In a life full of never ending lists of "must-dos", we constantly need to check if we are abiding by "Thy will be done" or "MY will be done". But, we are still faced with the question: How do we know if we are on the right track?
Teresa Tomeo's new release answers this time old question by offering simple ways to keep your life Christ-centered. God's Bucket List is a clever new read that asks you to consider throwing aside your own bucket list in exchange for God's. She uses her common sense language to engage readers and offers a refreshing outlook- nonexistent in today's self-centered society. Teresa, a former secular news reporter, is now a celebrate Catholic author and motivational speaker.
At The Catholic Company we had the privilege of talking with Teresa Tomeo about her new book, "being still", and how she continues to be an enthusiastic and committed Catholic.
Q. One of the items you place on God’s Bucket list is “being still” to be able to hear God speak to us. What are some ways that you slow things down to listen to God, while juggling a busy schedule and full-on career? What practical advice can you give to other busy people?
A. My husband and I start every day with the Mass Readings using either the Magnificat or the Word among Us. This gets us centered and focused on putting God first. And then, since I travel a great deal, I find the quiet zones in the airport for spiritual reading and reflecting. And I travel with lots of good spiritual books along with my Magnificat. Eucharistic Adoration is also very important to me. Just sitting in front of the Lord helps in the stillness category immensely.
Q. You moved from being a reporter in the secular media to being a major Catholic media personality, same talents and skills, but applied in two different ways. Can you talk more specifically about that discernment process? What internal clues were your hints that you needed to leave the world of secular journalism, and what internal clues let you know you found your “home” in your current career?
A. One of the biggest internal clues was quite frankly the misery factor. I always loved news reporting. And yet after I came back to the Church I had changed and the media had changed. I no longer felt like I was making a difference. It was just a matter of going through the motions and getting through the day. A far cry from the excitement and passion I felt about good journalism in the early days of my news career. So that should be a big red flag to folks; when they are no longer satisfied with their work. We shouldn’t expect to be hitting home runs every day or think that when we find God’s plan that there won’t be struggles or challenges. That’s not possible living in a fallen world. We will, as Jesus tells us, always face some difficulties. That said we should look forward to getting out of bed every day. God has given each person special talents and gifts that are meant to be used to make the world a better place in some way. When we discover them that’s when we are truly happy and fulfilled. But the discovery is a process.
Q. You mentioned in the book that God revealed Himself to you through your husband who found his way back to the Catholic Church. Can you talk about this more? What led him back, and what about him going back impacted you to follow?
A. My husband and I had achieved a level of professional success. We had all the trappings or things that the world tells us are important but because we had fallen away from our faith, we were basically miserable and it began to impact our marriage. My husband received an invitation to a Bible study through a mutual friend. That Bible study changed his life and eventually mine. It was the catalyst God used to bring us back to our faith. My husband started to change and I wanted what he had. So I started to study Scripture with him. That was the real turning point for both of us as we were finally able to see the Church in Scripture.
Q. In the book you describe yourself and your husband during the early years of your marriage as being poorly catechized Catholics who only attended Mass a few times a year. Now you and your husband are a new kind of “C&E Catholic” – Committed and Enthusiastic. What advice do you have for others hoping to see a similar conversion of heart for loved ones who are currently away from the Catholic Church?
A. Keep praying for those loved ones and keep loving them. If my husband and I can change anyone can change. Keep the doors open and most of all live your faith. Be a joyful Catholic and don’t hit people over the head with the Bible or the Catechism. Babies can’t eat steak. This is not about watering down our Church teachings. It is about loving people where they are at and being able to witness in a positive way. Also as it says in 1 Peter 3:15, be ready to give a defense. Know your faith so you can answer questions when they arise.
Q. In the book you talked about your deepened love for Sacred Scripture and how instrumental studying the Bible was to your “reversion” to the Catholic faith. Can you talk about your favorite ways to study or meditate on God’s word? What books, Bible studies, methods, devotionals, etc. have benefitted you over the years?
A. For several years I was in Catholic Scripture Study International. I absolutely loved it and think it is one of the best out there right now. My schedule is such that given my speaking engagements and other responsibilities, I am unable to participate in a formal Bible study but again we do read Scripture every day. I also love ENDOW (Educating on the Nature and Dignity of Women) which is a study of Church teachings for women. The Word Among Us is another great resource because as with the Magnificat it provides beautiful articles and reflections about how to apply the Scriptures to our daily lives as Catholics. I like to think of the Bible as an acronym: Basic Instructions before Leaving Earth.
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