Mary Guards the Truth about Our Relationship to God

09/17/2012 Comments (231)

In the virginity of Mary, we see reflected to us the essential truth of the Gospel: that it’s God who is the author of our salvation. That’s as deeply offensive to us today as it has ever been, because people don’t want to hear that we can no more save ourselves than a corpse can jump. We are much more comfortable thinking of ourselves as heroes who achieve something great and earn the respect of God and our peers through our achievements. In short, we believe in power, not love. It is the poison that has gnawed at our vitals since the serpent bit us in the Garden. It is pride.

And so, the world teaches us to treat life as a power struggle among economic classes, races, man, and...READ MORE

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Mary, the Virgin Mother

09/14/2012 Comments (6)

The purity of Mary’s faith, so closely bound up with her virginity, leads to the other great Marian image found in John’s Gospel. For at the very climax of the story, a curious thing happens that John obviously regards as extremely important. He writes:

One of the soldiers pierced his side with a spear, and at once there came out blood and water. He who saw it has borne witness—his testimony is true, and he knows that he tells the truth—that you also may believe ( John 19:34–35).

Why does John interrupt the narrative of his Gospel here, of all places, to make sure we believe blood and water gushed from Jesus’ side? Is he really interested in the anatomical details of pericardial...READ MORE

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The Significance of the Wedding at Cana

09/10/2012 Comments (29)

John is careful to note that Jesus’ first miracle (at Cana) is done in response to Mary’s intercession ( John 2:1–11). Mary, the icon of the bride and the counterpoint to Jesus the groom, is exactly the importunate supplicant Jesus tells us he is looking for in the Parable of the Unjust Judge (Luke 18:1–8). She doesn’t take “no” for an answer, but first taps Jesus on the shoulder and says, “They have no wine” and, after a seeming rebuff, goes with perfect trust to the servants and tells them, “Do whatever he tells you.”

There is a strong tendency in Evangelical circles to read this story as yet another example of Jesus “rebuking” Mary. But the longer I contemplated it, the more...READ MORE

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In Honor of Our Son Matthew's Wedding Tomorrow…

09/07/2012 Comments (95)

I thought it might be good to talk a bit about a subject near and dear to his heart and the heart of his beautiful bride-to-be, Claire.  That would be Mary (they are both members of the Militia Immaculata, founded by St. Maximilian Kolbe, and are consecrated to her).  So today and Monday we will take a look at Mary.  First we will discuss the meaning of her Virginiity.  Then on Monday, we will take a look at the significance of the Wedding at Cana.

So What’s the Big Deal about Mary’s Perpetual Virginity?

The first thing to note about this teaching is that it’s the natural extension of the dogma of the Virgin Birth. Many modern people assume that, at its core, the Virgin Birth was...READ MORE

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A Reader Plagued by Scrupulosity Writes…

09/03/2012 Comments (73)

As you know, I have been totally confused by this whole issue of modesty that seems to convulse the Catholic blogosphere. Anyway, what do you think of bikini-style swimsuits in that regard? My problem is that almost every woman I know wears one, yet I know for a fact that most of them are not trying to incite lust in anyone. My estranged wife, who is German, for example, always wore a bikini at the beach or pool, or even the top half to work out in the garden. The cut of it was never as such that I would have found it to be over the top, especially before I started worrying about this kind of stuff due to the Catholic blogosphere. And even among bikini suits, there are those that...READ MORE

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Why Bother With Such a Corrupt Church?

08/27/2012 Comments (331)

A reader writes:

Read some of your blog.  I know their are some good people that are Catholics.  Just don't understand why organized religion becomes perverted and the leadership condones the behavior.  Wait, I do understand, it's all about "power over." The culture of the church is corrupt and sanctions this aberrant behavior.  Puts all the good people in such a bad place, don't you think? The church has had a "power over" relationship with the people for centuries.  Watched this in action during Semana Santa in Sevilla about 30 years back.  It was a disgusting display of "power over" and yet apologists for the church condone and encourage this behavior.

First, thank you for...READ MORE

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Blood Donation is Good

08/24/2012 Comments (13)

A reader writes:

Would donating blood be considered one of the Corporal Works of Mercy?  It seems to, but at the same time doesn't quite fit into one of the 7 listed works.  The reason I'm asking is that I feel spiritually guided to start donating my blood.  To me, the fact that you're giving your own blood - a part of yourself - seems very profound, along the lines of organ donation.

I don't think it matters whether blood donation maps to one of the works of mercy.  It clearly is an expression of the second greatest commandment: love your neighbor as yourself.  When you give your life's blood that another may live you are imitating Christ, who gives us his very blood that we...READ MORE

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A Brief Primer on Conscience

08/20/2012 Comments (38)

The main problem with that work of the flesh which Paul calls "party spirit' (Galatians 5:20) is that it urges people to evaluate Church teaching in light of their sect's pet doctrines instead of evaluating their sect's pet doctrines in light of Catholic teaching.  So, for instance, Calvinists filter Catholic teaching through a few pet doctrines about the sovereignty of God and predestination and original sin, while universalists filter Catholic teaching through a few pet doctrines about the love of God and the hope of heaven. Other pertinent considerations get filtered out.

Party spirit is a major affliction of modern Americans, Catholic and non-Catholic.  And it tends to be expressed...READ MORE

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About Mark Shea

Mark Shea
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Mark P. Shea is a popular Catholic writer and speaker. The author of numerous books, his most recent work is The Work of Mercy (Servant) and The Heart of Catholic Prayer (Our Sunday Visitor). Mark contributes numerous articles to many magazines, including his popular column “Connecting the Dots” for the National Catholic Register. Mark is known nationally for his one minute “Words of Encouragement” on Catholic radio. He also maintains the Catholic and Enjoying It blog. He lives in Washington state with his wife, Janet, and their four sons.