The ladies

ladies    “The more the flower of humility blossoms in a soul, the greater is the good odor it imparts to her who possesses it, to those who behold her, and to those who are about her.” -Saint Teresa of Avila

Many years ago, I was at a board meeting with a large group of ladies.  Two new ladies had come that day and one came up to me afterwards and asked the name of a particular lady who sat close to her.  She said, “Fr. Michael, I could tell there was something different about this woman…she had a soft glow, a gentle smile, a profound peace…she only said a few words, but they had a huge impact on me.”  This woman truly was special and I believe that her daily Mass, regular adoration, strong devotion to Mary, and her authentic humility had a lot to do with it!

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Surviving Summer

dance

Art: Evan Earwicker “Dance with Me”

Our Lord asks us to pray constantly.  And deep inside, we long for that, for that peace and connection to him. Even if you’re a mom and its summertime.  So how do we reconcile that with the life He gives us and the “opportunities for self-giving” 24/7 in the summer time?

From 19 years of experience with 6 kids, here is what works for me.  Lots of coffee dates, summer dance lessons, and double-checking my to-do list…. Continue reading

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Prepare for battle

trumpIn a couple days, Pope Francis and Donald Trump will meet face to face, person to person, two heavyweight approaching the center ring of international diplomacy.

I have been reading the advance predictions about what they will discuss and whether there will be sparks.  From what some writers suggest, this could be a titanic, awkward clash of irreconcilable differences.

Of course, the news media depend on conflict, so it won’t be much of a story if Francis and Trump get together, swap recipes, and tell family stories.  The press wants blood, and given the history of these two men, they have some reason to expect it. Continue reading

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A graduation for this age

curtis“It’s a delight to have fallen into a friendship with this wonderful university…” – Curtis Martin

I skipped my college graduations, both undergraduate and graduate.  It wasn’t that I didn’t appreciate the time and hard work that went into my sheepskins, but graduation was in a basketball arena with 10,000 other students, the program was boring and not going was an opportunity to be rebellious.

Times change.  And even a skeptic like me can show up for a graduation ceremony and have a wonderful time. Continue reading

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My night in the club

club

Archbishop Christophe Pierre

I DON’T WANT TO BELONG TO ANY CLUB THAT WILL ACCEPT PEOPLE LIKE ME AS A MEMBER – Groucho Marx

I have often recalled Groucho’s immortal words in a perverse sense when attending some sort of fancy event.  In my case, it has usually been more the case that I’m simply grateful to be in a beautiful place around beautiful people.  Whether or not I merit being there, I’m just grateful.

Put another way, I’m honored to be welcomed into a club to which I claim shaky membership. Continue reading

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The hope of psychology

hope

Fr Vaughan Leslie

For a really good time, I likely wouldn’t join a room full of psychologists.

They might ask me open-ended questions and repeat my answers to verify.  Who knows what might be happening behind those wire-rimmed glasses?

So imagine my surprise when I enjoyed meeting a room full of folks who are graduating tomorrow from the Divine Mercy University, Institute for the Psychological Sciences Masters in Psychology program.

These almost graduates were excited to meet each other – in person.  They had met before, but only in the digital world.  This program is conducted entirely online, which means it can reach people who want to study and serve but could never go off to a far-off campus for a couple years.   Continue reading

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Into the water…

water“The words printed here are concepts. You must go through the experiences.”  St. Augustine

The first time I jumped into the deep end of a swimming pool, my dad was in the water at a distance, but I had to swim out to him.  I had real fears of sinking to the bottom, of taking in water…but it all worked out.  This is the spiritual life…you need to jump in and commit, and little by little, you will experience the joy and freedom of flying across the water of life, being gently propelled by the grace of God. Trust in Christ, and take the plunge!!

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Looking to the Future with Hope

futureHave you ever thought how sweet hope is? Imagine what it would be like to live without the smallest drop of hope. Unfortunately, many have done more than just imagine this. Our hearts should go out to them. It’s heart-rendingly tragic. Hope is key to living the present moment to the full. Animals don’t have it. They don’t look to the future. On the one hand, this frees them from anxieties about the uncertainties yet to come. On the other, they never enjoy the sweetness of hope.

“It is a peculiarity of man that he can only live by looking to the future—sub specie aeternitatis. And this is his salvation in the most difficult moments of his existence, although he sometimes has to force his mind to the task.” (Viktor Frankl, Man’s Search for Meaning) Continue reading

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Meeting Mary through Mercy

maryThe experience of beauty belongs to the individual because it takes place in a person’s mind and heart.  It resonates, it evokes, and it speaks in the interior of the person.  A picture is worth a thousand words but our own experience is what allows it to speak to us.  The impact of art is in the resonance it stirs within us.

As I learned my Catholic faith I saw the importance and reverence given to Mary, and it made me uneasy. Looking at Jesus, I came to know him as Mercy who loves me, but somehow before Mary, all I saw was the weight of my imperfections. Searching for a way to know her in statues and paintings of her at Church, I couldn’t find my own experience, or anything that connected us.  I didn’t know how to relate to Mary or how to approach her. She was perfect, almost stone-cold perfect, in the way I saw her. Continue reading

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Mother’s Day

motherHappy Mother’s Day! After having thanked all our mothers today for all they have done for us, we can turn our minds also to a mother of whom we can often forget, Mother Church! The readings today brought her to mind for me. The apostles who are looking to keep the faith alive and St Paul who speaks about living stones. We are sons and daughters of the Church! And she receives her motherhood from Christ. A mother is safe and protects, because she has found her safe place. A mother loves unconditionally because she has received unconditional love. And a mother sends her children on a mission because she lives her life as a mission. The Church protects us from the greatest evil – sin. She loves us unconditionally never turning away anyone. And she gives us our mission to keep the faith, because she is apostolic. We also need to show our gratitude to our Mother Church as her faithful children.

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