Magnificent

Jeff Ziegler suggests Botticelli’s Madonna of the Magnificat for our contemplation as we approach Christmas. Here’s just one beautiful detail: the Christ Child’s hand on top of His mother’s hand, as she writes the Magnificat. Jeff points us to the Web Gallery of Art, which has the full image, as well as some notes on […]

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Lyre, Lyre, Sanctifier

Today the universal Church celebrates the feast of St. Ephrem the Syrian, a fourth-century doctor of the Church. Of all the doctors of the Church, I believe he is the only one who became what we would today call a “permanent deacon.” This fascinating saint early in life attended the ecumenical Council of Nicaea and ran […]

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Blessed Among Women

“A woman in the crowd raised her voice and said to [Jesus], ‘Blessed is the womb that bore you, and the breasts that you sucked!’ But he said, ‘Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and keep it’” (Lk. 11:27-28).   At first glance, this passage can be a little troubling for […]

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Just Do It!

During this month dedicated to the Blessed Virgin Mary, with May crownings and last week’s celebration of the feast of Our Lady of Fatima still fresh on our mind, I thought I would take this occasion to call all of us to renew our desire to pray the Rosary frequently and with much fervor and devotion. I’m not necessarily talking […]

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Living Fatima

Today the Church celebrates the feast of Our Lady of Fatima. On this date in 1917 the Blessed Virgin Mary made the first of what would be a series of appearances to three children in Fatima, Portugal, culminating in the miracle of the sun on October 13, 1917, which would be witnessed by tens of thousands of people. […]

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Chants Occurrence

When my daughter Virginia was about a year old, I twice received calls that she was unconscious and being rushed to the hospital. (I hope you fathers out there never receive such a call.) Thanks be to God, on both occasions, by the time I arrived at the emergency room, she was awake and fine. […]

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The Exquisite Timing of Lourdes

The timing of the apparitions of the Blessed Virgin Mary in Lourdes beginning on February 11, 1858, was not only providential in the sense of God’s loving kindness to us sinners, but was absolutely exquisite in terms of what was going on in European intellectual circles at that time. The sex scandals involving priests and […]

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