Sacraments

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 […]

"Baptism of Christ" (detail) by Perugino

A New Beginning

The Feast of the Baptism of the Lord Have you ever felt that something you were doing was going so badly that you just wished you could start all over? Or maybe your life is not going that well and you realize that you are just not the person you should be. I would bet that most of us have […]

“Christ at 33” (detail) by Hofmann

Speak less, Do more

  When I was a child, I awoke many mornings and found my mother in the kitchen preparing breakfast or folding laundry, while she watched Protestant television evangelists preach the word of God. Some days, I stumbled downstairs to find her curled up on the couch, tears running down her face as she listened to the morning message. I caught […]

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

St. Cyprian and Perspective from Persecution

September 16 is the feast of Sts. Cornelius and Cyprian, two friends from the early Church who were martyred for the faith.  St. Cornelius was elected Pope after the papacy was vacant for almost a year due to Emperor Decius’ persecution of the Christians.  After this time, during a lull in the persecutions, a disagreement arose regarding admitting back to the […]