Tag Archives: Missions

Stuck in My Head: Audrey Assad, Matt Maher, JJ Heller

I went to a fantastic concert last night with a really fun group of friends, and this morning I decided I needed to put in a plug for the two artists who gave us such a great show.

Audrey Assad is one of my all-time favorite singer-songwriters, and she’s coming out with a new album in two weeks! She played this song last night and explained how for her, it’s about the joy and sufferings of married life bearing fruit for the world: Let’s build a house with turned-out doors / So we can share what love affords / Pour ourselves out like wine we’ve been saving. Beautiful stuff!


Matt Maher was spectacular, as usual. This song is a few years old, but it’s one of my favorites of his because it’s inspired by St. Augustine’s Confessions – and you guys know how much I love the saints!


I also wanted to share this song by JJ Heller that really has been stuck in my head all week. I was asked to go speak at a couple of the Catholic schools in my diocese on Thursday as part of Catholic Schools Week, to talk to the students about my vocation to consecrated life and my experiences doing foreign mission work. I decided to make a slideshow of my favorite photos from the missions to share with the kids, and this was the song I picked to play in the background during the slideshow.

As I watched it over and over again with the different groups of students that day, I realized that I wouldn’t have believed the words of a song like this had it not been for the time I spent in the missions, as well as the grueling period of transition and re-adjustment that took place after I returned to life in the States. The Lord is truly near to us when we are brokenhearted and weary in spirit (c.f. Psalm 34:18) – and though we often have trouble seeing it as such, every suffering that comes to us is a gift from Him and an opportunity to immerse ourselves in the depths of His tender and merciful Heart.

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A few addenda to yesterday’s Potpourri post

Bl. Teresa of Calcutta and Bl. John Paul II (photo credit: Gianni Giansanti/Corbis)

Two of my heroes: Bl. Teresa of Calcutta and Bl. John Paul II (photo credit: Gianni Giansanti/Corbis)

I posted yesterday about the world needing heroes, and wouldn’t you know, four more links came my way this morning that fit that theme so well, I just had to share them:

First, this sweet post about fatherhood from Catholic blogger Matthew Archbold: Some Things Moms Can’t Do. For me, this is one of the simplest answers to the question: Why no women priests? Priests are men because they are fathers, and only men can be fathers. (Of course, that answer doesn’t satisfy people who no longer recognize authentic fatherhood…)

Speaking of fatherhood, I’ve been meaning to recommend my friend Fr. Jeff’s new blog about his day-to-day experiences as a joyful young priest determined to find God in the “little things”: A Priest Life. (Here’s one of my favorite posts of his.) Fr. Jeff is a fantastic writer and more importantly, a wonderful priest who deeply loves Our Lord and His Church. His reflections inspire me to live my own vocation with greater dedication every day! You should also check out his recent interview with CatholicMom.com’s Lisa Hendey. I just loved what he had to say about his vocation story:

“I’m a ‘kindergarten vocation,’ so to speak. One of my earliest memories is wanting to be a priest. Well, that and a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle. In my baby book, my mom kept little facts about us: favorite food – pizza; favorite color – blue; favorite sport – soccer; what [Jeff] wants to be when he grows up – priest. That desire never left.”

I feel like I know more than a few priests who wanted to be Ninja Turtles or superheroes when they grew up. The world needs heroes, right?

And while we’re on the topic of priesthood, I also wanted to point out another article about the chaplain on the sinking Costa Concordia cruise ship. There are heroes among us, but we don’t always hear about them in the mainstream media.

For example, I’ve been meaning to “introduce” you guys to one of my personal heroes (well, heroines): my high-school classmate Megan, who moved to Haiti last year to work full-time in a non-denominational missionary apostolate called Respire Haiti (which she founded). Her blog, Blessed with a Burden, continually calls me to be more authentically committed to loving Christ in His poor.

I continue to be inspired daily by the people in my life who live out their vocations with such humility, passion and joy: my married friends, who are such beautiful examples of the Father’s totally selfless love for His children; my friends in formation for priesthood and religious life, who have gone out of their way to support and encourage me with their kind words and prayers; my single friends, who help me to be authentic as they ask the tough questions and work out their own vocations (sometimes with more than a little fear and trembling). Most of all, I’m thankful for my parents and my little brothers and the priests who have taken it upon themselves to “father” my soul and my vocation. How very good our good Lord is to those who love Him, whom He calls to do His will (c.f. Romans 8:28).

Who are your heroes? Who in your life has inspired you to pursue your vocation and live it to the full?

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Little Flower Novena, Day 6

Therese and The Holy Family (detail)

Unknown Artist, Thérèse and The Holy Family (detail)

Prayers To Be Said Each Day

Come, Holy Spirit

Come, Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of Your faithful,
and kindle in them the fire of Your love.
V.  Send forth Your Spirit, and they shall be created.
R.  And You shall renew the face of the earth.

Let us pray: O God, who have instructed the hearts of Your faithful by the light of the Holy Spirit; grant that by the gift of that same Spirit, we may be truly wise and ever rejoice in His consolation, through Christ our Lord. Amen.

Acts of Faith, Hope, and Love

O my God! I believe in You: strengthen my faith. All my hopes are in You: do You secure them. I love You: teach me to love You daily more and more. Amen.

The Act of Contrition

O my God, I am heartily sorry for having offended You, and I detest all my sins, because I dread the loss of heaven and the pains of hell, but most of all because they offend You, my God, who are all good and deserving of all my love. I firmly resolve, with the help of Your grace, to confess my sins, to do penance, and to amend my life. Amen.

Prayers for the Sixth Day

St. Thérèse, Patroness of the Missions, be a great missionary throughout the world to the end of time. Remind our Master of His own words, “The harvest is great, but the laborers are few.” Your zeal for souls was so great, obtain a like zeal for those now working for souls, and beg God to multiply their numbers, that the millions to whom Jesus is yet unknown may be brought to know, love and follow Him.

[Mention your intentions…] Intercede for us all the days of our life, but especially during this Novena and obtain for us from God the graces and favors we ask through your intercession. Amen.

Thought for the day: Zeal for souls

Let us work together for the salvation of souls. We have only the day of this life to save souls and to give them to the Lord as proofs of our love.

I tell Jesus that I am glad not to be able to see, with the eyes of my soul, this beautiful heaven which awaits me, in order that He may vouchsafe to open it forever to poor unbelievers.

I cannot perform brilliant works; I cannot preach the Gospel or shed my blood. But what matter? My brothers work in place of me, and I a little child, keep very close to the royal throne. I love for those who are carrying on the warfare.

My deeds, my little sufferings, can make God loved all over the world.

Concluding Prayer Prayed Each Day

O Lord, You have said: unless you become as little children, you shall not enter the kingdom of heaven; grant us, we beg You, so to follow, in humility and simplicity of heart, the footsteps of the Virgin blessed Thérèse, that we may attain to an everlasting reward. Amen.

Adapted from EWTN.com

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