Faith Before Fellowship: The American Catholic Almanac



Lately, preparing my kids  for the home schooling day has included preparing them for evangelizing their faith

by reminding them what good Catholic company they’ve been in for centuries.

I’ve been reading to them at the breakfast table from The American Catholic Almanac by Brian Burch and Emily Stimpson.


I want my kids to love and know their faith, like many before them have loved and known their faith.
  It’s not about boasting, its about humbly praising God
for continually lifting up new saints for every generation
to give us hope and direction in our own times.

Few people these days would likely  acknowledge that the Catholic Church is responsible for the evangelization of nearly the entire world.

Sadly, more people recognize anti-Catholicism as one of the last acceptable prejudices.

Maybe its time to learn our story and embrace our spiritual heritage.

Maybe it’s time to encourage each other to live our faith richly.

I think the authors of The American Catholic Almanac, Brian Burch and Emily Stimpson had this in mind.

Catholic hearts, filled with love for Jesus Christ, have been involved in serving others in all aspects of life including the spread of modern medicine,  education, the

preservation of Holy Scripture, and the promotion of human rights.

The American Catholic Almanac is filled with stories of Catholics throughout history who courageously held to their beliefs and formed our country.

  Each day tells a little known tale from that particular date, that with some reflection can be applied to our present time.

April 10th, for example reminds us of a conversation being had between the Duke of Norfolk and St Thomas More in the movie A Man For All Seasons.

NorfolkOh confound all this. I’m not a scholar.

  I don’t know whether the marriage was lawful or not but dammit, Thomas, look at these names! 

Why can’t you do as I did and come with us,

for fellowship?

More craftily repliesAnd when we die,

and you are sent to heaven for doing your conscience

and I am sent to hell for not doing mine,

will you come with me,

for fellowship?”

What wonderful discussion ensued with my teens as we considered the way the world pressures us to betray our consciences,

so we can feel the fellowship of others.

Our faith and the real love that springs from it is not about feeling good and “fitting in”. 

Hanging on a cross did not feel good. A criminal’s death was the antithesis of “fitting in”.

The American Catholic Almanac tales remind us to ask for the mind and heart of a martyr 

and allow our fiery love for Jesus Christ to motivate all we do.

So thank you Brian and Emily,

for sharing your research on our great forefathers in faith.

I envision a whole new volume of saint books on the shelves of future Catholic home schoolers springing from the short stories told The American Catholic Almanac.

And we’ll be reminded that our narrative of Catholic heroes

 can be celebrated by our children. 


Tribute to the Humility of the Little Flower

“There is more value in a little study of humility and in a single act of it than in all the knowledge of the world.”

St Therese of Lisieux

With these words of Therese in mind, God says…

“Waste no more time.

No more preoccupation with yourself.

It is time to start looking for the many ways I will present myself to you today.
Say often: “I will seek Him whom my heart loves. ( Song of Songs 3:2)

Each person you encounter is My work of art….

 My image and likeness.

Frame this artwork. Stop and study him or her. Look deep into the heart and see what I see.

Love there.

Take note of their longing, their ache and their need. Give Me to them. Give Love to them.

This may be simply an encouraging word, a listening heart, a willingness to serve.

I give you now, at this moment,

 the gift of remembering

that when you encounter another person

 you are encountering Me.

You must imitate Me in this way.

 You look often in mirrors and are fascinated with self image.

 You are often preoccupied with how you appear to yourself or to others.

I am preoccupied with My image too-

but only by looking into the mirror of My image and likeness

into the hearts of the persons I have made.

All persons preoccupy Me.

Think of My constant and persistent gaze of love for you.

I watch you beneath my cross as I offer My life and crucified Body for you.

I gaze at you for hours from the monstrance in adoration.

I remain silently and humbly hidden in the Tabernacle of My love….waiting for reverent genuflection.

I am persistent in my outward gaze.

Keep removing obstacles to this work by going to confession.

This mercy I provide keeps the flow of grace from Me abundant.

This grace gives you direction on where to seek, eagerness for the search, and wisdom on how to love when you find Me.

Keep consuming My Word each morning

as I summon you to prayer and meditation.

It places words of Mine in your heart so they are ready to give as food to those who hunger.

And keep consumimg My Flesh and My Blood each day at Holy Mass. 

Nowhere else can I possess you so fully

so as to form your body

into a sacrifice for others like unto My Body.

Our union is so necessary and so powerful

in your becoming Me and offering My love to others.

Let my Mother guide you and listen to her correction. 

Seek her as  refuge and a comfort.  Rest with her when you tire.  Rely on her protection when you are beseiged with temptations and rejections.

Now go!  I have made this day for you. 

Begin your search with zeal.

Come back tome at day’s end and tell me where you met Me and how you loved

so we can rejoice together!

If you fail, I am there to offer forgiveness and new graces of refreshment and light.

We are meant for each other and I will never abandon you.

Stay faithful to the search for Me .  Stay faithful for I am with you-

reminding you again and again of our work and our joy in the journey.

Go now!   Humbly seek my face!

St Therese of Lisiseux, pray for us!