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Pope Francis on Our Role in Caring for Creation

Image: Meg Sanchez. As I reflected on my own upbringing while reading Laudato si', Pope Francis’ encyclical on concern for the environment, I really appreciated some of things the pope discusses in it. For example, in paragraph 210, Pope Francis observes that education takes place first in the home and in the family. He also notes that environmental education should facilitate the “leap towards the transcendent.”
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In Search of Perfect Joy

Image: Forrest Cavale. Twenty-five centuries ago, Aristotle wrote a book called Nicomachean Ethics, in which he concluded that the ultimate goal of human beings is and ought to be happiness. Aristotle’s book became a classic long ago. But when you think about it, its thesis is rather commonplace. When we honestly examine our lives, we quickly realize that what we want is to be happy. What sane person wouldn’t? So we scarcely need an ancient Greek philosopher to tell us what we already know. What isn’t so obvious is how to be happy. There are any number of answers out there competing for our attention. The advertising industry, for example, spends billions of dollars annually to tell us that true happiness lies in buying this or that product. Pop psychologists assure us that happiness consists in getting in touch with our primordial self, looking out for number one, or learning how to be intimate. (It all depends on which psychologist you read.)
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Year of Mercy: It's a Family Affair

Image: Fresco at Parz Castle, Allegory of Mercy. One night, I came home from a busy day at work. As usual, I was attempting to get the daily rundown of the kids’ activities, read the mail, check the messages, and get dinner started. That’s when it all came apart.  “Mom, Riley hit me,” reported Alex.  “Mom, I want pink milk,” demanded Riley.  “Mom, I feel like I’m going to throw up,” cautioned Maddie.  Another typical night in the Brigger house, I thought.
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The Book of Job: A Lesson on Being Angry with God

My older sister Patricia died of spina bifida before I was born. My younger sister Linda died of spina bifida when I was 3. Given that I was raised in a traditional, stoic, Irish-Catholic family, my sisters and their deaths were never talked about. In fact, I didn’t even know they existed until I was 5 and found their names in our family Bible. “Who are these people?” I asked my mother. “They are your sisters”—that was all she said.
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Follower of Saint Francis: Brother Moises Gutierrez

Photo: Pierre Olivier Bourgeois | unsplash Brother Moises Gutierrez, OFM, can credit his upbringing for introducing him to the meaning of living in a community. “Needless to say, community living came naturally for me since I came from a large family,” he says. When Brother Moises says “a large family,” he really means it. The youngest of 24 siblings, Brother Moises grew up in Leon, Mexico, with aspirations of becoming an engineer.
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Beginning Again with Saint Francis of Assisi

Image: Saint Francis in the Desert, Giovanni Bellini. “Let us begin to do good, for as yet we have done little.” Saint Francis of Assisi Francis spoke these words at a time when most people already considered him a saint. In his mind, there was no plateau in life where he could feel he had “made it” and could coast into heaven from then on. He did not compare his love with that of other men but with that of Christ; hence, he always saw an infinite expanse into which he could still go, becoming more and more like his Lord.
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Year of Mercy: An Oasis of Mercy and Hope

Image: Paulina Gongora Chim, 7, and Elias Chin, 5, pose for a photo at Oasis San Juan de Dios in Conkal, Mexico, Jan. 5. They live at the shelter because their mothers have HIV. (CNS photo/Alicia Cabezas) See MEXICO-HIV-OASIS Jan. 13, 2016. A red-roofed, ramshackle collection of one-story buildings grouped around a tropical garden sits next to a small field where black pigs and hens run free. Inside, two large dogs wander contentedly, greeting visitors. Nothing about this dwelling on the edge of a rural suburb would suggest that its work is on the cutting edge of the battle against HIV in Yucatan, the Mexican state that has the highest incidence of new cases among a section of the population. The dedicated professionals who work with those who have HIV are bring the Year of Mercy into the every day.
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Remembering Mother Angelica

In a quiet apartment in Dayton, Ohio, I watched EWTN on a daily basis for most of 1994. Should I return to the Catholic Church or remain a Protestant pastor? Mother Angelica helped to tip the scale toward Rome.
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40 Days of Lent: Jesus Is Risen!

The serpent’s bite was a deadly one. The venom had worked its way deep into the heart of the entire human race, doing its gruesome work. The antivenom was unavailable until Christ appeared. One drop was all that was needed, so potent was this antidote. Yet it was not like him to be stingy. He poured out all he had, down to the last drop. The sacrifice of his entire life, poured out at the foot of the cross—this was the Son’s answer to the problem of sin. 
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Reflections on the Holy Thursday Readings

Image:Andelsbuch (Vorarlberg). Saint Peter and Paul parish church: Stained glass window showing the sacrifice of passover during the plagues of Egypt. Begin your Triduum preparations with these reflections on the Holy Thursday readings.
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