Year Of Prayer

Year of Prayer

Forming Missionary Disciples

Bishop Boyea has called for a Year of Prayer, so that the diocese and each of us can discern the particular ways in which God is calling us to form missionary disciples. In addition to the prayer that will be used at Mass each week, Bishop Boyea asks each family or household to pray a Marian devotion once a week, asking for the intercession of Mary, our patron and the first disciple. The Year of Prayer began with the dismissal from Mass at the Diocesan Assembly on Sept. 22, and will conclude on the Feast of Christ the King on Nov. 24, 2019.

Each person is asked:

  • To pray the Rosary or another devotion to the Blessed Mother once a week as a family or household, asking the Holy Spirit to guide our parishes in how to form us as communities of missionary disciples.

Other suggestions:

  • Married with children at home: 10 minutes of daily prayer
  • Married empty nesters: 30 minutes of daily prayer
  • Married retired: one hour of daily prayer
  • Single: one hour of daily prayer
  • Make a weekly sacrifice (Fasting, almsgiving, service) for the Holy Spirt to guide our parishes in how to form us as communities of missionary disciples. (Suggested on Fridays)
  • Sign up or make a holy hour each week praying for the Holy Spirit to guide our parishes in how to form us as communities of missionary disciples.
  • Make a pilgrimage to a holy shrine or Eucharistic Chapel to pray for the Holy Spirit to guide our parishes in how to form us as communities of missionary disciples.

Prayer

Father, You invite each of us to share in the life and ministry of your Son, Jesus. Send your Holy Spirit to form our parish as a community of missionary disciples. Teach us how to hear Jesus, to love Jesus, and to share your gift of salvation with everyone we meet.

Through the witness and intercession of Mary, guide me to deepen my commitment as a disciple of Jesus. Lead our parish to grow as an intentional community, committed to go and announce the Gospel of the Lord.

We ask these blessings in the name of your Son, Jesus Christ. Amen

Encounter + Grow + Go

Becky Went To Last Year’s Women’s Conference

Becky Loveland
Rose Robertson | Photography by Tom Gennara

From the minute I walked in, I could feel the Spirit. I heard the music and could tell it was going to be a good day.” This was somewhat of a pleasant surprise for Becky Loveland, who signed up for the 2017 Diocesan Women’s Conference with minimal expectations. Her intent in registering was to spend a day with her mom, who had been undergoing treatment for cancer. Becky was searching for a day free of doctors, chemo treatments and stress. “I was really looking for something like a one-day retreat to reconnect with my faith as well as be a wholesome, spirit-filled day for my mom and me to spend together.” Her experience was life-changing.

Becky had anticipated a quiet day of speakers and reflection. Instead, the day’s events thrust her into a very emotional and unexpected awakening. Until the conference, she hadn’t realized what a box she had built around her heart due to all the stress she was experiencing. “During the conference, it was like the protective shell I erected was cracked. Prior to this day, I thought I had to be in control and do it alone. I suddenly realized I have this partner – God – to help me get through everything.”

The theme, God’s Desire, was palpable throughout the day and wedged into her heart. “My life had been so focused on everything going on around me that I hadn’t thought about myself or spent a lot of time with God. I was feeling guilty that I wasn’t a good enough mother, wife or daughter. I was frustrated that I didn’t have enough focus for each aspect of my life.” Becky became unshackled from her negative self-talk. She came to understand God’s loving desire was to have an active relationship with her. “Since the women’s conference, I have conversations with God every day. I listen and reflect. Now when I wake up, before I even get out of bed, I pray for God’s guidance to get me through my day.”

What helped her breakthrough was a themed compilation of speakers, reflection, adoration, exhibits and music, each of which seemed to speak directly to Becky. “All of the messages related to what I had going on as a working mom, daughter of a sick parent, building a new house, my relationship with my husband. I remember being particularly taken by the music and the lyrics. I hadn’t listened to Christian music since high school and forgotten what a positive message it carried.

“Another thing that really struck me were the testimonials. One speaker was a woman who had an abortion, and the idea of total forgiveness really came through her talk. Not just her, but each of the speakers definitely expressed God’s forgiveness and lovingness and brought it to life in such a way that it became clear having God as my partner was my choice. I had not realized I already had that tool in my toolbox and how it could open my heart.”

This transformative day included adoration and Mass. “Adoration is when I really released everything pent up. That separate time for really intense prayer was such a cleansing moment for me. And Mass, at the end of the day, gave me the opportunity to move back into the real world. It brought me back to my everyday life and gave the day closure in a way that was both familiar and spiritual,” she explains.

With her background in the field of marketing, Becky was impressed by the overall coordination of the event. “It was very professional. I was amazed at all the little details that were thought through. There was a tie to the music, the graphics, the speakers. The testimonials brought the theme to life. It was evident the conference wasn’t judgmental and accepted people where they were. Just the idea of a day being focused on issues women face meant a lot. I felt very catered to,” she says.

A year later, the power of the day is very evident in her expressions, her demeanor. Her metamorphosis is visible to her siblings, who tell her she is a different person, living much more by the Holy Spirit. Her newfound tools have impacted how she raises her three daughters to have more of a relationship with God. Her clarity has shifted her investment in the celebration of the Eucharist.

“Walking into the women’s conference,” she explains, “I felt like the weight of everything in my life rested on my shoulders. I walked out with a completely different frame of mind. Walking out, I knew I had a partner in God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit. I felt lighter. The conference was a testament to the fact that by God’s desire, none of us are alone. How freeing is that?”

2018 Women's Conference: Arise My Beloved The 2018 women's conference will be Saturday, Nov. 3 at the Lansing Center from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Speakers include Father Chris Alar, MIC and Kelly Wahlquist. For more information, visit LANSINGDIOCESECWC.ORG.

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For Adam, the assembly was ‘powerful’ ‘It literally took my breath away’

Adam Bishop and family
Rose Robertson | Photography by Tom Gennara

“To witness the sheer number of people who decided to show up and share their faith was so striking,” declares Adam Bishop as he shared his experience of joining the eucharistic procession for the first ever, diocesan-wide, Made for Happiness Assembly. “It literally took my breath away.

“Because we didn’t arrive at the Breslin Center until 10 a.m., we had to walk a few blocks to join in. As we approached, we came upon a sea of Catholics walking together. It was utterly amazing!” After he arrived, Adam soon realized “It was a real blessing to approach from the front because we got to see Jesus leading everybody. The people following behind the Eucharist, especially those way in the back, probably didn’t get the full impact of being led by Christ.”

Adam, his wife, Mary Teresa, and their three young daughters learned of the assembly from their parish, St. Pat’s in Brighton. From the start, Adam felt it would be a good opportunity to gather with the community of the Diocese of Lansing for an evangelization event. “I really wanted to be out there supporting Catholicism, and to show I love being Catholic. Ever since college, my faith has become really alive and been my home. I strive to be better, be more involved, read more, and participate in small groups,” he says. As Adam saw it, the Made for Happiness Assembly would provide another opportunity to enrich his growing faith.

Having participated in faith conferences in the past, including a World Youth Day, Adam anticipated a spiritually nourishing day while mingling with other Catholics who share the joy of Catholicism. It came as a surprise when he found himself profoundly overcome with something he had not considered: the experience of seeing such a large gathering of people from his diocese together at one time. His diocese. His people. His local Church. “To see all our parishes, all our priests and our bishop together at one time was so powerful for me. It was incredible,” he explains.

Of the procession, Adam says: “Though parishes were marked by individual banners, you could plainly see the differences that made each one its own community. I found it so interesting that each parish’s personality was visible. Some parish groups were praying the rosary, some were singing praise and worship songs, and some were just talking and having a good time being together. It was apparent everyone was happy and excited to be there together, as one whole piece of the Church.”

The joyful, holy persona of the Catholic crowd spilled over into the streets of Lansing as the entire procession would periodically halt and the monstrance holding the Eucharist would be used to bless each particular stop along the way. “When they stopped and shared a blessing, you could just feel the Holy Spirit come upon the place,” he says. Adam carried the aura imparted by this sacred act throughout the entire day.

The morning procession was followed by inspirational talks in the afternoon by Father Mike Schmitz, Jennifer Fulwiler and Deacon Larry Oney. Being a follower of Father Mike on YouTube, Adam was excited to see and hear him in person. Father Mike’s message articulated Adam’s own feelings on the differences between spiritual joy and secular happiness. “Joy is a choice, a sense of being, and you choose to let Jesus provide. Our culture defines happiness as a temporary goal that is never fully satisfied so we keep moving the goalpost. Joy, on the other hand, is about intentionally seeing the good in each moment because, by following Jesus, life is going in a right direction.”

For Adam, Jennifer Fulwiler’s talk about her conversion reinforced that Jesus is truly real. And he enjoyed Deacon Oney’s rally-style delivery and how it energized the crowd. “His talk was really powerful. He spoke of many things but I liked how he addressed the elephant in the room by bringing up the recent scandals in the Church. He basically said sin was not going to deter us or have power over us. He led us into a cleansing-type meditation where he had us ponder our own struggles and invited us to release them to Jesus with a yell. On his cue, the entire arena shouted. It was a holy shout. It did something to me. I felt a power going out of me to the Lord and raising my intentions. The intertwining of my spiritual needs with my physical self was such a release,” he says.

The day’s scheduled events concluded with a diocesan-wide Mass. “Mass was big. Seeing almost all of the seats in the Breslin Center filled, and seeing all the diocesan priests process in and gather around the altar, is not something you generally get to experience. You really don’t realize the enormity of a diocese until you are all gathered together. The music was beautiful and during his homily, Bishop Boyea reinforced our call to be intentional disciples. I really love our bishop. Whenever I hear him speak, I always feel invigorated and more confident in the structure of the Church. I feel like he’s watching over us like he should be,” he remarks.

Participants were given resources to remember the day and support their personal evangelization efforts, including a copy of Matthew Kelly’s book The Four Signs of a Dynamic Catholic. A pocket book of Scripture containing the Gospels and Acts of the Apostles was also distributed, complete with this inscription from the bishop: "May you, through prayerful reading of these sacred Scriptures, discover the eternal happiness in Christ for which you were made."

The day, according to Adam Bishop, was rich, full and rewarding. The magnitude of executing such a sizable event was not lost on him. “Everything was wellplanned, from the advertising to the day’s events. There were plenty of food options, Mass was well-orchestrated; bounce houses and professional child-care were available for children; and the speakers were spiritually uplifting. My only regret was not being able to do everything offered due to time constraints and long lines. I did not get to experience many exhibits, or go to adoration, reconciliation or prayer teams because of that,” he says.

Adam is emphatic in affirming he would participate if the event were offered again in the future and encourages others to do the same. “It’s a great way to refocus. It should definitely be a reoccurring event; it should be a template for every diocese around the country. I left exhausted, but a good exhausted. A happy exhausted.

“It was so great to see the community of the Church alive and well in Lansing,” he adds. “You know, you can listen to talks from various electronic sources anytime, but when you can be at one place with your local people and see them so alive with our faith, it makes you feel like ‘Yeah, I can do this because I am part of something greater.’”

Encounter + Grow + Go

Catholics and Voting

Man voting

ON TUESDAY, NOV. 6, citizens registered to vote in Michigan will participate in the general election. With a crowded ballot, a great deal of candidate information to sift through and, at times, vocal and bitter partisanship in the public realm, it might be tempting for busy and well-meaning Catholic voters to avoid voting. However, the concept of faithful citizenship teaches that each person has the responsibility to participate in political life – with a well-formed conscience. Furthermore, the principles outlined in the U.S. Bishops’ election document, “Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship,” remind Catholics that they can help transform politics. This process is about more than polls, partisan rhetoric and individual interests. Instead, the Church urges Catholics to participate with an eye toward moral principles and the common good.

From there, it is the job of individual Catholics to weigh their choices and make decisions that advance the common good, in light of a well-formed conscience. At times, Catholics of goodwill may disagree on the best way to address or weigh a certain prudential issue; yet protecting the life and dignity of the human person and modeling respectful dialogue are not up for debate.

What is conscience and how does it relate to voting?

Within the document “Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship,” a word that immediately jumps out is conscience. The Church refers to conscience as a personal tool that helps people recognize the truth about God, the world and how to live their lives. Conscience is not a feeling, justification after the fact for an action or the internalization of news and facts that fit only with one’s existing political ideology. Instead, it is “the voice of God resounding in the human heart, revealing the truth” of faith and reason and guiding individuals to do good and to avoid evil.”

Closely tied to developing a well-formed conscience is the need for prudence, or “love choosing wisely between the things that help and those which hinder” (St. Augustine). Prudence helps individuals consider the best option for achieving a certain outcome. While the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) writes that certain evils must always be opposed – such as abortion, assisted suicide, euthanasia, the death penalty, embryonic stem cell research and racism – there may be other issues in which Catholics choose different ways to respond. Prudence is a key guidance in these decisions.

Proposal 1 asks Michigan voters if recreational marijuana should be legal. Questions about this proposal considered by the Michigan Catholic Conference Board of Directors, which includes the diocesan bishops of the state, asked if this measure promotes the common good and if it uplifts the moral fiber in the state. After careful review, the MCC Board is urging a “No” vote on the measure, citing the harm it may cause for Michigan families, health outcomes, communities and workers. To better understand the marijuana legalization proposal and to consider questions about its impact on the common good in society, visit WWW.MICATHOLIC.ORG.

TIPS ON DEVELOPING A WELL-FORMED CONSCIENCE

  • Be open to seeking the truth
  • Study and reflect upon Catholic teaching
  • Examine the facts about voting choices
  • Pray about all decisions before voting

THEMES OF CATHOLIC SOCIAL TEACHING

The themes of Catholic social teaching can be helpful in forming one’s conscience and preparing for voting.

The Right to Life and the Dignity of the Human Person

Every human person has inherent value, from conception to natural death.

  • Does the candidate promote life and oppose threats to its value, such as abortion, assisted suicide, euthanasia, the death penalty and embryonic stem cell research?
  • How does the candidate plan to address issues of violence in society, including gun violence, sexual abuse, domestic violence, torture and exploitation

Call to Family, Community and Participation

The institution of the family, based on marriage between one man and one woman, is the key building block in society.

  • Does the candidate support policies that protect the stability of marriages, families and children?
  • Does the candidate advocate for economic policies that enhance and strengthen family life?

Rights and Responsibilities

Every person has the right to basic necessities: life, food, shelter, medical care, and religious freedom. At the same time, each has the responsibility to recognize and to protect the rights of others in society.

  • Does the candidate support policies that allow for increased access to basic needs, such as affordable housing and health care?
  • Does the candidate support the right of individuals and institutions to operate in accordance with their deeply held religious beliefs

Option for the Poor and Vulnerable

How the most vulnerable are treated should be the basic moral test of any society, as their suffering is the suffering of the whole community.

  • Does the candidate promote the protection of the vulnerable and equip people with the resources to become self-sufficient whenever possible?
  • How does the candidate seek to address barriers for those in poverty, such as a lack of transportation or quality educational options?

Dignity of Work and the Rights of Workers

Work promotes and helps to protect the inherent dignity of each individual. It is a way to participate in the world God has created and to grow as a person in community with others. As such, the economy should put people first, and society should protect the rights of workers.

  • Does the candidate support social and economic policies that foster the creation of jobs, with decent working conditions and just wages?
  • Does the candidate support services for those who were incarcerated, to help them become productive members of society upon release?

Solidarity

Each person is part of the larger human family, despite differences in race, ethnicity, income or ideology. Jesus taught that all are called to love their neighbor as themselves.

  • Does the candidate support immigration reform that offers a path to citizenship, treats workers fairly and prevents family separation?
  • Does the candidate support policies that protect border integrity and address factors that compel people to leave their home countries?

Caring for God’s Creation

God created the earth, as well as the people, animals and plants that live upon it. As a result, all Catholics are called to be good stewards of creation and the gifts it provides, protecting human beings and the larger planet.

  • How will the candidate address environmental issues, especially their impact on the poor?
  • Does the candidate support policies that will protect the state’s natural resources?
Encounter + Grow + Go

How can I follow Christ in these dark times?

Cross
Father Joe Krupp

Q. DEAR FR. JOE: The world seems very dark lately and it’s really wearing me down. How can I be a witness to Christ in times like this?

A. I’ve felt this a lot too, lately. I believe it was C.S. Lewis who pointed out that the teaching on original sin is probably the most easily provable doctrine of the Church, and days like this are good evidence for that position! These are dark days. I always say this and I won’t hammer it too hard, but I will say it again: We should pray. We should pray against the darkness. I strongly recommend that we pray the Prayer to St. Michael, the Hail Mary and ask for the intercession of St. Joseph. We are facing great evil in these days and we need to pray against that evil.

Beyond that, I want to give us a few general ideas that can help us be a witness to Christ in these dark days. I’ll share an action, a commitment and a discipline that will help you shine.

FIRST, AN ACTION: CARE FOR THE POOR As Catholics, there are innumerable ways we can give to the poor. We can give our money, our time and our prayers to the least among us. Volunteer at a pro-life agency, donate to Catholic Charities, help out in your local food pantry. These things are not “extras.” It is the clear and consistent teaching of our Church and its founder, Jesus Christ, that our treasure and our talents do not exist for our benefit, but for the benefit of the least among us. When we are struggling with the darkness, it can be an incredible blessing to give our energy, time and even financial assistance to the poor.

SECOND, A COMMITMENT TO HOLINESS As God’s children, we have two choices: to be a saint or to go to hell. There’s no third option here. The dark is getting darker, the confusion and lies from hell are gaining more and more ground in our culture, and any moral authority our Church once held in society is severely damaged. We have to be the solution and we can’t be if we are not saints. We. Must. Be. Holy. Holiness begins with the internal. Make a solid commitment to pray every day and never give up on it no matter how many times you fail. Make sure you get to confession once a month, minimum. Each day, examine any way that you did not love God or others as you should and ask his forgiveness. The next morning when you wake up, you’ve got a fresh start. Read one of the Gospels, repent of evil thoughts and actions, do whatever it takes. Coupled with a life of service to others, you will find your life changing, and your whole viewpoint changing, as you realize that each day you are growing closer and closer to the Kingdom of Heaven.

THIRD, A DISCIPLINE OF MEEKNESS Why meekness? Because I find it exceedingly rare. Jesus specifically calls us to meekness, but we miss that call, perhaps because we don’t know what it is. To be meek is to refuse to do harm. That’s it.

A few years ago, I had an experience that drove me to strive for meekness. I was and am surprised at what a challenge it is. There’s a lot inside of us that wants us to be anything but meek and frankly, not many people honor it because they interpret it as weakness. Start striving for meekness and it will astound you how much strength it requires!

How to be meek? Here’s a few ways I have found helpful to practice the gift of meekness:

  • If I can’t say it out of love, I will not say it.
  • If I am not asked my opinion, I will not offer it, unless failing to speak up will cause harm to others.
  • When deciding whether to do “a” or “b,” I will go with what others want, as long as it is a moral option.
  • When someone hurts me, I will instantly ask God to forgive them and help me to forgive them.

These are just some of the things that I noted to help me challenge myself to be meek, and I have found it very, very good for me.

I urge all my readers to take this call very seriously – by God’s grace, we not only can do these things, but we must do these things! Scripture tells us that, “Where sin abounds, grace abounds all the more,” and I have found that to be true.

Let’s make a commitment, not to spend our precious God-given energy raging at those, them or the other, but instead to focus on caring for the poor, being holy and the discipline of meekness. May God strengthen and bless our efforts to be his.

Encounter + Grow + Go

‘We open ourselves up and ask God what he wants us to do’

Joshua McKinley
Mary Gates | Photography by Tom Gennara

EIGHTEEN-YEAR-OLD Joshua McKinley is a recent high school graduate, the oldest of seven children, and a parishioner at Holy Spirit in Brighton. FAITH Magazine caught up with Joshua to hear how the Lord has been at work in his life, using him to share the faith with those he encounters.

WITNESS: I’ve learned that if you try to live the Gospel, even if you fail sometimes, people take notice that you are trying. People have a universal desire for God, so when they see that you’re trying to live the faith, they will experience in you what they want for themselves. Working in a secular environment can be hard, but I’ve had the opportunity to talk to co-workers. Mostly, I think my witness is in being personally committed to living the Gospel.

INVITATION: I’ve experienced Mission Flint twice – it is a retreat where you spend six days in Flint – the first day in training and then on job sites for service work and out around the city for street evangelization. I’ve also done two training sessions with St. Paul Street Evangelization – one in Detroit and one at my parish. Invitation can be hard because you meet all sorts of people and it’s not easy to ask them to come to Mass or to pray, but if you build relationship first, then people are open.

PRAYER: Prayer is key. With street evangelization we always pray before we go out – we open ourselves up and ask God what he wants us to do. We even ask him to give us a description of the people he wants us to encounter. One day we had someone vividly describe a person and their clothing, and just a bit later I was walking down a random side street off the beaten path and this woman who met the description perfectly invited us to sit with her on her porch. It was perfect.

ACCOMPANIMENT: Street evangelization doesn’t always allow for follow-up, but we do sometimes get contact information. Mission Flint is an annual thing, so sometimes a year or two later we run into someone who is wearing a miraculous medal we gave them the year before. Accompaniment requires us to be open to God asking us to be present to someone. God has used my experiences to teach me that anyone can be the person the Lord wants you to talk to you and spend time with – you just have to be willing.

Encounter + Grow + Go

We were chosen as God’s children

girl playing with dollhouse
Sheri Wohlfert

“See what love the Father has bestowed on us that we may be called the children of God.” (1 Jn 3:1)

IT WAS ON PAGE 35 of the toy catalog and I had it circled, folded and flagged. I was 8 years old, and I had my heart set on that Barbie Dream House. Knowing how much I wanted it and knowing how far it was out of our family budget, my mom lovingly explained to me before Christmas that I would need to choose something else to wish for. She gave me time to be disappointed, but a short while later she came into the kitchen with a giant box, some fabric, supplies and a giant smile. We sat together at the kitchen table all afternoon and created a homemade Barbie Dream House, complete with furniture and curtains in the windows.

This verse from John’s letter reminds me of that beautiful afternoon and the love that spilled from my mother’s heart. I realized that if my mom could love me that much, and her love is only a sliver of the love our Father has for us, I think I’m underestimating some things. I suppose God tries to show me his love a dozen times a week, and I’m so focused on what I have my heart set on that I forget he has his heart set on me simply because I am his child.

We are busy, we are smart, we are involved. We are parents, children, teachers, farmers and dozens of other things. We fuss about getting ahead and doing better, making more money and achieving success and titles. We are so many things, but I need to give more thought to the fact that, above all the other stuff, I am his child! We’re not some random clump of cells that was spun into existence by a nameless, faceless creator. We were chosen, created and knit in our mother’s womb perfectly and lovingly. How’s that for an antidote to feeling unloved and unimportant? We matter because we are his!

God's love is so mighty that he wants us, he desires our happiness and he wants us to let him love us like the precious child we are. God isn’t asking us to swim the ocean or climb Mt. Everest to earn his love. He simply wants our time, our love and our attention. He asks that we show his love to others, speak to him daily in prayer and live as if we realize how adored we are by the one who created us and calls us his child.

PRAY: Make it your prayer each day to ask the Father who loves you to help you notice the dozens of times each day he demonstrates his love. Be sure to thank him for that love.

STUDY: The Bible is often referred to as a collections of love letters from the Father to his children. Make it your plan to read one book of the Bible slowly, savoring the details of that love letter.

ENGAGE: The gift of the Father’s love is meant to be shared. Make it your mission to extend the Fathers love through a smile, an invitation to sit in your pew or to attend a parish function.

SERVE: Consider serving others this Thanksgiving by volunteering at your parish dinner or a local soup kitchen.

Encounter + Grow + Go

More Tips For How To Be Happy At Work

Happy Meater
Jim Berlucchi

WE’VE HAD A FEW columns that have explored the idea of happiness at work – which can some days feel like an oxymoron. But let’s consider three more tips for increasing satisfaction at work

  1. Strive for the Golden Mean. Aristotle is one of many philosophers who observed something interesting about human beings. We often tend to extremes – toward excess or deficiency, both of which are problematic. To the degree that you can control it, try to steer a middle course. Don’t work too much or too little, too intensely or too casually. Don’t take work too seriously, but don’t take it too lightly. Don’t love it too much – or too little. As with many things in life, balance is a key to happiness. Not easy to achieve, but always worth trying.
     
  2. Take pride in your work. As we hear the people say of Jesus in St. Mark’s Gospel “He has done all things well.” (7:37) Admittedly, this was in reference to his mighty miracles. But it certainly must have applied to his competency as a carpenter. The Son of Man would have produced quality products, on time, with skill and attentiveness. His tools and workshop would be kept in good order, his manner courteous even with demanding customers. He would have taken rightful pride in multiple jobs well executed. Doing our work well is personally rewarding and produces happiness – a rightful emotion for rightful performance. God has so structured our nature. “Whatever your task, work heartily.” (Col 3:23)
     
  3. Don’t sweat the small stuff. In the midst of the daily grind, it’s easy to get perturbed about small matters. “I can’t stand his smart aleck manner.” “Her perfume is overwhelming.” “What’s my boss thinking?” Myriad small irritations translate into one big temptation – making everything a big deal. There are few big deals. Control your thoughts and emotions. Reject small-mindedness and embrace a sense of humor. Sooner or later, small matters will pass, and if you strive for equanimity, you’ll be happier. And so will others.
Encounter + Grow + Go

How Can I Affirm My Shy Daughter?

Childing Holding Teddybear
Dr. Cathleen McGreal

My daughter is really shy and has no confidence what do I do to affirm her?

Biographers describe Rosa Parks as a shy but feisty child. Yet reflecting on some of her early childhood experiences, it seems that she may have been introverted rather than shy. The distinction is an important one and can influence how you respond to your daughter’s behavior.

Shy? A shy child longs to be engaged in social activities but is hesitant to do so. Encourage discussions about desired activities and possible steps to reach those goals. Avoid using the “shy” label or pressuring her into social experiences beyond her comfort zone. Help her reframe her experience so that her “self-talk” is constructive rather than negative.

Or Introverted? Introverted children prefer more “alone” time than extroverted children. In fact, being around other people often drains their energy! Your daughter may lack confidence if her temperamental tendencies are not accepted in various contexts. Trying to get her to behave in the way that extroverted children behave increases her stress.

“And after the fire came a gentle whisper.” (1 Kgs 19:12) When the Lord came to Elijah it was not in the loud wind, nor was it in the earthquake. Instead, it was in a gentle whisper. A person who is introverted finds renewal in quiet moments. Encourage your daughter to pursue interests that match her talents.

In her book Quiet Strength: The Faith, the Hope, and the Heart of a Woman Who Changed a Nation, Rosa Parks wrote, “I have problems just like everyone else. Whenever I do, I think about my grandmother and my mother. They were such strong women, who always taught me to place my faith in God and to read the Bible.” (p. 57) Affirm your daughter through your own faith.

Encounter + Grow + Go

He Says: My daughter and her boyfriend aren’t spending the night together in our house

Family dinner
Steve and Bridget Patton

Our daughter is bringing her boyfriend home and wants to spend the night in the same room. Sue says OK, I say no way.

 

She Says: It seems ridiculous to fight this – they live together

Our daughter is 25 and lives with her boyfriend – Bob’s insistence on separating them seems ridiculous.

Parents who raise their children to be moral, only to watch them make immoral choices, may get some idea of what God goes through when he watches us choose to sin. God remains ever patient, welcoming and forgiving, but he also, out of love for us, holds firm to what is right and good for us. That’s how we should we be with our children.

For starters, before you even talk to your daughter reaffirm (note the root word, “firm”) for yourselves the underlying Catholic moral values. God made sex and marriage to go together, and it is a “grave” matter to go against his design. (CCC 2353) Next, agree that, both in what you say and how you say it, you will let your daughter know that you love her regardless of her living situation.

Second, make sure she and her boyfriend know not only that they are welcome in your home, but that you indeed look forward to spending time with them.

Third, let them know that if they want to stay with you, you would be happy to arrange two separate sleeping spaces for them. Assure them that this is not a judgment against them but only an affirmation of your own Catholic values.

It is not ridiculous to be polite and clear about what is allowed and not in one’s own home. Your daughter and her boyfriend would certainly be within their rights to do the same, say, by asking visitors not to smoke in their home. It’s the same principle: “While it’s not our place to judge people for what they do in their own place, it is our place to set limits on what people can do in our place.”

Finally, if sleeping in separate spaces is not something they care to abide by, that’s OK,; they’re adults, and they can choose to spend the night elsewhere. But let them know that you still want to spend as much time with them as possible. Focus on your love for them and your desire to stay connected.

Encounter + Grow + Go
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