St. Gregory the Great urges his congregation not to fall into the trap of the Manichean heresy. But he also urges them to pray for the heretics. We should pray constantly that all who have strayed will be brought back to the Lord. We deplore the blasphemy of those who deny that Christ was truly hu­man—about whom the blessed Apostle John forewarned us in a crystal-clear say­ing: “every spirit which confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is… Read more

Society has a broken idea of what happiness truly is. We are told that the hot new gadget or a faster, sportier vehicle paves the way to our joy and fulfillment. Unfortunately, we often follow this path and discover ourselves just as empty as we were before and even emptier in our wallets. In his book Rethink Happiness: Dare to Embrace God and Experience True Joy, author Paul George shows readers how to shun this misconception and life truly joyous… Read more

The desert fathers, St. John Cassian tells us, had a custom of revealing their most intimate spiritual struggles to beginning monks. By revealing our own struggles, we can help others facing the same problem. I thought it was a good idea to mention these things in this little work of mine, so that we might learn, not only by reason, but also by examples, about the force of temptations and the order of the sins that hurt an unfortunate soul,… Read more

On this episode of Off the Shelf Paul George and I dig into what is true happiness. In our consumeristic society many people seek happiness through material goods but come up empty every time. As Paul says in his book Rethink Happiness: Dare to Embrace God and Experience True Joy, “I spent the first twenty years of my life seeking things that didn’t satisfy me – things that were counterfeit.” Listen in and learn how to fill that God shaped… Read more

Palladius of Galatia tells the story of an ascetic who met a man and woman who were actors—a notoriously immoral profession in those days. Wishing to save them for Christ, he took the extreme measure of selling himself to them as a slave. The fathers used to tell how, taking a female ascetic as his accomplice, Serapion sold himself to some Greek actors in a certain city for twenty pieces of money. And having sealed up the money he kept… Read more

Why do our churches seem half-empty sometimes? Why are our neighbors stay­ing home from Mass? St. John Chrysostom warns us that the real blame is not with those who stayed away, but with us who went to church and didn’t bring our neighbors with us. It seems I did no good with the long harangue I addressed to you a while ago, hoping to rouse up your enthusiasm for the meetings here. Once again our church is destitute of her… Read more

The unknown author of this letter simply calls himself a “Mathetes,” a “dis­ciple.” Here he tells a pagan friend that Christians are like the soul of the world. To sum up: what the soul is to the body, that is what Christians are to the world. The soul is scattered through all the members of the body, and Christians are scattered through all the cities of the world. The soul lives in the body but is not part of the… Read more

“You’re not getting through to them,” people might tell us. But persistence wins the day, says St. John Chrysostom. If everyone gave up after the first failure, how would the world go on? There are some who relax the zeal of others by derision and ridicule, saying, “Stop giving advice; leave off warning; they are not listening to you: you have no fellow-feeling with them.” Haven’t I persuaded them today? But I shall persuade, perhaps, tomorrow. Or even if not… Read more

There is a niche in the Catholic publishing world that has steadily gained a foothold in the years since I began reviewing books. That niche is Catholic fiction. What makes good Catholic fiction? A great story and gentle nudges towards Church teachings without being heavy handed. Fiorella de Maria has perfected the method and this week we talk about Catholic fiction, why it matters, and how it has grown. We do this while taking a look at a number of… Read more

St. Basil was a man who knew how to ask for a favor. In this letter he very gently appeals to a provincial governor’s love of reputation, suggesting that the surest way to earn wide fame is to be known for his good deeds. I am aware that your excellency is favorably receiving my letters, and I understand why. You love all that is good; you are ready in doing kindnesses. So whenever I give you the opportunity of showing… Read more

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