We are excited to announce the release of Donnie Yance’s latest CD, Heaven Awaits, featuring nine original compositions, plus a special bonus song, Hope Alley, produced for Donnie by legendary musician and friend, Gino Vannelli.
Click here to see a video of Donnie and band members performing and hear about the inspiration behind this CD.
When I read the Scriptures account
of the birth of Jesus, one thing that stands out is the theme of humility. As I reflect on humility, I
realize that it is a gift that offers us enormous personal freedom and
One of my favorite passages in the Bible is the prayer Mary recites when she finds out she is going to birth the baby Jesus. CalledTheMagnificat (Luke 1:46-55), the prayer begins: “My soul magnifies the Lord and my spirit rejoices.” But this is so much more than a simple prayer of praise.
I recently watched a delightful movie
called “The Green Book” that one writer described as “a love letter to the
endurance of the embattled human spirit.” I found the movie to be down to earth
and heavenly at the same time. More than
anything, it gave me renewed faith and hope in us.
We all experience suffering and injustice,
but we also experience how the Divine provides help and hope every day,
sometimes in the most unexpected ways. At Easter, Passover, and spring, we
celebrate the season of renewal and hope. My prayer is that we grow, together,
in faith, hope, love, and understanding.
“Hope is always loving and faith is always loving and hopeful. Faith does not need to push the river because faith is able to trust that there is a river. The river is flowing. We are in it.” ~Richard Rohr
Christmas, Hanukkah, and the Winter Solstice are a good time for reflection and renewal as well as celebration. This year, I invite you to take time to consider the way that you view the world, and how you might shift your thinking to become happier, healthier, more compassionate, and more at peace.
In my work, I am acutely aware of the adverse effects of a pessimistic, negative view of life. Depression, anxiety, and loneliness continue to increase in our society. There is no doubt that these are challenging and unsettling times in our world. But the truth is that we have always faced the painful challenges of war, political strife, prejudice, and tragedies on a global and personal level.
I encourage you to not fall into the quagmire of pessimism, discouragement, negativity, or bitterness. I hear many people speak of their distress and their belief that the world is doomed. They see only tragedy, hatred, and destruction, and believe nothing good is happening in the world. Keep an open heart, my brothers and sisters. Take time for stillness, seek the truth, and devote yourself to acts of loving-kindness.
Keep Your Focus on Responding, not Reacting
I find it helpful in life to focus on responding, not reacting. This is difficult when we are continually reacting to the barrage of information presented by technology. The more fast-paced and frenzied life becomes, the more we tend to react. Slowing down is a simple way of allowing the opportunity for thoughtful response.
We can begin to slow down by reducing our access to personal smart phones, computers, and electronics in general. Instead, take the time to meet a friend in the park or at a coffee shop. Relax, converse, and enjoy. This may sound radical, but occasionally leave your phone in the car or at home. You may be surprised at how much richer and more meaningful your interactions and life are when not lived through technology. We need to have fellowship, and we need to give love, receive love and feel a sense of belonging. This is spiritual nourishment, and without it we starve. Continue reading “Be Still, and Respond with Kindness”
At this holy time of year as we approach Passover and Easter, I reflect on the ways in which my faith informs my life. And I consider the ways in which I can strengthen my connection to the divine with these reflections.
The central emphasis of Eastern Christian monastic spirituality is the belief that we are called “to become partakers of the divine nature.” (2 Peter 1:4) In the words of St. Athanasius, “God became man so that man might become God.”
The Psalms and Christian Monastic Life
One of the most profound ways that I have found to infuse my daily life with my faith is to practice the advice of the Eastern Christian Saint ‘Theophan the Recluse.’ “It is good, very good, to memorize several psalms and recite them while you are working or between tasks, doing this instead of short prayers sometimes, with concentration.”
Early Christian disciples regarded the Book of Psalms as powerful and insightful doctrine, offering prophecy as well as praise. The 150 psalms of the Old Testament are the principal element of the entire Opus Dei, an institution of the Catholic Church that teaches that everyone is called to holiness and that ordinary life is a path to sanctity. Continue reading “Reflections on The Beatitudes from the Sermon on the Mount”
St. Francis has been a major influence in my life since I was in my early twenties and searching for Truth. I studied a bit of theology in school, and being brought up as an Italian Roman Catholic, had more questions than answers. I thought, “Either there is a God, our faith should be our guiding force in our lives, and we should serve and love God and others, or we should stop pretending.” It seemed so simple, and so clear.
I looked for Truth in other faiths, but Francis pointed me back to Catholicism. I recall one day thinking, “If St. Francis could live with such clarity, compassion, and generosity of spirit and never stray from his faith, nor even question it, who am I to think I need to?” When I discovered Eastern Christianity from an Eastern Rite Franciscan monastery, I found my home. I joined the Order of St. Francis as a Secular (3rd Order) Franciscan, took vows, and spent close to three years living in a Byzantine Eastern Catholic Rite Franciscan Order in New Canaan, Connecticut.