The Incredible Impact of the Smallest Acts of Kindness

If you've ever been to Costco with a toddler you probably know the routine.When the clerk checks your receipt against the items your cart at the exit doors they'll often warmly greet your little munchkin, flip over your receipt, and draw a smiley face with their marker on the back.It's a small reward for surviving the often apocalyptic shopping experience that is Costco with a toddler, but it's impact can be much, much greater than that.And today, it was.With a grumpy, teething … [Read more...]

How I’m Learning to Stop Being Angry

I was recently on a breakfast date with our two-year old son when I spilled coffee all down the front of my shirt.As we navigated towards the back of the crowded coffee shop, coffee in one hand, toddler connected to the other, we encountered a particularly challenging obstacle blocking our path. A man, resplendent with laptop, tablet, phone and briefcase spread all over, and around, a four-person table cluster.Blocking our way.With toddler in tow I tried to get carefully circumvent t … [Read more...]

Jesus Knows Exactly What You Need

The biblical accounts of Jesus appearing to Mary Magdalene and to the Apostle Thomas is endlessly fascinating to compare.When Mary Magdalene, overwhelmed with joy at seeing Christ risen from the dead, exclaims, "Teacher!" She is told, "Do not cling to me but go, instead, and tell the others what you've seen."She is, it seems, reproofed for her joy.When the Apostle Thomas, however, isn't among the other apostles when Christ first appears he claims that he won't believe until he can p … [Read more...]

I Am But Dust and Ashes

I tore a hole in my brand new coat.My brand new coat.We are by no means poor but we are thrifty and conservative with our spending so a new coat, which I haven't had in years, was a source of some excitement for me. I loved the feeling---the thrill---of something new to wear; I was happy.And it happened in a flash.Our son, a fussy nearly-two-year-old, was throwing a bit of a tantrum when I wouldn't let him hold the screwdriver. The screwdriver I was trying to use to assemble his … [Read more...]

How I Learned to Discern to God’s Will (And Also How Not To)

 The whole thing---the will of God thing---is tricky.As a teenager, in Evangelical circles, it was worn like something of a badge of honour: A young adult tromping off in this or that direction---following this or that fancy---would declare it to be the unequivocal "Will of God" and entertain no detractors.It was a Trump Card---in every sense of the word.But how we discerned such an important thing---what God wanted from us---what such a convoluted, serpentine … [Read more...]

Thoughts from a Convert in the Confessional Line

 I'm not going to write an apologetic for why confession makes sense. I've written that before.Suffice to say, if you believe, as I do, that the Catholic Church exists in a long line of successors right back to the very first apostles appointed by Christ, then confession makes sense."Whoever's sins you forgive are forgiven," Christ told his hand-picked apostles. The Catholic Church carries on that sacred tradition, two-thousand years later.That a priest can "forgive" my sins … [Read more...]

If the Church is a Field Hospital, Lent is Our Medicine

Early in his pontificate, Pope Francis likened the Catholic Church to a field hospital.Rather than a stuffy religious organization, the Holy Father urged us to view the Church as a kind of guerrilla movement---tending to the sick and wounded on the battlefield.Frankly, this sounds an awful lot like the Kingdom of God that Jesus proclaimed.I have a feeling Pope Francis is on to something.A wise, non-Catholic friend of mine, once remarked that if the Church truly is like a hospital … [Read more...]

You “Cultural Catholics” Are Killing Me

As I stood in what seemed like the longest line on earth---penance for something, somewhere, I'm sure---I couldn't help but notice the exaggerated golden crucifix hanging around the neck of the nearest cashier.The cashier who ever... so... slowly bagged item after agonizing item for the shoppers ahead of me as if she were a robot whose batteries were just... about... fully... drained.In the twelve eternal minutes I spent waiting, I rolled my eyes so many times I'd be surprised if I h … [Read more...]

It’s Lent: Prepare to be Tempted

One of the ever-bearing gifts of the Catholic Church is incredible depth of her teaching. Spanning over two thousand years the Church boasts incredible thinkers from Augustine to Aquinas; from Henri Nouwen to Cardinal Newman; from St. Francis of Assisi to, one of my personal favourites, St. Francis de Sales.Living and writing some 400 years ago, St. Francis de Sales was Bishop of Geneva at a time of crisis for the Christian Church. He stands out for his poignant responses to the early Pr … [Read more...]

Why Abstinence from Meat on Fridays Makes Sense

In a Church that celebrates the Rosary, changes its liturgical vestments for every season, and upholds a historic teaching of the Real Presence in the Communion celebration it's not a stretch to call Catholicism a physical faith.That physicality, among other things, remains a serious draw for converts like myself---the tug of a faith which emphasises not just the head and the heart but the hands, too.So it makes sense, especially during the Lenten period, that Catholics are called to … [Read more...]