Petitioning God

What My Nightly Petitions Look Like

Petitioning God in MarriageToday is my 16th wedding anniversary.  As such, I find myself reflecting with gratitude on the blessings God has bestowed on me.  They are too many to count, but I think the ones that matter most are found in how I am petitioning God on a daily basis.  It occurred to me that these petitions might be useful to others, either as a reminder to consider your own blessings or as a framework upon which to construct/re-construct your own petitions.  Without further ado, what follows is how I end prayer each night with the family… for all to hear.

I ask God to bless our family with the grace to get to Heaven and to bless our Church with truth and reverence.  I also ask that He would call at least one of our children to the priesthood and/or religious life.  I ask that He would bless any future spouses of our children, that He would bless our families, our friends, and their families.  Amen. 

Allow me to break it down for you…

3 Steps Toward Becoming a Friendlier Person

The Fleshing Out Carnegie Series - Part 1

Dale Carnegie - FriendlierIn this post, I offer you 3 steps toward becoming a friendlier person.  It is just part 1 of my “Fleshing Out Carnegie Series,” which is based on the major themes of Dale Carnegie’s writings as delineated in Dale Carnegie’s Golden Book.  To learn more about Dale Carnegie, who was perhaps only distantly related to steel mogul Andrew Carnegie, you can read his bio here.  Though there is no mention of his faith in the bio, he was a devout Christian and often referred to Jesus in his writings.

What This Series Is

This series contains my own personal reflections on how Carnegie’s major themes might be useful today.  In particular, I offer a Catholic spin on them whenever and wherever it seems appropriate.

And the title… Fleshing Out Carnegie?  It’s a play on words.  Carn = Latin for flesh.  Sorry, I’m a geek for that kind of stuff.

What This Series Is Not

This series is not a summary or analysis of Carnegie’s own understanding of each of his major themes.  Interested in learning more about those?  Simply go to the first link above and read his books.  By all accounts, they are classics and very worthwhile.

As promised, what follows are three steps toward becoming a friendlier person.

Why Tolerance?

There's Something So Much Better

Tolerance or Love?In layman’s terms, tolerance is putting up with something undesirable.  Now consider that tolerance might conceivably be current society’s most highly-esteemed value.  Think about that.  People of sound reason should ask, “Why tolerance?”

The meaning of tolerance today is not what it always was.  Today, it has more of a connotation of appreciation and embrace.  What does it appreciate?  Anything.  What does it embrace?  Everything.  People of faith know that’s not entirely accurate, though.  Those who most strongly espouse the modern notion of tolerance are prone to be quite intolerant of those who hold to the original meaning of the term.

Take their attitude toward Christians, for instance.  Christians work hard to eradicate social evils such as abortion, euthanasia, and so-called gay marriage, while simultaneously admitting that as long as this fallen world exists, evil of every kind will continue.  When certain evils are out of one’s personal control, a Christian tolerates them, but never accepts or embraces them.  They neither could nor should.  This position, held by the vast majority of people who ever lived, is found intolerable by so many today.  Modern “tolerators” even go so far as to call people like the Christians described above as ignorant, backward bigots.  Ironic.  Christians may be intolerant of actions, but those who espouse modern tolerance are actually intolerant of  and attack persons.

So what can you and I do in the face of what can only be described as something sinister?  I have a suggestion.

4 Sources For Making A Change in Your Life

And It Ultimately Comes Down To You

Time For ChangeAs creatures in time, change is no stranger to us.  Time, after all, is a measurement of change.  Yet for all that, change can be one of the most railed against and dreaded things in our lives.  The reasons are complex, but one of them is surely because some changes are huge… life-altering even.  In this post, a result of my own prayers and introspection today, I offer four sources that seem, to me anyway, necessary for making lasting change in one’s life.

God

This one seems obvious, but many overlook God today.  God is the One Who constantly holds existence in the proverbial palm of His hand.  He sustains creation from moment to moment and providentially provides for all our needs.  He is the primary source and inspiration for any changes we could ever hope to make.

In order to make a change that lasts, we must begin with gratitude.  Gratitude, in turn, leads to a desire to please God with a sacrificial offering of one’s life.  We can even get specific here, and offer a particular aspect of life that needs change.  God will see our changes through to the end, provided we turn to Him regularly in prayer.  Finally, we come to Him full circle with grateful hearts for the change He works in us.

3 Keys to a (Mostly) Happy Marriage

Prayer, Sacrifice, and Dropping Your Drawers

Wedding Picture in IrelandJust as no person is perfect, no marriage is perfect either.  That doesn’t mean that a marriage can’t be a happy one, at least most of the time!

Here are three keys that I’ve found helpful in my own marriage, in hopes that they might bring some happiness to yours.

Pray Together – Stay Together

We don’t necessarily have a hand-holding, off-the-cuff daily routine of praying together.  We have prayed that way before, though, and it’s commendable.  Rather, my wife and I say our mealtime prayers together, our nightly prayers together, and we go to Mass together every Sunday.  From time to time, we’ve had a habit of praying an Our Father together in the mornings before work, offering it for a daily intention that each of us has.  Likewise, we invite each other to go to Confession when our hectic Saturday schedules allow us to go together.  On special occasions, we go to devotional prayer services offered at local parishes, praise and worship gatherings, and concerts of our favorite Christian artists and bands.  All of this speaks of a life immersed in prayer, and we are not alone.

I am blessed to know many couples who share similar habits.  While none of our relationships are without challenges, I firmly believe that prayerful communion with God is the ultimate tie that binds a married couple.

3 Simple Steps to Meaningful Prayer With Your Kids

... and they might be useful for you too!

child prayingPerhaps you’re a new mother.

Maybe you’ve already got kids who are several years old or older.

Chances are you’ve wondered, “What’s the best way to teach children to pray?”

Let’s face it, we all have our own struggles with prayer.  Some of us are fortunate enough to have discovered the best way or ways for ourselves to commune with God.  The rest of us are still searching.  There’s just so much to choose from with regard to prayer forms, it can leave us wondering where to begin, both for ourselves and for our kids.

In this post, I’m going to share what works for our family of seven, why I believe it’s a good and sustainable practice in general, and therefore, why it can be worth your while too.

The Trouble With Dying… We Were Made For More

A Meditation as We Approach the Feast of the Most Holy Trinity

“It’s natural.”Trinity

“It’s a part of life.”

We often say these things with regard to death and dying.  The problem is, they’re not true.  We weren’t made for death.  God made us for so much more.

This past Saturday evening, my wife and I had the privilege of visiting with one of our closest friends.  Late-stage liver cancer left him with little time on this earth, and we all knew that evening would be our last goodbye.  As we drove away, tears streaming down our faces, I turned to the faith the three of us shared in common, and what follows is my effort to share the thoughts that came to my mind in that moment.

Some will find it ironic that the theme of dying would be the cause for a meditation on the Holy Trinity, but I think if you read on, you’ll see why it’s so fitting.

The Summer of Dreams

It felt like it would never arrive.

I’d been counting down the days for school to come to an end and finally allow me the time to chase my dream.  Now, school’s out and today is officially the kickoff to the Summer of Dreams!  What is the Summer of Dreams?  Read on…

In this post, I am inviting you to come along for a journey.  The beauty of it is that it’s not just my journey, but yours too.  We might not share the details, but substitute my dreams and goals for your own and see if my journey encourages you to adapt it for yourself.  I want to briefly share:

  • Where I’ve been
  • Where I’m at now
  • Where I’m headed

Where I’ve Been

Step 1

In the last 6 weeks or so, I accomplished a lot.

First, I did a serious self-assessment.  What are my gifts?  What do I enjoy doing?  Why am I here?  I know… that one’s pretty deep, but important!  What did I learn?  I communicate well.  Whether it be teaching or writing, I have a way of getting a message across in an interesting and understandable way.  More than that, it’s also what I enjoy doing.  Nothing makes me feel so alive as when I’m able to stir people’s hearts.  Realizing my gifts and what I enjoy doing led quite naturally to understanding my purpose.  I’m a messenger.