Our phone system is currently unavailable. Please email our Mission team at info@DynamicCatholic.com.
There are no products in your cart.
Meeting people where they are . . . Leading them to where God calls them to be!
A free, daily email program to help you experience Christmas on a whole new level.
Take your children on a faith-filled musical adventure. Get the new BLESSED Music Album!
by Matthew Kelly
by Father Bob Sherry
Pope Francis has been making headlines for lots of things he has been saying this month, but what he has really challenged me to think about is my relationship with the poor. You see, I am blessed. I have food, shelter, clothing, friends and family who love me, and opportunities. But there are many in this world who don’t have any of these, and even more people who don’t have some of them.
Our new pope challenges us to go out, find these people, look into their eyes, and see how we can lighten their load, relieve them of their burden, and serve them in meaningful ways. By comparison, writing a check to a charity that feeds the poor in some distant corner of the world seems very, very easy.
And so, I have been trying to work out how I can live out the challenge the pope has laid before us. I don’t have an answer. It is something I am struggling with.
So, this month, I encourage you to think about your relationship with the poor. Jesus loved them. Too often, at best we tolerate them, or worse, we ignore them. But God continues to invite us into a relationship with the less fortunate of this world, and through them we find ourselves immersed in God.
May God bless you and all those you love with grateful spirits and generous hearts.
He knows that love and mercy melt and soften my heart, and until that happens, I’m not very receptive to constructive criticism.
— From “Walking with Purpose: Seven Priorities That Make Life Work” by Lisa Brenninkmeyer
I was two seconds from purposely rear-ending the maddeningly slow car in front of me. I had so much pent up irritation, and I could just taste the satisfaction I would feel when our cars would hit and all the anger would exit my body. It would be like that Fried Green Tomatoes moment when Kathy Bates rear-ended the car of the girls who whipped into her parking spot, saying, “Face it lady, we’re younger and faster,” and she responded by repeatedly hitting their parked car saying, “Face it girls, I’m older and I have more insurance.” In my little world, we were saved from an accident because the car mercifully indicated an upcoming left turn when I needed to turn right. Glory hallelujah.
So I got back in the car, and cranked the Christian radio station as loud as I could because the noise made me feel better. And I probably traumatized my child in the process and she’ll probably never like Christian music and will always associate it with the psycho side of her mama.
A few minutes after I decided it wouldn’t be a very wise thing to purposely cause an accident, a song came on that was talking about the grace we get that we don’t deserve. Maybe because the music was so darn loud, or maybe because God is so good and worked on me even though I was really crabby, my heart softened a little. I grudgingly acknowledged to God that it was pretty nice of Him to constantly offer me mercy.
Then a song by For King and Country came on called “The Proof of Your Love”.
Listen to these words…
“If I sing but don’t have love I waste my breath with every song I bring an empty voice, a hollow noise If I speak with a silver tongue Convince a crowd but don’t have love I leave a bitter taste with every word I say (a little bit convicting…)”
And here’s the deal. That song really hit me hard and had the effect that God desired it to. But would I have responded like that if the song about grace hadn’t come on first? I doubt it. If “The Proof of Your Love” had come on right when I got in the car, I probably would have turned it off. It likely would have just made me madder.
God gets how I’m wired. He knows that love and mercy melt and soften my heart, and until that happens, I’m not very receptive to constructive criticism. I think most of us react to correction with defensiveness. Could this be because we haven’t felt unconditional love first?
I am writing this piece at the time I am preparing the theme of Generosity for a Parish Mission and the Sunday Gospel is Jesus’ parable about the Rich Man and Lazarus. One of the insights that strikes me while reading this parable this time is that the Rich Man knows the name of the Beggar. He pleads with Abraham after his death: Father Abraham…send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue.” The Rich Man still gives orders, but his command does include the Beggar’s name. This facts scares me because I know the names of several rich persons, but I know the names of very few poor people. This insight bothers me.
Pope Francis said recently, “I want the church to be poor and for the poor. I want the church to be in the streets where people are.”
So how do we re-train ourselves to be out in the streets to notice and to learn the names of the poor? Do I do this just because the new Bishop of Rome says to? Our Holy Father notes that comfortable living can lead to gentrification of the heart.
After hearing from good parishioners for 45 years, “nothing is too good for Father Bob,” can you imagine my struggle to change gears?
But as a retiree now living mostly on a set income, I’m thinking that if I have such a struggle to live in my middle class, how much more struggle is it to live in the lower class.
Are you with me in this? I just took the plunge and emailed a “Soup Kitchen” in my neighborhood, inquiring how I might help. I am going to donate 1% more, but if that were all I did, I would not learn any new names, much less see the faces of the people around me in need.
Let me know what new generous deed you are motivated to do this month. email@example.com
I am writing you to tell you about what a timely inspiration your book entitled Rediscover Catholicism has been to me at this time in my life. First, let me just say I am not an avid reader of books. However, while home in Chicago with my family for the 2012 Christmas season, we were given your book at our local church. I didn’t know what to think at first but something made me decide to open it up and start reading. Needless to say, although I haven’t finished your book yet, I cannot put it down.
You see I have been serving in the United States Navy Seabees for over 22 years and I am approaching my military retirement in about another year and a half. I have been worried and stressed about finding a job and being able to continue supporting my family as I have for the past 11 years of my marriage.
I have been experiencing trials and tribulations both at home and at work, and I was really wondering what our God really has planned for my family and me. But when I started reading your book, everything just started to come together for me. My job in the Navy is a Chief Petty Officer and our main responsibility is to take care of our troops, always. I have always felt that I did a good job at that, but after reading the first few chapters of your book, I have learned that although I was taking care of them, at times I was not really “listening” to them. I am learning to reach out to them and really talk to them about their goals and ambitions. I can say it has been really eye opening to hear what they have to say. It has allowed me to gain a new happiness and fulfillment at my work and it is due to your writing.
Another point you made that really hit home was to work for our God. Regardless of the job or type of work, do it to the best of your ability as though you are working for God. I have heard this before but it never really sank in as it did after reading it in your book. I feel more focused and energized as I go in to work with the motivation that I am not working for me or the office, but for God.
Lastly, and probably the best thing that has happened, my wife told me the other day that I am getting back to being the man she married 11 years ago. You see with all my stress and worries and work issues, I really just became extremely hostile and easily irritated. This was not me and I knew it, but I just couldn’t change (at least not until I started reading your book). Now, I am that happy go lucky guy she met 13 years ago and married 11 years ago. It feels good to be slowly getting back to being the person God wants me to be.
This is just some of what your book has done for me in the short time I have had it. I can only hope that I am able to live a “Saintly” life from this point forward, doing for others and working hard for our God in whatever the future may hold for my family and I.
Want to share your story? Write us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Making time for each other isn’t that difficult if you think about how to anchor the time around already established routines at home.
Life is short, and the holidays fly by. Don’t waste this time texting your friends about how crazy your family is making you (even if it’s true). Do your best to be present to them, seek to understand and to love.
Waking up early is a war. It is a battle against the self. You are your enemy. And there is only one way to win the war: Discipline.
When you choose to be the-best-version-of-yourself, when you exercise virtue and strength of character, you impact the world more than you will ever know.