You Know You’re Catholic When…

Have you ever looked at yourself in the mirror and said, “Man! I’m really Catholic!”

Do you reference the Catechism in everyday conversation?

Do you give your friends saint nicknames based on their charisms?

Does your Catholicity bleed into every aspect of your life?

Then, you’ve probably been guilty of doing most everything on this list.

You know you’re Catholic when…

Guarding Your House: How to Fight the Devil and Win

The more we pursue Christ, the more the devil pursues us. He runs after us, looking for blood. But our Father runs faster, and has already shed every ounce of His blood — so we wouldn’t need to.

As Pope Francis said, to realize this endless love, we must guard our hearts from the devil “just as you protect your home.”

Compare and Despair

We all fall into that trap of comparing ourselves to one another. How do we stack up against the competition? Whether we’re measuring ourselves against our siblings, classmates, teammates, best friends, or even total strangers like celebrities, we’re constantly sizing up the competition. Where do I rank? Am I as good as he is at __? Am I better than her at __?

When Things Don’t Get Better: Finding God in Unhappiness

If we are to call ourselves Christians, then we must believe that God loves us and would never allow for us to experience suffering without purpose. Therefore, there has to be purpose in the cross of unhappiness. Whether we struggle with depression for months on end or just experience a day lacking fulfillment, perhaps these are opportunities to shine brighter and cling tighter. Perhaps there is purpose in our pain.

Remarkably Average: The Life of Blessed Chiara Badano

After two years and the loss of the use of her legs it became clear that Chiara Luce wouldn’t survive. Despite her pain she refused morphine so that she could remain lucid and offer all her suffering up to Jesus. She encouraged her parents to go out to dinner together, trying to prepare them for life after her death. Paralyzed in her bed, she kept loving.

In October 1990, Chiara Luce died at home. But her story doesn’t end there.

People became so inspired by the life and holiness of this “average” girl that her bishop opened the cause for her sainthood. In September 2010 she was declared “Blessed” (or one step away from becoming a saint) at a ceremony attended by over 25,000 people from 57 countries. Not bad for a small-town girl who never sought fame.

Remembering God: 5 Tips to Keep Your Faith Alive

Whenever you begin to feel the temptation to sin and you don’t have those accountable people around, have an alternative activity that is your “go to.” You’ll have to do it right away. When you’re tempted to look at someone and judge them, think to yourself, “They are a child of God.” It’s important to train or condition yourself to avoid sin, so you might have to start by making a conscious effort to think that about every single person you see. Maybe you are a musician, and you grab your guitar or your drumsticks.

Pitch Imperfect

Last week, as soon as Mass ended, the sweet little old lady sitting in front of me loudly announced to anyone within earshot that I (apparently) sing off-key. Totally shocked, I responded, “Well, I guess that’s why I’m out here, and not back there in the choir loft.” Listen, lady, I never promised you perfection from the pew behind you.

7 Ways to Simplify Your Faith Life

Life is messy. We’ve got so much to worry about, so many things to juggle at once. And all the while an intimidating little beast called “the future” keeps knocking at our door, reminding us of all the things we’ve got to do right… or else.

I think somewhere along the way, we all lose sight of what matters. We become more intrigued by the words on a screen than by the words in our Bible. We become more concerned about the relationships we have with people around us than with the One who created us.

Leaving for College and Heading to Heaven

Your faith isn’t your Mom and Dad’s thing anymore. If you have questions, search for the answers, I promise you they’re there! It’s up to you to respond to the invitation from Christ to draw nearer to Him. College can be one of the most spiritually transformative times in your life. If you give these next four years to Christ, He’s going to give you back more than you ever dreamed of receiving.

3 Simple Steps for Continual Conversion

If you are a sinner like me, you sin all the time. This calls for continuous conversion or continually turning your heart away from sin and toward God. St. John Paul The Great says “We ourselves are to be converted anew every day.” So here are three simple steps to help your continual growth and conversion toward Christ.

Heroic Masculinity

If we want to understand masculinity, we have to understand God’s original purpose for it. When God created the first man, Adam, He gave him three very important tasks: Adam needed to cultivate life in the garden, he was charged by God to help create new life, and he was the garden’s protector.

Thrive: Summer, Structure, and Your Spiritual Life

Summer is here. Hallelujah! I know you are enjoying putting the stress and monotony of the school year behind you.

But before you slow down too much remember this: If we want to continue growing spiritually during the summer we must maintain some routine and order. Any type of growth, especially spiritual growth, requires structure.

If we want to come to know the Lord, if we want to become the saints He designed us to be, we need to stop choosing the easy path, the comfortable path. We must step up and establish some order.

Beyond the Surface Level

But of course we all need help. Time and time again, God reminds me that it is through my brokenness that Christ’s love will penetrate into the depths of my heart. And, I have come to learn that it’s through our brokenness that we are able to know others better. If we don’t allow our vulnerabilities to show, then other people may think that we don’t need them or care about them.

Stuck in a Rut: Advice for When You’re Going Nowhere in Prayer

That’s when desolation hit. Prayer became pretty challenging, reading Scripture felt like doing homework, every single thought distracted me and I felt an overall darkness. This lasted for about 4 months and after recognizing my “dark night” I knew what I had to do for a “bright morning.”

Divine Mercy Sunday: God’s Mercy is Bigger Than Any Sin

God offers us His grace and mercy every day, especially through the Eucharist. Because the tomb is empty, we have freedom. When Jesus descended into Hell he took sin and shame with Him. He left them there, where they belong. It is because Jesus rose that we are free. God's mercy is so big. St. John Vianney put it beautifully when he said, 'Our sins are nothing but a grain of sand alongside the great mountain of the mercy of God.'

JP2 to the Rescue: Transforming My Treehugger Theology

I didn’t believe in God until I was 15.

I was raised Catholic and got dragged to Mass and religious education and I hated it. I went to public school preK-8. By the time I went to a Catholic high school I was already formed in my beliefs.

What did I believe?

All my life I loved animals and Nature more than anything. I planned on spending my life doing conservation and working to save animals and the environment. I was into Greenpeace, recycling, living in harmony with Nature. I was a card-carrying member of the Audubon Society.

Be Not Afraid: Accepting the Challenge from JP2

I believe that Pope John Paul II was one of the greatest Popes to have ever served the Church. History has shown him to be a man who can be all things to all people. He was an athlete, an actor, a writer, a priest, a bishop, an activist, and most of all a follower of Christ. He was a man who was deeply in love with Christ and the Church. He was willing to do whatever it took to lead the faithful into the victory that Christ has won for us.

In terms of leadership and bravery, William Wallace has nothing on this guy. During the years of Pope John Paul II’s service to the Church, he encountered many things that would make the average person run and hide:

What Are You Living For?: A Letter from Heaven

What if I told you that your life was halfway over? I’m guessing you’re 15 or 16, maybe 17 years old. What if I told you that your life expectancy was to live until you were 32 years old? I know what you’re thinking – “dude, most people live past 32. You’re being way over-dramatic.” […]

3 Promises That Will Change Your Life

These promises changed my life. Don’t rationalize or make excuses for yourself. Push yourself a bit, work a little longer, sacrifice something else, persist, and persevere! Following through on these promises will not only bring you joy, but freedom to live the life God is calling you to!

He Keeps Me Safe

All I’ve ever wanted out of my relationships is to feel safe.

I’m always worried that I’ll make someone so angry that they won’t want to have anything to do with me. I want to know that I’m worth someone’s time and effort; that they’ll stick around when things get rough.

But people always fall short. We’re imperfect and broken and there’s no escaping that. Show me someone who’s got it together all the time and I’ll show you someone who’s wearing a mask. People are unpredictable and it’s scary.