Growing in Holiness:...

Today is the 500th birthday of Saint Teresa of Avila, one of the greatest mystics and spiritual writers of the Church. When I think about it, St. Teresa was my first teacher about growth in the spiritual life. It seems strange; we know that we grow physically and intellectually, but we...

Lent, Suffering, and...

Lent causes suffering. The small (perhaps large to us) sacrifices that we make are meant to bring us closer to the cross. They are meant to bring us to greater reliance on Jesus instead of whatever it is we’ve chosen to give up. We can also “offer up” our myriad annoyances and...

The Works of Mercy P...

This is part VII of a series on works of mercy which I have written for Lent. You can read part I, part II, part III, part IV, part V, and part VI first. Ransom Captives and Admonish Sinners Ransoming captives may seem the strangest, the least necessary of the works of mercy today. Oh, it...

Sheep Among Wolves

“‘Thomas! Thomas!’ two snickering friars called, rousing their brother who was bent over his books. ‘Look out the window—there are pigs flying about in the sky!’ Thomas rose at once and bounced to the window incredulously. The friars laughed. Putting the finishing touch on...

The Works of Mercy P...

This is part VI of a series on works of mercy which I have written for Lent. You can read part I, part II, part III, part IV, and part V first. Visit the Sick and Comfort the Afflicted When we hear of “the sick,” we probably think immediately of those who are in the care of...

What my Confessor Ta...

I went to Confession one recent Saturday morning, planning on receiving the sacrament before Mass. As I drove to the church, I was doing my examination of conscience, and growing increasingly nervous. When I arrived at the church, it was dark and empty – except for the priest praying his...

Truth in Fiction

Teaching always involves a curve ball. This past fall I taught “Introduction to Moral Theology and Ethics” at The Catholic University of America. For the first class session, I had my students read a casual but thoughtful blogpost titled “The Ethics of Superheroes.” The blogpost draws...

A Church for Sinners

We walked into the large sanctuary of a southeast beach parish and slipped into the back pew. The room was full of retired couples, perhaps a few local families, and some vacationers. A few rows in front, a middle-aged couple sat down. He was wearing black athletic pants with three white...

Mercy Part V–H...

This is part V of a series on works of mercy which I have written for Lent. You can read part I, part II, part III, and part IV first. Harbor the Harborless, Forgive Offenses Willingly “Foxes have dens and birds have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head.” (Luke...

Works of Mercy Part ...

This is part IV of a series on works of mercy which I have written for Lent. You can read part I, part II, and part III first. Clothe the Naked and Bear Wrongs Willingly A couple of years ago, there was a kerfuffle over the popular clothing maker Abercrombie and Fitch when some remarks made...

Works of Mercy Part ...

This is part III of a series on works of mercy which I have written for Lent. You can read part I and part II first.   Give Drink to the Thirsty and Instruct the Ignorant Hunger may be among the worst forms of physical suffering by sheer magnitude, for many people go hungry. On the other...

The Other Side of Pi...

Many of us have been pilgrims, walking the paths saints have trod before us. How many of us have been saints, treading paths worthy of pilgrims yet to come? We can fly over land and sea, at great discomfort, and greater expense, to see the places sanctified by Brother Francis’ simple...

Works of Mercy Part ...

This is part II of a series on works of mercy which I have written for Lent. You can read part I first.   Feed the hungry/Counsel the Doubtful Hunger is one of the greatest causes of sorrow in this world, though not the greatest. And the hungry are everywhere, and in all times: there...

Patience in the Dese...

For forty days Christ suffered in the desert, fasting and depriving Himself of comfort, choosing to undergo hardship and temptation for the sake of teaching us the importance of fortitude, penance, and trust in God alone.  Christ made Himself uncomfortable to show us the importance of doing...

Minimalism

Minimalism takes work and effort. It is an exercise of saying no to many things in order to focus on saying yes to the important ones. It is well worth it since minimalism also brings many benefits to both body and soul. Lent is a season for minimalism, both inside and out. We are invited to...

Entering into the Si...

Throughout Lent, we often focus on the things we are giving up or the extra things we are doing. Maybe we are fasting from chocolate, praying a weekly holy hour, or volunteering more at the soup kitchen. Often our Lent becomes filled with things to do instead of drawing us closer to God. To...

Works of Mercy Part ...

One of the pillars of Lent is almsgiving (and by extension, almsdeeds). On the surface, almsgiving and almsdeeds mean only to give away money or goods to those in need. However, almsdeeds go beyond this: they are the works of mercy. I will be posting about the works of mercy each week during...

Beyond My Comfort (F...

It is very appropriate, I think, that I received my diagnosis of wheat and milk allergies during Lent, three years ago. After all, I was already in a mode of Lenten sacrifice, and it felt good and natural to cut out these foods from my life and stick to a very basic diet. Also, I had been very...

The Whisper of the S...

The whisper of the Salve Regina echoes in my heart, a distant memory of chant at the Benedictine Monastery. …the January night sky glittered above with the sparkling of lighted stars. The long endless country road that dips and winds to the brothers’ abode. The moonlight shining on the...

A Clean Heart

A clean heart create for me, O God, and a steadfast spirit renew within me. Psalm 51 The heart is one of the most essential organs in the human body because it pumps blood to every extremity. When it does not function properly and effectively, negative side effects occur. If we do not eat a...

Why Do We Pray, Fast...

This is a lesson for which I will be forever in debt to Dr. Brant Pitre.  He taught it to me, and I’m passing it on.  But I have to say up front that if you enjoy this post, check out his presentation on it here.  It is amazing stuff! Lent is a fantastic spiritual opportunity for...

When Waiting is Real...

In reaction to the increasing physical immorality spreading through society today, and in an attempt to counter the message  constantly being sold through advertising, movies, music, and even best-selling books that says sexual intimacy is not only okay, but expected, outside of marriage,...

Jesus Expelled

[An exegesis and reflection on Mark 1:40-45] In the readings this week we may consider the primary themes that of ‘expulsion’ and ‘re-entry.’ A man, in Leviticus, when he was declared unclean by the priest or by the community was expelled for the safety of the whole. He...

Book Review: Dive...

As a young mother of a young baby, the opportunity to do something purely for my own entertainment comes around very rarely. On one of those rare opportunities, my husband and I rented a few movies from RedBox and snuggled down on the couch with cups of cocoa and some blessed quiet time. One...

Death of Beauraing Visionary Renews Message of Apparition Feb17

Death of Beauraing V...

The last living visionary from Beauraing, Belgium died on February 10, 2015. I was not surprised Gilberte Degeimbre’s death elicited no coverage in the United States by Catholic writers or Marian enthusiasts. The thirty-three apparitions of Our Lady to five children in Beauraing are...

Some Wisdom from Joh...

Today at Holy Hour I read this passage in “The Living Flame of Love,” by St. John of the Cross: He [The Holy Spirit] touches the soul not with His shadow only, for He unites Him self to it, feeling and tasting with it the form and attributes of God in the shadow of God: that is,...

When Repentance Look...

“Rising very early before dawn, he left and went off to a deserted place, where he prayed. Simon and those who were with him pursued him and on finding him said, “Everyone is looking for you.” -Mark 1:35-37   Any parent who has planned to get up “before the kids” in order to...

Fear of the Lord Par...

“Those, who denounce fear, assail the law; and if the law, plainly also God, who gave the law…. If, then, according to hypothesis, they abolish the law; then, by necessary consequence, each one who is led by lust, courting pleasure, must neglect what is right and despise the Deity,...

Internet Ire and Rig...

The readings for February 6, 2015: First reading: HEB 13:1-8 Responsorial Psalm: PS 27:1, 3, 5, 8B-9ABC Alleluia: LK 8:15 Gospel: MK 6:14-29 There is a lot of hostility being generated in the online worlds. I teach my history students that this is the result of fear. Fear prompts a tongue...

To what is God calli...

Discerning God’s will in our lives can be a difficult and confusing endeavor most of the  time. I can still remember hearing the many epic tales about the heroic Saints in our Church’s life and thinking, “If I really love God, wouldn’t I do the same? Wouldn’t I give up everything,...

When Praying for a Stranger Feb04

When Praying for a S...

Have you caught word of the powerful call to #prayforpaul over the last few weeks? I personally never actually met Paul Coakley, in all words he was a stranger to me, until I began to join thousands of others who were praying for a miracle for Paul and his family. I heard about him through a...

Fear of the Lord Part 1: Holy Fear Feb03

Fear of the Lord Par...

“The gifts of the Holy Ghost are seven in number: wisdom, understanding, counsel, fortitude, knowledge, piety, and fear of the Lord [Isaiah 11:2-3]…. The gifts proceed in orderly fashion and gradually ascend by degrees. From the fear of the Lord, the soul rises to the other gifts,...

Our Expectations and...

We are now a month into 2015. There is still so much unknown about this year; the blank pages are yet to be filled in, and many possibilities are present. Along with possibilities, we also carry our expectations into the year and into the situations we encounter. Yet, this year also brings...

Spiritual Antibodies

“And hearing this, Jesus said to them, ‘It is not those who are healthy who need a physician, but those who are sick; I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners.’” —Mark 2:17 When I was three years old, I had a terrible case of the chicken pox. So terrible, in fact, that my...

Help Mary in Her Mis...

Fr. Emil Neubert, SM, one of my favorite Mariologists, wrote many books on Mary including Mary and the Priestly Ministry and My Ideal, Jesus, Son of Mary. Recently, the Franciscans of the Immaculate, through their publishing house, Academy of the Immaculata, have renewed interest in Father...

Learning Patience

{Warning: I mention miscarriage in this post – not mine – but it comes up.} There we were, waiting in the waiting room. Waiting rooms make me nervous. I’d rather sit in my car until its my turn and then just go straight into the appointment. Doctor, dentist, ultrasound,...

Don’t Cry Over Spilt...

Arriving home from grocery shopping one afternoon, I sensed an imminent meltdown from my 9 month old son. He was overtired and still upset that I did not let him grab and chew on all of the exciting things he could see in the grocery store. I surveyed the heap of grocery bags in my trunk and...

Christ the Uncommon ...

One of the greatest sporting event upsets of all time arguably happened during the 1980 Winter Olympics in Lake Placid, New York when the United States defeated the Soviet Union for the gold medal in men’s ice hockey. The United States men’s hockey team was comprised of college students...

Into the Woods: A Ca...

The movie points to a basic human fact that is often overlooked: humanity is messy

5 Ways to Pray the R...

We all know about the spiritual fruit that comes from praying the rosary. Throughout the centuries, the popes have encouraged, even insisted upon the regular recitation of the rosary. Our Lady, in her apparitions, requested the praying of the rosary, and our priests and religious lead by their...