The Church dedicates the month of September to Our Lady of Sorrows. It’s a devotion that has become a favorite of mine. As a convert, it took me a while to become comfortable with Mary and to trust her to bring my cares and sufferings to Her Son.
Over the centuries, as the saints and theologians reflected on what it means for Our Lady to have pondered and treasured the sacred events from the life of Jesus in her heart, as attested in Scripture, Mary’s heart began to be recognized as something to be imitated in daily practice. Devotion to Mary’s holy heart then developed, in much the same way as it did for the Sacred Heart, which was physically pierced by the lance on the Cross to give Eternal Life to men. So also does Mary’s heart, which was also pierced (as prophesied by Simeon) in union with her Son, give life—that is, grace—to the Christian soul.
St. Lawrence (d. 258 A.D.) was likely a Spaniard by birth who lived in Rome while Christianity was outlawed under pain of death. He was appointed by Pope St. Sixtus II as archdeacon over the seven deacons of Rome, and held the sacred duty of tending to the Church’s wealth and distributing alms to the poor.
St. Martha, the feisty sister of Mary of Bethany, tends to get a bad rap. After all, when Jesus came to visit the two sisters, Martha complains about Mary not helping—and Jesus’s response seems to be a scolding in which He praises contemplation and disregards practical action and service. However, the story isn’t as simple as that, and I don’t believe that Martha should be remembered as “the one who wasn’t doing it right.”
The White Cord of St Joseph is piously used as a remedy against physical ailments and a support in living the virtues of chastity and purity of heart. This beautiful devotion began almost 400 years ago in the small town of Antwerp, Belgium. An Augustinian nun was miraculously healed there after asking for St. Joseph’s intercession while wearing a cord blessing in his honor.
Did I have a relationship with Our Lady when I was growing up? If you had asked me, I would have said yes. After all, I recited the rosary. I prayed the Angelus. One year in high school I even memorized the “Litany of Loreto” as my Lenten resolution. But as I came to know […]
The Monday after Pentecost is a Marian feast day. Didn’t you know? It’s alright if you didn’t. After all, Pope Francis only just declared the feast of Mary, Mother of the Church, to be a permanent memorial this past March. Why Mary, Mother of the Church? Since the earliest days of Christian history, Catholics have referred […]
It’s easy to miss fascinating details while reading the Gospels—but it’s also rather exciting, because when you finally do notice these details, you appreciate them so much more! A few months ago, I had a particularly striking thought on the story of Christ’s appearance to the Apostles in the upper room, first without Thomas, and […]
Holy Week is the most solemn and glorious week of the church year—even more so than Christmas. Beginning with Palm Sunday, when Jesus entered triumphantly into Jerusalem, and ending with Easter Sunday, Holy Week progresses to its final days with great solemnity. Sundown on Holy Thursday to sundown on Easter Sunday is referred to as […]
Catholics everywhere are talking about it. “Ash Wednesday and Valentine’s Day are on the same day this year. What do we DO?” No worries. The answer is actually pretty simple. We just haven’t had to worry about this since 1945, and the coinciding of Ash Wednesday and Valentine’s Day won’t happen again until 2024. In the meantime, here’s a lighthearted (but earnest) guide on how to celebrate like a Catholic this February 14th.