spiritual life

"Christ on the Cross" (detail) by Velazquez"Christ on the Cross" (detail) by Velazquez

Lift High the Cross

September 14th is the Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross. Each year when it comes around, I remember when Sister Carol Marie lifted high the cross in faith. It was late summer in California. The skies were a limpid blue. A balmy ocean breeze blew across the sand. Children were building sandcastles. Windsurfers cut like knives across the […]

Father Jacques PhilippeFather Jacques Philippe

Are You Thirsting for Prayer?

Have no anxiety at all, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, make your requests known to God. (Phil 4:6) For many of us prayer doesn’t come easily. Spontaneous prayer in time of trouble or crisis often takes the form of singular pleading, “God help me.” This direct cry to Him indicates our thirst for Him. It is […]

"Creation of Adam" (detail) by Michelangelo"Creation of Adam" (detail) by Michelangelo

The Difference Between Humans and Animals

“What made you establish man in so great a dignity?” A couple of weeks ago I was at a farmer’s market on a lovely spot right by the ocean. One of the booths that featured woodwork had a carved sign display saying: “Animals are People Too!” Certainly, I don’t think the author of that statement meant for us to take […]

"The Raising of Jairus' Daughter" (detail) by Repin"The Raising of Jairus' Daughter" (detail) by Repin

Do not be Afraid to Touch Jesus

The Gospel for the Thirteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year B) comes from Mark 5:21-43 and consists of the accounts of two miracles Jesus performed. Jairus, a synagogue official desperate to save the life of his daughter, seeks out Jesus. On His way with Jairus to restore his daughter, Jesus encounters the woman with a hemorrhage. Mark frequently interrupts one story to […]

"The Holy Family (detail)" by Murillo"The Holy Family (detail)" by Murillo

Seven Essential Lessons Dads Need to Teach their Children

Who Introduced You to the Lord? The first question I would like to pose, is simply this: “How did you come by your faith, whether it be weak or strong, new or old? Where and when did you first come to encounter Jesus and his glorious Gospel?” For many of us, the answer would be, “I first came to know […]


Daily Conversations

I spend a lot of time on the phone. I’m blessed to have a great group of friends from college and graduate school, and now we’re spread throughout the world. Since our friendships are rooted in Christ, we always manage to pick back up where we left off, even if it’s been months or years since we’ve seen each other. […]

"La Pentecôte" (The Pentecost - detail) by Jean II Restout"La Pentecôte" (The Pentecost - detail) by Jean II Restout

The Holy Spirit—The Principle of Unity throughout Scripture

  The principle of unity throughout scripture is the Holy Spirit. The Pentecost Sequence, Veni Sancte Spiritus, describes this sanctifying—and therefore unifying—role of the Spirit of Father and Son: Bend the stubborn heart and will; Melt the frozen, warm the chill; Guide the steps that go astray! Beautiful words, but poignant as well for anyone who has ever struggled to […]

St. Teresa's Interior CastleSt. Teresa's Interior Castle

The Interior Castle: Saint Teresa’s Diamond

The De Beers Jewelry marketing slogan of “Diamonds are Forever” might have been a perfect catchphrase for Saint Teresa’s “Diamond”, better known to us as the Interior Castle. However, this company was not yet around in 1577 when she was ordered to write another book. “Forever” was a well-chosen word because of the properties and symbolism inherent in the diamond. […]


Pray Always?

“Pray without ceasing.” (1 Thessalonians 5:17) “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 […]