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 […]

Our priests need us

“Your parish priest is a fallen human being. He may hurt your feelings or he may make bad decisions—just like the Apostles did to their contemporaries. But he needs your gratitude, your help, and your encouragement. He needs your prayers.” Spring teems with new life—not just in the form of budding trees and flowers, but also in the spiritual realm […]

What does it mean if Jesus is “the” Way?

"Sacred Heart of Jesus" (detail) by Chambers

“There was a man on this earth 2000 years ago named Jesus.  And that man made some pretty bold statements.” Today’s Gospel has challenging words for our relativistic culture. It begins with a very comforting message from Christ: “Do not let your hearts be troubled. You have faith in God; have faith also in me. In my Father’s house there […]

Whom do I persecute?

"Conversion of Saint Paul" (detail) by Caravaggio

“When we hurt someone in the Body of Christ, we hurt Christ.” Today’s Gospel is perhaps one of the greatest stories of all time—a story whose power may be overlooked because it has become so familiar. The Conversion of St. Paul is described three times throughout the book of Acts. There are many facets to the incident; it reveals to […]

The Resurrection: A Demand to Witness

The Incredulity of St Thomas (detail) by Rembrandt

“Once death is proved futile, life can never be the same.”  My spiritual reading during this Easter season gave me a good reminder last week: “The Resurrection of our Lord constitutes a call to apostolate until the end of time. Every one of his appearances ends with an apostolic command” (Father Francis Fernandez, In Conversation with God). Too often, we […]

The Limitless Mercy of Easter

“We place limits on God’s mercy that he does not, whether because we want to see others receive justice or because we feel unworthy of his love.”  In the octave of Easter, the Church simultaneously celebrates the Divine Mercy novena. This wasn’t the idea of the Church, but the request of Jesus. “I desire that the First Sunday after Easter […]

The Dream of Claudia

“While he was sitting on the judgment seat, his wife sent word to him, ‘Have nothing to do with that righteous man, for I have suffered much over him today in a dream.’”  During Holy Week, my meditation often centers on the various characters of the Passion. There are the ones we know well, like the Blessed Mother and Pontius […]

Following Jesus to His Hour

"Christ's Entry into Jerusalem" by Hippolyte Flandrin

“Walk with Him, both in His triumphal entry and on His way to Calvary.”  Jesus entered Jerusalem many times throughout His life. As an observant Jew, he would have traveled up to the Holy City for the festivals of Tabernacles, Pentecost, and Passover each year. We have countless references to Him teaching in Jerusalem or traveling up to Jerusalem. But […]

Are we too casual at Mass?

“If a non-Catholic witnessed my behavior before, during, and after Mass, would they know what I believed?”  Traveling recently, I found myself at a Sunday Mass that seemed remarkably casual. The people were friendly and the priest was welcoming, but there was a marked feeling of imprecision or even complacency that hung in the church like incense. I came away […]