My Pilot Light

If you’ve ever cooked with a gas stove you’ve noticed the pilot light. It’s the tiny flame that ignites all of the burners with a single spark. It’s very small, but very mighty.

I always think of a pilot light when we get to the end of the Mass. When the priest gives the final blessing, I think of that moment as relighting my personal pilot light, helping to keep my faith burning throughout the week.

How do you light your pilot light?

Just like the gas stove, it doesn’t take much. Here are three simple solutions.

Read.

Take three minutes each day to read something inspirational. This is your mental workout, something to start to get you in shape. Look for writings that bring you closer to God. Try to increase the time each day.

Think.

Go for a walk. Ask yourself these questions:

  • Who am I?
  • What do I stand for?
  • What do I believe?
  • How do I live these beliefs every day?

Act.

Do one purposeful thing every day. Something that you know has an impact on another person. Something that allows that person to see God through your eyes and your heart. It doesn’t have to be complex. Keep it simple. Smile. Hold a door. Ask questions. Be a friend. Show compassion.

If you get frustrated and your pilot light goes out, simply light it again. All it takes is one tiny spark.

“If you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.”   -Matthew 17:20

What Will You Laugh at Today?

What is your call to action? How will you live a life of faith?

During the summer months, we’re featuring a post called “I Will.” What’s one thing you can do to make the world a better place?

I Will…Laugh. A lot.

How much do you laugh? According to Psychology Today, the average four-year-old laughs 300 times a day. The average 40-year-old laughs only four times a day.

A recent study examined a group of adults in their 60s and 70s. They were measuring their short-term memory and stress levels. One group was asked to sit silently and read. The other group watched humorous videos.

After 20 minutes, each person gave a saliva sample and took a short memory test. The “humor group” performed significantly better when it came to memory recall. Participants who viewed the funny videos had much higher improvement in recall abilities, 43.6% vs. 20.3 % in the non-humor group.

Research has shown laughter may reduce stress hormones and boost your immune function. Laughter has demonstrated a wealth of physiological, psychological, social, spiritual, and quality-of-life benefits. In fact, many health care facilities are using “laugh therapy” as part of their care.

God has given us so much on this Earth to make us happy. Let’s share some of that happiness with others in our lives.

So…what will you laugh at today?

A Sunday of Baseball and Love

When I was very young, my entire family would gather each year at my grandmother’s house for a summer picnic. Aunts, uncles, cousins, in-laws, boyfriends, girlfriends…we were all one giant family.

My grandmother lived in a huge farmhouse with an enormous front yard. The area was big enough to create a make-shift baseball diamond.

So that’s what we did. We played baseball. Every year. At every picnic. For hours at a time.

Being a young boy, I was obsessed with baseball. I loved the beauty of the game, I loved the strategy, I loved the teamwork. But most importantly, I loved sharing this passion with my entire family.

I would have dreams about the giant game months before the actual event. I couldn’t wait to get on the field. It brought us all closer together as we laughed and screamed and jumped for joy with every play.

My passion on that specific Sunday started with baseball, but it quickly overflowed onto all of the “players,” as well as those watching on the sidelines. Baseball brought us together, but it was our love for each other that kept the passion alive.

Year later, I still have incredible memories of those games. I long to feel that passion again, and long to have all of those people together in one place with one central purpose: to love each other.

What are you passionate about? What gets you excited? How do you share this passion and excitement with others?

The key to it all is this: live life like a child. Find something that makes you happy, then find a way to share this happiness with others. Don’t think so hard about it—keep it simple. It may be an afternoon bar-b-que, a day at the pool, watching a sunset, or dancing to a band at a church festival.

Bringing your passion to life means bringing the best out of others. It means making our moments on Earth meaningful.

It means swinging hard at every pitch and loving every minute.

What is your passion? Share your thoughts with us.

 

Dan Herda is an editor of theROCK and a member of the Marketing Committee at St. Dominic Catholic Parish.

Focus on Passion

You know who they are. They’re the ones who light up a room when they walk in. They’re the ones that smile brightly when they tell you a story. They’re the ones with eyes that can see into your soul.

They’re the people with passion.

We love to be around the people with passion.

“I wish I could be more like that.” “They’re always so positive.” “I love their energy and enthusiasm for everything.” Sound familiar? We never think of ourselves as the passionate ones,  yet, we all have the power to live a life of passion.

We just have to learn how.

This month theROCK is focused on Passion. We’ll discuss ways to became the person that you’ve always hoped you would be. And…we’ll discover ways to let God shine through you onto everything and everyone in your path.

“What we are is God’s gift to us. What we become is our gift to God.”

You Choose

As we end the month of June and conclude our focus on living in the moment, we reflect on the writing of Matthew Kelly in his book “The Rythym of Life.”

“Everything is a choice.

Love is a choice. Anger is a choice. Fear is a choice. Courage is a choice.

You choose.

Sometimes we choose the best-version-of ourselves, and sometimes we choose a second-rate-version-of-ourselves.

Everything is a choice, and our choices echo throughout our lives…and into history…and on and on into eternity.

Learn to master the moment of decision and will live a life uncommon.”

How are you going to appreciate the moments of your day, week, month and year? How are you going to appreciate everything that God has laid out for you?

What are you going to choose?

Share your thoughts with us.

I Will…Learn to Listen

What is your call to action? How will you live a life of faith?

During the summer months, we’re featuring a post called “I Will.” What’s one thing you can do to make the world a better place?

I Will…Learn to Listen.

Living in the moment starts with learning to listen. A lot of conversations today have turned into a variety of sound bites, each person taking their turn talking, but not really hearing or listening to what the other person is saying.

Listening takes concentration and will power. You have to resist the idea of trying to think of the next thing to say or to add on to a conversation. You have to be quiet, both in mind and words.

While this is important when talking to others, this is also important when talking to God.

Are you truly listening to what God is telling you? Are you listening to what he’s asking of you? 

When we learn to listen, we find that we begin to truly appreciate the people in our lives and the world around us.

The Moments of the Mass

How much do you live in the moment?

For many of us, we don’t. According to recent published statistics, it turns out that human brains live in the moment for just over half of our waking hours–53% of the time.

The other 47%, we find ourselves with wandering minds, zoning out of things going on around us.

Life is full of noise. There are thousands of distractions flying through out brain, every moment of every day, vying for our attention. Sometimes we don’t even realize that we’ve zoned. (Think about that moment when you’re behind the wheel of a car and you realize you just drove 5 miles without paying attention!)

Now think about Sunday morning when you’re sitting in church.

  • How much are you in the moment?
  • Are you thinking about the week that just ended?
  • Planning the week ahead?
  • Worried about bills to pay?
  • Thinking about what you’re going to make for dinner that evening?

How can you get the most out of the Mass? Here are three simple solutions.

To start, choose your moments. What are your favorite moments of the Mass? The Gospel? Communion? The Our Father? Put your energy into making those specific moments special. Concentrate. Focus. Be active in the moment; think about what you’re saying or praying.

Build upon these moments each week. Add a new moment each week. Savor the new moment along with the old. Challenge yourself to look for meaning in each of your moments.

Read and study about the parts of Mass. Each part of the Mass has an interesting story and history. Take some time to learn the why behind the beauty of what you’re experiencing.

  • How do we choose the readings for Mass?
  • Where did the Nicene Creed come from?
  • What is the doxology?

Knowing a bit more about our faith helps us to truly appreciate these moments.

Here are some resources to help:

The Order of Mass from the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops

101 Questions About the Mass

What are your favorite moments of the Mass? Share your thoughts with us.

 

I Will…Be Open Minded

What is your call to action? How will you live a life of faith?

During the summer months, we’re featuring a new post called “I Will.” What’s one thing you can do to make the world a better place to be?

I Will be…Open Minded.

What’s happened to our world? Everyone has such a strong opinion and they’re expressing this opinion in such a hostile way.

If we all take the time to listen to each other, to be open minded, to look for ways to create allies vs. enemies, then the world will begin to come together.

It starts with each of us.

Next time you’re tempted to dig your heels in and stand your ground, no matter who you hurt, stop and think. Is this conversation worth it? Can I learn something from this other person? Can I make my point without making them angry?

It’s time I open my mind…and my heart.

A Conduit of Love

Several weeks ago I met a man named Richard. We had a pleasant surface conversation for a few minutes, then he immediately began to open up.

He told me about his past drug and alcohol addiction—how he’s been clean now for 40 days. He told me about his divorce and how he only can see his son one day a week. And he told me that he hasn’t had a job in months. No matter how often he applies for work, he never gets a callback.

“Right now, I have 49 cents in my pocket,” Richard told me very matter-of-factly. He wasn’t looking for pity. It was simply the reality of his world. He just wanted to tell someone.

In that moment, I felt a surge of energy and love. I told Richard that I would pray for him. I told him that God is leading him and that it’s important that he listen so that he understands the direction he needs to go. I’m not sure Richard truly understood what I was saying, but he listened, smiled, and shook my hand.

Two weeks later I saw Richard again. He was grinning from ear-to-ear. He held up a business card and proudly told me that the name on the business card just offered him a job. A good job. Work in construction. Something he can build on, literally.

“Your prayers were strong. You gave me hope. It was exactly what I needed.”

At that moment, that very special moment, it wasn’t just Richard who was happy. I realized something happened to me, too.

God does indeed answer prayers, but sometimes he does it in a roundabout way. I certainly did not get Richard his job. He did that himself. But God called me to give this troubled man some hope. He called me to comfort Richard’s worries. He gave me the words and emotions of faith.

He called me to be a conduit of His love.

We each encounter hundreds of people every week. We never know what is happening in their lives. Sometimes a simple smile or a sincere hello will bring a person back to life. Sometimes holding a door and offering a polite nod is all that’s needed to let a person know that they belong in our world. Sometimes a hand on the shoulder is all that’s needed to release the struggles of life.

We are all called. It may be a tiny call, but we are all called. If we listen to His voice, and answer this call, it can certainly create special moments.

And then we learn: if we allow ourselves to be conduits, we can truly make a difference in someone’s world.


This month theROCK is focused on appreciating the moments of life.
Dan Herda is an editor of theROCK and a member of the St. Dominic Catholic Parish Marketing Committee.

 

I Will…Pray for Peace

What is your call to action? How will you live a life of faith?

During the summer months, we’re featuring a new post called “I Will.” What’s one thing you can do to make the world a better place to be?

I Will…Pray for Peace.

Our world is in trouble. Violence and hatred have crept in from the shadows and are beginning to surround us, threatening to strangle love and peace everywhere.

It’s time we pray for peace.

If one or two people offer a prayer, that’s strong. But if all of us pray, every day, that’s a powerful message to God to watch over us and guide us through this tumultuous time.

Pope Francis recently prayed the following:

“Spirit of God, come down upon us anew, teach us unity, renew our hearts and teach us to love you as you love us, to forgive as you forgive us. Amen.”