The Land of Stories: An Enchanting Series I'm Enjoying with My Daughter

07/18/2015 Comments (3)

This summer, my ten-year-old has reached a milestone: she's finally finishing books. Instead of starting one, and then another, and then another, until a pile of 20 is beside her bed and a different pile of 10 is scattered around the house, she's starting and finishing books.

Which means she's adding to my reading pile at an alarming (and delightful) rate.

When she first introduced me to The Land of Stories: A Wishing Spell, I thought it looked cute, maybe even good. The concept sounded good, but I have a streak of cynical that can't even be cured by great covers or New York Times bestseller status.

The premise of the first book: twins Alex and Connor are given a favorite old fairy tale...READ MORE

Filed under book review, middle grade fiction

We Must Defend the Babies With Greater Strength and Strategy

Pro-life people have been losing in the game of grown-up politics for a very long time now. It's time to change that.

07/17/2015 Comments (45)

Angelo Visconti (1829-1861), "The Massacre of the Innocents"

Cecile Richards, president of Planned Parenthood Federation of America, issued a video statement concerning her organization's selling of aborted-baby body parts.

Pro-life people know that these body parts came from babies who were murdered by Planned Parenthood. They watch the video of one of the doctors who does this murdering, chomping on her salad and swilling down her wine as she discusses the best way to kill the child while preserving its organs for sale.

This is ghastly, grisly business. It is grotesque.

Pro-life people, who understand that this is an innocent child whose murder the doctor is discussing, almost have the oxygen sucked out of their lungs by the cavalier manner in...READ MORE

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St. Camillus de Lellis, Rash Vows, and Sanctity’s Daily Grind

Life is largely composed not of high points, but of interludes and codas – a rich soil in which the seeds of sanctity can grow.

07/17/2015 Comments (3)

Leonardo Antonio Olivieri (1689–c.1750), "The Immaculate Virgin with Saint Anthony and Saint Camillo of Lellis"

“All vows are rash vows.”
—​G.K. Chesterton

One of the nicest things about listening to classic rock is also one of its drawbacks: the familiarity. “Not Led Zeppelin [or “The Stones,” or “The Who,” or fill in the blank] again,” my kids might say if I’m behind the wheel. “Can’t we listen to something new?”

“Sure,” I’ll concede (if I’m in a tolerant mood). “Why not?” Then I’ll immediately poke the preset button on the dash and switch to a station more to their liking. It doesn’t matter what oldie is already playing at that moment – Supertramp, Fleetwood Mac, even the Stones – because it’s all been heard before, and it’ll all come around again in the playlist soon enough. Any given...READ MORE

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Puny Humans, Geocentrism, and ET

07/17/2015 Comments (6)

Our place in the cosmos has been a source of fascination since the first human looked up at the splendor of the night sky.  Every culture has reacted to the spectacle of the heavens with various sorts of religious awe.  Babylonians watched the stars for omens, as did the Chinese.  Petroglyphs in North America record novas.  Greek gods are bound up with the constellations.  Vanished cultures erected immense monuments like Stonehenge with an eye on the movements of the heavens.  Egypt was rocked by a religious reform movement led by Akhenaten, who worshiped one god: the Sun.

The sense of wonder about our place in the universe was not lost on the Chosen People either.  The Psalmist pours out...READ MORE

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Nothing to Do With Islam?

Although the majority of Muslims may be disinclined to take up arms, extremist views are widespread in the Muslims world.

07/16/2015 Comments (39)

Matt Archbold recently wrote an interesting piece for the Register about the draw-Muhammad rally that took place outside a Phoenix mosque on May 29. It was the same mosque once attended by the two terrorists who attacked another Muhammad cartoon event in Garland, Texas, just three weeks before.

“What are they trying to prove?” he asks. I’m sure that a lot of other Americans are asking the same question. According to Archbold, the point that the protesters were trying to make has already been made:

Are there really a lot of Americans who are a little hazy on where radical Muslims stand on the issue of violence? Seems to me we’ve been pretty certain about that for … uhm … about seventeen...READ MORE

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How Do You Meditate Correctly?

07/16/2015 Comments (3)

How do you meditate correctly? What do you need to keep in mind? What's important (and what's not)?

Counsels for Meditation, from Finding God through Meditation, by St. Peter of Alcantara

Now we will briefly handle those things which pertain to the form and method of meditation, of which, though the Holy Spirit be the principal master, nevertheless, experience teaches us that certain counsels are likewise necessary: because the way to heaven is cragged, and full of difficulties, therefore is there need of a guide, without which many have gone astray a long time from the right path, or, at leastwise, have not attained to their desired end so soon as they expected.

The First Counsel—Avoid...READ MORE

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

Do Not Be Afraid, For Evil Cannot Withstand the Power of Jesus

Evil, no matter how powerful it seems, cannot stand. It will ultimately self-destruct and be overcome by the Light.

07/15/2015 Comments (21)

"Jesus Tempted" by Carl Heinrich Bloch. Public domain from Wikimedia Commons.

Some Pharisees, likely disingenuous in their motives, approach Jesus to warn him that he needs to leave immediately: Go away, leave this area because Herod wants to kill you. Jesus says simply:

Go and tell that fox, ‘Behold, I cast out demons and I perform healings today and tomorrow, and on the third day I accomplish my purpose.' (Luke 13:32)

Surely Jesus has more in mind here than the next three days on the calendar. He’s obviously speaking of the Paschal mystery, of his passion, death and Resurrection. He is saying in effect, to any who would threaten to kill him, that in so doing, they serve only to undermine their own wickedness and power, and to cause him to fulfill his own...READ MORE

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Can Catholics Donate Their Bodies to Science?

07/15/2015 Comments (17)

Quite frankly, I was appalled when I discovered after my mother’s death that she’d donated her body to the state medical college.

She’d told my siblings and me years ago that she intended to donate her body “to science.” But, with my mother’s flair for dramatics, we assumed it was another attempt at grabbing attention, and so we appeased her and then carried on with life.

We were wrong.

I was informed of mom’s decision when I got the call from the retirement home that she’d passed away in the early morning hours. She had indeed donated her body for scientific research, and as I spoke with the home’s social worker, the body has already been taken to a funeral home in preparation for its...READ MORE

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