purgatory

Reminders in the Cemetery

I told a colleague the other day that I loved to visit cemeteries, and they looked at me like I was a little off my rocker.  I know that part of it is the history major in me, which is fascinated by the people and dates that you encounter wandering in the peaceful silence amongst forgotten headstones. Who would ever […]

Catholic Prayer Hacks

I’m not what most people would call holy, but I do hope to become so.  I’ll need a lot of grace and prayers for it to happen.  We’re all essentially lazy.  Well, some of us are.  Okay, I am, at least.  I’m lazy.  And I know it.  So, I like to look for short cuts, easier ways.  I like to […]

All Souls Day and Prayers for the Dead

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

I’ll never forget that bleak January day when my father died.  It was very hard to believe in the resurrection as I watched the undertakers carry away his lifeless corpse in a body bag. But imagine this scene.  You are an unborn child who has lived in cozy but cramped quarters with your twin for nine months.  But now you […]

Daily Catholic Quote — from St. Cyril of Jerusalem

St. Cyril of Jerusalem

“Then we make mention also of those who have already fallen asleep: first, the patriarchs, prophets, apostles, and martyrs, that through their prayers and supplications God would receive our petition; next, we make mention also of the holy fathers and bishops who have already fallen asleep, and, to put it simply, of all among us who have already fallen asleep, […]

Encountering the Word — 1 Corinthians 3:11-15

Photography © by Andy Coan

A Daily Quote from Sacred Scripture “For no other foundation can any one lay than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ. Now if any one builds on the foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble— each man’s work will become manifest; for the Day will disclose it, because it will be revealed with fire, and the […]

A Grief Answered

Saint Augustine and his mother, Saint Monica

This weekend we celebrate back-to-back feast days of two great saints, Monica and Augustine.  There are few saint stories as legendary as this one: the mother who prays for decades for the conversion of her son, who is very intelligent but also very worldly; the son who is the prototype for so many converts as he endlessly searches for truth […]

Can you explain Purgatory to your friends?

"Return of the Prodigal Son" (detail) by Murillo

Keeping it simple! On a recent Friday morning, while leading a bible study for retirees, the question of purgatory, the punishments due to sin, and salvation came up. They already possessed a good understanding of this important doctrine. But, the discussion reminded me that Purgatory remains one of the most misunderstood teachings of the Church, and maybe one that is least […]

Why Purgatory?

Cello Scroll

Some would call it cacophony. Others would be more blunt and describe it as tortuous noise. Be that as it may, it is my absolute favorite sound. I hear it and immediately everything inside me comes alive, attentive, expectant. You say, “Enough all ready. What is it and what does it have to do with the title of this post?” […]

All Souls Day — Remembering to Pray for the Dead

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

I’ll never forget that bleak January day when my father died.  It was very hard to believe in the resurrection as I watched the undertakers carry away his lifeless corpse in a body bag. But imagine this scene.  You are an unborn child who has lived in cozy but cramped quarters with your twin for nine months.  But now you […]