want to convert Catholics to protestantism . . . hey, it is ALL your fault that you challenged me. And I simply cannot thank you enough for leading me to discover this most beautiful faith. I just wish and pray for each of you (yes, I really do pray for your conversion) that you find out someday what you are lacking in your Christian faith and return to the One, True, and beautiful Catholic Faith.

As I was saying, I was unable to defend my faith to my protestant friends, simply because I either did not know or just plain did not remember my Catechism from parochial school. Isn't that just a cryin' shame?
But it was a BLESSING in disguise!
I delved into and poured myself into EVERTHING I could get my hands on, my heart and mind around to learn about this beautiful Catholic faith . . . from EWTN programs such as those about former protestants' JOURNEYS BACK to the Catholic faith, to the Catechism of the Catholic Church, to blogs, to podcasts, to books, to the Catholic (and original and TRUE) Bible, and more!
I made this Catholic faith journey as a CHOICE, and away from a "gee, my parents were Catholic, so therefore I'm Catholic" kind of shallow faith level. PRAISE GOD for those protestants who challenged me, because it was they, themselves that led me to FIND, to DISCOVER, and to LOVE, CHERISH, and PRACTICE this beautiful Catholic faith that our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ began on earth with the Apostles and his pure, Immaculate Mother, the Blessed Virgin Mary, followed by the First Catholic Christians, the Popes, and the Doctors of our beautiful Catholic faith.

My dear friends in Christ, here is a prayer that you may wish to add to your prayers for those people that you know and love, who you would like to pray for their strengething, return of, or conversion to the beautiful Catholic faith. This prayer is from Father John Harden's Catholic Prayer Book, 1999.
Return of Lapsed Catholics to the Sacraments
Almighty Father,
. You desire not the death of the sinner, but that he may be converted and live.

Pour out upon us Your mercy and hear the prayers of Your servants.
Soften the hearts of Your children who have strayed from the true path which You established for their salvation.
They are now forgetful of their duties as Catholics,
and pursue the pleasures of the world.
Grant that they may quickly return to the practice of every Christian virtue,
so that their lives may shine with the integrity of faith,
the fervor of piety, and the ardor of charity.
Restore them all to Your sacraments and the life of Your grace,
through the merits of the most precious blood of Your Son, our Savior Jesus Christ.

I wish you a most blessed evening wherever you are.

Blessings and amore',

~ Bella

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The Economic Recession Has Hit Us -- God Provides for His Flock

(Permission to re-print Holy Card image from "Holy Cards for Your Inspiration")

Hello dear friends in Christ,

My father told me that he felt that those of us in education were (more) sheltered from the negative impacts of the recession than those who are employed in business and industry. Financially, this is not true at all. Although my husband and I am most fortunate to have good jobs in the field of education (that we love and believe are making contributions to the improvement of people and society), a 5-day cut in pay for all employees at my husband's university has been announced and begins in December until May. There is no word on what will take place next year.
So we'll just cut back on more unnecessary things, that's all. Yes, this is a bummer, and unexpected, as others have been and are feeling at this very moment in the U.S., but things can be so much worse! Our cups are half full and not half empty. We are still blessed with those things from God THAT MATTER!
  • We have God! At all times, we need to deepen our relationship with God, and hopefully this will compel others to do so, along with our own strengthening of our relationship with God.
  • We have His Church and Salvation through His Son!
  • We have our health.
  • We have our shelter, food, water, and heat in the cold months to come.
  • We have each other and our precious family!
  • We have our jobs.
The list is too long for me to mention all of our little blessings.
DON'T LET THE DEVIL STEAL YOUR JOY!!!! Rejoice in the Lord!
Recall in Mark 9:14 - 29 that FAITH is the secret to everything and can move mountains and any obstacle! We need to place our fears in the hands of God. Yes, bad things happen to good people, but our Lord and Heavenly Father give us what we need to deal with and endure through these negative things. And even negative things work out for our own GOOD! The silver lining in the dark cloud! We can all re-think our materialistic values (around the world, not just Americans). We can focus on our needs and not our unnecessary wants! We can extend more compassion towards those with even less than ourselves!
We read also in Matthew 6:25-34
Do not be worried about the food and drink you need in order to stay alive, or about clothes for your body. After all, isn't life worth more than food? And isn't the body worth more than clothes? Look at the birds: they do not plant seeds, gather a harvest and put it in barns; yet your Father in heaven takes care of them! Aren't you worth much more than birds? Can any of you live a bit longer by worrying about it?
And why worry about clothes? Look how the wild flowers grow: they do not work or make clothes for themselves. But I tell you that not even King Solomon with all his wealth had clothes as beautiful as one of these flowers. It is God who clothes the wild grass -- grass that is here today and gone tomorrow, burned up in the oven. Won't He be all the more sure to clothe you? What little faith you have!
So do not start worrying: "Where will my food come from? or my drink? or my clothes? (These are the things the pagans are always concerned about).
Your Father in heaven knows that you need all these things.
Instead be concerned above everything else with the Kingdom of God
and with what he requires of you, and He will provide you with all these other things.

So do not worry about tomorrow; it will have enough worries of its own.

There is no need to add to the troubles each day brings.
I hope that you have a blessed day and are enjoying the simple things in life that matter so much! But most especially, I hope you are finding incredible joy in your deepening relationship with God!
~ Bella
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The Canon of Scripture (CCC continued, Article 3, Part IV, p. 34)

Hello dear friends in Christ,

I have not posted on the Catechism of the Catholic Church in a while due to the elections and simply being led to chat about other topics of our Faith.

So I'll just simply pick right back up at the point where I last posted on the CCC.

The Catholic Church alone discerned and discerns which writings are to be INCLUDED in the SACRED BOOKS of the Bible!! THIS COMPLETE LIST IS KNOWN AS THE CANON OF SCRIPTURE. Included are 46 books from the Old Testament and 27 books from the New Testament.

The Old Testament includes the following books:

1 and 2 Samuel
1 and 2 Kings
1 and 2 Chronicles
Ezra an Nehemiah
1 and 2 Maccabes
the Song of Songs
the Wisdom of Solomon
Sirach (Ecclesiasticus)
Zachariah and Malachi

The New Testament includes the following books:

the Acts of the Apostles
the Letters of St. Paul to the Romans
1 and 2 Corinthians
1 and 2 Thessalonians
1 and 2 Timothy
the Letter to the Hebrews
the Letter of James
1 and 2 Peter
1, 2, and 3 John
Revelation (the Apocalypse)
Until my next post and visit with you,
~ Bella

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God Bless America!

(Holy Card re-print permission granted from "Holy Cards for Your Inspiration"
http://thewindowshowsitall.blogspot.com )

Sweet Jesus,

Bless all of the newly elected leaders

of this great country,

the United States of America.

Guide these men and women

with Your perfect wisdom

and divine will.

In Your precious name, we pray,
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Giving to Others with No Expectations. In Giving We Receive!

Catholics, just like other Christians believe in giving to others out of love for our Heavenly Father, without any expectation of anything in return. We can give not only of our material and financial resources, but also of our works of mercy and our time in service, attention when listening to others, showing respect, sharing joy, showing compassion and understanding, being a companion or friend in times of need, kindness and random acts of kindness, simply smiling and saying 'hello' and 'have a great day!". All of these little things are so easy and yet can really help another out in some way. Whatever each of our talents and gifts that we are blessed with in our lives is that which we need to give to others!

Our Lord teaches us that we should not keep track or calculate how much we give and then expect the same in return. We will receive in ABUNDANCE through the Lord in Heaven!

The more we give, the RICHER in spirit we become, not richer in the pocket. Christ is the reason for our generosity towards others. We may not see the immediate fruits of our giving, but we need to TRUST in the Lord that those fruits will manifest.

Charity is PATIENT; charity knows how to wait says Fernandez in "In Conversation With God". We need to remember the ultimate sacrifice and gift that our Lord gave up for us: His very own life so that we may be forgiven and have eternal life! Nothing we can give will ever equal his generosity! Give completely and selflessly for the Lord alone and not what you think you'll get back in return.

We also need to be cheerful and not resentful when we give (2 Cor 9:7). The Lord delights in those who give with JOY!!!!

With the holidays approaching and the economy so difficult for most of us, lets see how we can lift up our own spirits by remembering that there is ALWAYS, ALWAYS, ALWAYS, someone who is less fortunate than ourselves and who is in some type of need. Lets give and not worry about what we're going to get in return. Lets make someone's day a little better somehow. If each of us did this, what a better place the world would be in which to live. Indeed, our generosity, charity, and kindness will help others understand our beautiful Catholic faith much better!

I would love it if those of you who are reading this post, would write to me and post a comment as to how you show charity towards others or random acts of kindness. I promise that I'll post them to share with all.

I wish you a beautiful, faith-filled, charitable afternoon,


~ Bella
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Are You Too Worried About What Others Think of Your Catholic Faith?

Hello My Dear Friends in Christ,

I hope that you are enjoying this gorgeous October day, wherever you are in the world. It is simply glorious outside with all of the colors of the leaves changing. The bright red maple trees are just amazing this time of year!

In today's reading from "In Conversation with God", Francis Fernandez challenges me to humbly act as a Catholic Christian follower of Christ with courage and strength in any environment and within anyone's presence.

Many of you know that I live in the Southeastern region of the United States. Believe me, Catholics are the religious minority here. There are so many prejudices and ignorant misunderstandings about Catholics in this area (and really just about anywhere for that matter!) that it completely saddens me when I think about it. I have even had one of my students tell me that I was a heretic. Of all things! My son came home from school one day and said that a "friend" told him that he was going to hell because he was a Catholic. Can you even imagine someone telling your highly impressionable middle-school-aged child this? Such bigotry and ignorance abounds around us!

We need to emulate Christ and NOT BE AFRAID or ASHAMED to give testimony to our Catholicism! We, Catholics, cannot allow ourselves to be carried away with failure to claim our Faith just so we can be accepted by others. We can demonstrate our Faith with humility and naturalness in any situation . . . and when we do so, we will have no regrets, because our actions will be consistent, rather than contrary, to our Catholic beliefs.

We should NOT pay any attention to criticisms or hostilities against our beautiful Faith. Fernandez says that any opposition should not stop us or hold us back from professing our Faith and our actions and statements against our opposers will increase our glory in heaven with our Father. In doing so, we will also be leading and guiding other souls to our Faith. "Good example always sows good seed that will, sooner or later, bear fruit."

And oh how HAPPY the Lord will be for our courageous earthly evidence and demonstration of our love and allegiance to Him and to His Catholic Church! Christ's love for each of us will help us overcome our fears in the face of adversity and our desires to 'not rock the boat' or to 'fit in'.

For whoever is ashamed of me and of my words . . . ,
of him will the Son of man also be ashamed,
when He comes in glory of His Father with the holy angels.

Mark 8:38

For God did not give us a spirit of timidity,
but a spirit of power and love and self-control.
Do not be ashamed of testifying for our Lord,
but take your share of suffering for the gospel in the power of God.

2 Tim 1:7-8

We should not be afraid to say that we, Catholics, believe in:
  • the sacrament of marriage,
  • sexual relations as a sacred gift between a man and a woman in the state of marriage,
  • human life beginning at conception,
  • the infallibility of the apostolic successor, the Vicar of Christ, our Pope,
  • the Eucharist as the body and blood of Jesus Christ . . . and more.

and we should not be afraid to say that we, Catholics:

  • don't support abortion,
  • don't support stem cell research,
  • don't support euthanasia,
  • don't believe in 'sola scriptura', interpreting Scripture without the authority of the Catholic Church . . .
the list goes on. These are the beliefs that we should all know as Catholics in order to defend our beautiful faith.

When it comes down to it all in the end . . . it really only matters what GOD THINKS of us and what GOD WANTS US TO DO in any situation and NOT what other people think of us!

I pray that I (and all Catholics) continue to receive the courage, strength and GRACE from our Lord and Heavenly Father to profess the Catholic Faith in my (our) thoughts, words, and actions at all times.

Many blessings to you today,

In His love,

~ Bella
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God's Timing and Schedule . . . not mine!

Good afternoon dear amici (friends),

I wanted to share some thoughts written by Father Jean-Pierre de Caussade (d. 1751), a Jesuit writer.

How often have I tried to control things to happen in my time; in a timely way that suits my needs . . . or so I think?

When will I realize that this is just pure torture that I, alone, am putting myself through?

Our faith teaches us that the future is in our Heavenly Father's hands, who knows what is best for us at the time and forever in time. God, in his Divine All-Knowingness and Omnipotence, loves us infinitely, and knows all of our needs, even when we don't know them ourselves! I often think that if I knew what God had in store for me, that I would go into shock! I wouldn't be able to handle it. I think God lets us know and experience things SLOWLY, so we can adjust as we go along.

God's Divine Providence guides everything, so I need to remember to stay in a state of HUMBLE SUBMISSION. I need to get out of His way.

What would happen if each of us always got what we wanted and asked for? I know that I would be in a horrible relationship with someone who became an alcoholic and that has refused treatment and therapy to this day! My life would be insane if I were with that person today. I could go on, but it isn't necessary because the list is endless of what I thought I knew what was best for me.

St. Augustine said that it was through God's mercy and love for us that He DOES NOT GRANT US all of our prayers . . . and that sometimes He even gives us the OPPOSITE of what we think we want and need!

I need to try to remember this during the course of my day and simply submit all of my needs, wants, and desires to Him. I know that I could live more peacefully and tranquilly if I live in blind self-abandonment.

Let Go and Let God, as the saying goes! True and wise words, they are indeed.

Thy Will Be Done . . . on earth as it is in Heaven.

His Will . . . and not mine.

I hope that you have a blessed, love-filled, spirit-filled evening!


~ Bella

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Did I Keep My Eyes on Jesus Today? Did I Follow Christ's Teachings?

Good evening my dear amici (friends)!

I have not posted in a few days due to my family (my parents) visit this week, so I apologize for my absence. I have missed talking and sharing about our beautiful Catholic faith with you! It is such a blessing to chat about!

In today's reading from St. Paul to the Ephesians, I am reminded to take a look at my behavior towards others. As Catholics, we can use our simple every day behavior as a way to evangelize . . . just by our example! Now that's an easy place to start, isn't it? I need to continually ask myself the following:

Have I been kind to others or have I failed at times today?

Have I been compassionate towards others or have I failed at different moments?

Have I been forgiving of others or have I held on to wrongdoings and failed to forgive?

God certainly forgave me through His Son's death and resurrection? Why can't I do the same towards those who hurt me? Did I pray for those that have or are hurting me?

Do I do the best that I can each day to live in LOVE of others and try to imitate Christ?

Did I say something using impure, obscene, suggestive, or immoral words or thoughts?
Did I display greed, covetousness, jealousy, envy, pride, or idolatry in words and/or thoughts?
Did I encourage dishonesty, lack of integrity or ethics in my words and/or thoughts?
OR did I speak of and encourage the opposites of these ungodly behaviors so that I am more pleasing to my Heavenly Father?

Do I have a sense of fear, knowing that God not only has love for me (and you), but also has the ability for some mighty wrath and discipline for me (and you) when I (and you) am disobedient.

With God and His Son, I live in the LIGHT, and can better armor myself for the fight against a life of darkness and disobedience.


Blessed the man who follows not the counsel of the wicked
Nor walks in the way of sinners,
Nor sits in the company of the rude and insulting,
But DELIGHTS in the LAW of the LORD
and MEDITATES on his law DAY and NIGHT. ~ Psalm 1

These are wise words to think upon this evening. I hope that yours is peaceful and restful. . .


~ Bella

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What Catholics Believe About Sacred Scripture

Good Afternoon, dear Amici (Friends),

It is a chilly rainy day here in the Carolina's, but a very welcome rainy day! I think we'll probably use the fireplace tonight with a little glass of wine or hot chocolate while we enjoy the evening.

Continuing in the Catholic Catechism, (p. 33) , Catholics believe that there are 2 senses of Scripture: Literal and Spiritual.

Literally, we believe the words of Scripture through the use of RULES of sound interpretation, as stated by St. Thomas Aquinas.

Spiritually, we believe in the "allegorical" understanding of the Word, in other words, we use symbols in Scripture to aid in our understanding (1 Cor 10:2).

Catholics believe that the events written in Scripture GUIDE us in acting fairly and righteously in our lives on earth; Scripture is our DIVINE "moral" INSTRUCTIONS for LIVING (1 Cor 10:11; Heb 3-4:11).

And finally, we believe 'anagogically' that the events in Scripture are of ETERNAL SIGNIFICANCE and that these instructions lead us to our eternal life with our Lord Jesus Christ and His Heavenly Father. Catholics believe that our Church on earth is a "SIGN of the heavenly Jerusalem ~(Revelations 21:1 - 22:5).

The Letter speaks of DEEDS;
Allegory to FAITH;
The Moral to ACT;
Anagogy to our DESTINY!

Catholics believe that every way that Scripture is interpreted is FIRST and ALWAYS subject to the judgement of the Catholic Church.....ONLY the Catholic Church has the DIVINE COMMISSION to oversee and interpret God's Word.......

Thanks for stopping by today for this brief, but very powerful reading and learning of the Catechism of the Catholic Church.

I wish you many blessings and a peace-filled day!


~ Bella

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To Those Given MUCH . . . Much is Expected (Luke 12:48) Today's Gospel Reading

(Holy Card re-print permission granted from "Holy Cards for Your Inspiration"

Hello Dear Friends in Christ,

As I read today's reading from the Book of Luke, I could not help but think back upon the days of graduate school. I was attending a a dinner for undergraduates and since I was a graduate student, and I was told by a priest, "To whom much has been given, much is expected in return."

Well, here I am over 10 years later. In the morning before my rosary I ask God to bless my day and to help me be the best that I can be according to His Will for me. That includes not just being the best in my work, but also as a Catholic, wife, mother, daughter, sister, aunt, cousin, neighbor, parishioner, community, state, and national citizen.

Each of us was divinely designed!!!! for a special vocation. We each have gifts. If you don't know what your gift(s) is(are), may I suggest that you ask God to show those to you?

I need to remind myself of the post(s) that I have divinely been created for according to God's Divine Will and to carry out my responsibilities faithfully! God placed each of us in this moment in time for a reason and we MUST understand the magnitude of our individual MISSIONS that will bring pleasure to God!

For example, I teach. When I just stop for a moment and think of the immense power that I have to influence young adult minds, I am just speechless. Many say that teaching is a thankless job. Maybe so. At least in the present it may appear that way. But like a pebble skimming the surface of water, or throwing a stone in water. . . . there is a long, long, LONG-term ripple effect that a teacher (or really anyone!) can ever see! That is unless, people come back to you later and tell you what a difference you made in their lives.

I pray that I use this influence wisely and in a way that pleases God. I try to teach honesty, integrity, ethics, decency, civility, kindness, tolerance, non-judgemental-ism, and so forth and so on. I try to be patient and understanding with students without being taken advantage of. I try to guide them when they get off course. I have 100 + students each semester and some days when I get home from simply teaching and answering questions with students ALONE, I can be just wiped out. But you know what? I feel SO fulfilled.

How has God blessed you (given you much)? I have a beautiful Catholic faith, a wonderful loving husband, healthy, educated, and employed and happy Catholic children (needing a little guidance as always), a joy-filled Catholic parish community, a warm and comfortable home, a satisfying career that helps individuals and society, loving elderly parents, my dream fulfilled of living on an acreage with beautiful animals, the ability to learn and grow more each day, and the privilege of living in the United States.

The list goes on and on and on. With so much given to me, I can see why I have the obligation to return my absolute best in everything that I do for the Lord and our Heavenly Father.

I know that when I think about what I DO HAVE and show GRATITUDE for those things, that I get less caught up in this worldly place we live in; that I am less depressed about the economic and political situations that we currently face. I don't ignore them, but I don't get caught too deeply in worry, but rather place my TRUST IN THE LORD for my needs. He certainly knows what I need better than I do.

I hope that you're having a great day in your neck of the woods. I need to go and get my classroom ready for my evening class.

Wishing you blessings,

~ Bella
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Continuing Discussion of Catholic Beliefs: the Catholic Catechism (CCC)

Good morning dear friends,

I'll pick up where I left off reading, summarizing, and learning the CCC, p. 31, Chapter 2, Article III, Section II - The Inspiration and Truth of Sacred Scripture.

Once again, as guided and inspired by the Holy Spirit, the text of Sacred Scripture was divinely revealed and written down; was authored by God and handed down to the Catholic Church. The men who wrote Scripture were CHOSEN by God. The books written are the TRUTH and are without error. Jesus is the WORD of God in these truths and is incarnate and LIVING!

Yet we still need Christ, with the help of the Holy Spirit, to OPEN OUR MINDS to UNDERSTAND the Scriptures. Luke: 24:45.

The human authors who wrote down God's truths and used "their words" (p. 32, line 109); therefore, the reader must consider the times and culture in which they wrote and the way of speaking and narration in those times and not from the context of the current time and culture and way of speaking.

Yet we must remember that Sacred Scripture MUST be read and interpreted in the light of the SAME SPIRIT who inspired its initial writing!

Vatican II stated that three (3) criteria necessary for interpreting Scripture with the Holy Spirit's guidance:

#1 Be especially attentive to he content and unity of the whole Scripture, because God's plan is based on unity, with Christ as the heart and center of His plan. Luke 24:25-27, 44-46.

#2 Read the Scripture "WITHIN THE LIVING TRADITION of the whole CHURCH", the Catholic Church's Sacred Scripture was first written in HER HEART and not in documents and records! Therefore the Catholic Church carries her TRADITION, the LIVING memory of His Word, and ONLY the Catholic Church is granted the knowledge of what scripture MEANS through the prompting and inspiration of the Holy Spirit!

WOW! This is our belief as Catholics, and our belief alone. This is why we believe there are other non-Catholic Christians, but they are not living and worshipping in the "FULLNESS" of Christ's first, original church, The Catholic Church.

#3 Be attentive to the analogy of faith (Romans 12:6), which essentially means that we need to pay attention to the overall "coherence" of our faith's truths and within the entire, bigger picture-plan of Revelation.

Now that was a lot to read, learn, and share today. Our beautiful Catholic faith is vast and awe-inspiring. I know that I'm learning as a I read and I hope that you are too.

Have a beautiful, blessed day!

~ Bella

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St. Rose o Lima, Peru

St. Rose of Lima, Peru

Hello my dear friends in Christ!

I found this lovely Holy Card illustration (from Holy Cards for your Inspiration blog) because I had been searching for my Name Saint. My real name is not Bella, but is Rosalind (Roz) and when I looked up names for Catholic children and their corresponding saints, St. Rose of Lima, Peru popped up for my name. I think that this is so wonderful because I have wanted to visit Peru for the longest time. Has St. Rose been calling me gently to visit her country and continent? We'll see and I'll let you know if I am ever fortunate enough to visit!

It is also very interesting to me because the rose is my absolute favorite flower, of which I post numerous photos of my garden on my other blog: La Bella Vita (listed on the side bar on the right). St. Rose is also of Latin (Spanish) descent and I am as well (Italian). And lastly, she was born in April and so was I!

Here is a little more on St. Rose of Lima (source: American Catholic Saint of the Day and a simple yahoo.com inquiry)

St. Rose of Lima, Patron Saint Day: August 23rd

The first canonized saint of the New World has one characteristic of all saints—the suffering of opposition—and another characteristic which is more for admiration than for imitation—excessive practice of mortification.

She was born to parents of Spanish descent in Lima, Peru, at a time when South America was in its first century of evangelization. She seems to have taken Catherine of Siena as a model, in spite of the objections and ridicule of parents and friends.

The saints have so great a love of God that what seems bizarre to us, and is indeed sometimes imprudent, is simply a logical carrying out of a conviction that anything that might endanger a loving relationship with God must be rooted out. So, because her beauty was so often admired, Rose used to rub her face with pepper to produce disfiguring blotches. Later, she wore a thick circlet of silver on her head, studded on the inside, like a crown of thorns.

When her parents fell into financial trouble, she worked in the garden all day and sewed at night. Ten years of struggle against her parents began when they tried to make Rose marry. They refused to let her enter a convent, and out of obedience she continued her life of penance and solitude at home as a member of the Third Order of St. Dominic. So deep was her desire to live the life of Christ that she spent most of her time at home in solitude.
During the last few years of her life, Rose set up a room in the house where she cared for homeless children, the elderly and the sick. This was a beginning of social services in Peru. Though secluded in life and activity, she was brought to the attention of Inquisition interrogators, who could only say that she was influenced by grace.

What might have been a merely eccentric life was transfigured from the inside. If we remember some unusual penances, we should also remember the greatest thing about Rose: a love of God so ardent that it withstood ridicule from without, violent temptation and lengthy periods of sickness. When she died at 31, the city turned out for her funeral. Prominent men took turns carrying her coffin.

Virgin, born at Lima, Peru 20 April, 1586; died there 30 August, 1617.St. Rose of Lima is the patroness of Latin America and the Philippines. This South American Saint's real name was Isabel, but she was such a beautiful baby that she was called Rose, and that name remained.

As she grew older, she became more and more beautiful, and one day, her mother put a wreath of flowers on her head to show off her loveliness to friends. But Rose had no desire to be admired, for her heart had been given to Jesus. So she put a long pin into that wreath and it pierced her so deeply, that she had a hard time getting the wreath off afterward. Another time she became afraid that her beauty might be a temptation to someone, since people could not take their eyes off her. Therefore, she rubbed her face with pepper until it was all red and blistered.

St. Rose worked hard to support her poor parents and she humbly obeyed them, except when they tried to get her to marry. That she would not do. Her love of Jesus was so great that when she talked about Him, her face glowed and her eyes sparkled.

Rose had many temptations from the devil, and there were also many times when she had to suffer a feeling of terrible loneliness and sadness, for God

seemed far away. Yet she cheerfully offered all these troubles to Him. In fact, in her last long, painful sickness, this heroic young woman use to pray:

"Lord, increase my sufferings, and with them increase Your love in my heart."

Many miracles followed her death. She was beatified by Clement IX, in 1667, and canonized in 1671 by Clement X, the first American to be so honoured. Her feast is celebrated 30 August. She is represented wearing a crown of roses.

Love, Bella

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