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Man at PrayerMan at Prayer

Radical Acceptance of God’s Will

Not long ago a priest shared some guidance with my wife and me that has been the cause of a great deal of conversation and reflection in our home.  In response to learning that we pray every day about our oldest son’s future and that he be healed of his autism, he encouraged us to pray first for acceptance. Let […]

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You, Your Conscience and Pinocchio

Every once in a while a news story crosses my path that makes me wonder who exactly is writing this series. Just as I’m reaching the time to discuss a particular topic something happens that coincides perfectly with it, illustrating wonderfully what it is that is being explained. This happens in the classroom as well, so it is not a […]

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To My Children: Eight Things I Want You to Remember this School Year

Dear Children, Over the last few weeks, I’ve spent hours ordering uniforms and supplies and schoolbooks. I’ve nagged you at least five hundred fifty-six times to finish your summer reading. I’ve carefully selected new book bags with colorful prints that reminded me of you and I’ve labeled your notebooks and binders and tab dividers.   I’ve scoured the house for belts […]

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The Cathedral of My Bathroom

I used to think that my days of praying in my bathroom were numbered, and that the numbers were going to get smaller as I (and my kids!) got older. I assumed that, with a routine that involved them being reasonable human beings and sleeping on a normal schedule, I would be able to return to praying at my kitchen […]

"St. Jerome Writing" (detail) by Caravaggio"St. Jerome Writing" (detail) by Caravaggio

The Holy Bible and Sacred Tradition comprise the Word of God

“Deacon Mike, why do we believe that it belongs to the Church to interpret the bible? Can’t we just read the bible for ourselves? The guys I do bible study with say that we (Catholics) add things that are not there.” A young man who participates in a “non-denominational” bible study recently asked me this question. This question comes up from time […]

Photography © by Andy CoanPhotography © by Andy Coan

Tradition is not a four-letter word!

One of the great battle cries of the Protestant Reformation was “sola scriptura!”  Many thought that the Catholic Church had cluttered up the simple Christian faith by adding all sorts of practices, customs and doctrines over the centuries. They thought the Church in their day was guilty of exactly the same Pharisaical obsession with traditions condemned by Jesus in this […]

"Return of the Prodigal Son" (detail) by Murillo"Return of the Prodigal Son" (detail) by Murillo

What is mercy?

As we prepare for Pope Francis’ visit to the United States, we should also be preparing for the usual spin on his message.  One of the messages of Pope Francis that is often skewed is his call for mercy and compassion.  Mercy has definitely been a theme of Francis’ pontificate, as he repeatedly comes back to it in homilies and […]

Pope Francis (neneo / Shutterstock.com)Pope Francis (neneo / Shutterstock.com)

Six Practical Steps to Catholic Joy

I recently had coffee with a fellow Catholic who gloomily shared his ongoing struggles with overtly living out his faith in the real world and reluctance to discuss his faith with others. He made it clear that going to Mass on Sunday was all he could or should be doing. Unfortunately, this is a very common tale. The conversation became […]

Marriage: The Union of One Woman and One ManMarriage: The Union of One Woman and One Man

The Philosophy of Sex

Perhaps the only absolute statement you can make in our society which will not receive any disagreement is that human beings are sexual beings. No matter what a person’s political or philosophical point of view they are most likely to agree to the statement that human beings are sexual. In fact in some areas of society, especially among educators, academics, […]

"Creation of Adam" (detail) by Michelangelo"Creation of Adam" (detail) by Michelangelo

The Difference Between Humans and Animals

“What made you establish man in so great a dignity?” A couple of weeks ago I was at a farmer’s market on a lovely spot right by the ocean. One of the booths that featured woodwork had a carved sign display saying: “Animals are People Too!” Certainly, I don’t think the author of that statement meant for us to take […]