Holy Spirit

Eastern European Resistance to Islamization

If you’ve ever seen Casablanca, you won’t have forgotten the scene in Rick’s Cafe where the German officers who are singing “Die Wacht am Rhein” are drowned out by the French patrons who burst into a rousing rendition of the “Marseillaise.” Something similar happened last week at the National Opera in Cluj Napoca, Romania. A [...]

Pentecost Was Not An Occasion for “Enthusiasm”

The amiable classicist, John Bird Sumner, was the Protestant archbishop of Canterbury from 1848 to 1862. Amid theological controversies about baptismal regeneration and the like, his opposition to a parliamentary bill removing Jewish disabilities was unquestionably retrograde, but he assumed the progressive mantle in approving obstetric anesthesia which was opposed by some Christian fundamentalists, whose [...]

Beware the “Spirit” of Amoris Laetitia

Catholic teaching holds that the Church is truly the Body of Christ, and that the Holy Spirit is the soul of the body, animating it and directing its actions. The Spirit of God, promised by Christ as the Advocate and Paraclete, the Spirit of Truth (John 14:16-17), who descended upon the Apostles at Pentecost and [...]

The Feast of Weeks and the Significance of Pentecost

The feast of Pentecost, known as the birthday of the Church, marks the descent of the Holy Spirit upon the Apostles and the bestowal of the Spirit’s gifts that enables the apostles to leave the Upper Room and preach the Gospel. The grace imparted by the Spirit causes the apostles to proclaim the Good News, [...]

Pentecost and the Prerequisites of True Devotion

When as a boy I exulted in seeing the splendid ocean liners docked along the Hudson River piers, it was not remotely possible to know that some of this would now be my dockside parish and I its pastor. The Cunard Line had piers 90 and 92 and French Line had pier 88. I shall [...]

Reclaiming the Spirit … Wholly and Unsurpassed

“The Holy Spirit is fire; whoever does not want to be burned should not  come near him.”  ∼ Pope Benedict XVI From the earliest moments of Christian existence, organized and sustained by a Church born from the side of Christ as he hung upon the Cross, there appeared a body of catechesis containing everything we [...]

St. Jean de Brébeuf

Why, there is Echon come back again . . . my nephew, my brother, my cousin, you have finally come back to us!” Thus with the warmth typical of their people did the Huron Indians greet their beloved father, Jean de Brébeuf. In the Huron tongue Echon meant “the strong one” or “the one who [...]

Hagia Sophia is No Lady

The primary use of sexual metaphors in Christianity is to convey the balance of activity and passivity, initiative and response, between the Lord and a human soul. We call the Church the “bride” of Christ, and Jesus the “bridegroom” of the soul precisely because of what these terms convey to psychologically normal people...

Laymen: “Resolve” to Discern God’s Will for You

In one of the scriptural passages most often quoted by Blessed Pope John Paul II during the course of his historic pontificate, a “rich young man” asks the Lord what I consider to be the only question really worth asking once one reaches the age of reason and understands the reality of death: “What must [...]

What’s So Great About Catholicism?

With its divine foundation, sanction, and mission, nothing could be more glorious than the Catholic Church. But, of course, many people — even many baptized Catholics — don't see it that way. Yet when the sins of men — secular material progress, or our own self-centeredness — blind us to this, they blind us to everything. The Renaissance, a [...]

Two Hearts in One

Whole books with titles like A Treasury of Christian Prayer attest to the fact that the Church can dip into vast pools of prayer and come up with any number of prayers that it might set before us for our contemplation. Some of them, such as the "Prayer of St. Francis," are very popular and [...]

Charisms Don’t Make You a Saint

One of the big puzzles that many Catholics have grappled with in recent years is the baffling phenomenon of some charismatic figure (one thinks of a Rev. Marcial Maciel, for instance) who can, for years, inspire or otherwise offer blessing and solace to good and decent Christians who are full of faith and obedient to [...]

The Paraclete

As we enter Holy Week, it is good to focus our minds on the matter that occupied Jesus in His final hours before His Passion, that we might imitate the mind of Christ. Therefore, I thought we might take a little time and look at what is called the Last Supper Discourse in the Gospel [...]

Is church making you fat?

Margaret linked to a story this morning that I thought deserved a closer look. While studies have shown that regular church attendance is linked to greater levels of happiness, lower rates of substance abuse, and better marriages, a new study has reported that middle-aged people who are religiously active are also more obese. Is it [...]

To Love, Honor, and Betray

The New York Times' "Vows" section is usually the lightest part of the paper. The charming love stories, photos of beautiful gowns, and glimpses into happy celebrations never fail to lift the reader's spirits. So it was with some surprise that I noticed one wedding announcement last month brought outrage in the comments section and [...]

Within the Pale: The Making of Community

Years ago, when Russell Kirk wrote The Conservative Mind, he defined the towering problem of our time as "the problem of community lost and community regained." It is natural that we crave community, which is the union we have with others through common affection and spiritual and practical interest. To desire community, especially the primary [...]

Joining the Choir Invisible

Some years back, I was privileged to hear a tape of some original music recorded by several friends of mine. Singing on the tape were four women with well-trained voices and an astonishing gift for harmony. And though it was done on a shoestring (the whole thing was put together in someone's basement), the music [...]

Putting the Christmas Back in Christ

That's Chesterton's idea, not mine. But he was surely right. Chesterton knew that, so long as the atheist remembers a Christmas of long ago, when it seemed that the stars themselves were made only that they might twinkle upon a stable in Bethlehem, he may yet someday become a man worthy of the boy he [...]

Apostolate needed: Pilates for Priests

Clergymen used to be a healthy and long-living bunch. But over the past few years, studies have shown that pastors are in worse health than other Americans. Their rates of obesity, hypertension, and depression are higher, and their life expectancy is lower. As The New York Times reports, experts don't agree on any single explanation [...]

Nancy Pelosi and the Word Made Flesh

Nancy Pelosi, delivering an address on May 6 to the Catholic Community Conference, attempting to explain the intersection of her faith and politics: The cognitive dissonance here is overwhelming: To speak so fervently about the Word made Flesh, and yet to remain completely immune to its implications when it comes to her position on abortion... [...]

Rose petals like tongues of fire…

I've heard of this Roman tradition, but have never seen it: On Pentecost, to symbolize the Holy Spirit's descent on the Apostles and Mary, rose petals are dropped from the Pantheon’s oculus. The video belows gives a sense of what it would be like to experience the event. You'll notice Veni Creator Spiritus being chanted [...]

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