Happy Anniversary Bishop Stika

by Fr. Christian Mathis on March 19, 2014

stikahomilyFive years ago the Diocese of Knoxville was happy to celebrate the ordination of our third bishop. Today we give thanks for his ministry and wish him good health along with the inspiration of the Holy Spirit as we continue to build the kingdom in East Tennessee.

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Let’s Be Still

by Fr. Christian Mathis on March 13, 2014

One of the things I have had to adjust to since moving out of a parish setting and into campus ministry is the fact that we have built in breaks. Of course for me this doesn’t mean everything comes to a complete stop. There are still things that continue to need my attention. There is, however, more of a stillness that can be hard to find the rest of the school year.

In a time when the pace of life seems to only be getting faster, it is critical to set aside time to simply be at rest. Most of us don’t have jobs with built in breaks, but we do have the ability to make sure we take one from time to time. Lent is a good reminder to put a few minutes aside each day to just be still.

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Failure Is Always An Option

by Fr. Christian Mathis on March 5, 2014

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Each year during Lent, I hope for an epic fail. Don’t get me wrong, I also hope each year to try my best to be the best Christian I can be. Lent is a gift that allows us to focus on being more attentive to prayer, to let go of our own self centeredness through fasting and abstinence, and to finding ways to serve those who are the least among us. But above all else during Lent I pray that I might fail, so that God will succeed. Recently a friend shared with me that for most of his life when something good happened, he would immediately take the credit. When something bad occurred, he would blame that on God. Like my friend, my ego too often gets in the way of living a successful Christian life. It is easy to forget that it is only through the power of God that any of my successes are possible.

Ironically, it is in times of failure that I can most recognize my need for God’s presence in my life. This is why I value Lent so much. Lent presents me with the opportunity to make the commitment to become a better person. Each Lent I am challenged to look at my life and find the areas that need the most work. Lent gives me a reason to pick one or two of those areas that need growth and commit to changing them from the better. It also allows me to fail miserably in my attempts. Those failures are a helpful reminder that ultimately my best bet is to rely on God’s power rather than my own.

If you find yourself struggling with Lent, if you feel you are failing in your attempts to grow during this season, try turning your failures over to God. He wants to succeed where you have failed. If you allow him to, he will.

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Fasting & Abstinence

March 4, 2014

“When you fast, do not look gloomy like the hypocrites. They neglect their appearance, so that they may appear to others to be fasting. Amen, I say to you, they have received their reward. (Matthew 6:16) People often ask about how Catholics define fasting and abstinence for the season of Lent, as those words can have […]

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Time for a Tune Up

March 3, 2014

Some of the best advice ever given me has to do with maintaining an automobile. Change the oil and air filter, check the tire pressure often, and get regular tune ups. While I am by no means an expert when it comes to cars, I know how to handle the basic things. The key to […]

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Finding More of God During Lent

February 26, 2014

Even though the season of Lent is still a week away, it is not too early to begin preparing for the Church’s annual season of preparation. Each year we set aside time and space during Lent to work on our spiritual health through a focus on prayer, fasting and almsgiving. One way we might approach […]

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Pope Francis on Christian Unity

February 20, 2014

This video of Pope Francis speaking to a Pentecostal Conference on Christian Unity captures his humanity quite well. He radiates simplicity. My favorite quote from the pope’s short message: “And let’s pray to the Lord that He unites us all. Come on, we are brothers. Let’s give each other a spiritual hug and let God […]

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Saint Valentine, pray for us.

February 14, 2014

A friend of mine recently expressed the opinion that Valentine’s Day is the most ridiculous of all our fake holidays. When it comes to “fake holidays”, I can usually take them or leave them, depending upon how I’m feeling. For those of you looking for something beyond a reason to buy flowers, cards and candy, […]

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When giving alms, it is best to avoid trumpets.

January 29, 2014

“Take care not to perform righteous deeds in order that people may see them; otherwise, you will have no recompense from your heavenly Father. When you give alms, do not blow a trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets to win the praise of others. Amen, I say […]

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Fr. Barron on St. Thomas Aquinas

January 28, 2014

Here are some reflections on St. Thomas Aquinas in honor of his feast day.

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Win A Free Copy of the Summa Theologica

January 27, 2014

One of the best online resources for those wishing to learn more about Catholic theology is the New Saint Thomas Institute. NSTI was recently begun by Dr. Taylor Marshall. It is meant to provide a resource for those wishing to delve deeper into our Catholic Tradition without having to enroll in a formal academic program. The […]

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Pray for your persecutors

January 17, 2014

You have heard the commandment, ‘You shall love your countryman but hate your enemy.’ My command to you is: love your enemies, pray for your persecutors. This will prove that you are sons of your heavenly Father, for his sun rises on the bad and the good, he rains on the just and the unjust. […]

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Ever have one of those days?

January 15, 2014

The pope has them too. I can’t imagine how tiring it must be to be the pastor of the entire world. There are days when each of us need a moment to press the pause button before continuing with our day. An acquaintance of mine likes to remind me that it is possible to restart […]

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