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The Angels: Our Personal Tour Guides on Our Pilgrimage to Heaven

The Angels: Our Personal Tour Guides on Our Pilgrimage to Heaven

I learned the prayer to my guardian angel for the first time when I was five years old. It is a popular prayer, so you may have heard of it.Angel of God, my guardian dear, to whom God’s love entrusts me here. Ever this day, be at my side to light and guard, to rule and guide. AmenTo this day, when I think of this prayer, I automatically hear a child’s voice praying it. When I picture the guardian angels, I imagine the famous image of an angel guiding two children safely over a bridge...
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A Walk in the Garden with Mary

A Walk in the Garden with Mary

Mary’s love and presence are so intrinsic to the Incarnation! Our Mother shows herself to us in many different ways: she’s the Queen of Heaven, she’s a simple maiden; she’s the Virgin of Guadeloupe, Our Lady of Lourdes, the Star of the Sea… wherever we are in our journey, wherever we happen to be when we need her, she is exactly where we are.We light candles, we pray, we read books about her, we think about her, but none of those things engage all the senses. Like ...
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Finding Hope in August

Finding Hope in August

August is here. And it feels in so many ways that the heat exacerbates our responses to difficulties and challenges. Tempers are flaring more (just drive anywhere for more than five minutes and you’re likely to encounter everything from mild rudeness to full-blown road rage). The fears we have for our planet are running deeper even as we run out of time to fix them. We’re suddenly aware that the summer is finite, to be counted in remaining weeks rather than months.Looking at the cale...
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Is God talking to me?

Is God talking to me?

Moses heard God speak to him from a burning bush. Catherine of Siena had ecstatic visions of Jesus. Anne Catherine Emmerich experienced the stigmata. Margaret Mary Alacoque was shown the Sacred Heart of Jesus. The list of people—some saints, some not—who have seen, heard, or experienced God first-hand while still on earth can go on and on. These were dramatic encounters that left no doubt in the person’s mind that God was speaking directly to them.My name is not on that list. N...
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Where is Mount Carmel, Anyway?

Where is Mount Carmel, Anyway?

Oddly enough, it was long after I had a devotion to Our Lady of Mount Carmel that it even occurred to me to question where this “Mount Carmel” might be, and why it has such a special place in our lives. As we celebrate the feast day of Our Lady of Mount Carmel this year, let’s take a moment to go back in time—and far away—to discover the origins of this special devotion.Some places are holy. Speaking from the burning bush, God told Moses the ground he stoo...
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Be the Community You're Called To!

Be the Community You're Called To!

Welcome to the second week of our summer retreat on the Holy Spirit! Today we’re looking at the gift of counsel and the fruit of goodness—and, honestly, one could spend a summer meditating on them alone!I know a number of people who are “sober”—people who used to abuse alcohol or drugs and have managed to abstain from them for weeks, months, years, and even decades. In many cases, they decided on their own that they needed help. In a few situations, people close to ...
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Feast of Corpus Christi: Thank Jesus for the Gift of Himself

Feast of Corpus Christi: Thank Jesus for the Gift of Himself

This Sunday we celebrate a special feast day—a solemnity, actually, which ranks above the Twelfth Sunday of Ordinary Time that would normally fall on this Sunday. It’s the Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ, also known as Corpus Christi.Not many people know that this feast is due to the initiative of a woman in the 13th century, St. Juliana of Cornillon. Or, rather, it’s due to the initiative of God, who inspired Juliana, who then acted on this inspir...
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Bless and Do Not Curse: How Love Preserves Your Spirit

Bless and Do Not Curse: How Love Preserves Your Spirit

I love you. You know that. I’m sorry. You know you’re my dearest daughter. The words were soothing, forgiving, as I rested a moment in my father’s hug. It had been a long week and a lot of work as we prepared their house to go on the market and my parents to move.I love you. You know that.All my failures rushed over me. I hadn’t been able that week to plaster over my own broken humanness with a schedule of prayer and community and work. Instead I saw myself. In the raw. T...
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When We Want to Say, "I Told You So"

When We Want to Say, "I Told You So"

My friend Gracie went to court again a few weeks ago.She’s not in any trouble—Gracie is one of the most law-abiding people I know—but her son is. He’s 18 and has been sporadically in trouble with the law for at least the last four years, mostly for stupidity. He’s sold marijuana. He’s passed on photographs to other kids that he shouldn’t have. That sort of thing. And every time it happens, Gracie is in despair and does what she can to get him out of the ...
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The Saint of the Impossible

The Saint of the Impossible

Rita finished baking the bread and setting the table for supper, then looked out the door to see her if her husband, Paolo, was approaching. Not yet, so she didn’t need to call her sons in from outside. Rita took a deep breath and looked up to the mountains. Despite the peaceful evening, her heart was not entirely at peace.The endless feuding that tore medieval Italy apart had recently flared up in Cascia and its neighboring villages. Paolo’s family had been involved for generations....
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