suffering

The Power of the Morning Offering

“We place it in His hands – no matter what comes.” Sometimes we make prayer more complicated than it needs to be. A few days ago, I finished my cup of coffee and my brief morning time of prayer by kind of muttering under my breath, “I don’t know about this day, God. So it’s yours.” It wasn’t a traditional […]

There is a plan… even if it’s not yours

 “I will only find peace when I surrender.” Today’s first reading from Ecclesiastes probably sounds familiar, whether you’ve heard it at a funeral or from The Byrds. There is an appointed time for everything,and a time for every thing under the heavens.A time to be born, and a time to die;a time to plant, and a time to uproot the […]

The Gift of 2020

“Let us not waste the graces of this year.“ I have a calendar hanging on the wall of my kitchen. I buy the same one every year—one that features beautiful art each month that can be cut up at the end of the year and framed. As a result, it’s a bit of a splurge … so I wait until […]

The Answer is Jesus

Photo by Francesco Alberti on Unsplash

He may not remove burdens, but He will help carry them. A bishop was visiting one of his diocesan schools one day, and he stopped in to see the kindergartners. The children sat quietly in expectation, having been well-prepared by their teacher for this special visitor. The bishop tried to break the ice. “Do you know what I saw when […]

A Sacrifice of Prayer

"King David in Prayer" (detail) Pieter de Grebber [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

One of the greatest means for deepening and expanding our prayer life is found in Paul’s teaching on our becoming like Christ.   “Indeed I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as refuse, in order that I […]

Let Yourself Be Duped

It often seems that following the Lord means bigger crosses. How is this fair? A Trickster? The first reading for Sunday’s liturgy might sound a little bold to us. Is Jeremiah honestly accusing the Lord of tricking him? Some translations say “seduced” or “deceived.”  Does the Lord trick us? One of my favorite stories about this reading comes from a bishop I […]

From Suffering to Joy

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

Many years ago, I taught a fourth grade CCD class for my parish religious education department. It was the first evening of classes and I was starting the process of getting everyone introduced to one another when one boy blurted out, “I am going to be your worst nightmare.” He was speaking to me. You could say that I was […]

Graces for Later

“In this darkness, Our Lord has already given you what you need.” One of my favorite parts of the Easter season liturgy is in the preface before the Eucharistic Prayer, when the priest prays, “therefore, overcome with paschal joy…” It’s a reminder to me, every day of Easter, that we are in this season of joy and are called to […]

Standing at the Foot of the Cross

“The obedience at the Annunciation comes to full flower at the foot of the Cross.” “Standing by the cross of Jesus were his mother and his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary of Magdala” (Jn 19:25). Mary stands at the foot of the cross. Stabat Mater. She stands there as a mother, watching her son undergo the […]

Finding Joy in the Midst of Sorrow

"Christ's Entry into Jerusalem" by Hippolyte Flandrin

The Cross is the great paradox of Christianity. More than a few people have asked me over the years why the Catholic Church focuses so prominently and persistently on the Crucifix. One inquirer even suggested that the Crucifix hanging above the Altar is too intense a reminder of the sorrow in the world and that she would never join a […]