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Relics and the Gritty Faith of the Early Church

At the northern tip of Via Giulia in Rome, you’ll find the church of San Giovanni dei Fiorentini. The large dome that crowns this church is one of many that accent the Roman skyline. San Giovanni dei Fiorentini If it’s hot, airy churches like San Giovanni provide the weary pilgrim with a spiritual and physical oasis. Most likely, you’ll be...

Mastering Manhood Through Mary

Some years back, I heard a priest say something shocking during a homily. It was before I was Catholic, and I was present at the Mass on a holy day of obligation as a way of keeping a faux peace in my marriage. My wife converted to Catholicism in 2004, a year before we met, and, even after we wed in...

A Force for Good: Character Counts in the Workplace

  When I was asked to serve as interim dean of the business school at the Catholic University of America, I thought it pru­dent to attend a seminar for new deans sponsored by the leading business school accreditation organization, the Association for the Advancement of Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB). The seminar lasted two days and consisted of presentations by...

St. Joseph and a Lesson in Obedience

There is something about our fallen nature that compels us to disobedience. Sometimes it’s full-blown, blatant disobedience. Other times it’s more subtle like our mom encouraging us to read a book that we just can’t find the time to read. We are all guilty of it…except one: St. Joseph (I’m not counting Mary because she was free from original sin)....

The Assumption: Why It Matters for You

The perfection of all virtues and gifts of God is beatitude. In other words, the more perfect virtue and use of the gifts of God are, the more perfect is one’s happiness. And there is no greater happiness than to see God. That is why it is called the beatific vision and is the final grace that God gives those...

St. Thomas More: A Saint for the Persecuted Church

St. Thomas More is one of the great English saints of the Church and he is a wonderful saint for those individuals who are undergoing persecution for their Christian faith. St. Thomas More was born in 1478 in London where his father was a lawyer and judge. He received a stellar education at St. Anthony’s school and became a household page...

You Cannot Fail: Learning to Grow Through Our Faults

Deriving profit from our faults is one of the most important topics in the spiritual life. It is quite certain that, in the designs of God, the faults into which He permits us to fall ought to serve for our sanctification, and that it depends on us to draw this advantage from them. Nevertheless, it happens, on the contrary, that...

St. Francis de Sales’s Guide to Starting Your Day Right

In his everyday spirituality, St. Francis de Sales counsels us to begin at the beginning. Making God a part of that first conscious­ness of the new day starts things out on the right footing. Thus, St Francis’ Spiritual Directory opens with this exhortation: First of all on awakening, we are to direct our minds completely to God by some holy thought...

A Dad’s Advent Reflection on Captivity

Certain things make us people watchers. Like a rare family trip to the mall, for instance, particularly when the young, female contingency wants to stop by Claire’s. For the uninitiated, Clare’s is the “you too can be a pop princess” store. Not all bad, just not our shtick. I gave it a valiant five minutes. Just long enough for my...

The World’s Greatest Need: Men of Greatness

There is a famine abroad on the earth, a famine not of bread, for we have had too much of that and our luxury has made us forget God; a famine not of gold, for the glitter of so much of that has blinded us to the meaning of the twinkle of the stars; but a famine of a more...

Holy Smokes

I’ve always been fascinated by smoke. Whether from a campfire, the censer at mass, or curling from a warm pipe (as in the classic tobacco pipe and not some monstrous, abstract glass leviathan that lurks in the back room of some “head shop”). The slow rise into the air transforms the typical quick mental state into one of meditation and...

Marriage and Fatherhood: Adventures in Humility

Fatherhood seems to be on a decline these days. From portrayals of the “idiot dad” in commercials to the epidemic of single mothers, there is a real problem that goes beyond just our modern culture. Men love adventure, and the real secret of fatherhood is that there is an adventure every day. We’re not talking hostage rescue or dragon slaying...