I Can Do All Things in Him Who Strengthens Me

Do you ever feel you are not worthy of God’s love? I do, but thankfully, He thinks I am.

Or do you ever fall into the trap of thinking that God will love us no matter what, and He will, and therefore we can go around doing what we want whenever we want?

We have been created to love and be love to others. We are created in His image and likeness, a privilege not a one of us has asked for, but was freely given.

Just as in any relationship, freedom and responsibility go hand in hand. We have a tremendous amount of freedom, but we have a responsibility to use it to do God’s will. This is a huge responsibility and thankfully, He thinks we can do it. He empowers us with gifts of grace and virtue to make it happen. He provides us with sacraments to help us stay true to that gift.

Why in the world don’t we take it? Do we really not want to receive it?

Heaven is not a given. Then why do we hesitate to fully participate in our responsibilities to love God above all things and to love our neighbor as ourselves? Why do we restrict ourselves from our full potential?

I think I will ponder on that.

“St. Paul said, ‘I can do all things in him who strengthens me.’ You must come to the conviction that with Jesus, you can do all things. Even the weakness that troubles you, you can get rid of with him.” – Mother Theresa, Thirsting for God

Jill Fischer is the Principal of St. Dominic Catholic School

The Classroom of Silence

How is your Lent going?

I have been intent on prayer. The kind of prayer with lots of words. While words are important, I now realize that I need to retreat to the “classroom of silence.”

The concept is connected to such minds as C. S. Lewis, Matthew Kelly and others. The devil wants to create so much noise that men and women can no longer hear the voice of God in their lives, which would gain more souls for him. Therefore, our  goal is to remain connected with God by shutting out the noise.

“The classroom of silence is where we go to break the wheel. For a few minutes, every day, we go to hear the voice of God in our lives. It is in the classroom of silence that we finally are able to listen to God and life can finally start to make sense. It is in the silence that the whole world starts to make sense.” (https://dynamiccatholic.com/everyday-life/theclassroom-of-silence.)

In my classroom of silence, I must also fast. I need to get rid of my distractors. I need to shut it all off. The distractors are making me miserable. So, my Lent is starting over during this second week. I know that God is good with that, because at least I am trying.

How is your Lent going?


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


Getting Back on Track

How is your Lent going?

To be honest, it took me a little bit to get going. Admittedly, I have been distracted and really needed to be set right. That is exactly how the devil tempts us–through distraction. That is why I truly love the Gospel story of the  temptation of Jesus in the desert. My favorite version is Matthew 4:1-11.

When teaching this passage to students, we walk through the various ways the devil attempts to turn Jesus away from his mission. The devil tempts with food, fame, and fortune; all things that would tempt any mere mortal. Jesus confronts each one and remains firm in his purpose. Jesus ultimately banishes the devil with “Get away, Satan!” But what is often overlooked are the words of the last devilish offer that tips Jesus over the edge, the words that speak to the heart of why Jesus was really here.

“Then the devil took him up to a very high mountain, and showed him all the kingdoms of the world in their magnificence, and he said to him, ‘All these I shall give to you, if you will prostrate yourself and worship me.’” (Mt 4:8-10)

As if the world was the devil’s to give! But indeed, it is, because of sin. The world is full of sin, as we have witnessed too many times in small ways and in big, horrific ways. Remember that these are the result of our choices. However, Jesus, the power of Jesus, banishes the devil away. Anything that tempts us away from what God desires of us is the devil. They are the distractions that take us away from what our purpose is. Just as Jesus wasn’t distracted in his purpose, neither should we be. The key is being close to Jesus. Cast the devil away and get back on track.

I was getting distracted. I needed to get back on track. This reading and some lovely reminders from “Best Lent Ever” has gotten me back on track.

So how is your Lent going? It doesn’t matter when you start to build/rebuild your relationship with God, but that you start.


Jill Fischer is the Principal of St. Dominic Catholic School


Here I am, Lord

Here I am, Lord, your servant is listening.

These were important words spoken by Samuel in the first reading this past weekend. If you recall the story, Samuel is under the tutelage of Eli. During the night, Samuel hears a voice calling him. He understandably thinks it is his teacher, Eli, who is asleep in the temple. Samuel gets up and lets Eli know that his call has been heard.

Three times Samuel undergoes this process of call and response. It is after the third time that Eli understands what is happening; that the Lord is calling Samuel. Eli encourages Samuel to respond, “Here I am Lord, your servant is listening.”

These words really hit me this last weekend. They’ve been lingering with me since. I can’t quite tell if it is the interaction between pupil and teacher that strikes me. I can’t quite tell if it is the openness of Samuel to the will of God that strikes me. I can’t quite tell if it is the wisdom of Eli that strikes me. It might simply be the response all by itself that strikes me. It might very well be all the above.

It is an endearing tale that could, quite simply, encompass the experiences of all of us; hearing the voice of God and questioning whether or not you are hearing it.

How did Eli figure it out in order to counsel Samuel? Well, Eli knew God, and he led a prayerful, devoted life. Do you have someone who fits that role for you – a person who can help you hear God in your life? I do.

Here I am, Lord, your servant is listening.

Jill Fischer is Principal of St Dominic Catholic School.

Our Family Stories

Over the Christmas break, this popped up in my Twitter feed: God is in love with us. He draws us to Him with tenderness by being born poor and fragile among us, like one of us. – Pope Francis.

For some reason, I have been thinking a lot about the humanity of Jesus lately. Very profoundly thinking about it in relationship to his mother, our mother, Mary. These were/are real people. When you stop to ponder this, it is much easier to understand and appreciate their relationship to us as family. When you focus on them as people and appreciate the Scriptures in this way, hearing their story is like hearing the stories of relatives shared at a family gathering. They become more real and familiar. When you hear the stories enough, it is almost as if you were there.

I believe that is the beauty of the Liturgy of the Word. These are our family stories shared around the table. To miss the meal is to miss the story. God has us over weekly for a meal that He has prepared with great love. He draws us to Him to pass on the wisdom of the ages so that the stories can continue on to the next generation in order to make us stronger as a family.


Jill Fischer is the Principal of St. Dominic Catholic School

Take a Moment and Be Still

This Christmas, I pray that each of you will take a moment to be still and ponder the gift we have in one another, and especially, in our ability to freely know, love, and serve a God who became man as a small little baby.

Never again will it be so pure, so lowly.



Jill Fischer is the Principal of St. Dominic Catholic School


The Joy is Growing!

Joy marks the third week of Advent. We light the pink  or rose candle, as this week is meant to bring rejoicing. The time of preparation is halfway over. The joy is growing!

Jesus, our Savior, is near. Not just in the day of Christmas but in the reality that He will come again. Joy in knowing that working on our relationship with Him will bring us closer to heaven. Joy that working on this relationship with others will bring heaven closer to earth. Joy that all will be made well for those who place their trust in Him.

As you ponder faith and joy, I share this passage from You: God’s Brand New Idea, a book of reflections that draws from other texts, to inspire and motivate you as we draw closer to Christmas. Have faith! Rejoice!

God has never taken his eyes off of you. Not for a millisecond. He’s always near. He lives to hear your heartbeat. He loves to hear your prayers. He’d die for your sin before he’d let you die in your sin, so he did.

What do you do with such a Savior?

Don’t you sing to him? Don’t you declare, confess, and proclaim his name? Don’t you bow a knee, lower a head, hammer a nail, feed the poor, and lift up your gift in worship? Of course you do.

Worship God. Applaud him loud and often. For your sake, you need it.

And for heaven’s sake, he deserves it. (Cure for the Common Life)


Jill Fischer is Principal of St. Dominic Catholic Parish



Hope is not wishful thinking. Hope is a confident expectation of finding God.

Hope springs from abandonment to the will of the Father. It is indescribable. It is overwhelming in magnitude. It is beyond all reason.

Hope is joy, love, awesomeness, and more all wrapped up into a small little word. Jesus is hope.

To have a relationship with Him is all a person needs because that is where hope resides.


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


Tune in to Advent

I tend to consider Advent to be the forgotten liturgical season. The secular culture totally dismisses it in its rush toward Christmas. We have the special privilege to be countercultural, if we allow ourselves to be.

Advent is a time of preparation for the coming of Christ at Christmas. It is a time to reflect upon the past through the anticipation of the Lord’s birth 2017 years ago. We are able to anticipate His coming at Christmas now. We are able to focus on living a life dedicated to Him in anticipation of His coming at the end of time, whenever that is. We are to live each day as if it is the day of that coming. Are you ready?

When Jesus comes, it won’t matter if we got the Christmas gifts bought or if we were able to make that last batch of cookies. While all of that is nice, it is certain that it will be more important how we used our time to do His work. Did we take the time to build a relationship with Him in order to understand what we are called to be and do?

  • Did we stay connected to Him through prayer and the sacraments?
  • Did we do our best to be Jesus to those we meet and to those we already know?
  • Did others come to know Jesus through us?

I am fairly certain that the answers to these questions will be more important than if we mailed all the Christmas cards.

If I may suggest a way to help slow down the pace around us and tune in to Advent, join me in a daily retreat with Matthew Kelly through Best Advent Ever! I did Best Lent Ever last year and loved it! I am sure that something from this experience will stick with you.



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

The Blessing Box

For the last 15 years, I have had the privilege of hosting Thanksgiving dinner for my family. This tradition includes both sides of the family and results in about 24 people. While this sounds like a big deal, it really isn’t, as I only cook the turkey and other family members contribute to the feast.

When I began hosting, I initiated a family practice called the Blessing Box. The “blessing box” is placed in a central location with strips of paper and markers. Throughout the afternoon, everyone is to write a blessing they are feeling onto a slip of paper and place it in the “blessing box.”

Just before dinner, I take the collected strips and distribute them randomly among the guests. We circle around in anticipation of the sharing. I call the group together, thanking them for coming and joining us before announcing, “May the blessings of one be the blessings of all.” We then take turns reading what is on the slip as we go around the circle. When the circle of sharing is complete, we say the meal prayer.

When the children were smaller, we were blessed in gratitude for Elmo, blankies, potty training, and school. Now that we are 15 years older, our blessings are becoming more profound and sentimental. I have collected these blessings in scrapbooks. The scrapbooks have become part of the Thanksgiving tradition as well. It is fun to look back on pictures of dearly departed family members and their blessings written in their handwriting.

These little nuggets of history begin “remember when” conversations that knit our family tighter together. When we do have guests join us, they become part of the story. While I ponder what I will share as my blessing this year, I can’t help but think of the community and story I have found myself woven into here at St. Dominic.

Five years ago, I knew the Lord sent me here for a purpose. While I pray for the wisdom, courage, knowledge, and understanding to fully execute that purpose, I do know that it was Divine Providence. I have gained so much from being a part of
St. Dominic that I can’t help but feel blessed. I am blessed to come to work and not ever really feel like this is work. I am blessed to engage with people who appreciate their Catholic faith and common purpose.

I am blessed to be surrounded by the most genuine, hard-working teachers and staff members, who are dedicated to the well-being of the children. I am blessed to feel the love and joy of 433 children every day. God is good! All the time!

As I gather with my family in gratitude, please know that you are counted among my many blessings.

I wish you all a very Happy Thanksgiving. Peace!



Jill Fischer is the Principal of St. Dominic Catholic Parish