046: How to Become Leaders of the Highest Caliber Through Christ with Fr. Nathan Cromly

Father Nathan Cromly is a soul on fire to help raise up Christians to lead their families, their Church, and their world and, as he said in this episode, “fight the good fight, to sharpen their swords and swing them because at this moment in time, souls are going to their peril because there is a lack of leaders willing to fight for them.”

Father Nathan is an informative and engaging speaker, writer, retreat leader, explorer, innovator, educator, and fire-starter for the Lord. He’s appeared multiple times on Catholic Radio and EWTN’s Life on the Rock, Father Mitch Live, and Women of Grace, and co-produced documentaries. 

Born and raised in Toledo, Ohio, he has joyfully served as a Catholic priest of the Brothers of Saint John for 12 years, and currently ministers in Denver, Colorado. Father Nathan’s spiritual direction, teaching, and dynamic witness has touched the lives of tens of thousands of children, teenagers, married couples, business professionals, and families.

Father Nathan’s ministry has flourished by God’s grace. He began Eagle Eye Ministries in 2003; it is now home to six forms of outreach to teens and young adults. In 2015, he opened the Saint John Institute (SJI) —a unique program in which young adults earn an accredited Masters degree while receiving spiritual formation from the Brothers of Saint John.  In the Spring of 2018, SJI celebrated its first graduating class, sending its graduates to work for the Lord in the for-profit world.  Inspiring and equipping great talent for the Lord’s harvest, Eagle Eye Ministries and the Saint John Institute serve to raise up the spirit of the new evangelization in young people and send missionary entrepreneurs into the Church.

This ministry, carried by his passionate concern for forming and sending prayerful Catholic leaders into the world, has blossomed into the Faith and Leadership Consortium.  Through formation and fellowship and prayer, leaders in business and in culture can find the help they need to dare great things for Christ.  Above all else, Father Nathan is a Catholic priest. He has dedicated his priesthood to the Immaculate Heart of Mary and is humbled to serve Christ’s people so long as God gives him the opportunity. 

How to reach Father Nathan:

Website:  Eagle Eye Ministries  https://www.eagleeyeministries.org

Website:  Saint John Institute  https://www.saintjohninstitute.org/

Email:  info@eagleeyeministries.org

Phone:  (303) 876-7695 ext. 1

045: The Devil in the City of Angels with Jesse Romero



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Jesse Romero wrote an amazing book called The Devil in the City of Angels, and in this interview, he brings to light some of the overt workings of the evil one.  His book chronicles his experiences with the diabolical, gives insights into the ways the enemy gains entry into souls, and practical advice to help protect ourselves and our families from evil.  This book is not for the faint-of-heart.  It’s intense, enlightening, and terrifying at the same time!  

Jesse holds a B.A. in Liberal Arts from Mount St. Mary’s College in Los Angeles, CA and he has a Masters Degree in Catholic Theology from Franciscan University of Steubenville in Ohio. As the proud parents of Paul, Annmarie and Joshua, Jesse and his wife Anita have been happily married since 1983. 

After rediscovering his Catholic roots, Jesse studied and prayed his way back to a fervent on–going practice of the Catholic Faith. Through his vast experiences with non–Catholics and fallen–away Catholics alike, Jesse has become proficient on how to “speak the truth in charity” (Ephesians 4:15) and is very effective at bringing them into the fullness of truth found only in the Catholic Church. 

Jesse is available to speak to your group or conference in English or Spanish about Catholic Evangelization, Topical Bible Studies, Apologetics, Marriage & Family, Spiritual Warfare, Men’s topics, Teen topics and Culture War issues that affect Catholics.  If you would like to book him for your conference or event, check out the calendar and get in touch with him. 

How to reach Jesse:

Website: https://jesseromero.com/

YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/user/OnFireEvangelization

Radio Show: https://virginmostpowerfulradio.org/

Email: contact@jesseromero.com

Buy The Devil in the City of Angels book by Jesse Romero here: https://amzn.to/2oK93eV

*This episode includes affiliate links that help support The Catholic Servant Podcast apostolate.

044: The Art of Leading Souls to Christ Through Public Speaking with Diane Carr



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Diane Carr has the unique gift of teaching others how to communicate in a way that leads souls to Christ.  She shares valuable insights for all evangelists who share their testimonies to honor and glorify God for the New Evangelization.  Diane shares some of her experiences and struggles sharing her faith story through public speaking and how she overcame them.

Diane is an Adjunct Professor of Pastoral Theology at Immaculate Conception Seminary School of Theology. She holds an M.A. in Theology and is the Coordinator of the Prayerfully Speaking Initiative of the Institute for Christian Spirituality. A popular speaker, Diane gives parish missions, retreats, workshops and lectures on topics in spirituality and evangelization. She trains seminarians, deacons, permanent deacon candidates, religious and laity on how to prayerfully speak about faith for the new evangelization.

How to reach Diane:

Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/dianecarrfan/

043: The Beauty and Grace of Consecration to Jesus Through Mary with Anna Nuzzo



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Anna Nuzzo shares her inspiring story of how, after consecrating herself to Jesus through Mary with Father Michael Gaitley’s book 33 Days to Morning Glory , our Blessed Mother led her to use her angelic voice and musical prowess to reach souls all around the world.  

Anna is an acclaimed Int’l Catholic Recording Artist, Singer and Songwriter widely known for her consoling music and beautiful prayer songs. Since her Marian Consecration in 2012, she has felt called to write and spread songs of prayer and hope, reminding others of God’s unending love and mercy. Anna has been blessed to sing around the world, including the Holy Land, Italy, the Vatican, Medjugorje, Trinidad, Canada, Carnegie Hall and across the USA. She is a TV Host for Shalom World TV and also leads Int’l Pilgrimages. She has been featured on many radio, web and TV interviews, including EWTN, Relevant Radio and Shalom World. She resides in Kenosha, WI with her husband and two sons. She has 5 albums available. 

In this episode, you’ll get to listen to three of Anna’s breath-taking songs PLUS their backstories:

Falling On My Knees (skip to 24:42 to listen)
The Face That I Seek (skip to 33:55 to listen)
 Marian Consecration Song (skip to 42:36 to listen)

How to reach Anna:

Website: AnnaNuzzo.com

YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/user/annanuzzo78

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/anna.curinuzzo

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/anna.nuzzo/

Resources:

Anna Nuzzo Upcoming Events http://www.annanuzzo.com/events

More About Jeannie Ewing https://jeannieewing.com/

Buy 33 Days to Morning Glory book by Father Michael Gaitley here. https://amzn.to/2n8nicL

Video about the Holy Veil of Manopello https://youtu.be/4qCNO1JzV_M

*This episode includes affiliate links that help support The Catholic Servant Podcast apostolate.  
Divine Mercy by Anna Nuzzo
Ave Maria by Anna Nuzzo

042: Pilgrim Journey to a Deeper Level of Holiness with Deacon Tim Kennedy



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Deacon Tim Kennedy gives us incredible insights into the transformative power of going on a Catholic pilgrimage to the Holy Land.  He shares details of how his first pilgrimage experience profoundly shaped his life, permanently impacting his soul, heart, and mind.  Deacon Tim also gives us profound encouragement for those of us struggling with our faith and family circumstances.

Tim Kennedy was born in Newark, New Jersey and raised in Woodbridge Township, New Jersey. Both he and his brother, Terry, were raised in a close-knit, Catholic household, one where the principles of faith, hard- work, and determination were modeled by their loving parents, aunts and uncles, and others closest to them.

Tim graduated high school in 1981 and became a licensed paramedic in 1983. He joined the police force in 1984, where he worked first as a police officer, anti-crime officer, detective, and later as Chief of Police (City of New York HHC Police) before his retirement after 28 years of public service.

Animal welfare has always been a concern for Tim, resulting in a five- year assignment with the Humane Police of New Jersey.

Tim felt a calling to a vocation in ministry growing persistently within him from a young age. After prayerful reflection and input from his wife and his spiritual director, Tim felt the call was too great to ignore. His successful completion of the five- year formation program for Deacon resulted in his ordination on a glorious Saturday in May 2011.

Deacon Tim currently serves as a Catholic Deacon in the Archdiocese of Newark, New Jersey and the Byzantine Catholic Eparchy of Passaic, New Jersey, and still works as a licensed paramedic.

Deacon Tim and Angie are the founders/owners of Faith and Fun Travel and Tours, LLC, a travel ministry that specializes in Catholic Pilgrimage Travel and group or personal travel tours that are tailored to the individual’s needs.

How to reach Deacon Tim:

Website: https://www.faithandfuntours.com/

Facebook Profile: https://www.facebook.com/dcntim

Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/FaithandFunTravel/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/faithandfuntravel/

Faith and Fun Travel Specials!

January 21-29 Travel to the Holy Land for Deacons and Wives

March 15-25 Travel to the Holy Land and Super Specials on Cruises

Sept 25 – Oct 8 Lands of the Bible Cruise with Father Dwight Longenecker 

2020 Christmas on the Danube and great deals on Celebrity: Royal Caribbean and Norwegian Cruise Line

 

041: My Top 5 Resources to Learn How to Attain the Lord’s Peace



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Transcript:

This past weekend I spoke on the topic of attaining the Lord’s Peace at the Catholic Women’s Conference organized by the Pilgrim Center of Hope in San Antonio.  It was such a beautiful experience and I met many women who shared their struggles with interior peace due to many difficult personal and family circumstances.  They were very loving and faithful women who needed a little reminder that their suffering is not in vain.  Suffering can bear much fruit with our every effort to look beyond our circumstances and gaze into the eyes of Jesus on the Cross. 

At the conference, I also shared a number of resources that anyone can use to help them learn more about what it takes to receive the gift of the Lord’s Peace.  Like I mentioned in episode 39, we can’t make Peace happen.  God has to bestow it upon us if we prepare our souls with genuine love for the Lord.

There are so many resources to learn more about acquiring Peace, but after doing extensive research on the topic, here are my top 5, but keep in mind our Holy Bible is above everything so I’m not adding it to the list and chances are, you already have one:

Searching for and Maintaining Peace – book by Father Jacques Philippe –Buy it here –  https://amzn.to/2mzrxgA

Lift up Your Heart: Guide to Spiritual Peace – book by Fulton J. Sheen –  Buy it herehttps://amzn.to/2kWtRxQ

Self-Abandonment to Divine Providence – book by Father J.P. De Caussaude – Buy it herehttps://amzn.to/2l1uYMU

The QA Guide to Mental Prayer – book by Connie Rossini – Buy it here – https://amzn.to/2n1PTjw

How to Pray Like Mary – book by Sonja Corbitt – Buy it here –https://amzn.to/2mzunlK

Let’s close this episode with a prayer…

Glory be to the Father…

You’ll find the transcript to this episode at TheCatholicServant.com/peace-resources and please share it with someone who may need today’s message.  You’ll also find links to the books mentioned if you wish to purchase one.  These are affiliate links so if you buy one of these invaluable resources for your spiritual growth, you’ll be supporting this family apostolate, The Catholic Servant Podcast.  And please continue to send me your prayer requests to Alexandra@TheCatholicServant.com so we can lift you up in prayer during our next family Rosary.

May you have a blessed and prayerful week.

 

040: The Healing Power of God’s Grace and Mercy with Kevin Stephenson



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Kevin Stephenson is currently in the Deaconate program for the Catholic Diocese of Tulsa. He currently serves as a full-time Board Certified Staff Hospital (acute care) Chaplain for Ascension/Saint John Health System. He is a Licensed Professional Counselor-Supervisor for the State of Oklahoma.  He holds a Masters of Divinity and Masters in Marriage and Family Therapy from Oral Roberts University. Kevin is married to his wife, Monica, and is a father of six children and eight grandchildren. 

In this episode, Kevin shares how he found healing in the process of converting to Catholicism.  As a Catholic counselor, he speaks about several spiritual tools we have available to us as Catholics that can help us heal childhood wounds and overcome generational spirits that may be haunting our families.

How to reach Kevin:

Website:  https://associationofcatholiccounselors.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/romancatholiccounseling

Email:  catholicevangelism1@gmail.com

Phone:  (918) 406-6682

Resources: 

Spiritual Approaches to Healing Addiction Book

Buy it here – https://amzn.to/2muimy4

Spiritual Approaches to Healing Addiction Workbook

Buy it here – https://amzn.to/2lxBdrN

True Stories from the Dance Floor: The things we learn when dancing with others

Buy it herehttps://amzn.to/2mrRz5v

Journey Home Article – Kevin’s Conversion Story

https://chnetwork.org/story/charismatic-comes-home-conversion-story-kevin-stephenson/?fbclid=IwAR34APu7qZy9c3tkgVBjYzFtlfU55v4egnj3tzk1Zg_LqVUDmJVaoVx-TTY

Kevin’s Conversion Story on The Journey Home with Marcus Grodi

039: How to Live in the Lord’s Peace



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Transcript:

Peace…it’s a funny thing how this lovely fruit of the Holy Spirit seems so close yet so far at times.  It seems just out of our grasp most days and right when we think it’s within our reach, it slips through our fingers.  It appears that the harder we try the further we are from the most highly coveted gift – the Lord’s Peace.  After all, that’s why we stressed about educating ourselves as young adults and finding the highest paying job we could get without experience.  That’s why we endured a job we hated for so many years so we could move up the ladder of success and finally be at Peace.  That’s why we married him – to share our misery with someone and find healing and finally be at Peace.  Or we married him so we could raise the family we only dreamed of and take trips and make memories and finally be at Peace.  Once we were married, we worked ourselves to death inside or outside the home to make sure our family had everything they needed and finally be at Peace.  We volunteer at our parishes, tithe at Mass, give to the homeless to alleviate the gnawing dis-ease in our hearts and satisfy our desire to give-back to finally be at Peace. 

But somehow, Peace seems to escape us.  There’s always a loved one who makes that wrong choices, a job that gives us no security, one health condition after another, and there’s always something breaking down at home, or a car that needs repair.  There’s never enough money, never enough patience, never enough Peace!

Please keep in mind that, when I speak about being anxious or sad, I’m not talking about clinical depression and anxiety.  When I encourage you to have peace in all circumstances, I’m not asking that we be content with extreme cases of abuse or catastrophic events.  I’m referring to the everyday life situations we find ourselves in as friends, moms, daughters, sisters, aunts, and grandmothers.

How do we find the Lord’s Peace?  We know prayer is the answer.  It’s absolutely the answer but often a short-lived answer that lasts up until we lose our wallet, a family member’s in an accident, we get rejected by someone we love, or we get laid-off.  Then no amount of prayer can settle the dis-ease in our hearts.  Our prayers turn into pleading for relief from the pain and suffering.  “Dear Lord, please take this cup from me!”

How many times do we get trapped in the if-only’s.  If only I earned more money, I wouldn’t have to work so much.  If only I could afford a housekeeper or a cook, I could spend more time with the kids, grandkids, and my husband.  If only I had more time, I’d spend more time in prayer.  If only that difficult person saw things from my point-of-view, we’d get along better.  Instead of embracing the Will of God, the world tells us that only WE can decide what’s best for us.  That somehow, we, with our little minds and limited foresight can decide what brings us to the ultimate peace and happiness.  It’s in our human nature to want to design our life and fill it with worldly things only to find that we’re chasing the wind and building houses out of sand.

In any case, the fallacy of “balance” stems from our belief that Peace can be acquired from something outside ourselves.  The world tells us that balance means taking time to indulge ourselves in a massage, time alone to read a good book, treat ourselves to something we love, or spend more time with the kids.  These things are definitely good and necessary, but they are not the answer to attaining balance and ultimately, the Lord’s Peace.

We can’t make Peace happen.  Peace is a gift from the Prince of Peace himself, our Lord Jesus Christ.  All we can DO is prepare our interior dispositions to receive this beautiful grace.  We are made for God.  

My sisters-in-Christ, the core of every evil we will ever face starts in the same place for all of us – our tireless and relentless thoughts.  The enemy starts with the same weapon – placing doubt in our hearts of God’s love and good Will for us.  When we lose our Peace, it is a sign that our Faith is being attacked.

In the book, Searching For and Maintaining Peace, by Fr. Jacques Phillipe, he says that only by acquiring the Lord’s peace of heart and mind is God able to perform good works.  He illustrates it this way.  “Consider the surface of the lake, above which the sun is shining.  If the surface of the lake is peaceful and tranquil, the sun will be reflected in the lake; and the more peaceful the lake, the more perfectly will it be reflected.  If, on the contrary, the surface of the lake is agitated, undulating, then the image of the sun cannot be reflected in it.”

  • Does this mean God asks us to do nothing to change our situation? Does this mean we should take on a passive role and simply not take responsibility for our lives?

Fr. Jacques Phillipe says that we should take action and do everything to resolve the conflicts in our lives, BUT only with the gentle and peaceful disposition of the Holy Spirit.  Not with discouragement, dis-ease, agitation, or excessive rushing.

  • Does this mean we need to become self-centered, insensitive, or indifferent to our own needs or the needs of others?

On the contrary, having true peace and total dependence on God frees us to love and be of greater service to others.  This was one of Saint Teresa of Calcutta’s secret of life-long service.

So we’ve come to the questions. 

  • What is the necessary disposition of heart in order to attain the Lord’s peace? If peace is not inaction and laziness, then what must I DO? How do we get there?

My husband and I were late bloomers.  We met in our mid-thirties, got married, had our first child when I was 36 and the other 3 in our 40’s.  Having lived the single life for so long, I had a lot of time to think about the kind of man I wanted to marry, the house I wanted, the car I wanted, the trips I wanted to take, the number of children I wanted to have naturally with no anesthesia, the kind of stay-at-home mom I wanted to be, you name it, I visualized it.  Of course, because I spent my younger years absorbing what the world teaches…you can be what you want to be, you can have what you want to have, and no one knows what makes you happy better than you.  I clearly remember asking God to send me a man with a strong Catholic faith and prayer life.  That was the most important thing to me.  Having been raised in a dysfunctional home with an absent father, I knew in my heart that my path to healing had to come from God and I wanted a man who would lead our family to Jesus through prayer.  But I think God looked at my list of things I wanted in life and laughed.  He was like nope, nope, nope, nope, strong Catholic man – ok, nope, and nope.  One thing I’ve learned is that when God says “yes” to something, He gives it abundantly.  He blessed me with a man who has 4 uncles who are Catholic priests and a sister whose a nun.  My husband makes it a point that we pray as a family daily and a weekly family Rosary.  When we met I was whoa, Lord, I’m not that Catholic yet but I’m so grateful.  I will honor and cherish this man for the rest of my life.  But nothing else on my little list came to fruition and it drove me crazy.  The world says I deserve what I want so why don’t I have it?  As a real go-getter, I was all for going after what you want and working relentlessly to get it.  To ask God what He wanted wasn’t even an option. 

My brothers and sisters, one of the biggest sources of pain we experience is learning to let-go of our ideas of what life should be and embrace what God knows is best for us.  Not because He doesn’t want us to experience the beauty of His Creation in this life, but because he wants us to experience the beauty of Heaven in the life hereafter.  True love, true beauty, true Peace.

Sometimes we overthink and worry so much that we remove ourselves from the only place we’re ever going to find Peace – the dwelling place of the Lord called “the present moment.”

Father J.P. de Cassaude wrote in his book Self-Abandonment to Divine Providence that,

“The present moment is the manifestation of the Name of God and the coming of His Kingdom.  The present moment is always the ambassador who declares the order of God.  The heart always pronounces its fiat. The soul pours itself forth by all these means into its center and goal; it never stops, it travels by all winds; all routes and methods advance it equally on its journey to the high sea of the Infinite.  Everything is a means and an instrument of holiness; everything without any exception.  The ‘one thing necessary’ is always to be found by the soul in the present moment.  There is no need to choose between prayer and silence, privacy or conversation, reading or writing, reflection or the abandonment of thought, the frequentation or avoidance of spiritual people, abundance or famine, illness or health, life or death; the ‘one-thing necessary’ is what each moment produces by God’s design.  In this consists the stripping, the self-abnegation, the renunciation of the creature in order to be nothing by or for oneself, in order to remain as regards everything in God’s order at His pleasure, finding one’s only contentment in bearing the present moment, as if there were nothing else in the world to expect.”

Here are 4 ways we can prepare our hearts to receive the gift of Peace…

  • 1 – Bring to light the subtle ways the enemy agitates you by journaling all your worries and fears in a notebook then turning them into a prayer of abandonment to Divine Providence.

I find journaling to be a tremendous tool for healing and spiritual growth and all you need is a 50 cent spiral notebook and a pen.  This is what I did to help me heal from a horrifying event that caused me serious spiritual, mental and emotional trauma.  Back in 2010, my husband and I were living in a Mexican border town, when 3 armed me home invaded us.  I had lost my peace for a very long time but journaling helped me return my heart to God and gain a little bit of the Lord’s peace, that of which I had never known before the incident.  Father Jacques Phillipe says that God doesn’t expect us to be perfectly peaceful in times of turmoil.  Our efforts to trust Him more and more each time will be rewarded with the grace of His Peace.  It is not necessary to resolve every problem, what’s necessary is that we open our hearts bit by bit to trust Him more and more and remain still.

Let us ask the Lord for His peace and increased trust in God because only this way can we make right decisions and see things clearly.  St Ignatius of Loyola says that in the spiritual life, there are moments of peace and consolation and there are moments of struggle and desolation.  We won’t always feel the Lord near us but it’s small acts of Faith, in spite of how we feel, that help us earn the grace of Peace.

 

  • 2 – Establish a daily practice of mental prayer.

Saint Teresa of Ávila says:

“Mental prayer, in my opinion, is nothing else than a close sharing between friends; it means taking time frequently to be alone with him who we know loves us.”

Connie Rossini, author of The QA Guide to Mental Prayer, says that, “Teresa sees two aspects to mental prayer: sharing with a friend (remembering that this Friend is far above you, but nevertheless calls you into an intimate relationship with himself); and time set aside specifically to be alone with God. The word mental signifies that this prayer comes from your own mind, rather than being written down by some-one else, as in vocal prayer. It is usually a silent prayer,but does not always have to be. When you spend time with a friend, you do not usually recite to him or her someone else’s words about friendship. When you spend time with a spouse, you don’t usually read Shakespeare’s sonnets to that person. Instead, you speak from the heart. You know you can share your deepest self with your companion, because you love one another and will not reject each other. The time you spend together draws you even closer.”

 

  • 3 – Embrace little acts of mortification to slowly detach yourself from your own Will.

Father John Bartunek says in an article on SpiritualDirection.com that, “The root word for “mortification” comes from the Latin, mors and mortis, and it translates as “death.” In the spiritual life, therefore, mortification refers to voluntary actions by which we gradually “put to death” all of our vices, sinful habits, and the self-centered tendencies that lurk beneath them. Spiritual writers use terms like abnegation, sacrifice, self-sacrifice, and self-denial to refer to the same thing.

CCC #2015 says, “The way of perfection passes by way of the Cross. There is no holiness without renunciation and spiritual battle. Spiritual progress entails the ascesis and mortification that gradually lead to living in the peace and joy of the Beatitudes: He who climbs never stops going from beginning to beginning, through beginnings that have no end. He never stops desiring what he already knows.”

St. John of the Cross says that we must aim to have perfect detachment from created things in order to be perfectly attached to God and go to Heaven.  In heaven, souls have perfect detachment, where as in hell, we have constant attachments… no exceptions, no middle ground. 

  • 4 – Practice self-abandonment to God’s Will through conscious acts of Faith.

CCC #305 Jesus asks for childlike abandonment to the providence of our

heavenly Father who takes care of his children’s smallest needs:

“Therefore do not be anxious, saying, “What shall we eat?” or “What

shall we drink?”. . . Your heavenly Father knows that you need them all.

But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things

shall be yours as well.”

In Father JP de Caussade’s book, Self-Abandonment to Divine Providence, he says, “The will of God gives to all things a supernatural and divine value for the soul submitting to it. The duties it imposes, and those it contains, with all the matters over which it is diffused, become holy and perfect, because, being unlimited in power, everything it touches shares its divine character. But in order not to stray either to the right or to the left the soul should only attend to those inspirations which it believes it has received from God, by the fact that these inspirations do not withdraw it from the duties of its state. Those duties are the most clear manifestation of the will of God, and nothing should take their place; in them there is nothing to fear, nothing to exclude, nor anything to be chosen. The time occupied in the fulfilment of these duties is very precious and very salutary for the soul by the indubitable fact that it is spent in accomplishing this holy will. The entire virtue of all that is called holy is in its approximation to this order established by God; therefore nothing should be rejected, nothing sought after, but everything accepted that is ordained and nothing attempted contrary to the will of God.”

This is very good news but what does this mean? It means that as long we strive to fulfill our duties according to our state in life, we are living in accordance to the Will of God.  This is self-abandonment to the Will of God.  It is simple.  We as humans, complicate things by interjecting our own wills and ideas of what we think life should be.  Living in the present moment and devoting every little and seemingly insignificant action to glorify God is all that’s needed to abandon ourselves to Divine Providence.  This sanctifies everything we do if we make our desire to do God’s Will first in our lives.  Therefore, mopping the floor, if done for the glory of God, is just as sanctifying as going overseas as a missionary.  Cooking your family meals or playing with your children is just as sanctifying as serving the poor in a half-way house. 

St. Therese of Lisieux, who wanted more than anything to work as a missionary, never had the opportunity to do so, but her laying in bed, suffering for the love of Christ, writing Story of a Soul, and devoting her days and nights to prayer, sanctified her earthly life which evidently lead her Heaven.  She says, “I understood that all we accomplish, however brilliant, is worth nothing without love.”  And Saint Therese revealed the secret to attaining the Lord’s Peace in this life when she said, “Jesus has chosen to show me the only way which leads to the Divine Furnace of love; it is the way of childlike self-surrender, the way of a child who sleeps, afraid of nothing, in his father’s arms.”

My brothers and sisters in Christ, let us take comfort in John 16:33 “I have told you this so that you might have peace in me. In the world you will have trouble, but take courage, I have conquered the world.”

Live in the present moment. “Do not be anxious about tomorrow.” Trust in God with all your heart.  Don’t be tormented, God will give you what you need at the right time. 

Let’s pray together as the Lord taught us…

In the name of the Father…

Our Father, who art in Heaven…

You’ll find the transcript to this episode at TheCatholicServant.com/peace and please share it with someone who may need today’s message.  And, also continue to send me your prayer requests to Alexandra@TheCatholicServant.com so we can lift you up in prayer during our next family Rosary.

May you have a blessed and prayerful week.

038: How to Pray Like Mary with Sonja Corbitt



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Sonja Corbitt is a vital Catholic voice – a best-selling author, speaker, and broadcaster  – who produces high-impact, uplifting multimedia Bible studies.

A Carolina native who was raised as a Southern Baptist, Corbitt converted to Catholicism and served as director of religious education at St. John Vianney Catholic Church in Gallatin, Tennessee, and as executive director of Risen Radio in Lebanon, Tennessee.

Sonja is the riveting weekly host of the Bible Study Evangelista Show on CatholicTV and radio. She is a regular guest on EWTN; writes for The Great Adventure Bible Study Blog; Catholic Digest; Catechist Magazine; and Magnificat magazine; and speaks around the world.

Sonja is in formation as a Third Order Carmelite, a columnist at The Great Adventure Bible Study blog, a regular contributor to Magnificat, and a best-selling author who also wrote for the Gallatin News Examiner and Oremus, the Westminster Cathedral magazine. She lives in Tennessee with her husband, Bob, with whom she home schools two sons.

In this episode, Sonja talks about her latest book, How to Pray Like Mary, and how Mary led her to write this beautifully insightful book, soaked in Scripture and other Catholic documents.  She gives us a prayer method called LOVE the Word, a modern-take of Lectio Divina, that models Mary’s way of praying.  Sonja also gives intimate details about how her conversion journey, while holding Mary’s hand, has helped her overcome deep-seated wounds and impulses while lighting the fire of evangelization in her heart.

How to reach Sonja:

Website:  https://www.biblestudyevangelista.com/

Instagram:  https://www.instagram.com/biblestudyevangelista/

Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/sonjacorbitt

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Podcast The Bible Study Evangelistahttp://breadboxmedia.com/sonja-corbitt/

037: Where to Find True Happiness



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Transcript:

What is Happiness?

The dictionary defines happiness as contentment or joy that life is how it should be. Therefore on a human level, we can infer that happiness can mean any number of things.  The meaning of happiness can be as unique as each individual.  Happiness can then be a subjective thing that’s impossible to pin-point. 

According that definition, happiness is a thing or scenario like many of us like to think.  Sometimes we’ll find ourselves saying things like, “I’d be totally happy if my car wouldn’t break down all the time,” or “I’d be totally happy if only my kids would clean up their messes,” or “I’d be totally happy if only my husband, wife or boss, would see things my way, or “I’d be totally happy if I found and married the perfect person for me.”

But worldly happiness is relative.  For example, if I were raised in upper Manhattan with nannies and housekeepers, which I wasn’t, that’s all I’d know.  That’s how, for the most part, I would feel life was meant to me and I’d probably strive, throughout my adulthood, to maintain and/or enhance what I currently know to be reality.  If I, then were to find myself in a small apartment in a poverty-stricken area of south Texas with no money, no housekeeper or nanny, plus having to do my own laundry, I more than likely would not be happy.  Why?  Because my life is not how I would have imagined it. 

However, if I were raised on an island with no running water or electricity, but then came to live in a small apartment in a poverty-stricken area of San Antonio WITH running water and electricity, I may be grateful to be able to do my own laundry.  I’d be a happy camper because I would’ve met or enhanced my definition of how life should be.

It is human nature to want to define happiness using the most obvious point of reference, our current circumstances, all that we see with our eyes, and feel with our emotions.  However, in order for happiness to be true and real, it must be constant, infallible, and objective, not subjective and relative.  And guess what?  We don’t have to go searching for the REAL meaning of happiness, the Catechism of the Catholic Church # 1718 defines it for us as that of divine origin…

“God has placed it in the human heart in order to draw man to the One who alone can fulfill it:  We all want to live happily; in the whole human race there is no one who does not assent to this proposition, even before it is fully articulated.  How is it, then, that I seek you, Lord? Since in seeking you, my God, I seek a happy life, let me seek you so that my soul may live, for my body draws life from my soul and my soul draws life from you. God alone satisfies.

I’d like to point out that, according to this definition of happiness, nothing in this material world can satisfy us.  All passes away.  Therefore, it can be said that the source of our misery stems directly from our attachments to our relationships, things, accomplishments, physical body, and so on.  “God alone satisfies.”

God alone matters.  When we remind ourselves daily of this fact, we slowly realize our dependence on God, our poverty of spirit and the first beatitude.  “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”  To be “poor in spirit” does not necessarily mean materialistic poverty.  What the CCC paragraph 2547 clarifies the essence of what it means to be truly “poor in spirit”:

 “Abandonment to the providence of the Father in heaven frees us from anxiety about tomorrow.  Trust in God is a preparation for the blessedness of the poor. They shall see God.”

Therefore, poverty of heart is complete abandonment and trust in God.  That is all.  It’s more about the heart than about the materials.  There are plenty of people living in poverty and people living in abundance who squander that blessing by trusting in their own capacities or those of others instead of totally trusting in God.

So, my brothers and sisters in Christ, where do we go to find true happiness?  Leave behind your anxieties and worries and take refuge in the depths of your heart where Divine Providence dwells. 

Let’s pray together the Prayer to Divine Providence from the Precious Blood and Mother Prayer Book

O Sweet and Tender Providence of God, into Thy hands I commend my spirit, to Thee I abandon myself, my hopes, my fears, my desires, my repugnancies, my temporal and eternal prospects. To Thee I commit the wants of my perishable body, to Thee I commit the far more precious interests of my immortal soul, for whose interests I have nothing to fear while I withdraw it not from Thy bosom. Though my faults are many, my misery great, my spiritual poverty extreme, my hope in Thee surpasses all. It is greater than my difficulties, stronger than death. Though temptations should assail me, I will hope in Thee, though I should sink beneath my weakness, I will hope in Thee still, though I should break my resolutions a thousand times, I will look to Thee confidently for grace to keep them at last; though Thou should slay me, even then will I trust Thee, for Thou art my God, my Father and my Friend. Thou art my kind, my tender, my indulgent Parent, and I am Thy loving Child, who cast myself into Thy Arms and beg Thy blessing, who put my trust in Thee, and so trusting, shall never be confounded. 

Providence did provide. Providence can provide. Providence will provide. O loving Providence of God we commit this cause to Thee. 


You’ll find the transcript to this episode at TheCatholicServant.com/Catholic-happiness and please share it with someone who may need today’s message.  And, also continue to send me your prayer requests to Alexandra@TheCatholicServant.com so we can lift you up in prayer during our next family Rosary.

May you have a blessed and prayerful week.