Totally Dependent on God

Father's Hands

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 … [Read more...]

I Don’t Want To!

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 … [Read more...]

When You Can’t Hear the Mass

American Sign Language for "Jesus"

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 … [Read more...]

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 … [Read more...]

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

Image from

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. Currently employed teachers at the … [Read more...]

Learning to Discern God’s Will

Quiet Time Website Banner

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 … [Read more...]

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 … [Read more...]

It’s a War out There

St. Peter holding the keys

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. 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 … [Read more...]

The Assumption And My Living Sign of Hope

Mary greeted us as we arrived at the sacred space

In 1950 Pope Pius XII officially recognized the assumption of Mary into heaven as part of divine revelation. The Church had believed this for many centuries, but the Pope was led by the Holy Spirit to make it official. Why then? In 1950, the world was beginning to realize that no one had won World War II or any other war. Every nation had lost, some more than others. A terrifying sadness was gripping Europe and beyond. A sign of hope was needed, and Mary assumed into heaven was a sure sign of … [Read more...]