Comment and Dialogue Articles

  • The plan of life Establishing a plan – Part 3

    Because our physical life is a good, as stated in a previous article, another aspect of our plan of life should be exercise. Thirty minutes of brisk exercise at least three times a week is a feasible goal. We must also combine this with a healthy diet and proper sleep. God gave us the night to rest and the light to work. Staying up late and sleeping in late are often signs of imbalance and disorder in our life.   Read More
  • Called to be the light

    “I am a mother of twins. With winter coming early I do not have the money to cover heat and I will not qualify for assistance for another month. Can Catholic Charities help me?” In cold and darkness, you were the light. “My husband lost his job, I work part-time and we have two kids plus my dad living with us. We need food to help stretch our paycheck and pay the bills. Can Catholic Charities help us?” In hunger and darkness, you were the light. Read More
  • The theology of Christmas

    On the Feast of the Incarnation we celebrate Almighty God’s decision to become man by assuming the body of a human being. The Heavenly Father announced to Mary that she was chosen to be the mother of God’s only begotten son. Mary had been immaculately conceived in her mother’s womb, and was made ready from her conception for this supreme moment in the history of the world. Read More
  • The plan of life Establishing a plan – Part 2

    The next element to establish a “plan of life” is to practice daily meditation and spiritual reading. As mentioned in earlier issues, it is in our daily meditation that our hearts and minds become like Christ’s because we spend time with him. (cf. Mt 6:6) In fact, meditation is nothing other than a discovery of God’s indwelling in our souls. He is already in us, we need only remove the obstacles in our wills and intellects to let him flood us with his sanctity. (cf Jn 14:12) Read More
  • Finding worth, holiness, in our own experience

    With ever greater frequency, it seems, I hear people talking about the items on their “bucket lists.” This term refers to the things one feels called upon to do before “kicking the bucket.” Read More
  • The plan of life Establishing a plan – Part 1

    This first element involved in establishing a plan of life is to realize one very important fact: Holiness is for you and everyone else. It is possible? Yes, sanctity is not just for the priest, nun or monk living in some cloister somewhere. It is for you as well, and you must take advantage of the means available to achieve this marvelous destiny.   Read More
  • Instruments of God’s peace, shalom

    Over the last weekend, I heard from a parishioner who had just attended a Sabbath service at a St. Louis-area synagogue. This first Sabbath of November was also the first Sabbath since the killing of 11 worshipers at a synagogue in Pittsburgh on Oct. 27. There was, in fact, an emphasis on interfaith Sabbath participation in many synagogues. My parishioner had never previously been present for a Jewish worship service, and she found it uplifting, for a couple of reasons: an awareness that our Christianity sprang from Judaism, and the encouragement coming from people of many religions at a time Read More
  • Called to feed the hungry

    Called to feed the hungry When grocery shopping, I doubt a can of green beans really calls out to you as a delicious must-have item. If you are like me, most of the calls I hear in the grocery store come from the ice cream aisle. At Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Springfield in Illinois, a can of green beans is not just another food choice, it is the answer to a much bigger call: to feed the hungry. On Oct. 5, Decatur wrapped up its WSOY Food Drive and Springfield Catholic schools wrapped up their Incredible Food Drive Competition. The results were tremendous. Read More
  • The plan of life Holiness: A good life and a happy life

    The first order of business is to review what has been said regarding faulty notions of holiness. To do this, we will discuss the following: The basic personal goods we all desire. The basic relational goods we all desire. The basic spiritual goods we all desire. Read More
  • Praying the psalms

    One of the things I am most grateful for in my life of prayer has been the praying of the psalms during the Liturgy of the Hours. Before I began to pray the Liturgy of the Hours, I had never had close contact with the psalms. There were a couple that I had read or heard that I loved, but outside of that, there were at least 145 psalms to which I had never truly paid attention. However, after three years of praying the Liturgy of the Hours, though I am still a child in the practice, I have found Read More
  • The plan of life — Establishing holiness

    Past articles of A disciple’s journey to holiness have offered systematic information of some of the truths of our faith to guide us to a personal knowledge and relationship with our Lord. Knowledge of the Lord is good. Yet, this good is also designed to achieve something even more magnificent — holiness. So, it may be helpful to discuss a very practical way to synthesize what we have said thus far and put it to good use. To do this, let us discuss and understand what spiritual writers mean by the term “plan of life.” Read More
  • Vatican website holds plethora of info

    Pope Francis’s extraordinary Aug. 20 letter “to the People of God” undoubtedly inspired many people around the world to seek out this letter — published in seven languages only six days after the Pennsylvania grand-jury report — on the Vatican website. By visiting, you will have before you a most valuable English “portal” to the contents of the site. Read More
  • Human formation — living rightly, living well When good becomes evil

    All evil and all sin comes from pursuing a good in an inappropriate way. When we do this, we hurt ourselves and others. Let’s look at some of the good, and see how it can become evil. Read More
  • The McCarrick mess

    When I was going through school, the devil was presented to us as a myth, a literary device, a symbolic manner of signaling the presence of evil in the world. I will admit to internalizing this view and largely losing my sense of the devil as a real spiritual person. What shook my agnosticism in regard to the evil one was the clerical sex abuse scandal of the nineties and the early aughts. I say this because that awful crisis just seemed too thought-through, too well-coordinated, to be simply the result of chance or wicked human choice. The devil is Read More
  • Human formation — Living rightly, living well Goods

    To understand virtue, let’s begin by understanding our motivations — what do we desire? We are complex creatures, and so we have different longings that we must categorize to appreciate and understand. Philosophers and theologians have identified eight different categories of goods for which we all desire and long. Read More
  • Affirming and celebrating Humanae Vitae

    July 25 was the 50th anniversary of Humanae Vitae, Blessed Paul VI’s encyclical on the integrity of love and the appropriate means of family planning. Issued during the cultural meltdown of the 1960s, and in a year when irrationality stalked the entire Western world, Humanae Vitae instantly became the most vilified act of the papal magisterium in history. And to what should have been their shame, entire national episcopates distanced themselves from Pope Paul’s teaching by a variety of stratagems, many of which exhibited some degree of theological confusion and some of which were downright cowardly. Read More
  • The role of the sacraments in the Interior Life Mary and the interior life

    All the fathers, doctors, saints and spiritual writers indicate essentially the same thing: their desire to belong totally to Mary as the means to belong totally to Jesus, and to place oneself into the hands of Mary that she may lead us to a more perfect union and likeness with Christ. Devotion to Mary is to live in imitation of Jesus’ relationship with Mary that we may become more like him. In the Gospel of Luke at the Annunciation, Jesus entrusted himself entirely to Mary as an embryo in her womb and as a little child in her care. Mary Read More
  • Taking a public health crisis seriously

    The recent tragic deaths of designer Kate Spade and celebrity chef Anthony Bourdain have dramatized what The New York Times calls the “public health crisis” of suicide, underscored when the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that the U.S. suicide rate increased almost 30 percent from 1999 to 2016. Read More
  • The role of the sacraments in the Interior Life Worthy reception of the Eucharist

    How do we receive the Eucharist in a holy manner? Aside from being in a state of grace, there are practical steps to be taken to benefit the most from this blessed encounter: Read More
  • Where the church stands on death penalty

    Here is a very quick summary of the stance of the Catholic Church on the death penalty. This review is necessary because of Gov. Bruce Rauner’s recent proposal to reinstate capital punishment — abolished in Illinois in 2011 — for persons convicted of mass killings or the homicide of a law-enforcement officer. I write as one who, many years ago, testified before a committee of the Illinois General Assembly about the evolving teaching of the Catholic Church on this topic. Read More
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