My Father’s Death Changed My Life

On November 19, 2004, my father lost his battle to brain cancer. I remember the tears, the “What now?” moments, and the pain. That’s not all I remember, though; in fact it’s what I remember least.

For the first nine years of my life, I remember the laughs he gave me when I would sit on his lap and he would bounce his leg up and down. I remember coming home from school and seeing the snacks he would make for us waiting on the table. I remember watching TV with him as my mother would leave for work, and watching her return hours later and the two of us still sitting in the exact position we were when she left. Most of all, I remember the love.

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.

I Fell in Love in a Hospital Room

At the very beginning of my second semester, in a freak medical accident, I suddenly lost my ability to walk. I had to be hospitalized and stay at a rehab center for a long period of time, beginning to rebuild my life and relearn how to do so many things that I had taken for granted. I didn’t understand how things could get any worse. I didn’t understand why God would put me through so much.

Love Wins. Death No More.

What if we lived as though death no longer existed?

No, but really. What if we lived as though death was literally not an option for us? What if we chose to radically live in the newness of life that Jesus offers us through His Resurrection?

By living as if death no longer existed, I don’t mean living naively as though to ignore the reality of death. Living this way means viewing death on earth not as an end to life, but a new beginning, the start of an eternity in the presence of God.

Love in the Face of Evil

I got together with an old friend a few months ago. Toney is a friend I met long ago at the Steubenville West conference, and the last number of years of Toney’s life have truly inspired me. While we were talking I was moved to share his story with you; He has given me permission […]

A Beautiful Offering: Choosing to Glorify God in Our Suffering

“Just get over it.” Sadly we hear phrases such as these from our friends in answer to our suffering. I don’t think these are the words anyone wants to hear when they are suffering, having a bad day, or feeling down. I love a lot of things about the Catholic Church, but one thing I […]

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.” […]

Why Pray?: The Truth about Prayer

Does prayer really do anything?

If God cared about us, why would He need us to ask for anything before He gave it to us?

The only think prayer does is make you feel good about yourself.

Do you ever find yourself thinking this way about prayer? Or have your heard others question prayer in this way? That’s totally normal . . . you are not a freak or a “terrible Christian.” It shows that you are taking prayer seriously and not just kind of “going through the motions.” If prayer is going to “mean something,” then it should “do something.”

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?'

Through Good Times and Bad

As a former youth minister, I remember how exciting Steubenville Youth Conferences were. Thousands of passionate people, on fire for God, devoting an entire weekend to worshipping the Lord and coming to know Him better. That is powerful stuff!

Rejoice?: The Aftermath of a School Shooting

It was Gaudete Sunday and as the third candle of the Advent Wreath was lit at Mass we were called to rejoice, but my heart didn't really feel like rejoicing. A prayer intention for the victims and their families and what seemed to be a small mention of Friday's heartbreak during the homily didn't seem enough to express what so many of our hearts were feeling.

How can we rejoice, God?

In the midst of all of this pain and hurt how can we rejoice today, this week, or on Christmas morning?

Rejoice?: The Aftermath of a School Shooting

It was Gaudete Sunday and as the third candle of the Advent Wreath was lit at Mass we were called to rejoice, but my heart didn't really feel like rejoicing. A prayer intention for the victims and their families and what seemed to be a small mention of Friday's heartbreak during the homily didn't seem enough to express what so many of our hearts were feeling.

How can we rejoice, God?

In the midst of all of this pain and hurt how can we rejoice today, this week, or on Christmas morning?

The Answer to Pain

And we know that we're not alone in our questions; suffering is a reality in everyones lives. Especially for us Christians, who believe in a personal God that knows and cares about every detail of our lives, suffering seems to make no sense.

The Answer to Pain

And we know that we're not alone in our questions; suffering is a reality in everyones lives. Especially for us Christians, who believe in a personal God that knows and cares about every detail of our lives, suffering seems to make no sense.

How to Have a Perfect Vacation

Vacation. A time to get away and relax on a beach somewhere . . . A time to be with family and reminisce about old memories while making new ones . . . A time to hang out with friends, walking up and down Main Street and eating pizza and ice cream til sundown.

Praying for a Miracle

I begged and cried and begged more . . . 'God fix this. You have to. I know you're in charge but come on, this can't be what you want . . . right?'

That's how my prayers typically went when I prayed for Catherine, my friend's mom, who was diagnosed with cancer in 2009. Catherine's health fluctuated in the following years and she never left the top of my prayer list.

Her family said it was time to pray for a miracle when Catherine stopped responding to treatment last fall. So I continued to beg God for a miracle. Every time I was miserable about something – the Arizona heat, a hard workout, the flu, or heartache – I offered up my suffering for Catherine.

Can God Heal Me?

The problem with the self-help phenomenon is it can gives us the illusion that we can actually fix ourselves without the help of God. Instead of dealing with our hurt, sin, and deep issues, we learn strategies for coping and hiding. We're just putting band-aids over our gaping, oozing wounds.

In high school, I hid my wounded-ness and deep insecurity behind my list of achievements. With three varsity sports, student council, shiny awards and leadership roles galore, I looked like I had my act together. But inside, I never thought I was enough. I was never pretty enough, smart enough, or funny enough. I believed lies about myself that bound me. I thought the shame and pain I carried inside from past hurts could never mend. So I just coped. I kept pushing through and pretending I was okay when I wasn't.