Into the Deep

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Five Biblical Truths 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, […]

Mission Dolores Altar (San Francisco)
Photograph © by Andy Coan

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 […]

"Conversion of Saint Paul" (detail) by Caravaggio

Conversion Stories from the Bible

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 form of compilations of short stories found in books such as Surprised by the Truth and more detailed accounts such as found in Scott and Kimberly Hahn’s Rome Sweet Home. But no book contains more […]

Surrender & Strength

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Extraordinary Faith from Ordinary Catholics

“In the doctrine of Christ there is no invitation to mediocrity, but a clear call to Heaven, to love and to cheerful sacrifice.” (Francis Fernandez, In Conversation with God) Feeling let down by politicians and public figures who say they are Catholic, but their words and actions are often contrary to the teachings of the Church? Do we seek good […]

Praying the Rosary

On Being Restless

“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 in Eucharistic Adoration a week ago I prayed for many things, including strength and courage to stay focused on the path […]

Photography © by Randy Hain

An Unquenchable Thirst for God

“ ‘Let the hearts of those who seek the Lord rejoice.’ Although man can forget God or reject him, He never ceases to call every man to seek him, so as to find life and happiness. But this search for God demands of man every effort of intellect, a sound will, ‘an upright heart,’ as well as the witness of […]

Pope Francis (neneo / Shutterstock.com)

Six Practical Steps to Catholic Joy

I recently had coffee with a fellow Catholic who gloomily shared his ongoing struggles with overtly living out his faith in the real world and reluctance to discuss his faith with others. He made it clear that going to Mass on Sunday was all he could or should be doing. Unfortunately, this is a very common tale. The conversation became […]

"Christ on the Cross" (detail) by Velazquez

God is Asking Something Heroic of Us

“The disciple of Christ consents to ‘live in the truth,’ that is, in the simplicity of a life in conformity with the Lord’s example, abiding in his truth. ‘If we say we have fellowship with him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not live according to the truth.”— CCC, 2470 I first interacted with Father Roger Landry […]

Regular Feature

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Five Questions From Catholics About Evolution

In elementary school, children learn about dinosaurs and fossils, how fossils form, how paleontologists reconstruct skeletons of animals from the past using those fossils. There seems no difficulty whatsoever accepting that all kinds of plants and animals lived on the Earth before people lived. Meanwhile, the Catholic children learn about Creation, Adam and Eve, Original Sin, Noah’s Ark, and the birth, life, death, […]

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An Online Conference for Catholic Moms

When I first heard about Tami Kiser’s idea for a free online conference for Catholic moms, I was enthusiastic. Apparently, I’m not the only one. A week after opening registration, she already had 1000 moms registered (and that was almost two weeks ago!). The conference, Catholic Conference 4 Moms, March 6-9, isn’t just free, but specifically designed for a busy mom’s […]

"The Exhortation to the Apostles" (detail) by James Tissot

I Believe in God

When we say “I believe” as we recite the Apostle’s Creed we are making a statement about our Faith. The theological virtue of Faith is supernatural and infused by gift of the Holy Spirit. St. Thomas Aquinas points out that Faith is not only the first thing we need, but that we cannot be proper Catholics without it.1 St. Paul […]

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Fr. Longenecker Encourages Spending Lent with…the Devil?

Yes, it’s true. A well-known, highly published, and hugely popular Catholic priest is encouraging all of us to spend Lent with the devil. And I can tell you, having had a taste of the journey, that it’s one that will be well-worth the effort. Fr. Dwight Longenecker, whose wisdom graces these webpages at Integrated Catholic Life, has released a new book that […]

In the Spotlight

"The Martyrdom of St. James" (detail)
by Giovanni Battista Piazzetta

Je Ne Suis Pas Charlie

These dark times are difficult to decipher partially because moral and intellectual considerations have been subsumed by material considerations; thus reducing the moral and legal considerations to the positive legal aspect alone. Vital ideas like justice, freedom, and morality have been badly deformed by reduction and misuse. There is no quantifiable way to discuss the tragic loss in France incurred […]

Business Colleagues Discussing Work during Lunch

Applied Leadership

My MBA was in “Applied Leadership.” It took an enormous amount of time and sacrifice to complete, yet I’m still not sure that I could provide a concise definition of exactly what “applied leadership” means. Thankfully, I know it when I see it. One of the most head-spinning times in my life was right around my 40th birthday. First came […]

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Why Pornography is Not Good For Married Couples

February is for Lovers. It is the reason that the movie, Fifty Shades of Grey is opening in theaters on Valentine’s Day. The producers hope that sweethearts will celebrate by watching sadomasochistic pornography together on the big screen. But pornography and love do not go together; one is selfish and the other is selfless. Even the non-religious world is coming […]

Daily Extras

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Encountering the Word — 2 Maccabees 12:43-45

A Daily Quote From Sacred Scripture He also took up a collection, man by man, to the amount of two thousand drachmas of silver, and sent it to Jerusalem to provide for a sin offering. In doing this he acted very well and honorably, taking account of the resurrection. For if he were not expecting that those who had fallen […]

Pope St. John Paul II

Catholic Quote of the Day — from Pope St. John Paul II

“To believe in Jesus is to accept what he says, even when it runs contrary to what others are saying. It means rejecting the lure of sin, however attractive it may be, in order to set out on the difficult path of the Gospel virtues.” (Pope St. John Paul II; WYD Toronto Welcoming Ceremony; July 25, 2002) Print this entry

Scripture Reflections

Photography © by Andy Coan

The Sacrifice of Isaac

Everyone knows that Lent is about sacrifice. So it’s fitting that the first reading in the second Sunday of Lent recalls one of the most famous sacrifices of all time. Here’s the background. Abraham really only desires one thing—a son who will lead to descendants as numerous as the stars of the sky. The only problem is that his wife […]

Photography © by Andy Coan

Like the Waters of the Flood…

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 about God taking stern action against sin and those who promote it. But that is exactly what the story of Noah and the flood is all about, as we are reminded by the scripture readings […]

Photography © by Andy Coan

Lessons from the Leper

Many Catholics are confused about suffering. Some writers extol its surpassing value. But does that mean that we should look for suffering? Or, if suffering should come our way, that it would be unspiritual to seek relief from it? The story of Jesus and the leper in Mark 1:40-45 provides us with a case study on the subject. In biblical […]

Photography © by Andy Coan

It is Good News… Preach it!

The Bible is not just for Churches and Synagogues. Portions of it are read as literature; even in secular university classrooms. Invariably, when you look at the syllabus of such courses, you find Job. It’s not hard to see why. Job poignantly expresses what all human beings experience at one time or another—the feeling that life is a burden, that […]

Photography © by Andy Coan

Candlemas — The Light to the Nations

I’ve led groups of pilgrims to Jerusalem.  One time, as we stood at the foot of the Temple Mount and remembered the Presentation of Jesus, several people had questions.  There were questions about the redemption of the first-born son.  About the rite of purification after childbirth.  About how to put Matthew and Luke together in terms of chronology and geography—Bethlehem, […]

"Conversion of Saint Paul" (detail) by Caravaggio

Conversion Stories from the Bible

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 form of compilations of short stories found in books such as Surprised by the Truth and more detailed accounts such as found in Scott and Kimberly Hahn’s Rome Sweet Home. But no book contains more […]