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Models of Mercy: Saint Joseph

My mother raised my sisters and brothers and me in the Catholic faith. While my dad supported her “nonnegotiable” decision, he wasn’t baptized until just before my seventeenth birthday. That was an extremely moving day for all of us, especially my mother. She had never forced my dad to believe, but she did provide him with an outstanding example of what it means to be a person of faith and service.
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Lent and the Parable of the Rich Man and His Harvest

                            Friar Jim shares his own personal feelings about Lent and explores the parable of the rich man and his harvest. There are 18 parables in the Gospel of Luke. One of the shortest ones contains one of the most powerful messages. It’s about the rich man who had a magnificent harvest. He faced a conundrum: “What shall I do with this fantastic harvest? My barns will never hold all of this since they still have some of last year’s harvest.” His solution makes sense and, in fact, helps him plan for what he anticipates will be big harvests for years to come.
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Year of Mercy: Prayers for Life and Death

Image: Regola - S. Maria dell'Orazione e Morte, Wikimedia Commons. If a pilgrim walking to Rome for a Holy Year fell mortally ill far from home or a poor tenant farmer died working in a field or an unidentifiable victim of murder was found, a group of courageous Christians buried these anonymous or forgotten dead with dignity.
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How Much Does God Love You?

Image: Marco Basaiti, Call of the Sons of Zebedee. Academia of Venice. I have loved you with an everlasting love; therefore I have continued my faithfulness to you. —Jeremiah 31:3 Although he had absolutely nothing to gain from it, God wanted to share his very life with man. As a result, he began the process of creation. In the first two chapters of the book of Genesis, we see how the Lord created the heavens and the earth from nothing. He then populated the earth with numerous creatures. The Father's act of generosity culminated with the creation of man.
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Lent: A Season of Reconciliation and Mercy

                                              Friar Jim shares his own personal feelings about Lent and tells us why Reconciliation is so important during this holy season. Lent is a time of reconciliation: God’s healing a wounded world. But, if we are honest, it is also a time for us to be reconciled with God again. It doesn’t mean that we have left the church or even sinned seriously. Hopefully not. But it is a time for us to come to the Lord in a sense of repentance for our failings—great or small. And that is why we have the Sacrament of Reconciliation. It gives us an opportunity to do something externally to reflect what is going on in our hearts.
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Year of Mercy: Visiting the Sick in the Jungle

Image: Taryn Hill, a second-year resident from Austin, Texas, examines a young girl at a clinic in Akawini, Guyana, March 18. (CNS photos/Bob Roller) WAKAPOA, Guyana (Catholic News Service)—The indigenous families living in this South American jungle village came early to see the American doctors running a free health clinic. They paddled dugout canoes for miles on the placid waters of the Wakapoa Creek, gave their names and sat on wooden benches to wait for what may be their only doctor's appointment in a year. Nylon hammocks and silky mosquito nets in which the doctors slept hung on the walls around them.
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Lenten Recipes: Rolled Sole with Fennel and Citrus

December: No Room at the Inn. Abel Grimmer. Abel Grimmer. Hospitality is an important ministry of Benedictines, but also with that comes the need for a spirit of flexibility! You never know when a guest can appear needing a meal or a place to spend the night. Being a Type-A personality and a perfectionist, this gift is not something that comes naturally to me. My life at the Villa was a wonderful time for me to breathe and let God take the reins.
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Christ: Our Remedy for Suffering

Image: Jayakumar Ananthan. “Just offer it up.” Some of us grew up hearing this phrase from our Catholic parents. Even if we heard that phrase repeatedly, we most likely didn’t understand fully what it meant. Certainly this is a foreign phrase to our Protestant brothers and sisters. It sounds strange—after all, what does God want with my broken arm or seven stitches in my knee?
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Walking with God: Take Nothing for the Journey

Image: Ybrayym Esenov. I find there are two types of people who attack me when they discover I’m Catholic. The first are lapsed or disgruntled Catholics who claim to be revolted by the Church but can’t stop talking about it. The second type, the Pharisees, are always trying to get me to say something bad about other (in their eyes, lukewarm) members of the Church. None of these folks can bear the hideous gap between how a follower of God should be and how a person who claims to be a follower of Christ actually is.
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Connecting Food and Faith

Image: shutterstock. These days, families seem to be busier than ever. Unfortunately, one of the first things that seems to get lost amidst chaos is the family dinner. Father Leo Patalinghug, a priest in the Archdiocese of Baltimore, is trying to reverse that trend. He’s doing that through his Grace Before Meals movement which encourages families to prepare and enjoy meals together. It is a movement that Father Leo says has its heart in the Eucharist.
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