Learning to Pray As We Ought

Prayer is a gift, not a right.

02/03/2016 Comments (2)

Gerrit Dou, "Prayer of the Spinner"

“Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with sighs too deep for words.” Romans 8:26

As we draw closer to Lent, let's consider how we pray. Our time in the desert is an opportunity to look at our prayer life, and find new ways to pray drawn from the rich tradition of the Church. When learning new ways to pray, the first step is understanding how God works with our limitations.

In the Old Testament, God authorizes priests and prophets to pray. In the New Testament, the situation changes but the underlying rules still hold. People are baptized into Christ, and by the gift of the Holy Spirit through...READ MORE

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We All Have Rights, Because We All Have Responsibilities

02/03/2016 Comments (12)

"We all have guns," said Nancy Fine to an NPR interviewer yesterday. Fine lives in Burns, Oregon, where protesters have been congregating in solidarity with the militants who have been occupying Malheur National Wildlife Refuge for a month. Fine went on:

"But none of us wear them on our hip and kind of flaunt them around. We consider that extremely rude and ungentlemanly at best." 

Fine says one sure way of identifying an outsider is a prominently displayed sidearm. She shoots a scornful glance at a trio of men standing in front of her, their arms crossed, their holsters hanging out.

According to the story, a good many of the residents of Harney County, Oregon, agree with the...READ MORE

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Downton Abbey's Own Year of Mercy (Spoiler Alert)

02/03/2016 Comments (1)

(Photo Credit: garybembridge, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons)

SPOILER ALERT!

Lady Mary Crawley, the eldest child of the Earl  and Countess of Grantham, has been at war with her sister, Lady Edith, since childhood.  And though most viewers expected Mary would call a truce by now, the satisfaction she derives from wounding her unequal rival has yet to abate.  

Indeed, when commended for being uncharacteristically nice to Edith, in a recent episode during the 6th Season of Downton Abbey, Mary replies with her trademark drawl: “A monkey will type out the Bible if you leave it long enough.” 

Now, Mary's sharp ears have picked up a delicious tidbit that could destroy Edith's reputation. Overhearing a fragment of a conversation between her parents, Mary...READ MORE

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Protesting Planned Parenthood in Washington, DC

02/02/2016 Comments (7)

In Washington DC on frigid morning one day before the pro-life march, a national coalition of leaders including Fr. Frank Pavone, Lila Rose, Rev. Patrick Mahoney, and many others gathered to protest in front of the Planned Parenthood “mega-center” that is being built in northeast Washington. The site is not far from my own parish and mere blocks from the EWTN studios.

We have been praying in front of the Planned Parenthood for some time now, prayer vigils, candlelight services, Rosaries and silent pleas, Scripture and litanies. We are a confederation of individual Catholics and Evangelicals, and some from other faith traditions and no religion at all who share a common horror at what is...READ MORE

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What Every Parent Needs to Know About Pornography

02/02/2016 Comments (2)

A majority of teenagers believe that “not recycling” ranks as worse on the immorality scale than viewing porn. That’s one of the findings from the Barna Research Group’s recent survey on the subject. 

Much has been written about the “pornification” of popular culture. And with good reason. TV commercials for Axe deodorant and Victoria’s Secret are the equivalent of soft-core porn. The on-air antics of Miley Cyrus, once a “good girl” teen idol, are beyond raunchy. It’s difficult to find a television sitcom or drama these days where sex isn’t a plot line or a laugh line. Sex is everywhere. So it should be no surprise that teens have a no-big-deal, morally indifferent attitude about...READ MORE

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5 Best Videos of Kids Playing Mass

02/02/2016 Comments (12)

When I was little I used to "play Mass" with my brother. He would be the priest and I would put a couch arm cover on my head and pretend I was a nun and help him distribute the Eucharist.

There are pictures of me when I was around five baptizing my baby doll with a couch arm cover on my head, (I assume my doll was in danger of death therefore making the Baptism licit). Just as kids play house, it is normal for kids to play act the religious rituals of the faith they are raised in, and it is usually a sign that parents have made sure the faith has an important role in the home.

So, of course, now in the age of YouTube we have many videos of kids who obviously regularly attend Mass who have...READ MORE

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The Name is the Icon of the Person

02/02/2016 Comments (4)

(Photo by Daniel Tibi, CC BY 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons)

What’s in a name? Do names really have power? Does it matter what I name my child? These are questions very few people ask in a culture of informality and where there is a quest to have the most unique (and popular) name possible. In the process, names have lost much of their beauty and power.

This is unfortunate, because the ability to name sits at the very fabric of our existence. In fact, our duty to name is a command that was given to us at the very beginning of Creation.

What are we to do? How can we recover a reverence towards names?

Before we can arrive at a solution, let us look at a few examples of how names have power and how there are good names and bad names.

Catholic author...READ MORE

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Nazareth Residents: Who Does Jesus Think He Is?

02/02/2016 Comments (4)

James Tissot (1836-1902), “Jesus Unrolls the Scroll in the Synagogue”

Jesus meets an incredulous group of people from his home town in this Wednesday’s Gospel reading (Mark 6:1-6).

It’s a fascinating text, and it has a surprising number of interesting details.

Let’s take a look . . .

 

What Happened?

First, here’s the text itself:

He went away from there and came to his own country; and his disciples followed him.

And on the sabbath he began to teach in the synagogue; and many who heard him were astonished, saying, “Where did this man get all this? What is the wisdom given to him? What mighty works are wrought by his hands! Is not this the carpenter, the son of Mary and brother of James and Joses and Judas and Simon, and are not his sisters here...READ MORE

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