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...]

2 Late (as in New) Entries to the Vocation Post – UPDATED

slaves novitiate

Nothing is static. I recently posted my annual "Nun News Roundup" piece (which had helpful reader additions in the combox), but just a few days later -- on a great Marian Solemnity -- these two very Mary-connected communities welcomed newbies!I knew the Summit Dominicans were expecting a postulant in October (and more to come this year; that's why they desperately need to succeed in their building campaign), but not this early. Yesterday they welcomed Sister Emily, and decked her out in … [Read more...]

Mother of Completeness: Nativity of Mary

"Your birth, O Virgin Mother of God, proclaims joy to the whole world, for from you arose the glorious Sun of Justice, Christ our God; he freed us from the age-old curse and filled us with holiness; he destroyed death and gave us eternal life." - Antiphon for the Canticle of Zechariah, Morning Prayer for Sept. 8I was struck this morning at mass by the Gospel reading, which was the genealogy and Annunciation from Matthew. The whole list of patriarchs and fathers, with the occasional mention … [Read more...]

How I Loved My Kitschy Madonna!

My column in the latest Catholic Answer Magazine, is entitled "Mary, Mystery and Imagination", and I explore therein the value of Catholic kitsch to a developing soul:Because my mother was devoted to Our Lady, and also susceptible to Catholic kitsch, my childhood home was filled with small plastic statues of saints and devotional artwork that fascinated for the sheer incongruity of it.On my bedroom wall, she had hung an image that looked for all the world as if Mary had brought the Baby … [Read more...]

Reconciling Eve and Mary in Another Way – UPDATED

To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under heaven. -- Ecclesiastes 3:1Via Deacon Greg, we get this terrific story out of Missouri:A former monastery for Catholic nuns is preparing for new life. It will now become home to Life House Crisis Maternity Home, which has partnered with Catholic Charities of Southern Missouri.For more than forty years, it was a quiet place of prayer. "They were here praying, praying for all of us in southern Missouri, and … [Read more...]

Hawaiian Folk Music, Crusades and Columns

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Last night, my husband got home from an outing and watched The Descendents, starring George Clooney. Not really a Clooney fan, but he was very good, and the movie was engrossing. Hubby and I both wished that some religious perspective might have been introduced, but then that would have made it a completely different movie, so -- it is what it is. The reason I'm mentioning it at all, though is because we both commented, almost at precisely the same moment, that we were really enjoying the … [Read more...]

Our Lady of Good Counsel, Pray for Us

I love her. She is in my hallway, above the holy water fontBut you know, when you see something every day, sometimes you forget to look, really look.So I am glad that Terry at Abbey-Roads wrote about her today. It reminds me that I need some Good Counsel; I need it right now, in fact.So I have taken an Icon from my desk and put it over the font, and brought Our Lady of Good Counsel to my desk, so I can look at her. And beg some prayer from her.And from you, too. I could use … [Read more...]

Our Daughters Dreams Arise from this Glad Slaughter!

The president, whose administration last Friday declared that religiously-founded institutions -- schools, hospitals and charities -- have no right to their own consciences when it comes to paying for contraception, abortifacients and sterilization -- dropped these pearls for us on the occasion of the anniversary of Roe v Wade, a law passed some 40 million abortions ago:As we mark the 39th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, we must remember that this Supreme Court decision not only protects a … [Read more...]

Our “Yes” to God Brings His More Perfect “Yes” to Us

I love this month's cover of Magnificat Magazine -- Madonna and Child, by Marianne Stokes (1855-1927), Wolverhampton Art Gallery, West Midlands, UK. (© Bridgeman Giraudon) -- it captures the simple youth and energy of Mary, who would have been about 14 years old: her gaze is direct and open, and so is the child's. It almost harkens to Christ's ministry, and his command, "Ephphatha, be opened!"We are living in urgent times, where illusions are swirling all about, making it difficult to … [Read more...]

Quantum Levitation and Faith Levitation

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In our foyer is a small, beautiful icon of Our Lady of Good Counsel, and the icon has an interesting story behind it:Each year on April 25, the feast day of St. Mark Genazzano’s patron Saint, a fair took place near the church of the Mother of Good Counsel. On that day in 1467 towards the evening as the fair was beginning to end a white luminous cloud appeared over the village. The cloud descended on the church of the Mother of Good Counsel. The bells of the old tower began to ring by t … [Read more...]


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