Don’t Misunderstand St. Francis

Pope Francis Friday morning in Assisi on the Feast of St. Francis of Assisi touched upon the common misunderstanding of the radically holy man: That “Peace was flowing” in some kind of sing-songy way in his life. Whoa, it runs so much deeper, as Pope Francis talked about this morning. During a Good Friday homily, Dominican Fr. Thomas Joseph White, O.P., beautifully described how St. Francis was wounded by the Cross of Christ: Francis was radical. The word has a… Read more

The Nuns Who Topped Billboard

What do Fifty Shades of Grey, Downton Abbey, Andrea Bocelli, have in common with Benedictine nuns in Missouri? Billboard, and guess who’s been in the lead? Angels and Saints at Ephesus, a recording of hymns sung by the Benedictines of Mary, Queen of the Apostles, released by De Montfort music. Over the last months, Angels and Saints enjoyed a 14-week stay at No. 1 on the classical traditional chart and is currently No. 10. Mother Cecilia Snell, the prioress of… Read more

My Brothers, the Saints

Colleen Carroll Campbell wrote a beautiful book called My Sisters, the Saints (we talk about it here). In it she walked through how some blessed women have made themselves known to her through the struggles of her life. In Pope Francis’ latest interview, he writes a pitch for his My Brothers, the Saints. There is Paul, and Francis, Augustine and Benedict and Thomas Aquinas:  Can I ask you, Your Holiness, which saints you feel closest to in your soul, those… Read more

Living and Communicating the Good Catholic Life: Scot Landry Talks Catholic Voices USA

Who are we? If we’re Catholic, our faith should mean something in what we do, what we say, and how we say it. That’s no small part of the message of Pope Francis’ media outreach. And it’s at the heart of the mission of Catholic Voices, started in England in 2010 Over the last year or so, I’ve had the joy of working on Catholic Voices USA, an effort to better equip Catholics to explain and defend the faith in the… Read more

What If This Were the Last Thing You Ever Read?

Before going to sleep tonight, anyway. It’s from one of Padre Pio’s letters to his spiritual directors (via Words of Light): [Jesus’] goodness alone has filled my soul with so many good things. He hardly ever leaves me. He follows me everywhere. He revives my life, which had been poisoned by sin. He clears from me the dense clouds which had covered my soul on account of sin. During the night, on closing my eyes, I see the veil which… Read more

Padre Pio & Us

We celebrate the feast of St. Padre Pio on Sept. 23. He suffered greatly. His desire for that suffering, if it be God’s will for Him, can be hard for us to understand, as most of us struggle with some practical atheism in our daily routines. But we do understand some sense of the darkness. If we look around the world today we see it in the pain so many suffer. It turns out that the saint is a very… Read more

He Waits for Us All

Fr. Roger J. Landry recounts what happened 60 years ago today, and is happening today: It was September 21, 1953 and a teenage Jorge Bergoglio was planning to spend the day with friends. Before meeting with them at the train station, he stopped by to pray at his parish Church dedicated to St. Joseph. A priest he had never seen before was in the Church. He decided to approach him and asked him to hear his confession. We don’t know… Read more

Desire Mercy

I recently subscribed to a daily Ignatian reflection from the Magis Center for Catholic Spirituality, a project of the endlessly impressive Fr. Robert J. Spitzer. Today Fr. Michael Maher — all S.J.s — connects the pope’s recent interview to the Gospel Saturday for the feast day of St. Matthew: “I desire mercy, not sacrifice. I did not come to call the righteous but sinners.” What surprises me is that some presume that call to be faithful to this message has… Read more

You Are Beloved

During one Saturday Mass this summer, a priest shared how surprised we might be that at the expensive, renowned institution of higher education where he was chaplain, how many students had deep doubts about their own dignity and worth. This is why Pope Francis pleads with us to know that we are loved children of God, loved sinners, to whom he so passionately wants to grant eternal mercy and peace to. Magnificat on Thursday, the same day that the pope’s… Read more

Why Would We Ever Long for the Cross?

St. Andrew of Crete explains (via the Liturgy of the Hours today): We are celebrating the feast of the cross which drove away darkness and brought in the light. As we keep this feast, we are lifted up with the crucified Christ, leaving behind us earth and sin so that we may gain the things above. So great and outstanding a possession is the cross that he who wins it has won a treasure. Rightly could I call this treasure… Read more

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