Ave Maria Living

Life in the town of Ave Maria, Florida. News & information for residents & visitors.

McTeigue: Why we say “Ave Crux Spes Unica!”


Ave Maria’s Father Robert McTeigue, S.J., preached this homily today for the Feast of the Exaltation of the Cross (the Epistle and Gospel for the Mass came from Philippians 2:5-11 and John 12:31-36):

When you look at the cross, what do you see? Do you see an accessory, or do you see a necessity? I ask this question because it seems to me that much of our culture, in both secular and Christian circles, sees the cross only as an accessory. I say that because it seems to me that very many people, both secular folks and self-identified Christians, seem to be unable to come to terms with intractable evil. What do I mean by that?

I call intractable evil the kind of evil that cannot be reasoned with, that cannot be explained by human motivation alone, and that stubbornly endures even while it seeks to spread. It’s like the mold you get in your basement that you can never quite seem to get rid of. Even after you scrub and repaint, the smell remains, and the mold inevitably comes back.

Many spokesmen for our times, both secular and self-identified Christian alike, seem to suggest…

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Icons of Christ: extolling the deep meaning of every mother’s suffering

Catherine Pakaluk is our neighbor, friend, and a professor at Ave Maria University. She is a mother, and this week that is the focus of her column:

…But I think we should talk more about the negatives. Not to be dour, of course, but to help people understand the fundamental meaning of the Christian vocation, a message that is central to Mulieris Dignitatem and the Second Vatican Council. You just can’t advance these majestic teachings on a cartoon image of the pregnant woman that sweeps away hardships. People do not want to escape from sufferings. They want to know that their sufferings have meaning…

This is my favorite line from the column: “And just like pregnancy—Christianity seems to make sense and be cool for a while at the beginning, right up to the point when you realize, and you always do, that running the race to the finish calls for laying down your life.”

This Madonna and Child shows them pausing during the flight into Egypt – see Caravaggio’s original painting for the full scene. This painting is by Cornelius Sullivan, a member of the Ave Maria community.

That’s what every mom MUST do while pregnant and usually does after the child is born. That is what is so compellingly beautiful about every mom. That is why motherhood is the best icon of Christ – and that is precisely why motherhood is rejected by so many. According to Catherine, maybe talking about it more will help more women understand the meaning of that suffering instead of simply dreading it.

Thank you to all the mothers in Ave Maria. Thank you for your witness – for being icons.

McTeigue: How could you not give yourself completely to a miracle when it is offered to you?


Ave Maria’s Father Robert McTeigue, S.J., preached this homily at today’s Mass:

Do you want to hear a story?  When I taught at another university, one that identified itself as “Catholic”, I all too frequently had the following conversation with students.

“Do you practice any particular religion?”

“Well, I’m Catholic…I guess…”

That always struck me as odd.  How can one not be sure about whether or not one is a disciple of a crucified God?  If you asked someone about his profession, would you expect to hear, “Well, I’m a brain surgeon…I guess…I mean, sometimes I practice brain surgery, but not a lot and not recently, because, well, like…I don’t really get much out of it, but I know that my mother would like me to do it more often…”

My late mentor in philosophy, the great Paul Weiss, was an agnostic Jewish metaphysician…

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McTeigue reveals St. Ignatius’s cure for blindness


As promised, in the second installment of his new weekly column our very own Father Robert McTeigue, SJ, offers us a cure for blindness. Here is a snippet:

We open our eyes on Sunday morning and we think about getting ready to go to Mass and then we blink and it’s Saturday night and we have no idea about how we spent the intervening days of the week. We are too rushed, too busy, too unobservant—too spiritually blind—to take note of what’s happened to us, in us or through us. As a result, we overlook graces offered, and graces received; we overlook near and actual occasions of sin; patterns of sin and grace may be taking root in us and we don’t know how, where, or why. Who can live like that? We do. Who should live like that? No one. Is there an alternative? Yes—thanks to Saint Ignatius Loyola.

With that, I will ask: “Have you thanked God today for all the priests in Ave Maria?”

AMU students honor 9/11 victims with 3000 flags


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Patrick Cassidy, composer of “Calvary” soundtrack, visits Ave Maria


It is not very often that a film with an overtly Catholic theme portrays people of orthodox faith in a positive light, portrays them realistically and without saccharine, and offers the viewer an experience of truth, beauty, and goodness. Rarer still do both critics and audiences laud such a film (see National Catholic Register’s Steven Greydanus, First Things, Roger Ebert, New York TimesPatheos, The New Yorker, and Rotten Tomatoes).

That film, Calvary, is currently playing in theaters here in the Naples area and throughout the United States. You can view the trailer here. You can listen to the soundtrack here and here.

This week, the man who composed Calvary’s soundtrack and score, Patrick Cassidy, and the producer of the soundtrack, his brother Frank Cassidy, have been visiting Ave Maria, Florida. Patrick and Frank CassidyHailing from Ireland but now living in Los Angeles, Patrick’s artistic accomplishments speak for themselves. People in town might recall that Patrick wrote the “Ave Maria” that was played during the unveiling of Marton Varo’s magnum opus, the “Annunciation” sculpture that graces the façade of the Oratory (click video to listen).

Pam Stenzel talks about sex at Ave Maria University

Okay. I admit the headline is meant to arrest your attention. Word on the street is that sex is supposed to be amazing and powerful. But too often WHY and HOW it can be amazing and powerful are not addressed. And the dark side of that power is often considered a taboo for discussion.

But not with Pam Stenzel. She has spoken in Ave Maria before to rave reviews – one of her biggest fans is Father Robert McTeigue, SJ.

Pam will speak about sex at the AMU ballroom on Thursday,  September 11 at 8:00pm.


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