Category: Columns

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...

What Happened to Manners?

Today, “web to web” readily calls to mind an interlinked system of information accessible through the internet. But it also refers to the point of contact made between two people when they engage in a proper handshake (you know, the web of skin between one’s thumb and index finger). More...

“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...

A Preacher’s Prayer

Jesus, spare us from those who make you unrecognizable when preaching in your name! Amen. Lord, like St. Paul, “I am not ashamed of the gospel” (Romans 1:16); however, we preachers of your gospel are surely an embarrassment to you at times when we contort your word. As a priest,...

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...

Another World Is Possible

“Beware the Ides of March.” While the fifteenth of March is best known as the day of Julius Caesar’s assassination in 44 bc, it was traditionally the deadline for Romans to settle debts. Likewise, Americans settled their debts to the federal government on March 15, until the tax-filing deadline was...

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....

A High Degree of Certainty

I read somewhere that the sun’s getting hotter every year. It seems that pretty soon the earth’s going to fall into the sun—or wait a minute—it’s just the opposite—the sun’s getting colder every year. Tom Buchanan in The Great Gatsby We can relate to Tom Buchanan’s solar confusion almost a...

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...

Tremors in the Church

“There was a mini-earthquake in Brooklyn, Staten Island, and New Jersey,” wrote Dorothy Day, the Catholic social activist, in her journal in 1979. “Why was not Manhattan Island affected? What a thought! Unimaginable to think of those two fantastic World Trade towers swaying with a sudden jarring of what we...

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...

Saintly Faces

I have the face of a saint—a Saint Bernard! When I was an infant, my mother held me in her arms as she boarded a streetcar in New Orleans. While she paid the token, the driver exclaimed, “Lady, that’s the ugliest baby I’ve ever seen.” After she took her seat,...

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,...

Come to the Water

Today’s generation may feel superiorly advanced after seeing vintage photos of passengers smoking on airplanes or doctors and nurses lighting up in hospitals. We can even appreciate the irony of the dubious 1940s ad slogan by the R. J. Reynolds Tobacco Company: “More doctors smoke Camels than any other cigarette.”...