Into the Deep

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How to Be a Better Disciple

There is a section of Luke’s Gospel known as the Travel Narrative. In this section, Jesus and his disciples journey to Jerusalem where redemption will occur and the Church will be born. St. Luke uses nearly ten chapters (9:51-19:27) to record this journey to Jerusalem. Along the way, Jesus prepares his disciples for the work to which he has called […]

Surrender & Strength

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Where Does Faith Fit Into My Busy Life?

For years I have heard people say they don’t have enough time to pray, get involved in parish ministry, attend daily Mass, take part in Eucharistic adoration, be involved in children’s activities, serve in the community, etc. I believe our misconception about time is one of the biggest obstacles, along with living in “silos” and failing to surrender to Christ, to […]

Photograph © by Andy Coan

A Most Difficult Question to Answer

When I give talks around the country or sometimes in correspondence with readers of my books or blog posts on Integrated Catholic Life, I am often asked what I mean when I encourage others to “be joyful” and share the “light of Christ” with others.  I am referring to the response I typically give when asked for effective ways to […]

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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 […]

"Christ on the Cross" (detail) by Velazquez

God is Asking Something Heroic of Us

“The disciple of Christ consents to ‘live in the truth,’ that is, in the simplicity of a life in conformity with the Lord’s example, abiding in his truth. ‘If we say we have fellowship with him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not live according to the truth.” (CCC, 2470) I first interacted with Father Roger Landry […]

"Christ the Consolator" (detail) by Carl Bloch

Redirecting my Gratitude

“If God sends you many sufferings, it is a sign that He has great plans for you and certainly wants to make you a saint.” (St. Ignatius Loyola) I woke up last Tuesday not feeling very grateful.  I am not sure why, but I started my day in a “mood.”  Maybe it was the stress of having too much on […]

Regular Feature

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Vending Machine Prayers

  I just finished up the St. Anne novena, a prayer prayed over the nine days preceding her feast day. Those nine days are a time when single Catholic girls storm heaven in hopes that a tall, dark, and handsome man will come knocking on their front door on the ninth day. Well, maybe that’s a bit of an exaggeration. But […]

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A Novel about Same Sex Attraction from a Catholic? – Interview with Dena Hunt

In The Lion’s Heart (2nd ed, Full Quiver Publishing, 2014), Dena Hunt tackles a topic that’s hot and that gets people talking in loud tones at times: same sex attraction. She does it in a way that’s not preachy, that’s good writing, and that’s gut-wrenchingly honest. While I loved the book, I didn’t necessarily love reading it. This is a […]

Villa Serenella Monastery

St. Charbel and lessons of the universal Church

I’ve had the opportunity to live in Rome twice, once as an undergraduate and once as a graduate student. There’s nothing like living in the Eternal City, and both semesters impacted my faith in incredible ways. I find myself getting “Rome-sick” pretty frequently, so I have to constantly remind myself that it wasn’t just sunshine, roses, papal Masses and gelato. […]

In the Spotlight

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My Number One Parenting Tip

A friend of mine came to visit last week with her small army of young children. We chatted while I slathered peanut butter and jelly on slices of wheat bread and threw them at the masses. Every five minutes, we filled requests for cups of water and changed diapers and broke up scuffles over broken toys. In between the commotion […]

United States Supreme Court

SCOTUS Decrees that Man’s Law takes Precedent over God’s Law

The Supreme Court of the United States, in a 5-4 vote on June 26, 2015, has finally succumbed to decades of activism and propaganda. It has been decreed by the law of this land that the divine institution of marriage is no longer between one man and one woman. It shouldn’t surprise us too much, the momentum of the homosexual […]

Daily Extras

Pope Francis (neneo / Shutterstock.com)

Catholic Quote of the Day — from Pope Francis

“A prayer that does not lead you to practical action for your brother—the poor, the sick, those in need of help, a brother in difficulty—is a sterile and incomplete prayer. But, in the same way . . . When time is not set aside for dialogue with him in prayer, we risk serving ourselves and not God present in our […]

Scripture Reflections

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Hidden Meaning in the Loaves & Fishes

Finding the hidden meanings.   Unraveling mysteries.  Deciphering symbols.  The thrill inherent in all this is partly why Dan Brown’s book, the Da Vinci Code, sold so well. But Brown’s secret code, the two thousand year chain of clues supposedly leading to the true identity of Jesus and his holy grail, is simply a parody of the real mystery embedded in […]

Photography © by Andy Coan

Truth is Nourishment, Not a Weapon

Lots of perks come with being the boss, whether you are the boss of a church, company, or nation.  You get to call the shots, for starters.  Then there is good food, good drink.  Travel.  Parties.  Expense accounts.  Pomp and circumstance. Bodyguards. Technology has changed a lot, but people haven’t.  In ancient times as in modern, those in authority did […]

Photography © by Andy Coan

Just Do It!

Everybody likes free gifts.  Advertisers know that a campaign will have much better results if there are free samples or a free gift with every purchase.  A friend of mine lived by this motto: when it’s free, take two. But when we receive a favor, we’re wise enough to know there has got to be a catch somewhere.  The giver […]

Photography © by Andy Coan

Miracles Jesus Could Not Do

Over the last two Sundays, the gospel of Mark has been making it abundantly clear that Jesus is indeed God Almighty, ruler of the world and lord over life and death. But this week we come to a story that leaves us scratching our heads.  Jesus goes to his own native place, and receives a less than jubilant reception.  “They […]