Catholic Church

Living Simply This Lent

I once was visiting a beautiful home, finely furnished with exquisite furniture, lovely artwork and impeccable décor. However, the heavy draperies around the windows blocked most of the natural light in the rooms, and left an atmosphere of heaviness and, quite frankly, suffocation. Although the home was beautiful I couldn’t wait to leave and enjoy the freshness and plainness of […]

God and Mammon?

Reflection on the Mass readings for the Eighth Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year A) — Isaiah 49:14-15; Psalms 62:2-3, 6-7, 8-9; First Corinthians 4:1-5; Matthew 6:24-34. In the ancient world, most peoples believed in a universe populated by many gods.  However, even without the help of biblical revelation, Greek philosophers figured something out.  There could only be one Supreme Being, only one almighty […]

"Madonna and Child" (detail) by Sassoferrato

Daily Catholic Quote — from St. Louis Marie Grignion de Montfort

“For we never give more honor to Jesus than when we honor his Mother, and we honor her simply and solely to honor him all the more perfectly. We go to her only as a way leading to the goal we seek — Jesus, her Son.” (St. Louis Marie de Montfort; True Devotion to Mary, #94) Please share on social […]

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 Andy Coan

Turn the Other Cheek?

“Love your enemies.”  “Turn the other cheek.”  (Matthew 5:38-40).  This sounds admirable to some, but preposterous to others.  The nineteenth century philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche thought such talk promotes a society of weaklings.  Karl Marx thought these words keep the oppressed under the thumbs of the capitalists. Does Jesus want us to be doormats, suckers who allow ourselves to be taken advantage […]

Photography © by Andy Coan

The Holiness of the Pharisees and the Occasions of Sin

Radio talk show hosts make a living on it.  Show after show, they bring before our eyes stupid, unjust and wasteful situations in order to incite outrage.  We love to listen and get ourselves all worked up.  Our indignation keeps us tuned in and raises the show’s ratings. It’s easy to focus on the outrageous things that others do.  It’s […]

"The Transfiguration (detail)" by Raphael

Six Keys to fully Surrender to Christ

At the center of Mark’s Gospel, the Transfiguration of Christ (Mark 9:2-10) stands prominently as an encouragement along the walk from Baptism to Resurrection; a walk that must pass through the Cross. Place yourself in the position of the Apostles—they have journeyed with Jesus since he began his public ministry and I am sure that they could not have been […]

"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 Andy Coan

Salt of the Earth

As a Catholic teen growing up in one of the most Catholic areas of the United States of America, I never would have considered abandoning my faith.  But neither would I ever have considered getting excited about it.  Why should I?  Nobody else in my parish seemed excited.  The teens in the parish went wild at the rock concerts we […]

Photography © by Andy Coan

Poverty, Sloth, and the Beatitudes

Jesus’ “Sermon on the Mount” is probably the most famous sermon of all time.  And the opening lines of that sermon are equally famous—for two thousand years they’ve been known as “the Beatitudes.” In nine short verses, Jesus lays out the character sketch of the spiritually successful person who is truly blest, fortunate, positioned to experience perfect happiness and the fullness […]