Category Archives: Spiritual Life

Spiritual Life

This category, of course, can cover many topics. We try to limit it in this section to articles that deal with the inner life of the soul elevated by grace or wounded by sin: virtue and vice, heroic Catholic men and women as seen under the light of the particular virtue they exemplified, the cardinal virtues, spiritual formation, growth, and purgation, and the theological virtues of faith, hope, and charity.

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Saint Thomas’ Five Remedies Against Sadness

Carlo de Marchi, Opus Dei: On certain days we have all been sad, days when we have been unable to overcome an inner torpor or depression that weighs down on us and makes it difficult to interact with others. Is there a trick for overcoming sorrow and recovering our smile? Saint Thomas Aquinas suggests five remedies against sadness that have proven surprisingly effective (Summa Theologiae, … More →

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Anger Issues

Anger is a vice that seems to be on the increase, with the country splitting at the seams of religion, class, race, party, and ideology. Pat Buchanan refers to this as the “balkanization” of America. At the opposite moral extreme is the vice of a certain pacifist or soft person, who would rule out all anger as wrong. In order to situate anger in man, … More →


Posted in «Ad Rem» A Weekly Email Message from the Prior, Catholic Living, Morals, Spiritual Life | 7 Comments
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My Morning Cup Of Joe — Part III

The previous two articles in this series highlighted my morning woes, my inability to rise and shine as quickly as I should, and my difficulty in adorning my apparel. There is a reason for this: I am simply getting older. But in reality, from the moment we are born, we are getting older, so I think it would help to delineate the starting points in … More →


Posted in Articles, Humor, Spiritual Life, Uncategorized | 2 Comments
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Are the Works of Mercy a Matter of Justice?

Continuing the general subject of the last Ad Rem, I would like to reply to this second question about Mercy. We are, after all, in the “Year of Mercy,” and some things should be gotten straight about this gravely misunderstood virtue. The answer to the title question is yes. Let me begin my explanation by saying that I do not suggest changing the name from … More →


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Faith and Miracles

What is faith? The Baltimore Catechism gives a very simple definition of faith as the first of the three theological virtues: “Faith is a Divine virtue by which we firmly believe the truths which God has revealed on the authority of His revelation in the scriptures and the Church teaching.” Holy scripture and tradition are the two pillars that the Church uses to teach the … More →


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Are the Works of Mercy Ever Obligatory?

Two questions about “mercy” were recently asked of me. Since we are soon to embark on the “Year of Mercy” proclaimed by Pope Francis, and since there is much confusion about the subject in general, I thought it worthy of our attention to consider these questions in an Ad Rem. Are any of the spiritual or corporal works of mercy obligatory Is there any sense … More →


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Act and Potency in the Christian Life

In the Tuesday night Philosophy group that has been meeting since this past summer, we are now more than halfway through the course on Cosmology. We recently covered the subject of act and potency — a couple of simple words that conceal an enormity of wisdom to help us contemplate truth and navigate around manifold errors old and new. If Heraclitus and Parmenides had understood … More →


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Why Is Total Consecration the Remedy to Our Ills?

The following is an excerpt from my recent conference talk. I am probably not alone — I hope I am not — in considering much of devotional literature a bit tiresome when it presents one or another special devotion as if it were the end-all and be-all of the Christian life, as if those who do not practice it are somehow cursed, or as if it … More →


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Scandal! Heresy! And Grace!

When considering the multiple scandals and heresies besetting the Church in our time, three Biblical verses come immediately to mind: “And whosoever shall scandalize one of these little ones that believe in me; it were better for him that a millstone were hanged around his neck, and he were cast into the sea” (Mark 9:41). “Woe to the world because of scandals. For it must … More →


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The Holy Rosary and Spiritual Childhood

Happy feast day Blessed Mother of the Rosary! It was called in England, Our Lady’s Psalter and also Our Lady’s Beads. The early Christians repeated simple prayers, Paters and Aves, by moving their thumb along a beaded string. Bede, in Old English, means a “petition.” That is why the famous writer of the Ecclesiastical History of the English People chose the religious name, Bede, as a … More →


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Marian Consecration: A Little History

To whet the appetites of our readers for our conference theme, I present here a small chunk of my own talk, which is the “title cut” of the conference, since it has the same name: “Total Consecration to Mary: The Remedy for our Ills.” This little section is a micro-history of Total Consecration to Mary. What is total consecration? I will not take the time … More →


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The Faith of Mary

The other day I was speaking to a priest about the challenges of the apostolate today. In the bleak modern landscape, where so much militates against revealed religion (and even common sense), “You have to have the faith of Abraham and the patience of Job,” I said. It is a commonplace to use these two holy men of the Old Testament as models of these virtues. Scripture … More →


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Perseverance: a Graduation Speech

The following is a brief introductory speech I gave at IHM School’s graduation this past Sunday. Readers should know that our school in rural southern New Hampshire is very small. We had one graduate this year — a fine young man who is very intelligent. Not that I would actually do this, but I surmise that if I invited Marc to the microphone to recite Brother Francis’ … More →


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To the Men

On Saturday, April 25, I was one of three speakers at the Napa Valley Catholic Men’s Conference. My two talks were entitled “Religious Liberty vs. Religious Right” and “Montfortian Masculinity” (those links will take you to our store site, where the talks are now available). The second of these was an amplification of an Ad Rem that I wrote on the subject. What follows is … More →


Posted in «Ad Rem» A Weekly Email Message from the Prior, Catholic Living, Spiritual Life, Vocations and States in Life | 6 Comments
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The Drama of Holy Week

Contrary to custom, I’m reposting/resending this piece I wrote for Holy Week four years ago. A blessed Holy Week, Triduum, and Easter to all our readers! If the Church’s liturgical calendar were a temple of time consecrated to God, what we are fast approaching is that temple’s Holy of Holies. The Church sanctifies every week of the year, but only one, by virtue of excellence, does she … More →

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