Old Altar Boys at Mass: A Bold Witness

Fałat, Old Man Praying/Public Domain

SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 18, 6:25 AM: In the palest light, I follow footprints left in the season’s first frost, just a few minutes behind the regulars. The church’s glaring overhead lights are softened by the flame-glow of a few dozen candles --real wax, seven-day candles that burn a constant supplication --and by the shimmer of one gloriously large and eye-catching Icon of the Crucifixion scene. I wait to stand my candle as a slope-shouldered older man first places his own and then remains a few mom … [Read more...]

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Pray Litany of Sacred Heart of Jesus With Me Thru June!

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Photo courtesy of shutterstock.comJune is dedicated to the Sacred Heart of Jesus.It's one of my favorite litanies. If you'd like, let's pray it together with my podcast!:*after each invocation, respond with “have mercy on us.”Lord, have mercy Christ, have mercy Lord, have mercy Christ, hear us Christ, graciously hear us.God the Father of Heaven, have mercy on us God the Son, Redeemer of the world, have mercy on us* God, the Holy Spi … [Read more...]

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Grousing at God, Barking at Saints, and a Constant Renewal

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Not to keep talking about about me, me, me, but here I go:In my column at The Catholic Answer magazine, I relate a little of what a crank I become when I am stressed out:Recently, I began the day very badly.I opened my eyes and was immediately stressed about my life, largely because I am so recalcitrant and backward. Even before my feet hit the floor I was grousing at God and barking orders at the saints.Then I shuffled into my oratory, lit my candles, covered my head and … [Read more...]

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Holy Martyrs of Egypt, pray for us and for your ISIS killers

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Then I saw thrones, and those seated on them were given authority to judge. I also saw the souls of those who had been beheaded for their testimony to Jesus and for the word of God. They had not worshiped the beast or its image and had not received its mark on their foreheads or their hands. They came to life and reigned with Christ a thousand years." -- Revelation 20:4ISIS has discovered one way to bring Christians together. Pope Francis notes: Speaking in Spanish to an ecumenical … [Read more...]

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The Kirby Vacuum Salesman Who Became a Star

Star Nursery via Hubble royalty free

You know, just about the time you need to feel good about something, just about the time you need to believe that people are more -- so, so much more -- than the formless ranting that comes through to us over the ether every day, as we dip further and further into the reality/unreality that is the internet, you click on Twitter and a story like this comes along, and it gives all the headlines, all the divisive narratives, and all the prophets of doom a good, sharp kick in the derriere:Ever … [Read more...]

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A Chance to Make One More Charitable Donation before 2014 Ends!

sr mary magdalene OP

On January 1st, Sister Mary Magdalene of the Immaculate Conception, OP will be pronouncing solemn vows, promising to live out the rest of her life within the enclosure of her monastery in Summit, New Jersey.Sister writes of what that means to her, here.We are called “sister” as spiritual mothers, we have a duty or right to maternally care for the spiritual well-being of our spiritual children and the salvation of souls, particularly as contemplatives recommending them in prayer; to br … [Read more...]

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On Being Distracted While at Prayer

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Tom McDonald came across some very unhelpful advice on how to deal with distraction while at prayer. He turns to some of our Catholic prayer masters for better instruction, and you should go read it, because it's great, helpful stuff we don't read enough.But I also couldn't help remembering Sister Alice McConville, rc, who long ago gave me the sanest and simplest advice on dealing with a wandering mind at prayer. I wrote about it in Strange Gods:“To pray is to love,” she said, “and that i … [Read more...]

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As Hispanics Depart: Does Catholicism Ask Too Little of Us?

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Spent some time reading about how Hispanics are converting to Islam and Mormonism.It is striking to consider that while some in the church are suggesting that we need to require less of people, we are losing members to religions that are perceived to require "more" of them -- particularly as pertains to prayer and fasting, and even to what people wear. Hispanic women assert that the head coverings or "temple garments" they wear in obedience tend to give them a sense of "self-respect" that … [Read more...]

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The Great Unraveling: A Necessary Look at Reality

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This morning, the New York Times published an exquisitely-written dose of reality via Roger Cohen. If "only Nixon could go to China" then perhaps only a NYT columnist could spell this out and thus permit us to credibly acknowledge that things are as grim as we have all known, in our guts:It was the time of unraveling. Long afterward, in the ruins, people asked: How could it happen?It was a time of beheadings. With a left-handed sawing motion, against a desert backdrop, in bright … [Read more...]

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James Foley, Martyrdom and the Subversive Freedom of Prayer UPDATED

A great deal has been written about the late James Foley, his beheading at the hands of a barbarous Islamic State: the moving response from this band of Syrians, the Jesuit education which, along with the example of his family kept him grounded in his faith; his own words on the power of prayer, written in previous captivity.The story is tragic and infuriating -- every bit as nation-stirring as the similar murder of Daniel Pearl, all those years ago, when bloody "war on terror" was still in … [Read more...]

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