Posted by Frank Yesterday, as I writing Part 6 in the series on my conversion, I re-read something that Thomas à Kempis wrote that motivated me to become a Catholic Christian. In chapter 25 of The Imitation of Christ he writes:There is one thing that keeps many from zealously improving their lives, that is, dread of the difficulty, the toil of battle. I read or hear words like this and the theme music of Onward Christian Soldiers starts playing in… Read more

Posted by Webster I was nervous returning to my fourth-grade religious ed class this afternoon after two weeks off for the Christmas holidays. I was afraid I might have lost my connection with the kids, and like other teachers, I did find them more restless than they had been before the break. As usual, I entered the class with a bare-bones mission: Spend the next two or even three weeks going over the Ten Commandments. These children know so little… Read more

I left off last time with the first chapter of The Imitation of Christ from my personal library and the Harvard Five-Foot Shelf of Books and a photograph of a rough-hewn and de-carpeted staircase. In that condition, the staircase served the function of getting from the downstairs to the upstairs, but nothing more than that. Maybe there is a metaphor in that rough-hewn and merely functional staircase. At the time, though, I wasn’t concerned about metaphors. I knew only that… Read more

Posted by Webster A priest is like a pitcher: without him, no ball game. No priest, no Eucharist, no Mass. At St. Mary Star of the Sea, one priest pitches every ball game, and he is an ace. Father Barnes has a wicked curveball (is it OK to accuse a priest of wickedness?) and a blazing fastball. This morning, he threw one of each.The opening prayer given in the Magnificat for today is a general one: “God, light of all nations,… Read more

Posted by Webster There are many beautiful aspects to Communion & Liberation, a movement founded in Italy in 1954 by Fr. Luigi Giussani, which I have been blessed to take part in. Two of these aspects are illustrated here: the monthly CL magazine, “Traces,” and the poster that graces this month’s cover. CL has a tradition of these posters, one for Christmas, one for Easter each year, and they often feature quotations from Giussani and our Pope.Here are the quotations… Read more

We have received some excellent suggestions for the next book in the YIM Catholic Book Club. We narrowed these down to four nominations and have posted these in the column to the right. Please vote now and help us choose a book. We will begin reading the new book on Friday, January 15. Read more

Posted by Webster  Every time I watch “The Journey Home” on EWTN, I learn more reasons why I did not become Catholic. Which is to say, I realize more deeply how quirky and individual my own journey has been. And I gain renewed respect for the intellectual and spiritual depth of other Catholic converts, who frankly had better reasons than I did. Last night was no exception. Marcus Grodi’s two-part show (the second part to be shown next week) featured… Read more

Posted by Webster  A column today at The Catholic Thing about Franco Zeffirelli’s “Jesus of Nazareth” calls it “the best TV miniseries ever.” You can debate that—easily—but here’s something I’ll take to the bank: “Jesus of Nazareth” is not even Zeffirelli’s best religious work. That would be “Brother Sun, Sister Moon,” his 1972 film about Sts. Francis and Clare of Assisi. I have seen “BSSM” about two dozen times, although I have to admit there were mitigating circumstances. In 1976,… Read more

Posted by Webster I had the honor of serving at my second funeral this morning. As I learned in the theater, the second “performance” is always harder than opening night. The first time, you’re working on adrenaline and the Holy Spirit. The second time, it’s all on the Holy Spirit, and doesn’t he like to humble you? So there were a few minor goofs, noticed only by Father Barnes, I’m sure, and he’s too polite to say anything.After my posts yesterday… Read more

We’ve been having fun discussing GK Chesterton’s Orthodoxy in the YIM Catholic Book Club. (And if you want to help choose the next book we read, click here.)Two of the week’s best comments were attached to the post for Chesterton, Chapter 7, “The Eternal Revolution.”EPG wrote, beginning with a quote from the Chesterton chapter:”For solemnity flows out of men naturally; but laughter is a leap. It is easy to be heavy: hard to be light. Satan fell by the force… Read more

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