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The Fr. Mike Schmitz Catholic Podcast
8 minutes | 2 days ago
Are You Called to Be a Missionary?
Are you called to be a missionary? You may be one already! Saint Francis Xavier and Saint Therese of Lisieux are co-patrons of missionaries, although they lived very different lives. While St. Francis traveled all over the world proclaiming the gospel of Christ, St. Therese was unable to travel and did what she could in her own town. Both were missionaries in their own right. Being a missionary isn’t about traveling or living a crazy and unpredictable life. It’s about spreading the word of God to those who need to hear it. So the question is, are you called to be a missionary? As baptized Christians, we are all called to be missionaries in our own unique way. By living the life God has laid out for us, we can evangelize exactly who God wants us to reach, just by doing our best to live according to his commandments. This is also a part of the universal call to holiness, which not only states that every person is called to be a saint, but also that every person is called to be an apostle—or missionary—of Christ. St. Francis Xavier lived in a Christian era, and had to leave his home in order to evangelize. We, however, live in a post-Christian era, where the majority of people are not God loving people. The era we are living in right now holds the same kind of ignorance of Christ that the apostles lived in. This means that we don’t have to go anywhere to evangelize. We can start being missionaries right in our own home towns. St. Francis and St. Therese weren’t missionaries because of where they went—they were missionaries because of their hearts. There are so many people in our daily lives that don’t know God. Let us live out our call as missionaries and bring Christ to those God has given us.
7 minutes | 9 days ago
“Is This a Sin?”
If you begin to sin but don’t follow all the way through… is it still a sin? It depends. We’re offered two different scenarios. In one, the person is prevented from sinning due to external factors that make it impractical or impossible to commit the sin they had planned on. In the second scenario, we see someone preparing to sin, but then freely and rationally choosing not to. The first scenario is a sin, but the second is a virtuous act. Why? Because the second person freely decided not to commit sin, they morally aligned themselves toward the good when they had previously been aimed towards sin. They redirected their will toward God when they could have continued to go against him. In a simpler sense, they were headed down a bad path, but then turned around before making it to their destination. That being said, while the second person did realign themselves toward virtue, the extent to which they consented to this sin ahead of time may be worth a confession. Even though the person chose virtue in the end, their soul was still burdened with those thoughts, and in confession, those burdens are lifted through forgiveness. The beautiful part about our faith is that we have a Savior who is always ready and willing to forgive us. Surrendering our hearts to him creates a living relationship with God, where we trust his knowledge of our hearts, and run to him whenever we are in need of saving.
9 minutes | 16 days ago
What It Truly Means to Love the Sinner, Hate the Sin
What do you think of when you hear the phrase, “Love the sinner, hate the sin”? To some, maybe it’s something that their parents would say to them when they heard them gossiping. Maybe it’s something you were taught in school, or maybe it’s a phrase you’ve mocked or not taken seriously. But this phrase is synonymous with one of the greatest commandments Jesus gave us: to love our neighbor as ourselves. Here’s where the connection comes in: We are all sinners. We are all sinners, yet we want the best for ourselves, and we love ourselves enough to want good things for our lives. Just as we want good things for ourselves despite our sinfulness, we should want the best for our brothers and sisters despite their sinfulness. Sin plagues every human heart. While some may struggle more than others, we are all tempted on a daily basis to turn away from God. To love the sinner and hate the sin is to acknowledge that our brother or sister is constantly being pursued by God. In order to love the sinner, we must love ourselves enough to strive for a better relationship with God. How we view sin starts with how we view our own struggles, and if we are constantly getting down on ourselves about falling into temptation, that attitude will transfer to our brothers and sisters who need our support. To love the sinner and hate the sin—and to love our neighbors as ourselves—we have to be real about what sin is. No one is so far gone that God cannot reach them. He’s pursuing their hearts constantly, and every little victory counts in their walk toward eternity. God is so patient with us. Let’s glorify him and imitate him by being patient with one another— and with ourselves.
8 minutes | 23 days ago
Struggle Is Necessary
It may sound counterintuitive, but choosing the harder path may make our life easier. Here’s why: When caterpillars go into their cocoons for hibernation, they struggle against the barrier of the cocoon for months on end, trying to get out. It’s only when their wings have developed and they’re strong enough to fly that they are able to break free and escape. If a caterpillar were to somehow get set free from its cocoon before it was strong enough to escape on its own, it wouldn’t be able to fly, and would eventually die. The same is true in a way for us. When we face struggles in life, they have great potential to make us stronger. Not only do hard things make us stronger, but they prepare us more for harder temptations, trials, and suffering in the future. In a way, we are made more able to handle future struggles because of the little hard choices we make daily. Some struggles are greater than others, and maybe there are some things that you are constantly trying to avoid because they are so hard for you to do. But nevertheless, these are the struggles that you are faced with. These are the things God wants to make you stronger through. Because he knows what you need to continue on your path, and he knows that these struggles are not only going to make you stronger, but will intensify the victories he has prepared for you. There are some things that come from struggle that are so much more glorious than a scare-free life, and the Lord is ready to show you what triumphs he has in store for you.
8 minutes | a month ago
If You Think This Year Was Supposed to Be Different
We might have had different plans for this year, but were they really supposed to happen? We all wonder whether we’re actually following God’s will for us, but the reality is that, unless we are directly going against the Lord in some way, we are doing his will by just living our life. Wherever this year has taken us, whatever it has us doing, is exactly where God wants us to be. This is one of the joys of being a faithful Christian: as long as we are following the laws of the Lord, we can never be outside his will. This is true even today, as everything we thought we knew about this year was turned on its head. We may have had radically different plans and expectations for where we’d be now, or what we’d be doing, but it wasn’t the will of God. God has us exactly where he wants us, and as long as we remain faithful to him, we’ll follow the path that he’s paved for our lives. So, what if we’re not following the Lord? This is what the call of repentance is all about: if we’re not following the Lord, then we get to change the course of our lives and turn toward him through confession and penance. And you know when a perfect time for this is? Christmas! Because of Christmas, our lives don’t have to be a lost cause, or a dead end. Because God gave his only begotten son to us, we can turn our lives around and aim them at the light of Christ. It’s through the incarnation that eternal life with God became a possibility, and that repentance was born. Because Christ came to earth, we can use our lives to follow the will of God, even after steering off course. We now have a future, through the power of our Father’s love.
6 minutes | a month ago
The Most Important Part of Any Conversation
It’s those last five minutes of conversation with someone that makes them feel like a number or like a known and loved individual. We’ve all had conversations that makes us feel like the other person doesn’t really care to be talking to us. But we’ve also had conversations that stick with us because the person we talked to made us feel so loved that we can’t help but be uplifted by them. This is what those last five minutes are all about: making the other person feel wanted, known, and loved. This is true of any relationship; even our relationship with God, in prayer. How are we spending those last five minutes of prayer? Are we letting our minds drift to other things, or are we giving God our full attention? Jesus gave so much during his time on Earth. Just as he continually gave his time to those around him, we are called to do the same. Use the last five minutes with anyone you’re talking to—including God—to show them what they mean to you and to make them feel worth paying attention to.
9 minutes | a month ago
Answering Your Questions About Mary and Her Immaculate Conception
Truly loving Mary will never lessen our faith in God, or take attention away from Christ. Here’s why: The Church has 4 dogmas regarding our Blessed Mother. They are… Jesus gave Mary to all of us as our Mother during his crucifixion Mary was immaculately conceived without original sin Mary was assumed into Heaven after the resurrection of Christ Mary was a virgin before, during, and after the birth of Christ Today’s video is focusing on the second dogma dealing with Mary’s immaculate conception. It’s Mary’s preservation of soul that made it possible for Christ to be conceived in her through the Holy Spirit. So if Mary was able to be saved from original sin, why wasn’t I? The answer is simple: everyone has a role to play in the plan of God, but our role is different from Mary’s. God gives us everything we need to accomplish the role he’s entrusted to us. We are all born with specific and unique gifts, talents, and graces that make us who we are. There may be a lot of different things that we want to do, and maybe we’ve already done some of those things, but there are specific things we were made to do. The immaculate conception not only shows us the love God has for our salvation and our lives, but it also shows that he will give us everything we need to do the things we were called to do: the very purpose for our existence. If God could immaculately conceive Mary without original sin in the womb of Saint Anne, think about how many graces he can bestow upon us! This feast day is an opportunity to glorify God and thank him for all he has given us, and all he gave Mary so she could answer the call of Blessed Mother. The more we learn about and love her, the more we see the beauty and intentionality of Christ in our lives.
10 minutes | 2 months ago
When You Don’t Understand the Bible
Oftentimes in Christian media we see what Fr. Mike dubs a “Hallmark” version of following Christ. There’s struggle and hardship, but then God’s grace comes in and cures everything, making everything nearly perfect for the characters in the story. While these types of stories make you feel all warm and fuzzy inside, they’re not very realistic. And while God’s grace is essential, it’s not a magic wand that makes everything bad go away. There are some stories in the Bible that at first glance appear dark, difficult, or just don’t make sense. Even some of the things Christ says to his followers can sound harsh or even scandalous at times. But it’s in these moments of confusion and concern that God wants to teach us something. This was something that St. Augustine struggled with before his conversion. It wasn’t until after he had accepted the faith and began to intentionally practice it that he realized it’s not God’s word that’s wrong, it's our interpretation of it. He gives us 7 things to do when trying to understand a passage we’re unsure of: Read the text in the original language. Or, if you’re not a scholar of Greek or Latin (more than likely), at least realize that a lot can be lost in translation, like idioms and turns of phrase, or context and foreign references. Try different biblical translations and see how they compare. Weigh what you’re reading with all of scripture (it’s ALL connected!) Be humble and accept that you don’t know everything needed to fully understand God’s word (and that’s okay). Sacred tradition always trumps our own interpretations. Don't take figurative language literally. Don’t universalize a parable to be relevant for all situations in life. The Bible wasn’t written by Hallmark. It was inspired by God. Hallmark is meant to help you escape reality. The Bible is meant to help you get back in touch with reality. There’s going to be brokenness, and sin, and unhappy endings, but there will also be real grace that transforms those hardships into strength, and it has the power to change your life.
9 minutes | 2 months ago
The Absolute Necessity of Saying "Thank You"
When was the last time you told God “thank you”? We live in an extremely hectic world, full of distractions, complaining, and longing for things we don’t have. And while it can be good to look at the things we do have and count up our blessings, how often do we then turn to God and thank him for those gifts? God is the reason we have anything in this life. Even our very existence day-to-day is a gift. There’s nothing better than thankfulness—and nothing worse than unthankfulness. We can all point out moments in our lives where we failed to be thankful, and it often leads to general feelings of unhappiness. So how do we stop feeling this way? How do we practice thankfulness more? There’s a simple solution: every morning and evening, ask the Holy Spirit to help you count your blessings, and then thank the Lord for all those gifts. St. Paul echoes this in his letter to the Thessalonians, saying that we should give thanks in everything we have and everything we are able to do. It’s what we are called to do as Christians, and it’s how we can reverence God and all he’s given us every day. The person who continually gives thanks is a person who is seeking God’s plan in their life. And one of the greatest gifts that comes from this attitude of gratitude is that every day becomes an opportunity to use those blessings. The celebration of the Mass is a very specific way we can express this gratitude towards God. The word Eucharist literally means “thanksgiving”! It’s in the Mass that we profess our love for Christ’s sacrifice, and thank him by performing a like sacrifice with the body and blood. We can go to Mass every day, and we can give thanks every day. And the beautiful thing about gratitude is that, the more we practice it, the more God will reveal blessings around us. Do you seek authentic joy for the life you’re living? Practice thanksgiving towards God.
6 minutes | 2 months ago
Let Yourself Wrestle with God
Have you ever felt like God really wanted you to do something, but you just weren’t ready for it? Maybe it’s a big life change, a relationship, or a vocation, but there’s something holding you back from saying yes to God’s call. People may be inclined to think that this is a bad thing, and might put themselves down, saying they aren’t open to God’s will in their lives. But what if this back-and-forth with God is the one thing we need to really say yes? When we wrestle with God, we’re not only engaging in relationship with him, but we’re being truly honest with him. He desires conversation with us, and it’s in wrestling with what God wants for our lives that we conform our hearts to his. We may think we know God’s vocation for us, or his plan for our life, and that may scare us. But the truth is, we will never really be sure what God wants us to do until he really shows us. We can project sometimes. Right now, all he wants us to do is be his: to dedicate ourselves and our lives to him and his works, and to live every day as an opportunity to reach holiness. Don’t pick a fight with God, thinking we know what he may want us to do someday. But don’t be afraid to wrestle with him today, because it can give us the strength and understanding needed to do his will.
9 minutes | 2 months ago
Living Life Through the Lens of Scripture
We all see the world through our own lens. The media we partake of—the news we read, the podcasts we listen to, the videos we watch—shapes that lens. But Fr. Mike says there’s one thing that should be shaping our lens more than anything else: scripture. Fr. Mike has read The Fulfillment of All Desire by Ralph Martin many times, and one point that Mr. Martin makes that has stuck with Fr. Mike is that every saint had a Biblical worldview. The lens through which they saw the world was the Bible, and that changed everything. We read, watch, and listen to a lot of things. But what are those books, articles, shows, and podcasts leaving us with? How are they shaping us? Fr. Mike makes sure to only spend time with media that will give him insight, media that’s worth his time. But more and more, perhaps like you, he’s been yearning for more of a Biblical worldview, and that seems to be scarce. That’s when Father decided to make the change he wanted to see. In the Bible in a Year podcast, Fr. Mike Schmitz walks you through the entire Bible in 365 episodes, providing commentary, reflection, and prayer along the way. Unlike any other Bible podcast, Ascension’s Bible in a Year Podcast follows a reading plan inspired by The Great Adventure Bible Timeline, a ground-breaking approach to understanding salvation history developed by renowned Catholic Bible teacher Jeff Cavins. With this podcast, you won’t just read the Bible in a year … you’ll finally understand how all the pieces of the Bible fit together to tell an amazing story that continues in your life today! The more you read the Bible, the more you realize that the story of salvation is your story. As the author of Ecclesiastes reminds us, “there is nothing new under the sun.” The rise and fall of kings, the struggle between good and evil, the fight to be faithful in a broken world. The deeper you dive, the more familiar you’ll find it. This is the perspective that the saints had: a Biblical worldview. You can sign up to get updates on the podcast as the release date approaches (January 1st, 2021) as well as download the reading plan so that you can follow along (https://tinyurl.com/yyhc2pcj). If you don’t already have The Great Adventure Bible, you can get one at Ascension (https://tinyurl.com/y56z8l9l) so that you’re reading the same translation as Fr. Mike. It’s also the only Bible with The Great Adventure Bible Timeline built in—the same system that Father will be using for the podcast. If you prefer to read in Spanish, Ascension just released The Great Adventure Bible en Español as well (https://tinyurl.com/yyonobmf). You can find The Bible in a Year (with Fr. Mike Schmitz) on Apple Podcasts (https://tinyurl.com/y6n6ectu), Spotify (https://tinyurl.com/yylr9r3x), or anywhere else you listen to podcasts. God bless you!
9 minutes | 3 months ago
The Virtue That Takes Virtue to the Next Level
Fr. Mike introduces us to the virtue that makes other virtues excellent: magnanimity. If someone asked you what the most essential virtues are, you might say humility, faith, hope, or love. But have you ever heard of the virtue of magnanimity? What this virtue does is it magnifies—or makes greater—other virtues within someone. In other words, it’s to strive for excellence. This is not to be confused with the vice of pride, which relies on the gifts of oneself without acknowledging any help that may come from another person or even God. Instead, a magnanimous person sees the gifts God has given them and chooses to emphasize them in their life as a way to honor him. Consequently, every saint must be magnanimous; they must be great for the Lord. Even saints who have the most different and opposite lifestyles become one in the same, purely through their desire to be excellent, not for the sake of themselves, but as a “thank you” to the Lord. One way to strive for magnanimity is to avoid the temptation to it’s opposing vice, which is pusillanimity. Pusillanimity is the direct opposite of magnanimity: it’s to shy away from the gifts God has given you, out of timidity. This is different from humility, because where humility is acknowledging that your gifts are not your own, pusillanimity is refraining from using those gifts in the first place. By embracing the gifts God has given us and using them to glorify him, we are being magnanimous. It doesn’t matter what stage of life you’re in, how old you are, or what your gifts consist of. All of us have the opportunity to be magnanimous, and all of us have the opportunity to be saints.
8 minutes | 3 months ago
Regret vs. Repentance
Fr. Mike talks about how to regret things we’ve done without staying stuck in the past. Have you ever heard the saying “don’t regret the past, because it’s made you into the person you are today?” Maybe you’ve heard something similar to that, and while there’s truth to this saying, there’s also something that we as Christians should be aware of. Sometimes we make mistakes. We do things we wished we hadn’t. Sometimes, we hurt those we love in the process. We never want to live in the past—burdened by the mistakes we’ve made—but it’s safe to say that all of us have done things that didn’t make us the people God wants us to be. There’s a difference between regret and repentance, and it can be best seen when comparing St. Peter to Judas. Both men sinned gravely against the Lord: Peter denying him during the time of his Passion and Judas delivered him to crucifixion. The difference is, where Peter regretted his sins and repented, Judas let his sin consume him. It’s okay to regret the things we’ve done in the past that took us away from the path of God, but we can’t dwell in this regret. Instead, we have to do something about it. We have to repent. Repentance is what gives us the strength to forgive ourselves and continue striving for the kingdom of Heaven. When we repent, we surrender ourselves and our mistakes to the Lord, and then he can use those mistakes to glorify our lives. God can use everything—even our worst sins—for our path towards eternity. Nothing given to God is ever wasted.
9 minutes | 3 months ago
Why Married Couples Must Be Open to Children
Do you have any “expectations” when you think about marriage? A lot of us probably think of marriage as broadly the same thing: two people coming together in love to spend the rest of their lives together. But when we start to dive into the specifics of that idea, it’s important to recognize what expectations are of the world, and which are of God. One of these expectations could be the willingness to have kids. The Church teaches, however, that in the case of sacramental marriage, it is asked and even expected of the couple that they be open to life throughout their marriage. This is why the priest performing the ceremony and marriage prep asks the couple if they are freely, fruitfully, fully, and faithfully entering the sacrament with their spouse. Unfortunately, our world often tells us that marriage doesn’t need to be open to life. People will even sometimes say it’s selfish and reckless to bring children into a world that is so broken. But the truth of the matter is that a marriage can’t be sacramental without an openness to life, and that’s a big deal. Children are the purpose of marriage. It’s the one relationship where people have kids. Now, of course, people have sex outside of marriage that could result in kids, but we recognize that the act of sex is best placed in the context of a commited, lifelong relationship, such as marriage. Because of this, an openness to children must be present in a relationship for that couple to pursue a sacramental marriage. It’s a gift of self to another, ordered towards the procreation and education of children. Now, what about couples who can’t have kids, or are past the age of childbearing? Those marriages are no less sacramental than the ones that have children, so long as they’re still open to the procreation of children. It’s the orientation towards the task of procreation that’s important, not the achievement of it. Bottom line is, sacramental marriage is a gift of self towards another, totally, fruitfully, fully, and faithfully. Without an openness to life and the procreation of children, this gift of self is not full, and therefore does not hold the ability to be a sacrament of God. It’s an essential part of God’s plan for romantic intimacy, and must be separated from whatever “expectations” the world may have for marriage.
10 minutes | 3 months ago
Why You Can’t Put Your Faith in People
Have you ever been shaken by a scandal in the Church? It’s hard not to have been, especially amidst scandals on a major scale or ones involving people we’ve looked up to and loved. When these things come to light, it’s common for people to start to blame the Church, and—sometimes—to leave their faith. If we feel the need to reexamine our belief in God and the Church because of something someone else did, maybe our faith should have been in God and not a person who’s broken just like us. We’re incredibly blessed to have such a vast community of Christian believers in our world who strive towards the way of Christ and in many ways dedicate their lives to the service of others. But just because they’re followers of Christ doesn’t mean they’re perfect. As humans we have a natural inclination towards sin that we’ve inherited from the first sin of Adam. And it’s important that we see this for what it is, because if we put our faith in anyone other than our Creator, we put our faith in someone that can’t satisfy our hearts. Let’s ask God to help us build a stronger relationship with him so that always look to the foundation of the Church and the faithfulness of God instead of putting our hope in the ways of man.
8 minutes | 4 months ago
Why Are We So Divided Right Now?
Is it just us, or does the world seem a bit divided right now? Human beings were not only created with a unique purpose, but also created to live in community. However, there are two things that can disrupt this call: division and distraction. Why these two? Well, distractions are things that take us away from a given task or goal, taking us away from living with a purpose. Likewise, division takes away from living in community with those around us. The twentieth century brought with it innumerable inventions of distraction: things like television, radio, computers, etc. All of these products are great innovations that have moved us forward in our abilities to create community and showcase our unique strengths, but they’ve also put distraction at our fingertips. It’s not just technology that has caused distractions either. We can become distracted by virtually anything: chores, work, leisurely activities. But when we’re distracted, we’re held back from the task at hand, and the ongoing task for all of us is to live in community, and live with purpose. What does that mean for something like politics? Well, if you’re American, you basically have two political responsibilities as an American citizen: educate yourself well on the politics in your country, and vote whenever elections come around. Anything other than those two tasks are distractions from the purpose of politics. When it comes to division, our country has definitely had its fair share. So how do we fight against this division that seems to be splitting our country? Through conversation and through kindness. We’re called to be united in community with those around us, so much so that Jesus refers to them as our brothers and sisters. Division won’t be conquered easily, but if we’re willing to converse, listen, and treat each other with kindness, we can get a couple strides closer to the community God desires for us.
10 minutes | 4 months ago
Which Is Better? The Rosary vs. The Chaplet
“What if I don’t have time to pray both The Rosary and The Divine Mercy Chaplet?” Deciding how to spend your time in prayer can be difficult, especially when you’re deciding between two powerhouse prayers like The Rosary and The Chaplet. Let’s look at each of them. The Chaplet of Divine Mercy was gifted to Saint Faustina during a vision of Jesus. In this vision, he listed 14 promises (https://www.divinemercy.org/elements-...) to those who pray the chaplet. In the chaplet, the prayers revolve around the concepts of mercy and holiness for the whole world, and reflect the prayers and promises we make during the Mass. It’s an extremely powerful prayer for not only our own souls, but the sanctification of the world. On the other hand, we have The Rosary, which is an act of love toward the Mother of Jesus, who was given to us at the crucifixion. This prayer has been recommended countless times by almost every saint who’s ever lived—and by Mary herself in several apparitions! The Rosary is a reflection on not only Mary’s life, but the life and miracles of Jesus as well. It allows us to enter into those moments with Jesus, the apostles, and Mary by way of meditation. So, should we spend time in prayer on The Chaplet—which probably takes about 5-10 minutes—or on The Rosary, which will take maybe 20-30 minutes? Why not both? If you don’t feel like you have enough time for prayer, that’s worth looking into. The reality is, you don’t have to pray The Rosary every day, and you don’t have to pray The Chaplet every day. But why not pray both as much as you can? These prayers are gifts God has given every willing Christian, and they are pathways to Heaven. So why not?
10 minutes | 4 months ago
Is It Ever Okay to Give Up?
You may have seen the movie Rudy. Its eponymous protagonist is a not-so-athletic college football player who spent years taking hits and practicing with his team, only to see a few moments on the field. Those short moments, however, left him with a tremendous feeling of accomplishment and pride, knowing that he committed to something and saw it through, even when it seemed hopeless. The question: is that always the right approach? Maybe if Rudy had dedicated that time to learning something he was naturally better at, he could have become an expert in his field. The choice Rudy made was made out of passion: he loved the game to the point of dedicating his college career to it, and not caring if the outcome wasn’t what he had expected. But what about bigger dreams? The dream of getting married, having kids, getting into a certain religious order, entering into a certain profession? Is there ever a point where you just have to give it up? There are a few things it’s never okay to give up. It’s never okay to give up hope itself. Hope is trust in the Lord extended into the future, knowing that he will always be with you in whatever circumstances you find yourself in. It’s also never okay to give up faith, God’s promises, or life itself. However, it is okay—and sometimes wise—to reevaluate certain outcomes, and realize that maybe it’s time to adjust your expectations. How do you know when to do that? When reality makes it obvious. For Rudy, that might have meant recognizing that he wasn’t going to be a starter on his football team. It’s still okay for him to want to be a part of the team in some way, and maybe get playing time one day, but reality must be acknowledged and accepted in these situations, or else we risk chasing empty expectations. This doesn’t mean you have to give up on your dreams, or that you can’t do anything: it just means you can’t do everything. Maybe your dream is to have a family, but you and your spouse can’t get pregnant. You might not be able to conceive, but you can still adopt, or be a foster parent. Accepting the reality of your current situation means having a dream, realizing it’s place in your life, and then asking, “Okay God, now what do you want me to do?” The outcome may not be what you had expected or planned, but if it’s with the Lord, it will still be good. And once we accept this reality, we will start to see that the real work is being done in our character, and that’s the power of trying. It may not make you the kind of person you had planned to be, but it will make you the kind of person that God wants you to be.
8 minutes | 4 months ago
The Real Answer to Why God Allows Suffering
Playing a video game called Injustice helps Fr. Mike explain the real answer to why God allows suffering. In Injustice, Superman becomes a totalitarian dictator in his attempt to try and eliminate evil. Batman tries to tell him, in trying to eliminate evil he has ceased to do good, because without the freedom to choose evil, we don’t really have the freedom to choose good either. Couldn’t God do better than Superman though? Couldn’t he just fix everything by bringing us back to the Garden of Eden? Anyone who is a parent knows that doesn’t work because God’s children—us—would just mess up again. So what does God actually do? He doesn’t eliminate evil. He draws close to us in the midst of evil. He suffers a painful death. He descends to the depths of hell. He doesn’t take away suffering. He transforms it and redeems it by entering into it. This led St. Paul to say: “Now I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake, and in my flesh I complete what is lacking in Christ’s afflictions for the sake of his body, that is, the church” (Colossians 1:24). St. John Paul II said in suffering we receive a sliver of the Cross. Our suffering matters because Christ’s suffering matters and we are his body. All we have to do is tell God to use our suffering. Nothing given to God is ever wasted, so give it to God.
8 minutes | 5 months ago
What It’s Really Like to Be a Catholic Speaker
Many people ask Fr. Mike, “How do you become a Catholic speaker?” The quick answer is “Get baptized and start talking.” Of course this implies that you live out the promises of your baptism. When you do that, people will start asking you to give talks about the Faith. At least that’s how it worked out for Fr. Mke. The caveat is that being a Catholic speaker is not all that it seems to be. The Faith is not going to spread throughout the world through someone on a stage with a microphone in hand. Christ will redeem the world through relationships, especially family and friendships. The danger is in thinking that giving talks equals ministry. The Catholic teacher, director of religious education, and volunteer are in the messy relationships that make disciples of Christ one person at a time. We don’t want to become someone who is willing to travel a thousand miles to tell a thousand people about Christ, but isn’t willing to cross one street to tell one person about him. Jesus first reached out to his twelve disciples and built strong relationships with them. Then people started coming to him. When you live an authentic Christian life founded upon a strong relationship with Christ and with others in Christ, people start noticing. You won’t have to aspire to be a Catholic speaker because those who are looking for a leader in the Faith will ask you to be one.
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