Busted Halo
Features : Religion & Spirituality
January 30th, 2015

Writer, student, bohemian, activist, poet, traveler, artist. Thomas Merton wore many hats during his 53 years of life on this earth. He played many of these roles throughout his restless youth before finally discovering a faith that spoke to his inner most needs, transforming him into the figure we best know him as today: a Catholic Trappist Monk — a role he would flee from and return to again and again. As a monk and prolific writer, Merton managed to connect ideas from Buddhist meditation with Catholic reflection to create a deeper level of connection between self and God. Across several generations, Merton has been inspiring young spiritual seekers to follow his journey and explore his methods while…

January 22nd, 2015

I just read about a man exploring prayer who would take out his iPhone, scroll through his contacts, and see which names jumped out at him — indicating people in need of his prayers.
“Cool!” I thought. What a wonderful marriage of technology and prayer. I tried doing it and found myself scrolling through my list of people, fretting about those I may have disappointed in myriad ways, worrying about family members facing health challenges, and wishing I could help friends unable to find jobs in this still wobbly economy.
As a writer, my mind tends to go galloping off in too many directions when I look at words and names. Perhaps images would work better for my restless, ADD mind. Then inspiration struck: Let’s…

January 19th, 2015
Call the Busted Halo® Cast and invite people to visit your church this weekend.

Share your parish/campus ministry with the Busted Halo® Cast! Call 917-591-8476 and let us know about it.

January 14th, 2015

Two weeks into the New Year and your resolutions — if you made any — have either started you on a path to self-improvement or left you feeling not quite up to the challenge. Invariably, some people will make a New Year’s resolution to pray more often (or at all!), and the effort comes to naught when they realize they don’t really know how to pray, or, perhaps, even what prayer is. So, why not get some help?
We often hire personal trainers, financial advisors, even dating consultants, to meet our goals. Why not find someone to assist us with our personal relationship with God? We call that person a spiritual director — someone specially trained in the art of spiritual direction.
Essentially, a…

December 31st, 2014
A dozen inspirations from everyone's favorite pope

Merry Christmas from Busted Halo!…
This year, for the 12 Days of Christmas we have 12 messages of inspiration from everyone’s favorite pope! Click the image of the day to view the message and come back every to see what surprise Pope Francis has for you.

December 24th, 2014
Scripture needs to be meaningful for us, and your vision of the Nativity might just need a contemporary twist to bring the Christmas Story to life

Now, if there’s one story that every good Christian knows (and plenty of bad Christians, too), it’s the Christmas Story. (No, not the one with Ralphie and the BB gun. The other one with Jesus and the manger.) We all have pretty set ideas in our minds of what that story looks like, and it frequently involves images we’ve had stuck in there since childhood. You know the ones: the baby Jesus center stage, sleeping peacefully in the perfectly manicured manger, while Mary sits behind him, looking on dutifully with Joseph at her side. The wise men are kneeling in ladder sequence before the infant, while the shepherds are sitting docilely off to the side.
It’s a beautiful tableau, but it’s also pretty, well, dull.…

December 22nd, 2014
God takes on human form at Christmas -- and gives us an example for how to live our lives

When it comes to acronyms and short-form expressions, it can be difficult to keep up with our culture’s rate of production. How many of our parents out there (bless them) are still using “LOL” incorrectly?
There is, however, one acronym that has enjoyed a consistent appeal, even before the days of tweeting and messaging: “WWJD?”
“What would Jesus do?” It is a reasonable question to ask in moments of our lives when we are in need of an example of the right thing to do. However,  when it comes to living our lives lovingly and joyfully, around Christmastime I am reminded of how the Incarnation — the event of God taking on a human body in Jesus Christ — can be an…

December 19th, 2014

Our digital twist on the traditional Advent calendar brings a sense of surprise by showing you the whole calendar, but not letting you “open” each day and find out what’s behind the picture until that day comes along. Each day, the link will lead you to a special Advent-themed Daily Jolt and MicroChallenge.

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, travelling 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.)
GETTING STARTED­…
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 12th, 2014

Find a comfortable space where you can relax.
Sit comfortably.
Let go of any thoughts, images, or feelings that arise.
And get ready to feel gratitude…

November 6th, 2014
Exercises to Express Appreciation

INTRODUCTION­
It’s easy to take things for granted, especially some things like a job (that you HAVE TO GO TO each day), or a family (that you ARE CONSTANTLY surrounded by), or even friends (that you HAVE KNOWN FOREVER), or anything similar. It’s easy to forget why we are lucky for just about anything in our lives. That’s why it’s good to count our blessings, be thankful and show gratitude. This short retreat is intended to allow your group a little bit of time to reflect and think about gratitude in various aspects of your lives. (Click here for a printable pdf of this retreat.)
GETTING STARTED­…
This retreat is intended for a small group (4-9) of coworkers, family, or friends, or any small collection of people

November 2nd, 2014

With All Soul’s Day, November 2, Catholic parishes and other faith communities mark a month-long remembrance for all who have died. In the same spirit, we provide you this way 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 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 29th, 2014

The celebration of Halloween (or All Hallows’ Eve) comes just before All Saints Day and the Feast of All Souls (or Commemoration of All the Faithful Departed).
Generally, we associate this time of year with costumes, ghouls and trick-or-treating.
This year, though, as we approach the day of spooks and the day of saints, let’s get to know a little more about some of the Catholic saints. The five which follow can add an element of faith … and fright … to your Halloween:

& 2. St. Lucian and St. Marcian: Eye of newt and toe of frog
Saints Lucian and Marcian spent their early years conjuring up magical spells. Their charmed lives came to an end when they discovered their potions had no power when used against…

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