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Category: Personal

40 Days, 40 Graces: Day Thirty-Five

Grace Thirty-Five: The Examination of Conscience As noted in my third reflection, the Sacrament of Reconciliation has been one of the signal graces of my journey into and with the Church.  Today, as we move into Holy Week, I would like to highlight the antecedent step in the process of reconciliation: the examination of conscience. [...]

40 Days, 40 Graces: Day Thirty-Four

Grace Thirty-Four: The Apologists My journey into the Church began in late 1989 and continued for nearly seven years, until the Easter Vigil 1997, when I was reconciled. During most of that time I traveled alone, without the benefit of any Catholic intimates, much less the direction and guidance of a priest or religious. In [...]

40 Days, 40 Graces: Day Thirty-Three

Grace Thirty-Three: The Stations of the Cross The Stations of the Cross is, to me, the Christian devotion par excellence. It’s a beautiful blend of Sacred Scripture and Sacred Tradition, a Christ-centered meditation on suffering and salvation but with enough participation by ordinary characters to allow anyone to read themselves into it. Right now I’m [...]

40 Days, 40 Graces: Day Thirty-Two

Grace Thirty-Two: Stories I grew up in a home saturated by the Scriptures. My mom in particular was and is a lover of all things Old Testament, and so the stories of my youth were largely drawn from the Jewish Bible: Noah and the flood; Abraham and the offering of Isaac; Sodom & Gomorrah; Joseph [...]

40 Days, 40 Graces: Day Thirty-One

Grace Thirty-One: St. Justin Martyr On the Easter Vigil 1997, I chose two Confirmation names, Justin and Maximilian, for Ss. Justin Martyr and Maximilian Kolbe. St. Justin (died 165 A.D.) was a philosopher, a convert, an apologist, and later a martyr. His First Apology and Dialogue with Trypho were among the first patristic works I [...]

40 Days, 40 Graces: Day Thirty

Grace Thirty: Eastern Orthodoxy When I was growing up, we lived in a heavily Catholic town. My father was the most prominent Evangelical pastor in town, with a weekly column in the newspaper and a daily, five-minute radio program. The evangelistic goal of our church, to put it crudely, was to persuade as many Catholics [...]

40 Days, 40 Graces: Day Twenty-Nine

Notes on the Sexual Abuse Crisis Having spent 28 days reflecting on a few of the manifold graces I’ve known as a Catholic Christian, I cannot allow Lent to pass without noting and offering some thoughts on the sexual abuse crisis that continues to afflict the Catholic Church. I write “afflict the Catholic Church” not [...]

40 Days, 40 Graces: Day Twenty-Seven

Grace Twenty-Seven: The Priesthood I first made a priest’s acquaintance 15 years ago. A friend who would later be my RCIA sponsor invited me to dinner with Fr. Marcel Taillon, then an assistant pastor at St. Brendan Church in East Providence, RI. He was young, handsome, enthusiastic, and above all, normal. Fr. Taillon was dressed [...]

40 Days, 40 Graces: Day Twenty-Six

Grace Twenty-Six: The Mass I’ve often said, sometimes to the amazement of friends and family, both Catholic and Protestant, that the worst Mass in the world (and I’ve attended a few that approach that distinction) is still better than anything else because of what happens there. In our soulless, entertainment-driven culture, it is difficult to [...]

40 Days, 40 Graces: Day Twenty-Five

Grace Twenty-Five: The Moral Teaching of the Catholic Church When I first sat down to write this “Grace” several years ago, a howling and disapproving media was frantically covering the remarks of General Peter Pace, then Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, who in testimony before Congress on the military’s “don’t ask, don’t tell” [...]