A Living Relationship

A Production of the Ultimate Christian Podcast Network.

 

 

God’s not Dead was a popular song a few years back. And he certainly is not dead, but very much alive. As are we. How often do we think about a relationship with him? If we believe in him and love him, then a desire to have a relationship follows.

Prayer is a Living Relationship

The desire to know God and understand God and be closer to God grows as our faith does. Prayer is what we need to grow closer to God. It is spending time with him. Spending time with people is how we grow in our relationships with our friends physically with us, so why not do the same with God?

Contemplation, Ignatian Style

What is it?

  • a communion in which the Holy Trinity conforms man, the image of God, “to his likeness.”
  • the Father strengthens our inner being with power through his Spirit “that Christ may dwell in (our) hearts through faith” and we may be “grounded in love”
  • also turns its gaze on the mysteries of the life of Christ; we learn the “interior knowledge of our Lord,” the more to love him and follow him. Ignatius of Loyola
  • the Holy Spirit makes the mystery of Christ come alive in contemplative prayer so that our charity will manifest it in our acts

What does it mean to enter into contemplative prayer?

We “gather up” the heart, recollect our whole being under the prompting of the Holy Spirit, abide in the dwelling place of the Lord which we are, awaken our faith in order to enter into the presence of him who awaits us. We let our masks fall and turn our hearts back to the Lord who loves us, so as to hand ourselves over to him as an offering to be purified and transformed.

How to Pray Contemplative Prayer

  1. Bless yourself and begin with a prayer; call on the Holy Spirit
  2. Sit in silence, placing yourself in the presence of God, settle your mind and soul
  3. Ask the Lord to give you a specific grace or state a prayer request
  4. Read the scripture passage once or twice to get the general sense of it, put it aside and close your eyes
  5. Place yourself in the passage; are you watching the scene or a part of it as a person who interacts with Jesus? Do not decide ahead of time, rather, wait and see what rises up in you
    1. Allow the story to unfold before you (what do you hear, see, smell, notice?)
    2. Allow your imagination freedom
    3. Pay attention to your feelings during prayer
  1. Have a conversation with God
    1. Talk about what happened
    2. Ask God what it means
    3. Listen to what He says
    4. End with the Our Father
    5. Journal your encounter; even a few sentences help to process what occurred
  2. What word or words touched you during the prayer time?
  3. What feelings did the prayer evoke in you?
  4. What do you sense God is saying to you or where is He leading you?

Scripture Passages

Luke 19:1-10;  John 15:1-11; Acts 2:1-4

Need some prayer support?

Contact me and let me know how I can help!

A Sharing Between Friends

A Production of the Ultimate Christian Podcast Network.

“Contemplative prayer [oracion mental] in my opinion is nothing else than a close sharing between friends; it means taking time frequently to be alone with him who we know loves us.” St. Teresa of Avila

Contemplative Prayer

What is contemplative prayer? (Catechism of the Catholic Church, #2709-19)

  • the prayer of the child of God
  • the poor and humble surrender to the loving will of the Father in ever deeper union with his beloved Son
  • the simplest expression of the mystery of prayer
  • a gift, a grace; it can be accepted only in humility and poverty
  • a covenant relationship established by God within our hearts
  • an intense time of prayer
  • a gaze of faith, fixed on Jesus; “I look at him and he looks at me,” said a farmer to St. John Vianney
  • a focus on Jesus; a renunciation of self; His gaze purifies our heart
  • hearing the Word of God; the Father speaking to us his incarnate Word
  • silence where the Spirit of adoption enables us to share in the prayer of Jesus
  • a communion of love bearing Life for the multitude

Scripture

Psalm 42:7-9

Pray with Psalm 42, and listen to what God wants you to know. Spen 10 to 20 minutes in quiet and then, write down your thoughts and feelings from your prayer time.

 

 

If you are interested in learning more about inviting me to speak, you can find information on my speaking page!

 

 

Just the Way I Am

A Production of the Ultimate Christian Podcast Network.

Bare Bones Show Notes!

Here’s the thing: I love to speak, and I love to write, but for some reason, show notes. UGH! I might want to take some of the advice I give in this episode about the way I am and see if it changes. We shall see.

Scripture Quoted

Revelation 21: 5 “The one who sat on the throne said, “Behold, I make all things new.”

2 Corinthians 5:17 :  “So whoever is in Christ is a new creation: the old things have passed away; behold, new things have come.”

The main point

When we say, “That’s just the way I am,” we put ourselves in a box and deny the possibility of change, which we can do with God’s help.

 

Pray with this question: God, what do you want to make new?

Would you like to pray together or learn ways of praying to help you change with God’s help? Please contact me.

 

 

5 Ways to Prepare for Prayer

A Production of the Ultimate Christian Podcast Network.

It’s Good to Prepare for Prayer

Sometimes, prayer becomes difficult because we can’t decide what to do, when to pray, or where is the best place—so many questions when all we want to do is sit down and focus on the Lord for a bit. As I listened and talked with people, I realized that often, what is lacking is a concrete plan to make prayer happen. I pulled a few of my favorite ways to be ready when it is time to pray.

5 Ideas for You

  1. Decide ahead of time what type of prayer you will pray. There are many options, and it can be overwhelming. Choosing in advance means one less thing to think about. You might even make up a weekly schedule of different types of prayer each day.
  2. Put together your prayer tools. If you are using a Bible, journal, pen, or pencil, put it in a bag or basket. If you are reading a book or praying a specific novena – whatever it is, leave it out or near your prayer space. Which brings me to
  3. be consistent in your place and time of prayer. At times, we may go elsewhere to pray in Adoration or outdoors, but where is your usual place? What is your usual time? Pro tip: pick a time when you are not sleepy. If it helps, schedule it in your calendar.
  4. Keep it simple. Focus on God and quiet, not the externals of candles, special lighting, incense, music. The more that has to be set up, the less time for actual prayer!
  5. If you are distracted in prayer, before settling down to pray, make a list of what is going on in your mind. Then, when prayer time is over, it will still be there. And solutions may come to you during prayer for some problems.

Bonus

I believe quiet and silence are non-negotiables in prayer. No matter how, when, or where, I encourage you to spend time looking at God and allowing him to look at you. Silence gives God room to make himself known. He comes to us in stillness, not noise.

I’d love to come speak to your group or parish. You can look here for previous talks but know that I love to craft new talks specific to your needs.

 

Openness & Self-emptying

A Production of the Ultimate Christian Podcast Network.

Lent – it’s not only about you

“Where is your brother?” is the second question Pope Francis asks in his Lenten message for 2024.

The first is, “where are you?” which I talked about in the previous episode, Where are You?

In the book of Exodus, God reaches out to the Israelites. They are so downtrodden that they are unable to even call out to God for help. But God cares for them. And cares for each of us.

3 Pillars of Lent

Prayer, fasting, and almsgiving are not meant to be three separate acts. One leads to the other, pulling together the three leads us to learn how to detach from created things of this world that separate us from God.

The three together, as Pope Francis says, create an openness and self-emptying that rids us of attachments.

Then, we are able to better care for those around us.

Our attitude has an effect on others.

 

Connect with me here!

 

Where are You as Lent Begins?

A Production of the Ultimate Christian Podcast Network.

Scripture

Even now, says the LORD,
return to me with your whole heart,
with fasting, and weeping, and mourning;
Rend your hearts, not your garments,
and return to the LORD, your God.
For gracious and merciful is he,
slow to anger, rich in kindness,
and relenting in punishment. Joel 2: 12-13

Ashes

On Ash Wednesday, as ashes are placed on our foreheads, we hear  one of two possible phrases:

“Repent and believe in the Gospel,” or “Remember that you are dust, and to dust you shall return. ”

Lenten Message

Here is Pope Francis’ Message for Lent 2024

He reminds us during Lent, we go through the desert and God leads us to freedom. However, we need to desire to “open our eyes to reality” to answer the question, “Where are you?” (Genesis 3:9).

When we know where we are in relation to God, then we will know our sins and what our focus is on during the time in the desert.

 

 

Back to Prayer Basics

A Production of the Ultimate Christian Podcast Network.

What does the Catechism say about prayer?

Take a look at Part Four, Christian Prayer. In this episode, I refer to #s 2558-2565

“For me, prayer is a surge of the heart;
it is a simple look turned toward heaven,
it is a cry of recognition and of love,
embracing both trial and joy.”  St. Therese of Lisieux

“Prayer is the raising of one’s mind and heart to God or the requesting of good things from God.”  St. John Damascene

2024 is a Year of Prayer

Some important points from the press conference:

  • We are asked to intensify prayer, renew and rebuild our spiritual practices
  • prayer is nourishment for the Christian life of faith, hope, and charity
  • the Church and people of God are to become a concrete sign of hope
  • let’s get back to basics

Look at your week and focus on a different type of prayer each day:

Sunday: Mass; Monday: silence; Tuesday: petition Wednesday: rosary; Thursday: thanksgiving; Friday: scripture; Saturday: Confession and contrition

Sign up for my newsletter to learn more about prayer!

 

Plan with God

A Production of the Ultimate Christian Podcast Network.

 

Begin with Prayer

“Once our motives are pure and upright and we seek not our own interests, but those of our Lord and Master, He has constant care over us, because He is infinitely good.”        St. Ignatius Loyola

Some Ideas

Consider having goals of your own with your spouse and family. Have a few that are spiritual, something fun; others can be professional or health-related.

 

Looking Forward to Lent

Join me for a Lenten Prayer Group called Lightworks beginning the week of Feb 5. It’s on Tuesdays at 7 pm or Thursdays at 2:30 pm (eastern time).  Contact me here or via Facebook or Instagram.

This week’s challenge, Plan with God! Ask this question in prayer: What do you want me to do that will give glory to you?

Ask, Seek, Knock

A Production of the Ultimate Christian Podcast Network.

Scripture

“And I tell you, ask and you will receive; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.” Luke 11:9

Why Pray Each Day?

Because God has something to say to you, and you can’t hear him if you are not silent. Each day, spend some time with the Word, silence, and your journal. And by journal, it can be a sticky note on the page you re reading. Something to write what you hear in your time of listening to God.

 

What will your commitment be to God for quiet prayer, dedicated time just for him?

Need a Speaker?

Contact me and we can talk about it!

What does God say is perfect prayer?

A Production of the Ultimate Christian Podcast Network.

How are we to pray?

So often, we think, because of the way we were taught, that prayer is “talking to God.” And while that is true, we also need to be silent and listen to him and be with him.

Words to Catherine

God’s words to Catherine of Siena: “You see then, that perfect prayer is not arrived at through many words, but through affection or desire, when the soul raises itself to me, knowing itself and my mercy, seasoned one with the other.  Thus, the soul will practice mental and vocal prayer together, for even as the active and contemplative are one, so are they.”  God further goes on to explain vocal and mental prayer, vocal being the type of prayer we say aloud or in our mind, while mental prayer is prayer without words, for being united with God.  He also explains that “mental prayer is reached by exercise and perseverance”  and that vocal prayer, practiced persistently, will lead to “perfect mental prayer.”

Learn more about different types of prayer when you sign up for my newsletter. 

Advent Season

Advent begins on December 3, 2023, and ends on December 24, 2023. It is a mere 22 days. Instead of trying to fill it with all the things, consider lighting your Advent wreath or a candle, reading the daily Gospel and then sitting in silence for 15 minutes a day. God desires to fill you with his grace and blessings; give him the time to do that for you.

Pray More Advent Retreat

Learn more about the retreat and sign up to join us!

 

 

Give in to God

A Production of the Ultimate Christian Podcast Network.

A Saint and A Prayer

St. Charles de Foucauld may be a new saint to you. He was to me. Here is some information about his life and work.  He lived and served as a priest, hermit, and missionary in France and Algeria.

Here is the Prayer of Abandon

Father, I abandon myself into your hands, do with me what you will.
Whatever you may do, I thank you: I am ready for all, I accept all.
Let only your will be done in me and in all your creatures.
I wish no more than this, O Lord. Into your hands, I commend my soul;
I offer it to you with all the love of my heart;
For I love you, Lord, and so need to give myself:
To surrender myself into your hands without reserve and with boundless confidence. For you are my Father.

When You Cannot Find the Words to Pray

Life can wear us down, and our prayer life can suffer.  If you can’t find the words to pray, use the words of others!

This prayer, in particular, will help you know and understand God’s will for your life. The line that stands out for me is, “I love you, Lord, and need to give myself, to surrender myself not your hands, without reserve and with boundless confidence, for you are my Father.”

Give your all to the One who gave you all!

 

Pray the Prayer of Abandon every day this week.

If you’d like to invite me to speak at your parish or organization, let’s start the conversation!

An Infusion of Grace

A Production of the Ultimate Christian Podcast Network.

“The gifts of grace increase as the struggles increase. ” St. Rose of Lima

What is Grace?

  • A gift from God that helps us live out our Christian life
  • It is referenced in both the Old and New Testaments
  • In the Old Testament, grace is similar to mercy
  • Thanksgiving is the action corresponding to grace in a loving relationship
  • We have a loving relationship with the Father

Actual Grace

We want actual grace – that is, the grace supplied for a particular reason or purpose.

Consider reading scripture to find what you are looking for. God’s Word is the living word that lives in you!

Use your Bible

You can try this online concordance, BibleGateway. Set the version you use and then type in the topic to get results.

I prefer a Bible I can hold in my hands and write in and put notes in it. Make it yours!

Here are the verses I mentioned in the episode:

Exodus 14:14, Deuteronomy 7:6-9, Isaiah 43:1-7, 1 Samuel 17:41-54

In particular, 1 Samuel 17:50.

Pick a few verses that strike you and pray them when you need an infusion of grace!

I’d love to come and speak to your ministry or parish. This page on my website has information for you on talks I’ve done in the past and how to reach me.

 

 

 

What is Grace?

A Production of the Ultimate Christian Podcast Network.

St. Francis

We celebrate St. Francis on October 4. He was the founder of the Franciscan Order and embraced the vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience. The prayer below is a favorite of mine!

Prayer before the Crucifix

Most High, glorious God, enlighten the darkness of my heart and give me true faith, certain hope, and perfect charity, sense and knowledge, Lord, that I may carry out
Your holy and true command. Amen.

Grace

  • underserved gift or help freely and lovingly provided by God, but above all the utterly basic gift of being saved in Christ through faith, a grace that God wishes to give all human beings
  • Brings us new birth and gift of the Holy Spirit
  • Makes us a new creation
  • Transforms human nature
  • Anticipates a future in heaven

from A Concise Dictionary of Theology, O’Collins and Farrugia, S.J.

What does a parking lot have to do with grace? Listen and you’ll find out!

Types of Grace

  • Sacramental – the graces we receive through the sacraments
  • Efficacious – Grace offered by God and freely accepted
  • Sanctifying or Habitual – being made holy by the Holy Spirit, always with us; God sharing his divine life with us
  • Actual – a specific grace supplied for a particular need or reason
  • Special – also called charisms, which we are given to help build up the Church

Why do we need Grace?

  • it helps us respond to God’s call to be his
  • It gives us an awareness of sin and the ability to avoid it
  • to live out our daily life, as each of us is individually called to do
  • Takes our natural gifts, makes them more usable and to the service of God and others

What are the effects of Grace?

HOLINESS! And we all want to be a bit holier, right?

This week, pray St. Francis’ prayer above.

Interested in having me speak to your group? Let me know; I’d love to come in person or virtually!

 

God Reaching Out & Breaking Through

A Production of the Ultimate Christian Podcast Network.

Glimmer or God?

I’ve been hearing about ‘glimmers’ on social media lately. I’ve seen a few memes. And while I liked the thought of a glimmer as opposed to a trigger, I wasn’t happy with the advice to look for the glimmer.

You see, to me, a glimmer is not about looking for something good, but it is God breaking through, reaching out to offer us hope, grace, a bit of pat on the back that says, “I’ ‘m here for ya!” from the Lord.

Finding and Seeing God

What the world and pop culture call glimmers, I say, they are from God. God loves us so much that he does reach out to us. But we ran around in a noisy, fast-paced world where we don’t pause often enough to say thanks for the good things that come our way.

  • No red lights on the way to work.
  • Your favorite song on the radio.
  • A call from a friend.
  • What’s on your list?

 

This notion of looking for God each day comes from St. Ignatius of Loyola. I may have mentioned him a time or two before.  This week, our Not Lukewarm challenge is to answer the question, “Where did I see God today?”, every night.

And if you are interested in learning more about Ignatius and prayer, sign up for my newsletter to receive 4 Ways to Pray with Scripture and learn about a new offering on the Spiritual Exercises coming up soon.

 

 

 

The Secret to Happiness

A Production of the Ultimate Christian Podcast Network.

Banter

Need a bit of a laugh? Listen to my pretend banter about my haircut and eyebrows!

Saintly Wisdom on Happiness

“The secret of happiness is to live moment by moment and to thank God for all that he, in his goodness, sends to us day after day.”                                                                                                                                          St. Gianna Beretta Molla

We all want to be happy, but we often think it will happen later or when our life is perfect. Not so. It happens when we realize that God gives us all and will help us with all. Turn to him, thank him for the good and the not so good. He will help if we ask.

Learn more about St. Gianna’s life here. 

These are super short show notes today as I have to go do some hard things. (wink, wink)

This week, when you are faced with something wonderful or difficult, stop, turn to God, thank him, and then ask how you are to handle the situation in a way that gives him glory.

 

Stay in touch by signing up for my newsletter. You’ll receive a video series of 4 Ways to Pray with Scripture when you do. And I promise I don’t clutter up your inbox with lots of emails.

God’s Faithfulness to Us

A Production of the Ultimate Christian Podcast Network.

Let’s begin with a prayer

Let nothing disturb you, Let nothing frighten you,
All things are passing away: God never changes.
Patience obtains all things Whoever has God lacks nothing;
God alone suffices.                     St. Teresa of Avila

God is Faithful

“If we are faithless, he remains faithful, for he cannot deny himself.”
                                                                                                                         2 Timothy 2:13

Being faithful, faithfulness – is an attribute of God. He is always faithful, even when we think he is not with us or doesn’t care. God can not go against himself, his nature.

From the Catechism of the Catholic Church

222 Believing in God, the only One, and loving him with all our being has enormous consequences for our whole life.
223 It means coming to know God’s greatness and majesty: “Behold, God is great, and we know him not.” Therefore, we must “serve God first.”
224 It means living in thanksgiving: if God is the only One, everything we are and have comes from him: “What have you that you did not receive?” “What shall I render to the LORD for all his bounty to me?”
225 It means knowing the unity and true dignity of all men: everyone is made in the image and likeness of God.
226 It means making good use of created things: faith in God, the only One, leads us to use everything that is not God only insofar as it brings us closer to him, and to detach ourselves from it insofar as it turns us away from him.

Every day for the next 7 days, journal on this: Ways that God has been Faithful to Me in My Life.

If you want to talk about this with me, please contact me here or send me a message via Facebook or Instagram.

If you’d like to invite me to your parish or group, let me know! I’d love to meet you.

Toward Forgiveness

A Production of the Ultimate Christian Podcast Network.

Joseph in the Old Testament

In the story of Joseph, we find an example of forgiveness. Joseph not only forgives his brothers for the wrong they did to him but restores and blesses them. The verses below show a small piece of the story.

Scripture

” Joseph prepared his chariot and went up to meet his father Israel in Goshen. As soon as Israel made his appearance, Joseph threw his arms around him and wept a long time on his shoulder.” Genesis 46:29

“And Joseph provided food for his father and brothers and his father’s whole household, down to the youngest.”  Genesis 47:12

‘Thus you shall say to Joseph: Please forgive the criminal wrongdoing of your brothers, who treated you harmfully.’ So now please forgive the crime that we, the servants of the God of your father, committed.” When they said this to him, Joseph broke into tears. Then his brothers also proceeded to fling themselves down before him and said, “We are your slaves!” But Joseph replied to them: “Do not fear. Can I take the place of God?  Even though you meant harm to me, God meant it for good, to achieve this present end, the survival of many people.” Genesis 50:17-20

Joseph as a  ‘Type’

We can see a foreshadowing of Jesus in this story of Joseph. He saves his family, the family of Israel, in a time of famine. He forgives his brothers. He restores his brothers and gives them land and herds.

This week, forgive someone.

Would you like to have me speak at your parish or ministry? I’d be happy to join you in person or virtually. Start the conversation! 

Why Listening is Important

A Production of the Ultimate Christian Podcast Network.

In the Beginning…

In the very first chapter of Genesis, it tells us that “God said” and the earth was formed. There was listening.

How to listen

When listening to another person, it is important that we:

  • listen with the intention to understand and respond
  • let go of our own experiences and the need to talk about them
  • let go of judgment

When we listen, we give the other person a true gift of self.

Communication

At least one person must be listening for communication to take place.

Listening Day

May 16 is National Listening Day. There is a lovely poem, “Today I Will Listen,” by Marva Shand McIntosh.

This week, focus on listening to others.

And, if you can, leave a review of this podcast wherever you listen and subscribe to the Live Not Lukewarm newsletter. When you subscribe, you’ll receive a video series on How to Pray with Scripture!

The Road to Hope: Responding to the Crisis of Addiction

A Production of the Ultimate Christian Podcast Network.

Keaton Douglas

Meet Keaton Douglas, who wrote The Road to Hope: Responding to the Crisis of Addiction with Lindsay Schlegel, a book that Keaton hopes gets into the hands of all who want to be an apostle.

Who is Keaton Douglas? She is the Executive Director of the I THIRST Initiative, a Mission of the Missionary Servants of the Most Holy Trinity, and is a consultant, educator, counselor, and frequent guest speaker in the field of addiction and recovery, particularly as it pertains to the interface of Catholic spirituality and recovery. She is the creator of the I THIRST Initiative – a comprehensive program that focuses on spirituality in the prevention, treatment, and aftercare of those suffering from substance use disorders and their families. Keaton is the creator of the iTHIRST Spiritual Companionship (ITSC) Training, faith-based formation that instructs lay leaders and clergy on the spiritual dimension of addiction/recovery. The I THIRST curriculum is academically certified through Seton Hall University and is taught there on a continual basis through their Continuing Education and Professional Studies Department, attracting students from all over the United States and abroad.

Why do we need this book?

Each of us is broken in some way. Sometimes the brokenness causes us to lose our way and we turn to things or substances which do not help.

“Additcion is really a desperate response to our desire to fill a hole in the soul that only God can fill.” (Keaton, pg 26)

In order to dispel the myth of the other, we need to accept the mutuality of our woundedness. Whatever broke others may not be what has broken you, but in accepting that we are all broken, we can learn from and be present to each other. It is a matter of changing our perspective.

What struck me

Chapter 2 with the statistics and information about how we have reached, in particular, the opioid crisis. In Chapter 4, there are ideas on how to be a part of the response to the crisis of addiction now.

Summing it up

I can’t sum up the conversation. But I can say this, Keaton Douglas lives  NOTLUKEWARM! I hope you listen to the episode, share it, and then take some action. The Church needs each one of us to be an apostle.

This week, pray and offer a rosary. for those who struggle with all types of addictions. You can use this set of mysteries from the iThirst site if you’d like.

You can purchase a copy of The Road to Hope: Responding to the Crisis of Addiction by Keaton Douglas with Lindsay Schlegel from Our Sunday Visitor.

A Daily Examen

A Production of the Ultimate Christian Podcast Network.

End your day with prayer

Echo the psalmist as he says,

Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my thoughts.
See if there is any wicked way in me,and lead me in the way everlasting.
                                                                                                   Psalm 139:23-24

With these verses in mind we settle ourselves in for prayer and begin the 5 steps or movements:

5 Steps to the Examen

  1. Thank God for all the graces and goodness you have received today, giving gratitude for his greatness.
  2. Ask God to reveal your sins to you, both those you did and things which you did not do that were possible.
  3. Look back on your day and notice where you saw God and consider where you may have missed noticing him.
  4. Ask for forgiveness, express your sorrow, and allow God’s mercy, love, forgiveness, and grace into your soul.
  5. Ask God for help and grace to improve. If you are facing a challenge, tell him.

End with a prayer of thanks or an Our Father.

Other Options

Here is a link to a variety of daily examen prayers from Ignatian Spirituality.

This week, spend 5-15 minutes praying a daily examen. Think about writing it at least once, taking a bit more time with the prayer.

 

 

4,000 Miles to Say Thank You

A Production of the Ultimate Christian Podcast Network.

Road Trip

In some ways, I can’t believe we really did it; 4000 miles in 9 days. But then again, we are about living NOT lukewarm!!!!!

I’m glad we went. We rested, we talked, and we drank great beers.

We spent time in prayer before, during, and after. At the Shrine, we were able to go to confession and then Mass, as well as pray a rosary with other pilgrims.

I lit candles, prayed in thanksgiving for answered prayers, and interceded for others.

We prayed before we left, during the drive, and while at the Shrine, of course. It was amazing. The priests were excellent; the grounds were peaceful.

Gratitude

I’d never offered thanks like this before, but that answered prayer was life-changing. So going there made sense to me.

Prayer

Here is a link to the prayer of Our Lady of Good Help.

 

Pray the novena for a special intention, adding an Our Father, Hail Mary and Glory Be at the end of the prayer. After the nine days, give thanks, no matter the outcome, since we do not know God’s timing!

 

Interior Disposition

A Production of the Ultimate Christian Podcast Network.

The Question

What is going on in your soul as you go about your daily life? That is your interior disposition! Your attitude as you go about your life.

Do you look at the chores and mundane pieces and tasks of your life as burdens? No one is paying attention, thankful, or offering accolades. You just keep going, day in and day out.

Shift Focus

Let’s face it; we still need to do the tasks of our life even if they are repetitive and people seem ungrateful. But we can shift our focus from looking at them as a burden to being grateful for the opportunity to live and serve the people in our life God has given us. 

Change Attitude

It is when we change the interior focus that we can focus from doing all the things of life for others to doing it for God. Then we are better able to act with love and care, as God does to us. We may not be perfect at it, but we can try. each day to stop waiting for the world to recognize how amazing we are and simply move forward in doing what God asks of us.

 

Scripture

Matthew 6 is an important chapter for me. Specifically, the verse that is repeated often, “And your Father who sees in secret will repay you.” Matthew 6:4b

When you feel a lack of motivation to do the mundane or difficult task of your life, shift your focus to gratitude. Ask God to help you love and serve the person in front of you in the best way.

Would you like to learn more about praying with scripture? Sign for a video series on Live Not Lukewarm. 

Mercy’s Power by Maria Gallagher

A Production of the Ultimate Christian Podcast Network.

A New Book

As always, learning about a new book is a joy and even more so when the author is a friend! Maria Gallagher has written another book, Mercy’s Power, published by Marian Press. It is a guidebook of how to bring the corporal works of mercy into your life to help us recreate the culture of life that is so needed in our world.

Bringing Mercy

What is mercy? In our conversation, Maria said, “mercy is love in action.” Does that not seem like a big enough theological statement for something so important ion our spiritual life? Truthfully, God’s mercy is not complicated. It is about taking what we have been given and giving it to others as God gives it to us. Without judgment, counting the cost, or expecting a return.

Purpose of Mercy’s Power

To give people tried and true ways of accompanying others with mercy during times of trouble. Whether it be a woman thinking abortion is the answer or someone sick deciding assisted suicide is the way, how can we be present and show our care and do something to help now?

Maria says, “This is the book I wish I had when I was starting out.”

Links

Sisters of Life

Purchase Maria’s Book 

Follow Maria on Instagram

This week, consider doing a corporal work of mercy for someone in need. Feed the hungry, clothe the naked, give drink to the thirsty, bury the dead, visit the sick, shelter the homeless, or visit the imprisoned,

 

Liminal Space & Waiting

A Production of the Ultimate Christian Podcast Network.

Waiting can be Difficult

I stink at waiting, especially when waiting for a decision to be made. Living in that in-between space, neither here nor there, can seem like a waste of time. We want to get onto the next thing.

But sometimes, we are asked to wait, to have some patience.

Liminal Space

Liminal space is like a doorway; you are in between two places. This liminal space can be a great time and place to work with God on going deeper with him. Use the time of waiting to prepare if you know what is coming next. Make plans, get ready for the move or trip or new job or new baby. Whatever it is, try not to think the time is being wasted while waiting for the BIG event to happen.

Scripture

Romans 8 is a great chapter to read while you are waiting in that liminal space. I like verses 18-30 in particular. Here are a few I think especially apply:

I consider that the sufferings of this present time are as nothing compared with the glory to be revealed for us…In the same way, the Spirit too comes to the aid of our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we ought, but the Spirit itself intercedes with inexpressible groanings….We know that all things work for good for those who love God, who are called according to his purpose.

What is God trying to tell you while you are waiting?

Sign up for the Live Not Lukewarm newsletter and receive 4 Ways to Pray with Scripture.

Ordinary Time-An Opportunity

A Production of the Ultimate Christian Podcast Network.

 

What is Ordinary Time?

This is one of the seasons in the Church’s Liturgical Year. We have various liturgical seasons, just as there are natural seasons. Ordinary time happens two times a year, and now it is beginning again, from May 29 until December 2. For more information, you can read this post. 

On to the Acrostic!

Here is one word for each letter of “ordinary” that gives us something to consider about Ordinary Time.

Opportunity – to take stock; grow in our spiritual life; to renew

Renewal – this can be a time of renewing our faith, certain practices

Dig – take a look and learn about our faith, dig into a specific book of the Bible, a saint, new prayer practice

Immediate  – focus on now, not the next event, but what is happening now

Needed – we need this time to maintain, to be on an even keel

Accounting – what is working, what isn’t in your spiritual life

Rest – rest, simply rest in a way that restores and rejuvenates you

Yearning – to deeply desire more in your spiritual life

 

Make your own Acrostic and leave it in the comments for us to see! Consider how you will use this Ordinary Time to grow in your spiritual life. And remember, I’m happy to connect with you and would love for your to sign up for the Live Not Lukewarm newsletter. It comes with a video series on prayer and scripture!

Better, with God

A Production of the Ultimate Christian Podcast Network.

Micro Changes

Small changes can help us change our habits. Changing our habits leads us to better outcomes. We can break big changes or shifts into small segments and increase over time. We do not have to do it all at once. This can set us up for failure, rather than success.

You are the average of the five habits you repaet most.  James Clear

Scripture  

The Ten Commandments are all great foundations for good habits! Read Exodus 20 for God’s instructions.

Put God first, don’t swear, go to Church on Sundays, honor your parents, be faithful, don’t lie – all good habits for living your life in way that honors God and others, and yourself.

The person who is trustworthy in very small matters is also trustworthy in great ones; and the person who is dishonest in very small matters is also dishonest in great ones. Luke 16:10

Day by Day

The song, If You Want Your Dream to Be…(San Damiano Song) By Donovan really fits well here, so please excuse the 70s throwback to my youth. This is not the scene I describe in the podcast, but the song itself.

If you want your dream to be, build it slow and surely. Small beginnings, greater ends, heartfelt work grows purely.

If you want to live life free, take your time, go slowly. Do few things but do them well, simple joys are holy.

Day by day, stone by stone, build your secret slowly. Day by day, you’ll grow too, you’ll know heaven’s glory.

If you want your dream to be, build it slow and surely. Small beginnings, greater ends, heartfelt work grows purely. If you want to live life free, take your time go slowly.

In prayer, ask God where and how you can be better.

Would you like to discuss how to be better? Interested in joining us for the Pentecost Novena? Get in touch with me here.

Scriptures of Hope

A Production of the Ultimate Christian Podcast Network.

For this last episode of the series on Hope, we turn to God’s Word. His word guides and sustains us like nothing else. I’ve chosen three passages to ponder and I highly recommend you read the entire passage, not just the one verse to get the full meaning.

The Verses

He set me free in the open; he rescued me because he loves me. Psalm 18:20

Say to the fearful of heart: Be strong, do not fear! Here is your God, he comes with vindication; With divine recompense he comes to save you. Isaiah 34:4

For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor present things, nor future things, nor powers,nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.  Romans 8:38-39

What is God telling us?

He loves us. And in that love, there is the certain hope that he saves us, protects us, and is close to us. In Isaiah when it says that God comes with divine recompense, this means that our restoration will be beyond our expectations. It is divine and what GOd gives is always more than we expect.
In Romans, St. Paul reminds us that we cannot be separated from he love of God in Christ Jesus.
There is our HOPE!!!!! And, to quote a priest’s homily, Hope has a name. It is Jesus Christ.
I encourage you to pray with Psalm 18, Isaiah 35, and Romans 8:31-39. From those passages, choose at least one verse that reminds you to have hope.
Learn 4 Ways to Pray with Scripture and join the Live Not Lukewarm community!

 

Catherine of Siena and Hope

A Production of the Ultimate Christian Podcast Network.

Who is Catherine of Siena?

Born in 1347, Catherine was a 3rd Order Dominican. She left for us The Dialogue, which is a conversation between Catherine and Giod while she was in ecstasy. It was transcribed by her secretaries as Catherine spoke.

Catherine died in 1380 in Rome. In 1461 she was canonized by Pope Pius II and later named a Doctor of the Chruch by Pope POaul VI. She was the first layperson to be given that title.

Quotes from The Dialogue

God to Catherine:

I never fail those who never fail in thier hope. I provide for them as a kind compassionate Father.

The devil is not able to resist yoyur humle hope in My goodness.

I wish souls to hope in my mercy at the pioint of death…During thier life Iuse this sweet rick with them, makining them hope greatly in My mercy.

Catherine :

Put your hope decisively in God and not in this mortal life. I beg you, as ransomed servants, to set your desirte and your soul’s affection intently on your Savior who has ransomed you.

Hope & Mercy

“But the soul, exercising herself in virtue, begins to lose her fear, knowing that fear alone is not sufficient to give her Eternal LIfe, as I have already told thee when speaking of the second stage of the soul. And so she proceeds, with love, to know herself and My goodness in her, and begins to hope in My mercy in which her heart feels joy. Sorrow for her grief, mingled with the joy of her hope in My mercy, causes her eye to weep, which tears issue from the very fountain of her heart.” God to Catherine (and us)

When you feel you are losing hope, say this brief prayer, an aspiration: “God, my hope is in You!”

Learn 4 Ways to Pray with Scripture or continue the conversation here.

What is Hope?

A Production of the Ultimate Christian Podcast Network.

The Theological Virtues

From the Catechism of the Catholic Church

The theological virtues are the foundation of Christian moral activity; they animate it and give it its special character. They inform and give life to all the moral virtues. They are infused by God into the souls of the faithful to make them capable of acting as his children and of meriting eternal life. They are the pledge of the presence and action of the Holy Spirit in the faculties of the human being. There are three theological virtues: faith, hope, and charity (love.) #1813

These virtues are gifts from God!

The Virtue of Hope

From the Catechism of the Catholic Church

Hope is the theological virtue by which we desire the kingdom of heaven and eternal life as our happiness, placing our trust in Christ’s promises and relying not on our own strength, but on the help of the grace of the Holy Spirit. “Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful.” #1817

3 Points About Hope

  • We hope for what we don’t have and can’t see
  • Sometimes it is difficult to hope
  • we can have hope by relying on God’s undeniable power

Act of Hope

My God, I hope with a firm confidence that you will give me, by the merits of Jesus Christ, your grace in this world, and, if I observe your commandments, your glory in the next, because you have promised it to me, and because you are supremely faithful in your promises. (Charles Peguy)

 

 

Pray the Act of Hope Prayer each day as a reminder to rely on God.

Consider praying with Mark 4:26-32.

Contact Deanna.

Meditations on the Crucifixion & Resurrection

A Production of the Ultimate Christian Podcast Network.

Sometimes we go to all the liturgies of Holy Thursday, Good Friday, and Easter but never seem to ponder or pray with the scripture. We wonder, is there more? Can I go deeper? What is there in these words forme?

Guided Meditations

This podcast episode offers you two guided meditations, one for Good Friday and the other for Easter.

The Good Friday meditation is based on the Gospel of Mark, chapter 15; I invite you to pause and reflect today on all that Jesus has done for us.

The Easter mediation is based on John 20:1-9.  Here are the questions I pose for reflection:

  • In times of grief, do you want to be alone or need others around you?
  • Have you ever not known where Jesus was in your own life?
  • What helped you find him?
  • I have had many resurrections in my life; how about you? Find some time to think about those, maybe write them down, and praise and thank God for them.

I didn’t give a Not Lukewarm challenge this week. Instead, I encourage you to spend time in prayer with the reflection questions and scripture passages.

Go Against

A Production of the Ultimate Christian Podcast Network.

Get out of your Rut

The first four chapters of Habits of Freedom have us looking inward and being contemplative. The last chapter, 5, is about looking outward, getting out of your rut, and acting on your life experience.

How to become a Contemplative in Action?

  • Experience – what goes on around us through our senses
  • Understand – the experience, what happened
  • Judgment – do I need to do something with this information
  • Act – or not, based on the nature of the judgment

Desolation requires Action

Once we are stuck in a rut, we need to move out of it by going against ourselves. Often when we feel spiritually desolate, we withdraw and turn in on ourselves. Collins suggested we focus outward instead.

As St. Augustine says about sin – an inclination to cave in on ourselves

Scripture: John 21:15-17

Final Quote

“God invites me to stay stil, open, and receptive to how he wants to appraoch me and find me and call me home to ttrue life and freedom.”

Connect with us at our website by clicking on the logo above!

 

 

Take Time to Talk

A Production of the Ultimate Christian Podcast Network.

In this episode, we talk about Chapter 4, Talk it Out, from the book, Habits of Freedom: 5 Ignatian tools for Clearing your Mind and Resting Daily in the Lord by Fr. Christopher J. Collins, SJ.

Deacon John and I had similar yet different takeaways from this chapter. First, the idea or rather, the reality that as children and young people growing up in our families, Jesus was not mentioned outside of church. We went to Mass and maybe talked a bit about the homily on the walk home and then that was all until next week. A great irony when you think about what John and I both do now!

Jesus is not only an intellectual pursuit or study. Yes, we can learn about Him and talk about Him but we also need to talk to Him!

Consolation/Desolation

Conversation with others can lead us to desolation or consolation. If we are having a “pity party” and our companion adds to it all then we fall deeper into desolation, maybe withdraw a bit more and keep turning inward. This is not a good idea. In these times, allow “Jesus to interrupt you.” I (Deanna) also liked the idea of talking aloud to Jesus.

John had a bit to say about how his thoughts have changed over time about my need to talk, but I think it’s more interesting to listen to him than have me write it!

Ultimately, reaching out to another helps us tremendously in receiving consolation.

Not Lukewarm Challenge

When you begin to feel like you are spending too much in your thoughts or head and it’s leading you down a path you don’t want to go, find one trusted person to talk to; it can help!

Toward the Good or Evil Spirit

A Production of the Ultimate Christian Podcast Network.

Continuing with Habits of Freedom by Christopher S. Collins, SJ

Chapter 3, Reject the Lie

Jesus’ identity was rooted in God the Father. He knew He was God’s beloved Son. We see that right after His baptism, Jesus is tempted in the desert by the evil one.

Let’s not quickly dismiss Jesus’ ability to withstand temptation, as it says on page 42, Jesus is very good at not falling for the tricks and manipulations of the enemy. I think sometimes we say, well, of course, He is Jesus, He can stand up to the evil one.

So can we!

Our identity is rooted in the same place, the love of God the Father; we are His Beloved child.

Life is full of desolation and consolation. And most of us prefer consolation. Yet we can easily fall into desolation, especially when we do this one that Fr. Collins admits he does, and I know I do it. We question God! We don’t accept the good the Father has for us; we “talk back.”

We hear, “You are my beloved, I delight in you. You give so much of yourself to others; thank you.” And instead of saying thanks, God. We say, “but the other day I screwed up and I’m annoyed with my co-worker and snapped, and, well it can be an endless explanation to the Father as to why He ought not to think well of you!

When we stay in the present, not the past or the future, we are less likely to fall into desolation.

 

This week, when you pray, listen to what God has to say to you. How you are good and a delight and the apple of His eye. Whatever the words or sense or image you receive, write it down. And when you find yourself going toward a downward spiral of I’m not good enough, read what God gave you in prayer. And accept it with gratitude and love.

I’m also going to tell you this, I have created a course around this topic of getting rid of the past lies we believe and negative thinking that prevents us from living in the truth of how much we are loved and cherished by God. Take a look here to get a free download or sign up for a free webinar.

Where does our True Identity come from?

A Production of the Ultimate Christian Podcast Network.

What is our true identity?

“We cannot be truly happy until we are truly free, and we to know who it is that we truly are if we are to be truly free.”
Habits of Freedom, pg 20

Eve

As in adam and Eve, she engages in a ‘what if ‘ conversation with the snake. She speculates. Wonders. Thinks about what if? Instead of focusing on now and engaging in conversation, aka, prayer, with God.

We do the same thing. Making time for God each day will give us an intimate relationship with him. It keeps us on an even keel and able to handle our lives better.

Jesus’ Baptism

In Luke 3:21-22,

After all the people had been baptized and Jesus also had been baptized and was praying, heaven was opened
 and the holy Spirit descended upon him in bodily form like a dove. And a voice came from heaven, “You are my beloved Son; with you I am well pleased.”
God the Father is well pleased with Jesus. He is well-pleased with you too!
This week, pray and meditate with Luke 3:21-22. Hear what the Father says to Jesus and listen to what He has to say to you.
If you’d like to read and discuss the Sunday Mass REadings, join us on Wednesday evenings at 7:30 pm (ET). You can sign up here to receive the link. 

Habits of Freedom; Holy Indifference

A Production of the Ultimate Christian Podcast Network.

We are continuing our series of Habits of Freedom: 5 Ignatian Tools for Calming Your Mind and Resting in the Lord by Christopher S. Collins, SJ.

God often calls us out of our usual to get our attention. In the scripture, we see him call people to the desert, recall the Israelites in the desert after leaving Egypt and Jesus there for 40 days before he begins his public ministry.

He also uses suffering to draw us closer to him. The desert, suffering – both are ways that we turn and rely more fully on God than in other times.

St. Ignatius teaches us to have a “holy indifference” in that no matter our circumstances, we choose to turn to God.

Discernment

Discernment is an ongoing and daily process. It asks us to look each day at where we have been, what we have done, and where we have encountered God. This is our Examen. A time to reflect on our day, with the help of the Holy Spirit and ask for help for the next day.

Allow your life to be disrupted

Fr. Collins makes this point about how we can be disposed to receive grace: “putting my self into unknown, uncertain, somewhat insecure circumstances has a way of disposing me to receive something greater that I could have expected.” (pg. 10)

It is good to allow our lives to be disrupted for, with and by God. “Allow ourselves to be displaced, decentered. To be opened up to something different. And then to allow the Holy Spirit to move, to act, to allow the Word of God to be spoken and heard by me, by us.” (pg.15)

This week, take some quiet time to think about a time when your life was disrupted. What happened? How was the situation resolved? Where was God in it? What did you learn?

Would you like to banish the lies that hold you back from freedom in Christ? Receive a free guide from me to help!

 

Habits of Freedom, Introduction

A Production of the Ultimate Christian Podcast Network.

Normal

We want our life to go back to normal. And what exactly does normal mean? I think, instead, let’s consider grounding ourselves in Christ. When we are with him, life will be on a more even keel. When we begin with him, Jesus helps us get through life.

A Series

The next few episodes will be focused on discussing the book, Habits of Freedom: 5 Ignatian Tools for Clearing your Mind and Resting Daily in the Lord by Fr. Christopher J. Collins, SJ.

The book is short and each chapter gives you a way to pray and process life from Ignatian prayer. There are prayer prompts and scripture to guide you as you develop your own prayer practice.

Introduction

There are 14 Rules for Discernment from St. Ignatius; this book reviews the first 7 and then uses them throughout the text.

 

Here is a brief summary: (I explain more in the podcast)

  1. When a person is moving away from God, meaning they are in sin, there is a sting of conscience.
  2. A person who is moving toward or is with God, the enemy tries to unsettle the person. Here though, the Good Spirit gives consolation.
  3. Consolation is when we feel the love of God, and have an increase in faith, hope and love..
  4. Desolation is a feeling of being low, unhappiness, separated from God
  5. When a person is in desolation, no change should be made; stick to your plan.
  6. When a person is stuck in desolation, go against your natural inclination, don’t give in to the enemy.
  7. Be patient; consolation will return.  (from Collins, xi-xii)

 

Interested in the guide? Click here.

 

 

If you make a purchase via a link on this page, I may receive a small commission. There will be no added cost to you. Thank you!

Pray for Yourself

A Production of the Ultimate Christian Podcast Network.

Do you pray for yourself?

I have met many people who don’t think to pray for themselves. Some think it is selfish; others, maybe a bit burdensome to God, who already has enough to concern himself with. But I think we are to pray for ourselves.

Jesus prayed for Himself

In scripture, we see many times Jesus goes off either before the day or at the end, certainly in preparation for big decisions, by himself to spend time with the Father.

In Mathew 26:39, Mark 14:36 and Luke 22:42 we see him in the Garden of Gethsemane praying very specifically for his needs as he faces the cross.

It is in the Gospel of John that we hear Jesus pray for himself,

When Jesus had said this, he raised his eyes to heaven and said, “Father, the hour has come. Give glory to your son, so that your son may glorify you, just as you gave him authority over all people, so that he may give eternal life to all you gave him. Now this is eternal life, that they should know you, the only true God, and the one whom you sent, Jesus Christ. I glorified you on earth by accomplishing the work that you gave me to do. Now glorify me, Father, with you, with the glory that I had with you before the world began. John 17:1-5
Jesus prays for glory, so the Father is glorified. And that is key! When you pray for yourself, do it with the heart and mind that says you are at the service of the will of God. You want to glorify God, not have your prayers answered out of selfishness.
  This week, pray for yourself. Go to God with all that is in your soul and allow him to give you whatever you need. Strength, healing, comfort, peace, to know that you are loved – ask in humility and trust.
If you are interested in being better prepared for Mass each Sunday, join us to discuss the readings in the Live Not Lukewarm Community.

Psalms and Gratitude

A Production of the Ultimate Christian Podcast Network.

Gratitude is an Answer

Often times we don’t think about our blessings and daily life as gifts, but they are. It’s not good luck or being in the right place at the right time. When we feel mired down in problems, turn to gratitude. Shift your focus.

Praying the Psalms

Here is a list of the Thanksgiving Psalms

  • 18
  • 30
  • 32
  • 34
  • 40
  • 65
  • 66
  • 67
  • 75
  • 92
  • 107
  • 116
  • 118
  • 124
  • 136
  • 138

 

Scripture

It is good to give thanks to the Lord,
to sing praises to your name, O Most High;
to declare your steadfast love in the morning,
and your faithfulness by night,
to the music of the lute and the harp,
to the melody of the lyre.
For you, O Lord, have made me glad by your work;
at the works of your hands I sing for joy. Psalm 92:2-5

St. Teresa of Avila

In all created things, discern the providence and wisdom of God and in all things, give Him thanks.

Keep a gratitude list or even better, share your gratitude each day with another person!

Pray the Our Lady of Good Help Novena with Marge Fenelon and me on Instagram beginning Nov 14. Sign up for my newsletter for more details.

America’s Mary: The Story of Our Lady of Good Help

A Production of the Ultimate Christian Podcast Network.

New Book about Our Blessed Mother

I have always known we have a generous and loving Mother in Heaven. But Mary also comes to people here on earth to guide and give a message of hope or words of exhortation when needed. In 1859, this is what happened in Door County, Wisconsin to a girl named Adele Brise.

Marge Steinhage Fenelon has written America’s Mary: The Story of Our Lady of Good Help to tell the story of this apparition of Mary to Adele and calls it America’s best-kept secret. Why? Because this is the only recognized and approved apparition to take place in America.

How does the message help us today?

Mary told Adele to gather and teach the children in this wild country. She was referring to the land as being wild, but today, we live in a society and culture that is wild. This is a reminder to us that we need to evangelize and catechize. This story tells us that we have work to do and with Mary’s help, it can be accomplished!

When did interest in this apparition begin in our times?

In 2010, Bishop David L. Ricken of the Diocese of Green Bay, Wisconsin, approved this apparition on December 8. There is a copy of this in the book. He also wrote the prayer below.

O Dear Lady of Good Help, you revealed yourself as the Queen of Heaven to your servant Adele. You gave her a mission to pray for the conversion of sinners, to bring the Good News of Jesus Christ to others, and to prepare the children for the reception of the sacraments. I trust that as you called Adele to holiness, you are calling me, in my station in life, to live a holy life, devoted to Jesus Christ with the help of your maternal love. I bring before you now my worries and anxieties. I abandon my attachments to them and place them at your feet. I ask you to hear the deepest longings of my heart as I pray most earnestly for (your intention). Dear Lady, you told Adele and you say to all of us, “Do not be afraid; I will help you.” Help me now as I place this intention with complete confidence and trust. Amen.Our Father…, Hail Mary…, Glory Be… Our Lady of Good Help, pray for us.

For the next 9 days, use the prayer above along with the Our Father, Hail Mary and Glory Be as a novena for your most difficult intentions. I know I will be praying it!

The book is available from Our Sunday Visitor and on Amazon. (If you purchase on Amazon, I receive a small tip.) You can follow Marge on Facebook and Instagram and be sure to check out her website!

 

 

Ask the Holy Spirit for Help

A Production of the Ultimate Christian Podcast Network.

Decisions to be made

How often do we wonder, is this what I should do? What will be the best decision? We think and pray and ask a few or twenty-five, people, what they think, instead of going to the Holy Spirit. Or maybe you do go to the Holy Spirit but still, ask questions.

Is there a way to figure it out?

Turn to prayer and wait. Ask for the answer. Try not to tell God what you’d like to have happen. And then wait with hopeful expectation. When you have peace, which is a fruit of the Holy Spirit, you will know you have your decision. Go with it.

Scripture

Romans 8:26a “The Spirit helps us in our weakness”

Jesus call the Spirit…

The Paraclete, the one who is called to one’s side.” I think we can stand strong, knowing the Holy Spirit is beside us. Call on him and he will come.

This week, before you make any important decision, take it to prayer.

Do you need a speaker for your ministry or parish event? I’d be honored to work with you!

 

 

Called by God

A Production of the Ultimate Christian Podcast Network.

What is my purpose?

“Each one of us has been called from all eternity to fulfil a divine vocation. God the Father brought us into life (no one has been born by accident). He created our soul. He drew us into his intimate life through the Sacrament of Baptism. By means of this sacrament God has commissioned us; He has put his seal upon us and given us his Spirit in our hears as a gurantee. He has given us a specific work to accomplish in this life and has prepared a plcae for us in heaven.”  In Conversation with God, Volume 5, Father Francis Fernandez

Who created us?

God created us and calls us to a divine vocation. It may not always look the same as we move through life, but that is not the point. The point is to do the small, daily things that help us move forward in our vocation.

He created our souls. And that means we ought to nurture them with love.  Soul care is a means of honoring who we are in relation to God and thanking him for our souls.

 

 

No challenge this week. I’d like to hear your thoughts on the weekly challenges; yes or no?

 

 

 

A New Book: Encountering Signs of Faith

A Production of the Ultimate Christian Podcast Network.

A New Book

It is always a pleasure when I talk with an author and doubly so when she is a friend! You’ve met Allison Gingras before, but today it’s all about her own new book, Encountering SIgns of Faith: My Unexpected Journey with Sacramentals, the Saints and the Abundant Grace of God.

What’s it all about?

Allison masterfully weaves the story of her daughter’s adoption story with sacramentals and saints, prayers and novenas. Sounds like too much? It’s not at all. You will learn how God used the tangible, physical reminders of our faith – sacramentals – to point to the abundant and intangible graces and truths of our faith.

Book Features

10 chapters, close to 20 saint stories, sacramentals, and the prayers and devotions that accompany them, and activities to uncover and build grace so that you to can understand why sacramentals help us grow in faith.

Favorite quote from our conversation

From Allison, “God’s grace is unfathomable.” Follow Allison on Instagram, Facebook and her website.

This week’s Not Lukewarm Challenge – learn about a new devotion or sacramental and incorporate it into your prayer life.

Want to learn more about living not lukewarm? Sign up for my email newsletter.

Stop Worrying; Focus on Now

A Production of the Ultimate Christian Podcast Network.

We all do it

Or at least it seems so to me. Worry that is, looking forward or back, wondering what we could have or should have or ought to do better or differently. The preoccupation with the possibilities instead of what is does not help us.

Scripture

“I am the God of your faither, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, the God of Jacob.” Exodus 3:6

“God replied, “I am who am.”” Exodus 3:14

Padre Pio Quotes

Pray, hope, and don’t worry. Worry is useless. God is merciful and will hear your prayer.

Do not worry over things that generate preoccupation, derangement and anxiety. One thing only is necessary: to lift up your spirit and love God.

What can we do?

Remember that God is the God of the present moment. Yes, we must act prudently and plan and prepare, but once that is done, we must focus on what is in front of us. Constant worry is not helpful.  As Padre Pio says, worry is useless. During those times of worry, turn to God and say, “I love you.” He will respond and be right there with you in whatever you are facing.

This week, when you feel overcome with worry, pause and say, I love you, God.

Need a speaker for Advent or other events? Let’s discuss. 

 

You are Enough

A Production of the Ultimate Christian Podcast Network.

Fine Line

There is a fine line between true, good, and holy desires and grasping for more. Our world tells us that we are not enough or maybe too much; that we need to do more, be more, and have more. Always striving for an ideal that is beyond reach. That is not of God.

Scripture

The righteous have enough to satisfy their appetite,
but the belly of the wicked is empty. Proverbs 13:25

The righteous have enough to satisfy their appetite,
but the belly of the wicked is empty. Proverbs 23:4

Though he was in the form of God, he did not regard equality with God something to be grasped. Phillipians 2:6

What do we need to live?

Most of us have enough. We may not realize it because we have bought into the world telling us we don’t have enough. More is better. Not really; more stuff means more time spent caring for things rather than caring for others.

This week spend some time making a list of all that God has given you. Your gifts and talents, family, friends, all that is enough in your life, both personally and materially. Let me know how it goes.

Interested in talking about your spiritual life? Take a look here for more information.

Trust in the Slow Work of God

A Production of the Ultimate Christian Podcast Network.

Learning to Wait

Not my strong suit. Same as being still, not always easy, as I said in the last episode!

But there is beauty in stillness; it builds trust, trust in God. And God will always come through for you.

Trust in the Slow Work of God

Above all, trust in the slow work of God.

We are, quite naturally, impatient in everything to reach the end Without delay.

We should like to skip the intermediate stages.

We are impatient of being on the way to something unknown,

Something new, and yet it is the law of all progress

That it is made by passing through Some stages of instability — And that it may take a very long time.

And so I think it is with you.

Your ideas mature gradually — Let them grow, let them shape themselves, without undue haste.

Don’t try to force them on, as though you could be today what time will make you tomorrow.

Only God could say what this new spirit gradually forming within you will be.

Give Our Lord the benefit of believing That his hand is leading you,

And accept the anxiety of Feeling yourself in suspense and incomplete.

Above all, trust in the slow work of God,

Our loving vine-dresser.  Amen.

-Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, S.J.

Take some time in stillness and pray this prayer.

And remember, if you’d like a copy of the prayer to print out, drop me a comment on this post, and I’ll email it to you!

What to do

A Production of the Ultimate Christian Podcast Network.

What to do when you don’t know what to do

Often times our inclination is to do something. And that may be the wrong answer. We may be doing something that is not within our scope of influence or concern. We may be getting in God’s way! So what is the answer?

The LORD will fight for you; you have only to keep still. Exodus 14:14

Surrender, turn it over to Him. He will take care of you. It is not always easy to remember this, but it is necessary for our spiritual life.

How do I know this?

God sent us His Son, Jesus. We have salvation and we have hope. Why?

For in him dwells the whole fullness of the deity bodily, and you share in this fullness in him, who is the head of every principality and power. Collosians 2:9-10

This week’s Not Lukewarm Challenge

Be still! That’s it. When life is overwhelming, be still and turn it all over to God. He’s got this.

Study the Book of Exodus!

Why? 2 reasons: learn what it means to go from living in Exile to living in Freedom and see what sacraments are pre-figured in Exodus! Click here to learn more!

 

The Mother of Jesus is Wonderfully Real

A Production of the Ultimate Christian Podcast Network.

How did this book come about?

One day, Isabel went to camp and was made fun of for wearing a medal of Mary, Our Blessed Mother. She was broken-hearted, and neither her mother or aunt (Alyssa Bormes) could console her. She she and her aunt wrote a letter to a priest friend, Fr. Paul Murray. This book is his answer to her.

How did it come together?

For 9 years, Alyssa asked Fr. Paul if his letter could be made into a book. And one day, he said yes! Then an illustrator needed to be found. Alyssa, asked Jesus and then found Bernadette Gockowski’s business card on her desk. Once she saw her work, Alyssa knew she had found the illustrator!

The Mother of Jesus is Wonderfully Real is published by WINE – Women in the NEw Evangelization and is available on their website.

Story Time

If you would like to use this book for story time, take a look at the ideas WINE created for you to use to help children learn about Mary and how real she is!

More about Alyssa Bormes

You can follow Alyssa on Facebook. And read the story about he24 years of gratitude here.

My niece was devastated when the girls teased her that Mary wasn’t real – but today there is tremendous fruit from her suffering. 24 years ago – I was devastated – but said to God – I’ll give you one shot — and He has spent 24 years making me say “Thank you!” What sufferings have you had that now bear fruit? Can you see that your sufferings today may one-day bear fruit? Prayer: Jesus, Mary, and Joseph, please show me the fruit from my suffering. Please show me how to allow the fruit to come to be.

 

We can trust God!

A Production of the Ultimate Christian Podcast Network.

What does trust mean?

What does the word trust mean? “A firm belief in the reliability, truth, ability or strength of someone or something.”

We have belief in God.  He is reliable. He is truth. His ability is above all, as is His strength. We can trust Him. Yet we falter at times.

The Word

Look at this verse from Sirach 2:10:

“Study the generations long past and understand; has anyone hoped in the LORD and been disappointed? Has anyone persevered in his fear and been forsaken? Has anyone called upon him and been rebuffed?”

Where has God been in your past?

Look at your own life, not past generations, and see where God has been there for you. Often we don’t see it at the time, but when we look back, we see how He protected us or saved us from making a mistake.

For our challenge, look back on your life and think about all the times and situations where you see God. If you are so inclined, write them down. It is your personal story of salvation, your spiritual adventure!

 

Simple & Ordinary

A Production of the Ultimate Christian Podcast Network.

A few weeks ago I interviewed Rachel Balducci about her new book, No Such Thing as Ordinary and we talked about how oftentimes, we are waiting to do something big and important for God and miss what is in front of us.

Reminder from God

I have lots of insomnia lately and so the middle of the night is time for prayer and deep conversation with God. He reminded me of a few things, in particular, that he uses the ordinary things of life to help and sustain us.

As an example, there is Elijah, beaten down and afraid after his encounter with Jezebel. He wanders off, whining and complaining. God sends an angel to him and encourages him to sleep and when he wakes up gives him food and drink. Then he sleeps again to prepare himself for the next journey. He goes to the mountain of Horeb and there meets God.

Again, God was not in the dramatic weather but in the quiet.

“He said, “Go out and stand on the mountain before the Lord, for the Lord is about to pass by.” Now there was a great wind, so strong that it was splitting mountains and breaking rocks in pieces before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind; and after the wind an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake;  and after the earthquake a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire; and after the fire a sound of sheer silence. ” 1 Kings 19:11-12

In the Ordinary

It is a reminder, isn’t it? Stop looking out there and look inside. Yourself. Your home. Look to what is reasonable, a nap, a snack, time with God.

Living Not Lukewarm is not about setting out each day to accomplish a great list of tasks that bring hundreds to Jesus. It is about doing what is in front of us, relying on Jesus to lead us and fully entering into the task at hand.

Whatever your tasks are this week, do them with the same zealousness as Elijah did what the LORD asked him to do!

A Prayer of Surrender

A Production of the Ultimate Christian Podcast Network.

Suscipe or Surrender Prayer

Take Lord, and receive all my liberty, my memory, my understanding, and my will, all that I have and cherish you have given to me; I surrender it all to be guided by your will. Your grace and strength are wealth enough for me. I ask for this and nothing more. St. Ignatius of Loyola

 

What else besides God?

What do we need besides God? Nothing. If I give, willingly, all that God has given me, back to God can you imagine what will happen in your life? Our surrender –  of material goods, worry, the desire to control – all that can be given to Him and then we allow ourselves to be guided by God’s will.

God only wants our good. Surrender though is a daily process. We sometimes forget to pray, “thy will be done” or we give our concerns to God and take them back. We don’t want to wait on His answer, convinced we know better.

Pray this prayer when you are worried or have a problem or make it a part of your morning prayer time. Pray it this week and watch what happens.

 

 

Join the Live Not Lukewarm community and receive the video series, 4 Ways to Pray with Scripture!

 

 

The Value of Friendship as We Age

A Production of the Ultimate Christian Podcast Network.

How to Be Happy as You Age

There are 7 indicators, based on a Harvard Study that indicate how happy and well you will be later in life. A full explanation is here.

Briefly, the 7 are:

  1. Don’t smoke
  2. Do not abuse alcohol
  3. Maintain healthy body weight
  4. Exercise
  5. Adaptive coping style
  6. Education
  7. Stable, long-term relationships

Focus on Friendships

“With three things I am delighted, for they are pleasing to the Lord and to human beings: Harmony among relatives, friendship among neighbors, and a wife and a husband living happily together.” Sirach 25:1
“The people most satisfied in thoier relationships at age fifty ere the healthieest at age eighty.” Robert Waldinger
Here is Waldinger’s TED talk on this topic.
Call a friend and make plans to spend time with them this week!
Join us in the Live Not Lukewarm Community for this 10-day challenge! Registration and information are here. 

Meet Rachel Balducci, Author of No Such Thing As Ordinary

A Production of the Ultimate Christian Podcast Network.

A New Book

It’s always a treat to interview authors whose books I’ve read. Rachel Balducci is a speaker, writer and co-host of The Gist on Catholic TV. She teaches journalism at Augusta University and is married to Paul. They have five sons and one daughter. Her latest book, No Such Thing as Ordinary: Unlocking Your Extraordinary Life Through Everyday Encounters With Jesus, is published by Ave Maria Press.

Rachel chooses the story of the Woman at the Well from the Gospel of John, chapter 4 as the guiding scripture to discuss what means to have an extraordinary life through your encounters with Jesus.

Rachel reminds us that we don’t need to wait to do the great, important life-changing work for God. Simple living each day with the knowledge that we are doing what God asks of us at this moment is a response to Jesus’ invitation and is extraordinary.

Some Important Mentions

Rachel talks about Catherine Doherty and the Duty of the Moment.

The Cloud of Unknowing is the book Rachel read that helped her learn about contemplative prayer. That link takes you to a site where you can download a free copy. Please keep in mind that I cannot vouch for the translation.

Notes from the Conversation

We all want a deep union with God and a longing to do something great for HIm. We cannot wait for the opportunity to do the one, big thing, but do what is in front of you. That’s what God asks of us.

“Holiness is the best gift you can give your family,” a priest told Rachel this many years ago, and it took her some time, but she fully believes this to be true.

Outside the will of God, you will never be happy.

Your identity comes from God.

Spend 10 minutes a day in quiet with God. Simply open your soul to hear what He has for you.

Here is her website and be sure to follow Rachel on Instagram, @rachelbalducci 

 

Are you participating in your faith life?

A Production of the Ultimate Christian Podcast Network.

Scripture

He entered a boat, made the crossing, and came into his own town. And there people brought to him a paralytic lying on a stretcher. When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, “Courage, child, your sins are forgiven.” At that, some of the scribes said to themselves, “This man is blaspheming.” Jesus knew what they were thinking, and said, “Why do you harbor evil thoughts which is easier, to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Rise and walk’? But that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins”—he then said to the paralytic, “Rise, pick up your stretcher, and go home.” Matthew 9:1-6

Do you accept what is offered?

Do ever feel as if you are not participating in your own spiritual or faith life? Maybe waiting for Jesus to do it all? In the passage, we can see that yes, Jesus is forgiving but the man accepts what Jesus does for him and acts on Jesus’ words. (I’m saying man, but it could be a woman.)

Do we ever sit there with a great idea, thinking, not me, nope, it’s for someone else? Let’s stop thinking Jesus isn’t offering us the best or the forgiveness or healing or a gift. Why can’t it be you?

Faith and Action

We can do both. And if our action seems daunting, pray this prayer, “Lord, I believe you have asked me to do what I am about to do, but if it is not what you want me to, please stop me.”

This week, pray to put fully participate in your faith life. If you get a direction from God, do it!

And, please, drop me a comment about how it goes or suggest a topic for discussion! I love to hear from listeners.

 

Is Spiritual Direction for you?

A Production of the Ultimate Christian Podcast Network.

What is Spiritual Direction?

“It is the guidance of a person into a life truly under the dominion of the Holy Sprit, who is the primary director.”
from Seeking Spiritual Direction by Thomas Dubay, S.J.

“Spiritual direction is concerned with helping a person directly with his or her realtionship with God…the most fundamental issue is that relationship and its underlying questions: “Who is God for me, and who am I for him?”
from The Practice of Spritual Direction by William A. Barry & William J. Connolly

What is the purpose?

Just as we seek help in other areas of our lives, why not do the same for our spiritual life? Direction provides a time and space to learn how we can know, love, and serve God more fully and deeply in our life.

What happens in spiritual direction?

Listening to the directee (the person seeking direction), prayer, quiet, deep conversation, being open to the Holy Spirit, spiritual growth, affirmation, and transformation all occur during both the prayer time before a spiritual direction appointment and during the time the director and directee are together.

Of course, they don’t necessarily happen all at once but occur over time as people grow in their relationship with God.

Links and Books for More Information

Live NotLukewarm Spiritual Direction Page

Cenacle School of Our Lady of Divine Providence School of Spiritual Direction, A Ministry of the Marian Servants of Divine Providence, and in association with the Franciscan University of Steubenville. This is where I went to school.

  • Seeking Spiritual Direction by Thomas Dubay, S.J.
  • Navigation the Interior Life by Daniel Burke

Discern if you would benefit from spiritual direction and please contact me if you’d like to discuss this further or want help finding a director.  Use this form to start a conversation.

A Eucharistic Revival

A Production of the Ultimate Christian Podcast Network.

Catholics having a revival

Yes, we are, starting on June 19, 2022, until July 17, 2024. That is two years to unpack the riches of the Eucharist, grow individually in your personal relationship with the Lord, and change the world!

Take a look here at the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops’ National Eucharistic Revival website to keep up-to-date and informed as to the why and how of the next two years.

Scripture

“I am the living bread that came down from heaven; whoever eats this bread will live forever; and the bread that I will give is my flesh for the life of the world.”
(John 6:51)

Jesus is present in the Eucharist

In the Gospel of John, chapter 6, when many people left because they could not accept what Jesus was telling them and offering them, he does not correct them or soften the truth. Jesus can only speak truth because he is the Truth!

Three ways to get Close to Jesus in the Eucharist

  • Go to Mass and receive Communion. You can do this every day, not only on Sundays.
  • Spend time with Jesus in a church or chapel, where he is present in the Tabernacle.
  • Go to Adoration.

This week, do one of the three suggestions as to how to get closer to Jesus. I encourage you to do this in person, not virtually. There is something you receive from being physically present with Jesus. Ask him what he wants for you. Ask him what he wants from you. Spend time in his prescence and your relationship with him will greatly benefit.

 

 

The Trinity-A Mystery to Embrace

A Production of the Ultimate Christian Podcast Network.

Thoughts from St. Hildegard

“But the Father is revealed through the Son, the Son through the beginning of created things, and the Holy Spirit through the incarnate Son. How is this? It is the Father who before time engendered the Son; it is the Son through whom all things were created by the Father at the beginning of creation; and it is the Holy Spirit who appeared in the form of a dove at the baptism of the Son of God towards the end of all time.”

A Mystery, but we can still think about it

We look at the Trinity through the lens of our faith. Do we fully understand it? Most likely not, but through the eyes of faith, we can embrace it and grow in our understanding as we grow in our faith.

In John 16: 12-15, we see the line of God the Father to the Son to the Holy Spirit.

Pray the Glory Be this week to ask for the intercession of the Trinity:

Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit. As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.

The Feast of Pentecost

A Production of the Ultimate Christian Podcast Network.

Come, Holy Spirit

The Feast of Pentecost is a theophany, a manifestation of God! Luke, the writer of Acts, uses the retelling as a way to remind us that the Jews also celebrated Pentecost. For them, it was the celebration of Moses receiving the Torah from God on Mt. Sinai. The same wind and fire are present in both events.

Holy Boldness

Peter and all who receive the gift of the SPirit are filled with a boldness to go forth and proclaim the Good News. We have that same call, by virtue of our baptism, to do the same.

The Birthday of the Church

Yes, it is the birthday of the Church!!!! So celebrate.

Wear read. Have a party. Light some candles.

This week, you have options.

  1.  Wear red to church.
  2. Step in boldness in a way the Holy Spirit has been nudging you. Pray, “Come Holy Spirit” and do it.
  3. Throw a party!

 

5 ways to Care for your Soul

A Production of the Ultimate Christian Podcast Network.

Our soul needs care just as our body does. This week, I’m offering 5 suggestions that help me be the Christian witness I want to be and live notlukewarm!

Five Ways

  1. Start your day with a prayer.
  2. Read scripture.
  3. Spend time in nature, noticing the beauty of God’s creation.
  4. Sit in silence for a short time.
  5. Practice gratitude.

Why do this?

As the saying goes, “you cannot pour from an empty cup.” Our ability to give to others is often determined by our internal state. And while taking care of our body is important, we cannot forget about our soul. In fact, from my own experience, I will say that my soul comes first, then I can do the rest of what is needed.

The challenge this week? Do it all! I guess I’m feeling a bit motivated or in need of soul care? God knows!

Need a speaker

Take a look at LiveNotLukewarm for ways to connect and have me come to your group.

 

 

The Courage of St. Catherine of Siena

A Production of the Ultimate Christian Podcast Network.

About Catherine

Catherine of Siena was born in Siena, Italy in 1347. She was a twin but her sister died shortly after birth. The following year the Black Death entered Siena.

She had a vision of Jesus as a young child and from then knew she wanted to give her life to God and renew the Church.

She took a vow of virginity and cut her hair; her desire was to avoid marriage.

In 1363 she joins the Mantelatte, a lay Dominican order of women in Siena.

Bold and Courageous

She wrote to Popes and civil leaders, telling them to do what was right and necessary to fix the problems in the Church and community. She ministered to the sick and dying. A story I tell in the audio is about her helping a man who is to be executed.

Her Writings

We have letters, prayers and her most well know, THe Dialogue of Catherine of Siena. The Dialogue is a series of conversations between God and Catherine while she was in a deep prayer state.

Pray Catherine’s prayer to the Holy Spirit when you find yourself falling into despair.

 

 

A New Book: Joyful Encounters with Mary

A Production of the Ultimate Christian Podcast Network.

A new book!

Maria Gallagher has written, Joyful Encounters with Mary: A Woman’s Guide to Living the Mysteries of the Rosary, a wonderful way to learn more about the joyful mysteries, virtues and the saints while living out your faith every day!

5 Joyful Mysteries

The 5 joyful mysteries are the Annunciation, the Visitation, the Nativity, the Presentation and the Finding of Jesus in the Temple. Each mystery is discussed in light of Mary, a virtue, a saint and how Maria has seen this mystery in her life.  The chapters also have questions to reflect on how your faith is present in your life. To learn how to pray the rosary, go here.

Why a book about Mary?

Maria has been blessed with many role models who helped her in her own faith adventure, modeling the love and care of Mary for her. MAria also reminds us that Mary leads us to Jesus and is always there for us – listening, helping and untieing the knots in our lives. We both like the Undoer of Knots Novena.

Where can I find this book?

The book is published by the Marian Servants and is on their website. You can read more of Maria’s work on her website.

Maria suggests, for our challenge this week, to actively cultivate a deeper relationship with Mary, our Blessed Mother.

Faith at the Empty Tomb

A Production of the Ultimate Christian Podcast Network.

Happy Easter

I hope that if you pull this up on Good Friday, you wait for another day to listen. This is a resurrection meditation! Filled with the good news of Jesus’ triumph over death.

A Fresh Hope

Each year we celebrate Easter to remind ourselves, yet again, that Jesus gave us our salvation.

The Meditation

The mediation is based on John 20:1-9.  Here are the questions I pose for reflection:

  • In times of grief, do you want to be alone or need others around you?
  • Have you ever not known where Jesus was in your own life?
  • What helped you find him?
  • I have had many resurrections in my life, how about you? Find some time to think about those, maybe write them down and praise and thank God for them.

I didn’t give a Not Lukewarm challenge this week. Instead, I encourage you to spend time in prayer with the reflection questions and scripture passage.

The Four Women Church Doctors

A Production of the Ultimate Christian Podcast Network.

Who are they?

Saints Hildegard of Bingen, Catherine of Siena, Teresa of Avila, and Therese of Lisieux are the four women Doctors of the Church!

Why are they called Doctors?

In honoring these women with this title, the Chuch is recognizing that the work and contributions each of these saints made has withstood the test of time. It is just as valuable to us today as it was to those who spoke, wrote, and mentored when the women first put forth their efforts.

To learn more…

Click on the name of each saint to learn more about them.

And your challenge this week is to learn more about one of these great women saints!

Don’t forget, if you’d like to study the Book of Revelation, we begin on April 20. Also, join the newsletter to find out when we being the Set the World on Fire retreat.

Ask God for the Plan

A Production of the Ultimate Christian Podcast Network.

Scripture

“I cannot do anything on my own; I judge as I hear, and my judgment is just, because I do not seek my own will but the will of the one who sent me.” John 5:30

Reflection

If Jesus, who is the one speaking, makes the point that he cannot do anything on his own, how much truer is this for us? Jesus is showing humility and by his example is telling us to do the same. Turn to God the Father. Ask him before you do anything so it will be aligned with his will, not yours.

Free Will

Free will, we all have it. And for some, it means doing whatever we want. For others, for me and probably for you, we want to do the Father’s will. Let’s face it, he is a much better planner than I am. The way Jesus knew his Father’s will was through prayer. It is how we stay connected to him.

This week, before you make a major decision or changes to your previous plans, go to God first and ask for his plan.

Interested in more?

Join the Revelation Bible Study with the Live Not Lukewarm Community.

Want to dive deeper into praying with scripture? Sign up for the Live Not Lukewarm newsletter to receive 4 Ways to Pray with Scripture.

 

10 Reasons to Study Scripture

A Production of the Ultimate Christian Podcast Network.

Begin with Scripture

“Indeed, the word of God is living and effective, sharper than any two-edged sword, penetrating even between soul and spirit, joints and marrow, and able to discern reflections and thoughts of the heart. No creature is concealed from him, but everything is naked and exposed to the eyes of him to whom we must render an account.” Hebrews 4:12-13

10 Reasons

  • It is the Word of God. What’s better than that?
  • You will get the best advice.
  • Spending time in the Word helps you to slow down and live in God’s time.
  • Yes, the sword is sharp as St. Paul says, but it is for a reason. To reveal what God wants to heal, root out, change in you to become who He created.
  • God’s Word is deep, meaningful, real and honest. Often the interactions we have in real life are less than deep, meaningful, real and honest.
  • It will help you figure things out in life. The big questions that need time and space and discernment.
  • God’s Word shapes and fills us, so then we can share it with the world.
  • Spending time in the Word teaches us who God is and who we are.
  • It reminds us of how much you are loved and cared for by God.
  • By spending time with God in the word you become a better person, the person He created you to be!

This week, spend 15 minutes a day reading, studying, praying with scripture. Start here with the daily Mass readings.

Want to dive deeper into praying with scripture? Sign up for the Live Not Lukewarm newsletter to receive 4 Ways to Pray with Scripture.

Join the Revelation Bible Study with the Live Not Lukewarm Community.

Ditch the Heaviness of Life

A Production of the Ultimate Christian Podcast Network.

Life can be heavy

All of us in this world has both good and bad things going on. There are moments of joy and despair, all intermingled, sometimes in the same moments. And where we focus often determines our attitude.

Scripture

“Then all who trust in you will be glad and forever shout for joy. You will protect them and those will rejoice in you who love your name. ” Psalm 5:12

GLAD

What is this GLAD technique? First, this is not something I came up with on my own. Here is a good explanation, especially in terms of mental health.

G – Gratitude

L – Learned

A – Achieved or accomplished

D – Delight

 

Use GLAD every day this week! Bonus if you do this with others, in person or via text or phone call. Let me know how GLAD you are!

Interested in studying the Book of Revelation? Find out all about it by subscribing to the Live Not Lukewarm newsletter. 

Imagine You Walked with Jesus, A Guide to Ignatian Contemplative Prayer.

A Production of the Ultimate Christian Podcast Network.

Teaching Prayer

Teaching a person to pray using Ignatian Contemplative Prayer is not an easy task. It takes time and repetition to learn. The other point to consider when teaching someone is that you want the person to enter into the prayer based on their needs, not the person teaching. In his new book, Imagine you Walked with Jesus: A Guide to Ignatian Contemplative Prayer Jerry Windley-Daoust does an amazing job of guiding you to a deep experience of prayer.

In this episode, Jerry and I talk about what makes his book unique, how it leads you through Jesus’ life with 40 different scripture passages and gives you a format you can use with prompts and suggestions to enter into prayer.

Don’t skip

Jerry starts the book off with 2 important chapters, the first an introduction to imaginative prayer and a brief tour of first-century Palestine. Both will be of help to you as you begin.

I also suggest moving through the scripture passages as Jerry has organized them. That way, you will see Jesus’ life and ministry unfold as you pray with the scripture.

Learn more

Find out more about the book, find journaling resources, more scripture suggestions and other help in getting started on the Guide to Imaginative Prayer website.

Our challenge this week comes from Jerry: “Go walk with Jesus in imaginative prayer! Choose a Scripture passage that reflects your situation, and go meet Jesus there, and see what happens.”

Stay up to date on all that Deanna has going on by subscribing to the Live Not Lukewarm newsletter. 

 

Asceticism

A Production of the Ultimate Christian Podcast Network.

Asceticism – not a word you use every day

Lent is approaching and I’ve been considering the idea of asceticism. Which is different from minimalism.  But rather than my words, let’s look a the definition from A Concise Dictionary of Theology.

“Asceticism is the ways and mean sdopted by Christians under the action of the  Spirit to purify themselves from sin and remove obstacles in the way of freely following Christ. Genuine asceticism brings a growth in contemplation and the love of God that is not detrimental to personal maturity and socil responsibilty.”

And Lent…

The three pillars of Lent are prayers, fasting and almsgiving. Deacon John and I talk about how to decide what to both give up and do for Lent. We do not divest ourselves of attachments to worldly things for the good of our own self. We do it to grow closer to God and better serve others.

The steps to a plan

First, we pray. Then we consider our options. Add one act of prayer, fasting and almsgiving and give up something that allows you to have more time, money, energy – whatever is needed to do the acts you will do.

 

Lent begins on Ash Wedensday, Marh 4, 2022. Prepare for LEnt this week so you are ready when it begins. If you are listening outside of this time frame, pick something anyway to do for a week.

 

 

 

With the Lord’s Help

A Production of the Ultimate Christian Podcast Network.

A Saint and some Scripture

We are reading The Way of Perfection by St. Teresa of Avila with the LiveNotLukewarm community.  The book is filled with wisdom, which is why she is a Doctor of the Church!

This struck me: “May our Lord assist me in everything that I shall do, that all things may be done according to His will, for such have always been my desires, though my actions are as imperfect as myself.”

And, thne we have the Letter of James, chapter 1, 19-22, though the entire letter is excellent.:

Know this, my dear brothers: everyone should be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath, for the wrath of a man does not accomplish the righteousness of God. Therefore, put away all filth and evil excess and humbly welcome the word that has been planted in you and is able to save your souls.Be doers of the word and not hearers only, deluding yourselves.”

Control the Tongue

Is it difficult to do? It is for me, how about you?

Invite God in more frequently, the more we ask for help the better off everyone will be. We can’t be a good example if we are not speaking with kindness.

Not Lukewarm Challenge

Read the Letter of James or say this prayer!

 

 

Grace in Tension: Discover Peace with Martha and Mary

A Production of the Ultimate Christian Podcast Network.

Author Introduction

I had a fun conversation with Claire McGarry, the author of Grace in Tension: Discover Peace with Martha and Mary, published by Our Sunday Visitor. Her website is Shifting my Perspective and you can find links to her books and recent writing there.

Instagram                                                                                                                                                   Facebook Author Page

Why Martha and Mary

In her repeated readings of the story from Luke 10, Claire senses her own frustration with Martha and Mary, not understanding why she is in tension over someone else’s story. In prayer, God reveals to her a process to learn how to face the tension in our lives and use it to help us uncover what is going on within ourselves.

GIFT (from page 19 of Grace in Tension)

  • Gauge, identify and name the tension I was feeling
  •  Invite it in so I could look it in the eye, robbing it of its hold over me
  •  Filter it through his lens, which sees the whole picture with love
  • Transform it by inspiring me to make the necessary changes in my life and in myself

By using GIFT, we can have a choice in how we react to the tension around and in our life.

Claire invites you to try her G-I-F-T acronym in the midst of your stress and tension, it would naturally lead you to God and a life that is not lukewarm.

 

The Father’s Love

A Production of the Ultimate Christian Podcast Network.

Back home

I’m back home after two weeks away to finish my spiritual direction certificate. I graduated on January 30, 2022, and received my Spiritual Direction Certificate from the Cenacle of Our Lady of Divine Providence School of Spiritual Direction in association with the Franciscan University of Steubenville. It was a grace-filled time with lots to unpack and think about.

But this quote

We are not the sum of our weaknesses and failures; we are the sum of the Father’s love for us and our real capacity to become the image of his Son. (St. John Paul II)

Kept coming up again and again. I tucked it away to think about later and now it’s later. so a few thoughts.

My thoughts

This quote is from Pope John Paul II’s homily at World Youth Day in Toronto, Canada in 2002. I read the homily here, it’s not very long. I also was struck by these words:

Jesus offers one thing, and the “spirit of the world” offers another.

The “spirit of the world” offers many false illusions and parodies of happiness.

The Lord is calling you to choose between these two voices competing for your souls.

All of this is very Ignatian, choosing between two worlds, one which wants your good the other, not really interested in you at all. I’ve been struck this week with feelings of total inadequacy, which I know is the world playing with my mind after being immersed in the Father’s love for weeks, attacks come. To sway us, to confuse us, to pull us away from the truth.

How to overcome

First, pray with scripture so you can hear God speak to you. Then, I offer this not lukewarm challenge: make a list of all that God has done for you that reminds you of his great love for you.

Interested in reading a great book?

3 reasons to read The Way of Perfection by St. Teresa of Avila

You will grow in your spiritual life

It was written during a time of upheaval in the Church

St. Teresa gives practical ways to incorporate prayer in your daily life

We will begin on Wednesday, February 16 at 7:30 pm (EST) via Zoom. The cost is $8 for non-members (register here); LiveNotLukewarm members no need to register, but please email me that you will attend.

 

 

 

365 Dates to Renew your Christian Marriage

A Production of the Ultimate Christian Podcast Network.

Let’s talk

That phrase could be the answer to “how to strike fear in the heart of my husband?” But it isn’t. Honest. Dating your spouse and keeping your marriage at the forefront of your life can be difficult. What you might need is to take a look at this book from Dana Nygaard for 365 sets of questions to ask on a date.

Why this book?

At times, it is hard to think of what to talk about besides the necessary or tedious or mundane. Dana had put together questions that vary from fun to serious to silly that you can ask each other on your date. And “date” is loosely defined here. It can be a walk, a drive, dinner, or quiet time at home when the rest of the house is sleeping.

Each date has 3 questions: Ready, a warm-up; Set – while you are on your date, deep but can still be talked about in public and then Go – this is the time for privacy as you go into the topic more deeply. Prayer is also included, to be used individually and together.

Who is this for?

Any couple who wants to know and learn more about each other.  You can purchase the book on Dana’s website, follow her on Facebook and Instagram too!

Dana has a great challenge for us this week. She says, “protect your marriage by intentionally pursuing your spouse on date nights.”

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All in with your spiritual life

A Production of the Ultimate Christian Podcast Network.

What does ‘not lukewarm’ mean?

To me, it means being all in, first with my spiritual life so then, the rest of life will follow. Life will never be perfect, but when grounded in faith, especially prayer and scripture, we all stand a better chance of dealing with life.

Scripture points

but showing love down to the thousandth generation of those who love me and keep my commandments.” Exodus 20:6″The person who is trustworthy in very small matters is also trustworthy in great ones; and the person who is dishonest in very small matters is also dishonest in great ones.” Luke 16:19

“But above all, my brothers, do not swear, either by heaven or by earth or with any other oath, but let your “Yes” mean “Yes” and your “No” mean “No,” that you may not incur condemnation.” James 5:12

A plan helps

As boring as it may sound, a plan helps. Commit to specific times to do certain things. And once you have made the commitment, stick with it. Don’t allow laziness or inertia to stop you. You have God on your side!

Not Lukewarm Challenge

Make a plan for your spiritual life. Contact me if you’d like to discuss some ideas or have a conversation.

 

 

And don’t forget, sign up for my email newsletter to stay up to date with Live NotLukewarm!.

You are valuable

A Production of the Ultimate Christian Podcast Network.

It’s easy to get sucked in

New Year’s resolutions, goals, plans — good, especially if they work for you. What’s not good is coming away with the thought that you have to change because you are not enough or not quite up to the world’s standards. We are bombarded with messages of do it this way, be better, stronger, eat this, drink caffeine, don’t drink caffeine.  Every day it seems, what is the best way changes.

What isn’t going to change – GOD

He does not change. And His word stays and is true. In Jeremiah 1:4-10, God speaks to Jeremiah and class him to be an oracle, a prophet. His prophet. God says, “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you…I dedicated you, a prophet…I appointed you.”

God does the same for each of us.

We are valuable

It can be easy to forget that our worth lies with Him who made us. God is calling us
to do away with whatever stops us from building and planting. It may not be quick or easy, but we can do it with his help.

Hold on to the truth that you are valuable to God because he created you!

Pray this week with Jeremiah 1:4-10. Ask God to reveal to you your value from His eyes.

And don’t forget, sign up for my email newsletter to stay up to date with Live NotLukewarm!.

 

Prioritize, 2022

A Production of the Ultimate Christian Podcast Network.

A New Year

Each year we have the opportunity to begin something new. And while many people take stock of their life in the new year, it can be done at any time. This episode is a fun one as my husband joins me in a conversation about our word for the year and goals.

Word of the Year

There are different sites where you can randomly pick a word for the year. This one does not require any login or email from you, so give it a try. Or, as you make your goals for the year and pray, a word may come to you. That is usually my method, though I use the website one for fun! Our word for this year is “Prioritize.”

A few of our goals

We both want to read the Bible in a year. Deacon John will also read 15 minutes a day and I want to read 1 business book a month.

A goal that has been in the works since 2020 for me is to complete my spiritual direction training. God willing, that will be done by the end of January! Writing another book is on my list again. A new one is to have a reactive day once a month where I can spend time sewing, crafting or some other creative work.

Why not come with a word for yourself and/or set some goals for 2022? I’d love to hear your words and why/how you’ll apply it in your life.

And don’t forget, sign up for my email newsletter to stay up to date with Live NotLukewarm!.

The Best Episodes of 2021

A Production of the Ultimate Christian Podcast Network.

Quite a year

Our year began with an episode that encouraged us to begin a spiritual makeover by “Changing our Hearts.” 

Later in the year, I talked about Rhythm, Routines and Habits, a good one to listen to as you begin planning for a new year, be it in your personal or professional life.

I hope that as we talked about prayer, scripture and books that all of our hearts and souls turned toward God and are now more closer to him and Jesus.

 

Prayer Episodes

The topic of prayer resonates with you.  Prayers of Gratitude and Surrender was a conversation with my friend Erin McCole Cupp. We talked about how the practice of focusing on gratitude helps us as we deal with problems in life.  You also like to pray with your spouse, something that is always helpful in my own marriage.

And the books!

Author interviews are a great way to meet new people and figure out what to read next. Barbara Lee, author of Answering God’s Call, a Scripture Based Journey for Older Adults; Whisper: Finding God in the Everyday by Danielle Bean and then first-time author Christy Wilkens book, Awakening at Lourdes were all favorites.

Don’t forget

I’ll be back in 2022 with more episodes on not lukewarm living. If you have any topics, questions or comments,  please leave a comment here.

Listen to one of the podcasts mentioned above, leave a review wherever you listen to podcasts, or sign up for the Live Not Lukewarm newsletter. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This

Faith, Present, Future

A Production of the Ultimate Christian Podcast Network.

Our Three Quotes

“Faith is the fundamental response to the love that has offered itself up for me.”         Fr. Hans von Balthasar

 “Faith is the realization of what is hoped for and evidence of things not seen.” Hebrews 11:1

“It is because of faith that we exchange the present for the future. ” St. Fediles 

The Incarnation

Our faith begins when we accept that God did send his Son in the form of a newborn baby to begin the way to our salvation. Our view then, can be on the future, not to the exclusion of taking care of life in this world but with the perspective that this world is not what is most important.

As St. Fidelis says, we exchange the present for the future, embracing what is to come. Knowing that when Jesus comes again we will have the truth, beauty and goodness faith offers us.

 

When you need a boost in leaning more on your faith this week, call on the Holy Spirit to lift you up. A simple “Come Holy Spirit, fill and help me” is enough. One deep breath in and out. Be filled with faith!

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What does it cost?

A Production of the Ultimate Christian Podcast Network.

We begin with scripture

“Without cost you have received, without cost you are to give” (Mark 10:8b).

Gratitude. Humility. Thankful. Sacrifice. Share.  These are all words that come to my mind as I read those verses, Mark 10:6-8. And I ponder what I have received without cost. And then it hits me, everything I have I have received without cost. How can I say that? On the surface it does not seem to make sense. I, like most people, regularly trade my time and talents for money; it is called work, career, or ministry. Our talents and time though, are gifts that we received from God Most High.

At the service of others

We can choose to put those at His service and for the good of others. I often find myself at odds with the second part of the verse, “without cost you are to give.” In fact, I can spend lots of time thinking about how much it costs me to give. How much does it cost me to give love, care, concern, kindness, mercy? It costs as much as I want to believe it costs. When I remember that all I have received has been without cost then I can give without counting the cost. But when I start to tally up when I have given and what I want in return, I am not the person God created me to be or the person I want to be. Does that ever happen to you?

Make a list of all that you have received from God! It can include intangibles like faith and hope, people you love, your talents, material goods, where you live. Try not to judge your list. Then, each day, pray for a few people from your list, ask God to help you grow in talent or use material things for His glory.

It is not easy to give without cost but that is what we are asked to do. The Incarnation is the beginning of Jesus giving to us. By virtue of that gift, we receive salvation. My prayer is for us to embrace the gift of salvation that we have received and share it with others by the way we live our lives without counting the cost.

Say Yes, Don’t Hesitate with God

A Production of the Ultimate Christian Podcast Network.

Mary’s Yes

“Mary said, Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord. May it be done to me according to your word.” Luke 1:38

And at that moment the Incarnation began. Mary did not hesitate.

In The Reed of God, Caryll Houselander describes that trust of Mary’s yes.

We too can have that trust which will free us of so many worldly concerns and distractions.

My goal

To stop hesitating. I find myself questioning, wondering, are you sure God, do you really mean me, Lord?  I don’t want to change my plans or look foolish. Does my to-do list control my day or does God? When God asks, when I make a promise – I want to follow through, all the time. I want to stop hesitating.

This week, when you feel the prompting of God, do it. Don’t hesitate. And if you have made a decision to do something specific every day, do it. Don’t put it off. Honor your promise, made to yourself or others or  God.


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Be Brave, Spread Light

A Production of the Ultimate Christian Podcast Network.

Catherine of Siena

“Start being brave about everything, driving out darkness and spreading light as well. Don’t look at your weakness, but realize that in Christ crucified you can do everything.” 

Shift your focus

It’s so easy when we are feeling all of our weaknesses that we dwell there and go down a rabbit hole of all the things we don’t have. Catherine suggests we drive out darkness and spread light. To me, it means shifting our focus from self to others. Spread the light of Jesus that is within you by virtue of your baptism.

Lean on Christ

Turn to Jesus when you need to be brave. He wants to help us.

This week, consider spreading light. Each day, do some small task that will help someone else. Be an inspiration with a kind word, a song, an action that you can share with another person.

Want to live more not lukewarm?

Sign up to join our Advent Book club. Or join the Live NotLukewarm email list for a new prayer series on praying with scripture.

Does God have footprints?

A Production of the Ultimate Christian Podcast Network.

This post and podcast was done in collaboration with my husband, Deacon John; hope you enjoy it.

God the Father in heaven sent His Son to us here on earth as a manifestation of His merciful love for us. By the Holy Spirit, Jesus was incarnate of the Virgin Mary. He left actual footprints where He walked here on earth because he was a physical being.

God the Father, on the other hand, is our spiritual Father in heaven and does not make footprints. Or does He?

What is a footprint?

An online dictionary has a few definitions of footprint, one of which is: “a unique set of characteristics, actions, etc. that leave a trace and serve as a means of identification.” So this made me think that WE are God’s footprint. All of us. In everything we do or say we leave a trace. And this trace is visible and seen by those we meet in our everyday life. People are watching. People are listening. And I don’t mean in a spy sort of way. But people just can’t help seeing and hearing others as they act and talk.

Be an example

And since people do watch and listen we must be great examples of Christians living the Christian way of life. That is why we are here. We are made in the image and likeness of God and we need to be shining examples of that to everyone. My favorite gospel verse is the quote in John 2:5. The Blessed Virgin Mary and Jesus along with many others are at the wedding feast in Cana. Mary notices the wine is running out and suggests Jesus can help. She tells the servers to “do whatever he tells you.” This is great advice to us as to how to live our lives. Do whatever Jesus tells us to do. And Jesus speaks to us the Gospels. He is the greatest example as to how to live for the glory of God.

We do well to live our life as an example to others as Jesus Christ is an example to us. And that will be our challenge this week!

Awakening at Lourdes: How an Unanswered Prayer Healed our Family and Restored our Faith

A Production of the Ultimate Christian Podcast Network.

Meet Christy Wilkens

She is a wife and mother of six, is a speaker and writer who lives outside Austin, TX. She blogs at FaithfulNotSuccessful.com about disability, faith, doubt, suffering, community, and good reads. Her first book, Awakening at Lourdes: How an Unanswered Prayer Healed Our Family and Restored Our Faith, a memoir about a pilgrimage with her husband and son, was just published by Ave Maria Press. She’s a Dame of Magistral Grace in the Order of Malta and just started pursuing a second career in nursing.

Control for Vulnerability

Christy spent hours in prayer, trying to “wrestle a healing from God” for her son Oscar. What mother wouldn’t do the same when medical doctors have no answers to help your son. Going to the baths at Lourdes was a gift and place of healing not only for Oscar but for Christy and Todd and the whole family. It was in the surrender that, that listening to God’s whispers, that she was able to see the small yet powerful changes in Oscar. And, then, she was able to “trade control for vulnerability” (pg 174) and receive what God was offering.

A full life

6 children, a husband and going to nursing school full time is more than a full life. However, those facts don’t capture all of life; the death of parents, illness, school and the usual happenings that go on with children, special needs or not. It is a full life, and one that Christy lives each day and when the days or moments are difficult and answers not forthcoming, she prays these words, “Whatever you want, Jesus, ” similar to Blessed Chiara Badano. 

Where does this leave us?

As I see Christy on social media, she inspires me. She is quick to point out, that it is God who works through her. It is all for his glory.

Christy is on Instagram, 

Here’s her website!

This week, when life seems overly full, pray this prayer: “Whatever you want, Jesus.”

 

 

 

 

The Struggle is Good

A Production of the Ultimate Christian Podcast Network.

No one likes struggles

However, in our world they are inevitable. I do believe they can help us tough, in becoming the person God created. If we learn from our struggles, we have confidence that God will be there with us the next time.

God’s Word

“So then you are no longer strangers and sojourners, but you are fellow citizens with the holy ones and members of the household of God,built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the capstone.Through him the whole structure is held together and grows into a temple sacred in the Lord;in him you also are being built together into a dwelling place of God in the Spirit.” Ephesians 2:19-22

Reflection

We are being built into a dwelling place for God in the Spirit. God will dwell in us, through the power of his Spirit with his Son. We are held together by his Son. Isn’t that the truth?  When we look back at our struggles we see how God was present. It may have been through the Word, others, prayers, the sacraments – he was there.  And then, what did we learn by going through the struggle?

That is our challenge for this week. Look back, on yesterday, last week, month, year – to a struggle that you survived and hopefully learned from. Where was God? What did you learn about him and yourself? Write it out. Remember it for the next time.

Enjoy this content, sign up for the Live Not Lukewarm newsletter.

 

At Your Command

A Production of the Ultimate Christian Podcast Network.

Who do you listen to?

There are many voices in the world who clamor for our attention and think they can guide us on the best path. Ultimately, though, only God wants what is best for us and will be with us always. In Luke 5:1-11, Jesus calls Simon (Peter) to follow him. But first, Jesus asks him to throw his net over and catch fish. Peter is tired and thinks it is pointless, but obeys Jesus nonetheless.

Lack of human potential vs divine fulfillment

And what happens next shows us that when we think we are lacking, obedience will bring divine fulfillment. And not a little bit, but an abundance. Now, this may not happen immediately as it does here in this story, but eventually, it will happen.

The other places we see this in Luke are in Luke chapter 1, specifically verses 1:34-37. We are told that “nothing is impossible for God.”

God will not leave us

Whenever God calls us, we may doubt or think he has the wrong person. Let’s try not to doubt God’s plan, remembering that whatever he calls you to he will stay with you, as you persevere, to the end.

Get into your bible this week and read Luke chapter 1, a little each day or Luke 5:1-10. How do these scriptures remind you that God will lead you and stay with you always? Is he calling you to something new? How will you respond?

Want to learn more about the Gospel of Luke? Go to LiveNotluewarm and check out our study.

Take Courage

A Production of the Ultimate Christian Podcast Network.

Courage!

Do we have courage or are we more like the Cowardly Lion? I’d say there are many times when I am like him and other times not. Life can be difficult and courage helps us stand up for what we believe, overcome mental, emotional and physical pain.

Scripture

Of course, I’d rather God inform my idea of courage rather than the Cowardly Lion from the Wizard of Oz. And as always, God has something to say!

In this world, you will have trouble, but take courage, I have conquered the world. John 16:33

The LORD himself will fight for you; you have only to keep still. Exodus 14:14

Choose one of those verses, write it on a post-it note or print out the image and whenever you find yourself lacking courage, pray it.

John 16:33Exodus 14:14

New Book – Saintly Moms, 25 Stories of Holiness

A Production of the Ultimate Christian Podcast Network.

New Book

My best life includes a steady supply of books and time to read them. How about you? This week I spoke with Kelly Ann Guest, the author of Saintly Moms, 25 Stories of Holiness published by Our Sunday Visitor.

 

Who are these Saintly Moms?

25 women, from the Blessed Mother to Saint Gianna Molla, women who embody real-life challenges with love and joy, becoming the holy women we are all called to become.

Kelly chose 25 saints, including a few on the road to sainthood, and tells us their story in a few short pages. each saint is meant to inspire us in the way they moved beyond the trials of their life to be holy. Kelly writes in a style that both teaches and inspires, reminding us that we too can be holy.

Each chapter opens with facts about the saint and closes with a prayer. Moms at all stages of motherhood will enjoy this book. I loved learning about new saints.

Prayer is the commonality in all these women saints, so take time each day to pray. Start with 5 minutes and go from there. If you already have a prayer practice, add to it. You won’t regret prayer!

Where else can you find Kelly Guest?

Her website: Nun2Nine.com

 

Practical Tips on Being Kind

A Production of the Ultimate Christian Podcast Network.

Kindness is good

The world can always use another person to spread kindness. Why shouldn’t it be you? I know it’s not always easy, let’s face it – you’ve got just as much going on as the next person. How can you be kind when it’s not easy or you’d rather treat the person the way they are treating others?

3 tips on how to be kind

  • Remember this: we don’t know what burdens other people are carrying.
  • Avoid the mentality that says you give back what you get.
  • Say or do the kind thing when people are unkind, it often disarms them and hopefully makes them think.

What if you don’t have it in you

  • Take a long pause before you respond to negativity and consider not responding at all if you know what you will say is not kind.
  • Take a break and refill however is most helpful to you. Take a walk, grab a drink with a friend, pray, read a fun book, sit in silence, play in the leaves, snow, sand (depends on the season and where you live).

This may be a bit (ahem, okay, very) obvious, but be kind to others this week, especially to those who are unkind to you or others.


 

A Special Thank You to Our Network Sponsor:  Courageous Movie

 

From the Kendrick Brothers, creators of the No. 1 box-office movie WAR ROOM and OVERCOMER, comes the remastered re-release of COURAGEOUS Legacy, in theaters September 24. Celebrating 10 years of impact on families and fathers, this updated version of the film includes new scenes and an enhanced look and sound.

Filled with action-packed drama, COURAGEOUS Legacy will once again have viewers laughing, crying, and cheering as they are challenged and inspired by everyday heroes who long to be the kinds of dads that make a lifelong impact on their children. Protecting the streets is second nature to these men. Raising their children in a God-honoring way? That’s courageous.

Check out the trailer here!


Prayers of Gratitude & Surrender

A Production of the Ultimate Christian Podcast Network.

Praying

What does it mean to pray? And is there a right or wrong way to pray? Simply put, prayer is talking to God. It is sitting with the One who made you and listening to what he has to say as well as telling him your thoughts. Often though, we forget to say thanks or think there is one ‘right way to pray.

Practice Gratitude

When we focus on what we have been given, it helps us realize the gifts in our lives.

Surrender

Let God be God. Allow him to be in charge.

Chaplet of Gratitude and Surrender

Erin came up with this prayer at Mass one weekend. A group of us come together Thursday mornings at 8am (EST) on Clubhouse to pray. It is a wonderful way to pray with others and offer our thanks to God. Follow Erin and me on Clubhouse.

More information

Erin on Instagram

Her website, where you can learn about her book!

My previous podcast with Erin McCole Cupp on her book, All Things New: Breaking the Cycyle & Raising a Joyful Family

 


 

A Special Thank You to Our Network Sponsor:  Courageous Movie

 

From the Kendrick Brothers, creators of the No. 1 box-office movie WAR ROOM and OVERCOMER, comes the remastered re-release of COURAGEOUS Legacy, in theaters September 24. Celebrating 10 years of impact on families and fathers, this updated version of the film includes new scenes and an enhanced look and sound.

Filled with action-packed drama, COURAGEOUS Legacy will once again have viewers laughing, crying, and cheering as they are challenged and inspired by everyday heroes who long to be the kinds of dads that make a lifelong impact on their children. Protecting the streets is second nature to these men. Raising their children in a God-honoring way? That’s courageous.

Check out the trailer here!


Rhythm, Routine & Habits

A Production of the Ultimate Christian Podcast Network.

Sounds a bit boring?

Rhythm, routines and habits sound a bit boring, isn’t the fun in life unplanned and spontaneous. Yes and no.  I like having a rhythm and routine in my life and habits make life easier, so you make fewer decisions all day long.

 

Plan my day

I find when I plan my day I get more done, have more energy, feel more creative and have more time for fun. But lately, I’ve not been doing it and life has been a jumble, not flowing very smoothly at all.

Some people who’ve helped me

I like James Clear, author of Atomic Habits; Gretchen Rubin, an NYT best-selling author and podcaster; Gary Keller and Jay Patapan, authors of The One Thing.

Create some routines for your day that will help you live a notlukewarm life more easily. It can be to start a new habit, plan your day to include some fun or add prayer time. Do something that will be of benefit to your life as it is right now!

Join me on September 20-23 for 4 ways to pray with scripture! You can sign up here.

 

 


A Special Thank You to Our Network Sponsor:  Show Me The Father Movie

The Kendrick Brothers, creators of WAR ROOM and FIREPROOF, have some exciting news to share: they have TWO films coming to theaters this fall—SHOW ME THE FATHER on September 10 and COURAGEOUS Legacy on September 24.

Featuring a variety of amazing, true stories, the Kendrick Brothers’ new feature film SHOW ME THE FATHER takes audiences on an inspiring and emotional cinematic journey. Their first documentary film has something for everyone and invites you to think differently about how you view your earthly father story and also how you personally relate to God.

Check out the trailer here!


 

4 ways to pray with your spouse

A Production of the Ultimate Christian Podcast Network.

Why pray with your spouse?

Jesus tells us in Matthew 18:19-20, Again, [amen,] I say to you, if two of you agree on earth about anything for which they are to pray, it shall be granted to them by my heavenly Father. For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.” Praying with your spouse leads to greater unity, that is communion, which is what Jesus calls us to, with each and him.

4 ways to pray with your spouse

  1. You can pray rote prayers of the Church; the Rosary, Novenas for a special intention, go to Mass together
  2. Short prayers of gratitude and intercessions
  3. pray with the scriptures
  4. pray specifically for each other’s needs before you leave for the day

Some links for more information

This week I encourage you to pray with your spouse or a close friend in one of the ways suggested!

Answering God’s Call

A Production of the Ultimate Christian Podcast Network.

Hits all the high points!

Talking with Barbara Lee reminded me why Ignatian Spirituality is so important. It is relatable, easy to approach and helpful as you go through life, no matter what age or stage you are in.

A Way to Pray

Answering God’s Call: A Scripture Based Journey for Older Adults by Barbara Lee, published by Loyola PRess is for all of us who want to pray with scripture and have had life experiences that have pushed us out in=to the deep. Maybe we’ve wondered where God is in the difficulties, trials and changes of life? Wonder no more, pick up this book that contains the scripture passages to read and ponder, prayer starters and a reflection. It is truly an all-in-one book in that whatever you’ll need for your prayer time is right there.

 

Ask for the grace

A Production of the Ultimate Christian Podcast Network.

A quote

“Grace is not a strange, magic substance which is subtly filtered into our souls to act as a kind of spiritual penicillin. Grace is unity, oneness within ourselves, oneness with God.” Thomas Merton

Different Graces

There are different types of grace, for different purposes; but all come from God and are gifts given to us to help us in our life. Our focus this week is on actual grace, the help we need right now so whatever difficulty or struggle is taken care of with God’s help. Grace is what makes the impossible, possible.

More thoughts on grace

We cannot store up actual grace; we receive what we need when we need it. Like the manna in the desert, we are given what we need and trust God will provide.

For more information about grace, check out the Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1996-2005.

This week, when you are faced with a challenge you don’t know how you will face, pray for grace. Allow God to act in and through you with his gift of grace.

 

Meet Melanie Rigney, Author

A Production of the Ultimate Christian Podcast Network.

Meet Melanie Rigney

Melanie is an author of three great books, Sisterhood of Saints; Radical Saints and Menopause Moments. Our interview focused mainly on Menopause Moments, published by Twenty-Third Publications.  She also writes for Living Faith, Catholic Update and Viva Mercy.

Why this journal?

Aging and change are a part of life. Menopause is inevitable and yet often ignored. Instead of fighting it, look at it as a time of spiritual growth as we do other life challenges.

The journal is a tool to look at the changes in our bodies and offer them up in prayer and reflection. As I said in the episode, I laughed many times while reading the reflection Melanie wrote.

What’s inside the book?

39 reflections, scripture verses, and prayer prompts with room to write a few lines of your own. There is also a suggested action to take for the topic covered. All of this is on 2 facing pages!

Find out more about all of Melanie’s work on her website, Rejoice! Be Glad!

Follow her on Instagram 

When you are struggling, remember that God is with you, as it says in Exodus 3:12, “I will be with you.”

 

A New Women’s Devotional, Called by Name

A Production of the Ultimate Christian Podcast Network.

What’s different?

Let’s be honest, there are so many devotionals that it can be hard to choose.

 

What makes this new devotional, Called by Name from Women in the New Evangelization edited by Kelly M. Wahlquist, Allison Gingras and Alyssa Bormes different? First, there are new voices; second, the daily devotions are brief yet powerful; third, it suggests do-able ways to take what you have reflected on and bring it to the world.

Each Day

Each daily page, yes, one page for each day, includes a scripture verse or two, a 300-word reflection, a prayer and a response. You are invited to journal on your scripture with the companion journal which guides you through Lectio Divina, a timeless way to engage with scripture. The journal is not dated, so if you miss a day or two months, it’s okay, you won’t have empty pages staring at you between the times you journal.

What is in the bundle and where can I get it?

The Called by Name bundle includes the book of 366 daily devotionals, a journal, journal stickers, prayer bookmark, and a Called by Name sticker at Women in the New Evangelization.

Allison has a great love of scripture, journaling and books! You can follow her on her website,  Reconciled to You, where you’ll find out all about the wonderful work she is doing.

Her challenge is this, spend 5 minutes a day journaling after reading scripture. You may find it a big help in your spiritual life.

 

 

The Spiritual Exercises

A Production of the Ultimate Christian Podcast Network.

Who is St. Ignatius?

Ignatius was born in Spain in 1491 and at 16 began serving at court and enjoying the good life of romance, fine clothes and gambling. He joined the army and in a battle in 1521 was struck by a cannonball to the knee and the trajectory of his life changed.

500 Years

This year is the 500th anniversary of that event and of Ignatius’ conversion to be of and in the world to a man who wanted to serve God alone.

Recovery and Conversion

During his recovery, he read the lives of saints and The Life of Christ. He realized he could live for the world or live for God. He chose God.

For me, the Spiritual Exercises were a turning point in my spiritual journey. They have helped me detach and learn to focus on what is important, turning away from the things that take my focus off God.

Read the quote from St. Igantius and think about how you are doing in praising, reverencing and serving God.

For a list of books on the Spiritual Exercises, click here.

 

 

Fun Summer Fiction Reads with Karina Fabian

A Production of the Ultimate Christian Podcast Network.

Unexpected!

Karina Fabian loves to write speculative fiction, fantasy, science fiction and horror stories. She reminds us that God gave us our imagination, it is a sacred gift for us to use to create something wonderful. Do you expect to see nuns in space? Or a gumshoe dragon named Vern?

The beginnings

While dating her husband, both in the military, they traded puns on their dates. And then stories followed. So Karina wrote, starting in 1993 and then getting more serious about it in 1997. How serious, well she has over 20 novels and is a part of numerous anthologies.

What’s going on now?

Karina has written journals so you can try your hand at writing. Her website, FabianSpace, has all of her books, published by Laser Cow Press. There is also a blog page with chapters of her latest work. Take a look, she has an amazing imagination and style!

Read a book that is outside your typical style or genre. Read something just for the fun of it!

Essential Worship Questions

A Production of the Ultimate Christian Podcast Network.

Who needs worship?

Is it God or us? God does not need our worship. We need to worship him. It makes us more inclined to give him honor and reverence and awe. It reminds us to love God above all other people and things.

What are we to worship?

We are meant to worship the creator, not the created. Romans 1:28 says, “They exchanged the truth of God for a lie and revered and worshiped the creature rather than the creator, who is blessed forever. Amen.”

How are we to worship?

We are meant to come and worship God filled with the SPirit and honestly, not trying to hide anything from him. John 4:4 says, “God is spirit and those who worship him must worship in Spirit and truth.”

 

Ask yourself the question, how am I going or entering into worship? If there have blocks or things you are trying to keep hidden, ask God to remove them so you can be free in your worship of him.

Spotify Playlist

 

 

 

All Things New: Breaking the Cycle & Raising a Joyful Family

A Production of the Ultimate Christian Podcast Network.

A new Book by Erin McCole Cupp

It is always a pleasure to talk to people I have gotten to know from their writing and social media. I’ve read Erin’s blog and known her work for some time. I was excited to learn about her new book, All Things New: Breaking the Cycle & Raising a Joyful Family published by Our Sunday Visitor.

What is the book about?

Through the framework of the Greatest Commandments and the Beatitudes, Erin tells us how we can have a joyful life, even when our own childhood was less than ideal. She draws on her own and other people’s experiences to show how it’s possible.

Erin wants readers to know that they have the freedom to choose a different path and that it’s possible to break the cycle of abuse and dysfunction.

Keep up with Erin

If you don’t have TikTok, follow her on Instagram for sure!

Finding Sanctuary, How the Wild Work of Peace Restored the Heart of a Sandy Hook Mother

A Production of the Ultimate Christian Podcast Network.

Restoration and Healing

People often wonder, when terrible things happen, how those involved recover. How do they find their way back to wholeness? This book, Finding Sanctuary, How the Wild Work of Peace Restored the Heart of a Sandy Hook Mother by Jennifer Hubbard, published by Ave Maria Press, is the story of just that, wholeness after a tragedy.

Amazing Conversation

I cannot synthesize my conversation with Jenny into a few points. I can tell you that speaking with her reinforced what I took away from in reading her book. She is quick to point out that her tragedies and trials are not greater than anyone else’s.

Grief

There is no one way to grieve. Trust in God, he knows what we need in the process of grieving and will provide. Jenny reminds us that there is beauty and growth in our trials and to be true and real with God. Don’t hide from him.

We didn’t have a challenge specifically, but Jenny talked about praying for eyes to see and ears to hear. I think that is good prayer for this week!

How do we care for the marginalized?

A Production of the Ultimate Christian Podcast Network.

A new book

Love and Care for the Marginalized, 40 Meditations, Spiritual Outreach Reflections for Catholics by Anne DeSantis is about learning to be kind and loving disciples of Jesus. That’s it. These meditations include a quote, a reflection, a prayer and a call to action. It is not enough to know what we are called to do, but that we act as Christians.

Who is quoted?

Scriptures, saints, and world leaders all have a place in learning to listen, love and care for those in our daily life. This is not about searching for the marginalized, but rather seeing them right in front of you.

What is needed today?

Active, compassionate listening. Treating the people we encounter as Jesus did and would. Caring about others. Living out the corporal and spiritual works of mercy.

About Anne and her new book

Learn more about Anne at her website, You can check out her new book, published by Charis Books and now available for purchase!

This week, when you are interrupted, stop what you’re doing and be present, listening with your heart to what the other wants you to hear.

 

 

Meet Lara Patangan, author of Simple Mercies

A Production of the Ultimate Christian Podcast Network.

What did you do when you turned 40?

Lara Patangan wanted to mark the milestone with a year of mercy. She decided to embrace the corporal and spiritual works of mercy by doing them all year long. And what began as an experiment of sorts became a turning point in her faith life.

What are works of mercy?

Without writing a theological treatise, it is a set of Corporal (related to the body) and Spiritual (related to the soul) works that the Catholic Church asks us to do in our daily lives. They are based on Matthew 25. Some examples are: feed the hungry, clothe the naked, visit the imprisoned, bury the dead and comfort the sorrowful.

What did Lara learn?

God is a giver of extravagant mercy and he really, really loves us all. At times, our service to others may seem mundane, but it all matters and makes a difference.

Her book, Simple Mercies: How the Works of Mercy bring Peace and Fulfilment published by Our Sunday Visitor is meant to inspire and encourage others to live out their faith every day by sharing God’s mercy with the people we encounter.

Lara suggests we practice giving one act of mercy towards someone else today and receiving one act of mercy from someone else today.

Follow Lara Patagan on Facebook, Instagram, and go to her website to download a free study guide for her book.