Why I Need to Give Mercy This Lent

Lent. The time of year where Catholics get some ashes smeared on our foreheads, give up something we like, and eat fish. But that’s not all there is to it.   In my mind, I know that Lent is meant to be a season of repentance and experiencing God’s mercy....

Encountering the Person of Jesus, Not Perfection

“I desire mercy, not sacrifice.” Matthew 9:13 This Lent, let’s aim for encountering the person of Jesus, not perfection. Well, here we go again. Each year, Lent seems to catch me by surprise and before you know it, I’m sitting at Mass on Ash Wednesday still debating...

My Newborn Redefined The Greatness In My Life

While having no ideas of what I wanted to do with my life as a “grown up,” I never stopped feeling an overwhelming sense of pressure to achieve the world’s idea of “greatness.” I wanted to be someone or do something big, something worth noticing, and something...

You Should Go And Love Yourself

“If you like the way you love yourself, oh baby, you should go and love yourself.” -Justin Bieber || Love Yourself I’ve never had Bieber Fever, but his new song “Love Yourself” certainly made me think. Justin’s song is all about his frustration with a girl...

Labor For An Audience of One

Recently I was talking to a person who was feeling called to greater leadership in the ministry of the Church. He felt like God was asking him to take more boldness in the religious education class he was teaching, to begin writing his first book for the Lord, and to...

I’m Not Okay…The sting of Vulnerability

I turned the knob to our door as quietly as I could so that my roommate wouldn’t hear me come in. I paused for a second to wipe the remains of my tears off my cheeks, and exhaled one last time to remind myself it wasn’t as big a deal as I was making it. This was...

I’ll Admit It, I’m An Addict

I admit it. Here. Publicly. I’m an addict. I think. Sort of. Maybe… When I review all the signs, there are certainly enough of them there to warrant concern. The person uses and cannot stop. Well, I think I can stop, if I really try. Withdrawal symptoms – There...

Jingle Bells, Sports Obsessions, and the Prophet LeBron

I’ve always loved Advent. From my childhood days of lighting of colored candles on the wreath to the fun (and treats) that come with each day on the Advent calendar, I’ve always enjoyed the time set aside to prepare room for Jesus to be born in our hearts. But as I’ve...

Baby Jesus Also Had to Learn to Walk

Babies are the coolest humans. I can claim this as a fact because I have one at my house. His name is William and he is my nephew. He loves doing the same things as I do: eating the meat lover’s pizza from my local pizza parlor, dancing and listening to my favorite...

Another Force Has Already Awakened

In a galaxy far, far away, the only hope for civilization is a forgotten power. The Force. It surrounds and penetrates; it binds the galaxy together. When I first saw the Star Wars: The Force Awakens trailer, I was surprisingly emotional. The nostalgia of playing Star...

Typical Jock Mean Girl

In high school, I was your typical jock mean girl. Popularity and sports were the most important things for me. I wanted to be the best and look the best. Nothing could get in my way. I tore people down to get to the top and let the idea of being the best consume me....

Spring Routes

Team 1 St. Paul & Minneapolis, MN Jan 9 – May 14 Front Row: Jaime Sanchez, Morgan Mattfeld, Ryan Garrison, Sam Rabassa Middle Row: Sarah Labbe, Gabby Tijerina, Mariah Schultz, Caris Holzapfel, Teresa Wolfgram Back Row: Mickey Carroll, Manny Huerta Benitez, Joshua...

Bieber’s Fever For Jesus

Below is a video of Justin praying during a concert for the victims of the terrorist attacks in Paris. It’s clear that Justin Bieber is one of the most loved and hated celebrities of our time.   At 18 years old, Justin received a quarter of a million votes petitioning...

I’ve Got A Blank Space & I’ll Write His Name

Blank spaces scare me. No, but seriously. My body breathed a sigh of relief as I decided to fill this page with that first sentence. There’s something about emptiness that fills me with fear. I go about my days with this mentality in mind. As a college student now, I...

I Love The World Series & The Church

Ladies and Gentlemen, the world series is upon us! Those who know me well know that I love three things: Jesus, family, and baseball. And the fact of the matter is, the Mets have made it to the Words Series for the first time in 15 years, and prior to last...

The Pervasiveness of Pornography

Maybe I’m emboldened by Pope Francis having been in the United States. Maybe spending time on sabbatical has given me way too much time to think. Maybe it’s just seeing where our culture is going, but I’m going to go there: Let’s talk about pornography. The...

The Francis Effect

Joe Boehner cried. A lot. 100,000 people stood in hushed silence. Schools closed, selfie sticks emerged, and Mark Wahlberg shared the stage with Jim Gaffigan. Welcome to the Francis effect. It’s been a few weeks since Pope Francis captured the American news...

Choosing a College & Forgetting Jesus

Applying for college – what an exciting and somewhat terrifying time in your life! With the whole application process, essays, ACT’s, SAT’s, it’s easy to get lost as you embark on this new phase of your life. In the midst of this chaotic time, it’s...

8 Ways Of Loving Before Labeling

Two week ago I wrote about the Church’s teaching on homosexuality. One of the biggest obstacles to dialogue with non-believers on this topic is that we’re operating off fundamentally different ideas about the human person. Here are 8 Ways Of Loving Before Labeling. 1....

I Want You To Be A Living, Breathing Monstrance

“Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own?” (1 Cor. 7:19) When I read this verse from 1 Corinthians, I sit back and contemplate, “Aw, that’s nice. I’m like a little tabernacle,...

Are Pro Athletes Paid Too Much?

Latrell Sprewell was one of the best basketball players on the best team in Minnesota Timberwolves history. But what he’ll be most remembered for is his reminder to local sports reporters that, “I’ve got my family to feed.” Why did he feel the need to remind them of...

What’s The Next Fad In Worship Music?

Quick, stop everything you’re doing! Turn off Netflix, put that jelly donut down, shut up your cat, and think of your top three praise and worship (P&W) songs. Now that you’re done: Wasn’t it fun deciding your top 3? Or did it hurt you in your innards? Do...

Let’s Talk About Love: Pt. 1

“The limitation of marriage to opposite-sex couples may have long seemed natural and just, but it’s inconsistency with the central meaning of the fundamental right to marry is now manifest.” -Pope Benedict This blog has two parts.  This month we’ll be...

Tebow Time To Quit?

Despite a decent performance this past Sunday, the Eagles have been struggling to find rhythm on offense which has prompted their coach, Chip Kelly, to echo the sentiments of many other critics when he described his team’s performance as “embarrassing.” Their...

We Keep This Love In A Photograph

“We keep this love in a photograph, we keep these memories for ourselves where our eyes are never closing and our hearts were never broken and time’s forever frozen still…” -Ed Sheeran || Photograph I have a picture that is currently sitting on my shelf...

Why is Mark Wahlberg Emceeing for the Pope?

Mark Wahlberg dropped out of school at the age of 15 to join a gang, was in trouble with the law over a dozen times for drug-related crimes, and claims to have been addicted to cocaine during this time. At age 17, Wahlberg’s life drastically changed after being...

Pope Facts

In the event you haven’t heard: Pope Francis is in the United States!  This is an exciting time for Americans and for the Catholic Church. The Pope (the representative of Christ on earth) is on our soil, to speak to us! During his time in the U.S. (September 22-27),...

NET Alumna on ABC’s Show “#DanceBattle America”

Have you ever been in a situation and thought to yourself, “Are you SURE I’m supposed to be here?” or even, “What am I doing here?” Those were my exact thoughts when I had the opportunity to fly to Los Angeles with my family to compete on a nationally televised...

Practicals: Should we get married?

The other day I got a text from a friend of mine. She’s currently dating a great guy, and shares my love for practical advice. Because of that, she deemed my 15ish months of married-life-experience enough to ask me, “Besides prayer, how do you go about discerning...

The Pains Of Change

Growing up in West Virginia, mountains are not uncommon to me (and yes, you can call me a “Mountain Mama”). So fittingly enough, an image of a mountain came to me in prayer.  In a weird way this image of mountain became a symbol for the next season in my life. I had...

The Secret To Happiness

Recently, I was sitting with my friend, Megan, and asked her how her prayer life was going. She said honestly, “Not great.” And instead of talking about how her prayer life felt dry or she was lacking direction, she admitted that she was unsatisfied in her prayer life...

Fall 2015 Team Routes

Team 1 St. Paul & Minneapolis, MN Sept 26 – Dec 15 Front Row: Jaime Sanchez, Morgan Mattfeld, Ryan Garrison, Sam Rabassa Middle Row: Sarah Labbe, Gabby Tijerina, Mariah Schultz, Caris Holzapfel, Teresa Wolfgram Back Row: Mickey Carroll, Manny Huerta Benitez,...

My Best Friend Is Becoming A Nun

I am the youngest of three girls. My two older sisters seemed magnificent as they bravely surged before me, wielding an unstoppable machete to the wild jungles of being a teenage girl. I took fearless steps because so many paths had been created for me. Good music,...

Catholic Missionary: The NET Experience

While most of us strive to “live life to the full” and “stop and smell the roses,” many a day goes by with mundane experiences that no one writes home about, nor ponders with any great enthusiasm. However, there are some events, occurrences, and time periods that are...

Unplanned Parenthood

The day before I left home to serve with NET Ministries, my sister Catharine pulled me aside to say, “Jotham…I’m pregnant.” Now, almost 6 years later, I am writing this blog to describe the true heart of what she felt. I asked Catharine a series of direct...