An Engaging Faith

Not to be outdone, God is truly the author of so many unexpected surprises! Starting next Monday, I have been invited to host a new live radio show entitled An Engaging Faith on Real Life Radio daily at 4pm EST.

The mission of Real Life Radio is “bringing the joy of the Gospel directly to people on the devices that they use to connect to the world as they move through their day…with a focus on topical, cultural and relationship issues all with an uncompromising filter of an authentically Catholic worldview.”    With a Jesuit leaning, An Engaging Faith would look at the discovery of God in our everyday while also engaging the social realities in the world around us.

This week’s lineup takes a look at the diversity of answering the call to be sent forth, guests include:




Monday: Eileen Daily, Director of a Doctoral Transformational Leadership program at Boston University.


Tuesday: Paula KowalkowskiLoyola Chicago alumnae and faculty member of Music at Columbia College in Chicago.



Wednesday: Art Blumberg, ‎Director of Parish Operations at St. Philip the Apostle, fellow Loyola student and alumnae.

Thursday: Anna Dudek, Loyola Alumnae now with the Office for the New Evangelization in Chicago.


Friday: Weekly Recap Join me as discuss the past week’s news, events, tweets and posts!

Worth Revisiting: Bringing Forth Our Gifts

It’s Worth Revisiting Wednesday! A place where you can come and bring a past & treasured post to share, and link-up with fellow bloggers! Co-Hosted with Allison Gingras at Reconciled To You.

In better discerning where we are meant to be and what we are being called to do, there is usually the internal assessment of those gifts we have to offer. Many times we might feel that we have nothing of value to bring, and thereby discount all that we have been given that God seeks to use. Yet there is courage found in recognizing that God perfects all that is lacking within and is more than ready to fit each of us for the task.  Can we step forward today, and do as the small boy from the Gospels has done..can we offer our gifts from the heart?

Witness to the Miracle: Bringing Forth Our Gifts

In discussion of the Gospel Reading of the miracle of loaves and fish, I asked the children gathered at mass what should we do with the gifts that God has given us? What if what we have is thought to be little? Conversely,  if we have acquired much, and have leftovers, what would we do with it? While,  I thought that I was leading them to provide typical answers of the things that they would buy or do with the new wealth they, much like the boy in the Gospel, truly offered gifts of the heart.

The first little girl said, “I would give ten percent to the church”. 

Another boy answered “I would seek to build shelter for the homeless”

Still another profoundly replied,  “I would keep only very little, enough for my family to be able to live and eat”.

Oh, out of the mouths of babes!  I had to smile, as I then asked, “Do you know that this is exactly what Jesus has entrusted us to do as followers, in caring for the needs of our community?”

As a church, and individually as disciples we need to ask ourselves if we are committed fully both to evangelization and service. This is a demanding call to imitate Christ’s love for humanity both in word and deed, in the tasks of “pastoral mission, communion and participation”.[1] While Vatican II reemphasized these, it was Evangelii Nuntiandi that so clearly issued the challenge for us today as a Church. Here, the Christian ‘life of prayer, the Word, teaching, charity’, and “sharing of bread…only acquires its full meaning when it becomes a witness, when it evokes admiration and conversion, and when it becomes the preaching and proclamation of the Good News”.[2] The contextual situations of poverty, oppression, homelessness, and disease particularly prevalent in the Third World do not allow them to adequately provide for themselves.[3]

Today we too are to answer the directive posed to us by Christ.  First, following the model of Christ, we are called to a greater awareness of the material and spiritual need of those within our local and global communities. In order to do so, requires that we are truly transformed by the gift, and a witness to our encounter with Christ present in the Eucharist. Then, bringing our gifts and resources with confidence, we offer them to God to be blessed, multiplied and shared, turning none away. Finally, we are reminded of our task as disciples to gather our surplus, to allocate it appropriately so that none is lost and that all are filled.

May God bless you in your gift of self, service, and love!


How fitting is the naming and mission of this Massachusetts food pantry..  Now, do you know of one in your area? 🙂 St. Vincent de Paul

[1] Francis, Journey to Rio de Janeiro on the Occasion of the XXVIII World Youth Day. July 28, 2013.

[2] Paul VI, Exhortation Evangelii nuntiandi. “From Christ to the Church’s Evangelizing”. I (15)

[3] Manus, “John 6:1-15 and its Synoptic Parallels”, 69.

Review: Mercy in the City by Kerry Weber

If you find yourself wanting to grow spiritually, and to understand the connection in our shared journey as a people of faith, this is a sincerely beautiful witness! Available through Loyola Press.

Mercy in the City is a witty and truly authentic grappling with the living out of our faith and call to do more for others, in a society that often seems to run counter to these. As a single “millennial” in the heart of NYC, Kerry decides to embark on a self-imposed Lenten challenge to engage the Corporal Works of Mercy.  While many of us might consider attempting one of these in 40 days…Kerry goes for all seven.  She does this not from an “overly pious” approach, but from an honest encounter with love and mercy.

Feed the Hungry: From the sharing of her tuna sandwich to the continued time spent passing out many more in the city Kerry recognizes the move from good intentions to action needs to be a “deliberate” one. Rather than waiting for the perfect time to start, there must be that important first step and a resolve to see it through.

Give Drink to the Thirsty: Having volunteered to pass out water to runners in the NYC half marathon, there is a realization that helping others isn’t a matter of “forcefully thrusting” our gifts upon them. Instead, it is to be a humble offer, a supportive nudging at most, to draw nearer to the life giving water of Christ that we are all so in desperate need of.

Clothe the Naked: Starting with a short list of items that she can part with, Kerry discovers the freeing joy of shedding no longer worn clothing and memories to impart newness for others. In the Clothing Room of the Catholic Worker house, a program begun by Dorothy Day, she sees firsthand what these gifts mean to so many.

Harbor the Harborless: Hesitantly agreeing to stay the night in a shelter, Kerry finds camaraderie with those who have banded together under less than desirable circumstances. With humor and hospitality she is welcomed, encountering their diversity and the situations that have brought them there.

Visit the Sick: In a Holy Thursday visit to the retired Sisters of Mercy, Kerry gains experienced insight from these incredible women of faith who have devoted countless years of love and service to the sick and dying. Many whom are recuperating themselves from illness or surgery, they share what it is to be present to these holy moments of mercy, and to care for others fully.

Ransom the Captive: (Imprisoned) As a reporter and managing editor of America magazine, Kerry was hopeful of obtaining an interview with inmates taking religion classes at San Quentin in California.  When the day came, she left her blue jean jacket and later preconceived notions of the imprisoned behind. As hands reached through the bars for communion, and inmates gathered to grow in faith she found her vision challenged once again.

Bury the Dead: After many, pardon the pun, “dead ends” with cemetery officials, Kerry decided her closest opportunity to this corporal work of mercy would be to jog through a nearby cemetery.  Surprised by the cheery blossoming trees, and the simplistic acceptance of the gravedigger, she found herself thinking more about her life and those buried there than their death.

 Finally, throughout this book Kerry speaks of the joyous privilege of being asked to be an RCIA sponsor for a soon-to-be member of the faith.  Listening to the Litany of Saints prayed at Easter Vigil, Kerry writes that she felt  it was “less like a list of people dead and gone and more like a roll call of people who are here alive” with her that night.  All of this seemed to say, welcome to the church, to this “shared journey on the path of mercy, to places we’d never been and to the works ahead- works for which none of us is ever quite prepared, but to which all of us are called.”

Worth Revisiting: Learning How to Be Second Place

It’s Worth Revisiting Wednesday! A place where you can come and bring a past & treasured post to share, and link-up with fellow bloggers! Co-Hosted with Allison Gingras at Reconciled To You.

On this the week of my 21st anniversary, I thought I’d share with you an interview given earlier this year to Karee Santos of “Can We Cana?“, a Community to Support Catholic Marriages. What a joy it was to both share but also to reflect on those essential elements of our marriage and the vital role of faith in all we do. For other discussions, articles, and resources on marriage, pregnancy, parenting, and teachings on theology of the body please check out this incredible site.

“Learning How to Be Second Place: 10 & Then”

 Elizabeth and John, parents of three boys, just celebrated their 20th wedding anniversary and are still going strong! Elizabeth is a blogger, a Pastoral Studies graduate student at Loyola University Chicago, and an avid church volunteer. John, a former Army helicopter pilot who was deployed in Iraq, made it home safely and now works for the MA Environmental Police in Boston. Elizabeth and John especially love their shared ministry as Eucharistic ministers to the two nursing homes in their area. Find out why “more than comfortable with coming in second, it is in fact one of the things we love most about each other.” You can follow Elizabeth at her blog,, or on FacebookTwitter,  Google+  and Pinterest.

1. How many years have you been married and how many kids do you have?

We have been married 20 years this past May, and have three boys ages 18, 15 and 9. As friends during our undergraduate years, we were unexpectedly amazed to find each other so early in our lives. That day, I married my best friend and quite honestly I cannot imagine these years without his constant friendship, love, and strength.

2. Name three things that have helped you stay married this long.

At the top of this list has to be a strong faith life in prayer. In addition to attending mass we began by praying together at the close of each day. As we had children, this became a family prayer time where each of us lifts up our intentions and one another in prayer. Yet, over the years we find that we also join together to pray throughout the day. It could simply be a text, or the invitation to say a decade or two of the rosary together. “Where two or more are gathered in my name” truly has special significance in our lives.
Secondly, we have found it vital to support one another through life’s challenges as well as to fully celebrate life’s gifts.  In those moments when I’ve been given an overly demanding day, or sleep and serenity elude me, I know he’s there to listen and lend a hand. Conversely, when one of us has good news we appreciate that we have been called to joyfully share in it.  I’d venture to say that we are each other’s biggest fan!
Finally, communication is not just important but essential to both of us. This goes past daily pleasantries – so often requiring persistence, patience and desire.  Whether big or small, we always try to include one another in the decision making process. Even when we disagree, we strive to never go to sleep angry.

3. What role has your faith played in your marriage?

From the beginning, marriage has been for us a lifetime commitment to a shared journey of intimate friendship. And while there are twists, turns, and speed bumps on this path, there are no viable exits. There is, however, a Guide who knows the terrain, holds the map, provides rest and sees the big picture. Faith for us requires trust- not only in each other but in God to see us though the difficult times.
The year my youngest was born, I had lost my grandmother and later my mom to cancer. My husband, then an Army helicopter pilot, was shortly thereafter sent orders to be deployed to Iraq for an indefinite time. Through the many tears I found God right beside me, and peace came in trusting Him through the chaos. Not to be disappointed, God brought John home safely and much sooner than expected.

4. What advice would you give people who are dating and considering marriage?

Spend time to really get to know the person you love. While it’s not necessary to spend as great an amount of time as we did, really examine if you are compatible. It’s important to seriously consider if you can truly live with one another’s flaws. Jokingly, today my husband says that we can truthfully say that we successfully survived a 2 year interview process during our engagement!

 5. What advice would you give newlyweds?

Love God and put God first in your marriage. Following the greatest commandment to, “Love the Lord, your God, with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind” (Mt 22:37). Yet, what does this really look like? Simply put, it means making space and time to talk to and spend time with God in your everyday- seeking Him in all that you do. If you can do this, you increasingly realize that you are capable of expressing even more love in all your other relationships. More than comfortable with coming in second, it is in fact one of the things we love most about each other.

6. What’s your top parenting tip, or advice for couples who are trying to have children?

Elizabeth: For me, it’s patience and forgiveness.  Highly desired and but sometimes lacking, patience I believe is needed both in conceiving and raising children. I have come to recognize over the years that God’s timing is not necessarily my own. Hand in hand with forgiveness, patience is what God shows me as time and time again I slip and he gently picks me up.
John:  My advice for parenting is consistency. Consistently loving, but taking a steadfast and predictable course. Our children can faithfully depend on the fact that each decision has been carefully weighed, and made in their best interest. It is being able to say no when their eyes plead yes, because you want so much more for them. This is indeed a gift that they will value later in life!

Lord Send Me

…On Being Chosen and Sent Forth

As a young girl, competitive athletic teams and outdoor events were not my forte. The last or next to last chosen, I waited to hear my name called and then silently prayed that I wouldn’t prove to be a disappointment to whatever team I was put on. That is not to say that I did not recognize that I had abilities, I was just quite aware that my talents lay elsewhere. With a love of singing and dance I had found a home in performing. Yet, with a love of learning, serving and leadership I found other opportunities that called forth the truly unique gifts that I could offer. Imbued within my very soul, I had been chosen, not because of these gifts but to use these gifts.

“Tortosa catedral Huguet Transfiguracio Ascensio” by Jaume Huguet

I have been thinking of this story lately, the closer we move as a Church to celebrating the feast of Pentecost. Jesus who had been with the disciples, impressing upon them that he was alive and present, encouraging each of their gifts, now visibly departed. How would they continue the work begun by Christ with him no longer there to guide? Promised that they would not be left alone, that the Holy Spirit, the Advocate and comforter was to be with them they were being asked to trust and wait.

These last few months have been both exciting and event filled-from the completion of my final integration paper, speaking engagements, meetings on prospective projects and positions, and commencement.  With each of these there has been the need to carve out quiet time to pray, refill and discern where God is leading me to go next. Not wanting to choose unwisely, and thereby make a mistake, this “reformed” perfectionist has been praying in earnest for clarity. Do you see the irony too? Apparently, I am not as reformed as I had thought in fully letting go and trusting the Spirit to lead, though I know the only way forward is by doing just that.

Seeking a path to serve but uncertain precisely of the details or mission, I find that I too am waiting. Surely this is what the disciples felt in the time preceding Pentecost, and even after.

“Lord, please send me. Open my ears and heart to hear your voice, and fill me with the inner peace to tend to those things placed before me today with love, grace and joy. There is much consolation in knowing that you see our inmost being, and though sinners, we too have been chosen and are loved.”

As we look at the horizon, towards each new day, and those impending moments when we are called forth to put these feet in action, let us pray…

“Come, Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of your faithful.
And kindle in them the fire of your love.
Send forth your Spirit
and they shall be created.
And you will renew the face of the earth.

(For thankfully, you are not finished with us yet…)

May this living flame ignite within you today,


Coming Home: Loyola Chicago

Just a little over a week ago I was in Chicago- amidst its tree lined enclaves, diversity of Devon Avenue, beauty of its Gardens and splendor of Holy Name. Striding comfortably through Loyola’s historic Water Tower and Lake Shore campuses, I felt less like one of this city’s many tourists and more as if I had come home. Strange to say, perhaps, as this was only my second trip to the windy city. Yet, the family I have found in the students, professors and staff at Loyola University over the last three years is the full embodiment of Christian community. Commencement itself was just the icing on the cake!

Never at a loss for great food, engaging conversation or things to do while staying with my close friend Paula,  here are a few quick takes from Commencement week at Loyola Chicago.

With all of the excitement to come, how needed was this walk through the incredibly beautiful Botanic Gardens of Chicago! On this early morning, we were greeted with the songs of red winged blackbirds  and mourning doves who didn’t seem to mind at all that we were there. Among the tulips, hyacinths, and bluebells I felt at peace, an amazingly small witness to the splendor of God’s creation.  So easily I could picture myself as a child playing hide and seek in the walled garden and the sound of my shoes on the bridges. Truly a respite for the soul, this pause is a much needed time for us all to reconnect with who and whose we are.


One glance of the streets of Chicago and you vividly see the juxtaposition of old and new, cathedrals and skyscrapers, sari shops and Hasidic Jewish temples. Roads that have even been diverted so as to preserve the rich history of Chicago’s iconic structures. As an international relations undergraduate major, and religious education graduate what a sight!


This too is evidenced in the national Cathedral of Holy Name which was rebuilt in 1871 after the Great Chicago Fire. Home to some 6,700 families and newly appointed Archbishop Cupich, it is a vibrant Catholic parish surrounded by an amass of magnificent Gothic architecture. Inside, as well, are the caps of previous cardinals along with a memorial to beloved Cardinal George. How important to remember our shepherds, who continuously dedicate the breadth of their lives to the tending of the flock. May the Holy Spirit guide each one of them as they seek to lead us as a Church in the world.

Last but not least, were the Institute of Pastoral Studies Commissioning and Commencement ceremonies from Loyola Chicago. A long standing tradition held on the night before Commencement, students, family, alumnae, and professors from the Institute of Pastoral Studies gather to celebrate, pray and send forth the candidates for graduation. No sooner in the door, I was warmly hugged by fellow friends and classmates from the IPS Summer in Rome excursion. As many of us have kept in touch, it felt as if no time had passed since we were back in Rome sipping cappuccinos and limoncello. Others I have spoken with, emailed, and written back and forth for classwork yet had never met face to face. Remember when I said that Loyola is like a family? Well, it was truly one amazing reunion!

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Worth Revisiting: Hearing My Father’s Voice

It’s Worth Revisiting Wednesday! A place where you can come and bring a past & treasured post to share, and link-up with fellow bloggers! Co-Hosted with Allison Gingras at Reconciled To You.

Lately, it seems, there has been much talk of violence.Violence in the streets of our major cities , and violence in the hearts and minds of those who see this as the only path to end injustice. Yet, I cannot help but feel that in our desire to change things in the world without we must begin by changing ourselves within. Thomas Merton once noted that, “There can be no peace on earth without the kind of inner change that brings man back to his “right mind.” (from Gandhi on Non-Violence). Yes, there is much work to be done and dialogue to be had. However, for lasting change to occur that work must begin within each one of us. 

Can we even imagine a world where none of these exist? In small ways, I believe that we can, because we know the existence of good in knowing God. We have witnessed kindness and compassion, and instances whereby goodness has triumphed over evil. Yet in the kingdom of God, God’s goodness and reign is completely sovereign. I am not ready, however,  to give up the dream, and diligence toward a world where justice and goodness prevail. In fact, it is in posing this question that I am reminding myself again of that ideal that the kingdom of God reveals to us. In imagining it, it provides the vision to hope for, and the desire to work towards fulfilling it.

As this season draws to a close, I have been giving much thought to our journey of faith as a community, the lifelong invitation of dying to self and accepting a life transformed. The most striking reality is that Jesus also underwent this ongoing transformation of mind, heart, and action (metanoia) in becoming more and more who he was intended to be. We know that Jesus spent countless hours in prayer, and this was time spent in getting to know Abba more intimately, reconnecting with the Spirit, and redirecting his life towards infinite love. In doing so, he could better see beyond the limitations and boundaries of our humanity to the poor, oppressed, and those in need of healing. Consciously answering God’s call to make a transformation,not only within but in the world.

In understanding the dynamic, ongoing, and transformative conversion of life, we too need to make the necessary connection to one’s lived experience of faith- as a project of life integration.  Simply stated, as Christians our lived experience of faith in the Spirit calls us to continually redirect our hearts, minds and steps towards the values and actions necessary in being followers of Christ and in building the kingdom of God. Beautifully, I do believe we see metanoia in community in partaking in the Eucharist. For, here we are invited to bring our brokenness, recommit ourselves to God and the community, and are sent forth to be Eucharist to the world.

This is but one way, I believe, that God continually invites us to reflect on our own desires, to surrender ourselves, and better discern where and who God is calling us to be. Have you felt a spiritual dryness in prayer lately? Is your day consumed with a laundry list of essential to-do’s with your energy, time and temperament in short supply? Like Jesus, we require this time with God to hear and become familiar with the voice of our loving Father. Only then can we then extend that love, healing and renewal out into our families, neighborhoods, and cities that are in such desperate need for all of these.

So, in this way, I invite you to consider carving out quiet time and space today to do just that. It need not be vast, but a committed time each day just to sit, “be still and know that He is God”. Pay attention to the stillness, to the absence of your voice, and the freedom found in just being present with God. Feel the Holy Spirit’s constant reminder of life in every breath you take.

Thank you God for the gift in rediscovering You. Here in your presence, I know that your love, truth and guidance both for me and for the world are always there to be found..if we truly seek to hear your voice!

Lessons Learned From My Mom

This morning as I awoke, I thought of both my heavenly and earthly mothers. With eyes closed, my lips whispered to Mary, “Thank you for your yes- to being the mother of Christ but also for remaining with me when my earthly mother could no longer do so. Please continue to guide me and all those I encounter till my own journey is done. ” Then, with a heart smiling full and complete, enveloped in love and gratitude, today I said Happy Mother’s Day to them mutually.

My mom, the second oldest of four and a high school teacher, met and fell in love with my dad within the span of two weeks. A whirlwind romance, fed by non-substantiating infatuation, they had met, married and divorced in a span of less than two years. Recognizing too late my father’s habits of drinking, and violent mood swings, there was cause for serious concern as she had discovered she was also pregnant with me. She had made the decision to raise me alone.

Mom's1st pic:
Her 1st picture as a new mom!

Though this was not what she had pictured, and despite several close friends advocating an abortion, her faith could not allow for her to make that choice. She felt that the life within her, me, was a gift from God and while unsure of what laid ahead she knew she needed to trust. That summer, as I came into the world my mom said goodbye to my father, never to be heard from again. Nonetheless, a part of my mom always hoped that he would find recovery and reconcile with me one day.

So the lessons I promised? Well, they are many but here are just a few…Mom and I:

1. Trust- not in what the world tells you are the choices before you, but in a bigger plan that only God is aware of. Though you do not have the strength to do it on your own, and when you wonder how you’ll carry on- lean on Him.

“I raise my eyes toward the mountains. From whence shall come my help?
My help comes from the LORD,
the maker of heaven and earth.
He will not allow your foot to slip;
or your guardian to sleep.” (Psalm 121)

2. Love- the gifts given, delight in the surprises around you, seek God and you will most certainly find Him.

“See, I am doing something new! Now it springs forth, do you not perceive it?” (Isaiah 43:19)

As a single parent, on a meager teacher’s salary we did not indulge in big trips, but would go out exploring the world around us. Sometimes we would trip upon a free museum, pack a picnic lunch, go fishing, or drive out to the Mississippi river just to sit with our toes in the bank.

3. Share- what you have with others that are in need, both physically and spiritually. Growing up, I noticed that others certainly had more than me and yet there were so many that had less. One day, when I was about 8, my mom was approached by a young mom with several toddlers in tow asking for help. Without hesitating, she had invited the family to stop by our home for dinner. The little faces that had been downturned and suspicious in the beginning all at once beamed at all the food that lay before them. Before they left, she packed up a few containers for them to take home with the offer to come back again. Upon noticing that there were a number of items missing with their departure, my mom was neither upset nor saddened. “They are more in need of it than us Elizabeth”. To which I learned what it was to give without expectation of return.

4. Encourage- the gifts in others, even those that they fail to see in themselves. My mom was my biggest cheerleader, and my most vocal critic. Sound contradictory? No not at all. You see, she knew that life could be difficult and how easy it is to settle or give in to an easy choice. She pushed me further than I thought I could go, and always pointed to the “more” in the world that God was calling me to do. As a teacher, she inspired her students who came from very difficult and impoverished backgrounds to continue with their education and challenged them to see their gifts. I cannot count the times, over the course of her life that former students would call her or run up with a hug to tell her the difference she had made in their lives. This is the teacher that I strive to be, thank you Mom for teaching me.



A Seeking Heart: On Faith Journeys, Blogging & Catechesis

Today, please join me as I am featured on A Seeking Heart with Allison Gingras along with a week of several outstanding Catholic bloggers. Join in as we chat about the busyness of life as a blogger, graduate student, mom, and the beautiful  invitation of lay ministry.

Undoubtedly, there will be  many surprise conversations as it will be aired live today at 10 AM EST at JOIN the conversation (855)-949-1380, call- ins welcomed!

In case you missed today’s show…you can now listen to the podcast where we chat about life as a blogger, graduate student, and catechist . Even had a call-in from a fellow Mt. Holyoke College graduate and friend!

A Seeking Heart w/ Allison Gingras Feat Elizabeth Reardon 05/08/15

Want to listen to the other shows from this week? Catch the recordings of this great week of Catholic bloggers!
Seeking Heart Podcasts

MONDAY – 5/4 (prerecorded) – Join Jessica Thornton, HouseWifeSpice as they discuss Books, bacon – and technology with teens

TUESDAY– Allison chats with Melanie Juneau, at JoyofNine9 ! You might recognize her, as she joins in here each week with a fabulous post for Worth Revisiting Wednesday!  Truly a joy filled interview with Melanie the head of the Association of Catholic Women Bloggers (a few men too!) who discusses the blessed vocation being a mom of nine and letting God lead their lives.

WEDNESDAY-Day Three of Catholic Blogger Week features Cristina Trinidad at

THURSDAY– Jeannie Ewing joins in from Love Alone Creates – She shares her child’s journey with Apert Syndrome, and the life of advocating, blogging and community.

Worth Revisiting: Seeking Joy Too

It’s Worth Revisiting Wednesday! A place where you can come and bring a past & treasured post to share, and link-up with fellow bloggers! Co-Hosted with Allison Gingras at Reconciled To You.

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that you may abound in hope by the power of the holy Spirit” (Romans 15:13). In God alone is where we discover true joy, a wellspring that cannot ever truly be taken away.  Likewise, God’s love does not only prompt joy for ourselves,  but overflows and spills out into the lives of all of our families and communities as they too encounter its beauty in us.  It is a joy that is always new and fully intended to be shared with others!

Seeking Joy1Seeking Joy  2

(originally published on 8/19/14)

1. Seeking the joy of God..

necessitates that we recognize our own unique gifts that God has given us rather than envying the gifts that others might possess.

Each of us has been created for a purpose, though the details of which, we might not be aware of it just yet. When we want that which God has given others, then we fail to appreciate God’s gifts to us. Instead, our aim should be to strengthen the gifts that we have been given, whether it be speaking, listening, teaching, or guiding others in the call to holiness and in the mission and life of the Church. So, too, I would add, God grants additional charisms or gifts, when needed, if we remain open to the Holy Spirit and God’s will in our lives.

2. Making space for God means..

identifying that which seeks to steal our joy, and serves to distance us from God and those we love.

When we shed these things, quite profoundly through reconciliation, we open ourselves up to God at work in our everyday. Then we start seeing God too in the little things that we do that also provide countless joy in the lives of others.

3. This is what God wants for us! We were not created to live in sorrow, though we all experience this at some point in our lives. We all know that with Christ’s birth the heavens rejoiced, so too is God’s joy for each one of us. Yet, the things of this world will bring us but temporary happiness, but God’s joy is eternal. When we surrender our hearts, trust, and allow God to take the lead, we will find true joy at last.

“Let this experience imprinted in the Gospel, be imprinted in our hearts and in our lives. Let the joyous wonder of Easter Sunday radiate through our thoughts , looks, attitudes , gestures and words …” Pope Francis (Regina Coeli address, Apr. 22, 2014.)