• Capitulation, Complacency, and the Courage of the Maccabees

    This week in the first readings at Mass, we have been hearing the story of the Maccabean revolt against Antiochus Epiphanes. If you haven’t had the chance to hear the readings at Mass, it is worth reading them for a good overview of this important event in the history of the Jewish people. The first and second books of Maccabees […]

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  • Live Life Gratefully (and You Will Never Regret It)

    “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 this advice […]

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  • Truly Right and Just Thanksgiving

    From November 25, 2016… It is truly right and just At every Mass, one of the most significant dialogues in human life occurs. The priest says, “Let us give thanks to the Lord our God,” the faithful respond, “It is right and just,” and the priest replies with a saying of great theological depth: “It is truly right and just, […]

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  • A Dozen Thank Yous

    I can still hear it—the sound of the old car horn and the commotion in the house as my sisters and I scrambled toward the door trying to make it to the car before it drove off without us. It was the same ritual, or shall I say “ordeal,” every morning before school. Mom was always up before the rest […]

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  • Getting Ready: A Simple Plan for the Best Advent Ever

    Advent is just around the corner, and if you are like many people, you probably feel like it snuck up, perhaps catching you by surprise. In the busyness of this life, what can you do to prepare well without overwhelming? It’s not too late! Here are some ideas to get you started to have the best Advent ever: Kick off […]

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  • Father Solanus Casey is Now Blessed

    On the Road to the Beatification of Father Solanus Casey; a special series for the Integrated Catholic Life by Mark Armstrong The Heavens were weeping today, Saturday, November 18, 2017, over Detroit, Michigan.  Not for sadness, but for joy.  The pouring rain did not stop the nearly 70,000 people from streaming inside to Ford Field, home of the Detroit Lions, […]

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  • The Proverbs 31 Woman and the Parable of the Talents

    The Proverbs 31 woman and Jesus’s parable of the talents proves that bold initiative, not timid passivity, is what true faith is all about.  If we are to bear abundant fruit, our faith must be seasoned with boldness. Reflection on the Mass readings for the Thirty-Third Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year A) — Proverbs 31:10-13, 19-20, 30-31; Psalms 128:1-2, 3, 4-5; […]

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  • Holiness: Not one size fits all

    Have you ever noticed that things marked “one size fits all” rarely do? “One size fits all” is simply not the way humanity works. We’re all quite different, whether it’s the length of our arms and the girth of our waists or the extravertedness of our temperament and the sensitivity of our emotions. We will all follow different paths, while […]

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  • Three Things about Father Solanus Casey You May Not Know

    On the Road to the Beatification of Father Solanus Casey; a special series for the Integrated Catholic Life by Mark Armstrong Tomorrow (11-18-17) is the Beatification Mass in Detroit, Michigan for Father Solanus Casey—over 66,000 people will be there. Yesterday we left Bismarck, North Dakota, overnighted with our son and his young family near St. Paul, Minnesota, and got up […]

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Into the Deep

The Qualities of Prayer Taught by the Lord

In my parish ministry and work around the archdiocese, one of the questions I receive most frequently is like the question posed to Our Lord in Luke’s Gospel, “He was praying in a certain place, and when he ceased, one of his disciples said to him, ‘Lord, teach us to pray, as John taught his disciples.’” (Luke 11:1) People simply […]

Surrender & Strength

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 […]

What are Obstacles to Catholic Authenticity?

Why is it difficult to be the same person at work, home, church and with our friends? I have observed this problem for several years, but lately I have become more aware of the challenges people have with consistently being “real.” In a few recent discussions with friends, I received blank stares and perceived a lot of discomfort when I […]

On Living with Greater Intention

“Will-power. A very important quality. Don’t despise little things, for by the continual practice of denying yourself again and again in such things — which are never futile or trivial — with God’s grace you will add strength and resilience to your character. In that way you will first become master of yourself, and then a guide, a chief, a […]

Finding Strength in Surrender

Few souls understand what God would accomplish in them if they were to abandon themselves unreservedly to Him and if they were to allow His grace to mold them accordingly.” — St. Ignatius Loyola What is the connection between surrender and strength?  Surrendering to Christ and putting His will before my own for the first time almost 11 years ago […]

Why Do We Follow a Secular Compass?

I don’t know about you, but I rarely get through the day without feeling beaten up a little by the demands and pervasive negative influence of the world. It is difficult to find peace and block out the noise. I am challenged to avoid committing the same venial sins over and over each day. In my weakness, I tend to […]

Regular Feature

The New Evangelization and the Nones

On Monday this week I had the joy to attend the Erasmus Lecture in New York sponsored annually by First Things magazine. It has a rich history, starting in 1988 when Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger inaugurated the tradition. This year the Lecture was given by Bishop Robert Barron, auxiliary bishop of Los Angeles, creator of the Catholicism Series, founder of Word […]

In the Spotlight

A Dozen Thank Yous

I can still hear it—the sound of the old car horn and the commotion in the house as my sisters and I scrambled toward the door trying to make it to the car before it drove off without us. It was the same ritual, or shall I say “ordeal,” every morning before school. Mom was always up before the rest […]

Three Things about Father Solanus Casey You May Not Know

On the Road to the Beatification of Father Solanus Casey; a special series for the Integrated Catholic Life by Mark Armstrong Tomorrow (11-18-17) is the Beatification Mass in Detroit, Michigan for Father Solanus Casey—over 66,000 people will be there. Yesterday we left Bismarck, North Dakota, overnighted with our son and his young family near St. Paul, Minnesota, and got up […]

On the Road to the Beatification of Father Solanus Casey in Detroit

On the Road to the Beatification of Father Solanus Casey; a special series for the Integrated Catholic Life by Mark Armstrong A couple of months ago when my lovely bride of nearly thirty-seven years told me she got an assignment to cover the Beatification Mass for Father Solanus Casey, I offered to drive her from our home in Bismarck, North […]

The Space Between Hope and Fear

“Those who sow in tears will reap with cries of joy. Those who go forth weeping, carrying sacks of seed, will return with cries of joy, carrying their bundled sheaves” (Psalm 126:5-6). The words of the Psalmist haunted me for months, yet I couldn’t determine what they meant for me. I had just completed a new manuscript on the topic […]

Daily Extras

Scripture Reflections

The Proverbs 31 Woman and the Parable of the Talents

The Proverbs 31 woman and Jesus’s parable of the talents proves that bold initiative, not timid passivity, is what true faith is all about.  If we are to bear abundant fruit, our faith must be seasoned with boldness. Reflection on the Mass readings for the Thirty-Third Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year A) — Proverbs 31:10-13, 19-20, 30-31; Psalms 128:1-2, 3, 4-5; […]

Caught Unprepared

The parable of the foolish virgins who let the oil in their lamps run out recalls the recurring nightmare that so many experience, of being caught totally unprepared for a test or presentation. Reflection on the Mass readings for the Thirty-Second Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year A) — Wisdom 6:12-16; Psalms 63:2, 3-4, 5-6, 7-8; First Thessalonians 4:13-17 or 4; Matthew […]

One Sin to Rule Them All

How did the Pharisees, who were God’s champions in the days of the Maccabees, become the villains who sought the death of God’s son?  They were deformed by an insidious spiritual disease that is the deadliest of the seven deadly or capital sins – pride. Reflection on the Mass readings for the Thirty-First Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year A) — Malachi […]