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Suffering Poorly

am glad you feel you are ‘standing still’ in your spiritual life. I should be still better pleased if you felt you were losing ground! Whatever makes for humility is so much to the good.”

Frames of Mind

My attention span is waning. I’ve noted it for the past couple of years: no longer can I sit for hours with a single book before me—barely recognizable is my teenage self who marathoned through Harry Potter volumes the day they arrived at my door—and the convenient packaging of 25 minute episodes of my favorite TV-shows has so shaped me that even sitting through a two hour long movie is at times difficult. I’ve no doubt as to the cause of my attention shortage, though. The recurring itch to check phone, e-mail, and social media as I attempt to work through any text of depth or any movie of richness reminds me again and again that my ability to focus was exchanged over time for the instant gratifications of the alerts and messages my electronic devices have brought me. Continue Reading »

Catholic Census

I never got closer than a football field to Pope Francis when he visited Washington D.C., but it was enough to be around all the people who had also come out to be as close as we could to the pope. My friend from church spotted me and ran over to pray together, I exchanged names with a pair of . . . . Continue Reading »

Postures of Prayer

How ought we to pray? Kneeling, standing, sitting, prostrate? Should we pray out loud, in song, or silently? The most specific instructions we receive in Scripture pertain to the content of our prayers, not to the outward delivery of those prayers. In Matthew 6, when Jesus instructs the disciples . . . . Continue Reading »

Teach Us to Pray

Christians have watched in helpless horror at the release of videos of masked ISIS warriors shooting and beheading Coptic Christians on a lonely stretch of North Africa beach. We can help, by diligent prayer for brothers and sisters who fall victim to Muslim brutes.But how should we pray? Continue Reading »

God of Fire, Man of Prayer

Birmingham is a post-Civil War city founded in 1871 in response to the discovery of one of the world’s richest mineral deposits of iron, coal, and limestone. The abundance of these raw materials led to a thriving steel industry, and Birmingham became the “Pittsburgh of the South.” In the early twentieth century, the leaders of Birmingham commissioned a statue of Vulcan, the Roman god of fire and the forge, to represent the city at the 1904 World’s Fair in St. Louis. Today, Vulcan stands 56-feet tall high atop Red Mountain overlooking the city, a symbol of Birmingham’s history. Colossus-like, Vulcan is the largest cast-iron statue in the world, welcoming thousands of visitors every day from near and far. Continue Reading »

Lessons from Lepanto

For months leading up to the Battle of Lepanto, fought on this day 443 years ago, Pope Pius V urged the faithful to pray for military victory against Muslim forces aiming to storm Italy from its Adriatic coast. Specifically, he enjoined Catholics in Europe to pray daily the most holy rosary of the Blessed Virgin Mary. The Christian navy prevailed, and on the Roman calendar October 7 was dedicated to Our Lady of Victory. Continue Reading »

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