Understanding and Misunderstanding

I’ve been re-reading a book by Caryll Houselander called The Reed of God, which is a really beautiful book filled with great insights into the spiritual life, with the Blessed Mother held up as the spiritual master par excellence.  In the chapter entitled “Fiat,” Houselander writes about the effect of our surrendering ourselves to the will of God, noting that it simultaneously brings both greater understanding and greaterContinue reading “Understanding and Misunderstanding”

Baptism into Ordinary Time

This weekend we celebrate the 2nd Sunday in Ordinary Time.  If you’ve been paying attention, you might be wondering what happened to the 1st Sunday.  In her wisdom, the Church makes the transition from the Season of Christmas into Ordinary Time with the celebration of the Baptism of the Lord, which we celebrated last Sunday.  This is certainly fitting, because baptism isContinue reading “Baptism into Ordinary Time”

The Gift of Fear of the Lord

As a kid some of my favorite books were C.S. Lewis’ series, The Chronicles of Narnia.  If you’re familiar with the stories you know that the greatest of the characters in the novels is, of course, Aslan the Lion.  The philosopher Peter Kreeft has said that Lewis accomplished something remarkable when he created a literary character who makes the reader feel likeContinue reading “The Gift of Fear of the Lord”

The Gift of Knowledge

posted 5/28/20 Several winters ago, my sister went to a place called White Horse, Canada with her husband.  While they were there, she took a bunch of photographs, including some of the Northern Lights, which were on full display.  She had a copy of one of the photos blown up and framed, and it now hangs on the wall ofContinue reading “The Gift of Knowledge”

The Gift of Fortitude

posted 5/27/20 Maximilian Kolbe was a man who demonstrated great courage and charity throughout his life.  Born in Poland in 1894, he went on to be a Franciscan priest.  He established several monasteries and was also a very successful publisher of religious pamphlets promoting devotion to the Blessed Mother.  When Nazi Germany invaded Poland in 1939, Kolbe used his publishingContinue reading “The Gift of Fortitude”

The Gift of Counsel

posted 5/26/20 When a priest hears confessions, there are occasions when he hears himself say something to the penitent that surprises him.  When that’s happened to me, I think to myself: “Whoa! Where did that come from?”  There have also been times when I’ve gone to confession and the priest says something that seems to express exactly theContinue reading “The Gift of Counsel”

The Gift of Understanding

posted 5/25/20 The last full-length novel that Mark Twain ever published was his book The Personal Recollections of Joan of Arc.  And of all the great stories he ever wrote, he thought this one was his very best.  Twain was not Catholic, he grew up in the South at a time when there was much anti-Catholicism there, andContinue reading “The Gift of Understanding”

The Gift of Wisdom

posted 5/23/20 “For the foolishness of God is wiser than human wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than human strength.” (1 Cor 1:25)  Two months before she died from tuberculosis, one of the nuns in her community said to the 24-year-old Sr. Therese of Lisieux, “you are a saint.”  In response, Therese pointed to the tops ofContinue reading “The Gift of Wisdom”