Some people in the time of Jacob of Serugh were arriving at Mass very late— just before the Eucharist. Jacob warns them that they’re missing something essential: the prayers and healing in the earlier part of the liturgy. But you might be saying, “I will go and do whatever business I have until the consecration, and when they open the doors I will go in and receive.” You who are wise, drive away and put out these notions from you,… Read more

Herod told the Magi he wanted to worship the infant Christ—but really he wanted to kill a potential rival. We do the same, says St. John Chrysostom, if we approach the Eucharist unworthily. But be careful not to be like Herod, and say, “that I too may come and worship him,” but when you have come be planning to murder him. For those who partake of the mysteries unworthily resemble Herod—as it is said, they “will be guilty of profaning… Read more

The Church is a hospital for sinners, we often hear. But sometimes the cure is to go away, repent, and come back. The Church lets everyone in, says St. Cyril of Jerusalem, but you yourself have to judge whether you’re at church for the wrong reasons. We, the ministers of Christ, have let everyone in. We hold the place of doorkeepers (so to speak), but we have left the door wide open. Perhaps you came in with your soul muddied… Read more

Interview by Julie Abell JULIE: Thank you for writing about your conversion from staunch atheism to Catholicism. I appreciate your candidness, and I am thrilled for you, your family, and all those you come in contact with. I read a lot of books for the Catholic Book Blogger site, and there are some I don’t review because they were lackluster and those I do review I often do not an interview, but I specifically asked to interview you.  Although I… Read more

Review by Julie Abell At the end of every delightful book I am both sad and energized – sad to have finished the journey with the author and energized by the story.  This “Modern Conversion Story” of Sally Read, Night’s Bright Darkness: A Modern Conversion Story, published by Ignatius Press is riveting.  Sally is a British poet living in Rome and was a staunch atheist up until a few years ago.  Her conversion journey started after an interview she had… Read more

Scripture is the clear air of a meadow or a garden, says St. John Chrysostom. You can see far and plainly. But worldly cares are like smoke that makes your eyes water and dims your sight. Even your bodily eyes are always weeping when they have to be sur­rounded by smoke. But when they are in clear air—in a meadow, in fountains, and in gardens—they become more acute and more healthy. The soul’s eye is like that, too. If it… Read more

Review by Pete Socks Looking for a good history book on an obscure topic in Church History? I can’t think of a better book to suit that bill than Mystery of the Magi by Father Dwight Longenecker. You may be asking yourself why I am writing about this book now? The Epiphany is over. To be honest, this was intentional. As you will discover upon reading this book, it is not limited to a Christmas time read. Part history and… Read more

The health care you have to pay for is more more easily obtained by the rich than the poor. But Scripture, says St. John Chrysostom, is the medicine that’s free to everyone—and often the poor get even more benefit from it. You cannot get this medicine (Scripture) by paying money for it. But who­ever shows a sincere purpose and disposition goes on his way with the whole thing. For this reason, both rich and poor have the benefit of this… Read more

Scripture, St. Basil tells us, gives us an example for every occasion. When we want to learn how to live a good life, we should turn back to the great examples we find in the Bible. Studying inspired Scripture is the most important way of finding out what we should do. There we find both instructions for our conduct and the lives of blessed men, given to us in writing as living examples of godly life, so that we can… Read more

St. Jerome writes to one of his friends about a mutual friend, Bonosus, who has become a hermit on a remote island. The devil will tempt him, says St. Jerome, but Christ will defend him from those temptations. What nets do you think the devil is weaving for him now? What tricks does he have up his sleeve? Perhaps, remembering his old trick, he’ll try to tempt Bonosus with hunger. But he has been answered already: “Man shall not live… Read more

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