Blessed Virgin Mary

When We Struggle in Our Prayer Life

Photography by John Neff | Shutterstock

One of the biggest obstacles for me in the early days of my faith journey was the lack of a prayer life. I knew I needed to pray, but I couldn’t ever remember sincerely praying about anything. I was struggling with the typical male challenge of asking for help, especially asking God for help! I rationalized this by thinking, “Who […]

The Gift I Want to Give Back

"The First Eucharist" by Juan de Juanes

I’m a dry-eyed gal most of the time, and I have always prided myself on that trait. Then I started going to Mass. I certainly didn’t mean to turn into a blubbering mess.  At the time, I was a tough know-it-all college graduate, and I was only there because this good-looking Prince Charming of mine insisted that he had to […]

The Powerful Intercession of Mary and the Saints

"The Virgin at Prayer" (detail) by Sassoferrato

Solemnity of All Saints Today is the Solemnity of All Saints, a celebration of those who have died and attained Heaven. We will remember those who are undergoing purgation tomorrow on All Souls Day. Today, I would like to look at the Catholic practice of asking the Blessed Virgin Mary and the saints in heaven to intercede for us. I […]

How — and why — do we celebrate Mary’s birthday?

Our Lady of the Southern Cross

The Feast of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary (September 8) is one of the most tender and natural feasts on the Church calendar. And although we date the liturgical feast to at least the sixth century, we can actually trace the celebration much farther back.  After all, don’t you think Jesus celebrated Mary’s birthday? Join Him in the […]

Daily Catholic Quote — St. Ephrem

"The Crowning of the Virgin by the Trinity" (detail) by Velázquez

A Daily Quote to Inspire Your Catholic Faith “Through Eve, the beautiful and desirable glory of men was extinguished; but it has revived through Mary.” (St. Ephrem the Syrian, Deacon and Doctor of the Church) The Memorial of the Queenship of the Blessed Virgin Mary is August 22. The Optional Memorial of St. Ephrem, Deacon and Doctor of the Church […]

Encountering the Word — Matthew 1:23

“Behold, a virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and his name shall be called Emman′u-el” (which means, God with us). (Matthew 1:23) Encountering the Word is your source for daily inspiration, encouragement, and guidance from God’s Holy Word in the Bible. Help spread the Gospel. Share on Facebook and other social media. Print this entry

Overcome by Praise

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

Have you ever been in awe of how St. Paul and the early Christians could be singing songs of praise from prison (Acts 16:5)? Or how Daniel, after hearing that he was not to worship His God on pain of death, went to his home and facing Jerusalem, “…prayed, giving thanks to his God, just as he had done before” […]

Celebrating the Assumption of Mary

"The Assumption of the Virgin" (detail) by Guido Reni

On August 15th of each Liturgical Year, the Church celebrates the Solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary. In the United States, the Assumption is a Holy Day of Obligation unless it  falls on a Saturday or Monday, in which case the precept to attend Mass is abrogated: “Whenever January 1, the solemnity of Mary, Mother of God, or August 15, […]

Flower of Carmel

"The Madonna of Carmel and the Souls of the Purgatory" (detail) by Giovanni Battista Tiepolo

Every year on July 16, Carmelites throughout the world celebrate the Feast of Our Lady of Mount Carmel, patroness of the Carmelite Order.  If you want to know how we feel about Mary, our Mother, spend a few minutes reflecting on one of the most beautiful prayers ever written, the Flos Carmeli. Most of us pray—before meals, morning and/or night prayers, […]

The First Disciple

The Annunciation (St. Gabriel and the Blessed Virgin Mary) by Paolo de Matteis [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

The devotion of the Brown Scapular originates in the history of Our Lady of Mount Carmel when Our Lady appeared to St. Simon Stock in the 1200s presenting to him the scapular and promised: “This is a privilege for you and your brethren: whoever dies wearing it, will be saved.” This tradition falls within the context of our Catholic faith […]