I cannot mistrust the grace of God

Sir Thomas More and his Daughter 1844, exhibited 1844 John Rogers Herbert 1810-1890 Presented by Robert Vernon 1847

And, therefore, my own good daughter, do not let your mind be troubled over anything that shall happen to me in this world.  Nothing can come but what God wills.  And I am very sure that whatever that be, however bad it may seem, it shall indeed be the best.            -St. Thomas More

Today’s feast of the martyrs Saints John Fisher and Thomas More was the perfect day to have Padre Martin Scott join us on the radio.  His religious community, Siervos de la Divina Misericordia, is dedicated to the Divine Mercy, and he spoke with us today about learning to love God and trust in His mercy and forgiveness by being merciful and forgiving ourselves. It was a great show, and we encourage you to listen here on iTunes.  We never tire of talking with Padre!

As we talked about in the beginning of the show, this second reading from today’s Office of Readings (for today’s optional feast), is a beautiful lesson in trust, taken from a letter St. Thomas More wrote to his daughter Meg from prison. (The English Works of Sir Thomas More, London, 1557, p. 1454)

Although I know well, Margaret, that because of my past wickedness I deserve to be abandoned by God, I cannot but trust in his merciful goodness.  His grace has strengthened me until now and made me content to lose goods, land, and life as well, rather than to swear against my conscience.  God’s grace has given the king a gracious frame of mind toward me, so that as yet he has taken from me nothing but my liberty.  In doing this His Majesty has done me such great good with respect to spiritual profit that I trust that among all the great benefits he has heaped so abundantly upon me I count my imprisonment the very greatest.  I cannot, therefore, mistrust the grace of God.  Either he shall keep the king in that gracious frame of mind to continue to do me no harm, or else, if it be his pleasure that for my other sins I suffer in this case as I shall not deserve, then his grace shall give me the strength to bear it patiently, and perhaps even gladly.

By the merits of his bitter passion joined to mine and far surpassing in merit for me all that I can suffer myself, his bounteous goodness shall release me from the pains of purgatory and shall increase my reward in heaven besides.

I will not mistrust him, Meg, though I shall feel myself weakening and on the verge of being overcome with fear.  I shall remember how Saint Peter at a blast of wind began to sink because of his lack of faith, and I shall do as he did: call upon Christ and pray to him for help.  And then I trust he shall place his holy hand on me and in the stormy seas hold me up from drowning.
And if he permits me to play Saint Peter further and to fall to the ground and to swear and forswear, may God our Lord in his tender mercy keep me from this, and let me lose if it so happen, and never win thereby!  Still, if this should happen, afterward I trust that in his goodness he will look on me with pity as he did upon Saint Peter, and make me stand up again and confess the truth of my conscience afresh and endure here the shame and harm of my own fault.

And finally, Margaret, I know this well: that without my fault he will not let me be lost.  I shall, therefore, with good hope commit myself wholly to him.  And if he permits me to perish for my faults, then I shall serve as praise for his justice.  But in good faith, Meg, I trust that his tender pity shall keep my poor soul safe and make me commend his mercy.

And, therefore, my own good daughter, do not let your mind be troubled over anything that shall happen to me in this world.  Nothing can come but what God wills.  And I am very sure that whatever that be, however bad it may seem, it shall indeed be the best.

Saints John Fisher and Thomas More, pray for us

Our Experience at the Chesterton Conference

We’ve been away from the blog for a while, so I’m here to fill you in on what we were up to last month.

August began with a dream come true – the American Chesterton Society held it’s 34th annual conference right here in San Antonio! Being long-time readers of Gilbert MagazineIMG_2728 and fans of GK Chesterton, we were thrilled at this opportunity to attend the conference right in our own backyard.   On August 5th Dale Ahlquist arrived in SA to set up for the conference. This provided a chance for us to have him in studio with us on A Good Habit Episodes. Back in 2013 Dale was our very first guest on the show, joining us via phone from his home in Minnesota, and we were eager to have him on again. Dale is always gracious, funny and a great fit for our show since we talk about “anything and everything” – which also describes all the different topics and ideas about which Chesterton wrote.

After the show we drove Dale to his hotel, and he very kindly invited us to join him and some of the other ACS members for a lateIMG_1656 lunch. So we found ourselves at the restaurant of the historic Menger Hotel right across from the Alamo. We have often passed by this San Antonio landmark, but have never been inside. As was often mentioned during the conference, the hotel bar was the site where Teddy Roosevelt recruited the Rough Riders, and where Oscar Wilde likely had lunch while in San Antonio.  It can now add “Site of the 34th Annual American Chesterton Conference” to its list of notable achievements.  The Menger is also said to be haunted, something they are very proud of. We didn’t see any ghosts, but we did encounter Nancy Carpentier Brown, whose book on Frances Chesterton, The Woman Who Was Chesterton, is soon-to-be released.  She also took this picture of us having fun in the old phone booths by the lobby.

It felt a little surreal to meet people you’ve known for years, though only through the pages of a magazine.   We were introduced to Richard Aleman (President of the Society for Distributism and contributing editor for Gilbert Magazine), Kevin O’Brien (one of the conference speakers, he also writes for St. Austin Review and spends most of his time on stage with his Theater of the Word, Inc), Julian Ahlquist (Dale’s son, who apparently spoke at one conference on the topic of Chesterton and Aliens!), and Mairin and Rose, two lovely young ladies from the ACS office.

When dining with Chestertonians there are two things you can expect: good food and good conversation. Well, maybe a third thing you can expect is fermented beverages.

 Drink because you are happy, but never because you are miserable. Never drink when you are wretched without it, or you will be like the grey-faced gin-drinker in the slum; but drink when you would be happy without it, and you will be like the laughing peasant of Italy. Never drink because you need it, for this is rational drinking, and the way to death and hell. But drink because you do not need it, for this is irrational drinking, and the ancient health of the world. ― G.K. Chesterton  

As for the good conversation, Richard Aleman’s end of the table covered the topic of distributism – always worth talking about, since it is so little understood.1514623_10152948046197301_2043875294044550129_n At the other end of the table Dale and Kevin O’Brien covered other topics – I’m not quite sure what they were, actually, since I ended up in the distributist conversation. All I know is that there was a lot of laughter and loud conversation coming from their end of the table.

The next evening the conference began with a welcome talk by Dale. We just love listening to Dale talk about Chesterton; he’s completely imbued with his thought, which is only natural since he’s been marinating in Chesterton for many, many years. One thing he IMG_2778talked about which really struck me was that GKC’s greatest accomplishment was that he remained GKC; he became the person God created him to be. Freedom, he said, is the ability of a thing to be itself. And in that sense Chesterton was truly free, and filled with a spirit of gratitude and wonder.   For myself, I really did feel Chesterton’s presence throughout the conference, and I had a sense that I was receiving a lot of graces through his intercession.  Though he’s not a canonized saint (not yet, anyway) I have long counted him among my saint friends, and I dare say he is my favorite (after Our Lady, of course). Since the conference, I have been asking for his help that I might develop a truly grateful heart and a child-like sense of wonder. The whole idea of gratitude hits home with us because our religious order is dedicated to Eucharistic Adoration in a spirit of thanksgiving, so thankfulness and gratitude are quite central to our spirit as Franciscan adorers.  Gratitude leaves little room in our heart for resentment, always something with which I always need help.  Another remarkable thing about Chesterton was that he truly loved his enemies; in fact, he didn’t consider them enemies at all.  He had a real gift for argument and debate, all in charity, without ever losing sight of the dignity of his opponent.  Chesterton was a truly amazing man whose virtues I hope to acquire one day.

One thing which struck me was the number of young people in attendance.  It’s a good rP20-GKC-800x500eminder that truth has universal appeal, and there are still plenty of young men and women whose ears are more attuned to truth than to the noise and distractions of the world.  It was unusual, and so refreshing, to see people sitting around talking or reading books (real live books, not Kindles or iPhones) during the breaks.

The conference ended with Mass at nearby St. Joseph’s Catholic Church. This little jewel is surrounded on three sides by Rivercenter Mall, so you could almost miss it if you weren’t looking. The Germans built this beautiful little church over a hundred years ago, and even though Joske’s Department Store tried to buy it and tear it down in 1945, the Church is very much alive, and Joske’s is no more. The Blessed Sacrament Fathers have been caring for the parish since 1982, and this is one reason we love going there whenever we have the chance; we always feel at home wherever the Blessed Sacrament is loved and adored. Monday through Friday they have Eucharistic Adoration and confession in the morning – what more can you ask for?

It was very moving to end the conference worshiping God in a beautiful Church, all of us together. Fr. Spencer Howe, a young priest from Minnesota who also spoke at the conference, gave a very beautiful homily about spiritual childhood, which was one of Chesterton’s most notable virtues.   This was the only time all weekend I didn’t take notes, so I’m hoping they include it in the conference talk CDs, or at least publish it in Gilbert Magazine.

The whole conference was permeated by a very tangible joy, and a feeling of camaraderie. Out of all the conferences I have been to, this one had a spirit all its own, of laughter, joy, and friendship. Even though it wasn’t a Catholic conference per se, with Chesterton it always does end up there, because he was always oriented toward the Truth, and it lead him into the sacramental embrace of Christ in His Catholic Church. Not all of the attendees were Catholic, but I dare say they will likely all end up Catholics one day.

Tomorrow I’ll talk about some of our favorite conference talks.

Show Notes – A Good Habit 4/15/15

A Good Habit Show Notes

Our show on Wednesday was packed with calls – in fact, we may have reached a record!


ROSARY IS 'FAVORITE PRAYER' OF POPE JOHN PAUL IIOne of our callers, Tony from Dallas, called to ask about Marian apologetics.  Some of his non-Catholic friends have questions about Our Lady.  No doubt, just about every Catholic has been called on at least once to explain (or defend might be a better term, depending on the attitude of the questioner) Catholic devotion to Mary. 

Sr.Grace Marie mentioned Dr. Scott Hahn’s work on the Ark of the Covenant as a prefigurement of Mary, the Ark of the New Covenant.  More info on that can be found here at the St. Paul Center for Biblical Theology (this website is also a superb resource for many other subjects).  This topic, along with many others, is also covered in a book by Dr. Hahn called Hail, Holy Queen. DownloadedFile

This is also a great time to mention EWTN’s resource library, where you can find lots of helpful information on just about every aspect of the Church’s teaching.  Go here to see their section on Our Lady.  There are many great resources online for apologetics – Catholic Answers and Taylor Marshall’s blog being just two that come to mind. And of course, don’t forget a basic resource, which we sometimes overlook: The Catechism of the Catholic Church.  There may be a tendency among Catholics to assume it’s just a dry, boring read, but the Catechism is packed with beauty because it’s packed with Truth – and if they’re authentic, the two are always found together.  If you don’t have your own copy you need to get one, but you can also read it all online at the Vatican’s website here.

Apologetics can be intimidating for many of us, but try not to look at it as a debate or a battle you must win.  Try falling more in love with our Catholic faith, you’ll naturally want to learn more, read more.  Think about it this way: when you love someone, you naturally want to learn more about them; without even thinking about it you tend to talk about them.  Encourage your love of Christ’s Church and immerse yourself in the beauty of Truth.  Then apologetics may become much less about convincing the “enemy” and much more about speaking the Truth in love.

Show Notes – A Good Habit 4/8/15


On this week’s episode of  A Good Habit we were joined by Dr. David Delaney, doctor of systematic theology and founder and director of the Mother of the Americas Institute.  Since it was the anniversary of St. John Paul II’s funeral, and since this Sunday the Church celebrates Divine Mercy Sunday, it was the perfect time to discuss JPII and the importance of the Divine Mercy message, to which he had such deep devotion.

The topic of Divine Mercy is a popular one, and we got lots of emails during the show asking about the Divine Mercy grace and the plenary indulgence the Church has attached to this feast day.  Please read this article for an explanation of the difference between the Continue reading

Show Notes – A Good Habit 3/25/15

Shroud_of_Turin_3331Who is the man of the Shroud?  That’s the question our two guests put to you, our listeners.  If you’ve ever had questions about the Shroud of Turin, or perhaps just wanted to learn more, we have good news for you, because San Antonio is blessed to be hosting an incredible exhibit detailing the story behind this ancient and mysterious relic.  This week we spoke with Jose Juan Garrigo, CEO of Immersive Planet and Director of the Shroud Exposition, and Ermal Caushaj, manager of the Exposition. The Shroud Expo is a wonderful museum quality presentation of the history and science behind the Shroud of Turin.  It will be in San Antonio through April 12th, so we strongly encourage you to make time to attend, especially as a preparation for Holy Week and the Sacred Triduum.  And bring your friends – you don’t have to be a believer to enjoy the ancient artifacts, the story of the Shroud’s history, or the amazing discoveries which science has uncovered.  There really is something for everyone at this exhibit.  For more information on the exhibit visit www.shroudexpo.com

Show Notes – A Good Habit 9/3/14

A Good Habit Show Notes

Good afternoon, everyone!  It’s a rainy Wednesday here in San Antonio (for which we are so grateful), and while we’re glad we didn’t have to venture out into the storm today, we do miss all of you, and look forward to being back on the air next week.  This week Guadalupe Radio Network is having their Fall Share-a-thon, so if you have not yet had the opportunity to pledge your donation, please do it today!  This Catholic radio station is only able to stay on the air because of the generous support of faithful listeners like you. Click here to donate now.

On our last episode of A Good Habit we were joined by Mary Jane Fox of the Pilgrim Center of Hope, who talked with us about a topic very dear to her heart and Continue reading