joy

Five Ways Catholics Can Make a Difference

Photograph © by Andy Coan

“Think about the possibilities if we all made a sincere daily commitment, no matter how small, to make a positive difference in the lives of those around us.” Do we sometimes feel overwhelmed in the face of the relentless assault on the Church, our beliefs and our families by the media and modern culture? Is it difficult to stand up […]

The Sign of the Cross

Photograph © by Andy Coan

Our behavior will be the proving ground of our deepest convictions.  This firmness in the Faith is often an excellent testimony to the beliefs of the Christian.  In some cases it can cause people to begin their return to the House of the Father. – Francis Fernandez, In Conversation with God Several weeks ago I had lunch with one of […]

Learning to Accept God’s Will

Man at Prayer

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 […]

Do We Make Christ and His Church Look Attractive to Others?

Mission Dolores Altar (San Francisco) Photograph © by Andy Coan

When I give talks around the country or sometimes in correspondence with readers of my books or blog posts on Integrated Catholic Life, I am often asked what I mean when I encourage others to “be joyful” and share the “light of Christ” with others.  I am referring to the response I typically give when asked for effective ways to […]

A Courageous Example and a Loving Parish

I recently reflected on a Sunday Mass in 2016 when I had an opportunity to witness a very special moment at my parish. An eighteen-year-old young man with high-functioning autism was taking his first turn as a lector at Mass. The lector role is an important one with serious responsibility, but this young man showed confidence and little fear as […]

Joy

Joy is more than happiness, just as happiness is more than pleasure. Pleasure is in the body. Happiness is in the mind and feelings. Joy is deep in the heart, the spirit, the center of the self. The way to pleasure is power and prudence. The way to happiness is moral goodness. The way to joy is sanctity, loving God […]

Lessons We Can Learn from the Holy Family

"The Holy Family (detail)" by Murillo

The Feast of the Holy Family celebrates the holiness and joy of the Holy Family of Jesus, Mary and Joseph of Nazareth. Each year, this celebration occurs on the Sunday following Christmas Day, unless Christmas falls on a Sunday, then it falls on the following Friday. The Church wants us to see the important link between the birth of our […]

Remembering the Holy Innocents

"The Flight to Egypt" (detail) by Carl Spitzweg

On the fourth day of our Christmas celebration, the Church reminds us that not everyone is joyful; that there exist those who are not of goodwill who do not wish to receive the season’s glad tidings. Today is the Feast of the Holy Innocents in which the Church recalls and honors those baby boys whose lives were taken in a […]

Our Merciful Mother — Our Lady of Guadalupe

In every approved Marian apparition, Our Lady has a specific mission. Each one reveals a determined and specific message—a unique and necessary goal. In the Anáhuac Valley of Mexico, on a barren hill called Tepeyac, Our Lady of Guadalupe came as a “merciful Mother,” a healer and restorer of all who are broken in body and in spirit. It is […]

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 […]