A giant among us: G.K. Chesterton

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“Catholic doctrine and discipline may be walls, but they are the walls of a playground.” —G.K. Chesterton

The words above by Gilbert Keith (G.K.) Chesterton say much about Catholicism and about Chesterton himself. Born in London on May 29, 1874, he is one of the real giants of English literature, in both physical size and in literary output. G.K., as he liked to be called, was six-feet, four-inches tall, and weighed almost 300 pounds. He saw life as a playground, and was loved by all who knew him for his approach to life, sense of humor, and readiness to laugh at himself. Read more

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America: God shed His grace on thee

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I recently spoke to a young lady who asked why bishops would deny Holy Communion to politicians who publicly support abortion. I replied that such bishops were following directives from the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. Read more

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Our heavenly connections

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Kacey was a senior in St. Vincent de Paul Catholic High School in Perryville, MO. She belonged to the National Honor Society and academically, ranked near the top of her class. She was active in the Spanish and Drama Clubs at school and in 4-H as well as a team member of the Luke 18 Youth Retreat Movement.

Kacey was also battling Hodgkin’s lymphoma. For two years, like many young people with this kind of cancer, she had her ups and downs, seeming remissions and subsequent setbacks. As her 18th birthday drew near, she said that all she wanted was to watch Harry Potter movies with her classmates. Read more

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What does it mean to turn the other cheek?

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A recent issue of Reader’s Digest recorded a humorous message from an apartment-dweller expressing dismay at noise coming from her upstairs neighbors. She left a note under their door that read: “Hi. Just thought you might like to know that I think your pet elephants have been bowling while you are out. Your downstairs neighbor.”

This came to mind when I was considering a question from a student in our Catholic Home Study Service program. “What did Jesus mean by his comments in the Sermon on the Mount about offering no resistance to evil?” Read more

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No one has greater love than this

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I recently read a book on Christ’s passion and death, The Crucifixion of Jesus: A Forensic Inquiry, by Frederick Zugibe, MD. Dr. Zugibe used his experience as a medical examiner and forensic pathologist to determine the extent of Christ’s passion and the nature of his death. I was discussing the book with a friend, emphasizing the incredible sufferings Jesus endured. My friend’s response was, “Well, other people have suffered a lot more.” Read more

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Lent, ashes, & heaven

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“Is it true that we came from dust and go back to dust when we die?” Tim asked his mother after the Ash Wednesday liturgy. “That’s right,” she replied. “Well, Mommy,” said Tim, “After I said my prayers last night, I looked under the bed and I saw somebody who is either coming or going.”

On Ash Wednesday, the priest uses ashes and makes the sign of the cross on the forehead of each worshiper as he says, “Remember that you are dust, and to dust you will return.” This might sound morbid, but the cross we receive is Christ’s, one who died on Calvary but who did not return to dust. He rose from the grave. While we came from dust and our bodies will return to dust, in Christ we are given the promise of eternal life. Read more

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How can we discover and do God’s will?

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Last month I discussed how God’s will and our free choices shape the world. Pope John Paul II wrote that we need the Holy Spirit’s gift of knowledge to understand the “mysterious interweavings of secondary causes with the First Cause in the turn of events.” We also need the Holy Spirit’s help to discover and do God’s will. When we seek God’s will, we follow a long tradition of great believers. Read more

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What is God’s will?

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In the Lord’s Prayer we say, “Thy will be done.” But what is God’s will? People say things like, “There’s a reason for everything.” “It’s God’s will.” Is it really? Let’s look at some recent events and consider how they fit into God’s will.

On Dec. 13, Colorado student, Karl Pierson, brought a shotgun to Arapahoe High School in Littleton, CO. He opened fire, critically injuring 17-year-old Claire Davis, before killing himself. Claire died on Dec. 21. Atheists say, “How can such things happen if there is a God? If you were God, couldn’t you make a better world than this one?” Read more

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A medal designed by the Mother of God

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The Christmas shopping season has officially arrived. The rich and famous look for designer jewelry and costly accessories. But you don’t have to be rich or famous to wear a unique medal designed by the Mother of God. What’s more, Mary designed the Miraculous Medal especially for you!

In last month’s column, I invited you to make every year a Year of Faith by studying with Catholic Home Study Service, a ministry offering free correspondence courses on the Catholic Faith (www.amm.org/chss). This month I invite you to wear the Miraculous Medal and to learn more about it through the Association of the Miraculous Medal (www.amm.org). Every year you can strengthen your faith by growing closer to Jesus in the company of his Mother. Read more

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Every year a Year of Faith

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On Oct. 11, 2011, Pope Benedict XVI announced a “Year of Faith,” inviting Catholics to turn to Jesus and enter into a deeper relationship with him. A few months later, I began a series of columns on the Bible. I explained my reasons for this in an introductory column:

“We come to know Jesus primarily through the Bible. The Old Testament is the family book of Jesus. Everything in it leads to Jesus. In the Gospels, we meet Jesus. We learn who he is. We listen to his voice. Elsewhere in the New Testament we discover how the first believers came to know Jesus as the Savior who gives meaning, joy, and the hope of eternal happiness. … As St. Jerome said 16 centuries ago, ‘Ignorance of Scripture is ignorance of Christ.’” Read more

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