046: St. John Paul II Through the Eyes of a Swiss Guard

Featuring Andreas Widmer

catholic_FINAL_150Pope St. John Paul II is one of the most beloved popes of all time. He touched the lives of millions.

But his impact is far from over.

JPII was a world-class philosopher. He taught us truths about ourselves, and humanity in general, in a way that made sense. He understood our deepest longings and turmoil. He could explain the inner workings of our heart in relation to God. JohannesPaul2-portrait

In a nutshell, he taught us how to be fully human through Jesus Christ.

But while most of us learned this from his speeches, encyclicals, and books, Andreas Widmer, former Swiss Guard and now Director of Entrepreneurship Programs at Catholic University of Americas’ Busch School of Business & Economics, received his instruction in person.

This giant of a man swore to protect and serve the Holy Father with his life.

And in return, he learned what it means to truly live. In fact, he wrote a book about it called The Pope & the CEO: John Paul II’s Leadership Lessons to a Young Swiss Guard.

In this special episode of the Art of Catholic, we’re going to:

  • Hear beautiful stories about what JPII was really like in person
  • Learn about the history and duties of the Swiss Guard
  • Discover the relationship between JPII’s famous Theology of the Body and the world of economics
  • Discuss how JPII’s view of poverty and the human person is necessary to understand the heart of Pope Francis
  • Hear this modern saint’s “simple” rule of life he practiced every day

You don’t get too many opportunities to hear personal witness about a saint. Andreas Widmer gives us that and much more!


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Apparitions, Tattoos, and St. Juan Diego

If tattoos are a good barometer of Marian piety, then Our Lady of Guadalupe has got to be one of the most popular Marian feast days of them all.St Juan Diego Statue

Lots of people know that in 1531, Our Lady appeared to a peasant man named Juan Diego in Mexico City. And every year, millions of people visit the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe to see Mary’s image on Juan Diego’s famous tilma.

(Apparently many then head to the ink parlor.)

I actually visited the Basilica as a Protestant missionary to Mexico in the 90s, but obviously didn’t appreciate what I saw back then. I certainly didn’t head to the tattoo parlor. If I had, it probably would have been a Billy Graham tat, and not Our Lady.

While most of the attention of this great feast is rightly focused upon Mary, there’s another aspect to the story that isn’t often considered. Namely, Juan Diego.

What most people don’t realize is that Juan Diego was in his fifties, which made him an old man for that time in history. (Fifty was the new eighty, back then.)

But because of Mary, his evangelistic life was just beginning.

And look what he was able to accomplish. Look what God was able to accomplish through him. Look what his mother inspired him to do.

St. Juan Diego, not to mention Our Lady, is a great reminder that God can use us no matter where we are in life. All we have to be is willing. We have to ask for God’s grace to stop coming up with excuses or allowing distractions to take our focus off of what’s really important.

So ask yourself, are you willing? Are you willing to do whatever God wants? To conform yourself completely and totally to his perfect will like Our Lady? Are you willing to say “yes” (or “si” in Juan Diego’s case), and let God do wonders through you regardless of where you are in life?

Because if you are, he can use you to help change the world, too.

I pray you continue to have a Blessed Advent!


022: Why Catholic Bibles Are BIGGER

catholic_FINAL_150It’s not just because we want to look cool or think bigger is better. Catholic Bibles are simply bigger than Protestant Bibles.

(And I don’t mean they’re printed in a larger font. I mean ours have more books than theirs.) The question is “Why?”

It’s a huge issue…one of, dare I say, biblical proportions.

One of the fundamental principles of Protestantism is the doctrine of sola scriptura – the Bible alone. In other words, it teaches that the only sure authority upon which we can base our lives is the Bible because it alone is the inspired, inerrant Word of God.

Of course, this belief raises obvious questions. For example, if the Bible is the only authority, then who has the right to interpret it? You? Your pastor? Your mechanic? It’s a problem. In fact, the issue of authority was the original impetus behind my eventual move to Catholicism some eighteen years ago.

But the problem of authority doesn’t just come into play with regard to interpreting Scripture. It has a colossal impact on the book itself. In other words, who decides what books are actually inspired and which are just wise sayings? How did we get the canon of Scripture in the form we now possess?

And why are Catholic Bibles different than those of our Protestant brothers?

That’s what this show is all about.Holy Bible

As you’re going to see, I’ve brought in an expert on this topic. His name is Rob Corzine, a friend, and one of the vice presidents of the St. Paul Center for Biblical Theology.

He’s a very smart cookie. (Someone please get me the etymology of that phrase.)

And it’s a pretty fair bet that you’re going to come away from this episode with whole lot more understanding about the important and fascinating history of Sacred Scripture than before.



8 Ways To Jumpstart Your Prayer Life Cover ImageAll who have been lost were lost because they did not pray.” St. Alphonsus Liguori.

Don’t be lost! Grab your FREE copy of my quick guide to deeper prayer 8 Ways To Jumpstart Your Prayer Life! 

It’s an easy step-by-step summary of the spiritual giants of the Church designed to help you rocket to God!