Calendar & Seasons

Christ in the Desert

"Crossing of the Red Sea" (detail) by Hans III Jordaens / Public domain

“…if anyone wishes to seriously exercise the spiritual life, he had better know that the company of people that hold our own faith and worship in our own churches is a most difficult company to keep. And we ought not to pretend we can follow God very far unless we know that it is a desert like asceticism.” I write […]

Living the Faith in Ordinary Moments

Candlemas and the Presentation of the Lord have already arrived! Christmas Day was forty days ago. We’ve been in the season of Ordinary Time on the liturgical calendar for three weeks. Before we know it, Lent will be upon us. That’s what happens in this earthly life—we move through time. We mark moments in time that represent important events. Time […]

God’s Greatest Gift

"Adoration of the Shepherds" (detail) by Gerard van Honthorst [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

“I am with you always, to the close of the age.” (Matthew 28:20) Merry Christmas! I love holidays. I love family. The two just seem to go together, don’t they?. Some holidays are joyful gatherings, some not so much. We are all too human, as the saying goes. But I say, give me holidays and family any day; warts and […]

What are the “O Antiphons” of Vespers?

"The Prophet Isaiah" (detail) by Antonio Balestra [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

The “O Antiphons” refer to the seven antiphons that are recited (or chanted) preceding the Magnificat during Vespers of the Liturgy of the Hours. They cover the special period of Advent preparation known as the Octave before Christmas, December 17-23, with December 24 being Christmas Eve and Vespers for that evening being for the Christmas Vigil. This article originally appeared […]

Watching and Waiting — Advent in Carmel

Advent in Carmel To experience Advent in Carmel is to enter into a rarified atmosphere that is filled to the brim with Carmel’s living legacy of Advent customs and observances. My first Advent in Carmel remains fresh in my memory today, still as vibrant and alive as when it happened. I feel at a loss, however, to write about it. […]

Thanksgiving and the Eucharist

For Americans, the term “Thanksgiving” conjures up images of turkey and cranberry sauce, parades and bowl games.  These are “traditions” that have come to mark an event made a perpetual institution of American life by President Abraham Lincoln. But why did Lincoln proclaim the last Thursday in November as a national holiday? Because it was clear to him that the blessings of food, land, […]

Love’s Greatest Gift

"Adoration of the Shepherds" (detail) by Murillo

“I am with you always, to the close of the age.” (Matthew 28:20) Merry Christmas! I love holidays. I love family. The two just seem to go together, don’t they?. Some holidays are joyful gatherings, some not so much. We are all too human, as the saying goes. But I say, give me holidays and family any day; warts and […]

The Church is the Inn

On Tuesday we will mark one of the greatest scandals in history: there was no room in the inn. Not only did people turn their back on a woman about to give birth, but, without knowing, refused hospitality to the long-awaited Messiah. The Son of God made Man came to His own people, as St. John would write, but they […]

Our Merciful Mother — Our Lady of Guadalupe

In every approved Marian apparition, Our Lady has a specific mission. Each one reveals a determined and specific message—a unique and necessary goal. In the Anáhuac Valley of Mexico, on a barren hill called Tepeyac, Our Lady of Guadalupe came as a “merciful Mother,” a healer and restorer of all who are broken in body and in spirit. It is […]

Focus on the Lord this Advent

We should allow the clarion call from this great saint to reverberate in our souls. Today we enter the Advent Season. It is past time to get ready… One of my strongest, most enduring memories from my childhood is the time spent preparing for Christmas. We did not have any family traditions involving the Advent Wreath or the Jesse Tree. And most certainly, like all […]