Thanksgiving Day Meditation on Gratitude

“Is not our life a continuous succession of the mercies and charities of God, and at the same time, an incessant display of ingratitude on our part?” -Dr. Dietrich von Hildebrand In the final section of the TAN classic The Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius of Loyola, the author sets the stage by asking retreatants…

Why Gregorian Chant is Supreme (Part II)

As a new generation of Catholics is rediscovering the patrimony of Gregorian chant and realizing that it belongs to them in a specific way as part of their inheritance, they are flocking to the Latin Mass, with music as a major catalyst.  Many are turning to Vatican Council II for guidance, which not only authorizes…

Preserving Catholic Culture in a Hostile World

By J. P. Sonnen “Tolerance will reach such a level that intelligent people will be banned from thinking so as not to offend the imbeciles.” —Fyodor Dostoyevsky The Christian family finds itself today in a unique and precarious situation of survival. Catholic beliefs and practices are on trial and pushed ever into the private sector,…

The Month of All Souls: 5 Ways Catholics Honor Their Dead

“All nations honor their dead. Whether enlightened by faith or groping in error, all strive to keep alive the memory of those whom death has taken away.”  -Fr. John Sullivan, Catholic theologian Love of the departed and a desire to perpetuate their memory is found in every land and culture, both pagan and civilized.  Along the…

The Quest for Mary the Historical Mother of Jesus

“Mary’s greatness consists in the fact that she wants to magnify God, not herself.” -Benedict XVI Not much is known about the life of Mary, the woman chosen to be the Mother of Christ.  Nevertheless, she is the most famous of women in history, guardedly revealed to us by the inspired books.  Yet she is…

The Appeal of Reading the Saints to Children

“Like St. Augustine before her, our Martina, when she was still quite little, said once on All Saints’ Day, ‘As I think of it, mother, if all those people could do it, why not we?’” -Maria von Trapp Saint Thomas Aquinas was once asked what one did to become a saint. He responded, “Will it.”…

Why Beauty Matters

“The only really effective apologia for Christianity comes down to two arguments, namely, the saints the Church has produced and the art which has grown in her womb.” —Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger Catholics have long found solace in the contemplation of beauty. In fact, it could be said we mortals are dependent on beauty for life….

The Sublime Image of Our Lady in Art

“Hail, full of grace, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women.” -Archangel Gabriel (Luke 1:28) The thought and history of the Blessed Mother in art is a magnificent subject that has enraptured Christians for over twenty centuries. Art is inseparable from Mary and reflects the high place she holds in global world…

Why Gregorian Chant is Supreme (Part I of II)

“How I wept in hearing Thy hymns and canticles, touched to the quick by the voices of Thy well-beloved Church!  The voices flowed into my ears and Thy truth distilled into my heart, whence the affections of my devotion overflowed, and tears ran down, and happy was I therein.”  -St. Augustine (Confessions, IX) Sacred liturgy…

Spiritual Heroes and the Threat of Sadness

“Don’t allow sadness to dwell in your soul, for sadness prevents the Holy Spirit from acting freely.” —Padre Pio In the present days of corruption in church and government, implosion of family life, progressive demoralization of schools and academic institutions, we honor spiritual heroes who live amidst us as mentors and exemplars. These are the…

Mary as the Special Patroness of the United States

“Nothing is more distinctly Catholic than devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary, and it is largely because of this devotion that Catholics remain deeply convinced of the divinity of Christ, and vividly conscious of His humanity.” —Msgr. J. D. Conway Students of Church history know well the devotion expressed to Our Lady from the beginning…

Matrimony as a Sacred Contract and Sacrament

“Love must be real, it must cost, it must hurt, it must empty us of self.” —Mother Theresa of Calcutta From the very beginning of the human race, Matrimony has been a natural contract between husband and wife.  For Catholics, it is also something more. A valid marriage is one of the seven sacraments, and…

The Fair Beginning of a Time: Brave Knights

“Since it is so likely that children will meet cruel enemies, let them at least have heard of brave knights and heroic courage. Otherwise you are making their destiny not brighter but darker.” —C. S. Lewis Let us go back to the days of chivalry, of brave knights and their lady loves, of bold adventure…

Tips to Cultivate the Interior Life in the Family

Nearly a century ago, English writer G. K. Chesterton remarked that the “coming peril” of civilization was “standardization by a low standard.” Today, we can see this pervasive influence, even in the prayer lives of many Catholic families. Beleaguered in a storm of secular influences, many Catholics choose not to pray together as a family. …

The Catholic Response to Moral and Religious Deterioration

“All human nature vigorously resists grace because grace changes us and the change is painful.” —Flannery O’Connor The Christian is called to heroism wherever and whenever he lives, at least what we would call heroism today. Its real name is simply Christian duty.  This duty calls for an active response to grace, a transformation of…

Parents as Spiritual Guides

“The family is the foundation unit of the human race.  God Himself solemnized and witnessed the first marriage and ordained that through marriage the race should increase and multiply.  The continuance of marriage and the family throughout time was therefore the plan of God. Christ, moreover, when on earth, concerned Himself with the nature of…

The Last of the Martyrs of the Coliseum

“The blood of martyrs is the seed of Christians.” —Tertullian There is an old story told in Rome of a fifth-century monk named Telemachus, whose name has been written in the annals of Roman history. On a memorable day in the year 404, it is recorded he entered the Coliseum in Rome, the largest ancient…

On Discerning the Treasury of Sacred Music

“Cantare amantis est (singing belongs to one who loves).” —St. Augustine It is a matter of fact that in the vast majority of Catholic parishes the liturgical music is abysmal. This is a decades-old dilemma that is still menacing the Church across the globe, the aftermath of the 1960s modernist purge that announced itself as…

Parents as Primary Teachers

“In the work of education, the family forms man in the fullness of his personal dignity according to all his dimensions, including the social dimension. The family, in fact, constitutes ‘a community of love and solidarity, which is uniquely suited to teach and transmit cultural, ethical, social, spiritual and religious values, essential for the development…

TAN Academy as the Living Order of Creation

“The meaning of human life is to serve God in this life and to enjoy Him forever in the next.” —Dr. Alice von Hildebrand In an age of secularism, relativism, and nihilism, it is more important than ever for Catholic youth to be preserved in their innocence and prepared for adulthood while being brought up…