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Catholic Commentary

August 5, 2020

Hauntings, Possessions, and Exorcisms

Even though as a book reviewer I have a steady stream of books coming to my doorstep, occasionally I will revisit books that have impacted me. I have often written – and in my podcasts spoken of – the very real battle surrounding all of us. Spiritual warfare is real. When it is said that the devil prowls around the earth looking to ruin the souls of man, it’s true. Adam Blai explains the demonic in his must-read book Hauntings, Possessions, and Exorcisms.

What Blai does in this book is offer a guide for readers to understand how to defend themselves against the demonic. You might ask just what credentials Blai has that make him the perfect person to write this book. Well here’s your answer. Blai is an auxiliary member of the International Association of Exorcists in Rome. He regularly trains priests on how to perform exorcisms, and he has written the “training manual” currently used by exorcists.

Book Reviews, Catholic Commentary, News\Events
August 5, 2020

Stop and Hear the Whisper of God

Last night was the first time in a very long time that I made a point of watching the national news. It’s not that I’m not interested in what’s going on in the world, but I’m not interested in the almost panicked way in which the opening reports are shared. I actually can feel my pulse increase and fear rise in my heart, even after all this time.

This morning, as I opened the internet to a news site, I took notice that of the top 20 stories, the first 10 of them were all about COVID-19 and the effects of the pandemic on each of us, as well as how the economy has been harmed. All of the reports sound the alarm of “Be prepared for the next moment of doom!” It is enough for me to run from my computer and shut myself in my bedroom and declare that I’m hibernating until 2021 or until the pandemic ends.

Catholic Commentary, News\Events
July 29, 2020

Pondering to Open Ourselves to the Sacred

Some time ago, I was a team member at a healing retreat for women in recovery. The women all had some kind of addiction to drugs or alcohol, and they all admitted that they did some shameful things in order to feed it.

Through the course of the retreat, the women were given the opportunity to share their entire story in an environment that was confidential, nonjudgmental and loving. As they shared, I could not help but think they were modern-day Mary Magdalenes waiting for Christ to love them into being. Then I realized that Christ had no hands but mine; no voice but mine; no words but mine.

Catholic Commentary, News\Events
July 21, 2020

Diversity in Community

Several years ago, I was doing some research on an article I was writing for an education blog. I came across a musician named Eric Whitacre. He is a classical composer and a conductor who had an epiphany of “something greater” when he first heard a choir, singing in parts, come together as one. In response to that experience, he created a virtual choir. He asked all his social media followers to record themselves singing in parts to a score he wrote. He then asked them to upload their videos to his website. He combined their videos and created a virtual choir, the video of which is at https://youtu.be/2NENlXsW4pM.

When I first came across his work, I was profoundly touched. The sound he created was almost other worldly. Each member of this choir was a diverse, isolated individual. Some of them had ear buds in their ears, further separating themselves from their world. They were a mere dot someplace in the world. Eric Whitacre took their voices and blended each of them into an amazing sound of unity. Many of the singers noted that they experienced a sense of “community” even though they were never in the same room or had met in the “face-to-face” world.

Catholic Commentary, News\Events
July 15, 2020

Faith, Routine and Balance

This morning as I ventured to work, instead of walking down the hallway in the convent and beginning work remotely, I got into my car and drove to the Diocesan Center. Dauphin County turned “green” as I write this, which means we can begin to slowly return to our offices and work as normally as possible.

As I sit here in my office with a mask tied around my face, I am pondering the lessons learned in the past few months. One of the things that many of us, pre-pandemic, struggled with was a sense of balance. By this I mean the time spent between work and home, between your spouse and children, between exercising and being a couch potato, between binging on Netflix/YouTube or working on “the list of things that never gets done.”

Catholic Commentary, News\Events
July 8, 2020

Find Healing That Jesus Promises

Good books teach us, help us, change us and stay with us.

God’s Mercy Awaits You: Find Healing after Abortion – written by Good Shepherd Sister Patricia Marie Barnette – is a book that offers all the above and gives readers a profound sense of hope. Published by Pauline Books and Media (www.pauline.org), a publishing arm of the Daughters of St. Paul, the book was released just as the worldwide pandemic was seizing the country. Sister Patricia melds more than 30 years of counseling experience into this 170-page book that teaches exactly what the title says: Mercy.

Book Reviews, Catholic Commentary, News\Events
July 8, 2020

Giving From Our Wounds

As I sit here looking at the blinking cursor, continuing my series on racism, my thoughts seem like they are just whirling around and around. As I silently pray to the Holy Spirit for wisdom and words, I am reminded of the morning antiphon that the Church in the Liturgy of the Hours prayed on the Feast of the Sacred Heart, June 19: “Come, let us worship Jesus, whose heart was wounded for love of us.”

Jesus’s heart was wounded for love of us. He was pierced so that we could see as well as understand what true love actually was. This is the antithesis of what racism, prejudice and discrimination is all about.

Catholic Commentary, News\Events
July 2, 2020

Hope to Die: The Christian Meaning of Death and the Resurrection of the Body, by Dr. Scott Hahn

As much as I want to resist doing it, it is tough to write a review without addressing the elephant in the room. The coronavirus and the resulting restrictions that are being imposed have affected us all. It has even spilled over into the books I am currently reading. Though many were not written intentionally for this period we are facing, they sure fit nicely into the story line. Such it is with the book I am reviewing this month, Hope to Die: The Christian Meaning of Death and the Resurrection of the Body by Dr. Scott Hahn.

Death is never an easy topic for us to face. Unfortunately, we will face it many times. Either it will be a result of loved ones passing away or will be us staring the inevitable down. We will all face death. The key is to remember after this life we are in for one heck of a family reunion. We cannot forget this, and Scott does a masterful job turning our attention to the glories of heaven which we all hope to one day enjoy.

Book Reviews, Catholic Commentary, News\Events
July 1, 2020

The Ugly Face of Hatred

A very long time ago, on a very hot and sunny day in the middle of summer, I found myself traveling in a crowded city. I was visiting a Sister friend of mine and was traveling by train and then by subway. I decided to wear my white habit because it kept me a lot cooler than my black one. I was told by a fellow passenger as I checked connections, “Do not be alarmed that when the subway reaches 196th Street, the change within the clientele of passengers will be noticeable. Shrugging, I thought, “Yeah whatever. I have traveled in the Bronx; no different there.”

Sure enough, when the train came to that stop, many of the passengers who looked like me left the subway. I thought, “Would I have even noticed that if it wasn’t pointed out to me?” Once again, I shrugged it off.

Catholic Commentary, News\Events
June 24, 2020

The Sin of Racism

In just a few months, our entire world has completely changed right before our very eyes. The global pandemic has shown us that we are all connected in some amazing way. It has isolated us in a way that nothing else in modern times has done before. Yet, as we fought against the isolation, we called out, “You are not alone!” In the shutdown, the entire globe became silent as we realized the fragility and temporariness of life.

From the silence of the pandemic, we heard one voice cry out, “I can’t breathe!” With the death of George Floyd, the world screamed back, “Enough!” It was as if the silence of the stay-at-home order made this cry of discrimination into a deafening roar. Something in all of us was awakened. I have spent the last few weeks praying and reflecting on the images of hatred, anger and civil unrest that have pierced the silence of my heart.

Catholic Commentary, News\Events