Prayer "Time"



Commit yourself to time, today, with God.

Not in a some generic, "we'll see if I get around to it" kind of way, but in a specific, "10:00am Rosary walk" kind of way.

Could be five or ten minutes. Could be an hour.

Commit. Schedule. Repeat.

How Do You Know?

Knowing Jesus is much more important than knowing about Jesus.

Knowing about Jesus wins the debate.

Knowing Jesus wins heaven.

When You Don't Know What To Say In Prayer

When you want to pray, but don't know what to say, you're in a good place.

Simply, rest. Rest in his love.

Remember, the Lord wants your heart much more than he wants your words.

What We Need

We all need heroes.

And the Church has them in the saints.

The saints aren't just people who live in stained-glass windows. No, the saints are those heroes in the faith whose lives we admire and whose example we imitate because they stir up the best in us. We admire what they did, and pray we can do it ourselves.

That's why a healthy spiritual life will always include a devotion to the saints in general and some special saints in particular.

If you're struggling to find some for yourself, I've listed a few of my favorites below and a link to inspiring resources.

St. (Padre) Pio - Padre Pio: The Stigmatist

Saint Teresa of Calcutta - Beginners Guide To Mother Teresa of Calcutta (Paperback)

Pope St. John XXIII - Journal of a Soul

Blessed Pier Giorgio Frassati - A Man of the Beatitudes

St. Rita of Cascia - Saint of the Impossible

How To Get Someone Back To The Church

Invite them.

The best way to bring someone you know back to Mass is to, simply, invite them.

Be specific and personal in the invitation (yes, text or email works). Give them a date and time. Tell them to meet you there or offer to pick them up.

If they decline, give it a week and invite them again.

It's Difficult To Be Selfish When...

It's difficult to be selfish when you're busy being grateful.

Therefore, from morning to evening...

Thank God.

Try This, First.



In addition to sharing the content of the faith with someone - the substance of it - try sharing your experience as well.

In fact, try sharing your experience first.

Tell the story of how the Lord has changed your life, your marriage, your family, your hope for tomorrow and faith for today (even in the smallest of ways), and how The Lord can change theirs, too, if they let him.

"Where Does God Live?"



After dinner the other night my three-year old son Joseph asked me a question.

"Where does God live, Dad?"

I said the first thing that came to my mind: "He lives in your struggles, Joseph." Then he went back to playing with his truck.

Okay, so I went a little deep. But I want my son (and daughter) to learn something from an early age.

Something so many of us fail to realize...

God is not distant from you. He's not "there" when you're doing well, and "not there" when you're struggling. (In fact, some of the wisest saints have said He makes himself even more present during your times of suffering).

Think of it this way, God wants to live in your mess.

No, really; He doesn't want to live in your perfect life, in the imaginary, never-quite-gonna-get-there version that we all dream about. All He wants is all you've got-right here and now.

So invite God into your mess: into your problems and your worries and even the sins you still struggle with. Let Him live there, let Him be present to you there. Then, you might just start to see things different, to see things the way He does, the way He's always wanted us to.

What Humility Is (And Isn't)



What humility is not:
- False modesty
- Poor self-esteem
- Lack of gratitude for God's gifts
- Lying about self

What humility is:
- Genuine modesty
- Gratitude for gifts and opportunities
- Awareness of Divine Providence
- Telling the truth about ourselves and God

Don't Let These Words Fly By You














Just before we sing the, "Holy, Holy, Holy," at Mass, the priest says: 

"Therefore, with all the choirs of angels and all the saints..."

He's not kidding; they're all there - all of them. Every saint in every glass window, every angel stenciled on the ceiling, every saint carved in cement, every holy man, woman, and child who has ever lived on earth and now lives in glory, are all there, praying for you and those you love.

How To Unlock Joy
















What brings us joy in life is complete self-giving. 

It can be painful, too, but you can't have real joy without self-giving.

That's the great paradox of the cross, after all.

We find ourselves when we lose ourselves in service for one another.

Start at home, then go from there.

The Next Time You Sit Down To Eat

The next time you sit down to eat, slowly, reverently, intentionally, make the sign of the cross and thank God for your food.

Slowly...

Reverently...

Intentionally...

Thank God for your food.

What Would Your Parish Look Like If...



Despite the way my office usually looks, I’m something of a perfectionist. It’s not that I always see the glass half-empty, just that I think about what might make the glass and whatever else is in it a little bit better. I know that it drives some of my friends nuts, but when I sit in the pew on Sunday morning I’m not judging how bad things are (actually my parish is really good); rather, I’m imagining – imagining what more it could be.


Many days throughout the year I spend in different parishes around the country giving what’s called a Parish Mission. And often I challenge the hard working faithful on the last evening with the same commission I am challenged with by those who love me.


What would your parish look like if being a parishioner at Saint So-And-So's actually meant something, really meant something, so that your friends and neighbors who know nothing of the faith know that what it means to be a member of your parish is to be a Catholic who takes their faith very seriously? What would it be like if every one of us really treated the patron saint of our parish as our own special model and guide, if we prayed for their intercession before any major parish activity, and if we strove to imitate their strongest virtues and taught our children to do the same. What would your parish look like if everyone in your parish was so proud to be a part of it that they would beg as many of their friends and family as they possibly could to give it a try, even for just one week.


Imagine the ushers after Sunday Mass not just simply smiling while handing you the bulletin to place in the backseat of your car, but calling you by name and asking how your week was. Imagine a Mass where everyone sings, whatever the style and however good – or bad – the organist or other musicians are. Imagine a homily so good that you find yourself still talking about it Wednesday evening. Imagine your parishes intentions being intentional, and your concern for your neighbor so real that you find yourself praying for them at your family dinners.


Imagine a parish where at communion time everyone approached slowly and reverently, and received the Eucharist as though it were the most important thing they did all week. Imagine if every time a baby cried your first instinct and that of those around you was to give thanks to God for the gift of the baby, and not to wonder why the parents haven’t taken her to the back, yet. Imagine your parish full fifteen minutes before Mass prayerfully preparing for the true presence of Jesus to enter into their souls, and where people stay five minutes after to give thanks to God for the Gift they have received.

What would your parish look like if every day were like a Sunday? What if daily Mass were more than a few people and the schoolchildren showing up once a week? Can you imagine showing up on Saturday to help with a parish clean up and seeing as many people in line for confession as the penance services during Advent or Lent? What would it be like if your parish were known as the premier place in your city for feeding the poor, helping those pregnant and in crisis, assisting immigrants, and helping people save their houses? What would it be like if every parishioner belonged to a Bible study or took part in some special ministry of prayer? What if every parishioner who was able to drive volunteered to take communion to one elderly or homebound person each week, reminding them that they are loved and not forgotten about by the parish? What if you felt so confident in the prayer lives of your fellow parishioners that you genuinely felt comfortable asking them to pray for your specific struggles or concerns, and in addition, took their prayer requests as seriously as anything else you are asked to do all week.


What if instead of passing by your priest after Mass with a handshake and smile, you asked him what specific parish needs you can fulfill that week? What if you started to treat your priest as though he really was the spiritual father of your parish and family; if you invited him out to eat, had him bless you and your kids before he left the house, and went to him first when you have some serious personal problem? What would your parish look like if the priests, deacons, and religious were so impressive that every parent encouraged their kids to consider a religious vocation? What would your parish look like if it were really beginning to make you into a saint? What would you begin to look like? How would it change your marriage? How would it change your kids?


So when I sit in the pew before Mass with a look on my face that might be hard to read, I’m imagining things being different, being even better than they are now. But it’s not because I’m disappointed in your parish or my parish or any other. It’s because every time I gather with God’s people for Mass I see the true potential within me and within you. Why? Because God’s there, and this is what God longs to do with us.


St. Irenaeus says that “The glory of God is man fully alive.” Just imagine what your parish would look like if every man, woman, and child, every family, every couple, every single, every priest, every religious, every layperson, everyone on the books at your parish were made just a little more alive each day, each week, each year, in the parish you call home.

I’ll tell you what your parish would look like...it would change the world.

The Most Overlooked Fact About St. Paul


St. Paul is one of the most well-known Christians in history, and probably the greatest evangelist who ever lived.

But while we still talk about his adventures and preach through his letters, many have forgotten something critical to his life.

St. Paul had a day job.

Yep, he was a tentmaker. 

We don't tend to remember that part, of course; we remember the preaching, and the teaching, and the miracles, pretty much everything but the day job. 

Those letters we read on Sunday to Colossae or Corinth or Rome, he had to write those in his spare time, because there was always somebody at the door asking, "So, how 'bout that tent you said I'd have last Tuesday?"

In other words, St. Paul didn't have to break free from his regular routine to find time to preach the gospel. What he did is exactly what you and I can do--what we must do--if we're to be faithful to our vocation.

And if he could do it with canvas and wooden poles, we can surely do it with computers and cars and smartphones and cubicles. We can make room for the gospel, not just on Sunday mornings, but every day of the week.

Today, let's make room for God.

The Secret To Happiness


What's the secret to happiness?

Everyone wants to know.
The saints knew it; and we probably should, too.


Is it money, fame, beauty, power? If so, there'd be a lot more happy people in the world.

The secret to happiness is holiness.

Yes, holiness.

PS - Check out my *new* Podcast, "Your Catholic Life" for insight and inspiration from the top Catholic speakers and authors today! (It's FREE)

Yesterday, Today And Forever!


One day St. Teresa of Avila overheard one of the other sisters say, "If only I had lived at the time of Jesus...If only I had seen Him, talked with Him, been touched by Him..."

Teresa stopped what she was doing at once. She walked up to the sister and said, "But do we not have in the Eucharist the living true, and living Jesus laid present before us? Why look for more?"


Yeah, she got it.


The Jesus you received in your parish last Sunday and the Jesus you will receive this Sunday, the Jesus you receive at Mass while traveling and the Jesus who waits in the tabernacle of the Church down the street is the same Jesus who walked this earth 2000 years ago.


Think about that for a second. Let it sink in.


So, the next time you genuflect to Jesus in the tabernacle before entering your pew, the next time you see Him raised by the consecrated hands of your priest, or the next time you pass a Church in your car, realize and remember just Who is in your midst--Jesus of Nazareth.


The Same: yesterday, today and forever.

Consider This


"That movie was amazing!" We tell our friends.

"We're getting married!" We post on Facebook.


We're never shy in regards to the temporal. Thus, we should never be shy when it comes to the eternal.


Don't be afraid to share your love for Jesus and his Church, today.

What to do when you don't feel like praying

You don't feel like praying today? Its Okay. You're not the only one.

There are days I don't feel like praying either, but then I remember: prayer is not simply
about feelings, prayer is an act of the will--a movement of the heart. 

You don't feel like praying, today? That's OK.

Pray anyway.

PS - Here's the text of a short homily by St. John Chrysostom on prayer.

Why the month of May matters

Warmer temperatures, longer days, better moods, graduations, confirmations, first communions, some things ending, others beginning; yeah, this is May.

But there's something else about this month that's important; namely, Mary.


By now, over the course of these emails, you know of my devotion to Mary. (If you've ever attended one of my parish missions, you really know of my devotion to Mary.) Here's why.


The Church celebrates devotion to Mary, during the month of May, because it is a month of new beginnings and of celebrations.



The new life of nature which we see sprouting up in our front yards and back gardens naturally reminds us of the new life we've been given in Christ, a life which came, as all our lives came, through His mother.

Now, I realize Mary can be a point of contention among those who are friends with her Son. Some people think that by moving towards Mary we must be moving away from Jesus, but this misses the point.


We don't go to Mary. We go through Mary. We pass through her Immaculate Heart, to the Sacred Heart of her Son.

You see, with Mary, we go to Jesus with an advocate, a coach, a mentor, and a Mother, who helps us along the way.


Nobody gets offended when you show respect and honor, love and devotion, to people that they love. Jesus is the same.


Virtually every saint in the whole of the Christian tradition has insisted that devotion to Mary is devotion to Jesus--that Jesus is all the more honored whenever and wherever we honor his Mother.


After all, it's exactly what he asked us to do. Remember His last will and testament, delivered there from the cross. "Woman," he said. "Behold your son." And then, to the disciple who represents all of us at the cross, "Behold your mother."


So this month, start your relationship with God anew, and remember that you are not alone. Let His Mother--your Mother--help you. And if you can, remember me as well.

The most difficult prayer you will ever pray

The most difficult prayer we will ever pray is for the person we can't stand the most.

After all, praying for our enemies would be easy if we didn't have, well, enemies.

It's not easy (it never will be), but praying for those we can't stand is necessary if we're going to follow Jesus.

If you need help, start with this simple prayer:

"Jesus, help (insert name) to be holy. Because you love (insert name) as much as you love me."

Pray this prayer every time you think of him or her. Pray it everyday if need be.

Someday, they may even thank you in heaven.

What holiness is about


The moment I got booked to speak at a marriage retreat sometime ago, I received a text message from my wife that read, "you forgot to clean the blender."

Holiness in married life (and life in general) really is about the little things, isn't it?


Dishes.


Picking up your shoes.


Letting the dog out.

An unexpected text message that reads, "I love you."

Cleaning the blender.

Yes, holiness really is about the little things.

How to simply pray


Talk to Jesus as you would a friend, today.

Give Jesus the people in your life you love, today.


Ask Jesus to break into the areas of your life you know you need him the most, today.


Thank Jesus for everything you have (yes, even the struggles), today.


Prayer really is that simple.

That's The Point, Afterall

God gives you everything you need to make you a saint.

Every joy, every struggle, every question you have is God's way of calling you into a deeper relationship with him.

That's the point, after all. 

That's the point of everything

To make you a saint.

When we need to run to Jesus

When you're tempted to compare yourself to others, run to the Eucharist. The only comparison worth making is to Christ.

When you judge someone, rather than love them, run to confession. God's mercy toward you can become your mercy toward them.

When you harbor resentment or anger or struggle to forgive, run to Our Lady. She walked with her Son, now let her walk with you.

The 5 words from Jesus



On the evening of February 22nd, 1931, Jesus appeared to a simple nun and instructed her to have an image of his Divine Mercy painted. He also asked her to add an inscription, which read:

Jesus, I trust in you.

Saint Faustina knew, however, these were not just words for the painting.

These were words for our heart.

During the Sacred Triduum (the shortest and holiest season of the liturgical year) pray those five words from Jesus. Pray them often, and from the heart.

Give God something today



Give God something today.

Perhaps it's your commute home from work. No radio. No noise. Just prayer.

Or, it's a simple look toward heaven, asking God for help.

How about a morning offering to begin your day? Or a "thank you" to end it.

Just give him something––other than nothing.

One of the most powerful prayers you will ever pray



"In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, Amen."

Most of us (myself included) say these words everyday. We say them, making the Sign of the Cross, before we eat, before we sleep, before we get in our car.

But, for me, it's no longer enough to say these words - it's time I start to pray them.

And I want you to start praying them with me.

Today and everyday, before you eat, before you sleep, before you get in your car, take a moment to pray the Sign of the Cross. Pray it slow and from the heart. Pray it knowing that in those few words all that we are and all that we have finds it's purpose in God.

It was a priest who taught me this years ago, and unfortunately, I haven't been very good at remembering. But I begin anew, today. And you can, too.

"In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, Amen."

If there's one thing I know



If you're familiar with what I do you know this is my busiest time of year. And these months are probably just as busy for you, too. 

Work projects, doctors appointments, basketball practice, and board meetings take these months by storm.

But, if there's one thing I know about the spiritual life, it's this...

Busy is no excuse.

Sure, it's not easy to make time for prayer (nothing worth doing is ever easy). But it's important. And it matters.

Jesus is waiting to break into your life and mine. Waiting to break through the busy-ness and give us rest.

It's up to us to make the time and let him in.

This changed Mother Teresa's life



Mother Teresa heard two words from Jesus on a train one day that changed her life.

"I THIRST." 

These were the words Jesus spoke from the cross. And now, he was speaking them to her.

Upon hearing those words Mother Teresa made it her mission to do what Jesus was now asking of her - quench his thirst by serving the poorest of the poor.

Mother Teresa's story is inspiring. That we already know. 

But it wasn't easy.

Hardship, frustration, doubt and fear - all the things we're afraid of, stood in her way. But instead of seeing them as obstacles to holiness, she saw them asopportunities for holiness.

What obstacle to holiness in your life needs to be made into an opportunity?


Give it to God.

Now is the time



If you haven't thought of God today, think of him now.

If you haven't spoken to God today, speak to him now.

God wants your heart, and there's no better time to give it to him than now.

A Better Way To Pray





















If you want to get more out of your prayer, don't just give God the laundry list of what you think you need.

Instead, the next time the Holy Spirit moves you to pray, ask God what he thinks you need.

Yes, this way of praying may be more difficult to get used to, but it's essential if we're going to go deeper in our relationship with Jesus.

Ask God this question

When I ask my son Joseph (3yrs old) how much he loves me, he stretches out his arms, as far as he can, and says, "this much!"

That simple act teaches me a lot about love. Most importantly, it teaches me that love isn't just said, it's shown.

In your prayer this week, while looking at a crucifix, ask Jesus the same question I ask my son.

"How much do you love me, Lord?"

Stretching out his arms on the cross, watch and listen for his response:

"This much."

Start Here



Practicing small acts of love in our families is the best chance of success we have at practicing the love of Christ.

So, if you want to measure how well you're doing at living the Gospel, start first by how you treat your family.