Town in Spain Attacks Problem of Hunger With Community Refrigerator

08/13/2015 Comments (36)

David Teniers the Younger (1610-1690), "The Works of Mercy"

What's the best way to feed the poor? In Spain, the small town of Galdakao has taken a very direct approach by installing a community fridge. Citizens, restaurants, and supermarkets can leave leftover food there, and anyone who wants it can simply come get it. According to a story on NPR 

There are rules: no raw meat, fish or eggs. Homemade food must be labeled with a date and thrown out after four days. But Javier Goikoetxea, one of the volunteers who cleans out the fridge, says nothing lasts that long.

"Restaurants drop off their leftover tapas at night — and they're gone by next morning," he says. "We even have grannies who cook especially for this fridge. And after weekend barbecues,...READ MORE

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How Are Contemplation and Meditation Linked?

08/13/2015 Comment

How are contemplation and meditation linked? Which is more important? How do you approach one from the vantage of the other? In our time, these two gifts of prayer are often conflated and confused by modern pop-spirituality that is all too popular in the Catholic world. The catechism brings great clarity on the distinctions in spite of the fact that these distinctions are still ignore by popular authors. These challenges are not new to our time. About 500 years ago a very holy saint had it right. He was one of St. Teresa of Avila's spiritual directors, St. Peter of Alcantara. Here's a bit of wisdom from his great work on meditation and prayer.

Counsels for Meditation, from Finding God...READ MORE

Filed under meditation, navigating the interior life, peter of alcantara, prayer, saint peter of alcantara, st. peter of alcantara

8 Reasons Why You Should Drive Across the Country

08/12/2015 Comments (1)

Moonlight State Beach, Encinitas, California (Photo by Justin Bell)

I blame, or rather credit, my parents for instilling in me the love of a long road trip.  Growing up in the American Southwest, we took some epic trips across the land — the most Odyssean being a two-week journey from Denver to Orlando and back, the summer before my 4th grade year.  Among many memories, these trips formed significant portions of my mental map of the United States.    

Recently, I drove over 2600 miles from Watertown, Massachusetts to Scottsdale, Arizona.  After a day’s rest at the home base, I was off to a buddy’s wedding in Malibu, California and I'm now back in Arizona. 

When seeking directions for a long trip on Google Maps, the handy service also shows an arc with an...READ MORE

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Creation Is a Gift, But Heaven Is Our Home

08/12/2015 Comments (7)

Russian Space Station Mir, backdropped against Earth, taken from the Space Shuttle Atlantis following undocking from the station at the end of STS-71 on the 4th of July, 1995. (Photo by NASA)

With the recent announcement of the “World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation,” we are again reminded that we have a duty to preserve what God has given to us. It reminds us that we are to be stewards of creation instead of masters, but what does that really mean? What does it mean to be a “steward?”

The typical definition of steward is, “a person who manages another's property or financial affairs; one who administers anything as the agent of another or others.” The key distinction here is that it denotes a person who is put in charge of “another’s property.” Being a steward means that we have been given the duty to manage something that is not ours.

This means that the earth is not...READ MORE

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Here's How I Battle the Depression I've Suffered For Years

08/12/2015 Comments (36)

Workshop of El Greco, "Mater Dolorosa"

I've battled depression for years.  As many fellow sufferers know, it comes on without warning and often without any obvious catalyst.  Medications only go so far.
For too long it was a vicious cycle.  I'd feel a whirlwind of sadness, grief, overwhelming sentimentality.  Energy and motivation reduced to near zero, I'd go through the motions for days just to get through the basics, looking for every possible opportunity to just lie down.  I kept thinking what a waste of time it was, accomplishing nothing, how there was simply nothing I could do about the emotional onslaught.  With a little self loathing thrown in (why did I do that ridiculously stupid thing?  how could I have thought that...READ MORE

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Mother Nature is One Unreliable Lady

08/11/2015 Comments (80)
Tobias Alt [GFDL ( or CC BY-SA 4.0-3.0-2.5-2.0-1.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons.

View from the Angels Landing trail looking northward to the Narrows, Zion National Park, Utah.

– Tobias Alt [GFDL ( or CC BY-SA 4.0-3.0-2.5-2.0-1.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons.

Conservation International has sponsored a series of videos that have become YouTube sensations, garnering millions of views. They feature famous actors - Harrison Ford, Kevin Spacey, Robert Redford, and others - voicing different aspects of the natural world, from the ocean, to the rain forest, to redwood trees. The most striking is the one that presents Mother Nature herself, given voice by Julia Roberts.

They all have more or less the same message, namely, that nature finally doesn't give a fig for human beings, that it is far greater than we, and will outlast us. Here are some highlights from the Mother's speech: "I've been here for over four and a half billion years, 22,500 times...READ MORE

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Vatican Announces Official Hymn for the Year of Mercy

08/11/2015 Comments (12)

The Vatican has just introduced the official hymn of the Holy Year Of Mercy.

The title is drawn from John 6:36, Misericordes sicut Pater (English: Be Merciful, As Your Father Is), by English composer Paul Inwood. Inwood's composition was the winner in an international competition sponsored by the Pontifical Council for the Promotion of the New Evangelization. The hymn has now been released in Italian, French, and English, with a Latin antiphon and refrains.

Archbishop Rino Fisichella, first Prefect of the Pontifical Council for the Promotion of the New Evangelization, explained in a press conference that the Year of Mercy is intended as an opportunity for the faithful to meet people's...READ MORE

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Abortion Is a Men's Issue

08/11/2015 Comments (60)

Guido Reni (1575-1642), "Saint Joseph"

When my son was a toddler, he spent an entire summer walking around with a caterpillar in each hand. Just about everything else he encountered was bigger and stronger than he, but caterpillars were small, soft, and helpless -- and, to his mind, desperately in need of his care. And so, with all the negligible strength of his two-year-old heart, mind, and strength, he took care of those caterpillars. 

He's a teenager now, and he's taller than I am. His shoulders are broad, and he spends as much time as any teenage boy in figuring out just how strong he is -- how much weight he can carry, how far he can throw things, how easy it is for him to knock things over.  

But he also spends a lot of...READ MORE

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