Immaculate Conception: 3 Reasons I Love the Day

vladimir theotokos

Later today, I'll be talking with Sheila Liaugminas (around 6:00pm, Eastern) as we take "A Closer Look" at the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception and Saint Bernadette Soubirous, the visionary of Lourdes.If you ask Catholics which Marian feastday is their favorite, many will tell you it's this one, and I would be among their number, for three reasons:I love the day because it arrives just as we are beginning to deepen our experience of Advent. We place ourselves in the desert and give … [Read more...]

Missing the Advent Beauty that Used to be Catholicism – UPDATED

He has mercy on those who fear him in every generation.He has shown the strength of his arm, he has scattered the proud in their conceit.

Part of what makes Patheos so interesting is this: it's a place where you can find a progressive female Christian minister write so exquisitely about a Lutheran Advent Vespers as to make a Catholic's soul lurch in holy envy:In those soft evenings, the quiet of late December surrounded me – but my life itself was loud. I did not know how much I needed to settle for 45 minutes into song and silence and hear someone sing about the angel Gabriel and Mary. The first time I heard, "you have cast … [Read more...]

Holy Advent; Holy Hope in Light

Advent 13

Welcome! Welcome! I shed tears of gratitude and joy that you have come round again, O Advent, to shake us from our torpor as early night comes, and the match is struck, and the message is brought home once more; that we are forever in the absence of light; it is beyond us and exterior until we make it welcome and bring it, like a lover, within. Welcome into our deepest void, welcome into the parts of us touched by human frost and stunted. Welcome, O Light, beaming glorious, into remotest … [Read more...]

Pillar of Cloud, Water of Life: All of a Healing Piece & Peace

baptismofoursavior

For a little while longer, we are still in Christmas, but every day the mysteries of the season seem to wither a little, like the leaves of the poinsettias; the expectation of Advent seems far away, and in just a few days we celebrate the Baptism of the Lord, and enter -- with some sense of refreshment, because after a time we long for the comforts of what is routine and regular -- into Ordinary Time.The Baptism of the Lord is being presaged in the readings and prayers of the Divine Office. … [Read more...]

Advent and Antiphons, Through the Years

advent wreath 2

On this day, one year ago, this is where I was at -- still thinking of Advent and what it means, but under very different circumstances.It is amazing how fast time goes by, how our days pass almost in a blur unless we stop to take stock. And it’s also amazing how much my mutton-chopped, exceedingly loud 16 year old has taught me. And how much my brother is teaching me, still.Some of my Evangelical friends have wondered to me, via email, what the purpose is, of the Liturgical Year -- why w … [Read more...]

Anchoress Crashes and Burns. Film at 11:00.

Image courtesy of Shutterstock.com

So, as sometimes happens in life, everything came to a head yesterday afternoon. After a so-so day at work, during which I made arrangements with my pediatrician to get a second cardiologist opinion on a situation with Buster (my brother is not long for this world, and my 15 year old is routinely clutching at his chest and turning purple - can we say stress overload?) I took a look at my schedule for the day. It included many errand-y, Christmas-themed type things, ending with the hour's drive … [Read more...]

Slouching Toward Bethlehem

And what rough beast, its hour come round at last, Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?WB Yeats, The Second ComingPolly Toynbee’s mother died three weeks ago. Ms. Toynbee has written of it here, while in the throes of exquisite pain and some very plain anger:My mother died three weeks ago, less than a year after a diagnosis of terminal cancer. From the start she faced its inexorable course with rational calm, unafraid of dying but determined to avoid lingering beyond what she thought bearable. … [Read more...]


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