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...

On The Shelf

To Light a Fire on the Earth: Proclaiming the Gospel in a Secular Age Robert Barron with John L. Allen, Jr. Image Books $27 (hardcover) As a Bishop Barron fangirl, I was excited to dive into this book, which is as much a biography as it is an outline of Barron’s...

The Value of Self-Control

There is an obvious power struggle taking place in my household. It’s not between my husband and me, and none of our children are involved. It’s between our dogs. Envision a six-year-old, eleven-pound, white, long-haired Chihuahua/Papillion mix with giant brown eyes. He’s Chester, affectionately referred to as Chestnut by the...

ACTS Missions

Adoration. Community. Theology. Service. Editor Elizabeth Herzing interviews Deborah Alaniz Estrada, executive director of ACTS Missions in San Antonio, about its mission to spread the gospel message and its vision to “ignite Catholics worldwide with the eternal flame of the Holy Spirit…and bring about the New Evangelization by fostering love...

Popular Devotions: Problem and Promise

The parish I live and serve in provides a rich, culturally catholic environment. I am daily surrounded by all that it means to be Catholic, especially popular devotions. Very popular in Latin America, devotions abound celebrating Jesus, Mary, and the saints. In our parish, we have eight different celebrations that...

Mary: A Firsthand Witness

I haven’t always been devoted to Mary. Not only was I dismissive of her role as intercessor, but I also inferred that it was easy for her to be perfect because she was free from original sin. I couldn’t understand how Mary was relevant to my faith until I became...

If I Had Coffee With Mary

I run a lifestyle blog for women called Her Story Goes in which I sometimes interview inspiring women in my community. While the conversation typically revolves around their passions, accomplishments, and daily rituals, I always end on the same question: “If you could have coffee with one woman, living or...

Our Role in God’s Peace Plan

We can even bring light to that deep, dark place called terrorism Our series on peace, which we began in January 2018 with “Lighting the Way to Interfaith Peace,” now examines ways to counter one of the darkest of dark places—terrorism—with the peace of Christ. “Even though I walk through...

Baclaran Shrine

Magnifying the Lord

By Fr. Joseph Echano, CSsR My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord,” declares the Blessed Virgin Mary during her visitation to her cousin Elizabeth (Luke 1:46). These are the opening words to the song of Mary, “The Magnificat” or “The Canticle of Mary.” Mary, whose soul magnifies the Lord, epitomizes...

Always in Our Midst

This year, the feast of Pentecost takes place in May. It is a wonderful day to reflect on the place of Mary in the beginning of the life of the Church. In the Acts of the Apostles, St. Luke writes about a pre-ascension meeting of Jesus and his followers. “While...

Putting the Old Self Away

Many a feverish debate has been had over whether the toilet paper roll should dispense over or under; if there is a right way to fold towels and load the dishwasher; and how to pinpoint the preferred coordinates of where to squeeze the toothpaste tube. Are these points of contention...

Easter: A Season of Plentiful Redemption

In his father’s household, the father never stopped seeing him as a beloved child. The son was greeted with a party, a ring on his finger, and the finest clothes on his back. The son’s betrayal did not dilute or change the love of his father. The father welcomed his...

Jesus, the Sacred Meaning of Our Lives

Everything about Jesus, every action flows out of his experience and relationship with God. This is why Jesus repeatedly sought out moments of intimate, silent encounter with his Father. He was motivated, not out of obligation, but by a longing to drink from the well of Divine Presence that nourishes...

Open Your Heart to Clarity

Recently CNN reported that courts in California are debating whether to put cancer warnings on coffee. On the flip side, late last year, I read that drinking three to four cups of coffee a day could have significant benefits, including improved liver and heart health. Of course, java isn’t the...

Lent: Immersed in the Journey

Inspiring insights and Scripture for February 14 through March 28 On winter mornings, I find myself looking for more light and life. Although now hidden, both will soon return with the onset of spring. Lent aligns with this seasonal change of the earth’s renewal, and I’m driven to seek something...