Mary & the Saints

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

The “Problem” with Praying to the Saints

At one time in my life I viewed Christians as shallow people blindly following silly rules. As I was to discover, these perceptions were not only wrong, they were worlds away from reality. The root cause of my misconception was my confident ignorance. Until I allowed Christians to speak to me and define their faith in their words, I was unable to get anywhere […]

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

Do Catholics Really Pray To Mary and the Saints in Heaven?

I overheard a conversation after a morning bible study at my parish about praying to Mary and the Saints.  It went something like this (names changed)… “Thanks so much for inviting me, Beth. You have a wonderful group here. I have a question, though. I hope it doesn’t offend you, but being non-Catholic, I just don’t understand this praying to […]

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

The Problem with “Praying to Saints”

At one time in my life I viewed Christians as shallow people blindly following silly rules. As I was to discover, these perceptions were not only wrong, they were worlds away from reality. The root cause of my misconception was my confident ignorance. Until I allowed Christians to speak to me and define their faith their words, I was unable […]

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

A Constellation of Saints

There are as many saints as there are stars in the sky… The night sky in its magnificent beauty has beckoned to me ever since I was a small child. At night, especially on a summer’s night, I would slip away and sit on our front porch, or better still, I would lie on the grass and just look up […]

"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 […]

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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 […]