A City Steeped in Mercy

mercyIt is amazing to see how one man can change an entire city. For Rome, that man is Pope Francis. I love him, and so does just about everyone one else on the streets of Rome. In February I met a poor musician, husband and father who makes a living by travelling into Rome every weekday morning to play the guitar in hopes that his hat will collect enough money to pay the rent, feed his family, and buy him a train ticket home that afternoon. His name is Roberto. We’ve become good friends over the past couple months. It is amazing to see how Pope Francis has touched Roberto’s life without the two ever meeting. Continue reading

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Tips for men on how to be great dads

dadThe Dad is a child’s first experience of God’s love. A dad needs to be a protector, provider, and to be present in his kids’ lives. A dad should imitate God’s love which is never changing and constant, providing what is good for his family unconditionally (“What father among you, if his son asks for bread, would give him a stone.” Luke 11:11). This entails providing what they need, not necessarily what they want and protecting them from what is harmful. Additionally, a dad cannot model God’s love if he is not present in his children’s lives as God is constantly present in all of ours. With these thoughts in mind, here is a list of practical tips for being a great dad. Continue reading

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New Creation

newGod promises to make all things new in the second reading. Christ tells us in the gospel how He wants us to participate in this new creation – by loving those around us. This way we can participate in God’s new creation. True love, which goes beyond a sweet feeling, leads us to live as Christ did. By loving, we become testimonies of this new creation. Our role is to be a testimony of God’s love for us. Our love for one another becomes a testimony for the new life that God wants to give all. God’s love for us makes everything worthwhile to make the gospel present, as the disciples did in the first reading, only because they are testimonies to what already God has redeemed in us. We aren’t perfect, but God renews in us the possibility to have life in Him.  Love is the only path that we have to be totally open to receiving the saving power of God.

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Rome-ward Bound

vowsIn less than a month, I’ll be in Rome for the summer, preparing for final vows. The reality hasn’t quite sunk in yet, but something in my heart feels ready.

It’s been three years since I renewed my temporary vows. I’m part of the first generation of Consecrated Women of Regnum Christi to have a six year period of final vows, as a time to deepen in the experiential living and learning of our vocation. The first four years I was studying at Mater Ecclesiae College in Rhode Island, and the past two I have been immersed in the full-time apostolic reality of Houston, Texas.

How do you know that you’re really ready to get married? That’s similar to the question that I was asking myself earlier this year faced to final vows. Continue reading

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I am conscience

percentWhen an American Catholic must make a decision about morality he looks nearby (very nearby) for guidance.

He looks to himself.

A sad-but-perhaps-not-surprising survey by Pew Research Center suggests that nobody knows right from wrong better than the individual – at least in the mind of the individual.

When confronted with a moral issue, Catholics look to the following sources for guidance:

  • The Pope                                 10 percent
  • Bible                                         15 percent
  • Church teaching                  21 percent
  • Their own conscience         73 percent

This suggests that American Catholics (A) have deeply formed moral compasses or (B) suffer from delusional pride.  Based on decades observing American culture, I’m picking (B).

We Americans (Catholic or otherwise) believe we are an independent lot.  We make our own decisions and don’t want anyone – even the Pope – telling us what to do.  After all, who knows better what is good for me than me?

But while proclaiming our independence, we’re influenced by an increasingly sick culture every day of our lives.  Television, radio and social media tell us what to wear, what to eat, what music to like and what politically correct views to embrace.  We don’t want the Church telling us what to do, but it is OK if movies stars, advocacy groups and political parties shape our every move.

Let’s see; who should I look to for guidance?  George Clooney or the Pope?  People Magazine or the Bible?  Friends of the Earth or the Catholic Church?  Me or, well, me with the Catholic team of Pope, Bible and Church teaching guiding my walk in life.

For most of the decisions in my daily life I don’t need the Pope’s help.  I can select a car, match décor for my home and pick toppings for tonight’s pizza.  But I’m not among the 73 percent of American Catholics who believe they know best about the big things in life.

I need a hand.

Continue reading

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When it’s out of your control

control

The Band of Brothers

At 4 am Monday morning my alarm clock went off.  Actually, my husband’s alarm clock went off. Mine was set for the much more sane time of 5:45 am, the start of a normal day for our family of 8.

Paul loves his sleep and a few extra minutes or hours have always been a cherished (and well earned) luxury for him, when he can get them.  There is an exception. Paul’s Regnum Christi encounter team meets at 6:30 am every Friday. A raucous, passionate and intense group of Catholic men; husbands, fathers and professionals who rise early to cap their week with prayer and resolution to change themselves and the world around them for Christ. Continue reading

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Be where you are supposed to be…

drivingRight now, we have two people in the family who are about to start driving.  I keep telling our daughter and our son that the key to good driving is to “be where you are supposed to be.”  And, I added recently to this advice,

“Expect the other drivers to often be where they are not supposed to be.”

My dad taught me to drive and emphasized “defensive driving.” Before we really encountered other cars, we would go out of town into the western Kentucky countryside, where the big traffic was the occasional tractor or slow-going, pick-up truck. Continue reading

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As iron sharpens iron…

friends“As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.” (Proverbs 27:17)  

Kenya’s  David Rudisha holds the world record for the 800 meter race , running in 1 minute, 40.91 seconds in August 9, 2012.  His incredible record pace pushed all the runners to incredible times; “With Rudisha breaking 1:41, two men under 1:42, five under 1:43, and all eight under 1:44, it was the greatest depth 800m race in history.” (IAAF- International Association of Athletes). It was the first time in the history of international 800m competition where every runner either ran a personal or season’s best. Continue reading

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Christ can speak to you!

helpRome, June 1996.  I was in the middle of my “month long” spiritual exercises (retreat), and two years away from my priestly ordination.  We had 5 one hour directed meditations each day, with plenty of time for personal reflection and conversation with Christ.  After the first 6-7 days, it was getting a little hard and most of my prayer time was dry, without a lot of inspiration.  So, at one point I simply opened my heart to Christ and said, “Jesus, you called me to be your priest 11 years ago, and I said “yes.”  I am giving my life to you, and I am fully “in”, but my ordination is just two years away and I could use a little love and affirmation.” Continue reading

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I saw the wind

adoration“The wind blows where it wills, and you can hear the sound it makes, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes; so it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit.” (Jn 3:8)

I love the image of the Holy Spirit as wind. You can´t see the actual air, but you see and feel its effects as it blows your hair and rustles the trees. You can hear it whether it´s a breeze or a hurricane; it´s the mystery of a presence that is obvious and invisible. Continue reading

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