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May 15th, 2014
Cardinal Walter Kasper (AKA Pope Francis’ theologian) shows us how to give -- and receive -- mercy.

“This book has done me such good,” Pope Francis remarked in his first Sunday afternoon address in March 2013.
I immediately thought, “What book is he talking about and how can I get one?”
“Mercy by Walter Cardinal Kasper” and “nowhere yet” were the answers.
I had heard of this remarkable German theologian before, about 10 years ago in my first systematic theology class, but I really didn’t try to read anything of his until this endorsement by Pope Francis. And now I would have to wait more than a year until the book was available in English.
Finally, earlier this month, the English translation of Mercy… (Paulist Press) was published. To celebrate the book’s release, Cardinal Kasper came to New

May 13th, 2014

Imagine walking into Sunday Mass and finding an extra 500 people crowded in the pews and spilling into the aisles. No, it’s not Easter. It’s a Mass mob.
The concept is taken from the popular flash mobs that invite strangers via social media (sometimes hundreds, thousands, even millions!) to participate in a group action. Flash mobs range from choreographed dances in public places to marriage proposals.
Mass mobs were created to intentionally invite strangers to attend Mass at a designated church. Beginning in Buffalo last November, Mass mobs have spread across the country to churches in Philadelphia, Cleveland, and most recently Detroit. The Mass mobs in these cities happened in older churches with the…

May 9th, 2014
A retreat for young adults and their mothers to celebrate the relationship that continues to nurture us

This Sunday is Mother’s Day — a day dedicated to honoring our mothers. As we become “adults” our relationships with our mothers evolve and our perspectives shift. We might feel distanced from our mothers or even at odds with them. This virtual retreat focuses on our changing relationships with our mothers. You can do this retreat on your own or with your mom! Live far away? Email her the link then get on the phone, Facetime or Skype. So, in addition to a card or gift (don’t forget!), celebrate Mother’s Day with your mother in a unique way.

May 9th, 2014

Dear Graduates,
Congratulations! You have much to celebrate as you mark the end of your time in college. We here at Busted Halo hope this prayer gives you the opportunity for a few moments of spiritual reflection as you take part in graduation festivities.
This is a time of great joy, transition, and maybe even some nervousness about the future. God goes with you — and God celebrates with you. We do too.…

  

God of joy and hope,
we thank you for this time of graduation.
Your spirit of wisdom has empowered our hard work and discipline in such a way that our hunger for learning has been nourished with knowledge, discovery, creativity, and determination.
As we prepare to walk across the stage to receive our

May 8th, 2014

Question: My boyfriend and I are beginning to have serious conversations about marriage. He is a shamanist, and I am a Catholic. He has attended Mass with me on multiple occasions, has prayed with me, and is open to conversations about marrying in the Church and raising our kids Catholic.
It’s not that he’s thinking of converting, and that’s not what I expect of him either. I just know that interfaith marriages can be very challenging. What would be your advice for conversations we should have before deciding on marriage and also advice for our lives together as partners and potentially parents?
Answer: I want to commend you for considering this question now. When couples get engaged first and…

May 7th, 2014

It is the time of the church year when we consider that a dead man came back to life and walked among us for 40 days. In the lingering energy of Easter’s festivities, I sat down to catch up on ABC’s new drama, Resurrection, which is set in a small town in Missouri where people begin to return from the grave.
The show began as a couple wrestled with the reappearance of their precious 6-year-old boy who had drowned decades earlier. In recent episodes, the town’s pastor must face the sudden return of his love who had committed suicide years earlier. The uniqueness of the series is grounded in human emotion. We witness the resurfacing of feelings that death had exacted in the lives of these characters, and the unravelling…

May 1st, 2014

High school students are entering a critical time of year — college acceptance/rejection letter season — when seniors find out where they got in and decide where they will attend in the fall. For most students, it marks the beginning of the biggest transition they’ve ever experienced in their life. But while you may be at the top of your class, the bottom or somewhere in-between, everyone is challenged by some bad habit or another when it comes to school. If you’re a high school junior or senior you may already be painfully aware of the bad habits that get you into trouble and make your life more difficult than it needs to be. The real danger with high school bad habits, though, is that they often…

April 30th, 2014

Happy May and May Day! Summer is fast approaching and with it (hopefully) warmer weather for all. This month we remember especially Cinco de Mayo, Mother’s Day, Our Lady of Fatima, Memorial Day, the Ascension and the Visitation.

April 30th, 2014
How my prayer life changed my view on expressing emotion

I used to curse my emotions. The chill of fear, the pang of disappointment, or being momentarily happy only to eventually fall from cloud nine — these emotions become exhausting after a while.
Characters on TV who show no emotion, who happen to be really smart, and who have demeaning emotionless humor (Dr. Gregory House, Sherlock Holmes, Sheldon Cooper) are hailed as the cool kids. Characters who are overly emotional (Jess Day from New Girl, Lily Aldrin from How I Met Your Mother) are made into ridiculous caricatures. Nobody wants to be called the fool. So, emotions must be the problem.
I often catch myself suppressing emotion to make it seem like I have my wits about me. Now, let me clarify what I mean by “emotion.”…

April 24th, 2014
Animated .gifs for the first 8 days of Easter

Easter is more than one day — it’s an entire season of the Church year that begins with the Easter Octave. The gospel readings during the Octave include some of the most beautiful passages of scripture from the time after Jesus’ resurrection and his first encounters with his friends and disciples. These readings remind us of the importance of Jesus’ resurrection and the power of his ministry here on earth. Jesus appeared to his friends & disciples that they might continue to share the Good News in word and deed with everyone they would meet.
To view a single day’s animation just click on that day’s image.

April 22nd, 2014
A personal retreat for Earth Day in appreciation of creation

Looking for a way to celebrate Earth Day this year? Try Busted Halo’s® Virtual Earth Day Retreat and spend some time reflecting on the spiritual meaning of creation in our lives. Download the retreat (if you print it — print on both sides of the paper!) by clicking the image below. Take a few minutes out of your day — at your desk, on your lunch break, between classes — and grow an even deeper appreciation for all God’s creation. Happy Earth Day!

April 22nd, 2014
Are we focusing on financial freedom at the expense of the poor?

“But woe to you Pharisees! For you pay tithe of mint and rue and every [kind of] garden herb, and [yet] disregard justice and the love of God; but these are the things you should have done without neglecting the others.” (Luke 11:42)
When some Christians talk about biblical principles in government, they tend to mean something very specific: small government, pro-life, anti-gay marriage, low taxes, government that respects the Christian heritage of the United States and a national law based upon the Bible are the main tenets. Freedom and liberty are considered by many in the American Christian community to be the backbone of the United States. Indeed, these are vital to any free society, but are they…

April 21st, 2014
The woman with a role in stories of Jesus' life, death and resurrection can be a model for our lives today

She was not the prostitute that you read about in Luke 7:36-50. Her story begins in Luke 8:1-3, which says, “Soon afterwards Jesus went through cities and villages, proclaiming and bringing the good news of the kingdom of God. The twelve were with Jesus, as well as some women who had been cured of evil spirits and infirmities. Mary, called Magdalene from whom seven demons had gone out, and Joanna … and Susanna, and many others … who provided for them out of their resources.”
She also is not to be confused with the unknown woman who washed and anointed Jesus’ feet, nor was she Jesus’ wife, although some modern novels would have us believe this. There is simply no evidence for this…

April 18th, 2014
Presenting the traditional devotion in a virtual way to help you reflect on the mystery of Jesus’ death and what it still means to us today

Busted Halo has created a series of virtual stations designed for personal devotion. These stations relate to Jesus’ teachings about the Kingdom of God and the reason his vision of this Kingdom led to his death. Find a quiet place to watch these stations, and as you do the devotions be open to how God is speaking to you through the Stations of the Cross.

April 17th, 2014
Connecting an ancient practice of remembrance with the suffering in today's world

On Good Friday, Jesus not only reveals that he is our Savior, but also, more subtly, that he is our Teacher. During his Passion, was he quietly teaching us not to mourn his death specifically, but rather asking us to mourn human suffering in general? Is there even a way to contextualize Christ’s Passion in the 21st century?
Many Catholic Worker communities try to do just that. By designing their own living Stations of the Cross, they attempt to tie Jesus’ Passion intimately to those who suffer in their own neighborhoods, towns and cities, as well as in far-off places in the world.
I’ve participated in the Los Angeles Catholic Worker “Good Friday Stations of the Nonviolent Cross” (which Martin Sheen dutifully…

April 16th, 2014

A long winter is fading into the calendar. Sunlight seems more content to lounge around past dinner and may even reach through the early spring chill and kiss our skin with bits of red if we lean its way.
The world draws us closer together as it warms. The cold and darkness that made us slowly withdraw from one another begins to disappear as birds sing, trees sprout colors, and neighbors who’ve ducked into cars to escape the cold linger once again to catch up and chat across driveways and busy sidewalks.
Winter can make us strangers.
I entered this season of Lent feeling the weight of a winter season in my spiritual life. I have felt a bit like God was my neighbor waving quickly and ducking into his front door across the street…

April 16th, 2014

Every night, before I go to sleep, I open up my Q&A a Day Book and answer the daily question. Q&A a Day is a trendy five-year journal that prompts the writer to record one line each day, and has 365 questions that you answer annually. They range from “What did you have for breakfast today?” to “Are you the original or the remix?” I like musing over the memories of where I was a year ago, and cultivating curiosity over the empty space of next year. After writing my answer for March 27, I peeked to the next page for March 28. The question of the day was, “What did you remember most about today?” It just so happens that March 28 last year was Holy Thursday. I knew this because my scribble revealed my answer, “The…

April 16th, 2014

The Old Testament has (almost) never been read at the Eucharist during Easter season. St. Augustine of Hippo in the 4th Century started this based on earlier practices by Cyril of Jerusalem.
While there are no readings from the Hebrew Scriptures during the Easter season, there are several readings from here at the Easter Vigil. Here we draw out the history of our salvation in one night…from creation, through Abraham, through Moses, etc.
During the Easter season, the Hebrew Scriptures are replaced by the Acts of the Apostles. The logic draws upon the practice of looking forward from the resurrection to balance the Easter Vigil’s looking back on our salvation history.
On weekdays in the Easter season in fact,…

April 15th, 2014

Our writers invite you along on their journeys through Lent. Follow the play-by-play of their personal spiritual practices and share your own.…

April 15th, 2014

It is easy to share the personal highlight reel of my life, but I will stutter if you ask me the last time I truly felt vulnerable. I enjoy being independent and do not ask for help from others unless I am put in a tough spot. The first time I purchased a car on my own my parents offered financial assistance, but instead of accepting their offer, I picked up extra jobs to save up. When I was in college, I paid for my own tuition with scholarships and by working part-time. Like many young adults, I take pride in my independence and find it jarring to be put in a position where I have to ask for help.
That all changed when I was in a car accident this winter. The wheels that carried me to work and social outings and on road trips were no more.…

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