Deacon Harold Down Under for the Year of Faith! Full Tour Schedule

Leaving today for Australia. Here is the preview video for my Year of Faith Australian Tour (October 11-23, 2012): The Tour Dates (click on the event for details): October 11-12: Perth (National Catholic Conference) October 13: Perth (Catholic Men’s Retreat) October 14: Perth (Homily at 5:00pm Mass) October 15: Perth (Catholic Youth Rally) October 16: Melbourne October 17-21: Sydney October 22: Brisbane October 23: Sydney Please pray for me and for all who will attend the...

In the World But Not of the World

The Church speaks clearly and unambiguously about the dignity of human life, yet we live in a secular world that exposes us to a variety of ideas that are incompatible with the truth of faith.  “We live in a world where objective moral norms are treated as mere rules and regulations that can be dismissed when they become too demanding: that regard, for example, sexual differences as merely anatomical, biological and functional leading to the acceptance of contraception, pornography, abortion and sex outside of marriage between one man and one woman.  We live in a world that regards incurable illness as an indication that the body and the person have outlived their usefulness, thus promoting [euthanasia and] physician-assisted suicide” (Bishop Samuel Aquila, 2004 Pastoral Letter on Truth, nos. 9, 11, 10). We are deafened by the raucous discord of the culture of political correctness that will, if left unchallenged by the Gospel of Jesus Christ, erode the spiritual foundation upon which our faith is built, all in the name of “tolerance” and “diversity,” and at the expense of authentic truth and freedom.  We often “reject the principle that we must accept the beauty and truth of what the Church believes and teaches, thinking instead that we can pick and choose what to believe.  Instead of trying to internalize the faith and treat it as the standard for judging the values of the unbelieving culture that surrounds us, we all too often judge which Church teachings to accept on the basis of whether the teaching conforms to the values of the surrounding culture” (Bishop Samuel Aquila, 2004 Pastoral Letter on...

Discovering God’s Mercy and Will

Earlier this week, I received an email from a woman who recently broke-up with her fiancé.  She wrote, “I was accepting it as God’s will.  However, a friend told me that God doesn’t micromanage the world … He just wants me to be happy with whatever that may be.  That confused me so much … it’s almost easier for me to think that my breakup was God’s will.  Can you give me any insight to what it means to do God’s will? What is God’s will?” I replied, “Ultimately, God’s will is not about a single person or a moment in time but our entire life.  God seeks intimate, personal, loving and life-giving communion with us, and the fulfillment of His will comes when we unreservedly seek the same kind of relationship with Him.  This is not about emotion or feelings but the mysterious encounter with the Living God in everyday life, even in the midst of pain and suffering.  When you pray, ask God that His holy will be done in your life always and at all times, and let His will unfold.  Don’t try to find God’s will under every rock.  If you are patient, His Will will become clear.” Sometimes it’s not easy to know and to do God’s will.  We know that we need to pray but so often struggle to maintain an active and fruitful prayer life amidst the busyness and chaos of the world around us.  We know that God calls us to live according to His law and His truth, yet we struggle every day to say “yes” to God: to end...

New Year’s Resolutions … From a Mother’s Perspective

On this first day of the New Year, at a time when we remember the past with a sense of thankfulness (or relief!) and look forward to the future with renewed joy and hope, the Church, in her wisdom, draws our attention to Mary, the Blessed Mother of God and the perfect symbol of our relationship with Christ—past, present, and future. When you love someone with all your heart, with the depths of your soul and with all your being, when you love someone with a love that is selfless and pure, you are willing to sacrifice everything for the sake of the other.  This is what the Father has done for us through the Blessed Virgin Mary: God has given us the gift of Himself in and through His Word, Jesus Christ, someone who would give his life so that we may have life in Him. God has shown both the depth of his love and his abiding respect for the dignity of our human nature by becoming one of us.  By becoming enfleshed in the womb of Mary, God wants us to know that He understands what it’s like to live in the depths of poverty.  God wants us know that He understands what it’s like to experience great sadness and humiliation, unbelievable pain and suffering, and even the darkness of death itself.  God wants us to know we are not alone and shows us through the Blessed Mother that when we humble ourselves before our Loving God, open our hearts to His holy will, and devote ourselves completely to discipleship in Christ, then we too, by...

Wisdom, Be Attentive!

On a flight from Minneapolis to Portland earlier this year, I sat next to an airline pilot who was making his way home to Alaska.  We struck-up a conversation and, after the usual pleasantries and small talk, began talking about our families.  We spent a lot of time discussing the joys and tribulations of marriage and family life.  Since my wife Colleen and I are entering the teenage years with our oldest daughter, I was particularly interested in hearing about any challenges he and his wife faced with their daughter when she was in high school. My new friend smiled and related the following story.  “Thankfully, we only had one incident during her freshman year in high school.  She called us after school one Friday and asked permission to stay at a friend’s house for the night.  We trusted our daughter and we knew the girl she would be staying with and her parents, so my wife and I consented to her request. “Later that evening, we realized that we never made arrangements to pick her up, so I called the parents of the friend she was staying with.  The dad on the other line sounded surprised and said that my daughter wasn’t there and, in fact, that his daughter asked permission to stay at our house for the night!  I was very disappointed and knew exactly what was going on: there was a party somewhere and both girls were at it. “Taking advantage of social networking, it didn’t take me long to find the party house.  I drove there and waited on the sidewalk near the walkway leading...