St. Kolbe Followed God’s Incredible Plan

August 14 is the memorial of St. Maximilian Kolbe, a courageous man whose selfless final act of offering his life in exchange for that of another prisoner in Auschwitz often overshadows the rest of his incredible life of evangelization. He was somewhat wild as a young boy and tested his parents’ patience. But when he was age 12 – about the time of his First Communion – he had a vision of the Virgin Mary who approached him with one white crown and one red crown.

“She asked if I was willing to accept either of these crowns,” Kolbe said. “The white one meant that I should persevere in purity, and the red that I should become a martyr. I said that I would accept them both.”

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Of Vice and Virtue: Envy and Admiration

This is the fifth in a series of seven articles about vice (the habit of doing wrong) and virtue (the habit of doing good).

The Vice of Envy

Joy and pain.  Two very distinct emotions yet both could be bringing you further from the truth.  A daughter of pride, the vice of envy can manifest itself in two ways.  If something in you dies when someone you know succeeds, then you have experienced the vice of envy.  Likewise, the counterpart in envy manifestation is experiencing a bit of joy when others experience misfortune.

Have you ever smirked with a tint of joy when relaying to others about a mishap you witnessed at a wedding reception?  Maybe you got a kick out of the awkward best man speech, reveled in the embarrassment of running out of food at the reception, or gossiped with delight regarding how frugal the hosts were with the cash bar. Continue reading “Of Vice and Virtue: Envy and Admiration”

To Be a Living Icon

One of the greatest insights into Christian life shown to us by the Church Fathers and early martyrs is the gift of laying down one’s life to witness Christ’s sufferings to a whole new generation. Their witness provides to the current generation a living icon. A true look into the life of Christ and the Saints who came before us. To witness the gospel—to be a martyr—benefits not only the one making the sacrifice but builds up the community in which they find their own personal context.

A Family Devoted to Christ

The loss of one of our own, Ryan Howes, has deeply saddened our parish. I had the pleasure of meeting Ryan only once—and a chance meeting at that in passing. The testimony of his friends and family bear witness to the life of virtue lived by Ryan. I realize that we who did not have a chance to know him certainly missed knowing a true and genuine human being. Continue reading “To Be a Living Icon”

Smiling is Changing My Life

A description of me five weeks ago: Smiling is not really my thing. This could be considered a great understatement. I was talking with friends one evening and the conversation turned to joy. I am the type of person with a rather serious demeanor. My humor is as dry as the heat in Phoenix. Part of the joke for me is that most people can’t figure out if I’m really joking or if I am being serious. My normal expression is deadpan. Smiling to me is like the hamstring stretch, it hurts!
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Triumph Over Tragedy

On June 23, 2018 my family had the privilege of participating in the 5th Annual Run for Little Hearts. It is a fund raiser going to benefit Children’s Mercy Hospital. More specifically, it benefits kids born with Congenital Heart Defects(CHD).  Kelly Manz started it. Her daughter, Chloe, was born with CHD in 2008. We have been fortunate enough to participate all five years and it has been amazing to see how much it has grown in such a short period of time. The last two years, the event has been hosted at Arrowhead Stadium and includes a 1-mile walk, 5k, or 10k around the stadium.

Over the years we have made a point of finding different fundraisers that focus on CHD or families affected by CHD. It is a much larger number than you can imagine. CHD is the number one birth defect. For anyone that knows my family story, you can understand why events like this touch our hearts. I don’t want to focus on my story, but I do want to  include a very brief history for anyone that may not know me.

A Brief History

In November 2002, we welcomed our second child Joshua James Morgan (Josh). Shortly after birth, he was diagnosed with CHD and was rushed to Children’s Mercy in KC. At 10 days old, Josh had open heart surgery and was supposed to have three surgeries over the course of several years. A couple of months after his first surgery, he began to have complications and we found ourselves back at Children’s Mercy. Unfortunately, his complications proved to be too much and Josh left us. The next several years were difficult ones and included many ups and downs. The biggest up being the adoption of our son Drew which occurred about a year after Josh died. Over the course of time, we began to become more involved in different fundraisers and events which focused on helping those directly affected by CHD. Continue reading “Triumph Over Tragedy”

MyTruth Fails to Overthrow God’s Truth

What is truth? How do you define truth?

Morpheus said similar words to Neo in The Matrix nearly 20 years ago. The reason Morpheus asked “What is real? How do you define real?” is because he had seen behind the veil to what’s real – at least in the film. And he knew that Neo had yet to uncover what’s real – or what’s true. The search for truth reminds me of many conversations I have with my teenagers. I know what society has in store for them, how it will treat them and abuse their faith and dignity.  But, they know little about this reality. What does society say is Truth compared to what God says is Truth? Continue reading “MyTruth Fails to Overthrow God’s Truth”