prayer life

Purifying Our Hearts

Saint Augustine and his mother, Saint Monica

Effective prayer always requires preparation. Some of the most important preparation required is making sure our hearts are clear of anything that might impede the quality of our prayer. The Psalms provide us some of the best scriptural advice we can find on how to both prepare for and offer effective prayers. They also have a way of getting to […]

We Are His Offspring

"St. Paul Preaching in Athens" (detail) by Raphael [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

The Most Poetic Line in Any Language There is a verse in Scripture that speaks about who we are as human beings. It may not be overstating the point to suggest that it is the single best explanation of the meaning of human existence. The verse is from a speech Paul was giving to the wise men of Athens. He […]

A Broken and Contrite Heart O God

"King David in Prayer (detail)" by Pieter de Grebber

Recently I was reminded of a wonderful movie of faith, courage and redemption. It was the story from the book “Unbroken,” about the life of Louie Zamperini, an American who ran the 5,000 meter in the 1936 Berlin Olympics. Louie was later drafted as a gunner aboard B-24 Bombers during World War II. He was shot down in the Pacific and […]

Pray Always?

"Road to Emmaus" (detail) by Robert Zünd [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

“Seriously? Pray always?” That is not an uncommon reaction to St. Paul’s admonition to pray always without ceasing. Does he know what we’re up against, the demands on our time and energy, the pace of our modern world, not to mention the fragility and inconsistency of our human nature? He can’t possibly mean always, as in, all the time and […]

Let’s All Get In the Game

"The Sower" by Jean-François Millet [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

“That same day Jesus went out of the house and sat beside the sea. And great crowds gathered about him, so that he got into a boat and sat there; and the whole crowd stood on the beach. And he told them many things in parables, saying: ‘A sower went out to sow. And as he sowed, some seeds fell […]

Man’s Best Friend

chair-peter-holy-spiritDetail of Chair of St. Peter Dnalor 01, Rom, Vatikan, Petersdom, Cathedra Petri (Bernini) 4, Detail, CC BY-SA 3.0

Despite what many dog lovers may believe, it turns out that man’s best friend is not our canine companions, although they are certainly high on the list. Instead, the greatest friend to man is someone most of us spend precious little time getting to know, and this Person was someone whom Jesus Christ introduced us to before He ascended to […]

Discover What Jesus Teaches About Prayer

"King David in Prayer (detail)" by Pieter de Grebber

Why is there so much interest in prayer and yet so little praying? Discover what Jesus teaches us about the essential qualities of prayer. In my parish ministry and work around the archdiocese, one of the questions I receive most frequently is like the question posed to Our Lord in Luke’s Gospel, “He was praying in a certain place, and […]

Into the Deep—Flower of Carmel

"The Madonna of Carmel and the Souls of the Purgatory" (detail) by Giovanni Battista Tiepolo

Every year on July 16, Carmelites throughout the world celebrate the Feast of Our Lady of Mount Carmel, patroness of the Carmelite Order.  If you want to know how we feel about Mary, our Mother, spend a few minutes reflecting on one of the most beautiful prayers ever written, the Flos Carmeli. Most of us pray—before meals, morning and/or night prayers, […]

The Freedom of Love

“Christ at 33” (detail) by Hofmann

There has been a great deal of talk for many years now about individual rights in our society. It is nothing new, but this idea does seem to have reached a fever pitch in the past few years. People are demanding their right to do as they please. Everyone is demanding to be free. Unfortunately, many people are working with […]

A Convert Struggles with Mary

Blessed Virgin Mary with Roses (detail) Artwork © by Jef Murray

Dear Sister I just recently became Catholic and I’m still struggling with the Church’s teachings on Mary. I respect her, but I don’t feel the need to ask her for prayers if I can just ask God directly. Do you have any suggestions on how I can have a relationship with Mary? Dear Friend, Yes, I do! Being a convert […]