Living the Faith

Graces for Later

“In this darkness, Our Lord has already given you what you need.” One of my favorite parts of the Easter season liturgy is in the preface before the Eucharistic Prayer, when the priest prays, “therefore, overcome with paschal joy…” It’s a reminder to me, every day of Easter, that we are in this season of joy and are called to […]

Standing at the Foot of the Cross

“The obedience at the Annunciation comes to full flower at the foot of the Cross.” “Standing by the cross of Jesus were his mother and his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary of Magdala” (Jn 19:25). Mary stands at the foot of the cross. Stabat Mater. She stands there as a mother, watching her son undergo the […]

The Language of a Heart in Prayer

Photography © by Andy Coan

“Allow the Psalms to transform your fears into trust, your cries of distress into praise, and your uncertainty into confidence in the Lord. ” The Psalms have been comforting prayers during this strange Lent. Earlier in the week in the daily liturgy, we prayed Psalm 23 and proclaimed our faith in the Good Shepherd, confident he was leading us through […]

How to Respond When You Meet Suffering

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

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 Suffering in Bethany

“Could not the one who opened the eyes of the blind man have done something to spare this suffering?” The Sunday Gospels in Lent for Year A are particularly poignant and reflective, drawing us into the Lenten mysteries. We can see how the Church values them by the fact that these Gospels may be read at the weekday Masses as […]

The Lent that became Advent

Photo by Francesco Alberti on Unsplash

“What do we do with the void?” You may have heard, “Pray every Mass as if it was your first Mass, your last Mass, your only Mass.” This past Tuesday, I went to an early morning Mass at a church dedicated to St. Patrick for his feast day. When a church celebrates its patronal feast day, it is celebrated as […]

Fear and Trust in a Time of COVID-19

“Instead of anxiety, let us embrace faith and trust in God.” As the entire world responds to COVID-19, I must admit some shock and confusion over the level of fear that seems to be gripping countries, governments, and institutions. Without getting into the science of it all, since I am no doctor or virologist, the radical responses to the virus […]

The Nature of Forgiveness — Is it Humanly Possible?

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

The exalted nature of forgiveness is attested to by the fact that it presupposes a number of other virtues.  Consider three virtues in particular: justice, clemency, and mercy. Justice has the nature of an equation: Borrowing ten dollars requires returning ten dollars. When justice is violated, punishment or restitution of some kind is required. Herein is the timeless significance of bringing […]

Be Reconciled

“Be perfect… in mercy.” Today’s Gospel is a hard one. There are so many sayings of Jesus to which we have become desensitized. There are parables and commands that have lost their radicality, simply because we have heard them so often. I think today’s Gospel is one such message. “You have heard that it was said to your ancestors, ‘You […]

Becoming More Human This Lent

Photo by Gabriel Jimenez on Unsplash

“You weren’t created for this world- so for the next forty days, live like it.” This Sunday, the first reading might surprise us. It’s Lent, so we might expect to hear about fasting or penance. Perhaps we expect the first reading to be about sacrifice or suffering. Instead, we start at the beginning. We’re back in the Garden, with the […]