Category: Columns

At the End of the Day…

“Where did you see God today?” my daughter asked her squirmy offspring as we gathered by their family’s prayer table to pray together before bed.  “I want to go first! I want to go first!” the two older girls argued in excited voices.  “NO, myself!” demanded the two-year-old. I sat...

What We Signed Up For

Decorative signage with single words like “Kitchen” displayed in the same room that obviously functions as the one it identifies seems redundant to me. I also find those sugar-coated inspirational signs to be equally self-evident: “Laugh Out Loud!” (Thank you for that message. I’ll try not to bust a gut...

January-February 2024 This and That

A Faith Filled Collection of Wonder, Wisdom, and Whimsy Ash Wednesday is February 14, 2024. Did You Know? In the Middle Ages, ashes were sprinkled on the head rather than drawn in a cross on the forehead. “I know God won’t give me anything I can’t handle. I just wish...

Lonely? She Is There

In our novena prayers, we continually call on Mary to help us in our temptations and when we sin. However, Mary not only gives us the grace to overcome our temptations, but she can also save us from the loneliness that comes after we sin. She is there for us,...

Ease on Down Road 2024

New Year’s Eve and Day fireworks welcome January 1 with a bang, followed soon after by the arrival of the Magi. Imagine if three gift bearers appeared at your door, only instead of wise men, sages, or kings offering you gold, frankincense, and myrrh, they introduced themselves as your new...

Praying with Another

It is quite common among church folk to ask for prayers. We all need them, want them, and do not hesitate to ask for them, especially when we come across praying people. Nine times out of ten, the exchange goes something like this: “Please pray for me, I have a...

An Arsenal of Truths

Are you ever afraid? As a child, I was plagued by nightmares. One night, I woke trembling to see a dark shape hovering at the back of my bed. I was terrified. But then I felt God stand behind me. He raised strong arms and wrapped me in his wings....

Unbridled Blessings

“You’ve been living in Texas for years now, and you still haven’t been to the rodeo?” asked Raquel incredulously.  “Not exactly,” I protested years ago to my San Antonian friend, hoping my spiritual retreat at a Texas dude ranch would qualify as my cultural initiation to the Lone Star State....

In All Humility

When we think of humility, what comes to mind? Meekness, lowliness, selflessness? With so much focus on pride, the road to humility is not in clear view. However, one could say we are entering the season of humility with the coming of Advent and Christmas.  The Blessed Virgin Mary became...

November-December 2023 This and That

“If any of you cry at my funeral, I’ll never speak to you again.” —Stan Laurel Sign of the Times? St. Liborius Church, a large Gothic Revival structure, opened in St. Louis in 1889. Its significance led it to be listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1979....

As Near as Your Next Breath

“Remember to breathe, María. Deep, slow breaths,” she emphasized.  Within the span of one week, I was reminded about the importance of breathing three different times by three completely unrelated sources: my spiritual director, the counselor Michael and I were meeting with, and my Chinese acupuncture doctor. Sometimes God goes...

The Christmas Key

My father was in the US Army. As children, he sent my sisters, brother, and me off to school each morning with a “call and response” chant reminiscent of boot camp. “What’s the key to good grades?” he would shout. We would call back, “Participation!” I carry that “key” with...

Bless the Beasts

The wildly popular blessing of animals has put the feast of St. Francis of Assisi on a par with Ash Wednesday, Palm Sunday, and the St. Blaise blessing of throats. Some might even consider missing the October 4th blessing as worthy of confession, penance, and absolution. Truly, there is no...

Hail, Finder of Grace

I enjoy shopping for gifts. However, I wouldn’t say I like buying any readily available, reasonably priced gift or a standard item on every gift list, like a pen, book, or a popular CD. I prefer to take my time, looking for something I believe the recipient would need or...

Opening Long-Closed Doors

Through the years, some colleagues of mine who were ordained as priests left the active ministry to get married. When they told me their decision, I was sorry to see so many capable priests and close friends leave. I surmised that good priests likely would make good husbands as well. ...

God’s in the Details

I was recently pondering in quiet prayer time—and struggling with—the words on loss and grief from Thomas à Kempis’ Imitation of Christ: “If you can be still and suffer awhile, you shall without doubt see the help of God come in your need.” A short time later, I heard the...

Angels Amid Our Needs

I suspect I am not alone in associating September with attack. Even after twenty-two years, 9/11 is burned in my mind as a slow-motion unraveling of a horror-filled day. But the recollection always ends at our candlelit church, filled all night with people at prayer. We got a bitter taste...

No Place Like It

His hospital room was sterile in appearance, antiseptic in smell, and clinical in sound, like all the rest. The white eraser board displayed the date and the day of the week, the nurse’s first name, and a contorted smiley face. The volume from the wall-mounted TV drowned out the rhythmic...

“Yes” to Protest

To say “no” is instinctual, self-determining, and self-actualizing. To say “no” is to protest, and it is as natural as eating, sleeping, and breathing. It’s how we defend ourselves, survive, and thrive. Take Descartes’, “I think, therefore I am” and adapt it based on what we have all seen from...

Our Mother Is “All Eyes”

My reflection is based on a portion of John’s Gospel. Mary, the sorrowful mother, stands beneath the cross of her Son as the dying Jesus calls to her: “Woman!” Of course, this is not the first time that Scripture quotes him speaking to his mother. When the wine runs out...