Blogs

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

Saying your Prayers versus Praying your Prayers

In the spiritual life, the language we use intimately reflects our hearts. As an example, let’s look at prayer. Do we “say our prayers?” Or do we pray in an intimate relationship with God? The former is like saying, “I said words to my wife.” The latter is closer to saying, “My wife and I had a wonderful dinner together.” Prayer, [...]

Photograph © by Andy CoanPhotograph © by Andy Coan

What Others Think Of Us

I have had numerous conversations with friends and professional acquaintances over the years on the subject of openly sharing our Catholic faith. I am always a little surprised at how often many of them express strong reluctance to being open about their beliefs. The reasons given have included, “I don’t want to offend anyone.” “We could never do that at [...]

Grace Bunji Jumping

The Paradox of Letting Children Go

When I saw my baby—my baby—flying through the air attached to bungee cords at the county fair, I couldn’t breathe and my arms suddenly ached to hold her and keep her safe. She was so high, so far away. Sure, she’s nine, but still . . . the sight evoked an all too familiar feeling, the same one I had when she took her first [...]

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Pass the Pencils, Please

Is there anything better than a freshly sharpened pencil, a brand-new blank notebook, and a comfortably cluttered table? Other than the pile of books I have to read, no. This time of year is some sort of balm to the nine-year-old writer in me, the one who still sees possibilities and promise when she sees a box of pencils. It’s [...]

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

Inviting Catholics to Come Home

I sometimes wonder why I don’t have more faith. If only my faith was stronger, I think, what amazing things I could do for the Lord. If only I more deeply appreciated the gift of faith I have received. Right? I bet you sometimes wonder the same things about yourself. In today’s Gospel (cf. Matthew 13:44-52), Jesus tells us in no [...]

"Christ in the House of Mary and Martha" (detail) by Johannes Vermeer"Christ in the House of Mary and Martha" (detail) by Johannes Vermeer

The Danger of Martha’s Vindication

I have noticed a troubling trend in past years when the Gospel reading about Mary and Martha’s encounter with Christ surfaces. Of course we all know the passage: “Now as they went on their way, he entered a certain village, where a woman named Martha welcomed him into her home. She had a sister named Mary, who sat at the [...]

ConfessionalsConfessionals

A Timeless Lesson and the Burden of Sin

I have been thinking a great deal about my experience at Reconciliation this past Saturday. I felt an intense and unexplainable urge to go and confess my sins when I woke up that morning. I try to go every six weeks or so, but this was no routine visit to the priest for me. I needed to unburden myself of [...]

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Brother Guy Consolmagno: Carl Sagan Medal Winner and Role Model

The American Astronomical Society (AAS) Division for Planetary Sciences announced this month that Jesuit Brother Guy Consolmagno has won the Carl Sagan Medal for outstanding communication about planetary science to the general public. Brother Consolmagno is an astronomer and meteorite expert at the Vatican Observatory. He also serves as their Coordinator for Public Relations. The AAS commended Brother Consolmagno for occupying a “unique position” among astronomers as a “credible spokesperson for scientific [...]

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From Trash to Treasure

It’s that time of year when there is a yard sale dotting every development, when people have cleaned out their trash and are marketing it for whatever they can get, when the hunt for a bargain really kicks in. A few years ago, our family had a yard sale at my mother-in-law’s house. I did my best to avoid coming [...]

"Christ the Consolator" (detail) by Carl Bloch"Christ the Consolator" (detail) by Carl Bloch

What is the Answer to Suffering, Pain and Loss?

Many years ago, I taught 4th Grade CCD for my parish religious education department. It was the first evening of classes and I was starting the process of getting everyone introduced to one another when one boy blurted out, “I am going to be your worst nightmare.” He was speaking to me. You could say that I was taken aback, [...]