Articles Under: Personal Witness Stories

In December of 2009, I was hospitalized for four days in two different hospitals with a blood platelet crisis. Platelets cause your blood to clot when necessary and I didn’t have enough of them (ITP). I had been fighting 3 separate occurrences of cancer since 2003, and while the cancer was no longer present, the treatments (including two stem cell transplants) had been so brutal that I was constantly in the hospital for something. This particular hospitalization occurred the week before Christmas and came on the heels of a deep inner darkness, a time of great difficulty both spiritually and... Read more
The Treasure We Give With the smell of Domino’s pepperoni pizza in the air and the sound of girly giggles that had not quite settled down, a group of 50 or so high school students crowded in small groups on the carpet floor of the parish center on a Sunday night, ready for another catechetical lesson in the St. Gertrude youth ministry program. As a Freshman in high school, I would carpool with friends 40 minutes across town just to be a part of this group. It wasn’t my home parish, but the faith was alive and well at St... Read more
God’s Work in Small Moments As a teacher, the most rewarding thing to witness is the moment when a student “gets it.” It is these small moments, usually few and far between, that makes it all worth it. These moments are even more memorable when they come from a student that you would least expect, or a student who struggles in your class. One of my freshman students, “Maggie,” was one of those students I couldn’t quite figure out right away. She would participate every once in awhile and seemed knowledgeable with the content but was mostly withdrawn and failed... Read more
Do You Believe in Me or Not? When I was a student teacher of Grade 12 Philosophy Religion and Grade 11 World Religions classes, I felt inspired to have the students in both classes do an assignment that would involve them spending time before the Blessed Sacrament. The emphasis for the Philosophy class was more on whether or not they can know God exists, as we were covering St. Thomas Aquinas’ Five Proofs for the Existence of God at the time. For the World Religions class, the emphasis was more on communicating with God, as we were covering meditation. The... Read more
I have a pretty realistic looking human skull on my desk, positioned to face my high school students. It’s constantly “looking” at them. I acquired the skull years ago from an old classroom closet and placed it on my desk. Students immediately started to notice the skull and asked, “Mr. Bitting, why do you have a skull on your desk?” I responded with Sirach 7:36, “In whatever you do, remember your last days, and you will never sin.” I also tell them about the Latin phrase memento mori (remember your death) and show them images of saints depicted with skulls... Read more
What is holiness? In our lead article, Dr. John Cavadini describes holiness as the Second Vatican Council did, as “the perfection of love.” [1] How can we begin to imagine love’s perfection? Considered abstractly, we cannot wrap our minds around it. We need to somehow see it, if we are to understand the aim above every other in the Christian life. For this, we look to the Trinity, and to Jesus, Holiness Incarnate. In every page of the Gospels, divine, self-sacrificing love emerges in its splendor. We also need to see holiness reflected in people who began life under the... Read more
Love is an act of the will that seeks the highest good of the other. It is not a feeling, or an emotion, and certainly is not about self-satisfaction. It is a choice to join our will to the will of God, and sometimes this demands that we totally step back and let God do the work. The choice to love God cannot be coerced or be based in deceit, guilt, or shame. For my wife, coming to love Christ and his Church was a journey of love that could not be forced. It took time, patience, faithful catechesis, and... Read more
It is truly amazing what God can do when you focus on him. Lately, I have been reflecting on the “Smith” family, who came to our parish after beginning the RCIA process at two other parishes. When they came to our parish, I met with them to see how we could help. I was amazed at their story and how much they desired to become Catholic! Mr. Smith shared with me how he was formally a leader in the Church of Christ and had begun to study Catholicism to prove it was wrong. His intentions may have been misdirected, yet... Read more
I Give Thanks to God As a confirmation facilitator, it feels like a “rescue mission” trying to re-ignite faith, hope, and charity in souls that are growing cold and are in need of conversion. The young people I serve do not always receive the witness of fervent or healthy families. Parents sometimes value their child’s résumé over their religious formation. Many things, like sports, compete with time for God on the weekend. The result is an attitude that religious formation is more of a burden than a blessing. I often assume that those who come to be catechized do not... Read more
This is a paid advertisement. To view the lives of the saints movies from Ignatius Press, click here or call 800-651-1531 to order.Read more