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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 […]

"King David in Prayer (detail)" by Pieter de Grebber"King David in Prayer (detail)" by Pieter de Grebber

Five Keys to Living an Integrated Life

Have you ever played a part, taking on a role of someone else? Some might think back to an occasion when they participated in a school play. Others might think about their roles in business or sales, or even within the home as parents when they might have employed the “good cop / bad cop” approach to resolve a problem. […]

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

Tightening my grip

There are few things in life that make you desire to be a child again more than being sick. (Other than Disney World, but that’s a completely different and much nicer feeling.)  When I had the misfortunate of being waylaid by a bug earlier this week, all I could think was that I wanted my mommy. There was no one […]

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Being Intentional About Our Prayer Lives

As I wrote this post I reflected on my experiences as a Catholic from my conversion in 2005 until now. One of the biggest obstacles for me in the early days of my faith journey was the lack of a prayer life. I knew I needed to pray, but I couldn’t ever remember sincerely praying about anything. I was struggling […]

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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 […]

"Return of the Prodigal Son" (detail) by Murillo"Return of the Prodigal Son" (detail) by Murillo

Can you explain Purgatory to your friends?

Keeping it simple! On a recent Friday morning, while leading a bible study for retirees, the question of purgatory, the punishments due to sin, and salvation came up. They already possessed a good understanding of this important doctrine. But, the discussion reminded me that Purgatory remains one of the most misunderstood teachings of the Church, and maybe one that is least […]

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Post-Lenten Snooze

  Every other year or so, I give up my snooze button for Lent. Some years it goes well and some years I fail repeatedly.  But every year, I abandon the good habit after Lent. That’s not how it’s supposed to be—whenever we cultivate good habits during Lent, it doesn’t make much sense to discard them once Easter comes.  I don’t […]

Man at PrayerMan at Prayer

The Connection Between Surrender and Strength

Few souls understand what God would accomplish in them if they were to abandon themselves unreservedly to Him and if they were to allow His grace to mold them accordingly.” — St. Ignatius Loyola What is the connection between surrender and strength?  Surrendering to Christ and putting His will before my own for the first time almost 11 years ago […]

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When Science is not…

Merchants of Death Series — Margaret Mead In the course of teaching philosophy to my students I try to lay out the development of the world they live in by showing them the ideas that shaped it, much as I have done in this series. Juxtaposed with true philosophy (Socrates, Plato, Aristotle, Augustine, Aquinas), they see that the world they live […]

Acropolis (closed for repairs)Acropolis (closed for repairs)

First Thoughts from Athens

Editor’s Note: ICL Contributing Writer, Deacon Steve Swope, is a Catholic Relief Services Global Fellow Educator and a member of a Catholic Relief Services delegation that traveled to Greece and Serbia to observe and minister to the needs of Syrian refugees fleeing civil war, terrorism and ISIS. His ongoing blog posts record his experiences, thoughts and the personal stories of men, women […]