Nazareth: Mary’s ‘Yes’

This month’s feast of the Annunciation will be celebrated very solemnly in Nazareth. On the site of a Judeo-Christian synagogue (third century), a Byzantine basilica (fifth century), and a Crusader church (13th century), the Franciscans built a modest church in 1730. They had acquired the Grotto of the...

Franciscans in the Holy Land

In 1217, St. Francis of Assisi sent friars to the Holy Land, ministering in areas controlled by the Crusaders. They built churches in Nazareth, Bethlehem, and Jerusalem, usually on the remains of earlier Christian shrines. As the Crusaders lost territory, the friar presence decreased until Acre, the last...

‘The Fifth Gospel’

Although the New Testament includes only the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, the land where Jesus lived, died, and rose from the dead has sometimes been called “the fifth Gospel.” God uniquely entered human history in a definite place and at a specific time. Within 40 years after Jesus’...

Accepting God’s Word

In December, we celebrate Jesus’ birth, but that was possible only because Mary of Nazareth agreed to cooperate with God’s plan for the human family. Mary’s “May it be done to me according to [God’s] word” (Lk 1:38b) became her life’s connecting thread. Inspired by Mary’s example, Blessed...

The Power of Forgiveness

Perhaps the biggest obstacle to forgiving someone is the nagging feeling that this person is not sufficiently sorry for the pain caused and has not made adequate reparation. We tend to see forgiveness first as a gift to the person who is forgiven—rather than as a self-gift to the person doing the...

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