Witness of the Lord
In ancient times, when a king traveled from place to place, messengers ran ahead to announce his coming and encourage the people to prepare to receive the royal visitor. Messengers did not take this role upon themselves, but were appointed to it. So too was John an envoy, a herald chosen by God to announce his reign and the imminent coming of his Son. Continue »
St. Augustine on the Eucharist
According to early church tradition, only those who had been baptized were permitted to remain at Mass after the Creed on Sundays. So to help new converts in his diocese, St. Augustine (354-430) preached the sermon below. In it, he tried to help the new believers grasp the mysteries they were about to see and participate in. Continue »
The Lord who called Matthew is calling you, too.
We read that Jesus, walking by the sea of Galilee, “saw two brothers, Simon who is called Peter, and his brother Andrew, casting a net into the sea; they were fishermen. He said to them, ‘Come after me, and I will make you fishers of men. At once they left their nets and followed him” (Matthew 4:18-20). Continue »
On this Feast of the Assumption, let her song of praise teach you how to pray.
Mary’s Song, called the Magnificat, tells us more than any other gospel story just how Mary approached prayer (Luke 1:46-55). Mary had heard that her long-barren cousin Elizabeth was pregnant, and so she went to visit her. Continue »
From a Sermon by St. John Damascene
Joachim and Anne, how blessed a couple! All creation is indebted to you. For at your hands the Creator was offered a gift excelling all other gifts: a chaste mother, who alone was worthy of him. Continue »
St. Camillus of Lellis
If you’ve ever been tempted to think that you’re not cut out for sanctity, consider the case of Camillus of Lellis. Here is a saint—the patron of hospitals, health care workers, and the sick— whose burning love for God effected a widespread reform of patient care. Continue »
What can we learn from these great heroes of the church?
The feast of Saints Peter and Paul is on June 29. One way to celebrate it is to spend a little time thinking about their stories and what they mean for us. Here are a couple of reflections to consider. Continue »
Jesus offers a way to heal and strengthen our relationships.
"When I think about living above with all the saints I love, Yes, I look forward to that glory. When I think about living down here with some people, Now that’s a completely different story." Continue »
The Story of St. Seraphim of Sarov
In Crossing the Threshold of Hope, Pope John Paul II singles out five saints as exceptional models of prayer. Four are well known to most Catholics. Continue »
An Introduction to Mark’s Gospel
The Gospel according to Mark is printed in every Christian Bible, but, even so, it has managed to remain (in many ways) like the pearl of great price buried in a field, waiting to be discovered and able to enrich spiritual treasure seekers with unexpected rewards. Continue »
An essay by Alphonsus Liguori
The amiable Redeemer approaches the end of life. My soul, behold those eyes grow dim; that beautiful countenance becomes pale; that heart palpitates feebly; that sacred body is abandoned to death. Continue »
How an heiress became a prophet
What is a prophet? A strident voice denouncing injustice? A wild-eyed visionary calling sinners to repentance? These images hardly fit Katharine Drexel, a refined, wealthy woman who disliked being in the public eye and felt strongly attracted to hidden prayer. And yet, like the biblical prophets of old, this self-effacing heiress became a voice in the wilderness and a countercultural witness to the gospel call to justice. Continue »
The Story of St. Josephine Bakhita
The girl was walking in the fields some ways off from her home, when two strangers appeared and asked her to pick them some fruit. Brought up to show courtesy to adults, the nine-year-old hurried to obey. Not until she was in the forest did she realize it was a trick. Continue »
St. Elizabeth Ann Seton, Scripture, and the Eucharist
One day around 1780, an Episcopalian stepmother opened her King James Bible and introduced her stepdaughter to Psalm 23: "The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. . . ." Though the two were not close and the woman was preoccupied with many cares, the moment was extraordinarily significant. Continue »
December 26 — Feast Day
When they deliver you up, do not be anxious how you are to speak or what you are to say; for what you are to say will be given to you in that hour; for it is not you who speak, but the Spirit of your Father speaking through you. (Matthew 10:19-20) Continue »