Light of the World

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 […]

Salt of the Earth, Light of the World

You are the salt of the earth and the light of the world, proclaims Jesus in the Sermon on the Mount.  This seems to indicate that there is an essential role for passion, excitement and fire in the Christian life. The Mass readings for the Fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year A) are Isaiah 58:7-10; Psalms 112:4-5, 6-7, 8-9; First […]

Arise in Faith

Photograph by Nicvandum | Shutterstock

“Arise in faith, hasten in devotion, open in praise and thanksgiving. Behold the handmaid of the Lord, she says, be it done to me according to your word.” (A homily in Praise of the Blessed Virgin Mary, by Saint Bernard, abbot; from the Second Reading for Matins on December 20). At times, this life that we directly experience and live […]

Do You Hate Small Talk? Maybe You’re Doing It Wrong!

I’ve heard many people claim they hate small talk like it’s a mark of distinction.  I’m not sure that’s something worth boasting of, though.  Small talk gets a bad rap, but making it is a skill well worth having.  It’s a skill that smooths the way for friendships and relieves uncomfortable social situations by getting conversation moving.  It’s like the […]

A Soul’s Hearth

Photography by John Neff | Shutterstock

As I walked into the church for Mass last Sunday, I noticed right away the candles had been trimmed too long.  They looked like a half dozen lit bottle rockets lined up on the reredos, in anticipation of the dazzling finale in a Fourth of July pyrotechnic display.  My mind filled with strains of Tchaikovsky’s 1812 Overture.  Smoke was billowing upward […]

Encountering the Word — Luke 1:76-79

Photography © by Andy Coan

“And you, child, will be called the prophet of the Most High; for you will go before the Lord to prepare his ways, to give knowledge of salvation to his people in the forgiveness of their sins, through the tender mercy of our God, when the day shall dawn upon[l] us from on high to give light to those who […]

Encountering the Word — Luke 11:33-36

Photography © by Andy Coan

“No one after lighting a lamp puts it in a cellar or under a bushel, but on a stand, that those who enter may see the light. Your eye is the lamp of your body; when your eye is sound, your whole body is full of light; but when it is not sound, your body is full of darkness. Therefore […]

Finding Fulfillment Instead of Dissatisfaction

Have you ever felt Dissatisfied and Unfulfilled? Do you ever feel as if you are missing out on something important or falling just short of some goal or purpose? Maybe you are unable to put adequate words to this feeling, you just know there is something out of balance in your life—something lacking. We sometimes experience this as a vague […]