Busted Halo
Features : Religion & Spirituality
March 16th, 2015
How does it feel to play tourist at a grand old church in your own city?

With four minutes to Mass time, St. Casimir’s was jammed. The grand Byzantine church was so large, it would pass for a cathedral in most cities. A barrel-vaulted ceiling led to a huge dome over the altar. Earthy brick offset paintings of angels rejoicing in blue-lit skies.
We looked up in wonder, but back on the ground, we needed to jostle for a pew. A gray-haired couple smiled, giving us the okay to squeeze into theirs. And then the choir sang out in Polish. “Bóg sie rodzi,” the pink song sheet said: “God is born.”
This was our first Mass mob. We’d heard about this trend, named for the quick dance-and-disperse flash mobs that started in 2003. In the Catholic version, organizers put out the word through social…

March 5th, 2015
All kinds of Christians "church shop," but there's more to finding a church than going to a service and deciding whether you like the sermon that day

Americans shop for everything — so why not churches? I’ll admit I’ve never liked the phrase. It reduces believers to consumers, and it implies that there’s this perfect-for-me church everyone can find, just like the right outfit. Ideally, our connection to a community of faith goes deeper, especially because there can be big differences in the teachings between even Christian denominations.
As a practical matter, though, most of us move at least once in our lives. My hubby and I recently made the jump to upstate New York. Being Catholic, we had the denomination nailed down, but we still had to choose a new parish. Where to start?
Based on our experience, I’ll share these tips:

Gather recommendations…

February 23rd, 2015

And now, based on your voting, the awards for the Lenten Academy Awards…

February 16th, 2015

Here’s the 2015 Lenten wallpaper keeping you up-to-date with all the big holidays and holy days between February 18 (Ash Wednesday) through April 4 (Easter Eve).
Download the December 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.…

February 16th, 2015
Reflections on fasting for your journey through Lent

It was an unsettling moment in second grade when we discovered Ash Wednesday to Easter was actually 46 days. Sundays didn’t count. And the Lent day tally came to a grinding halt on Holy Thursday rather than Easter.
Obvious questions followed: Was I a better Catholic if I also avoided chocolate on Sundays? Did God love me more if I went above and beyond, or less for not following the rules? And was Jesus eating snacks at the Last Supper, seeing as it wasn’t technically part of Lent? Should I?
I wonder how much of this kind of mindset continues to lurk in the shadows of my recent Lenten journeys, pulling the strings as I give up or take up something. After all, it’s so much easier to point to rules and regulations and call…

February 10th, 2015

For many of us who profess to be Christians (a dangerous journey), Lent looms in midwinter before anything green has sprung above the ice and snow. It seems cruel to think about giving anything up when the whole experience of winter is basically … giving things up. Being warm, going for long walks with your dog, sitting with friends and sipping wine — all of those things that make being human such a festive occasion.
Instead, five pounds fatter than I was in October, possibly drinking two glasses of wine per night instead of just one, and inhabiting a snarky, cranky space with my spouse, Ash Wednesday is upon me. Like a car going up an already rocky road, suddenly I hit the pothole that is Lent. The car shudders,…

February 3rd, 2015

Let’s face it: The Bible can be an intimidating read. After all, it’s a compilation of texts written 2,000 to 3,000 years ago in Hebrew and Greek. It’s full of strange metaphors, unfamiliar references and baffling context. Plus, the English we have translated it into is often stilted or archaic. Sadly, the most common translations of the Bible aren’t always “accessible” to most people without graduate degrees in scripture. So, even when someone is looking for moral guidance or spiritual sustenance and really wants to read the Bible, it is easy for them to give up on it.
But what if the Bible spoke like we do? Biblical scholar Eugene Peterson took it upon himself to write a translation that would do just…

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

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