The Epiphany Cake on the Twelfth Day of Christmas

John Paul Sonnen

January 6, 2022

“The kings of Tharsis and of the islands shall offer presents, alleluia. The kings of Arabia and of Saba shall bring gifts, alleluia.” —Roman Ritual, Blessings at Meals on Epiphany and Octave (cf. Psalm 71 (72): 10). On January 6, the annual feast of the Epiphany of Our Lord is celebrated as an extension of…

Passing on the Tradition of the Christmas Proclamation

John Paul Sonnen

January 3, 2022

Christmas has always been celebrated with extraordinary solemnity, brining to mind the hour when the Holy Mother gave birth to Christ, an event that has been recalled through the centuries with the most fervent prayers and vigil watchings.  Over the centuries the story of Christmas has been recorded in certain select extra-biblical works that are…

The Special Privilege of Three Masses on Christmas

John Paul Sonnen

December 30, 2021

“The custom of saying three Masses on this day is also very ancient, and recalls to our minds the threefold birth of the Second Person of the Blessed Trinity – His eternal birth from the Father before all ages, His temporal birth in Bethlehem, and His spiritual birth in the souls of men.” –The Catholic…

The Poignant Grief of the Holy Innocents

John Paul Sonnen

December 28, 2021

“Out of the mouths of babes and sucklings, O God, thou perfected praise because of thine enemies.  O Lord, our Lord, how excellent is thy name in all the earth!” -Roman Missal, Introit for Dec. 28, Feast of the Holy Innocents In the midst of the joy of Christmas which fills both heaven and earth,…

The Glow from the Midnight Cave: Memento Bethlehem

John Paul Sonnen

December 25, 2021

“And thou, Bethlehem Ephrata [fruitful, honored], art a little one among the thousands of Juda: out of thee shall he come forth unto me that is to be the rule in Israel: and his going forth is from the beginning, from the days of eternity.” -Mich. 5:2 Each year the Christmas story brings to the…

What Think You of Poetry?

John Paul Sonnen

December 7, 2021

“The influence of the classical tradition is even more clearly discernible in the rise of the new Christian poetry.” -Christopher Dawson The Catholic Church has long been the mother of poets no less of saints.  The Church through the centuries has taken great interest in poetry, reflected in her poetic rites and rituals, liturgical edifice,…

Fostering Catholic Culture: Celebrating the Feast of Saint Nicholas

John Paul Sonnen

December 6, 2021

“O God, Who didst adorn blessed Nicholas, Thy bishop, with miracles unnumbered, grant, we beseech Thee, that by his merits and prayers we may be delivered from the fires of hell.” –Roman Missal, Collect for Feast of St. Nicholas One of the most beloved of saints is St. Nicholas of Myra, an early Christian bishop…

Thanksgiving Day Meditation on Gratitude

John Paul Sonnen

November 25, 2021

“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)

John Paul Sonnen

November 22, 2021

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

John Paul Sonnen

November 18, 2021

  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…

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

John Paul Sonnen

November 10, 2021

“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

John Paul Sonnen

November 8, 2021

“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

John Paul Sonnen

November 1, 2021

“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

John Paul Sonnen

October 28, 2021

“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

John Paul Sonnen

October 27, 2021

“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)

John Paul Sonnen

October 25, 2021

“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

John Paul Sonnen

October 19, 2021

“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

John Paul Sonnen

October 18, 2021

“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

John Paul Sonnen

October 13, 2021

“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

John Paul Sonnen

October 11, 2021

“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…