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.

An Open Letter to Brent: On the Power of Words

Dear Brent, My first year at Life Teen I was the awkward freshman in the corner of the room, trying to go unnoticed, so I understand if you didn’t see me. I saw you, though. You were a confident senior and the center of attention. It seemed like everyone admired you, and with good reason. […]

In Name Only?: When Your Catholic School Isn’t Very Catholic

“All-school Mass today? Sweet, that means no math class first period!”“Pro-Life March? You mean three days off school and a trip to D.C.!”“Would anyone like to say a prayer to start class?” *crickets*Man . . . do any Catholics even go to this school?!I went to Catholic schools my entire life, and I’m not gonna lie: sometimes, I wondered. It often felt like we were Catholic in name only – and even then, it’s not like we wrote it boldly across our t-shirts.

I’m Walking Away: Standing up against Immorality

I’ve always lived a rather sheltered life. I was raised Catholic and sent to Catholic School — there was never any moment when my faith and belief in God was truly tested. But now that I’ve entered college and am studying at a school that’s far from Catholic, within the first week of orientation God […]

When God is Second

A few years ago I felt my relationship with God was kind of “meh” so I asked a priest I knew, Father Chris, for advice. “Are you attending mass every day?” Father Chris asked. Keep in mind, I worked at a church that offered mass twice a day. All I had to do was walk […]

Goodbye Know-It-All

Throughout my whole life, I can regrettably say that I have been that judgmental and know-it-all person, almost always seeing myself in the right, and ready to give my opinion and tell others when I’m right and they’re wrong. There was this intense desire for me to be right, because in my mind, being right […]

Epic. Fail.

To say that I have occasionally messed up or made poor decisions is an understatement. As I think about all the mistakes or bonehead moves I have made, I am humbled and constantly reminded that I am not perfect. There was that time where the snow bank blew up as a result of throwing dry […]

The Pope and The Pilgrims

As most of you know, there was an event last month that was a pretty big deal in the Catholic Church. It was a gathering of more than 3,000,000 people in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil called World Youth Day. Every couple years this incredible week of catechesis, celebrating the sacraments, and much more allows young […]

Shark Week Scares

It’s finally here. The week that the Discovery Channel brings us marathon programming meant to help us better understand sharks. As I write this, a great white shark the size of a Winnebago is chomping a seal in half while guys in windbreakers film on a rocking boat. My favorite part of shark week is […]

What Fealess Doesn’t Mean

I can see it now . . . You and your friend at the zoo near the lion’s cage. “I dare you to feed your hamburger to the lion through the cage.” “No way!” “C’mon! Be fearless! Isn’t that what this year’s theme is all about?” Although my name is Mark, let me be frank […]

How to Have an Awesome Life

When I think about, some of the best things that I have experienced in life … I said, 'yes' to. I said 'yes' to being on a soccer team, I said 'yes' to going on a mission trip, I said 'yes' to a relationship with Christ.

I have seen over and over that one of the main reasons people feel isolated and don’t have the kind of friendships, relationships, or community they want in their lives is that they habitually say “no” to invitations and opportunities to be around people and interact with people. They say “no” so often and so consistently that it’s become a habit they don’t even know they have.

Epic Pope Francis Quotes: World Youth Day Rio 2013

Jesus, with His Cross, walks with us and takes upon Himself our fears, our problems, and our sufferings, even those which are deepest and most painful. With the Cross, Jesus unites Himself to the silence of the victims of violence, those who can no longer cry out, especially the innocent and the defenseless.

The Cross of Christ bears the suffering and the sin of mankind, including our own. Jesus accepts all this with open arms, bearing on His shoulders our crosses and saying to us: 'Have courage! You do not carry your cross alone! I carry it with you. I have overcome death and I have come to give you hope, to give you life' (John 3:16).

Your Soul’s Sunscreen

Some people claim that they never tan, only burn. But just because you don't look like a lobster doesn't mean your skin cells can't turn cancerous later. At the very least you'll reach middle age and discover your skin has the consistency of leather.

Sometimes we don't think we need to pray either, because we don't 'feel' like we need God. But the truth is that we always need God. If we don't pray regularly to build a relationship with Him then when hard times come and we finally feel like we need Him, it's difficult to listen to His voice since we're so out of practice. Regular prayer is a necessity.

8 Ways to Cure a Bad Day

Maybe you haven't said one of these things exactly, but I’m sure you know what it feels like to have a bad day. Today my sister Maureen was telling me about her bad day and after I gave her my heartfelt and wise advice she said, 'You're really in the ‘Ìâ‰âÂÌâèÏjust deal with it' mode this week, huh?'

Order! Order!: Getting Into a Prayerful Routine This Summer

Because of this, we need to strive extra hard to keep first things first. Namely, prayer. If we aren't trying, prayer can easily get lost in the chaos. In order to help with this situation, I've compiled a brief list of things that help me continue to stay on point during these summer months.

No, I’m Not Making the Sign of the Cross!

If you’ve ever been afraid to make the sign of the cross in public, you’re not alone. A lot of us Catholics have done that. Sometimes we make the sign of the cross really quickly, so that people won’t notice. We might even pretend to be swatting a fly or scratching our fore head to begin making the sign as we say grace before lunch in the cafeteria or in a crowded restaurant.

Don’t Take a Vacation From God

As a kid I remember being super excited for a road trip from Massachusetts to New Jersey to visit my grandparents. In my five year old brain, 'New Jersey' might as well have been the moon and a week was basically forever. I had to pack accordingly. Pulling bags out the closet I filled them with my stuffed animals, dolls, books, art supplies, my sticker collection and a panda poster.

Fear Nothing.

One little bump and I go from calm and collected to, 'This plane is going to crash, and I'm too young to die!'

Yes, I'm that dramatic, sometimes.

I think of all the things that I want to still do with my life, things that I want to accomplish, places I wanted to go; I think of children and enjoying the benefits of becoming an old man who sits on his front porch drinking lemonade and yelling at kids to get off his lawn (face it, you know that is going to be awesome).

Fear will grip me the rest of that flight. I can't focus on anything … not the weird in-flight movie or awkward conversation I am having with the person next to me. I'm gripping the armrest like it will actually steer the plane for the rest of the flight.

The Cure for Laziness

When I was in high school, during those ancient years in the 90′s when we had an alarm clock that was separate from our phones, I hated waking up early.