Faith

How to Respond When You Meet Suffering

"Charity of St. Elizabeth of Hungary" (detail) by Edmund Blair Leighton

In 2005 while undergoing chemotherapy, I was sitting in an uncomfortable recliner on the sixth floor of the medical facility. An IV dripped poison into my veins that would simultaneously cure me of the cancer in my body, and wreak havoc on it, sending waves of nausea, chills, malaise. The concoction did not discriminate between healthy and cancer cells. It […]

Powerful Lessons from St. Joseph

St. Joseph and the Christ-Child, Belmont Abbey

As the father of a 22-year-old son with high-functioning autism, I am sometimes challenged to give my oldest child the focus and patience he needs from me.  I frequently feel inadequate when I advise and guide my 19-year-old son through the minefields of today’s culture.  My loving wife should expect my best efforts as a husband, yet I often feel […]

Journey with St. Joseph

St. Joseph and the Christ-Child, Belmont Abbey

This year the first day of spring falls on March 19, 2020.  St. Joseph’s Day!  Spring brings a certain stillness to the earth. A waiting. A time of hushed expectancy. Seeds are planted and their growth is a quiet one – a hidden growth deep in the soil followed by the tender shoots stretching through the earth and reaching for the sun. […]

Suffering Transfigured by Love

"The Transfiguration" (detail) by Raphael - Alvesgaspar / CC BY-SA

Reflection on the Mass readings for the Second Sunday of Lent (Year A) — Genesis 12:1-4; Psalms 33:4-5, 18-19, 20, 22; Second Timothy 1:8-10; Matthew 17:1-9. The love in which God embraces each of us is one of the great truths revealed to us throughout salvation history, but especially through and in Jesus Christ. To come to a better and deeper understanding of […]

Living Simply This Lent

I once was visiting a beautiful home, finely furnished with exquisite furniture, lovely artwork and impeccable décor. However, the heavy draperies around the windows blocked most of the natural light in the rooms, and left an atmosphere of heaviness and, quite frankly, suffocation. Although the home was beautiful I couldn’t wait to leave and enjoy the freshness and plainness of […]

The Heavy Burdens We Carry

Confessionals

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 […]

Before the Miracle, I Believed—But Now I Know.

"Suffer the little children to come unto me." (detail) by Carl Bloch [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

The following story is true. It happened to me. I will never, ever forget it. I had been a Carmelite Sister for many years when this story occurred. It changed my life forever, and I came away from the experience with an explosion of faith bursting within my soul. To cut to the quick and bring forth the significance of […]

We Owe Each Other a Terrible Loyalty

St. Peter Chanel Catholic Church, Roswell, Georgia—Photography © by Michael Bickerstaff

Looking back at my childhood, I am thankful for the many gifts the good God sent my way in the form of people who knew and loved Him and chose to share that knowledge and love with me. There are so many examples from the good Catholic sisters and priests who taught me to my Presbyterian friend, James, who announced […]

The Clarity of Simon Peter’s Example

Sea of Galilee

And when he had ceased speaking, he said to Simon, “Put out into the deep and let down your nets for a catch” (Luke 5:4). Not long ago, one of our priests gave an excellent homily based on chapter five of Luke’s Gospel and the Call of Simon the Fisherman (before he became St. Peter). Although Father Steve never described […]

Time

Recently I was late getting a manuscript to an editor. My excuse? By far the most popular one in America: I had “no time.” Let’s examine that excuse. Why do we all seem to have no time for anything, much less for prayer? I am constantly feeling guilty about this, and I suspect most of you are too. I think […]