U.S. Sister Talks about Freedom, Forgiveness, Reconciliation, Joy

The Vatican has released its report on women religious in the United States. More about it here. This morning I was particularly taken with the statement of Sr. Sharon Holland, IHM, from the Sisters, Servants of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, delivered in Rome. Like everyone, like the report itself she was frank. But I do hope that everyone – and media – who have been influenced by caricatures of the whole Apostolic Visitation process – takes a look at… Read more

Did Someone Say ‘Rejoice’?

Today, the third Sunday of Advent, is known as Gaudete Sunday, Latin for “Joy.” This is a day for rejoicing! We light the pink candle on our Advent wreathes to remember who we are: a people of joy. Our hearts and our homes should always be houses of joy. Sister Aemiliana Löhr, a German Benedictine who died in 1972, helps us better understand the reason for our Advent joy: The Lord is near. He is not to come after thousands… Read more

God Makes the Inconceivable Conceivable

Monday we celebrate the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary. “The fact of the Immaculate Conception introduces a possibility into the world that otherwise would have remained literally ‘inconceivable,’” Fr. Peter John Cameron, O.P., writes in his beautiful book on the Mysteries of the Virgin Mary. “With the event of the Immaculate Conception — that is, the raising up of a human being untouched by the scourge of sin — God’s tender love pierces the pall… Read more

Christ, the New Temple

In the Gospel Sunday, Jesus meets John the Baptist. Fr. Robert Barron of Word on Fire fame writes about it in the monthly Magnificat magazine this month: All four of the Gospels compel us to approach Jesus through the figure of John the Baptist. They seem to imply that John provides an indispensable interpretive key to understanding the significance of Christ. We have to remember that John was the son of an Israelite priest and therefore someone intimately aware of… Read more

St. Nicholas and the Gratuitous Generosity of God

Saturday marks the feast of St. Nicholas. The optional collect for the Mass for the day is an appropriate prayer: We humbly implore your mercy, Lord: protect us in all dangers through the prayers of the Bishop Saint Nicholas, that the way of salvation may lie open before us. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.” Also, this short one appears… Read more

Are We Facebook Friends with God?

Dominican priest Fr. Ambrose Little reflects on the Gospel reading for this Thursday in a way that might resonate with a lot of us who are on Facebook or other social media: My brother once told me about how he knew his list of friends on Facebook was getting out of control. He noticed a wedding announcement for a “friend,” someone he likely had met in high school. However, the name of the person was such that it could have… Read more

Jesus Comes to Strengthen & Renew Creation

Dec. 4 is the feast of St. John Damascene, a Syrian who lived from around 676 until 749. In his writings, this Doctor of the Church explains that a fallen humanity needed God’s tremendous gift of Himself: It was necessary for nature to be strengthened and renewed, and for the path of virtue to be indicated and effectively taught, the path that leads away from corruption and towards eternal life…. we see in the Son of God, who descends to… Read more

O God, We Love Thee

The hymn O Deus Ego Amo Te (“O God, I Love Thee”) is attributed to St. Francis Xavier, the Spanish Jesuit missionary and student of Jesuit founder Ignatius Loyola, whose feast we celebrate each year on Dec. 3. Fr. Gerard Manley Hopkins, S.J., is among those who have provided English translations: I love thee, God, I love thee— Not out of hope for heaven for me Nor fearing not to love and be In the everlasting burning. Thou, my Jesus,… Read more

Breath of Life

My friend Fr. Steve Grunow gives a breathtakingly beautiful answer to a question Thomas L. McDonald posed to him about the Rosary. Asked: What is your relationship with the Rosary? Answered: The repetition of prayers in the Rosary is for me the surrendering of my own breath to the breath of the Holy Spirit. Well thanks be to God for the Rosary! Better get praying already … The entire brief interview is worth reading, here. Read more

Why Advent?

Saint Charles Borromeo explains (hat tip, as we say, to ibreviary.com): Beloved, now is the acceptable time spoken of by the Spirit, the day of salvation, peace and reconciliation: the great season of Advent. This is the time eagerly awaited by the patriarchs and prophets, the time that holy Simeon rejoiced at last to see. This is the season that the Church has always celebrated with special solemnity. We too should always observe it with faith and love, offering praise… Read more


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