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Epiphany: When God Revealed His Heart for the Whole World

Epiphany: When God Revealed His Heart for the Whole World

Sometimes I wonder how Mary and Joseph reacted when the Magi showed up.I can imagine them, finally settled, still processing all that's happened with angels and shepherds and this baby in their arms, when there is a knock at the door. Joseph signals to Mary that he will get it, quiet so as not to wake the baby she finally got to sleep, assuming it to be a relative or neighbor. But opening the door, he is met with the startling sight of a dusty, strangely dressed group of foreign, rich, Genti...
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Living a Full Season of Wonder

Living a Full Season of Wonder

There was one Christmas break when I was in high school when I was particularly bored. Not wanting to get into any trouble, I decided to pick up a new hobby. For reasons that only God knows, I decided to begin my short-lived career as an amateur magician.(In the interest of full disclosure, everything that I did was sleight of hand. No magic was actually involved.)I absolutely loved performing magic tricks for people. Whether it was showing my mom a new trick while she was preparing dinner or do...
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The Day We Are Disarmed

The Day We Are Disarmed

It’s a famous story: Christmas Eve, 1914. World War I was raging, opposing British and German forces were locked in a muddy, bloody battle, with the casualties of war littered in the no-man’s-land between their trenches. Despite the pleas of the pope for a Christmas ceasefire, none had been ordered, and the battle went on. Until…After a startling and confusing time of silence, a Christmas hymn rose from the side of the German forces. It was a tune the British knew well. Stille...
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Franz Jägerstätter: A Hidden Life

Franz Jägerstätter: A Hidden Life

"A Hidden Life" is a contemplative kind of biopic of Austrian conscientious objector Franz Jägerstätter (1907-1943). He has now been beatified by the Church, but Malick's film is not about a man who becomes a statue on the altar; he avoids hagiography at every turn. Instead, the film's focus is on the inner journey of a man and wife, and ultimately the man himself, who makes an almost unthinkably difficult choice and finds true freedom by following his conscience.The ...
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Our Lady of Guadalupe: a sign of Mary's closeness to us

Our Lady of Guadalupe: a sign of Mary's closeness to us

It seems coincidental, doesn’t it, that the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe and the feast of Christmas fall so close together in the calendar? And yet… if it’s an accident, it’s a particularly happy one. Because the two have much more in common than might generally meet the eye.We all know the story: On December 9, 1531, an indigenous peasant by the name of Juan Diego saw a vision on a hillside outside Mexico City: a young, dark-skinned woman who spoke Nahuatl, a native&n...
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Will the Real St. Nicholas Please Stand Up?

Will the Real St. Nicholas Please Stand Up?

In the 1950s and 60s there was an American television program called To Tell The Truth, in which panelists had to guess which of three contestants was the “real” person described, generally someone with an unusual occupation or life-story. The expression used in the show, “will the real (Name) please stand up?” has entered into the vernacular, and it’s particularly relevant today as we try and figure out who this figure is who has so dominated our experience of Chri...
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Everyday Grace for Advent

Everyday Grace for Advent

As Advent begins, so begins anxiety for a lot of people, and it’s important to not allow your stress to keep you from savoring every moment of this very special season. Here are three ways to stay on track: Connect to history. Advent is a time of tradition, and there are other holidays (like St. Nicholas’ feast day, the day of Our Lady of Guadalupe, the feast day of St. Lucy), that provide a chance to remember all those Christians who have gone before us. The modern Santa has a ...
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A Language of Sound and Silence: Sensory Building Blocks to Engaging Kids at Mass

A Language of Sound and Silence: Sensory Building Blocks to Engaging Kids at Mass

Not long ago, the little son of a friend of mine made a grand discovery: his echo. Unfortunately for my friend, he made this discovery in church. Each time they went to Mass, her little tyke would sit patiently, waiting for a good quiet moment to let out a whoop and hear it bounce back to him from all around! Even more unfortunately for my friend, a good quiet moment often came during the Consecration.Not the kind of participation his parents were going for…This somewhat inopportune disco...
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So let's check in. Are you ready for Advent? (Me, neither.)

So let's check in. Are you ready for Advent? (Me, neither.)

So let's get organized together! No doubt your children and grandchildren have long lists of toys and electronics they'd love to receive from you for Christmas, but let's slow down a little and think about Advent first. Because in a real sense, Advent is for you. It's your time to ready your home and your heart for the coming of the Christ Child.What would help you? I have a few suggestions: Advent Christmas Grace gives you the opportunity to turn to God in Scripture every d...
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It’s Time to Ask for the Grace We Need

It’s Time to Ask for the Grace We Need

I am deeply in love with Jesus and his Church. It is the reason I started asking my parents to drive me to Mass, even when we didn’t go as a family; it was the reason I decided to go to a Catholic college; and ultimately it is the reason why I felt called to enter the Daughters of St. Paul three years ago and become a religious sister. But over the past few years, people have posed the question to me more than once: “Why would you want to give your life to the Catholic Church, when i...
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