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  • St. Francis de Sales and Our Battle with Addiction January 24, 2020
    Today the Church honors a saint who deserves to be better known for his immense wisdom and practical insights that retain their relevance almost four hundred years after his death. St. Francis de Sales (1567-1622) was renowned as a pastor, spiritual director, and eloquent preacher. Though his spirituality flowed from a prayerful heart united to […]
  • John the Baptist, First Victim of the Cancel Culture January 23, 2020
    When Jesus heard that John had been arrested, he withdrew to Galilee. He left Nazareth and went to live in Capernaum by the sea, in the region of Zebulun and Naphtali, that what had been said through Isaiah the prophet might be fulfilled: Land of Zebulun and land of Naphtali, the way to the sea, […]
  • “Dracula”: A Bland Betrayal of Vampire Lore January 22, 2020
    Vampires are literary and cinematic representations of what St. Peter tells us about in Scripture: “Like a roaring lion your adversary the devil prowls around, looking for someone to devour” (1 Peter 5:8). But Christ has given us very basic means to resist Satan and his allies, and the best vampire stories play them up […]
  • Homely Holiness January 21, 2020
    The eyes of faith behold a wonderful scene: that of a countless number of lay people, both women and men, busy at work in their daily life and activity, oftentimes far from view and quite unacclaimed by the world, unknown to the world’s great personages but nonetheless looked upon in love by the Father, untiring […]
  • Atheism and the Problem of Beauty January 20, 2020
    A lot has been said about the “problem of pain.” Why, if God is both loving and all-powerful, is there still suffering in the world? The question is a challenge for Catholics, as for all theists. As believers, we have some sense of why a loving God would permit suffering. It’s easy enough to see […]
  • That Sin, Again? January 17, 2020
    Have you ever confessed a sin and then, no matter how earnestly you intended to amend your life, had the desire to commit that sin again? Why aren’t we simply fixed after Confession? Jesus instituted the sacrament of Confession that our sins may be forgiven and that we may return to friendship with him. He renews […]
  • Why Did Jesus So Often Feel a Need for Secrecy? January 16, 2020
    A leper came to him and kneeling down begged him and said, “If you wish, you can make me clean.” Moved with pity, he stretched out his hand, touched the leper, and said to him, “I do will it. Be made clean.” The leprosy left him immediately, and he was made clean. Then, warning him […]
  • Your Story and Mine: Why Everyone Should Read Classic Literature January 15, 2020
    A few days ago I finished my annual participation in a week-long series of lectures, Becoming a Doctor, to students at the University of Minnesota Medical School. The intent of the week is to draw third and fourth year students together from various rotations at disparate locations and allow them to reconnect with one another […]
  • “This Is the Way”: The Mandalorian’s Growth in Charity January 14, 2020
    In the late first century AD, the historian Tacitus contrasted the freedom of the uncivilized Britons with the corruption of Rome, saying of his own people, “They plunder, they slaughter, and they steal: this they falsely name Empire, and where they make a wasteland, they call it peace.” Tacitus’ words are often evoked to describe […]
  • Here’s What’s Coming in 2020 in the Word on Fire Institute! January 13, 2020
    2019 was a year of growth, blessings, and persistent spiritual renewal for the Word on Fire Institute. We have grown to over 9,500 members from around the world, representing 27 countries, and: Launched the brand-new Word on Fire Institute quarterly journal entitled Evangelization & Culture. Launched two podcasts, The John Allen Show and The Evangelization & Culture […]
  • The Gift of Baptism and Our Search for Meaning January 10, 2020
    As the Church celebrates the feast of the Lord’s Baptism this weekend, my mind returns to a pilgrimage to the Holy Land I made a few years ago. One of the highlights of the trip was a visit to the banks of the River Jordan, where Jesus was baptized by John all those years ago. […]
  • In the Midst of Miracle, Christ Jesus Asks Us an Important Question January 9, 2020
    Last week, I wrote about the mystery of Christ telling the healed paralytic to pick up his mat—his stretcher—and take it home with him. The passage had become a long lectio for me, lasting more than a day. In fact, this week, I am still focused on this passage, though this time on a different […]
  • Why the World’s Most Popular YouTuber Hates Twitter January 8, 2020
    One of the world’s biggest social media stars has publicly declared his hatred for Twitter. Recently, Felix Kjellberg—known online as PewDiePie—released a YouTube video in which he explained his contempt for Twitter as a “cesspool of opinion” where even lies and falsehoods get rewarded. Staying true to his word, that very day Kjellberg deleted his […]
  • Ends that Justify the Means January 7, 2020
    “The ends don’t justify the means.” We are all familiar with this saying. We cannot use evil means just because the end or goal that we are aiming at is good. The end of a little peace and quiet does not justify locking my brother outside in the cold. No matter how good the ultimate […]
  • Holy (Unchosen) Family January 6, 2020
    You can choose your friends but you sho’ can’t choose your family, an’ they’re still kin to you no matter whether you acknowledge ’em or not, and it makes you look right silly when you don’t. —Harper Lee December 29 was the Feast of the Holy Family. The family is a place of life, fidelity, […]
  • Common Hymnal and Evangelization January 3, 2020
    I grew up on Gospel music. You could blame it on my older brother’s affinity for rhythm and blues and hip hop, but when I found Gospel music, it rescued my soul. Since I became Catholic, I haven’t found that same feeling in music until I stumbled upon Common Hymnal. Made up of an eclectic […]
  • Why Must We Pick Up Our Mats and Bring Them Home? January 2, 2020
    The Holy Spirit has a funny way of leading us where we need to go sometimes. This week, while searching through my Bible for one specific passage in the New Testament, I inadvertently found another that struck me so forcefully, it became my lectio divina for several days: When the scribes and Pharisees began to […]
  • The Mystery of Mary, Mother of God January 1, 2020
    What lesson can be discerned in the revelation that the Blessed Virgin Mary is the Mother of God? Father Steve Grunow offers his homily as a means to discern how the Incarnation of God in Christ is treasured in the heart of the Church on not only New Year's Day, but every day of the […]
  • On Mercy in a Merciless Age December 31, 2019
    “We men and women are all in the same boat, upon a stormy sea. We owe to each other a terrible and tragic loyalty.” – G.K. Chesterton We live in a merciless age. Gone are the days of the uncalculating kind word, the politely doffed hat, and the deferential door-opening. No longer is it customary […]
  • C.S. Lewis: A Mere Catholic? December 30, 2019
    Speculation about whether C.S. Lewis would have, could have, or should have become Catholic is hardly new territory to explore. But as a relatively new Catholic and lifelong Lewis fan who spent two years in the same Oxford college where Lewis had lived decades earlier, I can’t help briefly treading this well-worn ground. I recently […]

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