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The Soulful Catholic Blog

by Joyce Coronel, caffeine junkie and mom of five

Christmas means joy — the real kind that satisfies

Christmas means joy — the real kind that satisfies

The tree, the lights, the presents, the festive mood that permeates our community — all these things can be the cause of much happiness and many smiles.
But they are not the source of our joy.
Think about it: The whole world seems caught up in celebration, but what exactly is being celebrated?

Welcome to our Church this Christmas and always

Welcome to our Church this Christmas and always

Our waiting and yearning are almost at an end. Christmas, that glorious season when we celebrate the moment God stepped into time and took on flesh to save us, is nearly here.
At most parishes, that means packed churches on Christmas Eve and the usual grumbling about “Christmas and Easter Catholics” hogging all the good seats.
Resentment certainly has a way of stealing joy, doesn’t it?

It’s almost Election Day: Gentle dialogue in an era of heated debates, fiery conversations

It’s almost Election Day: Gentle dialogue in an era of heated debates, fiery conversations

“Just a few more days and it will all be over,” The Soulful Catholic told herself earlier this week. No, not life in general — the election! And heaven knows rational adults will heave a sigh of relief when the 24/7 political commercials and stacks of campaign materials clogging mailboxes have come to a halt.

It’s not that debate isn’t welcome or important; it’s that politics has become blood sport these days.
Now would be an excellent time for us to take a collective deep breath and evaluate how we listen and how we speak to those with whom we disagree.

From gangster to photographer: One man’s stint in solitary confinement leads to fresh beauty, art

From gangster to photographer: One man’s stint in solitary confinement leads to fresh beauty, art

Scientists tell us there’s an epidemic of loneliness in our country and its consequences are severe on our mental and physical health. We’re made for God and community, and yet, we often find ourselves alone.
A phone call to a friend, a quick visit to a neighbor, chatting with a coworker — there are lots of ways to reach out and break the isolation. For many people, however, that’s not an option. Our minds naturally turn to the elderly and home-bound, but the current loneliness epidemic goes beyond them to include the young and the middle-aged, too.

America, it’s time to ask ourselves why

America, it’s time to ask ourselves why

Why?
That’s the question we should be asking ourselves right now. Why? Why do we have young men walking into schools and shooting innocent children and their teachers?
The day after Salvador Ramos broke the heart of every resident in a sleepy small town in Texas, the day after Americans and people around the world were shaken by the evil that took the lives of 19 innocent children and two teachers, political opportunists began their tirades and temper tantrums.

Protests, vandalism and threats won’t silence Catholic Church’s longstanding defense of unborn babies

Protests, vandalism and threats won’t silence Catholic Church’s longstanding defense of unborn babies

“We have received threats to bomb the church, burn it down, hateful and vile messages,” the pastor of the parish said. “We are on high alert to make sure that the church and our people are protected.”

No, Fr. Brian Graebe wasn’t referring to a house of God in Nigeria or India or Egypt where attacks on Christians worshipping are commonplace enough that they hardly raise an eyebrow in the U.S. (We’re apparently too busy with more pressing matters.)

Another Mother’s Day, and we’re together through the miracle of the Eucharist once again

Another Mother’s Day, and we’re together through the miracle of the Eucharist once again

The Soulful Catholic has been silent for a while now. There’s a reason for that and some of it is because of joy. The deep kind. The kind that swells your heart and fills your brain and carries you over the days and nights.
Our son, an officer in the U.S. Marine Corps, is serving at Okinawa and was finally home for a brief visit after two and a half years.
We did at least a month worth of living during those halcyon 10 days of leave. Hiking, bowling, poker, barbecues, belly laughs and heart-to-heart talks. It felt like a dream having him beside us at Mass two Sunday mornings in a row.

Becoming apostles of mercy as war rages in Ukraine

Becoming apostles of mercy as war rages in Ukraine

Mankind will not have peace until it turns to the Fount of My mercy. That stark appraisal was spoken by our Lord Jesus Christ to St. Faustina, a humble nun in Poland on the eve of the Second World War, a war that in the end, took the lives of tens of millions of human...

A most powerful weapon against evil: Humble obedience

A most powerful weapon against evil: Humble obedience

One of the ways you know you’re getting older is that you start getting solicitations from the American Association of Retired Persons. The Soulful Catholic is nowhere near ready to surrender her mouse and keyboard, so these AARP letters generally go straight to the recycle bin.
Nevertheless, a wonderful benefit of having more birthdays behind you than before you is the realization that God’s plans are AWAYS superior to our own. It may not always seem like it when we’re in the midst of heartbreak and disappointment, but as we mature in faith, we realize that God truly does have our best interests at heart. We can trust Him 100 percent. Ourselves? Not so much.

The fruitlessness of trying to live without Jesus

The fruitlessness of trying to live without Jesus

The formerly majestic orange tree in The Soulful Catholic’s backyard provided a powerful metaphor for the current malaise in America.
From a distance, the little tree in our backyard looked healthy, boasting an abundance of dark green leaves. Upon closer inspection, the branches were covered with sharp thorns and there wasn’t a single orange to be had, even though our other citrus trees were covered with tasty fruit ripe for picking.
This sad state of affairs began two years ago when a disease attacked our orange producer and slowly drained the life out of it. That spring, a few “sucker” branches began shooting out of the base of the once-magnificent tree. The next thing we knew, they’d taken over the entire shrub.

Following Jesus means embracing the Truth, even when it’s unpopular or inconvenient

Following Jesus means embracing the Truth, even when it’s unpopular or inconvenient

I took off my jacket and hung it neatly over the back of the chair at the front of the rom, eyeing the 8- and 9-year-old students in my catechism class.
“There now. That’s better,” I said, taking my seat. “I don’t need a jacket in the classroom.
“But you know, my feet are really bothering me today. They’re sore from overdoing it on a hike. Why don’t I just take them off and set them in the corner over there?”

New Year’s dare: Share Jesus with the world!

New Year’s dare: Share Jesus with the world!

There’s something about the dawning of a new year that makes us look back over our shoulder at the past 12 months and recall the many twists and turns of life. Who could have known the challenges and blessings that lay ahead for us all?
God. That’s who.

Remedy for a dying parish: The kind of love that’s not afraid to sacrifice and struggle

Remedy for a dying parish: The kind of love that’s not afraid to sacrifice and struggle

The high-pitched ring tone echoed in my ear as I lay on the bed, listening, hoping, praying he would answer.
It was December 1984, and I was a lovesick college student, barely out of my teens, trying to connect with the man who had stolen my heart. How could I bear to live without him? What if he stayed in his Venezuelan homeland and didn’t return to the U.S. after the Christmas break? Was there a future for us? Could we make it work despite the fact we were from two very different worlds?

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