Learning from the Best

St. Teresa of Avila, a 16th century Spanish nun, writes about seven mansions of the spiritual life. Describing the soul as if it were a castle of diamond or crystal, in which there are many rooms or mansions, with God’s dwelling place in the centre (Kieran Kavanaugh, St. Teresa of Avila, Collected Works, 270), the mansions describe the spiritual progress [...]

Dare to Open the Locked Doors

While opening our eyes to recognize that “Jesus is Lord”, the Holy Spirit also reveals to us who we are in the eyes of God (1 Cor 12:3). [...]

Pope Francis: God Himself allows us to experience this spiritual dryness

In his catechesis at the weekly General Audience, Pope Francis says we must always persevere in order to overcome the difficulties we face in prayer. [...]

Pope Francis: I thought I was alone but I was not

Pope Francis continues his cycle of catechesis dedicated to Christian prayer during the weekly General Audience reflecting on how prayer is sometimes hard and on how many great Christian figures struggled to overcome discouragement and crisis in times of trial. [...]

Three Characteristics of Happy Families

The classic Russian novel Anna Karenina, by Leo Tolstoy, begins with this famous sentence: “All happy families are alike; each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.” The second part is clearly true, because everyone can be unhappy for any number of reasons. But is the first part true: all happy families are alike? Are there certain characteristics [...]

The Catholic Church and Catholicity

When the Catholic Church opens her arms to welcome all peoples, she does so not only because of charity, important as it is in Jesus’ teaching, it’s also because of catholicity. And the two are intertwined. [...]

Contemplative prayer ‘a guide along path of love’

At the Wednesday General Audience, Pope Francis focuses his catechesis on contemplative prayer, and says contemplation helps guide us in following Jesus along the path of love. [...]

“Abide in me as I abide in you.”

From Jesus the Vine comes the natural outflow of life [...]

Pope Francis: Every moment of Jesus’ earthly life, through the grace of prayer, can become contemporary with us

(Vatican News) Continuing his catechesis on Christian prayer during the weekly General Audience, Pope Francis explains the importance of meditation, highlighting that it is a means of prayer that helps us encounter Jesus and find ourselves. [...]

Men Taking Responsibility

Most of my early life, I ran away from responsibility: I procrastinated on homework; and if I didn’t get it done, I would make excuses. I never got a job, and the only chore I ever did was clean the house. I learned this from my father. Don’t get me wrong, I love my father, and he loved me—that was his greatest gift. [...]

Pope Francis: We must not despise vocal prayer

(Vatican News) Prayer, Pope Francis said at his General Audience on Wednesday, “is dialogue with God; and every creature, in a certain sense, engages in dialogue with God.” [...]

What our eyes cannot see, our heart perceives and understands

The Spirit in us; the same Spirit promised by Jesus and given to us through the sacrament of confirmation, sharpens all our senses, and most importantly our heart, to “taste and see that the Lord is good”, and appreciate “what love the Father has bestowed on us” (Ps 34:8, 1 Jn 3:1). [...]

Pope Francis: The breath of faith is prayer – we grow in faith inasmuch as we learn to pray

(Vatican News) Continuing his catechesis on Christian prayer at the weekly General Audience in the Vatican, Pope Francis explains that prayer belongs to the very essence of the Church, without which she cannot carry out her evangelising mission and service to others. [...]

Jesus said, “You are witnesses of these things.” (Lk 24:48)

“That the Christ is to suffer and to rise from the dead on the third day.” (Lk 24:46) [...]

Will We Still Eat and Drink on Resurrection?

Does this mean our risen bodies will continue to live biologically? So many unanswered questions! [...]

Pope Francis: Each time we pray, we find ourselves in the company of saints who pray with us and intercede for us

(Vatican News) Following the Easter celebrations, Pope Francis on Wednesday continued his catechesis on Christian prayer during the General Audience, focusing this week on the Communion of Saints. [...]

How Jesus Deals with Our Failures

Jesus is the Lord of life, therefore, let’s look at how He resurrects life from our failures. Everyone knows that, when we fail, God forgives us and begins again, but we usually know this only intellectually. [...]

Did Jesus really rise from the dead?

On the third day, He rose again from the dead . . .” [...]

Pope Francis: The Cross tells us that not even one tear is lost in God’s plan of salvation

(Vatican News) In his Catechesis during the weekly General Audience, Pope Francis looks ahead to the Easter Triduum and the celebration of the saving mystery of Christ’s passion, death and resurrection. [...]

Being Christian in Public

Our final challenge in our Lenten wilderness experience is a call to courage. Most Catholics aren’t courageous about professing their faith in Jesus. We’ve talked many times about our fear of making the sign of the Cross in public, about sharing our Christian opinion with our friends because our stance isn’t popular, about discussing anything religious. [...]

Four Odd Scenes from Mark’s Passion Narratives

It has often been remarked that the Gospels are not so much biographies of Jesus but “a passion narratives with long introductions.” The problem is that the very familiarity of the story can undermine our understanding of it. In this reflection, we are drawing our attention to four odd details of the Passion of Jesus in Mark's Gospel, which will shed [...]

Pope Francis: Mary accompanies those who are on their deathbed in solitude

(Vatican News) At the weekly General Audience, Pope Francis reflects on the theme of prayer in communion with Mary, and says Our Lady is at the bedside of those who die alone without the comfort of their loved ones. [...]

“Two roads diverged in a wood, and I— / I took the one less traveled by, / And that has made all the difference.” (Robert Frost, “The Road Not Taken”)

The road less travelled for each one of us is the way of Christ. We must humbly ask God to “create a clean heart … a steadfast spirit renew within [us]” that we may know and love God “with all [our] heart, and with all [our] soul, and with all [our] might” (Ps 51: 10,12; Dt 6:5). [...]

Renewing Our Hearts

Today, we’re talking about renewing our hearts, and two stories stand out in my mind as opposite starting points. One time, I was having a deep, late-night conversation with a friend, and I don’t remember how we got onto the topic, but he caught me off guard when he said, “I wish I weren’t having sex with my girlfriend.” Most people do want [...]