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We are all broken, beautiful, and beloved

For all those who heard me talking about our brokenness on the Morning Air Show on Relevant Radio this morning, here’s the original column that sparked this as a retreat and workshop topic for me. We are all “broken, beautiful, and beloved.”

If you look around my office prayer space or on my bedroom dresser, you’ll notice one constant: broken conch and whelk shells everywhere. Small and blue-gray, large and sun-bleached, twisting, turning, spiraling in that gorgeous and mysterious way that seashells do. Although I have one perfect channeled whelk shell that I purchased in Cape May, N.J., years ago, my prized possessions are broken shells of every shape and size because, as far as I’m concerned, they are far more beautiful than the ones that are perfectly intact and so lovely on the outside. Read more

It takes a village, and I love mine.

Every year, St. Thomas the Apostle Church in Delmar (like so many other area churches, Catholic and not) sponsors a Giving Tree. At the start of Advent, the tree is covered with tags, each one listing a gift, either much needed or much wanted, or both. This year there were probably more than 1,000 tags. We grabbed a few, as did the other parishioners crowded around the tree after Masses that Sunday, most of us looking for just the right gift we wanted to get for someone in need. A warm coat. A new doll. A gift card to the grocery store. A sweatsuit. A poinsettia. Read more

What’s in your gratitude journal?

I haven’t kept a gratitude journal with any long-term success over the years, despite knowing the benefits. In my latest Life Lines column (now running in the current issues of Catholic New York and the Catholic Spirit) I explore why and give you a peek inside: 

The Advent and Christmas seasons tend to make us more grateful and more giving. At this time of year, when we’re abundantly aware of children who want nothing more than a pair of mittens or a warm winter coat, we seem to recognize how lucky we are. We collect boxes of stuffing and bottles of gravy for our parish food pantry and take tags off the Giving Tree so that others will have for one day what we have every day. And in those moments we are humbled by our blessings and all too aware of the fact that we often remain blissfully unaware of those same blessings the other 11 months of the year. Read more

Remembering Thomas Merton

Ever since I first came in contact with the writings of Thomas Merton almost 30 years ago, he has spoken to me. I know I’m not alone there. Countless people of every faith and persuasion have found meaning in his writings and his life. Of course, others will counter that with claims that he was too flawed to be held up as a role model, or, dare I say, saint, but that’s precisely why he’s a great example. Read more

Advent: A new twist on holiday treats

Excerpted from Cravings: A Catholic Wrestles with Food, Self-Image, and God

‘Tis the season to pack on a few pounds.

Between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day, most of us are faced with plates of cookies and homemade candies, special fat-laden side dishes at holiday meals, and office or neighborhood parties where almost everything is on the “naughty” list. Read more

Happy St. Nicholas Day. What’s in your shoes?

The shoes were placed by the front door with care last night. Okay, to be honest, the almost-18-year-old just left them there out of habit, but the two girls were all over it. They still love the Feast of St. Nicholas. Somehow it’s like the unofficial start of the season around this house. Read more

What did Mary know, and when did she know it?

Earlier this week another Catholic blogger decided to do a line-by-line dissection of the popular Christmas song “Mary, Did you Know?” Nothing he said was new to me; I’ve heard it all before from other writers who have harped on the misguided theological aspects of this pop-culture take on Mary and Jesus.

All I can say is this: If we don’t understand that people are moved by songs that make them feel some sort of spiritual stirring (even if the songs are theologically incorrect or not theological at all), then it’s no wonder our pews are empty. People respond first to the tug of the spirit. Then we get to theology. Read more

This Advent, stop the clock and savor the season

Don’t let the frenzy of the season rob you of the chance to wait in wonder this Advent. Here’s my OSV Newsweekly story from last Advent to get you in the spirit:

By Mary DeTurris Poust

By the time Advent officially begins, most of us have been bombarded by so much Christmas music and Christmas advertising and Christmas everything that we’re already sick of the season. In a world where the Christmas countdown begins sometime before Halloween, it’s easy to lose sight of the beauty of Advent, and to get so caught up in the material trappings that we can’t see the spiritual forest for the tinsel-covered trees. Read more

The Catholic Worker and the Quiet Beatle

Today we honor two of my favorites: Dorothy Day and George Harrison, a seemingly unlikely pairing on the surface but not such an odd couple when you dig a little deeper. Day died on this day in 1980, and Harrison died on this day in 2001, forever linking the gritty would-be saint and the decidedly sage-like musician. At least in my book. Read more

After the feast, before the frenzy: Restoring serenity to your plate as the holiday season sets in

I don’t know about you, but I’m still full from yesterday’s Thanksgiving eat-a-thon. I can’t even think about food. Except for those pies on the counter. And the stuffing. Cold stuffing eaten right from the fridge. Oh, and wait, didn’t we have some leftover brie? Yeah, it’s going to a be a long and fattening weekend if I don’t rein in the cravings before they set me on a course to eat my way through the holiday season. Read more