Last Things First

Death. Judgment. Heaven. Hell. Not exactly light topics, to be certain–and yet the Four Last Things raise questions most of us seek to have answered. The answers to the questions of eternity impact how we live and move in the present life. Drawing not just from Scripture and Tradition, but the wisdom of philosophers, poets, playwrights and […]

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Are We There Yet?

I doubt that there are any of us with children old enough to speak who haven’t heard (I daresay more than once) from the deep recesses of the car, “Are we there yet?” Rather than get annoyed by this persistent question, I usually seize the opportunity to tease them a little bit. I explain to […]

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Christian, I Presume?

When I was in law school, I had a classmate named Barry (not his real name). At the time, I was not practicing the faith and by no means was a paragon of virtuous living. Despite my own low standards, I thought Barry’s carousing lifestyle crossed the bounds of propriety. He even confided to me […]

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Persevering with the Pope

For the next two weeks, the reading for the weekday Masses will be taken from the Letter of St. James. Today we hear the first eleven verses of the opening chapter. The verse that really stands out for me today as I hear this passage anew is verse 3: “for you know the testing of your faith produces perseverance.” […]

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He Descended into Hell

Our Lord’s descent into hell, under whose aegis Holy Saturday stands liturgically in the Church’s year, is an article of faith that is of particular significance to modern man. On Good Friday we contemplate Christ on the Cross, and on Easter Sunday we celebrate Christ’s Resurrection. In the interim, on Holy Saturday, the words of […]

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The Substance of Hope

In his new encyclical Spe Salvi, Pope Benedict XVI notes that “in the eleventh chapter of the Letter to the Hebrews (v. 1) we find a kind of definition of faith which closely links this virtue with hope.” He carefully explains that the most precise translation of that verse is “faith is the substance of things hoped […]

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Christ, the Philosopher-Shepherd

Without Christ, we are “without hope and without God in the world” (Eph. 2:12). But who is Jesus Christ, the bearer of life-changing divine truth that brings light to our darkness? In Spe Salvi, Pope Benedict XVI focuses on two images of Christ that frequently appeared on sarcophagi during the early centuries of Christianity. These […]

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Hope Works

Over the next couple weeks I’d like to provide our readers with some bite-sized insights from Pope Benedict XVI’s recent encyclical Spe Salvi, on the virtue of hope. The approach I’m going to take is to focus on a few biblical passages that help form the basis of the Pope’s discussion. Today we will examine […]

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