Surrender & Strength

Confessionals

The Heavy Burdens We Carry

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 […]

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

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

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 […]

Man at Prayer

Practical Lessons for Integrating Faith and Work

How do we integrate our faith with our work? If you think about it, most of us will likely spend the majority of our adult (awake) lives in the workplace. A typical eight hour work day accounts for a third of the total day, with the other two-thirds devoted to sleeping, family, friends, faith, and so on. In the practice […]

Man at Prayer

Finding Strength in Surrender

Few souls understand what God would accomplish in them if they were to abandon themselves unreservedly to Him and if they were to allow His grace to mold them accordingly.” — St. Ignatius Loyola What is the connection between surrender and strength?  Surrendering to Christ and putting His will before my own for the first time almost 11 years ago […]

"Madonna and Child" (detail) by Sassoferrato

Three Powerful Lessons from the Blessed Mother

Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee; Blessed art thou amongst women and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus. Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death. Amen. For quite some time, I have had a desire to write about my ever growing appreciation and deepening […]

Man at Prayer

On Living Intentionally

“Will-power. A very important quality. Don’t despise little things, for by the continual practice of denying yourself again and again in such things — which are never futile or trivial — with God’s grace you will add strength and resilience to your character. In that way you will first become master of yourself, and then a guide, a chief, a […]

Four Critical Principles for Catholic Fathers

“It is easier for a father to have children than for children to have a real father.” (Pope St. John XXIII) I often feel completely lost and befuddled as a Catholic father in today’s world. How do I set the right example? How do I help my sons grow up with a strong Catholic faith? How do I prepare them […]

Being Intentional About Our Prayer Lives

As I wrote this post I reflected on my experiences as a Catholic from my conversion in 2005 until now. One of the biggest obstacles for me in the early days of my faith journey was the lack of a prayer life. I knew I needed to pray, but I couldn’t ever remember sincerely praying about anything. I was struggling […]