Into the Deep

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

Strengthen Your Eucharistic Faith

  Four Sundays ago, I mentioned here that the liturgical calendar of the Church was taking a short break from the Gospel of Mark, which we had been hearing this year at Sunday Mass. Next Sunday, we will return to Mark’s Gospel. Counting today, we have spent five consecutive Sundays hearing from the sixth chapter of John’s Gospel. Its content has […]

"The Stoning of St. Stephen" (detail) by Rembrandt

What the Bible really says about calling Catholic priests “Father”

“Call no one on earth your father; you have but one Father in heaven” (Matthew 23:9). Throughout history, including that time since the days when Jesus uttered these words, we have referred to others on earth as father. This title is used in different contexts. For example: In our secular lives, we refer to others as father: City Fathers when […]

"The Assumption of the Virgin" (detail) by Guido Reni

Why We Celebrate the Dormition and Assumption of Mary

On August 15th of each Liturgical Year, the Church celebrates the Solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary. This year, that date falls on next Saturday. Here in the United Staes, the assumption is ordinarily a Holy Day of Obligation, but because it falls on Saturday this year, the obligation to attend Mass is abrogated: “Whenever January 1, the solemnity […]

"The Transfiguration (detail)" by Raphael

Suffering Transfigured by Love

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 […]

Surrender & Strength

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 […]

Man at Prayer

Simplify Your Life

Do you ever feel overwhelmed with all of the stress, responsibilities and challenges in your daily life? If I am honest with myself, the times I feel most anxious or stressed are usually caused by my lifelong tendency to overcomplicate things and an inclination towards “busyness”. I am grateful for the occasional insights I have into ways to address this […]

St. Michael the Archangel

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 […]

"Supper at Emmaus" (detail) by Caravaggio

Four Lessons from Emmaus Road for the Anxious and Discouraged

We are all likely familiar with the “walk to Emmaus” (Luke 24:13-35) by two of Christ’s disciples the evening of the Resurrection in Luke’s Gospel.  These two men, overcome with hopelessness and discouragement, were talking about the incredible events they had witnessed over the previous few days as they were walking to their home village of Emmaus outside of Jerusalem.  […]

clock-and-calendar-featured-w740x493

Where Does Faith Fit Into My Busy Life?

For years I have heard people say they don’t have enough time to pray, get involved in parish ministry, attend daily Mass, take part in Eucharistic adoration, be involved in children’s activities, serve in the community, etc. I believe our misconception about time is one of the biggest obstacles, along with living in “silos” and failing to surrender to Christ, to […]

Regular Feature

"Return of the Prodigal Son" (detail) by Murillo

What is mercy?

As we prepare for Pope Francis’ visit to the United States, we should also be preparing for the usual spin on his message.  One of the messages of Pope Francis that is often skewed is his call for mercy and compassion.  Mercy has definitely been a theme of Francis’ pontificate, as he repeatedly comes back to it in homilies and […]

Marriage: The Union of One Woman and One Man

The Philosophy of Sex

Perhaps the only absolute statement you can make in our society which will not receive any disagreement is that human beings are sexual beings. No matter what a person’s political or philosophical point of view they are most likely to agree to the statement that human beings are sexual. In fact in some areas of society, especially among educators, academics, […]

praise-god-featured-w740x493

An Alternative to Being Busy

Am I busier… …than the third world woman who has no electricity and has to walk miles for a five-gallon bucket of water? …than the grandma who’s watching her grandkids, managing bills, and still getting dinner? …than any priest I’ve ever met or worked for? My list goes on. And on. And ON! The answer is…I don’t know. But I can’t […]

"The Visitation" (detail) by Albertinell

Trying to be Humble

  I’ve always found humility a tricky virtue.  Am I humble?  As soon as I think I am, it’s out the window, right?  “oh, and I’m really good at being humble, too…”  I’ve always struggled praying for it, because just like patience, the only way you’re going to get better is by practicing it!  So be careful when praying that […]

woman-praying-bible-featured-w740x493

Back to School and Back to Soul

This week, my older kids head back to school. That leaves me home with half as many kids, one of whom will be starting half-days in September. This time of year is always exciting for me: I have an inner love and longing for all things school supplies. Fresh notebooks and unsharpened pencils scream “HOPE!” and “FUN!” to me, and […]

In the Spotlight

rave-featured-w740x493

Christianity and the New Paganism

The most serious challenge for Christianity today isn’t one of the other great religions of the world, such as Islam or Buddhism. Nor is it simple atheism, which has no depth, no mass appeal, no staying power. Rather, it’s a religion most of us think is dead. That religion is paganism—and it is very much alive. Paganism is simply the natural […]

"Lightning on Feathertop" (detail) - Artwork © by Jef Murray

Beginnings

“And that is how the people of Orbaratus destroyed themselves.” Charles sat looking at the old man across the table. Thunder rumbled outside the diamond-paned windows of Charles’ Oxford flat, and the deep purple light of the approaching storm contrasted eerily with the flickers of gold and red from the fireplace and the lighted candles on the mantel. Upon the […]

Daily Extras

St. Augustine of Hippo (detail)
by Sandro Botticelli

Catholic Quote of the Day — from St. Augustine of Hippo

“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 of Hippo, Confessions – Book I. Chapter I.) August 28 is the Memorial of St. Augustine, Bishop, Confessor and Doctor of Grace (A.D. 354 – 430).  Print this entry

St. Monica

Catholic Quote of the Day — from St. Monica

“Bury my body wherever you will; let not care of it cause you any concern. One thing only I ask you, that you remember me at the altar of the Lord wherever you may be.” (St. Augustine, quoting his mother, St. Monica; Confessions; from Office of the Readings for August 27) August 27 is the Memorial of St. Monica (331 […]

C.S. Lewis

Catholic Quote of the Day — from C. S. Lewis

“Man approaches God most nearly when he is in one sense least like God. For what can be more unlike than fullness and need, sovereignty and humility, righteousness and penitence, limitless power and a cry for help?” (C. S. Lewis, The Four Loves) NB: C.S. Lewis was an Anglican; many of his insights were profoundly Catholic. Print this entry

Scripture Reflections

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

Strengthen Your Eucharistic Faith

  Four Sundays ago, I mentioned here that the liturgical calendar of the Church was taking a short break from the Gospel of Mark, which we had been hearing this year at Sunday Mass. Next Sunday, we will return to Mark’s Gospel. Counting today, we have spent five consecutive Sundays hearing from the sixth chapter of John’s Gospel. Its content has […]

Photography © by Andy Coan

Faithfulness

Belief in God is rather widespread, at least in America.  Various surveys show that over 90% of Americans “believe in God.” But belief and faith are not quite the same thing.  When many people say “I believe in God” they mean that they believe that God exists, that “there is a God” somewhere up there.  Nothing wrong with having such […]

Photography © by Andy Coan

Life and the Feast of Faith

From time to time I run across sophisticated people who don’t, of course, believe in God, at least not in the way he’s represented by organized religion.  But they are very happy that the hoi polloi, the vast crowd of ordinary people, do believe in God.  For to them, religion promotes basic morality in society which is, of course, something […]

Photography © by Andy Coan

Elijah’s Bread

It’s hard enough to do the right thing.  But when you get blame for it instead of praise, it really takes the wind out of your sails, even if you happen to be a prophet. This is background we need in order to understand this Sunday’s first reading.  Elijah had just brought an end to a two year famine by […]

Photography © by Andy Coan

You Are What You Eat

  A few years back, George Gallup conducted a poll called “Religion in America.”  He studied two groups of Americans—regular churchgoers from various Christian churches on the one hand, and totally unchurched people on the other.  He quizzed both groups on issues ranging from the divinity of Jesus, to cheating on income tax, infidelity in marriage and abortion. His findings […]