The Heart of Penance

“Repent, and believe in the Gospel” (Mk 1:15). These words rang out in Galilee when our Lord started his public preaching, and they were heard worldwide last week on Ash Wednesday. Repentance is a definitive turning away from sin, but … Continue reading

Chocolate and Ashes

Can you read my mind and know what I am thinking? You probably cannot without my help. Nevertheless, what others think, especially those with whom we live, work, or love, matters to us. Often we pick up a person’s general … Continue reading

Gaze of Love

We’ve all heard that line. “Did you see the way he looked at you?” This perhaps over-romantic line in films is a common starting point for a story about love. But while it might be a cheesy question posed by … Continue reading

To Be Like Them

Wouldn’t it be nice if being Catholic didn’t make us so annoyingly different from everyone else? If we didn’t have such a strong emphasis on sacraments and hierarchy, while those around us rely on egalitarianism? If Sundays meant football and … Continue reading

Active Learning

St. Matthew introduces the Sermon on the Mount by writing, “Seeing the crowds, [Jesus] went up on the mountain, and when he sat down his disciples came to him. And he opened his mouth and taught them” (Matt. 5:1-2). Matthew … Continue reading

Prayer of the Needy

One of the parts of the Mass in which the Church gives her priests autonomy over word choice is the introduction to the Prayers of the Faithful. There are many fine ways to direct the faithful to prayer, but one … Continue reading

To Forgive Another

“Forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us.” We pray these words routinely as Christians, yet their weight should give us pause. We all need forgiveness, but to offer forgiveness often feels beyond our ability. This … Continue reading

The Flesh Is Willing

Any Christian wanting to pray will be tested. Difficulties in prayer often manifest themselves in weaknesses of our bodies that get in the way of our hearts and minds ascending to God. The apostles’ behavior in the Garden of Gethsemane … Continue reading

Do Christians Meditate?

Do Christians meditate? Or is that only something practiced in Eastern religions? For many people, “meditation” is merely associated with the activities so often attributed to Zen-like exercises: sitting cross-legged, breathing in and out, thinking of nothing. For some, there’s … Continue reading

The Day Before Thanksgiving

The day before Thanksgiving. Sleep in. Enjoy the warmth of the bed as it keeps away the chill in your room. Stay away from the world for a little longer this morning. No job forces you from your sleepiness today. … Continue reading

A Thanksgiving Prayer

Easter has eggs, Christmas presents, Halloween candy, and the Fourth of July fireworks. These are so tied to their celebration that leaving out the “has” of the preceding clauses might make one think that the names of the holidays were … Continue reading

Bees

I have a plan for surviving an attack of Africanized honey bees. I developed it after reading Psalm 118. At the midpoint, the psalmist describes being attacked on all sides by enemy nations. He declares, “they compassed me, compassed me … Continue reading

First Mass

A Short Story Clenching the wheel of his community’s beat-up beige Ford Taurus so tightly the color had fully drained from his hands, Father Eugene Felusiak raced up the Jersey Turnpike. As he successfully steered the vehicle from one lane … Continue reading

Repent and Pray

Tomorrow, May 13, the Church celebrates the 100th anniversary of Our Lady’s first apparition to the three shepherd children of Fátima. It is an occasion for us to thank God for the loving care He shows us through His Mother, … Continue reading

Mary’s Peace Plan

Editor’s note: This piece was originally published in Dominicana in September 1947 by Br. Vincent Ferrer McHenry. He was ordained a priest on June 9, 1949. In his almost sixty-five years as a priest, Fr. McHenry served as a college … Continue reading

A Voice I Did Not Know

God never appeared to me and told me in clear and audible words what I was supposed to do with my life. He never told me to be a Dominican. Or maybe He did, and I just didn’t recognize His … Continue reading

A God of Failures

The Presentation in the Temple looks like a failure. In memory of the slaying of the firstborn of the Egyptians—man and beast alike—the Israelites were commanded to sacrifice their own firstborn to the Lord. This in general seems to have … Continue reading

Toward a Spirituality of Sloths

It is difficult to be Catholic and also a fan of sloths. “Why do you like something named after a deadly sin?” I have been asked on no few occasions. When I try to justify myself by pointing out that … Continue reading

O Crux Ave

Editor’s note: This post was originally published on Ash Wednesday, February 22, 2012. Fr. Leo Checkai was ordained a priest in May 2014 and now teaches at Providence College. Today is Ash Wednesday. Lent is upon us once more, and … Continue reading

Luminous Easter

Thursday in the Easter Octave lets us look at everything in light of the Resurrection. Illuminated by the mystery of the Risen Lord, the following post offers a series of reflections for the Luminous Mysteries. My hope is that it … Continue reading

Stay Awake

Today we begin the Holy Triduum, the three-day liturgy, the highest celebration of the church. It is an exhausting enterprise, with waiting, silence, fasting, lots of lines and processions and standing and kneeling. To appreciate it requires both attention and … Continue reading

Know the Forest by The Tree

We can now consider ourselves to be in the liturgical season within the season within the season within the season. On September 14th, the Feast of the Holy Cross, the Church began the traditional penitential period stretching until Easter Sunday. … Continue reading

The Presence of God

Homes are not beautiful if they are empty. Things are beautiful by the presence of God. —St. Thomas Aquinas on Psalm 25 So many today never think of God, and some, even when they do think of God, consider him … Continue reading

Jesus Wants Your Baggage

I love flying on airplanes. As if traveling to a new destination were not exciting enough, my extroverted personality delights in being in the company of complete strangers, packed front to back in a Boeing 787. A cocktail of ginger … Continue reading