Growing up, I never had a devotion to Mary. I mean, I liked the idea of her . . . but I didn’t have a relationship with her. The Virgin Mother was a porcelain statue, a gold-etched picture on a Christmas card. She wasn’t real to me. My only connection to her, at best, was a panicked “Hail Mary” before a pop-quiz.
What I’ve learned is that Mary is way more than a boring stained glass window. She lived an exciting life and did amazing things. And outside of Jesus, she is one of the greatest gifts we’ve been given as Catholics. Although I didn’t have a relationship with Mary growing up, I have fallen in love with my mother since then, and let me tell you: OUR MAMA ROCKS!
At a conference for High School journalists, Dan Savage gave a talk that was supposed to be about anti-bullying. Instead it was anti-Christian. As he began to talk about the “bullish*t” of what can be found in the Bible, many Christian students stood up and walked out on him – a move he later called “pansy-assed.” Here’s the video. It’s about three minutes, but be forewarned there is some swearing going on in it (not suitable if kids are nearby). The video has gone viral since Read more [...]
Our friends at RosaryArmy.com have some great instructions for how to make your own rope rosary. Do something meaningful (and super Catholic) with some of your free time and get together with your friends or youth group to make a bunch of rosaries for yourselves, or to give away. You could even make small rosaries that are just one decade and wear it on your wrist as a witness and reminder to pray. The month of May is dedicated to Mary; so it’s the perfect time to put your fingers to good Read more [...]
The letters of St. Paul to Timothy are unique among the apostle’s writings. Timothy was stationed in the Church at Ephesus in order to help it recover from the damage of some false teachers who had been deceiving God’s people (1 Timothy 1:3-7; 6:3-5). In a very loving way, the Apostle encourages Timothy to remain ﬁrm in the truth (1 Timothy 4:6-7; 6:20). Sound doctrine is important. St. Paul is adamant about the fact that God’s people must be taught nothing less than the fullness of truth Read more [...]
The letter of St. Paul to Philemon is the shortest epistle from the pen of St. Paul. This is a moving letter that gives a very intimate glimpse into the heart of the Apostle Paul. It is written to a slave owner named Philemon, a woman named Apphia (possibly Philemon’s wife), and a man named Archippus (possibly Philemon’s son). St. Paul wrote this letter requesting that Philemon welcome back one of his runaway slaves (a man named Onesimus). Apparently, Onesimus had originally been “useless” Read more [...]
The letter of St. Paul to the Colossians is an interesting epistle. Unlike some of the others, St. Paul did not personally found or visit the Church in Colossae (Colossians 2:1). St. Paul had heard about the Colossian Church through a man named Epaphras (Colossians 1:7; 4:12) who informed the apostle about the struggles of this young Christian community. Apparently some rabble-rousers were attempting to persuade people that the faith of the Gentile Christians was inadequate. The Jews of the Read more [...]
The “mystery” of Jesus Christ is both the key to our salvation and the central theme in St. Paul’s letter to the Ephesians (Ephesians 1:9; 3:4, 9). The mystery of Christ has various dimensions. Jesus is the Savior of the world, and he came to die on the cross for the sins of all people — no matter what their background of former way of life. After His death and resurrection, Jesus ascended into Heaven where He is highly exalted and is seated at the right hand of the Father (Ephesians 1:20-23). Read more [...]
The letter of St. Paul to the Philippians is an epistle of encouragement and thanksgiving. The Church in Philippi was always eager to support the work of Christ no matter what the cost, and the apostle wants to express his profound gratitude for their prayers and assistance. This is a very personal letter from the pen of St. Paul. Unlike his letters to the Romans and the Galatians, there are no big debates or controversies to be resolved. Thus, Philippians is also rather informal in style — in Read more [...]
Titus and St. Paul had worked together to evangelize parts of the Island of Crete. When the apostle left Crete to go spread the saving message of Jesus to other places, Titus remained to organize the Christian converts and help them form a solid community. Like his letters to Timothy, St. Paul is very pastoral in his advice and counsel to Titus. He exhorts Titus to remain ﬁrm in the unwavering truth of Christ (Titus 1:10-16; 2:1). The apostle also spends time giving Titus advice about how discern Read more [...]
The letters of St. Paul to the Thessalonians are very pastoral. The Apostle is writing to a group of recent converts who are experiencing great persecution. He offers his prayers, thoughts and paternal encouragement in their time of great trial and difﬁculty. He commends them for their growth faith, hope and love (1 Thessalonians 1:3; 3:6; 5:8), offers no big criticisms or reprimands, and urges them to remain steady in the Christian journey (1 Thessalonians 4:1; 5:11).As in all his epistles, Read more [...]
The city of Corinth was a busy place. A lot of trading was done in the city, and it was known for its great economic prosperity and success. Attracting many people from all walks of life, Corinth was also known for its rampant sinfulness. It was kind of like the Las Vegas of its time. St. Paul himself had helped to start the Church in Corinth, but he was unable to remain in the city and oversee its spiritual growth (Acts 18:1-18). Unfortunately, a lot of scandalous behavior began to emerge within Read more [...]
Although not quite as long (or as complicated) as his epistle to the Romans, the letter of St. Paul to the Galatians is also focused on this primary question: Does one have to be circumcised in order to be a full Christian? Again, as he said in Romans, the answer is no. Circumcision is not necessary. It does not communicate grace. Baptism — not circumcision — communicates grace and enters us into God’s covenant family. St. Paul is writing to persuade Christians that the ceremonial laws Read more [...]
The letter of St. Paul to the Romans is a very special epistle. It displays the apostle’s theological brilliance as well as his deep love and spirituality. It is St. Paul’s longest and most inﬂuential letter. St. Paul wrote the letter to introduce himself to the Christians who lived in the heavily populated city of Rome, and also to prepare them for his upcoming visit. The apostle had heard reports of trouble amidst the various Christian converts in the area. Through the ministry of the Read more [...]
Deep in the heart of Paris, there is a Catholic Church that you could walk right past, if you weren’t paying attention. It’s on a cobblestoned road lined with shops and apartments with classic french windows that you half expect the characters of Beauty and the Beast to pop out of, yelling, “Bonjour!” and “I need six eggs!” It was only at the tip of a local that my friends and I ventured down ru de Sèvres and into the Chapel of the Priests of the Congregation of the Mission. We were told that it was the burial place of St. Vincent de Paul and not to be missed.
“In all the miracles of healing performed by Our Divine Savior, we must admire the remarkable goodness which caused Him to heal first the sickness of the soul, then that of the body. He teaches us the great lesson that we must first purify our consciences before turning to God for help in our earthly needs.” – Don Bosco
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.”
Catholics believe in indulgences because ultimately we know we’re all sinners and need God’s mercy. When a person commits a sin, there are two kinds of punishments that they have to deal with as a result of that sin. The first is called “eternal punishment” which means the sinner can’t enter heaven because of a grave sin that is not repented from. Through Christ’s sacrifice we don’t have to suffer eternal punishment if we repent. The second kind of punishment is called “temporal punishment” and every sin we commit carries a temporal punishment with it.
I recently heard someone ranting about how commercialized Easter has become and how there is “no trace of Christ” left in His holiday. I understood the person’s concerns and agreed, in part, with their assertions. The more I got to thinking about it, though, I felt like their thoughts, while valid, were a little bit short–sighted.
Christ is everywhere. His death and resurrection are everywhere. We just need to know where to look and how to uncover them.
Joanna and I became friends in college, when I was a junior and she was a freshman. Her family had converted to Catholicism when she was a teenager and she struggled to embrace their new beliefs. I was a theology major who loved my Catholic faith and a good discussion. Joanna would often knock on my door, offer me a pudding snack, and spend hours grilling me about the Church. Not Just a Symbol Joanna’s biggest issue with the Catholic Church was the Eucharist. Having been raised Episcopalian, Read more [...]