Pop-Up Catechesis: Exploring the Value of Cleanliness

The phrase, “Cleanliness is next to godliness,” is not found in the Bible but is regularly used, nonetheless, by Christians as if it were. Perhaps that is because there is great truth in this statement. Scripture does tell us that God “makes all things new.” Cleanliness—referring to both personal hygiene and keeping our environments neat and clean—is a reminder to us of how God restores things and does indeed make all things new. In this […]

Pop-Up Catechesis: Exploring the Value of Optimism

Optimism is at the very heart of the Kingdom of God, and before we invite someone to consider following Jesus, we had better show some optimism. To be Christian is to have a disposition of optimism and not despair. We are not doomsayers. By the same token, we do not see the world through rose-colored glasses. We are realists. We see, feel, and experience pain, violence, sadness, hurt, and evil. However, our faith teaches us […]

Pop-Up Catechesis: Exploring the Value of Honesty

On several occasions, Jesus accused the Pharisees of being “hypocrites.” The word hypocrite comes from the Greek word hypokrites, which means “an actor,” and we know that actors in ancient Greek theater wore masks to hide their true identities behind the identities of the characters they were playing. We sometimes struggle to be honest about our true thoughts and feelings. And yet, our spiritual and emotional well-being rely on the value of honesty—being honest with ourselves, […]

Pop-Up Catechesis: Exploring the Value of Generosity

Lent is a good time for us to explore our values, and the Lenten discipline of almsgiving reminds us to cultivate the value of generosity. We tend to think of generosity as an occasional act of kindness expressed monetarily. We send a check to a charity, drop an envelope in the church basket, purchase Girl Scout cookies, or put some money in the red kettle or CRS Rice Bowl. These are indeed generous acts that […]

Pop-Up Catechesis: Exploring the Value of Altruism

Being approximately 99% Polish (according to Ancestry.com), I have always taken a special interest in prominent Polish figures throughout history. One of my favorites is the famous 16th-century astronomer Nicolaus Copernicus, who was the first to propose a model that showed that the planets orbit the sun rather than the earth, as was previously believed. Inspired by his work, the phrase “Copernican revolution” has become commonplace for describing someone who needs to be less self-centered. […]

Pop-Up Catechesis: Exploring the Value of Compassion

As kids, most of us dream of finding a buried treasure, something of great value. We use the word values to refer to those beliefs and principles that we believe are most important for guiding the way we live and work and treat ourselves and others. Lent is a great time to reflect on our values and to reshape them so that we truly treasure, or value, that which God treasures and values most. In this […]

Pop-Up Catechesis: Lent and Following Our Inner Compass

Just as the magnetized needle of a compass is naturally drawn to face north (the Earth’s magnetic pole), each of us is naturally drawn toward God. However, throughout the year, our attention is drawn by other things. Lent is a time for us to “turn around” and to once again allow ourselves to be drawn to God. Through praying, fasting, and giving alms, we focus our attention on God, to whom we are naturally drawn. […]

Pop-Up Catechesis: The Marks of the Church

When advertising, businesses will often boast about specific qualities that they possess as a way of distinguishing themselves from their competition. Thus, it is common to see words such as the following splashed all over their ads: bold, innovative, trustworthy, original, authentic, cutting-edge, high-quality, and user-friendly. In a similar way, the Catholic Church uses four words to describe its distinguishing features: one, holy, catholic, and apostolic. In this episode of Pop-Up Catechesis, we explore these […]

Pop-Up Catechesis: Wearing Ashes

Ash Wednesday is right around the corner, and it is one of the most public expressions of Catholicism that takes place throughout the year. Catholics are easily spotted on Ash Wednesday, and it’s always interesting to watch TV and spot newscasters, reporters, politicians, and celebrities sporting ashes on their foreheads. This public display of faith can put us on the spot, however, as others may ask us to explain ourselves. In this episode of Pop-Up Catechesis, […]

Pop-Up Catechesis: The Tenth Commandment and Avoiding Comparisons

From the time we are toddlers right up to the present day, it is common for us to compare ourselves to others. I know that this past Christmas, my wife and I were happy to have our grandchildren open their Christmas presents on separate days so that they wouldn’t compare their gifts to their cousins’. We may think that this is only a problem that children have; however, there is a reason we have the […]

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