So we are halfway through the year of our theme of Fearless. Maybe you have really embraced the theme so far. Or maybe you haven’t even thought about our theme this year. Either way, let me share with you a story that has challenged me this year to be fearless. It’s about a young woman: […]
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 […]
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.
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.
Our faith, however, is not based on hollow rituals or oppressive rules. It's based on an encounter with the person of Jesus, who changes everything. Our relationship with Christ connects us with the origin of our life and the meaning of where we are going. He desires us not to be weighed down but rather to live life to its fullest potential (John 10:10).
When He calls us to live a holy life, it's because he knows what we are capable of and is drawing our potential out of us like any good sports coach does.
The Apostles couldn't explain how Jesus rose from the dead but they still spoke the truth because they experienced His rising in person. I couldn't intellectually or scientifically prove the real presence of Christ in the Eucharist (see CCC 1374) yet I proclaimed it as true because I have experienced what Jesus has done for me through the Eucharist.
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.
of former way of life. After His death and resurrection, Jesus ascended into Heaven where He is highly exalted and is seated at the right hand of the Father (Ephesians 1:20-23)
If you're on any type of social media and have an opinion about anything, you've probably experienced this. You type, 'Wendys fries are so much better than McDonald's' as a status update. You walk away from your computer and return to find World War III has broken out on your wall, with friends declaring their allegiances.
In 2011 Lauren 'Lolo' Scruggs was living the life any 23-year-old young woman would dream of. She had recently graduated college and had interned at Michael Kors’ studio and the costume department of Gossip Girl. She had reported on Fashion Week in New York, Paris, and Montreal and her online magazine LOLO Magazine was generating lots of industry buzz.
Then, on December 3, 2011, Lauren was hit by the propeller blade of a small airplane and her life was turned upside down. The propeller grazed her skull and left eye and cut off her left hand. She was rushed to the hospital where her parents and twin sister anxiously waited with a room full of friends to hear if Lauren would recover.
What's your New Year's resolution? Are you going to study more? Eat your vegetables? Finally watch all those episodes of Honey Boo Boo clogging up the DVR?
How about a resolution to proclaim your faith a little more?
You know, proclaim. To state publicly, to announce, to shout from the rooftops. In his letter on the Year of Faith Pope Benedict XVI writes that,
'The Church on the day of Pentecost demonstrates with utter clarity this public dimension of believing and proclaiming one's faith fearlessly to every person.'
So here is my advice to you . . . be radical! Don't go back to your old ways. It's a sad trend that we go on these awesome retreats, have this amazing experience of God's power, fall deeply in love with Him, but then leave it all behind when we toss our flip flops to the back of the closet.
What if after St. Paul had his conversion experience with God, he went back to his old ways of killing Christians? That would be weird (and tragic). Then why do we think that we can return to our old ways? You don't have to sell yourself short. Be different.