NCR Today: NCR spoke to award-winning writer Maureen Orth about her experience writing National Geographic magazine's cover story on the Virgin Mary.
The closer two people are to each other, the more care is required in respecting the other's freedom and feelings, Pope Francis said.
Even Jesus knocks at the door of a person's heart awaiting permission to enter, he said Wednesday at his weekly general audience in St. Peter's Square.
"Intimacy does not authorize you to take everything for granted," he said, starting a series of audience talks he said would look at the "real life" of families today.
Pope Francis' devotion is profound but simple: Mary is a mother to every believer; Jesus would not leave his followers orphans.
Peace is a gift that comes through prayer and through small daily efforts to sow harmony in one's family, parish and community, Pope Francis said.
"At the beginning of this new year, we are all called to reignite in our hearts a spark of hope, which must be translated into concrete works of peace: You don't get along with that person? Make peace. In your home? Make peace. In the community? Make peace. At work? Make peace," he said Sunday during his midday recitation of the Angelus.
The virgin birth is one of the central tenets of faith for the world's 2 billion Christians. Yet many say the virgin birth gets short shrift at Christmas.
Young Voices: I sometimes wonder if Mary had a choice. "Let it be done to me according to your will" doesn't exactly sound like a full "yes" to me.
Just Catholic: Was the nativity an entirely male affair? Why is all this testimony about the birth of a child, the birth of this Child, so devoid of women?
In the heart of Rome's high-end shopping district, sparkling with Christmas lights and shiny baubles in the windows of famous designers, Pope Francis prayed that people would spend time in silence and in service as they prepare to celebrate Jesus' birth.
Celebrating the feast of the Immaculate Conception on Monday, Pope Francis prayed for Mary's intercession so that, "in us, your children, grace also will prevail over pride, and we can become merciful like our heavenly Father is merciful."
Simply Spirit: This is the season of the prophet Isaiah. Recently, I was delighted to learn that female prophets helped shaped this Isaiah tradition.
Pope Francis told a group of young people discerning a religious vocation to never go it alone, but always stay by their mother, Mary.
"A Christian without Our Lady is an orphan. Also a Christian without the church is an orphan. A Christian needs these two women, two mothers, two virgins: the church and Our Lady," he said Saturday.
The pope spoke off-the-cuff to a group of young men from the diocese of Rome during a brief moment of prayer at the grotto of Our Lady of Lourdes in the Vatican Gardens.