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Catechetical Issues & Topics

Actual Grace and Sanctifying Grace

I was recently asked to explain the difference between actual grace and sanctifying grace, so I went in search of some language that would help explain these realities in a meaningful way. I have to tell you, most of what I found was not at all helpful. We fall into the habit of using such “churchy” words that have little or no connection with daily living. In fact, most sources I looked at simply regurgitated […]

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Mary and the Saints

Celebrating St. Blaise—Getting Beyond Superstition

I remember as a kid being thrilled with the Feast of St. Blaise, because it meant that I wouldn’t get any more sore throats during the remaining weeks of the cruel Chicago winter. So much of my piety back then was bordering (if not totally over the edge!) on superstition. Why? I was never really taught otherwise. I was taught that the blessing of St. Blaise would keep me not only from getting a sore […]

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Getting Spiritually Fit this New Year!

I commented a few days ago about the fact that many of us commit to getting physically fit in the New Year and, while there is certainly nothing wrong with that, perhaps it would be even more important to get spiritually fit! My new book, 7 Keys to Spiritual Wellness will help you to do just that. To be spiritual is to recognize that, in life, there is more than meets the eye. Spiritual wellness enables […]

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Singing Grace Before Meals

At the Being, Knowing, and Doing workshop I did in Newark, NJ, last week, we prepared to eat lunch. We were invited to pick up a little prayer card on our tables and to sing the following, using the melody of the Old One Hundreth (Praise God from Whom All Blessings Flow). I love it! Perfect for Thanksgiving! Be present at our table, Lord Be here and everywhere adored. Thy creatures bless and grant that […]

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Ad Multos Annos, Fr. George Lane!

Today, we celebrated Fr. George Lane, SJ, who is now beginning his new role as President Emeritus of Loyola Press.  Fr.George has been at Loyola Press since 1969 and has served as President since 1989. I had the honor of offering a few words at today’s celebration and here’s what I said, making reference to Fr. George’s wonderful practice of stopping by EVERY employee’s office/cubicle each and every day: Fr. George, many of us today […]

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Joys and Frustrations

Not Sure What I Did Wrong

One of the Two-Minute Drills that I organized for my class on Monday evening involved a demonstration using water, food coloring, and bleach. You fill a clear glass with water (about half full), add a drop or two of food color to represent sin, stir, and then add bleach to make the color disappear, representing the effect of God’s grace. Many catechists and Sunday school teachers use this demonstration to show how grace dispels sin. […]