The Immaculate Conception: It’s About Mary.

Why does the Catholic Church… in the middle of Advent, while preparing for Christmas… throw in yet another holy day?

Why pause to honor Mary while we’re prepping to party with Jesus? What is the Immaculate Conception… and why is it a big deal?

God was hoping you would ask.

Dear God, Tell Me Everything.

I wanted names, dates, places, and the assurance of a happy ending. I wanted to know what the future held for me. I wanted God to tell me everything.

You see, there’s something about studying abroad in Europe that made me ask The Big Questions about life.

What was I supposed to do with my degree? Was I supposed to be a nun? Should I work this summer or look for an internship? And, the most pressing question — why weren’t boys asking me out? I knew that I was called to holiness through the sacrament of baptism, but this felt generic.

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?”

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.

Who Was Mary?: A Reflection on the Mother of God

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 . . .

When Children Save Their Parents

I got rocked at Mass this morning while celebrating the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception. For the first time, God revealed to me that Jesus died on the cross for His Mother. I thought Mary never sinned. Why would she need her Son Jesus to save her? Let me explain. “The most Blessed Virgin Mary […]

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.

Behold Your Mother

You see, Mary is our Mother, whether we want her to be or not. God, our Father has made it so through His son's words. He knew our need for a motherly presence in the spiritual realm. So, with His dying breath, 'Jesus saw His mother and the disciple there whom He loved, He said to his mother, ‘Ìâ‰âÂÌâèÏWoman, behold, your son.' Then He said to the disciple, ‘Ìâ‰âÂÌâèÏBehold, your mother'' (John 19:26-27).

The Best Idea for Your Lent

Every year since I've been a Catholic (five years and counting!), I've really loved coming up with different challenges for Lent. One year I gave up eating any meat, last year I read the bible for 30 minutes straight each day no matter what, you get the picture . . . Over the years I've come to realize that it's not just how much we give up or what extra stuff we do, but it’s about the quality of your sacrifice and what you decide to do.

How about giving up some of your time and using it for prayer? In fact, let me make the ultimate suggestion . . .

There’s No Such Thing as “Impossible” for God

We have a God who deals in the impossible. This is huge, life-changing, and has everything to do with Christmas. I think we’re so used to the story of “Christmas” that we can easily forget to spend time just letting ourselves be amazed by the story.

Why Do Catholics Wear Scapulars?

According to Catholic tradition, Our Lady gave the scapular to St. Simon Stock, the Father General of the Carmelite order, in the thirteenth century. Mary appeared to St. Simon in a vision, held out a scapular and said to him, ' . . . he who dies in this will not suffer eternal fire.'

Does this mean if you wear the scapular you get into heaven no matter what your actions? Of course not!

The scapular is not a “get out of hell free” card or a magical charm. It is an exterior sign of an interior fidelity to Christ and trust in his Mother's love and intercession for her children.

The Rosary is the Greatest Prayer for Peace

Far from offering an escape from the problems of the world, the Rosary obliges us to see them with responsible and generous eyes, and obtains for us the strength to face them with the certainty of God’s help and the firm intention of bearing witness in every situation to 'love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony' (Colossians 3:14).

Why Do Catholics Pray the Rosary?

But you know as well as I do that it usually doesn't last long. It usually doesn't take more than a week back at home, experiencing everyday life, for us to feel just like our regular, uninspired selves. What's the deal?

Mary’s List: The 10 Virtues of Mary

How did she do it? How did she manage to remain focused on God while she had the most unique and challenging role in all of human history? And how could I possibly be anything like her, when I get stressed out by the everyday pressures of my comfortable life? Her Immaculate life was so unlike my own awkward existence that I had no idea where to even begin if I was going to try to imitate her.

The Top 5 Reasons My Mama Rocks

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!

How to Make a Rosary

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 'Gentle Woman'

Do you ever catch yourself doing or saying something exactly like one of your parents? If it hasn’t happened to you yet, trust me, one day it will and you’ll freak out. I am definitely turning into my mother. This summer, we were at Mass together during a big thunder storm. At one point a bolt of lightening that lit up the entire church. We turned to each other, then broke into a verse of Queen’s Bohemian Rhapsody – “Thunderbolts and lightening, very, very frightening…” at the exact same time.