Maximize Your Time

With this latest edition of Caffeine and Catholicism, a new video series designed to be your quick jolt for living out the Catholic Faith, which we’re producing at my job, I dive into the preciousness of time, and how to make the most of it.

Jim Croce wanted to bottle it and The Rolling Stones said it was on their side. Everyone it seems from the Foo Fighters to Pink Floyd and even Cyndi Lauper have sung about the impermanence of TIME.

We’ve had decades of books and movies from Back to the Future to the Terminator that explore the ramifications of tinkering with time.

But what about right now?

Even the Catechism of the Catholic Church in paragraph 1007 reminds us that “Our lives are measured by time, in the course of which we change, grow old and, as with all living beings on earth, death seems like the normal end of life.”

The end of time.

That aspect of death, the Catechism says, lends urgency to our lives: remembering our mortality helps us realize that we have only a limited time in which to bring our lives to fulfillment.

Your local parish is one of the best places your TIME can produce the greatest fruit for Christ. Maybe you’re not called to lead religious education or be a lector at Mass, but each of us have been given gifts that God calls us to use for the service of others. And what a great feeling it is when those gifts are fully realized!

My own mom could sew you a tuxedo if you needed her to. For years she’s given of her talents in repairing vestments and ironing the cloths used during Mass.

Maybe you’re handy with a saw, or a lawnmower, or are a good listener, or a powerful prayer warrior.

Chances are your parish could find a place for you to put these gifts from God to amazing use, even if in the quietest of ways.

So make a commitment to put your gifts to work, by giving up time for the sake of serving others in your local parishes.

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5 Best Meals at a Catholic Parish

With this latest edition of Caffeine and Catholicism, a new video series designed to be your quick jolt for living out the Catholic Faith, which we’re producing at my job, I share the FIVE Best Meals at Your Local Catholic Parish.

Yeah, that’s right. Food. We love to shove it in our mouths while zipping through the drive through, but let’s be honest: Food shared amongst friends and family is always better and actually has surprising benefits. Our friends, Fr. Leo Patalinghug from Grace Before Meals and Jeff Young from Catholic Foodie, have been attesting to this for years.

In fact, one Columbia University survey showed that teenagers who eat with their families at least five times a week are much less likely to have substance abuse problems and more likely to get better grades in school.

Food shared amongst people with common beliefs and common goals and a common focus on knowing, living, and sharing our faith is infinitely more enriching than eating alone.

So what are the best meals to find at your local parish?

Starting with Number Five is Spaghetti Dinners. Not my personal favorite, but they’re easy, kid-pleasing, festive, and casual, with great opportunities for impromptu conversations.

Number Four would be Pancake Breakfasts, often put on by your local Knights of Columbus who use the proceeds to support important initiatives. So you get your griddlecakes with a heaping helping of service to others.

Number Three is the perennial Lenten fish fries, which now often come in healthier options. But I’ll still take my fish fried.

Number Two is after Mass Coffee and Donuts. To this day, my parents are still extremely close friends with people they met at my childhood parish while sharing Krispy Kremes and bad coffee.

But the number one shared meal offered at every single Catholic parish is The Eucharist, the Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity of Jesus Christ which we as Catholics receive as a Community at the shared table of The Lamb’s Supper each time we receive Communion at Mass.

The Catechism of the Catholic Church says that the Church – The People of God – “is made real as a liturgical, above all a Eucharistic, assembly. She draws her life from the word and the Body of Christ and so herself becomes Christ’s Body.”

This is not just symbolic thing, but as Lumen Gentium teaches, truly The Eucharist is “The source and summit of the Christian Life.”

Paragraph 1324 of the Catechism says, “The other sacraments, and indeed all ecclesiastical ministries and works of the apostolate, are bound up with the Eucharist and are oriented toward it. For in the Eucharist is contained the whole spiritual good of the Church, namely Christ himself.”

So yeah, partake of donuts and pancakes, spaghetti dinners and fish fries, but the number one best meal to be found at your local parish is the meal found in the Eucharist at every Mass.

It’s at this meal that we’re brought together as One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church. It’s the best meal in town.

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Conversion Story

We’ve launched a new video series at work called Caffeine and Catholicism, designed to be your quick jolt for living out the Catholic faith

In this premiere episode (seen below) we’ll answer the age old question: how do you convert your friends and family?

As I discussed in the video, years ago I worked in the IT industry, leading teams to develop software systems, which gave me the awesome opportunity to work with a wide and diverse range of people.

Around that same time (late 90’s/early 2000’s), I was experiencing a re-awakening of my faith, and an absolutely unquenchable desire to save souls for Jesus Christ.

Like many people, I had friends and family members who had long ago fallen away from the faith, but everyday at my job I worked with people who had no faith at all.

One of my co-workers was a programmer named Ram (short for Sriman), and we went to lunch together frequently where one day I learned that Ram really had no idea who this Jesus Christ guy was.

Here was my opportunity. *I* was going to convert Ram. Over the course of sweet and sour chicken, *I* would get Ram to give his life to Christ.

So I laid it all out. We’re all sinners. We needed redemption. Jesus died on the Cross for our sins so we could go to heaven. It’s all right there in the Bible. Why wouldn’t Ram want that?

But he didn’t. He thought it was a nice story, but meant nothing to him. This was my first experience of eating a major heaping helping of humble pie when it came to sharing my faith.

Over time, I had similar conversations with other friends and family members and they all had the same response: crickets. No interest. Nothing.

Over time – and thanks be to God – I realized that my first problem here is that I wasn’t truly trying to convert Ram for Ram’s sake, or even better, for God’s sake. I was doing it for my own sake, to take credit for it, as if I had a sales quota that had to be met. We seek conversion of souls for the sake of the kingdom of God, so that others choose something not just because we believe it’s a good thing, but because God loves them and wants them to choose God.

So the conclusion I finally came to was that perhaps my witty words of wisdom were not what Ram needed. What would have made a greater impact would be for Ram to see Christ’s light shining through me. Because when we allow the joy of Christ to shine from us, that light of Christ is what will draw people closer to Him, far more than words.

St. Philip Neri said, “First let a little love find entrance into their hearts, and the rest will follow.”

Through our loving actions, our bold loving witness, our lovingly patient example, and sometimes by just lovingly keeping our mouths shut, we can often have major impact on the lives of others. Or rather – Christ THROUGH us – can.

Rather than just seizing opportunities to speak, pray that the Holy Spirit will provide the right moments, and the right words to say.

A bishop once told St. Monica – the mother of St. Augustine, who initially did everything he could to run away from God – to “Speak less to Augustine about God and more to God about Augustine.”

In most cases, private prayer softens hearts far better than beating people over the head with a Scripture stick ever will.

So how do you convert your friends and family?

More than anything, keep in mind that it’s not you that will convert anyone’s heart. It’s Jesus Christ, listening to our prayers and working through willing and loving disciples, that will do the heavy living.

Share your stories (of success and failure) of sharing the faith in the comments below!

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ADV #092: What’s Cooking?

What’s Cooking and Meal Planning, Patreon Wall of Selfies, Preparing for 100th Episode, Two New Free Resources, Kids Who Don’t Want to Go to Church, and Greg’s Best Email Hack. 888-299-8686 to leave feedback and be a part of the show!
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Links and Resources Mentioned


Like the music we use in the show?  It’s all courtesy of Popple.  Awesome band.  Check them out and support them.

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