• The Annunciation—When All Creation Held its Breath

    The Moment There is a moment in time which defines all history; a moment to which all that came before, all that has come after and all that is yet to come, points as supremely significant.  On March 25th of each Liturgical Year, we remember the event that took place then—the moment when the Blessed Virgin Mary gave her fiat to God’s request that was […]

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  • The Man Born Blind Sees the Lion of Judah

    Reflection on the Mass readings for the Fourth Sunday of Lent (Year A) — First Samuel 16:1, 6-7, 10-13; Psalms 23:1-3, 3-4, 5, 6; Ephesians 5:8-14; John 9:1-41 or 9:1, 6-9, 13-17. The Lion of Judah is no tame lion.  Neither is he predictable. While walking along the streets of Jerusalem one day, Jesus sees a common enough sight in the Holy City.  […]

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  • Living the Joy of the Gospel

    Pope Francis speaks frequently of the need to go out to the peripheries.  While this can be interpreted many different ways, I recently I saw this lived out—not in the “peripheries” of the inner-city poor or on the faraway soil of a foreign country, but smack in the middle of Hollywood. Let’s face it. When it comes to places we […]

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  • 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 […]

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  • Don’t Ever Ask Dad to Babysit the Kids!

    Dads should just never be asked to babysit the kids. It’s not because dad is not competent.  No, he’s able to do all the things the kids require, even if he has to use the trial and error method to figure out what seems obvious to mom. It’s not because dad doesn’t really want to spend time with the kids.  He loves […]

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  • Out of the Darkness and Into the Light

    A recent Lenten homily spoke to my heart in a profound manner.  Our rural Catholic community doesn’t boast of many grandiose things.  We are a humble church and a humble people.  But our pastor spoke boldly and confidently.  He pierced the hearts of many with these words: “God is challenging us to step outside of what is comfortable and familiar.  […]

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  • A Review of Patience and Humility

    A review of Patience and Humility, Will Bernard Ullathorne, O.S.B., Sophia Institute Press — May 1, 1998 So—it’s the third week of Lent and you’re still trying to decide what to take on or give up. Some of our Lenten goals go well, others not so well. If you’re stuck, you may want to start small. Finding a book entitled Patience and […]

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  • Daily Reflection — A Generous Heart

    “Judge not, and you will not be judged; condemn not, and you will not be condemned; forgive, and you will be forgiven; give, and it will be given to you; good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap. For the measure you give will be the measure you get back. Why do you see […]

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  • Jesus Offers You Living Water

    A reflection on the the encounter of the Woman of Samaria with Jesus at Jacob’s Well and proclaimed during the Mass readings for the Third Sunday of Lent (Year A) — Exodus 17:3-7; Psalms 95:1-2, 6-7, 8-9; Romans 5:1-2, 5-8; John 4:5-42 or 4:5-15, 19-26, 39. The Gospel from the Third Sunday of Lent (Year A) is the story of the encounter of Jesus and […]

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Into the Deep by Deacon Mike Bickerstaff

The Annunciation—When All Creation Held its Breath

The Moment There is a moment in time which defines all history; a moment to which all that came before, all that has come after and all that is yet to come, points as supremely significant.  On March 25th of each Liturgical Year, we remember the event that took place then—the moment when the Blessed Virgin Mary gave her fiat to God’s request that was […]

Jesus Offers You Living Water

A reflection on the the encounter of the Woman of Samaria with Jesus at Jacob’s Well and proclaimed during the Mass readings for the Third Sunday of Lent (Year A) — Exodus 17:3-7; Psalms 95:1-2, 6-7, 8-9; Romans 5:1-2, 5-8; John 4:5-42 or 4:5-15, 19-26, 39. The Gospel from the Third Sunday of Lent (Year A) is the story of the encounter of Jesus and […]

In a Fallen World, Suffering is Transfigured through Love

Reflection on the Mass readings for the Second Sunday of Lent (Year A) — Genesis 12:1-4; Psalms 33:4-5, 18-19, 20, 22; Second Timothy 1:8-10; Matthew 17:1-9. The love in which God embraces each of us is one of the great truths revealed to us throughout salvation history, but especially through and in Jesus Christ. To come to a better and deeper understanding of […]

Biblical Truth About Fasting

Last week, I asked the question, “Are you looking for the secret to a better, deeper, more joyful life in Christ?” and responded by exploring the reasons for the Catholic practice of self-denial. We saw that “fasting and other forms of self-denial, as spiritual practices of materially subduing and controlling the physical appetites of the body, helps us, by God’s grace, to […]

Surrender & Strength by Randy Hain

Struggling with a Restless Heart

“Thou movest us to delight in praising Thee; for Thou hast formed us for Thyself, and our hearts are restless till they find rest in Thee” (St. Augustine, Confessions). I think most writers are naturally introspective and reflective.  While praying in preparation for Lent not long ago, I prayed for strength and courage to stay focused on the path Christ […]

Regular Feature

Living the Joy of the Gospel

Pope Francis speaks frequently of the need to go out to the peripheries.  While this can be interpreted many different ways, I recently I saw this lived out—not in the “peripheries” of the inner-city poor or on the faraway soil of a foreign country, but smack in the middle of Hollywood. Let’s face it. When it comes to places we […]

The Sacrifice of a Smile

I have been reading a lot of St. Josemaría Escrivá lately, as well as a daily meditation based on the spirituality of Escrivá, and I am often struck how often smiling is mentioned. St. Josemaría’s spirituality is based on the notion that we can all become saints in our ordinary lives, with our ordinary jobs and responsibilities, amidst the ordinary […]

In the Spotlight

Out of the Darkness and Into the Light

A recent Lenten homily spoke to my heart in a profound manner.  Our rural Catholic community doesn’t boast of many grandiose things.  We are a humble church and a humble people.  But our pastor spoke boldly and confidently.  He pierced the hearts of many with these words: “God is challenging us to step outside of what is comfortable and familiar.  […]

The Nature of Forgiveness — Is it Humanly Possible?

The exalted nature of forgiveness is attested to by the fact that it presupposes a number of other virtues.  Consider three virtues in particular: justice, clemency, and mercy. Justice has the nature of an equation: Borrowing ten dollars requires returning ten dollars. When justice is violated, punishment or restitution of some kind is required. Herein is the timeless significance of bringing […]

40 Ways to Get More Out of Lent

This, of course, is not an exhaustive list of Lenten ideas.  But it’s a start!  Many of the resources mentioned here are available on my website at www.crossroadsinitiative.com or can be found by visiting my links page. Take 30 minutes to pray, ask the Holy Spirit’s guidance, look over this list, and make a few practical Lenten resolutions.  Be careful.  […]

Daily Extras

Daily Catholic Quote — from Fr. Thomas Dubay, S.M.

“Heroric goodness is a specific human quality (humility, patience, purity, love) that shows itself in actions that are (1) promptly, easily, joyfully done; (2) even in difficult circumstances; (3) habitually, not just occasionally; (4) present actually, not just potentially; (5) found mingled with all the virtues.” (Father Thomas Edward Dubay, S.M., 1921-2010, Authenticity, Chapter 1) Please share on social media. […]

Scripture Reflections

Jesus Offers You Living Water

A reflection on the the encounter of the Woman of Samaria with Jesus at Jacob’s Well and proclaimed during the Mass readings for the Third Sunday of Lent (Year A) — Exodus 17:3-7; Psalms 95:1-2, 6-7, 8-9; Romans 5:1-2, 5-8; John 4:5-42 or 4:5-15, 19-26, 39. The Gospel from the Third Sunday of Lent (Year A) is the story of the encounter of Jesus and […]

The Samaritan Woman and the Original Meaning of Lent

Reflection on the Mass readings for the Third Sunday of Lent (Year A) — Exodus 17:3-7; Psalms 95:1-2, 6-7, 8-9; Romans 5:1-2, 5-8; John 4:5-42 or 4:5-15, 19-26, 39. Lent’s a time of introspection.  We read Exodus, and watch the Israelites grumbling, even after the amazing things God had done for them (Ex 17:3-7).  In them, we recognize ourselves.  For many of us, […]

Transfiguration Leads to Life through Death

Reflection on the Mass readings for the Second Sunday of Lent (Year A) — Genesis 12:1-4; Psalms 33:4-5, 18-19, 20, 22; Second Timothy 1:8-10; Matthew 17:1-9. Imagine: you are ten years past customary retirement age.  It’s time finally to kick back and relax.  You live in a great city where everything is at your fingertips—shopping opportunities, cultural events, all your relatives and lifelong […]