Saturday, May 30, 2015

Teaching Our Children to Pray

In our modern society, people like to pride themselves on being hip, cool, and atheist. For some atheists, their parents were atheists. But for others, as they were growing up, their parents did not want to “impose” their belief system (religious or otherwise) on them. Like picking their favorite candies out of a chocolate box, the parents wanted their children to wait until they were old enough to  decide which flavor they liked best: Catholic, Methodist or Evangelical. Except handing on the faith is not like picking out the caramel nougat versus the vanilla flavor one. And if they never decide, so be it–except that church weddings are a bit more fancy. Never mind that the parents would be horrified if the child decided to never take a bath or brush his teeth. Never mind that without faith the basis for a value system of right and wrong is always shifting. Why is honesty important? Why should I tell the truth?

Catholic Exchange

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Catholic Exchange:Spiritual Warfare 101: Are You Ready for the Fight?

Are you ready for the fight? If you were to enter the boxing ring today, would you be primed? Or are your muscles a little flabby, your lungs easily winded and your feet dragging instead of dancing? Besides you don’t want to break your nose.

Competitive boxers prepare through discipline and hard work. They recognize that only through perseverance, mental fortitude, stamina and skill will they beat their opponent. Their vigorous fitness training includes both physical conditioning and mental preparation. It’s not just the boxer who delivers the explosive punches, hooks, and jabs that wins. It’s the boxer, who outfoxes and outmaneuvers his opponent, mentally and physically, packing the powerful punches and persevering until the end that is declared the winner.

Similarly, before engaging in battle no general worth his 5 stars would ever send a soldier into combat without him first completing the rigorous exercises and tedious drills of boot camp. In addition to forming his soldiers, an astute general recognizes that his enemy is real and he prepares a realistic battle plan.

Think spiritual warfare and you might imagine St. Michael, sword drawn, battling it out with Satan and his minions or the movie The Exorcist with the young girl’s head spinning and voice growling. Cynics may scoff, “Spiritual warfare is just a fairy tale—a Biblical myth to entertain little kids or a sensationalized story of demons and deliverance to create a box office blockbuster.”

The devil, however, is real. As St. Peter tells us, “Your opponent the devil is prowling around like a roaring lion looking for [someone] to devour” (1 Peter 5:8).  Yes, that someone is you! Definitely, there are times when an exorcist is necessary, but what about you? Are you ready for the fight? Do you have a realistic battle plan to combat the devil in your life?
Are you ready to combat that menacing little voice that taunts you, Catholic Exchange

Monday, January 5, 2015

CatholicExchange: Saints Among Us

We have heard it often enough, “I don’t need to go to church. I don’t need organized religion. I can just worship God in my own time, in my own way.”

If I would have chosen that path–which is often tempting on Sunday morning–to just roll over and pull the covers over my head and ignore the chaos and confusion of getting breakfast on the table and everyone dressed, presentable and to church on time, I would have been the one who would have suffered for it, for I would have been the one who would have missed out on friendships that have nudged me–if not catapulted me–in the right direction, the direction of holiness.

I would have been the one who would have missed knowing “x.” No matter how difficult life is she is cheerful, not in a bubbly pop-the-cork champagne way, but in a smiling calmly Mona Lisa way. Her serene demeanor is one that invites the other to unburden the cares and worries of the heart to an empathetic ear.

Her compassionate concern for others brings to life those saint stories of long ago, making them real and not just fairy tales. At the same time, knowing someone who strives to be good and kind offers refreshing hope in a world that seems to have gone bonkers. . . .

Catholic Exchange