Sharing the Wisdom: Lessons from Mom on War, Peace, and Prayer

Twelve-inch painted ceramic statues of Jesus and Mary are permanent fixtures on the bedside table of my mother, Caridad Ragasa. The painted-on hair, cheeks, and hands are partially worn off, evidence of my mother’s daily caresses. As a child, I witnessed her kneel before the statues in prayer every morning and evening. I marveled at her persistent daily devotion, which for years I never fully understood. Finally, as a teen I asked, “Mom, when did […]

Making Our Faith Simple-Yet-Not-Simplistic: Prayer

Welcome to the final installment of my series, Making Our Faith Simple-Yet-Not-Simplistic, as I continue to draw from my book, A Well-Built Faith: A Catholic’s Guide to Knowing and Sharing What We Believe, to focus on the four pillars of our Catholic faith: Creed, Sacraments, Moral Life, and Prayer. Today, we look at our life of prayer. On a recent episode of the doctor drama New Amsterdam, the main character, Dr. Max Goodwin, is in […]

Teaching Children the Lost Art of Being

In today’s world, there is a lot of emphasis placed on knowing and doing and not so much on being. In other words, we find ourselves focused on what we know and do and not enough on who we are. As catechists, we have the privilege of helping those we teach to develop a deeper understanding of who they are in relation to a loving God, in whose image they are created. One of the primary […]

Encountering God in the Silence—Shhh!

In my years of experience as a catechist, I have always sought to provide those I teach with experiences of silence which, according to St. John of the Cross, and, more recently, Fr. Thomas Keating, is God’s “primary language.” At first, the young people are often uncomfortable with silence, because they experience so little of it in our society. Gradually, however, with some coaching, they can learn to view silence, not just as empty space, but as […]

Online Book Club Week 9: Pranking and Praying

Editor’s note: Jump into our online book club! We’re reading Jane Knuth’s The Prayer List…and Other True Stories of How Families Pray. This week we focus on chapters 25–27. Learn more about the book club here. Even though I wrote a book about family prayer, I am not under the illusion that praying together with our loved ones is effortless. It’s not. Sure, we can say rote, memorized prayers at the table and no one […]

Book Club Bonus: The Prayer List Mini-Posters

Editor’s note: In our online book club, we’re reading Jane Knuth’s The Prayer List…and Other True Stories of How Families Pray. Each Tuesday through August 7, 2018, we’ll bring you Book Club Bonus Days—sharing additional stories of family prayer, continuing the weekly conversation, and more. Find all the book club posts here. “God can do anything. This is true. But God doesn’t do ‘just anything’; he’s too wise for that. I think it all depends on the relationship.” “I am […]

Online Book Club Week 6: To-Do List vs. Prayer List

Editor’s note: Jump into our online book club! We’re reading Jane Knuth’s The Prayer List…and Other True Stories of How Families Pray. This week we focus on chapters 16–18. Learn more about the book club here. Dean, my husband, asked me if my prayer list wasn’t just another to-do list, and I said, “Of course not. At least, I hope not. Well…no. I’m sure it can’t be. The irony would be extreme.” You see, my […]

Online Book Club Week 4: Praying Like Children

Editor’s note: Jump into our online book club! We’re reading Jane Knuth’s The Prayer List…and Other True Stories of How Families Pray. This week we focus on chapters 10–12. Learn more about the book club here. Today, I have a story about family prayer that is not in The Prayer List. This one requires a visual, so go put your hands on a set of rosary beads before you read any further. If you don’t […]

Online Book Club Week 3: I Don’t Even Like You

Editor’s note: Jump into our online book club! We’re reading Jane Knuth’s The Prayer List…and Other True Stories of How Families Pray. This week we focus on chapters 6–9. Learn more about the book club here. In chapter 6, Debbie is praying in front of the crucifix in her parish church. Her daughter is asleep, wrapped in a blanket, on the last pew near the door. Debbie’s husband has just died, and she is there […]

Online Book Club Week 2: An Obscure Corner for Prayer

Editor’s note: Jump into our online book club! We’re reading Jane Knuth’s The Prayer List…and Other True Stories of How Families Pray. This week we focus on chapters 3–5. Learn more about the book club here. Admission: I don’t like to be caught praying on my knees in my own house. Church is fine—I pray on my knees there all the time. But if I’m going down on my knees at home, I shut the […]

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