Keeping Up Your Spirits

Hopefully, the dust has settled and all your programs are up and running. I don’t know about you, but I always breathe a sigh of relief about the fourth or fifth week of classes. By then, the latecomers are in classes, the new catechists are feeling a bit more comfortable, and we are all into the rhythm of faith formation. That being said, I also love the energy and excitement that comes with new beginnings. […]

Learning by Empowerment

We sometimes get the notion that when Jesus performed miracles, the disciples just watched from the sidelines. Not so in the story of Jesus Feeding the 5000 in the Gospel of Mark (6:33–44)! In fact, when the disciples alert Jesus to the need to feed the crowds, Jesus’ response is “You give them something to eat.” (NIV) As the story progresses, the disciples do not remain passive. They do the following: take inventory of what is […]

Grace-Filled Moments Disguised as Stress

The three o’clock hour arrived. The rooms were ready for the children. Packets of Holy Week coloring pages were counted out. Then the first text came in: “The sitter is not coming. I cannot teach this afternoon.” Then the second text: “So sorry, I forgot about an appointment; I cannot teach this afternoon.” Yikes! Now came the stress. But being experienced, my overdrive kicked in, and I gathered my wits and combined groups, shuffled some […]

Grace in My Role as a Catechetical Leader

Grace is such a packed topic for a blog post; I realized that I would have to narrow things a bit. So, I turned to the Catechism, and found my focus in Paragraph 2004: “Among the special graces ought to be mentioned the graces of state that accompany the exercise of the responsibilities of the Christian life and of the ministries within the Church: Having gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, […]

Grace in Locked Rooms

Before I do any planning or take action in my catechetical ministry, I try to pray for the particular graces I need to do the work Christ has entrusted to me. I begin by imagining that my life is like a house with many rooms. Much like in my own home, there’s the room I work really hard on to get “just right” when company is on the way—the room in which I am proud […]

Feasting While Fasting

When I was little, my mother would give up all sweets during Lent and Advent. As a dutiful Catholic child, I did as well. This practice led to many school snack times and birthday parties during which I would humbly decline the offer of cookies, cupcakes, and candy—careful not to be like the hypocrites who look gloomy or boast while they are fasting. Whenever I was tempted by the sugary treats, I would pray fervently, […]

Actual Grace and Sanctifying Grace

I was recently asked to explain the difference between actual grace and sanctifying grace, so I went in search of some language that would help explain these realities in a meaningful way. I have to tell you, most of what I found was not at all helpful. We fall into the habit of using such “churchy” words that have little or no connection with daily living. In fact, most sources I looked at simply regurgitated […]

Celebrating St. Blaise—Getting Beyond Superstition

I remember as a kid being thrilled with the Feast of St. Blaise, because it meant that I wouldn’t get any more sore throats during the remaining weeks of the cruel Chicago winter. So much of my piety back then was bordering (if not totally over the edge!) on superstition. Why? I was never really taught otherwise. I was taught that the blessing of St. Blaise would keep me not only from getting a sore […]

Getting Spiritually Fit this New Year!

I commented a few days ago about the fact that many of us commit to getting physically fit in the New Year and, while there is certainly nothing wrong with that, perhaps it would be even more important to get spiritually fit! My new book, 7 Keys to Spiritual Wellness will help you to do just that. To be spiritual is to recognize that, in life, there is more than meets the eye. Spiritual wellness enables […]

Singing Grace Before Meals

At the Being, Knowing, and Doing workshop I did in Newark, NJ, last week, we prepared to eat lunch. We were invited to pick up a little prayer card on our tables and to sing the following, using the melody of the Old One Hundreth (Praise God from Whom All Blessings Flow). I love it! Perfect for Thanksgiving! Be present at our table, Lord Be here and everywhere adored. Thy creatures bless and grant that […]

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