The abbot Isaac told St. John Cassian that we can compare the soul to a feather. If nothing weighs it down, a feather can be carried up into the sky by the slightest breeze. But weighed down by impurities, it falls to the ground and is buried. We can very fittingly compare the nature of the soul to a very fine feather or very light wing. If it has not been damaged or affected by being spoiled by any moisture… Read more

Gary Jansen currently serves as the senior editor of religion and spirituality at the Crown Publishing Group at Penguin Random House. He is the author of numerous books including The Rosary: A Journey to the Beloved , a bestselling memoir entitled Holy Ghosts and his exceptional book Station to Station: An Ignatian Journey through the Station of the Cross. He is a popular lecturer and commentator on spiritual topics, Gary has appeared on A&E, the Sundance Channel, the Travel Channel, Coast to Coast AM, CNN.com and NPR…. Read more

Even your former sins can lead others to Christ. Palladius of Galatia tells the story of Moses the robber, who, having turned monk, converted other robbers by his example. Precisely because he had been a robber, other robbers paid attention to him. A certain Moses—this was his name—an Ethiopian by race and black, was house-servant to a government official. His own master drove him out be­cause of his immorality and brigandage. For he was said to go even the length… Read more

It’s good to stop sinning—but it’s not enough, says St. John Chrysostom. We also need to bend over backwards to put things right. However we sinned, we should be doing the opposite to make up for it. By repentance I mean not just forsaking our former evil deeds, but also doing good deeds greater than the evil ones. “Bear fruit that befits repentance,” says John the Baptist (Matthew 3:8). But how shall we bear that fruit? By doing the opposite… Read more

St. Ambrose uses a farming metaphor to tell us about confession: you need to root out the weeds before you can grow the fruit you want. A perfect example, he says, is St. Paul, who sinned worse than almost any of us, actually persecuting believers for being Christians. So let us not be ashamed to confess our sins to the Lord. It’s true, we do feel shame when each one of us makes his sin known. But that shame plows… Read more

Christ gave Judas every opportunity to repent, not even holding back the Last Supper from him. St. Gregory the Great advises us to look to Judas as a good example of what not to do. When the Lord said, “Truly I tell you, one of you is about to betray me,” he showed that his betrayer’s conscience was well known to him. He did not confound the traitor by harsh and open rebukes, but met him with mild and silent… Read more

Susan Muto, executive director of the Epiphany Association, is a renowned speaker, author, and teacher, and is dean of the Epiphany Academy of Formative Spirituality. Muto is a frequent contributor to scholarly and popular journals such as Mount Carmel and Spiritual Life Magazine, and served as editor of Epiphany’s online journals and courses, including Growing in, with, and through Christ. She is the author of more than thirty books, among them Twelve Little Ways to Transform Your Heart, Table of Plenty, Then God Said, and Virtues: Your Christian Legacy. She is… Read more

We see it all the time: politicians, professors, even priests who call themselves “Catholic” but embarrass the Church with their public denials of Church teaching. Why doesn’t the Church just throw them out right away? St. Ambrose answers that it is, and should be, a hard thing to cut a limb off the body. First the bishop tries everything in his power to heal the disease. The bishop should treat the clerics and attendants, who are indeed his sons, as… Read more

Against heretics who said that serious sinners could never be reconciled to the Church, St. Ambrose uses the example of the Prodigal Son. No matter how serious the sin, the Church always holds out the hope of reconciliation. Without the hope of the Eucharist, who would repent at all? And no wonder he was dying of starvation! He didn’t have the divine nourishment. Prompted by the lack of it, he says, “I will arise and go to my fa­ther, and… Read more

We trust medical doctors even though they do all sorts of unpleasant things to us, says St. John Chrysostom. Shouldn’t we trust God to heal our sin—even if the remedy is unpleasant? The physician is not to be praised only when he leads the patient into gardens and meadows, or baths and pools of water, or when he sets a well-fur­nished table before him. He is also to be praised when he orders him not to eat, when he oppresses… Read more

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