• The Moment 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—the Incarnation. 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 […]

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  • Jesus Offers You Living Water

    The Gospel from the Third Sunday of Lent (Year A), John 4:5-42, is the story of the encounter of Jesus and the Samaritan woman at the well.  The Elect (those preparing for Baptism at the Easter Vigil) undergo the First Scrutinies on this Sunday and this gospel passage is central to their journey. This passage is filled with imagery and […]

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  • Lenten Fasting and the Barren Fig Tree

    Is Lent about fasting or feasting? Maybe the two are related, says this commentary on the story of the barren fig tree from the gospel of Luke chapter 13. Prayer. Fasting. Almsgiving. Three inter-related fertilizers which help barren fig trees bear fruit. The Mass readings for the Third Sunday of Lent (Year C) — Exodus 3:1-8, 13-15; Psalms 103:1-2, 3-4, […]

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  • The Proposal of God — To Serve

    — “We are called to serve.  In fact, we were created to serve. It’s radically counter-cultural.”  In many parishes this weekend, we will hear the story of the Samaritan woman at the well. On the third, fourth, and fifth Sundays of Lent, parishes have the option to read from the readings for Year A, particularly if they have people preparing […]

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  • Powerful Lessons from St. Joseph

    As the father of a 21-year-old son with high-functioning autism, I am sometimes challenged to give my oldest child the focus and patience he needs from me.  I frequently feel inadequate when I advise and guide my 18-year-old son through the minefields of today’s culture.  My loving wife should expect my best efforts as a husband, yet I often feel […]

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  • The Chapel and the Ring

    This week’s poem in the Catholic Poetry Room is by Catherine Hamilton.                                                                                             The Chapel […]

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  • Identity — Can What We Do Diminish Who We Are?

    This thing about identity—there’s more here than meets the eye, more here than most psychologists talk about, more here than we can understand, and what I’m going to present is more questions than answers. But I think it’s a profound point, so I’ll say it. This point that our very selfhood is by nature unstable and in question, this is […]

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  • Winter of Our Discontent

    As these winter months drag to a close, many of us have become familiar with, or been reminded of, the experience expressed in the title of the well-known John Steinbeck novel cited above. Literary buffs might know that the line is actually from William Shakespeare’s play, Richard III. “Now is the winter of our discontent, Made glorious summer by this sun [or […]

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  • Suffering Transfigured

    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 this love, we are continually invited by God into a deeper communion of prayer with Him… to come to know Him as He […]

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Into the Deep with Deacon Mike Bickerstaff

The Moment 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—the Incarnation. 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 […]

Why Do Catholics Abstain from Meat on Fridays and Fast?

Our bookstores are filled with books written to help us advance in prayer and the spiritual life. The “secret” we all look for is really no secret at all.  At its heart, the gospel message is one of self-denial and detachment from all things that are obstacles to our growth.  Jesus tells us that if we are to be his […]

Surrender & Strength with Randy Hain

Powerful Lessons from St. Joseph

As the father of a 21-year-old son with high-functioning autism, I am sometimes challenged to give my oldest child the focus and patience he needs from me.  I frequently feel inadequate when I advise and guide my 18-year-old son through the minefields of today’s culture.  My loving wife should expect my best efforts as a husband, yet I often feel […]

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 […]

Five Ways to Escape from Apathy-ville

Do you ever feel numb or helpless because of all the problems the world faces each day? One only has to watch the news or follow the events of the day online to feel completely overwhelmed. Some of the challenges facing the world include ever-increasing threats to our Catholic faith. The Church is being accosted on all sides and the culture […]

Between the Sundays with Joannie Watson

Sunday Scripture Reflections with Dr. Marcellino D'Ambrosio

Lenten Fasting and the Barren Fig Tree

Is Lent about fasting or feasting? Maybe the two are related, says this commentary on the story of the barren fig tree from the gospel of Luke chapter 13. Prayer. Fasting. Almsgiving. Three inter-related fertilizers which help barren fig trees bear fruit. The Mass readings for the Third Sunday of Lent (Year C) — Exodus 3:1-8, 13-15; Psalms 103:1-2, 3-4, […]

Forty Days of Lent and the Temptation of Christ

Why Lent has forty days, the meaning of the number 40 in the Old and New Testaments, and the meaning of the fasting and temptation of Jesus Christ in the Desert… The Mass readings for the First Sunday of Lent (Year C) — Deuteronomy 26:4-10; Psalms 91:1-2, 10-11, 12-13, 14-; Romans 10:8-13; Luke 4:1-13. In the English language, the special […]

In the Spotlight

Winter of Our Discontent

As these winter months drag to a close, many of us have become familiar with, or been reminded of, the experience expressed in the title of the well-known John Steinbeck novel cited above. Literary buffs might know that the line is actually from William Shakespeare’s play, Richard III. “Now is the winter of our discontent, Made glorious summer by this sun [or […]

catholic poetry room

St. Dominic’s Patio Chair

This week’s poem in the Catholic Poetry Room is by Tim Bete. St. Dominic’s Patio Chair I have spent hundreds of hours praying in the blue patio chair in my office—across from the bookcase filled with rolls of duct tape and fishing gear and a tub of spackling paste. Plastic mesh pulled tight between powder-coated metal arms and legs—arms just […]

Daily Extras

Daily Quote — Robert J. Spitzer, SJ

“God is not waiting around to get even with people for things that they have done fifteen years before. God is gentle and humble of heart; unconditionally good and loving. Therefore we do not need to cower and grovel before God’s will. We need to trust in it; trust in its awesome beauty, its unconditional power to bring goodness out […]

Encountering the Word — Hebrews 3:12-14

“Take care, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil, unbelieving heart, leading you to fall away from the living God. But exhort one another every day, as long as it is called ‘today,’ that none of you may be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin. For we share in Christ, if only we hold our first confidence […]

Daily Quote — St. John of the Cross

“On a dark night, Kindled in love with yearnings — oh, happy chance! — I went forth without being observed, My house being now at rest.” (St. John of the Cross; Ascent of Mount Carmel, Dark Night of the Soul, Stanza 1; translated by E Allison Peers) The Memorial of St. John of the Cross, Priest and Doctor of the Church […]