Mortification: Spiritual Masochism?

As a 20 year old seminarian I began studying the lives of the saints and one thing that soon stood out was the extreme measures some of them took to discipline “the flesh”.  And so we read the heroic feats of martyrs, the extreme measures of St. Francis of Assisi who would jump into cold

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Fundamentally Good but Weak

For years I have learned about different personality tests that have given me a better understanding of my strengths.  One of those is called Strengths Finder by Gallup.  And so, my five top strengths came up to be: learner, intellection, connectedness, input and responsibility.  It makes sense to me.  All of my life I have

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What We Can Learn from the Devil

  One of the most painful experiences of a human being must be that of betrayal. Especially painful is the betrayal of children against their parents when those parents have tried to be as loving and self-giving as possible. It is a possibility because no matter how loving parents can be, there is still the

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Being Counter-Cultural and Politically Incorrect

I remember as a teenager listening to some adults complaining that things were better “in the old days”. These were days I had absolutely no experience of. The more they talked like that, the more I thought they were just old fashioned. Despite all the problems in the world, it did not seem too much

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Moral Evil and Sin in Our Lives

Some of the adults that saw me grow up say that I was always a pretty good boy. I was mostly obedient, nice, well behaved. I never cursed, never got into a fight. However, deep down, I know that much of it was superficial and not very good. Yes, it is true that many times

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What I Learned About Confession from My Father

‘This important sacrament is crucial to my ability to reconnect with God,’ says this priest and author Once a month on Saturday afternoons, my dad would announce to me, my sister and my two brothers, “Kids, your mother and I are going to Confession, and you are all welcome to join us.” We would pile

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Loving the Gifts more than the Giver

When I was a child I used to look forward to Christmas Day, the most important day of the year for me. According to our home tradition you would wake up surrounded by all the toys that, during the night, the Christ Child had brought you. I must confess, though, that at that age, I

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The Dangers of the Light

Theologians believe that Lucifer was the leader of all angels in heaven. He was exceedingly beautiful and endowed with special abilities. As we see in the passage from Isaiah 14, Lucifer looked upon his own beauty and wisdom – attributes created in him by the Lord – and he decided that he would raise his

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Heaven can begin here on Earth

Happiness and joy can be a very subjective experience. I recall one of my brother priests sharing what a big impression visiting a dump in a poor town in Nicaragua had left on him. There was a six year old girl who, with a big smile and a sense of pride, was showing the visitors

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