St. Peter and the Storms of Life

This article was originally published in The Catholic News Herald of the diocese of Charlotte. One of my favorite scenes in the Bible is when Jesus walks on the water of the Sea of Galilee and calls St. Peter to come out to Him. And Peter does it. He steps out of the boat and onto the water, and he walks toward Our Lord. But then he notices the wind and the storm around him, and he begins to sink. It’s easy…

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Our Lady of La Leche

This article was originally published in The Catholic News Herald of the diocese of Charlotte. When one thinks of making a pilgrimage, it’s easy to think of such far off places as the Holy Land, Rome or Fatima. When you think of going to see great sites of religious history, it’s not surprising if the mind first ventures to the Middle East or to Europe, where great dramas of history have played out for so many centuries and in so many ways.…

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The Litany of St. Joseph

This article was originally published in The Catholic News Herald of the diocese of Charlotte. I love to meditate on the many titles of St. Joseph. As I have grown in awareness and devotion to him over the last several years, his litany has become one of my favorite prayers. Different titles will resonate with me at different times and in different circumstances of life. I’ve also discovered that the litany can make for a good examination of conscious, drawing to the…

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Flannery O’Connor

This article was originally published in The Catholic News Herald of the diocese of Charlotte. Only recently have I become a devotee of the Catholic writer Flannery O’Connor, although her collection of short stories sat on my bookshelf for many years. I was aware that she was an important figure, both as a writer and as a Catholic. Her short story “A Good Man is Hard to Find” is studied at various levels in academia, and she was certainly a master at…

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Purgatory and Praying for the Dead

This article was originally published in The Catholic News Herald of the diocese of Charlotte. This past year, I’ve been working my way through a reading of Dante Alighieri’s epic poem “The Divine Comedy,” in which the poet narrator travels first through the circles of hell, then climbs the mountain of purgatory, and ultimately reaches the paradise of heaven. As we enter into the month of November, a time the Church has designated especially for praying for the souls of the dead,…

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Women Who Dared Speak Truth

This article was originally published in The Catholic News Herald of the diocese of Charlotte. “And who knows if you have not come to the kingdom for such a time as this?” These are the words spoken to Queen Esther in the Old Testament, when she is being asked to risk the wrath of her husband the king in order to save the lives of the Israelites. Esther is asked to endanger her own comfort and security, even her life, for the…

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Mary Magdalene, The Perfect Repentant

This article was originally published in The Catholic News Herald of the diocese of Charlotte. Mary Magdalene has been a complex character in Christian thought throughout Church history. She has been variously identified as Mary of Magdala; the “sinful woman” of Luke 7:36-50 who anoints Christ’s feet and dries them with her hair; and Mary of Bethany, the sister of Martha and Lazarus. What we know from Scripture is that Mary of Magdala was one of the women who followed Jesus during…

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Caryll Houselander’s “The Reed of God”

This article was originally published in The Catholic News Herald of the diocese of Charlotte. One of my favorite books for meditating on Christ and the Blessed Virgin Mary is Caryll Houselander’s “The Reed of God.” I was introduced to this book just a few years ago and it has since become one that I return to quite often for contemplation. Houselander’s prose writing is as lyrical as her poetry, which is also sprinkled throughout the book, and makes for a beautifully…

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C.S. Lewis and the Value of Revisiting Stories

This article was originally published in The Catholic News Herald of the diocese of Charlotte. I have always been an avid re-reader of books, just as I also delight in re-watching favorite movies and television series. In some ways, this is due to finding comfort in the familiar and predictable, knowing that my imagination is not going to be assailed by inappropriate or untimely thoughts and images. But I have also learned that the pieces I enjoy returning to can be treasure…

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St. Joseph and What We Need Most

This article was originally published in The Catholic News Herald of the diocese of Charlotte. Every time we pray the Our Father, the prayer Jesus Himself gave to us, we ask God to “give us our daily bread.” As Moses and the Israelites were given manna in the desert for just one day at a time, we also are called to trust God to provide for our needs one day, one moment, at a time. This can be a difficult act of…

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