Busted Halo
Features : Religion & Spirituality
September 1st, 2013

Wow, summer is over (that went fast) and now we look forward to getting back to work and the beginning of fall as our September desktop keeps you informed of some of the big holy days and saintly feast days in the next few weeks.
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]…

August 23rd, 2013

We live in a microwave generation. You want dinner? All you have to do is stick your frozen entrée in the microwave for three minutes and then voila! Dinner is served. You want a new red shirt? Drive to the store and buy one. They don’t have it in your size? No worries. They can ship it to your house for free by the end of the week. No preparation, no anticipation. You just get what you want almost instantly.
However, this isn’t how spirituality works. And it’s definitely not how God works in our lives. The psalmist in the Bible says, “Wait for the Lord: be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the Lord.” (Psalm 27:14) This verse can seem so impossible to obey. Yes, it’s easy…

August 14th, 2013

This summer, I’ve been watching the hummingbirds whirring up to our feeder and resting on the convenient little perches while they drink. I can almost feel their hunger and need for copious amounts of sugar water to fuel their darting flights through the air.
But what struck me most the other day was the ants. The red sugar water had sunk to unnoticeable levels, so I unhooked the feeder and took it inside to wash in the kitchen sink. As I unscrewed the bottom and blasted it with water, a cluster of small black corpses floated into the sink trap: Ants, maybe 20 or 30 of them, hard to count as they were such infinitesimal slivers of DNA.
To clarify their journey, envisage our house on a hill. Our deck rises a good 15 feet…

August 9th, 2013
A closer look at how nature helps us understand our relationship with God

Whose summer to-do list doesn’t include a hike or trip to the beach or a walk in the park? (And if yours doesn’t — you should add one NOW!) Take this Busted Halo® Virtual Outdoor Retreat with you on your next great nature adventure. Examine how nature is a way for us to understand our relationship with God and also understand God’s call to care for all creation. We’ve divided the retreat into three parts — you can break up your hike, activities at the beach, or other outing to fit the timing of the retreat. No Internet connection in the great outdoors? Click on the image below to download and print the PDF. Take a copy of the retreat (and sunscreen and bug spray) with you and your friends on your next hike…

August 1st, 2013

A lot of people think that the Feast of the Assumption (August 15) is the only big Catholic feast in August, but did you know the Church celebrates the Feast of the Transfiguration on August 6 and the martyrdom of John the Baptist on August 29? Here’s a quick and easy way to remember all three…
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]…

July 17th, 2013

I have just made a remarkable discovery, aided and abetted by Susan Cain’s marvelous book, Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World Which Cannot Stop Talking.
Here’s my surprise: I always thought I was an extrovert. I am basically at ease in social situations, don’t have trouble initiating conversations (since I got a small tattoo, I have found that a great way to begin talking to others), have been elected to leadership positions numerous times, ad nauseum. But — I really do not like working in groups. It is not my strength. I am far better and more productive working on my own (I am a writer, after all), taking long walks with the dog and thinking about things like Original Sin and the Big…

July 8th, 2013
Channelling God through good design for prayer and worship spaces

I recently moved from Boston to Providence into a one-bedroom apartment. It gave me the chance to renew and use my new space more intentionally than when I shared with housemates. The use of space can have a great effect on one’s spiritual life. The Georgetown University Center for Liturgy had a project called EnVisionChurch, which helped churches discern liturgical architecture, the use of art and space, and put them in touch with professionals who could help in design and renovation. It’s kind of like feng shui for churches.
My goal was to create a personal prayer space in my living room that I would use regularly. It had to be attractive and comfortable enough, and help facilitate my prayer and…

July 3rd, 2013
We celebrate independence with great fervor, but as Christians we’re called to a life of dependence on God

Last Fourth of July, after burning my 16th straight hot dog, I finally asked for help. This was not easy. I’m a thirtysomething male. I should know how to barbecue by now. But desperation — and my mother’s howls that “the potato salad is going to turn if you don’t hurry up with those hot dogs” — forced my plea. Ugh. I hate asking for help. I prefer to take care of things on my own. And after all, isn’t that what Independence Day is all about? Independence?
The thing is, grilling hot dogs isn’t the only thing I need help with. And if I think about it, there are a lot of ways in which I’m not independent. In fact, if I really, really think about it and am honest with myself, there are a lot of things…

July 1st, 2013

We’re deep into summer AND ordinary time, which means there aren’t THAT many big Catholic feasts and holy days during the month of July. That being said, we’ve decided to highlight some of the saints that you might not realize are celebrated during this summer month. Oh, and see you at World Youth Day!
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]…

June 15th, 2013
A retreat for fathers and children to celebrate relationships that continue to influence us as young adults

Father’s Day is this weekend and it’s time to honor dear old Dad. Fathers share helpful advice and wisdom throughout our lives (or at least they try to.) Even if we’re too busy or stubborn to listen, dads are giving us tips on how to make our lives the best they can be. This virtual retreat helps young adults and their fathers connect with those wisdom moments and one another. You can do this retreat on your own or with your dad! Live far away? Email Dad the link and get on the phone, Facetime, or Skype. So, in addition to a card or gift (don’t forget!) celebrate Father’s Day with your father in a unique way.

June 1st, 2013

We thought we’d pay special recognition to fathers this month through our wallpaper with a depiction of St. Joseph holding his foster son, Jesus. Arguably one of the most important dates to look out for in June is Father‘s Day on the 16th. If you’re having trouble finding something you’ve lost, make sure to say special prayers to St. Anthony on his feast day, the 13th. Here’s a nice little piece of trivia: On June 24 the Church celebrates the birth of St. John the Baptist, who is one of three figures whose birth is celebrated by the Catholic Church. Can you guess the other two? Jesus (December 25), of course, and Mary (September 8).
Oh, and don’t forget about Flag Day on June 14.…

May 25th, 2013
Remembering those we have lost in the service of country and community

Memorial Day weekend we dust off the grill, break out the lawn chairs, and head downtown to the first parades of the year. But wait! Memorial Day isn’t just the unofficial start of summer. It’s a day to remember those who have made an extraordinary sacrifice in the service of their country and local community. Busted Halo’s® Virtual Memorial Day Retreat guides you through moments of reflection and thanksgiving for the soldiers, police officer and firefighters who have given their own lives in the service of others.

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 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
A retreat for young adults and their mothers to celebrate the relationship that continues to nurture us

This Sunday is Mother’s Day — a day dedicated to honoring our mothers. As we become “adults” our relationships with our mothers evolve and our perspectives shift. We might feel distanced from our mothers or even at odds with them. This virtual retreat focuses on our changing relationships with our mothers. You can do this retreat on your own or with your mom! Live far away? Email her the link then get on the phone, Facetime or Skype. So, in addition to a card or gift (don’t forget!), celebrate Mother’s Day with your mother in a unique way.

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 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.…

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