Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Beatific Vision


“He was the face of Jesus to all of us,”

St. Charles Borromeo School principal Linda Lacot's comment about our friend Athos in an article yesterday in the Arlington Catholic Standard.

Along with “Well done, good and faithful servant" and possibly "dad", no greater, or more sincere, words could be spoken of Athos. May we all follow his beautiful example and be Jesus for everyone we meet.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

He Walks in Beauty

Now Athos will see beauty all around him, and join his tenor voice and his violin to the music of the stars and the communion of saints in everlasting praise of our Holy and Triune God.

Thanks be to God for the life of Jeffry Leonard Morris Hendrix, born December 14, 1954, died June 28, 2011.

Posted by God's Weaver, his wife Mochel Morris.

Shenandoah--Keith Jarrett


Monday, June 27, 2011

Up a Creek with a Flying Car


Breaking News: After years of closed minded mechanics and intolerant engineers labeling my car an "automobile"; the North Beach City council - soon up for re-election - have voted to have my CRV re-listed as a Flying Aquatic Supercar.

While there have been celebrations all night following the voting, I have yet to find anyone who cares to join me on my maiden voyage off Fairhaven Cliffs.

Roots of TG&B

Athos had an epiphany when he heard this piece as a kid:


[Edit to add labels, or Ath will get mad.]

Saturday, June 25, 2011

TG&B

It was Athos that introduced me to the theology of beauty. When I find a beautiful piece of music (whatever genre) I always think of him. These days, a lot of the time it's rediscovering Thad Jones and Mel Lewis orchestra clips.


Edit for another Byzantine embed.

O Magnum Mysterium - Morten Lauridsen, sung by Pegasus

Silly Wizard Live - Donald McGillavry

Joshua Bell playing The Girl with the Flaxen Hair by Debussy.

Mes Aïeux - Dégénération (English Subtitles)

A Champion Fighting the Good Fight



Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Drawn to Unity

"It broke my heart that Christians were so divided and superficial. I stumbled onto a few things—Thomas Merton and then St. Francis of Assisi. I got into radical gospel living, mystical prayer, contemplative life, and they were all Catholic."
John Michael Talbot in the article Mass Appeal in Christianity Today

Porthos' Test Post

Say that title many times really fast!

I'm not sure exactly how, but it's only through Aramis' intervention that I'm back on. (I've tried a few times over the past few years.) I've been . . . oh, never mind.

Hey, guys!

That's not much of a contribution, but since I've nothing of particular value to say, why not yield to tradition and do a Mahler clip? The selection's gotten a lot better since I was last active! (And, no, of course I don't remember how to do embedding.)

[Edit for Byzantine embed attempt]

Friday, June 17, 2011

Prayer warrior status re-energized

Aramis was visited by the energizer bunny today who left a brand new generator (see link) to keep me ticking.  It is hard to believe that it has been 11 years since my stroke and subsequent pace maker was installed.  I have been blessed in so many ways over the years with many friends and loved ones sharing in life, live and Our Lord.

With my prayer warrior status re-charged and able to take my kneeling position once more along side all other prayer warriors, we continue ever vigilant in our prayers for Athos, the faithful, the ill and troubled or lost souls.  ALL 4 1 and 1 4 ALL!

Sunday, June 12, 2011

REAL - What is real? Is this a related question to Pilate's: "What is truth?"

ACCORDING TO A RECENT SURVEY, close to fifty percent of Catholics in the United States do not know the Church teaching that the bread and wine used in Holy Communion do not merely symbolize but actually become the body and blood of Christ. What is the cause of such a misconception? Maybe it can be traced back to inadequate catechesis. But I think the problem is deeper than poor theology; I believe it represents a kind of crisis of “humanity.”


One has to wonder if the reason why so many fail to believe in the Real Presence in the Eucharist is because they do not have a lived experience of “real presence.” Without an encounter with real presence in our daily lives, the Real Presence of Jesus Christ in the Eucharist becomes an idea, an abstraction. People have no frame of reference for seeing its relevance to their needs. For many, the misconstrual about the Flesh and Blood of Jesus Christ in the Eucharist stems from what is lacking in the flesh and blood of their own lives.

On a human level, what constitutes “real presence”?

Commitment

One element of real presence is commitment. It begins very simply by giving the person in front of me my undivided attention. One of the virtues that defined Blessed John Paul II’s holiness is that when he looked at you, you felt as if you were the only person on the planet. The Eucharist is Christ’s commitment of his never-failing Presence: I am with you always until the end of the world.

In a TV sitcom, a character at a party is talking to a couple, and is clearly bored. But then she glances at the door and exclaims, “Oh, look! Better people!” And she dashes off. Yet, C.S. Lewis reminds us: “It is with awe that we should conduct all our dealings with one another. There are no ordinary people. You have never talked to a mere mortal.”

Our Lord commits himself to us in the Eucharist because, as Pope Benedict XVI tells us, “the root of man’s wretchedness is loneliness – is the fact that my existence is not embraced by a love that makes it necessary.” Showing others charity for charity’s sake, anticipating others’ needs, giving without counting the cost – all this makes others know they are necessary.

Communication

A second key aspect of real presence is communication. One of the simplest but most powerful acts of charity we can perform nowadays is simply to listen to another person. How our isolation worsens when we have no one to talk to, no one to listen to us. It is not a coincidence that receiving the Eucharist at Mass is called “communicating.”


The goal of conversational communication and eucharistic communication is the same: the sharing of self with an other. Pope Benedict XVI says that conversation between people only comes into its own when they are no longer trying to express something, but trying to express themselves; then does dialogue become true communication. And the Catholic philosopher Louis Lavelle wrote that genuine communication takes place only when each “reveals to the other the deep, unknown desire he bears in the secret places of his heart.” This is the essence of the Eucharist.

Communion

And all real presence is marked by communion. What differentiates real presence from just being with others in a crowd is belonging: unity in charity, forgiveness, helping people, self-sacrifice, intimacy. We long for this oneness with others; united with one who loves me, I can face any fear… I am up to any challenge. In the Most Holy Eucharist, wrote John Paul II, “is the pledge of the fulfillment for which each man and woman, even unconsciously, yearns” (Ecclesia de Eucharistia 59). This is why “Holy Communion” is the Eucharist’s other name.

Pope Benedict teaches us that “communion always and inseparably has both a vertical and a horizontal sense: it is communion with God and communion with our brothers and sisters” (Sacramentum Caritatis 76). Living eucharistically means I am devoted to being a friend to others – to loving others’ needs more than my own concerns.

And so, the Holy Father exhorts us: “What the world needs is God’s love; it needs to encounter Christ and to believe in him… Missionary outreach is… an essential part of the Eucharistic form of the Christian life… The wonder we experience at the gift God has made to us in Christ… commits us to becoming witnesses of his love” (Sacramentum Caritatis 84, 85). People will come to believe in the Real Presence in the Eucharist the more we offer them a human experience of real presence in our daily interactions with them.

Rev. Peter John Cameron, O.P.
Copyright Magnificat

Yielding - what a strange concept in our modern world... the implications truly run deep

The Magnificat has a meditation today, as they do everyday, that one should comtemplate on for hours allowing the words to touch our hearts, our souls - to melt the ice at the center of our beings...

Yielding To The Holy Spirit

Tears are the humble, created water of my heart that corresponds to the powerful uncreated water of the Spirit’s life in me. Tears are perhaps the most rejuvenating and re-creating water of all, the evidence that I have allowed grace to melt the ice at the center of my being. As Leon Bloy says strikingly, where there are tears, there is the Holy Spirit, because the Spirit of God is always, as at the beginning, “hovering over the waters”. What areas of my life are still rigid, refusing to yield resistance and be shaped by God’s fingers? “Flecte quod est rigidum,” we pray in the Veni, sancte Spiritus. In what parts of my person do I still allow the old inflexible grouch of sin to have his way?  Each one of us, according to our state in life, has different strategies for allowing the old Adam and Eve to survive in us. We may have that rascal, the decrepit old self, locked away safely, but surreptitiously we still pass him food through the slot in the dungeon door, do we not?

The Glory of God is always found in movements of love, in communication of life, never in static routine, cramped piety, thoughtless repetition of official acts, conventional observance, external religious acts that could easily become the letter that kills, the continuing tyranny of the old, sinful self. The Spirit, by contrast, is wind, fire, light and water, Glory: the unexpected, the transforming, the self-communicating, the self-outpouring Power that shapes by embracing and not letting go. The way of the disciple is necessarily a way of discipline, because discipleship is the living school in which we learn how to be like Christ by intimate association with Him.

~ Erasmo Leiva-Merikakis~

E. Leiva-Merikakis, now known as Brother Simeon, is a Cistercian monk of Saint Joseph’s Abbey, Spencer, MA. He is the author of Fire of Mercy, Heart of the Word, a three volume commentary on Saint Matthew’s Gospel.

Monday, June 06, 2011

Episcopal Parish Community in Maryland to Join Catholic Church

From the Archdiocese of Washington:

After a period of deep discernment, the rector and parishioners of St. Luke’s Episcopal parish in Bladensburg, Maryland have decided to seek entry into the Roman Catholic Church through a new structure approved by Pope Benedict XVI called an ordinariate. Saint Luke’s is the first church in the Washington metropolitan area to take this step.read more here

Wednesday, June 01, 2011

Manalive - O'Brien et al

Kevin O'Brien invites his viewer-readers to absorb a portion of the dramatization of G. K. Chesterton's play, Manalive, here. How many professors do you wish this might happen to, God bless 'em? Enjoy this nine minute performance by O'Brien and Mark Shea.

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Our Lady's Discipleship


The Holy Father's Message of Hope for Today


The Holy Father recently spoke about the dark times through which he lived as a youth, speaking of how "Hitler had subjected one country after another, Poland, Denmark, the Benelux States and France, and in April of 1941 -- precisely in this season 70 years ago -- he had occupied Yugoslavia and Greece."


"It seemed that the Continent was in the hands of this power that, at the same time, cast doubt on the future of Christianity," the Pontiff said.


He had joined the "Sodality of Our Lady" as a young man and, although the dissolution of the seminaries hindered it, this bond continued, since "Catholicity cannot exist without a Marian expression."


"To be Catholics means to be Marian ... that in the Mother and by the Mother we find the Lord," he said.

We have great hope in following Our Lady's example of discipleship. To read the full text of his message go here.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

There is something more here

- Father Gerald Vann, O.P.

It is not the magnitude, or otherwise, of the work we have to do that should concern us, but the magnitude of the love with which we do it. It is a terrible mistake to suppose that if we simply carry out the commandments externally we have nothing to worry about. That can be no more than lip-service; it can be simply self-culture, the service of the self; and it can be a form of self-complacency and the kind of practical pelagianism which thinks it can get on very well without worrying too much about its radical sinfulness and need of God. Of course we have to try to keep the commandments; but the essential is to try to keep them in such a way that we learn to see more and more clearly our true Center, to keep our eyes more and more on God and less and less on ourselves, to say "I live, now not I, but Christ lives in me." There are, in fact, two opposite heresies here which we have to avoid: the one says, If I am right it doesn't matter what I do. We have to try to live in God, to be right; but we learn to be right only through slowly and painfully trying to do right; and on the other hand if we were really living in God then inevitably we should, as a matter of fact, do right, for we should hunger and thirst after righteousness.


Like so many of the great meditations one finds in The Magnificat this quote opens us up to many reflections.  I just want to raise up this thought: "our true Center" is not in us as much as it abides in God. It is as St Paul said, "I live, now not I, but Christ lives in me."  Suddenly "I" refers to something more than myself. 


... the essential is to try to keep them (the commandments) in such a way that we learn to see more and more clearly our true Center, to keep our eyes more and more on God and less and less on ourselves, to say "I live, now not I, but Christ lives in me."  We have to try to live in God, to be right;  if we were really living in God we should hunger and thirst after righteousness.



So what are we really hungering and thirsting for today, this moment?

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Memorial Day 2011 & Every Year


My mom is pictured in today's paper straightening out the flag at her brother's grave.  As we come to another Memorial Day I can't help but reflect on the following post by my friend and mentor Gil Bailie as he reflected on this Thomas Merton poem: FOR MY BROTHER: REPORTED MISSING IN ACTION, 1943

Sweet brother, if I do not sleep
My eyes are flowers for your tomb;
And if I cannot eat my bread,
My fasts shall live like willows where you died.
If in the heat I find no water for my thirsts,
My thirst shall turn to springs for you, poor traveler.

Where, in what desolate and smokey country,
Lies your poor body, lost and dead?
And in what landscape of disaster
Has your unhappy spirit lost its road?

Come, in my labor find a resting place
And in my sorrows lay your head,
Or rather take my life and blood
And buy yourself a better bed -
Or take my breath and take my death
And buy yourself a better rest.

When all the men of war are shot
And flags have fallen into dust,
Your cross and mine shall tell men still
Christ died on each, for both of us.

For in the wreckage of your April Christ lies slain,
And Christ weeps in the ruins of my spring:
The money of Whose tears shall fall
Into your weak and friendless hand
And buy you back to your own land:

The silence of Whose tears shall fall
Like bells upon your alien tomb.
Hear them and come: they call you home.

Fr David Jones - Hermit

A thank you to A Reluctant Sinner for this portrait of a modern hermit living in Wales.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Newman - Conversion and Truth

If you want to hear a choice talk on Blessed John Henry Cardinal Newman go here.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Apples? Oranges? Suppression?

Can anyone help me understand the connection between the formal suppression of the Cistercians of Santa Croce and Our Lady of the Holy Cross Abbey, OCSO, Berryville, Virginia, my favorite sight of retreats for over thirty years? IS there a connection between the two varieties of Cistercians?

My initial reaction is not, "There has to be some kind of mistake here;" I am too much the faithful son of the Magisterium. Rather, my response is, "Are we talking about two different branches of what call themselves 'Cistercian' in our Catholic universe?"

Clarification, gentle reader, if you please. Hearty thanks!

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Sunday Evening Reflections on Hell

I can still recall - with an importance borne out by the seriousness with which the grown-ups seemed to consider the topic - a Sunday evening when my evangelical pastor father's church held a Revival service. We had a guest preacher and got to dine him (No wining him - we were teetotalers!) before the church service. My sister and I speculated who would "come forward" to the altar rail to either "get saved" (in some cases, again) or renew their "personal relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ." In any case, it was serious, and we were inculcated from a very early age on the FACTs of the Last Four Things.

Adults can't manufacture those values; there is no winking to the audience, I am thankful to say. My father and my mother were in deadly earnest when it came to them, and my sister, Linda, and I caught those values.

So, it wasn't surprising to me to find myself after the revival preacher's sermon to find myself coming forward to the altar rail to "accept Jesus Christ as my personal Lord and Savior." It wasn't that I hadn't done so before in private, so to speak; but in our neck of the woods, it you didn't trudge up where everybody could watch you do it, it just didn't count to your credit. See?

Well, I still believe in those Four Last Things, but I also know that I need the fullness of the Church that Jesus our Lord founded on Saint Peter ("Rocky") in Matthew 16, including all the sacramental grace that our Lord provides us creatures made in His image, imago dei. (For more read A Little Guide for Your Last Days.)

In fact, Dale Alquist puts succinctly the words and thoughts of fellow convert, G. K. Chesterton. (I would say fellow author, but the audacity sticks in my craw with an accompanying choking sensation.) A quick and easy essay just doesn't get much better than this one all of a Sunday evening. Read, read, pilgrim, and never forget GKC's insights in A Happy Little Reflection on Hell. And, thank you, too, Dale Ahlquist.

Don't you wish more people thought about the Four Last Things. Like those who garner power with a smug grin of happy and healthy human existence; at least, for now?

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Ka ... Beauty

On this auspicious day, when, if the news we hear from some quarters is correct, the "world" (κόσμος) will come to an end, may I make the recommendation that we all grab a cool drink and enjoy some truth, goodness, and beauty. If you cannot find any near by, start with Daniel Mitsui's THE LION & THE CARDINAL. Then you are on your own, gentle reader ...

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

A Beastie Attack and Musical Praying

'Had a rough day yesterday - I won't go into the gory details of the attack, but suffice it to say, my beastie had a field day with my body and I sat tight until my appointment for a shot at the Infusion Center to help boost my white blood cell count.

I found myself bouncing between the Giro d'Italia and EWTN mid-morning - both of which were, of course, fabulous. I saw my new friend and acquaintance, Marcus Grodi, interviewing an oldish looking fellow from Canada, Terry Hatty, former vocalist with The Guess Who, and stayed to watch.

His story about making his "journey home" isn't particularly theological or, probably, pertinent to many of our stories, but I found him to be a true victory; I know so many of his ilk who follow the progressivist propaganda line and flounder off into sad endings. Terry, on the other hand, has managed to keep his music alive and revert to Mother Church.

Go here if you want to see the interview with an aging rock and roll singer, and hear a sampling of his musical prayers. Great pipes for a fellow of his age!

Friday, May 13, 2011

Who is your interpreter?


Do yourself a favor and click on the above heading and read about Philip.  Or go to this link and read the Road to Emmaus story.

In Mass yesterday it struck me just how important it is to know who your interpreter is.  We all have one but most of the times we have many acting in this role of interpreter for us.  Who is your interpreter right now? 

One interpreter who I hold up is Father Barron.  Give a listen to his interpretation of "All Along the Watchtower" by Bob Dillon.  He understands that since the cross how we interpret things has been altered.

As Jesus tells the scribes and Pharisees in Matthew 12:38-42: There is something more here.  I have had to admit that in looking at what life hands me there is something more here than what I am first inclined to see.  And this way of going "deeper" is what Jesus is challenging us to experience.  He is asking us to make the connection between the interpreter(s) of our life and of course, the Author.  Who is helping you read "the something more" of your life story?

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

The human being is religious by nature

Vatican City, May 11, 2011 / 11:04 am (CNA/EWTN News).- Religion is intrinsic to man, Pope Benedict XVI noted at his weekly General Audience on May 11.

“The human being is religious by nature. The image of the Creator is engraved on human beings, who feel the need to find a light to answer the questions regarding the profound meaning of reality.”

It is “an answer that we cannot find in ourselves, in progress, or in empirical science,” the Pope told pilgrims.

Hence, he continued, we find a sense of disappointment and futility among today’s radical secularists.

“Looking at recent history, the predictions of those who, from the age of Enlightenment, foretold the disappearance of religions and exalted absolute reason, separated from faith, have failed.”

This was the second in the Pope’s new series of Wednesday audiences focusing on prayer. For the past two years he had been examining the lives of the saints. That series concluded prior to Lent.

The Pope explained the source of man’s religious instincts. “(H)umanity bears within it a thirst for the infinite, a yearning for eternity, a search for beauty, a desire for love, a need for light and truth, which impel us toward the Absolute. We carry within us the desire for God. In some way, we know that we can turn to God, that we can pray to Him.

“Saint Thomas Aquinas, one of the greatest theologians of history, defined prayer as ‘the expression of humanity’s desire for God’.”

Hence the impulse to pray. “In prayer, human beings experience themselves as creatures in need of help, incapable of attaining the fulfillment of their existence or their hopes alone. In the experience of prayer we orient our very souls to that Mystery from which we look for the fulfillment of our deepest desires and help to overcome the poverty of our lives.

“In looking to the Other, in directing ourselves ‘beyond’, is found the essence of prayer, the experience of a reality that goes beyond the apparent and the contingent,” the pontiff added.

And despite living in an age that seems to be “marked by an apparent eclipse of God” the Pope observed there are also clear “signs of a renewed religious sense.” He concluded by urging those present to learn how to pray more often.

“We must learn to spend more time in front of God, before the God who has revealed himself in Jesus Christ; we must learn to recognize in silence, within our very selves, his voice that calls us and leads us to the depth of our existence, to the fount of life and the source of salvation, so that we might overcome the limit of our lives and open ourselves to the measure of God, the relationship with He who is Infinite Love.”

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

BOOKs


Yet another prototypical optical reading device is about to hit the market. And, don't you know, we do (of course) need one. I will let you read about it from the sales manifesto below:


Device to Replace Electronic Media


Introducing the new Bio-Optic Organized Knowledge device, trade named BOOK. BOOK is a revolutionary breakthrough in technology: no wires, no electric circuits, no batteries, nothing to be connected or switched on. It's so easy to use, even a child can operate it. Compact and portable, it can be used anywhere - even sitting in an armchair by the fire - yet it is powerful enough to hold as much information as a CD-ROM disc.


Here's how it works: BOOK is constructed of sequentially numbered sheets of paper (recyclable), each capable of holding thousands of bits of information. The pages are locked together with a custom-fit device called a binder which keeps the sheets in their correct sequence. Opaque Paper Technology (OPT) allows manufacturers to use both sides of the sheet, doubling the information density and cutting costs. Experts are divided on the prospects for further increases in information density; for now, BOOKs with more information simply use more pages. Each sheet is scanned optically, registering information directly into your brain. A flick of the finger takes you to the next sheet.


BOOK may be taken up at any time and used merely by opening it. BOOK never crashes or requires rebooting, though like other display devices, it can become unusable if exposed to high ambient temperatures. The "browse" feature allows you to move instantly to any sheet, and move forward or backward as you wish. Many come with an "index" feature, which pinpoints the exact location of any selected information for instant retrieval.


BOOK can be stored for an almost unlimited amount of time without connecting any outside power source. Many BOOK units may be stored together as they cause no interference with one another, even when placed in close proximity. An optional "BOOKmark" accessory allows you to open BOOK to the exact place you left it in a previous session - even if the BOOK has been closed.


BOOKmarks fit universal design standards; thus, a single BOOKmark can be used in BOOKs by various manufacturers. Conversely, numerous BOOK markers can be used in a single BOOK if the user wants to store numerous views at once. The number is limited only by the number of pages in the BOOK.


You can also make personal notes next to BOOK text entries with an optional programming tool, the Portable Erasable Nib Cryptic Intercommunication Language Stylus (PENCILS). Portable, durable, and affordable,


BOOK is being hailed as a precursor of a new entertainment wave. Also, BOOK's appeal seems so certain that thousands of content creators have committed to the platform and investors are reportedly flocking. Look for a flood of new titles soon. Try it! You'll like it!


***


Okay, okay. Enough tongue-in-cheek. If you happen to need the tactile experience of not merely seeing a mock-page turn as one does on iPad; if you happen to love the smell of old (but not mildewy ) books; if you can't stand to see a shelf standing without being filled with books, BOOK is obviously the "device" of choice for you! I strongly suggest Alibris if you know the author and/or title for which you are looking, though Amazon will do in a pinch.


I completed my Ronald Arbuthnott Knox collection, picking and choosing very carefully (there are bargains to be found; another joy of BOOK buying). Go, thou; and choose wisely.

Saturday, May 07, 2011

Do We Model the One Who Walks Along with Us?

Amazing reflection by von Balthasar.  We who follow Girard tend to also find inspiration from von Balthasar.  In this short paragraph you find the model, the double-bind and scandal.

The One Who Walks Along with Us
One of the most difficult things for a believer to do is to help a doubter. Like Moses, when he spoke to the people, we must cover our face so as to dim the radiance of the evidence within us and so, according to Paul's words, mourn with those who mourn, question with those who question, and doubt with those who doubt; for these will overcome their distrust of splendor only in this muted light. At the same time, however, we must let through enough brightness so that the faint-hearted will gather courage and derive strength from the example of faith. In other words, we must be the way and at the same time the goal, which is possible only because Christ became both things for us simultaneously. For his vitality consists in this: that he always stands at the level of the person he is educating and yet always is to be found as well at [as!] the final goal of his education. He walks along with the disciples toward Emmaus; but as they walk they discover that he is already reposing in the assurance of the goal. He is the Way, yet also the Truth, and, for that very reason, the Life.
FATHER HANS URS VON BALTHASAR,

Father von Balthazar (+ 1988) was an eminent Swiss Catholic theologian who wrote prodigiously.

— Magnificat, Vol 13, No. 3, May 2011, Pp. 118-119.

Is It Time For the Elders?

Her lyrics have always been raw often cutting to the core. It may not be religious and often the path is not one you would want to travel but through the lyrics she revealed a passion - yes, a passion of the lost, searching. Sadly today many have abandoned all passion. Maybe Paul Simon's new CD that Athos posted on below and Stevie's new "In Your Dreams" CD will awaken a wholehearted passion in a half-hearted age.



Cheaper than free
Stevie Nicks and Dave Stewart

What's cheaper than free? You and me
What's better then alone? Going home
What does money not buy? You and I
What's not to feel? When love is real

What's faster then a fast car? A beating heart
What's deeper then a deep well? The love into which I fell
More important then freedom? Being needed
More exciting then our fashion? High passion

What's brighter then a smile? a child, You child
What's brighter then a smile? a child, You child
A child, You child

What's warmer then a sun drenched land? Your hand
Your hand... Your hand

Thursday, May 05, 2011

Fools and Pilgrims

Nothing since Graceland comes near to excellence until now. Go thee, purchase his new album So Beautiful or So What. For sheer heart-rending poignancy, The Rewrite. Best call-and-response preachin' - Getting Ready for Christmas. Hands down best answer to his (long time ago now) nihilistic song, The Boxer, Questions for the Angels.

Go! Get thee hence, hear, and respond in faith to this prophetic aging voice. Hey! Aren't they the best kind, after all?

Tuesday, May 03, 2011

John Paul II is Beatified

This isn't exactly hot news, of course. But I admire Rome Reports a great deal. It appears in my area on EWTN on Sunday mornings, and is well worth some DVR memory.

Saturday, April 30, 2011

Love needs the need of another

The only way I can truly help another is first come to accept my need for the Other.  Otherwise my actions are just an act of projection.  Love begins with poverty.
When God leads a man to a state of poverty, is this not always to bring about an increase of love? ... Prayer does more than make us aware of our limitations: it transforms that part of our life that weighs us down and crushes us, and changes the nature of this poverty...Prayer, after bringing us to accept our limitations and making us aware of our real need, it transforms that need, that deficiency, that poverty into a dependence upon someone else. Love will not rest until it achieves its goal: to share everyting in order to bring about the unity toward which it tends...Love needs the need of another. It nourishes itself and continues to exist on the awareness of this need within itself. God likewise needs our need. Thus, the poverty which before crushed us now becomes, through prayer, a source of wealth, by which we gain possession of the heart of God. To refuse to recognize one's own poverty, is not to recognize God; it means refusing to allow him to be God for us. For me, God is God only when I accept the fact that I need him...thus our poverty becomes a source of wealth, provided that we are conscious every day that I am in the night, but I am no longer in prison, I am no longer alone. ~ Father Bernard Bro, O.P.
Father Bro is a French Dominican priest, a distinguished theologian, and the author of many books.

From Magnificat

Friday, April 29, 2011

'Opportunities' in Catholic Education


Each morning, right after fulfilling my chivalric duties of devotion, I spend a minimum of fifteen minutes reading. Usually the author who receives my undivided attention at this time is Monsignor Ronald A. Knox (Eton, Oxford). During World War II and the German bombings of industrial and municipal centers, Monsignor Knox had the opportunity to retire to the countryside of England to work on his translation of the Bible. Sounds idyllic, doesn't it? So it is amazing how the Holy Spirit sees things, most often, differently.

Just as Knox was settling into the lovely manor setting, it was decided that the manor would also be an extraordinary setting for Catholic school girls to continue their studies, far removed from the Blitz .

Indeed, now Knox would have the delightful daily opportunity to say Mass, hear weekly confessions, and generally serve as chaplain to gaggles of prepubescent schoolgirls while he attempted his mandated work of translation. Ah, yes. How plans change!

I thought of this as I read Monsignor Charles Pope's post, A Catholic University and Recovered Catholic Identity - A Study of Change and Possibility of Reform (a fine article, but one to which I will not allude here except as a jumping-off place).

When I was confirmed into the Catholic Church ten years ago this summer, I went looking for work and was honored to be offered a teaching position at a Catholic school in northern Virginia (St. Charles Borromeo School, pictured above as it looked when I arrived there). I remained there, a fixture in the sixth grade for nearly all of those ten years (the students, both male and female, probably looked at me as a "fixture" of sorts, also).

While working diligently to fulfill the requirements mandated by the diocesan Office of Catholic Schools, I found some of the most amazing times of learning came in planned, yet never choreographed, moments. For example, each morning students came in, hung up coats, etc., prepared for the day, sat and read the Gospel for Mass for the day, and then answered a related question on the board in their "Bellwork Journal."

Using these questions, I sought to help students move into "higher cognitive thinking" (Bloom) and also make them dig more deeply into the meaning of faith, morals, and other vital teachings of the Church. We would discuss the question and their answers before our Morning Offering and intentions.

I am grateful for the years that our Lord allowed me to teach in a Catholic school classroom. Never neglect to cherish and support your parish school (if you have one) and/or your diocesan Catholic schools. It is a unique place of growing, learning, catechesis, morality in action, and other "opportunities" for the Holy Spirit to help the young to come into a closer, richer relationship with God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit ... and their "neighbor as themselves" (Mark 12, 30-31).

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Tornado Victims - Prayers

Violent storms continue to march across the United States. I recall vividly the frantic yet familiar drill of heading to the basement as a boy in Indiana, the most damaging and murderous being the Palm Sunday Tornadoes of 1965.

Please keep in prayer the victims and their families of this week's spate of killer weather.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

It Never Left


It is tempting to think we are past
this sort of thing. But we aren't. We have "one holy, Catholic, and apostolic Church" comprised of well over a billion people (and growing) that proclaims the truth and reality of the doctrine of Original Sin. So, when we take one last sip of coffee, fold the paper, turn the lock, and head off to work, we don't worry about the statuary at the parish. Or our priest(s). Or how well the ushers might handle the breaking-in of disruptors during either a major feast celebration or even a Saturday evening "There's-that-guy-in-his-bermuda-shorts" Vigil Mass.

What we forget in our daily functional atheism are the anthropological realities that our Lord's Church defines so well in the Catechism; specifically, the symptomology of paganism of all those outside the sphere and protection of our Lord's sacramental "containment system" (if you will allow such a crass way of describing it).

Read through Paganism, parts 1-3. Girard and Satinover give the Church's Magisterium two excellent tools for understanding what we still face; indeed, at a growing rate.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Guerilla Good News

Deacon Greg Kandra offers this poignant video of a 'flash mob' proclaiming the Good News ... in Beirut. Go here and follow his instructions (once the video starts, go through the arrow, then click the 'CC' for subtitles). Too cool, and, uh, yes, alleluia!

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Easter

Our Holy Father proclaimed the Good News at the Easter Vigil in this homily. Had I been able to attend, I would have heard again with joy what Rocco Palmo says is the church's greatest song (if you generally don't assist at the Easter Vigil, take the time to drench yourself in its truth, goodness, and beauty). For friends who like St Thomas need a bit more evidence to believe, have them read Mark Shea's piece here.

Enjoy with gratitude this Day of days, join in splendor our Savior's praise:

Rejoice, heavenly powers! Sing choirs of angels!
Exult, all creation around God’s throne!
Jesus Christ, our King is risen!
Sound the trumpet of salvation!

Rejoice, O earth, in shining splendor,
radiant in the brightness of your King!
Christ has conquered! Glory fills you!
Darkness vanishes for ever!

Rejoice, O Mother Church! Exult in glory!
The risen Savior shines upon you!
Let this place resound with joy,
echoing the mighty song of all God’s people!

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Cantalamessa - Great High Priest

Father Cantalamessa expounds on violence and redemption in his Good Friday Homily, presided over by Benedict XVI, in We Have a Great High Priest.

Friday, April 22, 2011

This Side of Eden - Trailer



A great and simple portrait of celebrating Holy Week and the Easter Triduum.

Good Friday

I began watching Gibson's Passion of the Christ last night. I woke with the lyrics and music of an old Paul Simon song going through my head, The Cross is in the Ballpark (The Obvious Child). May you have a blessed, peaceful, and holy Good Friday. As part of your meditations today, look through A Reluctant Sinner's entry for today here. Listen to the Passion of our Lord Jesus Christ according to St. John at Daniel Mitsui's Lion and the Cardinal here.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Barron - How the Pope Reads Scripture

In reading Jesus of Nazareth (volume 2), Father Robert Barron comments on Pope Benedict XVI's "theological hermeneutic," which, while not eschewing the historical critical method of studying Scripture, looks at the Bible more deeply, revealing God's intent in and for human history. Here.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Shedding blood through love

The following quote is from The Magnificat in the editorial comments of Fr. Peter John Cameron, O.P.

“The priest is a man anointed by tradition to shed blood, not as the soldier, through courage, not as the magistrate, through justice, but as Jesus Christ, through love. The priest is a man of sacrifice; by it, each day, reconciling heaven and earth, and by it, each day, announcing to every soul the primordial truths of life, of death, and of resurrection.” - Father Henri-Dominique Lacordaire, O.P.