Tasty Treats for Spiritual Nourishment
Need some food for your faith life? You’ve landed at the right place. The Holy Spirit brought you here. Did you know that?
- Egads, prayer is hard work!
Many things that we assume should be effortless are not, huh? Like love. We fall in love and it’s wonderful, and so we assume that when a relationship becomes difficult or unpleasant for very long, we’re falling out of love. Rather than seeing bad times in marriage (or any friendship) as periods of growth and new levels of maturity (which requires hard work and sacrifices, in imitation of Christ’s ministry), we interpret it as reasons for divorce. Or for not getting married at all but just living together until it’s time that somebody moves out.
- Overcoming Weariness
What do you do to overcome weariness in prayer? When you don’t see results from your prayers, what do you do to become aware that God still cares, that he is a working a good plan, and that he is not ignoring you? For strengthening your faith life, what do you do that allows God to refresh you and re-energize your faith?
- A Lesson from Cracked Glass about Victory
Imagine what can happen when traveling with computer equipment. Accidents! Mid-way through one of the conferences where Good News Ministries had a booth as part of our faith-building mission, my tablet fell and the glass fractured. I tried not to let this incident shake me up. Two laptops sufficed to show people what they wanted to see on our websites. But when I tried to focus on Christ during the Saturday evening prayer service, I felt disturbed by the breakage and it distracted me.
- Everything is pregnant with God’s activity
What are you worried about? What concerns are you lifting up in prayer? What issues are you dealing with that your mind often wanders back to? Think about this: Everything is pregnant with God’s activity. It cannot be otherwise. God is all-powerful, omni-present, and all-caring.
- Keep your eyes on Jesus – on the tiny hairs on the back of his neck!
In 2013, I traveled on pilgrimage to Rome. A pilgrimage is more than a vacation, more than a tour through interesting sites. It’s a spiritual journey made with the sole of the feet and the soul of the heart. We come home from it changed, renewed, and spiritually more mature. And with stronger leg muscles, too! Wow did I get exercised both physically and spiritually.
- Refreshing the soul
“The law of the LORD is perfect, refreshing the soul.” (Ps 19:8) When we think of the word “law” and the idea of “obeying the law”, do we feel restricted or freed? One morning, I went to Mass with the specific intention of receiving wisdom from the Holy Spirit about some important decisions facing me in my role as the Executive Director of Good News Ministries. In the homily, the priest spoke about the question of law that I wrote above. This inspired me to rephrase the decision-making process.
- The power of hope: Or reason for joy
The turning of an old year into a new year is a time for hope. We are ready for fresh beginnings. But this is an artificial reason for hope! January 1st is really no different than June 1st if we take away all the “New Year’s Resolutions” and parties and fireworks and the dropping of a lighted ball in Times Square, New York. It doesn’t take long before the on-going struggles of real life depress us again.
- True success isn’t measured by reaching the goal
True success is not measured by reaching your goal. Rather, true success is measured by what happens afterward. I discovered this after completing a “successful” mission trip. In 2010, I traveled across the world to New Zealand, where I gave three weekend retreats on the faith life and two evening parish seminars.
- What motivates you during tough times?
During tough times — the lowest and hardest times of my life — Mary’s Magnificat has been my song, adapted as a prayer like so: My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for he who is mighty has done great things for me — and IS doing great things for me, and WILL do great things for me, and THROUGH me, for holy is his name!”
- Why I am confident that God answers prayers (OR: How my new house got built)
The key to success in prayer for a good faith life is revealed in the scripture: “We have this confidence in him that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us.” (1 John 5:14) I am now living in the house that was built by divine intervention. Getting a construction loan at the worst time in economic history since the Great Depression required divine intervention — and persistence in seeking how God wanted to intervene.
- Will communications courses become more popular?
I first learned to read body language in a high school psychology course. When I was a young adult, communication skills were taught in a college course. When I became involved in parish ministry, my diocese had a highly recommended program called “The Listening Lab”, from which I learned even better communication skills. And how are today’s young people being prepared for a future in which good communication can save marriages, increase effectiveness in jobs, and make the world a better, more peaceful place?