The Fr. Mike Schmitz Catholic Podcast

When You Don't Feel Like It

When You Don't Feel Like It

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...

The True Meaning of Advent

The True Meaning of Advent

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...

How to Be a Steward

How to Be a Steward

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...

Battling Dryness in Prayer

Battling Dryness in Prayer

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...

Why Is Prayer So Hard?

Why Is Prayer So Hard?

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...

The Pressure of Public Conversion

The Pressure of Public Conversion

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...

God Is Going to Interrupt You

God Is Going to Interrupt You

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...

Does God Want Me to Be Spontaneous?

Does God Want Me to Be Spontaneous?

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...

How We Use the Word Should

How We Use the Word Should

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...

Is Curiosity a Vice?

Is Curiosity a Vice?

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...

What You Can Control

What You Can Control

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....

How to Make Decisions Together

How to Make Decisions Together

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...

Reading the "Signs" from God

Reading the "Signs" from God

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...

How to Handle Spiritual Setbacks

How to Handle Spiritual Setbacks

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...

Responding to 'Expressing Your Opinion' Video

Responding to 'Expressing Your Opinion' Video

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...

Expressing Your Opinion?

Expressing Your Opinion?

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...

Why Catholics Use Scripture and Tradition

Why Catholics Use Scripture and Tradition

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...

Can We Joke about God?

Can We Joke about God?

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...

5 Things the Church Can Learn from Crossfit

5 Things the Church Can Learn from Crossfit

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,...

Not Everything in the Bible is Morally Good

Not Everything in the Bible is Morally Good

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...

Does God Make Us with Flaws?

Does God Make Us with Flaws?

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....

Signs That Your Relationship Is Falling Apart, Part 2

Signs That Your Relationship Is Falling Apart, Part 2

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,...

Why Catholics Have a Pope

Why Catholics Have a Pope

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...

In the World, but Not of It

In the World, but Not of It

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...

Trying to Keep God at a Distance?

Trying to Keep God at a Distance?

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...

Why Is It So Hard to Make Friends?

Why Is It So Hard to Make Friends?

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,...

Understanding Our Capacity for Evil

Understanding Our Capacity for Evil

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...

How Do We Spend Our Time?

How Do We Spend Our Time?

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....

Catholic Teaching on IVF and Contraception Explained

Catholic Teaching on IVF and Contraception Explained

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...

Fitting In at Church

Fitting In at Church

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...

Feeling Sorry for Yourself

Feeling Sorry for Yourself

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...

Old Testament God vs. New Testament God

Old Testament God vs. New Testament God

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...

How Does Purification Work?

How Does Purification Work?

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...

Do You Want to Be Well?

Do You Want to Be Well?

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...

The Role of Hope in Holy Week

The Role of Hope in Holy Week

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....

Episode 198: How to Pick up Your Cross

Episode 198: How to Pick up Your Cross

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...

Do I Have a Good Conscience?

Do I Have a Good Conscience?

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...

Why Catholics Call Mary Their Mother

Why Catholics Call Mary Their Mother

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....

Signs that Your Relationship Is Falling Apart

Signs that Your Relationship Is Falling Apart

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...

What NOT to Do During a Breakup

What NOT to Do During a Breakup

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...

The Purpose of Lent

The Purpose of Lent

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...

Picking a Thing for Lent

Picking a Thing for Lent

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...

Getting Involved in Parish Life

Getting Involved in Parish Life

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...

The Meaning of "I Love You"

The Meaning of "I Love You"

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...

How Does God Restore Us?

How Does God Restore Us?

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...

You Are a Burden

You Are a Burden

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...

What is Stopping You from Becoming a Saint?

What is Stopping You from Becoming a Saint?

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...

Episode 186: Am I the Exception to God's Rule?

Episode 186: Am I the Exception to God's Rule?

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...

Episode 185: Why is it a Mortal Sin? Skipping Mass and Communion without Confession

Episode 185: Why is it a Mortal Sin? Skipping Mass and Communion without Confession

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...

Episode 183: Data-Driven Discernment

Episode 183: Data-Driven Discernment

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...

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