Bold Manhood

As a result, 'loving your neighbor' has become more of a general accepting of someone for everything they choose to be and do. This idea is summed up as the great 'virtue' of tolerance. On the surface, it seems like a great and honorable ideal. Everyone can do what they want without being judged and nobody hurts anyone else’s feelings.

Yet we find something radically different in the biblical vision of love. In the gospel of John, Jesus says 'No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends' (John 15:13).

The Secret to Sainthood

Do you ever feel like there's some big secret to becoming a saint and you can't figure out what it is? What did they do to become so awesome? Was there a book they read? A certain prayer they prayed? Does a diet of bread and fish help?

That's what I was wondering. (Not so much the bread and fish part.) God has been teaching me that you become a saint by . . .

What Are Your #FirstWorldProblems?

We observed workers moving rocks barefoot because they only had one pair of shoes and needed them to last. Families who lived in a landfill without electricity or running water, hoping to make a dollar a day sorting trash. As the mission director, Julia, told us, 'I know that you think that you have problems in the U.S., but compared to what we have here, you live in heaven.' While we had grown up hearing about those in need, our first hand encounter was sobering.

YOLO: You Only Live Once

If you're on the interweb, you've seen #YOLO unfold in a series of tweets or status updates of shenanigans involving late nights, red bull, and impulsive hair dye. I don’t find the choices in these updates all that inspiring.

I love a good prank (as long as I'm the one pulling it), and, over the course of my 9-year career as youth minister I pulled a few on the teens. My favorite of all-time took place when our retreat kicked off on a Friday night that also happened to be April Fool's Day:

When I really got into my faith and my Christian walk during high school, a few things really annoyed me . . . (in no particular order)

God Doesn’t Text

That was a tough question, but the next one worried me:

'Was I afraid to talk with God, to be honest with Him, and listen to Him even if I didn't like it?'

I had to think about it for a while. I realized that while I trusted God with most things, there was still one thing that I avoided … Confession. I would go to Mass every Sunday and pray throughout the day asking for help or thanking Him, but I didn't like sharing my weaknesses with Him.

Pentecost Should Make You Uncomfortable

It seems a little unfair honestly. There are all these crazy and dramatic details in the story of Pentecost, and my life is so mundane in contrast. I want the Holy Spirit to work in powerful ways in my life too.

So what's stopping Him?

Me. I'm stopping Him. I'm scared and I'll admit it . . .

Jesus, My Life

I don't walk to Communion looking around anymore but I walk up the aisle toward my Bridegroom who is giving himself to me. Imagine, my God lets me hold him in my hands. I gently and deliberately place Him in my mouth. We have the most intimate conversations during those few minutes after I return to my seat and the peace that envelopes me nourishes my soul as earthly food nourishes my body.

Go Ahead, Shatter Me

… I felt it slipping but didn't know what to do. The ornate, china plate fell to the tile floor.

You know that split second of silence after something shatters on the ground? It’s in that split second that I caught my breath in shock waiting for the reprimand, gasp or look of disapproval. And in that moment, my grandma had a choice.

She would always, no matter what was broken, say something to the effect of: “That’s ok! Don’t worry!” Immediately, that’s what she said to me. No hesitation. I remember asking her about it later and having her tell me, “What’s done is done and it’s no use being upset over.”

Incomplete Without the Eucharist

I went with Katie the next week … and then again the following week. That piece of bread had the attention of a whole auditorium of people, it had to mean something. Unknowingly I followed her to a moment with Christ that would change my life. Before Adoration, the priest described what we were about to encounter. While I was sitting there, for the first time in my life I allowed myself to be found by God. And for the first time told him where I was. I heard him speaking in His quiet voice, “Stop looking. You are home.”

5 Ways to Get Spiritually Fit This Summer

One of my favorite things to do is workout. Whether at a gym, running outside, or doing P90X in my home, I love getting my body into shape. (Now, if only I could work on my eating habits a little bit). For me there's just something about the discipline it takes, the feeling I get at the end, and the little results I can see that show me that I am getting healthier.

Grading on God's Curve: Battling Spiritual Laziness

When I began my faith journey, I was constantly comparing myself to my peers. It's like I was walking into God's kitchen, shaking as I showed my Heavenly Father my report card. I tried to justify all of my sins. I measured my holiness by the sin of others instead of the holiness of God. I turned down the ability for greatness that His grace offered me. I settled for being 'better than most' rather than all that He called me to be. I didn't want to do the work. I eased into a spirit of contentment and lived a spiritual life that was 'good enough.' Others praised me for my 'B' effort in my faith, especially since so many kids my age were so much worse. But I knew I could be better, and I knew that God knew it, too.

A Plan for Your Lent

Here we are, on Fat Tuesday … and if you're like me, you're scrambling to decide what exactly you're giving up for the next 40 days. Will it be candy … no, procrastinating’Ìâ‰âÂÌâ_ or maybe you'll finally tackle that missing prayer time. The possibilities seem infinite and overwhelming. Before you know it, there are going to be ashes on your forehead and all your Catholic friends will be asking, 'So what did YOU give up this year?' Don't worry too much. I've been thinking about it, and I have some rock-solid advice on how to make this the most productive (and rewarding) Lent ever.

What's God's Love Language?

You know those ‘Ìâ‰âÂÌâèÏlove language' books? The ones you've never actually read, but you sat in the back of a bookstore once and took the test out of the back? Well, if you have, you probably know your ‘Ìâ‰âÂÌâèÏlanguage' – the way you give and receive love. For some, it's gift-giving that shows love, or doing something nice for someone. Others love through affirmation, through a hug or a held hand. And there are people who just want to spend time with people they love.