What is Grace? and Why Do I Need It?
The Allison abridged version for the definition of grace? Grace is the undeserved, yet freely given gift of God's Holy Spirit living within us. It is pure gift from a purely loving God. Sanctifying Grace is what we receive in Baptism that allows us to participate in a life with God. Actual Grace can be thought of as those passing, sometimes momentary, glimpses of the Holy Spirit at work in our lives. A little (or a lot) of divine assistance to guide and support us through life. This gift of God's grace is abundant. We need only dip into the spiritual well-spring to receive it. Why do we need it? Grace is the fuel for our souls to reach Heaven.
Filling Our Grace Well
The most effective way to refill our ‘grace well’ comes through the other gifts God has for us. Primarily, prayer, Sacrament, and Scripture, or what I affectionately refer to as the “Grace Trifecta”. The secret is simple, and not really a secret, immerse yourself daily in conversation with God - ask and you will receive, seek and you will find, knock and I guarantee that door will be flung open!!
Entering into Conversation with God aka Prayer
Online Pray More Lenten Retreat
There are many honors in my life that I shake my head at and wonder - how on earth did I get that blessing. Being on of this year's Pray More Lenten Retreat presenters is RIGHT up there among the craziest! Blessed to be sharing my favorite way to build a foundation of faith - the Grace Trifecta. Click the image below to learn more!!
“Ignorance of Scripture is Ignorance of Christ” St. Jerome
Choose one scripture verse a month to memorize. Some suggestions from the well-spring of scripture that has blessed and transformed my life:
All Rights Reserved, Allison Gingras 2018
How Do YOU Fill your Grace Well?
What are some of your Favorite ways to build a stronger faith
foundation through Prayer, Sacramentm and Scripture?
Technology Solutions for the 3 Tenets of Lent
Have you decided how you will spend the next 40+ days living out the tenets of Lent – Prayer, Fasting and Almsgiving? Sure, it began a few days ago, but honestly, it is never too late to devise and implement your Lenten plan. Most years I revise it as I move through the 40+ days. Every effort (no matter how small) we make, I am quite certain, the Lord (abundantly) blesses.
As your typical overachiever, I always have way more plans (or at least options) than I could ever balance or sustain. I suppose I just shoot high and contentedly settle for mid- to low results. It is my excitement with the out-flowing of grace during this season that gets the planning juices flowing.
Lectio Divina, even working through a few bible study books together. When Kevin entered Diaconate formation in our diocese, we were introduced to the Liturgy of the Hours. Probably best to say, ‘reintroduced,’ although life-long Catholics, these magnificent prayers of the Church and for the Church, were never part of our prayer arsenal. We use the iBrievary app and website to pray the Evening Prayer together; while we try to recite it daily, we are going to make a special commitment during Lent to assure we do.
Praying for the Living and the Dead – making this not only suitable for Lent but also appropriate for this Jubilee Year of Mercy.
Deciding how to share your gifts of time, treasure and talent – doesn’t come from a website or Android App – it comes from your heart. Through prayer and discernment, I have no doubt the Holy Spirit will guide you on how best to offer your gifts this Lent.
The quote,“Love isn’t love, until you give it away” attributed to Oscar Hammerstein II, came to mind as I contemplated how I would address almsgiving in this Lenten column. As I googled the quote’s origins, I came across this beautiful Reba McIntyre song. I decided it would make the perfect accompaniment to our pondering where God is calling us to show charity this Lent.
Share you favorite Lenten Tech Solutions in the comment section below!!
This article first appeared in Catholicmom.com, Feb 12, 2016
All Rights Reserved, Allison Gingras 2018
Abundant Grace for Living Holy
Lent is such an amazing time - it truly is a time of special and abundant grace. When I prayed about what I should focus on this Lent a few years ago - FORGIVENESS - kept emerging. At first, it made very little sense to me, as I feel I'm pretty solid with this subject. I mean, come on, I give retreats on forgiveness for heavens sake! I bare my soul over and over, sharing how I have needed to forgive and howI have needed to be forgiven. In addition I believe in God's mercy and love, and fully accept and cherish His gift of forgiveness.
40 Days of Learning to Forgive
Forgiveness needs to extended because Christ first offered it to us. I especially love how it is given so beautifully in Reconciliation (big, big fan!). So what more could there be? God gave me two CLEAR answers.
Lastly, I pondered the peace inducing insights and inspirations of my favorite book on forgiveness:
2018 Lenten Forgiveness Retreat
It is Important to Stay Online ... at least a Little
Really. Please don't leave Social Media for Lent. I understand that many people use this hiatus to spend time working on their own personal spiritual growth; and I can completely respect that HOWEVER.... please don't completelydisappear for the 40 days for Lent when social media needs you the most. Okay, I've always had a flair for the dramatic but here's why I am begging you to stay:
'Tis the Season
Lent is a season when many people make a resolution to investigate or rejuvenate a faith life. The internet just happens to be a place many people will turn for guidance and even perhaps seek a community to take the journey with. So, what happens when those who are most likely to post something faith based, could possibly answer questions or would be open to connect as community make a mass exodus off social media during Lent?? There is a risk for missed opportunity to evangelize, catechize and support those seeking meaning through an experience with Christ this Lent.
If You Simply Must Leave Social Media for Lent
Some alternatives to consider if you still feel called to follow a social media blackout:
How I Am Spending my 2018 LENT
This year WINE: Women In the The Evangelization is once again journeying through Lent with the one of a kind Lenten themed Book: Walk in Her Sandals: Experiencing Christ’s Passion through the Eyes of Women. Like the movie, Groundhog Day, we are repeating our actions to learn more and more each time. After a year of praying, studying, and even just living, we are not the same person as in 2017. I am excited to see all the God has done in my life as I once again reflect on my personal journey with Christ through the eyes of not only the women in Walk in Her Sandals, but the ladies on the virtual with me.
MORE on the Book
You’ve never read a book like this before:
It’s part Bible study, part reflection on women’s special gifts, part prayer and discussion guide . . . all tied together with a fabulous biblical historical mini-novel about women living through the events of Jesus’s passion, death, and resurrection. Reading it will draw you into the experience of Lent in an entirely new way. It will deepen your relationship with Jesus. It will lead you to contemplate your own gifts in light of his work. And it will encourage you to step out into the new year refreshed and empowered to follow the Lord.
CLICK HERE: To Join the WINE LENTEN BOOK CLUB ... including exclusive WINE Lenten email; WINE Enthusiast resources, and to WINE Walk in Her Sandals book and journal bundle. ON Facebook - Search for the WINE Lenten Book Club and join our growing community. We'll be sharing quotes, video, photo challenges and so much more! It is my GREAT honor to be once again facilitating the online component of this awesome Lenten Book Club!!
All Rights Reserved, Allison Gingras 2017
Book Club description quoted from the WINE website, all rights reserved.
February 2006, the first time I walked into a room full of women gathered to study God's word together - not only with a bible but along with a book! The book, The Purpose Driven Life by Rick Warren - would begin a remarkable transformation of my faith life. Although, I only stayed with that first group for three years, recognizing the blessing of coming together on a weekly basis, now, in a very unlikely role, I am the host!
Family Clean vs Company Clean
Although initially overwhelmed at the idea of hosting or even leading a group, the blessing it had been in my life was too great to let the fear keep me from providing this opportunity to others. The first real issue - the family vs company clean status of my home on any given day. My busy schedule and self confessed laziness made the idea of having a spotless home every week - daunting to say the least. Then came my fear of not knowing enough to be 'in charge', and lastly, what if no one wanted to come or I wasn't able to maintain a friendly environment. Sadly, I had seen friendships strained when faith belief's collide. All valid concerns but none insurmountable.
A quickly learned, true friends are cool with family clean (as long as they are not sticking to floor or furniture, and you've wiped down the bathroom things are cool), they weren't coming to see what I knew but to grow in relationship with Christ, and lastly, all you can do is treat people with love and respect. Over the years as I have held small group book / bible studies at the parish, other people's homes and yes, even in my own dining room! While there may arise a difference here and there, we've managed to avoid fist-a-cuffs, so I can safely say all my fears have been completely unfounded!
So let me share my top 5 confidence boosters that I hope will inspire you to invite friends and soon to be friends to encounter God and a life of faith in a whole new way!!
Guess What. You DO NOT need to know all the answers!! If you need to look something up - do it. If you need to check with your Pastor and get back to the group - do it! A facilitator is not a teacher - while you may have skills in that area, it is not necessary. As Joshua says, DO not be afraid, be bold and courageous, and as Nike says, Just Do It!