Scripture Reflections

Photography © by Andy CoanPhotography © by Andy Coan

What is Authentic Detachment from the World?

Peter and Andrew were businessmen. So were their neighbors, James and John. They tried to wring a living out of the Sea of Galilee, and it probably took nearly all of the time and energy that they had. So it would have been easy to pass on the chance to hear some new prophet proclaim that the Kingdom of God […]

Photography © by Andy CoanPhotography © by Andy Coan

Called by God

When I was growing up, we were urged to pray for vocations. That meant to pray for more priests and nuns. After all, they were the ones especially called by God. The rest of us had to figure out for ourselves what to do with our lives, what school to go to, who to marry, what job to get. This […]

Photography © by Andy CoanPhotography © by Andy Coan

Why Jesus Asked to be Baptized

At first glance, the scene makes little sense. John’s strident call to repentance provokes an overwhelming response. People of all shapes and sizes flock to him in the wilderness. They are baptized in the Jordan as a sign of repentance and cleansing. Suddenly, out of the crowd steps John’s cousin, Jesus. Wait a minute. What’s Jesus, the sinless one, doing […]

"The Nativity" (Gerburt Christi detail) by Franz von Rohden"The Nativity" (Gerburt Christi detail) by Franz von Rohden

God has Come in Search of You

We often hear of our search for God, but seldom, if ever hear of God’s search for us—or at least we do not think we do. But, the truth is that God first seeks us out, so that we might seek Him. He thirsts for us, so that we might thirst for Him (cf. CCC nos. 2560-2567). How do we […]

Photography © by Andy CoanPhotography © by Andy Coan

A Glimpse of the King

Up until now, all has been quite humble. A donkey-ride to a dusty town south of Jerusalem. Hotel rooms all booked up. Giving birth in a stable and laying the baby in an animal’s feed trough instead of a cozy cradle. Into this scene of obscure poverty suddenly bursts an exotic entourage from a far-off land. Dignitaries in dress uniform […]

Photography © by Andy CoanPhotography © by Andy Coan

The Holy Family

The Passion of the Christ was the most intense movie I’ve ever seen. But there was a moment of comic relief, a flashback to a young Jesus in the back yard, building a new invention. It was the kind of table that is now a commonplace. But in a society where people reclined to dine, this table would have put […]

"Adoration of the Shepherds" (detail) by Gerard van Honthorst"Adoration of the Shepherds" (detail) by Gerard van Honthorst

The Greatest Gift

Merry Christmas! I love holidays. I love family. The two just seem to go together. Some holidays are joyful gatherings, some less so. We are all too human, as the saying goes. But I say give me holidays and family any day; warts and all! Especially give me Christmas, one of the two greatest of all holiday celebrations, if you […]

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

Five Essentials for Discovering God’s Plan for You

When God has a Different Plan I think most of us can remember an occasion when we had something all planned out. It might have been something relatively minor or it might have concerned something of greater significance to our lives. And then, everything changed and the plans we had made had to be set aside for a while or […]

Photography © by Andy CoanPhotography © by Andy Coan

The Mystery of the Incarnation

“Mystery,” he sneered. “That’s a good Catholic word.” My friend was a fundamentalist who had more than a bit of antipathy towards the Catholic Church, charging that it added to the simple faith of the Bible. But he didn’t read his bible very well. The word “mystery” is a Catholic word, only because it is a biblical word. Paul speaks […]

Photography © by Andy CoanPhotography © by Andy Coan

The Spiritual Joy of John the Baptist

On the third Sunday of Advent, penitential purple gives way to pink and we celebrate “Gaudete” or “Rejoice!” Sunday. “Rejoice heartily in the Lord, says Isaiah” (61:10). “My Spirit finds joy in God my Savior,” says the Virgin Mary (Luke 1: 47). “Rejoice in the Lord always,” says St. Paul (I Thes. 5:16). “Make straight the way of the Lord”, […]