Reflecting on 21 Centuries of Faith

Encourage & Teach: The Horn of Salvation

One of my favorite movies is Despicable Me. It could be that Agnes, one of the three orphan girls in the movie, is the spitting image of my niece Emma. agnesThere is this great scene in the movie when Gru wins Agnes a stuffed unicorn and she makes this hilarious face and exclaims, “It’s so flufffffyyyy!” Agnes loves unicorns and so does the Church…just for different reasons. (Read more…)

Encourage & Teach: Honoring Our Lady through Customs

5177-assumption-of-the-virgin-francesco-granacci1This Friday, August 15, marks the Solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary. It marks when the Blessed Virgin was taken up by the Holy Trinity, body and soul into glory. The significance of this mystery should not be understated. As the Directory on Popular Piety and the Liturgy (Directory) states it, “This is an ancient memorial of the Mother of God, which signifies and synthesizes many of the truths of the faith” (Directory, 180). (Read more…)

Reflections on Beauty and Perfectionism

concheMy children are a constant source of wisdom. Their perspective on life never ceases to amaze to me. They find beauty in the smallest and oddest things and events. Take for example seashells.

When we go on our yearly family vacation to the Outer Banks, we have daily excursions, rain or shine – save hurricanes and tropical storms, down the beach to search for seashells. My dream has always been to find the perfect conch while working on the beach…«Continue Reading»

Encourage & Teach: The Voice of God is Upon Many Waters

There is something profound about the sound of the breaking waves of an ocean upon the seashore. I really cannot explain why it is except to say that I sense that if I had “ears to hear,” I would be able to perceive the voice of our Lord.

J.R.R. Tolkien, in The Silmarillion seemed to infer the same when he wrote:

“It is said by the Eldar that in water there lives yet the echo of the Music of the Ainur more than in any substance that is in this Earth; and many of the Children of Ilúvatar hearken still unsated to the voices of the Sea, and yet know not for what they listen.”

Sacred Scripture provides a number of references relating to either the voice of the Lord or His coming…(Read more…)

Encourage & Teach: St. Martha’s Lessons in Prayer and Work

ST MarthaToday is my daughter’s seventeenth birthday. Not sure how this happened so quickly but here we are. It is also the memorial of St. Martha who, as many of us know, is one of Lazarus’ two sisters. Hannah reminds me of St. Martha because of her love for quiet and creative service so I thought I would reflect upon that today.

Now, if you still are wondering who this St. Martha is, she is also remembered as the poor soul who was famously chided in Luke 10:38-42. (Read more…)

Encourage & 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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