US Catholic Faith in Real Life

Messengers of comfort and courage: The truth about angels

How people of faith throughout the ages have found meaning in angels.

By Lisa Raatikainen |
Article Your Faith

Around the turn of the millenium, British scholar Emma Heathcote-James set out to collect stories of modern day angel encounters. She placed a classified ad seeking personal accounts of angelic contact and was startled at the number of people who eagerly came forward to share their experiences. The reports rolled in from across a wide swath of cultural and religious identities, including many who claimed little interest in spiritual matters.

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Why monastic rules appeal in the midst of chaos

There is a human desire for rhythm and routine in a tumultuous world.

By Teresa Coda |
Article Your Faith

Read the words “monastic rule” and images of chanting bearded men in coarsely woven habits, or rows of veiled sisters processing solemnly into a chapel likely arise.

But with a little digging into church history and a deeper look into the modern practice of monasticism, you’ll find that the rules crafted by saints of centuries past have much to offer anyone who seeks to live a purposeful and reflective life in the present day.

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Millennials are seeking spiritual community. Where are they finding it?

Many adults who eschew traditional religion still seek spiritual sustenance.

By Judith Valente |
Article Lifestyle

On Tuesday evenings, a group of young adults streams into a storefront on Chicago’s North Side that doubles as an art gallery and events venue. They settle into rows of red and yellow plastic chairs as a jazz trio plays a bouncy rendition of “You’ve Got a Friend.” When the music stops, a man and woman walk to the front of the room and sit on stools. They read a brief meditation from a book called Stillness Speaks then launch into what is partly a dialogue, partly a homily on healthy relationships.

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To make sense of the new normal, look to the Christian ethical tradition

Amid the uncertainty of a pandemic, rely on the familiar grace of a God who makes all things new.

By Father Bryan Massingale |
Article Your Faith

I write from New York City three weeks after life has been disrupted and upended in ways that I could never have imagined. The novel coronavirus and the threat of COVID-19 have suddenly forced upon us all dramatic changes in how we work (or even if we are able to work), socialize, communicate, shop, and worship.

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During a pandemic, a reminder that darkness is only temporary

Christ’s light shines through—now and in days to come.

By Eric S. Fought |
Article Your Faith

On a Friday night in early April, a rare occurrence took place on the banks of Lake Superior. The beacon on Minnesota’s Split Rock lighthouse lit up the sky for a few hours, an intentional offering of light—hope amid significant darkness.

Lighthouses are, for the most part, historic sites now. Places we visit and images we put on postcards and Facebook covers. But at one time, they provided a vital role in saving lives and ensuring the flow of trade in this region and others.

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Discover the sacredness of life with the desert mothers and fathers

Experience God in every moment.

By Christine Valters Paintner |
Article Your Faith

The desert mothers and fathers have much to teach Catholics about contemplation and prayer. In the third- to sixth-century desert landscape of Egypt, Syria, Palestine, and Arabia, a powerful movement was happening. Christian monasticism began flowering in response to a call to leave the world behind. Christians withdrew from a society in which the misuse of human relationships, power, and material possessions ran counter to their sense of the sacredness of life.

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To experience the incarnation, write the divine into being

The world benefits every time your words become flesh.

By Jessie Bazan |
Article Your Faith
When words become flesh . . .

It happened to me for the first time in first grade. The Milwaukee Catholic Herald published my writing as part of a Catholic Schools’ Week essay contest. The prompt invited students to explain how Catholic education would shape our future. I wrote:

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Why I want to be a cloistered nun

From the archives: Perhaps God merely wraps the vocations of being human in different packages.

By Sheryl Frances Chen |
Article Your Faith

I’m a debutante in reverse: This month I’m entering a Trappist monastery. It’s not something Catholics hear about too often, though vocations to monastic communities have not declined nearly as drastically as they have to active communities. I suppose I’m writing now, before I get to the cloister, because once a candidate gets to the point of begging permission to go in, she hopes never to come out. And so I’d like to say good-bye to the world.

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This November, find your communion of saints

The Christian creed is cloaked in mystery.

By Jessie Bazan |
Article Your Faith

I believe in the communion of saints.

These words take flesh in the early morning quiet of my apartment. I sink into the worn recliner and flip open my Bible. The aroma of dark roast rises like incense across the space, still as an empty sanctuary. 

Thin paper crinkles between my searching fingers. Soon their stories sit before me: Mary Magdalene, Joanna, and Mary the mother of James. 

“But on the first day of the week, at early dawn, they came to the tomb, taking the spices that they had prepared.”

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In need of a faith tune-up? Your body can lead the way.

How might our spiritual lives flourish by entering into intimacy with our own bodies?

By Christine Valters Paintner |
Article Your Faith

In our daily rush through life, we so often neglect the body’s wisdom. We work through fatigue and illness, pushing our bodies and feeling frustrated when they don’t keep up. Or we look at our physical selves with disdain when parts don’t measure up to some external standard (which is always designed to sell us something).

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