Busted Halo
Features : Religion & Spirituality
October 24th, 2013

Every day allows us another chance to start over. While that might sound cliché and maybe even unrealistic, I believe that it is true and completely possible. It is probably not true that you’ll have the chance to start over in the eyes of other people, but for yourself and for God there are unlimited chances for renewal and forgiveness.
Growing up in the Baptist tradition, this idea of forgiveness was present, but did not seem as central to understanding God as in other traditions, namely Catholicism. I never had the experience or practical understanding of Reconciliation that classmates in my Catholic grade school did.
It was not until I went to high school (another Catholic school) that I was explicitly invited…

October 21st, 2013

My young daughter is riding out the wet and rather depressing days partly by playing some entrancing video games. Despite my occasional hand-wringing and guilty murmurs about “corruption of creativity” and “encouraging violence,” our family has found some games that celebrate stories, imagination, and adventure. And those are the ones our daughter uses.
However, supper is about to be served, and as a rather serious foodie, meals with my husband are very important to me, as are their preparation (and the shopping and the thinking about and the moseying through cookbooks). This night it is spicy chickpeas cooked in a clay pot with Moroccan preserved lemons added at the last minute.…

October 18th, 2013

Though this was never my impression, some I’ve encountered may have been thinking that there’s not much connecting going on between the Catholic Church and the modern problems affecting our world. For me, especially in my work for the Church in the Missions, the connections are plentiful. What’s the Church doing in the world: A lot, I have to tell you.
The Catholic Church’s outreach in the developing world, especially to those who are on the margins, the powerless, the poor, the forgotten, is rooted in our inherent dignity as children of God. In light of this, the Catholic Church is perhaps the largest provider of education, medical, and social services in the world. In rural Zambia, for example, more than…

October 1st, 2013

The scariest month of the year is upon us, but before we get to Halloween there are many sacred and saintly celebrations to remember, including the feasts of St. Francis of Assisi, St. Teresa of Avila, St. Luke and Our Lady of the Rosary. Additionally, did you realize that today is World Vegetarian Day? Use our latest desktop image to remember all these and more important dates this October.
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 …

September 12th, 2013

The Bible is joining the ranks of sites like Facebook, Twitter and Tumblr.
Why? Because “there’s an app for that.”
The arrival of God’s word to your smartphone is thanks to YouVersion, an app that allows users to read and bookmark the Bible on their mobile device. The app is available in different languages and versions, which you can compare to see which one you like best. YouVersion is the brainchild of LifeChurch.tv, and is one of the most successful apps on the market, with more than 100 million downloads.
Think the writing style of the original biblical writers is a little archaic? Then try “The Message,” a translation available on YouVersion that makes the Bible read…

September 11th, 2013
The importance of nurturing spiritual friendships in order to strengthen our faith

I was in college — graduate school — when I met my friend Amy. We were in a creative workshop, and when we both confessed to writing about faith, we shared a moment of recognition that C.S. Lewis describes as the beginning of any true friendship: What, you too? I thought I was the only one!…
When our class took an end-of-the-year trip to New York City, Amy and I stayed on an extra day, crashing in the empty apartment of an acquaintance. We walked and talked for hours, covering miles and pouring out our stories. Late that afternoon, we walked into a bookstore just long enough for Amy to pull a small pocket edition of the Old Testament Book of Ruth off the shelf. Later, on the rooftop of our friend’s apartment, the

September 9th, 2013
Tips for finding and getting involved in a new church home

Fall is often a time of new beginnings. You might be headed back to school or starting your freshman adventure. If you’ve recently graduated, you’re living on your own and settling in to a new work routine (or searching-for-work routine).
Our brains are in “back-to-school mode.” And generally, churches and campus ministries are following suit. They are rolling out the welcome mat and putting extra effort into inviting you back to church.
If you are new on campus or maybe looking for a church home after a move, take heart, you are not the only one on a spiritual quest. Here are a few suggestions to make your church search a little easier:

Look around your campus or neighborhood and see if there is a Catholic church…

September 6th, 2013
Tips for Fasting for Peace

Pope Francis is calling everyone to a day of prayer and fasting for peace Saturday, September 7. Here’s what you need to know. Click here or on the image below for a downloadable PDF.…

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 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…

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