Dec. 21: Need to Unwind?

Have you ever finished a busy day at work but been unable to relax once you are at home? This was Kevin Lowry’s predicament.  While he sat in his Columbus, Ohio, home trying unsuccessfully to unwind, his four-year-old daughter Hannah kept tapping on his shoulder, asking if he wanted to play with her.  She was patient but very persistent.  Finally, he gave in and found himself pleasantly surprised by the results of this exercise. Lowry writes, “It may seem counterintuitive,… Read more

Dec. 20: Counting Your Blessings

These days Lexie Davis considers himself blessed to be free of drug addiction.  For a long time he was burdened by a crack habit which cost him his home, his family, and his business. The 58-year-old New Yorker had been living at the Volunteers of America Charles H. Gay Shelter Care Center for homeless men when a minister asked him a life-altering question. “He asked me who was the greatest homeless man I had ever known,” Davis told the Daily… Read more

Dec. 19: Finding Your True Self

The need to fit in has increased since the advent of social networking sites such as Facebook, where a person’s worth may be measured by how many friends they have.  However, as Catholic New York columnist Mary DeTurris Poust wisely notes, “Life is not a popularity contest.” “Too often we think becoming successful or holy means becoming someone different than the person we are created to be,” DeTurris Poust continues.  “Truth is, we are loved exactly as we are, by… Read more

Dec. 18: Joy: A Year-Round Basic

Many people associate joy with Christmastime.  Churches remind us to “Rejoice and be glad” while Christmas carols teem with joyous refrains.  Catholic News Service writer David Gibson wonders why such a vital feeling should be confined to the Christmas season. “Joy ranks high among the basics of Christmas,” Gibson asserts.  “But for Christians, joy…is a year round basic.  In others’ eyes, joy lends credibility to Christian life.  Joy is inviting and contagious.” Gibson goes on to say that many people… Read more

Dec. 17: Singing for Joy

Traveling on the road as a musician, Bob Rowe would use his off-stage hours to volunteer at local nursing homes and other care facilities for the elderly. Greeted at first by despondent, suffering people, he witnessed their change in outlook when he played his guitar and sang. “I thought, ‘If I could organize this into a bigger outreach, I could make a difference in my little corner of the world,’” Rowe explained. So Rowe founded Renaissance Enterprises, through which he… Read more

Dec. 16: Planting Seeds

For the last 35 years, several parishes in Minnesota’s Twin Cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul have collected clothes and gifts for the poverty-stricken people of Appalachia in rural Kentucky just before Christmas.  These contributions are then transported to Appalachia by truck. The program, which is run by the Archdiocesan Council of Catholic Women, used Bob and Elaine Eberhard’s small farm as one of its “launching points” for many years.  Initially Elaine, 79, wondered why the impoverished people in Appalachia… Read more

Dec. 15: Inspired Service

Laura Collier was only eight when she traveled with her mother to China. She remembers noticing the stark difference between the United States and the world around her.  Her view of the world forever changed, and in her teen years, when she visited other countries, she vowed to make a difference. That “difference” would come later when, as a college student at Oakland University in Michigan, she founded the school’s first international service group called Global Medical Brigades.  Their goal… Read more

Dec. 14: In the Nick of Time

Volunteers annually host a Christmas party at the New Milford, Connecticut firehouse for 40 youngsters from a nearby school for children with special needs.  One year, the party’s organizer, Peggy King, got word the day before the event that 60 kids would be attending.  Panicked because they only had 40 gifts with no more money in the budget, King needed a miracle. As she recalled in Guideposts magazine, King and her husband, Jerry, arrived at the firehouse the next day,… Read more

Dec. 13: Both Sides

Walking along the main avenue in her neighborhood on a Saturday afternoon, Maggie was thinking about how she longed to just be alone.  Although she loved them both, the stress from her teenage daughter’s mood swings and from her husband’s job issues was beginning to take its toll. Suddenly Maggie ran into Ruth, a friend from the neighborhood.  “Say a prayer for me,” Ruth told Maggie.  “I am so lonely, and long for companionship—someone to just share the day’s moments… Read more

Dec. 12: Baby, I Love You

During Advent, do you ever look up at the crucifix and try to imagine Jesus as a baby?  We see Jesus on the cross, see him in the Eucharist—but do you see him in your neighbor?  Or in the fussy baby a few pews ahead? God is love and of love.  When we struggle to see another person as a brother or sister of Christ—when we struggle to see ourselves that way—we should imagine a baby.  A vulnerable baby: so… Read more

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