Reflecting on 21 Centuries of Faith

ourage & Teach: Grandparent’s Day

annjoachimSaints Joachim and Anne are the most loved grandparents celebrated by the Church. Oddly enough, there is no mention of them in Sacred Scripture – not even their names. Tradition holds that they were married for many years and were thought to be cursed with childlessness.

But the Lord had a different plan. He heard their fervent prayers and sent an angel…(Read more)

Encourage & Teach: Anchors Away

anchor-dropping-smhomeOkay, I’m still thinking about the beach. Maybe it’s because in two weeks I’ll be there myself. Perhaps we may consider a few more images that many of us see at the shore.

Take the anchor for instance. Anchors are one of the most ancient symbols found in the Roman catacombs.The anchor brings together the cross and the various nautical Christian symbols (fish, boat, dolphin), and signifies our hope in Christ. (Read more…)

Encourage & Teach: The Holy Trinity and the Sacrament of Marriage

holy-trinityFor those of us who remember the Baltimore Catechism, you likely have those fond memories of Sr. Mary Margaret asking:

  • “Who made us?”
  • “Why did God make us?”
  • “What must we do to gain the happiness of heaven?”

We quickly answered with the appropriate memorized formula and saved our souls from parochial perdition. These are important questions because they address the most fundamental questions of what it means to be a human being.

As a married man, and for those who will have or will follow in this noble vocation, one of the most intriguing statements our Lord spoke is this: (Read more…)

Encourage & Teach: The Fruitful Madonna

christ-child-madonna-of-pomegranate-sandro-botticelliImages are compact carriers of meaning. They have the ability to communicate volumes of information with a glance and, at times, provide hours of fruitful meditation with just a little informed reflection. Signs and symbols are a tool to bridge the learning gap which, during various parts of history, was important –the prince and pauper are suddenly both able to learn regardless of education.

Artists over the centuries have used many symbols and images to communicate and teach us about our faith. Many of these great masters have used natural symbols, illustrations from Sacred Scripture, and, at times, they have redeemed and Christianized ancient mythological symbols.(Read more…)

Slave of Jesus in Mary

Mistress of HeavenI received an email today with a common question for those who read St. Louis de Montfort. I thought I would share how I attempted to answer the question. Hopefully what follows will bring some ease to using the phrase, “slave of Mary.” It seems to be a term that incites a visceral reaction.

I think the issues are two-fold. The first issue is that we live in a time that only understands slavery in terms of its southern abolition or human trafficking. It is true that slavery has been a part of civilization since the beginning but there is a way to understand slavery and its close term servant.

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Encourage & Teach: What a Signature Can Tell You

Signature_of_Pope_Pius_XIISignature_of_Pope_Pius_XIIpapal penRemember practicing in school your signature to make it uniquely yours? Some choose bubble letters. Some carefully paced those little hearts over the lower-case “i,” while others added that little extra flair or stroke at the end of their name. Signatures tell people something about us — except maybe those of doctors because I can never read their signatures. The same is true for ecclesiastical signatures.

Did you know that hierarchical signatures of the Church have been regulated by precedent and custom for centuries? Take the papal name. (Read more)

Encourage & Teach: Finding Mary In Your Garden

sunflowerThe best memories my grandmother formed with me all revolved around working with her in her gardens. In fact, the majority of her backyard was a garden. It is probably for this reason why I love working in gardens (even though I have little time to do so lately) and have developed a great appreciation for so many different flowers – all of which my wife appreciates every two weeks. I also do not find it a coincidence that I was given a lifelong penance during my sophomore year of college to meditate on John 15 (Vine and the branches) every time I work in my yard or garden. (Read more…)

Encourage & Teach – A Flame Ignited: A Muslim’s First Encounter with Christ

fire-flameHoly Saturday is very busy in every parish. While the Church encourages us to be still and silent, there is always a team of parishioners that is tasked with decorating the sanctuary, side chapel(s), and vestibule for the Easter Vigil. We do this so that all of our senses are engaged to gain a deeper understanding through beauty, sign, and symbol of the Solemnity of the Resurrection. This year was no different…well, maybe a little. (Read more)

Bridegroom Monday: Reflection

JCBrdGrmIn the Eastern Church, last night began the celebration of the Bridegroom which continues through Holy Tuesday. In the Latin Roman Church, today’s Gospel expresses this same sentiment in a more veiled way.

Today’s Gospel not only demonstrates the magnanimous love of Mary Magdelene but also prepares Christ our Bridegroom for His marriage to the Church upon the cross.«Continue Reading»

Encourage & Teach – The Triduum: The Greatest Love Story Ever Told

Family gatherings are a particularly joy-filled event for me. I get to catch-up on how everyone is doing (sometimes what they are doing) as well as spending some quality time with family. Inevitably, an aunt or uncle will say, “Remember when……” and all the nieces, nephews, cousins, in-laws (and out-laws) will gather around to hear the tale. We laugh, smile, sometimes even cry remembering our loved ones whom we have lost but always, in the end, embrace and give thanks for each other and for…remembering. Holy Week is like that for Christians. In fact, we have a special word for it: anamnesis. (Read more)