How to Get Unstuck

I believe that one of the biggest obstacles to a person living her values is the ease at which we get stuck on any given day. And it’s rarely the big events that hold us back but the smaller, relentless thoughts, attitudes, and fears that show up all the time. When I encounter a big problem, such as a job change or a death in the family, I’m on high alert for whatever opposes God’s […]

Training Catherine

Catherine is a fairly new volunteer at the thrift store. I have taken her under my wing to train her in the spiritual path of the Society of St. Vincent de Paul. She has a natural concern for the poor, so training her is really a matter of letting her absorb the joy of meeting the people who come into the shop. In almost every situation her heart bends toward compassion, and there is little […]

God’s Grace and Our Efforts

I have watched myself and other people swing back and forth between two extremes of expectation when it comes to spiritual growth. One expectation is that God will do everything if only I have faith and wait patiently. This view goes out of balance when, in my waiting and believing, I become passive. I pray but do not act. I pray but do not engage with the realities in my daily life. When I become […]

What Was God Calling Me to Do?

“Uh, Mom?” my son said, motioning towards the window of our parked car. Outside the window, uncomfortably close, stood a slight woman, her face lined with age. I rolled down the window. With nary an introduction, the words starting pouring out. Decades ago, she had come from deep in the South. She had worked in the circus, had been a barn hand, a stage hand, a waitress, and a house cleaner. She wanted to know […]

Do Not Delay

The last straw which led to Saint Augustine’s conversion to Christianity was the voice of a child, playing a game in which he chanted “take and read, take and read.” The voice led Augustine to pick up the Bible and read a passage from Romans which made him look upon himself and the world in a new way.  And he was set free. How many are the moments in which we can be Christ for […]

Doing Too Much

A customary question in a job interview is, “What are your weaknesses?” The customary answer is, “Sometimes I take on too much work,” “I try too hard,” or some variation thereof. I’ve said this myself. I’ve had others say it to me. It’s part of the game of interviewing for a job. You’re trying to present yourself as supremely competent and confident (a deception, in other words). The interviewer is trying to get behind the […]