Finding time to pray is certainly difficult. As I have advocated before, it is essential to create your own daily schedule of prayer. However, sometimes we don’t know where to start and only have a vague idea of what we want to do.
One excellent idea that will get you started and help sanctify your day in a simply way is by taking up the ancient practice of the Angelus.
But what is the Angelus? How do I pray it devoutly?
In preparation for my short book on the Last Monks of Skellig Michael, I watched again the final scene from Star Wars: The Force Awakens when Rey makes her way through the ancient monastery, which in the Star Wars universe is reportedly the first Jedi temple. It is the place of refuge for Luke Skywalker and will play a vital role in the next chapter of the Star Wars saga, The Last Jedi.
What’s interesting is that when I paused one of the scenes of Rey walking among the bee-hive huts, I noticed the special effects wizards at Lucasfilm did not erase a Celtic cross that features prominently on the screen. (As a side note, there are a few other interesting details about his snapshot, like what is Rey looking at?)
The moment only lasts a few seconds, but it is interesting to see the first Christian cross embedded into the Star Wars universe. It was likely an oversight, and the decision not to erase it came from the fact that most people would hardly notice it.
Here is a close-up of the cross that Rey walks by and that has been worn down through the centuries. A faint outline of a cross can also be seen in the center.
In The Last Jedi most of the scenes were filmed at a reconstructed set, so it is likely we won’t see this Celtic cross again.
If you are interested in learning more about this ancient monastery and the mysterious monks who lived there, check out my latest book, The Last Monks of Skellig Michael.
Typically when we think of living a sacramental life, we immediately think of the seven sacraments. While that is not wrong, we often miss a much larger sacramental experience that encompasses everything we do.
This is what Regis Martin, professor of theology at Franciscan University of Steubenville, sets out to correct in his latest book, Witness to Wonder: The World of Catholic Sacrament. Martin expertly lays out a much broader definition of sacrament that sees in all of God’s creation a “sign” that points to God’s truth, beauty and goodness.
As we approach the 100th anniversary of the first apparition of Our Lady of Fatima, I thought I would compile all of my articles over the past year on the topic. There is much to reflect on in her appearances to the three shepherd children 100 years ago and a single article would never do her justice.
So without further introduction, here are all 5 articles I have written on the weighty topic of Fatima and the many spiritual truths we can learn from Our Lady’s appearance.
5 Surprising revelations of the third secret of Fatima
Fatima, the Rosary, and hell
The surprising connection between Our Lady of Fatima and Islam
5 Things to Know About First Saturdays
7 Powerful quotes from Fatima visionary Sister Lucia
With the release of latest Star Wars films, the ancient monastery atop Skellig Michael has enchanted the world with its beautiful vistas and mysterious history. While much has been written about the architectural feats achieved by the monks on the lonely island, little has been discussed about the daily life of the religious hermits.
What was it like 1,000 years ago?
Why did the monks choose Skellig Michael?
What was their spirituality like? Why did they leave and never return?
The life of J.R.R. Tolkien has always been an inspiration to me. Throughout all of the suffering he endured in life, he kept close to his Catholic faith and wove a majestic tapestry of beauty in his imaginary world of Middle-Earth.
Check out my interview with John Rhys-Davies at Aleteia:
Award winning actor John Rhys-Davies, best known for his role as the dwarf Gimli in the highly successful Lord of the Rings trilogy, recently shared with Aleteia his admiration for Saint Patrick after working on the audio drama, The Trials of Saint Patrick.
He explained how for him, “[Saint] Patrick is giant. I am honored to have had a little part of bringing him to life.”
Far from being an outdated life that has no relevance, Rhys-Davies believes Saint Patrick’s story is an inspiration and can teach us many things in the 21st century.
“I think that what [he] teaches us is resolution and courage. The discovery of that little fire of belief in oneself. By study, by intention, by prayer, by the blessing of the Holy Spirit; it can change a man’s life into such a positive agent for the common good.”
“Of course, [at first] Patrick has ego, yes. But what Patrick does is, through being a slave, he becomes a master of men. He leads those in the darkness to light. Perhaps in our own, maybe smaller way the demons and the idols that he overthrows are some of the demons and the idols we all have to find a way of confronting and overthrowing ourselves.”