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...

Merton Now, As Always

Wednesday, January 15, of this week would have been the 99th birthday of Thomas Merton. I’ve been immersed in Merton lately, mostly because Franciscan Media is publishing several books and audiobooks this coming Fall in preparation for the centennial of his birth in 2015. I couldn’t be in a...

Go Green—Even in Winter

For most in this country, it’s too cold to be outside, but that hasn’t stopped us from piling in our cars and crowding streets and interstates. It’s no secret that we Americans have a dependency on our cars. In fact, the Sierra Club, one of the nation’s oldest environmental organizations, reports...

Wallowing as Spiritual Practice

If you’ve read any of my past blog posts, you may remember that I tend see a lot of God on the Animal Planet. First I wrote about a leopard, and then a zebra, and now it’s time to write about an orphaned white rhino calf called Shongi. Shongi’s was killed by poachers, and its calf—all 300 pounds...

‘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’...

Mary, Mother of God

As we celebrate the beginning of the new year, we’re still in the midst of the Christmas season. The hustle and bustle of shopping and parties is coming to an end. We wake up on New Year’s Day wanting some time to rest, to relax, to pull away from the madness for a bit. Today’s feast reminds us...

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