Surrender & Strength

These Children are a Blessing

Those whose lives are diminished or weakened deserve special respect. Sick or handicapped persons should be helped to lead lives as normal as possible.  —CCC 2276 One of the few issues my wife and I were concerned about when we decided to join the Catholic Church in 2005 was how to include our oldest son, Alex, who has high-functioning autism. […]

Practicing Acceptance and Seeing Burdens as Blessings

Not long ago a priest shared some guidance with my wife and me that has been the cause of a great deal of conversation and reflection in our home.  In response to learning that we pray every day about our oldest son’s future and that he be healed of his autism, he encouraged us to pray first for acceptance. Let […]

The Invitation

Photograph © by Andy Coan

“Here we go again,” Steve thought to himself as Brian walked across the parking lot towards his car. “Hey Steve, looks like we’re both running a little late today!  How was your weekend?” “It was ok.  Before you say anything Brian, I will go ahead and tell you I didn’t make it to Mass yesterday.  I meant to, but I […]

Choosing to Live Gratefully

“When it comes to life, the critical thing is whether you take things for granted or take them with gratitude.” – G. K. Chesterton   I remember at a very young age the constant urging of my parents to always say “thank you” in response to any kindness or friendly words shared in my direction. For many years, I saw […]

A Simple and Public Act of Faith

Photograph © by Andy Coan

“Our behavior will be the proving ground of our deepest convictions.  This firmness in the Faith is often an excellent testimony to the beliefs of the Christian.  In some cases it can cause people to begin their return to the House of the Father” (Father Francis Fernandez; In Conversation with God). Several weeks ago I had lunch with one of my new […]

Extraordinary Faith from Ordinary Catholics

“In the doctrine of Christ there is no invitation to mediocrity, but a clear call to Heaven, to love and to cheerful sacrifice.” (Francis Fernandez, In Conversation with God) Feeling let down by politicians and public figures who say they are Catholic, but whose words and actions are often contrary to the teachings of the Church? Do we seek good examples […]

The Heavy Burdens We Carry

Confessionals

I have been thinking a great deal about my experience at Reconciliation this past Saturday. I felt an intense and unexplainable urge to go and confess my sins when I woke up that morning. I try to go every six weeks or so, but this was no routine visit to the priest for me. I needed to unburden myself of […]

Powerful Lessons from St. Joseph for Father’s Day

As the father of a 20-year-old son with high-functioning autism, I am sometimes challenged to give my oldest child the focus and patience he needs from me.  I frequently feel inadequate when I advise and guide my 17-year-old son through the minefields of today’s culture.  My loving wife should expect my best efforts as a husband, yet I often feel […]

Do We Make Christ and His Church Look Attractive to Others?

Mission Dolores Altar (San Francisco) Photograph © by Andy Coan

When I give talks around the country or sometimes in correspondence with readers of my books or blog posts on Integrated Catholic Life, I am often asked what I mean when I encourage others to “be joyful” and share the “light of Christ” with others.  I am referring to the response I typically give when asked for effective ways to […]

Dads, Do We Have Our Acts Together?

During a recent coffee meeting, a friend said, “You seem to have your act together on the fatherhood front. What’s your secret?” I was surprised and taken aback because I don’t think I have my act together at all. I don’t mean that out of false humility. I pray every day to be a better husband and father because I […]