General

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My Reset Button

What is it about being Catholic that’s so special to me? Is it that I just needed something to latch onto, a set of rituals to make my own and embrace? Why does it seem to “correct” so much of what I always struggled with? At Holy Thursday, battling tears and a three-year-old boy, I realized what it is. “Communion [...]

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Ten Practical Prayer Tips from the Carmelite Sisters

Dear Sister, Is there a best time to pray, given all the activities each day holds for me – working at my job and caring for and being with my family makes a very full day? Also, I’m not fully awake first thing in the morning and already mighty tired by the time I lay my head on the pillow. [...]

Photograph © by Andy CoanPhotograph © by Andy Coan

How the Weakness of the Cross Makes Us Strong

“When I am weak, then I am strong”; “power made perfect in weakness.” Such verses are often cited as key to spiritual growth, but do we really understand what they are talking about? Can anyone ever understand? Yes. If we couldn’t understand it at all, God would not have told it to us. God does not waste words. It is [...]

Mission Dolores Altar (San Francisco)
Photograph © by Andy CoanMission Dolores Altar (San Francisco) Photograph © by Andy Coan

Good Friday and the Victory of the Cross

The terror of crucifixion Terrorism is nothing new.  It’s probably as old as the human race. In fact the cradle of civilization, now Iraq, was the home of the most infamous terrorists of antiquity, the Assyrians.  Their goal was to conquer their neighbors in a way that would minimize  initial resistance and subsequent rebellion.  To do this, they knew fear [...]

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The Lord Turned and Looked at Peter

As a Catholic talk show host and pilgrimage leader I have had the blessing of taking groups to some of the most sacred and beautiful places on God’s green earth.  At the top of the list of course would be the Holy Land and Rome. Interestingly enough I will be headed to both of these amazing places in just a [...]

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What God Did When I Thought My Crosses Were Too Small

This Lent, I resumed my favorite Lenten prayer tradition, praying for a different person, couple, or family each of the 40 days, offering all of my prayers, petitions, frustrations, joys, and sufferings that day for their intentions. It was a particularly amazing experience for me this year. Before the Lenten season, I had become unusually fixated on the fact that [...]

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What Should We Make of the Movie, “Heaven is for Real”?

When a four-year-old boy almost dies and later reports having visited heaven, it’s easy to brush it off as a child’s feverish imaginings. But when he knows things that no one ever told him and reports that he learned about it in heaven, it is hard to brush off.  In the movie, Heaven is for Real, from the 2010, #1 [...]

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Sense and Sentimentality — How Could Mr. Right Turn Out to be So Wrong?

Many young people have had the experience of feeling that they were in love with someone who at first seemed absolutely wonderful, only later to be greatly disappointed in the person, disillusioned about the relationship, and perhaps even down on the opposite sex as a whole. In his book Love and Responsibility, Blessed John Paul II — then Karol Wojtyla [...]

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Ellen Gable on Integrating Faith and Fiction

When it comes down to it, I’m a fiction reader. Oh yes, I read plenty of nonfiction in any given year, but, for me, fiction is the payoff, the reward, the icing on the cake of my favorite hobby. Over the last few years, since I’ve been an “official” writer of sorts, I’ve gotten to know some writers, and some of [...]

Artwork © by Jef MurrayArtwork © by Jef Murray

On Fairy Tales — A rhapsody on themes from G.K. Chesterton & J.R.R. Tolkien

As a Catholic artist and storyteller, what interests me most are those things that help us all to make sense of the world around us. And what most helps us to make sense of the world, and our lives in it, are the stories that have been handed down to us throughout the ages. What are those stories? They are [...]