- Indie Catholic Authors: Basics of critique groups
- Joy Stories: Church teaching changed our ives by Tima Borges
- CMom: When highs become lows — what can we do?
- Friars Corner: Come, I will show you how to save people
Why a critique group?
We all need motivation to persevere. We take time from our writing because we need:
Our conversion story starts 10 years into our marriage. While Dave and I were both raised in Catholic families, we had a vague understanding of what it meant to be Catholic. We attended Mass on most Sundays, prayed occasionally, mostly in time of struggle and went to confession once or twice a year. (Lent and Advent) We followed the minimum precepts of the Catholic faith.
What struggles and sadness are you experiencing? What victories and joys are you celebrating?
Sometimes we hesitate to give our all to enjoy the highs because we fear a low will burst the bubble of joy. We know what’s to come. Eventually, our highs will suddenly or gradually take us down. What good are these highs and lows?
Our Church Fathers call the highs consolations and the lows desolations. Father Jean-Pierre de Caussade, S.J., a French Jesuit priest who died in 1751, wrote much about these highs and lows. A paragraph from his Abandonment to Divine Providence developed as the theme of a recent prayer meeting:
Jonah 3:1-5, 10; Ps 25:4-9; 1 Cor 7:29-31; Mk 1:14-20
In the early weeks after we celebrated the Birthday of Jesus, our Sunday Gospels are looking at the beginning of Jesus’ public ministry. After the arrest of John the Baptist, Jesus begins his preaching ministry. Knowing that he needed help he walked along the Sea of Galilee and called his first four disciples: Peter, Andrew, James and John. In their day, they were professional fishermen in their home base of Capernaum. Jesus called them to leave that business and help him catch people. Jesus was such an attractive and compelling person that they left fishing and went with Jesus.
As I drove toward the intersection, the light turned yellow, then red. I stopped, thankful that at least I would be the first driver out of the gate after this, the longest stoplight on our route. A red pickup truck pulled beside our car on the driver’s side, and I saw a little smiling face looking at me from the passenger window. I was eye-to-eye with a girl about 5 or 6 years old. Her glistening eyes kept looking at me. Joy flooded her face. I stared wide-eyed at her and instinctively smiled back.
When she looked away briefly to dance a doll on her knees, I continued grumbling to my husband about our late start to meet our son, daughter-in-law and grandson for his birthday dinner.
Some people go through an entire life not knowing their purpose or why God has given them the gifts he has. Up until June of 2010, I was a secure, self-employed businessman, married for 35 years, with two adult children as partners in our enterprise. My priorities were golf, business, family, and God in that order.
I met Jim Caviezel at the Catholic Men’s Conference in 2010, and he invited me to Medjugorje. At the time, Medjugorje was not on my radar; in fact I could not even spell it or know where it was. After the invite, I boldly told Jim, “Do not get your hopes up. I am not flying 15 hours to say a rosary.” Today I pray the rosary not say the rosary.