Faith

Do We Make Christ and His Church Look Attractive to Others?

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

When I give talks around the country or sometimes in correspondence with readers of my books or blog posts on Integrated Catholic Life, I am often asked what I mean when I encourage others to “be joyful” and share the “light of Christ” with others.  I am referring to the response I typically give when asked for effective ways to […]

Freed and Healed to Love through Prayer

Every single minute we spend with our knees bent and our heads bowed in prayer, we literally release ourselves from the bondage and burden of this earthly life. Thanks be to God. This release is best described as a healing of anything that impedes our ability to love. Think of what a gift prayer can be for the human soul. Do you […]

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 […]

Crossing the Threshold of Holy Week

"The First Eucharist" by Juan de Juanes

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’s Last Will and Testament

"Christ the Consolator" (detail) by Carl Bloch

It is very important to listen to what a person says in the final months, days and hours of one’s life.  It can tell us a great deal about that person. But if we cannot actually hear what a person says, if we are not in his or her presence, we can find a written expression of the person’s last […]

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 […]

Being Intentional About Our Prayer Lives

As I wrote this post I reflected on my experiences as a Catholic from my conversion in 2005 until now. One of the biggest obstacles for me in the early days of my faith journey was the lack of a prayer life. I knew I needed to pray, but I couldn’t ever remember sincerely praying about anything. I was struggling […]

Death is not the Final Answer

"The Raising of Lazarus" (detail) Carl Bloch

The Final Journey to Jerusalem Begins The account of the raising of Lazarus from the dead by Jesus is the seventh of the seven signs in St. John’s Gospel that announce the fulfillment of the Old Covenant in the New Covenant and the passing away of the old rites, replaced by the grace and sacraments of Jesus Christ. Most of us […]

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 […]