Faith, pop culture, and headline reflections from Fr. Mike Schmitz.
Faith, pop culture, and headline reflections from Fr. Mike Schmitz.
When Your Desires and God’s Plans Are Different
Just because you desire something deeply doesn’t mean it’s God’s plans for you. Sometimes our desires and God’s will are different. Our desires are not predictors of the future and they’re not the voice of God. We are supposed to tend to our desires and discern what is being revealed through them, but letting them dictate your path in life is not wise.
Especially when it comes to romantic relationships, we tend to favor the decisions that would give us our desire. If the person you desire keeps coming up in prayer, it’s because you keep bringing him or her up. Don’t fool yourself. At the heart of this desire is probably a good longing for marriage and a family. Acknowledging the desire for what it is will help you make a more clear-headed decision regarding it.
You may also have a desire to pursue a certain career path. If you want to sing, for example, do you want to spend every day singing and live the life of a singer? When you acknowledge the realistic lifestyle your dream job would entail, it often brings sobriety to your desire. If the desire still does not subside, don’t automatically assume it’s because it must be your destiny. Examine your past, your conscience, and the things that have influenced you. Examine the things that may have brought about this desire. This examination will teach you valuable things about yourself.
Our desire for goodness and holiness is a good thing. We have these desires so we can learn more about what’s deepest in our hearts. So next time one of your recurring desires come back, go deeper and ask yourself, “What does this desire really reveal about me? What do I really want at the very core of it?” Bring it to prayer and God will reveal something very profound, as he has often been known to do.
Even More Questions from the Internet about Priests
Fr. Mike follows up on his episode “Answering the Internet’s Most Asked Questions about Priests” with answers to even more questions from the internet about priests. Here he answers questions like:
How do you bless holy water?
Are priests allowed to drink alcohol?
Where do priests live?
Do priests go to confession?
Are monks and friars priests?
Do priests take a vow of poverty?
Where do priests go to school?
BONUS: Telling the Story of God’s Love
Fr. Mike speaks about evangelization, new media, and telling the story of God’s love at St. Charles Borromeo Seminary in Philadelphia. Addressing future pastors, he tells them “the heart of your formation is to become a dad” to your parishioners. He encourages them to use the same motto they use at the Newman Center of the University of Minnesota, Duluth, where he serves as campus minister. The motto he shares with students there is “See a need, fill a need.”
In other words, you don’t have to wait for permission to share the gospel, to be charitable, or to do good.
Evangelization in the new world is at its heart no different than it’s always been. As Pope St. Paul VI shared in Evangelii Nuntiandi, if you’re baptized, you’ve been anointed to spread the gospel. And as Christ says when commissioning the apostles:
“You shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samar′ia and to the end of the earth” (Acts 1:8).
Christ is saying it’s our job to continue his mission.
But it’s not all about going out. We also need to go in, to look inward. Before we go out to evangelize, we need to invite Christ into our hearts.
What does it mean to know him? And what does all of this have to do with new media? It’s all connected because of one word: story. Evangelization is about telling the story of God’s love as you have experienced it, and new media is just a new medium for spreading that centuries-old message, the kerygma.
How do you become a Catholic speaker? “Well, you get baptized and then you start talking” Fr. Mike says.
Opportunities will come, but your first yes has to be to Christ. And the opportunities don’t have to be to speak to thousands of people thousands of miles away. Saying yes to Christ means being willing to talk about him to one person one block or one house away, or just to the person in front of you. Just as it starts with a personal encounter with Christ, the next step is to tell the story of God’s love for you to one person.
So how do we evangelize with new media? We don’t if we aren’t willing to do it without new media.
Also, getting into new media requires more than a person sitting in his living room sharing his opinion on something. It requires an entire Church community, and you. The speaker speaks, the team puts everything together, but the most important piece is the person who shares the video, program, podcast, or article with someone they know and love.
Check out St. Charles Borromeo Seminary and their John Cardinal Foley Chair of Homiletics & Social Communications
Answering the Internet’s Most Asked Questions About Priests
Fr. Mike is at the library of St. Charles Borromeo Seminary in Philadelphia, and he’s answering the most asked questions about priests and the priesthood—according to the internet.
He answers great questions like:
Do priests get paid?
Do they get married?
Do they pay taxes?
How do priests become bishops?
Why do they wear black?
Why do they kiss the altar?
And more …
Fr. Mike is visiting St. Charles Seminary to give a talk on evangelization and new media. The talk will be posted on Ascension Presents. So stay tuned to catch it.
Is Swearing a Sin?
Fr. Mike comments on whether swearing, as in using vulgar language, is a sin. He gives three times when using vulgar words can be sinful:
If I use the vulgar word against someone, directing it toward them
If I use a word connected to a sexual act, because sex between persons is meant to be holy and reserved for spousal love
If I use a vulgar word in public, since it can scandalize people—especially if young ones are present.
Remember that we are called to always be charitable. Our words mean something. We are called to build people up, not bring them down. The words we choose reflect and express what’s in our hearts “for out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks” (Luke 6:45). What do you want to express, words that are at best crude or words that build people up?
Why Is Taking the Lord’s Name in Vain Wrong?
There’s a reason why “Do not take the Lord’s name in vain” is not only one of the ten commandments, but is second on the list. Taking the Lord’s name in vain is a big deal.
Yet so many of us do it anyway all of the time. It has almost become part of our everyday vocabulary. We may say we don’t take the Lord’s name in vain, we just say it without meaning it sometimes. But saying it without meaning it is in fact taking the Lord’s name in vain.
Saying “O my God” or “Jesus Christ” in vain, meaning saying it unintentionally or in anger, is a mortal sin. The Lord gave us his name out of love and trust. Let’s not abuse it, but hold it in our hearts and call upon his name when we need him. In prayer, his name has the power to cast out demons and scare away evil. Remember that power, especially when tempted to use his name in vain.
The minced oaths and funny sayings of yesteryear that you may have heard your grandpa say may make a little more sense when considering the gravity of breaking the second commandment. Why not bring back that “speak no evil” mindset, and say “Jiminy Cricket” or “God bless America and all the ships at sea” instead? If we’re not going to turn a slip of the tongue into a prayer, we can at least make our words into a jovial character of some kind.
Funny, short, interesting! Really makes you question your life