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home : commentary : columns December 9, 2016

Let's hear it again for national service
"Any definition of a successful life must include service to others," said President George H.W. Bush many times before, during and after his presidential years (1989-1993). More ...
Monday, December 5, 2016

A new perspective at Christmas
For a brief moment when we're born, we're the youngest person on the planet. Then, we grow older. More ...
Thursday, December 8, 2016
Changing and changeless in 2017
For one year, long ago, my four siblings and I were all in grade school at the same time. More ...
Thursday, December 8, 2016
Celebrating Christ at Christmas
As we rejoice in the Lord's birth this Christmas, it is important to remember that faith in the incarnation of Jesus Christ is an essential part of the Catholic Church's teachings:  More ...
Monday, December 5, 2016
At Christmas, respond to God's gifts with love, not guilt
Last month, I went on a weeklong silent retreat to address a nagging concern. I felt heavy guilt for how I could be enjoying my life when there are profound deprivations and unspeakable suffering. More ...
Wednesday, November 30, 2016
The End of the World
People are forever predicting the end of the world. In Christian circles this is generally connected with speculation around the promise Jesus made at his ascension, namely, that he would be coming back, and soon, to bring history to its culmination and establish God’s eternal kingdom. More ...
Wednesday, November 30, 2016
The lessons hidden in meaningless trivia
From the youngest age I can recall, I've always had a knack for remembering useless bits of trivia. More ...
Saturday, November 26, 2016
Prayer box taps into spiritual hunger
Prayer box taps into spiritual hungerThe box went up on a Monday evening in August, a plain white box nestled inside a little wooden tent, mounted atop a fence and beneath the outermost reach of a maple. More ...
Tuesday, November 22, 2016
Advent is a time for awakening to the divine mystery of Christmas
It’s amazing how fast things can be done, today. More ...
Tuesday, November 22, 2016
How to cope with holiday grief
I was startled a few weeks ago when familiar feelings of grief surfaced. It was evening, mid-October, and there was a sadness I hadn't felt for a while. More ...
Wednesday, November 16, 2016
Catholic social teaching can help make this country great again
I do not recall the context, but I do remember that a student at then-Loyola College in Baltimore, where I taught in the 1960s, said to me on one occasion, "You know, Father, it is so incredible that it's almost unbelievable." More ...
Wednesday, November 16, 2016
Successful people don't wait their turn
When we're young, we take the lessons taught by our parents at face value. Be friendly. Do the right thing. Eat your Brussels sprouts. More ...
Thursday, November 10, 2016
'Tattoos on the heart'
The other day, I climbed out of bed a little before 4 a.m. to head to the Philadelphia airport. More ...
Monday, November 7, 2016
The Real Presence
When I was a graduate student in Belgium, I was privileged one day to sit in on a conference given by Cardinal Godfried Danneels of Brussels. He was commenting on the Eucharist and our lack of understanding of its full richness... More ...
Monday, November 7, 2016
Love and loyalty through the years
I was a Jesuit scholastic teaching at Scranton Prep in Pennsylvania when the interstate highway network was launched. Some of the boys I taught graduated in 1958. That class gathered for a reunion a few weeks ago (as they now do every two years) and were kind enough to invite me.  More ...
Thursday, November 3, 2016
Rethinking Thanksgiving after the Year of Mercy
This year, Thanksgiving week starts right after the formal conclusion of the Extraordinary Year of Mercy. More ...
Thursday, November 3, 2016
The beauty of human sexuality
In an age of porn and sleaze, the need for a deepened respect for the positive aspects of human sexuality is real. In marriage, the desire to give one's self to the delight of the beloved is a sign of Christian holiness. More ...
Monday, October 31, 2016
Before troubles erupt, think prevention
First, it was my car. Next, my refrigerator. Then, my computer. By the time I saw my cardiologist today, I fully expected to leave his office with a ream of new prescriptions and a few new cardio-preserving exercise moves. Why? More ...
Monday, October 31, 2016
Make the most of weekends
There's an ancient song from the 1980s with the lyric, "Everybody's working for the weekend." If there ever were a better example of truth in art, I can't think of it. More ...
Tuesday, October 25, 2016

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