US Catholic Faith in Real Life

An art meditation for the third week of Advent

Advent is about joyous anticipation, but it is also about preparing for Christ's return.

By John Christman |
Article Your Faith

Images are powerful. What we see shapes us. We live in an ever-increasing visual culture where we are constantly saturated with images. It is all too easy to become desensitized, complacent, pessimistic, and even cynical because of what we see. After all, we see so many images that are upsetting. Seeing can sometimes stir in us a trend toward negativity. However, seeing can also have a transformative effect for the good.

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An art meditation for the first week of Advent

Advent is about joyous anticipation, but it is also about preparing for Christ's return.

By John Christman |
Article Your Faith

Mountains of garbage, an overturned container ship, displaced animals: What do these have to do with Advent? Isn’t Advent supposed to be a season of joyful anticipation? Are not these four weeks intended to prepare us for the celebration of the nativity of our Lord Jesus Christ? Why this foreboding imagery in a season marked by hopeful expectation?

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Should we rebuild crumbling Catholic landmarks?

In typical Catholic fashion, the answer is both/and.

By John Christman |
Article Culture Justice

Where were you on April 15 when you first saw flames tear through the ancient wood roof of Notre-Dame de Paris Cathedral? What thoughts and emotions gripped you as plumes of smoke rose from that sacred space? And, equally relevant, how did you react days later when protesters hit the streets of Paris waving placards that read “1 Billion for Notre-Dame! Zero for the Homeless!”?

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How the ‘pop art nun’ inspired a leap of faith

One novice’s encounter with the art of Corita Kent.

By Sister Rhonda Miska |
Article Culture

“Find a place you trust and then try trusting it for a while.”

With these words, the first of Corita Kent’s “Rules,” she burst into my life as an impish, holy, and joyful maker, beckoning me to keep faith, to embrace uncertainty, to look deeply, and to festively affirm beauty. 

Corita’s life and art brought encouragement just when I needed it. After 10 years of life, ministry, and putting down roots in Central Virginia, I had just moved to a motherhouse of women religious, following an intuition I hoped was God’s call.  

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These liberating images of Jesus depict our shared humanity

Find salvation—and solidarity—in these depictions of a black Christ.

By John Christman |
Article Lifestyle

When racists bombed the 16th Street Baptist Church in 1963, four young girls attending Sunday school were killed and another 22 people were injured. It was one of many horrific acts of hatred directed at the black community, this time while they were in the midst of prayer. 

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The healing power of art

How art helped me make sense of chronic illness and brought me closer to God.

By Devan Stahl |
Article Your Faith

When I was in my early twenties, I was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis (MS). MS is an autoimmune disease that causes the immune system to attack the central nervous system and disrupt nerve connections. This means that sometimes I lose sensation in my limbs and sometimes I have trouble seeing and thinking clearly. I have come to understand my disease as more than a list of symptoms, however. With the help of those close to me, I have come to accept chronic illness as aspect of my self-identity that shapes my most important relationships, including my relationship with God.

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How to find God when your faith ebbs

If your faith life seems stuck in a rut, perhaps a new look at an old piece of art may provide the jolt you need.

By Michael Centore |
Article Culture

When I discovered Battistello Caracciolo’s The Calling of Saint Matthew seven years after my return to Catholicism, I was experiencing an ebb in my faith. I longed to reconnect with the force that had impelled me back to the church, but I was not quite sure where to begin. I slumped along with morning readings from the gospels, the prophets, and the Desert Fathers, but the words didn’t sear with the heat of newfound truth like they had before.

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A Holy Week meditation with Leal’s Pietà

Leal’s painting brings us face-to-face with the historical life and death of Jesus.

By Michael Centore |
Article Culture

My initial encounter with the 17th-century Spanish painter Juan de Valdés Leal’s Pietà came at an auspicious moment in my spiritual journey. After having drifted from structured religious expression in general, and the Catholic Church in particular, I was, at the time, in the midst of finding my way back.

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Is the Catholic theme of the Met gala a good idea?

The Met Gala doesn’t have the best record when it comes to cultural sensitivity. Will it do the Catholic Church more justice?

By Shanna Johnson |
Article Culture

My junior year of college, a friend of mine decided to change his major from biology to theater and pursue a strong nagging desire to become an actor. When he announced his decision to our friends, every person began contending with one another to be his date to the Oscars in the event he was ever invited to the awards show.

I did not care about the (very small) chance to one day attend the Oscars. Instead, I requested to be the one he took to the Met Gala.

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Iconographer Kelly Latimore depicts the unexpected saints among us

Latimore’s work invites us to meditate on modern-day saints.

By Jerry Bleem, O.F.M. |
Article Your Faith

Kelly Latimore first started painting icons while living with the Common Friars, an Ohio-based intentional community whose concern for the earth has been instrumental in shaping the group’s vision. One of its members often posed a question drawn from Matthew’s gospel and quoted in their Rule of Life: “How do we become people who, in Jesus’ words, ‘consider the lilies of the field?’ ” This allegory about arranging our priorities concludes by counseling believers to “seek first (God’s) kingdom and righteousness” or, in other translations, God’s “way of holiness” (6:28–34).

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