Busted Halo
Features : Religion & Spirituality
December 9th, 2014

Our preparations for Christmas often overwhelm us with occasions for waiting. We wait in line at stores. We wait for Christmas bonuses, traveling relatives, the mail carrier, the cookies in the oven to finish baking, and Santa. Waiting is not, however, a passive action. It’s dynamic and transformative! This virtual retreat will help you reflect on ways to grow in faith, hope, and love while we wait for the coming of Christ this Advent. (Click here for a printable pdf of this retreat.)
Find a quiet, comfortable place to experience this retreat — at home, outside, or at a local place of worship. Sit in stillness for a few moments. Try to gently quiet your mind. Listen to the sound of your breath.

December 5th, 2014
Grieving infertility and miscarriage in the season of Advent

Wanting to be a parent is perhaps the greatest human desire. Yet, for those for whom conception does not come easy, their deep desire is met with even deeper pain. Grief of losing a baby or not yet being pregnant often resurfaces or may feel more intense during the holiday season.

December 3rd, 2014
How are we called to prepare the way of the Lord in this day and age?

Catholicism is a faith that embraces both rituals and a “God of surprises” — an institution which, though intricate in structure, strives to be open to the unexpected movements of the Holy Spirit.
One could argue that our entire lives are similarly dichotomous — a dance between routine and preparation, and spontaneity and all that comes without warning. Advent is especially so.
Mark’s Gospel and the Second Sunday of Advent begin with Isaiah’s description of John the Baptist as “my messenger … who will prepare your way, the voice of one crying in the wilderness: ‘Prepare the way of the Lord, make his paths straight.’”
Preparing the way of the Lord requires an understanding…

December 1st, 2014

The days are getting colder, the nights darker; the month of waiting is upon us.
December is here which means Advent has begun and we can begin patiently anticipating the big day on the 25th, making sure not to forget other December celebrations like the Feast of St. Nicholas and the Immaculate Conception along the way.
Be sure to check out all of our Advent content including the Advent Surprise Calendar, the Advent Calendar Contest, and our latest Instagram Photo Challenge (InstaAdvent).
Download the December 2014 Wallpaper:
16:9 [2560 x 1440] · 16:10 [2560 x 1600] · 4:3 [2400 x 1800] · Mobile · Facebook…
And as a special Advent bonus, if you want to count down the weeks one candle at a time, click below to download

November 26th, 2014

Black Friday: The big shopping day that follows the big eating and giving thanks day (although those lines are blurred more each year). There is something admirable about avoiding the frenzy altogether, but let’s be realistic. If you are going to venture out on Friday (or any other day of the Christmas shopping season), how do you avoid losing yourself in the consumer-driven, line-cutting, short-tempered mayhem? Here are a few tips for making it through the mall with your spirit intact:…

November 14th, 2014

The recent news of parish closings and mergers in the Archdiocese of New York, one of the United States’ largest Catholic populations, reminds me of when I was facing the same closed doors.
During the “finale” of masses at my parish, St. James & St. Gerard’s in the Diocese of Buffalo, I remember sitting in the pew, watching the altar get blurry as tears were forming in my eyes. Even with the painful knowledge that the doors of my spiritual home were closing, in my memories there is a distinct sense of being surrounded by goodness.
I was encircled by a great community of people, and we all had history together. We felt like one body in Christ. The woman who said, “Peace be with you,” was a woman who sang in…

November 14th, 2014

One evening, at the end of the day, chores done, chicken curry eaten, and dog walked, my husband and I sat together in the living room. It appeared to be a calm space where we would talk about nothing more significant than whether we should watch the next episode of Sherlock…, our favorite BBC series. But then, I opened my mouth.
At the same time I opened my mouth, feelings rushed in behind the words. I was feeling overwhelmed by the sheer nastiness and mayhem in the world: Iraqi children fleeing their villages, the destruction in Gaza, the beheading of journalists and humanitarian workers by ISIS, climate change, and countless other stories, which I strove to avoid but somehow could not. I’d already gone upstairs

November 1st, 2014

Spooky October is finished and November is here: the month for all saints, all souls, elections, a little turkey and even Advent beginning on the very last day of the month.
Stay tuned to Busted Halo throughout the month as we’ll be featuring lots of ways to stay thankful and keep gratitude in mind this month and throughout the next year.
Download the November 2014 Wallpaper:
16:9 [2560 x 1440] · 16:10 [2560 x 1600] · 4:3 [2400 x 1800] · Mobile · Facebook
The wallpaper is available in sizes that will fit both widescreen and full screen monitors, mobile devices and a Facebook cover photo. Download the files directly above and enjoy this easy way to stay aware of important feasts and holy days heading your way.…

October 16th, 2014
Searching for answers after a natural disaster

Earthquakes and natural disasters are sometimes described as “Acts of God.” What a terrible misnomer. Storms occur due to natural phenomena — weather patterns, pressure systems, and, in the case of earthquakes, a shift in the earth’s plates. The causes of these disasters might be explored on The Weather Channel, but witnessing the profound loss and suffering they bring about can leave us struggling with doubt and searching for answers.
Among the questions that might arise is, “If we have an all-loving, all-knowing and all-powerful God, then why didn’t God prevent the suffering of innocent people and stop the storm?” This question is one of the oldest, and most struggled with, in the history…

October 15th, 2014
Halftime at the Synod brings with it an “earthquake” regarding the Church’s attitude toward the LGBT community.

As the extraordinary Synod of Bishops shared a midpoint document summarizing dis-cussions so far, we should remind ourselves that the Synod is far from over. In fact, there will be another session next year when Pope Francis will issue his own teachings on the subject of family. Nonetheless, several issues raised in the conversations so far should cause us to sit up and pay attention.
#1 New Attitude Toward the LGBT Community… — While the Synod upholds Catholic teaching that marriage is between a man and a woman, there was a remarkable change in tone toward gay couples that the acclaimed Vaticanologist John Thavis called “an earthquake.” The document states first and foremost that “homosexuals have

October 15th, 2014

“Active waiting.” Isn’t that an oxymoron? We associate the word “active” with movement and energy. And isn’t “waiting” a passive term? Can we really simultaneously do both?
Consider the Serenity Prayer:
“Lord, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.”
It challenges us to practice a healthy balance of action and contemplation. But how exactly do we discern when to step up and when to stand down with each new decision?

Have a conversation with God. 
Turn to God first. Not only because God knows our inner workings, tics, desires and weaknesses, but also because God just “gets it.” In…

October 10th, 2014

I wonder if you are like me in the morning. Do you gulp coffee, eat toast standing up, and hurl dishes into the dishwasher while watching Good Morning America?
On this particular morning, the news came through that one of my favorite actors, Robin Williams, had committed suicide. My coffee cup hit the tiles and liquid cascaded across my kitchen floor.
“How could this happen?” I wailed to my husband, who was going through his own frantic dance of trying to leave for work.
“What happened, Annie?”
“Robin Williams committed suicide.”
He left his backpack on the floor and came skidding into the kitchen. From his face, he was as shocked as I was.
“How could someone who was loved by so many not know that he was…

October 7th, 2014

For Catholics, the Rosary is among the most popular forms of prayer. Many also believe that saying the Rosary has the power to affect great good in our world. It is prayed aloud each day in Catholic churches, on Catholic TV channels, and also online. There are even Rosary apps available. With 1.2 billion Catholics in the world, it is not a far reach to say that millions pray the Rosary each day.
October is the month of the Rosary, and October 7, the Catholic Church celebrates the Feast of Our Lady of the Most Holy Rosary. The term “rosary” comes from the Latin word “rosarium,” meaning rose garden, and refers to the religious practice of reciting prayers, as well as to the string of beads used for this purpose. In…

October 6th, 2014

Let’s be honest: Christianity is built on seemingly irreconcilable paradoxes. God becomes human. Jesus is both God and man. Death brings life. And we’re all called to be last so that we might be first.
It’s a lot to take in — and that’s why we should all be particularly interested in this week’s extraordinary Synod of Bishops on the family. There’s a lot of paradox — a lot of seemingly irreconcilable difference –and we get a front-row seat to watch the Holy Spirit work.
Any cursory glance through Catholic news reports and blogs over the last few months will show you what I mean. We’ve seen journalists at each other’s throats trying to interpret…

October 1st, 2014

Climate change is in the air, so instead of going with a scary Halloween photo for this month, we decided on an even more terrifying image: “Glacier Affected by Climate Change Seen in Antarctica”.

September 30th, 2014
How St. Thérèse of Lisieux answered my prayers

In a time where instant gratification is the rule of the day, do we allow ourselves the opportunity to wait for an answer to a prayer? Most of the time, getting the answer takes a while. On other occasions, prayer affords quicker, clarion moments that provide understanding, enlightenment, and very cool opportunities for growth. This feast day of St. Thérèse of Lisieux serves as a reminder to me of how modern this wonderful saint is. And, what a blessing it was for her to show me that prayer works.
That blessing began to unfold as I was going about my chores on a particular Sunday, tackling the “excitement” of laundry and more in my apartment. I was listening to a Catholic podcast, and the host happened to be discussing…

September 10th, 2014

Ok, I give in. Everybody I know under the age of 40 seems to have invested in these tiny, expensive Fitbits, which you snap on your wrist or clip on your shorts. They measure your steps, the flights of stairs you’ve climbed, general exercise, and calories expended. They talk to you. In cheery, shrill little voices very early in the morning.
“Hi, Annie!”
“Good luck!” (Did it say “sweetie” or did I just imagine that?)
My take on this whole “I-am-going-to-monitor-every-activity-of-my-day stuff” is that, sure, it can make sense. It may help you get more control over your eating and exercise. But, really? I need to know all of this?
I have a proposal. A fine one, I think. Let’s invent…

September 9th, 2014
Why young women are "lacing up" at Mass

The topic of women covering their heads (or not covering their heads) at Mass has made a big splash among twentysomething and thirtysomething Catholic bloggers across continents and cultures.
I have to admit that this practice has a certain appeal to me as well. Why are Catholic women bringing back this practice?
Here are some good reasons:

It’s countercultural.
Let’s face it, we live in a culture with profoundly warped ideas of female empowerment. Modern American culture would have us believe that a powerful woman is one who uses her sexuality in an exhibitionistic, amoral fashion. Her power is in her ability to incite lust — to exploit her own sexuality and the sexuality of others. The Catholic tradition…

September 1st, 2014

It’s September, summer is coming to a close, school is beginning and fall is right around the corner. Don’t forget to check out our Dorm Room Care Package for yourself or anyone you know that is heading to college this year. If you missed our article about honoring the sacredness of Labor Day, check it out here. And don’t forget, September is the celebration of Saint Gennaro.
Also, beginning on September 15, we’re running a new Catholic Mascotology bracket contest featuring some of the most interesting college mascots from various Catholic schools going head-to-head. So check back here on the 15th to vote for you favorites.
Oh, and our own Fr. Dave Dwyer, CSP, has a big birthday coming…

August 11th, 2014
Busted Halo® says goodbye to Fr. Steve and sends him off with a list of our favorite Fr. Steve moments!

For the past two years, the readers of BustedHalo.com and the listeners of The Busted Halo Cast podcast and “The Busted Halo® Show” on Sirius XM Radio have been blessed by the ministry of Fr. Steven Bell, CSP. Later this month, Fr. Steve will be leaving the Busted Halo® team and begin sharing his many gifts with the more than 50,000 students at Ohio State University, where the Paulist Fathers have a vibrant campus ministry outreach.
We here at Busted Halo® have been so very thankful for the pastoral care that Fr. Steve brought to readers and listeners through his many articles, videos, virtual retreats, podcasts, and many segments on The Busted Halo® Show. He shared a passion for helping others deepen their…

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