The Extreme Camper: St. Charbel of Lebanon

What comes to mind when you hear the term 'roughing it'? Do you envision a camping trip without electricity? Perhaps you think of a hotel room without room service or wireless Internet? Maybe your idea of roughing it means that there's no charge left on your cell phone or, worse yet, you forgot your cell at home and had to go the entire day without the eternal blessing of text messaging. Whatever the case, odds are that your life looks very little like that of an obscure Lebanese monk now known as Saint Charbel.

Falling in love with the Sacred Heart of Jesus

Do you want to know what true love looks like? Here it is. “Behold this heart that has so loved men.” That's what Jesus said of this picture of His Sacred Heart. I bet you've seen this picture before . . . or maybe you haven't and that's fine too. Either way, it's worth learning about. This picture is loaded with meaning and I think you'll love it as much as I do after I tell you about it.

I Hope You Give Everything

We’re in a time where our leaders and beliefs are under a lot of scrutiny. It’s not always a popular thing to stand up for the Gospel these days. However, it wasn’t easy to stand up for the Gospel back in the days of the Early Church, either.

It’s ironic because I think it should have been easier back then. I have to pull out scripture to show people what Jesus said and did. The Apostles just had to say “Guys, don’t you remember two weeks ago on the boat when Jesus said this and that?”

The Best Idea for Your Lent

Every year since I've been a Catholic (five years and counting!), I've really loved coming up with different challenges for Lent. One year I gave up eating any meat, last year I read the bible for 30 minutes straight each day no matter what, you get the picture . . . Over the years I've come to realize that it's not just how much we give up or what extra stuff we do, but it’s about the quality of your sacrifice and what you decide to do.

How about giving up some of your time and using it for prayer? In fact, let me make the ultimate suggestion . . .

St. John Bosco: The Saint Who’s Praying for You

John knew what it was like to have a tough childhood. Born to a poor family of farmers in 1815, he lost his father when he was only two. Though very intelligent and quite witty, John was forced to delay his dreams of priesthood while working as a shepherd and farmer, to help support his mother and siblings. At the age of nine, John Bosco had his first vision, one in which a man with a radiant face and flowing robes called him to lead a group of unruly boys behaving like wild animals. Years later John Bosco would fulfill this prophetic vision, feeling called to the missionary field of youth ministry.

There’s No Such Thing as “Impossible” for God

We have a God who deals in the impossible. This is huge, life-changing, and has everything to do with Christmas. I think we’re so used to the story of “Christmas” that we can easily forget to spend time just letting ourselves be amazed by the story.

Do You Believe in Santa?: The Real Story of St. Nicholas

Nicholas was known for his generosity. As tradition goes, he was so selfless that (although he, too, was poor) he helped his likewise poor neighbor support and pay for his daughters' weddings. Nicholas snuck up to his neighbor's house at night and dropped a handful of gold coins through the open window so that the eldest daughter could afford to get married. He would later repeat the generous act two more times. From there, the Santa legend grew into what we now know today – stockings, chimneys, a belly like jelly and all that good stuff.

How to Be a Saint

Let's be honest, 'All Saints Day' does not refer to me. I have more in common with popcorn appreciation day. Or Taylor Swift fan club Mondays.

This feast commemorates all the saints in heaven and I feel like I'm so far away from being a saint. I want to be a saint though! I try really hard to not sin. In fact, I know the Ten Commandments about as well as I know the lyrics to 'As Long As You Love Me.' So . . . very well.

Happy Feast Day: St. Teresa of Avila

'You’re out of control! I’m sending you to the convent.' Are those words that you would want to hear? A teenager named Teresa sure didn’t appreciate when her father told her that. As a little girl, born in Avila, Spain in the 1500s, Teresa tried to run off and be a martyr, but by the time she became a teen, all of that enthusiasm for the faith was gone.

Teresa loved attention – especially from boys. She had a passion for fancy clothes and jewelry and was known for being an excellent dancer. One of her favorite pastimes was reading romance novels, and she constantly had a new one. Even when her father sent her away, surprisingly the convent wasn’t a whole lot different…

Happy Feast Day: St. Teresa of Avila

'You’re out of control! I’m sending you to the convent.' Are those words that you would want to hear? A teenager named Teresa sure didn’t appreciate when her father told her that. As a little girl, born in Avila, Spain in the 1500s, Teresa tried to run off and be a martyr, but by the time she became a teen, all of that enthusiasm for the faith was gone.

Teresa loved attention – especially from boys. She had a passion for fancy clothes and jewelry and was known for being an excellent dancer. One of her favorite pastimes was reading romance novels, and she constantly had a new one. Even when her father sent her away, surprisingly the convent wasn’t a whole lot different…

Fight Like a Saint

My goal in life is to be a saint, and I hope yours in too, so we need to ask ourselves … how do I treat people when I disagree with them?

Look actions 1 – 4 above and replace ‘Ìâ‰âÂÌâèÏSt. Peter' with whomever you disagree with. Are you more likely to gossip about the person, tell other people how wrong they are, or even fight with the person? Or are you mature enough to respectfully talk with the person and still give them the honor they deserve?

Got Joy?: The Story of the Joker Saint

Philip Neri's prayer life is what kept him so joyful. His entire life became a prayer. He only ate once a day and, even then, it was only bread and water. Though he had a bed, he usually opted to sleep on the floor, without a pillow. He had few possessions, endured great spiritual attacks, and daily, during his intense prayers that lasted hours, it was not uncommon for him to experience ecstasies and visions.

The Rosary is the Greatest Prayer for Peace

Far from offering an escape from the problems of the world, the Rosary obliges us to see them with responsible and generous eyes, and obtains for us the strength to face them with the certainty of God’s help and the firm intention of bearing witness in every situation to 'love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony' (Colossians 3:14).

Mary’s List: The 10 Virtues of Mary

How did she do it? How did she manage to remain focused on God while she had the most unique and challenging role in all of human history? And how could I possibly be anything like her, when I get stressed out by the everyday pressures of my comfortable life? Her Immaculate life was so unlike my own awkward existence that I had no idea where to even begin if I was going to try to imitate her.

The Top 5 Reasons My Mama Rocks

Growing up, I never had a devotion to Mary. I mean, I liked the idea of her . . . but I didn't have a relationship with her. The Virgin Mother was a porcelain statue, a gold-etched picture on a Christmas card. She wasn't real to me. My only connection to her, at best, was a panicked 'Hail Mary' before a pop-quiz.

What I've learned is that Mary is way more than a boring stained glass window. She lived an exciting life and did amazing things. And outside of Jesus, she is one of the greatest gifts we've been given as Catholics. Although I didn't have a relationship with Mary growing up, I have fallen in love with my mother since then, and let me tell you: OUR MAMA ROCKS!

Dead or Alive?: The Incorrupt Saints

Deep in the heart of Paris, there is a Catholic Church that you could walk right past, if you weren't paying attention. It's on a cobblestoned road lined with shops and apartments with classic french windows that you half expect the characters of Beauty and the Beast to pop out of, yelling, 'Bonjour!' and 'I need six eggs!' It was only at the tip of a local that my friends and I ventured down ru de SÌÄ®ÕÌâå¬vres and into the Chapel of the Priests of the Congregation of the Mission. We were told that it was the burial place of St. Vincent de Paul and not to be missed.