Expanding the Soul: Feasting on Hope Leads to Magnanimity

Gandhi once said, “When I admire the wonders of a sunset or the beauty of the moon, my soul expands in the worship of the creator.” It seems to me that a simple way of doing a daily Examen is to ask ourselves, What did I do today that made my soul expand? and What did I do (or fail to do) today that made my soul constrict? Unlike our waistlines, which we struggle to prevent from expanding, our goal […]

Beatitudes and the Catechist: Blessed Are Those Who Are Persecuted for Righteousness’ Sake

This is the final article in a series exploring the Beatitudes as they relate to being a catechist. “Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” (Matthew 5:10) Happy are the catechists who live in hope, for they will always find God at their side. I asked my ninth-grade class: “Do you want to know what I really get out of our faith?” That got their attention. […]

Three Ways to Make Hope Real

Our world needs to hear the message of Christian hope. This hope is not mere optimism; rather Christian hope finds its source in a person, Jesus of Nazareth. St. Thomas Aquinas said hope is, “infused in us by God alone.” The universal call of the Church is to be a missionary disciple, to live as one who understands that we are sent forth to make hope real in our world today by sharing the Good […]

Hope Is Not a Feeling; It’s a Practice

As much as Facebook can sometimes be annoying and frustrating, with people venting and over-sharing, I also find a number of gems along the way. One person I can count on for that is my friend Bob Burnham, who recently posted the following phrase: “Hope is not a feeling; it’s a practice.” He then generously shared a link to a very nice article he wrote for Busted Halo: “3 Ways to Practice Hope,” in which he […]

Catechists as Echoes (Part I): Echoes of Hope

The word catechist comes from the Greek word “to echo.” As catechists, we echo the teachings of the Church. We also echo our own personal relationship with Jesus Christ through our words and deeds. This series of blog posts will look at the ministry of catechesis through the lens of the word echo. We will explore what it means to be a catechist who echoes hope, love, truth, and mercy. First, we begin with four […]

Get in Touch with Hope for Advent

Advent often seems like just a busy “home stretch” before Christmas “break.” Normally, there is little opportunity for parish leaders and catechists to prepare themselves for the season. We who serve others often think of ourselves last. However, if we do not develop a personal spirituality for Advent, we are not really in a position to teach others its significance. As has often been said, “You can’t give what you don’t have.” Authentic spirituality for […]

The Promise of a Superhero

I explored God’s message of hope with my fourth graders this week. God shared his message of hope by promising to send someone who would save all people from sin. God promised to send the Messiah. While preparing the lesson, the following sentence jumped out at me: “Jesus did not fit the profile of the Messiah whom many were expecting and were yearning for.” That gave me an idea of how to start a conversation […]

What’s in the Heart That You’re Lifting Up to God?

I was reading an Advent devotional recently and one of the reflection questions asked, “What will you do this week to bring hope to others?” My immediate reaction was, “I don’t have time to do anything more than I’m already doing! I’m spending every free moment helping my son Mike and his wife Sarah get their new home ready to move into before the holidays.” Then it occurred to me that I didn’t have to think […]

Promoting Catholic Identity, Part 5: An Attitude of Faith and Hope

This is the fifth and final article in a series on the five characteristics of Catholic identity and how we can nurture those in our children. In his apostolic exhortation “The Joy of the Gospel,” Pope Francis cautions Catholics of becoming “sourpusses” (EG 85). Pessimism and defeatism are not Catholic attitudes. We are people of Easter joy because of our confidence in the Resurrection. Our attitudes are rooted in our identity, so as we help […]

Mercy, Mercy, Mercy!

Last evening was delightful session in which we focused on the “flipside” of the Prophets’ message: the proclamation of hope (we previously focused on their “getting in the face” of Israel over injustices). We talked a lot about the experience of the Exile and how those in exile were devastated and how the Prophets brought a message of hope that culminated in the coming of Jesus. The main focus of the session, however, was on […]

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