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Photography © by Andy CoanPhotography © by Andy Coan

Does Old versus New Apply in the Kingdom?

“Liberal” and “conservative.” The definitions of these terms are seldom stated. Usually they are just presumed. Often people call “conservative” those who like old-fashioned things and “liberal” those who favor the latest ideas, trends, and values. But for the Christian, the ultimate question is not personal preferences of style, or whether something is old or avant garde. It is rather [...]

"Christ in the House of Mary and Martha" (detail) by Johannes Vermeer"Christ in the House of Mary and Martha" (detail) by Johannes Vermeer

The Danger of Martha’s Vindication

I have noticed a troubling trend in past years when the Gospel reading about Mary and Martha’s encounter with Christ surfaces. Of course we all know the passage: “Now as they went on their way, he entered a certain village, where a woman named Martha welcomed him into her home. She had a sister named Mary, who sat at the [...]

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A Timeless Lesson and the Burden of Sin

I have been thinking a great deal about my experience at Reconciliation this past Saturday. I felt an intense and unexplainable urge to go and confess my sins when I woke up that morning. I try to go every six weeks or so, but this was no routine visit to the priest for me. I needed to unburden myself of [...]

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Brother Guy Consolmagno: Carl Sagan Medal Winner and Role Model

The American Astronomical Society (AAS) Division for Planetary Sciences announced this month that Jesuit Brother Guy Consolmagno has won the Carl Sagan Medal for outstanding communication about planetary science to the general public. Brother Consolmagno is an astronomer and meteorite expert at the Vatican Observatory. He also serves as their Coordinator for Public Relations. The AAS commended Brother Consolmagno for occupying a “unique position” among astronomers as a “credible spokesperson for scientific [...]

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Resenting Chastity

Virtue is not something simply lacking in the modern world. It is something many in the modern world actually resent. That’s a point that Pope St. John Paul II – then Karol Wojtyla – makes when beginning his teaching on chastity in his book Love and Responsibility. Why is virtue resented by many people today? First, living the virtuous life is [...]

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From Trash to Treasure

It’s that time of year when there is a yard sale dotting every development, when people have cleaned out their trash and are marketing it for whatever they can get, when the hunt for a bargain really kicks in. A few years ago, our family had a yard sale at my mother-in-law’s house. I did my best to avoid coming [...]

"Christ the Consolator" (detail) by Carl Bloch"Christ the Consolator" (detail) by Carl Bloch

What is the Answer to Suffering, Pain and Loss?

Many years ago, I taught 4th Grade CCD for my parish religious education department. It was the first evening of classes and I was starting the process of getting everyone introduced to one another when one boy blurted out, “I am going to be your worst nightmare.” He was speaking to me. You could say that I was taken aback, [...]

St. Peter's Basilica at Night (and Ponte Sant Angelo over the Tiber)St. Peter's Basilica at Night (and Ponte Sant Angelo over the Tiber)

Irrationality and Infallibility

Not too long ago I spoke with yet another Protestant minister who is about to leave his ministry and join the Catholic Church. He said he ended up in this situation because he had a seminary professor who kept challenging his students to, “Think it through.” He tried to think through his opposition to Catholicism because he had a parishioner [...]

Photography © Carmelite Sisters of the Most Sacred HeartPhotography © Carmelite Sisters of the Most Sacred Heart

A Miracle in Adoration

A number of years ago I had an amazing experience in adoration. I had suffered for years with chronic and often debilitating pain. The pain caused me to isolate myself because after fighting the pain, I had so little energy to interact with or serve others. After a period of reflection and prayer I decided that I would try to fight [...]

Photography © by Andy CoanPhotography © by Andy Coan

The Parable of the Wheat and the Tares

At one time or another, we’ve all dreamed of a perfect world. Imagine a company where everyone is productive… a government full of honest politicians… a church where all are saints. Dreaming about such things is natural; expecting such things is dangerous. Unrealistic expectations lead to discouragement, despair, even cynicism. That would be bad enough. But the expectation that the [...]