Candlemas Illuminated: Feast of the Presentation

And his father and his mother marveled at what was said about him; and Simeon blessed them and said to Mary his mother, "Behold, this child is destined to be the rise and the fall of many in Israel, and a sign that is spoken against (and a sword will pierce through your own soul also), that thoughts out of many hearts may be revealed." The Gospel According to Luke, Chapter 2It is odd that this feastday -The Feast of the Presentation of Christ- (which as Deacon Greg explains, is also called … [Read more...]

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Missing the Advent Beauty that Used to be Catholicism – UPDATED

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...]

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

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...]

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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...]

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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...]

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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...]

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As Mothers Day Looms, Two Obituaries to Die For – UPDATED

Well, in a manner of speaking. I hope when I die, my kids can manage to produce something as wry and fun as this:Waffle House lost a loyal customer on April 30, 2013. Antonia W. "Toni" Larroux died after a battle with multiple illnesses: lupus, rickets, scurvy, kidney disease and feline leukemia. She had previously conquered polio as a child contributing to her unusually petite ankles and the nickname "polio legs" given to her by her ex-husband, Jean F. Larroux, Jr. It should not be … [Read more...]

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“the usual efforts at Church reform are useless…”

The English writer and mystic Caryll Houselander is one of those people whose work I keep meaning to read, because every time I am exposed to even a little of her thinking, I'm intrigued and want more -- she always puts me a bit in mind of Heather King.At the Philanthropy Daily blog, Scott Walter serves up a dose of Houselander that packs a relevant wallop: Pope Francis’ election reminded me of a passage in Houselander's letters.She's writing to a Mr. St. George about [a man whose t … [Read more...]

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“Born of the Father before all Ages. Wait, What?

As the Year of Faith got launched, Melanie Bettinelli of The Wine Dark Sea undertook the ambitious project of enlisting various writers to take on single, separate lines of the Creed, and create a series that focuses on these lines throughout the year.When I learned that "born of the Father, before all ages" was unclaimed, I happily nabbed it -- it is my favorite line.So far, Melanie's writers have hit home-runs with their lines -- these writers have all been splendid, instructive, … [Read more...]

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It’s October: Do you know where your Rosary beads are?

About 20 hours from the time of this writing, The Year of Faith will be officially launched from Rome!Here at Patheos, we have something special planned -- and a Facebook page to keep you up-to-date on everything new, but more about that later.For now, a quick question: Do you know where your Rosary Beads are?Deacon Greg wants to know;I still have my first set. Do you?It was given to me as a first communion gift: simple black beads with a plain plastic cross. They're … [Read more...]

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