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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.…

April 14th, 2014
A practical guide for the days between Palm Sunday and the Resurrection

When I returned to the Church in my late twenties, one of the things that became very important to me was fully investing in the liturgical year. As a child, any day at church was just the same as another, and though Christmas and Easter had extra trappings, my adolescent apathy didn’t allow for much conviction or interior renewal. So, when I came back I wanted to learn, appreciate and enjoy all the unique aspects of living life according to the liturgical calendar. And there was no time where that commitment to commitment became as significant as during Holy Week.
Holy Week is the apex of our liturgical year. The entire week is one of continued heightening, building and expanding of our faith in and love for Christ,…

April 14th, 2014
Reflecting on the Boston Marathon Bombings one year later

Whenever I move to a city, something big seems to happen. When I moved to St. Louis in 2006, the Cardinals won the World Series. When I moved to Chicago, President Obama was elected in 2008 and the Blackhawks won the Stanley Cup in 2010. And when I moved to Boston last year, the Red Sox won the World Series. Each of these events united the city I lived in, and I spent much time partying in the streets, as they say.
However, in April 2013, I experienced something that united a city, yet was a tragedy. Not only a tragedy for Boston, but for the entire nation.
The day of the Boston Marathon bombings began as a beautiful day. The sun was shining, and you couldn’t imagine better weather for a marathon. The entire city shut down, and…

April 11th, 2014

When I heard that Fred Phelps was gravely ill, my immediate visceral reaction was sinful in the extreme. My immediate visceral reaction was: good.
I am not proud of this.
If you don’t know, Fred Phelps was the founder of the infamous Westboro Baptist Church, known for its protests of military funerals and its virulent homophobia. Church members, mostly Phelps’ own relatives, celebrated the deaths of American soldiers as acts of divine retribution. They touted signs proclaiming “God Hates Fags” and “Thank God for 9/11.” The WBC has made hateful statements about not only homosexuals, but Catholics, Muslims, Hindus, Jews, and various Protestant denominations.
So it isn’t surprising that Phelps’…

April 8th, 2014

A few years ago, I was rushing to catch the Staten Island Ferry. Missing the ferry could mean a 30- or 60-minute wait for the next one. I had minutes until the next departure. Nothing else was on my mind.
A man stood at the top of the stairs asking for money. I had seen him several times before. But wouldn’t you know it, of all times, this was the moment that he approached me. My response? “I don’t have any money on me, but I will pray for you.” Little did I know that this was the beginning of one of those unforgettable moments when God breaks through the hustle of everyday life.
“You will?” he asked me.
“Yes, I will,” I responded while at the same time the tension in me was mounting…

April 7th, 2014
Videos from CRS' Rice Bowl Program share young adult's Lenten experiences

CRS Rice Bowl. You might read those words, click on the link, and think that you’re headed toward a tasty recipe on Pinterest. Or a trendy new restaurant. No, not quite.
CRS stands for Catholic Relief Services, an international humanitarian agency of the Catholic community in the United States. CRS Rice Bowl is a way to dedicate Lenten prayer, fasting and almsgiving to help those in need. A CRS Rice Bowl is actually a small cardboard box (rice bowl) where you collect your gifts. Through giving, daily reflections, weekly prayers, meatless recipes, a mobile app and stories of hope from around the world, CRS Rice Bowl engages people — body, mind and soul — in Lenten sacrifice.
This year, CRS Rice…

April 1st, 2014

It’s April already and though the first day of the month is a time for practical jokes, things get a little more solemn later on as we head into Holy Week. Also, spring is finally here and if you’re looking for a good way to celebrate Earth Day on the 22nd, look no further than the Busted Halo® Virtual Retreat.

April 1st, 2014

The news straight from the Vatican earlier this morning is that Busted Halo’s® own Fr. Steven Bell, CSP, has been named a Roman Catholic cardinal. While it’s rare in modern times for a priest who is not a bishop to become a cardinal, it’s not unheard of. Asked how he felt about this great honor, newly named Steven Cardinal Bell exclaimed, “Amen!”…

March 31st, 2014

Like the dark smudge on your forehead, Lent is something that has already disappeared for many in today’s stressful world. However, observing Lent can alter our perceptions and how we view the world can be greatly transformed. So, while there is still time during this season, all is not lost.
We can take a page from a Jewish rabbi on this. On Yom Kippur he gave out to each member of his congregation a small piece of paper. On one side of it was written: “It’s later than you think!” On the other side, it said, “It’s never too late!” What he was speaking about is a sense of mindful prayerfulness — being in the now with our eyes wide open to the presence of God in so many different and wondrous ways. And, fortunately…

March 26th, 2014

Recently, I’ve been rereading selections from Henri Nouwen’s writings in the bathroom, as they are short, to the point, and open into deeper reflections. Some may protest at the idea of doing spiritual reading in the bathroom, but I find it a perfect place. No one bothers you. Your cell phone cannot buzz or twitch at you. For just a while you are protected from real life, all except the parents of toddlers who do not respect any kind of doors.
Henri Nouwen was a Dutch priest and theologian of enormous output. He wrote many books, lectured widely, inspired thousands in their spiritual journeys, and wound up living his later years in a L’Arche community in Canada, which pairs mentally abled adults with mentally…

March 24th, 2014
How the Corporal Works of Mercy can connect us with God and one another during Lent

When I was in grade school I bought two goldfish and named them Calvin and Hobbes, after the beloved comic strip characters. I looked forward to years of watching these small orange creatures swim laps above the neon rocks that lined the bottom of their bowl. Three days later I found Hobbes floating at the top of the tank. Crushed, I scooped him out and placed him on a cotton bed in a small cardboard jewelry box. Determined not to let his short life go unnoticed, I recruited a friend and my younger sister to join in a mid-afternoon funeral procession. Singing “On Eagles Wings,” we marched into the woods behind our house where I had dug a shallow grave (about six inches, rather than feet), and I covered the tiny…

March 22nd, 2014

“See everything. Overlook a great deal. Correct a little.”
-Pope John XXIII
I do not know much about the soon-to-be canonized Pope John XXIII, but the above quotation has been one of my favorites ever since encountering it a few years ago.
It lends itself to all corners of life. So often, I think our very human inclination is to feel the need to address problems with radical change. If something is not working, best to throw it out and rebuild or take on something new.
What the Good Pope’s reminder indicates to me, however, is that we can meddle in a way that is ultimately counterproductive. What needs to be fixed is often only a minor detail.
Yesterday I was speaking with a Jesuit priest who needs

March 20th, 2014
A look at the intersection of Catholic colleges and the NCAA College Basketball Tournament

As the Madness of March and college basketball descend upon the sporting world, once again there are many Catholic colleges in the mix. Over the years, Georgetown, Marquette, Gonzaga, Notre Dame and many other Catholic schools have been a part of the landscape that is men’s and women’s college basketball. Of the more than 350 schools that compete in Division 1 NCAA basketball, about 10 percent of them are affiliated with or classified as Catholic schools. And year after year, the presence of Catholic schools in the NCAA tournament stays true to the 10 percent, or more often exceeds it. This year, nine of the 68 teams in the men’s bracket are Catholic schools (13 percent) and seven of the 64 teams…

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