How Children Remind You of the Most Important Things in Life

These past few months have been frustrating, annoying, difficult, and bat-*** crazy (no pun intended), but I need to remind myself that not everything was bad.

My kids do listen. I need to exercise more patience. The good news we get a chance to take the test again the next day.

I will be keeping this memory for the rest of my life. 👇

Jenny: “Noah, what day do you want to pick to have your First Communion on?”

Noah: “June 14th! Because it’s close to my birthday and the Eucharist is the best present I can ever receive. Not even parents can give a better present than God can.”

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Source and Summit

Nothing is more precious and valuable than the Blessed Sacrament. My parents taught me this truth first through how they lived out their faith. Sunday Mass was important. I don’t recall hearing any lectures about why we need to go. We just went every Sunday (or Saturday night).

Experiences in college and my twenties confirmed that truth— that at the end of the day Jesus is everything. Love. Sacrifice. Obedience. Hope. Suffering. Sadness. Grief. Triumph. Joy. Truth. The Eucharist embodies all those qualities.

According to the Catechism of the Catholic Church paragraph 1407,

The Eucharist is the heart and the summit of the Church’s life, for in it Christ associates his Church and all her members with his sacrifice of praise and thanksgiving offered once for all on the cross to his Father; by this sacrifice he pours out the graces of salvation on his Body which is the Church.

Jesus told his followers in the Bread of Life Discourse, “I am the living bread that came down from heaven; whoever eats this bread will live forever; and the bread that I will give is my flesh for the life of the world” (John 6:51). This is a scandalous claim. Eat his flesh?! Come on! Certaintly, Jesus misspoke. Or the Apostles misunderstood. Many left him because of this teaching.

Truth is not always Popular

Jesus wanted to provide us access to him after his return to the Father. His institution of the sacraments, specifically the Eucharist and Holy Orders, is a gift. We can technically live without knowing God. Eat. Sleep. Exercise. But we can’t thrive without God’s graces.

Truth is scandalous. At least to those unaware of the Good News of Christ or those living in sin. Witnessing events first hand leaves an impression on us. Saint John the Apostle followed and learned from Jesus for three years and from Mary, the Mother of God for the remainder of her earthly life. He definitely had an inside scoop on Jesus’ teachings and what they meant. The evangelist tells us, “For God so loved the world that he gave* his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him might not perish but might have eternal life” (John 3:16).

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We all are suffering the pains of disconnect from receiving Jesus in the Eucharist. The Good News is God is always with us. Continue to find joy in viewing the Mass via television or streaming. Call your parish priest to schedule a time to receive Confession. Read the Scriptures or spiritual works by the saints. St. Anthony of Padua would be an excellent choice. Not only is he the saint who helps you find lost items, but he is a Doctor of the Church. My son Noah loves Anthony because his feast day lands on his birthday. 😊 May God bless you today and always!

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Slow Down and Enjoy Life’s Beauty

Life is beautiful

🐢 Slow and steady wins the race.

🏃 Life is a marathon not a sprint.

Life is too wonderful and beautiful to rush through it.

Stop to examine beauty in nature, your relationships, and in ideas.

💡Watching ants build a hill and carry food is one of the most amazing things. So complex yet simple.

💡Noticing how your spouse or children smile at a joke or when talking about a topic they love is a joy.

💡Reading masters in your field is incredibly insightful and a humbling experience.

Slow down and you will be able to speed up later.

🔆Enjoy the beauty around you.

Our time is microscopic in the grand scheme of life.

🔆Enjoy the present moment of your Sunday.

How will you slow down and notice the beauty in your life today?

Thank you for sharing!

The Joy of Recovery and the Fist pump

I have randomly been fist pumping the air as a sign of thanks and triumph for each passing moment where I don’t have a fever.

This is not a victory for me. I just happened to get better. This is a victory for my family and friends. You surrounded me to give me support during my weakness.

I will not stop fighting because I am better. This was a short hiccup in my journey.

1️⃣ I will continue spreading awareness of the benefits of social distancing.

2️⃣ I will continue spreading the Good News of the Gospel.

3️⃣ I will continue to be an autism advocate.

I maybe look silly pumping my fist in the air to myself. I am sure God is finding it humorous too.

But I am also sure He wants me back on the fight.

This world is not about me. It never was and never will be. The only mission that matters is love.

Love God first. Others second. And myself last.

Thank you for sharing!

How Unity is Created in Suffering

The greatest writing ✍️ occurs during the worst suffering.

Suffering is universal. It is inevitable. Humans do not have to travel long or far in this world before suffering rears its ugliness!

This is the primary reason why I believe my writing on my personal suffering appeals to others—because people suffer daily.

But I have seen beautiful words from countless people across social media channels.

We long for truth, goodness, & beauty. In the face of a faceless enemy, we unite.

There exists tremendous beauty in unity.

I can’t remember a crisis where I smiled so much during the present moment. I learned to find the grace of my past pain over through hindsight.

But we are presently in 2020 (hindsight). The mystery of suffering leads us to the mystery of Truth.

United we stand. Divided we…never mind. I don’t think we will get too divided. This crisis is too big to let our differences to get in the way.

I wish it didn’t take suffering to unite. But that is the way reality often works.

Let’s be thankful for more time at home.

Focus on fostering unity in your family. Thank God for social media as we can stay connected mentally & emotionally in spite of physical distances.

One day you will be able to hug your brother or sister or friends.

Until the virus is contained, please exercise good hygiene, common sense, and ask the Holy Spirit to give you fortitude and kindness. 🖖

Thank you for sharing!

Why Perspective is Needed when Facing Your Problems

All pain is temporary.

😟Anxiety is part of life. It stems from a desire to control all aspects and realizing you can’t.

I have experienced that in a real way the past week.

My kids stayed home from school with influenza A for a week.

Sorry about being able to pay the bills is always a struggle.

Tiredness and the inability to push through tasks frustrated me to no end.

Today is better. But I only accomplished 5% of what I wanted to get done.

The latest news about everything going all with the pandemic gave me perspective:

1️⃣ My problems pale in comparison to others.

Even our struggles with teaching our special needs children how to communicate and deal with daily tasks is nothing versus the struggle others are facing.

2️⃣ I still have my faith and my wife—both foundations for me to cling to in difficult times.

I trust in God that good will prevail. My wife is a special education teacher so she is having to face the reality of how to juggle students absences and their make-up work.

Focusing on sacrificing my work goals to alleviate her stress gives me peace.

A simple step I will take is to focus on smiling more—and getting others to smile back.

Reading the Scriptures helps provide me peace. Here is a Bible passage that gives me comfort—Matthew 6:25-34. I hope it helps bring you peace too.

How will you bring more cheer and less gloom in your life?

Thank you for sharing!

How St. Josemaria Escriva Saved Me (and Can Save You Too) from Being a Workaholic


Editor’s Note: This post was originally published on October 25,  2017.


According to a recent Gallup study, the average American adult employed full-time reported to work an average of 47 hours a week. While I attended college and before I had children, I worked 60 or more hours a week for months on end. The United States is sort of an outlier when it comes to finding a work/life balance.

Even though I no longer log the insane amount of hours, I still struggle with finding time to relax and separating work from home life. This battle seemed futile until I stumbled upon the writings and witness of a Spanish priest—St. Josemaria Escriva! I am not entirely sure how I came across this gem of a saint, but his writing provides such practical wisdom. This article will provide three practical tips I learned from Fr. Escriva’s The Way that saved me from being a workaholic.

Josemaria Esciva

Photo courtesy of St. Josemaria Institute.

Perspective is Key

Josemaria mentions the need to broaden our perspective in the first chapter. “Get rid of that ‘small-town’ outlook. Enlarge your heart till it becomes universal, ‘catholic’,” he says. Lately, I struggled with having a narrow gaze when it comes to my job. I see things from my perspective alone.

I resist the Holy Spirit’s promptings in daily events whereby I am given chances to widen my limited purview. For example, my manager challenges me to think beyond my cubicle walls. I need to daily heed the Spanish saint’s wisdom.

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Pardon my Excuses?!

Along with possessing a narrow outlook I tend to fight constant urges to make up excuses for my failings. “The computer system was slow”; “No one told me the new update”; “Things are too busy”. These are just some of the various excuses I tell myself throughout the week. According to Father Escriva, “Say what you have just said, but in a different tone, without anger, and your argument will gain in strength and, above all, you won’t offend God.”

Perhaps such excuses may be admissible, but I need to be aware of my tone and frequency of complaints. “Let those very obstacles give you strength. God’s grace will not fail you,” St. Josemaria states. Stumbling blocks need not be hindrances. These blocks in my path are actually building blocks for my character. Relying on Jesus as my cornerstone, I will be able to pick up the stumbling blocks [i.e. excuses] and use them to build up the kingdom of God!

Work with Character and Substance

A third major theme within the initial chapter of The Way focuses on developing your character through work. St. Josemaria deliberately states, “Don’t say: ‘That’s the way I’m made… it’s my character’. It’s your lack of character: Be a man [or woman].” In other words, do not allow your past and your genetics define your being.

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I am guilty as anyone when it comes to blaming my woes and defects on my chemistry make-up.  Often I blame my failure to listen to my wife on having ADHD. But that’s a cop-out. Excuses aren’t a way to grow in holiness.

Father Escriva’s states in the next line, “Get used to saying No. Turn your back on the tempter when he whispers in your ear: ‘Why make life difficult for yourself?’”  Character is built on resisting the Tempter. I need to work on the sins of gluttony and sloth. I fight the urge to eat fast food and lack motivation to play with my children after work.

Canonized on October 6, 2002, St. Josemaria Escriva is a perfect role model for people living in the 21st century. The bustle of life is only going to increase, especially in an age of instant communication via social media and the internet! The Spanish saint provides a humble witness as to how to incorporate God into my work through real, tangible, and practical means.

Josemaria Esciva

Related Links

St, Josemaria Institute

The Ordinary Life of a Saint

The Writings of St. Josemaria Escriva


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Wish you great blessing in your work this week!


 

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3 Reasons Busyness is Never an Excuse to Stop Praying


Editor’s Note: This post was originally published on February 22, 2018. Updates have been made to reflect the canonization of Paul VI.


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At 7:47 A.M. I pulled into the school parking lot. Frenzied. I threw off my seat belt, leaped out of the car, and continued to hurry my children out of the vehicle towards the school entrance.

“Come on, come on! Hurry now!” I exclaimed to my dawdling four year-old daughter. After getting her and my oldest son to their classroom with backpacks and winter clothing hung-up, I quickly walked down the corridor towards my car. It was now 7:53 A.M. when I restarted my car to drive to work.  Speeding down the highway I weaved around the bustle of traffic. I arrived at my employer’s parking lot at 8:20 A.M., but my journey is not quite complete—I still needed to trek across the long employee lot and cross the street before entering the building. Time seemed to be running out on me…

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Tired Yet?

If the above paragraph caused slight exhaustion, you are not alone. I want to point out that the busyness of life—especially in the morning seems to haunt me on a daily basis.

This hurried existence appears to be inescapable, at least in my foreseeable future. On top of the daily morning grind, we took my youngest son into urgent care again. The doctor gave me news that brought tears to my wife and elicited a stoic response in myself, “He tested positive for influenza type A.”

Life is beating us down—not just figuratively, but literally!

Sleep deprivation is overtaking both my wife and I, my oldest son is running a fever, and my daughter refuses to go to bed on time–as usual! Taking a snapshot of my life now does not promote much hope on the horizon.

Suddenly I came across an appropriate quote from St. Alphonsus Liguori that provided a bit of easement to my situation. According to the great doctor of the Church,

Acquire the habit of speaking to God as if you were alone with Him, familiarly and with confidence and love, as to the dearest and most loving of friends. Speak to Him often of your business, your plans, your troubles, your fears – of everything that concerns you. Converse with Him confidently and frankly; for God is not wont to speak to a soul that does not speak to Him.

Prayer should be a constant for the Christian, especially during the  upcoming Lenten season. Sadly, I allowed the busyness of life to be an excuse to develop my relationship with God. After reflecting on St. Alphonsus’ words I discovered three reasons why the rat race of life is a terrible excuse to delay communication with the Author of Creation.

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Little Opportunities

Saint Paul VI states in his Apostolic Exhortation Evangelica Testificatio, “If you have lost the taste for prayer, you will regain the desire for it by returning humbly to its practice.” This seems like a paradoxically statement. How can you gain something you lost by returning to it? Herein lies the secret power of prayer. It’s not a limited resource. Prayer is communication. A two-way communication with the Divine—God who is eternal and everlasting.

What helped me gain back reliance on prayer is taking advantage of little opportunities throughout the day to insert a petition for God’s assistance or a prayer of thanksgiving for a simple joy in my life. Talking with God while waiting at a stoplight or praying a decade of the Rosary as I rocked my son to sleep allowed for me to slowly (real slowly, as I am still improving!) to develop my prayer life.

Prayer Sustains Hope

Oftentimes in the great shuffle and strife of daily living hopelessness and despair become implanted in my heart. Watered by the false notion that activity of the world sustains hope the fruit of fear and doubt arise. Filling my day with a billion activities–checking of social media sites for notifications, following new bloggers, or constant publication on my WordPress account does not bring lasting hope.

Slowing down allows for God to enter into my heart through prayer. Saint Charles Borromeo said, “God wishes us not to rest upon anything but His infinite goodness; do not let us expect anything, hope anything, or desire anything but from Him, and let us put our trust and confidence in Him alone.”

True hope is grown and supported through prayer.

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Parable of the Talents

The third example of why busyness should never be an excuse to cease praying may seem like it is coming out of left field. Please hear out my thought process. The idea of this post actually came to me during my hurried car drive to work this morning. Immediately, I thought of Parable of the Talents from Matthew 25:14-30.

I associate most with the worker with the single talent.  Instead of investing his God-given talent to grow it, that worker miserly held onto it out of fear. Sometimes I fear failure amid the bustle of the work day so I fail to step out in faith to rely on my God-given abilities to grow my confidence and to share my gifts to bring others to Christ.

However, this morning I stalled that mindset. I asked God to help me stay calm in storm of the rushed work day and busyness at home. Through the power of prayer, God provided me the gifts of patience and gratitude to finish out this busy day on a positive note!

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“Speak to Him often of your business, your plans, your troubles, your fears – of everything that concerns you.”

Listening to the wisdom of St. Alphonsus reinvigorated my spirit. Instead of being worn down by the busyness of the day, I looked forward to the opportunity to rely on God for comfort when life challenged me. I  pray for strength to withstand the storm of busyness.  May you too find strength and perseverance in the Lord during the craziness of life.

Related Links

The Necessity of an Ordered Prayer Life for Every Catholic Soul

A Prayer to the Lord in Difficult Times

7 Ways to Shield Yourself against Anxiety!

3 Ways Mary Undoes Knots of Desolation


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Thank you for sharing!