Lay Witness Magazine
May/June 2014

To Love So As to Die: The Witness of the Early Church

There was something very strange about the new religion that had cropped up in Rome. Religion was about power. Everyone knew that. The gods had it; people wanted it. Caesar, as pontifex maximus, performed the office on behalf of the State, assuring the gods’ support of the Empire. An individual could make an offering to Jupiter or Juno or another member of the pantheon to gain that deity’s assistance in worldly affairs. Religion was also about personal piety. If devotion to the official pantheon wasn’t enough—if, say, personal salvation sounded appealing—then one could turn to a mystery cult: the Eleusinian … Continue reading

The Pope Speaks: What Is in My Heart?

One time, the disciples of Jesus were eating grain because they were hungry; but it was Saturday and on Saturday grain was not allowed to be eaten. Still, they picked it and ate the grain. And the Pharisees said: “But look at what they are doing! Whoever does this breaks the Law and soils his soul, for he does not obey the Law!” Jesus responded: “nothing that comes from without soils the soul. Only what comes from within, from your heart, can soil your soul.” I believe that it would do us good today to think not about whether my … Continue reading

The Art of Living: Pope Francis and the Culture of Encuentro

Pope Francis is sometimes interpreted as giving specific policy advice to world leaders. But at the heart of his message on diverse matters such as globalization, immigration, poverty, and abortion is a personal call to conversion not just for politicians, but for everyone, to live less for self and more in solidarity with the human family. The Holy Father is not as interested in economic and political theory as he is in offering a practical message that challenges all of us to examine how we live. How well do we fulfill our responsibilities toward others, whether it be the people … Continue reading


(Ignatius, 2010) For Christians the question, “What does God look like?” ultimately becomes, “What does Jesus look like?” In The Face of God: The Rediscovery of the True Face of Jesus, journalist Paul Badde believes he has found the answer. Badde’s book centers on his discovery of the Veil of Manoppello, a strange, delicate cloth that, if Badde is right, is one of the most important relics in all of Christendom. The haunting veil displays an eerie, compelling image that Badde claims is the actual Face of God. And he has plenty of evidence to back this up—historical, scientific, and … Continue reading

Master Catechist: Devotion to the Sacred Heart Today

Devotion to the Sacred Heart has a unique and very Catholic character and is nothing less than our loving response to the unspeakable love of God for us, His sons and daughters. In this article Fr. Hardon reminds us that true devotion to the Sacred Heart is the grateful return of our love for His Love, in imitation of Jesus Himself, through the total surrendering of our wills to the mysterious and demanding will of God by loving those who He places into our lives—even, and especially, those who do not love us. As such it is truly the synthesis … Continue reading

Love’s Incarnation: A Letter from a Young Bride

Dear Ruth, I can hardly believe it has been a year since your wedding. What a lovely day that was. And now I hear that you are expecting a baby! Life can change so quickly. I was thinking about you yesterday and wondering how all of these changes have impacted your spiritual life (I remember that at one point you wanted to be a nun so as to have more time for prayer). How differently and yet how beautifully the Lord has ordered your life. Write me when you have a moment— I’d enjoy your thoughts. Love, Elizabeth   Dear … Continue reading

Looking at a Masterpiece: Jesus Christ and the Woman Taken in Adultery

This painting (c. 1528) by the Northern Italian artist Lorenzo Lotto (c. 1480-1557) hangs in the Louvre in Paris. It shows the scribes and Pharisees bringing Jesus a woman caught in adultery saying, “Now in the law Moses commanded us to stone such. What do you say about her?” (see Jn 8:3-11). Their clever question was intended to set a trap for Jesus: either condemn the woman or condemn yourself as an opponent of the law of Moses. Jesus of course answers: “Let him who is without sin cast the first stone.” We see the Pharisees here zealous for the … Continue reading

Greater Love Has No Man Than This: On Friendship with God

Nowhere in the Gospels does Jesus speak the words “I love you.” It is not until the Last Supper, the night before He dies, that He says something along those lines: “As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you” (Jn 15:9). Yet throughout the Lord’s public ministry, people are convinced that Jesus loves them. Why? Msgr. Luigi Giussani defines friendship as every relationship in which the other’s need is shared in its ultimate meaning. Is it possible for us to live, even for five minutes, without someone like this in our life? As people in the Gospels … Continue reading

Father at Night

Every father knows that there are seasons in the life of a family when troubles seem to mount up and spirits burn low. It had been one of those months around our house. In early December, we had record snowfalls in the narrow valley of the Rocky Mountains where we then lived. It fell and fell for weeks on end, without a glimmer of sun. The record accumulation of snow threatened to crack the roof beams, and ice backed up under the eaves, sending little waterfalls cascading throughout the house. Three times already that winter I had stood waist-deep in … Continue reading

Ask CUF: Can I Purchase from a Company That Financially Supports Abortion?

After purchasing a new vehicle, I learned that the company I bought from supports Planned Parenthood financially. Am I responsible for promoting the abortion industry? Christians are instructed to “turn away from evil and do good” (Ps 34:14). As we strive to pursue the good, we must consider the link between our actions that support a certain organization and the actions of that particular organization that either commits an evil act or supports another organization that commits an evil act. In this context, the question concerns “cooperation with evil.” The Church teaches that a morally good act is dependent upon … Continue reading

A Life Hidden in Christ: The Story of Blessed Charles de Foucauld

On a chill evening, March 5, 1897, an ex–monk entered Nazareth. He had walked about one hundred twenty-five miles in little more than a week since climbing off a steamer in Jaffa, sleeping in fields and begging bread along the way. Charles de Foucauld had come to Nazareth to live the same obscure life of poverty, manual labor, and prayer that Jesus had nineteen centuries before. As he wrote to a friend, he wanted “to be one with Jesus, to reproduce his life . . . to imitate as perfectly as possible our Lord’s hidden life.” Charles’ life, for many … Continue reading

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