Friday 5 April 2024

Untroubled by the Unknown Trusting God in Every Moment - Fr. Mike Schmitz - Homilies Collection

Untroubled by the Unknown:
Trusting God in Every Moment 
Sunday Homilies with Fr Mike Schmitz Collection
ISBN 9781954882027
eISBN 9781954882034

Untroubled by the Unknown - Fr Mike Schmitz Homilies Collection

This is the fourth of 6 volumes currently available in the ‘Sunday Homilies with Fr Mike Schmitz Collection’, that I have read, and it an excellent resource! Over the last several years I have read and listened to a lot of Father Mike Schmitz’s offerings. This is one of 6 volumes of Homilies that have been released by ascension press. The first four volumes seem to have had eBook releases in 2022 in a series called ‘The Curious Catholic’. They were then rebranded and rereleased in the fall of 2023 as ‘The Sunday Homilies with Fr Mike Schmitz Collection’. I believe there were four in the original collection and there are now 6 in the new editions released late in 2023 and early 2024, with this being the third of the original set. It is hard tracking down all the works published by Father Mike as they are published under a few variations of his name:

Mike Schmitz
Fr Mike Schmitz
Father Mike Schmitz
and even
Michael Schmitz

But back to this volume. The description of this book states:

“Trusting God in every moment is possible. The world is uncertain and ever changing—but Catholics are called to be untroubled by the unknown and secure in the midst of insecurity. How can this be?

Untroubled by the Trusting God in Every Moment, a booklet in The Sunday Homilies with Fr. Mike Schmitz Collection, was created to invite Catholics closer to God by calling them to trust in his mercy through Fr. Mike Schmitz’s homilies.

In Untroubled by the Unknown, Fr. Mike Schmitz shows Catholics that enduring hope and trust is just as possible today as it was for the first disciples. Learning and applying the easy steps found in this booklet can help each person cultivate peace every day through a confident hope in God’s love and power.

In this booklet, readers will:

What hope and trust really are
3 ways hardships can actually help to deepen faith
How to face the unknown without fear
Why mercy is the key to understanding trust in God
How to surrender one’s own plans and trust in God’s plan

Complete with thought-provoking questions, prayerful meditations, and real-life challenges after each chapter, this booklet is perfect for individual devotion or group study.”

The chapters in this volume are:

Welcome to The Sunday Homilies with Fr. Mike Schmitz Collection
Chapter 1: Trusting in Mercy
Chapter 2: Away from Home
Chapter 3: Facing the Unknown
Chapter 4: The Plan and the Way

We are informed that this booklet and I assume the others in the series as well are adapted from a series of Homilies given by Fr. Mike Schmitz. It would be nice if there was a list of the homilies so we could go back and listen to them either in the podcast, youtube, or now even the Ascension App. The welcome message in the booklet states:

“Each booklet in this series has been created to invite Catholics to grow closer to God through reflections from Fr. Mike.

These booklets are short and relatable, with features that will help you apply what you read to your own life.

Quotes and Bible verses throughout the booklets will help you zero in on the key points.

Questions after each section prompt you to reflect and help you to dive deeper into the topic being presented. We recommend that you pray or journal with these questions as you make connections to your everyday life. (They also make great prompts for small group discussion, while keeping in mind that not everyone in your group may feel comfortable answering those of a more personal nature.)
Meditations are provided after each reflection to help you take the topic directly into prayer. We recommend setting aside some time after each chapter to read the meditation and pray or journal with it.

Each reflection ends with a challenge to put what you have learned into action. These challenges invite you to enter into prayer, serve others, make a resolution for the week, and more.

It is our sincere hope The Sunday Homilies with Fr. Mike Schmitz Collection helps you along the way in your journey toward holiness. May God bless you!”

A sample Reflect, Pray and Act section from the end of the second chapter is:

John 20:31 says, “But these [Scriptures] are written that you may believe.” When you read the Scriptures, do you read them knowing they were written for you? How has reading the Scriptures helped you to know Jesus on a personal level? 

What we’re learning in life right now is that certainty is an illusion. Whatever it was that we thought gave us our security—perhaps our health, our financial stability, our jobs, our relationships, our normal day-to-day tasks—these have either been taken away or are under the threat of being taken away. What are the challenges (and maybe also the blessings) for you in learning this? 

In the midst of incredible insecurity, the apostles chose voluntary vulnerability. What kind of a heart would it take for them to live that out? What are some specific character traits that you could learn from them to help you be more vulnerable and dependent on Christ? 

Have you ever felt like your holiness was the source of your security? What changes now that you know that Jesus’ mercy is the true source of your security? 

St. Peter reminds us that trials are necessary because they reveal what we were to have learned, they purify where we have placed our hope, and they strengthen our roots in Christ. How do these three points help change your view of trials you are currently experiencing? 

The apostles could rejoice without any external sense of security because they had an internal sense of assurance in God’s mercy. How has Jesus assured you of his mercy through these last several weeks? What are some practical ways that you could receive more of his mercy?

When we trust in Jesus’ mercy, we have unshakeable peace, faith, and security. As you enter into prayer now, make it a time of appeal and surrender to the infinite mercy of Jesus.

Peace: While there are many things that can challenge our faith, the reason for our faith is God himself. Only through a relationship with the Lord can we experience the peace that passes all understanding. For such a peace, meditate on the words, “For the sake of his sorrowful passion, have mercy on us and on the whole world.”

Faith: It is natural for us to be tempted to flee in times of trial and testing. The first letter of Peter, though, encourages us to rejoice in suffering because, like gold being refined, suffering purifies our faith. In our deepest yearning and longing for God, we rightly wish there were no impurities or impediments to our love for him. Jesus’ mercy is drawn to these weakest parts, the weaknesses we feel most inclined to hide. For a faith that is forged like iron, meditate on the words, “For the sake of his sorrowful passion, have mercy on us and on the whole world.”

Security: In an increasingly insecure, unstable world, we can have unshakeable security by actively and repeatedly placing our trust in the mercy of Jesus. All things of this earth will pass away. All worldly support and help will ultimately fail us. As we know all too well, we will fail in our love for our Lord and others. But the merciful love of God cannot and will not ever fail us. He will not fail you. For an immovable security placed firmly in the divine mercy of our Lord, meditate on the words, “For the sake of his sorrowful passion, have mercy on us and on the whole world.”

Today, pray the Divine Mercy Chaplet. If you haven’t gone recently, make an appointment to go to confession. Let God’s mercy be your security!”

Each of the chapters has a section like that at the end. Some longer some are shorter. While reading this volume I highlighted a number of passages. Some of them are:

“So many times, when we come to Mass and we’re praying, it can feel impersonal. Sometimes, it can feel like God is way far away up there and holiness is for people living in other times when there’s more peace and more security. But that’s not true.”

“When things are “normal,” we can forget that security is an illusion. But it would be incorrect to imagine that security is normal and insecurity is abnormal. As we walk through this world that is insecure, we realize that certainty and security are illusions.”

“They knew that security is an illusion. They knew that trials are normal and insecurity is the rule.”

“First, testing reveals.”

“Second, testing purifies. Insecurity is a test that reveals where I have placed my hope. It reveals the source of my security, and revealing the source of my security gives me the chance to change.”

“That’s what the early Christians knew that we’ve forgotten: security is an illusion, and therefore, testing is necessary.”

“When we deserve mercy the least is when we need it the most. And when we need it the most is when God wants to give it the most. Mercy is the love that we don’t deserve, but it is the love that God most wants to give us.”

“Maybe getting back to normal means that we want to go back to thinking that we can have security. But there comes a time in every one of our lives that we have to be reminded that security is an illusion and certainty is a mirage. Normal is insecure. Normal is dangerous. Normal can get us tired.”

“Too often, perhaps, our sense of security is tied up with outcomes.”

“There is some good in this world, and it’s worth fighting for. The name of this good is Jesus. He is the one who has entered into suffering and death, who left his home to be with us so we wouldn’t walk alone.”

“To be untroubled by the unknown, we need to be courageous, and we need to be confident.”

“Wherever God is calling me, I know the kind of person he needs me to be when I get there.”

“Just because the original plan failed doesn’t mean taking that step was the wrong decision. It’s so important for us to realize that. This is true for every one of us. Maybe the place where you thought God was going to plant you was just a place where he was bringing you to purify you. Perhaps that was actually the place he was bringing you to prepare you for the next step.”

“We are called to recognize that God has not abandoned us here but that he is with us here and will bring us through this.”

I hope those few quotes give you a feel for this volume. This book really hit home for me, I finished it several days before working on this review and it keeps coming back to mind. It is a volume I hope all three of my teenagers will read. And it is a book I wish was around when I was a teen or young adult, I would have greatly benefited from reading it. 

This is another wonderful little volume. It is one I will likely return to again and read again and again. When I was in university, I was involved with Campus Crusade for Christ, there was a series of booklets by the founder Bill Bright, called Transferable Concepts, and by reading them many times you could almost memorize them and the message so that you could share it. This volume reminds me a lot of those books, but specifically geared for Catholics. But to be honest any Christian would benefit from reading this book.

This is another great resource from Fr Mike, I have used his Bible in a Year Companions, and am currently using the Catechism in a Year Companion and read some of his other offerings. What I love about this book and this new collection is you can pick and choose. Read a booklet from beginning to end or jump around and read the different topics as you are inspired, or as they seem relevant. Because they are based on Father Mike’s actual homilies the text flows well, is engaging and keeps your attention. They would be great to work through as a group study or for personal reading, reflection, or spiritual reading. 

I highly recommend this volume and look forward to reading others in the set. It is another great resource from Father Mike and Ascension. An excellent book for any Catholic or even any Christian!

Note: This book is part of a series of reviews: 2024 Catholic Reading Plan

Books By Father Mike Schmitz:
Made for Love: Same-Sex Attraction and the Catholic Church
Quick Catholic Lessons with Fr. Mike
The Catechism in a Year Companion, Volume I
The Catechism in a Year Companion, Volume II
The Catechism in a Year Companion, Volume III

Contributed to:
Pray, Decide, and Don't Worry: Five Steps to Discerning God's Will
Don't Be Afraid to Say Yes to God! Pope Francis Speaks to Young People

Audio Talks by Father Mike Schmitz:
Living Life by Design, Not by Default
Love - Sacrifice - Trust He Showed Us the Way
From Love, By Love, For Love
True Worship
The Four Last Things
Jesus Is …
Changed Forever - The Sacrament of Baptism
We Must Go Out - The Sacrament of Confirmation

Are You Saved - Fr Mike Schmitz Homilies Collection

Ordinary Time - Fr Mike Schmitz Homilies Collection

Untroubled by the Unknown - Fr Mike Schmitz Homilies Collection

It's Personal - Fr Mike Schmitz Homilies Collection

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