The Family as the Icon of the Holy Trinity

03/14/2015 Comments (20)

My nephew Tom came home from first grade in anguish. At dinner he could barely keep the tears out of his six year old eyes. When his parents pressed him to find out what was wrong, he replied that "this kid at school says I have a funny name." His parents glanced at each other, thinking, "'Tom Shea' is a funny name?" So summoning their best parental wisdom, they told him to ignore the kid and he would go away.

Of course, this didn't work. The kid kept it up for another day or two till Tom was really beginning to worry: maybe he did have a funny name.

Finally, Tom's parents decided it was time to take action. Reasoning that they would have to go talk to his folks, they asked at dinner that...READ MORE

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Holiness Therapy for the Not-So-Holy

03/09/2015 Comments (43)

When C.S. Lewis was approached by a publisher and invited to write a book about the problem of pain, he asked to be allowed to write it anonymously, since, he said, "if I were to say what I really thought about pain, I should be forced to make statements of such apparent fortitude that they would become ridiculous if anyone knew who made them." The publisher said no to anonymity, but gave Lewis the exhilarating option of writing a preface explaining that he did not live up to his own principles.

I am in pretty much the same boat here, writing brashly about something called "personal holiness" as if I were St. Francis. To be honest, I am not particularly holy. That is to say, I don't...READ MORE

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Some Remarks on Pro-Death Penalty Arguments

03/06/2015 Comments (82)

Yesterday, the Register, along with America, the National Catholic Reporter, and Our Sunday Visitor, made me proud to be a Catholic by joining together in the unity of the Faith and asserting the obviously right and Catholic position of calling for an end to the death penalty.  Predictably a loud chorus of objections was heard from the comboxes making arguments that have been made many times before.  

It's justice! Something hard to maintain given the hugely disproportionate number of minorities slated for death, not to mention the disturbing number of innocent people on death row who have been exonerated by, for instance, DNA evidence.  Also, one doesn't really get the sense of sober...READ MORE

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Why Tithe?

03/02/2015 Comments (19)

One of the unfortunate effects of human sin and of the weird and fractured borderline between the sacred and the secular in postmodern culture is that the word "tithe" provokes reactions ranging from the skeptic's cry "The whole thing's a scam!" to the dim uncomfortable notion of many people that money, if it doesn't belong to the devil, is at any rate coated with icky microbes from the infernal regions and ought not to sully the life of the Church.

But neither of these views reflect the biblical perspective on tithing and our stewardship of money. To be sure, the love of money is called the root of all kinds of evil by St. Paul (not unlike the love of food, power, sex or any other...READ MORE

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Because It's True

02/27/2015 Comments (30)

Not infrequently, Catholics are asked to give reasons for why they are Catholic. This, in itself, is not a bad thing. After all, St. Peter himself says "Always be prepared to make a defense to any one who calls you to account for the hope that is in you" (1 Peter 3:15). What is often troubling, however, is the account we give. I wish I had a nickel for every time I heard Catholics "make defenses" in this way:

"I'm Catholic because it suits my personal life style. Being a Catholic just feels right to me. Plus, the Catholic Faith can help us weather the many changes of a hectic and uncertain world. Its family values are solid, it has a good school system, and it strikes a good balance...READ MORE

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The Temptation of Christ

02/25/2015 Comments (7)

If we are serious Catholics, we must recognize that our Faith calls us to acknowledge a much-disliked and disputed doctrine: the Fall. The teaching, in the words of Paul, is that "By one man sin entered into the world, and by sin death, and so death passed upon all men, in whom all have sinned" (Romans 5:12).

The doctrine of original sin says that what is wrong with the human race is something like a birth defect. Our fallenness consists not of something Adam and Eve gave us, but of something they didn't give us: a relationship of union with God that should have been there but isn't. The result is that we are born with a hole in our soul where God should be, but isn't.

How our race got...READ MORE

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Sadie Hawkins and Lent

02/19/2015 Comments (14)

When I was in high school, every February saw the annual ritual of "Sadie Hawkins Day." Sadie Hawkins was a character in the old cartoon strip "L'il Abner" who took things into her own hands when it came to datin', courtin' and all the rest of the male/female frou-frou that so occupies the adolescent mind. She didn't wait for a guy to ask her out. She asked him.

So, once a year, in honor of dear Sadie, my alma mater held a dance in which the girls asked the guys out for a change. The net result of this arrangement was to create a social situation in which a small but stable group of insecure boys were reminded for four years straight that no girl in the school would touch them with a barge...READ MORE

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The Intolerable Compliment

02/15/2015 Comments (6)

It is a strange fact of the Christian life that one of the surest marks of God's favor is trouble. In the scene just preceding Luke's account of the temptation of Christ we have seen one of the most overt revelations of Jesus' true identity. The heavens are torn open, the Spirit descends on Jesus "in bodily form like a dove" and the very voice of the Father declares "You are my beloved Son; with you I am well pleased." There's just not a lot of ambiguity here.

And yet, in Luke's account, we find the very first token of the Father's pleasure with the Son is this: he was immediately led by the Spirit into the desert for forty days to be tempted by the devil. For many people this is as...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.