Mary & the Saints

Photography © by Carmelite Sisters of the Sacred Heart of Los Angeles

Our Lady of the Blessed Sacrament: Holding Jesus Twice

I am alone, and yet I’m not.  It’s silent, which is strange and disconcerting, coming as I do from a life full of noise and activity.  When I have been there a while, immersed in some reading that I can’t seem to absorb when I read it anywhere else, I notice that it is not, in fact, completely quiet.  There’s […]

"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 […]

Flowering Crabapple Tree

The Tree That Wouldn’t Bloom

Spring has finally arrived, I thought, as I breathed in the clean air and scanned the landscape around me. It had been a long winter, longer than in many years past, and the new life was a welcome reprieve from the bitter, colorless angst of winter. Day by day, my older girls would happily trot outside to explore the newness […]

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 […]

Photography by Helena Lopes

Bearing One Another’s Burdens

We hear the word “tolerance” a lot these days, but what exactly does it mean? It seems the word itself has been largely redefined to mean the opposite of what it used to mean. Today, the word “tolerance” means that one is no longer allowed to hold opinions with which other people do not agree. Let’s take a step back […]

"The Virgin in Prayer" (detail) by Sassoferrato

The Truth About Mary

Our Lord entrusts each of us into the care of the most blessed of all women—Mary, His mother. Sammy was a playful boy, like most of the five-year olds in my kindergarten classroom. Almost three feet tall with dark, dark eyes and dark, dark hair, Sammy possessed a smile that radiated from his soul. He came up with his own […]

"Madonna and Child" (detail) by Sassoferrato

God Chose Mary to be His Mother

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 […]

Photography © by Mark Armstrong

Our Lady of Guadalupe — Come to Our Aid Again!

In December, 1531, a man we know today as St. Juan Diego began an encounter with Our Blessed Mother that reverberates to this day.  The fifty-six-year-old Juan Diego was a simple, humble, mat-weaver by trade when he came upon Our Lady of Guadalupe in Mexico.  His indigenous Aztec name, Cuauhtlatatzin, means “the eagle that talks.” Juan’s encounter with Mary would eventually lead […]

"The Maccabees" by Wojciech Stattler [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Capitulation, Complacency, and the Courage of the Maccabees

This week in the first readings at Mass, we have been hearing the story of the Maccabean revolt against Antiochus Epiphanes. If you haven’t had the chance to hear the readings at Mass, it is worth reading them for a good overview of this important event in the history of the Jewish people. The first and second books of Maccabees […]