I Will B+

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…Be Positive.

Years ago, when my mother was having chemotherapy treatments for cancer, she would frequently get blood transfusions. After the transfusion was complete, she would feel like a new person. She had renewed energy for days.

Her blood type was B Positive, and we always laughed that she had a injection of positive attitude.

Today, I will look for the positive in the world. When I’m feeling angry, upset or discouraged, I will ask God for a transfusion. I will ask him to help me see the world with new eyes.

It’s easy to get caught up in the negative. We are addicted to gossip and complaining. The end result is a negative hangover, dragging us down even more.

God, help me to look for the good in the world. Help me to be a symbol of happiness to others, and to lead others to find their happiness. Help me to overcome the addiction of negativity.

Help me to B+.

 

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The Wind

“The wind blows where it wills, and you can hear the sound it makes, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes; so it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit.”   – John 3:8

It was 2:03 a.m. I heard the clap of thunder, then saw the lightning flicker in the sky. I jumped out of bed and headed to the living room. I had left the front windows open, and I wanted to close things up before the rain fell.

That’s when I heard it.

It was slight at first, then picked up momentum. I pulled down the windows then quickly headed outside to the front lawn.

The wind was growing in intensity. It surrounded me from all directions, circling my body as I stood staring up at the night sky. A random fact floated through my brain: the strongest non-tornado or hurricane wind speed every recorded was 235 miles-per-hour. What was I experiencing? 35 miles-per-hour? 40? The power was intense.

And it was spiritual.

I watched trees bend, as if bowing to God. I watched leaves and debris circle the ground, then rise like prayers to heaven. I heard the rush fill the night sky, like collective voices signing praise.

I could not see the wind, only the results. I could not touch the wind, but I could feel it surround me. I could not explain its power, but I knew it was strong. I could feel God’s presence through the night air.

“And suddenly there came from heaven a sound like a mighty rushing wind, and it filled the entire house where they were sitting.” -Acts 2:2

Every day, God is asking us to be the wind.

  • Are you a gentle breeze ready to cool the heat of someone in pain?
  • Are you an ocean gust that powers the sails across the ocean of life?
  • Are you a gale force that strives for justice for our neighbors in need?

Our winds can be powerful and spiritual. Our winds can help us all bow down and praise God.

Our wind can truly influence the lives of others.

 

Dan Herda is an editor of theROCK

 

I Will Pray the Five Finger Prayer

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…Pray the Five Finger Prayer.

Prayer is a simple, yet powerful action. Each time we sit in a quiet space and talk to God, we are making an impact on the world around us.

Pope Francis offers this advice when it comes to prayer.

Using the fingers on your hand, start with the thumb and pray these intentions in this order:

1.) The thumb is the closest finger to you. So start praying for those who are closest to you. They are the persons easiest to remember. To pray for our dear ones is a “Sweet Obligation.”

2.) The next finger is the index. Pray for those who teach you, instruct you and heal you. They need the support and wisdom to show direction to others. Always keep them in your prayers.

3.) The following finger is the tallest. It reminds us of our leaders, the governors and those who have authority. They need God’s guidance.

4.) The fourth finger is the ring finger. Even though it may surprise you, it is our weakest finger. It should remind us to pray for the weakest, the sick or those plagued by problems. They need your prayers.

5.) And finally we have our smallest finger, the smallest of all. Your pinkie should remind you to pray for yourself. When you are done praying for the other four groups, you will be able to see your own needs but in the proper perspective, and also you will be able to pray for your own needs in a better way.

The Sacred Heart of Jesus

A Message from Mary Lestina

As a child, I remember walking into my grandma’s home and seeing the pictures of the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the Immaculate Heart of Mary side-by-side on the living room wall. It was an image that I will never forget, and I often talked about it with my mom in the car after our visit.

My Mom’s answer was unforgettable. “Jesus and Mary love us so much that their hearts beat for us every moment and hope that one day our hearts will beat completely for them.”

The devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus in its modern form is derived from a Roman Catholic nun from France, St. Margaret Mary Alacoque, who said she learned the devotion from Jesus during a series of apparitions between 1673 and 1675. In the 19th century, there were mystical revelations of another Roman Catholic nun in Portugal, Blessed Mary of the Divine Heart, who requested in the name of Christ that Pope Leo XIII consecrate the entire world to the Sacred Heart of Jesus.

Let us unite in prayer that the reception of Holy Communion will lead us closer to Him and that He will form us into His image.

Let’s invite Him into our hearts and welcome Him into our lives.

 

 

Mary Lestina is the Pastoral Associate at St. Dominic Catholic Parish.

 

Love Can Change the World

I admit it. I am a Royal Watcher. I am magnificently drawn to the royal family, always have been and probably always will be. I find them fascinating. While I was not up before sunrise to watch the wedding of Megan and Harry, I did record it, so that I could zoom through the slow spots.

There were a few moments that moved me, but nothing more so than the sermon. I wanted to shout “Amen” to the television, but considering the remainder of my household was still snuggled up in bed, I thought the wiser.

I was inspired and energized! Bishop Michael Curry of Chicago spoke about love. More specifically, he spoke about how love can transform. How love makes all things possible, because God is love. As long as you and I continue to seek and pursue love, the Church will continue to thrive. We are to be the source of love – we, the Church.

Love can change the world! Our whole life experience hinges on the fact that we are to love God above all things and to love our neighbor as ourselves. If love stops so will the Church. If the Church stops, so will love. I don’t want that kind of existence, do you? I need the Church because I need the Eucharist. If the Church, the Catholic Church, ever grows passé to the point of no schools, no priests, no religious, no sacraments, I fear what that world would look like. That would definitely be the saddest world to live in.

Thank you for being part of a Church that needs you and wants you. For being the hands of Jesus in this very weary world.

Love God. Love neighbor. Love self. Let’s transform the world.

 

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

 

Guiding Principles

The other day I met with Barry, a former co-worker of mine. He wanted to pick my brain on some computer technical issues. He is building a training website for his sales team, and wanted some advice on how to get the project started.

“The first thing you must do,” I said, “is write down the goal for the site. Don’t assume everyone knows what it is. Decide on a very specific goal, then write it down. What do you want this site to be?”

I watched Barry scribble this in his notebook. He then looked up at me waiting for more. That’s when I stopped and smiled.

“Do you know what the problem is with most internal training websites? They have too much stuff on it. People get confused and they don’t know where to find anything. They can’t determine what’s important.”

That’s when I explained guiding principles. “Choose four or five guiding principles or rules for the site. Every video, every training guide, every document must follow one of your guiding principles.”

Barry looked at me with a confused look on his face. “How do I know what my guiding principles are?”

I smiled. “That, my friend, is the important question. That’s for you to decide.”

I knew Barry wanted an easy answer, but it wasn’t that simple.

Later that night while I was driving home from work, I thought about our conversation and how it related to faith in my life.

Am I sometimes too busy reacting to everything in life instead of being proactive in my approach to each day? Do I have too much stuff in my life? Can I always determine what’s important?

What is my ultimate goal?

What are my guiding principles?

What are yours?

The only way to truly grow closer to God is to live intentionally. Take out your notebook and jot down your goal and guiding principles.

This month theROCK is focused on Being Ready.

Are You Ready?

Do you consider yourself a proactive or reactive person? Do you find yourself simply trying to keep up with life? At the end of the day when your head hits the pillow, do you still have items on your to-do list?

The reality is that too many of us go through our days letting the circumstances of life dictate what we do and ultimately, who we are. We become reactive.

What would happen if we became a bit more proactive? What if we made plans to truly focus on things that really matter most?

This month, theROCK focuses on Being Ready. We will look at how to set up a plan to become the person you’ve always wanted to be. We’ll hear from an expert on what you can do to live in the moment. And we’ll discover how to make the most of every minute of every day.

Let’s start right now.

Think of one thing that can help you grow in your faith. It may be praying more, reading more, putting your words into actions. It can be anything that helps bring you closer to God. Make it simple.

Now…choose a day on the calendar, and put that item as a “to-do.” Schedule it for a specific time, much like an outside appointment. When that day comes, make sure you treat that “to-do” with the respect it deserves.

Then schedule it again. And again. Until it starts to become a habit.

It’s that simple.

So, what can you do today to Be Ready for tomorrow?

Share your thoughts with us.

Children Are Watching

I was recently reminded of how impressionable our children are. With the current pace of our world, one can forget to take the time to shield them, or at least teach them, about what they see and hear in light of our Catholic faith.

A few weeks back, an event happened at recess that put me in a situation to look our culture square in the eye as it played out on our baseball diamonds.

I am sure you are all too aware of the NFL controversies around the National Anthem, player’s rights, the role of the president, and all of those components that personally, make me shake my head.

 

Regardless of your opinions and mine, one can’t deny the impression this is making on our young people when in a moment of playing an innocent game of kickball, the players in the field stop to take a knee.

What? Yes, a group of children playing kickball took it upon themselves to just stop and take a knee. I saw it and was a bit dumbfounded. I waited to see what would happen next – some shouting to get on with the game, some exasperated looks of “What is going on?”, and then eventually the game resumed. Interested, I continued to watch. The fielding team went in to take their turn at bat. As anticipated, the now fielding team took a stab at pausing the game to take a knee as retaliation played out.

The teachable moment was upon me. I called “Time Out” and brought everyone to the pitcher’s mound. I asked the group in as innocent a way as possible, “What are you doing by kneeling down?” The initiator said he was protesting. I asked, “What are you protesting?” No one really knew how to answer. I asked if they knew what it meant to protest. They didn’t know. I explained.

After explaining, I then asked what they would be protesting about this recess. They didn’t have any clue, as nothing was wrong. Clearly, they just saw individuals that they idolize doing this, thought it was cool, and followed suit. That bothered me. What bothered me more was the way the children followed the leader not knowing what the leader was doing. That is really scary. I furthered the teachable moment along this vein – children do not have to simply do what others do. If you don’t understand or don’t agree, don’t follow.

Conscience formation is a critical component of what we do at school. We have opportunities to catch impressionable minds in social situations that parents may not always get.

Parents as primary educators are the first teachers of right and wrong. How parents “teach” when reacting to television, radio, movies, or media in anyway is teaching the children and forming a conscience.

Children are watching. Children are listening. Children are emulating what they see. Let’s be vigilant together.

 

 

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

Words Matter

Words matter.

In my role, I am all too often reminded how the well-chosen word, or the incorrect word choice, can make the difference in the message being sent.

Words matter.

I admire how Jesus always meant what He said and said what He meant. If you read the gospels carefully, Jesus always knew who He was talking to and knew exactly what needed to be said each time. This is something to strive for. I pray for that wisdom every day. I pray for that courage every day.

Words matter.

 

Jill Fischer is the Principal of St. Dominic Catholic School

 

The Power of Love

I had lunch with my friend Jennifer yesterday. While we were eating our sandwiches, she was filling me in on everything that’s been going on in her life over the past year. While the words all made sense, the way she was saying them indicated that something wasn’t quite right.

I finally asked her what was wrong.

“It’s Katie,” she said sadly. Katie is her seventeen year daughter. “She’s been a bit of a challenge lately.”

Jennifer told me about Katie getting her driver’s license, then immediately getting three speeding tickets. She had her license suspended. She told me about the friends she’s been hanging out with—not exactly good influences. And she told me about Katie’s drinking.

“I’m at my wit’s end. We are constantly fighting. The other day she screamed at me and threw her math book at me. The more I discipline her, the tougher things get.”

I could hear the sadness in her voice and see the desperation in her eyes. Then Jennifer looked up at me and smiled.

“But I love her. She’s my daughter. I would do anything for her.”

I knew, at that moment, that Jennifer loved Katie without limits. That is not an easy thing to do, especially when a text book is flying toward your face.

As I drove home from lunch, I thought about Jennifer and Katie. And then, I thought about God.

We all have Katie moments in our lives. We all do things that our Father would not necessarily approve of. We all do things that God might just look at us and say, “Come on, really? You’re better than that.”

But God loves us. Without limits. He wants to protect us and guide us, and he wants us to live a life full of passion. He allows us to keep coming back to him, even after we make a mess of things.

Jennifer will continue to struggle, but as long as she has love and God on her side, she will find a way to break through to Katie.

As for me, this lunch made me think:

Why would I ever want to betray God’s trust? Why would I ever want to disappoint my Father?