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What the Birds Can Teach Us About Worry

Do you ever stop to notice the birds in the busyness of your day? Do you notice how they seemingly happily hop from branch to branch, sounding loudly in a near constant song? We are so busy in our day-to-day life and so used to the singing of the birds that we hardly even notice them.

For most of my life I paid no attention to birds. They were simply in the background of my world like all the other things that are there that you never notice…

But while at a recent silent retreat, the abundance of birds throughout the abbey grounds captivated me.

These birds started their day by singing the “dawn chorus,” awakening me with windows wide all singing in concert to announce the start of the day. As I heard their singing, the bells of the abbey sounded to call us to prayer. I will forever associate birdsong with those bells and quiet prayer in the early morning hours.

At meals, we sat silently looking out the window at a garden filled with flowers and bird feeders where it seemed like the birds put on a show with constant fluttering about. I was amazed to watch the female cardinal feed the male (so much so I exclaimed aloud at a silent retreat ;-)) and marvel in the varieties and colors of the birds here in the hills of Kentucky – all coming to have a bite to eat in the lovely garden.

Birds Bible - iris Gethsemane

As I reflected on the birds, God reminded me of the verse in Matthew 6:25-33…

“Therefore, I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat [or drink], or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing?

Look at the birds in the sky; they do not sow or reap, they gather nothing into barns, yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are not you more important than they?

Can any of you by worrying add a single moment to your life-span?

Why are you anxious about clothes? Learn from the way the wild flowers grow. They do not work or spin.

But I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was clothed like one of them.

If God so clothes the grass of the field, which grows today and is thrown into the oven tomorrow, will he not much more provide for you, O you of little faith?

So do not worry and say, ‘What are we to eat?’ or ‘What are we to drink?’ or ‘What are we to wear?’

All these things the pagans seek. Your heavenly Father knows that you need them all.

But seek first the kingdom [of God] and his righteousness, and all these things will be given you besides.

Do not worry about tomorrow; tomorrow will take care of itself. Sufficient for a day is its own evil.”

What a beautiful passage to meditate upon! Let’s consider it piece by piece…

Anxiety & Choice


The first thing that appears to me in this verse is the human tendency toward anxiety. I was watching a show recently where the priest commented that Adam became anxious before the fall. He became anxious as soon as he realized he had a choice.

We are filled with countless choices in our day – some small, some seemingly monumental. Should we eat here or there? Should we go on a diet? Should we switch career paths? What to wear today?

Many of us are filled with anxiety at all of these choices. Adam had one; we have too many to count.

Perhaps this is why in the Bible, we hear the phrase “Do not fear,” or here “Do not worry,” over and over and over again. And this passage addresses exactly that: fear and anxiety and the remedy.

To start with, perhaps God is telling us to let the little things go. Jesus says that life is more than food and drink and clothes. While some people legitimately do not have these basic needs met, those of us who do can drop the worry about these little things.

God Will Provide

There have been many times in my life where I’ve struggled financially and was filled with worry. But really, I had food, I had water, I had clothes. And I had a LOT more than that. It’s more the fear of a loss of a particular lifestyle – and that’s not the end of the world if you have to downgrade your lifestyle. No matter what, I would have food and clothes and water. And beyond that, I was adding unnecessary worry.

Next, Jesus says to look at the birds. They DO NOT WORRY. They just do their thing.

They are flying, building nests, eating and singing. They don’t have reasoning, as we do, so they are incapable of worry, but are they any the worse for it? No, we can learn a thing or two from the birds.

It’s important to note that He also says that they gather nothing into barns, meaning they are not saving up for a rainy day. They are trusting God to provide. Sometimes, I think God strips us of our physical and monetary goods to help us learn how to trust Him. We aren’t trusting in the bank account where we’ve saved up hundreds of thousands of dollars that if we die tonight will not help us, but in God to provide only what we need.

That’s not to say it’s a bad thing to be financially prudent, yet look at St. Francis and his brothers who begged for all they had. And God provided.

Worry Is Fruitless

This next portion is the real zinger in my opinion: Can any of you by worrying add a single moment to your life-span?

Uh, no.

Can we emblazon that on our hearts, repeat it to ourselves every day? What good is worry?

While going through many trials and tribulations with my mother as we began to discover she had dementia, I learned a valuable lesson. Stop worrying.

I reminded myself that worrying about her, or whatever the problem was at the given moment, did not help her at all. Whatever the situation, it would either work out well or poorly and me worrying about it would not change that outcome. It would only create more suffering for me in the process. So as best I could, I tried to let go of worry and just deal with the outcome. Again and again, God provided in miraculous ways and in angels sent to help us on our path.

God Wants Us in THIS Moment and THIS Circumstance

Cross Gethsemane

Fr. Mike Schmitz led a great series of homilies during Lent in 2024 about a man named Walter Csizek, a priest who suffered terrible persecution at the hands of the Russians in the 20th century.

Csizek wrote several books about his experience and how he learned to trust God’s will no matter what was happening to him. He realized that God wanted him in EVERY circumstance that was happening, no matter how bad, and all he could do was his best to fulfill God’s will in that moment.

God does not ever will evil, but He does permit it insofar as he can bring good out of it, according to St. Thomas Aquinas.

So if I find myself in a stressful circumstance these days, I say to myself as much as needed, “God desires me to be in THIS circumstance in THIS moment.” It is His will whatever is happening and instead of trying to change it or fight it or argue against it, I need to just do the best I can with it. He WILL bring good from it – whether I see that good or not.

What’s the Remedy?

hymnal rosary

“Seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness and all these things will be given you besides.”

Pursue God. Go to mass. Pray the Liturgy of the Hours. Go to confession and receive absolution. Receive the Eucharist. Talk to God. Sit in adoration. Desire His will above all things. Give God control of your life.

Do the things that you know will keep you connected to the true vine, that will grow your relationship with God, that will feed you with the divine life. And then… trust.

To remind myself of the incredible lesson that the birds can teach us, I came home after the retreat and bought 2 bird feeders for our yard. Now, I enjoy watching the birds and have a constant reminder that they do not reap or sow, but God takes care of them. How much more will He do that for us?

Pornography Addiction Help for Catholics

Pornography addiction help

There is no doubt that pornography is an epidemic in our culture. It’s become so commonplace that most of society sees it as no big deal. I was one of those a few years ago. What did it hurt if someone looked at a few images in the privacy of their own home? But it’s an addiction and where you do you find pornography addiction help?

Note: This post contains affiliate links for which I may earn a small commission to support the Catholic Newbie blog if you make a purchase after clicking through. Thanks for your support!

After reading so much more about this issue since converting to Catholicism, I understand why it’s bad for individuals … and bad for society. First, here are some things I think every Catholic needs to know about pornography followed by pornography addiction help and resources.

4 Things Catholics Need to Know About Pornography

1.  Pornography removes the purpose of God’s plan for sexual intimacy.

What was that plan? Procreation. Sure, he wants us to enjoy the uniting of one man and one woman, which is why sex is inherently good and pleasurable, but it must be used as God intended.

Pornography displays sex as simply for the act itself, as a way to derive as much pleasure from the act as we can while divorcing it from its real purpose, which is to bring life into the world between ONE man and ONE woman who are committed to one another.

By watching continued pornography, your view of sex is skewed, and you reduce the chances of having a normal sexual relationship with your current or future spouse. When you divorce sex from the creation of life, it has lost its meaning and its purpose and becomes disordered.

2.  Pornography harms those involved.

The people you are watching who are involved in these acts are not being treated as God’s children with dignity, value and fairness. They are being used as a vessel for or a means to another’s pleasure. They are likely not being paid fairly or treated nicely.

Pornography is a big business and some greedy person on the other end of the camera is the one who is abusing others and deriving all the monetary benefits. You are only furthering that evil and greed by participating as a viewer.

As a Christian, we should pray for those involved in this industry and do our part not to support it in any way.

3.  Pornography greatly harms children. 

Pornography is everywhere and our children are coming across it in droves. It harms them SO much. They immediately misunderstand what sex is about. They see it as simply a means to pleasure, and they will not understand all the disordered sexual activities they witness that others use to bring about worldly pleasure for themselves.

I recently learned that one of my kiddos had seen pornography — on YouTUBE, which is not supposed to have graphic material — and it had a tremendous impact on him. I am so sad that I will never be able to undo what he has seen, those visuals forever in his brain and the impact it will have on him as a man.

We must get rid of pornography parading about in nearly every medium, free, uncensored and easy to access.

4.  It’s a temptation.

Viewing pornography is a temptation to sin, just like any other temptation: gossiping, stealing, lying. To avoid falling prey to this temptation, either men or women, we must remove it from our lives.

I always teach my children that if you are tempted by something, don’t put it in front of you. If it’s not there, you can’t act on it. Shopaholic? Don’t go shopping.

Tell your spouse you have decided not to view pornography any more for accountability and hold to it. Place a filter like Net Nanny (they offer a 14-day free trial) on all devices both for  your kids and YOU. It will hold you accountable and keep you from viewing things you should not.

Place computers in public areas of your home, knowing you won’t view objectionable material in front of your family. If you fall, resolve not to do it again, go to confession to seek forgiveness and try, try again.

5. There IS help.

You are far from alone in battling this temptation, and plenty of great Catholic programs, many of them free, exist to help you overcome the desire to view pornography whether you’re in Pittsburgh, PA or Seattle, Washington. There are so many people who suffer from this in silence all around the world that we may never know.

Here are some outstanding resources to get started.

Catholic Pornography Addiction Help & Resources

If you view pornography, today is the day to stop this addictive habit. First, acknowledge and understand why it is a problem and then begin the process of getting help.

Let us pray for everyone who is tempted by pornography and especially our children who have been exposed!

Is pornography an issue in your life or in your family? Have you been able to kick the pornography addiction habit?

Read More:

We are on the Wrong Road… C.S. Lewis

C.S. Lewis Mere Christianity quote on @ACatholicNewbieWritten by C.S. Lewis during World War II in the book “Mere Christianity,” which I am currently listening to via Audible (a great way to read even MORE books — see link for free trial), he says these words, which reverberate today, especially in light of the rulings on marriage and the unconscionable acts of Planned Parenthood:

“I think if you look at the present state of the world, it is pretty plain that humanity has been making some big mistakes. We are on the wrong road and if that is so, we must go back. Going back is the quickest way on.” — C.S. Lewis, “Mere Christianity”

The text comes from a portion of the book where he is discussing that if what we are doing is wrong, we must go back to when we were doing it right. Just like, if we were solving a math problem. It would be silly to continue working on a method that is not working. The sooner you admit you’re on the wrong path and start again, the faster you’ll come to the right solution.

He points out there is nothing progressive about being pig-headed and stubborn in wrong ways.

I highly recommend this book, which makes the case for Christianity through reason and logic. Just be prepared to take it in small bites that you can really ponder for a bit :).

9 Inspirational Contemporary Christian Songs to Brighten Your Day

9 Contemporary Christian Songs to Brighten Your Day via @ACatholicNewbie

I have found some of the greatest joy in listening to Contemporary Christian music. It is so uplifting and such a dramatic contrast to flipping on any other mainstream station where it seems within just a few songs you (and your kids) must listen to songs about sex, using curse words and worse. See my tips on switching to Christian radio if you’re ready for a change!

But today, I wanted to focus on some of my favorite uplifting songs that not only are wonderful music, but whose lyrics will lift you right up out of a funk and help you praise God continuously (all while tapping your toes :)).

Here are my top 9:

1) Do Something by Matthew West

I love this song, but it’s a great motivation that if we want the world to change, it starts with us! We are God’s hands and feet in this world. Watch the video; it’s awesome, too!

2) Greater by MercyMe

“Greater is the one living inside of me than he who is living in the world.” “You are holy, righteous and redeemed.” Enough said!

3) Soul on Fire by Third Day

Let this song inspire you to light the spark of faith and set you on fire for Christ. As St. Catherine of Siena said, “Be who God meant you to be and you will set the world on fire.”

4) Fix my Eyes by For King & Country

Also a toe tapper, this one always reminds me that no matter WHAT is going on in my life to keep my eyes literally fixed on Christ.

5) Build Your Kingdom Here by Rend Collective

This is particularly impactful right now with all we face in our country, as they sing “Heal our streets and lands. Set your Church on fire. Win this nation back. Change the atmosphere. Build your kingdom here, we pray.”

6) Speak Life by TobyMac

A great reminder of how much of a difference speaking positively can make in the lives of others: speak hope, speak love, speak life.

7) Multiplied by NeedtoBreathe

This is just flat out a BEAUTIFUL song! “Your love is like radiant diamonds bursting inside us. We cannot contain…”

8) Good Fight by Unspoken

Don’t feel like you have anything left to give anymore? This song will inspire you to keep on! “Keep fighting the good fight, keep letting your light shine…”

9) You Are More by Tenth Avenue North

Made some terrible mistakes in your life? This song reminds you that you are MORE than your past. “You are more than the choices that you’ve made. You are more than the sum of your past mistakes. You are more than the problems you create. You’ve been remade! This is not about what you’ve done, but what’s been done for you.”

Which contemporary Christian songs are your favorites? Please share!