St. Thérèse was only 24 years old when she died in 1897, but she quickly became one of the most famous Saints in the world. Pope St. John Paul II declared her a “Doctor of the Church” for her spiritual writings. So what can we learn from this St. Thérèse, the “Little Flower?” That's the theme of this talk that I gave at Christ the King on July 26th. I look first at the way her holiness was tied to the holiness of her family (and the importance of living married life well) and then her distinctive teachings on prayer, especially her famous “Little Way,” that Pope Pius XI described as a sure path of salvation.
St. Jean-Baptiste-Marie Vianney, a parish priest in a small town in France, became world famous and, after his death, was declared the patron saint of parish priests around the world. Pope John XXIII marked the 100th anniversary of his death with an encyclical on the priesthood, and Pope Benedict XVI proclaimed the Year for Priests in 2009 to commemorate the 150th anniversary of Vianney's death. So what did this extraordinary parish priest have to say to laypeople about how to pray? Listen to this talk to find out!
Most of us aren’t called to be priests or monks or nuns, yet so many spiritual authors assume that their readers live in convents, monasteries, or rectories. So what about the spiritual life of everyone else? Here are three takes on holiness in daily life (from St. Francis de Sales, Blessed John Henry Newman, and […]
Continuing the series on “the Saints and prayer,” I spoke yesterday on prayer and the Eastern Church Fathers. I wanted them as a change of pace for two reasons: I find that Catholics in the West are much more familiar with Western Church Fathers like Augustine, Ambrose, Gregory, and Leo, than they are with Eastern […]
When Catholics talk about praying to Mary, a classic Protestant objection is "but I can go directly to Jesus!" To that, I'd say, "True, you could go to Jesus alone... but if you pray to Mary, you and the Virgin Mary can go directly to Jesus!" The "why not just go directly to Jesus" objection points to one of the real differences between Catholics and Protestants on this question: we Catholics believe that some people's prayers are more efficacious than others.
The daily morning offering, a Catholic spiritual tradition we can all make use of, serves as a reminder of the areas of Christian disunity, and serves as an unintentional advertisement for the need for prayer.
Given the rising tide of anxiety over the election and current events, I think it's worth discussing the idolatry of anxiety. What does it mean to say that anxiety is a form of idolatry? And how do we rid ourselves of this subtle idolatry?
Protestants tend to be opposed to praying to the Saints and Angels for two reasons: (1) it's offensive to the dignity of God, since we're going to someone besides Him; or (2) it's a waste of time, since we can go directly to God. This hints at the underlying issue - that Catholics and Protestants tend to think of prayer and Heaven very differently. So the core question ought to be: is the Catholic vision of prayer and Heaven true?
The famous comedian George Carlin was a fervent atheist, and had a particular disdain for Christian prayer. He argued that it was arrogant of us to ask the God of the Universe for anything. He’s got a Divine plan, and then we come along to ask Him for special favors. But Carlin also viewed prayer as either destructive or worthless. After all, God is the all-powerful, all-knowing, all-good God of the Universe, and He has a Divine Plan. If our prayers cause Him to change that plan, Carlin reasoned, we’re making things worse. If our prayers don’t cause Him to change His plans, what’s the point?
Did Pope Francis praise Lucifer and declare him the Son of God? Yes, but not the Lucifer you're thinking of.