It’s official! Received my three copies of the May 2023 Saint Anthony Messenger yesterday.
I remember distinctly as a 7-year-old I wanted to be a dad and a writer when I grew up. This article is a realization of that dream.
Thanks to everyone who has supported me during this process: my wife, my mom & dad, the editor of Franciscan Media, and to you my readers and supporters of The Simple Catholic blog!! You kept me going during the days and weeks I struggled with depression.
Finally, I’m grateful for God and all the graces He has granted me and opportunities to develop my writing over the years.
P.S. I’m not crying my eyes are leaking tears of joy.
P.P.S. Here’s a link to the article if you’re interested in reading:
This is the real life origin story of how The Simple Catholic began:
My name is Matthew and I have run The Simple Catholic blog since 2015. It was a fruit born out the suffering from losing my unborn son Jeremiah (miscarriage). Writing was a healing balm for my heart, mind, and soul.
I earned my Master’s degree in theology from Franciscan University of Steubenville and had teaching experiences. Personal and family circumstances caused me to leave teaching but the desire to help others learn about Jesus and His Church remained. The blog blossomed into a mission: to inform others about the Catholic faith and show how joy can be found in daily life (even in the suffering).
Finding Strength in My Differences
I was diagnosed with ADHD as a kid and it is one of my “super-powers” as it allows me to make connections between seemingly unconnected things.
I have had to learn over the years my neurodivergent mind wasn’t a weakness but it can be a strength. Through the help of my wife (a special education teachers) and my four kids along with the Holy Spirit I have been able to learn how to harness my differences and quirkiness with my passion for Catholicism.
In this picture, I celebrated my paper football victory over my oldest son: 60-24. 😀😂
The Healing Power of Humor
Humor is a big part of my life. It acts as a stabilizing force during the times my depression and anxiety flare up.
My favorite show is The Office (a great way to get me attention in the sea of emails I receive is to make a reference to this show). Threat Level Midnight or A.A.R.M are my favorite episodes.
I also enjoy reading (no less than 8 books simultaneously). I’m a literary omnivore but I do tend to enjoy theology, sci-fi, and comic books more than others.
I am also an avid football fan and love tossing the frisbee around.
Because of my ADHD I tend to enjoy lots of other things too:
Watching bees carry pollen
Looking at the moon
Drinking Dr. Pepper, Coffee, and Bai Teas (not together)
Listening to Bon Jovi
Reading anything Marvel
Playing board games
Reading about board games
Watching video about board games
Talking about board games
Making Seinfeld and The Office references on an almost daily basis
P.S. If you’re a small Catholic business owner who enjoys the content I create and share and need help generating content for your website please email me at: firstname.lastname@example.org. I also offer marketing services. For more information please visit Writing and Marketing Service Rates.
Even if you don’t own a Catholic business but love my content drop a comment below!
The Catholic Church has endured an awful abuse scandal. It’s easy to view the Church as exclusively a human institution and fall away from the faith. I can’t even imagine the anger, horror, grief, sadness, or despair that one would feel when abused by a member of the clergy.
I had the pleasure of following Catholic author Faith Hakesley on social media. Her book Glimmers of Grace: Moments of Peace and Healing Following Sexual Abuse, is a gift inspired by the Holy Spirit.
Faith shares a vulnerable and grace-filled story about a Catholic priest who sexually abused her and how her journey toward healing involved trusting in God’s will. In the introduction, she writes, “Breaking my silence was one of the greatest graces I have ever received” (p. 11). Healing begins when you allow others in on the suffering you are enduring. Inspired by Saint Therese of Liseux, Hakesley relates how she shared her cross and suffering.
According to the author, “Writing was therapeutic, a way for me to put my deepest feelings into words, a way of finding connection between certain events” (p. 13). Faith wrote Glimmers of Grace to give to other victims (and survivors) of sexual abuse.
Analysis of Glimmers of Grace
The book is divided into three sections focusing on: finding grace, finding healing, and finding freedom. Every chapter in Glimmers of Grace is written in a letter format and ends with reflection questions. Additionally, Faith includes tangible action steps (called One Small Step) to help the reader move toward healing in baby steps.
While I personally have never been a victim of abuse (let alone sexual abuse), I still found value in this book. In 2014 and 2017, I suffered immeasurable loss— the deaths of my unborn children due to miscarriage. My healing took A LONG TIME. Faith details out her healing path and how it took her quite a while to trust the clergy. She even admitted how the abuse affected intimacy in her marriage. I gained strength and hope carrying my crosses simply by reading about Faith carrying hers.
Along with her vulnerable account, I found the format of the book to work perfectly for her story. Hakesley draws in the readers by writing in a direct and sincere style. Her practical tips for healing and holiness are a great resource for anyone (no matter your cross).
A Book of Hope
Glimmers of Grace is a book about healing and discovering the miracles of ordinary life. Faith writes, “What’s a glimmer of grace anyway? It’s a term inspired by my mom, referring to the little miracles that God sends our way” (p. 17). Reading this book helped shift my thinking about miracles. The miraculous can be big (like in the Book of Exodus) or small.
Faith Hakesley is an outstanding writer. Her humility, vulnerability, and trust in God shine through the text of Glimmers of Grace. I strongly recommend this book to any Catholic struggling with the sexual abuse scandal in the Church. You will find perspective, hope, and grace after finishing this book.