Into the Deep

Surrender & Strength

"The Parable of the Good Samaritan" (detail) by Jan Wijnants

We Cannot Excuse Ourselves

As Catholics, we have a wonderful opportunity over the next week as we patiently await the arrival of Jesus to show our co-workers, friends, family, community and the world the beauty of our faith and the great capacity for love in our hearts.  As we prepare ourselves, what are we doing to help others?  How do we keep our focus […]

Father and Son

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. […]

Father and Son

On Smiling Angels and Joy-Filled Hearts

It is difficult to be a parent today, especially if you have a child or children with special needs. The days are emotional roller coaster rides often filled with frustration and only fleeting glimpses of progress. These families often push the pause button on their old lives as the focus becomes all about therapists, adaptive learning, fighting with schools for […]

"Christ the Consolator" (detail) by Carl Bloch

On Being Grateful for Our Challenges

“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 yesterday 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 my […]

Regular Feature

“The School of Athens” (detail showing Aristotle with the elder Plato) by Raphael

The Four Causes of Holy Mother Church

“In the Nicene Creed we profess the four Marks of the Church which are one, holy, catholic and apostolic. These four marks are intrinsically intertwined. These are those things by which we can distinguish the true Church from a false one provided all four are properly fulfilled by the true nature and essence of the One True Church built upon […]

Hippolytus Astrology

Did You Know St. Hippolytus Refuted Astrology in the Third Century?

Astrology has its roots in the astral omens of ancient Mesopotamia dating back to the third millennium before the birth of Christ.[1] The ancient Babylonians presumed astronomical observations of the configuration of celestial bodies gave them the ability to predict the future. These astral omens (omina) involved occultic beliefs that events in the natural world, such as lightening, cloud movements, […]

In the Spotlight

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The Treasure is in Heaven

Why did God make me? God made me to know Him, love Him and serve Him and to be happy with Him in heaven forever. (Baltimore Catechism) But mankind is not an understanding people [they are unwise and sinful]; therefore their Maker shall not spare them, nor shall He who formed them have mercy on them…You shall be gleaned one […]

"The Prophet Isaiah" (detail) by Michelangelo

What are the “O Antiphons” and why should I care?

The “O Antiphons” refer to the seven antiphons that are recited (or chanted) preceding the Magnificat during Vespers of the Liturgy of the Hours. They cover the special period of Advent preparation known as the Octave before Christmas, December 17-23, with December 24 being Christmas Eve and Vespers for that evening being for the Christmas Vigil. Introduction On the evening […]

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Why We Need Joyful Witnesses

Over the Thanksgiving holidays, I found myself in multiple conversations with people who were distressed about the evils of the world today: the lack of faith, poverty, injustice, and pornography, ISIS, abortion, euthanasia, and materialism, to name a few.  While all the concerns expressed were valid, I walked away from the discussions feeling depressed and hopeless about the state of […]

Daily Extras

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Daily Reflection — Never too late!

“In the time of Herod king of Judea there was a priest named Zechariah, who belonged to the priestly division of Abijah; his wife Elizabeth was also a descendant of Aaron. Both of them were righteous in the sight of God, observing all the Lord’s commands and decrees blamelessly. But they were childless because Elizabeth was not able to conceive, […]

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Daily Reflection — How Long, O Lord?

“How long, Lord? Will you hide forever? Must your wrath smolder like fire? Remember how brief life is, how frail the sons of man you have created!” (Psalm 89:47-48). Yesterday was a day spent waiting… waiting for test results, waiting for my wife’s appointment with a surgeon. My wife has been in a mode of waiting since late last month when […]

Scripture Reflections

Photography © by Andy Coan

The Mystery of the Incarnation

“Mystery,” he sneered. “That’s a good Catholic word.” My friend was a fundamentalist who had more than a bit of antipathy towards the Catholic Church, charging that it added to the simple faith of the Bible. But he didn’t read his bible very well. The word “mystery” is a Catholic word, only because it is a biblical word. Paul speaks […]

Photography © by Andy Coan

The Spiritual Joy of John the Baptist

On the third Sunday of Advent, penitential purple gives way to pink and we celebrate “Gaudete” or “Rejoice!” Sunday. “Rejoice heartily in the Lord, says Isaiah” (61:10). “My Spirit finds joy in God my Savior,” says the Virgin Mary (Luke 1: 47). “Rejoice in the Lord always,” says St. Paul (I Thes. 5:16). “Make straight the way of the Lord”, […]

Photography © by Andy Coan

Straightening What is Bent

Advent is a time of joyful anticipation. For someone even bigger than Santa Claus is coming to town. The human race has been waiting a long time for his next and final visit. Actually, it waited a long time for the first visit. Things had gone awry quite early in the history of the human race. We went from Paradise […]