Into the Deep

The 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 […]

Why Do Catholics Abstain from Meat on Fridays and Fast?

Would you like to know the secret to a better, deeper, more joyful life in Christ? Of course you would.  We all would. 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 […]

A Call to Live in God’s Kingdom

“What is it that you most want right now?” If I were to take a survey, I would probably receive a variety of answers. Some would say a new job or better job security, maybe better pay or just the respect of their employers. Others might speak of health issues, concern for their children or the need to get their finances […]

How am I to understand suffering?

One of the things with which we so often struggle is to understand our condition in a fallen world. Each of us, in our own way, has experienced the pain and suffering so often encountered as one journeys through this world on our road to heaven. The road to heaven is a way of suffering and sacrifice; and it leads […]

Inspiring Conversion Stories in the Bible

“Have mercy on me, God, in your kindness; in your compassion blot out my offense. O wash me more and more from my guilt and cleanse me from my sin.” (Psalm 51:1-2) Nearly everyone loves conversion stories. Over the last couple of decades, the conversion stories of people who have entered the Catholic Church have exploded onto the scene in the […]

Surrender & Strength

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 […]

Fighting Our Own Indifference

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 […]

Surrogate Gods, Surrogate Parents

It is a gross understatement to say that we live in trying times.  The Church and religious liberty are under attack around the world, our country is divided, atheists are one of the fastest growing groups in America and our families are under siege.  My intent is not to depress you, but focus your attention on today’s realities.  In times […]

As Lent Approaches, Let’s Reflect on What Others Think Of Us

I have had numerous conversations with friends and professional acquaintances over the years on the subject of openly sharing our Catholic faith. I am always a little surprised at how often many of them express strong reluctance to being open about their beliefs. The reasons given have included, “I don’t want to offend anyone.” “We could never do that at […]

Regular Feature

Learn from Andrew

Unlike some of the other hills featured in Jesus’ public ministry, Mount Tabor is truly a mountain. As our bus climbed the windy roads and I looked down at the countryside, I thought back to the line of Scripture which will open this Sunday’s Gospel: “Jesus took Peter, James, and John and led them up to a high mountain apart […]

The witness of Scholastica: Ask!

If you have ever felt overshadowed by a sibling, you can find a patroness in the woman whose feast we celebrate on February 10, St. Scholastica. You might be a little more familiar with her twin brother, St. Benedict. The most famous story about St. Scholastica is found in the Dialogues of St. Gregory the Great, which contains a series […]

In the Spotlight

What Difference Does Heaven Make?

Heaven’s Difference If a thing makes no difference, it is a waste of time to think about it. We should begin, then, with the question, “What difference does Heaven make to earth, to now, to our lives?” The answer to the question is only the difference between hope and despair in the end, between two totally different visions of life; […]

An Evening with William Lane Craig

Ten years ago, when I was a visiting scholar at the North American College in Rome, I fell into a spirited conversation with one of the seminarians about the state of evangelization in America. We both were bemoaning the fact that the “new” atheists—Christopher Hitchens, Richard Dawkins, Sam Harris, and others—were regularly attacking religion, and I commented that no Christian […]

The Surprising Message of “Downsizing”

SPOILER ALERT! When I saw the trailer for Alexander Payne’s new film, Downsizing, I thought the movie would be a light-hearted farce, relying principally on visual gags. In point of fact, the jokes based on the contrast between regular-size people and their five-inch tall counterparts are surprisingly rare. Most of the film deals with events within the world of the […]

Daily Extras

Daily Quote — from St. Polycarp

“You threaten me with fire which burns for an hour, and after a little is extinguished, but are ignorant of the fire of the coming judgment and of eternal punishment, reserved for the ungodly. But why do you tarry? Bring forth what you will.” (St. Polycarp of Smyrna, Bishop and Martyr; The Martyrdom of Polycarp, Chapter XI; St. Polycarp responds […]

Daily Reflection — God is Our Refuge

“O Lord, you have been our refuge, from generation to generation; from age to age, you are.” (Entrance Antiphon, Tuesday of the First Week of Lent, Cf. Psalm 89:1-2). The times in which we live are becoming “curiouser and curiouser” to the point that one hasn’t any idea what is coming next. I wonder why it seems we are shocked that government […]

Daily Quote — from 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 […]

Scripture Reflections

The Meaning of Lenten Sacrifice

On the Second Sunday of Lent, the church places together the story of Abraham and Isaac on Mt. Moriah with the story of Jesus and three disciples on the Mount of Transfiguration.  Together, these stories teach us the meaning of Lenten sacrifice. This post focuses on Abraham, Isaac, Moriah and the Transfiguration. It is a reflection on the readings for the Second […]

Lent, Noah and Baptism

This article on Noah’s Ark, Lent, and baptism is offered as a reflection on the readings for the First Sunday in Lent (Year B) — Genesis 22:1-2, 9, 10-13, 15-18; Psalms 116:10, 15, 16-17, 18-19; Romans 8:31-34; Mark 9:2-10. In today’s fuzzy moral landscape, it is quite unpopular to even speak of sin, never mind condemn it. It’s even more politically incorrect to talk […]

We’re on a Mission from God

It’s not just about being saved — it’s about taking others with us. Sharing the Good News of Jesus Christ is called evangelism or evangelization, and to share in this apostolic mission is a responsibility of all Christians. This post on spiritual warfare and Jesus’s authority over demons or evil spirits is offered as a reflection upon the readings for […]

Inspiring Conversion Stories in the Bible

“Have mercy on me, God, in your kindness; in your compassion blot out my offense. O wash me more and more from my guilt and cleanse me from my sin.” (Psalm 51:1-2) Nearly everyone loves conversion stories. Over the last couple of decades, the conversion stories of people who have entered the Catholic Church have exploded onto the scene in the […]