joy

Remembering the Holy Innocents

"The Flight to Egypt" (detail) by Carl Spitzweg

On the fourth day of our Christmas celebration, the Church reminds us that not everyone is joyful; that there exist those who are not of goodwill who do not wish to receive the season’s glad tidings. Today is the Feast of the Holy Innocents in which the Church recalls and honors those baby boys whose lives were taken in a […]

Five Ways Catholics Can Make a Difference

Photograph © by Andy Coan

“Think about the possibilities if we all made a sincere daily commitment, no matter how small, to make a positive difference in the lives of those around us.” Do we sometimes feel overwhelmed in the face of the relentless assault on the Church, our beliefs and our families by the media and modern culture? Is it difficult to stand up […]

The Sign of the Cross

Photograph © by Andy Coan

Our behavior will be the proving ground of our deepest convictions.  This firmness in the Faith is often an excellent testimony to the beliefs of the Christian.  In some cases it can cause people to begin their return to the House of the Father. – Francis Fernandez, In Conversation with God Several weeks ago I had lunch with one of […]

Learning to Accept God’s Will

Man at Prayer

Not long ago a priest shared some guidance with my wife and me that has been the cause of a great deal of conversation and reflection in our home.  In response to learning that we pray every day about our oldest son’s future and that he be healed of his autism, he encouraged us to pray first for acceptance. Let […]

Do We Make Christ and His Church Look Attractive to Others?

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

When I give talks around the country or sometimes in correspondence with readers of my books or blog posts on Integrated Catholic Life, I am often asked what I mean when I encourage others to “be joyful” and share the “light of Christ” with others.  I am referring to the response I typically give when asked for effective ways to […]

A Courageous Example and a Loving Parish

I recently reflected on a Sunday Mass in 2016 when I had an opportunity to witness a very special moment at my parish. An eighteen-year-old young man with high-functioning autism was taking his first turn as a lector at Mass. The lector role is an important one with serious responsibility, but this young man showed confidence and little fear as […]

Lessons We Can Learn from the Holy Family

The Feast of the Holy Family celebrates the holiness and joy of the Holy Family of Jesus, Mary and Joseph of Nazareth. Each year, this celebration occurs on the Sunday following Christmas Day, unless Christmas falls on a Sunday, then it falls on the following Friday. The Church wants us to see the important link between the birth of our […]

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 […]

What are the Obstacles Between Men and Christ?

Christ the Redeemer in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

As long as we live in the world our life is a constant struggle between love for Christ or giving into lukewarmness, to our passions, or to comfort seeking, which destroys love. Faithfulness to Christ is forged each day by struggling against what separates us from him, and by an effort to make progress in virtue. Then they will be […]

Daily Quote — from St. Francis of Assisi

"The Vision of St. Francis" (detail) by Jusepe de Ribera

“Where there is charity and wisdom, there is neither fear nor ignorance. Where there is patience and humility, there is neither anger nor vexation. Where there is poverty and joy, there is neither greed nor avarice. Where there is peace and meditation, there is neither anxiety nor doubt.” (St. Francis of Assisi, Deacon and Confessor) The Memorial of St. Francis […]