Getting into the Advent Spirit

Fr. Robert Barron popped into my inbox this morning (I subscribed to this daily Advent reflections! you can, too) with more to say about longing: I’ve always sensed that the Advent attitudes of waiting, expecting, hoping, and anticipating somehow speak to the deepest desires of our heart. That is probably because our whole existence here below is characterized precisely by these attitudes. The world is filled with wonderful things and experiences — deep joys and satisfactions. But we all know… Read more

George Washington, the Blessed Mother, and #Advent

As we begin the season of Advent, Fr. Peter John Cameron writes in The Magnificat Advent Companion about what we are called to enter in to: If you visit George Washington’s Mount Vernon estate in Virginia, you will notice something inside the mansion’s front door. On the left wall of the central passage hangs an antique, seven-inch iron key displayed in a custom-made, carved and gilded case. It is the key to the Bastille, the notorious political prison in Paris…. Read more

Deep Longing, Sure Hope

In his new book on The Feasts of the Church and how they form us as Catholics, Washington, D.C.’s Cardinal Donald Wuerl writes with Mike Aquilina about Advent: In Advent the Church prepares to receive the fullness of revelation. The Scriptures proclaimed at Mass convey a sense of deep longing, but also a sure hope that God will answer the prayer of his people. During Advent the Church recalls the centuries and millennia when the world awaited the arrival of… Read more

Thanks be to God for Our Freedom from Sin in Him!

The preface for the Mass can be such a beautiful opportunity for reflection, drawing us deeper into the Eucharist and our lives as Christians. Thanksgiving Day is no exception: It is truly right and just, our duty and our salvation, always and everywhere to give you thanks, Lord, holy Father, almighty and eternal God, through Christ our Lord. You have entrusted to us the great gift of freedom, a gift that calls forth Responsibility and commitment to the truth that… Read more

Thank God

In November 2006, Pope Benedict XVI reflected on thanksgiving: In our Christian families, children are taught to always thank the Lord prior to eating with a short prayer and the Sign of the Cross. This custom should be preserved or rediscovered, for it teaches people not to take their “daily bread” for granted but to recognize it as a gift of Providence. We should become accustomed to blessing the Creator for all things: for air and water, precious elements on… Read more

The Way to a Fruitful Life

Knowing that evil exists in our lives but that Christ frees us from its chains is the key to freedom in this world. The life of a Christian is blessed by sacramental grace. Anything we can do to add to the soundtrack of sanctification, to have the air we breath be blessed, enriches everything we do and our encounters with others. It may be a luxury for many (especially busy moms!) to consider praying the Liturgy of the Hours, which… Read more

Going Along for a Ride with Pope Francis

By now, many have a favorite photo of Pope Francis. His moments with Vinicio Riva is certainly a leading contender. The news.va site — one of the best places to go to read what the pope is actually saying on a regular basis — has a great image of Fr. Federico Lombardi of the Vatican press office with Pope Francis yesterday. It was on the plane back to Rome after the pope spoke to the European parliament. As is typical… Read more

St. Catherine of Alexandria, Intercede for the Persecuted

Today (Nov. 25) we celebrate the memorial of the martyr St. Catherine of Alexandria. This is the entry about her from the famous Butler’s Lives of the Saints (does anyone give a set as a wedding or Baptismal gift anymore?): Catherine was a noble virgin of Alexandria. Before her Baptism, it is said, she saw in vision the Blessed Virgin ask her Son to receive her among His servants, but the Divine Infant turned away. After Baptism, Catherine saw the… Read more

Ferguson Sounds Alarms on the Conscience

Have that awful feeling that comes from a nation seeming to be gawking at evil this morning? It was a bit like tuning into CSI Ferguson last night, as I commented on National Review Online. Archbishop Richard Carlson’s plea for peace to the people in Ferguson — and those who have gathered there — is a ping to the conscience of us all, on many fronts. It reminded me of a moment few months ago, Cardinal Donald Weurl in Washington… Read more

By the Grace of God

Monday, Nov. 24 is the memorial of the martyrdom of St. Andrew Dung-Lac & Companions. An entry in this month’s Magnificat magazine explains: On this day we remember one hundred seventeen martyrs of Vietnam who gave their lives in various persecutions from 1740 to 1883. This group of ninety-six native Vietnamese and twenty-one Spanish and French missionaries suffered some of the most brutal tortures known to Christendom. Father Paul Le-Bao-Tinh testified, “The prison here is a true image of everlasting… Read more


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