Busted Halo
Features : Religion & Spirituality
January 1st, 2014

Happy New Year!
It’s the first day of 2014 and time for our latest desktop, keeping you in the know about all the important spiritual days in January — one of the most important being January 1st. No, not New Year’s Day, it’s the holy day of obligation celebrating Mary the Mother of God.
Have a great January, and a great year.

The wallpaper is available in sizes that will fit both widescreen and full screen monitors, as well as mobile devices. Download the files directly below, mark your calendar, and enjoy this easy way to stay aware of important feasts and holy days heading your way.
Download:
16:9 [2560 x 1440] · 16:10 [2560 x 1600] · 4:3 [2400 x 1800] · mobile [640 x 1136]…

December 20th, 2013
How a baby brought us back to the Church

During this season of Advent, we recall the lyrics of Glenn Rudolph’s contemporary choral work, “The Dream Isaiah Saw,” and pray that a “little Child whose bed is straw” might soon “take new lodgings” in our hearts. Yet we marvel that a few short years ago, one of us indifferent toward our faith and the other skeptical about religion, we lacked fondness for the babe we now so hopefully await. This season of longing before Christmas is perhaps the most appropriate time to explain what brought us back to the Church, and how we began to view the world through an Incarnational lens, centered on the radical truth of the Christ Child.
We both grew up as “cradle Catholics.” We attended Catholic schools,…

December 17th, 2013

Mary, the mother of Jesus, has inspired me to be countercultural this Christmas. I can’t stop humming “Gabriel’s Message,” a traditional Basque carol that recalls the archangel’s famous visit to the Holy Virgin. (Speaking of angelic voices, you can listen to the Benedictines of Mary, Queen of Apostles perform it right here!) This catchy carol briefly, but beautifully, sums up Mary’s unusual predicament in Luke 1:26-38:
The angel Gabriel from heaven came,
his wings as drifted snow, his eyes as flame;
“All hail,” said he, “thou lowly maiden Mary,
most highly favored lady,” Gloria!
“For know a blessed Mother thou shalt be,
all generations…

December 13th, 2013

Advent is more than halfway over. Christmas is just around the corner. It’s Gaudete (“Rejoice”) Sunday in the Church. “Rejoice in the Lord always” are the words that gather us for prayer. “The desert and the parched land will exult; the steppe will rejoice and bloom, they will bloom with abundant flowers, and rejoice with joyful song,” Isaiah proclaims. The Third Sunday of Advent provides us with the opportunity to experience the joy possessed by those who have encountered Christ, the one who comes to save us.
But how many of us can relate more to John the Baptist in Sunday’s Gospel reading? He is imprisoned because he has lived his life searching for the one…

December 5th, 2013
We ask a question that rolls around in a lot of people’s minds about Catholic priests not being allowed to marry

In the Catholic Church where clergy are celibate, the question comes up in discussion from time to time: Should priests be allowed to marry? Even an official at the Vatican is talking about it.
What would be the implications for the priesthood and local parishes?
We turned to some Busted Halo® friends for their opinions. Here’s what they had to say:
 
Steven Bell, CSP
I remember having my first conversation with a spiritual director about celibacy. As much as celibacy is considered in priestly circles as a “gift” that is so countercultural to the way many societies work, how does one find the impetus, rationale and energy to sustain it? My spiritual director offered the answer that works for…

November 30th, 2013

The last month of the year already!
Here’s our December desktop image keeping you informed of all the dates you need to know as you journey through Advent. Remember, Advent is a time of hope and anticipation and patience. In addition to this wallpaper, we encourage you to use some of Busted Halo®‘s other tools to keep you focused on the season:

- the 2013 Advent Surprise Calendar
- Advent in 2 Minutes (video)
- You Don’t Know Jack!…About Advent (video)
- St. Nicholas is Comin’ to Town
- You Don’t Know Jack!…About the Immaculate Conception (video)
The wallpaper is available in sizes that will fit both widescreen and full screen monitors, as well as mobile devices. Download…

November 27th, 2013

Thank you for sharing your stories of gratitude with us this month. They were reminders to us of how important it is to celebrate gratitude not only on one day, but throughout the year. It was truly a pleasure to read through the submissions — and difficult to pick winners!
We haves selected the following seven stories to share with you. We hope you enjoy them as much as we did.
Happy Thanksgiving!

Lauren Stark from Hawthorn Woods, Illinois (and Spain)
What are you grateful for this Thanksgiving?

I had been in Spain for two days, and I was ready to go home. The problem was I still had 108 days to go. I was convinced that I’d never feel comfortable during my semester abroad. The food was new, the language was new, the

November 13th, 2013

Dostoyevsky’s The Brothers Karamazov is one of my favorite books; “The Grand Inquisitor,” my favorite chapter. In it, Dostoyevsky masterfully crafts a parable that would hold any Christian’s attention. Christ returns to earth during the time of the Spanish Inquisition, and is condemned to exile because his judge disagrees with Jesus’ responses to the Devil during the testing in the desert. Besides being an incredible work of literature, this chapter is very difficult to digest for anyone who takes the Christian life seriously. Dostoyevsky left me, and I am sure many others, with a haunting question: How would I treat Christ if he were to come into my life?
Being ready for Christ’s return…

November 6th, 2013

Having celebrated All Soul’s Day November 2, Catholic parishes and other faith communities employ the day as a mark for a month-long remembrance for all who have died. In the same spirit, we provide you this moment to remember the people in your life who have died. This virtual retreat offers a chance for you to reflect more deeply on what they have taught you, as well as giving you an opportunity to offer thanks and determine how their legacy will guide your life.
Click here or on the image below to open/download a PDF of the retreat.

Click here or on the image above to open/download a PDF of the retreat.…

November 4th, 2013

For the past two years I have been juggling prayer and grief. I have lost a friend, my mother, my grandmother and others. It has been tough to go through, but I’ve not been alone. Friends have reached out with concern, hugs and text messages. They’ve read my reflections about these losses and listened over the phone as I shared memories.
Losing these special people in my life has challenged my faith like no other hardship in the past. And I have never found it so difficult to pray. I’m left wondering how to pray to God when I feel angry and hurt. The dance of trying to reach out to the God of comfort while pulling away because of loss “caused” by God has moved me to pray to my loved ones directly. I’ve been asking…

November 1st, 2013

November seems to be a month for reflection as we begin by remembering all the saints and souls that have gone before us and end the month (in the U.S., anyway) with a day of thanksgiving. Use these days for your own reflection, remembrance and thanksgiving.
The wallpaper is available in sizes that will fit both widescreen and full screen monitors, as well as mobile devices. Download the files directly below, mark your calendar, and enjoy this easy way to stay aware of important feasts and holy days heading your way.
Download:
16:9 [2560 x 1440] · 16:10 [2560 x 1600] · 4:3 [2400 x 1800] · mobile [640 x 1136]…

October 24th, 2013

Every day allows us another chance to start over. While that might sound cliché and maybe even unrealistic, I believe that it is true and completely possible. It is probably not true that you’ll have the chance to start over in the eyes of other people, but for yourself and for God there are unlimited chances for renewal and forgiveness.
Growing up in the Baptist tradition, this idea of forgiveness was present, but did not seem as central to understanding God as in other traditions, namely Catholicism. I never had the experience or practical understanding of Reconciliation that classmates in my Catholic grade school did.
It was not until I went to high school (another Catholic school) that I was explicitly invited…

October 21st, 2013

My young daughter is riding out the wet and rather depressing days partly by playing some entrancing video games. Despite my occasional hand-wringing and guilty murmurs about “corruption of creativity” and “encouraging violence,” our family has found some games that celebrate stories, imagination, and adventure. And those are the ones our daughter uses.
However, supper is about to be served, and as a rather serious foodie, meals with my husband are very important to me, as are their preparation (and the shopping and the thinking about and the moseying through cookbooks). This night it is spicy chickpeas cooked in a clay pot with Moroccan preserved lemons added at the last minute.…

October 18th, 2013

Though this was never my impression, some I’ve encountered may have been thinking that there’s not much connecting going on between the Catholic Church and the modern problems affecting our world. For me, especially in my work for the Church in the Missions, the connections are plentiful. What’s the Church doing in the world: A lot, I have to tell you.
The Catholic Church’s outreach in the developing world, especially to those who are on the margins, the powerless, the poor, the forgotten, is rooted in our inherent dignity as children of God. In light of this, the Catholic Church is perhaps the largest provider of education, medical, and social services in the world. In rural Zambia, for example, more than…

October 15th, 2013

It’s autumn, a time of transitions, reminding us how fragile is our sense of security. Try Busted Halo’s® Virtual Transitions Retreat and spend some time reflecting on the spiritual meaning of transitions 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 a deeper appreciation that God is with us in the midst of change.
Click image below to open or download the 3-page PDF.

Click an image to open or download the 3-page PDF.

Click an image to open or download the 3-page PDF.…

October 1st, 2013

The scariest month of the year is upon us, but before we get to Halloween there are many sacred and saintly celebrations to remember, including the feasts of St. Francis of Assisi, St. Teresa of Avila, St. Luke and Our Lady of the Rosary. Additionally, did you realize that today is World Vegetarian Day? Use our latest desktop image to remember all these and more important dates this October.
The wallpaper is available in sizes that will fit both widescreen and full screen monitors, as well as mobile devices. Download the files directly below, mark your calendar, and enjoy this easy way to stay aware of important feasts and holy days heading your way.
Download:
16:9 [2560 x 1440] · 16:10 [2560 x 1600] · 4:3 [2400 x …

September 12th, 2013

The Bible is joining the ranks of sites like Facebook, Twitter and Tumblr.
Why? Because “there’s an app for that.”
The arrival of God’s word to your smartphone is thanks to YouVersion, an app that allows users to read and bookmark the Bible on their mobile device. The app is available in different languages and versions, which you can compare to see which one you like best. YouVersion is the brainchild of LifeChurch.tv, and is one of the most successful apps on the market, with more than 100 million downloads.
Think the writing style of the original biblical writers is a little archaic? Then try “The Message,” a translation available on YouVersion that makes the Bible read…

September 11th, 2013
The importance of nurturing spiritual friendships in order to strengthen our faith

I was in college — graduate school — when I met my friend Amy. We were in a creative workshop, and when we both confessed to writing about faith, we shared a moment of recognition that C.S. Lewis describes as the beginning of any true friendship: What, you too? I thought I was the only one!…
When our class took an end-of-the-year trip to New York City, Amy and I stayed on an extra day, crashing in the empty apartment of an acquaintance. We walked and talked for hours, covering miles and pouring out our stories. Late that afternoon, we walked into a bookstore just long enough for Amy to pull a small pocket edition of the Old Testament Book of Ruth off the shelf. Later, on the rooftop of our friend’s apartment, the

September 9th, 2013
Tips for finding and getting involved in a new church home

Fall is often a time of new beginnings. You might be headed back to school or starting your freshman adventure. If you’ve recently graduated, you’re living on your own and settling in to a new work routine (or searching-for-work routine).
Our brains are in “back-to-school mode.” And generally, churches and campus ministries are following suit. They are rolling out the welcome mat and putting extra effort into inviting you back to church.
If you are new on campus or maybe looking for a church home after a move, take heart, you are not the only one on a spiritual quest. Here are a few suggestions to make your church search a little easier:

Look around your campus or neighborhood and see if there is a Catholic church…

September 6th, 2013
Tips for Fasting for Peace

Pope Francis is calling everyone to a day of prayer and fasting for peace Saturday, September 7. Here’s what you need to know. Click here or on the image below for a downloadable PDF.…

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