The Gentle Lion: JPII Up Close and Personal

This was the moment I’d dreamt of and prayed for since my teenage years. This was my chance to look into the eyes of my hero and say, “Thank you” for what his shepherding and pontificate had meant to me both personally and professionally. We knelt down. I clutched his hand. Fighting back overwhelming tears of joy, we kissed his ring and received his saintly blessing. He spoke to us, briefly, through muddled speech and a wide grin.

Good Pope John

He was also known as a pretty witty pope. His most famous quip came after a reporter asked “How many people work in the Vatican?” John XXIII’s answer: “About half of them.”

Another time he met a boy who introduced himself as Angelo. “That was my name,” John XXIII said, then added conspiratorially, “but then they made me change it.”

Words Worth Sharing: The Best JP2 Quotes

“Do not be afraid. Do not be satisfied with mediocrity. Put out into the deep and let down your nets for a catch.” “What really matters in life is that we are loved by Christ and that we love Him in return. In comparison to the love of Jesus, everything else is secondary. And, without […]

What Makes a Saint?

To be clear, the Church doesn’t “make someone” a saint. The Church recognizes the holiness of certain individuals and honors some with the title of “saint.” If you make it to heaven, you are a saint – whether or not the Church recognizes you as one publicly.

The title of saint is conferred on someone after what is called the canonization process.

I Killed Jesus.

I think it’s easy to read the Bible like it’s a history book. Moses parted the sea, Jesus died on a cross, Columbus sailed across the ocean. I know it’s more than an account of historic events but I often struggle to see how it applies to my life. “They” (that collective, scholarly, holy group […]

Who is God?: The Reason for Everything

“The most important thing about you is what you think about, when you think about God.” This is one of my favorite quotes, and I think it’s so true! Since my faith is the most important thing in my life, I have noticed that how and what I think about God affects every aspect of […]

The One Who Stole My Heart: My Eucharistic Love

I rode in the car for two hours with our Lord clutched to my chest. I had my knees up by my face and both my hands over Him, hugging Him tightly to myself. I could feel my heartbeat in my hands, pounding through the gold capsula. I did not speak. The hours passed like minutes as I sat there in complete awe and wonder.

Manhood Looks Like St. Joseph

I’m not going to say all guys are like this… but it is how a lot of people place value on their lives. What you do and how much stuff you have is generally what a person is judged by – especially a man. Do more stuff! Buy more things! Wear good clothes! Work harder than Jobs at your jobs! Be more successful than Wayne Wright! Don’t know who that is? Me neither. But some dude has that name and he obviously wasn’t good enough to accomplish things.

Welcome Home: Your Family, The Catholic Church

We come from all types of families, loud, crazy, large, small, broken. Maybe you don’t feel like you have much of a family at home, maybe you feel like your family doesn’t understand you, or maybe you are the only practicing their faith at home.

The Catholic Church is also a family; in fact the Catholic Church is one big family. We are all adopted sons and daughters of God, we all have the same God as Father (Galatians 4:6-7). Which means we are all brothers and sisters in Christ!

The Cross of Christmas

As it is with the Christian life, if we want to see clearly … as God sees … we have to look at the 'big picture' of salvation. If we want to understand Jesus' death, for instance, we need to begin with His birth and when we do, we will undoubtedly learn something very interesting . . . that He was born to die.

If you want to get technical, that 'pieta' moment first occurred not on Calvary, but in Bethlehem. The manger's wood was a foreshadowing; it is the 'cross' of Christmas. There is far more going on at Jesus' birth than many of us realize upon first glance.

Do You Believe in Santa?: The Real Story of St. Nicholas

Nicholas was known for his generosity. As tradition goes, he was so selfless that (although he, too, was poor) he helped his likewise poor neighbor support and pay for his daughters' weddings. Nicholas snuck up to his neighbor's house at night and dropped a handful of gold coins through the open window so that the eldest daughter could afford to get married. He would later repeat the generous act two more times. From there, the Santa legend grew into what we now know today – stockings, chimneys, a belly like jelly and all that good stuff.

The Truth About You: Looking Through Love’s Lens

Those are the little things, the little acts of love that God sees and understands. Those are the things that define you, that make your whole being beautiful. That doesn’t make up for our sins and failings, and it certainly doesn’t excuse them… but it means there are shreds of goodness even in the midst of our brokenness.

The definition of beautiful isn’t an absence of sin or blemishes; it’s the presence of love. Beautiful is not about having arms like Michelle Obama, but like Mother Teresa.

Purgatory: Heaven’s Waiting Room

Consider this analogy. Have you ever tried to put a wrinkled dollar bill into a soda machine? You try your best to straighten it out but the machine simply can’t receive it in its wrinkled, tattered state. But if you put in a crisp, new bill, the machine takes it no problem. Purgatory is where all the “wrinkles” are purged and “ironed out.” Remember, the wrinkled dollar is not worth less than the new one it just needs some help.

Put simply, Purgatory means you’ll get to heaven some day, but that you have a few things God has to “iron out” first.

Jesus Had Nasty Morning Breath

“Blasphemy!” you say. Or, “I’m pretty sure that’s wrong” (if you tend to be more polite). How could I possibly say such a thing? It’s simple. Because Jesus Christ was a human being. Jesus was sinless. Jesus is divine. True and true. Jesus was also fully human. Of course, His total divinity and total humanity […]

To Protect and Serve: The Truth About Guardian Angels

Yes, guardian angels really do exist! In fact, every year on October 2nd the Church celebrates a Feast Day in honor of Guardian Angels. Your guardian angel is one of God’s greatest gifts to you. They are a source of His power. They never leave your side yet they are constantly looking upon the face of God, too. Guardian angels are not only real they are very active. You should invite yours into your day. Invite your angel to pray with you, to protect you, to help keep you focused on God and to protect you from evil and from harm.

Heaven is Enough for Me: The Truth About Priestly Celibacy

When I was in high school, we had the greatest thing ever: open lunch. If your school hasn’t blessed you with this gift, open lunch means that all of the students who wanted to could leave the campus for lunch. We could head to the local mall food court, run home to grab homework we […]

Missing – Jesus’ Mom: The Assumption Explained

About twelve years ago a teen named Billy asked me this question, “Why do you Catholics believe that Mary ascended into heaven, when it’s not even in the Bible?” “Well, first…” I replied, “Mary did not ascend into heaven; the Blessed Virgin Mary was assumed into heaven. Jesus ascended by His own power. Mary was taken up into heaven by God.” That little difference is a big difference, so I wanted to be sure he understood it.Billy then replied, “Okay, fine…but it’s still not in the Bible. The Church made it up.”This is where the conversation got really interesting.

Epic Pope Francis Quotes: World Youth Day Rio 2013

Jesus, with His Cross, walks with us and takes upon Himself our fears, our problems, and our sufferings, even those which are deepest and most painful. With the Cross, Jesus unites Himself to the silence of the victims of violence, those who can no longer cry out, especially the innocent and the defenseless.

The Cross of Christ bears the suffering and the sin of mankind, including our own. Jesus accepts all this with open arms, bearing on His shoulders our crosses and saying to us: 'Have courage! You do not carry your cross alone! I carry it with you. I have overcome death and I have come to give you hope, to give you life' (John 3:16).

The Extreme Camper: St. Charbel of Lebanon

What comes to mind when you hear the term 'roughing it'? Do you envision a camping trip without electricity? Perhaps you think of a hotel room without room service or wireless Internet? Maybe your idea of roughing it means that there's no charge left on your cell phone or, worse yet, you forgot your cell at home and had to go the entire day without the eternal blessing of text messaging. Whatever the case, odds are that your life looks very little like that of an obscure Lebanese monk now known as Saint Charbel.