Advent: A Reminder of How We Ought to Be

Every season and feast of the liturgical calendar serves as a reminder of how we “ought to be” as followers of Jesus Christ. The season of Advent, which is now upon us, reminds us that we are to be a people of hope—not to be confused with wishful thinking. I “hope” I win the lottery some day, but I have no confidence that will ever happen. Our hope in Jesus Christ is a confident hope—an […]

Advent Anticipation: A Poll Question

Years ago, there was a series of popular television commercials for a brand of ketchup, which showed people eagerly waiting for the thick ketchup to pour out of the tilted bottle and onto a burger while the refrain of Carly Simon’s hit song “Anticipation” rang out. The message was that anything good is worth waiting for. Advent is a season of anticipation. However, it’s about much more than anticipating the arrival of Christmas Day. It is […]

Fidelis, the Advent Angel

Celebrating Advent with my second graders is a combination of traditional elements—such as praying around an Advent wreath—along with visits from Fidelis, our Advent Angel, and performing Advent acts of kindness. We start sessions with a short prayer service around the Advent wreath on our prayer table. The prayer service includes a Scripture reading, intercessions, and singing, “O Come, O Come Emmanuel.” Since we can’t use lit candles, we tape a paper cutout of a […]

Using the Liturgical Calendar to Create a Different Kind of Climate Change

One of the goals of a catechist is to create a climate of prayer in the faith formation setting. In fact, the General Directory for Catechesis tells us that the most effective catechesis takes place within a “climate of prayer.” (GDC 85) Today, more than ever, we are keenly aware of the term climate because of the issue of climate change. Climate refers to the prevailing weather conditions in a region over a long period of […]

Growing Your Soul: 7 Ways to Experience New Life During Easter: #7 Unleash Your Imagination

Welcome to the final installment of my Easter series, “Growing Your Soul: 7 Ways to Experience New Life During Easter,” drawing from my book, 7 Keys to Spiritual Wellness. Today we explore the last tip: Unleash your imagination! Following Jesus’ Crucifixion and Death, all hope was lost, as was epitomized by the two disciples on the road to Emmaus. They were overwhelmed with despair, so much so that they weren’t concerned with where to go […]

Grow Your Soul: 7 Ways to Experience New Life During Easter: #6 Seek Beauty

Welcome to the next installment of my Easter series, “Grow Your Soul: 7 Ways to Experience New Life During Easter,” drawing from my book, 7 Keys to Spiritual Wellness. Today we look at the notion of seeking beauty. On Easter Sunday, we expect the weather to be beautiful. We count on it being a sunny, mild day so that we can all put on our Easter best without having to be covered up by layers of […]

Grow Your Soul: 7 Ways to Experience New Life During Easter: #5 Recognize and Set Limits

Welcome to our continuing Easter series, “Grow Your Soul: 7 Ways to Experience New Life During Easter,” drawing from my book, 7 Keys to Spiritual Wellness.” Our fifth tip is “Recognize and Set Limits.” Setting limits as a way to grow your soul may sound counterintuitive at first blush. We don’t normally associate the word “limit” with the word “grow.” Think about it this way, however: isn’t it possible to kill a plant by over-watering it? Of […]

Grow Your Soul: 7 Ways to Experience New Life During Easter: #4 Hold On Loosely

Welcome to the next post in our Easter series, “Grow Your Soul: 7 Ways to Experience New Life During Easter,” drawing from my book, 7 Keys to Spiritual Wellness. Today we explore the fourth tip, which is to “Hold On Loosely.” One of the most-read and most-loved books in recent Christian history is Henri Nouwen’s With Open Hands. This seminal book begins with Nouwen telling the story of an elderly woman in a psychiatric ward who […]

Grow Your Soul: 7 Ways to Experience New Life During Easter: #3 Think Before Acting

Welcome to the next post in our Easter series, “Grow Your Soul: 7 Ways to Experience New Life During Easter,” drawing from my book, 7 Keys to Spiritual Wellness. Today we explore the third tip, which is, “Think Before You Act.” During Holy Week, we entered into the Passion of Jesus Christ—a story that is filled with drama, intrigue, violence, scandal, and betrayal. Two of the most interesting characters in the story are Peter and Judas. […]

Grow Your Soul: 7 Ways to Experience New Life During Easter: #2 Delight in the Success of Others

Welcome to the second installment of my Easter series, “Grow Your Soul: 7 Ways to Experience New Life During Easter,” which draws from my book, 7 Keys to Spiritual Wellness. This week, we look at the practice of delighting in the success of others. We tend to see others as rivals. It’s just human nature, and it begins when we are very young and we compare ourselves with our siblings and friends. It bothers us when it seems […]

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