Vive la Différence

Several weeks ago, I attended a coed baby shower. Such couples parties were uncommon when I had my children. Then, it was a women-only event, which (in my experience) most men appreciated. Am I validating gender bias to assume that many men would rather, say, watch sports than check out...

Our Passion

What is passion? Dictionary definitions include “ardent affection, devotion to an activity or concept, overmastering feeling or conviction,” and yes, “the sufferings of Christ between the night of the Last Supper and his death.” Truly, Christ’s was—and is—the greatest passion because it is driven by love of God and humanity....

The Maternal Tenderness of God

The image of Our Mother of Perpetual Help is a manifestation of the tenderness of God—demonstrated in how the icon is painted (written). I’ve often discussed Mary’s gaze in this column and received many letters relating the effect Mary’s look has had on people as they pray before the icon. ...

Bring Back Common Sense

Things I never thought I’d see: Reports on the prime-time nightly news cautioning viewers not to drive or perform other daily tasks while blindfolded (search “bird box challenge” online if you’re unfamiliar). A warning on a hair dryer that reads: “Do Not Use While Sleeping.” A public-service announcement by a...

A Sacred Space for the Holy Spirit

The power of intercession we experience from Mary’s prayers for us is the outpouring of the Holy Spirit that lives in Mary because of the Incarnation. In Luke 1:26-36, we read Mary’s dialogue with the angel Gabriel in which Gabriel tells Mary that the Holy Spirit would come upon her...

Gaining a New Perspective

I’ve never been a proponent of procrastination. In fact, the more I detest a chore or activity, the quicker I’m likely to attack it with gusto. I reason that the relief I’ll feel once it’s completed will far outweigh the displeasure of performing the task at hand. If there are...

Let Us Promise

At prayer, take care that the words don’t become rote and lose their meaning. Consider the text in the Angelus: “Pray for us, O holy Mother of God, that we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.” That is something to ponder. Christ promises us peace, refuge, mercy,...

Our Mission in a Wounded World

Each new year, we’re bombarded with sentiments of encouragement and hope, called to new aspirations, and filled with vigor to achieve an improved sense of self. Benjamin Franklin may have said it best: “Be always at war with your vices, at peace with your neighbors, and let each new year...

Celebrating Mary: Our Perfect Guide to Jesus

Now imagine being the giver of this gift and, despite all the help you are willing to give to care for this treasure, the recipient takes the gift and rejects all of your guidance. How would you feel if you saw your gift slowly deteriorate and fall to pieces due...

The Icon Speaks with Colors

When I took piano lessons as a boy, the teacher reminded me that music was a language that’s read and spoken by the performers. She said that through the notes they play and how they play them, musicians reveal the underlying meaning of the written text. The same idea exists...

Our Investment in All Lives

My ninety-mile round-trip commute to work each day enables me to listen to podcasts, those audio narratives that offer a variety of content. I dabble in everything from true crime to humor, welcoming the chance to mull over what’s said, delve deep into my heart and mind, and respond. While...

Persevering for Peace

Persevering for Peace

On our journey deeper into peace this year, we’ve made several stops. We began with an exploration of interfaith peace and ways the Bible embraces the whole world, including people of varying faiths. We ventured into the valley of the shadows of death and terrorism, and saw how the light...

A Source of Healing

Faith engages the icon of Our Mother of Perpetual Help and can lead us to feel healing from God. To assist our gazing prayers, I encourage using the Bible as an aid. Several passages show the importance of keeping our eyes fixed on Jesus Christ. Remember, when we look upon...

God’s Awesome Landscape

“Take time to smell the roses” may sound like a cliché, but it encapsulates my lessons learned recently while visiting my middle daughter in God’s gorgeous acres nes tled in the Adirondack Mountains of Upstate New York. Mackenzie, having just completed a degree in historic preservation, was fulfilling a summer...

CNS photo/Jaclyn Lippelmann, Catholic Standard

Spirituality for Youth

How the Young Emulate God “Jesus is not the Lord of comfort, security, and ease. Following Jesus demands a good dose of courage.” —Pope Francis at a prayer vigil at the thirty-first World Youth Day (WYD), Krakow, Poland, July 30, 2016 At this event in St. John Paul II’s home...

The Possibility of the Miraculous

The icon is an efficacious sign of a real presence because it is a sacramental. Icons become a great means of holiness because of the ritual of blessing and the veneration of the image. This allows for the experience of the miraculous interventions and favors bestowed upon those who pray...

A Time of Communion

Now’s a good time to consider the vast disconnect between seasonal celebrations in the Church and the world at large. For example, in the secular world, October centers on Halloween—second only to Christmas as the most commercial time of the year. Decorations and celebrations mingle with all things eerie, including...

Why Should You Go To Mass?

“It gave me a good footing. ” Bruce is a twenty-year-old at the University of Scranton. A student majoring in the difficult nursing program, he attends Mass regularly. I asked him why. “My first semester, I had some troubles. Mass, getting there, I felt it gave me a good footing....

The Serenity of Mary and the Icon

There is a common theme within the many letters people send me about their experiences of praying before the icon of Our Mother of Perpetual Help. I’m impressed that all of them comment about how the serenity of the icon captures their attention during their time of prayer. In the...

What’s Perfect, What Isn’t?

For me, sixty-eight is the perfect temperature. I joke that I’m going to retire in San Francisco, where the average yearly temperature hovers around fifty-eight (according to usclimatedata.com), with the annual high seldom exceeding seventy and the low rarely dipping below fifty. Sounds perfect, yes? Especially when temperatures in my...