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Why We Pray the Rosary

You've probably heard the expression knock on wood. But what you might not know is that one derivation of this popular saying refers to one of our own Catholic traditions—the recitation of the rosary. The rosary was a physical representation of inner faith, and it was natural to touch it when you were in distress or pain. “Knocking” rosary beads together, people said, was a sure means to get an answer to your prayer!
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The Easiest Prayer Ever

Plenty of people think they don’t pray well. Or that they somehow pray wrong. Or that everyone else has an easier time praying. With this in mind, let me introduce you to a kind of prayer that anyone can do. Whether you’ve been on dozens of retreats or are just beginning to incorporate prayer into your day, the examination of conscience can be a wonderful—and easy—support for your spiritual life.
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Don’t Let Family Struggles Get You Down This Thanksgiving

Starting at the end of October, we are often inundated with images of happy, harmonious families gathering around the table to enjoy a huge Thanksgiving feast. The implication is that all families are joyfully united at Thanksgiving because, well, it’s Thanksgiving and everybody’s happy at Thanksgiving. Not true.
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We Reflect the Love of Christ

  In our faith journeys, sometimes, like the moon, we reflect the love of Christ. Other times, we feel mired in darkness. But God's love is unconditional and eternal, as Colleen C. Mitchell explains in this week's Franciscan Spirit video.
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Homily Helps: The Poor Widow

Exegesis of the Gospel: Mark 12:38–44 Once again we find Jesus criticizing the scribes, the experts in interpreting the Torah. They were an ancient version of a lawyer. Not all scribes were self-serving as the ones depicted in this passage. Jesus is not condemning all scribes—only the ones who fail to carry out their duties justly and with compassion.
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Family Faith in Action: Small Acts of Greatness

Read MK 12:38-44 In the course of his teaching Jesus said to the crowds, "Beware of the scribes, who like to go around in long robes and accept greetings in the marketplaces, seats of honor in synagogues,  and places of honor at banquets. They devour the houses of widows and, as a pretext recite lengthy prayers.  They will receive a very severe condemnation."
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Trusting the River

It can be agonizing to share what is deepest within you but then be met by apathy or rejection. For me, this struggle has often unfolded in the arenas of art and writing. I spent six years writing my first book, and, like many artists looking to find a home for their beloved project, found myself in the desert of unknowing as I queried agents and publishers. Staying disciplined for over a half-decade was difficult enough. The fruits of that discipline hinging upon the opinions of others was excruciating.
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Notes from a Friar: The Mysterious Workings of Grace

When speaking of the word grace, it is important to clarify what grace really is. Grace is not something that we get from God. Grace is actually God working within our whole person. Sometimes you hear people speak as though God would ladle out grace. Rather, grace is the presence of God within us. Grace is God’s presence and strength given to us at particular times when we are called to act virtuously. 
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Box of Joy Brings Christmas to Impoverished Kids

Cross Catholic Outreach’s Box of Joy ministry is gearing up to put Christmas smiles on the faces of more than 70,000 children, all of whom live in dire poverty in Haiti, the Dominican Republic, Guatemala, El Salvador, and Nicaragua. In its fifth year, Box of Joy is adding another country to the list of nations where children will receive boxes of little Christmas gifts packed by families, churches and individuals who take the opportunity to help children experience the joy of Christmas in places where gifts are rare or nonexistent due to poverty.
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Tips for Improving Your Prayer Life

As Christians, we go into prayer with the best of intentions, but we often get distracted or impatient. We complicate what should be a simple moment of grace with God. Fr. Gary Caster has been there, too, and he offers some important tips for slowing down and allowing God to find us.
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