On Your Baptism Day, You Won the Biggest Lottery of All

01/12/2016 Comment

Yesterday I learned that no one actually won the incredible amount of money from the Powerball Lottery from Saturday night. It will now reach over a billion dollars on the next try. I asked a few friends and family members what they would do with the winnings if they won this lottery. I was fascinated by some of the responses.

My sister Mary said she would set up a non-profit with 90% of the winnings. Then with the remaining money, she would throw a big party for her friends and family and pay off their bills. Wow! I thought this was a great idea. One friend said she would tuck the money away and live off the interest after helping her family and friends. I told Mary I would want to set up...READ MORE

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Understanding the Power of Prayer

01/12/2016 Comments (3)

Giovanni Battista Salvi da Sassoferrato (1609-1685), “The Virgin in Prayer”

We’re supposed to pray. In fact the New Testament says we’re supposed to “pray without ceasing.” (I Thess. 5:16-18) How do you do that and what do you mean by ‘prayer’ to start with? If you thought it was asking God for stuff you’re not completely wrong. We’re supposed to ask God for our needs, and I think it’s just fine to ask God for the particular things like, “Dear God, please heal my son.” or “Please God we need money to pay the bills.”
However, these sorts of prayers are really a means to an end rather than an end in themselves. When we pray for specific things we are putting it all into God’s hands. We may say, “Give us this day our daily bread” but we also say, “Thy will be done...READ MORE

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Luke Skywalker's Monastic Retreat

Warning: Spoiler about the new Star Wars movie

01/11/2016 Comments (7)

Skellig oratory and cemetery. (Wikimedia Commons)

At the end of Star Wars: The Force Awakens, we find Luke Skywalker, dressed in the monklike robes of his mentor Obi-Wan Kenobi, looking old and impossibly sad. He is perched at the summit of an impossible location: a crag of rock jutting from a storm-tossed sea. Six hundred steps lead upward from that sea, made of stone hewn from the island itself.

This is neither set nor skillful CGI. It's Skellig Michael, a monastery on an island in the Atlantic Ocean eight miles off the coast of Kerry, Ireland.

There are three islands there in the sea: the Little Skellig, the Washerwoman's Rock, and the Great Skellig. It is this last rock, some 400 feet at its summit, that forms “the most western of...READ MORE

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The Key to a Pro-Life Renewal: It’s All About Who You Know

01/11/2016 Comments (2)

Master of the Spes Nostra (fl. 1490-1520), “Four Canons With the Visitation”

Anyone in business or politics will tell you that much of what happens hinges on who you know. Conversations, being present to another, face-time – all these things go a long way to open doors of opportunity.

Over the last four decades, pro-lifers have worked and argued tirelessly to save the unborn, coming at the issue from every conceivable angle. For most women, however, abortion is something they are open to considering because they do not yet know their child. The point is illustrated by the old story of a mother and her two-year old daughter at the doctor’s office. The mother, having just been told that she is pregnant, explains that she can’t have a second child. The doctor suggests...READ MORE

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Extracts from Pope's New Book, 'The Name of God Is Mercy'

01/11/2016 Comments (4)

Pope Francis’ first book, The Name of God Is Mercy, in which the Holy Father expands on his vision of God’s mercy, will be published tomorrow.

The work is a book-length interview with Vaticanist Andrea Tornielli of La Stampa. Vatican Secretary of State, Cardinal Pietro Parolin, the Italian film director Roberto Benigni, and Zhang Agostino Jianqing of Padua prison will be presenting the book at a press launch tomorrow at the Augustinianum in Rome. 

Ahead of its publication, the book’s publishers, Piemme, have made the following extracts available.

The Pope, like Peter, is in need of mercy

“The Pope is a man who needs the mercy of God,” the Holy Father says in the book-length interview....READ MORE

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6th Corporal Work of Mercy: Visit the Imprisoned

01/11/2016 Comments (2)

Filippino Lippi (1457-1504), “St. Paul Visiting St. Peter in Prison”

The next corporal work of mercy includes two separate acts: “ransoming the captive” and “visiting the imprisoned.” For the purposes of this article we will look at “visiting the imprisoned” as that is a bit more accessible for the average person.

In my last article we looked at a recent pope, John Paul II, and his practice of “visiting the sick.” This week I decided to continue that trend and look at another recent pope who has made this work of mercy (visiting the imprisoned) a hallmark of his pontificate. As you may have guessed, it is none other than Pope Francis.

Loving Without Limits

It has become routine for Pope Francis to visit those in prison. On Holy Thursday he makes it a...READ MORE

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Twelve Key Points From Pope's 2016 'Survey of the World'

01/11/2016 Comments (8)


Pope Francis spoke extensively today about the migration crisis and how nations should best confront it in his annual speech to the diplomatic corps accredited to the Holy See.

Here are some key points from the Holy Father’s discourse:

  1. The Pope said an individualistic spirit is “fertile soil” for the growth of indifference, fear and cynicism towards the "least in society": the poor, the marginalized, and particularly migrants.
  2. He counseled world leaders not to be frightened of migration which has always been a part of human history, adding it is “painful to realize” that these migrants are not included in international systems or agreements.
  3. The Pope said a “culture of waste” and the...READ MORE

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5 Things about Jesus’ Baptism that Make Me Jump for Joy

01/10/2016 Comments (3)

John Linnell (1792-1882), “Saint John the Baptist”

I love the narrative of our Lord’s baptism. From John’s reaction to Jesus’ approach to the decent of the Dove and the Father’s proclamation, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well-pleased,” it makes me want to jump for joy.

There is a lot I could write about this scene, especially as it brings back memories of my amazing trip to Jordan in April, 2015. But there are five things in particular that really touch my heart.

1. The re-uniting of John the Baptist and Jesus. Although there may have been some meetings of John and Jesus previously, there are no specific scenes mentioned in Scripture in which they met personally after the Visitation. Even then it was a meeting more of spirit –...READ MORE

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