Mary & the Saints

"The Madonna of Carmel and the Souls of the Purgatory" (detail) by Giovanni Battista Tiepolo"The Madonna of Carmel and the Souls of the Purgatory" (detail) by Giovanni Battista Tiepolo

“Flower of Carmel” — One of the Most Beautiful Prayers Ever Written

Every year on July 16th, Carmelites throughout the world celebrate the Feast of Our Lady of Mount Carmel, patroness of the Carmelite Order.  If you want to know how we feel about Mary, our Mother, spend a few minutes reflecting on one of the most beautiful prayers ever written, the Flos Carmeli. Most of us pray — before meals, morning and/or [...]

"Our Lady of Mt. Carmel" (detail) by Pietro Novelli"Our Lady of Mt. Carmel" (detail) by Pietro Novelli

Reflecting on Our Lady of Mount Carmel

I think of Mary as a gardener throughout human history. Trouble in France? Here comes Mary with rosary in hand and a full dose of prayer. Something’s tough in Russia? Mary’s on her way, pulling a hose behind her for some special fertilizing. They need help in the United States? There’s Mother Mary, clad in gloves, trowel in hand. There’s [...]

one-minute-aquinas-kevin-vost-featured-w740x493

Advice on Happiness from the Smartest Man in the World

Imagine your son tells you he wants to become a priest. Would your heart soar and your soul praise God? Would you be torn; feeling happy he wants to serve God but lamenting the loss of potential grandchildren. Or would you pay for a prostitute in hopes of tempting him away from the priesthood? The last one is what St. [...]

"All Saints" by Fra Angelico"All Saints" by Fra Angelico

The Great Cloud of Witnesses

When I was a Protestant I wondered why Catholics had so many statues of saints in their churches. There were two problems. First, I had been raised to believe that carved images were wrong because they broke the commandment “you shall not make to yourself any graven image.” Second, I was told that Catholics worshipped the saints, and sure enough, [...]

Artwork © by Judith CostelloArtwork © by Judith Costello

Heaven is Saint Friendly

The new movie, “Heaven is for Real”, has everyone talking! It is delightful, affirming and well-worth seeing. Yet, the primary source of “conflict” or tension in the movie is one that may puzzle some Catholics. The adults around the adorable boy who comes back from a visit to heaven aren’t sure it is real. His father, the minister, struggles for [...]

Pope St. John XXIII and Pope St. John Paul IIPope St. John XXIII and Pope St. John Paul II

Three Popes and the Mercy of God

History will be made on Sunday as Pope Francis celebrates a joint canonization of two predecessors, both from his lifetime, Popes John XXIII and John Paul II. Of the 266 Popes who have served the Church, 80 are canonized saints, but none has ever been canonized with another successor of St. Peter; and many presume, based on the trajectory of [...]

"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 [...]

Sassoferrato_Madonna_And_Child_jesus_LV-featured-w480-300

How can Mary be 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 [...]

Blessed Virgin Mary with Baby JesusBlessed Virgin Mary with Baby Jesus

Mary — Mother of God, Mother of Mine

In her autobiography, The Story of a Soul, Saint Thérèse of Lisieux noted this about mothers, “How delicate a mother’s heart really is, and how it shows its tenderness in a thousand little cares that no one else thinks about.” Many of us have fond memories of our mother – the times she dressed us, combed our hair, tied our [...]

Sacrificed Baby
Photography © by Mark ArmstrongSacrificed Baby Photography © by Mark Armstrong

Our Lady of Guadalupe — Come to Our Aid Again!

Tomorrow, hundreds of millions of people around the world will celebrate Masses to honor an appearance of the Blessed Mother made 482 year ago.   On December 12, 1531, Our Lady of Guadalupe put an end to the Mayan culture of death.  Mary was the woman, clothed in the sun, with the moon at her feet, who transformed the brutal [...]