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November 16th, 2011
The new translation of the Mass is coming to a parish near you. Here are the changes you need to know about.
If you're headed to Mass during the upcoming Advent and Christmas seasons, you're going to notice some changes. Starting November 27 the Roman Catholic Church ...
November 15th, 2011
Why, exactly, do Catholics have the practice of baptizing infants? What is the purpose of baptism and who can celebrate the sacrament of Baptism? Do the godparents of our child need to be married to each other? These ...
November 10th, 2011
We are told it is natural to thirst for fulfillment in aligning our life with God's plan for us and to thirst for the kingdom ...
October 19th, 2011
Getting over the stress of praying the right way and simply talking with God
Last week, I paused to look out the front window of my apartment just long enough to see a middle-aged woman briskly get in her ...
September 29th, 2011
I often hear people talking about living in the present moment as if it is a struggle, some cosmic ...
September 28th, 2011
Reconciling prayers of petition with the idea of God's Will
When we speak to God are we affecting His plans? Are we influencing the future? And if not, why do we persist in asking God ...
September 22nd, 2011
Let’s get one thing clear: I like the taste of meat. I like double bacon cheeseburgers. I like steak so rare it moos. On Thanksgiving ...
September 8th, 2011
At 13, I walked the halls of my middle school proudly as the smart Egyptian girl who brought in stuffed grape leaves for lunch and ...
August 20th, 2011
I haven´t been to confession in 10 years. It´s not that I refuse to go, it´s just something I never thought too much about. One of the many events on the World Youth Day ...
June 19th, 2011
A Father's Day Reflection
In that cosmically complex and fun butterfly effect way of looking at the world, we may never have been born if it wasn't for Thomas Merton, the world's most prominent Catholic monk and prolific author. ...
May 16th, 2011
The challenging implications of seeing Osama as a fellow child of God
When I learned of Osama bin Laden's death, my immediate reaction was indifference. I didn't share the jubilant response that seemed to be sweeping the ...
May 5th, 2011
And why the Gaga haters hate her
The video for Lady Gaga's song "Judas" has premiered, ending weeks of speculation stirred up by several religious spokespeople who denounced it before seeing it. The video is set in a motorcycle gang; Jesus is ...
April 18th, 2011
A Good Friday reflection
I am thinking about death. And ashes. Possibly this is because Easter is looming on the horizon, and if you have any truck with Jesus ...
March 26th, 2011

apology-flashAs a sometime Catholic, I often find myself apologizing. Primarily, I find myself apologizing to those more devout than myself for my negligence. This comes up most often having dinner at my parents’ house with the priests from their parish, who ask the perfectly innocent questions of why they haven’t seen me in a while or where I go to church in my neighborhood.

The other side of the coin is having to apologize for having religious convictions at all. As someone in my twenties living in an urban area and in a so-called creative profession, it’s generally assumed by my acquaintances and associates that I am either an atheist or subscribe to some kind of a New Age-y religion (possibly with the intention of annoying my more conventional parents)…

March 18th, 2011
The road of return to the Catholic faith
I went to Mass every Sunday with my father throughout my childhood, and even said evening prayers with him until I was a teenager. Then ...
February 10th, 2011
The exorcist and Lila Rose
On February 1, Lila Rose's Live Action organization debuted the first video of its biggest scoop yet -- an undercover video "sting" allegedly revealing Planned Parenthood employees aiding a purported sex trafficker. That same day, ...
January 24th, 2011
On loving books in a digital age
In the last week, two different people have asked me if I have any interest in owning a Kindle. My answer both times was a ...
January 14th, 2011
Ex-L.A. gang members carry a message of hope to a small Alabama town
For over 20 years, Homeboy Industries has offered a way out of ...
January 11th, 2011

monica-eatprayloveSo, recently, I’ve been trying out this new thing called bubble baths which I hear are great for relaxation. I make a warm bath, get in, and read a good book for about a half hour or so. For the past week, during these baths, I’ve been rereading Eat, Pray, Love (which I had forgotten how G-d heavy the book is). And here it was, after all this time of not praying, author Elizabeth Gilbert reminding me how to begin.

If you’ve never read her book, you must. It’s all about leaving behind the things that do not fulfill us (in her case, her marriage) to discover the things in life that do. And at her lowest points, when she did not know what to do, Elizabeth would cry on her bathroom floor to G-d and He would say to her, “Go back to bed, Liz.” G-d has a plan.

So in this sort of holy soul-searching story, Elizabeth Gilbert seeks to find balance between worldly pleasures and godly presence. She begins to pray in an unusual way. Instead of crying on bathroom floors again, she writes a letter to herself, in a stream of consciousness, to see what writes back.

She writes to herself:

“I need your help.”

And in response she writes, “I’m right here. What can I do for you?”

The letter continues into this self-revelation about her loneliness, and depression, and how despite all that, she is loved unconditionally. It’s just the start to her becoming comfortable communicating with G-d.

I thought, how cool?! So after I got out of my bath, I tried it for myself. I too completely forgot how to communicate with G-d. The letter started out on loose-leaf paper like this…

“Dear G-d. What do I want?”

To my surprise, I wrote back. I wrote, “I want to be happy.”

“And what does Happy mean?”

“I want to live life.”

“And what does living life mean?”

“Well G-d, you see, I just turned 25 — and it’s as if everything and nothing makes sense at the same time. I have someone who loves me, a …

January 7th, 2011

While I adore the parish at which I am serving this year, I sometimes wonder if it is run by Quakers rather than Catholics.  Because at the beginning of Daily Masses at my Church, only the priest seems to have an assigned role.

Of course roles are much more defined during the Sunday services, but for whatever reason the role of lector and Eucharistic minister at my church is left to whomever the Spirit moves during the week; daily Masses are usually characterized by the assembled faithful giving each other looks that communicate after the Opening Prayer is finished, “Are you going to do it? Do you want me to go up?  Are you sure?”

Partially because I like to read and also partially because I am the seminarian, I usually walk up if other people have not suggested (verbally or non-verbally) that they would like to read.  Except this past Monday another wrench was thrown into the service after I approached the altar; when I walked up to the lectern, the book was not put out.

And it’s not as if this was necessarily a national disaster—the 5:20 evening crowd tends to be a laid-back bunch who don’t freak out at liturgical emergencies—but at that moment I had a decision to make… because hanging off my right belt loop was my trusty iPhone.

A few months ago I bought through the iTunes Store Universalis, an app that allows you to view the prayers and the liturgical readings for the entire Roman Catholic calendar right on your iPhone.  Before I invested in this neat little app, I used to have to carry my very thick, very heavy Book of Christian Payer whenever I traveled; now all of the prayers I ever need can be found in my own little 32 gigabytes of heaven.  Also included: the daily readings for Mass.

Now, the presiding priest is a very good friend of mine.  He is also more of a tech-head than I am.  I give him a look and reach for my phone.  Through the unspoken communication that can only take place …

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