Today we have distractions all around us. Multiple pieces of technology constantly attack our attention. Phones are beeping, email is calling, and news updates are flashing. It's harder than ever to actually be in one place at one time. Yet, it is critical that we are present with other people to enable real relationships. I can think of no greater challenge in the technological age than truly being present with people amidst the noise of technology.
In this episode I explore the topic of Presence. People cannot connect to us or believe that we think they matter if we aren't actually present with them. This concept isn't new - what's new is that it's now possible to be physically present but not mentally present in totally new ways. To establish meaningful relationships, to truly affect the change we desperately want to affect, we must be present with people. In this episode I present my thoughts about how to do that.
Music from bensound.com
I'm currently reading the book "Developing the leader within you" by John Maxwell. The book is fantastic, and one point he really drives home is how important your attitude is to every aspect of your life. It's not enough to sit back and wait for something good to happen. Those who succeed at their dreams are the ones who chose to make the best of their lives - every day.
In this episode, I discuss 4 reasons why our attitudes are so critical. It probably affects more of our day than we realize. I also add in the 6 steps that Maxwell offers to change our attitude. With proper motivation and the right steps, we can salvage any attitude and make the impact we want to our lives.
Music is from www.bensound.com
Marriage is hard. Last episode in the discussion with Mrs. Lisa Duffy, we covered a couple things that men especially can do to help improve their marriages. I want to continue that theme. I think, as we start this new year and have whatever goals and objectives we've set, we need to start by making our marriages a priority. We need to realize that a healthy marriage translates into a successful future. The old adage is still true: Happy Wife, Happy Life!
In this episode I explore 6 disciplines that will not only help us all to change how we look at our marriages, but increase the love and union that exists with our spouses. Marriage IS hard. To build it successfully we must be willing to sacrifice. We must be willing to give, even when it hurts. I think far too many spouses, especially husbands, are interested in taking. I want to encourage us all to change our perspectives, and build happy, Biblical marriages.
Music is from www.bensound.com
This week we are joined by a very special expert. One of the major goals of this podcast is to help men (and women!) improve the quality of their marriages. We all know what the divorce rates are. While we try to pretend like it could never happen around us, the statistics say otherwise. Whether you are single, married, or divorced yourself, we all need to learn!
Lisa Duffy is an expert on the topic of what the church teaches about divorce. Having been through an unwanted divorce herself, she is also an expert about both how to recover, and perhaps even more importantly, some ways to help avoid it. This is the first interview in what may become a series of interviews that is intended to start a discussion on this very painful topic.
Music is from BenSound.com
New season! I'm excited to have you all along for this, I hope you enjoy it. We now have a "Saint of the episode" and some new music. I'm leading off episode 1 with a review of a truly phenomenal book. The book is called "Gates of Fire." It's basically a story of the Spartans death by King Xerxes at the battle of thermopylae. Yes, it is the battle that the movie "300" is based upon - but all similarity ends there.
This books is really great, I strongly encourage you to read it. It goes into great depth about the meaning of bravery, courage, and sacrifice. It speaks to the heart of what makes a man, what man is. I also think it is a great testimony to the truth and power of living a Christian life.
In this episode, I highlight 4 specific truths that I learned from reading this book, and also that all modern men (and women too!) can learn from the ancients. I hope you like it.
New music is from: http://www.bensound.com/royalty-free-music
In the last episode, I spoke about why last things are important. In this episode, I want to really dive into 4 specific endings that can help give perspective. When we consider endings, we gain meaning and purpose for the "now." Without considering endings, it's very easy - especially for men - to become lost and distracted by the daily pursuits, challenges, and "to-do" lists. This is the rabbit hole that we can pour our lives into without almost any return.
In order to pull our heads back out of those rabbit-holes, we need to consider the endings. The endings help us to really focus on just how important the relationships we have with other people are. People are the only infinite objects our senses encounter. In ten trillion years (or perhaps even a bit longer), the only thing that will remain will be people - yet that will only be but the smallest blip of the eternity to come.
At the time of recording, we are nearing the end of the year. Rather than dwell on that particular ending, I am forced to ponder the larger picture of endings and last things. So much of our world is focused upon the "now." We lose sight of where we are going, and thus also lose perspective on what is important.
When we focus on the Last thing, or the endings, we gain perspective. We gain more than that. This focus isn't limited merely to the end of our life or current project, but also includes endings of projects, parenthood (at least in the house), employment, etc. All things must pass. When we forget that fact we can be consumed by attention to the unimportant.
In this episode I consider several last things, starting with the ending of the Old Testament and the beginning of the day of Jesus. I offer you 5 reasons why you should think about the last thing of whatever project you are working on right now. Start with the end, and gain important perspective about what to do in the "now."
In the last episode, I discussed many practical ways that we can be offended by Jesus. While no one is offended by healing the blind, lame, deaf, etc., we can very well be offended when God doesn't give us what we think we want. In those moments, our hearts are closed to His love.
In this episode, I discuss 6 steps to take to help release that offense. God is infinite, God is perfect, God is awesome. He will not change - but we can. By changing how we view both Him and our own lives, we can release our sense of offense at God. When that is released, we are open to the love that He wants to give us.
In Matthew 11:6, our Lord says "And blessed is anyone who takes no offense at me." What does this mean? It's easy to see how much of the secular world takes offense at Jesus, but do we? What does this even mean? Most of what Jesus taught was good and loving. Who would take offense?
At the time of recording, we are almost at Christmas, 2016. In order to help prepare our hearts for this Christmas - or any time of year - I want us all to ponder where we take offense at the teachings of Our Lord. It is a virtual certainty we do somewhere - we are all selfish. I know that I certainly do, though it surprised me to discover so.
In this episode, I discuss 5 ways I found that I am offended by Jesus. I did not expect to find this when I first encountered this verse. I hope that you will learn something about how you think and feel by going through these ways. In the next episode, I hope to offer some ideas to help let go of this offense, and thus ready ourselves for Him to truly come.
This week we have a very special episode. I am very excited to present to you an interview with Father Dan Horan, author of the book "God is not fair, and other reasons for gratitude." Father Dan is a very gifted writer and speaker who does a great job of bringing the catholic faith into the 21st century.
This book is different from most books - instead of one consistent narrative, it is a series of almost unrelated reflections. I do not recommend trying to read them all back-to-back, but instead something like one per day. Each deals with a modern topic or viewpoint that is relevant to today. Each will challenge you a little bit in how you live your life.
I really enjoyed this interview, and it went a bit longer than usual. This week we'll only have one episode because it went so long. I hope you enjoy the conversation, and that you learn a lot. I know I did!
Trees that produce bad fruit will be cut down and thrown into the fire. The message is consistently repeated throughout the Gospel. Yet, we rarely pause to consider this warning. Many of my actions are incredibly selfish and lazy - they cannot possibly create good fruit.
Hopefully you listened to last week's episode and were able to identify the fruit you create. If you are at all like me, there are probably some areas that need improvement. In this episode, I try to give some practical advice for different areas of life. Hopefully you can find a few things that will make a difference. We all have our rotten apples, but with God's help, we can start to create fresh ones.
In this Sunday's gospel reading, John the Baptist tells us that we must produce good fruit. Speaking to the pharisees, he says that "Even now the ax is lying at the root of the trees; every tree therefore that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire." This warning applies to us even now - perhaps especially now.
Those of us who are fortunate enough to live in a modern first-world country are so blessed. We have lives of comfort and convenience that are unmatched in all of history. Yet, even in the midst of our comfort, we must be vigilant. Our Lord promises us that we will be judged by our fruit. Yet, how are we to know what our fruit is?
I think it's important to step back and really identify what the true impact of our choices are. In this episode, I attempt to help you identify what your fruits are, and what the results of your choices really mean. Next episode I'll discuss how to improve those fruits.
In the previous episode I discussed the importance of sleep. In this episode, I discuss the other side of rest. When God rested on the seventh day, he wasn't sleeping. What type of rest are we supposed to find? I suggest that this is something deeper - and it requires a connection with God. Modern science agrees with our need for rest; it can improve the rest of our lives.
In this episode I give 6 steps to finding meaningful rest. Real rest isn't just watching 2 hours of TV before bed - often that can actually be draining. Real rest leaves us with more energy and more enthusiasm for life. It's an essential to living life to the fullest. I tell the story of my discovery of real rest while hunting.
Today's world is crazy and busy from sunup to sundown. As pressure mounts to get more and more things done, it seems impossible not to simply work longer. Aside from the ever-increasing demands of work, keeping up with the house and the family only seems to get harder. We know we don't want to work longer - but what choice do we have?
In this episode I discuss the reasons why we simply cannot afford to cut back on sleep. Not only does sleep deprivation actually decrease our net productivity, there are a lot of other consequences as well. Our overall health, our relationships, and even our happiness are at risk. Getting the proper sleep, however, can make all these things better. It's worth the effort!
Our Lord wants nothing less than every bit of ourselves, every piece. Are we willing to truly let go? Do we even know how? It's not easy, the world and the devil conspire together to fill our heads with the notion that we must have what we think we need. Something things, some relationships, surely must be "non-negotiable," even compared to our religious life, no?
In this episode I want you to explore the Abandonment prayer and see if it will fit into your life. It is not an easy prayer - far from it. In order to help live out this Christian abandonment that we are all called to, I give 6 practical steps to really identify and let go of our attachments. Letting go doesn't mean we lose them, instead we simply recognize the truth - they were never truly ours. Everything is the Lords. The Lord giveth, the Lord taketh away, blessed be the name of the Lord.
Self-sufficiency is on of the biggest deceptions of our age. We are so confident in our technological progress that we fail to realize our continued dependence on God. Without this realization, we close ourselves off to his critical help. Nothing works without God - we simply seem to have forgotten that.
In this episode I explore 5 ways that we are all ultimately still very dependent upon the almighty. I invite you to consider these reasons as a deeper motivation to give thanks to the Lord with your first and last breath each day.
This is part 2 of a 3-part series exploring abandonment to the Lord. In the first episode (#47) I talked about abandoning your sense of Justice, through the process of forgiveness. This episode I encourage you to abandon your sense of self-sufficiency. In the final part I'll encourage you to completely drop your nets and abandon all that you have to our Lord and Savior.
There are few things I struggle with more than forgiveness. It's one thing when someone accidentally drops a chair on your toe - that's understandable (but annoying!) It's quite another thing when someone deliberately insults and ridicules you in public. Yet, we are called to forgive the latter much more strongly than the former.
If this sounds difficult to you (and as I share my story, it was difficult for me in the recent occurrence as well), then it may help to get some advice. In my struggles to forgive my recent injury, I needed some help. In this episode, I offer that help. There are 4 steps that were helpful for me to forgive this recent incident. We all have offenses that we don't want to forgive. I encourage everyone to consider these 4 reasons, and to forgive.
It can be very intimidating to actually consider starting something new that is as intricate and involved as hunting. No 30 minute podcast can fully prepare someone for that experience, but my goal is to help give you some big picture perspective on what it will require. With good preparation and especially a good guide, you can make an easy transition.
The most important steps of starting hunting are to find a good guide and pack well. I cover these two topics at length, and then discuss several other important tips. If you get the basics down, you will enable yourself to have a great hunting experience that will help you to find all the benefits I discussed in the previous episode. Good luck and get out there!
Hunting may not be the most politically correct activity, but I argue that it is one of the best. It combines all the greatest of things - nature, hiking, camping, guns, and hope for some amazing meat. Furthermore, it creates the space and opportunity to really encounter God in a meaningful and significant way.
In this episode I give you 6 reasons why you should consider hunting. You don't need to spend a lot of money, and you don't need to become a hunting fanatic who covers their vehicle with hunting-related bumper stickers. There is room for modern 1st-world man to gently step into hunting. Any good hunter will be glad to help you ease into the activity. I encourage you to listen and consider if this activity makes sense for you.
There is little I fear more about the future of parenting than the topic of sexuality when my girls reach teenage years. Yet, short of the faith itself, I know of little that is more important to discuss. The sexual choices that people make during teenage and college years have long-last affects into the rest of their lives. For parents with kids in or about to go into college, I really recommend the book Unprotected by psychiatrist Miriam Grossman who worked in an on-campus health care clinic at UCLA.
Last episode we had a fantastic interview with Jason Everts who discussed the new Ascension Press program YOU (read more at Ascensionpress.com). I think that this program is amazing, and to help those parents (like myself) who are still terrified to talk about sex, I put together in this episode 6 reasons why it is so important to have this conversation, open the dialogue, and really use a program like YOU.
Many people know the name Jason Evert. Today, in a special treat, he joins us on the Catholic Commute! He will discuss a brand new DVD study called YOU: Life, Love, and the Theology of the Body. This is an amazing new program published by Ascension Press that is an absolute gem for discussing sexual issues with your teenager. The program covers nearly every facet from the meaning of the sexes to the value of chastity to the correct views on current sexual topics. You can watch the trailer for this study in youtube.
In this interview, Jason gives us some really great advice as well as his perspective on the program. I ask Jason some tough questions, and he really challenges us all to grow and live our potential as outlined in the Theology of the Body. To read more about this program, head over to Ascensionpress.com.
If you want to read more about the work done by Jason and his wife Crystalina, you can find it at their website, chastityproject.com. One final great resource that Jason recommends for parents with much younger kids is tobet.org.
Guardian angels are perhaps almost as minimized as the devil in today's society. While the devil is very real and very powerful, so are our angels. They are a constant force ready to intercede for us both directly and indirectly. We need to ask for their help and use them in our own quest for holiness.
Today I give 6 points to consider about guardian angels that should help to relieve the concern and fear raised by considering the devil. We need to ask for help in order to get it. I look at many bible verses and quotes from saints throughout history to help make my case that our guardian angels are indeed a great gift.
"He who sups with the devil should use a long spoon." I think we all should view the devil with a bit more seriousness and gravity. He is very real and very dangerous. He is an immensely powerful being with a single goal - the destruction of all human kind and to drag them down into Hell.
He has, however, been defeated. He will ultimately lose completely, but can do great damage in the mean-time. Today I bring up 5 truths about the devil and discuss this great adversity. Hopefully you will find some useful content about this most evil of creatures.
There are many types of seasons in life - not only the weather. There are seasons of good times and bad, seasons of joy and loss. Each season is given to us by God for a reason. We can find great benefit and value by embracing that season, even if we don't see the value initially.
In this episode I give you 6 reasons why you should embrace a season. Some of the reasons apply to the weather, some apply to other types of seasons. Regardless of what season you're in, I really encourage you do slow down and take a deep dive into that season. You will get great value - because God has a plan for you in each and every season.
Sometimes it can seem overwhelming to try to carve out the time it takes to attend a convention or a conference. In the last episode we had a great discussion with Bill Donaghy about the upcoming Theology of the Body congress. In this episode, I want to challenge all of us about the importance of setting a large block of time apart for spiritual growth.
Attending a conference isn't fun or sensational, but it can change your life. It's easy to listen to the devil's distractions about how we don't have time or can't find child care - but instead I think we all need to think more carefully about just how much benefit can come. In this episode, I offer you some reasons to make that time.