When I was in 5th grade, Beth gave me a packet of Catholic magazines that she had when she was a teenager. I responded oh-so-enthusiastically by shoving them in my closet and forgetting about them. Though I believed in God, I had rarely applied that belief to my daily tasks.
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?”
He said “you Catholics” because he went to a local Bible Church but had been coming to a Life Teen Summer Bible Study with some of his Catholic friends.
“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.
Billy then replied, 'Okay, fine’Ìâ‰âÂÌâ_but it's still not in the Bible. The Church made it up.'
This is where the conversation got really interesting.
Greatness; that’s our goal as men, right?
Whether we want to be a scientist or a lawyer or a football player, we want to be great. That’s a good thing because we are called to greatness by God. However, every great doctor or athlete or plumber or teacher had someone coach them. If we’re going to be able to face the challenges and do what seems impossible in manhood today, we need a coach.
This month of May, dedicated to the Blessed Virgin Mary – offers us a unique opportunity to deepen our contemplative prayer life.
Just as Mary pondered all the early events surrounding Jesus in her heart (Luke 2:19), we are invited to contemplate what the Holy Spirit chose to inspire and share with us regarding Mary – not only as Christ’s mother – but as our own (John 19:27). Below is part of a reflection I wrote some time ago that I recently rediscovered. Perhaps it will bless your own contemplative prayer life . . .
Yes — he is very old but during his time, he captured the hearts of many and his goodness and simplicity took the world by storm.
Sound familiar? Of course it does. Unless you’re living under a rock, you know the goodness and simplicity of Pope Francis. For the past year he’s been the Catholic grandfather to billions of people all over the world. But Pope Francis wasn’t the only one seen in this light. During the early 1960’s the world fell in love with a humble man named Angelo Giuseppe Roncalli, also known as Pope John XIII.
While many people find Francis’ style of leadership to be new and original, here are five reasons why Pope John was indeed, the “Original Francis.”
God offers us His grace and mercy every day, especially through the Eucharist. Because the tomb is empty, we have freedom. When Jesus descended into Hell he took sin and shame with Him. He left them there, where they belong. It is because Jesus rose that we are free. God's mercy is so big. St. John Vianney put it beautifully when he said, 'Our sins are nothing but a grain of sand alongside the great mountain of the mercy of God.'
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.
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.”
“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 […]
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 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 […]
“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 […]
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
“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 […]