• These Children are a Blessing

    Those whose lives are diminished or weakened deserve special respect. Sick or handicapped persons should be helped to lead lives as normal as possible.  —CCC 2276 One of the few issues my wife and I were concerned about when we decided to join the Catholic Church in 2005 was how to include our oldest son, Alex, who has high-functioning autism. […]

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  • Celebrating the Assumption of Mary

    On August 15th of each Liturgical Year, the Church celebrates the Solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary. In the United States, the Assumption is a Holy Day of Obligation unless it  falls on a Saturday or Monday, in which case the precept to attend Mass is abrogated: “Whenever January 1, the solemnity of Mary, Mother of God, or August 15, […]

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  • Keeping Love Loving and Open to God

    On July 25, the Church marks the fiftieth anniversary of the most reviled and rejected magisterial document of all time. Many papal encyclicals remain unread, others are perused and ignored, but Pope Paul VI’s Humanae Vitae was pervasively condemned and opposed. This antipathy came not only from predictable sources, like radical secularists, sexual revolutionaries and anti-Catholic Christians, but also from remarkably […]

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  • Elijah and the Lord—Lessons for Living!

    Here’s a quick test for you!  You didn’t know there was going to be a pop quiz, did you?  I thought one might be in order to celebrate the start of the coming school year. Yes?  No? Seriously!  Here’s the question… “Who was the famous prophet in today’s first reading?” The prophet is none other than Elijah!  In his ministry, he […]

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  • Elijah’s Bread

    Somehow, we can all relate to the discouragement and exhaustion of Elijah.  So we need to learn from the solution proposed by God to revitalize and energize him for the long journey he needed to make and the important work he was going to do.  The bread God provided is a figure of a more wondrous bread that is available […]

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  • Our Family History

    I love saint stories.   I know I’m not alone – even the saints loved saint stories.  St. Ignatius of Loyola’s conversion was spurred by reading the life of Christ and the lives of the saints.  Edith Stein stayed up all night reading the life of St. Teresa of Avila.  There is an attraction in the radical witness of holiness that […]

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  • Practicing Acceptance and Seeing Burdens as Blessings

    Not long ago a priest shared some guidance with my wife and me that has been the cause of a great deal of conversation and reflection in our home.  In response to learning that we pray every day about our oldest son’s future and that he be healed of his autism, he encouraged us to pray first for acceptance. Let […]

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  • A Convert Struggles in Her Relationship with Mary

    Dear Sister I just recently became Catholic and I’m still struggling with the Church’s teachings on Mary. I respect her, but I don’t feel the need to ask her for prayers if I can just ask God directly. Do you have any suggestions on how I can have a relationship with Mary? Dear Friend, Yes, I do! Being a convert […]

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  • Why Accompaniment Involves Apologetics

    I recently granted an interview to the National Catholic Reporter concerning the upcoming Synod on Young People, the Faith, and Vocational Discernment, to which I was elected a delegate. We discussed a number of topics, including the rise of the “nones,” the purpose of the Synod, and creative ways of listening to the concerns of young people. In the course […]

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Into the Deep

Food That Endures For Eternal Life

Today’s Gospel is taken from St. John and continues our short five-week break from Mark’s Gospel that we’ve been hearing during this liturgical year. The focus of the passages during these five weeks is the Eucharist and the Lord’s abundant love for each of us. So much power and promise are contained in the sixth chapter of John’s gospel, that […]

Receive, O Lord. I am all Yours!

There is a great old popular jazz standard written by Gerald Marks and Seymour Simons titled All of Me that is one of my favorite tunes.  I particularly like the rendition performed by Louis Armstrong and another done later by Willie Nelson. The song is about a fellow who lost his heart to a girl who left him, so he […]

Surrender & Strength

These Children are a Blessing

Those whose lives are diminished or weakened deserve special respect. Sick or handicapped persons should be helped to lead lives as normal as possible.  —CCC 2276 One of the few issues my wife and I were concerned about when we decided to join the Catholic Church in 2005 was how to include our oldest son, Alex, who has high-functioning autism. […]

The Invitation

“Here we go again,” Steve thought to himself as Brian walked across the parking lot towards his car. “Hey Steve, looks like we’re both running a little late today!  How was your weekend?” “It was ok.  Before you say anything Brian, I will go ahead and tell you I didn’t make it to Mass yesterday.  I meant to, but I […]

Choosing to Live Gratefully

“When it comes to life, the critical thing is whether you take things for granted or take them with gratitude.” – G. K. Chesterton   I remember at a very young age the constant urging of my parents to always say “thank you” in response to any kindness or friendly words shared in my direction. For many years, I saw […]

A Simple and Public Act of Faith

“Our behavior will be the proving ground of our deepest convictions.  This firmness in the Faith is often an excellent testimony to the beliefs of the Christian.  In some cases it can cause people to begin their return to the House of the Father” (Father Francis Fernandez; In Conversation with God). Several weeks ago I had lunch with one of my new […]

Extraordinary Faith from Ordinary Catholics

“In the doctrine of Christ there is no invitation to mediocrity, but a clear call to Heaven, to love and to cheerful sacrifice.” (Francis Fernandez, In Conversation with God) Feeling let down by politicians and public figures who say they are Catholic, but whose words and actions are often contrary to the teachings of the Church? Do we seek good examples […]

Regular Feature

Our Family History

I love saint stories.   I know I’m not alone – even the saints loved saint stories.  St. Ignatius of Loyola’s conversion was spurred by reading the life of Christ and the lives of the saints.  Edith Stein stayed up all night reading the life of St. Teresa of Avila.  There is an attraction in the radical witness of holiness that […]

Sacramentals in Our Time

Over the last few weeks, we have looked at sacramentals, the integration of our life, and a sacramental worldview. In this last post on sacramentals, I want to look at the place sacramentals can play in the evangelization and restoration of our culture. How do we evangelize our culture? How do we protect our families from the encroachment of secularism? […]

Getting Out of the Sacristy: A Look at Our Pastoral Priorities

For the past several days, I’ve been with my Word on Fire team, filming for the Flannery O’Connor and Fulton Sheen episodes of our “Pivotal Players” series. Our journey has taken us from Chicago to New York to Washington, DC, and finally to Savannah and Milledgeville, Georgia. At every step of the way, we have met numerous people who have […]

Sacramentals and an Integrated Life

As we strive to integrate the various parts of lives – our jobs, our social activities, our family time, our spiritual lives – sacramentals can help direct our daily activities toward our vocation to holiness. My last two posts looked at what sacramentals are and how they fit into our view of the world and God’s plan to save us. […]

In the Spotlight

Keeping Love Loving and Open to God

On July 25, the Church marks the fiftieth anniversary of the most reviled and rejected magisterial document of all time. Many papal encyclicals remain unread, others are perused and ignored, but Pope Paul VI’s Humanae Vitae was pervasively condemned and opposed. This antipathy came not only from predictable sources, like radical secularists, sexual revolutionaries and anti-Catholic Christians, but also from remarkably […]

All Sinners are Welcome!

While I was in central Georgia, filming the Flannery O’Connor episode of my Pivotal Players series, I saw a sign on the outside of a church, which would have delighted the famously prickly Catholic author: “All Sinners Are Welcome!” I thought it was a wonderfully Christian spin on the etiquette of welcome that is so pervasive in our culture today. In a […]

Where in the World is Carmel?

An interesting question in more ways than one! And one that requires some thought. Just to clear up any confusion right at the beginning, Carmel doesn’t mean the delicious, sweet, sticky candy. That is caramel, with a different spelling and three syllables! The word Carmel is of Hebrew origin and means a “garden, orchard, or park.” So, would we be […]

Daily Extras

Daily Quote — from St. Maximilian Kolbe

“If angels could be jealous of men, they would be so for one reason: Holy Communion.” (St. Maximilian Kolbe) The Memorial of St. Maximilian Kolbe, Priest and Martyr (1894 – 1941) is August 14. Please share on social media. Print this entry

Daily Quote — from Saint John Paul II

“The essential act of penance, on the part of the penitent, is contrition, a clear and decisive rejection of the sin committed, together with a resolution not to commit it again, out of love which one has for God and which is reborn with repentance…”  (Pope St. John Paul II) The Optional Memorial of St. John Paul II (1920 – […]

The Marriage Minute

This is a Marriage Minute from Integrated Catholic Life with Mike Carlton. Use the player to listen to listen or download the mp3 audio file. Have you ever had an argument with your spouse and wondered when things in the house would return to normal? Arguments are going to happen. Try to address them as they come and not let them […]

Scripture Reflections

Elijah’s Bread

Somehow, we can all relate to the discouragement and exhaustion of Elijah.  So we need to learn from the solution proposed by God to revitalize and energize him for the long journey he needed to make and the important work he was going to do.  The bread God provided is a figure of a more wondrous bread that is available […]

Food That Endures For Eternal Life

Today’s Gospel is taken from St. John and continues our short five-week break from Mark’s Gospel that we’ve been hearing during this liturgical year. The focus of the passages during these five weeks is the Eucharist and the Lord’s abundant love for each of us. So much power and promise are contained in the sixth chapter of John’s gospel, that […]

You Are What You Eat

The only miracle recorded in all four gospels was the multiplication of the loaves and fishes. Could this be to emphasize the central importance of the spiritual nutrition that Jesus, the Bread of Life, provides for us through the Eucharist? And could it be that a diet of junk food rather than the eucharistic banquet might just be a factor […]

Hidden Meaning of Loaves & Fishes

The multiplication of the loaves and fishes is the only miracle of Jesus recorded in all four gospels.  John calls it a sign, a symbolic event with many hidden meanings.  It points beyond itself back to Old Testament persons and events and forward to the Eucharist. Finding hidden meanings. Unraveling mysteries. Deciphering symbols. The thrill inherent in all this is partly why Dan […]