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...]

“Survival, Resilience, Redemption”: Heroes of 2014

love consents to pain

(Editors’ Note: This article is part of the Patheos Public Square on Heroes of 2014. Read other perspectives at the page beginning today.)If you ask a well-established charity whether they'd rather have a large dramatic donation a few times a year or a steady income from small, dependable donors, they'll tell you they want, need and appreciate "both", but that if they had to choose, they'd take the everyday small donors, who manage to remain faithful in lush times and in lean; they are the o … [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...]

Anchoress Annual Christmas Gift Suggestions

what is this

You wouldn't have known it by my 2013 "suggestion" list, which took up two separate posts -- along with the usual monastic goodies list (the Summit Nuns have a lovely hostess gift!) -- but last year at Christmas, we cut 'way back on our gift list and increased our charity-giving.We liked that. It really helped re-orient our hearts and minds and de-emphasize the materialism that is taking over the season.For 2014, we are feeling inclined to repeat that effort, and this time my … [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...]

Telling National Review What I’m Thankful For

manicotti

Over at National Review, they asked a few folks to share what they are truly thankful for, in the Year of Our Lord, 2014. Given my grouses about the holiday, my answer might surprise some:This Thanksgiving, I am giving thanks to God for the lives of my in-laws, one a daughter of Sicily and the other the son of immigrants. They are either approaching age 80, or on the other side of it, and 2014 has been the first year either of them have had to deal with a serious health issue. As ever, they … [Read more...]

“Sisterhood” May be Reality-TV for Reality-TV Haters

sisterhood

Maybe.When it was announced that Lifetime network would be airing a "reality" series chronicling five young women as they "discerned" whether or not they have religious vocations, I was as skeptical as Diana von Glahn, who felt pure dread at the prospect.More than dreading, I was a bit repulsed by the very idea. Having experienced my own vocational discernment as long-looking -- a process both serious and slow, and full of challenges to my own self -- the notion that five women being … [Read more...]

Francis and Autism and Worship: All May Be One?

Image by Andrea Izzotti, courtesy of Shutterstock.com

Ever since October's Synod on the Family issued its final relatio -- which managed to pay one line of lip-service to single parents, Katrina Fernandez has been feeling all-too-keenly aware of how detrimental it can be for a church to label-and-divide the flock for tailored worship and social events. When the news broke that Pope Francis would be meeting with families living with autism, she sounded a well-pitched note of concern:I’m glad the families in the video above are finally able to h … [Read more...]

Butter Cookies Made With 8 Hard Boiled Eggs

shutterstock butter cookies

Growing up, I knew a lady who seemed ancient when I was little, and who finally died about two years ago, a few weeks shy of her 100th birthday. She was from Germany, and a stern lady with ram-rod straight posture, who never smiled or laughed in all the years I knew her, and yet she was never unkind or ungenerous. Some people just aren't into levity, I think.Anyway, anytime I crossed her line of vision she would feed me, rather like an Italian mom. She made heavenly ham/butter/mayo … [Read more...]

Saving Thanksgiving: Chili and Brandy Alexander Pie! UPDATE

Brandy Alexander Pie

As everyone should know by now, I have "issues" with Thanksgiving that are in great measure about my family's utter inflexibility on the menu:The year I declared “NO PASTA” and served them a spinach/eggdrop soup, they sat around the table like it was a funeral. They kept asking me if this was how Germans eat Thanksgiving, and wondering why the soup couldn’t have little macaronis and meatballs in it.When I asked my mother-in-law if, these year, she was still including pasta in the gut-b … [Read more...]

Christ: the King Who Ravishes and Gives us All

Head of Christ Crowned with Thorns Lucas The Younger

He became incarnate so he might share our lot with us, and he died in order to redeem us. In Co-Workers of the Truth, Pope Benedict XVI, then Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger, put it this way:It is obvious that God did not intend Israel to have a kingdom. The kingdom was, in fact, a result of Israel’s rebellion against God and against his prophets, a defection from the original will of God. The law was to be Israel’s king, and through the law, God himself . . . But Israel was jealous of the nei … [Read more...]

Praying for those who pray for us…

norbertine nuns 2014

As our friends in Summit are reminding us, Pope Francis says today, November 21, is a day to thank God for cloistered religious: At the end of today’s general audience, Pope Francis noted that this Friday, Nov. 21, is the liturgical Memorial of the Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary.Noting the Church will celebrate the Day pro Orantibus, dedicated to cloistered religious communities, he said, “It is an opportune occasion to thank the Lord for the gift of so many persons that, in mon … [Read more...]

Lisa Hendey, the Accidental Innovator

hendey speaking

You might call her an "accidental innovator". When Lisa Hendey tried to digitally explore better ways to be a Catholic while raising a family, she couldn't find what she needed. So she created it. As she writes in her new book, The Grace of Yes, "I went looking for answers, and when I didn't find them online, I bought a domain name and some of those For Dummies books about the Internet and launched Catholicmom.com."The rest, as the saying goes, is history. Since its inception, … [Read more...]

6* Questions for Jennifer Fulwiler

fulwiler

Jennifer Fulwiler is one of those people I can't keep up with. I blink and she's got a successful blog. I blink again and she's got a reality show.I come back from retreat and she has another baby, and an annual woman's conference.I get momentarily distracted and she's released a bestselling memoir; I take a little nap and awake to discover that she's got a radio show on Sirus!Seriously? I can't even get through my email, and she's getting through a half-dozen lifetimes! And … [Read more...]


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