The Mary of Christmas & the Mary of Good Friday – What I Learned From the Mother of Christ

Virgin Mary by El GrecoIt happened on Good Friday. I was sitting with my family at our parish's annual Living Stations of the Cross. As one punishing station succeeded another, Christ was soon collapsing under the burden of the cross and the stripes of his scourging. And then it happened. I finally understood Mary. Approaching her son - the Christ, for sure, the Prince of Peace, the King of the Universe, the Word Incarnate, but still her son - Mary saw the babe foretold by the angel, … [Read more...]

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“Let’s Start at the Very Beginning” – The Advent Message I Missed in “The Sound of Music”

 Their eyes were wide. But I wanted to make an impact.So I overwhelmed them with a ton of books. Let me explain.For several years, my Catholic parish asked my to convene a series of discussions with high school juniors and seniors (recently Confirmed in tenth grade) on how to cultivate their Catholic Faith. I focused on topics such as Dignity, Calling, Suffering and Grace. The discussions were open, honest, wide-ranging and rooted in Scripture, Church documents and the works … [Read more...]

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John the Baptist & the Hard Truth About Advent

 John (the Baptist) in the Wilderness by Michelangelo Merisi da CaravaggioHe was fierce. Wild, even.And yet, he was strikingly lucid.Oh, he could scare a person. Especially if he made eye contact with you from across the crowd. If he shook his rough hewn staff at you and uttered those words that cut to the core of your complacency, he could scare you. Because what he said was true. John the Baptist didn't come to win friends. He came to shake us.  To peasants and Pharisees, to s … [Read more...]

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“This Night Must Lead to Light”: Father Delp, the Nazis & Advent

He rubbed his wrists. It couldn't be helped.The manacles had been on since Father Alfred Delp's arrest and the hard-edged steel bit into his flesh. Constantly. It was a special torture for all "conspirators" implicated in the July 20th (1944) Plot against the Fuhrer. But Father Delp wasn't a conspirator. He had been asked as a Jesuit and sociology expert to meet with Count Helmuth James Graf von Moltke and a circle of German citizens (later dubbed the Kreisau Circle) in 1942-43 to discuss … [Read more...]

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The Most Arrogant Coronation

 It was extraordinary.In 1804, under the vaulted, holy arches of France's finest cathedral, a coronation was about to take place. Hundreds of choristers and orchestral members nervously found their way to tightly packed quarters and prepared to offer triumphant strains of glory to their sovereign. Notables from innumerable governmental and cultural institutions as well as foreign diplomats arrived in their finery to witness the momentous event. And the military tramped in to lend a … [Read more...]

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God Protect France

  It was a dark time. October, 1940.The French colossus of Napoleon and the proud juggernaut of the Great War had succumbed to the Nazi Blitzkrieg in June of 1940. Now, four months later, the fiery-hearted, passionate French chafed under the humiliating yoke of the Nazis in the rump state of Vichy France. The terrible words of the former French Prime Minister Paul Reynaud echoed in the ears of the citizens."[If HItler won the war] it would be the Middle Ages again, but … [Read more...]

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