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  • Foundations Once Destroyed: The Importance of Principle in “Mansfield Park” February 21, 2020
    Teach us to understand the sinfulness of our own Hearts, and bring to our knowledge every fault of Temper and every evil Habit in which we have indulged to the discomfort of our fellow-creatures, and the danger of our own Souls. —from Jane Austen’s Prayers “Henry Crawford had too much sense not to feel the […]
  • “Corpus Christi”: A Fake Priest’s Christlike Effect on a Small Town February 20, 2020
    Stories about outsiders or imposters who come to a community and act as catalysts are always intriguing to us, which is why the idea is revisited so frequently in fairy tales, in literature, and in cinema. I think of Lawrence Kasdan’s so-so film Mumford, about a pretend psychologist who unburdens people of their secrets. And […]
  • And Suddenly, You’ve Stopped Praying! February 19, 2020
    It’s insidious. You don’t even know it’s happening. The initial reasons all seem worthy and innocuous, and you imagine, “There’s always tomorrow. Just this once.” So you chip away at it, you excuse yourself, you rationalize, and then, finally, you stop. Game over. “Today, I have a very busy day ahead of me, I need […]
  • How the Life of Faith Can Support Your Mental Health (Part 1) February 18, 2020
    In this first of a two-part series, I would like to offer a few thoughts on a super important topic today—namely, that of our mental health and how it benefits from a mature and lively faith. What good news does our faith offer to us when we feel down, depressed, and suffer in our minds? […]
  • Centered on Christ: A Spirituality of Evangelization February 17, 2020
    Below is Jared Zimmerer’s introduction to Bishop Barron’s new book, Centered: The Spirituality of Word on Fire. Learn more about the book here. One of the highlights of my life was meeting with the late Cardinal Francis George. Before he passed away, he came to the Word on Fire office in Chicago and met with […]
  • In Pursuit of Happiness: An Aristotelian Appreciation of Jane Austen February 14, 2020
    Give us grace to endeavor after a truly Christian spirit to seek to attain that temper of forbearance and patience of which our blessed savior has set us the highest example; and which, while it prepares us for the spiritual happiness of the life to come, will secure to us the best enjoyment of what […]
  • Jesus’ Great Challenge: “Show Me Who You Are!” February 13, 2020
    Both of my sons are wordsmiths, and the elder one has a particular facility for delivering groan-inducing puns with such lightning speed that even as you roll your eyes, you can’t help but be a little impressed—or terrified—by how dexterously his brain can associate many things with many other things. A few years ago, during […]
  • LaBeouf and Gottsagan: “The Peanut Butter Falcon” and a God Who Speaks February 12, 2020
    My favorite moment of an otherwise underwhelming Academy Awards ceremony on Sunday night was when Shia LaBeouf came on stage with Zack Gottsagen, a thirty-four-year-old actor with Down Syndrome. Together they presented the award for best live-action short film, making Gottsagen the first person with Down Syndrome ever to give an award at the Oscars. […]
  • Hidden Figures: The Conundrum of Black Catholicism February 11, 2020
    Prior to Sunday, January 26, 2020, the most famous Catholic on Earth was a Black Catholic. Excluding the Holy Father, there is little doubt concerning the accuracy of this claim concerning one Kobe Bean Bryant. Yet the thought has probably never crossed your mind. Why? This is the great conundrum of Black Catholics: they are […]
  • “Decision Becomes Identity”: Finding Our Mission within Lent February 11, 2020
    Friends, during Lent, we apprentice to Jesus in his forty-day sojourn in the desert. We stubbornly stay with him, doing what he did there, facing what he faced there. The desert is the place of clarification. When we have been stripped of the relatively trivial desires that preoccupy us, we can see, with a somewhat […]
  • Confession: Your Secret Is Safe with Me February 10, 2020
    Love all, trust a few, do wrong to none. —William Shakespeare My father used to say, “With almost no exceptions, assume that anything you say to anyone will be known to all at some point.” In other words, realize that people who truly hold confidences are few, and so entrust your sacred secrets to only […]
  • Love and Friendship in “Pride and Prejudice” February 7, 2020
    For all whom we love and value, for every friend and connection, we equally pray; however divided and far asunder, we know that we are alike before Thee and under Thine eye. May we be equally united in Thy faith and fear, in fervent devotion towards Thee, and in Thy merciful protection this night. —from […]
  • God Consents to Being More Vulnerable Than We Ever Do February 6, 2020
    While he was still a long way off, his father caught sight of him, and was filled with compassion. He ran to his son, embraced him and kissed him. —Luke 15:20 On preaching this particular Gospel reading, a favorite homilist suggested that it is easy for us to identify with either of the sons, the […]
  • When Flannery O’Connor Schooled the English Professors February 5, 2020
    Last fall, I received a letter from a student who said she would be “graciously appreciative” if I would tell her “just what enlightenment” I expected her to get from each of my stories. I suspect she had a paper to write. I wrote her back to forget about the enlightenment and just try to […]
  • Good Medicine: A Review of “Jagged Little Pill,” the Musical February 4, 2020
    On June 13 Alanis Morisette’s Jagged Little Pill will turn twenty-five years old, and although Morisette will tour this summer to celebrate her groundbreaking, generation-defining debut record, there’s another perspective of the album currently playing on Broadway. Jagged Little Pill, the musical, opened in December at the Broadhurst Theatre, and I saw it with a […]
  • Kobe Bryant and the Three-Point Lesson of His Life February 3, 2020
    It was a bit of a shock, for the whole nation, to learn of the death of Kobe Bryant and his daughter in a helicopter crash that took nine lives. The common lamentations came quickly: “Forty-one is so young.” “His daughter was with him.” “LA is in mourning.” “Mamba forever.” Those who don’t follow basketball […]
  • Aaron Hernandez and the Senselessness of Sin January 31, 2020
    Several years ago, the downfall of the young NFL player Aaron Hernandez shocked the sports world. On April 15, 2015, the New England Patriots’ star tight end was convicted of first-degree murder for the death of Odin Lloyd, a semi-pro football player and friend, who was dating his fiancée’s sister. When Hernandez was sentenced to […]
  • The Cross and Crown of St. Frances of Rome January 30, 2020
    When I first began to study Scripture as a young adult, a wise and elderly nun advised me to begin with Revelation, a book which, she told me, had gotten her through a difficult year as a young novice. “Start there. It’s spooky and mysterious, and if you can stand it, it will fill you […]
  • Bishop Robert Barron on Social Media’s Power to Build and to Destroy January 29, 2020
    In a piece covering ongoing social media studies conducted by Pew Research Center, National Catholic Register reporter Peter Jesserer Smith reached out to several prominent Catholic users of new media to get their opinion on how platforms like Twitter, Facebook and Instagram have evolved, or in some cases devolved, over the course of the last […]
  • 5 Prayer Tips from St. Thomas Aquinas January 28, 2020
    Prayer, St. John Damascene says, is the unveiling of the mind before God. When we pray we ask him for what we need, confess our faults, thank him for his gifts, and adore his immense majesty. Here are five tips for praying better—with the help of St. Thomas Aquinas.  1. Be humble. Many people falsely […]

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