Apologetics Corner

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

Three Powerful Lessons from the Blessed Mother

Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee; Blessed art thou amongst women and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus. Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death. Amen. For quite some time, I have had a desire to write about my ever growing appreciation and deepening […]

Our Lady of ChinaOur Lady of China

Finding Comfort in Our Lady of China

Whatever time it was, it was dark, pitch black, deep night.  The scream shattered the stillness and destroyed my sleep.  I was wide awake, completely alert, no daze to me, despite the lack of sleep. There was no intruder, no fire, no emergency.  There was, instead, a little girl, terrified by monsters assailing her in her dreams.  She had no […]

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Peeling Paint and Our Lady of Good Counsel

Before we moved to our current home, when people would find out I lived in an old farmhouse, they generally had one of two reactions.  They either thought I was lucky or they commiserated.  For some reason, the people who thought I was lucky—living in a house that could have been in Anne of Green Gables or Black Beauty, electricity added of course—seem to outnumber […]

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

Christ’s Divinity is the Key

The doctrine of Christ’s divinity is the central Christian doctrine, for it is like a skeleton key that opens all the others. Christians have not independently reasoned out and tested each of the teachings of Christ received via Bible and Church, but believe them all on his authority. For if Christ is divine, He can be trusted to be infallible […]

Our Lady of MercyOur Lady of Mercy

Understanding Mercy Thanks to Mary

There’s nothing quite like being in a hurry and seeing the flashing red lights that mean that a train is coming and that I have to stop. I had this happen to me recently when I was on my way from my mother-in-law’s house to town. It was at a train track that’s on a busy highway, in a place […]

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Mary, the Gate of Heaven (with the Best Motherly Arms)

I knew I was out of my league when she came barreling toward me.  She weighed at least as much as I did, and she was much more passionate in her goal than I was in mine.  She wanted out, and, seeing her come toward me, I wanted out too, out of the way. My brother-in-law or husband—I don’t remember […]

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

Mary, the New Eve—A Role Model of the Highest Order

When she was four, my daughter had many career aspirations, and she often shared them with us in a long list.  She would announce, out of the blue, that she was going to be a cowgirl, an artist, a flower picker, and a cheerleader when she grew up, and, for my part, I encouraged this diversity in interests. One day, […]

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Mary’s Hands: How the Star of the Sea Inspires My Motherhood

Their hands were intertwined, mother and daughter.  They hadn’t seen each other for months, though they talked frequently on the phone, and there was something in the twisting of their fingers, in the contrast between younger and older, that told the story of their love for one another. Hands tell a lot about a person.  Infants curl their fists and […]

"Supper at Emmaus" (detail) by Caravaggio"Supper at Emmaus" (detail) by Caravaggio

The Feast that is the Sacraments

Four elements stand out in the traditional Catholic doctrine of what a sacrament is. Fundamentalism is suspicious of all four. A sacrament is “a sign that effects what it signifies, instituted by Christ to give grace.” 1. Sacraments are signs and symbols. Fundamentalism is temperamentally wary of symbolism. It has a plain, “no-nonsense” mentality. Symbols are too poetic for its […]