‘Tis the Christmas season. Our music, parties, concerts and plays, nativity scenes, lights, eggnog, and (if you’re lucky enough) snow tell us that Christmas comes swiftly. Gifts are being purchased. Plans to see family are being finalized. The busyness and joys of the Christmas season are pervasive, even for those who don’t celebrate Christmas. But why do we celebrate Christmas? The “Christmas Wars” rightfully remind us the real reason for the season: the birth of
In this desire to love, humans work with that grace that is given them—in the vocations within which they are placed and using the gifts of the Holy Spirit they have received (1 Cor 12:4–11). Our humanity does not disappear when we do good works: it becomes more evident. Nourished by the Word, the Sacraments, and the Church, we grow in loving God and our neighbors. This very growth in love, for Catholics, cannot be divorced from our salvation.
Christ has come to give us life, and that in abundance. He does not hold back. We ask to know Him, we ask for mercy, we ask Him to show us the path. And He answers us with the truth. There are no riddles to decipher or secret panels to open.
One of the most significant debates during the centuries surrounding the Reformation (15th-18th centuries) concerned salvation, grace, and human works. It is an oversimplification to present a dichotomy between Reformation Protestants believing in salvation by faith alone and Counter-Reformation Catholics believing in salvation through faith and good works. In fact, as this article will examine, John Wesley, who founded the Protestant denomination known as Methodism, emphasizes the imitation of Christ as key for salvation. This
Part of a three book series on the Historical Jesus, Jesus of Nazareth: From the Baptism to the Transfiguration (Image, 2007) begins Joseph Ratzinger’s examination of the life and teaching of the founder of Christianity.† In this book Ratzinger (Pope Benedict XVI) engages the major moments and messages from Jesus’ ministry, combining historical, literary, and theological insights into a masterful work not only on the “Historical Jesus” of scholarship, but also on the “Living Jesus”
To be completely honest, it is much easier to cultivate a healthy prayer life during the major liturgical seasons than during the most ordinary days of ordinary time. Aside from morning Scripture readings, blessings before meals, and nighttime Our Fathers, most of us do not pray a lot during the day, especially days outside of Lenten fasting and Advent devotionals. Prayer, however, ought to be central to the everyday life of the Christian, even in
Robert Isaac Logie was born during the late half of the twentieth century in the Midwestern United States. His friends called him Logie. When he was seven, the Sunday School teacher from his parents’ church taught him about the Genesis account of creation. That day, his class learned about the snake, the apple, and the fall. Logie thought God seemed a little too upset about the whole apple ordeal. I mean, he could remember plenty
An Ancient Remedy for Modern Ills. Some years ago, while visiting my grandparents in the central Pennsylvania mountains, my sisters and I went out for a long walk. It was a brown winter afternoon in a depressed area. We walked along the empty, curving road, remarking on the things we passed: a repair shop with misspelled words on the sign; some goats in a frozen barnyard. Then came the moment that has made me remember
The newsfeed on Facebook (or any social media) is a troubling place. News of bombed planes, war in Gaza, murdered clergymen, and school shootings have all claimed prominent space over the past couple months as I scroll through my newsfeed. To quite literally add insult to injury, people post and comment on Facebook in a degrading, self-righteous, and outright obnoxious manner. Most people accompany the news of violence in the world with violence in their
At times, I feel within me a burning conviction of the truth of something that is at once more difficult to put into words than the doctrines of my Christian faith yet as clear as crystal to my soul and my seat of “knowing.” When I feel this way, it is time to sit down in front of pen and paper and muddle through until I can capture a solid thought from the elusive world
I never imagined myself writing the following sentence: I am a bit like Gollum. No, I don’t mean that I have a funny cough, proclivity to use the word “precious”, or frequently talk to myself (though, some might disagree on that last point). Nor am I trying to draw an abstract analogy about wrestling with sin nature. No, Gollum and I have similar passions, which Tolkien superbly describes: The most inquisitive and curious-minded of that
Recently my pastor talked about our lack of control and how God is still good. His talk pushed me to think more about a topic that has touched my life deeply for a few years now. And yes, this is me admitting sometimes I can’t focus on the sermon because my own thoughts drown out the microphone. But, lately especially, I’ve been thinking a lot about gospel goodbyes. How often they happen and how I
“Most people do not listen with the intent to understand; they listen with the intent to reply.” – Stephen R. Covey As the above quote from Stephen Covey notes, far too often “dialogue” consists of hearing the perspectives of others not so that we may understand them, but in order that we may show them where they are wrong. This is especially obvious on the internet, where 140 character Twitter interaction, sound-bite news, rhetoric-oriented politics,#hashtagactivism,