Thus says the Lord GOD: Cry out full-throated and unsparingly, lift up your voice like a trumpet blast; Tell my people their wickedness, and the house of Jacob their sins. They seek me day after day, and desire to know my ways, Like a nation that has done what is just and not abandoned the law of their God; They ask me to declare what is due them, pleased to gain access to God. “Why do we fast, and you do not see it? afflict ourselves, and you take no note of it?”
Lo, on your fast day you carry out your own pursuits, and drive all your laborers. Yes, your fast ends in quarreling and fighting, striking with wicked claw. Would that today you might fast so as to make your voice heard on high! Is this the manner of fasting I wish, of keeping a day of penance: That a man bow his head like a reed and lie in sackcloth and ashes? Do you call this a fast, a day acceptable to the LORD? This, rather, is the fasting that I wish: releasing those bound unjustly, untying the thongs of the yoke; Setting free the oppressed, breaking every yoke; Sharing your bread with the hungry, sheltering the oppressed and the homeless; Clothing the naked when you see them, and not turning your back on your own. Then your light shall break forth like the dawn, and your wound shall quickly be healed; Your vindication shall go before you, and the glory of the LORD shall be your rear guard. Then you shall call, and the LORD will answer, you shall cry for help, and he will say: Here I am!
R. (19b) A heart contrite and humbled, O God, you will not spurn. Have mercy on me, O God, in your goodness; in the greatness of your compassion wipe out my offense. Thoroughly wash me from my guilt and of my sin cleanse me. R. A heart contrite and humbled, O God, you will not spurn. For I acknowledge my offense, and my sin is before me always: “Against you only have I sinned, and done what is evil in your sight.” R. A heart contrite and humbled, O God, you will not spurn. For you are not pleased with sacrifices; should I offer a burnt offering, you would not accept it. My sacrifice, O God, is a contrite spirit; a heart contrite and humbled, O God, you will not spurn. R. A heart contrite and humbled, O God, you will not spurn.
The disciples of John approached Jesus and said, “Why do we and the Pharisees fast much, but your disciples do not fast?” Jesus answered them, “Can the wedding guests mourn as long as the bridegroom is with them? The days will come when the bridegroom is taken away from them, and then they will fast.”
Since starting my college career, I have seen both a member of my graduating class and a onetime friend that I have grown up with take their own lives. I have seen the pain and sadness that it causes to their friends and family alike and it chills me to think that not very long ago, that could have been me. I thank God every day, that I had all the wonderful people of Life Teen to show me God’s love personified in the world, because without you… I truly don’t know if I would be here today.
But when I really look at my heart, I’ve begun to wonder if I feel more affirmed by the Lord’s love in my life or by the little endorphine-hit I get when someone retweets me. So this year I’m giving up social media for Lent. No Valencia-filtered selfies. No “Let it Go” covers. No check-ins at my favorite coffee shop. Instead, I’ve got five reasons why giving up social media for Lent is going to be great for my life.
So, I committed: 40 minutes of “devotional time” every single day. You can call it quiet time, prayer time, or just… time – whatever you need to call it so it doesn’t sound like a punishment. I didn’t really know what to call it. I just knew that I was going to do it.
Think about it: 40 minutes isn’t a huge block of time. It’s one drama or two sitcoms on Netflix. We can all find 40 minutes in a day. We just have to choose to do it.
However, I worry that if we don’t learn to use things for the good of the Kingdom of God, we might be missing the boat. It’s the same with using your humor to glorify God, or using your body to glorify God, or using your music to glorify God – we can use our phones the same way.
Here’s the thing about Lent: Your thing is your thing. What you give up and what you add on is between you and God, not you and your friends. If you want to bring them into it, asking them to walk with you or hold you accountable, all power to you. If you don’t want anyone but God to know, that’s okay, too.
If, however, you take every opportunity (consciously or unconsciously) to share just how much you’re giving up or how much you’re doing, it’s not holiness you’re seeking — it’s attention.
This was me after two years of dating — well, dating the person I thought was “the one.” It seemed almost intentional that the radio would play all the songs that reminded me of “him.” Not to mention noticing the Instagram pictures of us, tweets (now subtweets), and the dreaded Facebook status change — it was all just a wrenching feeling.
“Spirit, lead me where my trust is without borders”?
That border for me starts wherever people are left out, ostracized, lonely, and vulnerable. The people who most need love are not always the ones with the flashing neon signs that say “OPPORTUNITY TO LOVE GOD HERE!!!” Oftentimes, it’s the quiet orphan on the fringe of the crowd, waiting to be recognized and loved for the child of Christ that he or she is.
On Saturday evening of that week, I led my teens to a hotel on Copacabana beach to watch the Papal Prayer Vigil from above. I decided I was too “worn out” to actually sit on the beach with the other 3 million people (#WeakSauce). When we arrived in the hotel I sat down on the couch watching everything on TV. After a few minutes on the couch, I looked over to the balcony; my teens were eagerly kneeling in adoration.
Lent is a fitting time for self-denial; we would do well to ask ourselves what we can give up in order to help and enrich others by our own poverty. Let us not forget that real poverty hurts: no self-denial is real without this dimension of penance. I distrust a charity that costs nothing and does not hurt.
Interviewing for a job can be tough, especially if you’ve never done it before. Having been on many interviews in my life so far, I’d look to offer you some tips to make sure your next job interview is a success.
The bottom line is that “things” are not our identity and we cannot place our identity in them. Our identity comes from God. Nothing we possess on earth lasts, but what does last is our relationship God, which is for eternity. Only when we recognize this can we have a healthy relationship with “things.”
To be honest, I felt lost. Some days I would think that being a priest was my calling, others that having a giant family (thirteen kids to be exact) was. In my life I would see signals everywhere — a bible verse that told me to be a priest and a baby that told me to be a dad. It distressed me; I was frustrated a lot of the time, and it began to wear on me. I was asking God why he didn’t just tell me what was up.
For a long time, it wasn’t unusual for me to stand in the mirror and tear myself apart. I would also tear myself apart when I inevitably sinned. I am the kind of person that always wants to be perfect and I’m not. Neither are you. I make mistakes, and when I do, I’m my own greatest critic. This separated me from God more quickly than any other thing in my life. I didn’t feel like God could love a sinner like me.
I accepted a ministry position at a parish that had a floundering youth ministry program, and was confident I would rebuild it. In fact, at one of my first staff meetings I boldly declared that, “by the end of the year, there will be at least 100 teens at every Life Night.” I am the youth ministry messiah, and I have come to save your parish.
So was it wrong that I had once had a crush on my friend’s future husband? No, I don’t think so. Having a crush on someone is totally normal. There’s nothing wrong with being attracted to someone else, and it’s good to be drawn to those good characteristics that we notice in them. We’re designed to interact and form relationships with other people. As we spend time with others, it’s totally normal to find ourselves “crushing” on someone because we think he’s really funny or cute or sweet or witty or holy or, worst of all, all of the above!!
hen comes the worst part, when they show the faces of the losers. The faces of those who missed finishing third by mere hundredths of a second or whose artistic interpretation earned them a score that left them in fifth place. Frozen tears running down their cheeks, I often find myself crying along on the couch, not because of the medal they missed out on that day, but of all the moments in life they’d missed to bring them to that point.
I didn’t care if it was illegal. In high school I loved to drink and party. A few years ago I was tailgating in the parking lot of the concert venue waiting to see Lady Antebellum open for Rascal Flatts. The opening band didn’t start for another three hours and I had already had […]
I don’t know if it was my conscience, the Holy Spirit, or a combination of the two, but in that moment I was reminded of this one issue in my life. I had struggled with pornography for the past year or two. I knew that it was sinful, and several times I had promised myself that I wouldn’t go back to it, but I couldn’t quit.
Come on daddy-dearest-God, all I ever wanted was a man with the voice of Benedict Cumberbach, and the looks of the dude who lives across the street from me, and the money of Brad Pitt, and the heart of Jesus… Is that so hard to ask?
So option numero uno for today is to soothe yourself by lying around in your PINK yoga pants watching Netflix and eating pasta because carbs are your comforting frenemy.
I could share my faith with anyone at my college, even become a full-time missionary where I would live a life of sharing, yet when I was home why was it so difficult to share Jesus with my own dad?
I promised myself that I would do all that I could to show him the love of Christ. I wrote him a long letter recalling all the ways I saw Christ in him and letting him know how much I loved and respected him in spite of all we had gone through. After this something began to change in his heart; an openness I hadn’t seen before.