Too many snow storms = many events with books left over! Check out my book sale going on now! Learn more about Blessed, Beautiful, and Bodacious or order a signed copy!

The F.U.N. Quotient… surfing with Jesus…

I’m a lover of all things water and beach related. The admonition to keep paddling out rings true with me…

Ok, to do this, out off Tahiti somewhere, you NEED Jesus…

Ten Principles of Civil Communication: A great way to engage conversation and the new evangelization!

Ten Principles of Civil Communication: A great way to engage conversation and the new evangelization!

Yes, you too can be an evangelist in your own way.

Thanks to Catholic Voices, a lot more people are being trained in communication of the Catholic faith in the media and marketplace of ideas. I really benefitted from their training, and I heartily recommend Austin Ivereigh’s book, around which much of the training revolved: How to Defend the Faith Without Raising Your Voice.  

With this great  pamphlet, “Ten Principles of Civil Communication”, you’ll get a short cut to remembering the best ideas and best practices for sharing our Catholic faith in the media, and in conversations with family, friends, colleagues, and strangers.

The Top 3 principles are these:

1. Look for the positive intention behind the criticism.

2. Shed light, not heat.

3. People won’t remember so much of what you said, but how you made them feel.

P1703_300Oh, and look! Defending the faith with a combative chip on our shoulder does not make the top 3. Or the top 10.

Find a PDF version for your review here.  Go read it. It’s most excellent. Purchase it here.

A note of caution, you’ve got to buy this pamphlet in sets of 50, that’s just how its sold. Naturally, the publisher thinks the majority of people buying it are purchasing it for parishes, dioceses, or organizations. And if you work in a church, or a Catholic organization, you should share these principles with your membership. My bible study group and local friends are getting a copy of this as soon as my batch of 50 is shipped to me.

Meanwhile, I’m writing to the publisher today and suggesting it be able to sold in smaller quantities, too. But in the absence of actually buying a personal copy, by all means read through the PDF pamphlet and get a tune-up on your ability to witness for the Church.

In the wake of Divine Mercy, a powerful testimony from Kitty Cleveland.

We are still in Divine Mercy’s wake.

Here’s a powerful testimony from my pal, Kitty Cleveland, and the answer to prayer that her family received during the Divine Mercy novena.

You may remember my interview last year with singer-songwriter, Kitty Cleveland.

Go listen to that Among Women episode.

This makes me think… about Mercy as a bridge that connects us to God and others…

Jesus Christ is the face of the Father’s mercy. These words might well sum up the mystery of the Christian faith. Mercy has become living and visible in Jesus of Nazareth, reaching its culmination in him. The Father, “rich in mercy” (Eph 2:4), after having revealed his name to Moses as “a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness” (Ex 34:6), has never ceased to show, in various ways throughout history, his divine nature. In the “fullness of time” (Gal 4:4), when everything had been arranged according to his plan of salvation, he sent his only Son into the world, born of the Virgin Mary, to reveal his love for us in a definitive way. Whoever sees Jesus sees the Father (cf. Jn 14:9). Jesus of Nazareth, by his words, his actions, and his entire person reveals the mercy of God.

We need constantly to contemplate the mystery of mercy. It is a wellspring of joy, serenity, and peace. Our salvation depends on it. Mercy: the word reveals the very mystery of the Most Holy Trinity. Mercy: the ultimate and supreme act by which God comes to meet us. Mercy: the fundamental law that dwells in the heart of every person who looks sincerely into the eyes of his brothers and sisters on the path of life. Mercy: the bridge that connects God and man, opening our hearts to a hope of being loved forever despite our sinfulness.

Mercy is the very foundation of the Church’s life. All of her pastoral activity should be caught up in the tenderness she makes present to believers; nothing in her preaching and in her witness to the world can be lacking in mercy. The Church’s very credibility is seen in how she shows merciful and compassionate love. The Church “has an endless desire to show mercy.” [Evangelii Gaudium, 24.] Perhaps we have long since forgotten how to show and live the way of mercy. The temptation, on the one hand, to focus exclusively on justice made us forget that this is only the first, albeit necessary and indispensable step. But the Church needs to go beyond and strive for a higher and more important goal. On the other hand, sad to say, we must admit that the practice of mercy is waning in the wider culture. It some cases the word seems to have dropped out of use. However, without a witness to mercy, life becomes fruitless and sterile, as if sequestered in a barren desert. The time has come for the Church to take up the joyful call to mercy once more. It is time to return to the basics and to bear the weaknesses and struggles of our brothers and sisters. Mercy is the force that reawakens us to new life and instills in us the courage to look to the future with hope.

Pope Francis
Misericordiae Vultus, Bull of Indiction of the Extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy 

Happy Divine Mercy Sunday! Love and mercy has taken form and has a name: Jesus Christ!

[W]e live in a time of deep worldly skepticism about any “bigger plan” or higher meaning to human experience. For many people, the human person is little more than an accident of evolution; carbon atoms with an attitude. In other words, for many people we have no higher purpose than whatever meaning we create for ourselves.

In an era of sophisticated technology and material wealth, that kind of reasoning without God can sound plausible. But in the end it’s too small a vision of who we are as women and men. It undermines human dignity. It leaves starving souls hungry. It is not true.

In fact, we yearn for meaning.

With so many conflicting answers, our age is a confusing time. Many people today honestly seek meaning, but don’t know whom to trust or where to commit their lives.

Amid this uncertainty, Christians are people who trust in Jesus Christ. Despite the ambiguities of human history, the Catholic way of hope and joy, love and service grounds itself in an encounter with Jesus. As Saint John Paul II proclaimed in his first encyclical: “in man’s history, [the] revelation of love and mercy has taken the form and name: that of Jesus Christ. Everything follows from that. Jesus Christ is the basis of Christian faith.” – Love is Our Mission, Catechesis for the World Meeting of Families, 2015

Tribute: Lauren Hill, #22 “Live well to the grace of the moment. Do your best and leave the rest to God.”

What an inspiration you are, Lauren!

On Lauren’s honorary degree and more. From that post: Lauren lives out the words of St. Elizabeth Seton: “Live well to the grace of the moment. Do your best and leave the rest to God.”

This makes me think…. the tomb is empty — and it will always be empty. #ShareJesus

It’s good to be back from my retreat and Easter celebrations.
Here’s something worthy of our consideration…

Retreating…

Retreating…

I’m on an 8-day retreat.

Hope to be back to writing and podcasting soon.

Let us pray for one another.

#Fast Fridays in # Lent: 3 Things I Have Received From the “Love” of Strangers

#Fast Fridays in # Lent: 3 Things I Have Received From the “Love” of Strangers

Quickly, off the top of your head, try to recall 3 times that a stranger has done something kind for you and it made all the difference in your life. Then say a prayer for each of those people. Then go an do likewise. Pay it forward with your kindness, courtesy, and willingness to help.

Here are my top 3 things I have received from the “love” of strangers…

1. Faith in Jesus Christ

In 1976, I attended an Antioch Weekend — a kind of Cursillo for teens — in other words, it was a youth retreat that was staffed by strangers. The leaders were young adults and college students in their early twenties. Somehow they felt called together to put on a weekend for a bunch of high school students that they did not know, for the sake of the Kingdom. They were not the first Christians I had ever met; I had been baptized a Catholic as an infant and attended Catholic schools. But they were certainly the most influential. Their willingness to share, pray, listen, and speak about Jesus Christ helped to bring the Spirit alive in me. I will never forget their willingness to meet new people and serve those who were not their friends, but strangers. Not a year goes by that I am not grateful for that community of young men and women who touched my life so deeply, and slowly evangelized me.

There are no strangers here;
Only friends you haven’t yet met.
–William Butler Yeats

2. Recovery

Twenty years later, I was 36 years old and still hospitalized suffering the effects of mastectomy and reconstruction surgeries. Somewhere around day 5 in the post-surgical ward, I had a total tearful breakdown and was just sobbing and sobbing. I was alone in my room. My husband and family were back at home getting rejuvenated after the many days of being at my bedside. Sometime that afternoon I became overwhelmed by everything that was happening to me. There was this nurse — all I remember is that her name was “Mickey” —  she was there just doing her job. I had a lot of meds, and tubes, and monitors and bandages that needed periodic tending.  She came along and found me in quite a state. She just sat on my bed and held me as I cried and cried. It was a long cry. I did not know this woman, and I never saw her again. She did not have to counsel me or embrace me or even stay beyond what her duty required. But she did all those things. That was 1996. I still remember her.

Finally, all of you, have unity of spirit, sympathy, love of the brethren,
a tender heart and a humble mind.
1 Peter 3: 8

3. My credit cards

On more than one occasion, I have left a credit or debit card at a counter, or in an ATM machine, and the people nearby have tracked me down to return them to me. One situation happened in France when I got my card stuck in a toll taking device before entering a tunnel. This tunnel went under a city and really, there would be no returning to this exact spot. After pulling off through crazy traffic to the guard booth, I described my gaffe in a combination of broken French and some sign language. A kind woman toll taker had mercy on me. She bounded through the toll traffic, opened the device, and retrieved the card so my vacation could continue. Another unforgettable occurrence was years back BC (Before Cellphones). I had left my pocketbook in a public place and someone found my address and returned my bag and wallet by wrapping it up and sending it to me through the mail — still with the cash and the credit cards in it.

Thank you, thank you, thank you, good people, for saving me from my own stupidity, and for saving me from the replacement hassles that come with such negligence on my part.

Be kind to one another, compassionate, forgiving one another
as God has forgiven you in Christ.
– Ephesians 4: 32

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Here’s a little more inspiration… those “little things” add up!

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And just in case you need an upbeat reminder about the whys of  Holy Week, here ya go…

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Previous #Fast Fridays:

Fasting

Fidelity

Midlife, Mid-Lent

Confession

Humility, why #Fast Fridays.