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The Art of Discernment

building at Plainsong Farm in Michigan

Notice everything

🕔12. Jul 2024

"Less is more,” the credo of the minimalist movement in architecture, emphasizes the importance of clearing away the clutter to expose the beauty of the details and function of a space.

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Photo of Water’s Soul by Mariusz Lopusiewicz

Enter the silence

🕔12. Jul 2023

Shh. Quiet. Be still. Listen. These are standard directives in meditation and contemplation to focus the mind and heart on a wide world that goes beyond words.

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 Ötzi Peak 3251m viewing station

Embrace grace

🕔19. Jul 2022

At the center of your vocation journey stands the cross—the symbol of God’s self-sacrificing love, the source and summit of the Christian life.

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Image of Holy Spirit by Brother Blair Nuyda, A.A.

Peace be with you

🕔15. Jul 2021

Wind, water, breath, tongues of fire, and a dove are among the many forms in scripture and Christian art used to depict the wholly elusive and mysterious Holy Spirit. 

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The stone-inlaid labyrinth in the nave of the 13th-century Chartres Cathedral

Stay the course

🕔08. Jul 2020

Labyrinths are ancient examples of the virtual tour. When incorporated into medieval Christian architecture, they provided pilgrims who couldn’t make the trek to the Holy Land with a “Road to Jerusalem.”

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"Annunciation Quilt" image of Mary

The “yes” that launched a thousand vocations

🕔16. Jul 2019

Before the angel Gabriel showed up on her doorstep, Mary, the mother of Jesus, likely lived an ordinary life occupied with domestic tasks and attending the temple on the Sabbath. But then came the angel’s announcement: “Hail favored one. The Lord is with you."

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image of Saint  Teresa of Ávila,

Stop, look, and listen

🕔26. Jun 2018

When it comes to hearing God’s call “there is no escape, for in spite of ourselves we must listen,” says Saint Teresa of Ávila.

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Woman at the Well

Quench your thirst

🕔20. Jun 2017

"Come, see a man” who knows me, who knows you! That is the good news the Samaritan woman at the well runs to tell her neighbors.

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“Resurrection and the Light” window, St. John the Evangelist Church, Prairieville, LA

Light up your life

🕔18. Jul 2016

Christ, the Resurrection and the Light is a perfect subject for the medium of stained glass because the pure white light of God’s glory pours forth and through Christ translates it into the colors of every day—the colors of the Kingdom.

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Return of the Son, by Soichi Watanabe

God awaits, always

🕔23. Jul 2015

Your spiritual journey begins not when you first realize how much you love God but when you realize just how much God loves you. 

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Composer Steve Warner playing guitar at liturgy

SONG: Wake the world with dawning joy

🕔22. Jul 2014

POPE FRANCIS called on the faithful to express their gratitude for those in consecrated life. What better way to offer praise and thanksgiving than in song?

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We are all connected

🕔25. Jul 2013

Jesus’ core message—that we are one—is surely one of the great mysteries of existence. This truth is so hard to accept because our senses tell a different story: We are separate, different, and alone. We need an image to help us realize what our senses cannot. 

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Pilgrims here on earth

🕔25. Jul 2012

All of us “without exception, both individually and in society, have a life-long obligation to strive after heavenly values. . . . The traditional as well as the contemporary Christian approach to life is to strive with all zeal for evangelical perfection, and at the same time to contribute toward the material good of humanity.”

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Truth in stenciling

🕔27. Jul 2011

VISION'S WEBMASTER, who is also a painter and musician, happened upon this spray-painted image on a walk along a Mexican road. He said it looked like something that belonged in VISION, and the editors agreed. We were struck by two things: 1.) The power of the image; and 2.) The eye of the photographer.

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Art of vowed religious

Mysterious encounters

🕔21. Jul 2010

Art itself is an encounter with mystery, and as such it is inherently sacred. We approach mysterious art forms with trepidation, but as we contemplate them, we are stirred and often called—the art speaks to us, draws us in, inspires us to feel and act.

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Just take it

🕔11. Jul 2009

on Robert Frost’s “The Road Not Taken”

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No place like home

🕔10. Jul 2008

Jesus assures us in the Gospel of John that he is going to prepare a place for us, and he will lead us there, “so that where I am you also may be.” But where is this place Jesus is leading us, and how will we know when we’ve arrived? These are the fundamental questions of vocation discernment.

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How the Samaritan found his vocation

🕔22. Jun 2008

WHO WAS the Good Samaritan? We don’t know for sure, but it is clear that he was a layperson, not a religious professional. In fact, it is probable that he was some sort of businessperson . . .

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Make no little plans

🕔22. Jun 2008

Preeminent 20th-century architect Daniel Burnham advised his associates: “Make no little plans. They have no magic to stir men’s blood and probably will not themselves be realized . . .”

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