Catholic Church

Man at Prayer

For Advent, Let’s Focus on Simplicity

Do you ever feel overwhelmed with all of the stress, responsibilities and challenges in your daily life? If I am honest with myself, the times I feel most anxious or stressed are usually caused by my lifelong tendency to over-complicate things and an inclination towards “busyness”. I am grateful for the occasional insights I have into ways to address this […]

Photography © by Mark Armstrong

Our Lady of Guadalupe — Come to Our Aid Again!

In December, 1531, a man we know today as St. Juan Diego began an encounter with Our Blessed Mother that reverberates to this day.  The fifty-six-year-old Juan Diego was a simple, humble, mat-weaver by trade when he came upon Our Lady of Guadalupe in Mexico.  His indigenous Aztec name, Cuauhtlatatzin, means “the eagle that talks.” Juan’s encounter with Mary would eventually lead […]

"The Beheading of St. John the Baptist" by Caravaggio

Lessons from St. John the Baptist that will change your life…

As it is written in Isaiah the prophet, “Behold, I send my messenger before thy face, who shall prepare thy way; the voice of one crying in the wilderness: ‘Prepare the way of the Lord, make his paths straight’” (Mark 1:2-3). St. John the Baptist is proclaimed by Jesus as the greatest of the Old Testament Prophets sent to prepare […]

"The Parable of the Good Samaritan" (detail) by Jan Wijnants

Is There Something Attached to Your Giving?

“What’s wrong?”  Jennifer asked as Rick walked in the house with a sour look on his face. “Nothing… everything… I don’t want to bother you with something this petty.  I’ll be okay in a few minutes.” “Oh no you don’t!  I want to help… please tell me what’s wrong.  Clearly something is weighing on you.” He looked at his wife […]

"Charity of St. Elizabeth of Hungary" (detail) by Edmund Blair Leighton

How to Respond When You Meet Suffering

In 2005 while undergoing chemotherapy, I was sitting in an uncomfortable recliner on the sixth floor of the medical facility. An IV dripped poison into my veins that would simultaneously cure me of the cancer in my body, and wreak havoc on it, sending waves of nausea, chills, malaise. The concoction did not discriminate between healthy and cancer cells. It […]

On Smiling Angels and Joy Filled Hearts

It is difficult to be a parent today, especially if you have a child or children with special needs. The days are emotional roller coaster rides often filled with frustration and only fleeting glimpses of progress. These families often push the pause button on their old lives as the focus becomes all about therapists, adaptive learning, fighting with schools for […]

The Nature of Music and the Soul

The Nature of Music and the Soul by Matthew Cole Austin and Steven Jonathan Rummelsburg “…when lawlessness has established itself there [in music and poetry], it flows over little by little into character and ways of life.” Plato, Republic 424d # # # The world is changing and we have become progressively desensitized to the increasing temptations available to us […]

Live Life Gratefully (and You Will Never Regret It)

“When it comes to life, the critical thing is whether you take things for granted or take them with gratitude.” (G. K. Chesterton) I remember at a very young age the constant urging of my parents to always say “thank you” in response to any kindness or friendly words shared in my direction. For many years, I saw this advice […]

Getting Ready: A Simple Plan for the Best Advent Ever

Advent is just around the corner, and if you are like many people, you probably feel like it snuck up, perhaps catching you by surprise. In the busyness of this life, what can you do to prepare well without overwhelming? It’s not too late! Here are some ideas to get you started to have the best Advent ever: Kick off […]

"Christ the Consolator" (detail) by Carl Bloch

Redirecting my Gratitude

“If God sends you many sufferings, it is a sign that He has great plans for you and certainly wants to make you a saint.” (St. Ignatius Loyola) I woke up last Tuesday not feeling very grateful.  I am not sure why, but I started my day in a “mood.”  Maybe it was the stress of having too much on […]