Calendar & Seasons

Our Merciful Mother — Our Lady of Guadalupe

In every approved Marian apparition, Our Lady has a specific mission. Each one reveals a determined and specific message—a unique and necessary goal. In the Anáhuac Valley of Mexico, on a barren hill called Tepeyac, Our Lady of Guadalupe came as a “merciful Mother,” a healer and restorer of all who are broken in body and in spirit. It is […]

"Charity of St. Elizabeth of Hungary" (detail) by Edmund Blair Leighton

How to Respond When You Meet Suffering

In 2005 while undergoing chemotherapy, I was sitting in an uncomfortable recliner on the sixth floor of the medical facility. An IV dripped poison into my veins that would simultaneously cure me of the cancer in my body, and wreak havoc on it, sending waves of nausea, chills, malaise. The concoction did not discriminate between healthy and cancer cells. It […]

The Annunciation (detail) by Caravaggio

A Practical Plan for Advent

“But of that day or that hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. Take heed, watch and pray; for you do not know when the time will come. It is like a man going on a journey, when he leaves home and puts his servants in charge, each with his […]

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

Truly Right and Just Thanksgiving

From November 25, 2016… It is truly right and just At every Mass, one of the most significant dialogues in human life occurs. The priest says, “Let us give thanks to the Lord our God,” the faithful respond, “It is right and just,” and the priest replies with a saying of great theological depth: “It is truly right and just, […]

Getting Ready: A Simple Plan for the Best Advent Ever

Advent is just around the corner, and if you are like many people, you probably feel like it snuck up, perhaps catching you by surprise. In the busyness of this life, what can you do to prepare well without overwhelming? It’s not too late! Here are some ideas to get you started to have the best Advent ever: Kick off […]

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

Celebrating 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. In the United States, the Assumption is a Holy Day of Obligation unless it  falls on a Saturday or Monday, in which case the precept to attend Mass is abrogated: “Whenever January 1, the solemnity of Mary, Mother of God, or August 15, […]

Carpathian mountain valley

Becoming a New Creation

“So whoever is in Christ is a new creation: the old things have passed away; behold, new things have come” (2 Corinthians 5:17). “I can’t do this again,” I sighed to myself as we entered our new home. There had been too much transition, too much unknown, going on in recent days. We had to say goodbye to our friends and […]

Crossing the Threshold of Holy Week

It caught me by surprise that the Carmelite Sisters keep a complete and prayerful silence during the Holy Triduum of Holy Thursday, Good Friday, and Holy Saturday, not speaking until the conclusion of the evening Easter Vigil Mass on Holy Saturday. I remember when I was the “new kid on the block,” a recently-arrived postulant who was learning more and […]

"Christ in the Desert (detail)" by Ivan Kramskoy

40 Ways to Get More Out of Lent

This, of course, is not an exhaustive list of Lenten ideas.  But it’s a start!  Many of the resources mentioned here are available on my website at www.crossroadsinitiative.com or can be found by visiting my links page. Take 30 minutes to pray, ask the Holy Spirit’s guidance, look over this list, and make a few practical Lenten resolutions.  Be careful.  […]

A Lenten Reflection on Christ in the Desert

“…if anyone wishes to seriously exercise the spiritual life, he had better know that the company of people that hold our own faith and worship in our own churches is a most difficult company to keep. And we ought not to pretend we can follow God very far unless we know that it is a desert like asceticism.” I write […]