In this brave new world where we have instant access to tweets and posts from the furthest reaches of our planet, it seems there is no end to news that makes it seem like our nation, our culture, and our faith is in a state of constant crisis.
Wouldn’t it be so much easier if we were cut off from everyone further than fifty miles away (with the exception of old-fashioned mail)?
There is wisdom in this lifestyle: take care of what you have the ability to influence.
This does not mean we don’t pray for others, the Holy Father, and the greater Church. It means we do what we can for who we are able.
We take care of those who live under the same roof. We scroll a little less and listen a bit more. We post a bit less and share a bit more. We hide in our phones and laptops a bit less and pray with our loved ones a bit more.READ MORE
Luke 19:1-10 was my favorite story in the entire Bible as a young boy because Zacchaeus climbed a tree. That was it. That was the extent of my deep and profound theological reasoning.
It remains one of my favorite readings to this day, but for different reasons entirely. (Well - almost entirely. I still think it is pretty fantastic that he climbed a tree in pursuit of Jesus.
It teaches us two beautiful lessons.
The first lesson: God rewards those who are willing to be undignified in their pursuit of Him. Zacchaeus was an important person. He was a chief tax collector. He was certainly well-known and very unpopular. Yet people would be careful how they spoke to him. In that time, virtually all tax collectors were corrupt and would raise taxes on whomever they wished and keep the excess for themselves. This feared and powerful man climbed a tree in order to draw near to the Lord!READ MORE
I have come to believe—after over twenty years working for parishes—that the devil’s last stand is pride. If he can’t entangle a person in lust, gluttony, greed, sloth, wrath, or envy, pride is his last stand. And it’s a killer.
It is as if the devil realizes none of the first six are working anymore on an individual, so he sits back and waits for the targeted soul to become comfortable and content. He knows that over time, our hearts grow into conformity with the law and we don’t have to fight quite as hard to resist certain sin as we once did. It is then that he strikes.
“Look at how great you are doing!” he whispers. “You did it!” he confirms. “Anyone can do it,” he suggests. “Why is everyone else still making those mistakes?” he questions. “Why isn’t everyone as holy as you?” he demands.READ MORE
You know what I love about being Catholic? We know from historical documents that a man referred to as Jesus Christ walked the Earth about 2000 years ago.
We know that he turned the world upside-down with a message that was completely radical.
His followers recorded Him saying such things as, “Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me, and I in them” (John 6:56) and “If you forgive anyone’s sins, their sins are forgiven; if you do not forgive them, they are not forgiven.” (John 20:23)
We also know (again, historically) that He was tortured and put to death in a gruesome manner.
We know that His followers denied knowing Him and locked themselves away in fear of suffering a similar fate.
We know Jesus rose from the dead and made it clear to His followers that death is not the end and there is nothing to fear outside of separation from Him.READ MORE
One of the key elements of being a Catholic, is that we know that there are two, equally important aspects to our relationship with God. One is our individual relationship with the Lord.
Most denominations emphasize only the “personal relationship with Jesus Christ.” The natural result is less of an emphasis on the need to attend every Sunday. ‘Sure,’ they will say, ‘You should join us for the worship and the fellowship, but if you don’t, it certainly isn’t a sin.’READ MORE
I often hear people lament the fact that there are so few believers left in the world. We are outnumbered. We are the remnant.
Except it isn’t true. We have just lost our nerve.
In the first chapter of 2 Timothy, we hear the words, “I remind you, to stir into flame the gift of God that you have through the imposition of my hands. For God did not give us a spirit of cowardice but rather of power and love and self control. So do not be ashamed of your testimony to our Lord… but bear your share of hardship for the gospel with the strength that comes from God.”
Power. Love. Self control.
These are three qualities that can be difficult to balance, unless we ask for the help of the Holy Spirit.READ MORE