Into the Deep by Deacon Mike Bickerstaff

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

Can you explain Purgatory to your friends?

Keeping it simple! On a recent Friday morning, while leading a bible study for retirees, the question of purgatory, the punishments due to sin, and salvation came up. They already possessed a good understanding of this important doctrine. But, the discussion reminded me that Purgatory remains one of the most misunderstood teachings of the Church, and maybe one that is least […]

"Christ, the Good Shepherd" (detail) by Murillo

Be Not Afraid—The Lord is Your Shepherd

We live in a world that is at times dark and dangerous. In a moment all can change; our earthly lives can end. Deadly violence unlooked for, unexpected, senseless and sudden can come from natural and man-made sources. That the world is filled with sin, violence and death is mankind’s choice, not God’s will. He permits our freedom so that we […]

Vilnius Image of Divine Mercy (detail) by Kazimierowski

An Outpouring of the Lord’s Divine Mercy

All Sundays and Holy Days of Obligation are celebrations of the highest importance on the Church’s liturgical calendar. These days, plus a few others, are known as solemnities. Two solemnities are so important that the Church celebrates them for eight days. We call these solemnities, octaves. They are Christmas and Easter. Essentially, Christmas Day and Easter Sunday are celebrated for […]

Surrender & Strength by Randy Hain

Regular Feature

"Into the Wild" © by Jef Murray—(Click sketch for artist's gallery.)

In the wilderness I will make a way

“In the beginning, when God created the heavens and the earth—and the earth was without form or shape, with darkness over the abyss and a mighty wind sweeping over the waters—Then God said: Let there be light, and there was light” (Genesis 1:1-3). The Right Perspective What do I have to offer that is worthwhile for others to read? What […]

"Madonna and Child" (detail) by Sassoferrato

Tightening my grip

There are few things in life that make you desire to be a child again more than being sick. (Other than Disney World, but that’s a completely different and much nicer feeling.)  When I had the misfortunate of being waylaid by a bug earlier this week, all I could think was that I wanted my mommy. There was no one […]

In the Spotlight

Acropolis (closed for repairs)

First Thoughts from Athens

Editor’s Note: ICL Contributing Writer, Deacon Steve Swope, is a Catholic Relief Services Global Fellow Educator and a member of a Catholic Relief Services delegation that traveled to Greece and Serbia to observe and minister to the needs of Syrian refugees fleeing civil war, terrorism and ISIS. His ongoing blog posts record his experiences, thoughts and the personal stories of men, women […]

Daily Extras

Scripture Reflections

Photography © by Andy Coan

When plans encounter obstacles…

Often Christians act surprised when they try to do good and things don’t go according to plan.  Sometimes it’s small but irritating annoyances that get in the way, other times serious calamities. The Bible says that “He shall wipe every tear from their eyes, and there shall be no more death or mourning, crying out or pain, for the former […]

"Christ, the Good Shepherd" (detail) by Murillo

Be Not Afraid—The Lord is Your Shepherd

We live in a world that is at times dark and dangerous. In a moment all can change; our earthly lives can end. Deadly violence unlooked for, unexpected, senseless and sudden can come from natural and man-made sources. That the world is filled with sin, violence and death is mankind’s choice, not God’s will. He permits our freedom so that we […]

Photography © by Andy Coan

Hearing the Voice of the Shepherd

What was the response to Jesus’ preaching, according to the New Testament?  Some who heard him were impressed; others wanted to push him over a cliff (cf. Luke 4:29).  The same was true for Paul and Barnabas during their missionary journeys.  They were hailed by some and run out of town by others.  Jesus summed it up quite clearly: “Do […]