Have You Called Your Father Lately?

untitledPrayer is the essence of our relationship with God. The more you pray, the more you are in relationship with God. If you think of God as a person, and prayer as the frequency of communication with that person, how would you measure your relationship with God?

Is God the person you talk to every day and therefore, consider your relationship to be a good, strong one built on mutual respect, love and care? we-need-to-talk

Maybe God is the person you talk to multiple times a day, but what is the quality of that relationship? Do you have superficial or in depth conversations? Is God the person you only call from time to time, when you think about it, or when there is something He can do to meet one of your needs? Is God the person you have lost track of, and just don’t bother with anymore?

Thinking about prayer in this manner makes it less formal, more personal. This is what God wants from us. Remember, we are His children. If we are thinking of God in terms of human relationships, then God is our Father.

Do you call Him on Sundays only? Have you let weeks, months, or years go by without touching base? Considering He is the best, most loving Father any of us could have, then He deserves all that we can give Him and so much more. Just like any other relationship, if it isn’t nurtured, it doesn’t last.

Have you called your Father lately? How’s He doing? The next time you talk to Him, let Him know I say hello. I’ll be sure to mention you to Him.

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Jill Fischer is the Principal of St. Dominic Catholic School.

Kindness is Not a Weakness

clouds“Clothe yourself with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.”         – Colossians 3:126

We’ve all met that person. They may have been your boss. Or your coach. Or your neighbor. They are direct and often speak their mind. They have the opinion that if you “want to get ahead in the world,” you have to be strong, you have to be tough, even mean. This applies to everything, from getting a promotion at work, to standing in line at the grocery store. In their eyes, there is not a lot of room for kindness. There is not a lot of room for compassion. circle

“Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy.

Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.

Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.”

Kindness is not weakness.

  • You can be tough and firm…and still be kind.
  • You can be a strong and effective boss…and still be kind.
  • You can have your opinion and express that opinion with others…and still be kind.
  • You can stand up for yourself…and still be kind.

“People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” – Maya Angelou

think about it

Who is the most compassionate person you know? Share your thoughts with us.

Following the Lamb

untitledI don’t know about you, but I wish the whole world would pay attention to Paul’s words in his first letter to the Corinthians 12:4-31. It is a cautionary reminder. More specifically, I wish our leaders would pay attention to his words.

While I do not ever actively engage in political conversations, or participate in debate, or involve myself in commentary, I do give a tremendous amount of pause to what is happening in our nation.

My pause turns to prayer.prayer

My prayer focuses on how the Lord is calling me to lead St. Dominic Catholic School so that children and their families find their way to Jesus’s most Sacred Heart, especially, when the “yuck” of the world permeates the reality we live in. If only everyone could hear and understand how they are hurting one another in so many ways. We have a generation of children growing so desensitized to willingly inflicted pain and hurt, that it is becoming normal.

Well, it isn’t normal in my world. In fact, it downright scares me. I am keenly aware every day that when one part of the body suffers, the whole body suffers. When one leader debases and demeans another, we all suffer, because we become subjected to it and are forced to respond to it, whether we know it or not. We all respond differently. Some become cranky. Some become hopeless. Some become less loving and merciful. Some become less aware. I don’t know about you, but I am working to create a bubble of prayer, where I try to focus totally and completely on what Jesus tells me and not the voices shouting on Twitter, Facebook, television or radio.

I don’t care, because I don’t follow donkeys or elephants. I follow the Lamb. By following the Lamb, I am able to hear and respond to what the Body needs. I may not always get it right, but it is better than the alternative.

“Christ has no body now on earth, but yours,
no hands, but yours,
no feet, but yours,
Yours are the eyes through which to look out
Christ’s compassion to the world
Yours are the feet with which He is to go about
doing good;
Yours are the hands with which He is to bless men now.”   ― Teresa of Ávila

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Jill Fischer is Principal of St. Dominic Catholic Parish.

 

 

In Need of Compassion

foodI’ve been spending my Saturday mornings at the Riverwest Food Pantry. This is a place for people who are struggling in life to receive food, clothing and support for their daily needs.

I’ve been fortunate to be the greeter—I get to welcome the guests as they enter the canstockphoto11528787pantry.

Before we open the doors, the Executive Director, Vincent gives all of the volunteers a quick message for the morning:

“Your job is not to judge. Your job is to offer compassion and a smile. You don’t know someone’s back story or the type of day, week, month…or even year they’ve had.”

These words echo through my head as a man enters the pantry. His eyes are wide and I can tell he is a bit overwhelmed.

“Have you been here before?” I ask.

He looks down. “This is my first time.” He pauses and looks up at me. “I never thought I would need something like this.” He told me that his wife recently passed away, then he lost his job…and things spiraled out of control. Suddenly his entire world changed.

This man in front of me didn’t just need food, he needed a friendly voice, a loving smile, and a lot of compassion. I put my hand on his shoulder. “I’m glad you found us. Let me explain how the pantry works.”

This man was very clear. The words he spoke told me that he was in need. But how many times do I encounter people who don’t speak these words…yet they’re still in need of compassion? Am I doing a good job of reading and reacting to those in need?

Every day God sends us people who are in need of compassion. Are you ready to support them?

think about it

Share your story with us: Tell us a story of how you encountered someone who was in need of compassion. 

Herda

 

Dan Herda is a member of the St. Dominic Catholic Parish Marketing Committee and one of the editors of theROCK.

What We Give to the Mass

Jill Fischer2014nceacswlogoEvery principal in a Catholic school knows the greatness of Catholic Schools Week. We have joy. We have appreciation. We have fun. We have opportunity. It is the stuff of memories.

Yet, don’t we celebrate being Catholic every week at Mass? How often do you see joy at Mass? What about an attitude of gratitude? Fun? Opportunity? All those things we find awesome about our Catholic schools, we should be finding awesome in our weekly, universal act of praying together.

As I often tell my students, we shouldn’t be seeking so much what we get from Mass, as that is obvious; the Eucharist – Christ’s body and blood poured out, but more of what we give to the Mass. We neglect this very important aspect. Jesus suffered for us, so that all that we are suffering might be His. He loved us, so that all that we love might be His. He became human, so that all that we are become His.

Take all that you are to Mass and lay it at the altar, so that you might become His. In this, we are all united.

For all that we pour out, He will fill with something more – His love, mercy and abundant grace.

jf

 

Jill Fischer is the Principal of St. Dominic Catholic School.

 

Focus on Compassion

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St. Paul writes, “Though he was God, he emptied himself, entered into our human history, became one like us in every way, gave himself over to suffering and even ignominious death on the cross.” Jesus became one like us so he could enter into all of our experiences, including the joys, hopes…and difficulties.

Compassion is a simple word: “co,” meaning together, and “passion,” meaning having a strong feeling.

Right now, our world is in dire need of compassion. During February, the month of love, we pray for compassion in our all of our neighborhoods, our country and our world.

We show compassion by thinking about how our words make people feel.

We show compassion by thinking about how our actions make people feel.

This month theROCK is focused on Compassion.

What does compassion mean to you? Share your thoughts with us.

Practice

THE LIST

Last Sunday, all of Wisconsin watched the Packers play in the NFC Championship game. This was the final game before the Super Bowl, and it was a matchup of the NFC’s two best teams.

The team had just played 18 games. The players were sore and battered. They were exhausted, both mentally and physically. But even these professionals atfootball the top of their game did one thing the week before their big game: they practiced.

They studied. They analyzed. They developed plans. They didn’t rely on good luck or circumstances. They prepared themselves for what they wanted to achieve.

Now think about your faith goals for 2017. Does it include practice? Does it include study and analysis and a development of plans?

Great faith doesn’t just happen. It takes time and energy and work. It must be intentional.

If you have not set your faith goal for the year, here are three simple things to help:

1Keep it simple. Choose one or two things. Make them realistic and achievable. Be specific.

2Plan your actions. What are you going to do? Goals without actions are simply words. How will you practice your faith?

3Follow up. Schedule time to review how you’re doing. Don’t be hard on yourself. Keep at it, even when times are tough.

St. Dominic Catholic Parish will be offering a challenge to all parishioners during Lent to help you be intentional in your faith life. Watch for it!

This month theROCK is focused on Goals and Dreams.

What are your faith goals for 2017? Share them with us.

Are You an Intentional Disciple?

Outside Inspiration Header

Forming Intentional Disciples: The Path to Knowing and Following Jesus

“We must be convinced that all the baptized – unless they die early or are incapable of making such a decision – will eventually be called to make a personal choice to live as a disciple of Jesus Christ in the midst of his Church.”

When looking to create your spiritual goals for 2017, use this book as one of your guides.

51htiatuglDrawing upon her fifteen years of experience with the Catherine of Siena Institute, Sherry Weddell leads readers through steps that will help Catholics enter more deeply into a relationship with God.

Ask yourself, “How can I become an Intentional Disciple in 2017?” Weddell shares insights, ideas and inspiration on living a life of true faith.

Intentional does not mean “following the rules without thought.” It means truly entrusting your life in Jesus.

One reviewer of the book stated: “Weddell does a great job of showing how important the sacraments of the Church are. But, at the same time, she notes that the sacraments are not magic; they are vessels of grace that we need to actively receive.”

Stop Hiding Your Prayer Life

untitledI was listening to Relevant Radio the other day when the speaker talked about the importance of children seeing their parents pray and participate in the sacraments. It gave me pause. I often hide my prayer from my husband and children. I tend to tuck it praying-614374_960_720away. I tend to shelter my conversations with God as something just between us. I don’t do that with any of my other conversations. Why shouldn’t my children and spouse see me pray my personal prayers? Why shouldn’t they witness my conversations?

They know I pray. So, if I want them to have a personal relationship with Jesus, they should see me having one – walk the walk , as they say. So, I am determined to stop hiding my prayer life. I want my children to be comfortable in all aspects of their faith life, so I must be comfortable in mine as well. It doesn’t matter that they are 18 and 15, I am going to start now.

I would encourage any of you who hide your prayer life away from others, especially your family members, to join me in the challenge. I would encourage you to start a prayer life for yourself, and with your children, if you don’t have one.

It is never too late to establish that friendly relationship with Jesus.

jf

 

Jill Fischer is Principal of St. Dominic Catholic Parish.

Focus on Goals

quote-for-january-2017

“Reach high, for stars lie hidden in your soul. Dream deep, for every dream precedes the goal.”  -Mother Teresa (St. Teresa of Calcutta)

You know the tradition. At the beginning of each year, thousands of people everywhere make resolutions and set goals for the next 12 months. The topics range from exercise to weight loss, from quitting smoking to finding a new job.

What about our faith? What are your faith resolutions? It’s a question we should ask ourselves every year: “Am I doing everything I can to live a faith-filled life?”

I think we can all agree that there is always more that we can do. But choosing the goal is only one part of the equation. Now we need to figure out how to make it happen.

This month, theROCK is focused on Dreams and Goals. We’ll look at ways to challenge ourselves and help us set and achieve our goals. Remember, living a life of faith takes responsibility on our parts. It should be every Christian’s desire to live actively and intentionally for Jesus.

So, let’s get started. Tell us about your New Year’s Faith Resolutions. Share your thoughts with us.