The Fr. Mike Schmitz Catholic Podcast

By Ascension

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Subscribers: 909
Reviews: 5


 Aug 3, 2020
A fantastic Catholic perspective


 Jun 30, 2019


 Mar 7, 2019

Eric
 Nov 8, 2018
Being a new father forced me to really think about my life and how I want to raise my family and one area that I was weak was my faith. I can't stress how much these podcasts have helped me grow. They make me excited to be able to raise my children as Catholics!

paige
 Aug 4, 2018
Always insightful and a quick listen.

Description

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

Episode Date
The Absolute Necessity of Saying "Thank You"
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.
Nov 26, 2020
Let Yourself Wrestle with God
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.
Nov 19, 2020
Living Life Through the Lens of Scripture
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!
Nov 13, 2020
The Virtue That Takes Virtue to the Next Level
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.
Nov 05, 2020
Regret vs. Repentance
8:05
Fr. Mike talks about how to regret things we’ve done without staying stuck in the past. Have you ever heard the saying “don’t regret the past, because it’s made you into the person you are today?” Maybe you’ve heard something similar to that, and while there’s truth to this saying, there’s also something that we as Christians should be aware of. Sometimes we make mistakes. We do things we wished we hadn’t. Sometimes, we hurt those we love in the process. We never want to live in the past—burdened by the mistakes we’ve made—but it’s safe to say that all of us have done things that didn’t make us the people God wants us to be. There’s a difference between regret and repentance, and it can be best seen when comparing St. Peter to Judas. Both men sinned gravely against the Lord: Peter denying him during the time of his Passion and Judas delivered him to crucifixion. The difference is, where Peter regretted his sins and repented, Judas let his sin consume him. It’s okay to regret the things we’ve done in the past that took us away from the path of God, but we can’t dwell in this regret. Instead, we have to do something about it. We have to repent. Repentance is what gives us the strength to forgive ourselves and continue striving for the kingdom of Heaven. When we repent, we surrender ourselves and our mistakes to the Lord, and then he can use those mistakes to glorify our lives. God can use everything—even our worst sins—for our path towards eternity. Nothing given to God is ever wasted.
Oct 29, 2020
Why Married Couples Must Be Open to Children
9:20
Do you have any “expectations” when you think about marriage? A lot of us probably think of marriage as broadly the same thing: two people coming together in love to spend the rest of their lives together. But when we start to dive into the specifics of that idea, it’s important to recognize what expectations are of the world, and which are of God. One of these expectations could be the willingness to have kids. The Church teaches, however, that in the case of sacramental marriage, it is asked and even expected of the couple that they be open to life throughout their marriage. This is why the priest performing the ceremony and marriage prep asks the couple if they are freely, fruitfully, fully, and faithfully entering the sacrament with their spouse. Unfortunately, our world often tells us that marriage doesn’t need to be open to life. People will even sometimes say it’s selfish and reckless to bring children into a world that is so broken. But the truth of the matter is that a marriage can’t be sacramental without an openness to life, and that’s a big deal. Children are the purpose of marriage. It’s the one relationship where people have kids. Now, of course, people have sex outside of marriage that could result in kids, but we recognize that the act of sex is best placed in the context of a commited, lifelong relationship, such as marriage. Because of this, an openness to children must be present in a relationship for that couple to pursue a sacramental marriage. It’s a gift of self to another, ordered towards the procreation and education of children. Now, what about couples who can’t have kids, or are past the age of childbearing? Those marriages are no less sacramental than the ones that have children, so long as they’re still open to the procreation of children. It’s the orientation towards the task of procreation that’s important, not the achievement of it. Bottom line is, sacramental marriage is a gift of self towards another, totally, fruitfully, fully, and faithfully. Without an openness to life and the procreation of children, this gift of self is not full, and therefore does not hold the ability to be a sacrament of God. It’s an essential part of God’s plan for romantic intimacy, and must be separated from whatever “expectations” the world may have for marriage.
Oct 22, 2020
Why You Can’t Put Your Faith in People
9:53
Have you ever been shaken by a scandal in the Church? It’s hard not to have been, especially amidst scandals on a major scale or ones involving people we’ve looked up to and loved. When these things come to light, it’s common for people to start to blame the Church, and—sometimes—to leave their faith. If we feel the need to reexamine our belief in God and the Church because of something someone else did, maybe our faith should have been in God and not a person who’s broken just like us. We’re incredibly blessed to have such a vast community of Christian believers in our world who strive towards the way of Christ and in many ways dedicate their lives to the service of others. But just because they’re followers of Christ doesn’t mean they’re perfect. As humans we have a natural inclination towards sin that we’ve inherited from the first sin of Adam. And it’s important that we see this for what it is, because if we put our faith in anyone other than our Creator, we put our faith in someone that can’t satisfy our hearts. Let’s ask God to help us build a stronger relationship with him so that always look to the foundation of the Church and the faithfulness of God instead of putting our hope in the ways of man.
Oct 15, 2020
Why Are We So Divided Right Now?
8:02
Is it just us, or does the world seem a bit divided right now? Human beings were not only created with a unique purpose, but also created to live in community. However, there are two things that can disrupt this call: division and distraction. Why these two? Well, distractions are things that take us away from a given task or goal, taking us away from living with a purpose. Likewise, division takes away from living in community with those around us. The twentieth century brought with it innumerable inventions of distraction: things like television, radio, computers, etc. All of these products are great innovations that have moved us forward in our abilities to create community and showcase our unique strengths, but they’ve also put distraction at our fingertips. It’s not just technology that has caused distractions either. We can become distracted by virtually anything: chores, work, leisurely activities. But when we’re distracted, we’re held back from the task at hand, and the ongoing task for all of us is to live in community, and live with purpose. What does that mean for something like politics? Well, if you’re American, you basically have two political responsibilities as an American citizen: educate yourself well on the politics in your country, and vote whenever elections come around. Anything other than those two tasks are distractions from the purpose of politics. When it comes to division, our country has definitely had its fair share. So how do we fight against this division that seems to be splitting our country? Through conversation and through kindness. We’re called to be united in community with those around us, so much so that Jesus refers to them as our brothers and sisters. Division won’t be conquered easily, but if we’re willing to converse, listen, and treat each other with kindness, we can get a couple strides closer to the community God desires for us.
Oct 08, 2020
Which Is Better? The Rosary vs. The Chaplet
10:21
“What if I don’t have time to pray both The Rosary and The Divine Mercy Chaplet?” Deciding how to spend your time in prayer can be difficult, especially when you’re deciding between two powerhouse prayers like The Rosary and The Chaplet. Let’s look at each of them. The Chaplet of Divine Mercy was gifted to Saint Faustina during a vision of Jesus. In this vision, he listed 14 promises (https://www.divinemercy.org/elements-...) to those who pray the chaplet. In the chaplet, the prayers revolve around the concepts of mercy and holiness for the whole world, and reflect the prayers and promises we make during the Mass. It’s an extremely powerful prayer for not only our own souls, but the sanctification of the world. On the other hand, we have The Rosary, which is an act of love toward the Mother of Jesus, who was given to us at the crucifixion. This prayer has been recommended countless times by almost every saint who’s ever lived—and by Mary herself in several apparitions! The Rosary is a reflection on not only Mary’s life, but the life and miracles of Jesus as well. It allows us to enter into those moments with Jesus, the apostles, and Mary by way of meditation. So, should we spend time in prayer on The Chaplet—which probably takes about 5-10 minutes—or on The Rosary, which will take maybe 20-30 minutes? Why not both? If you don’t feel like you have enough time for prayer, that’s worth looking into. The reality is, you don’t have to pray The Rosary every day, and you don’t have to pray The Chaplet every day. But why not pray both as much as you can? These prayers are gifts God has given every willing Christian, and they are pathways to Heaven. So why not?
Oct 01, 2020
Is It Ever Okay to Give Up?
10:26
You may have seen the movie Rudy. Its eponymous protagonist is a not-so-athletic college football player who spent years taking hits and practicing with his team, only to see a few moments on the field. Those short moments, however, left him with a tremendous feeling of accomplishment and pride, knowing that he committed to something and saw it through, even when it seemed hopeless. The question: is that always the right approach? Maybe if Rudy had dedicated that time to learning something he was naturally better at, he could have become an expert in his field. The choice Rudy made was made out of passion: he loved the game to the point of dedicating his college career to it, and not caring if the outcome wasn’t what he had expected. But what about bigger dreams? The dream of getting married, having kids, getting into a certain religious order, entering into a certain profession? Is there ever a point where you just have to give it up? There are a few things it’s never okay to give up. It’s never okay to give up hope itself. Hope is trust in the Lord extended into the future, knowing that he will always be with you in whatever circumstances you find yourself in. It’s also never okay to give up faith, God’s promises, or life itself. However, it is okay—and sometimes wise—to reevaluate certain outcomes, and realize that maybe it’s time to adjust your expectations. How do you know when to do that? When reality makes it obvious. For Rudy, that might have meant recognizing that he wasn’t going to be a starter on his football team. It’s still okay for him to want to be a part of the team in some way, and maybe get playing time one day, but reality must be acknowledged and accepted in these situations, or else we risk chasing empty expectations. This doesn’t mean you have to give up on your dreams, or that you can’t do anything: it just means you can’t do everything. Maybe your dream is to have a family, but you and your spouse can’t get pregnant. You might not be able to conceive, but you can still adopt, or be a foster parent. Accepting the reality of your current situation means having a dream, realizing it’s place in your life, and then asking, “Okay God, now what do you want me to do?” The outcome may not be what you had expected or planned, but if it’s with the Lord, it will still be good. And once we accept this reality, we will start to see that the real work is being done in our character, and that’s the power of trying. It may not make you the kind of person you had planned to be, but it will make you the kind of person that God wants you to be.
Sep 24, 2020
The Real Answer to Why God Allows Suffering
8:29
Playing a video game called Injustice helps Fr. Mike explain the real answer to why God allows suffering. In Injustice, Superman becomes a totalitarian dictator in his attempt to try and eliminate evil. Batman tries to tell him, in trying to eliminate evil he has ceased to do good, because without the freedom to choose evil, we don’t really have the freedom to choose good either. Couldn’t God do better than Superman though? Couldn’t he just fix everything by bringing us back to the Garden of Eden? Anyone who is a parent knows that doesn’t work because God’s children—us—would just mess up again. So what does God actually do? He doesn’t eliminate evil. He draws close to us in the midst of evil. He suffers a painful death. He descends to the depths of hell. He doesn’t take away suffering. He transforms it and redeems it by entering into it. This led St. Paul to say: “Now I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake, and in my flesh I complete what is lacking in Christ’s afflictions for the sake of his body, that is, the church” (Colossians 1:24). St. John Paul II said in suffering we receive a sliver of the Cross. Our suffering matters because Christ’s suffering matters and we are his body. All we have to do is tell God to use our suffering. Nothing given to God is ever wasted, so give it to God.
Sep 10, 2020
What It’s Really Like to Be a Catholic Speaker
7:44
Many people ask Fr. Mike, “How do you become a Catholic speaker?” The quick answer is “Get baptized and start talking.” Of course this implies that you live out the promises of your baptism. When you do that, people will start asking you to give talks about the Faith. At least that’s how it worked out for Fr. Mke. The caveat is that being a Catholic speaker is not all that it seems to be. The Faith is not going to spread throughout the world through someone on a stage with a microphone in hand. Christ will redeem the world through relationships, especially family and friendships. The danger is in thinking that giving talks equals ministry. The Catholic teacher, director of religious education, and volunteer are in the messy relationships that make disciples of Christ one person at a time. We don’t want to become someone who is willing to travel a thousand miles to tell a thousand people about Christ, but isn’t willing to cross one street to tell one person about him. Jesus first reached out to his twelve disciples and built strong relationships with them. Then people started coming to him. When you live an authentic Christian life founded upon a strong relationship with Christ and with others in Christ, people start noticing. You won’t have to aspire to be a Catholic speaker because those who are looking for a leader in the Faith will ask you to be one.
Sep 03, 2020
How to Get Real Friends
7:02
How many real friends do you have? Honestly, many people we call friends would probably better qualify as pals or buddies. The first step to getting real friends is to recognize how we are all made to be gifts of love. God is love and we were made in his image. We were also made for community, because God is a community of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Living out this love and community as God does requires availability and vulnerability. By availability we mean “care-free timelessness”, as Catholic evangelist Matthew Kelly calls it. By vulnerability we mean taking off the mask. This is the really hard part. As a missionary Fr. Mike knows once said, vulnerability is not just transparency. Transparency is letting someone look into the fish bowl. Vulnerability is inviting them into the fishbowl and letting them move things around. How can we all learn to grow in love, community, availability, and vulnerability so we can become real friends to others and live as the image of God in the world?
Aug 27, 2020
If You’re Not Feeling Loved
9:58
If you’re not feeling loved by someone you love, take courage in the story of Leah in Genesis. Jacob, Leah’s husband, did not love her. In fact, what’s even worse, he loved her sister, Rachel, instead. Leah named her first three sons out of her hope and desire for her husband to love her, thinking if she bore him sons he would love him. She named her first “Reuben” which means, “Look, a son,” saying, “Now my husband will love me.” She named her second son “Simeon” which means “listening” because she felt the Lord heard her prayer for Jacob to love her. She named her third son “Levi” which means “joined together” because she believed this time her husband will finally be joined to her. By the time she had her fourth son, she named him Judah, which means “may God be praised.” She finally stopped trying to make Jacob love her, and instead she let go and let God take over. It’s no coincidence that Jesus would be born from the line of Judah. Some people love people the way they know how to love, and the beloved just doesn’t notice. A father may love her daughter through acts of service rather than words of affirmation or quality time. Others may simply not love you, but that does not mean you’re unlovable. You’re chosen by God for a reason only you can know. Do not wait for someone else to give you the love that God the Father has already given you.
Aug 20, 2020
Freedom from the Fear of Death
7:54
Wearing masks, not wearing masks, and all the mixed emotions that have come with the coronavirus reveal that—as a society—we lack freedom from the fear of death. Maybe you know someone who has died from the virus, or someone who lost their livelihood due to the lockdown. Many are wondering when they can safely go out again, or when they can they go back to Mass. In fact, the coronavirus is revealing the fear of not just death, but also the fear of loss, uncertainty, and insecurity. In these strange times, it’s encouraging to remember the one who conquered death. In Hebrews we read: “Since therefore the children share in flesh and blood, he himself likewise partook of the same nature, that through death he might destroy him who has the power of death, that is, the devil, and deliver all those who through fear of death were subject to lifelong bondage” (Hebrews 2:14-15). In a world without Jesus, death ought to be feared because it is a separation from life and everything good. But Christ has transformed life and death. This does not mean suffering and grief simply don’t matter, but in our suffering we have hope that death is not the end. Living life is risky. About eight out of a thousand people die every year, COVID-19 aside (https://www.macrotrends.net/countries/WLD/world/death-rate). But the meaning of life is so much more than avoiding death. Frankly, some things are worse than death and some things are more important than our lives on earth. We are called to embrace the risks of life and live in hope … while still taking reasonable health precautions.
Aug 13, 2020
Believing in a God Who Allows Evil
9:37
It may sound foolish to believe in a God who allows evil, tragedy, suffering, and disasters. But God never promised to rid the world of these things. He promised us hope: “and hope does not disappoint us, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us” (Romans 5:5). At some point we are going to experience heartbreak, loss, and suffering. Anyone who thought having faith in God would take away those things in life had the wrong idea of who God is. Fr. Mike says he has never been disappointed in God, because he knows what promises God did make. God is faithful. He will never break his promises, but he never promised that you would not experience grief. He did promise that in the midst of the pain he will be there. In being there, he will help you to love the giver of peace more than the gift of peace. Discipleship is a daily cross. God promised trouble, not peace. He encouraged us to take heart in the midst of that trouble, and that’s how we grow stronger and holier. There will be floods and fire and sickness and tragedy. Turn to the one who promised he will be there with you through it all to help carry you through it. When we feel we have been let down by God the most, those are the times when trust in him means the most.
Aug 06, 2020
Why Are Some People So Annoying?
7:38
We all have pet peeves. We all get annoyed by things that really don’t matter much, whether it’s someone chewing with their mouth open, or someone whispering the Rosary in an Adoration chapel—which are two things that used to be pet peeves for Fr. Mike. But he learned a better way to deal with annoyances. Why do we get so annoyed by such petty things? It’s because being annoyed is a choice. Fr. Mike tells a quick story about prisoners of war in Vietnam. They were put in a really small cell where they were so close together they had to sleep touching each other. The prisoners came to an agreement that if they were annoyed by something another prisoner does, the one who is annoyed is the one at fault. This helped them rise about their situation. There are four possible choices when you’re annoyed: I can choose to be annoyed. This is not recommended. I can actively choose to rise above the annoyance and grow in patience. I can do something about it and let it move me to positive action. Instead of saying that person annoys me, I can say that person sanctifies me. Next time you get annoyed, try numbers two through four.
Jul 30, 2020
How Certain Is Your Faith?
6:43
Is your faith certain enough to stand up against the doubts and different ideas out there? Fr. Mike shares insight about certainty from Dr. Montague Brown, professor of philosophy at St. Anselm College, New Hampshire. Dr. Brown says certainty is intellectual belief based off the evidence. It’s not blind belief. Someone with certainty is not going to change their mind without new objective evidence. Many times people change their mind not because of new evidence, but just because of new people in their lives. They’ve simply been exposed to new behavior. This happens to students in college quite often. Christianity is evidential. It hinges upon an indisputable event, the life and death of Jesus. If you’re from a small town, you may think the way you were raised is just part of your small town’s way of thinking, and that a well-known university in a big city must have a broader, more enlightened way of thinking. But really, the university is just as subject to its way of thinking as the small town is. The culture of a university is just as insulated as that of a small town. Don’t get so caught up in the culture around you that you give in to new ideas without evidence—whether that culture is a university, a new workplace, new friends, new family, or a new city. Let your faith always be backed up by the evidence. Fr. Mike is certain in his belief that Christianity will then always come out on top.
Jul 23, 2020
Who You Are vs. Who You’re Called to Be
7:50
Fr. Mike recalls the speed math tests he took in second and third grade. He finished them in decent time, but his cousin—who was in the same class—finished them way faster. In fact, his cousin was the fastest in his class. For some reason this led Fr. Mike to believe he simply wasn’t good at math. When it came to “speak and spell” though, Fr. Mike did really well. This led him to believe he was really good with words. He was acting under the common belief that someone is either good at something or bad at something. In Carol S. Dweck’s book, Mindset, she speaks of fixed mindsets—like Fr. Mike had— and growth mindsets, which challenge us to grow. Fr. Mike shares the findings of a study that observed two groups of children. The first group was given tests and were told “You’re really smart” when they finished them. The second group was told “You really worked hard on that.” When the tests got harder, the first group started giving up, but the latter group doubled down and rose to the challenge. God works with us as if we were in the second group. He sees us for who we are, but approaches us as we could be. Confession is our opportunity to try harder next time. We are called to the struggle, because struggle is growth. The victory is not in never failing, but in getting back up and rising to the challenge.
Jul 16, 2020
How to Share the Gospel (and How Not To)
6:40
If you want to know how to share the gospel, it’s important to have the love and courage to not just give answers and corrections, but to ask questions. It is in asking questions from the heart that you convey true interest in the person’s soul, instead of just trying to convince the person you’re right. Fr. Mike tells of a time when a student came to him saying he tries to evangelize, but just gets shut down. He tried to tell his good friend that he shouldn’t be over-drinking, and this just made his friend mad. Fr. Mike told this student, that’s not evangelization. That’s correction. A good friend or pastor, depending on the relationship, may be in a position to offer correction to those they love. But evangelizing is a different conversation. Evangelization is introducing Christ to others. That’s why Fr. Mike suggests asking questions when trying to introduce Christ to someone, because questions are a natural part of two people getting to know each other. If you are being Christ to someone, by asking them questions they are getting to know Christ just as much as you are getting to know them. Furthermore, asking genuine questions establishes a relationship and shows you are interested in where the person is coming from. Also, it’s OK not to know the answers. Sometimes we get caught up in the concept communicated in St. Peter’s words: “Always be prepared to make a defense to any one who calls you to account for the hope that is in you, yet do it with gentleness and reverence” (1 Peter 3:15). There will be a time for that, but when that time comes the Holy Spirit will give you the words to say (Luke 12:12). Be content with just getting to know the person better first. Also check out Ascension’s parish mission program, The 99: A New System for Evangelization
Jul 09, 2020
Striving vs. Abiding
8:53
In the spiritual life, it’s difficult to know whether striving to do God’s will or just abiding in him is better. But why can’t we do both? Fr. Mike tells the story of a perpetually active student athlete. His inability to disengage in doing things and just abide in God was a problem, and he knew it. Fr. Mike advised him, it’s not that abiding is right and striving is wrong. It’s important to do, but it’s important to also know what not to do in order to acquire the goal your living for. There are many reasons why we choose to commit to activities, whether it’s for fear of missing out, liking being needed, needing to be liked. The list goes on. But if I find myself unable to rest, do I have a clear vision of what I really want out of life? Being slightly engaged and not knowing what you’re striving for can be more exhausting than being fully engaged while knowing what you’re striving for. It’s important to know when, where, and how I need rest, to know when to just abide in God, like Mary and not Martha (see Luke 10:38-42). In any given hour, you can be called to strive like Martha in one moment and abide like Mary in the next; to do something one moment and just be in the next. The best thing is when you know you’re doing the right thing and you get to abide in God as well because you know you’re doing his will.
Jul 02, 2020
Finding Balance in Your Walk with Jesus
8:39
Rigidity and laxity are difficult obstacles to avoid when trying to find balance in your faith life. When we treat Christianity as a project, that leads to rigidity. When we treat Christianity like a projection, that leads to laxity. If you’re just looking at what Christians are supposed to do and then following those instructions, you’re treating your faith like a project and that’s bound to make you rigid. At the other extreme, if you see Jesus as a softy or a buddy who’s going to look the other way when you do the wrong thing, that’s just your projection of who he is. This mentality is bound to make you lax. How do we escape these two extremes? Here’s an analogy from Fr. Mike. When a pilot gets ready to fly a plane, he has a certain trust that the plane will fly, but he still has to check that everything is working properly before taking off. Also, he still has to check the controls even as he is flying and putting his life in the plane’s hands. There is a symbiotic balance between trust and diligence here. That’s what walking with Jesus should be like. Let’s take Christ seriously. He is infinitely loving. Let’s take grace seriously. God’s grace is infinite. However, it requires application. When you say, “Jesus, I trust in you” those words should help you not only let go, but also take a leap of faith and faith without works is dead (James 2:17).
Jun 25, 2020
Make Small Sacrifices for a Big Change
7:43
Making small sacrifices is not just for Lent, because sacrifices and penance are necessary. As Christ said: “If any man would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me” (Luke 9:23). And this is true all year long. But when Jesus said to deny yourself, he didn’t mean to always go against what you want. Really. He meant there are things I want that will not make me more like him—a lot of things, actually. So following him often means dying to self by denying myself those things. Mortifications—little deaths to self—make us more like Jesus and can be offered up for the sanctification of the world and others. Mortification can come in many different forms. It’s not always denying yourself something you want. Sometimes it means doing something you don’t want. Sloth or greed can cause us to not do things we should do. Choosing not to be slothful or greedy often means doing something for someone else—and this is a little death to self. Love is the not-so-secret ingredient that helps us die to self. The entire gospel and Jesus’ life are about love. He is constantly telling us and showing us how to love one another and God. That’s because when we learn to love, dying to self becomes so much easier since we start living for God and others. Life is hard when we’re selfish, but when we live for love we see what Christ means when he says “my yoke is easy, and my burden is light” (Matthew 11:30). You may also like No Greater Love: A Biblical Walk Though Christ’s Passion (https://bit.ly/2BjgNu5)
Jun 18, 2020
Family: Your Shortcut to Holiness
9:08
Fr. Mike explains how being at home with our family is one of God’s favorite ways to make us holy—if we are honest about the areas where we need to grow in our relationships with family members. Fr. Mike has observed that college students often have a profound encounter with Jesus through their college’s Catholic community. They find that they are praying more, receiving the sacraments more, participating in more service opportunities, and so on. Then they get back home for Thanksgiving, Christmas, or—in the most recent cases—a lockdown. They realize, in their interactions with their family that they’re not as holy as they thought they were. Why do we struggle to be loving toward those whom we claim to love the most? It’s harder to love family members sometimes because—Fr. Mike explains—you didn’t get to choose this group, and they can make demands on you. It’s easy to be generous when it’s on your own terms. Our relationships with our family can reveal the impatience and lack of generosity inside us—the unedited version of us. Be honest with God and admit that the things you thought you defeated are still somewhere inside you. Surrender these things to Jesus. Don’t be afraid to be vulnerable with your family. They love you. Ask family members where they want you to grow this week. Pursue holiness at home. Like St. Teresa of Calcutta said, find your own Calcutta.
Jun 11, 2020
Special Episode: Reconciling the Body of Christ (with Fr. Josh Johnson)
1:19:32
In today’s special podcast, Fr. Mike Schmitz sits down with Fr. Josh Johnson to discuss racial division in the Church and how Catholics can strive to restore unity in the Body of Christ. Fr. Josh emphasizes that he is not infallible, so it’s okay to disagree with anything he says that doesn’t lead you closer to Christ, but he hopes this conversation bears fruit in your walk with Jesus and within the body of Christ. Many members of the Church want to know what they can do during these turbulent times. Fr. Josh gives four practical pieces of advice: listen to learn, use specific language when speaking with each other, act as one Body in Christ, and join in the suffering of Jesus to make reparation for others’ sins. For full shownotes, please go to AscensionPress.com/FrMikePodcast Special Guest: Fr. Josh Johnson.
Jun 04, 2020
How to Practice the Presence of God
7:13
Throughout the Gospels Jesus says, “Remain in me” or “abide in me,” which—in simplified terms—means whatever you do, invite Jesus along. Ask him to “come with.” This is a way to grow in your relationship with him, but it’s also a smart thing to do because, after all, Jesus said: “I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in me, and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing” (John 15:5). When we ask someone to “come with” or “go with”, as Fr. Mike says they do in Minnesota, we are implying that we enjoy their company and even have a certain kind of love for them. When you love someone, you want them to come with you wherever you go. But “remain in me” means more than that. It also means gaze upon Jesus, not just at his face in a religious icon—though that could help—but gaze upon him with the interior gaze of the heart. Be aware that he is present. This shouldn’t be burdensome. It’s simple. Spending time with one you love is as easy as doing nothing. Thirdly, remaining in Christ means to speak to him. Tell him your dreams and desires. Ask him what he wills. When you do this keep in mind, the Lord is free. He is not robotic. He is free to love us as he wills, and sometimes that love is difficult—but it’s what we need. So next time you do something, anything, say, “Jesus, wanna go with?”
May 28, 2020
The Benefit of the Doubt
7:44
When someone says something hurtful to you, it is wise to give them the benefit of the doubt. What does that mean? It means ask yourself, “Do I firmly believe that this is a person of good will?” If so, is there anything that can help you better understand their behavior? Give them the benefit of the doubt that they are just tired, or “hangry”, or having a bad day for some reason. Especially in marital relationships, think of how many times your spouse has said hurtful things to you, while you knew that they still loved you. This is not to excuse hurtful behavior, and not a reason to tolerate being treated poorly, or to endure any kind of abuse. In many cases a person’s actions do reveal their heart. So we’re not talking about those cases. We’re not talking about people who manipulate others intentionally, and those who just willfully do evil. We’re talking about when people of good will just have a bad moment, or momentarily let their vain side get the best of them. The way we respond to an enemy and the way we respond to a friend is going to be different. Decide which one hurt you, and respond accordingly. www.ascensionpress.com/theFrMikeSchmitzPodcast
May 21, 2020
How Do You Pray with the Bible?
5:53
You know you should be praying. But do you ever wish someone would show you how? Fr. Mike starts by showing us how to pray with the Bible with a time-honored method called lectio divina. For full shownotes, please go to: https://bit.ly/2WYdL5F Monday, May 18 at 8 PM ET, Father Mike will answer your questions LIVE, for the first time ever on Ascension Presents! Whether your question is about why Catholics do the weird things they do, how you can overcome a specific challenge, or what Father’s favorite meal is, tune into the Ascension Presents YouTube channel to ask Father Mike live! https://bit.ly/2WUs1wp
May 14, 2020
The Christian Solution to Vanity
7:48
Vanity is not what many people think it is. It can come in many forms, and is not necessarily an infatuation with yourself. Vanity is an inordinate preoccupation with what other people think about you—which is different. It’s important, to an extent, to care what others think about you. It can even be charitable. But when this care becomes unbalanced, it leads to neglecting more important things. Wanting to be noticed can be vain, but not wanting to be noticed can also be vain. When you shrink back and don’t want anyone to look at you, it can be a form of vanity or false humility; because not wanting to be seen can be an indication that you care an inordinate amount about what people think of you. Vanity can also cause an unwillingness to share the Faith. Many times we think sharing the gospel will make people think less of us. How many times has the thought of what other people think prevented you from sharing the Faith? Balance is pertinent in every aspect of vanity, and the best way to achieve that balance is to care about what God thinks of you above all. These sayings about humility really sum it up well, since humility is the antidote to vanity: “Humility is not thinking less of yourself; it is thinking of yourself less” (Rick Warren, The Purpose-Driven Life). “If you meet a really humble man … He will not be thinking about humility: he will not be thinking about himself at all” (C.S. Lewis).
May 07, 2020
4 Essentials for Every Catholic
6:21
In a previous episode, Fr. Mike said that all Catholics grow in the same “soil” together, but the fruit we bear is unique. But what is this common soil? What are the essentials for every Catholic Christian? “And they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers.” So there are four elements in the soil: Teachings of the Apostles: Magisterial teaching of the Church, Sacred Scripture, and Tradition. Communal Life (Fellowship): It’s not just me praying to Jesus. We need to share life somehow. Breaking of the Bread: This refers to the Mass, not just eating together. Prayer: There are so many ways to pray as a Catholic, and so many awesome prayers. You can pray the Liturgy of the Hours with the Church, or in your own words, or both. But to be in the soil you have to pray. For a great Liturgy of the Hours app, check out iBreviary. God wants us to flourish in faith, hope, and love for him and for others. He is the one who makes us grow in holiness, but in order to flourish we have to be nourished by the soil he gave us.
Apr 30, 2020
How to Deal with Your Partner’s Sexual Sin
8:31
Fr. Mike talks about how to navigate discussions with your partner about sexual sin—whether it’s pornography, masturbation, or other impurity. It’s important to realize that sometimes a person doesn’t have a right to know everything about you immediately. Keeping this in mind, at what point does a couple have to be vulnerable about their sexual sins? After two months of dating, maybe six months? It’s quite possible—actually likely—that a person’s sexual sins are the most shameful part of his or her life, so when someone is not exposing those sins—no matter how long the couple has been together—it may just be that the person is not comfortable being that vulnerable with their partner yet. A person has a right to be hurt and mad if their partner is not revealing their sexual sins, but he or she should also ask if they had a right to that knowledge. Father Mike asserts that such knowledge doesn’t have to result in the end of the relationship. Once the sin has been revealed, it should stay revealed. Neither partner should just assume that it’s in the past and done with. It’s bound to come up again. If you’re struggling with sexual sin, your partner needs to know you are doing everything you can to defeat the sin. He or she probably shouldn’t be your accountability partner, but should be informed. If your partner is the one struggling, you ought to help him or her defeat the sin in whatever way you can. Both of you should champion romantic love, since it is a strong combatant against sexual sin.
Apr 23, 2020
Have You Mastered the Basics of Your Faith?
9:25
Fr. Mike makes the case that, before you claim a certain “style” in practicing the faith, you have to master the basics. He tells a story about when he was learning guitar. The teacher told his students to hold their guitar on an angle with their left knee higher than their right. This way they could play all kinds of music. Some of the students decided they wanted to hold the guitar their own way. This limited what they could play. Living the Faith is the same way. If you’re told to do something and don’t, is it because you can’t do it, or because you won’t? When practicing the Faith, you may say you’re not into prayer, or service, or witnessing about Jesus, but all these things are essential to growing in holiness. The saints are all different, true. Their fruit was unique, but the soil where they flourished is the same. Every saint started with prayer. They all did service, they all talked about Jesus. Fr. Mike recommends that we take advantage of all the riches our Catholic Faith gives us: the Rosary, Ignatian meditation, lectio divina, charismatic prayer, and so on. Let’s not limit our experience of God by saying some tradition is not our style.
Apr 16, 2020
Healing from the Wound of Sin
8:36
Fr. Mike explains how even partial healing from the wound of sin is still worth the effort. Don’t give up just because you know your sins will leave some stains and scars. God’s mercy can do amazing things in your life, even if it is just partially healed. No matter how massive and unforgivable you think your sins are, God’s mercy is infinitely greater. St. Thérèse of Lisieux said if you took all of the sins in the world throughout all of time and tossed them to God, it would be like flicking a drop of water into a raging inferno (paraphrased). Nonetheless, justice demands for sins to have consequences. God forgives the eternal effects, but there will be temporal consequences. We shouldn’t let those temporal consequences prevent us from living the life God wants us to live. God can use anything we give him. Just because you can’t do everything doesn’t mean you can’t do anything.
Apr 09, 2020
Does God Ever Lead Us into Temptation?
6:24
When we pray “lead us not into temptation”, it may seem like God has the capacity to tempt us. But that’s not the case. God does not tempt us, but he can and sometimes must put us through tests. Here are a four helpful ways to look at this part of the Our Father: Tests reveal things to us. When God tests us, it reveals how much faith, hope, and love we have in God and for God. Tests also strengthen us. As St. Paul says, “We rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope” (Romans 5:3-4). When we say, “lead us not into temptation”, what we’re really asking is “God, please don’t test me beyond my ability.” Trials will and must come, but when they do, we should ask God for no more than what we can endure. While God may not tempt us, the evil one does. God tests us by allowing the evil one to do what he does—so we can benefit from the strength and self-revelation that comes from the test. Hopefully this helps you say this part of the Our Father with more understanding and stronger intent.
Apr 02, 2020
God’s Ways Are Not Our Ways
5:30
Fr. Mike describes exactly how God works with us, even though God’s ways are not our ways. It’s like when a person you’re living with asks “What do you want for dinner?” and you say, “Whatever you want.” He then starts offering suggestions, but you turn them all down. After a few minutes of back and forth you both notice that what you really meant was not, “Whatever you want,” but, “You tell me what you want, and then give me the freedom to choose among those options.” This is a lot like the process God uses when you tell him, “Lord, just do what you need to do in my life.” People may not like the process, but it often works. When we tell God “just do whatever you want” more often than not he tells us to choose from a list of options. He respects our free will. If you ask him to purify your heart, that’s going to require breaking it so he can heal it. Trust the process, even if it’s going to hurt, and God will lead you to greater things.
Mar 26, 2020
How Should Catholics Respond to the Coronavirus Pandemic?
10:27
Fr. Mike gives us some advice about how we should respond to the coronavirus pandemic. He begins with the story of the recent pilgrimage he took to Israel amid the coronavirus outbreak. Israeli authorities were quarantining people in the country and canceling all flights except for citizens. Fr. Mike had to rush with his pilgrims and tour company to figure out what to do about their scheduled pilgrimage. At the very last minute, the tour company found a flight to Istanbul that allowed eight pilgrims, including Fr. Mike, to flee Tel Aviv. After successfully making it back home, he found that the original flight they had booked home was never cancelled. Moral of the story: everything’s a gamble. Some people, deeply convicted to speak the truth, may believe the reaction to COVID-19 is all for nothing, and that there is no need to cancel flights and even Masses. To those people, Fr. Mike asks, are we just being a critic toward those who have to make difficult choices? Worry, anxiety, fear and living in the what ifs won’t solve anything. Faith in God is the answer, faith that everything will turn out all right in the end. Some say this virus is a result of our faithlessness, and a call to repentance. Others say our reaction to it is an example of faithlessness. One thing is for certain: this is a call to faith as all adversity should be, but it is also a call to repentance as it should remind us of our frailty and mortality. How coincidental that we should be reminded of these things during Lent, which begins by telling us “You are dust and to dust you shall return,” and “Repent and believe in the gospel.” We can find a positive and negative side to any situation. How can we find the blessings amid this adversity? Pray. Be grateful. And cover your mouth when you cough.
Mar 19, 2020
Offering Up Your Inconveniences
5:56
A great way to make this Lent even better spiritually is to offer up not only something you chose, but also to offer up your inconveniences. Give God those moments when you’re stuck in traffic, or when someone says something bitter to you, or when you have to run an errand you just don’t want to run. Offer up those inconveniences that you didn’t choose, and God will make you stronger in them. Intentionally receive these moments, and let them provide the opportunity to die to self. The Lenten commitment we chose is an active mortification, but these inconveniences you didn’t ask for are passive mortifications. They’re powerful because we have no control over them, and yet we can have control over what we do with those moments. Accepting these passive mortifications is a way for us to grow in freedom, because through them we learn to accept and live graciously in the moments that would otherwise have control over us. In the words of St. Paul: “Now I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake, and in my flesh I complete what is lacking in Christ’s afflictions for the sake of his body, that is, the church” (Colossians 1:24). For full episode shownotes, visit AscensionPress.com (http://media.ascensionpress.com/podcast/offering-up-your-inconveniences/)
Mar 12, 2020
How to Start Strong and Stay Strong
8:02
Starting strong is easy, but staying strong—perseverance—is a mark of holiness. It’s easy to be excited about a new relationship, ministry, job, or school, but enduring through the dull times when that newness wears off is difficult. Fr. Mike is not trying to downplay the importance of starting strong with a commitment, whatever it may be. It’s wonderful to be determined when a commitment is new, but to stay strong is a test of will power that many do not pass. For those who do endure, the endurance builds character. See more from Fr. Mike at media.ascensionpress.com
Mar 05, 2020
How to Live This Lent for Others
6:56
Lent is about transformation, but that transformation will be incomplete if we make it about ourselves. Instead of aiming for self-mastery alone this Lent, what is the key to living this Lent for others? In 2 Samuel 7, when King David says he will build a house for the Lord, the Lord says to David through Nathan that he will not be the one to build the temple—but his son will. Learning from this story, we see that we may want to do a good and noble thing for Lent, but that doesn’t mean it’s what God wants us to do. Ask God what he wants from you this Lent. Discipline is great, but there’s a step after that: being generous. Asking God what he is asking of you, instead of deciding on your own, is a step from discipline to generosity, from self-mastery to deeper relationship. Aim to do your prayer, fasting, and almsgiving out of generosity.
Feb 27, 2020
Why Isn’t Ash Wednesday a Holy Day of Obligation?
8:24
Why is Ash Wednesday not a holy day of obligation? A holy day is a day that has been consecrated for God, so in that sense Ash Wednesday is a holy day. At the heart of a holy day of obligation, however, is the Resurrection. For this reason holy days of obligation are times to celebrate and feast. Even in the midst of Lent, we feast on Sundays to celebrate Christ’s resurrection. You may have noticed, Holy Thursday and Good Friday also are not holy days of obligation. This does not diminish their importance, though. It simply makes no sense to celebrate these days as obligatory feasts because they are supposed to bring to mind the death of our Lord and also our own death—our physical death, and our death to self in order to avoid spiritual death. God does not force us to take up our cross and follow him, but he does invite us. With that said, what better place to go to start Lent than to Mass? It is the beginning of a long journey, and we need the strength the Lord can give us through the Ash Wednesday readings and the Eucharist. And what better way to remind ourselves of the whole point of Lent, that we are dust and to dust we shall return, so we ought to repent and believe in the gospel. Ash Wednesday is not a holy day of obligation, but a holy day of invitation. For further reading, Fr. Mike mentions the story where Elijah, in a deep slumber, is awoken by a “messenger” who tells him to get up and eat. This story can be found in 1 Kings 19.
Feb 20, 2020
When Your Desires and God’s Plans Are Different
8:24
Just because you desire something deeply doesn’t mean it’s God’s plans for you. Sometimes our desires and God’s will are different. Our desires are not predictors of the future and they’re not the voice of God. We are supposed to tend to our desires and discern what is being revealed through them, but letting them dictate your path in life is not wise. Especially when it comes to romantic relationships, we tend to favor the decisions that would give us our desire. If the person you desire keeps coming up in prayer, it’s because you keep bringing him or her up. Don’t fool yourself. At the heart of this desire is probably a good longing for marriage and a family. Acknowledging the desire for what it is will help you make a more clear-headed decision regarding it. You may also have a desire to pursue a certain career path. If you want to sing, for example, do you want to spend every day singing and live the life of a singer? When you acknowledge the realistic lifestyle your dream job would entail, it often brings sobriety to your desire. If the desire still does not subside, don’t automatically assume it’s because it must be your destiny. Examine your past, your conscience, and the things that have influenced you. Examine the things that may have brought about this desire. This examination will teach you valuable things about yourself. Our desire for goodness and holiness is a good thing. We have these desires so we can learn more about what’s deepest in our hearts. So next time one of your recurring desires come back, go deeper and ask yourself, “What does this desire really reveal about me? What do I really want at the very core of it?” Bring it to prayer and God will reveal something very profound, as he has often been known to do.
Feb 13, 2020
Even More Questions from the Internet about Priests
7:14
Fr. Mike follows up on his episode “Answering the Internet’s Most Asked Questions about Priests” with answers to even more questions from the internet about priests. Here he answers questions like: How do you bless holy water? Are priests allowed to drink alcohol? Where do priests live? Do priests go to confession? Are monks and friars priests? Do priests take a vow of poverty? Where do priests go to school?
Feb 06, 2020
BONUS: Telling the Story of God’s Love
37:26

Fr. Mike speaks about evangelization, new media, and telling the story of God’s love at St. Charles Borromeo Seminary in Philadelphia. Addressing future pastors, he tells them “the heart of your formation is to become a dad” to your parishioners. He encourages them to use the same motto they use at the Newman Center of the University of Minnesota, Duluth, where he serves as campus minister. The motto he shares with students there is “See a need, fill a need.” 

In other words, you don’t have to wait for permission to share the gospel, to be charitable, or to do good.

Evangelization in the new world is at its heart no different than it’s always been. As Pope St. Paul VI shared in Evangelii Nuntiandi, if you’re baptized, you’ve been anointed to spread the gospel. And as Christ says when commissioning the apostles:

You shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samar′ia and to the end of the earth” (Acts 1:8).

Christ is saying it’s our job to continue his mission

But it’s not all about going out. We also need to go in, to look inward. Before we go out to evangelize, we need to invite Christ into our hearts.

What does it mean to know him? And what does all of this have to do with new media? It’s all connected because of one word: story. Evangelization is about telling the story of God’s love as you have experienced it, and new media is just a new medium for spreading that centuries-old message, the kerygma

How do you become a Catholic speaker? “Well, you get baptized and then you start talking” Fr. Mike says.

Opportunities will come, but your first yes has to be to Christ. And the opportunities don’t have to be to speak to thousands of people thousands of miles away. Saying yes to Christ means being willing to talk about him to one person one block or one house away, or just to the person in front of you. Just as it starts with a personal encounter with Christ, the next step is to tell the story of God’s love for you to one person. 

So how do we evangelize with new media? We don’t if we aren’t willing to do it without new media. 

Also, getting into new media requires more than a person sitting in his living room sharing his opinion on something. It requires an entire Church community, and you. The speaker speaks, the team puts everything together, but the most important piece is the person who shares the video, program, podcast, or article with someone they know and love.

Check out St. Charles Borromeo Seminary and their John Cardinal Foley Chair of Homiletics & Social Communications

Feb 04, 2020
Answering the Internet’s Most Asked Questions About Priests
9:07
Fr. Mike is at the library of St. Charles Borromeo Seminary in Philadelphia, and he’s answering the most asked questions about priests and the priesthood—according to the internet. He answers great questions like: Do priests get paid? Do they get married? Do they pay taxes? How do priests become bishops? Why do they wear black? Why do they kiss the altar? And more … Fr. Mike is visiting St. Charles Seminary to give a talk on evangelization and new media. The talk will be posted on Ascension Presents. So stay tuned to catch it.
Jan 30, 2020
Is Swearing a Sin?
6:44
Fr. Mike comments on whether swearing, as in using vulgar language, is a sin. He gives three times when using vulgar words can be sinful: If I use the vulgar word against someone, directing it toward them If I use a word connected to a sexual act, because sex between persons is meant to be holy and reserved for spousal love If I use a vulgar word in public, since it can scandalize people—especially if young ones are present. Remember that we are called to always be charitable. Our words mean something. We are called to build people up, not bring them down. The words we choose reflect and express what’s in our hearts “for out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks” (Luke 6:45). What do you want to express, words that are at best crude or words that build people up?
Jan 23, 2020
Why Is Taking the Lord’s Name in Vain Wrong?
7:04
There’s a reason why “Do not take the Lord’s name in vain” is not only one of the ten commandments, but is second on the list. Taking the Lord’s name in vain is a big deal. Yet so many of us do it anyway all of the time. It has almost become part of our everyday vocabulary. We may say we don’t take the Lord’s name in vain, we just say it without meaning it sometimes. But saying it without meaning it is in fact taking the Lord’s name in vain. Saying “O my God” or “Jesus Christ” in vain, meaning saying it unintentionally or in anger, is a mortal sin. The Lord gave us his name out of love and trust. Let’s not abuse it, but hold it in our hearts and call upon his name when we need him. In prayer, his name has the power to cast out demons and scare away evil. Remember that power, especially when tempted to use his name in vain. The minced oaths and funny sayings of yesteryear that you may have heard your grandpa say may make a little more sense when considering the gravity of breaking the second commandment. Why not bring back that “speak no evil” mindset, and say “Jiminy Cricket” or “God bless America and all the ships at sea” instead? If we’re not going to turn a slip of the tongue into a prayer, we can at least make our words into a jovial character of some kind.
Jan 16, 2020
How Catholics Should Connect with Others
7:45
There’s justice and prudence and temperance and fortitude, faith, and hope, and love. But do you recall the social virtues at all? Thankfulness and affability are some social virtues that show us how Catholics should connect with others in social situations. Thankfulness is the social virtue by which we acknowledge people and their generosity. It’s not just a customary expression of thanks when someone does something nice. It means going out of your way to show people your gratitude for them going out of their way for you. Affability is another word for approachability. It means you’re free to talk and free to help. You don’t mind people knocking on your door to tell you something. It is another social virtue that makes us put others before ourselves. Being introverted is not an excuse to avoid these virtues. An introverted person can most certainly have a heart focused on other people, and that is what’s at the heart of the social virtues. You may think these virtues aren’t as important as the others since they are not so explicitly mentioned in Scripture. In fact they are. Remember the parable of the lepers in Luke 17:11-19. Jesus heals ten lepers, and only one returns to thank him. Jesus asks, “Where are the other nine?” Likewise, Jesus regularly healed those who approached him out of the blue, showing affability. Jesus showed the social virtues, and so should we.
Jan 09, 2020
Hope in the New Year
7:56
With each new year come new hopes, new plans, and new opportunities. Fr. Mike points out that this optimism and this “spirit” of New Year’s is a great inspiration of hope for the interior life of the Christian. For each of us, last year probably had a fair mix of “wins” and “losses” – of joy and suffering. Fr. Mike zeroes in on what was probably the worst evil and the greatest suffering you encountered last year – sin. Sin can lead to discouragement and embarrassment, and those demons can keep us from moving forward in hope. Maybe you’ve been wrestling with the same sin for a long time, or maybe you don’t want to go to the same priest about the same sin again and again. Maybe you feel like giving up. But we can have hope – “trust in another extended into the future” – in Jesus and in the sacrament of confession. As Fr. Mike’s friend Nick says, “If you fall, fall into the confessional.” Discouragement and embarrassment have no place in the life of the Christian. They keep us in the past, while their converses – hope and humility – keep us moving forward. This year is going to have its ups and downs, and we know we can’t trust in ourselves. But we can trust in Him in whom we place our hope. Happy New Year!
Jan 02, 2020
Having Joy in Uncertainty
9:49
The only things we can be certain about are the things that have already happened to us in the past, and we live in a perpetual state of uncertainty about the future. If we’re honest, we can all probably agree that it’s not really comfortable to be constantly wondering what your life will look like in a month, in six months, in a year. We are always worrying about the future—especially when we sense that some form of suffering looms ahead. Father Mike walks us through the Five Joyful Mysteries: the Annunciation, the Visitation, the Nativity, the Presentation of Jesus in the Temple, and the Finding of Jesus in the Temple. He reflects on the fact that each of these joyful mysteries is marked with a profound uncertainty and suffering. And yet, joy is present. Think about what what Mary must have felt like when the Angel appeared to her and told her that the Holy Spirit would come upon her—that she was going to be the mother of the Messiah. The Angel didn’t reveal details to her. He didn’t assure her that Joseph wouldn’t divorce her, or that they would have to travel to Bethlehem but that they would make it in time for her to deliver. Yet, amidst the uncertainty of the moment, Mary gave a joyful Fiat. Joy can be present, because Christ is present. You are able to have a Merry Christmas today...not because there is no suffering, and no uncertainty, but because God is with us. Even in our darkness, we have seen a great light.
Dec 26, 2019
The Difference Between Jealousy and Envy
7:01
If you’re wondering about the difference between jealousy and envy, Fr. Mike clears up the confusion in this video. Simply put, jealousy is not wanting to share something or someone you possess or hope to possess, and envy is resentment toward the possessions of someone else. There can be some intersecting of the two, because it is possible to have an excessive or distorted kind of jealousy that’s actually based in envy, but jealousy can be good while envy is always sinful. This is an important distinction because on the one hand we have God who is jealous about us. Likewise, a husband and wife should be jealous about each other. On the other hand, St. Augustine described envy as the diabolical sin, basing his reasoning on Scripture: “through the devil’s envy death entered the world, and those who belong to his party experience it” (Wisdom 2:24). Worthy of note is the fact that good translations of the Bible translate 1 Corinthians 13:4 to say “love does not envy.” Rather than allowing the blessings of others to sadden us, let us rejoice in them and our own.
Dec 19, 2019
When You Don't Feel Like It
5:58
Sometimes we have to do stuff when we don’t feel like it, but finding the motivation to do those things is really difficult in the moment. That’s when it’s important to keep in mind that motivation is not about just feeling good about doing something. It’s about having a motive. If something is the right thing to do, it doesn’t matter if I feel like doing it or not, Fr. Mike says. The only motivation you need is the motivation to do the right thing. Fr. Mike’s friend Dean once told him this, “Emotions do not reveal the truth about reality, but they do reveal the conditions of your heart.” St. Ignatius of Loyola encouraged his followers to pay attention to their heart, because it’s revealing something very important that needs to be taken into account. Nonetheless, regardless of what your heart is telling you, the question to ask yourself is not “do I feel like doing this right now?” Rather, ask yourself, “Is this the right thing to do.”
Dec 12, 2019
The True Meaning of Advent
8:07
What is the best way to prepare for the season of Advent? You’re free to do what you know will help you prepare for Christmas the best. If decorating and so forth does not help you prepare for the coming of Christ, you can be the judge of whether it’s worth doing. Fr. Mike also wants to remind us that Advent is not just about preparing for Christmas. It’s also about preparing for Christ’s Second Coming. One day we will meet Christ face to face. Advent is the stark reminder that we need to get ready for eternity. With that in mind, what if you prepared as if December 25 will be the day you die? Have a merry Advent.
Dec 05, 2019
How to Be a Steward
6:54
Which is better, being an owner or a steward? Fr. Mike reminds us of the Parable of the Talents (Matthew 25:14-30) as he points out how seeing ourselves as an owner is not as great as it seems. When we see ourselves as the owner of something, we hold onto it more closely for fear of losing it. When that thing is taken from us, we may become resentful. Our lives are not our own, our bodies are not our own, our homes are not our own. Not even our children are ours. God owns all of these things, and we have done nothing to deserve them. God has entrusted them to us. If we see everything we have as a gift from God, we will always have a reason to be thankful. In our culture, we may have been conditioned to think being owners is the American Dream, but being a steward is much better.
Nov 28, 2019
Battling Dryness in Prayer
7:57
Last week Fr. Mike Schmitz talked about why prayer is so hard in his battle of prayer video, and this week he talks about what to do when you experience dryness in prayer. He says being distracted or discouraged in prayer is like losing control of a car on ice. When dryness or distraction in prayer occurs, don’t overcompensate. Gently bring yourself back to focus. St. Theresa of Avila would always bring a book with her into prayer so she had some kind of springboard to converse with God. If this doesn’t help and dryness persists, then you persist. God may be calling you to a deeper relationship with him in these tough moments. There are some things God can only do when we come to him when we least want to. If you feel like God just isn’t giving you anything when you pray, it’s an opportunity to just spend time with the giver while expecting nothing in return.
Nov 21, 2019
Why Is Prayer So Hard?
9:25
Growing up Fr. Mike thought prayer should be like soaking in a hot tub. He didn’t understand why it was so hard when he tried it. It took him a while to learn that, as the Catechism says, prayer is a gift of grace and a determined response on our part. Prayer always presupposes effort. There’s always some kind of engagement when we properly pray to God. It’s not just about soaking in God’s grace. The required effort in prayer is difficult more often than it is not. Prayer is a battle against ourselves and “the wiles of the tempter who does all he can to turn man away from prayer” (CCC 2725). Over time, Fr. Mike discovered that prayer needs to be more than a momentary time where we seek solace and closeness with God. We need to constantly acknowledge our relationship with God throughout the day, just as a husband and wife are constantly thinking of each other. Then when we do set aside time to simply be with God, it happens more naturally. If you want to improve your prayer life, make the intentional and faithful decision to live the same way outside of prayer as you do within prayer.
Nov 14, 2019
The Pressure of Public Conversion
7:49
Fr. Mike comments on Kanye West’s conversion. He celebrates Kanye’s conversion, but hesitates to lift him up as a Christian leader. He recommends that we let Kanye’s roots in the faith grow without the responsibility of having people watch his every step to see if he will fall; because we all fall in the walk of faith. Support Kanye by praying for him because everyone who is striving to do the will of God needs our prayers.
Nov 07, 2019
God Is Going to Interrupt You
4:44
Fr. Mike uses the life of St. Maximillian Kolbe as an example of how God is going to interrupt us if we choose to do his will. We may love schedules, like Fr. Mike does, but life is unpredictable and tends to create a dangerous environment for our schedules. No less happened to St. Maximillian, who had plans for his life before being sent to Auschwitz. The inconveniences put in our path may not be that extreme, but be prepared to be interrupted if you want to be a saint. See interruptions as an occasion for holiness.
Oct 31, 2019
Does God Want Me to Be Spontaneous?
6:08
God may want you to be spontaneous, but he also wants you to be disciplined. How does that work? Well, unless you just want to have no control over you impulses like a dog chasing a squirrel, discipline is a necessary prerequisite to being spontaneous. Spontaneity requires a schedule, Fr. Mike says. God can only introduce new and exciting things into your day once you’ve done the things he put on your path in the first place. So make a schedule for your day. Yes, life will get in the way and you may have to abandon some things on that schedule, but at least having a schedule helps you decide whether or not the unexpected things are more important than the priorities you set for yourself. Fully embrace today by making a plan for it, as the author of Hebrews encourages us: “But exhort one another every day, as long as it is called ‘today,’ that none of you may be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin” (Hebrews 3:13). The truly spontaneous person has a carpe diem attitude that starts with a set of determined goals. This determination is what gives him or her the energy boost to get to the uncharted territory of spontaneity. Have the disciple to schedule things right now so you have the freedom to be spontaneous later.
Oct 24, 2019
How We Use the Word Should
5:49
We may be too hard on ourselves when considering how we use the word “should.” Of course, we should go to Mass and pray every day. We should avoid stealing and other sins. However, in the midst of the healthy “shoulds,” there could be unhealthy “shoulds,” like “I should enjoy going to Mass and praying,” or “it shouldn’t be this hard to avoid sin.” But no one ever said that. No one ever said doing what’s right would be easy. So let’s stop “shoulding” ourselves, and let’s rely on God’s grace to pull us through instead. Our weakness is an opportunity to embrace God’s grace. Fr. Mike says if all the things we should do were easy, we wouldn’t need Jesus. “For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities; for when I am weak, then I am strong” (2 Corinthians 12:10).
Oct 17, 2019
Is Curiosity a Vice?
7:50
Knowledge is always good, but St. Thomas Aquinas said curiosity—or the fickle pursuit of unnecessary knowledge—can be a vice. What he meant, and what Fr. Mike means here, is that the methods by which we feed our curiosity, and our motivation for feeding it, can lead to vice if we just want to know something instead of pursuing what we need to know. Those things we say we have to know about because everyone else is talking about them—like that popular show we say we simply cannot miss, or that things someone did that’s none of our business but we just need to know about it—these things can lead us away from a wholehearted pursuit of truth. The counterpart virtue of unhealthy curiosity is studiousness, where the motivation and method of pursuing knowledge are correct. Curiosity is a good place to start, but it should always lead to studiousness, the virtue of great minds.
Oct 10, 2019
What You Can Control
6:51
If you’re in any kind of situation in your life where you feel you are limited in what you can control, you may not be as chained to your circumstances as you think. Fr. Mike offers encouragement, saying you can still make interior decisions and have an effect on your circumstances to some extent. You still have agency. Even though you may not be able to change everything you want, you can change your heart. Resentment and bitterness can prevent a great deal of needed change, so if they’re in your heart start by surrendering them to the Lord. This will give you internal freedom similar to what Jesus had when he was suffering on the Cross. Give your circumstances to the Lord and put them under his dominion. This may lead to more pain, but it’s better than staying bitter because if we remain in that bitterness our hearts will become numb and incapable of love.
Oct 03, 2019
How to Make Decisions Together
8:20
Fr. Mike says the key to making decisions together is distinguishing between preferences and principles. If the reason you’re favoring a choice is a matter of principle, it is your duty to lead the other person in that decision to the truth of that principle. If the choice you’re favoring is just a matter of preference though, charity suggests that you default to the preference of the beloved one involved in the decision instead. Fr. Mike uses going to church as an example. It is a matter of principle that we have to go to Sunday Mass and worship God the way he tells us to, so if someone tells us going to a Catholic Mass is just our preference we can tell them as a matter of fact it’s not. However, if the issue is which church we go to for Sunday Mass, say St. Francis’ Church or St. Andrew’s, more often than not that is just a matter of preference. For a helpful book on decision-making, check out _Pray, Decide, and Don’t Worry _ (https://ascensionpress.com/collections/featured/products/pray-decide-and-don-t-worry-five-steps-to-discerning-god-s-will)by Jackie and Bobby Angel, with Fr. Mike.
Sep 26, 2019
Reading the "Signs" from God
6:57
Fr. Mike offers the antidote of common sense for the anxiety that often comes after making a big decision. As a campus minister, he sees many students who feel like they made the wrong decision to come to college because things are not the way they imagined. To people in these situations, he advises them to stay the course. Paraphrasing St. Ignatius of Loyola and C.S. Lewis, he says to never change your course in times of desolation when that same course rang true for you in times of consolation. Give yourself a season, time to figure things out. If you’re about to make a big decision and don’t know which course to take, or know someone who is in that situation, check out the new book by Jackie and Bobby Angel, with Fr. Mike Schmitz, Pray, Decide, and Don’t Worry: Five Steps to Discerning God’s Will (https://ascensionpress.com/collections/collection-book/products/pray-decide-and-don-t-worry-five-steps-to-discerning-god-s-will?utm_source=website&utm_medium=media&utm_campaign=discern&utm_content=frmikepod), now available for pre-order at ascensionpress.com
Sep 19, 2019
How to Handle Spiritual Setbacks
9:06
After reading a book on will power, Fr. Mike discovered an important lesson when it comes to how we handle spiritual setbacks. He noticed how resisting sin is a lot like resisting a donut when on a diet. If we resist for some time but then end up giving in and eating the donut, that doesn’t mean all of our progress in the diet is lost. In the same way, if we resist sin for some time but then give in, the grace God offers us through confession can restore us. In fact, it can restore to even higher than we were before. “Law came in, to increase the trespass; but where sin increased, grace abounded all the more” (Romans 5:20). So let’s not give up when we fall into sin, but keep our eyes on heaven and God’s grace and live accordingly.
Sep 12, 2019
Responding to 'Expressing Your Opinion' Video
8:32
Fr. Mike responds to last week’s episode, “Expressing Your Opinions”, where he said when we speak our mind we need to consider why, what, who, and how. We need to discern why we think we should express our opinion. What’s our motive? We need to consider what it is we are commenting on, and whether we are in a position to do so. We need to keep in mind who we are talking to. Are we in an advisory role in their lives? And finally, how are we addressing the issue? Are we being coy or passive aggressive? Are we being harsh and inconsiderate? The apostle James speaks of the tongue being a fire (see James 3:6). He wrote: “Let not many of you become teachers, my brethren, for you know that we who teach shall be judged with greater strictness” (James 3:1). In this video, Fr. Mike is not referring to any comments regarding current events in the Church. He’s talking about his experience as a member of his parish and campus ministry community, and the daily experiences we all have as members of the Church. So how do we say what we strongly feel needs to be said? Speak the truth creatively and wisely after discerning things. That’s how the saints did it. In fact, many saints died rather than withholding the truth that needed to be said. But they did this after great prayer and discernment. We have exciting news! Fr. Mike will be joining Jeff Cavins on a pilgrimage to Israel June 1-12, 2020. The pilgrimage is for young adults ages 18-30, and will be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to deepen your faith by visiting the places where Jesus walked. Find out more here. (http://www.jeffcavins.com/home/2019/4/20/june-2020-vision-holy-land-pilgrimage-for-young-adults)
Sep 05, 2019
Expressing Your Opinion?
9:13
Fr. Mike says there are four things you should ask yourself before expressing your opinion: why, what, who, and how. First, evaluate why you’re expressing this thought. Is it because it’s the right thing to do, or is it because you are trying to one-up someone? Second, what is your opinion? Is it something true, like a principal, or is it just a preference? Third, who are you talking to and what is your relationship to this person? Lastly, how are you expressing yourself? Even if you are totally in the right, the way you say it is of the utmost importance in order for people to listen. If you consider these questions when expressing your opinion or trying to correct someone, you’ll be much more likely to find a willing listener. Check out the "2020 Vision" Young Adult Pilgrimage to the Holy Land (http://www.jeffcavins.com/pilgrimage?category=%222020%20Vision%22%20Holy%20Land) with Fr. Mike and Jeff Cavins at jeffcavins.com
Aug 29, 2019
Why Catholics Use Scripture and Tradition
12:09
Catholics use Scripture and Tradition because Scripture tells us to use both. St. Paul wrote to the Thessalonians: “So then, brethren, stand firm and hold to the traditions which you were taught by us, either by word of mouth or by letter” (2 Thessalonians 2:15). If God wanted us to use Scripture alone, wouldn’t he tell us as much in the Bible? True, St. Paul emphasizes the value of Scripture: “All scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work” (2 Timothy 3:16-17). However, St. Paul is just as emphatic about the value of the Church: “If I am delayed, you may know how one ought to behave in the household of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and bulwark of the truth” (1 Timothy 3:15). Fr. Mike explains how the Catholic Church has made all of God’s gifts more accessible to humanity through the ages. Scripture, the Magisterium, and Tradition are not opposing authorities battling for power. They are three pillars that support and inform each other—making God all the more present to us.
Aug 22, 2019
Can We Joke about God?
9:21
If we can’t use the Lord’s name in vain, can we joke about God? Fr. Mike makes the case that there is room for humor about God in the context of love. No one in the universe or beyond it deserves more honor, respect, and reverence than God, and we jeopardize our souls if we fail to see this. At the same time, though, Jesus called us his friends (John 15:15). Friends can joke about each other because they know there is mutual love and respect there. It goes even deeper than that though, Fr. Mike argues. God is calling us to a whole different kind of relationship, a whole different kind of intimacy, through his son Jesus. If we enter into that relationship and nurture it, we may discover that God does indeed have a sense of humor, a whole new sense of humor we didn’t even think was possible. Catechism paragraph on the Second Commandment: “Blasphemy is directly opposed to the second commandment. It consists in uttering against God - inwardly or outwardly - words of hatred, reproach, or defiance; in speaking ill of God; in failing in respect toward him in one's speech; in misusing God's name. St. James condemns those "who blaspheme that honorable name [of Jesus] by which you are called" (James 2:7). The prohibition of blasphemy extends to language against Christ's Church, the saints, and sacred things. It is also blasphemous to make use of God's name to cover up criminal practices, to reduce peoples to servitude, to torture persons or put them to death. The misuse of God's name to commit a crime can provoke others to repudiate religion” (CCC 2148)
Aug 15, 2019
5 Things the Church Can Learn from Crossfit
9:13
Fr. Mike points out five things the Church can learn from one of the latest fitness crazes, Crossfit: In Crossfit gyms, you’re seen, you’re known, and you’re missed when you’re not there. How often does someone stop coming to church without us even noticing? Crossfit is functional fitness, exercises that help you live your life. If we can bridge the gap between what we do on Sunday and our lifestyle, we will see how church helps us be more virtuous in our everyday life. Crossfit has scaled workouts. Crossfit trainers ask you what you can do. What if we made spiritual exercises tailored to each individual and what they can do? Crossfit is challenging. Pursuing Jesus is a challenge. What if we challenged Catholics, calling them to something higher? People doing Crossfit are willing to be led and to learn. What if pastors were more willing to be leaders, and parishioners more willing to be led?
Aug 08, 2019
Not Everything in the Bible is Morally Good
6:44
Not every protagonist in the Bible makes the morally good choice. The Bible is not a collection of stories that tell us how to live. It’s not a bunch of fables; the stuff in the Bible really happened. If the characters who we are told to look up to always did the right thing, it wouldn’t have much to teach us about real life. In real life, we all make wrong decisions, and the stories in the Bible show us the consequences of those decisions.
Aug 01, 2019
Does God Make Us with Flaws?
9:54
Fr. Mike answers that God does not make us with flaws, but we are all born with the unfortunate effects of original sin. We were all made in the image and likeness of God, but if we feel like some sinful behavior has been a part of us for as long as we can remember, that part doesn’t come from God. It comes from our fallen nature. Whether or not we were “born that way”, God still wants to make us holy and wipe away even the most deep-seated blemishes. God loves us just as we are, but loves us too much to keep us that way. Admit it, acknowledge it, accept it, but don’t stop there. Allow God to transform it into something that can give him glory. “No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it” (1 Corinthians 10:.13).
Jul 25, 2019
Signs That Your Relationship Is Falling Apart, Part 2
9:18
Fr. Mike offers a follow-up to his video on Dr. John Gottman’s “four horsemen of the apocalypse” with this video on Dr. Gottman’s proposed remedy: the Golden Ratio. For every one instance of these four horsemen that signify a relationship is falling apart—which are defensiveness, criticism, stonewalling, and contempt—there should be five instances of the opposite. The four horsemen still rear their heads in the healthy relationships that Dr. Gottman observed, but these relationships have the following interactions five times as often: Giving respect and honoring the other person Building up the other person and affirming them Meeting the other person where they are Opening up to receive their questions and comments in a positive manner If you feel like you’re in a relationship where the four horsemen show up too often, try putting this Golden Ratio into practice. See more at media.ascensionpress.com
Jul 18, 2019
Why Catholics Have a Pope
14:02
Fr. Mike goes all the way back to Genesis to explain why Catholics have a pope. God established the kingdom of Israel with the twelve sons of Jacob. Centuries later, he appointed David as the king who would unite this kingdom. Centuries after that kingdom was divided, Jesus established a new kingdom by appointing the twelve apostles. To unite this new kingdom, which is the Church, he appointed Peter as his vicar here on earth. Jesus is the king, but he gave the keys of the kingdom to Peter. This means Peter and his successors play the role of the “prime minister”, or the right-hand-man, or the steward of the king while Jesus is gone. The papacy may be a divisive topic today, but clearly God gave his Church a pope as a sign of unity for all who are a part of the new kingdom Christ established.
Jul 11, 2019
In the World, but Not of It
10:04
We hear the phrase “in the world but not of it” quite often. But how do we live that out in our everyday lives? Fr. Mike gives a crash course on how to follow Christ in situations where there may be tension between you and someone you’re close to. Reminding us of Matthew 10:34, “I have not come to bring peace, but a sword,” Fr. Mike explains that Jesus is a cause of division. As followers of Christ, we have to acknowledge and accept the painful reality that following him will cause us to be divided from many people we love. Once we accept that, allowing God’s love to fill our hearts, we will search for ways to love those who strongly disagree with us. See more at ascensionpress.com (https://media.ascensionpress.com/)
Jul 04, 2019
Trying to Keep God at a Distance?
7:18
When it comes to trying to control God and keep him at a distance in our lives, there are at least two ways that we go about it. Either we lay low and stay out of trouble, or we excel at whatever task we’ve currently been assigned to. Both strategies intend to keep God out of our lives so we can keep doing what we’re doing, because we’re comfortable doing it. Well, if you’re in one of those camps, get ready because God can call you to something different any minute now. You may not have even noticed yourself slipping into one of these subtle thought processes that so many of us slip into. That’s why it’s important to give our lives to God at least daily. Try doing it first thing in the morning before anything else. That’s how Fr. Mike does it, and it seems to have worked out quite well for him. “Every branch of mine that bears no fruit, he takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit.” (John 15:2).
Jun 27, 2019
Why Is It So Hard to Make Friends?
7:32
Fr. Mike is honest about why it’s so hard for us to make friends. A necessity for friendship is time, something that many of us simply don’t have. More than that, true friendship requires a painful level of vulnerability and transparency. When asking yourself who you are willing to be friends with, you’re really asking “Who are you willing to give access to your wounds?” With that in mind, consider what Jesus said: “No longer do I call you servants, for the servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all that I have heard from my Father I have made known to you” (John 15:15). How much time do you spend with Jesus? Will you give him access to your wounds? This is afterall what it means to be a friend. Are you a friend of Jesus?
Jun 20, 2019
Understanding Our Capacity for Evil
8:14
Fr. Mike asks if the bad things you think you don’t have the capacity to do are actually just things you don’t have the opportunity to do. A friend of Fr. Mike’s was recovering from an addiction, and this friend noticed how he was deceiving himself. He was telling himself “I would never …” when he should have been saying, “I haven’t yet ...” Many times the sins we avoid we have only avoided because we haven’t had the opportunity to commit them. Acknowledging that we may do something regretful if given the opportunity is a great—although difficult—exercise in self-knowledge that could prevent some serious sin in the future. This week, consider the benefits that come with strengthening your self-discipline. Make an extra attempt to reinforce a virtue that may help you combat the corresponding vice. This will go a long way in increasing your holiness.
Jun 13, 2019
How Do We Spend Our Time?
10:34
How we spend our time is one of the most valuable decisions we make, because time is one thing we can never get back once it’s gone. Maybe God is calling you to do something more with your time, in this very moment even, but distractions are pulling you in too many different directions to focus. Make no mistake, distractions steal our time, even those we willfully choose. Even worse, as St. Alphonsus Ligouri said, voluntary distraction can steal our soul. Maybe there’s a dozen different things you know you should be doing, but you can’t choose one, so you choose none. If that’s the case, Fr. Mike says to take solace in the fact that you only have to choose one task, because the reality is that multitasking doesn’t work anyway. Holiness is to choose one thing, namely to say yes to God’s will. So choose your one sacrifice, and say yes to the focused and singular task of holiness.
Jun 06, 2019
Catholic Teaching on IVF and Contraception Explained
12:47
For many people, the Catholic Church’s teaching on in vitro fertilization and contraception is a hard one, but it is in concordance with the nature of things. The nature of a thing, as Fr. MIke puts it, is its “what-it’s-for-ness”. Sex is for procreation and the unity of the couple. Equally important is the fact that sex, not in vitro fertilization, is the natural way to bring forth a new life. Contraception and in vitro fertilization violate the nature of not only sex, but also the nature of the person and life itself. If you feel that this teaching prohibits you from being truly happy, Fr. Mike offers encouragement. It may not seem fair to us at first, but the deep abiding peace we acquire from living by God’s plan is better than anything we could acquire by doing things our way.
May 30, 2019
Fitting In at Church
7:17
Perhaps you’ve felt the temptation to be a cookie-cutter Catholic, one who does all the Catholic things that other Catholics are doing because they think … well … that’s what makes us Catholic. But comparison is kind of like the cousin of envy, Fr. Mike says. If we only express our faith in certain ways because that’s what other believers around us our doing, we should re-examine our relationship with Christ. After all, he is the only one we should pattern our life after.
May 23, 2019
Feeling Sorry for Yourself
9:26
What good does feeling sorry for yourself do? Fr. Mike points out a hard truth in saying—while you have the right to grieve when tragic things happen in your life—you never have the right, or permission, to feel sorry for yourself. All it does is shrink the universe down to the size of you. It blocks out the blessings God gave you that you should be thankful for, and paralyzes you from joyfully giving to others. When you feel the temptation to feel sorry for yourself coming on, in the words of St. Paul, Fr. Mike recommends: “Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in the one body. And be thankful” (Colossians 3:15). Quote from G.I. Jane: “I never saw a wild thing sorry for itself. A bird will fall frozen dead from a bough without ever having felt sorry for itself” (Viggo Mortensen as Master Chief John James Urgayle in G.I. Jane, original quote from D.H. Lawrence, 20th century English writer).
May 16, 2019
Old Testament God vs. New Testament God
7:41
Many people say God acted much differently in the Old Testament than he did in the New Testament. They say the God of the New Testament is merciful and compassionate, but in the Old Testament he is often harsh and unforgiving. A thorough look at Scripture reveals that this is not the case. God is in fact merciful and just throughout the Bible. Fr. Mike clears up a great deal of confusion between the Old and New Testaments, and shows how God has stayed quite the same since before the beginning of time until now. This isn't the first time Fr. Mike's been asked about God changing, check out his original answer here (https://media.ascensionpress.com/podcast/didgodchange-2/).
May 09, 2019
How Does Purification Work?
12:33
God wants you to be holy, so he is going to set you on a path of purification if you choose to do his will. He is the one who is going to make you holy. This process is going to strip away many things you hold dear. It’s going to require active participation in his will, doing what is right and good. But it’s also going to require passive acceptance of things that are out of your control. See everything you do and experience as a chance to grow in holiness, and God will make you into a saint.
May 02, 2019
Do You Want to Be Well?
8:17
Jesus asked the crippled man at the pool of Bethesda, “Do you want to be well?” It seems like an obvious question, but—as Fr. Mike explains—in order for this man to desire healing, he had to believe he could be healed. So many of us have given up on the thought that God can change us from whatever it is we don’t want to be into whatever it is we want to be, and what we believe he wants us to be. Whether it’s an illness, lack of willpower, or just lack of ability, we believe our problem is chronic. Jesus’ question to the man at the pool is an appeal to the man’s belief that God can heal him. Believing God can make a drastic change for the better in our own lives may just be the key to actually making that change happen.
Apr 25, 2019
The Role of Hope in Holy Week
8:06
There are many great ways to describe hope, but Fr. Mike defines it as “trust in another extended into the future.” He recalls two stories from the Gospels that exemplify what hope is not. When Peter denied Christ, and when the two travelers on the road to Emmaus abandoned their hope in Christ. Peter had Jesus (they were basically best friends), but—by denying him—was essentially saying he didn’t need Jesus. The travelers needed Jesus, but the way they saw it they no longer had him. Fr. Mike explains how hope is knowing that we have Jesus and knowing that we need him. This hope can empower us to courageously get through our darkest hours.
Apr 18, 2019
How to Pick up Your Cross
11:13
Fr. Mike’s words on taking up our crosses may come as a relief to many of us. He rejects the “harder is holier” approach, and reminds us that taking up our crosses is ultimately about having more freedom. Christ says “My yoke is easy, and my is burden light” (Matthew 11:30). God has a particular task for each of us, and taking up our crosses means denying what we want for our lives so that we can do God’s will. After all, that is what we were made to do and the only way to truly be free. “Then Jesus told his disciples, ‘If any man would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it” (Matthew 16:24-25).
Apr 11, 2019
Do I Have a Good Conscience?
11:54
Jiminy Cricket said “Always let your conscience be your guide,” but how do I know if I have a good conscience? A good conscience more often is concerned with our responsibilities than with our rights. It is more preoccupied with what God wants than with what I want. Fr. Mike tells us, “Stop thinking like the world and start thinking like God.” The world will have us think our conscience is the final judge on what is right and wrong, but as Catholics we know that God is the final judge, and our consciences need to be formed—in fact, transformed—to abide by and abide in his will. “Do not be conformed to this world but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that you may prove what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect” (Romans 12:2). Interesting tidbit: As you may know, “Jiminy Cricket” is a minced oath for “Jesus Christ”; but did you know that Blessed John Henry Newman considered the conscience to be the “aboriginal vicar of Christ”?
Apr 04, 2019
Why Catholics Call Mary Their Mother
9:41
When Catholics call Mary their mother, it may seem like they are taking away some of the respect due to Jesus and giving it to Mary. This is far from the case. Fr. Mike points out two reasons why calling Mary our mother can improve our relationship with Christ, and strengthen our faith life. Loving the people Jesus loves helps you love him more. The more you love Mary the more you love God. Jesus gave Mary to us as our Mother on the Cross. “When Jesus saw his mother, and the disciple whom he loved standing near, he said to his mother, ‘Woman, behold, your son!’ Then he said to the disciple, ‘Behold, your mother!’ And from that hour the disciple took her to his own home” (John 19:26-27).
Mar 28, 2019
Signs that Your Relationship Is Falling Apart
9:05
Fr. Mike discusses four signs that your relationship is in danger of falling apart, especially when it comes to stonewalling. Stonewalling, as used in the context of this episode, is when we refuse to communicate or cooperate with someone. Psychologist Dr. John Gottman calls it one of the “four horsemen of the apocalypse”, or one of four types of expression that indicate that your relationship is falling apart. The other three are defensiveness, criticism, and contempt. As Christians, we should always pay attention to the one who is communicating with us. After all, we would expect at least that much from them when communicating with them. Loving someone means seeing them. By seeing, here we mean literally looking them in the eyes when they talk to you, but also understanding them and seeing them as a person made in God’s image.
Mar 21, 2019
What NOT to Do During a Breakup
10:13
Fr. Mike is asked a lot about what to do when your life is thrown off course by a breakup. In a previous episode, Fr. Mike discussed four questions to ask yourself when discerning God’s will for your life. When presented with a new door (or big decision), ask yourself: Is it good? Is it open? Is it wise? Is it something I want? Now when applying this discernment process to a relationship, you have to remember that the other person is likely asking him or herself the same questions. The hardest heartbreak, though, comes when the first three questions check out but the fourth question—Is this something I want?—does not. In these situations, the one thing Fr. Mike says not to do is blame God. If you’re the one choosing to break up with your significant other, it’s easy to deflect the blame onto God and say he told you to do it. It’s more likely, however, that God gave you the freedom to choose what to do for yourself. So take responsibility. If you are the one who was dumped, God still has a plan for you. You are more than a footnote to the life of your former boyfriend or girlfriend, so don’t let anything he or she said make you feel that way. Go and find where God is leading you next.
Mar 14, 2019
The Purpose of Lent
6:17
What does the Israelites’ forty years in the desert tell us about the purpose of Lent? Sure, they both involve the number forty—which often represents a time of test and trial in the Bible—but what’s the more important connection? The Israelites’ time in the desert and our forty-day Lenten fast represent God’s invitation for us to trust him completely. Fr. Mike explains, the Israelites did not believe the Lord could bring them into the Promised Land because it was inhabited by a people much more powerful and larger than Israel—they didn’t trust him even after he delivered them from slavery to the largest civilization on the planet, Egypt. We can be the same way. We think God can’t give us the strength to overcome this or that sin or habit. But purpose of Lent is to set aside time for us to trust God completely so we can see that he is all we need.
Mar 07, 2019
Picking a Thing for Lent
5:23
Fr. Mike knows the tricks we can play on ourselves when it comes to picking something for Lent. So he gives a straightforward guideline: Don’t pick something that’s arbitrary. Pick something that is necessary. In other words, don’t say you’re giving up watermelon when you know you will hardly eat watermelon anyway; and don’t give up hot showers if you know cold showers actually won’t help you grow in holiness. We can easily fool ourselves into thinking strictness equates to holiness. Likewise, we can fall into the trap of thinking that the easiest thing will be the most helpful. What do I really need to do or give up for Lent? If I take an honest look inside myself, it may be something difficult, but I will know.
Feb 28, 2019
Getting Involved in Parish Life
9:32
The value of a new parishioner introducing him or herself to parish life and just asking the priest, “How can I help?” is priceless. When entering a new community, we may have all of these ideas about what we can do to help, but to listen and simply tell the leaders that you are available shows humility and understanding. Fr. Mike knows firsthand about all of the different types of parishioners who are on fire for the Faith, and want to do something to enrich parish life. The ones who end up helping the most are those who in essence say, “I am your servant. Tell me what I can do for you.”
Feb 21, 2019
The Meaning of "I Love You"
10:00
Fr. Mike breaks down the real definition of love, which is willing the good of the other for the other. He goes further than that though, saying that if we truly believe in Christ, then the loving thing to do would be to share Christ with others by being his witness. St. Valentine risked his life by being a witness for Christ and for love. In our calling as Christians, let’s be courageous and love others not just by doing good deeds for them, but by sharing Christ with them.
Feb 14, 2019
How Does God Restore Us?
9:15
Fr. Mike explains how God restores our brokenness, especially when it comes to our bodies. So often, we find that the more precious a thing is, the more fragile it is. And when something precious is broken, we often think it’s become worthless. Like when we break a fragile teacup, we throw it away because it no longer has value. But that’s not the way it is with our bodies. God created us to be temples of the Holy Spirit, something very precious. But we’re not like fragile teacups. If we’re broken, if we’ve been abused, if we’ve been taken advantage of, or even if we’ve chosen to give in to temptation, we’re not worthless. God restores us. And through his grace, we are restored to even greater glory.
Feb 07, 2019
You Are a Burden
7:41
Yes, you are a burden. We are all burdens, including Fr. Mike, but we are burdens worth carrying. Many of us choose to deal with our problems on our own because we don’t want to bring our mess into other people’s lives. But the very nature of love is to sacrifice for others, and we cannot have any meaningful relationships in our lives if we do not share our burdens and bear some of the weight of other people’s burdens. “Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.”—Galatians 6:2
Jan 31, 2019
What is Stopping You from Becoming a Saint?
9:43
It may seem too difficult, or even unrealistic, to be a saint today. The reality is though, a saint is simply someone who has conformed their will to the Father’s will rather than the spirit of the age. Fr. Mike mentions three popular mentalities that prevent us from becoming saints: Our hearts want instant gratification, while becoming like Christ is a process. Fr. Mike’s advice is learn to love the process. We like keeping our options open, but becoming a saint requires giving everything to Christ. We lack a fighting spirit. A saint needs a willingness to fight the good fight, especially when the spiritual battle is hardest. Fr. Mike makes it abundantly clear that the only thing preventing us from becoming a saint is ourselves, because God’s grace is enough.
Jan 24, 2019
Am I the Exception to God's Rule?
7:46
God has his commandments and everything, but aren’t there times when there are exceptions to God’s rule? It’s a trick we’ve all tried to pull. When a particular sin is too hard for us to avoid, we say to God—or perhaps a priest—something like, “I know the Church says don’t do this thing, but in my case it’s different.” In my case, there are obstacles that make avoiding the sin impossible. In my case, I think doing that thing is justified because of xyz, in my case … etcetera. This is what Fr. Mike calls exceptionism (not to be confused with exceptionalism). Exceptionism, Fr. Mike says, is the belief that God will make an exception for you when it comes to his judgment of a certain sin. There’s a reason why we say justice is blind, and our God is the God of justice. He will always be merciful to the contrite heart, but—contrary to what many people believe today—he doesn’t make exceptions to the law he gave us.
Jan 17, 2019
Why is it a Mortal Sin? Skipping Mass and Communion without Confession
7:57
Why is skipping mass a mortal sin? And when we do go to mass, why do we need to receive communion in a state of grace? It’s tempting to believe we can love God in whatever way suits us, but that’s not how love works. The way we express our love for God is through obedience and worship. Fr. Mike speaks a harsh truth when he says, “If you love God on your own terms, you don’t love God, you love yourself.” In the first of two explanations, Fr. Mike explains that going to Mass on Sunday is our weekly chance to prove our love for God. Fr. Mike’s second lesson in this video addresses the issue of receiving Communion in the state of mortal sin, which follows the logic of the first lesson above. Communion with God is only possible once we have been reconciled with God and his Church. Both Christ and St. Paul make this clear: “So if you are offering your gift at the altar, and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there before the altar and go; first be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift” (Matthew 5:23-24). “Whoever, therefore, eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of profaning the body and blood of the Lord.” (1 Corinthians 11:27). Fr. Mike briefly addresses what sin is, and directs his viewers to this previous episode of his wherein he addresses the topic more thoroughly: What is Sin?
Jan 10, 2019
Data-Driven Discernment
5:48
Who would have thought algebra and data could be the key to discernment? Fr. Mike explains that the discernment journey isn’t always about having this epiphany moment where your life’s purpose immediately becomes clear to you. Figuring out what God’s will is for you sometimes requires a step-by-step process where you gather data, so you can come closer to the answer you’re looking for. That’s how Fr. Mike found his vocation as a priest. It required a lot prayer, time in adoration, talking with others, and visits to seminaries. Only once he gathered enough data to be able to “solve for x” was he certain that the priesthood was the right choice.
Jan 03, 2019
A Fr. Mike Christmas Special
9:38
Fr. Mike explains why "It's a Wonderful Life" is his favorite Christmas movie and how it can help us understand the importance of duty and love. Spoiler Alert "It's a Wonderful Life" is a classic, but there's a theme carried through the movie that is rarely discussed—the role of duty. If you lived a life without responsibilities, you would be living a life without relationships. In "It's a Wonderful Life," George Bailey's life is driven by duty, but it's transformed by the love he finds in his relationships with others. Hopefully, our life is driven by a sense of duty towards God, but we need to remember that our lives are transformed by the love of God. This Christmas, remember that your life has meaning, your life carries with it important duties, and that God, who has not forgotten you, will transform your life.
Dec 27, 2018
Do All Good People go to Heaven?
11:08
Good people go to heaven when they die, right? Well, according to the Gospels, not exactly. Fr. Mike Schmitz points to at least four things Christ says we need for salvation: Baptism (John 3) The Eucharist (John 6) Faith (Romans 10:9) Doing the Father’s will (Matthew 25:31-46) None of them are “be a good person”; and it’s probably better that way because, especially today, everyone has a different idea of what is good. Christ has given us everything we need to achieve salvation. He wants us all to be at his wedding feast, including you; but unless you do what is necessary to get to the wedding, you won’t be there. Considering what Fr. Mike is saying, these words of Christ make much more sense: “Enter by the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way is easy, that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. For the gate is narrow and the way is hard, that leads to life, and those who find it are few” (Matthew 7:13-14). Fr. Mike quotes the Catechism of the Catholic Church, paragraph 847. Below is the paragraph in full: "This affirmation is not aimed at those who, through no fault of their own, do not know Christ and his Church: Those who, through no fault of their own, do not know the Gospel of Christ or his Church, but who nevertheless seek God with a sincere heart, and, moved by grace, try in their actions to do his will as they know it through the dictates of their conscience - those too may achieve eternal salvation."
Dec 20, 2018
Why We Say 'Memento Mori'
6:37
You may have heard the phrase memento mori (remember your death)—especially if you hang out with those strange Catholics—but did you know there are three meanings woven into those two words? Sure, the immediate thought that comes to mind may be the fact that someday we will die; and this is good to remember because that day could be any day, so we should live accordingly. What people may not recognize, though, is that memento mori could also be a reminder to the Christian that we have died to ourselves, so that we may gain eternal life in Christ. As St. Paul says, “I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live but Christ who lives in me” (Galatians 2:20). The life you live is not your own. Remember, as a Christian you have died to yourself. Entering your day with that in mind may be difficult if you want to live for yourself, but it could also be liberating if we give everything to God. Thirdly, it is good to “remember your death” because it is a reminder of the joy that will come when we live with Christ for eternity. Remembering our death in that way can fill us with the strongest kind of hope.
Dec 13, 2018
What Does it Mean to Be Blessed?
7:04
To be blessed means to holy, and to be holy means to be set apart for God. Fr. Mike reminds us of our calling to be holy, because, as Christians, we have been blessed by Baptism. Being set apart doesn't mean to be physically separated from everything else. It means that something is dedicated to fulfilling God's purpose. For example, if you've ever gotten your throat blessed during the feast of St. Blasie, then your throat is set apart for the purposes of God. That means when you use your voice to say something untrue or mean, you're violating the purpose of your voice, because it has been dedicated to God's will. So, be blessed. Make God’s will present in the world through your presence.
Dec 06, 2018
The Heart of Sin
6:56
A sin is not simply breaking the rules. It’s when we say in our hearts, “God, I know what you want and I don’t care. I want what I want.” Fr. Mike makes it abundantly clear that sin is defiance toward God—usually in favor of self-interest. So often, when Catholics talk about sin people see our sense of morality as a set of rules that we arbitrarily follow. Those who criticize the Church’s moral teachings often accuse Catholics of misinterpreting Christ’s words when they are the ones who are twisting his words, while failing to recognize how our relationship with God is in the balance.
Nov 29, 2018
Giving Thanks is Necessary
6:40
Fr. Mike says giving thanks is not only good and polite. It’s not just a thoughtful gesture. Giving thanks is necessary. We begin Mass by saying “It is right and just” to give God thanks. Not only that, the priest continues by saying: “It is our duty and salvation always and everywhere to give you thanks.” Our duty and our salvation. We proclaim this every week, and giving thanks is a huge part of the Mass (the very word Eucharist means to give thanks). But do we mean it? Do we give proper thanks to God for the miraculous gifts he has given us to enjoy every day? Our health, sight, hearing, even simply having someone who cares about you, all of these things are blessings we should thank God for because there are many who do not enjoy them.
Nov 22, 2018
Is it Ever OK to Deny Christ?
10:24
Fr. Mike answers some hard questions from his #askfrmike inquirers, starting with a question about the controversial book and movie, “Silence”, wherein two renowned Portuguese priests travel to Japan and deny Christ to prevent the suffering of their parishioners. After telling the story, Fr. Mike says if we ever were placed in such a dire situation, the question would not be “What should I do?” but rather, “What is the right thing to do?” Fr. Mike clarifies, “To deny Jesus will always be the wrong thing to do.” Blaming someone for not denying Jesus, and thereby not preventing suffering, is a red herring because it distracts people from the ones truly causing the suffering, the actual torturers. Answering another question from his viewers, Fr. Mike addresses the need to keep a healthy balance between caring for our bodies and caring for our souls. That means putting prayer and time with Jesus before working out.
Nov 15, 2018
Why We Need Boundaries
12:01
We all have those people in our lives whom we love, but just ask too much of us. Establishing limitations in relationships can be hard, but we need boundaries. Even Jesus did it when he spent time with just his disciples, or just his apostles; or just Peter, James, and John; or even just his father in heaven. Fr. Mike explains not just why we need boundaries, but how we could do so without coming across as glib or too harsh. He talks about how establishing boundaries will help us more effectively live the Christian life, and even help the one to whom those boundaries apply.
Nov 08, 2018
Don't Have Any Friends?
10:11
We use the term “friend” loosely, introducing casual acquaintances as “My friends Lucy and John.” But what is friendship, really? Fr. Mike uses Aristotle’s three kinds of friendship—pleasant friendships, useful friendships, and virtuous friendships—as guidelines. While all three can be good, the first two can end up being flimsy and fleeting; but the third kind, virtuous friendships, really get to the heart of what good friends are to us. They are on the same mission, they have many of the same goals, we can even kind of see another self within these friends. Fr. Mike emphasizes the need for us to have more of these kinds of friendships, saying that if we don’t think they matter we may just be distracting ourselves from our loneliness. Don't forget to check out Fr. Mike’s newest project Quick Catholic Lessons with Fr. Mike (https://bit.ly/2PmpYzw (https://bit.ly/2PmpYzw)), a feature-packed teacher’s guide designed to accompany Fr. Mike’s most popular videos, presented on a convenient DVD.
Nov 01, 2018
Reminder: God Loves You
6:33
Father Mike Schmitz forgot to say one thing in his video “We’re Not Just Cosmic Accidents” – God loves you. In his previous video Fr. Mike made comments on The Greatest Showman song “This is Me”. To elaborate on his original message, he quotes Pope Benedict XVI, saying, “Until I am accepted and loved by another, I cannot accept and love myself. But even then the sense is fragile, because all human acceptance is fragile. Ultimately, we need a sense of being accepted unconditionally. Only if God accepts me and I have become convinced of this, do I know definitely it is good that I exist.” As Romans Chapter 5 states, “God proved his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”
Oct 25, 2018
Building Healthy Relationships
8:15
Fr. Mike shares three things that will help you build healthy relationships. If a couple wants to get married, that’s something we should celebrate. However, that doesn’t mean we should blindly encourage them no matter what, and offer cliche advice like, “You’re in love, and that’s all that matters,” or “Do what you heart tells you.” No matter how convincing a couple’s love for each other seems, there are some things that always need to be considered, especially in young relationships between two people who want to rush into marriage. When it comes to relationships, there are three things Fr. Mike says to keep in mind: 1) There are some things only time can reveal 2) Let your relationship be the actual age it is 3) Learn how to make decisions together
Oct 18, 2018
Farmer, Priest, and Martyr
7:06
Blessed Father Stanley Rother was a farmer, priest, and martyr from Oklahoma who found a way to give everything to the Lord, even his greatest struggles and disappointments, because he knew nothing is wasted when given to God. Fr. Mike tells Father Rother’s story, and shows what we can learn from the undying love for Jesus this American farmer had. Fr. Mike encourages, no matter what hardships you’re dealing with, give them to God and your story will give him glory; bringing your life to fulfillment in the process.
Oct 11, 2018
We Are Not Cosmic Accidents
8:58
Without our dignity that comes from God, we are just cosmic accidents. This is a humbling realization, but one that can also be empowering. Fr. Mike says we often misunderstand humility because we think it involves thinking less of ourselves. What it really involves is greater focus on God’s power and goodness, because he is the source of whatever power and goodness we have. As C.S. Lewis wrote, “A really humble man will not be thinking about humility. He will not be thinking about himself at all.” For more on C.S. Lewis, check out this article, C. S. Lewis on Humility, by Dr. Andrew Swafford.
Oct 04, 2018
Why Joy is More Christian Than Happiness
7:52
Happiness is circumstantial. In fact, the word has the same root as the word “happenstance”. And yet, despite how fickle it is, many of us base our lives on the pursuit of happiness. Joy, on the other hand, is the abiding and pervasive sense of well-being. Fr. Mike explains that joy is, as G.K. Chesterton wrote, “the gigantic secret of the Christian.” The Christian understands that God knows his name, loves him, and is here with him now. This never changes, and it is what gives the Christian a perpetual joy to which happiness cannot compare.
Sep 27, 2018
When Mass Feels like Going Through the Motions
10:13
The Karate Kid didn’t know waxing a car would teach him karate, but Miyagi knew. In a similar way the Church, in her wisdom, teaches us certain motions—kneeling at Mass, making the sign of the Cross, etcetera—so we may learn the deeper virtues that will lead us to holiness. In this video, Fr. Mike encourages us to keep going through the motions, if that’s all it feels like we’re doing at Mass, because it’s in times of desolation that our faith grows the most.
Sep 20, 2018
Do Catholics Have to Respect Everyone?
8:46
Sometimes it can be hard to respect the character of a person you really don’t like. That’s no problem, says Fr. Mike, because you can still respect them as a human being and—if they are in a position of authority—you can still respect their position. Not everyone in our lives is going to earn the kind of respect that Fr. Mike would equate with trust. Those who have a respectable character will earn that trust though, and that’s the kind of person we should strive to be in other people’s lives.
Sep 14, 2018
Faith is Not Something You Can Lose
10:43
Sure, there are times when it’s just hard to believe what the Catholic Faith tells us, but when someone says “I’m losing my faith,” or “I lost my faith,” there’s something much more serious going on there. Fr. Mike examines this problem, but emphasizes that we actually can’t lose faith because it’s a gift from God. We can use that gift wrongly and put it into what Fr. Mike calls “God’s chief rivals” or, in other words, idols; but the faith is still there and we can still put it in God if we simply choose to. Maybe God is giving you the gift of faith right now, and maybe you just have to use it the way he intends.
Sep 06, 2018
Repentance and Church Reform
10:22
Anyone can and should condemn the sins of the priests and cardinals that have been all over the news. The real challenge is to ask God what he is expecting us to do within this time, our time, in history. If he has created us to live in these difficult times for Catholics, he must be calling us to some great task to help bring renewal to his Church and individual souls. Here's a link to last week's episode. (https://media.ascensionpress.com/podcast/pennsylvania-sex-abuse-scandal/)
Aug 30, 2018
The Pennsylvania Sex Abuse Scandal
16:21
Aug 23, 2018
Anti-Fragile Christianity
10:24
Aug 16, 2018
Is Courtesy Required for Catholics?
8:25
Aug 09, 2018
For Those Without a Clear Vocation
10:46
Aug 02, 2018
Developing a Clear Vision in Life
7:13
Jul 27, 2018
Becoming Flexible to Accept God's Will
7:51
Jul 19, 2018
What Boredom Can Teach Us
9:26
The wisdom he shares here is akin to that of many successful, insightful writers such as Cal Newport and Josef Pieper. You can find the works Fr. Mike references here: Cal Newport's Deep Work (http://calnewport.com/books/deep-work/) Josef Pieper's Leisure, the Basis of Culture (https://bit.ly/2Je5FwU)
Jul 12, 2018
Freedom and Its Consequences
6:23
Jul 05, 2018
The Church and Immigration
8:32
Jun 28, 2018
Consistency Will Make You Holy
7:27
Jun 21, 2018
Why Non-Catholics Can’t Receive Communion
9:03
Jun 14, 2018
Catholics, Alcohol, and Drinking
7:56
Jun 07, 2018
How to be a Good Disciple of Christ
8:21
May 31, 2018
Can a Catholic Marry a Non-Catholic?
11:27
May 25, 2018
Religion Doesn't Cause as Many Wars as You Think
7:27
May 18, 2018
Do You Present Your True Self to Others?
7:57
May 14, 2018
Dealing with Stress
8:35
May 09, 2018
3 Questions to Ask to Prevent Gossiping
3:44
Apr 27, 2018
Is It OK To Stay The Night?
8:09
Fr. Mike offers a message that may be hard to accept for some of us, but his intention is to help us live happily and get to heaven. In a culture where anything goes, the Catholic views on dating can seem strict, but behind them are very good reasons. If you’ve ever wondered why the Church advises unmarried couples to avoid living together or spending the night together, listen to this episode to find out.
Apr 20, 2018
The Culture of Netflix and Chill
8:31
Every generation has its own code words for things that are taboo, but when watching TV and relaxing could mean having casual sex, it’s fair to say we’ve reached a tipping point in our culture. In this episode, Fr. Mike examines the “Netflix and chill” lifestyle, borrowing some ideas from Boston College professor Kerry Cronin, who appears in a new documentary called The Dating Project, which addresses the problems inherent in a hookup culture.
Apr 13, 2018
How to Prepare for the Sunday Readings
8:10
Have you ever left Mass feeling like the homily just wasn't satisfactory? In this episode, Father Mike Schmitz shows us how to always gain what we need from the Sunday readings, regardless of the quality of the homily. Father Mike also tells us not to be so hard on priests when they miss the mark, because their job is harder than it seems from the pew.
Apr 06, 2018
Fr. Mike's Autobiography
6:17
This episode is not a new autobiography by F​r.​ Mike Schmitz. It’s about everyone’s autobiography, which is—in a word—the ​crucifix. Jesus​'​ dying on the Cross sums up every person’s life story because it shows what our sins did and God's power to forgive them, so our lives can be defined by love and not shame. This Good Friday, let God’s sacrifice be your identity.
Mar 29, 2018
Take Courage!
8:25
It's easy to think of courage as something we only need when facing our greatest fears, but in this episode Fr. Mike explains how courage is necessary to live out every virtue. He shows how cowardice can seem harmless in the ways it sneaks into our thoughts, and shares words from great saints who commissioned the faithful to practice fortitude in our everyday lives.
Mar 23, 2018
What's the Point of Fasting During Lent?
7:08
We fast during Lent for many reasons. Whether those reasons are good or not is hard to tell sometimes, though. Sometimes we fast and do penance for personal reasons (I want to lose weight), or for practical reasons (I can save my family money or feed poor children), but too often our fasting is not actually about God. In this episode, Fr. Mike reminds us that God cares about us so much he is willing to notice our sacrifices—no matter how meager they may seem—and he wants us to use those sacrifices to draw closer to him.
Mar 16, 2018
Confessing the Same Sins Over and Over Again
7:47
Fr. Mike discusses why confessing the same sins over and over isn’t entirely a bad thing. He also offers some ways we can make our confessions more effective in helping us avoid those same sins in the future. The practice of naming, confessing, and renouncing our sins in Jesus’ name before, during, or after confession is one suggestion Fr. Mike shares. He also encourages us to move past simply wanting forgiveness and into having true repentance so we can experience deep conversion and freedom.
Mar 07, 2018
Why Should I Confess My Sins to a Priest?
9:22
If you’ve ever been in a conversation where you had to defend the Catholic Faith, people have probably asked you this question. It can be a tough one to answer, but Fr. Mike lays out many reasons why confessing our sins to a priest makes perfect sense. Confession isn’t a man-made tradition of the Church but rather a valuable gift given by God and rooted in Scripture. Fr. Mike is also a presenter in these faith formation programs from Ascension: Belonging: Baptism in the Family of God Chosen: This is Your Catholic Faith Altaration: The Mystery of the Mass Revealed YOU: Life, Love, and the Theology of the Body Get 18 of Fr. Mike’s best Ascension Presents videos in this exclusive DVD from Ascension: Ascension Presents … Fr. Mike Schmitz
Mar 05, 2018
Should Catholics Call Priests Father
7:28
One of the most common Bible verses people use to try and debunk Catholic teaching is Matthew 23:9, where Jesus says, “Call no man on earth father.” In this episode, Fr. Mike Schmitz guides us through the New Testament to give us the context and significance of this teaching. By the end of this episode, you will see that Christ’s words here have much deeper meaning than what many people would believe.
Feb 26, 2018
Overcoming Envy and Dealing with Jealousy
7:37
Envy and jealousy sneakily gain control of our minds. They don’t feel like other sins that give at least a brief moment of gratification, so it’s easy to dismiss these disordered thoughts. In this episode, Fr. Mike explains why we need to focus in on whatever jealousy or envy we may have in our lives, because it could inhibit our relationship with God. The remedy he shares is a reminder of who we are in God’s eyes, which is all that matters.
Feb 16, 2018
4 Helpful Rules for Discernment
6:42
When we are discerning God’s will in our lives, we often get overwhelmed by the anxiety of making the right choice and don’t permit ourselves to consider what we actually want. In this episode, Fr. Mike Schmitz encourages us to weigh all the choices that are open to us, good for us, wise, and desired by us. The last of the four is often overlooked, so Fr. Mike explains why it is just as important to pay attention to our heart’s desires as it is to consider the other three factors when we are discerning a decision.
Feb 09, 2018
Motivation to Go to Catholic Mass
9:37
You may have heard priests or devout Catholics say something like, “If only people knew what was happening at Mass, they’d be more willing to go.” That may be true, but in this episode, Fr. Mike also gets to the more practical—and painfully direct—heart of the matter. He points out that the heart of worship is sacrifice, and ultimately it’s not about how engaged or entertained we are. Mass isn’t about us; it’s about God and what he asks of us.
Feb 01, 2018
Why God Gave Us Bodies
9:57
God made the world—and you—on purpose. What is that purpose? Well, that’s what St. John Paul II went to great lengths to explain in his Theology of the Body talks, which Fr. Mike sums up beautifully in this episode. With profound simplicity, Fr. Mike—inspired by St. John Paul II—shares the fundamental truths of this ingenious vision of humanity and sexuality. Made in God’s image and likeness, you are your body, and you are made for love. What you do with your body matters. You’ll have to watch the video to get the last and most powerful point. It’s amazing.
Jan 25, 2018
Inspiration to Stop Complaining
5:48
St. Paul wrote to the Thessalonians, “In all things give thanks” (1 Thessalonians 5:18). In this episode, Fr. Mike shows us how to live up to that challenge, helping us to see that everything we complain about can be viewed as an opportunity to praise God. This isn’t just good advice. It is what’s required of us as Christians. Sure, we will have times when we need to vent to a confidant; but—as Fr. Mike suggests—keeping our complaining to a minimum is a great way to prove we are striving to do God’s will.
Jan 18, 2018
The Virgin Mary's Struggles
7:12
If we want to be holy, the Virgin Mary should have an integral role in our spiritual life; but sometimes, perhaps, you might ​think you cannot relate to the Blessed Mother because she was immaculately conceived and didn’t have to struggle with sin as we do. In this episode, Fr. Mike shares how even though ​Mary ​did not struggle with sin, she still had her own unique struggle that we can relate to when we are seeking holiness. Fr. Mike is also a presenter in these faith formation programs from Ascension: Belonging: Baptism in the Family of God (http://bit.ly/2rdOFy7) Chosen: This is Your Catholic Faith (http://bit.ly/2r32vUK) Altaration: The Mystery of the Mass Revealed (http://bit.ly/2rIYjfE) YOU: Life, Love and the Theology of the Body (http://bit.ly/2nKLug5) Get 18 of Fr. Mike’s best Ascension Presents videos in this exclusive DVD from Ascension: Ascension Presents … Fr. Mike Schmitz (http://bit.ly/2sKUnJN) Fr. Mike spoke at the Ascension Cafe during the World Meeting of Families. Watch him and other speakers get fired up over the gospel in the Ascension Cafe DVD (http://bit.ly/2sYtQaW). MORE FROM ASCENSION: Ascension Press main website: http://ascensionpress.com Ascension Presents website: http://ascensionpresents.com The Great Adventure Blog: http://biblestudyforcatholics.com/blog SOCIAL MEDIA Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AscensionPress/ Twitter: http://twitter.com/AscensionPress LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/company/asce... Instagram: http://www.instagram.com/ascensionpress/
Jan 11, 2018
The Secret to Sticking to a New Year's Resolution
7:48
So you felt a strong wave of inspiration and became determined to make a New Year’s resolution. Great. Now what? In this episode, Fr. Mike teaches how to strike a balance between great change and manageable consistency, so you can tackle that resolution with determination and wisdom. By starting with small steps and plotting a course of action, you will experience what it means to be faithful and become who God is calling you to be by the end of the year. Fr. Mike is also a presenter in these faith formation programs from Ascension: Belonging: Baptism in the Family of God (http://bit.ly/2rdOFy7) Chosen: This is Your Catholic Faith (http://bit.ly/2r32vUK) Altaration: The Mystery of the Mass Revealed (http://bit.ly/2rIYjfE) YOU: Life, Love and the Theology of the Body (http://bit.ly/2nKLug5) Get 18 of Fr. Mike’s best Ascension Presents videos in this exclusive DVD from Ascension: Ascension Presents … Fr. Mike Schmitz (http://bit.ly/2sKUnJN) Fr. Mike spoke at the Ascension Cafe during the World Meeting of Families. Watch him and other speakers get fired up over the gospel in the Ascension Cafe DVD (http://bit.ly/2sYtQaW).
Jan 04, 2018
Christmas: A Time for Hope
5:37
While many of us may become stressed out before Christmas and depressed afterwards—working hard to make the holiday perfect and burning out once it’s all “over”—the Light of the season can still shine through if we remember one thing. In this episode, Fr. Mike Schmitz explains what it means for Christmas to be a season of hope, and reminds us that strengthening our relationship with Jesus while learning to trust him is the one thing that matters this season. Fr. Mike is also a presenter in these faith formation programs from Ascension: Belonging: Baptism in the Family of God (http://bit.ly/2rdOFy7) Chosen: This is Your Catholic Faith (http://bit.ly/2r32vUK) Altaration: The Mystery of the Mass Revealed (http://bit.ly/2rIYjfE) YOU: Life, Love and the Theology of the Body (http://bit.ly/2nKLug5) Get 18 of Fr. Mike’s best Ascension Presents videos in this exclusive DVD from Ascension: Ascension Presents … Fr. Mike Schmitz (http://bit.ly/2sKUnJN) Fr. Mike spoke at the Ascension Cafe during the World Meeting of Families. Watch him and other speakers get fired up over the gospel in the Ascension Cafe DVD (http://bit.ly/2sYtQaW). MORE FROM ASCENSION: Ascension Press main website: http://ascensionpress.com Ascension Presents website: http://ascensionpresents.com The Great Adventure Blog: http://biblestudyforcatholics.com/blog SOCIAL MEDIA Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AscensionPress/ Twitter: http://twitter.com/AscensionPress LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/company/asce... Instagram: http://www.instagram.com/ascensionpress/
Dec 28, 2017
Learning How To Love from the Bible
9:04
Do you want to learn how to love like the Bible teaches? Bible-based love, indeed any Bible-based relationships, can be attained if we understand what the Bible says about love. Loving someone rightly is difficult because selfish motives often seep into even our closest relationships. In this episode, Fr. Mike Schmitz connects the Old and New Testaments, using the story of the Fall in Genesis to show how, despite our selfish motives, we are still made for love. He shows how the Fall was not a curse from God but a remedy for humanity’s broken idea of love. Because Adam and Eve — and subsequently, each one of us — chose self-preservation over self-gift and wanted pleasure apart from sacrifice, God had to teach us that love costs something. He provided a remedy and a Redeemer so we could learn to be a gift from him to others. Fr. Mike is also a presenter in these faith formation programs from Ascension: Belonging: Baptism in the Family of God (http://bit.ly/2rdOFy7) Chosen: This is Your Catholic Faith (http://bit.ly/2r32vUK) Altaration: The Mystery of the Mass Revealed (http://bit.ly/2rIYjfE) YOU: Life, Love and the Theology of the Body (http://bit.ly/2nKLug5) Get 18 of Fr. Mike’s best Ascension Presents videos in this exclusive DVD from Ascension: Ascension Presents … Fr. Mike Schmitz (http://bit.ly/2sKUnJN) Fr. Mike spoke at the Ascension Cafe during the World Meeting of Families. Watch him and other speakers get fired up over the gospel in the Ascension Cafe DVD (http://bit.ly/2sYtQaW). MORE FROM ASCENSION: Ascension Press main website: http://ascensionpress.com Ascension Presents website: http://ascensionpresents.com The Great Adventure Blog: http://biblestudyforcatholics.com/blog SOCIAL MEDIA Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AscensionPress/ Twitter: http://twitter.com/AscensionPress LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/company/asce... Instagram: http://www.instagram.com/ascensionpress/
Dec 21, 2017
Straightforward Career and Job Advice
8:23
It’s all too common for us to think of our work as either the thing that gives us our identity, or something to be avoided at all cost, or some unhealthy combination of those two misleading philosophies. In this episode, Fr. Mike aims to bring inspiration to our everyday jobs by showing us how our labor can be a way to share in God’s nature. By striving to look past humanity’s brokenness and sin, we can move beyond seeing work as a burden, and see how every act of work has dignity. Fr. Mike is also a presenter in these faith formation programs from Ascension: Belonging: Baptism in the Family of God (http://bit.ly/2rdOFy7) Chosen: This is Your Catholic Faith (http://bit.ly/2r32vUK) Altaration: The Mystery of the Mass Revealed (http://bit.ly/2rIYjfE) YOU: Life, Love and the Theology of the Body (http://bit.ly/2nKLug5) Get 18 of Fr. Mike’s best Ascension Presents videos in this exclusive DVD from Ascension: Ascension Presents … Fr. Mike Schmitz (http://bit.ly/2sKUnJN) Fr. Mike spoke at the Ascension Cafe during the World Meeting of Families. Watch him and other speakers get fired up over the gospel in the Ascension Cafe DVD (http://bit.ly/2sYtQaW). MORE FROM ASCENSION: Ascension Press main website: http://ascensionpress.com Ascension Presents website: http://ascensionpresents.com The Great Adventure Blog: http://biblestudyforcatholics.com/blog SOCIAL MEDIA Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AscensionPress/ Twitter: http://twitter.com/AscensionPress LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/company/asce... Instagram: http://www.instagram.com/ascensionpress/
Dec 13, 2017
The Problem With Criticism
6:29
In this episode, Fr. Mike delivers a crackdown on habitual criticism. He discusses how easy it is to criticize something, and how hard it is to create something and open yourself to be critiqued. While pointing out how excessive criticism is a form of cowardice, he invites us to have courage and stand for the Creed while accepting the risk of criticism that comes with doing so.
Dec 07, 2017
Finding God in Darkness
10:59
The phrase “dark night of the soul” is thrown around quite a bit in Catholic circles, but what does it mean exactly? In this episode, Fr. Mike Schmitz explains precisely what is happening in our souls when we feel this kind of spiritual darkness, and he encourages us to hang in there when it happens; because it means God is preparing our souls for much greater things.
Nov 30, 2017
How Do Priests Pray
9:17
Finding the right words to pray can be difficult, and the rote prayers we were taught as children are too often not prayed from the heart. In this episode, Fr. Mike Schmitz tells us about a way to pray that priests are taught in their formation years which helps make their prayers both habitual and genuine.
Nov 23, 2017
The Lesser Known Final Judgment
8:12
Death, judgment, heaven, and hell—the four last things—are popular enough topics among Christians; but there’s more to these things than just our own personal end. In this episode​,​ Fr. Mike explains how, as the Catechism teaches, in the Last Judgment “the ultimate meaning of the whole work of creation and of the entire economy of salvation” will be made known to us (CCC 1040). All the good and evil you and I have done will also become known. Fr. Mike’s perspective on this reality is both fascinating and humbling.
Nov 16, 2017
Decision Making 101
6:58
Fr. Mike gives help when it comes to making decisions.
Nov 09, 2017
The Battle of Prayer
7:12
Drawing from the wisdom of the saints, Fr. Mike explains why prayer should be in the center of our lives, while offering some helpful pointers on how to make that so, especially during distractions.
Nov 02, 2017
Tolkien's Leaf
7:40
J.R.R. Tolkien’s short story "Leaf by Niggle", reveals that minutia matters: even the little things we do have can have great significance. In this episode, Fr. Mike Schmitz explores how the author of The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings shows that having a more complete vision for life can affect our attention to detail. Reflecting on this, Father Mike shows us how the hope of heaven can give eternally deeper meaning to even the most minute tasks in our lives.
Oct 25, 2017
Wonder Woman
7:22
What is it that makes a hero? In this episode, Fr. Mike Schmitz offers a definition we can all live up to. Using the Wonder Woman movie as an example, he explains how a hero, or heroine, is characterized more by his or her praiseworthy human qualities than by any super-human ones.
Oct 19, 2017
Living in the Present Moment
6:37
Never before was there and never again will there be a moment quite like the present, yet so often we find ourselves wishing we were in another time in our lives, wishing we could be enjoying the achievement of our future goals or the past times when things were better for us. In this video, Fr. Mike challenges us to notice the “sacrament of the present moment” and see what graces God wants us to enjoy right now.
Oct 12, 2017
NFL Protests
7:17
Football has recently become a forum to look at where patriotism and protest intersect. The last thing most NFL fans want is for the NFL to get political, yet with the recent National Anthem protests around the league, that seems to be what’s happening. How do we take a stance that is Christian and respectful amidst such deep-rooted tension? In this episode, Fr. Mike lays out a game plan for us, and it starts with looking within.
Oct 05, 2017
Finding Balance in Christian Life
6:14
Balance in life is something many of us strive for while not having much insight on how to achieve it. In this episode, Fr. Mike Schmitz provides three principles that can help, advising that when we seek first the kingdom of God (Matthew 6:33), everything else tends to fall into place.
Sep 28, 2017
What is Hope
5:34
Hope, in the Christian sense, is often misunderstood. It is not the same as optimism or presumption. It is not the blind faith that we will go to heaven or the escapist way to avoid the troubles of this world. It’s not the virtue we need to see the present moment with more positivity. It’s more personal than that. In this episode, Fr. Mike Schmitz explains exactly why.
Sep 21, 2017
Avoiding Impurity
7:32
Did you know we have the ability to write our own stories? So often we consider ourselves victims of our own passions, constantly giving in to them while thinking they’re too strong. In this video, Fr. Mike empowers us to live out the vow we make in our Act of Contrition to “avoid the near occasions of sin.” Who knows where the path of life may lead if we simply choose a path other than the one upon which we know temptation lurks?
Sep 14, 2017
Is it OK to Judge Someone
6:46
Jesus commanded us not to judge… but not to judge what? If we look at the words of Jesus, we find he’s actually telling us that even though we can’t judge the heart, we should judge actions – it’s important to make distinctions between right and wrong! Father Mike also reminds us why, with the mercy of God available to us, we don’t need to be afraid of judgment.
Sep 07, 2017
What's Your Burden
6:29
How do you carry your burdens in life? In this episode, Father Mike discusses a tendency to make our life harder based on the "work beneath the work." Our approach to difficulties doesn't have to make them even tougher.
Aug 31, 2017
Who Do You Spend Time With
7:42
Common wisdom tells us we become the people we spend the most time with, so choose your friends wisely. In this video, Fr. Mike expands upon that advice to encourage Catholics to spend more time with God in prayer, and surround ourselves with people who practice Christian virtue.
Aug 24, 2017
Training vs Working Out
5:13
Inspired by the diligence of professional athletes and St. Paul’s First Letter to the Corinthians, Fr. Mike encourages us to approach our prayer life—and life in general—with a goal and sense of purpose. Getting physically in shape requires more than just a casual workout, and getting spiritually in shape requires more than going through the motions of our religion.
Aug 17, 2017
Talking About Suicide
9:16
Fr. Mike explains why hope is the best remedy for suicidal thoughts. If you know someone struggling with such thoughts, don’t hesitate to reach out to them with reasons to have hope. If someone you know or love has committed suicide, pray for them and don’t lose hope for their soul. If you struggle with suicidal thoughts, don’t be ashamed to seek help. Fr. Mike shares these words of encouragement and more in this episode.
Aug 03, 2017
Be a Hater
7:58
You may be familiar with the expression, “Hate the sin, not the sinner.” Fr. Mike would agree, especially when it comes to ourselves. We are quick to point out the sin we observe around us, but not as quick to examine our own souls. Along with this challenge to look inward, in this video Fr. Mike explains why we must hate sin in order to love God. Fr. Mike is also a presenter in these faith formation programs from Ascension: Belonging: Baptism in the Family of God Chosen: This is Your Catholic Faith Altaration: The Mystery of the Mass Revealed YOU: Life, Love and the Theology of the Body
Jul 27, 2017
Responding to the MMA Episode
8:49
Fr. Mike addresses some of the disagreements his audience expressed regarding last week’s video on mixed martial arts. Showing that he wasn’t singling out MMA, he gets to the root of the issue and asks, “Does the entertainment I choose help or harm my commitment to be like Jesus?”
Jul 20, 2017
Why Watching MMA Strips Human Dignity
5:42
Sometimes the forms of entertainment we choose to watch raise important moral questions. In this episode, Fr. Mike puts the sport of mixed martial arts on trial for its glorification of unnecessary violence. He distinguishes between the ability to defend yourself and forcing someone into submission through physical strength. Drawing from Christ’s example of meekness, Fr. Mike explains how martial arts as a discipline can be noble while mixed martial arts as entertainment is not.
Jul 13, 2017
Generosity - The Greatest Spiritual Gift
5:09
In Matthew 17:20,​ Jesus tells us if we have faith as small as a mustard seed we could move mountains. The problem is most of us don’t put our faith to use. In this video, Fr. Mike invites us to make use of the gifts God has already given us. In doing so, we may become so overjoyed by our natural gifts that we can’t help but share them with others. Fr. Mike is also a presenter in these faith formation programs from Ascension:
Jul 06, 2017
Are My Sacrifices Working
5:42
The Book of Eli (Denzel Washington) and The Road (Viggo Mortensen) provide powerful illustrations for Fr. Mike’s talk about hope this week. These two dystopian stories demonstrate how hope can give us the strength to put everything on the line for something or someone we love, even when we know we may not see the fruits of our sacrifice. Fr. Mike is also a presenter in these faith formation programs from Ascension: Belonging: Baptism in the Family of God Chosen: This is Your Catholic Faith Altaration: The Mystery of the Mass Revealed
Jun 29, 2017
Do Catholics Worship Saints
7:20
Fr. Mike Schmitz wants to straighten out some confusion regarding Catholics’ veneration of saints. In this episode, he explains how—far from being icons to worship—statues and paintings of the saints are reminders of what God can do in someone’s life, so honoring the saints doesn’t take away from the glory we give God. It actually brings him greater glory. You may also like the article “Why Pray to Mary and the Saints?” on The Great Adventure Blog.
Jun 22, 2017
Why We Don't Drink Coffee At Mass
6:28
Leaving our coffee cups outside - there are a few reasons for this. Fr. Mike reminds us that we all have a vital role to play in the Mass, and it’s probably more significant than any of us realized!
Jun 15, 2017
Why Be Catholic And Not Just Christian
9:39
There are many similarities and differences between the Catholic Church and the Protestant churches. In this video, Fr. Mike Schmitz narrows the differences down to one thing that really sets Catholicism apart from the rest. If you like this video, you may also like Sonja Corbitt’s blog post “Is Jesus the Only Mediator” on The Great Adventure Blog.
Jun 08, 2017
How To Face Temptation
6:52
Father Mike uses the classic myths involving the Sirens to explain some ways to avoid temptation. He points out the differences between the ways Ulysses, his crew, and Jason of the Argonauts dealt with the monsters and suggests we use some advice St. Paul gave to the Philippians when dealing with temptations.
Jun 01, 2017
What I Learned Getting Roasted At The Seminary
4:21
Fr. Mike uses a memory from the seminary to discuss a lesson about self-identity. He asks us what we would like to be known for at the end of the day. Some of us want to be recognized for our talents or for our interests, but Fr. Mike narrows it down to the identity in life that matters most.
May 26, 2017
What You Should Know About Purgatory
6:56
Some people reject the idea of purgatory because they misunderstand its purpose. In this episode, Fr. Mike explains why purgatory is needed and straightens out some of those misunderstandings.
May 17, 2017
Is God in the Center of Your Life?
5:48
Does your life revolve around your relationship with God, or is your relationship with him just a side-note?
May 12, 2017
Is it OK to Hate Someone?
6:51
What do we need to do as Catholic Christians to convey that the message of our religion is one of pure love? So often we misrepresent what it means to be Christian, causing many people to just see judgment when they see us upholding our principles. In this episode, Fr. Mike emphasizes how important it is to live what we believe, and that means loving people so much that even when they harm us, we continue to love them.
May 04, 2017
What Is the Sin of Gluttony?
6:32
Many of us have learned the hard way that too much of a good thing can be a bad thing. In this episode, Fr. Mike shows us how to savor life’s delights without losing our ability to enjoy life. He gives palpable examples as he demonstrates how our favorite things—when enjoyed in the right quantity and for the right reasons—can give us more patience, temperance, freedom, and joy.
Apr 27, 2017
God Doesn't Owe You Anything
6:54
When we’re going through hard times, it’s easy to think we deserve better from God. In this episode, Fr. Mike uses a compelling story from the book of Daniel to exemplify the challenging but proper response to adversity. As tough as it may be, finding a way to thank God no matter the situation is a sure way to holiness.
Apr 20, 2017
Good Friday- The Meaning of the Cross
7:16
Many people wonder, and even become angry, about God’s ways. In this episode for Good Friday, Fr. Mike explains why God’s answers often seem like contradictions to us. While Jesus dying on the Cross makes no sense according to human wisdom, according to God’s perfect wisdom​,​ the Cross answers all our most burning questions in a way only God can answer them.
Apr 13, 2017
Hell Is for Real
6:07
It’s a question that arises whenever someone challenges the beliefs of Christianity: If God is all-loving, why does he send people to hell? Some Christians choose to believe that hell doesn’t exist, or if it does, then only those guilty of the most heinous sins go there. Fr. Mike’s response in this video makes much more sense, and he offers an explanation of hell you can take to your grave.
Apr 06, 2017
Where is Lent in the Bible?
8:12
Just about any question you might have about Lent is answered in this episode. Fr. Mike explains where the observance of Lent came from (the Bible), clarifies why Catholics observe the season, and shares how it can make a difference in our lives. Find more at www.ascensionpress.com/podcasts.
Mar 30, 2017
Acedia- The Noonday Devil
6:20
Mar 23, 2017
The Meaning of Suffering
6:33
Books upon books have been written about the problem of suffering. Fr. Mike isn’t about to reinvent the wheel in this video, but the wisdom he shares in it ​echoes​ that of the saints. What did the saints and martyrs know about suffering that enabled them to endure so much of it? Christ didn’t give them some mystical superpower; he simply gave their suffering a purpose.
Mar 16, 2017
Fasting Can Change You Forever
7:20
Fr. Mike talks about the real reasons Christ tells us to fast. It isn’t just about strengthening our will and showing our love for God through some small sacrifice. Ultimately, it’s about freedom. When we give up something for Lent, by the time Lent is over we may find we never needed that thing in the first place and may never feel we need it again.
Mar 10, 2017
Why Fast on Ash Wednesday?
6:25
Fr. Mike offers a refreshing reason for fasting​ on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday. Fasting shouldn’t be simply something Catholics do to show they are Catholic. It is a way to show God that we give him our hearts and care about what he asks of us.
Mar 02, 2017
That's Offensive!
8:04
The more we live in the truth, the harder it will be for others to offend us, because false statements about us won't bother us and true ones won't be hidden from us. In this video, Fr. Mike lays out why, as Catholic Christians, we are called to be both unoffensive and “unoffendable,” and explains how we can do that.
Feb 23, 2017
Preparing for Lent
8:36
In this video, Fr. Mike explains how prayer, fasting, and almsgiving are the three pillars of a spiritually fruitful Lent. He then challenges us to try new ways to exercise these Lenten practices, sharing several simple strategies for drawing closer to God during this holy season.
Feb 04, 2017
Mortal Vs Venial Sin
7:10
Even though mortal sins are more deadly than venial sins, that doesn’t mean venial sins are harmless. Fr. Mike explains the damage venial sins do to us and advises us to not become complacent in our sin, no matter how minor it may seem to us, because all sin negatively impacts our relationship with God.
Feb 02, 2017
3 Steps to Unceasing Prayer
6:14
First Thessalonians 5:17 says to “pray constantly,” but how do we do that? In this video, Fr. Mike Schmitz suggests a three-step approach used by St. Francis de Sales. These steps can be difficult or easy, but the important thing to remember is that simply inviting God into every moment is as good a way to pray as any. If you liked this episode, you may also like Oremus: A Guide to Catholic Prayer (http://bit.ly/2fEBTaB).
Jan 31, 2017
Love is an Ability
3:42
Jan 27, 2017
Chapel Veils and the Significance of Dreams
6:17
How can we know if God is speaking to us through a dream? Is it acceptable to wear a chapel veil to a Novus Ordo Mass? Fr. Mike responds to these questions from his audience with clarity and enthusiasm, helping us discover the underlying principles behind his answers.
Jan 25, 2017
What Is Sin?
6:27
In this episode, Fr. Mike lays out not just what sin is but also what it is not. He also explains the difference between regret and repentance, and how evil is really just the absence of good.
Jan 25, 2017
What Constitutes a Practicing Catholic?
7:06
It may be difficult to tell a non-practicing Catholic that he or she can’t receive ​C​ommunion, but—as Fr. Mike Schmitz proves in this episode—in the big picture​, ​​you would actually be helping the person. While telling an awe-inspiring story about a seminarian, Fr. Mike lays out what it means to be a practicing Catholic and shows how the requirements can transform ​a person's life.
Jan 25, 2017
Mastering Love and Relationships
7:50
Who doesn’t want to have more constructive conversations in their close relationships? In this episode, Fr. Mike Schmitz explains how achieving this may be simpler than you think. So many times, we just don’t give the people we love the attention they deserve. Fr. Mike shows us how to fix that and master our love relationships.
Jan 25, 2017
Will My Pet Be in Heaven?
8:36
The question addressed in this episode runs much deeper than the cartoon classic All Dogs Go to Heaven. Fr. Mike ventures into the theology of the matter, even taking some words of wisdom from St. Thomas Aquinas and St. Paul—who says in Romans 8, that creation will “share in the glorious freedom of the children of God.” But Fr. Mike also redirects our interest in heaven, helping us focus on embracing Someone far greater than our beloved pets.
Jan 25, 2017
Can I Go to Confession Over the Phone?
3:18
With all of the communication we do through the Internet and over the phone, why do we still have to go to confession in person? Fr. Mike Schmitz explains the importance of the matter.
Jan 25, 2017
Will God Heal My Wounds?
9:23
Being alone isn’t supposed to be scary. In this episode, Fr. Mike Schmitz shows us how solitude can be an invitation and doesn't have to lead to loneliness. God himself has revealed to us how he is a relationship of love between Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Made in his image, we are also made for relationship—with God and with one another. When we feel alone, it is because we were made to give ourselves to others as God gives himself to us.
Jan 25, 2017
Learning to Be Alone
5:52
Being alone isn’t supposed to be scary. In this episode, Fr. Mike Schmitz shows us how solitude can be an invitation and doesn't have to lead to loneliness. God himself has revealed to us how he is a relationship of love between Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Made in his image, we are also made for relationship—with God and with one another. When we feel alone, it is because we were made to give ourselves to others as God gives himself to us.
Jan 25, 2017
Discernment 101
6:37
Fr. Mike Schmitz explains ​that it is best to focus on one thing at a time when discerning a vocation. Not only is it most prudent to discern ​​just one vocation at a time;​ ​it is​​​ also important to take discernment ​one step at​ ​a time.
Jan 25, 2017
Independence Day Special
8:16
It might be tough not to feel patriotic after hearing why Fr. Mike Schmitz loves America in this episode. More importantly, though, he talks about the “burden of freedom” and explains why true freedom requires wisdom, virtue, and a thorough understanding of the story of our nation and our world.
Jan 25, 2017
Wanting to Fix People
7:07
We have a tendency to want to fix the people we love. While delighting in all their good traits, we think, “If only they didn’t have this one quirk...” In this episode, Fr. Mike Schmitz explains that love embraces the entire person just the way he or she is. ​He then gives some practical advice on how to do that.
Jan 25, 2017
3 Reasons Catholics Genuflect
4:52
By genuflecting before the tabernacle at church, we’re saying at least one of three things with our bodies. Those three things have to do with humility, service, and love. In this episode, Fr. Mike Schmitz explains how a simple kneel before we enter the pew can express so much.
Jan 25, 2017
Why Does God Let Bad Things Happen?
8:06
How can God be good, but allow bad things to happen? Fr. Mike Schmitz tackles one of the toughest questions religious believers must answer
Jan 25, 2017
Are All Catholics Hypocrites?
6:58
Sometimes we’re not everything we wish we could be. At times all we can do is act as if we believe, because we’re just not up to truly putting our faith in God​ at that moment​. In this episode, Fr. Mike explains why, in a sense, it’s ​OK to be a ​​“hypocrite” at those times.
Jan 25, 2017
The Value of Silence
8:00
God never ignores us, but sometimes we simply can’t hear him due to all of the distractions in our life. That’s why Fr. Mike Schmitz feels it’s necessary for people to become more comfortable with silence, because silence is God’s first language, and it is in silence that we will best hear him.
Jan 25, 2017
Procrastination Isn't Always Laziness
8:25
Fr. Mike teaches us the two questions we need to ask ourselves to figure out whether our procrastination is laziness or 'strategic procrastination'. He also draws the distinction between procrastination and sloth, and gives direction on how to break out of a pattern of sloth.
Jan 25, 2017
Letting God Take His Time
6:05
Fr. Mike reflects on why God often takes his time when working in our lives. Sometimes God has to go back to the foundation of a problem to answer our prayers. This takes time, but every moment is worth it because it’s time spent with him.
Jan 25, 2017
Do We Deserve God's Love?
6:52
Before we receive Communion, we essentially tell God we are not worthy to receive him. In this episode, Fr. Mike explains why this is not a reflection upon us, but rather on God’s unconditional love.
Jan 25, 2017
Venting or Gossip
7:05
Sometimes we forget how much of an impact our words can make. In this episode, Fr. Mike reminds us that our words have the power to build up or destroy relationships and even whole communities. He points out some helpful distinctions between venting and gossiping and gives some guidelines for avoiding what he calls “the everyday betrayal.”
Jan 25, 2017
Dogma, Doctrine, and Meat on Fridays
7:54
Fr. Mike explains that Church teachings can develop without essentially changing. Using examples such as the doctrine of the Incarnation and abstaining from meat on Fridays, he shows how the heart of certain teachings always remains the same, even though our explanation or practice of them may evolve.
Jan 25, 2017
Adulting Level- Expert
7:20
The mark of an adult really comes down to one word: responsibility. In fact, being responsible just happens to be a sign of sainthood as well, according to Fr. Mike. Let’s take back the word "adult" and make it about holiness.
Jan 25, 2017
Can I Get a Tattoo?
7:59
Fr. Mike Schmitz gives us some things to consider before getting a tattoo. If we do choose to place permanent marks on our bodies, Fr. Mike advises us to make sure the marks portray values we’ll always identify with and live up to, because tattoos do inevitably say something about who we are.
Jan 25, 2017
Is Shyness Your Excuse?
8:49
Fr. Mike helps us break down the barriers that may keep us from evangelizing. He points out that the best way to spread the gospel is just by being yourself, and leading people to Christ in your own way. Sometimes the greatest witness is a quiet one.
Jan 25, 2017
Prepare to Die
6:29
When we’re caught up in life, it’s easy to forget that it’s going to end someday. So, will you be prepared? Fr. Mike suggests that we use Lent as a preparation for death, embracing it as a time to let go of earthly concerns and desires so that we can die to ourselves. If we do this, Christ will certainly lead us to resurrection.
Jan 24, 2017
Praying Through Holy Week
5:41
Find out how the Franciscan Sisters of the Eucharist from Duluth pray during Holy Week, and maybe discover something you can use in your prayer life as we walk with Jesus from his entry into Jerusalem, to Calvary and the Resurrection. The unique prayer commitment Fr. Mike suggests in this episode follows Jesus through all of his experiences—from suffering to celebration—in this the holiest week of the year.
Jan 24, 2017
Outdoor Weddings
5:16
Fr. Mike Schmitz explains why a Christian marriage has to be inside a church. With the marriage vows we aren’t just committing ourselves to our spouse. We are also saying in a very specific way that we will follow Christ. Marriage is inherently connected to Christianity, and it’s not just about us. It’s also about the church community to which we belong.
Jan 24, 2017
Fr. Mike's Easter Special
4:05
For this first week of Easter, Fr. Mike wants us to know how important we are to Jesus. When Jesus rose from the dead, the first people he encountered were Mary Magdalene and his disciples—the ones who believed in him. This Easter, because we believe in him, he comes to us first as well, and he tells us to go spread the Good News to the rest of the world.
Jan 24, 2017
Confirmation Sponsors & Female Priests
7:15
In this episode, Fr. Mike Schmitz answers questions about the Catholic Faith from his listeners. In his first answer, he offers a few practical ways to be a truly helpful confirmation sponsor. Then, he reaches back to the time of Moses to explain the roots of the male priesthood.
Jan 24, 2017
Batman V Superman Review
7:05
In this episode, Fr. Mike critiques Zack Snyder’s Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice.
Jan 24, 2017
4 Reasons for Almsgiving
8:39
Fr. Mike Schmitz encourages us to be charitable this Lent, emphasizing how almsgiving is a foundational part of living the Catholic faith.
Jan 24, 2017
Will I Ever Find the One?
7:43
Are you expecting to find that special someone someday, and are you hoping you’ll live happily ever after? Be honest. We’ve all had that hope at some point. In this episode, Fr. Mike Schmitz addresses the difficulty of big decisions—like figuring out who to marry—and suggests changing our expectations when it comes to meeting “The One.”
Jan 24, 2017
Shifting into a New Relationship
7:01
There will be conflict and arguments in relationships; it’s inevitable. But, we don’t have to let those situations cause irreparable damage. In this episode, Fr. Mike Schmitz explains how conflict can help a couple move forward together. The key is to reassure each other that you’re both on the same team, and that you both have the same goal in mind—even though you may sometimes disagree when it comes to how to get there.
Jan 24, 2017
Praying in a State of Mortal Sin
9:56
Contrite prayer can be an act of courage, because Lord knows there’s no harder time to pray than after we know we’ve sinned. In a way, we’re afraid to approach God. Yet, just as the only way to overcome our fears is by facing them, the only way to overcome our sin is by going to God after we sin. In this episode, Fr. Mike Schmitz explains how God wants a relationship with us and “will cleanse us from every wrongdoing” to build that relationship.
Jan 24, 2017
Aren't All Churches the Same?
7:26
There’s an ancient symbol that uses a ship or boat to represent the Catholic Church. In this episode, Fr. Mike Schmitz takes that analogy a step further, using it to explain how everything Christians love about their church, whichever one it may be, originally came from the flagship or mothership of Christianity.
Jan 24, 2017
Tips for Praying
8:46
Prayer isn’t just another good thing to do; it’s absolutely necessary if we want to know God’s will in our lives and draw closer to him. The trouble is finding the time and willpower to pray. In this episode, Fr. Mike Schmitz suggests being a bit more intentional in our prayer lives, asking these four simple questions: When should I pray, where should I pray, what should I pray, and why should I pray?
Jan 24, 2017
What Defines You?
3:33
Whether it’s our reputation as the smartest person in the class or office or a signature beard that makes us look like Chuck Norris, we all have something distinct that helps define us. In the end​,​ though, when everything else fades away, there’s only one part of our identity that matters. Find out what part that is in this video, in which Fr. Mike uses his beard to make a razor-sharp point. Yes ... his beard.
Jan 19, 2017
Martha or Mary? - Who Should You Be?
4:05
Jan 12, 2017
Learning from Your Past
6:58
In this video, Fr. Mike advises us to dwell in the present and bring into this moment what we learned from the past. He points out that, while it isn't healthy to live in the past, there is also a danger in leaving it behind completely.
Jan 05, 2017
The Gospels of Grace and Nature
6:27
Fr. Mike’s popular Ascension Presents video series in audio form.
Jan 02, 2017
Season for Everything
6:24
The Church in its great wisdom has designed the liturgical calendar with the human spirit in mind. In this video, Fr. Mike Schmitz explores the reasons for the seasons in the Church's calendar, with particular attention to the seasons of Advent and Christmas.
Dec 22, 2016
The Immaculate Conception Explained
7:13
Did you know that Mary actually knew her child would save the world? In fact, she was saved around forty-seven years before Jesus died. Fr. Mike Schmitz simplifies the complex theology behind the Immaculate Conception in this video. Using a clever analogy or two, he demonstrates how Scripture alludes to the fact that Mary was immaculately conceived, and he explains why this solemnity is so important to the Church.
Dec 18, 2016
Waiting for Christmas
6:28
Sometimes when God tells us to wait he wants us to actively receive his grace for that moment. This is especially true during Advent. In this video, Fr. Mike Schmitz encourages us to prepare our souls for the arrival of Christ as we wait for Christmas Day.
Dec 15, 2016
Advent- More than a Chocolate Calendar
6:54
What does Advent mean to you? A time to put the lights up, gift shop, and eat chocolate? Or is it something more? Fr. Mike says it’s good to prepare ourselves for Christmas during Advent, but ultimately that’s not what the liturgical season is about.
Dec 01, 2016
The Cure for Entitlement
6:52
G.K. Chesterton said “thanks are the highest form of thought, and gratitude is happiness doubled by wonder.” In this video, Fr. Mike Schmitz maintains that a sense of gratitude is much more powerful than a sense of entitlement. We all have certain rights we should stand up for, but to recognize and appreciate a gift when it’s given to us is even more beautiful.
Nov 29, 2016
Spiritual Blind Spots
5:41
Fr. Mike Schmitz shines light on the blind spots in our spiritual life and points out that sometimes we are unaware of spiritual battles waging within our souls. He encourages us to be attentive and patient with ourselves and with others, while asking God to reveal to us the hidden areas of our life where we can grow in holiness.
Nov 05, 2016
The Power of Prayer
6:15
Fr. Mike lays down the reasons we should pray and gives a few spot-on examples of how real life reflects the nature of prayer. Through prayer, God invites us into his will and gives us the dignity to participate in it, which strengthens our relationship with him. Fr. Mike covers these truths and more in this week’s episode.
Nov 03, 2016
How to Avoid Being Ungrateful
6:22
Fr. Mike Schmitz reminds us to appreciate our blessings while we have them, rather than complaining when they are taken from us. Gratitude is a powerful vehicle for change when we use the gifts given to us … and use them well.
Oct 22, 2016
Does God Love Some People More Than Others?
7:57
Fr. Mike’s answer to this question may make you think differently about God’s love. He helps to reorient our perspective—explaining that it is not about how much God loves us, but about our capacity to receive his love. If the most valuable thing in the world is limited only by our desire for it, why not take as much of it as we can get?
Sep 15, 2016
Hope in the Face of Suicide
8:04
With the way our culture disregards life sometimes, it is easy for the question “Is life worth living?” to surface. In this episode, Fr. Mike Schmitz emphatically states that not only is life worth living—it is sacred. If there is anyone you know who is weary of life, reach out to them and show them they are wanted.
Jul 07, 2016
Save Yourself from Helplessness
7:54
When life throws challenge after challenge at us, it is easy to just give in and think we are helpless. In this episode, Fr. Mike Schmitz offers an uplifting message for those tough times. No matter how dire the circumstances, with God’s grace, there is always something we can do.
Jun 09, 2016
I Ain't Afraid of No Ghosts!
9:26
The mere thought of ghosts can give us goose bumps sometimes, but there are still moments when we think ghost stories are just made up to scare us. Maybe it’s time for some real talk about things that go bump in the night and other stirrings we suspect may be specters. Can souls continue to communicate with the living after they die? In this episode, Fr. Mike gives a powerful reason for why he believes they can.
Apr 21, 2016
4 Reasons for Fasting
8:37
Feb 18, 2016
The Significance of Ash Wednesday
8:07
They may just be ashes, but Fr. Mike points out that what they represent goes far beyond mere dust of the earth. With a simple cross on the forehead, we are recognizing that we are far from perfect, but that God loves and redeems us—not despite our brokenness, but in the midst of it. If you want to start off your Lent with a reminder of Ash Wednesday’s deeper meaning, listen to Fr. Mike’s heartfelt words in this video.
Feb 10, 2016
Lucifer, the Trinity, and Leisurely Sundays
8:53
Fr. Mike Schmitz tackles several tough questions from his listeners, like “Who became the new light-bearer after Lucifer fell?” and “How do we make Sunday a time of rest amidst our busy schedules?” If you ever wondered about these things, Fr. Mike may have the answers you’ve been looking for.
Jan 28, 2016
I'm Sorry Versus Thank You
5:47
When we inconvenience someone, we may feel like we are in their debt. If so, Fr. Mike Schmitz encourages us to apologize to that person, but further, to offer our gratitude in response to his or her forgiveness. We should especially respond this way when we offend our merciful God, who wants to forgive us our debt and help us move forward with grace.
Jan 22, 2016
Ways to Read the Bible
8:38
Maybe you used to read the Bible for inspiration, for its great stories, or for answers to the big questions in life. But now, it sits on your nightstand gathering dust. Perhaps you gave up reading it because it seemed irrelevant to your everyday life or because it became too hard to follow. If so, Fr. Mike Schmitz offers several reasons for you to pick up your Bible again, see it with new eyes, and allow it to transform your life.
Jan 14, 2016
Did the Church Ever Sell Indulgences?
9:10
When we think of indulgences, many of us think of an outdated and unfair Church practice that alienated many Catholics and sparked the Reformation centuries ago. In this episode, Fr. Mike Schmitz sets things straight, explaining how indulgences are an offering of God’s grace—a way to remove the temporal consequences of sin.
Jan 08, 2016
Why God Loves You
4:14
Fr. Mike Schmitz offers a relieving truth about God's paradoxical love for us, how he loves us: not in spite of our weaknesses, but because of them.
Dec 30, 2015
Influencing the World
5:35
Everyone has influence over someone. If we are striving to be great saints, then the people we influence will observe how we live and model themselves after us. Fr. Mike Schmitz encourages us to take St. Paul’s advice and imitate Christ, and in the process, we will inspire others to live holy lives.
Dec 17, 2015
Making a Good Confession
7:16
If you have ever wondered how to make a good confession, Fr. Mike Schmitz offers four powerful ways we can examine our consciences so that our experience of reconciliation moves us towards that holiness to which we are called.
Dec 11, 2015
What's Your Bedtime?
7:25
What if today's attempts to be productive deprive us of the sleep we need to function tomorrow? Fr. Mike Schmitz gives us several good reasons to stop our work at the end of the day, relax, and prioritize getting a good night's sleep.
Dec 04, 2015
Thanksgiving Special- Squanto
7:50
In this special Thanksgiving episode, Fr. Mike Schmitz offers different perspectives on the story of Squanto, showing how blessings can be found in dismal situations. By realizing this truth in our own lives, we may learn to find God in the most unlikely places.
Nov 26, 2015
No Spiritual Director- No Problem!
5:30
Fr. Mike Schmitz offers resources for those who want spiritual direction but can’t find a spiritual director. He recommends the study program Oremus: A Guide to Catholic Prayer, by Fr. Mark Toups, as well as several books. You can gain wisdom and insight that will accelerate your spiritual growth and draw you deeper into relationship with God.
Nov 17, 2015
Getting a Spiritual Director
6:05
Have you ever thought you might like a spiritual director, but you don't actually know where to begin? As always, Fr. Mike comes through for you. He offers practical steps so you can find and connect with a spiritual director. You can, as Fr. Mike puts it, become "holified!”
Nov 12, 2015
All Saints Day Pep Talk
7:36
What does a triathlon have to do with the Communion of Saints? Fr. Mike Schmitz draws parallels between his experience of completing a triathlon and the believer’s experience of journeying to heaven.
Oct 29, 2015
The Greatest Surprise- Jesus' Second Coming
5:46
When Christ comes again, will it be a great surprise, or will it be more like an unwelcome Halloween scare? Father Mike Schmitz recommends getting to know Jesus well now, so that when he comes “like a thief in the night,” we will be ready.
Oct 15, 2015
Do Catholics Follow All Those Weird Old Testament Laws?
4:13
Fr. Mike Schmitz explains why Christians are called to follow some laws of the Old Testament and not others. Passing on the advice of Pope Benedict XVI, he distinguishes between universal laws, like the Ten Commandments and “case by case” laws, like those to be followed only in the kingdom of Israel and the temple.
Oct 08, 2015
Padre Pio's Secret to Holiness
4:10
What is the true sign of sainthood? Fr. Mike Schmitz explains why it’s not the stigmata or the ability to miraculously heal people. Saints like Padre Pio actually walked a path that is very much within reach for us all. Find out how that is so in this episode.
Oct 01, 2015
Overwhelmed?
6:26
Father Mike Schmitz tells us what you can do when you’re overwhelmed. Sharing the advice of engineers, artists, and St. Paul himself, Father Mike helps us plan a course of action one step at a time.
Sep 17, 2015
Ashley Madison & Crushes on Other People
7:39
Ascension Presents’ Father Mike Schmitz breaks down the strong emotions behind the Ashley Madison scandal, laying out the real dilemma deep in the hearts of those who are tempted to be unfaithful in a committed relationship.
Sep 10, 2015
Did God Change?
5:13
Father Mike Schmitz explains why God focuses on justice in the Old Testament and then shows his mercy in the New Testament. To some readers of the Bible it may seem like God changed, but the truth of the matter is much more profound.
Sep 03, 2015
What Does God Want Me To Do?
5:59
Father Mike Schmitz directs us to the story of Israel’s desert wanderings in the Old Testament and the Annunciation to Mary in the Gospels, describing how even the tribes of Israel and Mary had to be content with the uncertainty of God’s will at times. Father Mike also teaches how we can discern God’s will even in the silence.
Aug 27, 2015
Captain America-Superheroes Analyzed
4:09
Why Captain America is a true Christian superhero.
Aug 20, 2015
Acceptance
6:09
Father Mike Schmitz discusses the personal renewal that can come from accepting the hardships, tragedies and difficult situations that hit us throughout life.
Aug 15, 2015
TV-MA- America's Addiction
5:22
Father Mike discusses why our culture is addicted to "mature" content on television. This addiction is a sign of deeper issues facing society.
Aug 07, 2015
Learning from Judas
4:24
What if Judas chose to share his true intentions with one of the other apostles? Instead, he kept his plans to himself, preferring to keep them unexposed and leaving his friends in the dark. Father Mike Schmitz sheds some light on Judas’ betrayal, explaining how we are all tempted to hide behind a similar mask.
Jul 23, 2015
Heaven: You're Not Good Enough (and why that's okay)
4:02
If getting to heaven were anything like getting into the Olympics, no one would make it. None of us are good enough to spend eternity in God’s presence. But Father Mike Schmitz reminds us that we don’t have to be good enough. God wants us to surrender our lives to him, accepting and responding to his grace and love.
Jul 15, 2015
Forgiveness
4:36
Father Mike Schmitz teaches us that forgiveness is rooted in justice. It doesn’t forget or ignore the injustice done, but it frees us from the need to get revenge. When you forgive, the one who hurt you is released from their debt to you, and you are released from the pain so you can move on.
Jul 09, 2015
What's My Vocation?
6:14
In this episode, Father Mike Schmitz gives some direction that can lead to an answer for ourselves or someone we know. He shares how a vocation is more than just figuring out whether we’re called to married life or religious life, and it’s about more than just finding out what we like to do. As he breaks down three different types of vocation we all have, he draws a practical path we can follow to pursue holiness.
Jul 02, 2015
Batman V Superman Anticipation
6:35
Today, we tend to bring down our heroes to a more ordinary, human level, and make them less worthy of our aspirations. Fr. Mike challenges this trend, saying the most important qualities of our heroes are their character and virtue.
Jun 25, 2015
Time to Pray
2:53
Father Mike Schmitz points out how oftentimes the issue is not whether we have time to pray but whether we truly believe that prayer works. If we truly believe prayer is effective, we’ll find time for it.
Jun 18, 2015
Bruce Jenner & the Transgender Question
8:37
Commenting on the recent Bruce Jenner “gender reassignment” issue, Father Mike Schmitz discusses the difference between one’s perception of gender and gender reality.
Jun 11, 2015
Bears. Beats. Battlestar Galactica.
3:52
Father Mike discusses how unwanted thoughts and temptations come and go, like a bear that intrudes upon your campsite and then leaves if you don’t bother it.
May 21, 2015
Fr. Mike Reviews the Avengers 2
5:10
Father Mike offers a reflection on Avengers: Age of Ultron. Totalitarian governments tried to protect people by offering them comfort and security. Fr. Mike quotes Pope Benedict XVI, who said “you were not made for comfort. You were made for greatness.”
May 14, 2015