There’s a very popular saying: “God loves us just the way we are, but He loves us far too much to let us stay that way.” To move us, and to draw us to Him, sometimes God must withdraw so that we can grow. God wants us to enter the Kingdom of Heaven, and to do that we have to choose the path of Christ. Sometimes we are consoled and we feel so close to Jesus. Other times, maybe not so much. Just remember . . . when God feels far away, He is simply calling us to Him and He wants you to come along.
Category Archives: Learn About Your Faith
Use the summaries as an introduction for private study. Use them in a group study as you begin to discuss the various overarching themes of each work. The point is this: use them. There is no reason to avoid St. Paul’s writings. They are a beautiful gift from God and are meant to be explored. Prayerfully read through these sections in conjunction with the letters of St. Paul themselves, and watch how the second reading at Sunday Mass — and, most importantly, your soul — comes to life.
Sometimes even in the Christian realm, we’re segregated in a similar fashion. I recently went to a conference with 25,000 Christians who were on fire for God. It was amazing and one of the most powerful worship experiences I’ve ever had. However, I think my four friends and I were the only Catholics there.
God’s not exclusive. He wants all groups, ethnic circles, social classes, to be brought together as one people, unified in love and faith.
Last week, a non-denominational church launched a campaign called: “Jesus loves you and your tattoo.” They handed out koozies on the gang-filled streets of Detroit with this message. I love that because it is proclaiming the truth that our God didn’t come for the cookie-cutter Christians. He came for everyone . . .
In those moments, I lamented my lot as St. Mark’s namesake. I mean, my older brothers could claim devil slayers like St. Michael, snake charmers like St. Patrick, or even St. Francis, whom animals spontaneously trusted. And there I was, stuck with good old, unexciting Mark. To my young, sarcastic mind, the only upside was that Mark’s Gospel is the shortest of the four, giving me hope that our school Mass might be shorter whenever Mark was read. (Alas, my liturgical arithmetic was off: a shorter gospel book never meant a shorter gospel proclamation . . . or homily.)
LifeTeen.com Podcast LifeTeen.com Blog
“When you get confirmed, what happened to the Apostles is the exact same thing that will happen to you . . . maybe minus the visible tongues of fire . . . I don’t know, I’m not making any guarantees. But the presence and the power of the Holy Spirit will actually be upon you. This is what happens in the Sacrament of Confirmation, that we receive these gifts. And these gifts are what? St. Paul writes about them in the book of Galatians – the fruits of the Spirit are: love, and joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. You receive the power to live a new life, not just for yourself but for other people.”
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?”
I’d probably be on my way home, too. Because, in a way, I have felt like they felt. Maybe you have, too.
We’ve been on the great retreats, attended the amazing youth conferences, heard the killer homilies, felt the graces of Confession, gotten into the power of the Triduum. We’ve heard His voice and felt His presence. Everything is working according to plan.
And then, a little time goes by . . . a couple hours, a couple days, a couple weeks. And the feelings are gone. And it feels like Jesus is gone, too.
One of the reasons I love the book of Acts so much is because of the amazing miracle stories. They aren’t just high drama; many of them are also high comedy. Let’s take a look at some of the miracles in the Acts of the Apostles:
Acts 5:15: Peter is so filled with the Holy Spirit that even his shadow has the power to heal, a fact that makes Groundhog Day even less impressive.
Acts 8:39: after teaching about Christ and baptizing the Ethiopian eunuch, the Holy Spirit snatched Philip immediately in a scene almost reminiscent of Star Trek.
I had grown up a Presbyterian Christian who believed that as long as you were a Christian who believed in Jesus, you belonged to the “church.” It didn’t matter which church you belonged to or where you went to worship on Sundays, it just mattered if you believed in Jesus. If you believed in Jesus, you were doing just fine.
St. Paul had to deal with a lot of “high minded”, philosophical types in his day. Most were very prideful, long on academics but short on humility. Some people back then claimed that Jesus didn’t really rise from the dead (as we celebrate this weekend). Rather than mince words, Paul gave it to them straight (in the verse up above). Many people will tell you that “based on human logic” the Resurrection makes no sense. The first thing we need to remember is that “human logic” is not omnipotence. God makes it very clear that “(His) ways are not our ways, nor are His thoughts our thoughts.” (Is. 55:8-9)
Beaten, bruised, bloody, gasping for air, hands and feet nailed to a cross, hearing passersby scoff at the sight of his mangled body – in the midst of all this, Jesus chose to entrust His life to God the Father.
One of my favorite books is Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis. There is a chapter entitled The Perfect Penitent, in which the author writes about the mystery of the Lord’s passion. He explains how “God can only share [with us] what He has.” For example “we love and reason because God loves and reasons and holds our hand while we do it.”
He applies this to the passion of Christ. Up until the time of Jesus, God had not gone through the suffering, humiliation, and death of the crucifixion. This dying to self, which is what going back to God is like, is what repentance entails.
“It is finished.”
These words can be a little confusing. When I read them I can’t help but think, “Really, Jesus?”
Because we all know that when He said these words there was still the resurrection to come . . . all the ways the Holy Spirit comes to us . . . and even how Jesus comes to us in the Mass every day through the Holy Eucharist.
So what exactly was Jesus talking about when He said, “It is finished”?
Sometimes God seems far from us. Sometimes it seems as if He’s forsaken us completely.
When I was sixteen, my dad died from lung cancer. Both during his illness and after his death, I felt very alone, both in a worldly sense – none of my friends had lost a parent—and in a spiritual sense. Part of me believed that God let my dad die, and that he’d left me alone to suffer and grieve.
Mercy. That oh so confusing attribute of God. In the bible (specifically Psalm 116:5) we are told God is both just and merciful and I believe that. But sometimes that idea still confuses me. How can a God that is perfectly just, who can and does punish people rightly for their sin, also be perfectly merciful and “relenting in punishment?” (Joel 2:13) Well, these words of Jesus gives us all an opportunity to see how. In the gospel passage surrounding this verse, we are introduced to Read more [...]
It’s true! For a long time, even though I knew that Christ offered me forgiveness, I got tired of asking to be forgiven because I knew that no matter how hard I tried, I kept falling into the same sins. Even for sins that I committed once, I had a hard time receiving His forgiveness because I didn’t feel worthy of being forgiven. Even after going to confession, I still felt guilty and ashamed for what I had done because I didn’t believe enough in His mercy.
Dear Saint Joseph, First of all, as a new dad, I’ve just got to ask you: how much sleep did you get? You see, while I may think my baby girl is the best and most beautiful baby (and I mean come on, she’s adorable), she’s no baby Jesus. Did He keep you and Mary up all night? Because the past few nights my baby girl has decided that the middle of the night is the perfect time to practice her new talent of rolling around . . . I can’t help but wonder if you experienced stuff like that Read more [...]
There are so many things worthy of mention, but one of the coolest parts about being Catholic has to be the Tradition. We’re a Church built on a 2,000 year old foundation, y’all – with Christ, Himself, as our Founder and “cornerstone” (Ephesians 2:20, 1 Peter 2:6).
There are a lot of opinions and conspiracy “theories” floating around about the next pope and the papacy, in general, these days. No doubt there is an author somewhere preparing to rewrite history, once again, in a best-seller telling us all about “what’s really happening” behind the closed doors of this papal election.
Saint Peter died defending a faith that wouldn’t submit to any empire. The witness of millions of martyrs over the past 2,000 years gives testimony to faith that is unflinching and love that is stronger than death.
Today when you walk toward St. Peter’s Square, you can’t help but notice the obelisk that was once a sign of Rome’s power. In the past two millennia, empires and kingdoms, presidents and dictators have risen and fallen . . . but the Church remains standing.
In the works of Cardinal Ratzinger I met a man of not only extraordinary intellect and clarity, but of a deep faith and profound humility, a man living in the love and knowledge of the Truth Incarnate – in Jesus Christ, the Word of God. And it was (and still is) Jesus Christ who seemed to permeate his entire being, so much so that my own insatiable thirst for Truth, for the very Person of Jesus Christ, became increasingly set ablaze.
In Cardinal Ratzinger I knew I had found a trusted guide and teacher in the fullness of the Christian faith. It was then that I became an unofficial member of the “Ratzinger Fan Club.”
First, while the prophecy is supposed to have been written down by Saint Malachy in the 12th century, it was never spoken of even once before it surprisingly appeared out of nowhere at the very end of the 16th century. For a prophecy that supposedly predicts the Apocalypse in great detail, that’s an amazing fact! Would a true prophecy really go more than 400 years without being mentioned even a single time? I don’t think so.
Second, while the prophecy proves to be rather accurate about all the popes before the 16th century, it is extremely vague and inaccurate for the popes who came after.