The Fr. Mike Schmitz Catholic Podcast

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Faith, pop culture, and headline reflections from Fr. Mike Schmitz.

Ascension


    • Oct 21, 2021 LATEST EPISODE
    • weekly NEW EPISODES
    • 8m AVG DURATION
    • 328 EPISODES

    Listeners of The Fr. Mike Schmitz Catholic Podcast that love the show mention: thank you father mike, father mike schmitz, love father mike, love fr mike, mike presents, listen to fr, schmitz's, bible in a year, mike is fantastic, thank you fr, bitterness, mike s podcasts, thanks father, mike is able, listening to fr, catholic teaching, ivf, homilies, catholics, catholic church.



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    Latest episodes from The Fr. Mike Schmitz Catholic Podcast

    Why Do Jews and Christians Have Different Sabbath Days?

    Play Episode Listen Later Oct 21, 2021 7:59

    Have you ever wondered why we celebrate the Sabbath on Sunday? Have you asked yourself, what does Jesus mean when he says, “Think not that I have come to abolish the law and the prophets; I have come not to abolish them but to fulfil them." (Mt 5:17) And why does this new covenant change the Sabbath? "...This cup which is poured out for you is the new covenant in my blood." (Lk. 22:20) Today, Fr. Mike delves into the scriptural roots of the Sabbath and why we as Catholics celebrate it on Sunday and not Saturday as the Jewish people still do today.

    Why is Faith a Virtue? Do We Need Faith?

    Play Episode Listen Later Oct 14, 2021 10:42

    Have you heard the phrase, "never doubt in the darkness what you knew was true in the light?" Do you find yourself intellectually convinced that our faith makes sense but in times of difficulty, struggle to assent to those truths?

    Why St Thérèse and Her “Little Way” Will Change Your Life

    Play Episode Listen Later Oct 7, 2021 9:25

    How is it that a young French girl who entered the convent at 15 years old and died at only 24 years old would become a Doctor of the Church? How is it that on her deathbed her own sisters thought her life was so unremarkable that they struggled to write her obituary? Today, Fr. Mike reflects on how the "Little Way" of St. Thérèse of Lisieux contains a secret to holiness for every modern Catholic.

    Who Is Influencing You? And Why?

    Play Episode Listen Later Sep 30, 2021 8:15

    Do you find that you give others too much influence over your mood and emotions? Do you find yourself caught in a cycle of judging all your choices based on what others think about that decision? Today, Fr. Mike reflects on the role of positive and negative influences in our lives and how to discern if we are giving others too much power over our lives.

    Turning Annoyances into Blessings

    Play Episode Listen Later Sep 23, 2021 7:02

    Sometimes the smallest things annoy us the most. Minor inconveniences can easily make us forget to be thankful for all of the gifts God is constantly bestowing upon us. But what if we could find things to be thankful for inside of those small annoyances? Today, Fr. Mike teaches us the art of uncovering the “backwards blessings” all around us, and how to have “reverse gratitude”.

    What's the Point of Religion?

    Play Episode Listen Later Sep 16, 2021 9:08

    What does God really want from us? When you look at every religion, Christian or otherwise, you'll find worship at the heart. No matter who or what our religion is calling us to, we are meant to worship. And even further, the heart of worship is sacrifice. In order to truly love and worship something or someone, we must give something up in return, whether that be time, attention, or material possessions. Today, Fr. Mike explains what's at the heart of religion, and how realizing this can strengthen our relationship with God.

    The Price of Forgiveness

    Play Episode Listen Later Sep 9, 2021 5:19


    Sometimes saying sorry just isn't enough. Chances are that you can remember a time you hurt someone through your actions. Maybe it was just missing something important to them, or letting your words slip to someone else, but whatever you did cost them something. And when your mistakes lead to someone in your life losing something, saying you're sorry just isn't enough. Today, Fr. Mike explains why we have to ask people for forgiveness and not just say we're sorry. For more on reconciliation from Fr. Mike—and Fr. Josh Johnson—be sure to check out their Pocket Guide to the Sacrament of Reconciliation.


    When You're Discouraged

    Play Episode Listen Later Sep 2, 2021 7:08

    It's not unusual to experience discouragement on the road to holiness, especially when we live in a world that is filled with temptations and persecution. With God on our side, nothing the devil can do will ever prevail over us. However, it's the moment we become too discouraged to ask God for help that the devil is waiting for. So how can we prevent this from happening? Today, Fr. Mike explains the root of discouragement in our faith journey, and how to keep leaning on God through that struggle.

    Is Holy Communion a Right?

    Play Episode Listen Later Aug 26, 2021 10:29

    Last week, we talked about Holy Communion being a gift and not a right owed to us by God. This may sound like the Church doesn't want you if you've sinned, but that couldn't be further from the truth. The reality is, every one of us is in need of repentance, and there is not one person on this earth who isn't a sinner. What we need to examine within ourselves is how we can realign our souls back to God and enter a union with him in the Holy Sacrament. Today, Fr. Mike clarifies some points he made in his last video about Holy Communion, and explains why the Church has always wanted your heart—especially in the midst of sin. For more from Fr. Mike, check out his new book Are You Saved? The Catholic Understanding of Salvation from his new series The Curious Catholic.

    Can Someone Be Denied Holy Communion?

    Play Episode Listen Later Aug 19, 2021 12:20

    Sometimes we can be tricked into thinking that the Holy Communion we receive at Mass every Sunday is somehow owed to us; that we have a right to receive it. However, the Eucharist, which is Jesus Christ's own body and blood, is a divine gift bestowed upon us by our Heavenly Father. And because it's a gift, the way we receive it and the state of our souls matter greatly to our relationship with God. Which begs the question: can someone be denied Holy Communion? Today, Fr. Mike explains whether communion is a gift that can be taken away, and what that means for public figures who openly support practices against the Church, like abortion. If you or someone you know has had an abortion and is seeking help and healing, visit https://www.rachelsvineyard.org/ for resources and guidance.

    How to Lose Everything and Still Hope

    Play Episode Listen Later Aug 12, 2021 8:54

    Many of us have been in situations where we've risked losing. It usually happens during childhood, while competing in sports, the arts, or just making small bets and wagers with our friends. But have you ever looked back on those losses and thought they might have been preparing you for the bigger losses we experience in adulthood—the loss of a loved one, a dream job, or a hard breakup? Today, Fr. Mike explains why it might be necessary to lose sometimes, and how to do it well.

    Why God Allows Us to Learn from Our Mistakes

    Play Episode Listen Later Jul 29, 2021 10:29

    God is quick to forgive, and he's given us the gift of confession so we can return to a relationship with him after sin. But this love he has for us is so great that he never wants us to be caught by sin again, which is why he allows our sins to have consequences. Just like your parents would teach you why something is wrong, God helps us build knowledge of sin and its consequences by letting us experience them. Without learning from our mistakes, we would just keep falling into the same sins, separating us from a relationship with God. Today, Fr. Mike explains why God lets us learn from our mistakes, and how it shows the depth of his mercy.

    Why It's Important to Have Good Friendships

    Play Episode Listen Later Jul 22, 2021 7:55

    At a glance, you may look at friendship and say it's not necessary for day-to-day life. It's just “nice to have.” And the truth is… it's not necessary. We could certainly live, breathe, and survive without friendship, just like we could live without music or art. But even though we can live without these things, would we want to? Can you picture a life without these things? What if friendships aren't the meaning of life, but instead give meaning to life? Today, Fr. Mike explains why friendship is not only important, but it's vital in living our relationship with Christ.

    What to Do When You Get Interrupted

    Play Episode Listen Later Jul 15, 2021 9:06

    An interruption is anything that takes our attention away from our primary task. We may think our days are filled with interruptions: people cutting us off in traffic, a slow internet connection, etc. But in order to truly be interrupted, we have to have a primary task. We live in a world that is constantly trying to distract us, so much so that if we really start to think about what our primary task for today is, we may not be able to come up with one. What if we lived every day with the primary task of strengthening our relationship with Christ, and hedging our way towards eternity in Heaven? Today, Fr. Mike explains the purpose interruptions have in our lives, and how they can even guide us back to our primary task of reaching Heaven.

    Why Forgiven Sins Still Have Consequences

    Play Episode Listen Later Jul 8, 2021 9:13

    We can be 100% confident that when we confess our sins, we receive complete and total forgiveness from God. However, God loves us so much, that he's allowed the choices we make in life to matter. That means that even when we've experienced forgiveness for our actions from God, we may still face the natural consequences for those actions here on earth. Today, Fr. Mike explains why we still experience some consequences for sins that have been forgiven in confession.

    The Dangers of Complaining

    Play Episode Listen Later Jul 1, 2021 9:54

    St. Paul tells us, “Do everything without grumbling,” but even the best-intentioned Christians can fall into a toxic habit of constant complaining. It's true that sometimes, sharing a complaint can help rectify an unjust situation or call attention to something that needs to change. But when you start fixating on the negative things around you and voicing your critiques or grievances about everything in your life, you imprison yourself in your own personal hell. Today, Fr. Mike encourages us to ask for God's grace to break free from the habit of complaining.

    How to See God in Everything, Everyday (and How to Respond)

    Play Episode Listen Later Jun 24, 2021 8:39


    “It is good to guard the secret of a king, but gloriously to reveal the works of God, and with fitting honor to acknowledge him.” – Tobit 12:7 How often do you acknowledge the works of God? How often do you recognize what he's doing in your life? In this passage from Tobit, the Archangel Raphael is encouraging us to pay attention to the works of God—not only in our lives, but in the lives of those around us. He is constantly present, even in our most mundane tasks. But how often do we notice his works, note his presence and goodness, and declare it to the world? Today, Fr. Mike encourages us to acknowledge the presence of God in our lives through 3 steps: noticing, noting, and declaring. This is just an introduction to discovering God in your everyday life. To go deeper, check out Danielle Bean's new book, Whisper: Finding God in the Everyday.


    Why Christians Shouldn't Cancel People

    Play Episode Listen Later Jun 17, 2021 10:41

    How should a Christian react to “cancel culture”? Chances are that if you've been on social media or listened to the news in the past year, you've heard of “cancel culture.” Cancel culture is that practice of boycotting a person or group of people because of controversial actions or opinions. While it might have a fancy new name, this is nothing new to history. Every time period has had some individuals or practices that society deems as controversial or questionable. But are we supposed to practice this kind of behavior as Christians? Today, Fr. Mike talks about cancel culture, and how we as Christians are called to respond to it. If you appreciate the way Ascension unpacks the faith in a bold, thoughtful way, consider helping us produce more content. Your support means the world: https://tinyurl.com/yjhzukb9

    Going to Confession for the First Time in a Long Time

    Play Episode Listen Later Jun 10, 2021 8:45


    Learn more about the Pocket Guide to the Sacrament of Reconciliation with Fr. Mike Schmitz and Fr. Josh Johnson. Confession is a place of never-ending mercy and forgiveness and is one of the most beautiful parts of our Catholic faith. But for many, it can also be a very daunting experience, especially if it's been a long time since your last confession. Whether it's the first time you've gone in a year, or it's the first time you've gone in your life, God is ready and willing to forgive your sins. All we have to do is let him into our hearts. Today, Fr. Mike explains how to approach going to confession for the first time in a long time.


    Are You Your Own Worst Critic?

    Play Episode Listen Later Jun 3, 2021 8:58

    Why do we keep critics in our lives? You probably have someone in your life that seems to be on the hunt for anything they can criticize. It might not be a friend, a coworker, or a family member. It might just be yourself. Today, Fr. Mike explains how to turn your inner critic into your inner coach.

    What Is Real Truth?

    Play Episode Listen Later May 27, 2021 9:51

    What is truth? On this channel, we speak a lot about the teachings of the Church and how our society longs for these truths. But have you ever stopped and asked yourself what truth really is? There can be a lot of long, philosophical, complicated answers to this question, but today we have a simple one: truth can simply be defined as “what is.” In other words, a statement is either true or false depending on how closely it describes reality, or what is. But if truth is centered around reality, are there different truths for different people? Today, Fr. Mike explains what real truth is.

    What Does Surrender Actually Look Like?

    Play Episode Listen Later May 20, 2021 7:54

    What does it mean to say that Jesus is the Lord of your life? We hear this phrase a lot in the Church, that Jesus is the Lord of our lives, that he has dominion over them. But what does this look like practically? If we just look at the definition, it means surrendering everything we have to God, and giving it to him without hesitation. But how can we truly surrender everything to him without fearing we won’t get it back? Today, Fr. Mike talks about how we can surrender to God daily.

    What Should We Talk to God About? Everything.

    Play Episode Listen Later May 13, 2021 8:50

    Should we really talk to God about everything? There are a lot of different kinds of prayers (liturgical, litanies, the rosary, the chaplet of divine mercy, etc.), but today Father hones in on mental prayer. Mental prayer—including lectio divina and Ignatius prayer—is about having a conversation with God and inviting him into your mind and your heart. But our minds are messy places, and our hearts are wounded. Should we really be talking to God about all of our thoughts, longings, and desires?

    How to Love Your Difficult Parents

    Play Episode Listen Later May 6, 2021 10:07

    The Ten Commandments tell us to “honor thy mother and father”, but what does that really look like? Especially for adult children? Parents are not perfect, and sometimes they make mistakes that leave us and others wounded. So when God tells us to honor them, what does he mean by that? There’s a certain respect that all are owed simply by their personhood, and then there’s a respect that someone deserves because of their role or position. But what if our parents are dishonorable people? Does this commandment change once we’re adults out of their direct care? Today, Father Mike explains how we can love difficult parents.

    When Your S.O. Has a Different Vocation Than You

    Play Episode Listen Later Apr 29, 2021 9:36

    “You are not an extra in someone else’s vocation story.” We all know breakups are tough, and most of the time they are occasions of intense sadness and hurt, but what happens when your significant other breaks up with you for the religious life? Do you feel angry that they didn’t realize their vocation sooner, guilty for wanting to be with them, or just sad that you’re not who they’re meant to be with? Reactions to this kind of heartbreak are unpredictable, but the important thing to remember is that you have a vocation of your own, and it’s not any less important than the person entering religious life. Today, Father Mike shares his story of leaving a relationship to enter the seminary.

    The Key to a Happy Death

    Play Episode Listen Later Apr 22, 2021 10:19

    The key to a happy death is not a long and fulfilled life—it’s a life of gratitude for the time given. Here’s why: We often forget that this life isn’t owed to us. Every breath we take is a gift from God, who is holding us in existence at this very moment. Once we start to think that this life is owed to us, that in some way we deserve it, we will become ungrateful for the time that is given, even if we’ve lived a long and happy life. Today, Father Mike explains how to fill your life with gratitude, and how that will prepare you for a happy death.

    How to Question Your Faith Well

    Play Episode Listen Later Apr 22, 2021 10:19


    The Catholic Church loves questions, but are we asking them for the right reasons? One of our Doctors of the Church, St. Thomas Aquinas, is known for asking the hardest questions we have for our faith. His summa is a book full of them, and some of the greatest saints are the ones that asked the hardest questions. Having questions is not an obstacle, but your intentions can make or break your faith. Today, Father Mike explains how we can question our faith well.


    The Key to a Happy Death

    Play Episode Listen Later Apr 15, 2021 8:27

    The key to a happy death is not a long and fulfilled life—it’s a life of gratitude for the time given. Here’s why: We often forget that this life isn’t owed to us. Every breath we take is a gift from God, who is holding us in existence at this very moment. Once we start to think that this life is owed to us, that in some way we deserve it, we will become ungrateful for the time that is given, even if we’ve lived a long and happy life. Today, Father Mike explains how to fill your life with gratitude, and how that will prepare you for a happy death.

    When You Have to Go It Alone

    Play Episode Listen Later Apr 8, 2021 10:02

    The Wednesday of Holy Week is known to many as “Spy Wednesday”, but it’s also known as the “Day of Aloneness.” The backstory behind this moniker can have a profound impact on the way we live our lives. There are two people in the Holy Week narrative that experience profound loneliness: Jesus and Judas. There’s an honorable form of aloneness that we feel when we’re doing something we ought to be doing (walking a road that no one else can), but there’s also a sadder form of loneliness that exists when we are doing something we shouldn’t be doing. Today, Father Mike explains the difference between the aloneness Jesus felt during Holy Week, and what Judas felt. Ascension is proud to partner with authentically Catholic institutions and organizations committed to spreading the Gospel. Learn more about the sponsor of this video, Ave Maria University: https://tinyurl.com/yhbzmjsy

    Pray Like Jesus Prayed This Holy Week

    Play Episode Listen Later Apr 1, 2021 7:13

    During Holy Week, as we contemplate the last hours of Jesus’ life, we get an intimate look at how Jesus prays to his Father. Starting with our Lord’s prayer in the Garden of Gethsemane, we hear Jesus talking to God the Father about the upcoming moments of his life. He continues to pray through his Passion all the way until his last breath—a model that we as sons and daughters of God can follow as well. But what does Jesus show us about what it means to truly pray “Abba, Father”? Ascension is proud to partner with authentically Catholic institutions and organizations committed to spreading the Gospel. Learn more about the sponsor of this episode, Ave Maria University. (https://tinyurl.com/yc67p3cj)

    Turn Your “No, But” into a “Yes, And”

    Play Episode Listen Later Mar 25, 2021 8:40

    When was the last time you said “yes” to God? In improv, there’s a practice where participants are encouraged to never respond with “no, but” and to instead offer a “yes, and...” This allows for not only growth in the scene but in the actors as well. Similarly, God is always offering us different “scenes” to get us to sainthood. How are we responding? Turning our “no, but” into a “yes, and” opens our life to Christ’s will, and is the quickest path to sanctification. Today, Fr. Mike explains how we can practice a better relationship with God by just saying “yes, and...” Ascension is proud to partner with authentically Catholic institutions and organizations committed to spreading the Gospel. Learn more about the sponsor of this episode, Ave Maria University. (https://tinyurl.com/yc67p3cj)

    Blaming vs. Taking Responsibility

    Play Episode Listen Later Mar 18, 2021 11:00

    “Blame keeps us stuck...Taking responsibility gives us the opportunity to move forward.” In our difficult, fallen world, we are bound to face struggle. Sometimes our natural response to that struggle is to blame other things or people for why it’s happening—even to blame ourselves. While this makes us feel temporarily better because we are justifying our hardship, it also negates the truth of why we experience struggle—and the graces that can come from it. Today, Fr. Mike explains why it’s always better to take responsibility instead of playing the blame game. Ascension is proud to partner with authentically Catholic institutions and organizations committed to spreading the Gospel. Learn more about the sponsor of this episode, Ave Maria University. (https://tinyurl.com/yc67p3cj)

    Why Did God Take On Our Humanity?

    Play Episode Listen Later Mar 11, 2021 8:45

    Every Christmas we celebrate the fact that Jesus took on our humanity and became one of us. But have we ever asked the question why? Why the Incarnation? You’re definitely not the first to ask this question, and it’s a valid question. Why would God, an all infinite, perfect, and perfectly whole being come to earth to live as a human, and even die a horrible death on the cross? There is nothing he lacks, nothing he doesn’t know, and nothing he needs from us. So, why did he become man? Fr. Mike aims to answer this question today. Ascension is proud to partner with authentically Catholic institutions and organizations committed to spreading the Gospel. Learn more about the sponsor of this episode, Ave Maria University. (https://tinyurl.com/yc67p3cj)

    Does God Need Us to Worship Him?

    Play Episode Listen Later Mar 4, 2021 10:08

    God is an infinite, perfect, communion of persons, responsible for the intentional creation of everything around us - which begs the question, if God is perfect, why does he need us to worship him? Well, he actually doesn’t. God doesn’t need us to worship him because there is nothing he lacks. Which leads to another question: why do we worship God if he doesn’t need us to? Fr. Mike answers this today, drawing from the earliest books of the Bible. Ascension is proud to partner with authentically Catholic institutions and organizations committed to spreading the Gospel. Learn more about the sponsor of this episode, Ave Maria University. (https://tinyurl.com/yc67p3cj)

    Setting Boundaries for Yourself and Others

    Play Episode Listen Later Feb 25, 2021 9:32

    We often receive the behavior we are willing to tolerate, but what does that mean for our daily interactions? Communication is the clearest way to let someone know how you are feeling. When meeting with someone who you feel is being rude, we may try to give outward signs of our discomfort, but we can’t guarantee they’ll understand unless we tell them directly. And obviously, this isn’t easy. There aren’t many people who love confrontation, and even some that do anything they can to avoid it. We’re always so afraid that if we bring up something that we want changed, or share something that’s hurting us, that we’ll destroy that relationship. But more times than not, confronting these things head on and setting these boundaries won’t hurt the relationship but will strengthen it. This isn’t just relevant for our relationships with other people either - it’s relevant to our relationship with ourselves. How many times have we made personal goals or aspirations but never changed our behaviors to make them possible? We get the behaviors that we’re willing to tolerate, even within ourselves. St. Ignatius of Loyala had an exercise where he would imagine two sides, the side of the evil one and the side of the Lord. In this exercise, he would look at his decisions and choices for his life and decide, based on which side they fell on, who he would ultimately join: the evil one, or the Lord. By birth we belong to the evil one, but by baptism we belong to the Lord. Each side is battling for us to come over to their side, and if we are striving to be on the Lord’s side, then we have to recognize boundaries for ourselves that we can’t tolerate. This battle does not need to be fought alone—in fact, it can’t be. We must rely on the infinite grace of God, which he is longing to give us every second of our day. What are the behaviors we need to remove from our lives for the glory of God? Ascension is proud to partner with authentically Catholic institutions and organizations committed to spreading the Gospel. Learn more about the sponsor of this episode, Ave Maria University. (https://tinyurl.com/yc67p3cj)

    Why Love Is More than a Feeling

    Play Episode Listen Later Feb 18, 2021 8:52

    What if we were to make all our decisions solely based on how we felt in the moment? You may be familiar with the four types of love: eros (love of desire), storge (love of affection), philia (love of friendship), and agape (self-giving love). While each of these forms of love are good in their own way, they have to be accounted for correctly. Eros is the most temporary of all the loves. Feelings and desires are fleeting. So when we try and make decisions that are based on these desires we have, they’re bound to fail before we even make them, just because eros is so fragile. Imagine choosing your spouse, or your vocation, or your profession based on how you felt about it 5 years ago. Would you be happy with the outcome? Eros has its place in our life, but we need to make sure we’re acknowledging the more important elements, especially when making decisions. Eros is fleeting, but the agape love God has for you isn’t. Focus on the things that last, and attend to the feelings that don’t, and enjoy the life God has laid before you. Ascension is proud to partner with authentically Catholic institutions and organizations committed to spreading the Gospel. Learn more about the sponsor of this episode, Ave Maria University. (https://tinyurl.com/yc67p3cj)

    A Martyr for the Faith vs. a Victim of Circumstance

    Play Episode Listen Later Feb 11, 2021 6:50

    What’s the difference between a victim and a martyr? A victim is always described as dying “of” or “from” something. But when you describe a martyr, you talk about what they died for. While a victim is hurt by something, a martyr is suffers for something or someone. While a victim is having something happen to them, a martyr is choosing what happens to them by their will. “...I lay down my life, that I may take it again. No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord.” (John 10:17-18) The word martyr comes from the Greek word for witness. So when we see Jesus in Acts 1 telling his disciples that they are called to be witnesses of the faith, he is also calling them to martyrdom for the sake of spreading the Gospel. The apostles were not victims—they were martyrs, because they lived their lives for Christ until death. This turns their death into the fulfillment of their lives—the crowning achievement—instead of something that defeated them. While not all of us may be asked to lay down our lives for Christ at our death, we are all called to live our lives for the faith.

    Learning Detachment from Your Stuff

    Play Episode Listen Later Feb 4, 2021 8:23

    Sometimes the things that we own end up owning us. Detachment prevents this from happening. You may have heard of the minimalist movement that focuses on only having the things you need, and letting go of the things you don’t. Most people practice this by decluttering their house or storage, like you would if you were cleaning out a closet. But it’s not so much having a lot of stuff that’s the problem: it’s being attached to those things, and letting them have a sense of control over your life. This can happen with anything we own, from entertainment resources like books or video games, to things like photos, letters from family and friends, or even notes from your favorite theology course. For some reason, our hearts hold on to certain things, even if we haven’t looked at them in years, just in case we need them someday. Maybe it’s because of sentimental value, or because we find joy in them, but most of the time, we keep these things for a sense of security. There’s nothing wrong with having things, and there’s absolutely nothing wrong with finding joy in the things we do have. But if there are things sitting on our shelves, collecting dust because we’re keeping them “just in case,” maybe the question we need to ask ourselves is, “what does God want me to do with this?” Does he want us to keep it and use it, or give it away to someone who needs it, or just throw it away? But the important thing to remember is that everything we have should be looked at with the idea that we can do something good with it, and intend to use it for the glory of God. If you still have use for it, then keep it. If it’s done all it can for you, and has more goodness for someone else, then give it away. And if all its goodness is used up, then toss it. But whatever we have, we need to give it to God, acknowledging that he gave it to us in the first place. Letting him decide what we do with the things we own is the perfect way to not only detach ourselves from our possessions, but to gain more freedom in our lives to bless others.

    How to Keep Your Faith Alive and Growing

    Play Episode Listen Later Jan 28, 2021 6:56

    Why is it easier to fuel our faith at retreats and conferences? Can we have this same fire at home? You can probably reflect on a certain moment or time period in your life that your faith seemed to flourish more than it ever has. Usually this happens when we go on retreats, mission trips, or faith conferences. But along with these moments of powerful formation comes the decline we experience when they’re over, and we go back home. Why is that? Retreats offer us an opportunity to encounter our faith away from the distractions of the world. They are designed to make faith the center of our attention, which makes fueling our faith much easier. However, a lot of us don’t have that environment when we go home, and it can be really difficult to continue to keep that fire alive, especially when we live in a world that is constantly trying to extinguish it. It comes down to our personal decisions, and how we choose to live. If we know that avoiding certain distractions, relationships, or environments help us grow closer to God, then it’s up to us to make those changes. It’s much easier to bring someone down than to lift someone up. The world won’t bring us into a deeper relationship with Christ—we have to make those choices ourselves. Now, this might mean that we have to say goodbye to some aspects of our life, or even some people. It’s important to approach all these decisions with prayer and guidance from the Lord. He knows what you need better than anyone else in your life, so seek council knowing he will only allow what’s best for you in your path towards heaven. Try asking the Lord each day how you can become closer to him, and seek out ways to let your faith breath.

    Are You Called to Be a Missionary?

    Play Episode Listen Later Jan 22, 2021 7:57

    Are you called to be a missionary? You may be one already! Saint Francis Xavier and Saint Therese of Lisieux are co-patrons of missionaries, although they lived very different lives. While St. Francis traveled all over the world proclaiming the gospel of Christ, St. Therese was unable to travel and did what she could in her own town. Both were missionaries in their own right. Being a missionary isn’t about traveling or living a crazy and unpredictable life. It’s about spreading the word of God to those who need to hear it. So the question is, are you called to be a missionary? As baptized Christians, we are all called to be missionaries in our own unique way. By living the life God has laid out for us, we can evangelize exactly who God wants us to reach, just by doing our best to live according to his commandments. This is also a part of the universal call to holiness, which not only states that every person is called to be a saint, but also that every person is called to be an apostle—or missionary—of Christ. St. Francis Xavier lived in a Christian era, and had to leave his home in order to evangelize. We, however, live in a post-Christian era, where the majority of people are not God loving people. The era we are living in right now holds the same kind of ignorance of Christ that the apostles lived in. This means that we don’t have to go anywhere to evangelize. We can start being missionaries right in our own home towns. St. Francis and St. Therese weren’t missionaries because of where they went—they were missionaries because of their hearts. There are so many people in our daily lives that don’t know God. Let us live out our call as missionaries and bring Christ to those God has given us.

    “Is This a Sin?”

    Play Episode Listen Later Jan 14, 2021 6:37

    If you begin to sin but don’t follow all the way through… is it still a sin? It depends. We’re offered two different scenarios. In one, the person is prevented from sinning due to external factors that make it impractical or impossible to commit the sin they had planned on. In the second scenario, we see someone preparing to sin, but then freely and rationally choosing not to. The first scenario is a sin, but the second is a virtuous act. Why? Because the second person freely decided not to commit sin, they morally aligned themselves toward the good when they had previously been aimed towards sin. They redirected their will toward God when they could have continued to go against him. In a simpler sense, they were headed down a bad path, but then turned around before making it to their destination. That being said, while the second person did realign themselves toward virtue, the extent to which they consented to this sin ahead of time may be worth a confession. Even though the person chose virtue in the end, their soul was still burdened with those thoughts, and in confession, those burdens are lifted through forgiveness. The beautiful part about our faith is that we have a Savior who is always ready and willing to forgive us. Surrendering our hearts to him creates a living relationship with God, where we trust his knowledge of our hearts, and run to him whenever we are in need of saving.

    What It Truly Means to Love the Sinner, Hate the Sin

    Play Episode Listen Later Jan 7, 2021 9:07


    What do you think of when you hear the phrase, “Love the sinner, hate the sin”? To some, maybe it’s something that their parents would say to them when they heard them gossiping. Maybe it’s something you were taught in school, or maybe it’s a phrase you’ve mocked or not taken seriously. But this phrase is synonymous with one of the greatest commandments Jesus gave us: to love our neighbor as ourselves. Here’s where the connection comes in: We are all sinners. We are all sinners, yet we want the best for ourselves, and we love ourselves enough to want good things for our lives. Just as we want good things for ourselves despite our sinfulness, we should want the best for our brothers and sisters despite their sinfulness. Sin plagues every human heart. While some may struggle more than others, we are all tempted on a daily basis to turn away from God. To love the sinner and hate the sin is to acknowledge that our brother or sister is constantly being pursued by God. In order to love the sinner, we must love ourselves enough to strive for a better relationship with God. How we view sin starts with how we view our own struggles, and if we are constantly getting down on ourselves about falling into temptation, that attitude will transfer to our brothers and sisters who need our support. To love the sinner and hate the sin—and to love our neighbors as ourselves—we have to be real about what sin is. No one is so far gone that God cannot reach them. He’s pursuing their hearts constantly, and every little victory counts in their walk toward eternity. God is so patient with us. Let’s glorify him and imitate him by being patient with one another— and with ourselves.


    Struggle Is Necessary

    Play Episode Listen Later Dec 31, 2020 7:42

    It may sound counterintuitive, but choosing the harder path may make our life easier. Here’s why: When caterpillars go into their cocoons for hibernation, they struggle against the barrier of the cocoon for months on end, trying to get out. It’s only when their wings have developed and they’re strong enough to fly that they are able to break free and escape. If a caterpillar were to somehow get set free from its cocoon before it was strong enough to escape on its own, it wouldn’t be able to fly, and would eventually die. The same is true in a way for us. When we face struggles in life, they have great potential to make us stronger. Not only do hard things make us stronger, but they prepare us more for harder temptations, trials, and suffering in the future. In a way, we are made more able to handle future struggles because of the little hard choices we make daily. Some struggles are greater than others, and maybe there are some things that you are constantly trying to avoid because they are so hard for you to do. But nevertheless, these are the struggles that you are faced with. These are the things God wants to make you stronger through. Because he knows what you need to continue on your path, and he knows that these struggles are not only going to make you stronger, but will intensify the victories he has prepared for you. There are some things that come from struggle that are so much more glorious than a scare-free life, and the Lord is ready to show you what triumphs he has in store for you.

    If You Think This Year Was Supposed to Be Different

    Play Episode Listen Later Dec 25, 2020 7:39

    We might have had different plans for this year, but were they really supposed to happen? We all wonder whether we’re actually following God’s will for us, but the reality is that, unless we are directly going against the Lord in some way, we are doing his will by just living our life. Wherever this year has taken us, whatever it has us doing, is exactly where God wants us to be. This is one of the joys of being a faithful Christian: as long as we are following the laws of the Lord, we can never be outside his will. This is true even today, as everything we thought we knew about this year was turned on its head. We may have had radically different plans and expectations for where we’d be now, or what we’d be doing, but it wasn’t the will of God. God has us exactly where he wants us, and as long as we remain faithful to him, we’ll follow the path that he’s paved for our lives. So, what if we’re not following the Lord? This is what the call of repentance is all about: if we’re not following the Lord, then we get to change the course of our lives and turn toward him through confession and penance. And you know when a perfect time for this is? Christmas! Because of Christmas, our lives don’t have to be a lost cause, or a dead end. Because God gave his only begotten son to us, we can turn our lives around and aim them at the light of Christ. It’s through the incarnation that eternal life with God became a possibility, and that repentance was born. Because Christ came to earth, we can use our lives to follow the will of God, even after steering off course. We now have a future, through the power of our Father’s love.

    The Most Important Part of Any Conversation

    Play Episode Listen Later Dec 17, 2020 5:30

    It’s those last five minutes of conversation with someone that makes them feel like a number or like a known and loved individual. We’ve all had conversations that makes us feel like the other person doesn’t really care to be talking to us. But we’ve also had conversations that stick with us because the person we talked to made us feel so loved that we can’t help but be uplifted by them. This is what those last five minutes are all about: making the other person feel wanted, known, and loved. This is true of any relationship; even our relationship with God, in prayer. How are we spending those last five minutes of prayer? Are we letting our minds drift to other things, or are we giving God our full attention? Jesus gave so much during his time on Earth. Just as he continually gave his time to those around him, we are called to do the same. Use the last five minutes with anyone you’re talking to—including God—to show them what they mean to you and to make them feel worth paying attention to.

    Answering Your Questions About Mary and Her Immaculate Conception

    Play Episode Listen Later Dec 10, 2020 8:34

    Truly loving Mary will never lessen our faith in God, or take attention away from Christ. Here’s why: The Church has 4 dogmas regarding our Blessed Mother. They are… Jesus gave Mary to all of us as our Mother during his crucifixion Mary was immaculately conceived without original sin Mary was assumed into Heaven after the resurrection of Christ Mary was a virgin before, during, and after the birth of Christ Today’s video is focusing on the second dogma dealing with Mary’s immaculate conception. It’s Mary’s preservation of soul that made it possible for Christ to be conceived in her through the Holy Spirit. So if Mary was able to be saved from original sin, why wasn’t I? The answer is simple: everyone has a role to play in the plan of God, but our role is different from Mary’s. God gives us everything we need to accomplish the role he’s entrusted to us. We are all born with specific and unique gifts, talents, and graces that make us who we are. There may be a lot of different things that we want to do, and maybe we’ve already done some of those things, but there are specific things we were made to do. The immaculate conception not only shows us the love God has for our salvation and our lives, but it also shows that he will give us everything we need to do the things we were called to do: the very purpose for our existence. If God could immaculately conceive Mary without original sin in the womb of Saint Anne, think about how many graces he can bestow upon us! This feast day is an opportunity to glorify God and thank him for all he has given us, and all he gave Mary so she could answer the call of Blessed Mother. The more we learn about and love her, the more we see the beauty and intentionality of Christ in our lives.

    When You Don’t Understand the Bible

    Play Episode Listen Later Dec 3, 2020 10:00


    Oftentimes in Christian media we see what Fr. Mike dubs a “Hallmark” version of following Christ. There’s struggle and hardship, but then God’s grace comes in and cures everything, making everything nearly perfect for the characters in the story. While these types of stories make you feel all warm and fuzzy inside, they’re not very realistic. And while God’s grace is essential, it’s not a magic wand that makes everything bad go away. There are some stories in the Bible that at first glance appear dark, difficult, or just don’t make sense. Even some of the things Christ says to his followers can sound harsh or even scandalous at times. But it’s in these moments of confusion and concern that God wants to teach us something. This was something that St. Augustine struggled with before his conversion. It wasn’t until after he had accepted the faith and began to intentionally practice it that he realized it’s not God’s word that’s wrong, it's our interpretation of it. He gives us 7 things to do when trying to understand a passage we’re unsure of: Read the text in the original language. Or, if you’re not a scholar of Greek or Latin (more than likely), at least realize that a lot can be lost in translation, like idioms and turns of phrase, or context and foreign references. Try different biblical translations and see how they compare. Weigh what you’re reading with all of scripture (it’s ALL connected!) Be humble and accept that you don’t know everything needed to fully understand God’s word (and that’s okay). Sacred tradition always trumps our own interpretations. Don't take figurative language literally. Don’t universalize a parable to be relevant for all situations in life. The Bible wasn’t written by Hallmark. It was inspired by God. Hallmark is meant to help you escape reality. The Bible is meant to help you get back in touch with reality. There’s going to be brokenness, and sin, and unhappy endings, but there will also be real grace that transforms those hardships into strength, and it has the power to change your life.


    The Absolute Necessity of Saying "Thank You"

    Play Episode Listen Later Nov 26, 2020 9:15

    When was the last time you told God “thank you”? We live in an extremely hectic world, full of distractions, complaining, and longing for things we don’t have. And while it can be good to look at the things we do have and count up our blessings, how often do we then turn to God and thank him for those gifts? God is the reason we have anything in this life. Even our very existence day-to-day is a gift. There’s nothing better than thankfulness—and nothing worse than unthankfulness. We can all point out moments in our lives where we failed to be thankful, and it often leads to general feelings of unhappiness. So how do we stop feeling this way? How do we practice thankfulness more? There’s a simple solution: every morning and evening, ask the Holy Spirit to help you count your blessings, and then thank the Lord for all those gifts. St. Paul echoes this in his letter to the Thessalonians, saying that we should give thanks in everything we have and everything we are able to do. It’s what we are called to do as Christians, and it’s how we can reverence God and all he’s given us every day. The person who continually gives thanks is a person who is seeking God’s plan in their life. And one of the greatest gifts that comes from this attitude of gratitude is that every day becomes an opportunity to use those blessings. The celebration of the Mass is a very specific way we can express this gratitude towards God. The word Eucharist literally means “thanksgiving”! It’s in the Mass that we profess our love for Christ’s sacrifice, and thank him by performing a like sacrifice with the body and blood. We can go to Mass every day, and we can give thanks every day. And the beautiful thing about gratitude is that, the more we practice it, the more God will reveal blessings around us. Do you seek authentic joy for the life you’re living? Practice thanksgiving towards God.

    Let Yourself Wrestle with God

    Play Episode Listen Later Nov 19, 2020 6:06

    Have you ever felt like God really wanted you to do something, but you just weren’t ready for it? Maybe it’s a big life change, a relationship, or a vocation, but there’s something holding you back from saying yes to God’s call. People may be inclined to think that this is a bad thing, and might put themselves down, saying they aren’t open to God’s will in their lives. But what if this back-and-forth with God is the one thing we need to really say yes? When we wrestle with God, we’re not only engaging in relationship with him, but we’re being truly honest with him. He desires conversation with us, and it’s in wrestling with what God wants for our lives that we conform our hearts to his. We may think we know God’s vocation for us, or his plan for our life, and that may scare us. But the truth is, we will never really be sure what God wants us to do until he really shows us. We can project sometimes. Right now, all he wants us to do is be his: to dedicate ourselves and our lives to him and his works, and to live every day as an opportunity to reach holiness. Don’t pick a fight with God, thinking we know what he may want us to do someday. But don’t be afraid to wrestle with him today, because it can give us the strength and understanding needed to do his will.

    Living Life Through the Lens of Scripture

    Play Episode Listen Later Nov 13, 2020 8:47


    We all see the world through our own lens. The media we partake of—the news we read, the podcasts we listen to, the videos we watch—shapes that lens. But Fr. Mike says there’s one thing that should be shaping our lens more than anything else: scripture. Fr. Mike has read The Fulfillment of All Desire by Ralph Martin many times, and one point that Mr. Martin makes that has stuck with Fr. Mike is that every saint had a Biblical worldview. The lens through which they saw the world was the Bible, and that changed everything. We read, watch, and listen to a lot of things. But what are those books, articles, shows, and podcasts leaving us with? How are they shaping us? Fr. Mike makes sure to only spend time with media that will give him insight, media that’s worth his time. But more and more, perhaps like you, he’s been yearning for more of a Biblical worldview, and that seems to be scarce. That’s when Father decided to make the change he wanted to see. In the Bible in a Year podcast, Fr. Mike Schmitz walks you through the entire Bible in 365 episodes, providing commentary, reflection, and prayer along the way. Unlike any other Bible podcast, Ascension’s Bible in a Year Podcast follows a reading plan inspired by The Great Adventure Bible Timeline, a ground-breaking approach to understanding salvation history developed by renowned Catholic Bible teacher Jeff Cavins. With this podcast, you won’t just read the Bible in a year … you’ll finally understand how all the pieces of the Bible fit together to tell an amazing story that continues in your life today! The more you read the Bible, the more you realize that the story of salvation is your story. As the author of Ecclesiastes reminds us, “there is nothing new under the sun.” The rise and fall of kings, the struggle between good and evil, the fight to be faithful in a broken world. The deeper you dive, the more familiar you’ll find it. This is the perspective that the saints had: a Biblical worldview. You can sign up to get updates on the podcast as the release date approaches (January 1st, 2021) as well as download the reading plan so that you can follow along (https://tinyurl.com/yyhc2pcj). If you don’t already have The Great Adventure Bible, you can get one at Ascension (https://tinyurl.com/y56z8l9l) so that you’re reading the same translation as Fr. Mike. It’s also the only Bible with The Great Adventure Bible Timeline built in—the same system that Father will be using for the podcast. If you prefer to read in Spanish, Ascension just released The Great Adventure Bible en Español as well (https://tinyurl.com/yyonobmf). You can find The Bible in a Year (with Fr. Mike Schmitz) on Apple Podcasts (https://tinyurl.com/y6n6ectu), Spotify (https://tinyurl.com/yylr9r3x), or anywhere else you listen to podcasts. God bless you!


    The Virtue That Takes Virtue to the Next Level

    Play Episode Listen Later Nov 5, 2020 8:54

    Fr. Mike introduces us to the virtue that makes other virtues excellent: magnanimity. If someone asked you what the most essential virtues are, you might say humility, faith, hope, or love. But have you ever heard of the virtue of magnanimity? What this virtue does is it magnifies—or makes greater—other virtues within someone. In other words, it’s to strive for excellence. This is not to be confused with the vice of pride, which relies on the gifts of oneself without acknowledging any help that may come from another person or even God. Instead, a magnanimous person sees the gifts God has given them and chooses to emphasize them in their life as a way to honor him. Consequently, every saint must be magnanimous; they must be great for the Lord. Even saints who have the most different and opposite lifestyles become one in the same, purely through their desire to be excellent, not for the sake of themselves, but as a “thank you” to the Lord. One way to strive for magnanimity is to avoid the temptation to it’s opposing vice, which is pusillanimity. Pusillanimity is the direct opposite of magnanimity: it’s to shy away from the gifts God has given you, out of timidity. This is different from humility, because where humility is acknowledging that your gifts are not your own, pusillanimity is refraining from using those gifts in the first place. By embracing the gifts God has given us and using them to glorify him, we are being magnanimous. It doesn’t matter what stage of life you’re in, how old you are, or what your gifts consist of. All of us have the opportunity to be magnanimous, and all of us have the opportunity to be saints.

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