Categories
Advent CS in the media Domestic Church Ink Slingers Instagram Photo Challenge Liturgical Year Rita

2017 Advent Photo Challenge


Advent is almost here! And if you’ve checked out a calendar recently, you might have noticed that Advent is pretty short this year too; Christmas is a day after the fourth Sunday in Advent.

All that being said, in the Catholic Sistas community, many contributors and friends have begun preparations for Advent. Some began six weeks ago with the Christmas Shopping Challenge. Others prepared by purchasing and preparing to use our Liturgical Daybook (digital and physical copies available for purchase). And others by taking time to review the 2017 Christmas Gift Guide & Giveaway. Looking for some good Advent ideas for you or the family? Check out this calendar of ideas. 

And now it’s time for some of us to take on another way of preparing our hearts and minds and souls for Christmas, with our annual Advent Photo Challenge. We live in a very visual world. Many of us find ourselves snapping away on our phones (or cameras) at moments or people or things in our lives. We use these photos to reflect on what’s happening in the moment, or what has happened in the past, or even to ponder the future. Which is why our Advent and Lent Photo Challenges at Catholic Sistas are so helpful for many of us to reflect on God’s presence in our lives.

The Catholic Sistas Advent and Lent Photo Challenges allow us to share and reflect on the Holy Spirit stirring our heart and minds and souls to see God daily.

Some of the words in the Photo Challenge are easy, and some of them are difficult. Some of them will require reflection, and some of them you will known instantly what image you would like to share. It’s like our relationship with God. And that’s makes a Photo Challenge a great opportunity for reflection in Advent and Lent. The opportunity to recognize God present in our lives in the easy, difficult, times of reflection and in the instantaneous. 

And so I invite you all to join my friends, Adrienne, Brittany, Celeste, Janalin, Lynette and Rosemary and myself (Rita), in the 2017 Advent Photo Challenge. 

Please know you don’t have to be part of the social media world to participate in the 2017 Advent Photo Challenge! While it’s fun to share your photos and reflections with others, if the Advent Photo Challenge provides you with an opportunity to reflect on the season of Advent and prepare for Christmas, that’s what counts.

To help you in your challenge, below you’ll find the whats, hows and hashtag info for joining the 2017 Advent Photo Challenge. I’m excited to get started on this photo challenge with y’all on Sunday and to see how the Holy Spirit moves us all to reflect on the season of Advent and share our Catholic faith. Happy clicking (or touching your phone screen)!

HOW THE 2017 ADVENT PHOTO CHALLENGE WORKS

Each day has a word associated with it. Snap a photo or find an old photo related to that word. The photo does not have to be faith-themed, as the goal of our photo challenges is for us to see God in our everyday lives.

Use the hashtag #CSAdvent and any other appropriate hashtags (#purple, #tree, #light, etc) when you post your Photo Challenge photos. This allows us all to search Instagram and other social media platforms for others who are participating in the Photo Challenge. (CSAdvent = Catholic Sistas Advent)

• While our main platforms for the 2017 Advent Photo Challenge are Instagram, Facebook and Twitter, we are present on many other platforms. Tag us with @CatholicSistas on INSTAGRAMPINTEREST and FACEBOOK and @Catholic_Sistas on TWITTER. And if you’re blogging about your Advent Photo Challenge, link back to us or comment below with a link to your post.

Download the 2017 CS Advent Graphic for quick reference. Note that the dates of the weekends are a different color to help visually break up the days.

• Be sure to share the graphic with others and invite them to join the challenge too!

• Join us on Facebook in our new group Catholic Sistas – The Coffee House where we can share pics of the challenge and get to know one another in a private setting! We are currently setting up the group, so please request to be added and we will approve as soon as we are done straightening up and decorating the space. 🙂 

Categories
Ink Slingers Marriage Mary P. Motherhood Prayer

When You Question God’s Love, Prayer is the Answer

prayer
I went to a different parish than usual this weekend. The priest’s homily focused on the question “Is God Here?” The priest acknowledged that it was a strange question to be asking in a church setting. (I would add: especially in a Catholic church, where Jesus is present body, blood, soul, and divinity). But he pointed out that even people who attend church ask this question at various times in their lives. For my part, I have never doubted God’s existence, but I’ve doubted his personal love for me. I know God is out there, but is God here? I don’t doubt that He abides in the Tabernacle, but does He abide with me? Does He want to be near me, or does he look upon me from a distance, scowling at my many flaws and sins?

The priest went on to say that atheists start with the thesis that God is not here, and then demand proof that He is. However, they don’t see the proof that is right in front of them. The heavens declare the glory of God, and even the stones cry out. But someone who does not have eyes to see will be blind to anything but that which supports their preconceived ideas. It’s often the same way with me and my version of the question of God’s presence. If my starting point is that God is displeased with me in all my imperfection, and is therefore not really near to me, then I won’t have eyes to see when he reveals himself to me. If I assume that I am not lovable, then I won’t notice when the God of the universe is pursuing me.

The priest reminded us that that’s what Christmas is about – God pursuing us. Love Himself came down from Heaven for each of us, individually and personally.

When I’ve asked God why I don’t feel His love for me, He’s answered me pretty clearly. He’s told me that I don’t pray enough (I neglect especially the “listening” part of prayer). He’s called, and He’s shouted (as one of my favorite Matt Maher songs goes), and I’m deaf to it, because I am not taking the time to listen. I’m so busy thinking about how much I suck at life (pardon the expression), that I’m not even giving Him a chance to tell me otherwise. What kind of relationship can I expect to have with God when I’m constantly looking in a proverbial mirror at myself instead of gazing at Him?

And when I’m feeling badly about what I see in that mirror, I look outside, to other people and things, to make me feel better, to fill the void in my heart. I turn away from God— the only One who can satisfy the deepest longings of my heart—in the hopes that someone else will make me feel loved. I think of how unworthy I am of God’s love, so I hide from Him. And then, I become dissatisfied and angry with others (particularly my husband and my children) because they can’t fill up my emptiness.

Meanwhile, God waits for me patiently. He waits for me to realize that my heart will be restless until it rests in Him. He waits for me to understand that even though I am not perfect, and I can’t love him perfectly, He wants whatever pathetic offering I can muster. He waits for me to see that I will never stop feeling like a failure until I look to Him to see my worth. Because the way to heal guilt, low self-esteem, and self-doubt is not to look inward or outward, but upward.

I can only accomplish all this through a better prayer life. As we begin a new Church year, I am at this very moment resolving to start working on this now. If your prayer life has been stagnant and your belief in God’s love for you has been waning, please join me in this resolution.

Categories
Ink Slingers Instagram Photo Challenge Rita

2016 Advent Photo Challenge

csadvent2016

Advent begins in less than 1 week! At Catholic Sistas we love helping you prepare for and reflect on the liturgical seasons. Some people began preparing for Advent 6 weeks ago with the Christmas Shopping Challenge that we released last year, and others have taken time to review The Official 2016 Catholic Christmas Gift Guide and Giveaway, and enter the giveaway.

Another way we love preparing for and reflecting on the liturgical seasons is through our Advent and Lent Photo Challenges. As a visual person, I love the opportunity to explore, express and share my Advent season reflections and preparation for Christmas. And so I’m excited to again co-lead the 2016 Advent Photo Challenge.

Each Photo Challenge allows us to share in images and words how the Holy Spirit stirs our hearts, minds and souls in seeing God daily. Some of the words in the Photo Challenge word-of-the-day are relatively easy, and some of them are pretty darn hard. But that’s just like our relationship with God. Sometimes it’s easy to visualize God in our lives, and other times we must deeply reflect and consider how God is present in our lives. But that’s part of what makes a Photo Challenge a great opportunity for reflection in Advent and Lent.

And so I invite all our readers to join my fellow photo-happy friends, BRITTANYADRIENNEROSEMARYCINDY and KRISTIN (and find me HERE) in the 2016 Advent Photo Challenge.

Please know you don’t have to be part of the social media world to participate in the 2016 Advent Photo Challenge! While it’s definitely fun to share your photos and reflections with others, if the Advent Photo Challenge provides you with an opportunity to reflect on the season of Advent and prepare for Christmas, than that’s what counts.

To help you in your challenge, below you’ll find the whats, hows and hashtag info for joining the 2016 Advent Photo Challenge. I’m excited to get started on this photo challenge with y’all next week and to see how the Holy Spirit moves us all to reflect on the season of Advent and share our Catholic faith. Happy clicking (or touching your phone screen)!

How the 2016 Advent Photo Challenge Works

• Each day has a word associated with it. Snap a photo or find an old photo related to that word. The photo does not have to be faith-themed, as the goal of our photo challenges is for us to see God in our everyday lives.

• Use the hashtag #CSAdvent and any other appropriate hashtags (#wreath, #candle, #Catholic, etc) when you post your Photo Challenge photos. This allows us all to search Instagram and other social media platforms for others who are participating in the Photo Challenge. (CSAdvent = Catholic Sistas Advent)

• While our main platforms for the 2016 Advent Photo Challenge are Instagram, Facebook and Twitter, we are present on many other platforms. Tag us with @CatholicSistas on INSTAGRAMPINTEREST and FACEBOOK, @Catholic_Sistas on TWITTER and +CatholicSistas on GOOGLE+. And if you’re blogging about your Advent Photo Challenge, link back to us or comment below with a link to your post.

• Download the 2016 CSAdvent Graphic for quick reference. Note that the dates of the weekends are a different color to help visually break up the days. Be sure to share the graphic with others and invite them to join the challenge too!

cs-advent-2016