Off the Shelf 046 with Greg Willits – Tied in Knots

Greg Willits is the editorial director for Our Sunday Visitor and the author of The New Evangelization and You: Be Not Afraid. With his wife, Jennifer, he founded the New Evangelizers and Rosary Army apostolates, authored The Catholics Next Door: Adventures in Imperfect Living, and hosted “The Catholics Next Door” daily talk show on SiriusXM. In addition to raising their five children, Greg and Jennifer also produce the weekly “Adventures in Imperfect Living” podcast at www.gregandjennifer.com. Find yourself for of… Read more

Remember that God controls your destiny; Church Fathers: Day 111

A correspondent had asked Theodoret an interesting hypothetical question. Theodoret’s answer quotes Jesus’ advice to persecuted Christians: do what’s reasonable to preserve your own life. Suicide is never an option because your fate belongs to God. You bring up the case of an unrighteous judge who gives two cham­pions of piety a choice: either sacrifice to the demons, or fling yourself into the sea. One chooses the latter and plunges into the deep with no hesitation, but the other, refusing… Read more

Learn to distinguish what really matters; Church Fathers: Day 110

We can never know in this world why bad things happen to some people and good to others, says St. Augustine. But that very uncertainty should teach us what we really ought to value. In this world we learn to bear calmly the bad things that happen even to the good, and to hold cheap the blessings that even the wicked enjoy. So, even when we can’t see God’s justice, his teaching is beneficial. We don’t know by what judgment… Read more

Feel pity for your persecutors; Church Fathers: Day 109

The wise abbot Chaeremon told St. John Cassian that forgiveness and compassion are the signs of a soul purged from sin. If you forgive your persecutors as Jesus did those who crucified him, you really are following the Lord’s commandments. When anyone has acquired this love of goodness I was talking about, and the imitation of God, then he will be endowed with the Lord’s heart of compas­sion, and will also pray for his persecutors, saying in the same way,… Read more

An Amazing True Life Story About World War II

Review by Julie Abell When I was a teenager in high school, I could not stand history. Like most people I wondered why we had to study something that was in the past and we could do nothing about and besides the textbooks made history so boring I could cry. Now that I am significantly older and I have a better understanding of the passage of time and the human condition, I love learning about history.  I still stay far… Read more

Make the right use of your worries; Church Fathers: Day 108

We worry all the time, and with reason. Who can predict what will happen tomorrow? But we should remember our eternal destination, says St. Augustine. Everything we do in this life should ultimately be done with that in mind. Not even the saints and the faithful worshipers of the one true and most high God are safe from the many temptations and lies of the demons. But in this abode of weakness, and in these wicked days, this state of… Read more

Let difficulties be your teachers; Church Fathers: Day 107

The expulsion from Paradise was a bad thing. Yet look what good came of it, says St. John Chrysostom. The troubles of life after the Fall turned Eve’s mind back to God. Learn from the mother of Cain what a good result came from the expulsion from Paradise. Compare what Eve was before that to what she became afterward. Before the expulsion, she thought that the lying devil, that wicked demon, was more worth believing than the commandments of God…. Read more

Why Are We Catholic? A Look Inside the Faith From Brandon Vogt

Sometimes in our faith journeys we are asked the question to trump all questions. “Hey Pete, why are you Catholic?” That is a valid question whether you are a cradle Catholic or a convert such as myself. The reasons you may be asked that question are unending. Perhaps it’s a friend asking out of curiosity. Maybe you have an online presence, and someone asks the question in an attempt to catch you off guard. Regardless of the reason, Brandon Vogt… Read more

Cultivate patience and be at peace; Church Fathers: Day 106

If you cultivate patience, says St. John Cassian, you will be at peace not only with other people, but also with animals and even the inanimate objects that used to frustrate you. God, the creator of all things, considers the amendment of his own work above everything else. Because the roots and causes of our falls are found not in others, but in ourselves, he commands that we should not give up intercourse with our brethren, nor avoid those who… Read more

We are called to endure pain and illness; Church Fathers: Day 105

Sometimes pain and sickness are hard to bear, but we’re still called to bear them. St. John Chrysostom writes to Olympias, a woman who was suffering from a painful illness, that even these sufferings have a purpose: they lead us toward our salvation. Nothing gives you so much credit, Olympias, as patiently enduring suffer­ing. For patience is certainly the queen of virtues—the most perfect crown—and, as it excels all other forms of righteousness, so this particular kind of it is… Read more

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