Calendar & Seasons

"The First Eucharist" by Juan de Juanes

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 […]

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 […]

Living the Faith in the Ordinary Moments of Life

We are only two weeks into the new year and I have already heard many comments about how quickly Christmas “came and went” and how “soon Lent will be upon us!” That’s what happens in this earthly life—we move through time. We mark moments in time that represent important events. Time is one of the essential elements by which we […]

"Christ the Consolator" (detail) by Carl Bloch

Eliminating Obstacles Between Christ and Us in 2018

As I considered what to write for this post in the first week of 2018, I reflected on years of well-intended resolutions to lose weight, go to daily Mass, pick up a new hobby, play more tennis, etc. which ended in failure as my desires clashed with the reality of my busy schedule and stubborn resistance to change. I like […]

"Adoration of the Shepherds" (detail) by Gerard van Honthorst

Keeping the Memory of Christmas and Resisting the Siren Call of Our Culture

Joy to the world, the Lord is come!  Let earth receive her King!  Merry Christmas!  It is a wonderful time as we celebrate our Savior’s birth with friends and loved ones. It is also an appropriate time to focus on what is most important and reject the siren call of our culture. I enjoyed this past Advent season, perhaps more […]

"Adoration of the Shepherds" (detail) by Gerard van Honthorst

Love’s Greatest Gift

“I am with you always, to the close of the age.” (Matthew 28:20) Merry Christmas! I love holidays. I love family. The two just seem to go together, don’t they?. Some holidays are joyful gatherings, some not so much. We are all too human, as the saying goes. But I say, give me holidays and family any day; warts and […]

"Adoration of the Shepherds" (detail) by Murillo

Learning from the Shepherds at Midnight Mass

This message, indeed, “cannot leave us indifferent.” Because it is true, “it changes everything.” There is something beautifully symbolic about the tradition of Midnight Mass. It shows that Christians are so eager for Christmas to begin that they want to start celebrating on the first moment of Christmas day. People who ordinarily never go out late at night and are […]

"The Prophet Isaiah" (detail) by Michelangelo

What are the “O Antiphons” of Vespers?

The “O Antiphons” refer to the seven antiphons that are recited (or chanted) preceding the Magnificat during Vespers of the Liturgy of the Hours. They cover the special period of Advent preparation known as the Octave before Christmas, December 17-23, with December 24 being Christmas Eve and Vespers for that evening being for the Christmas Vigil. Introduction On the evening […]

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 […]