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

prayer event is scheduled to take place on

Saturday, October 18th, 2008.
Participants will pray the Rosary

during the 9:00 AM hour

for the following intention:
For an end to the surgical and non-surgical killing of unborn babies.
Because participants will pray the Rosary from 9 - 10:00 AM
according to their time zones . . .
it is hoped that . . .
the earth will be circled with multiple waves of Rosaries
within a 24-hour time period.

I'll be joining each of you in prayer.
Blessings and Amore',

~ Bella

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Thoughts on Evangelization

"If you wish to evangelize the world, each one of us must begin by trying to BECOME A SAINT."

Archbishop John Patrick Foley
Have a blessed day, my friends!
~ Bella
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What Catholics Believe - Continuing the Study of the (CCC) Catechism of the Catholic Church

"Let nothing disturb you, nothing frighten you,
all things are passing,
God is unchanging.
Patience gains all,
nothing is lacking to those who love God;
God alone is sufficient."

St. Teresa of Avila, Spain, 1515 - 1582

My dear friends in Christ,

As I continue my study of the Catechism in Article 3 of Chapter Two I am reminded to know that:

The Catholic Church VENERATES the Lord's precious Body and never fails to present THE BREAD OF LIFE to the faithful.

The Church receives nourishment and strength from Sacred Scripture, from which our Heavenly Father speaks to us, His children.

God is the AUTHOR of Sacred Scripture and which was written down by man under the guidance of the Holy Spirit. Catholics consider BOTH the Old and the New Testaments as Sacred.

We believe that both the books of the Old and New Testaments TEACH THE TRUTH to ALL people, Catholics and non-Catholics. These perfect books, without error, are what we must use to TEACH these TRUTHS when defending the Faith or simply sharing the Faith!

Blessings to you this lovely afternoon in October!

~ Bella
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Beautiful Images from a Beautiful Blogger of Holy Cards

(Holy Card re-print permission granted from "Holy Cards for Your Inspiration"
http://thewindowshowsitall.blogspot.com )
Thank you, Micki, for your unselfish permission to share your Holy Card Images on my blog to help enhance the messages. God certainly brought you and your wonderful gift into my life.
~ Bella
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Columbus, Catholicism, and America

Greetings on Columbus Day in the United States!

(or what is called "Discoverers' Day in Hawaii).

Many places are closed for business today, and most public services such as the U.S. Post Office are closed as well.

Today, we honor a devout Catholic for his 'discovery' of America. Now there are some debates that are 'out there' regarding the man and the legitimacy of his 'discovery'. That is not the purpose of this posting today, yet please know that I respect your position if you have that stand.

After some googling on the web, I learned more than I ever knew about this man.

I will cite the following statements from Father John A. Harden's Seven Lectures (2003) on the CATHOLIC DISCOVERY OF AMERICA by Christopher Columbus (Cristoforo Colombo - translation "Christ-Bearer" & "White Dove" and born in Italy):

What do we mean by the Catholic discovery of America?

  • We mean the discovery of America by Spain, a country that for 700 years had suffered martyrdom under Islam, in defense of the Catholic Faith.
  • We mean the discovery of America made possible by the apostolic zeal of Isabella I, the Catholic Queen of Spain. After seven centuries; the Moors were finally driven out of Spain in the year 1491; 1492 came on the heels of seven centuries of martyrdom.
  • We mean the discovery of America achieved by the Catholic genius of Christopher Columbus.
  • We mean the discovery that was inspired by the Catholic vision of the Franciscans in Spain, without whom Columbus could never have been able to undertake his voyage to what became the new world.
  • We mean the discovery of America that planted the seed of the Catholic Faith through the missionaries who evangelized the Americas and, how happy I am to say, and covered with the blood of many martyrs including my own Jesuit confreres.
  • We mean the discovery that was blessed by Our Lady of Guadalupe, during the lifetime of Fernando Columbus, the youngest son and biographer of his father, Christopher Columbus.
  • We mean the discovery that was seen by the Roman Pontiffs as the dawn of a new era in Catholic evangelization.
  • We mean the discovery that should inspire us to preserve, to purify and to promote the faith that so many of our forbearers, since 1492, have labored, suffered and died so that we might be believing Catholics today.

Most Americans do not discuss the "Catholic-icity" of our country's discoverer and motivation behind the discovery of America. This is sad, because we have so much to be thankful for in this country, and especially the Catholic Faith that motivated Columbus and Queen Isabella for that quest.


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Catholic Beliefs: The MAGESTERIUM of the Catholic Church (CCC, Art.2,Part III, p.27

To continue my discussion and understanding of the Catholic faith (for my purposes of defending and evangelizing, and hopefully, many others as well)......

Catholics believe in the MAGESTERIUM of the Church.

What's this?"

The task of giving the CATHOLIC CHURCH ALONE, the authentic interpretation of the Word of God, whether in written Sacred Scripture or from Sacred Tradition.

The task of interpretation is ENTRUSTED to the POPE and to the Bishops through the successors of Peter, the Bishop of Rome.

The Magesterium is a servant to the Word of God and not superior to the Word. It is given through DIVINE COMMAND and through the assistance of the Holy Spirit.

The Catholic Church, through the Magesterium, EXERCISES AUTHORITY FROM CHRIST to the fullest extent when DEFINING DOGMAS or TRUTHS and OBLIGES Christians to irrevocable ADHERENCE and OBEDIENCE of Faith to these teachings. . . and apply it to the fullest in their daily lives.

In Summary:

Sacred Tradition, Sacred Scripture and the Magesterium of the Catholic Church are supremely connected and wisely arranged by God . . . and CANNOT STAND APART from each other! All are necessary, through the workings of the Holy Spirit, for the soul's eternal salvation.

This is unique to Catholics, the one, true, authentic Christian Church established by our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ!

May God continue to bless His Catholic Church!

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Blessed are They Who Hear The Word of God and Observe It

"Blessed are they who hear the Word of God and observe it."
Luke 11:28
God's word is more precious than thousands of gold and silver pieces.
Psalm 119:72
Lord, give me the GRACE I need today and always
to RESPOND to all the ways that You invite me
to a DEEPER UNION and relationship with You.
Despite my shortcomings, Lord, give me the strength and courage
to advance Your mission that you ENTRUSTED me with:
That in humility and love, share Your message and
proclaim your Kingdom to all ends of the earth
and prepare me for eternal salvation.
Lord, help me take up my daily crosses and follow You
and to live a faith-filled life.
Because without You, sweet Jesus,
I can do NOTHING.
Dear Father,
through the power of the Holy Spirit,
give me the GRACE
to COMMIT myself to pray, read, and FEAST
on Your Word in Sacred Scripture
EVERY day.
In Jesus' precious name, I pray.
"Blessed are they who hear the Word of God and observe it."
Luke 11:28
~ Bella
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Mortifications: Using Little Daily Chores to Prepare Our Souls

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

"Whistle While You Work"
Using Little Daily Chores for Mortifications
to Help Prepare My Soul

Hello dear amici (friends),

Today is Saturday and I focused on beginning my day with morning prayer and meditation on the day's Scripture readings. I also kept my resolution to not waste my day away on the computer and Internet. As a result of this vow, I followed my devotion time with my weekend household chores and I was lead (without accident) to yesterday's devotion in "In Conversation With God", for Friday, Week 26 in Ordinary Time.

In his writing, Francis Fernandez discusses "mortification" which prepares our souls to "listen to the Lord and to follow His Will". We weed out those negative things in our souls: our laziness, egotism, envy . . . you know, all those vices! Fernandez says that anyone who desires to live their Catholic faith SERIOUSLY, needs to get rid of our old nature (Col 3:9) . . . those bad 'inclinations that we have inherited from Adam'. We can do this through "moritification", which "rejuvenates the soul" and helps the soul to be better prepared to RECEIVE SUPERNATURAL GIFTS!!!

Now, I think that is pretty AWESOME, don't you? "Voluntary mortifications" involve our voluntarily and CONSCIOUSLY carrying out our duties, because THIS IS WHERE WE FIND GOD'S WILL for us each day. And when we engage in these little daily duties, we need to do so with LOVE, HIGH STANDARDS, and HARD WORK. Sort of like the Disney song, "Whistle While You Work" in Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs!

Fernandez continues to let me know that 'mortification' of my soul can also include things such as having 'order' in my life, being punctual, taking care of the small details, performing well any of the most INSIGNIFICANT things in my life, even it hurts (p. 150). He says that we need to resist the temptation of comfort (you know that saying, "Don't get too comfortable!"). We need to PERSEVERE in our daily work with JOY and enthusiasm!

We can be cheerful.

We can offer our fatigue up to the Lord.

We can stop complaining (about anything!) and use whatever causes our complaint to lead us closer to God.

We can also call upon our precious, loving Guardian Angel to help us overcome our weariness, to convert everything we do into "acts of love, contrition, and mortification . . . and gather a bouquet at the end of each day, which we can offer to God!"

So with that discussion, this morning I quickly changed the bed's linens, washed the old linens with the rest of the laundry, folded and put away the clean laundry, cleaned the dirty stove top, washed the dishes, and generally picked up the little messes around the house.

How about you? Did you find yourself complaining today? If so, try to use each little thing that you see as a drudgery and convert them into 'mortifications' for your soul and for our Lord and Heavenly Father.

Ciao for now and Blessings until the next time,

~ Bella

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The "Our Father" and Just Simply Praying

This week we read about how Jesus taught us to pray the "Our Father".

Our Father who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name: The very first thing that I (and we) need to remember when praying this beautiful prayer is to GLORIFY GOD . . . this is our first priority. I try to remember to do this even if I am not saying this prayer. When I say my prayers, I always remember that first and foremost I need to offer praise and glory to God. He is first and not my problems! When we show our honor and adoration to God, He will demonstrate his love, concern, and care for us. I'm not first, nor are my needs and wants, God is.

I heard today that if you want to know God's sense of humor, then just tell him what your plans are!!! :)

Thy Kingdom Come . . . this is my (and everyones) obligation to spread His divine message on earth . . . and most especially to those whom God has placed right next to us everyday. I am so very concerned, not only for my own soul's eternal salvation, but also for my husband's and my children's souls.

Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Here, we say that we desire only what God desires and we pray for the grace to do His Will on earth. When I pray, I also ask God to give me the knowledge and discernment of what He wants me to do, PLUS the COURAGE and STRENGTH to carry out His Will. "Please Lord, lead me and guide me, and take me where YOU want me to go and to do what YOU want me to do!"

After honor and glory, and asking for His Will, I tell God what I am grateful for each day . . . even down to my ability to BREATHE! Yea, breathe! Then I ask for God's forgiveness of the sins that I have committed during the day. And that list can literally be so long, that I could fall asleep!

Finally, I present my petitions to Him, but again asking if they be only according to His Divine Will and not mine.

And now it is getting late here on the acreage and it's time to get some sleep. I hope that you had a blessed day and that tomorrow brings even more blessings!

Amore' and buona notte'!

~ Bella

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A Beautiful Prayer

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

Teach Me, O Lord

Teach me, my Lord to be KIND and GENTLE in all the events of life;
in disappointments,
in the thoughtlessness of others,
in the insincerity of those I trusted,
in the unfaithfulness of those on whom I relied.
Let me put myself aside, to think of the happiness of others,
to hide my pain and heartaches,
so that I may be the only one to suffer from them.
Teach me to profit by the suffering that comes across my path.
Let me use it that it may mellow me,
that it may make me PATIENT, not irritable;
that it may make me broad in my FORGIVENESS,
not narrow, proud and overbearing.
May no one be less good for having come within my influence.
No one less pure, less true, less kind, less noble

for having been a fellow traveler
in our journey toward eternal life.
As I go about my rounds from one task to another,
let me say, from time to time, A WORD OF LOVE TO YOU.
May my life be lived in the supernatural,
full of good,and strong in its purpose of sanctity.


from Father Hardon's Catholic Prayer Book with Meditations
As I remember my beautiful blogging friends in my prayers,

I will say "Buona Notte'" . . . Good Night!

~ Bella

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Prayer for a Loved One's Conversion to Catholicism

Prayer for a Loved One's Conversion to Catholicism (Colossians 1:9-14)

O Father, in the name of Your Son Jesus, and in the power and authority of the Holy Spirit,
with the knowledge of Your will,

I ask that You fill null with the knowledge of Your will through ALL spiritual wisdom and understanding.
Enlighten this precious child of Yours, dear Lord!
Teach this dear one to live in a manner that is worthy of You,
so as to be fully pleasing to You,
full of good works bearing good fruits and ever growing in knowledge of You.
Strengthen this lost lamb, dear Lord,
with every power of Your Holy Spirit,
in accordance with Your might, for all endurance and patience,
with joy, giving thanks to You O Father!
Make Your child fit to share in the inheritance of the holy ones in the Light.
Deliver this beloved one from the power of darkness
into the kingdom of Your Beloved Son, Jesus,

and transfer null into the kingdom of Your Beloved Son, Jesus,
in whom is redemption and the forgiveness of sins.


Good evening dear amici (friends),Today is a lovely wet day in the Carolinas where we so desperately need the rain in this ongoing drought. Water is a blessed miracle, you know! We could not live without it physically nor spiritually (Jesus quenches our spiritual thirst). It is supposed to rain (softly) for the next few days, and for that forecast I am so grateful (so is my garden!).

Tomorrow also begins my university's Fall Break. My students really need this and so do the faculty!! It is a good time for me to rest and restore my soul and get some things in order around my house.

Today we are reminded to pray in the Gospel of Luke. Just take a moment to pray the Lord's Prayer . . . or just one Hail Mary . . . say an Act of Contrition . . . let's just stop often to simply JUST SAY SOMETHING to God . . . have a little chat with him in your own words! Please just start somewhere. Ask the Holy Spirit to stay with you to help you speak and pray to our Father and His Son as frequently as possible during your day.

It seems that the more I pray, the more I can't wait to find time to pray again when my schedule allows me......wouldn't it be great if we could just make everything that we do A PRAYER!!!!

And since it is October, pray the beautiful Rosary! It is so powerful! Our Lady hears us and prays FOR us. Remember the Wedding at Cana when her Son said to do what she said! Jesus listens to our petitions asked through our Blessed Mother.

Well, I realize that this note is brief, but I must go teach my evening class and then commute home.

Blessings during this beautiful rainshower!

Con amore (With love)

~ Bella

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Posted by Bella Vita

Catholics Believe in Sacred Tradition PLUS Sacred Scripture

Catholics believe in a close, intricate bond between Sacred Tradition and Sacred Scripture . . . these are communicated together from the same divine source. Catholics believe in the Word of God in the UNWRITTEN Word ... Sacred Tradition!

Sacred Scripture is the "SPEECH OF GOD" in writing led by the Holy Spirit!

Tradition TRANSMITS the entire Word of God entrusted to the apostles through Jesus and the Holy Spirit! Tradition is transmitted through the apostolic successors and spread through their preaching.

Here is another BIG DIFFERENCE between what Catholics believe and what non-Catholics do not believe:

The Catholic Church does NOT derive certainty of all revealed truths from holy Scripture alone. Rather Catholics believe that BOTH SACRED SCRIPTURE and TRADITION MUST BE ACCEPTED and HONORED EQUALLY!

The apostles handed down tradition because the first generation of Christians did not have the New Testament written down yet! Some time took place in between our Lord's life on earth and the time in which Scriptural Scholars wrote it down guided by GRACE. The early Church SPOKE the Word, just like Jesus PREACHED (spoke) to the people. There wasn't anyone there or present or looking on that was writing the books of truth in the New Testament! So Tradition came before Sacred Scripture. Catholics believe firmly in Sacred Tradition.

It seems to me that even non-Catholic Christians would know this FACT.....so why do they continue to shove this FACT aside? Catholics acknowledge, admit, respect and REVERE this FACT of Sacred Tradition!

This is yet one more belief of Catholics!


More Catholic Catechism: The Gospel is HANDED DOWN through APOSTOLIC SUCCESSORS

Continuing in Article 2 of Chapter Two in the Catholic Catechism (CCC, pp. 24-25), as Catholics, we believe that the Gospel is HANDED DOWN in TWO WAYS:

Orally - by the apostles and their institutions

and in

Writing - "by the apostles and other men associated with the apostles, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, who put the Gospel into the written Word".

Now here's a Catholic belief that non-Catholics do not share:

"In order that the full and living Gospel might always be preserved in the Church, the apostles LEFT BISHOPS AS THEIR SUCCESSORS . . . who were given TEACHING AUTHORITY. This apostolic preaching IS TO BE PRESERVED IN A CONTINUOUS LINE OF SUCCESSION . . . UNTIL THE END OF TIME!

WOW! Only Catholics have this blessing from God!

This is what Catholics believe in . . . and it is called TRADITION!!!

It is distinct from Sacred Scripture and it is how the Catholic Church teaches Catholics through every generation, ALL THAT SHE BELIEVES!

The Holy Spirit leads believers in the FULL TRUTH through the Church's voice and Gospel.

This is one of the the PILLARS of our Beautiful Catholic Faith that DIFFERENTIATES our beliefs from all other religions and denominations!


Concentrating on Christ FIRST in ALL of Our Daily Activities

Good evening friends in Christ,

I love today's Gospel about Jesus visiting Martha and Mary. We read that Martha was busy, busy, busy preparing refreshments for our Lord, while Mary is quiet and still while listening to our Lord's teaching. Martha's busy-ness distracted her from what needed to be first and foremost in her life -- to be constantly connected and focused on our Lord Jesus Christ.

This is SO HARD FOR ME TO DO !!! This reading is such a wonderful reminder for me to put FIRST THINGS FIRST!!!

Fernandez asks us (In Conversation with God, Tuesday, 27th Week in Ordinary Time):

  • How can my work, whatever that may be, make any sense if I fail to connect with God?
  • All of life's ORDINARY TRIALS, chores, duties, activities can be made into occasions to meet God!
  • Do you and I lead 'double-lives' where there is one part of our life apart from God and then at other times (such as Mass, evening prayer, etc.) where we live a different life with God?
  • I need to have UNITY in all of my actions while contemplating and dialogueing with my Lord, just like Mary did!
  • Do I think of Jesus from the moment I wake up in the morning until I fall asleep under His protection?
  • With Jesus by my side every moment of the day, I am such a better person, citizen, wife, friend, mother, daughter, sister, relative, neighbor, and co-worker.
  • With my Jesus as my PRIMARY FOCUS during my day, I work better at whatever is at hand before me.
  • PLUS . . . and here's a fantastic bonus: When I think of Jesus, I stop thinking of the things of this world. . . the economy, politics, my retirement in the stock market, my weight, the dust in the house (that never fails to continue to come back!!!!).

Pope John Paul II said that "Every area of the lay faithful's lives, as different as they are, enters into the plan of God who desires that these areas be the PLACES IN TIME where the love of Christ is revealed and realized for the GLORY OF THE FATHER. . . . EVERY activity, situation, responsibility . . . are occasions ORDAINED BY PROVIDENCE for a continuous exercise of faith, hope, and charity.

John Paul II, Apostolic Exhortation, 1988

So, I resolve to put our Lord and Heavenly Father at the front of my mind, heart and soul each and every day. Anything that separates me from this goal is SECONDARY. Otherwise, I invite disorder and temptation to sin in my life.

At these trying times in America, you and I need to remember:


I know that I am weak and that I forget continually. But through prayer and the power of the Holy Spirit, I am hopeful to improve for His Glory.

Many blessings to you,

Your blogging friend,

~ Bella

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Part One, Article 2: Our Call as Catholics to Teach Others of God

Hello everyone again on this beautiful October day,

Before I go outside to savor and soak up this gorgeous autumn day, I'll continue discussing our beautiful Catholic Catechism:

Because God DESIRES ALL of us to be saved, to KNOW the truth of Jesus, we, Catholics, MUST PROCLAIM our Lord to ALL people all around the entire planet! (1 Tim 2:4; Jn 14:6)

Catholics are COMMANDED to preach the Gospel to let others know of God's gifts to them. It is the Gospel that is the source of truth and moral discipline necessary to achieve salvation (Mt 28:19-20; Mk 16:15).

So dear friends in Christ, in your prayers, ask our Heavenly Father, our Lord, and Blessed Mother to give us the fortitude to just drop a verse of the Bible to anyone that needs a word of guidance or uplifting.

Yesterday, my husband and I had some friends over and they poured their hearts out to us about a terrible, and I do mean horrendous, ordeal that they have been suffering through.

I took my Bible over to them (non-Catholics) and led them to read Psalm 37, which was the same verse that a dear friend once read to me in my greatest time of trouble. They said that they would go home and read it. I don't know what happened after they left, but I do know that God gave me the strength to do what He called all of us as Catholics to do . . . to share the Gospel.

I never used any force, or "in-your-face" tactics that we know some folks can use. I shared this verse with love and concern for these friends. They know that I am Catholic and so that also helped their perception of the Catholic Faith.

I think that once we successfully share, we gain more strength in continuing to spread the Gospel each time afterwards.

With that said, dear friends, I am going to go outside and enjoy this day that God has given each of us.


~ Bella

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More Catholic Beliefs (from CCC): Ch. 2 Article One, Section III. Jesus is the Fullness of God's Revelation and There Will Be NO FURTHER REVELATION

Catholics believe (CCC, p. 28) that after Jesus' life on earth, there will be NO FURTHER PUBLIC REVELATION OF GOD until the glorious manifestation of our Lord. God's covenants with our first parents, with Abraham, Noah, and Moses, and their descendants will remain in force as long as the world lasts and there will be no further Revelation (1 Tim 6: 14; Titus 2:13).

We Catholics believe that our Lord will return and that we have a life-long covenant with God!

We read in today's Psalms:

You gave food to those who fear you, mindful of your covenant forever.
You showed powerful deeds to your people, giving them the lands of the nations.
The works of your hands are right and true, reliable all your decrees,
Established forever and ever, to be observed with loyalty and care.
You sent deliverance to your people, ratified your covenant forever;
holy and awesome is your name.
The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom; prudent are all who live by it.
Your praise endures forever.

Psalm 111

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