Busted Halo
Features : Religion & Spirituality
March 18th, 2014
A reminder of why we're doing Lent

You might have heard the phrase during a typical Catholic high school dance. The chaperone would diligently separate hormonal teenagers on the dance floor by yelling, “Make room for Jesus!”
Now, I’ve never experienced this firsthand, but the stories from my friends have stuck with me. And it has occurred to me that this phrase might help challenge us during our Lenten journeys.
A typical question this time of year is “What did you give up for Lent?” Loosely translated: “How will you be depriving yourself this season?”
Unless there is real meaning behind what we’re doing, it can just sound silly. The purpose of Lent is not to further our fitness goals with Hail Mary sit-ups or to lose weight by giving…

March 13th, 2014
Three young adults share how Pope Francis has inspired them to deepen their faith

Marcee Treadway Hinds
Mobile, Alabama

I actually met with my parish priest about entering RCIA classes and having my daughter baptized just weeks after Pope Francis was elected. As someone who longed to fully enter the Church, in a way I feel like I was called back at an amazing time.
Pope Francis has, for me, been a guiding light in this journey. Every morning on my way to work I listen to the Catholic Channel’s broadcast of daily Mass from St. Patrick’s Cathedral in New York City. On most days, Mass is followed by a segment that features an English translation of Pope Francis’ homily. When Pope Francis speaks, I carry his message with me throughout the day.
As someone with a semi-Catholic upbringing (I was baptized…

March 4th, 2014

 
Traditionally, Lent was a time for personal conversion leading up to Easter, during which Christians practiced the spiritual disciplines of fasting, praying and almsgiving to strip away all that is unnecessary and become more mindful of their ultimate dependence on God. Let’s recapture the true meaning of Lent in ways that are actually relevant to your life. Each day throughout Lent, starting on Ash Wednesday, the calendar’s link for that day will become active, revealing a Daily Jolt for spiritual contemplation relating to Lent, and new and practical ideas for fasting, prayer and almsgiving.
This year you can enter our Lent Contest EVERY DAY and be placed in a random drawing to win…

March 4th, 2014
Does "adding something" really add to your Lenten experience? How traditional sacrifice can bring you closer to God

If you’re up on all those Catholic trends, this scenario has probably played out during the last couple Lents: You turn down a beer or dessert, explaining that you’ve given it up for these next 40 days. Your Catholic friend smiles tolerantly. “Oh, that’s nice,” she says. “Instead of giving something up, I’m actually adding a daily Bible reading.”
“Adding something” has been the new approach to the old Lenten tradition, and it’s not hard to understand why. For too long, many Catholics have sacrificed something easy or gone through the motions. Worse, some give up things more for self-improvement or dieting purposes than spiritual ones.…

March 1st, 2014

February 28th, 2014
Churches will be packed on Ash Wednesday -- Let Busted Halo® help you keep folks coming back!

We are a few short weeks away from the beginning of Lent — a time when we’ve seen people in their 20s–30s pay particular attention to their spiritual lives. On Ash Wednesday, tens of thousands of young adults who do not regularly attend church will come to receive ashes and take a step toward deepening their faith.
What happens to them the following Sunday? And the weeks after that?
As young adults make a turn in their spiritual journey toward your church on Ash Wednesday, download, print and share this invitation (PDF below) to deepen their relationship with God. We’ve made a color and a black and white version available below for downloading. You can personalize the sheet with your parish information…

February 13th, 2014
Tales from a pilgrimage to Lourdes

Last fall, needing a break from the regular distractions and hustle of daily life, I jumped on a plane and hightailed it to Paris with a fabulous friend. I was excited about the trip. However, I remembered thinking that I hadn’t been on a religious retreat in more than seven years. I had gone through a lot of transition — multiple cross-country moves, new jobs, earning my graduate degree, and lots of love gained and lost. So, clearly, I was overdue. When I discovered how easy it was to get to Lourdes from Paris, I decided that it would be great to get some QT at a place where the Blessed Mother had been — where she appeared to St. Bernadette and where miracles have officially been recognized by the Catholic…

January 31st, 2014

Brrrrrr! It’s cold this winter, so we’ve chosen an appropriate snow-covered image for this year’s February wallpaper that includes a lot of (weather-related) days to look forward to.
Of course, Sunday is the Big Game day, but it’s also Groundhog Day, when the shadow of a common earth rodent (basically a large squirrel) determines if we’ll have another six weeks of this cold nonsense or not.
Don’t forget about the Feast of St. Blaise on February 3 — if you’re under the weather or have had to miss work (like some of us unfortunately have,) you should be looking forward to this saint’s feast day where you can head to your local Catholic church and receive a special…

January 14th, 2014
An examination of letting go and surrendering to God even when you’re terrified

Imagine a moment of complete free fall.
If you have ever experienced that jolt in your gut, that razor chill throughout your body, that overwhelming instant when everything pauses in a moment of pure terror as you let go of the edge … you know what I’m describing. This is the body kicking into survival mode. I feel it when I go cliff-jumping in Muskoka, ride the Drop Zone at Wonderland, and every time I endure a major life transition. Can I reasonably compare a physical free fall to an emotional one? Yes. Yes I can.
Recall a moment of surrender of your own: waiting for that phone call, letting go of a breakup, not knowing if you’ll pass a class, finding out you or a loved one is ill, wondering where your life will go…

January 9th, 2014

I am a little ashamed to tell you that I cannot recall what my New Year’s resolutions were three-hundred-sixty-some days ago. My forgetfulness reminds me of high school, when I had a part in a skit for a New Year’s program that was modeled after Saturday Night Live. My favorite was “Mr. Short-Term Memory.” The original character was played brilliantly by Tom Hanks and written by an up-and-coming comedian named Conan O’Brien. I loved the episode where Tom Hanks went to dinner and kept having moments of exasperation where he would question who put food in front of him or what was just said in the conversation. I’m not sure our high school version lived up.
I took the kids when they…

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…

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