Mar. 10: Judging Your Neighbor

In his book series In Conversation with God, Francis Fernandez encourages Christians to become more understanding toward the faults of others, especially during Lent.  He writes, “Charity changes the heart so that there is room in it for all, even those who don’t understand us or who fail to respond to our love.  With the Lord beside us, we will not feel anyone to be our enemy.”“[St. Bernard advises], ‘Although you might see something bad, do not instantly judge your neighbor, but, rather, ex … [Read more...]

Mar. 9: No Shortcut

A prominent businessman who was enrolling his son in a prominent university shook his head when he started to examine the institution’s catalogue of studies.“Does my son have to take all these courses?” he asked the dean.  “Can’t you make it shorter?  He wants to get out quickly.”“Certainly he can take a shorter course,” replied the dean.  “But it all depends on what he wants to make of himself.  When God wants to make an oak, He takes 20 years, but He only takes two months to make a squa … [Read more...]

Mar. 8: No Loaves, but 40 Fish

“Small miracles are all around us,” writes Catholic News Service columnist Father Peter Daly.  For instance, a woman in his parish in Prince Frederick, Maryland, who works cleaning houses, took in her three recently-unemployed adult children and their families.  Altogether, she now had 18 mouths to feed.Another parishioner had been catching fish to help feed this mother’s significantly-enlarged table of guests.  One day, he enlisted the help of two teenagers from the parish’s Catholic Heart W … [Read more...]

Mar. 7: How to Sharpen a Student

In his monthly Apple Seeds newsletter, Father Brian Cavanaugh recalled asking a college student how her midterm exams went.  She replied they weren’t too tough, except for one professor whose tests are “impossible to pass.”Father Cavanaugh asked, “Do you learn more studying for her tests, or from the teachers that are not so difficult?”The student admitted she had learned more with the difficult professor, but still wondered why she had to be so tough.  Father Cavanaugh then asked if she … [Read more...]

Mar. 6: Serving Life

It would be easy to consider the hardened criminals inside Louisiana’s maximum security prison at Angola simply as monsters.  The Christopher Award-winning documentary Serving Life, however, challenges that view by exploring the prison’s hospice program in which inmates care for their fellow prisoners who are sick and dying.The film follows several inmates as they confront the fragility of life while growing in compassion and moving toward redemption.  As one volunteer explains, “I’ve heard h … [Read more...]

Mar. 5: How to Talk to God

Prayer is an important part of our Lenten obligations.  If you find it difficult to pray, you might simply imagine God speaking to you.  His words might sound something like this:You don’t have to be clever to please Me; all you have to do is want to love Me.  Just speak to Me as you would to anyone of whom you are very fond.  Are there people you want to pray for?  Tell Me their names, and ask as much as you like.  Trust Me to do what I know best.Is there anything you want for your soul? … [Read more...]

Mar. 4: Mary’s Meals

When Scottish famine relief worker Magnus MacFarlane Barrow traveled to Malawi in 2002, a child he met there told him that his only wish—and by extension, the wish of most children—was “to have enough food to eat and to go to school one day.”That encounter, coupled with his desire to follow Jesus’ command to feed the hungry, led Barrow to create Mary’s Meals.  The Scottish-based organization feeds over 500,000 people in 16 poor countries including Kenya, Malawi, Sudan and Haiti.  It often con … [Read more...]

Mar. 3: A Healthy Helping of Healing

Gilbert McClure, a retired Kansas cattle rancher, lists his recently deceased son John’s best qualities: integrity, sincerity, honesty.  That last one digs deep into his sorrow.  You see, John took his own life, and admitting that is heartbreaking.His parents didn’t see his death coming; his personality was the opposite of his actions.  John was a chef whose popular restaurant was always full.  But as his mother Marilyn told The Kansas City Star, “You have to face the truth so you can start t … [Read more...]