Regular Feature

A Lenten Reflection on Christ in the Desert

“…if anyone wishes to seriously exercise the spiritual life, he had better know that the company of people that hold our own faith and worship in our own churches is a most difficult company to keep. And we ought not to pretend we can follow God very far unless we know that it is a desert like asceticism.” I write […]

“America” Magazine’s Survey of Women in the Church

Last month, America magazine published a fascinating survey regarding the attitudes of women in the Church. They were kind enough to publish a few of my reactions to the study, but I would like, in this article, to offer a fuller response to their findings. One of the most disturbing conclusions from the survey is that women are increasingly disengaging […]

Photo by Nicola Anderson on Unsplash

What a flooded creek reminded me about the Church

We had steady rainfall here last week, resulting in our little creeks and streams flooding their banks. I took advantage of one warm afternoon, despite the rain, to head to my favorite walking path that follows a medium-sized creek to check out the impact of the non-stop precipitation. I would describe the rain as “drizzle” more than “pouring,” so I […]

Forty Ideas for Your Lent

Lent is supposed to be a season of a successful journey through the desert of penance to a new land and a new, deeper, intimacy with God. But often, we find ourselves going back to the same old Lenten pathways of past years and end up getting nowhere. My aim here is to put into your hands some new Lenten […]

The witness of Scholastica: Ask!

If you have ever felt overshadowed by a sibling, you can find a patroness in the woman whose feast we celebrate on February 10, St. Scholastica. You might be a little more familiar with her twin brother, St. Benedict. The most famous story about St. Scholastica is found in the Dialogues of St. Gregory the Great, which contains a series […]

Do You Hate Small Talk? Maybe You’re Doing It Wrong!

I’ve heard many people claim they hate small talk like it’s a mark of distinction.  I’m not sure that’s something worth boasting of, though.  Small talk gets a bad rap, but making it is a skill well worth having.  It’s a skill that smooths the way for friendships and relieves uncomfortable social situations by getting conversation moving.  It’s like the […]

An Accessible Manual for the Spiritual Journey

I am happy and humbled that on February 1, Pauline Books and Media will publish a new book I’ve written entitled Plan of Life: Habits to Help You Grow Closer to God. The book is a response to Saint John Paul II’s call, in his 2001 pastoral plan for the third Christian millennium, for a “genuine training in holiness adapted […]

The Preparation of Simeon

Today we celebrate the Feast of the Presentation of the Lord, which recalls the first time the Messiah entered the Temple. In Luke 2:22-40, we hear of the Holy Family traveling to Jerusalem for Mary’s purification (see Leviticus 12:2-8). Even though Mary, free from sin, did not require purification, she submitted to the Law, just as the Son of God […]

"The Virgin at Prayer" (detail) by Sassoferrato

Lesson One in Prayer

Let’s get very, very basic and very, very practical about prayer. The single most important piece of advice I know about prayer is also the simplest: Just do it! How to do it is less important than just doing it. Less-than-perfect prayer is infinitely better than no prayer; more perfect prayer is only finitely better than less perfect prayer. Nancy Reagan was criticized […]

In Search of Happiness

“And so, the Beatitudes extol a poverty of spirit, sorrow over evil or loss, meekness, a hungering and thirst for righteousness, mercy, a purity of heart, peace-making, and a willingness to accept persecution for what is right.” Every New Year, we’re presented with an opportunity to set new goals and make resolutions toward a better life. It’s a time for […]