Why You Should Love Your Guardian Angel (And Not Name Him)

10/01/2015 Comments (4)

Alexey Tyranov (1801-1859), "Angel Fighting for the Soul"

I remember learning about guardian angels as a child, and being completely freaked out by it. In my spiritual immaturity, the idea of a being that I could not see following me around wherever I went was unsettling.

As I grew and matured, of course, I began to not only understand the beauty and importance of guardian angels, but I also came to love, respect, and appreciate mine.

It’s the very thing that originally freaked me out – the constant presence of a being I could not see – that eventually endeared him to me. Given to me by God, my guardian angel is always there, loving me, caring for me, and guiding me.

I’ve called upon him and all the usual day-to-day things, and certainly in...READ MORE

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Building on Nature

10/01/2015 Comment

In his Letters to an American Lady, on November 10, 1952, C. S. Lewis wrote:

I believe that, in the present divided state of Christendom, those who are at the heart of each division are all closer to one another than those who are at the fringes. I would even carry this beyond the borders of Christianity: how much more one has in common with a real Jew or Muslim than with a wretched liberalising, occidentalised specimen of the same categories.

I think Lewis has a point. One of the things our faith teaches us is that grace builds on nature — that God begins with the human “raw material” He creates and, if you will, co-creates us via the risky business of giving us free will. Accordingly,...READ MORE

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Fourth Spiritual Work of Mercy: To Bear Wrongs Patiently

10/01/2015 Comments (2)

The fourth spiritual work of mercy is one that is simple in theory, but difficult in practice: “to bear wrongs patiently.” We all know how to be charitable and patient to those who are pleasant, kind and humble. However, our initial reaction is not “patience” when someone cuts in line in front of us after waiting for an hour at the DMV.

Jesus had much to say in regards to this spiritual work of mercy.  He said,

“’You have heard that it was said, “An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.” But I say to you, Do not resist one who is evil. But if any one strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also; and if any one would sue you and take your coat, let him have your cloak as...READ MORE

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How Pope Francis Touched Hearts in Philly

I met other ticket holders excited for the chance to catch a glimpse and a good photo of the pontiff, as well as vendors and many living on the streets who watched the passersby.

10/01/2015 Comment
Susan Klemond

Mauro Avila (holding crucifix) and friends

– Susan Klemond

Entering the secured area in central Philadelphia where the Holy Father met pilgrims during his visit last Saturday and Sunday was, for many, a logistical adventure.

Those fortunate enough to have tickets to the papal Mass and Festival of Families had to purchase special train tickets in advance to ride mass transit, navigate around blocked streets, contend with crowds and wait in long lines to pass through airport-like security.

My journey into the “red zone” — a ticket-only area on Benjamin Franklin Parkway on Saturday, where Pope Francis would speak that evening and say Mass on Sunday — proved to be nearly as interesting as my destination. I met other ticket holders excited for the...READ MORE

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Can American Writers Write Happy Endings?

10/01/2015 Comments (33)

The British get Tom Jones and Dickens and Shakespeare's comedies, but what do we Americans get? Death and sadness, that's what -- at least in literature. 

Are there American novels with happy endings? This is what my daughter needed to know, since her high school English teacher is letting her choose her own author to research. Like many sensible people, my daughter understands that life is hard, that ambiguity abounds in our time, and that believable, compelling stories aren't going to end up with a rainbow and a unicorn and a tidy bow; however, like many sensible people, she was pretty tired of reading dystopian holocaust suicide apocalypse eating disorder stories, too.

So I asked the...READ MORE

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Jesus Christ is the Sure Foundation of True Masculinity

10/01/2015 Comments (4)

The Christ Pantocrator of the Deesis mosaic (13th-century) in Hagia Sophia (Istanbul, Turkey)

It isn't often that you read an apostolic exhortation by a Catholic bishop and learn something new about James Bond, the iconic British spy with the code name 007 and (like so many other 21st century men) a penchant for gadgetry. But in his stirring, well-crafted letter, "Into the Breach: An Apostolic Exhortation to Catholic Men, My Spiritual Sons in the Diocese of Phoenix", Bishop Thomas Olmsted seeks to bring his flock back to earth, back to the sure foundation of healthy masculinity: Jesus Christ. This is a wake up call for men in his diocese, and he pokes holes in the counterfeit masculine identities that populate the culture and risk colonizing our imagination.

"James Bond's name,"...READ MORE

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Confessions of a “Say the Black, Do the Red” Catholic

10/01/2015 Comment

It is hard to extend mercy when one is not intimately familiar with one’s own failures. Most don’t realize that the Pharisees were stalwart orthodox. They were deeply committed to their faith. However, they had strayed interiorly. Their faith was one of external adherence and they thought that this was the entirety of the life in God. Jesus’ rebukes of this problem were not new and were echoed throughout the Old Testament. 

I have no doubt that the Pharisees would have loved the phrase, “Say the black, do the red.” By the way, I always say “Amen!” when I read it myself. Here’s the hard part: external orthodoxy is a distorted orthodoxy when it is not accompanied by a properly oriented...READ MORE

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Jesus Christ is the Same Yesterday, Today and Forever

09/30/2015 Comments (24)

Ivan Aivazovsky (1817-1900), “Walking on Water”

Last year’s Synod on the Family was the low point in my Catholic faith.

It wasn’t the dueling cardinals and their clashing press comments that got to me. What pushed me close to despair was the fear that the Church might actually walk away from Jesus.

After I converted, I found a few of the Church’s teachings difficult to accept. But I hung in there and slowly came around to acceptance and a profound gratitude for the Church’s fidelity to Christ down through the centuries.

I have always understood that the members of the priesthood, including those in the papacy, are fallen men. I knew from many experiences in my life that they were capable of all sorts of sin. I didn’t expect anything...READ MORE

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