It's Advent, should we be fasting? Is this a season of penance or rejoicing?
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?
Pope Pius XI, G.K. Chesterton, and Pope Francis have all warned about the danger of a sort of "False Francis of Assisi," of loving a sort of distorted vision of the great Saint of Assisi. The truth is, all of those things that the world (rightly) loves about St. Francis are, in fact, simply the natural result of St. Francis' love of God. If you ignore that root of sanctity, you end up with these false Francises: Francis the Hippie, Francis the Italian Nationalist, Francis the poet, etc. The true Francis is Francis the Lover, which is to say, Francis the Saint.
There's a spiritual malady afflicting our homes, our workplaces, our political conversations, and how we speak to (and of) one another, both on- and offline. A major part of the cure is learning to recognize that those who are hardest to stand are often the ones closest to us, and that the call to charity is often in the little things of daily life.
Why is Abraham our father in faith? Because of his primacy and because of his intensity - an intensity we see most clearly in the shocking account of the Sacrifice of Isaac.
In my opinion, Holy Saturday is the hardest day of Holy Week to really "enter into." Is it a day of mourning? Not exactly. A day of rejoicing? Again, not exactly. The best description I've heard it is that it is a day of "quiet hope." Here are some aids to cultivate a spirit of quiet hope as we make the massive transition from Good Friday to Easter Sunday, and as we commemorate Christ's "harrowing of hell."
"I opened the sea before you, but you opened my side with a spear." Today is Good Friday, the worst and best day in history. How does one enter into the incomprehensible mystery that man killed God? These aids might be a start.
Today is Holy Thursday, the night of the Last Supper, and therefore the anniversary of both the Eucharist and the priesthood. It's here that Jesus celebrates the first Mass, and then commissions his disciples to do the same. And it's here that the Passion of Christ truly begins. Here are a few resources to help as you enter into Triduum, the holiest time of year.
Today is Holy Wednesday, often known in the West as “Spy Wednesday,” because it’s the day that commemorates Judas’ betrayal of Christ. And it’s a good reminder that (a) we, too, betray Jesus regularly; and (b) Jesus loves even those who betray and disown Him.
Today, as you might imagine, is a special day for me. It’s my “name day,” the feast day of St. Joseph. One aspect of celebrating your name day is to know and love your namesake Saint. So let me share with you three things that I love about St. Joseph: