In the Spotlight

Venerable Jan Leopold Tyranowski (1940)

The Beauty of a Soul Opened Up by Grace

For those who love St. John Paul II, Saturday, January 21, 2017 was a big family celebration, when Pope Francis authorized the Vatican’s Congregation for the Causes of Saints to promulgate the decree of heroic virtues for Jan Tyranowski (1901-1947), the Polish tailor who played an indispensable role in helping the young Karol Wojtyla become a man of prayer and […]

The War Between Doing and Being

Unquestionably, my life is full of continuous, often exasperating battles between doing and being. Culture tells us that we are valuable because of what we do. It speaks to our senses, every moment of every day, telling us we need to do more. Our worth is based on what we accomplish, how we achieve, the number of hours we put […]

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

Yes, Jesus loves me…

A heavy marine layer fell like a pall over Long Beach, California, bringing colder, damper weather. I had set aside the day to visit my sister and together we were going to visit our mom’s grave in All Souls’ Cemetery, right there on Cherry Avenue, just north of Memorial Hospital. We opened the car doors and began walking slowly to the site. […]

"Supper at Emmaus" (detail) by Caravaggio

The Feast that is the Sacraments

Four elements stand out in the traditional Catholic doctrine of what a sacrament is. Fundamentalism is suspicious of all four. A sacrament is “a sign that effects what it signifies, instituted by Christ to give grace.” 1. Sacraments are signs and symbols. Fundamentalism is temperamentally wary of symbolism. It has a plain, “no-nonsense” mentality. Symbols are too poetic for its […]

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

How to to Overcome Sins and Faults of the Tongue

Sins and Faults of the Tongue: To Speak or not to Speak—That is the Question Dear Sister, There is a lot of noise around me—constantly. So much chatter. It seems to me that conversations in general are getting more superficial. I’m reminded of the title of one Shakespeare’s plays. It seems to fit what I am trying to say—Much Ado […]

“Christ at 33” (detail) by Hofmann

Why We Should Address Jesus as Thou

On the final morning of the November meeting of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, we were treated to a fine sermon by Archbishop J. Peter Sartain. The leader of the church in Seattle spent a good deal of time discussing Pier Giorgio Frassati, a saint from the early twentieth century to whom he and I both have a […]

"Conversion of Saint Paul" (detail) by Caravaggio

Set before you this day… Sin, Choice, and the Lesser of Two Goods

“Why is it that any time we speak of temptation we always speak of temptation as something that inclines us to wrong. We have more temptations to become good than we do to become bad.” (Venerable Fulton J. Sheen) There are some things no one wants to talk about, death, taxes…our recent political cycle, but there’s one thing that must be addressed by us […]

"The Torment of St. Anthony" (detail) by Michelangelo

The Torment of St. Anthony

St. Athanasius of Alexandria gifted us a beautiful account of a great saint in the Life of Antony. St. Anthony grew up in a good, loving, wealthy and faithful home in Egypt. He was not drawn to learning his letters, but he was a devoted and obedient son who paid close attention by hearing what was read in his home […]

A Boundless and Profound Beauty

It takes courage and perseverance to walk this journey, but it is filled with a peace the world cannot give and a boundless and profound beauty leading to eternal glory in Heaven. We were created to gaze upon endless, eternal beauty. All of us were born with an unrelenting, deep thirst that will never be satisfied fully in this life. […]

"Conversion of Saint Paul" (detail) by Caravaggio

When are We Who We Are Meant to Be

When I was seventeen-years-old, I wanted to be the next Jim Morrison. I was actively seeking to feed only my sensual delights through a hedonistic framework built in order to cope with insecurity and make my social experiences more comfortable for myself. To make matters worse, I was increasingly affirmed in my impression that I was truly myself (and at […]