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September 30, 2019
Isn’t it funny how the things that we consider good for us are also in line with Church teaching? Trendy wellness practices like daily gratitude, fasting, and meditation are all things great Catholic saints have been doing for centuries. St. Thérèse of Lisieux’s Little Way is a great example. By focusing on heaven, St. Thérèse was able to radiate joy in this life. Here are three good practices for wellness and heaven from St. Thérèse. Gratitude - not just gratitude for the good things in life, but also for our suffering. Acts of love - looking for opportunities to serve others throughout the day, no matter how small. Building up others - going out of our way to seek the company of those who are on the margins. Snippet from the Show “Those who live for heaven are far more joyful than those who are looking for satisfaction here on earth.”
September 23, 2019
St. Padre Pio suffered from the stigmata for years, but he’s also the saint who said, “Pray, hope, and don’t worry.” How can a person who suffered from open, bleeding wounds for fifty years just say, “don’t worry”? In uniting his suffering to the cross of Christ, St. Padre Pio was able to find peace. Suffering is inescapable, but this great saint showed us how Christians are called, not to try and avoid suffering, but to use it as a way to grow closer to Christ. So bring all your sufferings, from the inconvenience of a messy kitchen, or bigger problems, like illness and injury, to the altar, and offer them up like Padre Pio. St. Padre Pio, pray for us—and happy feast day! Snippet from the Show - “The experience of Christianity is not to find a way out of suffering, but to find a way through suffering.”
September 16, 2019
The St. Ignatius prayer for generosity asks God to take away worldly comforts so we can fully rely on him … and it’s quite impactful. You may be thinking, “Why should I ask God to make me uncomfortable?” Catholic prayers and practices that limit our desire for earthly comfort (like fasting, or the Litany of Humility) help us discover that true comfort and peace are in Christ alone. Snippet from the Show “A prayer for generosity is a prayer to lose yourself, and find yourself again in Christ.” St. Ignatius Prayer for Generosity Dear Lord teach me to be generous; teach me to serve you as you deserve, to give and not to count the cost, to fight and not to heed the wounds, to toil and not to seek for rest, to labor and not to ask for reward, save that of knowing that I do your will. Amen.
September 9, 2019
That feeling when you have a tight deadline, or an unexpected task, or you forgot to do something and are frantically scrambling to get it done ... I call that feeling “franxious”. It’s what Martha experienced when Jesus came to visit (I could see that being stressful) and it happens when you have so much anxiety over something that you’re running around like crazy trying to pick up the slack and it feels TERRIBLE.* Organizational skills aside, getting in the habit of prayer can help alleviate that feeling when you find yourself getting anxious. Make your rest rooted in prayer. When you take a break, do it intentionally with the aim of giving true rest to the body and soul, which can only be found in God. Practice the presence of God. Keep in mind that God is always with you throughout your day. It helps keep things in perspective. Begin and end with God. Start a routine of morning prayer and prayer before bed so your day begins and ends with a conversation with God. *Disclaimer: This episode refers to anxiety that is experienced periodically by everyone. If you experience frequent intense, excessive, and persistent worry or panic attacks, talk to your doctor.
September 2, 2019
Mary’s Fiat, her “yes” to God to become the mother of the Word incarnate, is the ultimate example of surrender to the will of God. One way we can try to imitate her “yes” is by saying a three-minute prayer three times a day, called the Angelus. The Angelus is said at 6am, 12pm, and 6pm and is structured around three things: the invitation of God to Our Lady, her “yes”, and the incarnation of Our Lord, Jesus Christ. By reflecting on these three things throughout the day, we hold them at the forefront of our minds all day long, and are able to continuously tie everything back to Christ. Angelus The Angel of the Lord declared to Mary: And she conceived of the Holy Spirit. Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee; blessed art thou among 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. Behold the handmaid of the Lord: Be it done unto me according to thy word. Hail Mary . . . And the Word was made Flesh: And dwelt among us. Hail Mary . . . Pray for us, O Holy Mother of God, that we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ. Let us pray: Pour forth, we beseech Thee, O Lord, thy grace into our hearts; that we, to whom the incarnation of Christ, thy son, was made known by the message of an angel, may by his Passion and Cross be brought to the glory of his Resurrection, through the same Christ Our Lord. Amen.
August 26, 2019
Are science and religion opposed? A 2016 Georgetown study revealed that a top reason young people are leaving the Catholic Faith is because of a perceived conflict between faith and science. But the Church has been a patron of science throughout the ages, and, many of the greatest scientists (including Galileo) were men and women of strong Catholic faith. In fact, the two go hand-in-hand. St. John Paul said, “Science can purify religion from error and superstition; religion can purify science from idolatry and false absolutes. Each can draw the other into a wider world, a world in which both can flourish.” _Snippet from the Show “It has been the case for a very long time that the development of science (especially in western civilization) has come largely through the Church. It is a myth that there is some long standing grudge match between faith and science.” _
August 19, 2019
There may not be many holidays this month, but the Catholic calendar gives us plenty to celebrate and lots to ponder. Last week we celebrated the solemnity of the Assumption and this week we will celebrate the feast days of St. Bernard, St. Pius X, and the Queenship of Mary. September and October will continue a parade of great observances. There are lots of ways to bring the calendar to life in your family. Prayers, reading the lives of the saints, sure ... but also fun traditions, special dinners, and decorations can help us to focus on saints and celebrations and bring the monotony out of daily life. (How about blue cupcakes for Marian feast days?) What are your favorite Catholic feasts and how do you celebrate? Let us know. Snippet from the Show “It’s left to our creativity to come up with cultural expressions of the great feasts and focuses of our faith.”
August 12, 2019
After the recent episode about the Mass, I asked my son Leo if he had any other thoughts for the podcast. His response, "Go to Adoration … even when you don't feel like it." Sounds like great advice to me! In light of the recent revelation that many Catholics in the US do not believe that Jesus is truly present in the Eucharist, time spent before Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament is just what the doctor ordered. The more time we spend before Jesus in the Eucharist, the more our hearts will grow in Eucharistic amazement, and the more our Catholic culture will grow and spread. Adore Jesus and make frequent stops to him in the monstrance, if possible, or the tabernacle in your parish church. What should you do when you get there? St. John Vianney once asked a daily Mass goer, who spent hours in church after each Mass, what he did each day. His simple response, "I look at him and he looks at me." So today, if possible, look into the eyes of the one who sees, knows, and love you the most, Jesus Christ, our Eucharistic Lord. Snippet from the Show “Even short visits to the Blessed Sacrament can be powerful.”
August 5, 2019
Having no control is a fact of life, and it leaves us feeling anxious and stressed. But it’s important to remember that no matter what happens, God is ultimately in power. We’re reminded of that in this prayer from St. Teresa of Avila: “Let nothing disturb you, let nothing frighten you. All things are passing away: God never changes. Patience obtains all things. Whoever has God lacks nothing; God alone suffices.” Snippet from the Show “Ultimately, we will be OK, because the one who loves us and made us is in control.”
July 29, 2019
Summer is a great time for reading! Here are three books that I find myself returning to over and over again (not including scripture). The Great Divorce by C.S. Lewis St. Thomas Aquinas by G.K. Chesterton Love in the Ruins by Walker Percy What’s on your summer reading list? Snippet from the Show “The Great Divorce is a book the catalogues our own brokenness and the pitfalls we need to watch out for if we desire to enter the kingdom of God.”
July 22, 2019
Prayer often involves looking for a quiet place to sit still and listen for God’s voice, but it can also happen in loud, active spaces. Like while you’re at the gym, or in the car, or even mowing the lawn. If it’s difficult to find time to pray, using these active times can be a good place to start. Snippet from the Show “Our works, joys, and sufferings are all connected to his. Our wounds can be joined to his wounds. Our brokenness attracts his mercy.” Questions or comments for Colin? Email us at thetightropepodcast@ascensionpress.com
July 15, 2019
Why do we have to go to Mass? Why can’t we just pray at home or read the Bible on our own time? In the midst of playing Mass, my 9-year-old son Leo gave three simple answers to this question. He delivered a “homily” that started with, “I know you don’t like coming to Mass, but … ” and then gave three (pretty good) reasons why we go to Mass. He said: Going to Mass is just what we do. We get to receive Jesus. We love Jesus. Going to Mass is a huge part of our obligation and privilege as Catholics, becuase the Eucharist is the source and summit of the Christian life. And, simply put, we love Jesus. Snippet from the Show “The word ‘liturgy’ means ‘work’. Mass is the work of Christ first and foremost, but it’s also the joining of our works, and joys, and suffering, to that work of Christ.”
July 8, 2019
What does the Catholic Church say in regards to immigration? The answer is in the Catechism. “The more prosperous nations are obliged, to the extent they are able, to welcome the foreigner in search of the security and the means of livelihood which he cannot find in his country of origin. Public authorities should see to it that the natural right is respected that places a guest under the protection of those who receive him” (CCC 2241). This policy is neither Republican nor Democrat because the Church isn’t aligned to a political party. It’s aligned to the moral principles of the gospel.
July 1, 2019
Delayed gratification is counter-intuitive. When we’re hungry, we want to eat. Why would we put that off? Because our short term desires are often opposed to our long term goals and ultimate happiness. For example, it may feel good to eat ice cream right now, but if I keep doing that all the time, my health will suffer. When we put our immediate goods before our long-term goods, we will make ourselves unhappy in the long run. St. Thérèse’s Little Way is all about this concept. Choose a small sacrifice to offer up and delay gratification and set your eyes on the ultimate goal of heaven. Snippet from the Show “We sell out our inheritance for what will satiate us for a moment.” Check out this episode at ascensionpress.com/thetightrope
June 24, 2019
During Lent, Catholics abstain and fast at certain times. But the Catholic Church views every Friday (except solemnities) as a penitential day, which means we should abstain from meat or something else we desire every Friday of the year, and not just during Lent. If you’re confused about the difference between abstaining and fasting, just remember: Abstaining = not eating a particular food Fasting = not eating any food Canon 1250 states, “All Fridays through the year and the time of Lent are penitential days and times throughout the entire Church.” The Church prescribes this for three reasons: We find solidarity with Christ. We are moved toward virtue by reordering the passions. Our prayers are deepened. Do you fast during Ordinary Time? Comment below! For a great video on the benefits of fasting, check out “Why Should Christians Fast?” by The CFRs and Jackie Mulligan of Reform Wellness.
June 17, 2019
There are three reactions to death: trying to forget it by focusing on pleasure (eat, drink, and be merry), panicking and living in fear, or fixing your gaze on God and the promise of life after death. The third option is definitely the best. A number of years ago, I encountered a woman who was very sick, and was planning her own funeral. She had such faith and was living her last days in complete trust in God and the promise of heaven, which is exactly how we should strive to live everyday. Snippet from the Show “When we remember our death our anxieties actually shrink because we realize the great promise of what’s before us.”
June 10, 2019
If Lent is a fast and Easter is a feast, what’s the purpose of Ordinary Time? Even though it’s called Ordinary Time, we can still use this period for spiritual growth. This season is an opportunity for us to take the discipline we learn from Lent and apply some of the principles to live with intention. To that end, I’ve made three resolutions. Find asceticism in the midst of the ordinary by connecting with God in the quiet moments, or days, where I would normally be on my phone or computer. Be more open to the Holy Spirit and ask to be sent on a mission. Reorient my inner expectations about joy and suffering, knowing that both have the potential to lead me to heaven. What resolutions do you have for this not-so-ordinary season? Email me at thetightropepodcast@ascensionpress.com Snippet from the Show “Don’t save spiritual intentionality for the season of Lent or Advent. Ordinary Time is a time to get serious about living your faith.”
June 3, 2019
The Holy Spirit pours into our hearts through the sacraments. It unites us at all times, but during Pentecost, we’re invited to focus on the Holy Spirit. Here are three ways to welcome the Holy Spirit this Pentecost. Prepare your home - go to confession and make your soul a dwelling place for God. Make a dangerous prayer - ask the Holy Spirit to radically reorient your life to Christ. Seal your mission - ask the Holy Spirit to guide you in fulfilling your mission to become a saint. Snippet from the Show “The Holy Spirit has been poured out into our lives and our hearts through the sacraments. At Pentecost, we ask the Holy Spirit to stir into a flame what is already there because of the sacraments that we receive.”
May 27, 2019
What does a teen philosopher have to say? I interviewed some of my students about the struggles they face in 2019, and this week we’re hearing from Kelly. Kelly talks about having the desire to hear advice that is directed exactly at the problems of today and is unclouded by unresolved issues or baggage. Snippet from the Show “How easy it is for us to carry our unresolved issues into our parenthood and ministry and interactions with teens.”
May 20, 2019
Sometimes a kindergarten graduation makes you think about the beautiful potential of each and every human life. My children are adopted, so the pro life discussion isn’t political, it’s personal. One thing that we don’t talk about as much as the law is the love and support that we should be offering to women in crisis pregnancies. We are made for a culture of life and a civilization of love, so let's not just protect human life, let's also love it. Snippet from the Show “It’s not just about the law (although the law needs to protect the unborn) it’s about building what St. John Paul II calls a culture of life and a civilization of love.”
May 13, 2019
Why do we hate spoilers so much? Because they ruin the sense of adventure we feel when we watch thrilling stories unfold, and that feeling is so important to us. We crave adventure. But we look for it on the screen instead of in our lives, and in doing so, miss out on the cosmic struggle that happens in and around us every day. Rededicate your life today to living the adventure God has in store for you. The choices you make today will have real consequences, more important than the fate of a fictional world. Snippet from the Show “Live the adventure of your daily life today.”
May 6, 2019
How do you react when everything goes right? It doesn’t happen often, but sometimes God’s providence takes over and things seem to work out on their own. This just happened to me when I was trying to move a piano. After failing on my own to find someone to hire, I ran into a random person who offered to help me free of charge. It’s not always as obvious as my encounter with the piano man, but when it happens, it’s a reminder of the resurrected Christ working in our lives. Snippet from the Show “There is evidence of God’s providence in your path today that you haven’t noticed.”
April 29, 2019
Why did Jesus still have wounds after the resurrection? At the end of the Gospel this past Sunday, we get a look at Jesus' resurrected wounds. Not the gory, bloody wounds of the crucifixion, but the wounds that Jesus retained even after he rose from the dead. I think that he retained his wounds because it is through those wounds that we are saved. Those wounds are beautiful because they reflect our salvation. Do you have wounds that God has healed? Don't hide them, but allow them to bear witness to the power of God.
April 22, 2019
The Gospels tell us that there are more encounters with Christ than all of the books of the world can contain. This is especially true at Easter, when Jesus has risen from the dead, and we bear witness to his resurrection. When we experience the joy of Easter, the next step is to share it with others. It doesn’t have to be a forced conversation where you admonish them for their sins, but just a normal exchange where you bring up something that God has done to change your life for the better. Snippet from the Show “You and I have encountered the Resurrected Jesus.”
April 15, 2019
Holy Week is upon us and we find ourselves faced with the mystery of redemption, symbolized by the crucifix we put on our walls. At this time of year, I always think about a man I knew who would take his crucifix off the wall, and place it right in front of him as we worked. The physical reminder of putting Christ at the center of our lives is powerful. This week, try to meditate on the crucifix. Take it off the wall, and think about a particular station of the cross that speaks to you. Snippet from the Show “Christ died for our sins. The crucifix needs to come off the wall and be placed squarely before our eyes.”
April 8, 2019
The sixth Station of the Cross is where Veronica wipes the face of Jesus—and her example of reaching out to Jesus, even though she couldn’t change anything, is a powerful statement of love. Wiping Jesus’ face seemed to be a futile effort, since his face would be bloody and sweaty again soon, but that small act of human kindness can actually count for a lot. To look into someone’s eyes, and let them know that they are loved, even if it’s all you can do, can be an enormous comfort. _Snippet from the Show Even when you can’t fix the problem, know that it’s not always about that. We are called to wipe the face of Jesus, just like Veronica, even if it’s going to be bleeding again in a few moments._
April 1, 2019
St. Dismas is the good thief who hung next to Christ during the crucifixion, and in my opinion, there’s no better saint to think about in times of suffering. In the middle of Dismas’ agony, he recognizes Jesus as his savior, and asks to enter the kingdom of heaven alongside him, and Christ himself canonizes him as a saint when he says, “Truly, I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise” (Luke 23:43). We can follow St. Dismas’ example and invite Jesus into our suffering, not to ease the pain, but to find meaning by uniting it to the cross of Christ. Snippet from the Show “No matter what your suffering is, you can take a cue from St. Dismas, and as you hang on your cross, know you do not hang alone. Christ is right there next to you.” “One of the criminals who were hanged railed at him, saying, ‘Are you not the Christ? Save yourself and us!’ But the other rebuked him, saying, ‘Do you not fear God, since you are under the same sentence of condemnation? And we indeed justly; for we are receiving the due reward of our deeds; but this man has done nothing wrong.’ And he said, ‘Jesus, remember me when you come in your kingly power.’ And he said to him, ‘Truly, I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise”’ (Luke 23:39-43).
March 25, 2019
C.S. Lewis, in his book Till We Have Faces, suggests the idea that each of us has one complaint holding us back from God. This complaint is the root of our resistance to God, and it is most certainly based on a lie. This Lent ask the Holy Spirit to reveal to you what the issue really is. Do you think you’re unworthy of God’s love? Do you think God is uncaring and distant? Are you questioning God’s plan for your life? What is taking you away from God? Snippet from the Show “In order to attack weeds, you have to pull up roots.” RESOURCES Till We Have Faces by C.S. Lewis Abiding Together Podcast - ascensionpress.com/abidingtogether
March 18, 2019
Ever had a Lenten commitment that just flopped? Me too. You can have the best of intentions at the start of Lent, but if it doesn’t work out, throwing in the towel all together is a real temptation. But don’t give up! Whenever you find yourself starting to slip, stop yourself right away. Put your phone down as soon as you realize you picked it up without thinking, or wrap up the rest of the hamburger you started to eat on Friday. God doesn’t expect us to be perfect in our fasts, but he does expect us to keep trying. GREAT NEWS! We’ve reached over 100,000 downloads of the Tightrope! This is a huge landmark that I’m excited to share with you!! Let me know what you think in the comments of this episode over at ascensionpress.com/thetightrope Snippet from the Show _ “When we fast and fail, it reminds us that we are in need of a Savior.”_
March 11, 2019
Colin has two non-negotiables when it comes to morning prayers: Some kind of interior prayer. Some kind of family prayer. The interior prayer helps him immediately start the day with God in mind. The family prayer helps him orient the family mission towards God. Though the MacIvers attempt to say a decade of the Rosary every morning, they sometimes need something a little shorter for those days when nothing goes right. Check out Colin’s prayers below, and tell us about your morning prayers in the comments! Snippet from the Show “If you can start off the day with interior prayer, it’s more likely that your inner monologue will turn into an inner dialogue.” Interior Prayer Here I am Lord, I come to do your will. My intellect is dark and my will may be weak, but it’s you oh God I’m after, your face oh Lord I seek. Family Prayers Jesus I love you, Mary I love you. Help us to be more like you. Little Flower, Little Flower, show your power in this hour. We adore you oh Christ and we praise you, because by your holy cross, you have redeemed the world. (for Lent)
March 4, 2019
Should you give up swearing for Lent? Well, yeah. But there’s more to it. Lent is a season of repentance, where we attempt to conform ourselves evermore to Christ. We should always be striving to detach ourselves from sin and bad habits, like swearing, but this time of year we go even further. There are three things we should do during Lent: fasting, almsgiving, and prayer. Fasting: This is the part where we give something up. We fast from things that are good (like chocolate, or coffee) and move them to the side to make more room for God. Almsgiving: This is the part where we give something to others. Whether it’s money, time, or kindness, we should give from the heart. Prayer: This is the part where we root it all in God, knowing that this period of repentance is possible because of his loving mercy. What are you doing for Lent? Do you have a question or comment about the show? Email Colin at thetightropepodcast@ascensionpress.com
February 25, 2019
In the sacrament of reconciliation, we are given real freedom. Sanctifying grace is restored, sin is washed away, and the very power of Christ’s cross is given to us. We may know in our heads that reconciliation is important, but it’s easy to take it for granted. We stand in line, doing a quick examination of conscience, because we know it’s good and necessary, but we don’t always recognize the magnitude of it. Colin witnesses to the power of this sacrament. He talks about overcoming a habitual sin after receiving an outpouring of grace from reconciliation, and the experience of watching his son go to his first confession. Experience the freedom of sanctifying grace—go to confession this week!
February 18, 2019
When we see something beautiful, are we concerned with the encounter with God, or with taking a picture to post online? When we put more emphasis on the means the the end, we’re missing out on something great. St. Ignatius talks about this. He says, “The human person is created to praise, reverence, and serve God and by so doing to save his or her soul.” God created these things to have an encounter with him, but they are just a means to an end, and the end is God. Colin struggles with this himself. He plans to use this time before Lent to reorient himself toward God, and to put him as the focus of his life. What did you think of the podcast? Let us know at tightrope@ascensionpress.com
February 11, 2019
Scripture is God’s love letter specifically for you. Have you ever encountered a verse from the Bible that seems to follow you around? This happened to Colin with the verse from 1 Corinthians 13:13, “So faith, hope, love remain, these three; but the greatest of these is love.” After his mother died, Colin found himself holding her Bible, and he opened it up to this passage from 1 Corinthians. He found the page so easily because there was a rose pressed into it. Upon further inspection, Colin discovered that the rose was the boutineer he wore at his First Communion. So if there is a part of Scripture you encounter again and again—know that God is speaking to you, and he’s trying to show you his love.
February 4, 2019
“All people are born as originals but many die as photocopies.” - Venerable Carlo Acutis Colin unpacks this quote from Carlo Acutis, a fifteen-year-old boy who died from leukemia in 2006. Carlo was normal kid who loved computers, film, and comics. He also loved God, Mary, and the Church, and showed his love by doing three simple things: going to mass, going to confession, and praying the Rosary. If we want to become the person God has planned for us to be, we can follow Carlo’s example and stay close to Christ and the Eucharist. How? Go to Mass, go to confession, pray the Rosary. For more information on Venerable Carlo Acutis, check out carloacutis.com Photo credit: carloacutis.com
January 28, 2019
It’s easy to be charitable to people we don’t see very often, but if we really want to grow in this virtue, we have to make sure that charity begins at home. Home is the place where you want to let your guard down and relax, so it’s easy to get annoyed when family members disturb that peace. When Colin found himself getting irritated with his daughter about a really minor problem, he realized the necessity of being more charitable toward his family. We can apply the three steps from last week’s episode to grow in charity: look, listen, and challenge.
January 21, 2019
We all want to speak the truth with love and walk the line between being a habitual enabler and a judging Pharisee. In the Gospels, Jesus carried out this task of admonishing the sinner with three steps: looking, loving, and challenging. Look - see the person as they truly are, with full acknowledgement of their wrongdoing. Love - remember that they are loved and deserve to be treated with dignity and respect. Challenge - challenge them to do better for themselves, which will ultimately make them happier. We see these steps in action in John 8:3-11, when Jesus interacts with the woman caught in the act of adultery. “...and Jesus was left alone with the woman standing before him. Jesus looked up and said to her, ‘Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?’ She said, ‘No one, Lord.’ And Jesus said, ‘Neither do I condemn you; go, and do not sin again.’ ” When Jesus meets the woman caught in adultery, he looks her in the eye, shows her compassion and mercy, and then challenges her by saying, “go, and do not sin again.” This method of truth spoken in love (look, love, and challenge) is a great way to carry out the spiritual work of mercy of admonishing the sinner. For more tips on admonishing the sinner, check out Fr. Josh’s podcast episode, Admonishing the Sinner, Regretting Abortion, and Marriage in Heaven at ascensionpress.com/askfrjosh “Do not accept anything as the truth if it lacks love. And do not accept anything as love which lacks truth! One without the other becomes a destructive lie.” -St. Edith Stein (source)
January 14, 2019
Colin’s family celebrated the 607th birthday of St. Joan of Arc—New Orleans style. To kick off the carnival season, New Orleans celebrates the birthday of this great saint with a big parade, songs, good food, and fellowship. The parade even featured quotes from St. Joan, including this one: “Hold up the cross higher so I can see it through the flames.” Catholics and non-Catholics alike participated in this festive event. It was an amazing opportunity to share the richness of the Catholic faith with others. What are some more ways we can be creative and bring Catholicism out into the streets?
January 7, 2019
The day of Christmas has passed, but the Carnival celebration has just begun. Colin talks about the Carnival season in Louisiana that starts on Epiphany and lasts until Mardi Gras. This season is often associated with excess and vice, but there are all kinds of worthwhile traditions that Catholics love. The colors of the season, for example, represent the three liturgical seasons it intersects: Gold for Christmas, green for Ordinary Time, and purple for Lent. Using moderation, you can really appreciate this season and use it to continue the celebration of Christ’s coming. Grab some friends and some king cake and have a blast!
December 31, 2018
Colin doesn’t have a lot of hope in New Year’s resolutions...but he does have a lot of hope in God’s grace. Our resolutions have a higher likelihood of sticking when we don’t have to do it entirely on our own willpower. Grace is the gift from God that gives us the strength to do his will. Being open to grace is what can make our resolutions stick – especially those resolutions that are helpful to our faith journey.
December 21, 2018
One of the best gifts you can give at Christmas is a gift of self. Colin was touched by this kind of gift when he encountered a man who had little to give, but did so anyway. His involvement with homeless ministry led Colin to develop a friendship with a man named Joseph, who stored his few possessions in a suitcase he carried with him wherever he went. Colin’s last interaction with Joseph occured at Christmas, shortly after Joseph’s suitcase was stolen. When Joseph handed Colin a brown paper bag, he opened it to discover candy corn and sugar packets. It wasn’t the candy corn and sugar that Colin valued, but the fact that this man, whose only possessions had just been stolen, could be so generous and thoughtful. Strive to give someone the gift of self this year. Give your time, your prayers, or something near and dear to your heart.
December 17, 2018
Colin talks about a time he had an encounter with Christ while listening to beautiful music that brought him to tears. As he was irresistibly drawn in, he realized that art, music, culture, and beauty can be opportunities for evangelization. Colin calls this invitation to have an encounter with Christ through beauty an “assault of beauty”. It’s not an assault that takes away from our free will, but one that draws us in. This week, find a way to extend this invitation to someone else. Listen to some beautiful music with your family or ask a friend to go visit a beautiful church.
December 10, 2018
Entertainment culture has a pretty bad reputation in Christian communities, but is there a way for us to find God when we go to the movies? Even though there is a lot of brokenness in entertainment culture, we can’t help but point to something greater when we encounter a good story. We tell stories over and over again about redemption, love, sacrifice, and hope. These all point back to the gospel story. We can use this to start conversations about faith with others. Watch the next Marvel movie you see with the gospel in mind and find out how it can prepare you for God’s love.
December 3, 2018
The feast of the Immaculate Conception, the day that Mary was conceived, turns our thoughts toward Mary as we begin Advent. Mary, the New Eve, is not a holy robot. She isn’t boring or predicable. Sometimes our narrow vision of what it is to be without sin sabotages our vision of Mary who was alive, dynamic and truly free. As you hear her story over these next few weeks allow a three-dimensional vision of her to come alive in your mind, heart, and imagination and know that she—who is your mother—is right there with you as your step forward on your tightrope.
November 26, 2018
Christmas has been unleashed, but it’s not even Advent yet. How can we give Advent it’s due without belittling any early Christmas celebrations? Colin’s family has come up with a few ideas: Light candles on an Advent wreath Add straw to a Nativity scene manger every time you do a small act of charity Sing an Advent song, “Come Lord Jesus, come and be born in our hearts” Trim the tree with Jesse tree ornaments and purple and rose decorations.
November 19, 2018
Life without God can feel like pushing a boulder uphill all day and seeing it back at the bottom every morning, which was the punishment of Sisyphus. But life in Christ offers so much more. With God, we have a destination, and every stress, struggle, and trial is imbued with purpose through him. Instead of meeting our daily cross with dread, let’s approach it with gratitude, knowing that it brings us closer to God. “Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” (1 Thessalonians 5:18) Happy Thanksgiving!
November 12, 2018
We’ve all heard of St. Benedict, but people often neglect to mention Benedict’s twin sister, St. Scholastica. Colin talks about what we know about St. Scholastica (suffice to say, she made it rain) and how she is a fantastic example of what St. John Paul II called the feminine genius. For more on St. Scholastica, check out Colin’s article The Scholastica Option: Women Who Make it Rain.
November 5, 2018
We hear this all the time—just lay down your burdens at God feet and he’ll take care of it—but it takes on new meaning when you hear it sung by your little daughter. _I cast all my cares upon You I lay all of my burdens Down at Your feet And any time I don't know what to do I will cast all my cares upon You -Cares Chorus by Kelly Willard Colin connects his own desire to take care of his child to that of God the father, who wants to take care of us. When you don’t know what to do, sing this song unto God and let him carry your worries.
October 29, 2018
Catholics have the ability to celebrate Halloween better. Halloween can be reduced to a glorification of gore, terror, fear, and even the demonic, but it really points to something much greater. When Christians think of death, we recall that Jesus conquered death, and has purchased for us the rewards of eternal life. In fact, we should remember our death everyday, and allow it to spur us toward holiness. So don’t turn off the lights and stay home. Celebrate in the right way, a way that reminds Halloween of its baptismal promises.
October 22, 2018
“You are not who they say you are. Let me remind you of who you really are.” St. John Paul II reminds us that our identity does not lie in fear, anxiety, or any extrinsic force. This quote is an echo of what Christ teaches us, reminding us of our real identity as children of God. Reflect on this quote today in adoration. Silence all the false voices and listen to God.
October 15, 2018
Here are three big ideas central to St. John Paul II’s Theology of the Body that can keep us balanced in everything we do—from our work to the way we love. _Snippet from the Show: Life is an epic love story The meaning of life is found in self-gift Every person is an end in and of themselves_
October 8, 2018
Angels are an important part of…well…reality! There are, God knows how many, creatures out there lighting, guarding, ruling and guiding. (There are others, fallen angels, seeking the ruin of souls.) Don’t forget that when you are seeking daily balance and progress. Pray to your guardian angel. Pray that powerful St. Michael prayer to ward off evil and plant yourself firmly in the service of God in the war for souls. Angels are with you, on either side of your tightrope, trying to keep you upright.
October 1, 2018
The difference between “good” and “fine” can have a big impact on how we view God. When someone says, “it’s fine” they often mean, “I will grit my teeth and accept this, but below the surface I’m harboring a lot of resentment.” God is good, but we often think of him as fine. We gloss over the cliche “God is good, all the time. All the time, God is good,” but it wasn’t always so widely accepted. In Story of a Soul, St. Therese always refers to God as the Good God. She did this in response to Jansenism, the idea that we have to earn God’s approval through our own merit. But we don’t have to do anything to earn God’s love, because he is good, not just fine. Take ten minutes of prayer today to reflect on God’s goodness. "The idea that we’ve got to earn God’s approval by doing good things is a low view of human nature, and a really low view of God. God is good, he’s not just fine." - Colin MacIver
September 24, 2018
Colin talks about the time he was stuck in traffic and called Brian Butler to talk business, but instead, he was invited to say a Rosary, and had a beautiful moment of peace with God in the middle of a stressful situation. Check out Colin’s brand new collaboration with Fr. Mike Schmitz, Quick Catholic Lessons! We should intercede for our loved ones, the whole Church, the whole world, even our enemies. As Matthew 5:44 says, “But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.” Praying with others, though, can be even more effective, even if it is a bit intimidating. It is one thing to pray for someone. It is another to stop and pray with someone on the spot. But most things worth doing are hard. Colin shares some ways to overcome that feeling of weirdness or uncertainty and just do it! Incorporate your family into your prayer life by setting an attainable goal and following it through for a solid month. It might be something as simple as changing the time and place of family prayer, or adding a new dimension to it. Instead of offering to pray for someone at some indistinct point in the future, stop, take a deep breath, and offer to pray with them on the spot. Caught in traffic? Call Brian Butler…or any Ascension presenter … or any good friend, really…and ask them to pray the Rosary with you. Check out Brian’s work with Ascension! YOU: Life, Love, and The Theology of the Body and Theology of the Body for Teens: Middle School Edition. "If you stop and pray with someone, especially somebody who is not expecting it, who knows what can happen!"
September 17, 2018
As we approach St. Therese's feast day, learn how her "Little Way" can help lead you to heaven.
September 10, 2018
How exactly can you live out St. Therese’s Little Way in your daily life? Snippet from the Show: The most important thing I can do is find ways to be present in the moment and offer small sacrifices of love every day.
September 3, 2018
Colin lays out these three basics from his son’s second grade religion class that every Catholic needs to actually do to live faithful, holy lives. Daily prayer - We really need prayer, now and always. Let’s talk and listen to God everyday. Receive the sacraments - Having a clear conscience before God in confession and being nourished by the Eucharist are essential. Practice virtues - Do what is good and resist what is evil. Look at the example of Jesus and let him lead you forward in morality. "Get back to the basics and practice sound fundamentals – sounds pretty obvious right? Why aren’t we doing it? Getting back to the basic core of Christian life is the key to holiness."
June 18, 2018
June 4, 2018
May 29, 2018
May 14, 2018
May 14, 2018
Colin explains the two major themes—tension and balance—that will show up in each episode of the Tightrope. He points out that tension isn't always a bad thing, and that balance isn't something we ever achieve once and for all.
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