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Trusting the River

It can be agonizing to share what is deepest within you but then be met by apathy or rejection. For me, this struggle has often unfolded in the arenas of art and writing. I spent six years writing my first book, and, like many artists looking to find a home for their beloved project, found myself in the desert of unknowing as I queried agents and publishers. Staying disciplined for over a half-decade was difficult enough. The fruits of that discipline hinging upon the opinions of others was excruciating.
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Notes from a Friar: The Mysterious Workings of Grace

When speaking of the word grace, it is important to clarify what grace really is. Grace is not something that we get from God. Grace is actually God working within our whole person. Sometimes you hear people speak as though God would ladle out grace. Rather, grace is the presence of God within us. Grace is God’s presence and strength given to us at particular times when we are called to act virtuously. 
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Box of Joy Brings Christmas to Impoverished Kids

Cross Catholic Outreach’s Box of Joy ministry is gearing up to put Christmas smiles on the faces of more than 70,000 children, all of whom live in dire poverty in Haiti, the Dominican Republic, Guatemala, El Salvador, and Nicaragua. In its fifth year, Box of Joy is adding another country to the list of nations where children will receive boxes of little Christmas gifts packed by families, churches and individuals who take the opportunity to help children experience the joy of Christmas in places where gifts are rare or nonexistent due to poverty.
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Tips for Improving Your Prayer Life

As Christians, we go into prayer with the best of intentions, but we often get distracted or impatient. We complicate what should be a simple moment of grace with God. Fr. Gary Caster has been there, too, and he offers some important tips for slowing down and allowing God to find us.
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Three Questions to Keep Your Kingdom-Building Family Focused

Last week, we had an amazing six-day family retreat led by our dear friend and spiritual director who also happens to be a priest. We tucked ourselves away in a little cabin on the coast and quieted our souls with time away from ministry, early morning walks on the beach, evening swims and night time crab hunts. We dotted the days with the once in a life-time experience of whale watching and a bit of surfing.
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Mother Teresa on the Importance of Family

Love begins at home, Mother Teresa insisted when she was alive. Home and family are the twin tutors in love, compassion, patience, and service. The following words, which all center on the importance of family, are from Mother Teresa herself, taken from the book Thirsting for God: Daily Meditations.
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Interconnection of Opposites

I found myself sitting on a bus that was making its way across the Paraguayan countryside, bumping along westbound toward the capital of Asunción. Next to me in the window seat was a middle-aged Guarani woman with two children sleeping peacefully on her lap. The sun was setting in the distance. We watched it together, as it slowly sunk beneath that red-clay field.
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Family Faith in Action: The Greatest Commandment

Read MK 12:28B-34 One of the scribes came to Jesus and asked him, "Which is the first of all the commandments?"  Jesus replied, "The first is this: Hear, O Israel! The Lord our God is Lord alone! You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul,  with all your mind, and with all your strength. The second is this: You shall love your neighbor as yourself.
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Your (Imperfect) Holy Family

The following activities can enrich your family life. Adapt the activities to meet the needs of your family or create your own activities. Neighborhood Picnic. Gather together with several families and friends from your neighborhood or parish community for a picnic. Ask the participants to bring food and music that represent their ethnic backgrounds. At some point during the picnic, ask everyone to share a story that characterizes one’s family heritage.
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Who's Your Neighbor?

Recently I was standing with my kids in the checkout line at the store when my son, Alex, fixed his eyes on a woman a few lines down, dressed in traditional Muslim attire. “Why’s she dressed like that?” he asked as I reminded him that it’s impolite to stare.
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