• Argument from Pascal’s Wager

    Most philosophers think Pascal’s Wager is the weakest of all arguments for believing in the existence of God. Pascal thought it was the strongest. After finishing the argument in his Pensées, he wrote, “This is conclusive, and if men are capable of any truth, this is it.” That is the only time Pascal ever wrote a sentence like that, for […]

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  • Daily Reflection — Hear the Baptist’s Cry

    “All praise, eternal Son, to thee, whose advent doth thy people free; whom with the Father we adore and Holy Ghost for evermore.” * – – – * Closing verse from “On Jordan’s Bank the Baptist’s Cry” by Charles Coffin. The  words of this hymn serve to remind us of the incredible gift we anticipate and prepare for during Advent. […]

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  • Lessons from St. John the Baptist that will change your life…

    As it is written in Isaiah the prophet, “Behold, I send my messenger before thy face, who shall prepare thy way; the voice of one crying in the wilderness: ‘Prepare the way of the Lord, make his paths straight’” (Mark 1:2-3). St. John the Baptist is proclaimed by Jesus as the greatest of the Old Testament Prophets sent to prepare […]

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  • Daily Reflection — The Harvest is Plentiful

    “And Jesus went about all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues and preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing every disease and every infirmity. When he saw the crowds, he had compassion for them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. Then he said to his disciples, ‘The harvest is plentiful, but the […]

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  • Prepare the Way of the Lord

    Advent’s theme can be summed up in the word’s of Isaiah 40: Prepare the way of the Lord!  But what are the mountains that need to be leveled and the valleys that need to be filled in?  Here’s a road map through the desert of Advent road construction to the joy of Christmas. Reflection on the Mass readings for the […]

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  • This beloved Christmas song has Mary all wrong

    I love Christmas music so much, it’s hard to force myself to wait to listen to it. I make myself wait until at least halfway through Advent, but after that you’ll find me listening to it into January. Of course, there are several Christmas songs that I could do without, and a few that make me want to turn the […]

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  • Is There Something Attached to Your Giving?

    “What’s wrong?”  Jennifer asked as Rick walked in the house with a sour look on his face. “Nothing… everything… I don’t want to bother you with something this petty.  I’ll be okay in a few minutes.” “Oh no you don’t!  I want to help… please tell me what’s wrong.  Clearly something is weighing on you.” He looked at his wife […]

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  • Paul VI, Prophet

    This coming July, we will mark the 50th anniversary of Pope Paul VI’s deeply controversial encyclical letter Humanae vitae. I won’t bore you with the details of the innumerable battles, disagreements, and ecclesial crises that followed upon this text. Suffice it to say that this short, pithily argued letter became a watershed in the post-conciliar Catholic Church and one of […]

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  • How to Respond When You Meet Suffering

    In 2005 while undergoing chemotherapy, I was sitting in an uncomfortable recliner on the sixth floor of the medical facility. An IV dripped poison into my veins that would simultaneously cure me of the cancer in my body, and wreak havoc on it, sending waves of nausea, chills, malaise. The concoction did not discriminate between healthy and cancer cells. It […]

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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

Is There Something Attached to Your Giving?

“What’s wrong?”  Jennifer asked as Rick walked in the house with a sour look on his face. “Nothing… everything… I don’t want to bother you with something this petty.  I’ll be okay in a few minutes.” “Oh no you don’t!  I want to help… please tell me what’s wrong.  Clearly something is weighing on you.” He looked at his wife […]

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 […]

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 […]

Regular Feature

Argument from Pascal’s Wager

Most philosophers think Pascal’s Wager is the weakest of all arguments for believing in the existence of God. Pascal thought it was the strongest. After finishing the argument in his Pensées, he wrote, “This is conclusive, and if men are capable of any truth, this is it.” That is the only time Pascal ever wrote a sentence like that, for […]

Paul VI, Prophet

This coming July, we will mark the 50th anniversary of Pope Paul VI’s deeply controversial encyclical letter Humanae vitae. I won’t bore you with the details of the innumerable battles, disagreements, and ecclesial crises that followed upon this text. Suffice it to say that this short, pithily argued letter became a watershed in the post-conciliar Catholic Church and one of […]

How to Respond When You Meet Suffering

In 2005 while undergoing chemotherapy, I was sitting in an uncomfortable recliner on the sixth floor of the medical facility. An IV dripped poison into my veins that would simultaneously cure me of the cancer in my body, and wreak havoc on it, sending waves of nausea, chills, malaise. The concoction did not discriminate between healthy and cancer cells. It […]

Empty-Handed at the End

Yesterday was the start of the Catholic New Year, the first day of the liturgical year.  Once Advent starts, we begin to think about the birth of Jesus, but the gospels for the first week of Advent don’t seem to align with our joyful anticipation of Christmas.  The first week of Advent gospels always warn us to be ready because […]

I will give you shepherds

My diocese was given a unique Thanksgiving present this year by Pope Francis. After our bishop died in June, we entered that uncertain time of vacancy in the diocese, that time of transition while waiting for a new bishop. We all had much to be thankful for this Thanksgiving when the Pope gave us our new shepherd the Tuesday before […]

In the Spotlight

The Nature of Music and the Soul

The Nature of Music and the Soul by Matthew Cole Austin and Steven Jonathan Rummelsburg “…when lawlessness has established itself there [in music and poetry], it flows over little by little into character and ways of life.” Plato, Republic 424d # # # The world is changing and we have become progressively desensitized to the increasing temptations available to us […]

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 […]

Daily Extras

Encountering the Word — James 1:12-14

“Blessed is the man who endures trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life which God has promised to those who love him. Let no one say when he is tempted, ‘I am tempted by God’; for God cannot be tempted with evil and he himself tempts no one; but each person is […]

Daily Reflection — The Harvest is Plentiful

“And Jesus went about all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues and preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing every disease and every infirmity. When he saw the crowds, he had compassion for them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. Then he said to his disciples, ‘The harvest is plentiful, but the […]

Daily Catholic Quote — from Blessed Paul VI

“But note what is taking place here this morning. While we close the ecumenical council, we are honoring Mary Most Holy, the mother of Christ, and consequently, as we declared on another occasion, the mother of God and our spiritual mother. We are honoring Mary Most Holy, the Immaculate One, therefore innocent, stupendous, perfect. She is the woman, the true […]

Scripture Reflections

Prepare the Way of the Lord

Advent’s theme can be summed up in the word’s of Isaiah 40: Prepare the way of the Lord!  But what are the mountains that need to be leveled and the valleys that need to be filled in?  Here’s a road map through the desert of Advent road construction to the joy of Christmas. Reflection on the Mass readings for the […]

Advent Reminds us to Wake Up

During a time when parties and endless carols dull our spiritual senses, the message of Advent urges to wake up and be alert and vigilant.  Our society is asleep spiritually.  Here are some ideas to rouse ourselves, our famlies and our neighbors to a preparation for the Christmas holidays that is more life-giving and meaningful. Reflection on the Mass readings […]

Judging Sins of Omission

The Feast of Christ the King reminds us that Jesus will judge the living and the dead.  Matthew 25 hints that the pious, decent folk may be in for a surprise . . . sins of omission, failing to love, may figure more prominently in the last judgment that we may think. Reflection on the Mass readings for the Solemnity […]