Francis and the Portiuncula

Walking into the vast basilica of Santa Maria degli Angeli in Assisi, perhaps the last thing you might expect to see is another church. But you do expect it, because it is why you have come. Despite its size and grandeur, some pilgrims barely look around the larger basilica. They make a beeline for the small, humble chapel in the […]

Preaching: A Woman’s Perspective

“As laity, we have an active duty to work for the Church, in the Church, in a specific way.” For those of you who read these Friday posts frequently, you know that I often reflect on the upcoming Sunday Mass readings. Scripture is inexhaustible, and we can go back again and again to the same passages to pull out additional […]

The Real Lesson from Martha

"Christ in the House of Mary and Martha" (detail) by Johannes Vermeer

“Let’s not be too hasty to set up Martha as the bad sister, nor to judge her service as the problem.” Martha, Martha… Familiar words greet us in this Sunday’s Gospel. Much ink has been spilled on the sisters at Bethany, Mary and Martha. They have long been seen as metaphors for the active and contemplative life, although there’s a […]

The Law Written in Love

"Sacred Heart of Jesus" (detail) by Chambers

“Rather than viewing the law as restrictive, we must see that it is ordered to our happiness and flourishing.” Moses makes the moral life sound quite simple. “You have only to carry it out.” Contrary to the false definition of freedom and message of autonomy that the world tends to give, the first reading this coming Sunday reminds us that […]

Our Call in the Calling of Saint Matthew

"The Calling of Matthew" (detail) - Caravaggio

“Who am I in the painting? How will I respond?” In today’s Gospel, we have a short account of Jesus’ call of Matthew by the man himself. He only spends a few verses on what was the pivotal moment of his life. He mentions simply that he was a tax collector, and that Jesus called him out of his daily […]

Others’ Wounds and Rash Judgment

Photography by Helena Lopes

“People aren’t out there with black hats and white hats. The world isn’t that simple.” Try a little tenderness, maybe some benefit of the doubt. Another person’s point of view, try to listen not to shout. Hold your opinions loosely maybe you’re not always right. Show a little mercy, and hold on to love real tight. The bridge of Wild […]

How the mission is possible

“What can I really do in the face of so much sin, evil, and apathy? I can remain in Him.” I’ve been thinking a lot about our mission these last few weeks, as evident from my recent posts here at Integrated Catholic Life. As baptized and confirmed Catholics, we are called to bear witness to Christ. We have been charged […]

We are earthen vessels… with a responsibility

“The Church is made up of sinners, yes, but gives those sinners the graces to become saints.” I love the Church. I’m not saying this always comes easily for me, but it is something I strive to toward, praying for an increase in that love. Again, it’s not easy. In fact, it can be downright painful and confusing. In times […]

Have you been anointed? Time to get to work.

"Pentecost (detail) by Josef Ignaz Mildorfer [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

“We cannot use the excuse that we’re not smart enough, holy enough, or articulate enough. If we have been given the Spirit, we must be witnesses.” In a Church known for its “smells and bells,” one of the best smells is sacred chrism. From the heads of little babies to the palms of new priests, this rich-smelling sacramental reminds us […]

The Number One Way to Fight Catholic Stereotypes

“We need Catholics, living as Catholics, who know their faith. Who know what they profess and why they profess it.” I know we’ve all run across them, whether in person or in the media, from friends and family members or from strangers on social media. How often have you heard those tired but sometimes convincing Catholic stereotypes?  They are almost […]