US Catholic Faith in Real Life

Out of the depths

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Faith helps U.S. Catholic readers see the light even as they walk through the valley of darkness.

Unemployment, illness, a loved one's death-everyone can relate to the experience of loss. While loss may be an ordinary part of life, it nevertheless can shake our faith. Perhaps we question why, or we simply lose time for God. Just when we are at our lowest, though, the smallest gesture can remind us that God is still with us.

Sewn together

By Karen Rushen O’Brien | Print this pagePrint | Email this pageShare
An idle mind may be the devil’s workshop, but busy hands are where the Holy Spirit hangs out.

I love to make stuff, which doesn’t make me much different from many women I know. Lots of us like to knit, quilt, crochet, or do needlepoint for a whole variety of reasons: because it relaxes us, it empowers us and brings us joy to find we can make something, or because we wind up creating something beautiful that we can give to someone special.

What do you ask for this child?

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Baptism might not have exactly saved this baby’s life, but it showed his family the power of love and faith.

As a religious educator, I have always taught that Baptism can be administered in an emergency by anyone with the right intentions using the ancient trinitarian formula. I never imagined, of course, that I would be that person, baptizing not a stranger but my own flesh and blood, my grandson.

Fast break: Stop eating the world for Lent

By Bryan Cones | Print this pagePrint | Email this pageShare
Lent is a good time to call time-out on our First World feeding frenzy.

"Eat the world” is the slogan of the food court at a high-end Magnificent Mile mall in Chicago—and it delivers. From sushi to stir fry, pasta to pancakes, all that stands between an eater and a defenseless world is the cash to pay for it. Since the slogan was once plastered all over Chicago’s buses, it was hard to escape. I still notice it most often during Lent, when I am supposed to be curtailing my own consumption of the goods of creation, though rarely with much success.

Mercy me!

By Sascha T. Moore | Print this pagePrint | Email this pageShare
Sometimes we all need to have a heart-to-heart with God and own up to our shortcomings. Psalm 51 shows us how to do it.

"Have mercy on me, O God, in your goodness; in the greatness of your compassion wipe out my offense.
Thoroughly wash me from my guilt and of my sin cleanse me.
For I acknowledge my offense, and my sin is before me always.
Against you only have I sinned, and done what is evil in your sight.
Behold, you are pleased with sincerity of heart, and in my inmost being you teach me wisdom.

Lake Effect

By Karen Skalitzky | Print this pagePrint | Email this pageShare
Surviving grief, looking for a path back home

The stillness of my apartment is deafening. I wake to the sun beating through my blinds and the drone of the air conditioner echoing my loneliness. My day feels as empty as my insides. I’ll reach out, call a friend, run some errands, do some work. But the path is solitary. The grief is mine and mine alone.

My father, our Father

By Mary Cleary Kiely | Print this pagePrint | Email this pageShare
It can take a lifetime to step past a history of hurt, but 12 steps is a good way to start.

When my young son asks me what God looks like, I want to tell him what he will probably only understand much later, that for children especially, God looks like the people in whom they vest their trust. God can be merciful or terrible.

Bless me, mother

By Annemarie Scobey | Print this pagePrint | Email this pageShare
In a special bedtime ritual, this mother does more than just lay her children down to sleep.

Away from the manger: An Advent Essay

By Frances M. Leap | Print this pagePrint | Email this pageShare
As pieces of Teresa’s nativity set traverse afar, her niece catches unexpected glimpses of the Incarnation.

Do this in memory

By Ann O'Connor | Print this pagePrint | Email this pageShare
Gathering and displaying reminders of lost loved ones can connect us to our own personal communion of saints.

One day a friend of mine called a classmate from college with whom she had not talked in years, only to learn that the woman’s 7-month-old baby had recently died. Resisting her impulse to end the conversation quickly, my friend was inspired to ask what the baby was like. She must have been the first person to ask this question of the mother because her simple question released a flood of memories and they talked for a good, long time.