Apologetics Corner

Cello ScrollCello Scroll

Why Purgatory?

Some would call it cacophony. Others would be more blunt and describe it as tortuous noise. Be that as it may, it is my absolute favorite sound. I hear it and immediately everything inside me comes alive, attentive, expectant. You say, “Enough all ready. What is it and what does it have to do with the title of this post?” […]

"Madonna and Child" (detail) by Sassoferrato"Madonna and Child" (detail) by Sassoferrato

A Mother Who Comforts the Afflicted

There was no evidence of misery or pain.  Her sleeping face was still, the fever invisible and her riotous bowels at rest. Earlier in the day, her small head had leaned against my shoulder, burning and sweaty.  It was my first experience of having a child sick enough to cause me to worry.  Her misery during her waking time made […]

"Creation of Adam" (detail) by Michelangelo"Creation of Adam" (detail) by Michelangelo

Identity — We are more than meets the eye

This thing about identity—there’s more here than meets the eye, more here than most psychologists talk about, more here than we can understand, and what I’m going to present is more questions than answers. But I think it’s a profound point, so I’ll say it. This point that our very selfhood is by nature unstable and in question, this is […]

The Shrine of Our Lady of La Salette in French AlpsThe Shrine of Our Lady of La Salette in French Alps

Small Town Mary: Our Lady of La Salette

In the 1980s, when I was growing up in a small town in Ohio, there was a popular song that we all loved.  It glorified life in a small town and made us feel that we were something special because we didn’t have all the conveniences of urbanity.  We could forget that we had a forty-five-minute drive to “civilization” and […]

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The Human Side of Mary: Our Lady of Tears

I had seen the various mothers in my life cry many times, but it wasn’t until I went to make funeral arrangements with my mother-in-law that I glimpsed a portion of the tears Mary must have shed during her lifetime, especially during Our Lord’s passion and death.  My mother-in-law was making arrangements for the third time, for the third grandson.  […]

St. Anthony of Egypt (cropped)St. Anthony of Egypt (cropped)

St. Antony of Egypt

“St. Antony, pray for us that we may know in our hearts the paradox of the saints, that you sought not fame and honors, not self-glorification or accolades, but to serve Him from whom all life flows.” We celebrate the feast day of one of the most remarkable saints of all time, St. Antony of Egypt, on January 17th. He is […]

Blessed Virgin Mary with Roses (detail)
Artwork © by Jef MurrayBlessed Virgin Mary with Roses (detail) Artwork © by Jef Murray

Mary as Our Lady of Grace

She stood there, in the front, as she always did.  She was looking down, but I felt like I somehow caught her eye.  Maybe it’s because I had my small children with me at the midnight Mass.  Among all the families with small children in our parish, we were the only one who had woken our children in the middle […]

Our Lady of Prompt SuccorOur Lady of Prompt Succor

A Mother Running to Our Aid: Our Lady of Prompt Succor

Sometimes—often—in my Christian journey, I have discovered that God’s timeline is different than mine.  While I’m busy praying every prayer I can find, He’s at work.  The problem, for me, is that I don’t always see results immediately. “Hey God,” I call, “it’s been a week since I started that novena.  I know, a few more days to go.  But, […]

"Madonna and Child" (detail) by Sassoferrato"Madonna and Child" (detail) by Sassoferrato

Celebrating Mary as God’s Mother

Each January 1st (on the Octave of Christmas), the Church celebrates the Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God.  I receive more comments and questions from non-Catholics, and even some Catholics, about the Church’s Marian practices and teachings than just about any other topic. Some want to know where we can find these teachings in the bible. Some even suggest that Catholics pay […]

"Madonna and Child" (detail) by Sassoferrato"Madonna and Child" (detail) by Sassoferrato

Knowing Mary Through the Bible: Mary’s Question — a Vow?

“How can this be since I do not know man?” (Lk. 1:34) Mary has only one question for the angel Gabriel. And it’s a question that provides a beautiful window into Our Lady’s unique spiritual life, but one we might overlook if we don’t read the Annunciation account carefully: Mary says to the angel, “How can this be since I […]