practical faith

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Ten Practical Prayer Tips from the Carmelite Sisters

Dear Sister, Is there a best time to pray, given all the activities each day holds for me – working at my job and caring for and being with my family makes a very full day? Also, I’m not fully awake first thing in the morning and already mighty tired by the time I lay my head on the pillow. [...]

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What God Did When I Thought My Crosses Were Too Small

This Lent, I resumed my favorite Lenten prayer tradition, praying for a different person, couple, or family each of the 40 days, offering all of my prayers, petitions, frustrations, joys, and sufferings that day for their intentions. It was a particularly amazing experience for me this year. Before the Lenten season, I had become unusually fixated on the fact that [...]

"The Transfiguration (detail)" by Raphael"The Transfiguration (detail)" by Raphael

Suffering Transfigured Through Love

The love in which God embraces each of us is one of the great truths revealed to us throughout salvation history, but especially through and in Jesus Christ. To come to a better and deeper understanding of this love, we are continually invited by God into a deeper communion of prayer with Him… to come to know Him as He [...]

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Send My Roots Rain

When teaching my personal development course called ‘Ordinary Hero’ I show the students a picture of an ancient tree and explain how our lives have three levels: the branches and leaves represent our everyday concerns — our daily worries, joys, tasks and choices. The trunk of the tree symbolizes our conscious beliefs and values. We can discuss our religious and [...]

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Want to Conform to Christ this Lent? It’s Simple, Serve More.

Since I am freshly out of the confessional, I feel the need to be completely honest with myself as I prepare for Lent—the time we set aside to ready ourselves for the greatest day of the year, Easter Sunday. To me, preparing for Lent instantly conjures up thoughts of what I can give up that will cause me a little, [...]

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Kissing “Ugliness” — More than an example…

“We see shining in their lives the deep truth of the Christian message. They are not simply setting a good example. It’s more than that.” Do you remember when the cameras caught Pope Francis reaching out to embrace the “monster” of a man covered with warts and boils? How could he kiss that ugliness? St. Francis kissed a leper, and if [...]

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The Practical Practice of Almsgiving

One of the dreariest tasks of a parish priest is to stand up and ask for money. One can almost hear the moans of the parishioners and hear them thinking, “Here we go again. Father’s always asking for money. That’s all he ever thinks about is money.” This complaint is more accurately aimed at the complainer. Father Frugal — like [...]

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How to Recognize and Rid Yourself of Attachments

Dear Sister, In your series on getting stuck in spiritual growth (which was very helpful by the way) you mentioned the idea of “attachments.” I think I understand this as I have read a bit of St. John of the Cross. However, I would be grateful if you could help me understand it a bit better and for any practical advice [...]

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Love God and Do as You Please

Sally’s baby was crying in church again. He didn’t howl during the hymns when it might have been excused as singing along. He screamed during the sermon and the prayers. He really screamed at that moment when the silence of eternity was meant to touch our lives with its tendrils of tenderness and power. Instead our ears and hearts were [...]

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Goodness Always Tends to Spread

“Goodness always tends to spread. Every authentic experience of truth and goodness seeks by its very nature to grow within us, and any person who has experienced a profound liberation becomes more sensitive to the needs of others. As it expands, goodness takes root and develops. If we wish to lead a dignified and fulfilling life, we have to reach [...]