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August 1, 2017

Completing My Participation in the Living School

Two years goes by fast. In that time I began and am now close to completing my participation in the Living School – a course on contemplative reflection and practice that involves both on-site and online learning and the further development of spiritual practices.

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WBAS Cat Prayers & Reflections

June 7, 2017

Seminarian Letter Project: Catholic School Children Send Their Support and Encouragement

“May your life be filled with love, hope, and happiness as you continue your training. Thank you for your service, and good luck.”

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WBAS Cat Prayers & Reflections

February 23, 2017

Discerning Our Vocation

“O that today you would hear his voice harden not your hearts…” Psalm 95:7-8

The reminder to listen for the voice of God runs deep in the Scriptures. Such admonitions are usually partnered with the hardened heart – one closed off to the guidance and grace of God’s love. As a spiritual director, I often sit with those dealing with issues of vocation. Rather than a once-in-a-lifetime call to a career or lifestyle, however, this kind of discernment occurs over and over again as we age or as our circumstances shift. Even those with what might be considered a final vocation, such as the priesthood or religious life, must continue to listen for where God is calling them and how to best use the gifts God has bestowed upon them.

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WBAS Topics Prayer, WBAS Cat Prayers & Reflections

January 25, 2017

A Catechetical Pick-Me-Up

I think I am one of the few people who like the month of January. I don’t mind snow, which is a helpful attribute for a resident of Colorado. For teachers the month is blessedly free of holiday parties and other events that cut into the day. New Year’s is past and Martin Luther King Day is a great opportunity to draw themes of justice, equality, and peace into religion classes. On a personal level, I find the month a bit of a retreat. The days are lengthening in slow motion, offering plenty of opportunities for retreating into a self-constructed cocoon of quiet.

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WBAS Cat Prayers & Reflections

January 16, 2017

The Ministry and Vocation of Teaching

During a “gap year” in which I was discerning the direction to go with my studies, I served as a volunteer with Head Start. It’s there that I met Mrs. Cranmer and learned how teaching can be both a ministry and a vocation. There is no question that she was called to be a teacher. Her natural ability to talk to little children and nudge them along in their learning was a gift she was truly meant to share. Beyond excelling at the art of developing creative learning experiences, she also treated each child with love and respect. Since many of them came from impoverished homes, she was ever aware of their varying needs and ministered to them with tenderness and endless patience. As such, she built a safe haven for learning and for play. My decision to return to school to pursue a degree in education was largely influenced by Mrs. Cranmer.

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WBAS Topics Prayer, WBAS Cat Prayers & Reflections

December 28, 2016

Virtue Series: Wellness and the New Year

Long before the term “holistic medicine” came into use, Hildegard of Bingen was putting it into practice. This twelfth century figure had a resume that could rival Leonardo da Vinci. She was not only abbess of a Benedictine monastery, but also an artist, poet, playwright, biographer, preacher, and theologian. Although she never formally studied music, she wrote seventy-seven chants and is believed to have composed the first musical drama. She was also a practiced herbalist and healer. As part of her ministry to care for the sick, Hildegard proposed a moderate approach to living. “Do not lay more strain than the body can endure. Immoderate straining and abstinence bring nothing useful to the soul.”

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WBAS Topics Holidays, WBAS Topics Prayer, WBAS Topics Saints, WBAS Cat Prayers & Reflections

October 25, 2016

Catholic Virtues Series: Prayer for Integrity

My fascination with Abraham Lincoln started at a young age. I pulled a hefty tome about his assassination off my parent’s bookshelf while in fourth grade and immediately immersed myself in the story. Now I am engaged in another lengthy account, this time about Lincoln’s remarkable talent in working with an array of disparate personalities and over-inflated egos. His integrity while working with a “team of rivals” was, as author Doris Kearnes Goodwin notes, one of his greatest strengths. Since synonyms for integrity include honor and truthfulness, the moniker “Honest Abe” fit him perfectly.

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WBAS Topics Prayer, WBAS Cat Prayers & Reflections, WBAS Topics Virtues & Values

September 14, 2016

Reflection on St Francis of Assisi

Is there any other saint who enjoys as much popularity as Francis of Assisi? Google his name and over 7 million results become accessible. Likenesses of him stand in gardens, parks, and churches, usually with birds and animals clustered around him. Such devotion must surely be due to nature – both his love of God’s creation as well as his own gentle demeanor.

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WBAS Topics Saints, WBAS Cat Prayers & Reflections

September 1, 2016

Making Time for Friendship

Paul Simon, in one of his early songs, described old friends as “bookends.” The image didn’t mean much to me until this past weekend when I drove to Taos, New Mexico, to reunite with two friends from childhood. Bill and I grew up in the same neighborhood and share memories that stretch back to Kindergarten. Stephanie showed up in the middle of our fifth grade year and Bill and I quickly swept her into our little circle. Our friendship remained steadfast well into our twenties when years and careers started to pull each of us in different directions. We stayed in touch sporadically until this past spring. The heart attack that nearly took Bill’s life jolted us into recognition of the time not to waste. We each cleared our calendars in order to reunite for a weekend of sustained conversation and lengthy meals. These two friends have truly bracketed my life with their love and laughter.  

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WBAS Topics For Families, WBAS Cat Prayers & Reflections

August 18, 2016

Holy Labor Day

It’s been a few years since I wrote the “Ripples” reflection for my online column, From My Home to Yours. Nevertheless, I remember the story well. I popped into a convenience store on my way to give a talk to catechists in northern California. After a long, uncomfortable plane ride and with another two-hour drive ahead of me, I wasn’t a paragon of patience as I waited for the friendly clerk to assist the person in front of me. When she extended her graciousness to me, however, I shifted emotional gears. In doing so, I recognized the rippling effect that emanates from small acts of kindness.

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WBAS Topics Holidays, WBAS Cat Prayers & Reflections

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