joy

Photography © by Andy Coan

The Spiritual Joy of John the Baptist

On the Third Sunday of Advent, penitential purple gives way to pink and we celebrate “Gaudete” or “Rejoice!” Sunday. “Rejoice heartily in the Lord, says Isaiah” (61:10). “My Spirit finds joy in God my Savior,” says the Virgin Mary (Luke 1: 47). “Rejoice in the Lord always,” says St. Paul (I Thes. 5:16). “Make straight the way of the Lord”, […]

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 […]

"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 […]

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 […]

Photograph © by Andy Coan

What are Obstacles to Catholic Authenticity?

Why is it difficult to be the same person at work, home, church and with our friends? I have observed this problem for several years, but lately I have become more aware of the challenges people have with consistently being “real.” In a few recent discussions with friends, I received blank stares and perceived a lot of discomfort when I […]

On Living with Greater Intention

“Will-power. A very important quality. Don’t despise little things, for by the continual practice of denying yourself again and again in such things — which are never futile or trivial — with God’s grace you will add strength and resilience to your character. In that way you will first become master of yourself, and then a guide, a chief, a […]

Give Us Joy

It had been one of “those” weeks. You know the kind: where everything falls apart and even planned family fun crumbles into disaster. I recently gave birth to our third daughter, and her presence in our family, while a sure blessing, has, of course, turned our world topsy turvy. All newborns do this, I know. But it doesn’t make the […]

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

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

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 […]

Christ the Redeemer in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

What are the Obstacles Between Men and Christ?

As long as we live in the world our life is a constant struggle between love for Christ or giving into lukewarmness, to our passions, or to comfort seeking, which destroys love. Faithfulness to Christ is forged each day by struggling against what separates us from him, and by an effort to make progress in virtue. Then they will be […]