Christ prepares my heart for Easter

How could I possibly embrace the extraordinary gift of the glory and everlasting freedom of Easter when I was holding tightly to my own troubling sins? I half-heartedly believed that Jesus loved me tenderly and would have suffered and died for me even if I were the only person who ever lived. I also knew that He included everyone, yes every person, in His love and mercy. He welcomed all to come to Him and receive the reassurance of salvation.

This fact is emphasized at Easter more than any other time. At Easter, we celebrate Christ’s triumph over death and all sins. Jesus suffered tremendous agony on the cross so that we could be free from sin. He was beaten and experienced unrelenting torture until He died — all for you and me. We are enabled to welcome Christ’s love, turn from all our sins and receive His mercy. When we accept the gift of the Holy Spirit, we are freed from fear and can live like the apostles did in the Book of Acts. We’ll be aware of our sins more often, so we can confess our wrongdoings and be freed from the bondage of sin and continue to be “the light of Jesus” here on earth.

True freedom entails living according to image of God

Four distinguished American theologians have died since the beginning of Advent: Cardinal Avery  Dulles, SJ, Father Richard John Neuhaus, Msgr. William B. Smith and Father Francis Canavan, SJ. Each of these men enriched both the Church and the country with a noble idea of freedom. That idea has much to do with the events of salvation history we recall at this sacred season.

No Second Thoughts

Some days, life feels gray and predictable: moving in the same direction, making the same turns, waiting at the same lights. Dirty dishes, unfolded laundry, nothing good on TV.

Some days the notion of house swapping seems like just the ticket.

Which is why every day hundreds of people stuff messages in bottles and cast them into the cyber sea, hoping their homes will appeal to others far away because of the hot tub, the gas stove, the nearby golf course, or simply because of the novelty.

There’s something for everyone on house-swapping sites like and — whether you’re trading for a weekend or a lifetime, moving in or out of the city, upsizing or downsizing, seeking sun or snow, pines or plains, East or West.

Finding the good within the bad

Even in the worst of times, human beings have a knack for discovering the gold beneath the coal.

Not long ago a priest from the United Kingdom smiled as he told me how his older parishioners in London remembered World War II as "the lovely war." They didn’t dwell on the death, destruction and deprivation. They instead chose to remember the community spirit, camaraderie and sharing.
They took inspiration from those tragic times.

Similarly, I remember my grandparents telling some pretty beautiful stories about the Great Depression. They had that same theme: neighbors helping neighbors, people refusing to give up and faith in the face of suffering.

The painful events didn’t matter so much anymore. Like the Londoners, they had come to find the best while living through the worst.

Pray and fast to amend social evils

It is hard to believe the radical changes that have occurred in our country during the last 50-60 years. No one could have imagined, much less predicted, the amoral state of the world in which we live.

Who would have dreamed of a secular society with "on demand" abortion, "life partners" and gay marriage, fashion lacking any semblance of modesty, widespread pornography, sex education (sometimes beginning in first grade), rampant sexual diseases, the media promoting recreational sex and "right to death" advocacy?

I grew up in an age when divorce was frowned upon and uncommon. Most families were intact, and the begetting of eight or nine children was not unusual. Cohabitation prior to marriage was never a consideration.

"Advances" in medicine brought us the "pill" and promiscuity and put us on the slippery slope down to the moral abyss of the sexual revolution. People thought they were free to practice sex with abandonment and without commitment, and, supposedly, the female was "liberated."

America needs its daily newspapers

It is an American tradition to start the morning with a cup of coffee and the daily newspaper. What is happening to our country’s way of life?

In many of our major cities newspapers are folding up, and with their demise an American custom is disappearing.

Some argue that because of the Internet future generations will not miss the daily newspaper. Others argue we are in a new age, and as with all new ages, customs move on.

But there is reason to be concerned about the disappearance of the daily newspaper. A newspaper is more than paper, print and stories. It is a community of reporters, journalists and thinkers.

You might call a reporter a researcher too. Journalists are forever looking up facts and figures, conducting spot checks and examining material that pertains to their stories.

As a columnist, I can’t count all the times my editor called me to check the correctness of information in my column. Nor can I count the times we would go back over an issue to clarify it better.

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