Countess Van Henning

Below I have linked my Countess Van Henning books. A Catholic/Christian friendly vampire heroine in a series of flash fiction stories perfect for the modern short-on-time reader.

Countess Van Henning

Van Henning’s Daughter

Son of Van Henning

Castle Van Henning

The Heart of Van Henning

The Faith of Van Henning

Apostle’s Scroll

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This new devotional will provide you with bits of wisdom in honor of your birth Apostle. For future posts from this article, see link: Apostle’s Scroll

Timothy and Titus (January)

But if anyone does not provide for his relatives, and especially for members of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever. (1 Timothy 5:8)

Matthias (February)

then he must confess his sin that he has committed and must make full reparation, add one fifth to it, and give it to whomever he wronged. (Numbers 5:7)

Epaphroditus (March)

 For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes: first to the Jew, then to the Gentile. (Romans 1:16)

Mark (April)

And saying, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel.” (Mark 1:15)

 Philip and James (May)

If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him. (James 1:5)

Peter and Paul (June)

Be watchful, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong. Let all that you do be done in love. (1 Corinthians 16:13-14)

Thomas and James (July)

Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid. (John 14:27)

Bartholomew (August)

Let what you say be simply ‘Yes’ or ‘No’; anything more than this comes from evil. (Matthew 5:37)

Matthew (September)

“Beware of practicing your righteousness before other people in order to be seen by them, for then you will have no reward from your Father who is in heaven. (Matthew 6:1)

Simon and Jude (October)

And whatever you ask in prayer, you will receive, if you have faith.”  (Matthew 21:22)

Andrew (November)

I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.”  (John 16:33)

John (December)

And so we know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them. (1 John 4:16)

May God bless you through the intercession of His holy apostles, especially the one watching over you!

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8 Steps To A Tougher Immune System

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  1.  Vitamin A:  good sources include carrots, sweet potatoes, pumpkin, and cantaloupe.  (Vitamin A gives Vitamin C the power to do its job.)
  2.   Vitamin C:  good sources include lemons, oranges, broccoli, and potatoes.  
  3.   Garlic  (A natural antibiotic.)
  4.   No dieting.  (Your immune relies on fat to fight illness, and dieting also puts strain on the body.)
  5.  Healthy fats:  good sources include eggs, mayonnaise, avocado, olive oil, cream cheese, and sour cream. 
  6.   No sugar.  (Each tablespoon of white sugar knocks out your immune system for ten minutes.)
  7.   Drink lots of water. 
  8.   Get lots of sleep.  (Your immune system works twice as well when you’re sleeping as when you’re awake.)

orange carrots on table

The “Marvel of God’s Grace” Series

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Yes there is wordplay going on here. “Marvel” is referring to Marvel Universe and “Grace” is referring to my name.

AGENT NUNJA OF S.H.I.E.L.D.

Team Awesome-Nunja and Heroes Inc. versus Villains Inc.

Lady-Knight America

Zhen

Agent Catholic of S.H.I.E.L.D.

Dr. Prophet: The Exile

Dr. Prophet and the Marian Alliance vs. the Coven of the Beast

Agent DARK of S.H.I.E.L.D.

The Fellowship of the Iron Maid

The Rogers Family vs. the Shmidt Family

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Thumbelina

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Thumbelina is a phenomenal movie (the only really Disney quality animated movie I’ve found outside the Disney universe), and one I think St. Therese would have enjoyed watching as well. It’s all about loving your littleness and letting Jesus “be your wings” instead of wishing to be big. It also happens to be set in France.

Cornelius comes to her in her loneliness, from a heavenly kingdom far away, and invites her to join his family and become his bride. He gives her his royal ring, which reminds me of the Prodigal Son story, and promises to return to her soon.

Her faith in him does not go untested, though. First she is kidnapped by the toads, who represent the seduction of fame and popularity. She is attracted to this life, but upon learning that it would mean breaking her promise to Cornelius, she ultimately chooses Cornelius and escapes to find her home and her mother (Mary).

Then she is kidnapped by the beetles, representing sexual seduction. They entice her by telling her she is beautiful, but after they have used her she is rejected and feels “ugly”. Healing comes to her when the swallow (the Holy Spirit) reminds her that only Cornelius’s opinion of her matters, and he thinks she is beautiful.

Lastly she is taken captive by the mole, representing excessive preoccupation with wealth and security, and she almost goes with it — especially after being told Cornelius is dead (Good Friday) — but backs out as she realizes nothing should cause her to compromise Love. The brave prince who died seeking to rescue her, who has had nothing else on his mind the whole movie except saving her at all costs, fights off all three rejected suitors as she makes her escape to the warmth of the sun/Son.

The swallow swoops her away to a frozen wasteland that her song of faith reveals to be the Vale of Fairies, and she finally sees Cornelius is alive after all (Easter), then the beauty of spring sets the stage for their royal wedding and the gift of her very own wings (heaven).

This moving story of confidence in the love of our dear Jesus is a must-see, and if you haven’t considered this perspective of the story before, I hope this post enriches your future viewings. Let Jesus be your divine elevator, your “wings”, to the glorious heights of heaven!

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Spiritual Communion “Service” for those unable to make it to Mass

(Note: Frequent Spiritual Communion is recommended even for the most frequent Mass-goers. See my other post on the subject.)

(Doesn’t fulfill obligation for Mass.)

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  • Hymn or song of faith. Ideas here.
  • Make the Sign of the Cross.
  • Glory Be or prayer to saint of the day. Helpful resource here.
  • Act of Contrition: O my God, I am heartily sorry for
    having offended you, and I detest
    all my sins, because of Your just
    punishments, but most of all because
    they offend You, my God, who are
    all-good and deserving of all my love.
    I firmly resolve, with the help of
    Your grace, to sin no more and to
    avoid the near occasion of sin. Amen. (Bless yourself with Holy Water if you have any. The devout use of sacramentals remits venial sins.) 
  • Sing the Gloria when appropriate.
  • Mass readings of the day. 
  • 10-15 min. meditation or spiritual reading.
  • Recite the Creed when appropriate.
  • Three Hail Marys or a moment of silent prayer for the Church and the intentions of the Holy Father. 
  • Moment of meditation on the mystery of the Eucharist. (or Divine Mercy chaplet) “For I received from the Lord what I also handed on to you, that the Lord Jesus, on the night He was handed over, took bread, and, after He had given thanks, broke it and said, ‘This is My Body that is for you. Do this in remembrance of Me.’ In the same way also the cup, after supper, saying, ‘This cup is the new covenant in My Blood. Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of Me.’ For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the death of the Lord until He comes.” — 1 Corinthians 11:23-26 NABRE.
  • Our Father, Who art in heaven,
    Hallowed be Thy Name.
    Thy Kingdom come.
    Thy Will be done, on earth as it is in Heaven. Give us this day our daily bread.
    And forgive us our trespasses,
    as we forgive those who trespass against us.
    And lead us not into temptation,
    but deliver us from evil. Amen. 
  • My Jesus, I believe that You are in the Blessed Sacrament. I love You above all things, and I long for You in my soul. Since I cannot now receive You sacramentally, come at least spiritually into my heart. (pause) As though You have already come, I embrace You and unite myself entirely to You; never permit me to be separated from You. Amen. 
  • Glory be to the Father,
    and to the Son,
    and to the Holy Spirit.
    As it was in the beginning,
    is now,
    and ever shall be,
    world without end.
    Amen.
  • Make the Sign of the Cross. 
  • Hymn or song of faith.

(for short version, say only the parts in bold.)

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Revised Jerome Birthstone List

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Research shows that the birthstone list has its origins in the Zodiac and astrology, composed by Josephus.  Saint Jerome is reported to have offered a Christian version of the list based on the stones of New Jerusalem and the 12 Apostles.  Unfortunately we do not have a copy of that list today, and it is possible that that list was related to the signs of the Zodiac as well.  I’ve composed this new zodiac-free list based on St. Jerome’s ideas about the New Jerusalem stones and the 12 Apostles, using their feast days and matching each of them to one of the New Jerusalem stones and a virtue we can learn from their life.  Since some of the Apostles share a month, I filled in the blanks with Apostle-like saints who were crucial in the formation of the Church and additional gemstones to represent them.  You can wear your new birthstone to honor your birth Apostle and pray to master his virtues.

January  —  Timothy and Titus  —  topaz —  responsibility
February  —  Matthias  —  jasper  —  hope
March  —  Epaphroditus —  sapphire —  charity
April  —  Mark  — carnelian —  repentance
May  —  Philip and James the less  — chalcedony/agate  —  wisdom
June  —  Peter and Paul  —  emerald —  evangelization
July  —  Thomas and James the greater  —  sardonyx —  courage
August  —  Bartholomew  —  beryl/aquamarine  —  honesty
September  —  Matthew  —  chrysolite/peridot  —  devotion to Scripture
October  —  Simon and Jude  — chrysoprase  —  faith
November Andrew  —  hyacinth: (jacinth/zircon)(ligure/amber)  —  endurance
December  —  John  —  amethyst  —  love

The-Holy-Eucharist

The Creed of St. Cecilia

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As St. Cecilia lay dying, after giving her life for the Gospel, she made one last proclamation of faith. Outstretching her middle, index and thumb fingers, she declared her belief in the three Persons of the Trinity: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Folding down her ring and little fingers, she gave testimony to the hypostatic union of Jesus Christ’s Divine and Human natures. This moment is captured and preserved on the life-size that tops her tomb in Rome today.

The Catholic Church is indeed a Church of trend setters. Whether you’re looking for an alternative hand gesture for your favorite rock concert, or assigning a signature move to a Christian superhero in your story, you can give thanks to God for this little bit of inspiration from the very special St. Cecilia. Thank you God!

To read St. Cecilia’s story, click here.

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Reasons for Devotion to the Precious Blood

precious blood

  1. Ven. Fulton Sheen recommends it as a special defense and offense against devils. “Let me tell you what the most powerful influences are against the demoniac. ….His Precious Blood. We do not have an adequate devotion to the Blood of Christ. But these are the two great arms, the Holy Name of Jesus and invoking the Blood of Christ.”
  2.  It carries all the benefits of devotion to the Passion, since they are essentially the same thing. Meditation on the Passion Virtues Gained Through Meditation on the Passion
  3. It creates a spirit of reparation and penance in the soul, so necessary for the Christian life and the state of today’s world.
  4. It is the secret of our final battle against satan in the last days. “They conquered him by the Blood of the Lamb….”
  5. It is the means by which Mary shields our world from the just consequences of our sins.   “I have prevented the coming of calamities by offering Him the sufferings of the Son on the Cross, His Precious Blood, and beloved souls who console Him forming a cohort of victim souls.….Without attaching too much attention to the form, be faithful and fervent in prayer to console the Master.”  —- Our Lady of Akita
  6. We unite ourselves to the most powerful prayer of all: the Mass, by offering in spirit what the Mass offers in Sacrament, which is the Blood of the Lamb of God.
  7. It is a humbling devotion because in it we focus on what God has done for us, rather than what we have done for Him, and acknowledge that it is His sacrifice alone that gives ours value.    “We love because he first loved us.”         —   1 John 4:19    “The Church has always taught that all our penance without Christ’s passion is not worth a pea.” —St. Thomas More

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