Many Catholics today misunderstand the dogma of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Catholics celebrate this feast day each year of December 8. Many people believe that the Immaculate Conception refers to the conception of Christ through the working of the Holy Spirit in the womb of Mary. Though that is one of the great gifts God gave to humanity it is not the one he gave in this instance. Catholic Doctrine of Mary The Immaculate Conception refers… Read more

In the natural world, things grow, die, and decay. Is God’s creation imperfect, then? No, says St. Augustine: every created thing has its place in God’s great plan, and even its decay serves the larger purpose. All natures that exist have a genus and species of their own, and a kind of internal harmony, and because of that they are certainly good. And when they are in the places assigned to them in the order of nature, they preserve the… Read more

St. Clement of Rome tells us that we’re all different for a reason. Not everyone is cut out to be a leader, but we all have different gifts, and the Church needs all of us. We should try to use the gifts we’ve been given, knowing that every gift—no matter how insignificant it seems—is equally important to the Church. So, as men and brothers, let us energetically play the part of soldiers, fol­lowing his holy commandments. Think of those who… Read more

God is always beyond the grasp of our reason, as St. Hilary of Poitiers tells us. Yet we can work toward understanding It is the Father to whom all existence owes its origin. In Christ and through Christ he is the source of all. In contrast to all else he is self-existent. He does not draw his being from without, but possesses it from himself and in himself. He is in­finite, for nothing contains him and he contains all things;… Read more

Phillip Campbell holds a BA in European History from Ave Maria University and a certificate in Secondary Education through Madonna University. He taught history and Scripture for the St. Augustine Homeschool Enrichment Program for ten years. Mr. Campbell is the author of the popular ” Story of Civilization” series by TAN Books. He recently joined the Catholic History Textbook Project. Mr. Campbell’s writings have appeared in the St. Austin Review and The Distributist Review. He is also the star of… Read more

Writing to a widowed noblewoman, Theodoret tells her that reason will be a consolation in her loss. Even the philosophers knew by reason that life is transi­tory, and we know by revelation that there will be a resurrection. I would have written long before if I had heard of the death of your grace’s honorable husband. I’m not writing now to lull your great sorrow to sleep with soothing words—those are not necessary. If you have learned the wisdom of… Read more

This isn’t the sort of thing we usually hear at a funeral these days, but perhaps it should be. At the funeral of his father, St. Gregory Nazianzen tells his mother that the true Christian bears the loss of a loved one with fortitude because he knows that the separation is only for a short time. Does the feeling of separation cause you pain? Let hope cheer you. Is widowhood sorrowful to you? It is not to him. And what… Read more

To a congregation that had lost its pastor, St. Basil sends his condolences. Grief is natural, he says, but we have to work through our grief and do what needs to be done. Following an ancient custom, which has been in force for many years, and at the same time showing you love in God, which is the fruit of the Spirit, I now send this letter to you, my pious friends. I feel with you both in your grief… Read more

Are you feeling gloomy? That’s good if it leads you to repent your sins, says St. John Cassian. Otherwise, depression poisons our spiritual lives. You can know whether it’s the good kind or the bad kind by its fruits. There is another still worse kind of depression, that does not lead the guilty soul to any change of life or correction of faults, but into the most de­structive despair—the despair that did not make Cain repent after murdering his brother,… Read more

When we work, says St. Basil, we do it for the sake of the good things that will come from our work. But only work for holiness and truth can never disappoint us, because it always leads to the good things we hope for. Toil in the field is no novelty to farmers. Sailors are not surprised to run into a storm at sea. The hired hand expects to sweat in the summer heat. And to those who live a… Read more

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