Ceiling in the Servite mother church (CC BY 2.5 by Wikimedia user) Martha or Mary?

To pray or do good? This seems to be the dilemma of anyone trying to live a Christian life. On the one hand St. Thomas Aquinas says that “the contemplative life is more excellent than the active,” but on the other hand St. James says that “faith by itself, if it has no works, is dead.” This dichotomy is traditionally expressed in terms of Martha... [Read more...]

The roof of a church against the evening sky The Twelve Days of Emmanuel

Behold, a virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and his name shall be called Emmanuel (which means, God with us) (Mt 1:23) The joy of Christmas is the joy of Emmanuel. Our God is not distant from us: he is in our very midst. Nor is his presence some abstract proposition. His closeness is as real as a hungry baby awaking Mary and Joseph in the middle... [Read more...]

Drooping frozen cherries Slouching Toward Bethlehem

Imagine a world where everyone is hunched over. An exaggerated convex curvature of the spine encumbers all. We’re just born this way. We can function, but it’s labored. Everything requires more effort. It feels like everything that’s good is on the top shelf, hard to reach. Our gaze is naturally cast down, not up. We can strain to straighten ourselves,... [Read more...]

The Miraculous Medal: A Catechism Around Your Neck A Catechism Around Your Neck

“The Blessed Virgin is waiting for you,” the child whispered. St. Catherine Labouré, a novice in the Daughters of Charity, was gently woken from her sleep by a small, luminous child beckoning her to follow him to the chapel. It was nearly midnight. “The Blessed Virgin is coming; here she is,” the child said as Catherine heard the swishing of... [Read more...]

Excavated stones from the Wall of the 2nd Temple (Jerusalem) The Very Stones Will Cry Out

Lucius walked the dusty streets, twisting his fingers in careful patterns, practicing yesterday’s lesson. He was a clever and talented student, so the pebble he was looking at obediently skipped alongside him. By now the route was familiar, although he remained fascinated by the great stone bridges that connected his father’s barracks to the courtyard... [Read more...]

Our Lady of Lourdes in DC The Unkempt Man

Brother’s having a really rough day. He wakes up at 7:08 am, throws on his habit, bounds bleary-eyed down two flights of stairs, and makes it to the chapel as the lector finishes the first reading. After Mass, Brother finishes the Morning Prayer he slept through and makes his exodus from the chapel to the refectory, a land of whole milk and honey... [Read more...]

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