Mary & the Saints

Into the Deep—Flower of Carmel

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

Every year on July 16, 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 night prayers, […]

God Chose Mary to be His Mother

"Madonna and Child" (detail) by Sassoferrato

The teaching that Mary is God’s mother was proclaimed to teach us that Jesus is true man AND true God. Each January 1 (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. […]

Our Merciful Mother — Our Lady of Guadalupe

In every approved Marian apparition, Our Lady has a specific mission. Each one reveals a determined and specific message—a unique and necessary goal. In the Anáhuac Valley of Mexico, on a barren hill called Tepeyac, Our Lady of Guadalupe came as a “merciful Mother,” a healer and restorer of all who are broken in body and in spirit. It is […]

Seven Ways Devotion to Saints makes a Difference

"All Saints" by Fra Angelico

One good way of understanding my belief is to ask: What differences does it make? Devotion to saints makes at least seven important differences to Catholics. In each case, fundamentalists find Catholicism too mystical for their tastes. First, saints make a difference to our prayer. We’re not alone when we pray. We’re surrounded by saints. If there was any one […]

Seven Aspects of Mary’s Sanctity

"Madonna and Child" (detail) by Sassoferrato

Now, except on the one issue of “praying to” saints, most of the differences between us [Catholics and Fundamentalists] are matters of emphasis or sensibility rather than doctrine. But when it comes to Mary, the greatest saint, doctrine sharply divides. Fundamentalists call Mariology “Mariolatry.” Passions run higher on this than on any other issue. Yet here too there’s a difference […]

Do You Keep the Great Commandment?

"The Pharisees Question Jesus" by James Tissot

Have you ever felt like you have arrived in the middle of a conversation? That’s how you should feel after hearing today’s passage from Mark’s Gospel. But you might not realize it! What is the first and greatest commandment? The passage begins with the twenty-eighth verse of the twelfth chapter of Mark’s Gospel, but part of the verse was omitted. […]

The Powerful Intercession of Mary and the Saints

"The Virgin at Prayer" (detail) by Sassoferrato

Solemnity of All Saints Today is the Solemnity of All Saints, a celebration of those who have died and attained Heaven. We will remember those who are undergoing purgation tomorrow on All Souls Day. In yesterday’s featured article by Dr. Marcellino D’ambrosia, we looked at All Saints Day and that God desires all of us to become saints. Today, I […]

Holiness and All Saints

Photography © by Andy Coan

All Saints Day, observed tomorrow—November 1, gives us the opportunity to honor the multitudes of Christians who are in heaven yet are not on either the canonized saint list or the liturgical calendar.  But it also provides us the chance to reflect on just what holiness is and who is called to sanctity. Reflection on the Mass readings for the […]

Mary, Queen of All Saints

"The Crowning of the Virgin by the Trinity" (detail) by Velázquez

Do your children look like you? They tell me she looks just like me.  I smile and nod and smile some more.  To be honest, I don’t consider it much of a compliment for her. But then, when I sent some pictures to a grandmother who hadn’t seen her in far too long, I heard that she thinks my daughter […]

Saint Thérèse, Teacher and Thaumaturga

St. Thérèse of Lisieux

Twenty years ago today was one of the most remarkable days of my life. It occurred during a phone call with my mother. And I would challenge those who doubt that miracles happen to provide a more plausible explanation for the series of events I’m about to relate. This article originally appeared in The Anchor, the weekly newspaper of the Diocese […]