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Mar 21, 2024
Enjoy Mar 21, 2024

A repeated whisper from above, numerous failed attempts…all solved by a children’s story!

There is a wonderful tale by Hans Christian Andersen entitled The Steadfast Tin Soldier that I have taken immense pleasure in reading aloud to my daughter, and she, in listening to it. This one-legged tin soldier’s brief existence is marked by tribulation after tribulation. From falling from several storeys to nearly drowning to being swallowed by a fish like Jonah, the handicapped fighter comes to understand suffering quite quickly. Through it all, though, he does not hesitate, falter, or flinch. Oh, to be like the tin soldier!

Discovering the Reason

Literalists and pessimists might attribute his steadfastness to the fact that he is made of tin. Those who appreciate metaphor will say it is because he has a deep knowledge of his identity. He is a soldier, and soldiers do not let fear or anything, for that matter, steer them from their course. The trials wash over the tin soldier, but he remains unchanged. At times, he admits that if he were not a soldier, he would do such and such—like shed tears—but those things he did not do, for it would not be in line with who he was. In the end, he is cast into a stove where, reminiscent of Saint Joan of Arc, he is engulfed in flames. His remains are later found by the housemaid, reduced to—or one might say, transformed into—a perfectly shaped tin heart. Yes, the fires that he so resolutely endured molded him into love!

Perhaps, all that is required to become steadfast is to know one’s identity? The question then is, what is our identity? I am, and you are, too, a daughter (or son) of the King of the Universe. If only we know and never cease to claim this identity, we too can be steadfast on the journey toward becoming like Love Himself. If we go about our days knowing that we are princesses and princes gallivanting about our Father’s castle, what would we fear? What would make us quake, turn back, or crumble? No falls or floods or flames could make us step aside from the path toward sainthood that has been so lovingly laid before us. We are beloved children of God, destined to become saints if we only stay the course. The trials will become joys because they will not pull us from our path but, if endured well, will ultimately transform us into that which we long to be! Our hope and joy can always remain, for even if all about us is hardship, we are still beloved, chosen, and made to be with the Father in Heaven for all eternity.

Sorrows into Joy!

When the Angel Gabriel, on his mission to receive Mary’s fiat, sees Mary’s fear, he tells her: “Do not be afraid, for you have found favor with God.” (Luke 1:30) What glorious news! And how glorious that we, too, have found favor with God! He made us, loves us, and desires for us to be with Him always. So, we, like Mary, need not be afraid, no matter what difficulty comes our way. Mary steadfastly accepted all that came her way, knowing that His Providence is perfect and that the salvation of all mankind was at hand. She stood at the foot of the Cross in the moments of her greatest suffering and remained. In the end, though Mary’s heart was pierced by many swords, she was assumed into Heaven and crowned Queen of Heaven and Earth, to be with Love forever. Her steadfastness and loving endurance through suffering paved the way to her Queenship.

Yes, the sorrow of the Pieta became the glory of the Assumption. The martyrdom of so many holy men and women made them a part of the Heavenly host praising the Lord forevermore. Like our Mother and the Saints, may we accept the grace to be steadfast, standing tall amidst sorrow, flames, and all other circumstances that try to divert us from the Lord’s open arms. May we be firmly rooted in our identity as children made in the Father’s image. May we, like the renowned poet Tennyson once wrote: “Be strong in will to strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield!” May we, after it all, become like Love.


By: Molly Farinholt

Mar 21, 2024
Enjoy Mar 21, 2024

Keep your ears open to nature’s faintest impulses…God is speaking to you all the time.

God is constantly trying to communicate His message of love to us—in small things, in big things, in everything. Sometimes through the busyness of life, we can often miss what He is trying to say to us, both in the moment and after. Our loving God yearns for us to come to Him in the silence of our hearts. It is there that we can truly encounter Him and begin to grow in our relationship with Him—by listening to the “good teacher” (John 13:13). Saint Teresa of Calcutta taught: “God speaks in the silence of our hearts.” Scripture teaches us too, that it was only after the strong wind, earthquake, and fire had disappeared that Elijah was able to hear and understand God through the “still small voice” (1 Kings 19:9-18).

The Power that Moves Us

Recently, I went with my niece to a beach in North Wales; we wanted to fly a kite together. As the sea was going out, we unravelled the string on the sand. I threw the kite in the air as my niece set off running as fast as she could, holding the handle. The beach was partially enclosed by cliffs, so in spite of a strong wind on the waves, the kite did not stay in the air very long. She set off running again, this time even faster, and we tried again and again. After a few attempts, we realised that this wasn’t working.

I looked around and saw that to the top part of the cliffs, there was an open field and a lot of land. So together, we climbed higher. As we began to unravel the string again, the kite began to move; my niece tightly held on to the handle. Before we knew it, the kite was fully extended and flying so high. The beauty of it this time was that we were both able to really enjoy this moment together with minimal effort. The key was the wind, but the power of the soaring kite was actualized in getting to a place where the wind could really blow. The joy, laughter, fun, and love shared in that moment were priceless. Time seemed to stand still.

Learning to Fly High

Later as I prayed, these memories came back to me, and I felt I was being taught powerful lessons in faith, specifically about prayer. In life, we can try to do things with our own strength. There is something in our fallen human nature about wanting to be in control. It is like being at the steering wheel in a car. We can trust God and allow Him to guide us, or we can exercise our free will. God allows us to take hold of the wheel if and when we choose to. But as we journey with Him, we see in fact, that He desires for us to not try and do it all on our own. He doesn’t want to do it all by Himself either. God desires for us to do everything—through Him, with Him, and in Him.

The very act of praying is a gift in itself, but it requires our cooperation. It is a response to His call, but the choice to respond is ours. Saint Augustine powerfully teaches us to “acknowledge our voice in Him and His in us” (CCC 2616). This is not just true for prayer but for everything in life.

True, Jesus sometimes allows us to labor “all night” and “catch nothing.” But this brings us to the realisation that it is only through His guidance that we will achieve what we desire. And infinitely more when we open our hearts to listen to Him. (Luke 5:1-11)

If we are to fly high, we need the wind of the Holy Spirit, the breath of God, which transforms and lifts us up (John 20:22). Wasn’t it the wind of the Holy Spirit that descended upon the fearful disciples in the upper room at Pentecost and transformed them into faith-filled, fearless preachers and witnesses of Christ (Acts 1-2)?

Seeking with a Whole Heart

It is essential to recognize that faith is a gift that we must hold on tight to (1 Corinthians 12:4-11). Otherwise, we can become tangled up in difficult situations in the world that, without His grace, can be impossible for us to be free of. We must continue to reach higher heights through the power of the Holy Spirit—to “seek the Lord and live” (Amos 5:4, 6). Saint Paul exhorts us to “Rejoice always, pray constantly, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18)

Therefore, the call is for each believer to enter deeper into prayer by creating the space for silence, removing all distractions and blocks, and then allowing the wind of the Holy Spirit to really blow and move in our lives. God Himself invites us to this encounter with the promise that He will answer: “Call to me, and I will answer you and will tell you great and hidden things which you have not known.” (Jeremiah 33:3)


By: Sean Booth

Mar 19, 2024
Enjoy Mar 19, 2024

The season of Lent always begins quickly–the starter’s gun fires on Ash Wednesday, and we’re out of the blocks, sprinting determinedly away into the Lenten run.

But, Lenten resolutions—like those of the optimistic New Year variety—have a habit of running away from us. And it doesn’t matter how fast we are or how confident we are in our lead-up to Lent. Life has a way of throwing up unexpected hurdles. Before we know it, we’ve fallen behind in our Lenten practices of prayer, fasting, and almsgiving, especially fasting, Even though it’s incredibly beneficial over the long term, it’s hard to see the finish line from the bends in the Lenten racetrack.

The middle leg of Lent is when these hurdles are often slowing us down. We’ve accepted the baton from the first leg, but now our initial enthusiasm and determination have faded away, and we’re acutely aware of the stitch in our side. No matter how hard we try, the relay runner in front of us is still too far away, and our approach doesn’t seem correct.

A slow or ill-timed changeover decreases the speed of the next leg at best, and, at worst, we end up dropping the baton altogether.

“Latere Sunday,” otherwise known as the fourth Sunday in Lent, is the perfect time to refocus on the joy that the Easter season brings us. This week is the best time to evaluate our spiritual tactics and strategies and get our heads back in the game for the final leg of the Lenten relay.

Approaching this final leg, the sprint to the glory of Easter Sunday is not as daunting as it may sound; we have our Heavenly Father as Head Coach, and His team is here to help us perform to our potential and reach our goals.

1. Confer with a Coach

The spiritual way is a narrow one but that does not mean that it is a path you must follow all on your own. God has provided us with His Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, and many saintly souls to help and inspire us along the way.

Like the teams who support athletes, there is a wealth of knowledge, support and encouragement to be found among the hosts of Heaven, as well as those around us. As Jesus explains in Luke’s Gospel: “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick; I have come to call not the righteous but sinners to repentance.” (Luke 5:31) In other words, perfect athletes have no need of a coaching staff.

Few among us are elite athletes and fewer still are elite spiritual athletes. Our coaching staff recognizes this–they know that we need to learn and grow in the ways of the spiritual life. That is why God gave us His Son and why Jesus established the Church on earth. Contained in the deposit of faith, the Magisterium of the Church, the Scriptures, and the Sacraments are all the aids we need, to: “fight the good fight of the faith; take hold of the eternal life to which you were called and for which you made the good confession in the presence of many witnesses.” (1 Timothy 6: -12)

Prayer and regular conferring with our coaching staff is essential. We can also ask for the blessings of the Holy Trinity–collectively or individually–as well as the intercession of our Heavenly Mother, the Saints in Heaven, our own patron Saints, and guardian angels.

On this side of Heaven, we can also seek spiritual direction and help from other faith-filled friends, as well as spiritual directors, priests, and religious to help improve our spiritual techniques.

2. Examen like a Statistician

Professional athletes are often accompanied by statisticians who keep records of the minutiae of sporting performances. Personal bests, goals scored, or finals success are all well and good, but the most important data to the emerging player, or relay runner, are the smaller ones.

These are often a quantifiable way to determine the progress–or regress–in the sporting arena. Slower or faster times and differences noticed as a result of a change in technique, all these help fine-tune the competitiveness of a player, team, or opponent.

The spiritual life is no different. The Church has gifted us a few ways in which we can examine our spiritual progress realistically and make improvements when and where necessary. The first and most obvious one is the Examination of Conscience before the Sacrament of Confession. If you are not regularly examining yourself thoroughly before entering the Confessional, you will find tweaks in this area very beneficial to progressing in your Lenten practices and, all year round.

A smaller and more specific examination of conscience is the daily Examen. Saint Ignatius of Loyola gave us the formula for the simple yet crucial prayer tool in his “Spiritual Exercises”:

1. Become aware of God’s presence.

2. Review the day with gratitude.

3. Pay attention to your emotions.

4. Choose one feature of the day and pray from it.

5. Look toward tomorrow.

The important thing with any examination of conscience is that you identify where you need to improve, resolve to do it, and carry through with it.

3. Practice like a timekeeper

The image of a timekeeper urging on athletes is one we’re all familiar with. They encourage and guide their charges across the finish line. They are invested in the success of the athletes they are keeping time—or scoring—for. They appreciate the value of practice. While the old adage of ‘practice makes perfect’ seems relevant here, I would suggest a variation: perfect practice makes perfect participation.

Of course, I’m not suggesting that you can be perfect, but the level of your commitment to, or investment in your Lenten practices and your entire spiritual journey, must be equal to your enthusiasm for the goal. If you’re determined to finish this last leg of Lent at a sprint, then you need to make sure that you have been working on your speed and endurance before you accept that baton.

Spiritual practices are called so for a reason, and honestly, we’re not going to get them perfect this side of Heaven. But that doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t be investing a lot of time and energy into them. Although we might feel out of condition or far from an elite athlete, that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t step out onto the track in the first place.

We have the ultimate coaching staff, elite statisticians, and timekeepers who are loyal to us and invested in our success. And our success will be eternal.

Join me at the starting blocks, or be there to hand over a baton. Wherever you are in the race, fight the good fight. And I’ll see you on the podium one day.


By: Emily Shaw

Mar 14, 2024
Enjoy Mar 14, 2024

Have you been dreaming of a lasting peace that seems to somehow evade you no matter how hard you try? 

It is natural for us to constantly feel unprepared in an ever-changing, unpredictable world. In this scary and exhausting ordeal, it’s easy to become frightened—like a trapped animal with nowhere to run. If only we worked harder, longer, or were more in control, maybe we could catch up and finally be free to relax and find peace.

I have lived this way for decades.

Relying on myself and my efforts, I never really ‘caught up.’ I slowly realized it was an illusion to live that way.

Eventually, I found a solution that has been revolutionary for me. It may feel the opposite of what is required, but trust me when I say this: Surrendering is the answer to this laborious search for peace.

The Perfect Move

As a Catholic, I know that I am supposed to give my heavy loads to the Lord. I also know that I am supposed to ‘let Jesus take the wheel’ so that my burden would become lighter.

My problem was that I did not know how to “give my burdens to the Lord.” I would pray, beg, make the occasional deal, and once, even gave God a deadline (that one ended with me being schooled at a retreat by Saint Padre Pio: “Don’t give God deadlines.” Message received!).

So, what are we to do?

As humans, we base everything on a pixel of information we have at our disposal and an excruciatingly minute understanding of all factors, natural and supernatural. While I may have my thoughts on the best solutions, I hear Him loud and clear in my head: “My ways are not your ways, Barb, nor are my thoughts your thoughts,” says the Lord.

Here’s the deal. God is God, and we are not. He knows everything—past, present, and future. We know squat. Of course, God, in His all-encompassing wisdom, understands things better than us, as well as the perfect move to make in time and history.

How to Surrender

If nothing in your life is working by all your human efforts, surrendering them is essential. But surrendering doesn’t mean looking at God as a vending machine whereby we put in our prayers and select how we want Him to answer.

If, like me, you are struggling to surrender, I would love to share the antidote I found: the Surrender Novena.

I was introduced to it a few years ago and am grateful beyond words. Servant of God, Father Don Dolindo Ruotolo, Spiritual Director to Padre Pio, received this Novena from Christ Jesus.

Each day of the novena brilliantly speaks to every individual in ways only the Lord would know how to address. Rather than the same repetitive words each day, Christ, who knows us all too well, reminds us of all the ways we tend to get in the way of authentically surrendering, thus impeding the Master’s work in His own way and time. The closing statement: “O Jesus, I surrender myself to you, take care of everything,” is repeated ten times. Why? Because we need to believe and fully trust in Christ Jesus to perfectly take care of everything.


By: Barbara Lishko

Mar 01, 2024
Enjoy Mar 01, 2024

Life seems too difficult sometimes, but if you hold on and trust, unexpected gifts can surprise you.

“Protect us from all fear and anxiety as we wait in joyful hope for the coming of our Savior, Jesus Christ.” Being a lifelong Catholic, I’d recited this prayer at every Mass. Fear hasn’t been my companion for many years, though there was a time when it was. I’d come to know the “perfect love” described in 1 John 4:18, and was helped to live in the reality of He who conquers fear. I seldom experience anxiety at this point in my life, but one morning I did feel a sense of foreboding. I couldn’t quite put my finger on the cause.

Recently, tripping on a curb resulted in a hard fall, and I was still feeling discomfort in my hip and pelvis. Sharp pains resurfacing every time I lifted my arms reminded me that my shoulders still needed more time to heal. New job stresses and the sudden death of a dear friend’s son added to my angst. The state of our world alone can cause significant distress for anyone who spends much time digesting the headlines. Despite the unknown origin of my unease, I knew how to respond. Closing my eyes, I surrendered the heavy burden I was feeling.

Angels Working Overtime

The next day, while I was driving to a patient’s home, a tropical storm developed unexpectedly. Traffic was heavy, and despite beaming headlights and decreasing speed, visibility was obscured by pounding sheets of rain. Out of nowhere, I felt another vehicle’s impact, pushing my car into the right lane! Surprisingly calm, I steered to the emergency lane, despite a now flattened tire’s drag. A fire rescue vehicle soon pulled up; a paramedic who hopped into my car to avoid the torrential downpour inquired if I was hurt. No…I wasn’t! That seemed highly unlikely since it had only been a few days since the lingering aftereffects of my fall had ceased. I’d prayed for protection that morning before setting out, knowing what the weather predicted. Clearly, the angels had been working overtime; cushioning first my fall, then the slam from this crash.

With my car now in the body shop and insurance covering the repairs, my husband Dan and I packed for our long-planned vacation. Just before we left, I was disheartened to hear that our insurer was almost certainly going to total my car! Only five years old and in pristine condition prior to the crash, its Blue Book value currently was a mere $8,150. That wasn’t good news! We intended to keep this fuel-efficient hybrid as long as it would keep running, even purchasing an extended warranty to ensure our plan. Taking a deep breath, I again acted on what I’ve learned to do in situations beyond my control: I released it to God and asked for His intervention.

Unfailing Prayer

Once in Salt Lake City, we secured our rental car and were soon driving through the beautiful Grand Teton National Park. Pulling into the parking garage of the hotel that evening, I uncharacteristically backed into a narrow spot. While Dan unloaded our luggage, I noticed a screw in one tire. My husband’s concern about the puncture prompted him to call various service centers. Finding none open on Sundays, we decided to take our chances driving. The next morning, we said a prayer and set out, hoping the tire would hold while driving on the narrow mountain roads in and out of Yellowstone. Fortunately, the day was uneventful. Arriving at the Hampton Inn, where Dan had made a reservation months before, our jaws dropped! Right next door was a tire repair shop! Monday morning’s quick service meant we were on the road in less than an hour! It turned out that the tire was leaking, so the repair averted a possible blowout—a blessing since we ended up driving over 1200 miles that week!

My body shop, meanwhile, authorized further investigation for “hidden damages” from the accident. If found, the cost would exceed the car’s value and definitely lead to totaling! Praying daily, I yielded the outcome and waited. Finally, I was informed that the cost of the repairs had come in just under the wire…they would fix my car after all! (A few weeks later, as I went to pick up my refurbished car, I found that the cost had indeed exceeded the Blue Book value, but my prayer was answered too!)

A Spectacular Blessing

Another example of God’s providential care came as we continued on our trek into Yellowstone National Park! The parking lot was jammed when we arrived. We circled aimlessly when suddenly, a spot was available near the front! We hurriedly parked and walked over to find out that the next eruption of the Old Faithful* was expected in ten minutes. With just enough time to get to the viewing area, the geyser exploded! We traced the path of the boardwalk through the various geological formations, springs, and geysers. My outdoors-loving husband busily snapped pictures, one after another! Marveling at the amazing spectacle surrounding us, I glanced at my watch…the next eruption of Old Faithful was expected soon. Sprays burst as expected into the air, this time not obscured by tourists since we were on the back side of the geyser! Feeling grateful, I thanked God for the day’s blessings—first, the tire shop’s perfect location, then the good news from the insurance company about my car, and finally, the amazing spectacle of nature.

Reflecting on God’s active presence, I prayed: “Thank you for loving us, Lord! I know You love every other person on earth just as much, but Dan connects with You so strongly in Creation, would You reveal Yourself to him once more?” Continuing to amble along, my husband’s camera battery died. Sitting while he replaced it, I heard a strange sound. I turned around to see a huge explosion. It was spectacular—the Beehive was twice as high as Old Faithful! Looking into our guidebook, we read that this geyser was one of the best, but so unpredictable that eruptions could occur from anywhere between 8 hours to up to 5 days…but, it was at the moment we were there that it happened! For sure, God was manifesting Himself to my husband just as I’d asked!

Our final stop featured several geysers where a gentleman offered to take our picture. The moment he clicked the shutter, that geyser let loose! We experienced yet another unexpected gift of God’s perfect timing and blessing! As if basking in the beauty of the incredible vistas, waterfalls, mountains, lakes, and rivers wasn’t enough, we also experienced beautiful weather! Despite the prediction of rain every day, we encountered only a few brief showers and lovely temperatures day and night!

I had come full circle from my recent stress and anxiety. Surrender led to an immersion in Jesus’ care as well as in the awesome wonder of our Creator! That prayer I had said so many times at Mass was certainly answered! I had been protected, both from fear and serious injury, while being released from anxiety. Waiting had indeed resulted in joyful hope….the anchor for my soul.


By: Karen Eberts

Feb 27, 2024
Enjoy Feb 27, 2024

To be good at anything, we have to put time, effort, and practice into it. The same applies to our preparation for eternity. How well are we going to do at the end of year exams if we have put little or no time towards studying during the year? Similarly, how well will we stand up on judgment day when we are held accountable for our lives? In our preparation period on earth for eternity, how much of our life was spent in prayer, good works, and sacrifice? Our Lord paid the ultimate price for our salvation, but we have to play our part. As He has graciously allowed us to be part of that sacrifice, let us not waste this valuable opportunity. He, through Calvary, has given us a chance to be part of His redemption, to be part of His sanctity, consequently allowing mere humans to be called into sainthood. What a privilege!

As my mother would always remind us, children, this life of ours on earth, short or long, is but a preparation period, the springboard to eternity. How we fare in the structure of eternal life will be determined not only by Jesus’ death and resurrection, but by every thought, word, and deed we perpetrated during the time we spent on earth.


By: Sean Hampsey

Jan 30, 2024
Enjoy Jan 30, 2024

Trapped in the busy and burdensome web of everyday life, is it possible to keep yourself connected to God?

Sometimes, it seems as though my faith goes through seasons each year. At certain times, it is blossoming like the sunbathed flowers of summer. This is usually during vacation time. At other times, my faith feels like the sleeping world of winter—dormant, not in full bloom. This is typical during the school year when my schedule does not allow for daily adoration or hourly prayer breaks, unlike the free vacation times. These hectic months are usually occupied by classes, chores, activities, and time with family and friends.

It is easy, amidst the hustle and bustle, not to necessarily forget God but to let Him fall into the background. We may go to church every Sunday, say our prayers, and even pray a daily Rosary, but we keep our faith and ‘normal’ life separate. Religion and God are not meant to be saved strictly for Sundays or summer breaks. Faith is not something we should cling to solely in times of distress or return to briefly just to give thanks and then forget. Rather, faith should be interwoven with every area of our daily life too.

Daily Humdrum

Whether we own our own house, stay in a college dorm, or live with our family, there are certain jobs we cannot escape. Homes must be clean, clothes must be washed, food must be made…Now, these tasks all seem like boring necessities—things that mean nothing, yet we still have to do them. They even take up the time we could have used to step into the adoration chapel for thirty minutes or attend daily mass. Yet, when we have little children at home who need clean clothes or parents coming home after work who would like to find scrubbed floors, this isn’t always a realistic alternative.

Filling our time with these necessities, though, doesn’t have to become time taken away from God.

Saint Thérèse of Lisieux is well known for her “little way.” This method centers on the little things with immense love and intention. In one of my favorite stories of Saint Therese, she wrote about a pot in the kitchen that she hated to wash (Yes, even Saints have to wash dishes!). She found the task incredibly disagreeable, so she decided to offer it to God. She would finish the chore with such joy, knowing that something seemingly meaningless was given purpose by bringing God into the equation. Whether we’re washing dishes, folding laundry, or scrubbing floors, each boring chore can become a prayer by simply dedicating it to God.

Magnified Joy

Sometimes, when the secular society looks at the religious community, they do so with the assumption that the two worlds can never collide. I’ve been shocked to learn that so many people think you can’t follow the Bible and have fun! This could not be further from the truth.

Some of my favorite activities include surfing, dancing, singing, and photography; much of my time is devoted to doing them. Often, I dance to religious music and create videos for Instagram paired with a message of faith in my caption. I’ve sung in church as a cantor and love using my gifts to serve God directly. Yet, I also love performing in shows like The Wizard of Oz or photographing football games—secular things that bring me great joy. This joy is further magnified when I offer these activities to the Lord.

Backstage of a show, you will always find me praying before my entrance, offering the performance to God, and asking for Him to be with me as I dance or sing. Simply working out to stay in shape is something else I both enjoy and value to maintain my health. Before I start a run, I offer it to God. Often, in the middle of it, I place my exhaustion in His hands and ask Him for the strength to help me make the final mile. One of my favorite ways to exercise and worship God is to go for a rigorous Rosary walk, thereby working out both my body and my spiritual well-being!

In Everything, Everywhere

We do often forget to find God in other people, don’t we? One of my favorite books is a biography of Mother Teresa. The author, Father Leo Maasburg, knew her personally. He recalls once seeing her deep in prayer as a reporter timidly inched up, afraid to interrupt to ask his question. Curious as to how she would react, Father was surprised to see her turn to the reporter with joy and love on her face rather than irritation. He remarked how, in her mind, she had simply turned her attention from Jesus to Jesus.

Jesus tells us: “Truly I tell you, just as you did it to one of the least of these who are members of my family,[a] you did it to me.” (Matthew 25:40). But Jesus is not only found in the poor or the sick. He’s found in our siblings, our friends, our teachers, and coworkers. Simply showing love, kindness, and mercy to those who stumble across our path can be yet another way to give love to God in our busy lives. When you bake cookies for a friend’s birthday or even just go out to lunch with someone you haven’t seen in a while, you can bring God’s love into their lives and further fulfill His will.

Wherever You are…

Within our own lives, we move through different stages as we age and grow. The daily routines of a priest or a nun will look very different from those of a faithful layperson with a family to care for. The daily routines of a high schooler will likewise be different from the routines of the same individual once they’ve reached adulthood. That is what is so beautiful about Jesus—He meets us where we are. He doesn’t want us to leave Him at the altar; in the same way, He doesn’t simply leave us when we exit His church. So, instead of feeling like you’ve let go of God as your life gets busy, find ways to invite Him into everything you do, and you will find that everything in your life becomes infused with greater love and purpose.


By: Sarah Barry

Jan 16, 2024
Enjoy Jan 16, 2024

You may or may not be a good dancer, but you are still called to sway in this dance of life

It was a beautiful morning; the sun was shining brightly, and I could feel its warmth seeping into my exhausted bones. By contrast, mentally, I was in great spirits, enjoying the beautiful Perth scenery as I strolled along the foreshore at Matilda Bay.

I paused on the riverbank to allow the natural beauty to fill my senses. The melody of waves breaking on the shore, the cool breeze gently ruffling through my hair as it danced through the trees, the subtle scent of salt and bushland, the delicate mosaic of tiny white shells adorning the sand…I felt rather overwhelmed by the experience.

An image of ballroom dancing flashed through my head. In my mind’s eye, I pictured God dancing with me…

Syncing in

When you begin ballroom dancing, there is a phase where your whole attention is focused on trying to remain in sync with your partner and avoid mistakes. You are consumed with fear of stumbling over the other person’s feet or moving the wrong foot in the wrong direction. Consequently, this self-conscious effort to control your movements makes your body stiff and rigid, making it difficult for your partner to lead you in the steps of the dance. But if you loosen up, flow with the music, and let your partner be the guide, he will lead you in a beautiful, enchanting, rhythmic dance.

If you allow this to happen, you will speedily learn to dance as beautifully as your partner, feeling your feet moving gracefully across the floor as you enjoy the rhythm of the dance.

Hold My Hands

Reflecting on that image, I felt as if God was saying: “You and I are partners in this dance of life, but we cannot dance well together if you don’t allow Me to lead you. I am the expert, guiding you to excel if you follow Me, but I cannot if you insist on keeping control. On the contrary, if you surrender yourself and allow Me to lead you in this dance, I will keep you safe, and we will dance beautifully. Do not be afraid to stumble on My feet because I know how to guide you. So, entrust yourself to My embrace and join Me in this dance together. Wherever the music takes us, I will show you the way.”

As I pondered these thoughts, I felt a deep sense of gratitude to God, for always being present in my life, leading me in this dance. He knows my every thought and desire and never fails to bring them to fruition in ways I do not expect (Psalm 139).

God accompanies each of us in this dance of life, always ready to take us in His arms and guide us expertly. Some of us are beginners, still taking baby steps, while others are advanced enough to assist the rest, but none of us are so advanced that we could ever afford to step away from the lead dancer.

More Happier, Less Anxious

Even Our Lady, God’s perfect dancing partner, knows that her expertise in the dance comes from following His every move with perfect grace. From an early age, Mary accepted His loving embrace, following His lead perfectly in even the smallest things. Her ear was attentive to the rhythm of Heavenly music so that she never took a false step.

Mary was perfectly at one with God in mind and heart. Her will was so in tune with God that she could utter: “Be it done to me according to Your will” (Luke 1:38). What God wants is also what Mary wants.

If we let go of our desire to serve ourselves first and, like Mary, lose ourselves in the Lord’s embrace, our lives will be freer, happier, more meaningful, and less anxious, stressful, and depressing.


By: Father Peter Hung Tran

Jan 02, 2024
Enjoy Jan 02, 2024

How often do we muse over not getting enough time to do the things we like? This New Year, let’s make a difference.

I have never really been one to make New Year’s resolutions. I am reminded of this as I look at the stack of unread books gathering dust on my desk, purchased in the previous years in an ambitious yet miserably failed attempt. A book a month turned into a stack of unread intentions. I had a million reasons as to why I wasn’t successful in my resolution, but lack of time wasn’t one of them.

Looking back now on the years lost with a slight disappointment in myself, I realize I really could have made better use of my time. How often in my life have I complained about not having enough time to do the things I’d like? Certainly more than I can count!

A few years ago, sitting next to my husband in the hospital on New Year’s Eve as he received his routine treatment, something tugged at my heart. Observing him uncomfortably connected to his intravenous infusion, I noticed that his eyes were closed and his hands were folded in prayer. Apparently feeling my quizzical stare, he slightly opened one eye and, while peeking at me, quietly whispered: “Everyone.”

Somehow, he read my mind. We often pray for those around us whom we perceive as hurting or in need of prayers, but today, we were sitting alone, and I was puzzled as to who he may have been praying for. It was moving and inspiring to think that he was praying for “everyone” and not just those who we assume could use prayers because of their outward appearances.

Everyone—every one of us needs prayers. We are all in need of God’s grace and mercy regardless of the image we project to the world. This seems true, especially now when so many people are silently suffering from loneliness, financial trouble, and even mental health struggles that are often hidden away.

No one truly knows what another person is going through, has gone through, or will go through. How powerful would it be if we all prayed for each other? How life-changing, world-changing, it could be. So this New Year, I am resolving to use my spare time more wisely and thoughtfully—prayerfully considering the sufferings and needs of others, those others that I know, those that I don’t know, those who have come before me, and those who will come long after.

I am going to pray for all of humanity, trusting that our dear God, in His abundant mercy and immeasurable love, will bless us all.


By: Mary Therese Emmons

Dec 24, 2023
Enjoy Dec 24, 2023

Gifts are part and parcel of Christmas, but do we realize the value of The Gift we have been so freely given?

I was awakened one December morning by my son Timmy’s exuberant proclamation: “Mom! Guess know what?” (his way of expressing an invitation to respond, without a requirement to wait). He was brimming over with the need to impart urgent information…so pronto! 

Seeing my eyelids forced apart, he blurted out with glee, “Santa brought ME a bike and YOU a bike!” The truth, of course, was that the larger bike was for his big sister, but as you can imagine, that was actually a bit of irrelevant information; what really mattered was Timmy got his heart’s fondest wish—a new bike!

The season that causes many of us to pause and linger nostalgically on memories from the past is fast approaching. There is something about Christmas that brings us back to those times as children when life was simple, and our happiness was predicated on having the desires of our hearts filled as we opened the gifts under the tree. 

Switching the Lens

As any parent knows, having a child completely shifts our perspective from life being about what is important to us to being all about meeting our child’s needs and often, wants. It’s almost as if we gingerly dusted off our own View-Master toy and handed it, freely and happily, to our offspring with nary a thought! For those of you fortunate enough to open one of those toys on Christmas morning, you will remember it came with a thin cardboard reel containing pairs of small Kodachrome photographs that, when viewed through the apparatus, created the illusion of three-dimensional scenes. Once a child comes into our family, we see everything not just through our own lens but through theirs. Our world expands, and we remember, and in some ways relive, the innocence of the childhood we left behind long ago. 

Not everyone has a carefree, secure childhood, but many are fortunate to remember the good in their lives while the difficulties we experience growing up recede in time. Still, what we focus on repeatedly will shape the way we ultimately live our lives. Perhaps that is why it is said, “It’s never too late to have a happy childhood!” What this requires, however, is intention and practice, especially through choices such as expressing gratitude. Repeated peering through a View-Master, which once enlarged the landscape of our small worlds, led us to recognize beauty, colors, and different dimensions in the pictures within our field of vision. In the same way, a frequent habitual practice of gratitude can lead to seeing of life as a prospect of opportunities, healing, and forgiveness rather than a series of disappointments, hurts, and offenses. 

Social scientists, who examine and observe how individuals interact and behave with each other, have concluded that gratitude practices are psychologically helpful. “Thanking others, thanking ourselves, Mother Nature, or the Almighty – gratitude in any form can enlighten the mind and make us feel happier. It has a healing effect on us” (Russell & Fosha, 2008). A wise proverb says, “Gratitude can transform common days into thanksgiving, turn routine jobs into joy, and change ordinary opportunities into blessings.”

Untouched Gift

Pondering the past leads to remembrance. Focusing on the things we should be grateful for reveals what we couldn’t grasp in our youth…that is, until we receive the gift of a View-Master one Christmas! In truth, we have all been given one, but not all have opened theirs. One present lying under the tree may remain there while other gifts topped with colorful bows are eagerly scooped up by outstretched hands. Was the reluctance of the recipient to select a particular package based on the subdued hues of the plain wrapping? Perhaps the lack of curled ribbons and gift tags? The View-Master inside would open new vistas, bring new adventures, and change the world of the one who opens it, but that recognition requires receptivity from the receiver. And when a gift is presented by another in a way that doesn’t invite curiosity, it will likely remain untouched. 

Those who have been longing for a View-Master, who actively look for it under the tree, who are able to trust that something better lies underneath the simple exterior, won’t be disappointed. They know that the best presents often come unexpectedly, and once they are opened, their appreciation develops as their value is recognized. Eventually, as more time is spent exploring the many facets of the gift, the treasure now becomes a cherished part of the receiver’s life.

Time to Unwrap!

There was a certain group of people long ago who were hoping to be given what had been promised to them for years. Yearning for it, they lived in anticipation that one day they would receive it. When the time came for this promise to be delivered, it was wrapped in ordinary cloth, and was so small that in the darkness of the night, only a few shepherds knew of its arrival. As the light began to grow, some people tried to block it, but the shadows gave evidence of this light’s influence. Reminded of the value of becoming a child again, many people began walking with this Light that illuminated their path. With enhanced clarity and vision, meaning and purpose began to frame their daily lives. Filled with wonder and amazement, their understanding deepened. For generations since, numerous individuals’ devotion has been strengthened with the remembrance of receiving the promised Word that became flesh. The realization of what they were given changed everything.

This Christmas, may you receive the desire of your heart, as my son did many years ago. As our eyes open, we too may exclaim, “Guess know what?” God brought ME a “Wonderful Counselor” and YOU the “Prince of Peace!” If you have unwrapped this precious gift, you know the fulfillment and joy that follows. As we respond with gratitude, it causes us to want others to experience what we’ve received. Thoughtful consideration of how we present what we now want to give increases the likelihood that the gift will be opened. How will I deliver the treasure I’ve discovered? Will I swath it in love? Cover it with joy? Envelop it in a peaceful heart? Cloak it in patience? Enfold it with kindness? Package it in generosity? Protect it through faithfulness? Bundle it with gentleness? 

Perhaps the final fruit of the Holy Spirit might be considered, if the recipient is not yet ready to open this gift.  Could we then choose to encase our treasure in self-control?


By: Karen Eberts

Dec 24, 2023
Enjoy Dec 24, 2023

In the darkest night, we see the brightest stars. Let your light shine.

Imagine the anticipation of a still dark night in the depths of a rough-hewn cave. Close enough to the city to hear the chatter of Bethlehem bursting at its seams but far away enough to feel separate. The cave, a stable carpeted with straw and smelling strongly of animals and dirt, is blanketed in darkness. 

Listen. Hear the muffled prayers and murmurs, the contented sucking of a baby nursing at the breast. A child, robust and precious, cradled by His mother and father. Above, a bright celestial light beams down upon this cave, the only sign that this is anything but an inauspicious event. 

The babe, freshly delivered and wrapped in swaddling clothes made and embroidered by His mother…contented from His feed, He reposes peacefully. Outside, in the bustling city of Bethlehem, no one is aware of the magnitude of this event.

A Deep, Dark Cave

In the Orthodox tradition, the icon of the Nativity is depicted in the depths of a cave. This is two-fold. In the first instance, stables were often rough-hewn out of rock at the time of Our Lord’s birth. The second reason is more symbolic. 

It is precisely this darkened cave that provides the juxtaposition of the light of Christ—breaking through time and space and rock—God coming down to earth. This cave too, tomblike in appearance, prefigures His Passion and Death.

Here in this one icon is written the reality of a seismic event that changed the life of man forever. This one child, this sweet babe nestled in the arms of His grace-filled mother “is destined for the fall and rise of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be contradicted” (Luke 2: 34).

A Deep, Dark heart

Each one of us has inherited a fallen human nature. It is our concupiscence—our inclination to sin—that causes our own hearts to darken. It is then, no surprise that we find in Matthew’s Gospel, the exhortation: “Blessed are the clean of heart, for they will see God” (Matthew 5:8).

We might like to think that if we were alive in the time of Jesus, we would not have failed to recognize Him in our midst. But this thought, I fear, is pride. It is much more likely that unless our faith was built on a solid foundation and we were open to the Messiah’s arrival, we would have had trouble finding Him even if He stood right in front of us.

And sometimes, we fail to see Him now when He’s right in front of us. Do we really recognize Him in the Eucharist? Or in the distressing disguise of the poor? Or even in the people around us—especially those who annoy us?

Not always. And perhaps not even consistently. But there are remedies for that.

Reflect the Light

Saint Josemaria Escriva cautions us: “But don’t forget that we are not the source of this light: we only reflect it.” If we think of our hearts as being a mirror, we realize that even small marks on the surface will alter the reflection. The more sullied the mirror becomes, the less we reflect Christ’s light to others. If, however, we routinely maintain the cleanliness of the mirror, its reflection is not obscured in any way. 

So then, how do we keep our hearts clean? Try these five simple steps this Christmas to make our hearts clean enough to reflect the light of that babe, the Prince of Peace, to others. May we recognize Him in the cave, in the world, and in the people around us.

1. Pray for a clean heart

Ask our Lord to help you resist the temptations of sin and strengthen your daily prayer habits. Receive Him worthily in the Eucharist so that He consumes you. “Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me” (Psalm 51:10).

2. Exercise humility

You will stumble more than a few times in your spiritual journey. Frequent the Sacrament of Confession and seek out a good, holy priest for spiritual direction.

3. Read the Gospels 

Reading and meditating on the Gospels are wonderful ways to come to a deeper understanding and a closer relationship with Our Lord. “Draw near to God, and He will draw near to you.” (James 4:8)

4. Receive the light 

Willingly and lovingly accept the teachings of Christ and His Church, even when it is difficult. Pray for clarity and understanding when you’re not sure what is required of you.

5. Deflect the dark 

Saint Mother Teresa of Calcutta once said: “Words which do not give the light of Christ increase the darkness.” In other words, if whatever conversations we have or media we consume are not bringing the light of Christ to us, then it follows that they are doing the opposite. By being sensible about the entertainment or influences we enjoy, we really deflect those that do not bring Christ’s light.


By: Emily Shaw