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May 28th, 2013

In the book of Genesis, Joseph, the 11th son of Jacob, was a dreamer. Not a lofty-ideas-about-his-future and mighty-ambitions dreamer, but a fall-asleep-and-have-vivid-dreams-that-relentlessly-came-from-God dreamer.
He had a series of dreams, as detailed in Genesis 37, which suggested he would one day wield a great deal of power as a ruler. But Joseph didn’t want these dreams. They actually plagued his nights. To seek some sort of relief, he told his brothers about them — brothers who already had a great distaste for and jealousy of Joseph churning inside them.
So, the story goes like this: Joseph was sold into slavery by his envious brothers and ultimately rose to become the second-in-command…

May 23rd, 2013

“Wives should be subordinate to their husbands as to the Lord.” (Ephesians 5:22, NAB)
I have never heard a priest preach on this Ephesians passage. More times than not the presider selects the secondary option provided in the lectionary, which omits any references to submission or swaps out the passage entirely. Why? Do some pastors find this subject too sensitive to approach?
I’ll admit that this line may be cringe-worthy, especially for cultures that praise women’s rights and equality for all. It tends to be one of those lines of scripture we brush to the side and avoid altogether. But we shouldn’t read any verse on its own. The text that surrounds it sometimes offers more context. Perhaps we ought…

May 22nd, 2013

I’m going to be starting a new job several states away, and I’m wondering if I should try to continue to date my girlfriend? We’ve been going out for about nine months. Does it make sense to try to date long distance?

There is no “right” or “wrong” decision when considering a long-distance relationship. I know couples that met online, never lived in the same state, and ended up happily married with kids. Then there are marriages that must deal with distance due to job or school changes that crumble after just a few months apart. There are many things to take into consideration when thinking about dating long distance. Here are five questions to guide you as you make your…

May 21st, 2013
Authors of The Freshman Survival Guide offer advice on how to prep for college this summer, and the chance to win a free copy of their book

You’ll be amazed at how quickly the time passes between graduation day and packing the car to leave for college. Make the most of the short weeks before you go with our seven steps below — pulled from our book, The Freshman Survival Guide — and enter to win a free copy for the high school grad in your life (see details below).

Take Care of Your Relationships… — You and all your friends are facing big changes and with big changes come big feelings. It’s easy to hurt the people you care about without meaning to. It’s a good time to be really forgiving and super patient with each other. Avoid burning bridges and schedule time early in the summer with the people you want to see before you go.

May 17th, 2013
A brief illustration of the birthday of the Church

Can’t remember what or when Pentecost is? Well for starters, it’s this Sunday; and if you want a little more info on this celebration of the Holy Spirit and the birthday of the Church, take a look at Busted Halo’s two minute video.

May 16th, 2013

On Pentecost Sunday, God breathed the Holy Spirit into the apostles to remind them that they were not alone. Jesus had died, risen from the dead, and ascended into heaven. Jesus’ followers were afraid and unsure of their future. The Holy Spirit came to comfort them even though Jesus wasn’t there to physically comfort them any more. What does the Holy Spirit mean to us today? Much the same thing it meant for the apostles. We too are recipients of the Spirit, given to help us in our lives. According to Judeo-Christian tradition there are seven Gifts of the Spirit: wisdom, understanding, right judgement, knowledge, courage, reverence, and fear of God. The best part is that you don’t have to be religious to…

May 15th, 2013

Several years ago my family and I took a trip to the Southwest so I could do some research for a book I was writing for Scholastic’s “Dear America” series. While in Tucson, Arizona, we visited the astounding church called “The White Dove of the Desert,” which has some of the liveliest, most colorful folk art I’ve yet seen.
One of the paintings on the wall was of the disciples and their companions in the Upper Room receiving the Holy Spirit at Pentecost. The tongues of flame that rested merrily on the heads of the assembled crowd rather resembled roses. Sort of flaming red roses.
This gave me furiously to think, as Hercule Poirot would say. How do we experience the presence of the Holy Spirit in our…

May 14th, 2013

Dozens of candles flickered and melted together on the cobblestones while we gathered in front of a small table. Conversations in English and Spanish mixed with plenty of laughter as participants in the Casa de la Solidaridad program, Salvadoran scholarship students and the staff of Casa settled onto the pillows lying on the ground. Together, we prepared to celebrate the Eucharist.
Of all the beautiful memories I have from my semester abroad, these celebrations of community and faith are some of my most precious. Our group had traveled from numerous colleges and universities in the United States as well as communities all across El Salvador, each bringing unique experiences and beliefs. But as we sat under…

May 10th, 2013

And so begins the rest of our lives! Did you just tremble? Was that a yelp I heard? Why so scared, nervous, anxious? So much life is before us! As we walk down the platform steps after receiving our diplomas, do not let the fear of adulthood, decision making and change overwhelm you. Embrace the reality that the future is full of opportunities. Whether you have a plan or not, a job or not, it doesn’t matter. The next few days, months, years, are brimming with potential.
This time of year is always so bittersweet, and I can’t say that I’m extremely excited to leave the comfort of my years of college education. I can say that I’m ready to make some mistakes and ready to live in a way that is brand new to me.
This kind of thinking…

May 9th, 2013

One humid Sunday morning in May, I went with my parents and a dear family friend to church. Towards the end of the service, the priest asked for all women in the church to rise for the Mother’s Day blessing.
I figured he must have misspoken. He meant for all the mothers in the church to rise for the Mother’s Day blessing. But when some of us childless females stayed in our seats, he iterated: All women, please rise, mothers or no. I stood, feeling my eyebrows knit together, while the priest raised his hands over me and all the other women in the church, with and without children.
Let me be clear. I don’t doubt that priest’s good intentions. I think he was genuinely trying to do something nice for women. Nevertheless,…

May 8th, 2013

Every so often I find myself truly inspired by someone I’ve come to know or witness. We’ve all had important figures we’ve tried to emulate. If you’re Catholic you’ll know that the saints are such a “cloud of witnesses,” who exemplify Christ-like living for us. And while we’re talking about Jesus, is he not ultimately the one all Christians are meant to model? Being inspired to emulate is good, but I’ve found sometimes inspiration can be a letdown.
About five years ago my boss’ boss asked our department to read a book called The Fred Factor. Fred worked for the U.S. Postal Service but he turned out to be more than just an invisible postman. The author, Mark Sanborn, discovered that Fred went above…

May 7th, 2013

I don’t know about you, but just writing the word “anxiety” makes me anxious. It’s sort of like a virus. You see someone sneezing, try to escape the droplets spraying out, but still get the darn cold no matter what you do. I suspect fear and anxiety are somewhat the same: We catch them from others and we grow them inside ourselves as well.
My older brother has a dear stepdaughter attending Brandeis, and she was in lockdown for an entire day (as was all of Boston) during the manhunt for the Boston Marathon bombers. It was scary and anxious, and my usual ways of dealing with this fear didn’t seem to be working so well. I spent time on the phone with my brother and wife — texted a few million…

May 6th, 2013

I spend a whole lot of time feeling restless. The type of restlessness that not only keeps me from sleeping at night, but dominates my entire mind with questions and anxieties and hesitations.
I’ve always been an anxious person. I worry about making my rent. I worry about my family’s health. I worry if I’m in the right career. About when I’ll settle down. If I should move. What I’ll do next. I worry about how much I worry. My rational self knows that so many twentysomethings feel this way; that these are just growing pains; that this uncertainty too shall pass. But then I think, what if these feelings of restlessness never go away?
Where I want to be
Many of us are familiar with the well-known…

May 1st, 2013

Happy May Day! Today is the first day of the the month of Mary and here’s our latest wallpaper helping to remind you about the important holidays and holy days of the month.
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]…

April 29th, 2013
How the reality of Jesus' resurrection changes how we see the world

I mentioned in a recent Busted Halo® article that since my mother’s death last August, I have begun to see the disciples of Jesus as friends who can accompany me in my own faith journey. As I reflected on the Gospel readings each day of the Octave of Easter (the week immediately following Easter Sunday) this year, my eyes, like theirs, began to open a bit more.
I began to see a common thread in the resurrection appearances — something that I can relate to. Jesus himself names this common element: a lack of faith, and stubbornness or “hardness of heart.” If I can understand why it was difficult for the followers of Jesus to believe, I thought to myself, I might be able to understand why it is difficult for me.…

April 25th, 2013

The Christian narrative is, to borrow the cliché, a matter of life and death.
I do not mean this in a Bible-thumping, accept-Jesus’-death-to-save-your-soul-and-find-life sense. Rather, I am talking about the possibility of the most gruesome, violent of deaths giving way to the most dramatic and powerful of new lives.
A few weeks ago, my Jesuit Volunteer community shared dinner with a group of Sacred Heart nuns. Before the meal, a Spanish woman living with the nuns and discerning a call to religious life led us in a series of activities reflecting on resurrection. In one instance, she pointed out that Jesus’ female followers were the first to learn of His resurrection. She suggested that this is because…

April 24th, 2013

Back in 2004, Victoria Ruvolo made national news when an 18-year-old named Ryan hurled a 20-pound frozen turkey at her moving car. It shattered her facial bones, damaged her esophagus, and caused some brain damage. It nearly killed her, but at Ryan’s sentencing Victoria forgave him and asked for a shorter prison sentence.
Here’s her reason:
I went through all the emotions that anyone would have: Why me? What did I do in my life that was so bad that this had to happen to me? Then I realized God is everywhere, and if he is everywhere, then he knew I was in such great physical condition and because of that, God knew I would be able to live through this terrible ordeal. That’s what kept me moving on, to go through my…

April 23rd, 2013

All right, I admit it; there are a ton of things about not being brought up Catholic that clearly put me at risk. Or at least at a disadvantage. Case in point:
I usually do Reconciliation three to four times a year face-to-face with my favorite priest, a man of deep learning, wide experience and compassionate soul. He’s been there for my family in times of joy and times of great pain, and there is nothing I wouldn’t trust this guy with. But given how busy this amazing man is, I just couldn’t ask him to do Reconciliation and spiritual direction with me before Lent this year. So, I emailed the priest at the parish I now attend. And I know he is enormously busy too, as we’ve just lost our parochial vicar.…

April 18th, 2013

When I first heard about Earth Day, I wasn’t on board. It fell on my birthday, and I was suspicious about anything that could potentially cut into my gift-getting. However, during its big push in 1990, I was convinced — even frightened — that if I didn’t do my part in conservation efforts, Mother Earth would be doomed. She looked so sad in those cartoon depictions. I took immediate heed and started to “go green.” I stopped turning on the TV just to have noise in the house. When brushing my teeth, I kept the spigot on low and turned it off when not rinsing. Even as a family, we instituted some environmentally friendly efforts. We reused containers creatively, started recycling,…

April 17th, 2013

When I got home from the office Monday, I did what I do most days: I changed into running clothes and put on my sneakers, readying myself for a few miles to alleviate the daily stress. Of course, Monday wasn’t like any other day.

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