Works of Mercy

July 31, 2021

Disposing of a Toxic Family Member

I have a client — I’ll call her Joanne — who is a devout Christian. Joanne periodically contacts me and asks for my opinion about a faith-based issue she is struggling with. She recently asked me if I think she has an obligation to assist her husband’s mother — I’ll call her Frances — with her basic personal, healthcare, and financial needs.

July 24, 2021

He Ain’t Heavy, He’s My Brother

The year was 1969. I was 12 years old and I had a paper route, money in my pocket, and a radio on the nightstand that was next to my bed. Back then, the world I lived in was as close to paradise that a 12-year-old boy could get. Other than 8-track tape players in cars, the only way we could listen to prerecorded music was on a radio or a record player.

June 26, 2021

My Run-ins with Homeless People

I’ve written before about Fr. Clair Bourdereaux, a Franciscan priest who was assigned to Sacred Heart Church in downtown Peoria in 1976. He remained there for 19 years, until his death in January 1995. Fr. Clair had all the qualities of a great counselor. He was holy, smart, wise, gentle, diplomatic, compassionate, and understanding. He had the unique ability to connect with people on their level and set them on a path toward holiness and happiness.

April 10, 2021

True Friendship and Mercy

When my three oldest daughters — Anna, Maria, and Laura — were teenagers, they got involved in community theater. In one of the first plays they participated in, they became good friends with one of the girls in the play. For the purpose of this article, I’m going to call their friend “Julia.”

April 3, 2021

A Plantation Hymn for Catholics

Did you know that there’s an old plantation hymn that Catholics traditionally sing in church on Good Friday? The hymn was composed in the 19th century by African American slaves and was first published in 1899 by William Eleazar Barton in his hymnal, Old Plantation Hymns. Here’s the first verse of the hymn:

January 2, 2021

You Have the Power to be Invincible

What do you think you could accomplish if you were invincible?

December 5, 2020

The Reflector Theory

When I was born (May 1957), my mom asked her 17-year-old brother, Dick LaHood, if he would be my godfather. My earliest memory of my Uncle Dick is from the early 1960s when he would pick up me and several of my brothers and sisters in his Cadillac and take us swimming at the Timber Lake Club.

October 3, 2020

How to Handle a Defiant Child

In last week’s article, The Defiant Catholic Child, I wrote that in every large devout Catholic family there is at least one child who is difficult to handle and demands more attention than the other children. In my article, I called this type of child “the defiant Catholic child” and limited my discussion to children who grow up in normal, devout Catholic two-parent homes.

May 9, 2020

Government Officials & Fake Mercy

There’s a saying that has become common among the people who believe that it’s time to end the coronavirus lockdown: “The cure can’t be worse than the disease.” Another saying that has become mainstream is, “How many lives are you willing to sacrifice to prevent one coronavirus death?”

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