Holy Spirit

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 [...]

Sunday Comics: Pentecost!

We're taking a break from Uncle Harry this week because of my favorite feast day of the whole year: Pentecost! Without Pentecost, the teaching that Jesus gave the apostles ... would have vanished.  Pentecost is, to me, the feast of the protection of the Holy Spirit over the deposit of truth given to the apostles.  [...]

Holy Mary, Mother of God

  In the Gospel of Luke, the angel Gabriel tells Mary, "The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. Therefore the child to be born will be called holy, the Son of God" (Lk 1:35).   Some sufferers from Mariaphobic Response Syndrome look at this and [...]

And Forgive Us Our Trespasses

When asked why he had become a Catholic, G. K. Chesterton famously replied, "To get rid of my sins." The forgiveness of sins is the awesome gift that Christ offers us, a gift so beautiful that words can scarcely express the glory of it. One of the most lovely things you can possibly experience is [...]

Thy Will Be Done

   Years ago, a friend's brother was at Reed College in Oregon. It's one of those schools where the students seem to major in protesting more than in actual studying. After several months of watching silly demonstrations about every conceivable PC cause, the guy decided to create one of his own, just to see how [...]

Blessed Are the Poor in Spirit

The beatitude teaches us, "Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven" (Mt 5:3).   The gospel calls us to a paradox in its teaching on poverty. First, it bids us recognize in the face of the poor the face of Christ. Our culture is resistant to this idea and [...]

Blessed Are Those Who Mourn

I remember it like yesterday. The insistent kitchen phone was ringing on the other side of the wall as I woke. I had gone to bed exhausted with sorrow and fear the night before, having returned from the hospital where my dad lay, snoring loudly in the depths of a coma. Just as my eyes [...]

Servile Thinking

  As I was saying to an old friend the other day, as we passed a crowded hamburger franchise: "Look at all the rugged individualists, lining up for their Big Macs! Look at all those freethinkers!"   It was a doubly uncharitable remark. First, our whole society has not gone over to dogmatic atheist fundamentalism. [...]

Where Have All the Prayers Gone?

  "Lord, teach us to pray, even as John also taught his disciples" (Lk 11:1).   Then Jesus gave us the Our Father. But that was by no means the limit of His teaching or His example. We hear Jesus bursting out into praise, glorifying the Father for concealing things from the wise and prudent [...]

Marx and Augustine Find Common Ground

Ever since Candidate Obama remarked that he'd like to "spread the wealth around," most conservative commenters have concluded that the infiltration of Marxism into our university system has now achieved its long hoped-for effect on American society. "Obama Affinity to Marxists Dates Back to College Days," read one FoxNews headline. Any number of blogs -- [...]

O Lord, Open Our Lips

It may seem strange to assert that Catholics have forgotten how to pray. Surely we still beseech the Lord in times of distress. We attend Mass, we say the rosary. More than that, simply because we are human, by the grace of God the Spirit works within us, with unutterable groans and longings. We pray [...]

The First Commandment

    The other day, one of my readers sent me a hilarious note:   Hey, Mark, you may get terrific questions as a Catholic author/speaker, but as a Catholic high school teacher, I get terrific answers. My current favorite: Q: Name the seven capital/deadly sins. A. (among the others): Sluttony   I have to [...]

The Darkened Intellect Serves the Fallen Will

  Somebody (I'll say Chesterton, just to start another meme falsely attributing great quotes to him) once remarked that "the man who declares 'The modern intellect can no longer accept the primitive doctrines of the Resurrection of the Dead, Transubstantiation, and a Trinitarian Godhead' typically means 'I'm sleeping with my neighbor's wife.'"   These days, [...]

How to Talk to an Atheist about Christianity

Once upon a time, not so long ago, atheism was the belief system that dared not speak its name. Even the most ardent skeptic paid lip service to faith, or at least to the blessings that mankind derived from it. But that's not the case anymore. Atheism is a strong and growing influence in our [...]

Sense and Nonsense: On Teaching Us About God

On Pentecost, 1986, John Paul II published a fundamental encyclical, Dominum et Vivificantem, on the "Holy Spirit in the Life of the Church and the World." This encyclical is meant to be the third part of a series on the Trinity — still, as Frank Sheed used to remark, the most fascinating of topics to [...]

Catholic Women/Common Wisdom: Saying It Like It Is

On January 22nd, the thirteenth anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court's decisions legalizing abortion will be memorialized by rallies, prayer vigils, and the annual "March for Life" in Washington, D.C. Exactly one lunar month earlier, on December 25th, the nation celebrated the birth of Jesus Christ. But Our Savior didn't enter human history when He [...]

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