suffering

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 […]

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 […]

The Suffering in Bethany

“Could not the one who opened the eyes of the blind man have done something to spare this suffering?” The Sunday Gospels in Lent for Year A are particularly poignant and reflective, drawing us into the Lenten mysteries. We can see how the Church values them by the fact that these Gospels may be read at the weekday Masses as […]

The Lent that became Advent

Photo by Francesco Alberti on Unsplash

“What do we do with the void?” You may have heard, “Pray every Mass as if it was your first Mass, your last Mass, your only Mass.” This past Tuesday, I went to an early morning Mass at a church dedicated to St. Patrick for his feast day. When a church celebrates its patronal feast day, it is celebrated as […]

Fear and Trust in a Time of COVID-19

“Instead of anxiety, let us embrace faith and trust in God.” As the entire world responds to COVID-19, I must admit some shock and confusion over the level of fear that seems to be gripping countries, governments, and institutions. Without getting into the science of it all, since I am no doctor or virologist, the radical responses to the virus […]

What does his love look like?

Photo by Laura Allen on Unsplash

“Sometimes the gifts God has in store for me are not the gifts I would have chosen for myself.” “He doesn’t do the things he used to do, like buy her flowers.”  A coworker was telling me about a friend of hers, who, after several years of marriage, was lamenting the changes in their relationship.  Their lives were now full […]

Uncomfortable Christianity

“It’s time to recognize that Christianity is not a comfortable religion. The doctrines we profess are stumbling blocks, and the demands are uncomfortable.” We have gotten too comfortable. Walking around as baptized Christians, we probably don’t often think about what that means. Christianity is radical. If we really profess what Christianity professes and live what Christianity demands, we will not […]

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 […]