An Advent Examination

Advent is not a season of penance, but of preparation. Advent prepares us for the two comings of Christ, that is, the Incarnation and the Eschaton. However, amid the garlands and the gifts, we all know how easy it is to become wrapped up in … [Read more...]

The Necessity of Confession and Its Seal

Any Catholic reading the report of Australia’s Royal Commission of Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse must be appalled by the multiple instances of child abuse in ecclesial institutions perpetrated by priests, religious, and l … [Read more...]

Renewal and the Penitential Life

Wherever we may look for solutions to the present tension and confusion, we must realize that the solution will begin with the Eucharist, return to the Eucharist, and be formed by the Eucharist. Whatever secular processes may be deemed … [Read more...]

The Power in a Penance

About six or seven years ago, I participated in the sacrament of reconciliation. (By the way, that was not my last time.) At the heart of my confession was the fact that I had recently been responding to my wife with “irritation” or “an … [Read more...]

The Rule of the Secular Franciscan Order: A Short Meditation on the Call to Penance

Today there is a new international discussion about Secular Franciscan identity, and the future direction of the Order. The General Chapter of 2014 asked for a “period of serious reflection, involving all members of the Order,” on the fut … [Read more...]

The Curse of Crying and the Gift of Tears in The Confessions

Tears manifest the reality of the finitude of man. Tears are most often an expression of being overwhelmed by passion. They can be consented to, embraced, wallowed in, squelched, or avoided. Tears are a silent confession of man’s own r … [Read more...]

Taking Up the Cross Daily by Praying with Our Senses

On the Role of Mortification in the Christian Life

The term “mortification” has become increasingly less common in contemporary discussions of the spiritual life. One might say it is now nearly absent from such discussions. We hear about someone being “mortified” when they are humiliated, or … [Read more...]

The Church’s Year of Grace: History, Traditions, Beauty

Christian discipleship is fundamentally a dynamic movement from self to the beauty of Christ. In the absence of this dynamic movement, faith remains woefully incomplete. ...The essential characteristic of beauty then is to be transported … [Read more...]