Totally Dependent on God

Editor’s Note: One of the graces throughout Joel’s diaconate discernment has been the opportunity to become friends with the wives of the other discerning men. One, Charlotte Hunkele, has become a spiritual mentor; she has a gift to articulate and explain the faith in such beautiful ways. During one of our retreat weekends, Charlotte shared some lovely words. I found them so beautiful, I asked her to share. Enjoy! – Lisa Schmidt

What would it be like for us to be able to remember the experience we had of being in the womb? Is it something that we can recall, or will it be forever buried deeply in our . . . → Read More: Totally Dependent on God

I Don’t Want To!

I wonder how many times during my lifetime I have said or thought “I don’t want to do that.”

I wanted healthier, happier, richer or better. I wanted more. I wanted something different than what I had at the moment. I didn’t want to serve. I didn’t want to suffer. I didn’t want to give up anything of my own.

But as Curtis Martin says in the book Made for More, it isn’t my more, it is God’s more. It isn’t my will but Thy will be done.

I am here to serve Him. What I have is not mine — it is His. I am here to live as . . . → Read More: I Don’t Want To!

When You Can’t Hear the Mass

While on pilgrimage this spring, Joel and I attended the Beatification Mass for Blessed Pope John Paul II in the piazza outside St. Peter’s Basilica. Much of the Mass was spoken in Latin, a language I don’t speak. Some other parts were said in Italian, some Polish, and even a little English thrown in at times.

Worship aids for the Mass were made available in a variety of languages including English. Throughout the entire celebration, even though I couldn’t speak most of the language, I could hear and pickup enough to follow along well. The Vatican even pre-released the transcript of Pope Benedict’s homily in a few languages so the non-Italian . . . → Read More: When You Can’t Hear the Mass

Spiritual Sticker Shock

Sticker Shock

August 28, 2011: Twenty-Second Sunday in Ordinary Time The juxtaposition of this week’s readings against last week’s readings is hard to ignore. Last week, Peter was “all in” when Jesus commanded him to build a Church, essentially to marshal a spiritual army of disciples and storm the gates of the sinful world with the power of God’s grace. This week, later in the same scene, Jesus articulates the cost of discipleship and Peter balks. What does his example say about us?

All of Me. All week long, we have read how Paul and his companions encouraged the Thessalonians to persevere in the faith and put it into practice in every . . . → Read More: Spiritual Sticker Shock

Do Churches Have A Right to Mandate Moral Standards for Employees?

Last night’s lead story on a local newscast caught my attention and was one I had trouble mentally putting down. Here’s a summary of the story: a childcare and preschool center located inside an evangelical Christian mega-church in the Des Moines metro area recently changed management. The center temporarily closed last Monday and will reopen under new management on September 6. Okay, nothing spectacular there. But here’s what’s causing the stir.

Image from

Currently employed teachers at the church’s childcare center will be required to reapply for their jobs, and if rehired, consent to a Christian Lifestyle Commitment Agreement requiring them to abstain from: sexual relationships outside of marriage, . . . → Read More: Do Churches Have A Right to Mandate Moral Standards for Employees?

Learning to Discern God’s Will

Have you ever wondered how other people have learned to discern God’s will?

George Mueller, a nineteenth century English pastor who was known for his life of prayer and his close walk with God, once shared this simple method for determining God’s will through prayer and the Word:

I seek at the beginning to get my heart into such a state that it has no will of its own in regard to a given matter. Having done this. I do not leave the result to feeling or simple impression. If so, I make myself liable to great delusions. I seek the Will of the Spirit of God through, or . . . → Read More: Learning to Discern God’s Will

Seven Reasons NOT to Vote for Us

Simon weighs in on The Practicing Catholic

We were surprised to learn that our blog has been nominated for four Catholic New Media Awards. We considered lobbying for your vote, but after much prayer and discernment, we came up with more reasons for you NOT to vote for us! Here we present that list the Holy Spirit has placed upon our hearts.

Simple. As is stated in Matthew 20:16, “Thus, the last will be first, and the first will be last.” Given we started The Practicing Catholic in August 2010, the only award we’re really qualified for is “Best New Blog” and we’re not even nominated in that category. . . . → Read More: Seven Reasons NOT to Vote for Us

It’s a War out There

August 21, 2011: Twenty-First Sunday in Ordinary Time

This week’s Old Testament readings are filled with contrasting images of leaders, often depicted in battle, in action. Those whose faith is in God are exalted and do great things in His name; those whose faith is in themselves are humbled.

Statue of St. Peter holding the keys at The Papal Basilica of St. Paul Outside the Walls, Rome (photo credit: Joel Schmidt)

Don’t Flatter Yourself. In the first reading, Shebna is busy building a monument to himself when he gets a rather rude awakening. “The LORD shall hurl you down headlong … and roll you up and toss you like . . . → Read More: It’s a War out There

Wordless Wednesday: The Source of All Light

St. Peter's Basilica, Rome

Photo Credit: Sarah Underhill

The Assumption And My Living Sign of Hope

Mary greeted us as we arrived at the sacred space

I’ve been holding close to my heart a story about how our Blessed Mother gave me hope, how she wrapped her arms around me and gave me a sense of peace like I’ve never felt. It’s hard to put into words because the emotions are still so real, raw, and very personal. . . . → Read More: The Assumption And My Living Sign of Hope