An Invitation To Deeper Prayer


Tyler and I are re-reading Fr. Michael Gaitley’s 33 Days To Morning Glory in preparation to renew our Marian consecration on the Feast of Her Immaculate Conception (December 8th).

I wanted to share with you an excerpt from one of last week’s reflections, which comes from the writings of Blessed Mother Teresa.  It spoke to my heart, so maybe it will speak to yours as well:


I worry some of you still have not really met Jesus – one to one – you and Jesus alone. We may spend time in chapel – but have you seen with the eyes of your soul how He looks at you with love? Do you really know the living Jesus – not from books but from being with Him in your heart? Have you heard the loving words He speaks to you? Ask for the grace, He is longing to give it…

…Never give up this daily intimate contact with Jesus as the real living person – not just the idea. How can we last even one day without hearing Jesus say, “I love you” – impossible. Our soul needs that as much as the body needs to breathe the air. If not, prayer is dead – meditation only thinking. Jesus wants you each to hear Him – speaking in the silence of your heart.

(Blessed Mother Teresa, 25 March 1993)

“Jesus wants you each to hear Him–speaking in the silence of your heart.”  Let’s draw near to God and ask Him to transform our prayer.


The End Of The World

This coming Sunday is the Solemnity of Christ the King, and the final Sunday of the liturgical year before Advent begins on November 29th.

If you have been paying attention, you may have noticed the readings at mass on Sundays have taken a somewhat “ominous” turn.  We have started dealing with end-of-the-world themes and hearing preaching about Jesus’ coming judgement at the end of time.  All of this can be somewhat confusing: As the rest of the world begins its Christmas-time celebrations by singing cheery tunes and indulging in sweet desserts, those of us in the Church might be tempted to think of the readings on Sundays as being kind of a “downer” on the whole holiday spirit.

Just when we are ready to get excited for Christmas along with the rest of the world, the Church has us dwelling on the apocalypse—What gives?

Consider this your heads up.  When you hear in the coming weeks preaching of the Son of Man coming on the clouds, separating the wheat from the chaff, or the coming tribulation of the end-times, it’s not meant to put a collective “bah-humbug” on your holiday cheer.  Rather, it’s a reminder of why Jesus came into the world in the first place.  And as we prepare our hearts to celebrate the first time our Lord Jesus came into the world, it is only appropriate that we also look forward to, and prepare our hearts for, the day when He will return, as He promised.

Jesus Is Coming, And Has Already Come

So Pilate said to him, “Then you are a king?” Jesus answered, “You say I am a king. For this I was born and for this I came into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone who belongs to the truth listens to my voice.”

“Parousia” is a fancy word from ancient Greek that means, a “physical presence” or “arrival” of someone.  It is most often used to reference Jesus’ Second Coming.

When Jesus came into the world the first time, He was born in the bitter cold of night, into a poor family, and laid to sleep in the stable animals’ feeding trough.  It sure didn’t look like the King of the Universe had just entered the scene.  As we draw nearer to His Second Coming, or parousia, we are promised to be presented with various trials and tribulations.  In those times, we will likely ask ourselves, “Where is God?”

When we are faced with those trials, let’s remember that it’s not only true that Jesus came long ago in a stable in Bethlehem, and it’s not even just that He will come again.  Jesus has come, Jesus will come, and Jesus remains here with us, present in the Eucharist.


“Every Eucharist is parousia, the Lord’s coming, and yet the Eucharist is even more truly the tensed yearning that He would reveal His hidden Glory.”

(Ratzinger, Eschatology)

We need not fear Jesus’ second coming at the end of time, and we don’t need to be anxious about the tribulations that He will lead us through as we prepare to meet Him.  With the eager anticipation of a child as Christmas draws near, we take this time to kneel before Christ present in the Eucharist, and even dare to ask that He might hasten His coming, when the glory and splendor of the King will finally be made manifest!

In Defense Of “Soul Mates”

It has been said that:

Real love is not all feelings.

Real love takes work.

Real love requires choosing your beloved on a daily basis. 

These are all statements that I believe to be true.  But, can I let you in on a little secret?

I believe in soul mates. And [thankfully], I believe that I married mine.

“I have found Him whom my soul loves.”
(Song of Songs 3:4)

It is certainly understandable why so many people want to do away with the notion that those of us called to marriage are predestined to a specific “soul mate.” After all, what if you marry someone who is not your soul mate, and then end up meeting your “true” soul mate five years after the wedding?

For this reason, I did not always believe in soul mates. After all, real love requires work. You are not always going to have that warm and fuzzy feeling about your beloved. I used to reason that as long as I married someone that I was attracted to, and who understood these things, we would likely have had a pretty good marriage and probably live a happy life together.  And that would be just fine.

Then I met Tyler.

To be clear: I do not agree with every part of the common definition of a soul mate. When I say my husband is my soul mate, I do not mean that he is the one who satisfies my heart’s deepest longings or who fulfills my every need. If this is what a soul mate is, then none of us have one, and none of us can be one. As far as that kind of a soul mate is concerned, I agree with Saint Augustine: “You have made us for yourself, O Lord, and our hearts are restless until they rest in you.”

On the other hand, I also do not mean that my husband is my soul mate only because we felt some level of attraction for one another, got married, and now we put a lot of work into our relationship. (Even though all of these are of course true statements.)

When I say my husband is my soul mate, I mean that there is a kind of perfection and a peace to our being together that I cannot fully explain— nor take credit for. I think it can only be explained by the grace of God.

When I say my husband is my soul mate, I mean that I believe that I was meant to marry Tyler Pearson, and not just any guy who happened to share my most deeply held beliefs, had similar interests as me, and was easy on the eyes. I believe that God led us to one another, and even though we could have chosen not to, I believe that it was God’s plan for us to get married.

I believe that when I prayed for my future husband while I was growing up, I was praying for Tyler. God knew the name of the man who He would call to lovingly lead me to Heaven through the Sacrament of Marriage. God knew, and it was my job to listen to Him and to discern my relationships to find my soul mate: Tyler Pearson.

If I could tell the younger version of myself one thing about finding my husband it would be this:

Yes, true love will require work and it will not always be easy. But your soul mate will be more than just the result of hard work and similar interests. Believing in soul mates does not mean acting contrary to reason; it just means that you leave some room for grace to lead your heart. Listen to what the desires of your heart are telling you. They are going to lead you to a relationship more wonderful than you can imagine.


“When Does It Stop?” – Breaking The Cycle of Sin


It is something I learned from my grandfather’s preaching while I was growing up: Sin cycles.

You shall not worship them or serve them; for I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children, on the third and the fourth generations of those who hate Me, but showing loving kindness to thousands, to those who love Me and keep My commandments.…

(Exodus 20:5-6)

Recently, All For God Ministries shared a powerful clip from Jackie Francois-Angel on their Facebook page which witnessed to this reality (unfortunately I can’t embed the video here because it is a Facebook video…c’mon Facebook!).

“If you were abused,” she says, “you’re more likely to abuse…” Divorce, pornography, anger, etc., — all of these sins have a tendency to be passed down through generations, and from perpetrator to victim, creating a kind of cycle of sin.

To be honest, I was always a bit freaked out by hearing this.  And on the one hand, it is scary.  Look around at all the junk in the world and you can see the grim reality of the cycle of sin.  Doesn’t it seem hopeless at times?

Better not accumulate any baggage, I used to think when the topic of generational sin would come up.  And better find someone to marry who doesn’t have any, either, or else our kids will pay the price. 

Of course that is not really the point.  In reality we are all born into the cycle of sin.  We all bear the original sin of our first parents, and each of us is affected in some way by the choices–good or bad–of the families to which we belong.

Yes, all sin hurts us, and if we do nothing, the cycle of sin can destroy us and even threatens to rip our families apart.

But it’s not hopeless.  Thanks to Jesus, we get a choice.

“When does it stop?”  My grandpa would say when he would preach on this, “It stops when someone stands up and claims the Holy Spirit as Lord of the family.”  It stops when we, as Jackie says in the clip, “plant the Cross of Christ in our hearts,” and decide we don’t want it anymore.  It stops when we realize that we cannot break free from the cycle on our own, but that Jesus wants to—and actually can—free us.

So we ask the Holy Spirit to be real in our lives.  We begin to follow Jesus with the conviction that He is alive and actually working in our lives in every moment.  We choose to say “No” to sin and “Yes” to Jesus– every. single. day.

That’s how you break the cycle of sin.  Stand up and be free; it’s what you were created for.

But now that you have been freed from sin and have become slaves of God, the benefit that you have leads to sanctification, and its end is eternal life.

For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
(Romans 6:22-23)


What Does It Mean To Put God First?

“How can we better live our lives in such a way that we can put God first?” 

I received the above question from a reader last week and it has got me reflecting a bit on what it really means to put God first.

The easy answer (that just requires a bit of discipline) is to put into place the regular daily/weekly habits that give you frequent opportunities to grow in relationship with God. Mass every Sunday is [obviously] required. Daily prayer is, as well (preferably with the Scriptures). Regular confession is something we all really need to be in the habit of because we all are in need of God’s Mercy. Personally, I make it a habit to read the day’s mass readings each morning and pray a rosary with my family each night. Regular little practices like these are needed in the life of a Christian who wants to grow in relationship with Jesus.

I said all of that is the easy part. If you are not already in the habit, then getting used to these practices will take some time and some effort, but eventually they will become second nature.

However, I think to really answer the question of how we can put God first, Saint John Paul II said it best:

“One must arrange one’s life so that everything praises God.”

This is really the more challenging part of the answer. Once in the habit, that daily family rosary is actually pretty easy, and if we’re not attentive, it can become little more than a box on a checklist, begrudgingly prayed day after day simply because “we’re supposed to.”

It’s ok to go through times of spiritual dryness, and times like these actually strengthen our faith and deepen our devotions. But from time to time, we owe it to our relationship with Jesus to take stock of our lives and ask ourselves:

Am I living my life in a way that everything praises God?

Do I glorify God in my work—offering my best efforts, my successes and even my struggles to Him as an act of praise? Do my interactions with others reflect the Christian belief that they are created in His image and after His likeness? Do my thoughts and dealings with myself bear in mind that I am a beloved child of God? Do I recognize that everything in my life comes from Him and is ordered in His Providence for me to grow closer to Him?

All of this ought to be the driving force behind our regular devotions and our prayers.  Beyond just a sense of duty, love for the Person of Jesus Christ should drive us to put Him first in everything, to arrange our lives so that every moment and every decision is made with Him in mind.  Putting God first is the work of our whole lives as Christians!  Let’s pray that we continually draw closer to Him, and not just settle for a check list.