9.5.14

God's Unlimited Grace


Last weekend, we had a special event with one of our Builders at The Feast. The message of the talk is so simple but big enough to move our soul: GOD'S GRACE IS UNLIMITED. 

He mentioned that GRACE is the very heart of God. Grace is the power of the Holy Spirit to help us win over our sinful tendencies. We are invited to enjoy this unmerited favor every minute, everyday.

We need GRACE to run this race. We breathe because of God's grace. We are provided of things we need because of God's grace. We are hanging on in the midst of our confusion and worries because of God's grace. God uses everything in us, including our pains, to be a testimony of His Love to others. All because of God's grace.

Allow us to share some of the powerful verses and lines from his talk (you may consider taking this with you by heart):

But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. -2 Corinthians 12:9

For sin shall no longer be your master, because you are not under the law, but under grace. -Romans 6:14

(The Message)
"My grace is enough; it's all you need. My strength comes into its own in your weakness." Once I heard that, I was glad to let it happen. I quit focusing on the handicap and began appreciating the gift. It was a case of Christ's strength moving in on my weakness. Now I take limitations in stride, and with good cheer, these limitations that cut me down to size—abuse, accidents, opposition, bad breaks. I just let Christ take over! And so the weaker I get, the stronger I become. -2 Corinthians 12:9

Under grace our attraction to Jesus gets greater and greater.


Let us pray, Heavenly Father, we thank you for sustaining us with the abundance of your grace. Amen.

Have a very blessed week ahead! 

6.5.14

Burn with Love for our Faith


When we are with our friends, we usually talk about the things we have in common -- things like school work, sports, movies, the latest in fashion or what's trending in social networks. 

Do we talk about Jesus?  Probably not -- at least not very often.  Jesus doesn't "come up" when we are with friends.  Right?

Last Sunday's Gospel was about two friends who are walking together and talking about Jesus. It is the day that Jesus' tomb is empty.  The two friends don't recognize Jesus when he joins them but, when they share a meal and break bread with Jesus, they do recognize him.  And in that moment they remember how their hearts were burning with the joy of their faith while they walked along and listened to Jesus explained the Scriptures to them.

What these two friends do next is very important.  After their experience with Jesus, they 'set out at once' to share their experience.  They are so excited! They cannot wait to get back to Jerusalem to 'recount what had taken place.'

Do we ever feel our heart burning within us for the love of Jesus and our Catholic faith?  Do we ever get so excited about our faith that we dash off to find friends with whom we can share our experience of Jesus?  Well, maybe...but...

But that kind of excitement isn't going to happen like a light switch being turned on.  Rather, that excitement begins with talking to others about Jesus -- like the friends on their way Emmaus.  We have to read Scripture and share with our friends what we have read and allow them to see Jesus in us -- just like what happens when we give a simple smile, a pat on the back, a listening ear or just a time shared with them. 

In this way, we open ourselves for an encounter with Jesus that will make our heart bright with the fire of faith and excite us so much that we want to share our faith with others.

Let us pray, Our Dear Jesus, our faith in you is important to us.  Help us to learn more about you, to share our experience of you with others, so we may grow in faith. Amen.

21.4.14

Honey-Mustard Glazed Chicken


Happy Easter Monday!
Meet our friend and new contributor.
Thank you for sharing your food blog with us, Christina. 
Welcome to The Catholic Homemaker family!
Please visit her delicious recipes here.
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A funny thing starts to happen when you’ve been writing a food blog for a while.  You’re always wanting to share the new interesting thing that you tried- something other people will find exciting, too.  But in doing that, I realize that I start forgetting that the recipes I use over and over again, my go-to weeknight meals and family favorites, get largely neglected.  I take them for granted, and it doesn’t often occur to me that there are people out there that don’t make them.



This recipe, for one.  It’s something that my mom has been making as long as I can remember, and it’s been passed on to so many friends, neighbors, etc. that I’m sure this recipe’s made it halfway across the world.  We always called it Chicken Diablo, but in researching what Chicken Diablo actually is, I’m pretty sure it’s not even close to being that.



It’s basically chicken breasts baked in a buttery honey-mustard sauce. See, doesn’t that sound so unexciting?  Not exactly blog-worthy.  Except that it is.  I’ve made some minor tweaks to make this recipe my own over the years.  For example, I’ve lessened the amount of butter a bit, and instead of using yellow mustard, I like to use half yellow and half stone ground Dijon.  I’ve also used a regular Dijon and that was delicious as well.



It continues to be one of my husband’s and kiddo’s favorite dinners.  It takes all of two minutes to prepare before popping it in the oven, and only uses things that you almost certainly always have on hand in your own kitchen.  The honey and mustard bubbles away and reduces to a beautiful glaze for the chicken, as well as an awesome sauce to spoon over hot rice.  Seriously, guys, the sauce.  If we eat up all the chicken, I still save the sauce to gobble up with the leftover rice.  The sauce is what it’s all about.

So here it is, without further ado.  Hope it becomes one of your family favorites, too.

Honey-Mustard Glazed Chicken
Serving Size: 4

I used half yellow mustard, and half stone-ground Dijon this time, but feel free to experiment with other kinds of mustard. I have yet to find a version we don't like.
  • 6 tablespoons butter, melted
  • ½ cup honey
  • ¼ cup mustard (yellow, Dijon, or whatever combo you like)
  • ¼ teaspoon curry powder
  • ¼ teaspoon paprika
  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
Preheat oven to 350 F.
Combine all ingredients except chicken in a small bowl and mix well. Place chicken in a baking dish and season sparingly with salt and black pepper. Pour the honey-mustard mixture over the chicken, making sure all chicken pieces are coated.

Bake for 30-40 minutes, depending on the size of the chicken breasts. (Sometimes, partway through cooking, I'll open the oven and spoon some of the sauce over the chicken, so it's extra-glazey. But a lot of times I don't, and it's just fine, too.) Chicken is done when firm to the touch or when the juices run clear if you cut into it. Serve over rice, noodles, or pasta, making sure to scoop up lots of yummy sauce, too.


Christina Kolb lives in Chicago, IL with her wonderful husband, Kevin, and two-year-old son.  They are very excited to be expecting another child next May. She also trained professionally as a pastry chef, and loves to cook, bake, and write, and combines all of these while blogging at But I'm Hungry: A Food Blog. Like and follow her on Facebook.  Christina is a friend and contributing writer of The Catholic Homemaker.  

20.4.14

What Are You Doing For Easter?


Just sharing with you a portion from an article written by Mike Jordan Laskey and published ​in the Catholic Star Herald. Mike is a director of Life and Justice Ministries.  Originally published with the title Lenten Sacrifices and Easter Promises on April 18, 2014 Vol 63 No.45.

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"What are you doing for Easter?"  is a polite piece of small talk.  It has to do with one day's plans.  We celebrate well, and then it's 'almost summer" time.  

It's easy to forget that Easter is a 50-day season, 10 days longer than the Lenten marathon.  It's the most important season we have; we are an Easter people after all, not a Lenten people.  

What would it look like if we committed ourselves to the Easter season with the same energy we bring to Lent? 

Inspired by the triad of Lenten practices, here are three (3) Easter practices you might try from now through Pentecost.

1. Feasting
      
Lent is a time for fasting , but we do not fast for its own sake. We fast so that we might be ready to welcome and celebrate the risen Christ at Easter and throughout the season. We fast so we can feast! So, take some time to intentionally feast this Easter. Call a friend or a family member.  Have a picnic. Fly a kite.  Do something new and creative that celebrates life and brings joy.

2. Singing

Many of my favorite moments involve singing: A pop music jam session with siblings and my wife.  Shouting along with Bruce Springteen on "Born to Run" with the car windows down.  That first 'Alleluia' at the Easter Vigil.  The theologian Walter Brueggermann points to Isaiah 42:10 as a key moment in Scripture: "Sing to the Lord a new song."  After the quiet grief of Lent and Good Friday, the victory of life over death enegizes us to sing again.  So sing especially loudly at Mass, and find other times to sing.

3. Bringing Easter Joy to Others

The Road to Emmaus is one of the great Easter stories.  Soon after the resurrection, an unrecognized Jesus walks along the road with a pair of his disciples, chatting with them and breaking open the Scriptures.  The conversation is going so well the disciples invite Jesus to have dinner with them.  When he blesses and breaks the bread during the meal, the disciples realize who is with them, and he vanishes.

The disciples race back to Jerusalem on foot, which was seven miles from Emmaus, to let the apostles know -- minutes after they had just completed their first hike of the day.  Fourteen miles in one day is pretty impressive, by any century's standards.

What a force for good and love it would be if we could somehow channel that same Easter excitement.  There are so many places in the world where the joy of the risen of the Lord is obscured by persistent darkness, and so many people who could use a loving gesture that brings new life.  Spend some time in Easter as an instrument of God's compassion in one of these places of suffering.

There are about 50 days left until Pentecost -- that's plenty of time to get moving.  

So, what are you doing for Easter this year?


Let us Accompany Him

Holy Week is the week of our salvation.
This week, we go up with Jesus to Jerusalem.  Let's stay close to him at his Last Supper and in his agony in the garden.  Let us accompany him as he is rejected and crucified.  And let us rejoice by his empty tomb!  Jesus died for us, so let us live for Him!  - Most. Rev. Jose H. Gomez


When you are attending Mass and other religious services, be very reverent when you stand up, kneel, and sit. Perform each action with great devotion. Be modest in your gaze, and do not turn your head this way and that to see who is coming or going. Out of reverence for that holy place, do not laugh or look around to see who is nearby. Try not to talk to anyone unless charity or a strict need requires it.... In short, behave in such a way that all the bystanders are edified and, because of you, are moved to glorify and love the heavenly Father.”   
--St Padre Pio (letter to Anitta Rodote, July, 25, 1915)






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