Sacraments

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

Nurturing the Gift of Faith

Have you ever struggled with your faith? Maybe you love God, but wonder why you don’t love Him more deeply and why that love does not seem to have a greater impact on your life. Maybe you are inspired by the lives of others you know who seem to be so much more deeply in love with Jesus, and you […]

Confessionals

A Huge Weight On Our Shoulders

I have been thinking a great deal about my experience at Reconciliation this past Saturday. I felt an intense and unexplainable urge to go and confess my sins when I woke up that morning. I try to go every six weeks or so, but this was no routine visit to the priest for me. I needed to unburden myself of […]

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

Why Do You Confess Your Sins to a Priest?

Have you ever been asked why you confess sins to a priest? In discussing the Catholic faith with non-Catholics, the doctrine concerning confessing one’s sins to a priest often arises. Indeed, in my experience, the Sacrament of Reconciliation ranks right up there with Marian Dogmas among the Church’s teachings that prompt the most questions from those inquiring about the Catholic […]

How to Overcome Worry by Trusting God

Dear Sister, I worry a lot. I worry about myself and my family. People sometimes tell me that I worry far too much.  I can’t help it. As a child, I was trained to be responsible and was held accountable by my parents. Now that I am married, have a husband and children of my own, my worrying has increased […]

Photography © by Andy Coan

For the Love of Lazarus

Reflection on the Mass readings for the Fifth Sunday of Lent (Year A) — Ezekiel 37:12-14; Psalms 130:1-2, 3-4, 5-6, 7-8; Romans 8:8-11; John 11:1-45 or 11:3-7, 17, 20-2. The gospel story of the raising of Lazarus found in John 11 shows us why Jesus can love some friends and disciples more than others, why death is not natural and beautiful, the difference […]

"Jesus Opens the Eyes of the Man Born Blind" (detail) by Duccio

What Can We Learn from the Healing of the Man Born Blind?

A reflection on the the Healing of the Man Born Blind — proclaimed during the Mass readings for the Fourth Sunday of Lent (Year A) — First Samuel 16:1, 6-7, 10-13; Psalms 23:1-3, 3-4, 5, 6; Ephesians 5:8-14; John 9:1-41 or 9:1, 6-9, 13-17. In St. John’s Gospel, there is the account of the healing of the man born blind (John 9:1-41). It is the […]

Photography © by Andy Coan

The Man Born Blind Sees the Lion of Judah

Reflection on the Mass readings for the Fourth Sunday of Lent (Year A) — First Samuel 16:1, 6-7, 10-13; Psalms 23:1-3, 3-4, 5, 6; Ephesians 5:8-14; John 9:1-41 or 9:1, 6-9, 13-17. The Lion of Judah is no tame lion.  Neither is he predictable. While walking along the streets of Jerusalem one day, Jesus sees a common enough sight in the Holy City.  […]

Struggling with a Restless Heart

“Thou movest us to delight in praising Thee; for Thou hast formed us for Thyself, and our hearts are restless till they find rest in Thee” (St. Augustine, Confessions). I think most writers are naturally introspective and reflective.  While praying in preparation for Lent not long ago, I prayed for strength and courage to stay focused on the path Christ […]

"Supper at Emmaus" (detail) by Caravaggio

The Feast that is the Sacraments

Four elements stand out in the traditional Catholic doctrine of what a sacrament is. Fundamentalism is suspicious of all four. A sacrament is “a sign that effects what it signifies, instituted by Christ to give grace.” 1. Sacraments are signs and symbols. Fundamentalism is temperamentally wary of symbolism. It has a plain, “no-nonsense” mentality. Symbols are too poetic for its […]