The Redeemer, Mary, and You

A Sign that Enlightens Us “A great sign appeared in the sky, a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars.” —Revelation 12:1 This Scripture quote that speaks of “sign” and “stars” has been used to proclaim the place...

From the Editor

Behind “I’m fine” Have you ever been next to someone who takes “How are you?” to heart?  As a young adult, I felt humiliated when my stepmother committed the social faux pas of doing just that when a retail-store associate asked how she was doing. After Mom listed her aches...

The Meaning of the Mass

As a writer and ministry consultant I have spent some time with Christians of different denominations. I have always been blessed to see the deeply authentic faith of believers in Jesus, their prayerful and unwavering zeal to reach the lost, and the enthusiasm and unbridled joy they express in their...

What Does the Church Say About…

All of us have at least a minimal moral sense of right and wrong, but the complex choices that face us require that we train or form this moral sense. We call this “formation of conscience,” a lifelong task that requires the ability to see the reality before us clearly...

The Importance of Mary’s Rosary

How often have you prayed the rosary, only to feel that you get nothing out of it? The repetition of the prayers can become mechanical and monotonous. Perhaps you have even been tempted to stop praying the rosary. In October, the month dedicated to the rosary (the feast day of...

Responding to Valuable Advice

I confess! In my downtime I tend to avoid “educational entertainment.” To the chagrin of my husband and my middle daughter, that means history channels and the like aren’t on my “favorites” list. I reason that since I don’t devote a significant amount of time to watching TV, when I...

Holy Pondering

“Mary’s Memories” is a spiritual concept that encompasses more than our Blessed Mother remembering the past. Saint John Paul II used the concept in his apostolic letter On the Most Holy Rosary (Rosarium Virginis Mariae). In the section titled “Mary, Model of Contemplation,” he writes: “The contemplation of Christ has...

“Criss-cross Applesauce,” with God’s Help

As the summer comes to a close, many will relish in the memories they made—hopefully fond ones that involve sun and sand—and quality time with family and friends. The memory that sticks out in my mind elicits feelings of distress, with a smidgen of pride—the good kind. First let me...

Bringing Home the “Nones”

For twenty-one-year-old Georgetown University student Michael Ginsberg, organized religion seemed to be associated with bad news. More often than not, religion became synonymous with scandalous headlines, corruption, and hypocrisy. “It just wasn’t for me. I thought it was bogus, and I had no interest in wasting my time by getting...

Turning Another Page

In a few days I’ll be moving my youngest daughter to Denver. The anticipation of the nearly 1,000-mile trek has essentially paralyzed me, emotionally speaking. I never thought I would be one of those mothers who would become distraught when my baby birds flew the coop. In fact, I envisioned...

Conformity as Our Way of Life

Upon the completion of her earthly life, Mary, the Mother of God, was taken to heaven, body and soul. Mary’s assumption into heaven in her entirety is inspirational and relates God’s desire for us—to be united with our Lord, in body and soul, for eternity.  To join God in heaven’s...

A Lesson in Less

It took a mind-shifting experience in Costa Rica to make me realize just how skewed our priorities are in the States—mine included. In March my husband and I vacationed in areas surrounding Tamarindo in the provinces of Guanacaste and Alajuela, the canton of San Carlos, and the district of La...

The Bridge Between Heaven and Earth

June 27, the feast day of Our Mother of Perpetual Help, is an opportunity for us to spend time reflecting on Mary’s place in our Catholic tradition, especially her role in the life of the Church. The icon of Our Mother of Perpetual Help, in its highly developed symbolism, reveals...

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...

Building a Culture of Love and Life

We’ve known all our lives that February 14 is Valentine’s Day, a time when we honor those we love. But arguably more significant and lesser-known celebratory dates about love precede the 14th, when roses and candy fly from shops into loved ones’ arms.  February 7-14 marks the annual celebration of...

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...