All I Aspire To This Lent I Learned From a Saint & a Twelve-Year Old


I. The Saint It was a warm August day in 1958 and the water was just right. The community of young kayakers were just beginning their river journey - a journey to be filled with paddling, riverbank soccer and deep discussions about family and faith under starlit skies. They were so excited he could be there. Wujek, they affectionately called him: Uncle. And he was thrilled to be there with them. My Srodowisko, he called them. His environment or milieu.But he wouldn't be there long. Thanks to … [Read more...]

I Am a Vulgar Man


 It was a masterpiece and it was his secret. Until this moment. In the 1984 film Amadeus, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart found himself suddenly and unexpectedly in the presence of the Holy Roman Emperor Joseph II and his court. The Emperor leveled his eyes at the young composer and the following exchange ensued,EMPEROR JOSEPH II Mozart, are you aware I have declared the French play of Figaro unsuitable for our theatre? MOZART Yes, Sire. EMPEROR JOSEPH II Yet we hear you … [Read more...]

“So Very Precious”: How I Rediscovered the Eucharist


It was quite a few years ago when it happened. But, boy, did it make me angry. At the time, I was still Protestant and I was attending a Catholic Mass. The Liturgy of the Eucharist was well underway and I was about to participate in Communion. And then - BOOM -  I was gently asked (not by the priest) to consider not receiving it.WHAAAAAAAAAAAAAT?Stunned and deeply fuming, yet trying to be respectful, I sat back down. I can still remember manically vowing to myself that I would NEVER al … [Read more...]

Wrestling With the Darkness of Man (On Auschwitz & Dietrich von Hildebrand)


Lieutenant Ivan Martynushkin peered at what lay in front of him. On a bitter January morning in 1945, Martynushkin and the members of the Soviet Army's 322nd Rifle Division found themselves warily dismounting from their horses and cautiously approaching the barbed wire surrounding a Polish camp perimeter. Just behind the sharp-pointed fences milled dazed human corpses."We saw emaciated, tortured, impoverished people...Those were the people I first encountered...We could tell from their eyes t … [Read more...]

Why My Kids Go To Catholic School


Author's Note: For Catholic Schools Week, I've been asked to speak to my parish congregation about why, as parents, we chose to send our kids to Catholic school. While my testimony spoke about our Catholic school specifically, I have changed the name to reflect what I think is common to most Catholic schools. Here was my answer.  It was years ago, but it seems as clear as if it were yesterday. I was talking with my dad when he stopped me short. He looked me square in the eyes and … [Read more...]

What I Learned from Romano Guardini & Jesus Christ Superstar


And rising very early, going out, he went into a desert place: and he prayed. Simon and those who were with him pursued him and on finding him said, “Everyone is looking for you.” - Mark 1: 35-37Years ago a local church put on Andrew Lloyd Webber's (and lyricist Tim Rice's) rock opera, Jesus Christ Superstar. If you have never seen it, it is quite the ride with full-throated 1970s-era rock anthems centering on the fallen disciple, Judas Iscariot, as he witnesses the events surrounding the la … [Read more...]