Category: Columns

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...

Regiving

In anticipation of the holiday season, I’m considering one of those thirty-day diets. So far, I’ve already lost fifteen days! But seriously, friends, for many, the final months on the calendar are marked by an excessive amount of consumption and consumerism. Bathroom scales and credit-card statements remind us of our...

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...

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...

Interaction with the Vampire

There’s a difference between condemning an act and judging the guilt of the actor. Bloodthirsty vampires in literature often symbolize selfish exploitation. In How to Read Literature Like a Professor, Thomas Foster writes: “Using other people to get what we want. Denying someone else’s right to live in the face...

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...

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...

The Hands of a Mother

A number of new priests are reviving an old custom that wasn’t as popular at the time of my ordination. The newly ordained presents his mother with the manutergium (Latin for “hand towel”)—a special cloth that’s used to soak up the chrism oil after a bishop anoints the new priest’s...

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...

Lord of the Dance

When was the last time you danced? That was the question posed in an Easter Vigil homily this year. For some, it was during Roosevelt’s administration—Franklin’s, not Theodore’s—when jazz and jitterbug were the cat’s pajamas. Although I had asked this question in a health-care facility—primarily to priests and brothers in...

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...

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...

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...

The Hurtful Sin of Pride

Attributed to Tennessee Williams, who adopted New Orleans as his home, is a version of this quote, “America has only three cities: New York, San Francisco, and New Orleans. Everywhere else is Cleveland.” In a similar biased opinion, after journalist Lafcadio Hearn moved from Ohio to New Orleans in the...

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...

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...

A Formula for Happiness

On the day of Pentecost, the giddy disciples of Jesus were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak about the mighty acts of God in various tongues. “They were all astounded and bewildered, and said to one another, ‘What does this mean?’ But others said, scoffing, ‘They have...

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...