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 Church refers to the Eucharist as a "pledge of future glory." What does that mean, and how does faithfully receiving the Eucharist ensure our salvation and bodily resurrection?
Why do we suffer? Pope St. John Paul II explores one of the hardest questions facing Christianity.
Why does the angel Gabriel tell Joseph not to "be afraid" to take Mary as his wife?
Then-Cardinal Ratzinger said in 2002, "I have often affirmed my conviction that the true apology of Christian faith, the most convincing demonstration of its truth against every denial, are the saints, and the beauty that the faith has generated. Today, for faith to grow, we must lead ourselves and the persons we meet to encounter the saints and to enter into contact with the Beautiful." Here's an example of how the life and death of St. Maximilian Kolbe helped me to believe the Catholic Church's teachings about the Virgin Mary.
It's Advent, should we be fasting? Is this a season of penance or rejoicing?