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by Geraldine Ann Marshall (author of Spider’s Gift: A Christmas Story)Creator of all, thank you for everyday miracles: for spider webs shining with rainbows, for golden honey on warm biscuits, and for cricket symphonies. And thank you for the greatest miracle of all: the birth, life, death, and resurrection of your Son, Jesus. Help us to know your miracles in our lives and to share our gifts with everyone we meet. (Spider’s Gift: A Christmas Story)In Advent, we are waiting: waiting f...

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So Thanksgiving is almost upon us, a time to express gratitude to God in the company of family and friends. But in a time of deep divisions between people, holidays that bring us together can also tear us apart. Here are three tips for surviving and thriving this Thanksgiving: Take the high road. You will never, ever regret it. Even when someone seems to be baiting you, be graceful, change the subject, acknowledge that they have a right to their opinion. Avoid alcohol. Drinking only intensifies ...

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With so much tragedy and anxiety in the world, it’s more important than ever to remember that God is with us through everything. We’re not alone. But sometimes the same routine prayers don’t seem to make a difference. Perhaps this is a good time for you to try a different form of prayer, for a different season of life. Vocal prayer is what we’re all most used to. We say words to God, either from an established prayer (Our Father, Hail Mary, etc.) or simply speaking to God...

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Memento mori (literally, “remember that you have to die”) is an ancient practice of reflection on mortality, the reminder that this life is not forever. French painter Philippe de Champaigne illustrated it in his painting Still Life with a Skull, showing the three essentials of existence: a tulip (life), a skull (death), and an hourglass (time). The practice isn’t meant to be depressing, but rather to remind us of where our real life lies. Remember that every day on e...

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As we celebrate the Feast of the Divine Master this weekend, and as Advent approaches, it’s a good time to ask ourselves what we’re doing to live Christ every day in our lives. Here are three suggestions: Worshipping: Take an hour out of your schedule to spend with Jesus in Eucharistic Adoration. You can pray, read, listen to uplifting music, or just stay quietly with him. Reading: The Gospels are the story of Jesus’ life, and the Epistles are how St. Paul teaches us to live th...

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Let’s face it: sometimes you just don’t feel like praying. Maybe you don’t believe that your prayers are being answered. Maybe you sometimes don’t know what to say. Maybe you’re just too tired to go through the motions.Here are three ways to get your prayer life back on track: Use short prayers. God really just wants you to talk to him. Maybe you’re putting it off because you don’t have a long time, or maybe you feel you’re not eloquent enough...

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Washington Irving writes of the “sacredness” in tears, messengers, he says, of grief. There’s been a lot of grief in all of our lives recently, as natural disasters and human folly seem to be multiplying around us; and we each have our own private pain and losses. How do we deal with all those tears? Know you’re not alone. One of the names of Jesus is “Emmanual,” or “God with us.” God is with you in your grief: God is also present through his peopl...

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September came around quickly this year, didn’t it? It feels like the summer was stretching out in front of us, long and lazy and beautiful and then—we’re already buying lunch boxes and notebooks and squeezing in that last run to the pool. And somehow it’s really easy to lose our connection to God when we are, like Martha, busy with so many things. How about finding some ways to keep that connection alive? Start your day right. However, you start your day influences ...

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A new school year offers a fresh start, and many students embrace that opportunity. But, for overachievers, early positive energy may soon give way to feelings of stress. The need to succeed can consume and overwhelm these kids.Some pressure comes from parents and teachers, but overachievers often expect too much of themselves. They feel they must do everything well, and many suffer a crushing fear of failure. When they do succeed, any feelings of satisfaction are short-lived because they're...

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Last week I was on vacation in Montréal, one of my favorite cities, where I walked a lot, slept a lot, and generally rested up. But what I really appreciated were my visits to Montréal’s many churches, and just staying as long as I wanted to in their silence and stillness. Maybe you’ve been on vacation this summer as well. As we all come back to regular life, here are three ways I thought about while I was away to discover everyday grace refreshing our lives in a new wa...