Recent Article for Vital Magazine

Here’s a link for an online article I wrote for Vital Magazine:

https://vitalmagazine.com/Home/Article/Psalms,-the-Spiritual-Trainer/

About Vital

Vital’s goal is to be a trusted companion to the reader’s spiritual life. Both online and in print, we aim to unite and edify the Church through content marked by integrity and creativity. Our approach to the Christian life is holistic, offering a faith-based context for cultural and current events, as well as providing practical insight for your family, daily life, career and community.

We are committed to a modern representation and fulfillment of the Church’s five-fold mission laid out in the New Testament: Connect, Grow, Serve, Go and Worship.

First Sunday of Lent: Beginning the Journey with Jesus

The 40 day season of Lent began on Feb 18th and serves the purpose of spiritually preparing us for Easter. Each year, we are invited into disciplines of abstinence (fasting) and engagement (increased prayer, acts of service/giving). The goal of Lent is not to impress God or others with our spirituality, nor is it to earn God’s favor or get some “holy credits” added to our account. It is also not a spiritual self-help program in which we rid our self of chosen vices and soup-up our spiritual life with extra devotion. What we do in Lent is simply a means to a greater end. The purpose is to more intentionally align our life with Jesus and His Kingdom by actively participating with the Holy Spirit’s present work of transforming us in Christlikeness. The disciplines of Lent help us tune in to the Spirit in a focused way as we walk toward the Cross and Resurrection of Easter.

This year I sensed the need to be immersed in the Story of Jesus by reading through the four gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John). I am reading through these four accounts of Jesus life with no agenda other than to allow my imagination be shaped by the story and life of Jesus. The Scriptures  are “living and active” through the presence of the Holy Spirit and in the same way the Spirit inspired the authors, they can be illuminated to me as a reader. Therefore, I open the Book with an open heart, mind, and imagination longing to become more like Jesus as I enter His Story.

Download the reading plan and join me on this journey (iCal or PDF): https://www.dropbox.com/sh/ejj44kfnyc38j51/AADSJySDN5v3VLUnEHlBRTKXa?dl=0

A Blessing For the Journey Ahead

Today, I had the final “session” with my spiritual director (Tara Owens anamcara.com). We have journeyed together via Skype for over 4 years. God has used her to guide me into a deeper life of joyful sonship to Him and I am incredibly thankful for our time and friendship.

She left me with this blessing from poet John O’Donahue, that I plan on framing:

For Priesthood

May the blessings released through your hands
Cause windows to open in darkened minds.

May the sufferings your calling brings
Be but winter before the spring.

May the companionship of your doubt
Restore what your beliefs leave out.

May the secret hungers of your heart
Harvest from emptiness its sacred fruit.

May your solitude be a voyage
Into the wilderness and wonder of God.

May your words have the prophetic edge
To enable the heart to hear itself.

May the silence where your calling dwells
Foster your freedom in all you do and feel.

May you find words full of divine warmth
To clothe the dying in the language of dawn.

May the slow light of the Eucharist
Be a sure shelter around your future.

John O’Donohue
Benedictus – A Book of Blessings: 2007

What I’m Reading Right Now

One thing I’m trying to do this year is become a more disciplined reader. I’m guilty of having a bit of ADD in my reading habits, jumping from one to another often without finishing (confession). To hopefully help keep me on track, I’m going to keep on ongoing list here of what I’m currently reading and come back to cross off, add links of reviews, and add new books to the list. Knowing my tendencies, I’m trying to keep the active reading list to less than 5 at a time. Here’s what’s I’m currently reading (titles crossed off mean I’ve finished with reviews to come):

Delighting in the Trinity: An Introduction to the Christian Faith

Meditation and Communion with God: Contemplating Scripture in an Age of Distraction

Liturgical Theology: The Church as Worshiping Community

DiscipleShift: Five Steps That Help Your Church to Make Disciples Who Make Disciples (Exponential Series)

Spiritual Direction: A Guide to Giving and Receiving Direction

Sanctuary of the Soul: Journey Into Meditative Prayer

Called to Be Saints: An Invitation to Christian Maturity

Life Together in Christ: Experiencing Transformation in Community

Five Smooth Stones for Pastoral Work

Biblical Preaching: The Development and Delivery of Expository Messages

All Is Grace: A Ragamuffin Memoir