What to Do After a Retreat

What to Do After a Retreat

Q. How do I come back from a conference and continue to be as close to God as I was there? A. The answer to this one is unfortunately easy. I say unfortunately because it’s often frustrating for me too. Here it is: daily prayer. Seriously. That’s it. Let me explain. Your relationship to God is, in many ways, just like your relationship with anyone else. If you get married and go off on a honeymoon, that honeymoon will be a great experience where you’ll feel close to your spouse. Warm fuzzies all around! But when you get back, the real relationship begins (or continues, actually). You have to make time to talk to that person, spend time with them, make them a priority, love them. If you don’t, the relationship will fizzle and voila … a divorce and you’re left wondering what happened. It’s a trap that’s easy to fall into, and it’s even easier to fall into it with God. Why? He’s not as visible unless we’re already paying attention to him. He won’t go “Hey! Spend time with me! Love me!” Well … he will, but we just don’t listen. That’s exactly what the cross is supposed to remind us of. When you get back from a retreat, you’re on this honeymoon high with God. Warm fuzzies all around! But as that relationship continues, you’re faced with a daily choice to spend time with your Lover. And many of us, myself included, struggle with that daily choice. I’ll be honest with you: even if you’re faithful in prayer, you won’t be on a permanent retreat high. You might...
What Actually Makes You Beautiful

What Actually Makes You Beautiful

Beauty isn’t something accidental to our nature. It’s something that’s at the very core of your being. You are beautiful because you are made in the image and likeness of God, who is the source of all beauty.

The Answer to Your Pain

The Answer to Your Pain

Our world is broken. Since sin first entered, we’ve suffered from it, had our hearts broken and died from it. This video went around the Internet recently: When I first heard that, what I heard was pain. The pain of a child with no father, a victim of sin trying to find meaning in brokenness. Hope in darkness. Love from, well, anybody. This video is the result of sin. It hurts us, yes. But even those sins we think “don’t hurt anybody else” truly do. All of us have sinned. Since the Fall, we have struggled. We find it hard to believe in a God who is Love because we don’t know what love is. We get lost in darkness, not knowing what’s ahead, burdened with the weight of responsibility but having no guidance, not seeing where to go or what to do. We find it hard to trust in a Heavenly Father because our own fathers have failed us somehow. But then He came. For millennia, there had been an inseparable gulf between God and His creation. God was God, we were Men, that was that. But then He came. We had lived for years under the oppression of sin and despair. But then He came. God and Man were joined. Scandalous, really, when you think about it. God became Man. Who even does that? You can’t make this stuff up. “There is no tale ever told that men would rather find was true, and none which so many sceptical men have accepted as true on its own merits.” – J.R.R. Tolkien God swam the gulf, bridged the...
Why I Love Confession

Why I Love Confession

"God the father of mercies, through the death and resurrection of his Son…" Kneeling in the creaky confessional, I realized that this moment is my favorite moment in all the world. And that those words are the most beautiful I have ever heard. Confession, for me, is always super uncomfortable. Do you ever kinda get annoyed with yourself 'cause it seems like confess the same stupid stuff each time you go? Yeah. Me too. It's tough going to the same priest for the same things each time. It's almost as tough going to a total stranger and wondering a little in the back of your mind what kind of first impression you're giving. Once, I went to a completely different parish for confession, just because. And the priest there did something that made me suddenly understand the sacrament. During absolution, instead of holding his hand up in blessing like other priests, he held up his stole, which had a cross on it. It was a powerful symbol. The stole is the symbol of priestly authority. They wear it during the celebration of the sacraments… basically any time they are acting in persona Christi. It's often easy to lose track of the profound and awesome fact that a priest literally becomes Christ during the Mass and confession. Yeah, that looks like Fr. Jacob up on the altar, that sounds like Fr. Frank in the confessional…. but it's Jesus. Same as the Eucharist looks and tastes like bread… but it's Jesus. Every time I'm nervous about confession, it's because I think I'm gonna go talk to a priest. But I'm not,...