St. Ignatius of Loyola – July 31

In the journey of life, there are experiences that God gives us that help us to realign our lives more intimately to Him. Variations of this can happen every day. These experiences are the things of conversion. The conversion experience helps us to be more convicted of the reality that we are created by God and we are meant for Him. There are certain experiences in the Christian life that are meant to be capstones…

St. Philip Neri – May 26

At one point during my time in the seminary I returned to my room from class to find the entrance to my room “turned upside down.” The various pictures that were pasted to my door had been flipped over, and even the floor mat had been stuck to the ceiling. Such antics are not uncommon in seminary communities, and when done in good spirits they contribute to the building up of fraternity among seminarians and,…

Homily for the Chair of St. Peter

Do you have a problem with authority? It seems that many people do. It may not be outright rebellion, but at least skepticism. Do those in charge really have my best interests in mind? So much of what following a leader depends on is trusting that what is prescribed is really good for us. With so many examples of bad leadership, whether political, social, or religious, it is no wonder that many people, especially those…

Fra Angelico

FRA ANGELICO February 18 Each saint has a unique way of imitating Jesus. Fra Angelico’s way was as an artist. I like to think that as Jesus mixed dirt with spit and made mud to apply to the blind man’s eyes, so Fra Angelico mixed pigment with egg and applied it to canvas, opening eyes to the beauty of the Incarnation. Art springs forth from the inner experience of the artist. When one looks at…

St. John Neumann

ST. JOHN NEUMANN January 5 “Too many priests…” How we would like to hear those words today. We regularly hear the opposite. But for Saint John Neumann, that was the response he received again and again as he petitioned various bishops in Europe to be accepted as a candidate for ordination. Feeling strongly the call to the priesthood, and blessed to speak eight languages, he wrote to other bishops in Europe, all of whom already…

St. Ambrose

ST. AMBROSE December 7 What makes a priest fruitful? Some may say, “Great preaching” or “advanced degrees” or “hard work.” Even among priests, the answer varies from generation to generation. While some of this variation is healthy and good, often what is identified and praised as fruitful ministry revolves around unique gifts or certain charisms particular to an individual. And while each priest has his own gifts and talents that may contribute to his fruitfulness,…

St. Paul of the Cross

ST. PAUL OF THE CROSS October 20 “I have been crucified with Christ.” (Gal 2:19) Suffering, whether it is physical, mental, emotional or spiritual, seems to be an inevitable part of life. Some flee from suffering seeking relief and escape. Others, disillusioned by pain, become confused about the meaning of life and some, troubled by evil in the world, question the existence of God.1 Whether someone is fighting against injustice, enduring the consequences of one’s…

St. Peter Claver

ST. PETER CLAVER September 9 Saint Peter Claver dedicated 40 years of his life to ministering to the African slaves that were being sold in the Kingdom of New Granada (present day Colombia). When he made his final profession as a member of the Society of Jesus in 1622, by which time he had been ministering to the slaves for 12 years, he declared himself, “slave of the Africans forever.” He made himself all things…

St. John Vianney

ST. JOHN MARIE BAPTISTE VIANNEY May 8, 1786 – August 4, 1859 Of the many responsibilities and duties that clergy have in the modern world, it is easy to become distracted from our priestly identity. We need stark reminders of what the essence of the priesthood is in order to call ourselves out and get back to basics. In the life of St. John Vianney, patron saint for all priests, we have such a reminder…

St. James the Greater

I write this “saint reflection” on the Apostle St. James the Greater knowing full well I am not an expert or scholar on his life. But I have had a personal encounter with this Apostle in my own priestly life. No, I have not had a “vision” of him, sad to say, or have been brought up into the seventh heaven as his brother John had when he was receiving the mystical revelation called the…

St. Josemaría Escrivá – June 26

St. Josemaría Escrivá was born in Barbastro, Spain, on January 9, 1902. He died on June 26, 1975. He was canonized by Pope St. John Paul II on October 6, 2002. His personal holiness was so well known that many people requested his canonization shortly after his death. He is best known for being the founder of a movement for the laity, called Opus Dei. He is also known for writing a number of books…

St. Louis de Montfort – April 28

All of the faithful are baptized into a share in Christ’s threefold office of priest, prophet, and king. The priest, in a unique way, shares in each of these offices, sanctifying, teaching, and governing the People of God. Certain of these offices shine forth more in one priest than in another. Such was the case with Saint Louis de Montfort. He was a preacher/teacher par excellence. Born in France in 1673, he was intensely prayerful…

St. John Ogilvie – March 11

St. John Ogilvie was born in Scotland to parents of nobility during the era of the Protestant Revolt.  John was converted from Calvinism to Catholicism at the age of seventeen.  He traveled throughout Europe to receive his education.  He later joined the Society of Jesus and was ordained a priest in 1610.  His great desire was to return to his homeland of Scotland to share the riches of the Catholic faith.  He was arrested and…

St. Francis de Sales – January 24

St. Francis de Sales[1] was born on August 21, 1567, to an ancient and noble family in the Duchy of Savoy. He received a very thorough education during childhood and, in his youth, studied theology in Paris, and then, both canon and civil law at the University of Padua. Francis experienced a severe trial during his late teens, which, in turn, would give birth to a profound lesson that would permeate his heart and overflow…

St. John of the Cross – December 14

  I hope this saint reflection encompasses not only the biographical information for St. John of the Cross, but also a brief summary of his spirituality. This great saint and Doctor of the Church, named Juan de Yepes Y Alvarez was born on an unknown day in an unknown month, probably in the year of Our Lord 1542, in the small Spanish town of Fontiveros. The town’s population was about 5000 and his father, Gonzalo…

LOST and Found in Heaven

“Brothers and sisters: You are no longer strangers and sojourners, but you are fellow citizens with the holy ones and members of the household of God…” – St. Paul, Ephesians 2:19 I’m sometimes struck by a strange recurring thought when boarding an airplane…what if this trip turns into an episode of LOST? ABC’s smash hit series LOST followed a motley bunch of airline passengers from all walks of life, who found themselves stranded on a…

Our Ten Favorite Quotes from Saint Teresa of Avila

Saint Teresa of Avila was a 16th century Spanish mystic and Doctor of the Church. Her writings on mental prayer constitute an important contribution to the Church’s body of teaching on mystical theology. She’s also a favorite patron of the Theology of the Body Institute! In honor of her October 15th feast day, here are ten of our favorite quotes from this wise, witty, and deeply prayerful saint: 1. “Let nothing disturb you. Let nothing…

Reflection on the Life of Saint John Paul II

  How does one possibly “reflect” on the life and pontificate of Pope Saint John Paul II in just a few pages? I dare say it is easy to give a list of his earthly “achievements” as Pope, as I will do later in the reflection,­ but one can never truly know fully the depth of a human person, because we are limited, finite creatures and only the Infinite, Omnipotent Creator can truly see into…

Saint Reflection St. Vincent de Paul: “Great Apostle of Charity” (Memorial Sept. 27)

  While on retreat recently, I noticed a number of bumble bees feeding upon some small, pink and white begonias. Yes, they were “busy as bees,” but there was no sense of senseless activity; rather, it was orderly and quite calming. The bees were simply being what they were created to be. I was reminded of the Gospel of Matthew in which Jesus asks his followers: Why are you anxious? The lilies of the field…

“I serve, because I love Jesus.”

When an email from the Missionaries of Charity in San Francisco came into TOBI, requesting a speaker to teach a TOB I: Head & Heart Immersion Course to their novices and professed Sisters, I felt a desire spark in my heart. It was not only a desire to share TOB with them, but it was also a desire to experience their ministry to the poor. Like many of us, I have admired their charism of…

Saint Reflection: Bernard of Clairvaux (Memorial Aug 20)

  A Knight for Christ, A Divine Romance “As he now stood before his two oldest boys, holding a large crucifix in his hand and pointing to the wound in Christ’s side, he was manifesting more emotion than they had ever seen him show in all their years, even though Guy was eighteen and Gerard just sixteen. ” ‘My boy,’ said the father, ‘look at this wound often and let it speak to you. Let…

The Way of Saint James the Greater, Faithful Apostle of Jesus Christ

  I write this “saint reflection” on the Apostle St. James the Greater knowing full well I am not an expert or scholar on his life. But, I have had a personal encounter with this Apostle in my own priestly life. No, I have not had a “vision” of him, sad to say, nor have I been brought up into the seventh heaven as his brother John was, when he was receiving the mystical revelation…

Part 1/3: Which Vocation is “More Perfect”?

This article is the first of a trilogy on the theme of vocation. Click here for the second article, discussing whether an objectively superior vocation exists. A chapel bell tolls before dawn, sending a summons to the sleeper to arise. Jesus is calling. “All for you my beloved,” the sleeper whispers, “this day, each step, every breath, through You, with You, in You.” As morning breaks over the world, the chalice is lifted high from the altar in the cloister. And God’s presence is felt…