Busted Halo
Features : Religion & Spirituality
January 19th, 2015
Call the Busted Halo® Cast and invite people to visit your church this weekend.
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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 25 – Christmas! December 26 – St. Stephen Dec. 27 – St. John, Evangelist December 28 – Holy Family December 29 December 30 December 31 – New Year’s Eve Jan. 1 – Mary, Mother of God January 2 January 3 – Holy Name of Jesus Jan. 4 – Feast of the Epiphany January 5…
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 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 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?
The Advent wreath, with a candle marking each week of the season. (CNS photo illustration/Bob Roller)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…
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 14th, 2014
A yellow ribbon hangs from the doors of closed parish in Cleveland. (CNS photo/William Rieter)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.…
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
Floodwaters surround St. Paul Missionary Baptist Church after Tropical Storm Isaac swept through parts of Louisiana in 2012. (CNS photo/Sean Gardner, Reuters)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…
October 15th, 2014
Halftime at the Synod brings with it an “earthquake” regarding the Church’s attitude toward the LGBT community.
Pope Francis poses with auditors of the extraordinary Synod of Bishops on the family. (CNS photo)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…
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
PHOTO CREDIT: CNS photo/Juan Medina, ReutersFor 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…
October 6th, 2014
Bishops arrive in procession for a Mass celebrated by Pope Francis to open extraordinary Synod of Bishops on the family. (CNS photo/CNS photo/Maria Grazia Picciarella, pool)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…
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
Statue of St. Thérèse of Lisieux at the National Shrine of St. Thérèse in Darien, Illinois. (CNS photo/Nancy Wiechec)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”…
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?) “UcandoitAnn” 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…
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