As we celebrate the Feast of St. Joseph the Worker, Br. Dominic Bouck, O.P. offers a reflection on the ways in which we partake in grace through the work of our hands.
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When God Shouts

Why, if there is a loving God, would he allow horrible things to happen in the world—particularly things as childhood cancer? Today, Pat Flynn reflects on the problem of apparently senseless suffering.
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Tomorrow is the feast day of St. Louis Marie de Montfort, the author of the spiritual classic “True Devotion to Mary.” Fr. Billy Swan reflects on the depths of St. Louis’ Marian spirituality of “Totus Tuus.”
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In anticipation of their new album “Eat the Elephant,” the band A Perfect Circle has released three new singles filled with cultural critique. Today, David Stavarz explores the deeper themes in these three songs: prayer and action, technology and addiction, and virtue and viciousness.
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Today is the Feast Day of St. George, patron of seemingly innumerable places, people, and professions. But his most storied legacy seems to be that of "dragon slayer." Jared Zimmerer takes a look at the legend of St. George, and finds why the lore of this mighty deed has been such a lasting one.
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There is a growing debate regarding the viability and need of higher education today. But Chris Hazell argues that a Christian liberal arts education can lead a student to a better understanding of what they need to truly thrive in the world.
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Today, Elizabeth Scalia reflects upon two of Christ's healings, which reveal a bridge between justice and mercy, the law and the sacraments, and the Old and New Covenants.
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You Want It Darker

“You Want It Darker,” one of Leonard Cohen’s final songs, is a work of raw, shocking honesty, a protest in the face of the dark night of evil. Today, Dr. Tom Neal reflects on the Old Testament dimensions of this great poet’s lament and surrender to God.
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Some sources have said that within twenty years, fifty percent of today’s jobs will be handled by non-human workers. But Chris Hazell argues that while concern over the rise of a robotic workforce is reasonable, there is a deeper cultural issue at hand.
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During Mark Zuckerberg’s recent testimony before Congress, it emerged that Facebook will soon have artificial intelligence programming in place that can identify and delete hate speech before it is even published. But silencing hate, Elizabeth Scalia argues, is not truly doing battle against it.
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Fr. Stephen Gadberry is a Catholic priest in the Diocese of Little Rock, Arkansas. He is also an avid fitness practitioner, and just recently was able to compete in the hit show, “American Ninja Warrior”! Today, Jared Zimmerer and Fr. Stephen discuss faith, fitness, and evangelization, and the ways in which the intertwining of all three help proclaim Christ in the culture.
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Bishop Barron offers his reflections on the Solemnity of the Annunciation of the Lord, citing the way in which Mary is the New Eve who calls us to ultimate discipleship.
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Today, Matthew Becklo reviews “Summer in the Forest,” a critically acclaimed new documentary about a community of people with disabilities and the search for what it means to be human.
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Robert Mixa offers a review of Dr. Ulrich Lehner's book “God Is Not Nice,” which reintroduces Christians to the true God—not the polite, easygoing, divine therapist who doesn’t ask much of us, but the Almighty God who is unpredictable, awe-inspiring, and demands our entire lives.
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As we continue our celebration of Easter, Father Steve Grunow reflects on why authentic faith resists making the events of Easter Sunday, and the events of every Sunday morning since, into a mere symbol or metaphor.
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On the hill at Golgotha, what the first-century Jews saw is what is before our eyes, still: the rabbi on the cross, an immortal Beauty meant to save the world. Today, Elizabeth Scalia reflects upon the lessons of Christ's crucifixion and bids us to ponder the ways we ought to internalize them.
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There are times in our spiritual life when God, in his infinite wisdom and humor, drops the mic. Today, Elizabeth Scalia reflects on the ways in which God often uses these times to awaken us to something much deeper.
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When it comes to music, American Christians so instinctively lean toward the positive, bright, and sweet that they've all but banished the negative, dark, and bitter. Today, Matthew Becklo makes a case for rediscovering the humanism and power of “bitter lamentations.”
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Where Are We Going?

Today, Chris Hazell challenges us to consider the true definition of happiness and whether we are willing to make the changes in our lives to seek out that which will ultimately fulfill us.
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St. Patrick continues to affect the world centuries after his death. Fr. Billy Swan, an Irishman and spiritual descendent of Patrick, reflects on the mission that transformed an entire nation.
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Long before governments established policies and programs to address poverty, illness, illiteracy, and family strife, Catholic religious sisters were doing the difficult work of upholding human dignity. Today, Elizabeth Scalia reflects on the history—and future—of spirit-led sisters bringing Christ to those in need.
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Lent is not about evening things out with God. As Br. Joachim Kenney, O.P., explains, since our prayers and sacrifices add nothing to God’s greatness or happiness, they are not primarily for his benefit, but rather for our own.
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Gary Jansen is the Director of Image Catholic Books and the author of a new book, “Life Everlasting: Catholic Devotions and Mysteries for the Everyday Seeker.” Today, Jared Zimmerer sits down with Gary to discuss his new book and the ins and outs of devotion, conversion, and the struggles of living a sincere interior life.
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Today, Tod Worner reflects upon the modern world's constant need for efficiency, and invites us to consider the much more human art of intentionality.
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Today, Elizabeth Scalia discusses the life of today's saint, Frances of Rome, and how her selfless cooperation with grace presented her with an opportunity of growth, even though those opportunities were not what she expected or wanted.
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The Scriptures tell us that “the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.” But why is this fear valuable and how do we pursue it? Dr. Tom Neal, professor of spiritual theology, shares his wisdom on this largely unappreciated gift.
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Today we celebrate two early martyrs in the Church: St. Perpetua and St. Felicity. Fr. Steve Grunow reflects on their heroic witness and how their deaths offer a window into a great mystery.
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The prayer of Jesus’ heart on the night before he was crucified for us was that his followers would be “perfectly one.” Today, Joe Heschmeyer discusses the state of Christian disunity in the world—and what we can do about it.
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In an age of smartphones and notifications, many of us rely on our technology as a means of comfort, entertainment—even escape. But Chris Hazell argues that this reliance is causing us to miss out on one of the most important things in life: authentic connection.
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Br. Dominic Koester, O.P. offers a reflection on how good boundaries actually increase our freedom and guide us toward our authentic self.
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One of the paradoxes of Christianity is the fact that we hold up an instrument of torture as our sign of victory. Today, Ricky Jones discusses three reasons why he wears that sign.
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Today is the Feast of Saint Polycarp. Father Steve Grunow offers a reflection on this early Christian martyr, the political situation in Rome at the time of his life and witness, and the urgency of his message for Christians today.
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What can we do to ensure our lives of busyness don’t lead to exhaustion and a loss of self? Chris Hazell suggests we must build into our lives a space for prayer and fruitful reflection.
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Let the Past Die!

Today Br. Bernard Knapke, O.P. reflects on a shocking line from the latest “Star Wars” film and the importance of history in revealing our true identity.
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Dr. Ryan Topping is Vice President and Academic Dean at Newman Theological College and the author of “The Elements of Rhetoric: How to Write and Speak Clearly and Persuasively.” Today we talk with Dr. Topping about the decline of rhetoric, the interplay between rhetoric and evangelization, and the importance of wedding truth to beauty.
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Almost everyone will encounter a rigid atheist at some point, and we all want to know how it is that we can participate in their conversion. Fredric Heidemann, himself a former atheist, offers four stages hardened atheists generally pass through to come to a belief in God.
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In the wake of the heartbreaking tragedy that occurred just a few days ago in Parkland, Florida, Jared Zimmerer offers a reflection on why so many young men turn to this kind of violence—and what we can do about it.
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Today is Ash Wednesday and the beginning of the liturgical season of Lent. For so many of us, it means ashes today, sacrifice for weeks, and then a big celebration at the end of it all. But why? What does it all mean? Bishop Barron explains.
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How to Get Ready for Lent

We're just one day away from Lent, the penitential season when we prepare ourselves for Christ's death and resurrection. Fr. Steve Grunow offers his advice on how best to ready ourselves.
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What is the meaning of life? Why am I here? Today Matt Nelson discusses different responses to what philosophers have called “life's persistent questions.”
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At first glance, Netflix's new movie “Bright” is nothing more than a simple adventure movie. But as the film unfolds, a message of depth and meaning comes to the forefront. Jared Zimmerer offers a review of the film and explains how the deeper message, whether intended or not, is the power of innocence.
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Today we celebrate the feast day of St. Josephine Bakhita, the patron saint of Sudan and a powerful intercessor on behalf of the persecuted Sudanese Christians. Rozann Lee reflects on St. Josephine's story, a saint whose great holiness was cultivated in her exuberant love and humble simplicity.
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One of the most difficult aspects of life for people to embrace is risk; yet, as Chris Hazell points out, the risk of an adventurous life of meaning is well worth the potential fear.
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Today Fr. Damian Ference offers a review of the surprisingly morality-riddled film, “I, Tonya,” and explains the effects of family life and stress on the moral character of an individual soul.
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The rise in the new atheism and Biblical literalism have made it a commonplace that science and religion are in conflict. But Catholicism is a science-friendly religion, and many Catholics have been leading scientists themselves. Today Matt Becklo discusses a recent interview in which Neil deGrasse Tyson acknowledges the impact that Catholics have had on modern science.
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From the Apostles to Michelangelo, brotherhoods have formed and shaped cultures throughout history. However, today there seems to be a real lack in quality brotherhoods, and because of the lack, culture suffers. Today Jared Zimmerer discusses the problem and why we need to bring back the icon of brotherhood.
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Today the Church celebrates the Feast of St. John Bosco—a man who devoted his life to helping young people. As Fr. Michael Cummins shares, one of the greatest blessings of our Christian faith is the witness of men and women throughout history who let go of their own needs and worked tirelessly for the good of those generations who were to come after them.
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Chris Hazell reflects today on “unfair” love, noting that if we don’t see God’s love as truly unconditional, then we are empty vessels without the capacity to share his love with others. Love can only be shared freely if we believe it has been given to us freely in the first place.
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Yes, Aristotle was a pagan, but you can't blame the guy for living centuries before the birth of Christ. You can, however, give him credit for laying out the basics of a good speech. Basics, Father Damian Ference argues, that every good priest ought to keep in mind—and in practice.
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Numerous philosophers and poets throughout the ages have written about the importance of safeguarding our time—of seeing it as something precious. Today Dr. Tom Neal offers a reflection on the importance of time and the desire to reach our goals.
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Does Christianity call for a life of resistance? Today Br. Timothy Danaher, O.P. reflects on a Washington, D.C. mural about an African Sufi sect and considers its message through a Christian lens.
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St. Francis de Sales was one of the most well-rounded saints in Church history and played a major role in returning tens of thousands of Calvinists to the Catholic Church. Today Joe Heschmeyer recounts his accomplishments and shows how they were driven by two traits: charity and persistence.
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What makes us happy? Often fame and wealth are listed as the top sources of human happiness. While these facets of human flourishing are just the first steps to true happiness, today Jared Zimmerer discusses how an “apologetic of happiness” can speak directly to these life goals.
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Today the Church in the United States observes a day of penance on the 45th anniversary of the Supreme Court Decision that deprived children in their mother’s womb of a human right so foundational that its denial precipitates an unraveling of all other rights that are necessary for a civil society to ensure human flourishing. This foundational right is the right to life.
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Word on Fire exists to proclaim Jesus Christ in the culture. We are blessed as an apostolate to hear some of the incredible ways the Holy Spirit is working in the lives of those who have been engaged through our content and our ethos of evangelization. Today, we wanted to share the stories of three people who have been changed through the Gospel as presented by Bishop Barron's Word on Fire.
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The rapid pace of technological advancements has left an indelible mark on the way we think, interact, and make decisions. Today Chris Hazell discusses this tech milieu and challenges us to consider what we do with our lives online.
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Today Br. Thomas Davenport, O.P. reflects on the feast of St. Anthony of Egypt, the “Father of Monks.” Although most of us are not called to follow his path into desert seclusion, his life does provide a wakeup call to the spiritual lethargy we're all tempted to drift into.
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What can troublesome tumbleweeds teach us about grace? Rozann Lee, our resident rancher, explains how the relentless struggles of farming offer both terrible difficulties and tremendous grace. She reminds us that joy and freedom are not found in comfort but in the daily fidelity to God's work.
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What factors lead to someone becoming Catholic? Fr. Michael Cummins discusses the conversion of his parents, who were led into the Church not by one single experience, but through what Bl. John Henry Newman called “the illative sense,” a capacity to draw together many converging experiences.
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Alluring Landscapes

Today, Br. Norbert Keliher reflects on the power of God's creation to inspire a deeper need for the divine.
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A Change of Vision

Fr. Barron has said that Christianity is essentially a new way of seeing. Today, Jared Zimmerer teaches us how to attain this new vision of faith.
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It's hard to pay attention. It's tough to give ourselves fully to the moment before us, no matter what we’re doing, because it often requires turning away from what we’re naturally conditioned to do. But with a weakened ability to focus, we can seriously hinder our relationship with God. Chris Hazell shows today how we can avoid this.
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Today, Father Steve Grunow offers his homily for the Feast of the Baptism of the Lord and proposes that we understand the extraordinary revelation of this day as the fulfillment of the mysteries of the Christmas season.
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One of the most traumatic, terrifying, and disruptive ideas of our Catholic faith—one that the secular culture pushes against fiercely—is an idea that we may overlook...precisely because it is so close to us. Today, Holly Ordway reflects on the difficulty of conforming our lives in a culture of choice.
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Symphonic Faith

Dr. Tom Neal encourages us, in this new year, to resolve that our daily prayer and work conspire to make of our lives a Christ-symphony.
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Today we celebrate the feasts of St. Basil and St. Gregory, and although both were extremely prolific, Brother Athanasius Murphy, O.P. focuses today on their early and compelling arguments that the Holy Spirit is in fact God.
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What lesson can be discerned in the revelation that the Blessed Virgin Mary is the Mother of God? Father Steve Grunow offers his homily as a means to discern how the Incarnation of God in Christ is treasured in the heart of the Church on not only New Year's Day, but every day of the year.
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During the Christmas holiday we all enjoy watching a good film. Today, Matthew Becklo discusses the provocative film “There Will Be Blood,” which was released ten years ago yesterday.
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Some people think “Elf,” the movie starring Will Ferrell released in 2003, is just silly. To those people, Rozann Lee says, "Sounds like someone needs to sing a Christmas carol." She explains why it's not merely one of her all-time favorites...it's a Christmas classic. Well, sort of.
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The prologue of the Gospel of St. John is one of the richest and most densely textured writings in the scriptures. As Bishop Barron explains, John expresses the very nature of God and the profundity of the Incarnation that we celebrate every Christmas.
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Today Fr. Damien Ference lists his ten favorite albums of 2017 and explains why the artists behind them might have been given a very important role to play in building up of the Kingdom of God, even if they don’t know it yet.
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The Crib and the Cross

Today, Father Steve Grunow comments on the nature of the various genres of seasonal songs, reflecting upon the original intent of proper Christmas carols: to connect the Incarnation with the redemptive power of the crucifixion, thereby emphasizing the Messianic nature of the Christ child in the manger.
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Today, Jared Zimmerer sits down with James Papandrea, the author of a new book entitled, "From Star Wars to Superman: Christ Figures in Science Fiction and Superhero Films", in which he points out the Christ haunted nature of numerous films and the incredibly apt nature of the genre to portray a certain Christology.
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On this feast of St. John of the Cross, one of the Church's greatest spiritual masters, Dr. Tom Neal reflects on the saint's advice on how to conquer self-absorption. Quoting from St. John's "Dark Night of the Soul," Tom reveals the spiritually demanding path to dismantling our selfish tendencies.
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The Paradox of St. Lucy

Today is the Feast of St. Lucy, a young martyr from the fourth century who chose to undergo terrible torture rather than allow anything to defile the purity of her body. Here, Rozann Lee reflects upon St. Lucy, the supernatural grace that accompanies torture and martyrdom, and what it means for us as an Advent people.
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Meet The Hillbilly Thomists

When a group of Dominican friars banded together over a common love for bluegrass music, one of its founding members, Father Austin Litke, came up with a name that was impossible to top: “The Hillbilly Thomists.” Today, Matthew Becklo reviews their debut album and the evangelistically rich notes that they create.
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Do Christians Meditate?

How are we supposed to mediate as Christians? Today, Br. Daniel Traceski, O.P., offers advice to all of us who want to deepen our prayer life through the ancient practice of mediation.
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Communication is a foundational aspect of an authentic relationship. But, as David Stavarz points out, we must be prepared to listen, which is often uncomfortable.
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We're all, at times, under the spell of spiritual boredom, where sin holds us down like molasses and prevents us from moving forward in the spiritual life. What's the cure for this ill? Chris Hazell traces out an answer using wisdom from Pope Benedict XVI, Walker Percy, and other luminaries.
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Fr. Steve Grunow takes a deeper look at the Advent hymn, “O Come, O Come, Emmanuel,” demonstrating that there is more to this song than meets the eye. The song, in revealing the fulfilled expectations of the Israelites in Christ, also reveals something wondrous about the revelation of God in Christ.
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It's easy to overlook the season of Advent by just setting our eyes on Christmas. But as Bishop Barron explains, Advent can be a spiritually enriching time, one in which we anticipate the full glory of Christ.
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Peter's Brother

On this Feast of the apostle St. Andrew, Brother John Thomas Fisher, O.P. offers a reflection on the path of Christian sanctity as seen through St. Andrew himself.
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Something has changed for Jim Carrey since the days of “Dumb and Dumber” and “Ace Ventura.” The actor now spends much of his time pursuing spiritual truth. Today, Matthew Becklo discusses the change in light of the new Netflix Documentary “Jim & Andy: The Great Beyond.”
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While Americans are coming out of their food coma from yesterday's feasting, Br. John Mark Solitario, O.P. offers a reflection on the Holy Eucharist as a layered, sacred banquet.
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From the team here at Word on Fire, we would like to wish you and yours a very blessed Thanksgiving holiday! Read today's post for a short reflection on the biblical representation of the "sacred banquet," as well as what thanksgiving really means in the life of the Church.
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Thankful for the Unknowns

On this day before Thanksgiving, Fr. Steve Grunow invites us to express gratitude for saintly men and women who journeyed through life unnoticed, disappearing into the mission of the Church.
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Today, as we celebrate the Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Joe Heschmeyer offers a reflection on the image that our Lady reflects and bears as the Queen of Heaven.
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Love is willing the good of the other, as other. Today, Dr. Tom Neal offers a reflection on why the nature of love is a profound calling to give everything we have away.
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St. Albert the Professor

Today marks the Feast of St. Albert the Great, who is remembered as a Doctor of the Church. Br. Edmund McCullough explores two traits that elevated this genius to sainthood: his detachment from accolades and his staunch commitment to the truth.
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God's Humble Love

Today, Fr. Billy Swan reminds us of the profound nature of God's love, in that His humility is a sign of what love is.
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Today the Church commemorates St. Frances Xavier Cabrini, the first citizen of the United States to be canonized a saint. As Br. Leo Camurati explains, though, her sanctity came not through citizenship but through submission to Divine grace.
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November 9 is the Feast of the Dedication of St. John Lateran Basilica in Rome. Fr. Steve Grunow offers his homily on the significance of this day, both within the life of the Church and within our own understanding of what it means to be a dwelling place of Christ.
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You Shall Know the Truth

What options do we have when it comes to seeking authentic, objective truth? Today, Br. Philip Nolan, O.P. offers advice on these options in a time of relativism and why this search is profoundly important for our own fulfillment.
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Once in a while, you meet someone who knocks your socks off and deeply unsettles you. Their actions inspire you and their words cut right to your core. Dr. Tom Neal shares two such meetings with different men, one Vietnamese and one Nigerian, and reflects on the extraordinary encounters.
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Fr. Rob Galea is an ordained priest of the diocese of Sanhurst Diocese in Victoria, Australia. He is also an internationally known musician and artist who has had opportunities to compete on X-Factor, and play in front of an estimated 500,000 at World Youth Day in 2011. His latest song, Dominoes, has become an instant hit across the globe. The main message: that we are all broken and in need of the love of Christ. Jared Zimmerer recently had an opportunity to discuss music, culture, and evangelization with Fr. Rob.
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Today as we celebrate the commemoration of the faithfully departed, Br. Dominic Bouck, O.P reflects on the ways in which our departed faithful were "dead to the world"—not as zombies, but rather as signs of great life!
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In celebration of the Solemnity of All Saints, Father Steve Grunow offers often-overlooked insights about who the saints are, what it means to be a saint, and how God summons each of us to become a saint.
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Today, for most of us, is Halloween. But a lot of Christians are disturbed by the way that Halloween seems to celebrate evil, and many Protestants choose to celebrate Reformation Day instead. While Joe Heschmeyer respects the desire to have fun without celebrating evil, he finds Reformation Day to be unwittingly ironic. Today he shares five reasons why.
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As we near All Hallows Eve, aka Halloween, we fired some questions at the walking encyclopedia that is Father Steve Grunow, and he responded with everything you ever wanted to know about Halloween and its deeply Catholic roots.
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So often Christians might fear expressing their own doubts in matters of faith. But today, Matt Nelson explains why this isn't necessarily problematic, and why we must be willing to express our conscience and seek the truth.
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So often in our difficulties, we try and pull ourselves up from our own bootstraps. But today, Dr. Tom Neal offers a time in his life where he had to repeat the phrase, “Dear God, I give you all, willingly.”
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Domine, Non Nisi Te

Today, Fr. Lawrence Lew, O.P., reminds us of the great response of St. Thomas Aquinas and that we are all made for nothing less than the love of God.
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Christ called all of us to be light to the world. Today, Fr. Billy Swan reflects upon how we must be a reflection of the light of God if we are to truly bring others into His blessed life.
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In the work of evangelization today, it is of profound importance for the Church to be able to offer moments of evangelization that revolve around the growth of the community and building bridges of trust among believers and non-believers. Today, Jared Zimmerer interviews Fr. Peter Wojcik, one of the organizers of the (re)Encounter event in Chicago this evening.
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Today we celebrate the feast of the North American martyrs, St. Isaac Jogues and St. Jean de Brebeuf, two men who gave everything they had for the love of Christ and the need of His salvation for all mankind. Jared Zimmerer offers a reflection about these two heroes and what their legacy is bidding us all to today.
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Saint Luke, the Artist

Today is the feast of St. Luke, one of the four gospel writers who, according to tradition, was also an artist and a painter of icons. Fr. Michael Cummins shares this artistic gift with St. Luke. Today, he explains how icons are more than mere paintings and can only be truly appreciated when we completely change our "perspective."
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C.S. Lewis once said, “It is a good rule after reading a new book, never to allow yourself another new one till you have read an old one in between.” We recently asked our writing team to consider what book, not published in the last century, has most impacted their life? Today, Fr. Billy Swan discusses a writing from one of the greatest evangelists in Catholic history, St. Patrick's “Confessio.”
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Today marks the 100th anniversary of the Miracle of the Sun in Fatima, Portugal. Jared Zimmerer offers a reflection on the historical significance of this profound event and how Mary conducted a revolution as Queen.
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We often hear the adage that religion has caused numerous wars and has a history of bad actions in the name of beliefs. However, today Fredric Heidemann asks, does secularism, who has a long history of its own problems, have a memory problem?
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Mystery and Music

Br. Peter Joseph explains today how God’s effects tell us something about who he is, but that they ultimately lead us straight into his unfathomable mystery.
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C.S. Lewis once said, "It is a good rule after reading a new book, never to allow yourself another new one till you have read an old one in between." We recently asked our writing team to consider what book, not published in the last century, has most impacted their life? Today, Matt Becklo discusses one of the leading existentialist philosphers, Soren Kierkegaard's selection of essays entitled Papers and Journals which led Matt into a deeper undertstanding of Christ.
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The Theology of the Dog

Today, Fr. Damian Ference offers a reflection on the phenomenon of encountering a dog and what spiritual lessons we can actually glean from such an encounter.
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Tomorrow is the Feast of Our Lady of the Rosary. Fr. Steve Grunow talks about the origin of this Feast Day, tracing its inception back to the historic Battle of Lepanto and revealing the important role played by the Mother of God.
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The tragedy of the mass shooting in Las Vegas has certainly garnered untold emotions. From fear to anger, from heartbreak to confusion, we find ourselves trying to make sense of a senseless act of violence. Today, Rozann Lee offers a reflection on the profound moment she heard of the tragedy on the feast of the Guardian Angels and the profundity of such a moment in dealing with evil.
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The Heart of St. Francis

There's the cute statue in the garden, the lover of animals, the gentle steward of nature. Then there's the reformed party boy, the slow and reluctant convert, the man who embodied the heart of Christ through his love of the poor. Word on Fire contributor Father Damian Ference takes a look at the real St. Francis of Assisi and shares his thoughts.
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Today we celebrate the Feast of the Holy Guardian Angels! So often Guardian Angels are depicted as sweet, chubby cherubs, but as Br. Henry Stephan, O.P., states today, they are warriors with a purpose, and part of that purpose can help to guard our chastity.
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On this Feast of St. Thérèse of Lisieux, here are several resources on the Little Flower from Bishop Barron and the Word on Fire team. You'll find videos, articles, blog posts, and more. Enjoy! http://www.wordonfire.org/resources/blog/10-powerful-resources-on-st-thrse-of-lisieux/4507/
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Celestial Intercession

Today we celebrate the feast of the Archangels, St. Michael, St. Gabriel, and St. Raphael! Br. Ignatius Weiss offers a reflection on the virtues of these celestial intercessors and reminds us that we can and should consistently look to them for aid.
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The Word on Fire crew recently returned from an overseas trip to begin filming Volume II of “CATHOLICISM: The Pivotal Players.” A highlight for Bishop Robert Barron was visiting Mont Saint-Michel, the mysterious, mystical, and hauntingly photogenic abbey situated just off the Normandy coast. Here are his thoughts on why this place is like standing on the edge of the world.
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8beats aims to arrest the modern heart through the beauty and expression of artists and creatives through the profound words of Christ. Today, Jared Zimmerer sits down with one of the collaborators of 8beats, Sam Sorich of Glass Darkly Films, to discuss beauty, collaboration, and the heroes of Catholic artists today.
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A common complaint against Catholicism is that its view of the spiritual life is too difficult, that it over-complicates Christianity and doesn’t trust enough in the finished work of Christ on the Cross. Today, Joe Heschmeyer offers a reflection and advice that states that perhaps that's the wrong question to ask.
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C.S. Lewis once said, “It is a good rule after reading a new book, never to allow yourself another new one till you have read an old one in between.” We recently asked our writing team to consider what book, not published in the last century, has most impacted their life? Today, Tod Worner discusses one of the writers featured in Bishop Barron's Pivotal Players, G.K. Chesterton and his incredible work, “Orthodoxy.”
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Tomorrow we celebrate the feast of Saint Pio of Pietrelcina, affectionately known by all his devotees as Padre Pio. Dr. Tom Neal looks at one element of this holy priest's theology concerning praise and time.
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The Word on Fire team and I spent some time in the great city of Milan taking in the incredible beauty of the Cathedral here. However, the most moving part of the day was spent filming at the very baptismal pool where St. Ambrose baptized St. Augustine.
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How do we respond in the face of evil, especially to those who inflict grave evil upon us? Abducted in Iraq is Bishop Saad Sirop Hanna’s firsthand account of his abduction in 2006 by a militant group associated with al-Qaeda. Today, Jared Zimmerer interviews Bishop Hanna about his amazing story and the need for all Christians to be aware of the genocide occurring in the Middle East.
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Running is not just another form of exercise, but is a discipline that challenges the our whole human personhood. Seminarian David Stavarz shares the spiritual lessons he learned while training for his first half-marathon.
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Why Our Lady of Sorrows?

Today is the Memorial of Our Lady of Sorrows. Fr. Steve Grunow reflects on this depiction of Mary and explains how it dramatically displays the Incarnation.
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In continuing with our special behind-the-scenes views into the filming of “CATHOLICISM: The Pivotal Players” Volume II, here is another behind-the-scenes look in the filming on St. Benedict, as well as some thoughts on the principle virtue of the monastic life, humility.
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Why Does God Exist?

Most of us know the Catechism answer to the question, why did God make you? To know Him, to love Him, and to serve Him in this world, and to be happy with Him for ever in heaven. But what about the opposite question: why does *God* himself exist? Dr. Tom Neal explores this interesting question.
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On this anniversary of September 11, 2001, Fr. Steve Grunow reminds us that when the world gives way to darkness, our hope is in Christ, the Divine Light, who dispels the darkness and guides us to his kingdom yet to come.
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Does the Immaterial Exist?

One of the most common arguments from atheists is that matter is all that there is, and that the immaterial (God, angels, the human soul, etc.) simply doesn’t exist. Joe Heschmeyer explores the argument to see if it stands up to scrutiny.
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God's Love and The Mass

Today, Fr. Billy Swan discusses how God expresses His divine love in the highest order through the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass.
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Bishop Barron and the Word on Fire crew recently returned from an overseas trip to begin filming Volume II of “CATHOLICISM: The Pivotal Players.” Watch a behind-the-scenes video on one of the most influential men in all of the Western world.
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Christians sometimes struggle to answer the "problem of pain," but Joe Heschmeyer argues that atheists have a far more difficult burden in the "problem of beauty".
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Today commemorates the Passion of John the Baptist, marking a somber and violent end to a life that was instrumental to the foundation of the Church. Father Steve Grunow examines the circumstances surrounding St. John's beheading, and how they illuminate a depraved side of his executors that is often overlooked.
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Word on Fire blog contributor Jared Zimmerer, father of five, a fitness advocate, and an avid reader, shares the top five reasons he and every man should regularly go to Mass.
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In the Scriptures, we encounter Christ speaking to his friends, preaching to his followers, and debating with his interlocutors, but we also encounter him in silence. Br. Innocent Smith examines how friendship with God is cultivated through this same practice today.
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When discussing the truths of the faith we must always do so from a place of love. Today, Dr. Tom Neal offers a few reflections on how love must guide any and all actions we take toward a journey of truth.
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Seeing Mary as She Is

Today, as we celebrate the feast of the Queenship of Mary, Matt Nelson offers a reflection on why it is so important to see Mary as she truly is, the Ark of the New Covenant.
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The release of Bishop Barron's latest study, 'David the King" is set to release on September 5th! Today, Peggy Pandaleon offers a few thoughts as to why this study is an excellent way to dive deeper into the Scriptures.
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Today, Jared Zimmerer discusses the growth of mixed martial arts as entertainment and points out that modernity, in secularizing everything, has also effected the way we view martial arts.
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What Men Fear Most

What do pornography and dwindling vocations both suggest about men's greatest fear? Father Damian Ference, who works closely with young men in high school and the seminary, shares his observations.
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Today, Father Steve offers a reflection for the Feast of St. Clare of Assisi, a contemporary and friend of St. Francis who conformed herself to a life of voluntary poverty for the service of Christ.
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Faith Goes Public

How comfortable are we in proclaiming the Gospel in public? Dr. Tom Neal explains why we so often find ourselves in moments of fear in our evangelistic moments, yet we are all called to proclaim the Truth in love!
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Today the Church celebrates the feast day of St. Edith Stein, one of the great intellectuals of the 20th century, a convert to Catholicism, a nun, and a martyr. Today, we offer an excerpt from Bishop Barron's book, Catholicism, on the spirit of St. Edith.
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Jared Zimmerer and his wife are expecting a sixth child! Today, Jared offers some thoughts about what having so many children has taught him about finding the extraordinary within the ordinary.
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Today the Church remembers the witness of St. John Vianney, the “Cure of Ars”, who is the patron saint of parish priests. Fr. Steve Grunow explains how the there are typically two approaches to the parish priesthood--the administrative and the ascetic--and how St. John Vianney perfected the latter.
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Let's face it, being a parent is tough. Sometimes raising kids can feel like trying to put order into chaos. Today, Ricky Jones offers some advice on how we might be able to change the way we see these moments as opportunities to hear what God has to say to us.
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Today, as we celebrate the feast of the great spiritual mentor St. Alphonsus Ligouri, Jared Zimmerer offers a reflection on one of his favorite books by the saint entitled “Preparation for Death.”
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The Last Chapter

Br. Ignatius Weiss, O.P. offers a reflection on how the last chapters of his favorite fantasy books are so hard to finish but how they open our eyes to a much deeper appreciation and vision of reality.
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A recent video of two breakdancing priests sparked a conversation about the role of priests and their place in evangelization. Today, Fr. Damian Ference offers a defense of the priests and why all priests ought to embrace humanity just as the two in the video had.
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The relationship between faith and reason has profound effects on how we ought to understand the growing scientism in our time. Today, Fr. Billy Swan offers a reflection on how the Church sees this relationship and how, when understood correctly, it can lead to an even greater love of the sciences.
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In the work of evangelization, we rarely know where the seeds we've sown might take fruit. Today, we're thrilled to to share with you one such story. Nick Chancey, a native of Ripley, WV, had a complete awakening of faith after watching the “CATHOLICISM” series. From there, he graduated from Marshall University with a BA in History in 2015. After spending a year as a Missionary-Intern for the Diocese of Wheeling Charleston, he now serves as a Campus Minister in Charleston, WV. Read his full testimony below. Enjoy!
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Br. Damian Day, O.P., offers a reflection on how the search for truth must always aim forward, regardless of whether we are limping towards it.
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Chris Hazell explains today how when we become part of the community, and through our communion, we are able to draw others from their own aloneness into the union that we celebrate as Divine life.
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Today, we celebrate the feast of St. Camillus de Lellis, who lived the great tradition of the celibate life as a model of heroic virtue. Often today, these traditions of the male priesthood and celibacy often bear the brunt of secular ire. Father Damian Ference offers not so much a defense of the traditions, but an explanation of why they are both practiced and of utmost importance, especially now.
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Yesterday began the seventh season of “Game of Thrones” which is pervaded by complexity and subtlety, both in its imagined world and in its ever growing cast of characters. Unfortunately, as Daniel Stewart explains, all of this nuance falls to nothing when Martin describes religion.
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We often hear the adage that man is nothing more than a different sort of animal. Today, Matt Nelson explains why humans are indeed different and why that difference must be a foundation of truth.
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We often hear today the growing disinterest in organized religion, even among believing Christians. However, we must be aware that this distinction between either Jesus, or religion, is a false understanding of the role of the Church. Today, Fr. Billy Swan reflects upon the reality that the Church is a sacred medium by which Christ meets us and we meet Him.
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St. Why

Today, on the feast of St. Maria Goretti, Dr. Tom Neal reminds us that we venerate saints and are so drawn to them because they point to something beyond us in their own strange and amazing ways, people who punch holes in the buffered self of modernity.
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Today, Matthew Becklo discusses the everlasting effect of Mother Teresa as seen through a new song by Brother Isaiah. Inspired by the saint's insights on prayer, this barefoot friar sings "Receive Me (i'm yours)."
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Happy Independence Day! We understand it's a busy day of entertaining and family time for lots of you, but do take a moment to read Jared Zimmerer's reflections on Blessed Pier Giorgio Frassati and his life lived as a model of true interior freedom. Today is his feast day. In addition, we've included a previously recorded video of Fr. Barron's on Frassati.
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How often do we listen to that voice inside our head that doubts our capacity for grace and holiness? That fear can undermine our ability to be who we are meant to be for others. Today, Ricky Jones offers a reflection to challenge us to overcome that fear and be a blessing to everyone in our life.
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Sports and family are two aspects of human life that can teach us so much about who we are and the need for virtue to authentically live our vocation and call to evangelize. Today, Jared Zimmerer chats with Corey Robinson, who brings knowledge and experience of using the culture of wrestling as an avenue to reach the periphery and embue the Christian ethic into the lives of those he coaches.
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Today's feast of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus is also the day of prayer for the sanctification of priests. Today, Fr. Billy Swan offers a reflection as a priest about the need for the merciful heart of Christ and allowing Christ to perfect our imperfections.
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Today we celebrate the feasts of St. John Fisher and St. Thomas More, two martyrs who stood up against a cultural tide against the faith. Br. John Paul Kern offers a challenge for all of us to embrace the same heroic virtue so embodied by today's saints.
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In a recent poll, 86% of the participants stated that teaching religion to children is a form of brainwashing. Today, Joe Heschmeyer offers his thoughts on why parents should teach the faith to their children regardless.
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For many millennials the faith has been offered as a slogan or possibly as a vague practice. As Fr. Connor Danstrom points out, what is needed is an authentic enculturation in the actions, beliefs, and customs of Catholicism.
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Bob Dylan, a master storyteller and poet, understood the greater narrative of humanity and this made him incredibly effective at producing heartfelt music. Today, Luke Burgis discusses a key moment in Dylan's life and why this vision of humanity allowed his music to be so effectual.
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Today we're excited to announce the release of Bishop Barron's newest film and study program, “David the King“! King David causes us to look back toward Adam’s kingship and forward toward Christ the King, seeing Christ as the fulfillment of the Davidic line and the realization of the Kingdom of God on earth. In Bishop Barron's new film and study program, Bishop Barron helps us to understand this pivotal figure in light of the first king and the King of kings.
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"Tony, Tony look around..." Actually, stop right there. Ellyn von Huben tells us about her personal and repeated invocation of St. Anthony, the patron saint of (among other things) lost items, but more importantly, how she finds something that will help us much more than those long-gone keys will.
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The imaginative works of Tolkien, Lewis, Chesterton, Barfield, and the like have been able to 'baptize' the imagination for nearly a century. Today, Jared Zimmerer sits down with Holly Ordway whose new book “Apologetics and the Christian Imagination” delves into the reasons this route is so effective and how we as evangelists ought to take note.
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This coming Sunday is the Feast of The Most Holy Trinity, but what implication does that reality have on our life as Christians and our relationship with God? Fr. Billy Swan offers a reflection for the feast to help us better understand the profound significance of the great mystery.
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HBO's hit series, 'The Young Pope', has been released for purchase today. The series has garnered numerous differing opinions, from loving it to downright vitriol towards it. Today, Fr. Damian Ference offers his consistently balanced approach to the series as both a work of culture and a modern piece which unveils the supernatural.
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Sean Bryan is a physicist, a missionary, and a ninja. Today, Jared Zimmerer sits down with the Papal Ninja to discuss evangelization, fitness, and how we can effectively express what Christ has done in our lives.
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This coming Sunday marks the Feast of Pentecost! A time for all of us to reflect on how the Holy Spirit is moving in our lives and the life of the Church. Today, we listen to Bishop Barron discuss the ways that the Holy Spirit is depicted and how those depictions have a major impact on how the Spirit moves throughout God's people.
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Today's saint, St. Justin Martyr, laid out one of the earliest descriptions of the Mass in his “First Apology,” written between 153 and 155 A.D. It’s great, because it offers a simplified version of Catholic theology intended for those who had no idea about the Eucharist or Mass. HIs description reveals how constant the Mass has remained over the last two millennia.
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Today we celebrate the Feast of the Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Brandon Vogt discusses how this vastly important feast might act as a moment for Catholics to have a better understanding of social justice and how we can all unite under the banner of this feast.
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From St. John the Baptist to St. Francis of Assisi, the Church has a long tradition of “holy fools,” men and women who subvert the world's wisdom with shocking lives. Br. Philip Neri Reese looks at one of these saints, who happens to be not only his namesake, St. Philip Neri, but also today's saint.
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Men of Principles

How do we raise the level of our cultural discourse? According to Br. Philip Neri Reese, O.P., a good first step would be a renewed appreciation for the importance of first principles.
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Walker Percy, the writer who penned “The Moviegoer,” “Lancelot,” and “Love in the Ruins,” to name a few, had family, fate and illness working against him. But he had faith, and that was likely what spared him. Word on Fire contributor Father Damian Ference examines Percy's life on today's blog, a launching point for our next Book Club selection, "Love in the Ruins."
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"Draw people together around something that transcends their own solitary existence, and as long as that something is true, good, or beautiful, God can use it to draw them to Himself." Today, Jared Zimmerer sits down with Fr. Connor Danstrom who recently performed for the Blue Island Arts Alliance as a way to garner authentic culture for the surrounding community of Blue Island.
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Daft Punk Sabbath

As we head towards the weekend and the hopefully restful Sabbath, Dr. Tom Neal offers his thoughts on the necessity of rest and how Christ came to be the Sabbath of our souls.
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Silence. It can be a reservoir of flowing peace and nourishing grace. It can call to mind our cherished identity, compelling us to respond to God and others with that same, first love he has shown us. Or it can be cold and sterile, a state of abandonment, loss, frustration and sorrow. As Chris Hazell writes, it’s in the silence that we can choose to trust in his loving presence or his aching absence.
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If you've ever heard of the many different personality tests, you've probably found yourself in one category or another. Today, Fr. Damian Ference shares with us four personalities that he often finds in seminarians, which ultimately unveils the way God can call upon numerous types of men to serve His Church!
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In today's reading from the Acts of the Apostles, we hear of St. Paul being stoned and dragged out of a city. The great saint embraced this kind of suffering, but why? Fr. Steve Grunow offers poignant insight in regard to St. Paul and the nature of our mission as Christians.
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Bruce Lee was more than just a high-kicking action star. He was a philosopher, a unifier, and a man passionate about social justice. He was incredibly apt at sharing his message, and today Jared Zimmerer shares three things he learned from Bruce about how to effectively introduce your message to the world.
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This Saturday marks the feast of Our Lady of Fatima, when we commemorate Mary's appearances to three shepherd children at Fátima, Portugal in 1917. Ellyn von Huben examines the apparitions and the ensuing events that reveal the hand of Providence.
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Over the past number of years the music industry has seen resurgence in its demand for vinyl records. What can this resurgence tell us about the search for authenticity and ritual, and perhaps a rediscovery of the Mass? A lot, says David Stavarz.
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Did Jesus really die on the Cross? Are the modern skeptics correct in promoting a narrative of myth or the swoon theory? Matt Nelson helps clear up some of the discussion through four specific reasons His death on the cross is indeed, fact.
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In many ways, our culture tries to rebel against nature. Whether that involves tampering with human genetics or leveling forests to build new shopping malls, we often see God's creation as somewhat restrictive. Fr. Michael Cummins boldly suggests that our proper response, as Christians, should be a radical rejection of this mentality, choosing instead to embrace all of the gifts that creation offers.
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Have you ever made a mistake or committed a sin and looked back exclaiming "Did I do that?" Br. Dominic Bouck, O.P. offers sage advice for those of us who might often fall into spiritual pride when we look back on our failings.
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How can we make reading into more than just an intellectual exercise? What books ought we read in order to grow in holiness? Today, Brandon Vogt interviews Vicki Burbach on her latest book, "How to Read Your Way to Heaven" to help us better understand the tremendous power of reading.
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St. Augustine of Hippo, one of the Church's preeminent theologians, maintained that "God became man so that man might become God." The Catechism agrees, quoting Augustine and other saints on this point. But what does the teaching mean? Are we really supposed be divinized? Joe Heschmeyer explains.
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May is Mary's month, which often commences with the annual "May Crowning" at Catholic parishes and schools around the world. Today, Ellyn von Huben offers her signature hilarity and graceful reflection on this timely Catholic tradition.
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Today’s Feast of St Joseph the Worker was instituted in 1955 by Pope Pius XII as a Catholic liturgical response to the Communist version of the May Day celebration. But, celebrating work seems a bit oxymoronic, doesn’t it? Didn’t work start after the Fall of Adam and Eve? Today, Dr. Tom Neal discuses today's feast and the profound grace of labor.
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Atheist Dialogues

What's the best way to approach conversations with atheists? Br. Athanasius Murphy shows how to avoid two mistakes and offers helpful advice.
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In a new book entitled “The Reception of Vatican II,” Bishop Robert Barron contributed a chapter regarding how the Second Vatican Council's desire for apostolic zeal has taken shape through seminary formation and the renewal of the Priesthood. Today, we offer an excerpt from his chapter in this enlightening book.
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A common question among atheists, is 'Why doesn't god show Himself?' Today, Fredric Heidemann offers insight into this question and why 'What we mean by God' is of such importance to answering it.
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Taking care of the body is an important aspect of being an evangelist and taking on the mission God has called you to. Two priests have recently founded an organization called PriestFit, in order to encourage their brother priests in such an endeavor. Today, Jared Zimmerer interviews PriestFit co-founder Fr. Ryan Rooney who has lost over 240 lbs.!
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When God Became Man

Wallace Stevens' poem, Sunday Morning, laments the great loss of transcendence in modernity. Today, Fr Steve Grunow comments on Easter as the great breaking though of God into human history and how the lament of loss can be discarded in light of Christ.
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The final Cadbury Mini Eggs have been consumed. The last bits of synthetic grass have been extracted from the carpet fibers. The leftover casserole has made its swan song. Easter is over. Now what? Word On Fire contributor Fr. Michael Cummins implores us to consider Easter anything but "over." He explains.
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When Jesus said ''This is my body'' on the night of the Last Supper, did he really mean that the bread and wine had mysteriously become Him? Or was he speaking figuratively? Matt Nelson gets to the root of the question.
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Jesus does not laugh in any of the four Gospels. This fact might seem strange to us, and even a little scandalous—isn’t Jesus fully man and fully God? Isn’t laughter natural to men? Brother Gabriel Torrett, O.P., explores these questions today.
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Once again, Ellyn von Huben finds a work of art and manages to let us in to the story unlike anyone we know. She did it today with Zurbaran's "Crucifixion," which is a beautiful, tragic and telling a piece to reflect upon on this Good Friday. And if you are lucky enough to be within striking distance to the Art Institute of Chicago where it is housed, go.
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When teaching others about Christ, we must portray His totality and not just propositions. Today, Robert Mixa shares with us how His form must better be understood and how the weight room can give us a glimpse into how to accomplish that goal in our catechetical outreach.
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When reading the Bible, we often come across some truly odd images and passages. How is it that we are supposed to read these and appropriate them for those who aren't as familiar with Christianity? Today, Joe Heschmeyer offers insight for us to better understand these images.
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Pick Up Your Mat

Christianity is not an abstract, nebulous religion. It's deeply incarnational. As Jared Zimmerer explains, the great tradition of Catholicism is one of cultural experience, expressing itself through embodied faith.
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Often the beauty of the Catholic Faith has been said to be best experienced from the inside. Today, Matt Nelson discusses how the prolific mind of G.K. Chesterton discovered the brilliance of faith through the eyes of the Church.
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In the latest installment of the X-Men series of movies, we find Logan, or Wolverine, in the not so distant future. Today, David Stavarz reflects on the role of fatherhood in the film and how sacrifice is intimately tied to one man's role.
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Beyond the prolific writing career, the fascinating personal life, and the peacocks (lots of peacocks) was a devout and inspirational Catholic. Word on Fire contributor Father Damian Ference takes a look at Flannery O'Connor today on the Word on Fire blog.
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Advertising Asceticism

Why do fast, pray, give alms, and discipline our bodies? Because these are the pathways to freedom. As Dr. Tom Neal explains, the great ascetical practices liberate us from our ego and unite us to Risen Lord.
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Today, Dr. Brant Pitre sits down with Brandon Vogt to discuss his newest book, “The Case for Jesus: The Biblical and Historical Evidence for Christ”. He shows how recent discoveries in New Testament scholarship, as well as neglected evidence from ancient manuscripts and the early church fathers, together have the potential to pull the rug out from under a century of skepticism toward the traditional Gospels.
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In his new book, "Proofs of God: Classical Arguments from Tertullian to Barth" (Baker Academic, 2016), leading theologian Dr. Matthew Levering presents a thoroughgoing critical survey of the proofs of God's existence for readers interested in traditional Christian responses to the problem of atheism. Today, Brandon Vogt sits down with Dr. Levering to discuss some of the thinkers highlighted in his book and whether it's possible to actually prove God exists.
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The idea that we’re all in the Matrix was actually seriously debated at the American Museum of Natural History’s 2016 Isaac Asimov Memorial Debate. Joe Heschmeyer explains three errors at root in this absurd proposition.
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Today the Church celebrates the solemnity of Saint Joseph, the husband of the Blessed Virgin Mary and the guardian of the Christ-child. The scriptures are somewhat silent as to the details of St. Joseph's blessed life. Father Steve tells us how this biblical lack of fanfare is both appropriate and sanctifying, relating the story of Jesus' earthy father to our mission within the life of the Church.
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Today is the widely celebrated feast of St. Patrick, but beyond the beer and parades lies a holy mystic. Tradition holds that in the 5th century, in order to spend a penitential retreat of forty days and forty nights., St. Patrick came to Lough Derg. Fr. Barron visited the same island a few years ago and shares his experience today.
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It's popular today to identify as 'spiritual, but not religious.' Brother Irenaeus Dunlevy, O.P., explains, though, how the two cannot be effectively separated, how the whole understanding of the spiritual is rooted in religion.
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The theologian Dietrich Bonhoeffer famously distinguished between "cheap grace" and "costly grace." The latter is more precious but also more challenging to receive. Dr. Tom Neal explains today how to find this costly grace in the most unexpected and unpleasant places.
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Saint John Paul II famously said, 'as the family goes, so goes the nation and so goes the whole world.”' Brandon Vogt explains how today's saint, St. Frances of Rome, discovered this privileged position of the family, and how it led her to an unexpected encounter with God.
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Last weekend, Bishop Barron delivered a talk at the 2017 Los Angeles Religious Education Congress in Anaheim, CA. He spoke about the need for catechesists, apologists, and evangelists to wake up in light of harrowing statistics showing the Catholic Church is hemorrhaging young people. Half of young Catholics have already left the Church. The percentage of "nones" (i.e., people with no religion) is at an all-time high. So what should we do? Bishop Barron offers his advice, focusing on three areas that deserve special attention.
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A Linguistic Lent

Dr. Tom Neal's spiritual director once advised him to attend to his use of words in Lent, to reflect at the end of each day how he used his words to either reveal or conceal God. What he discovered was that by our words, at every moment, we can become the eloquence of God.
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Being an Athlete of Christ

Jared Zimmerer has been a noncompetitive body builder and power lifter for more than a decade. What this has given him — besides muscles — is great spiritual insight in the practice of discipline, the sanctity of the body, and the idea that it takes much more than physical strength to achieve fitness goals. He explains today.
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The Gospel of Work

How can we make our work a spiritual act? Today, Dr. Tom Neal offers some short reflections on how we can develop our own spirituality of work.
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Fr. Steve Grunow comments on the Feast of the Chair of Saint Peter, reflecting upon the role of St. Peter in the mission of the Church as well as the apostolic succession that ensures that the Church is continuously led by one who "knows who Christ is."
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Hostility toward Catholicism arises for a variety of reasons and can be sustained for generations. To break through some of the negative stereotypes, Fr. Michael Cummins offers his own experiential anecdote and calls to mind the Christ-like lessons learned in the classic film, "Babette's Feast."
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In a recent interview, Avenger’s star Scarlett Johansson, stated that she didn’t think monogamy was ‘natural’. Stating that “It’s a lot of work. And the fact that it is such work for so many people — for everyone — the fact of that proves that it is not a natural thing.” Jared Zimmerer, monogamous husband and father of five children, responds today.
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One of the greatest difficulties that Christians face is the problem of evil. How could an all-good, all-powerful God allow evil and suffering in the world? Matthew Becklo explores that question today with the help of several contemporary films.
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Husband and father of five children, Jared Zimmerer, explains how television's “This is Us” beautifully and aptly displays the painful tension of family life. The constant tug and push of family life ought not to act as a deterrent for others to partake, rather it ought to be viewed as the very alchemy that brings about the true magic of love.
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Today is the Feast of St. Scholastica. Father Steve Grunow reflects upon Scholastica's witness as a beacon of light in a world broken by sin, pointing the way toward a life of fullness in Christ amidst the tainted nature of humanity.
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Some people dismiss the Stations of the Cross as a devotional relic of a bygone generation. But not Gary Jansen. In his beautiful new book, Station to Station: An Ignatian Journey through the Stations of the Cross, Gary recounts how the devotion has changed his life and opened him up new spiritual depths. Today, Word on Fire's Brandon Vogt interviews Gary about the Stations and his new book.
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Today we celebrate the feast of St. Paul Miki and his companions, martyrs who laid down their life for Christ's sake. Br. Raphael Forbing, O.P. suggests this feast is also a time to life up the virtue of heroic friendship.
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The Church commemorates St. Blaise today. While you've likely heard of his association with the "blessing of the throats," you might not know of his "discussions with the wolf." Father Steve Grunow recounts the legends of St. Blaise's extraordinary spiritual works, the truth to which these tales point, and the pinnacle of his earthly life which was no "legend" at all: his heroic martyrdom and the enduring witness of his faith in Christ.
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Today we mark the Feast of the Presentation of the Lord, which commemorates Joseph and Mary bringing the infant Jesus to the Temple for his ritual purification. There the Holy Family meets old man Simeon, a mystic who prophesies the baby's exultant future. Ellyn von Huben reflects on this wondrous encounter.
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Fire and Muck

Dr. Tom Neal once heard the Eucharist described as as a “sacrificial ritual enacting a solemn marriage between the fallen muck of earth and fire falling from heaven.” Why not the other Sacraments? And, especially, why not the Sacrament of Reconciliation?
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Fredric Heidemann explains that for Catholicism, beauty is a form of auto-evangelization. The danger is forgetting about the auto-evangelization machine and letting it rust in the corner. Two simple ways to refurbish it? Emphasize sacred music and sacred liturgy.
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Tomorrow we celebrate St. Thomas Aquinas, one of the greatest minds in human history, a saint, a mystic, a scholar, a priest, and a Doctor of the Church. In honor of his feast day, we're sharing ten of Bishop Barron's top resources on the Angelic Doctor.
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Popes and the Soul

In a unique seminary exam, Fr. Damian Ference has his students apply Plato's teachings on the tripartite soul to the last three popes of the Catholic Church (John Paul II, Benedict XVI, and Francis) and offer an argument for identifying each pope with each part.
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Teaching high schoolers theology is hard. From dealing with secular indifferentism to religious skepticism, the teacher may be confused where to begin. But Catholic teacher Robert Mixa offers a good approach: start with the Gospel.
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As Dr. Tom Neal explains today, Christianity offers not a hyper-intellectual analysis of virtue, but an invitation to experience the virtuous life. Jesus is not so much the Truth about the Way to Life, but the Way to the Truth that gives Life.
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Some people read the work of Flannery O'Connor, the great Southern novelist, and become apprehensive about the prevalence of violence in her writings. How could this be for a Catholic author who is supposed to be writing about Catholic things? Daniel Stewart explains how the Christian life brings violence with it--death, suffering, self-forgetting--and it's through bearing this violence that we find the fullness of life.
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In honor of Martin Luther King Day, we're sharing two videos from Bishop Barron. The first is his video on why Dr. King still matters to all cultures and ages. The second is a clip from the CATHOLICISM series in which Bishop Barron highlights St. John Paul II's message of peace delivered to the people of Warsaw before the fall of the Soviet Union. King and St. John Paul II changed the course of history with their words and deeds, and today we're invited to continue their promotion of nonviolence.
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Today we celebrate the solemnity of the Baptism of the Lord. Fr. Steve Grunow proposes that we understand the extraordinary revelation of this special day as the fulfillment of the mysteries of the Christmas season.
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Does God only give grace to smart people? Is holiness directly proportional to intelligence or ability? Today offers us a positive example of a man graced with charity apart from much natural intelligence: St. André Bessette.
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Matthew Becklo reviews a NYT bestselling book by Jim Holt titled "Why Does the World Exist? An Existential Detective Story," which examines some of the leading theories today.
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Brother, Come Pet Jolene

If your New Year's Resolutions include loving people better, Joseph Gloor recommends you listen to the song, "Brother" performed by the Franciscan Friars of the Renewal. Combine the song with prayer and you may find, like he did, a remedy for a daily frustration.
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Wonder-Filled Saints

Tom Neal reflects how in a world plunged deep in dark and divisive cynicism, it is our wonder-filled saints who keep hope alive.
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This Sunday we celebrate the Blessed Virgin Mary as the Mother of God. What lesson can be discerned in this revelation? Father Steve Grunow offers his homily as a means to discern how the Incarnation of God in Christ is treasured in the heart of the Church on not only New Year's Day, but every day of the year.
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Today is the Feast of the Holy Innocents, the day in which the Church commemorates the lives of the innocent children lost in the massacre of the first born by King Herod at the time of Christ's birth. Fr. Steve Grunow reflects on the event here, taking a deeper look at the true loss that occurs upon rejecting the advent of Christ.
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On today's Feast of St. John the Evangelist, Bishop Barron explores the magnificent prologue to his Gospel, which he describes as "John the Evangelist’s great Christmas sermon." Packed within these few opening verses is a sublime theology of the Incarnation explaining how and why God became man.
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Father Steve Grunow offers his homily on this the great feast day of the first of the Church's Martyrs — Saint Stephen, who also happens to be Father Steve's namesake. In a time of continual religious persecution around the world, the witness and martyrdom of St. Stephen speaks to the Church in a powerful way.
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Chris Hazell reminds us that God is the one who ultimately brings us to our glorified selves through his love and grace. We cooperate—to be sure—but he is the one responsible. Hazell, explains how keys to unlocking human potential will continue to spring to the fore, but the ultimate hope we have is our trust that perfection rests in the grace of God alone.
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Jacob Bearer argues that Mel Gibson delivers something much more than a “morality play” in Hacksaw Ridge. He balances upon a tightrope in a way that so few directors can: He hits our stomach with raw, wounded humanity, and, then, compels us to strive for greatness.
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In the face of certain gender theories and feminist ideologies which challenge the notion of manhood, the Church needs real men to emerge and serve. Br. Irenaeus Dunlevy, O.P., shares with with us 5 tips from St. Thomas Aquinas on how to “viriliter agite” or in English, "act like a man".
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Is Religion An “Extra”?

One of the great heresies of our modern age is the belief that religion is an insignificant “extra.” The spiritual life is, to those who adopt this attitude marred with indifference, a private affair and nothing more. Today, Matt Nelson stands athwart this wave of relativism with words of everlasting and indestructible truth.
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Fredric Heidemann grew up in a loving, comfortable atheist household of professional scientists. At best, God was a fantasy for half-witted people to compensate their ignorance and make themselves feel better about their own mortality. Today he's a Catholic. What broke the ice? What made me consider God’s existence a real possibility? J.R.R. Tolkien's “The Lord of the Rings.”
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As we head toward the end of 2016, Fr. Damian Ference shares with us his top 10 favorite albums of the year along with an explanation about what makes each set of tunes so great.
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Today's Feast commemorates Saint Lucy, often depicted wearing a wreath of greenery and lit candles around her head and holding a small dish with two eyes. Weird Catholicism? Not so much. Father Steve explains these seemingly strange symbols of St. Lucy's witness and offers a charge for imitation of this beautiful martyr.
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Today we celebrate St. Juan Diego and his encounter with Our Lady of Guadalupe. The miraculous image that appeared on his tilma led to the salvation of millions of souls and powerfully testifies to the truth of the Catholic faith.
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On today's great Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception, Father Steve Grunow explains how Mary's unique origins do not pose an easy gift but a challenging capacity to love in extraordinary ways.
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Today, the Church celebrates the feast of one of her great doctors, St. Ambrose of Milan, who offers us a model of public Christian witness. Albert Dempsey, O.P., unpacks some of St. Ambrose most helpful teachings as we are now called to witness to our troubled political climate.
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Today, on the Feast Day of St. Nicholas, we're delivering a message: you're being watched. But before any panic sets in, remember it's not a bad thing. Kerry Trotter explores the intercession of both saint and Santa, and how a little gnome on a mantle doesn't hold a candle to the blessed.
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After meeting with some colleagues to discuss lay faith formation, Dr. Tom Neal shares a collage of thoughts about building up the Church's great ambassadors to the secular world.
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