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Joy to the World

Joy to the World

I have a friend who calls me a workaholic. “You’re addicted to it,” Patricia said once, accusingly, and I was instantly taken aback. That’s not at all the way I experience my life, and I tried for some time to figure out the disparity between what she was seeing and what I feel.What I finally realized was this: what I do for work gives me joy. I am a writer, and everything that goes into writing—research, reading, thinking, the act of writing itself—is pleasur...
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God's Mercy is Waiting, Find Healing After Abortion

God's Mercy is Waiting, Find Healing After Abortion

from the interview with Patricia Marie Barnette, RGS, author of the new book: God's Mercy Awaits You: Find Healing After AbortionSister Patricia Marie Barnette was already a Sister of the Good Shepherd when she heard a call within her call. “As Sisters of the Good Shepherd, we take a fourth vow,” she explains. “We vow to labor with zeal for the salvation of souls. And zeal is from the heart of Jesus, the spiritual energy that keeps all our sisters praying and work...
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"Sunflower-bordered roads always seem to me the roads to freedom"

"Sunflower-bordered roads always seem to me the roads to freedom"

I live in Provincetown, Massachusetts, where 400 years ago the Mayflower first dropped anchor in the New World. The Pilgrims tried to make a home here before finding Cape Cod too inhospitable and pushing off for Plymouth; the Mayflower Compact was written and signed in Provincetown Harbor. So I have a particular interest in the presence of the Pilgrims here, and their motivations for risking everything to make such a perilous ocean voyage.Why did they do it? Very simply—to worship God in t...
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Jesus' Baptism Shows How Close God is to Us

Jesus' Baptism Shows How Close God is to Us

When was the moment John knew? As he reached out his arms to baptize this young man before him, what tipped him off that this man was different from all the others who stood on the bank of the River Jordan, come to confess their sins and be baptized, “to flee from the coming wrath” (Matthew 3:7).Was it when he looked into Jesus’ eyes? The eyes betray the depth of one’s soul. Or was it when his arms guided Jesus, submerging him in the waters of baptism and repentance?How d...
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Epiphany: When God Revealed His Heart for the Whole World

Epiphany: When God Revealed His Heart for the Whole World

Sometimes I wonder how Mary and Joseph reacted when the Magi showed up.I can imagine them, finally settled, still processing all that's happened with angels and shepherds and this baby in their arms, when there is a knock at the door. Joseph signals to Mary that he will get it, quiet so as not to wake the baby she finally got to sleep, assuming it to be a relative or neighbor. But opening the door, he is met with the startling sight of a dusty, strangely dressed group of foreign, rich, Genti...
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Living a Full Season of Wonder

Living a Full Season of Wonder

There was one Christmas break when I was in high school when I was particularly bored. Not wanting to get into any trouble, I decided to pick up a new hobby. For reasons that only God knows, I decided to begin my short-lived career as an amateur magician.(In the interest of full disclosure, everything that I did was sleight of hand. No magic was actually involved.)I absolutely loved performing magic tricks for people. Whether it was showing my mom a new trick while she was preparing dinner or do...
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The Day We Are Disarmed

The Day We Are Disarmed

It’s a famous story: Christmas Eve, 1914. World War I was raging, opposing British and German forces were locked in a muddy, bloody battle, with the casualties of war littered in the no-man’s-land between their trenches. Despite the pleas of the pope for a Christmas ceasefire, none had been ordered, and the battle went on. Until…After a startling and confusing time of silence, a Christmas hymn rose from the side of the German forces. It was a tune the British knew well. Stille...
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Franz Jägerstätter: A Hidden Life

Franz Jägerstätter: A Hidden Life

"A Hidden Life" is a contemplative kind of biopic of Austrian conscientious objector Franz Jägerstätter (1907-1943). He has now been beatified by the Church, but Malick's film is not about a man who becomes a statue on the altar; he avoids hagiography at every turn. Instead, the film's focus is on the inner journey of a man and wife, and ultimately the man himself, who makes an almost unthinkably difficult choice and finds true freedom by following his conscience.The ...
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Our Lady of Guadalupe: a sign of Mary's closeness to us

Our Lady of Guadalupe: a sign of Mary's closeness to us

It seems coincidental, doesn’t it, that the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe and the feast of Christmas fall so close together in the calendar? And yet… if it’s an accident, it’s a particularly happy one. Because the two have much more in common than might generally meet the eye.We all know the story: On December 9, 1531, an indigenous peasant by the name of Juan Diego saw a vision on a hillside outside Mexico City: a young, dark-skinned woman who spoke Nahuatl, a native&n...
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Will the Real St. Nicholas Please Stand Up?

Will the Real St. Nicholas Please Stand Up?

In the 1950s and 60s there was an American television program called To Tell The Truth, in which panelists had to guess which of three contestants was the “real” person described, generally someone with an unusual occupation or life-story. The expression used in the show, “will the real (Name) please stand up?” has entered into the vernacular, and it’s particularly relevant today as we try and figure out who this figure is who has so dominated our experience of Chri...
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