“It Was My Pleasure”: The True Meaning of Memorial Day

  In all, it lasted about fifteen minutes. But it was our pleasure. They had already arrived. Of course they had. They were veterans. Older and a bit hunched, they smiled, they shook one another’s hand and squeezed the opposing arm. “Good to see you,” they seemed to say. “Good to see you.” And while the cemetery was small, their presence seemed to further sanctify it. Wearing sharp black blazers and pants, white shirts and gloves, they came. Their smart side caps were… Read more

I Don’t Fully Understand God (& I’m Okay With That)

  Job by Leon Bonnat   I don’t fully understand God. And I am okay with that. Let me explain. Years ago, I thought I had the perfect plot for a Twilight Zone episode. Now, if you are not familiar with the Twilight Zone, allow me to describe it. Originally broadcast from 1959-1964, this suspenseful (if not creepy) series was hosted by the enigmatic Rod Serling. Week after week, Serling ushered you into into a drama that soon became deeply unsettling… Read more

Releasing the Control I Want; Accepting the Humility I Need

“Worry about your grades and athletics and your friends will take care of themselves.” This was sage advice. And my dad was the source. I was in seventh grade and my family had just moved to a new state and school district. And I was a little stressed. To begin with, seventh grade is not the easiest time to make friends. And let’s be honest… thirteen is an awkward, gangly, hormonally tumultuous age under the best of circumstances. But drop that… Read more

“Unlikely” – The Grace of Hoosiers, St. Matthew & Flannery O’Connor

  He was an unlikely assistant basketball coach. To be sure. Wilbur “Shooter” Flatch was a savant when it came to the game of basketball. Shooter would even confidently quip, “I know everything there is to know about the greatest game ever invented.” And so it seemed. He knew the game of basketball, but he was an unlikely assistant basketball coach. That was because Shooter Flatch was an inveterate alcoholic – some would even deride him as “the town drunk”. But… Read more

On Being Breathless: My Daughter’s First Holy Communion

  Last Supper by Pascal Dagnan-Bouveret   When I saw her, I was breathless. I had just arrived home from a night of teaching. Tired and a little hunched over (with a slight resemblance to Willy Loman), I dropped my satchel of books on the ground and I headed for the stairs to see my wife and kids. Now, let it be understood, Sunday nights are typically frenetic at our house. Our home is filled with childrens’ energy bubbling over. Squeals… Read more

“What Have You Done With My People?” – The High Calling of the Church & Cardinal George

Francis Cardinal George (photo courtesy of Adam Bielawski & Wikimedia Commons) Late last year on a blustery Sunday in November, Francis Cardinal George offered his last homily at his last Mass as presiding Archbishop of Chicago. And though weakened by cancer and seated for the duration of his message, he spoke with that sure baritone voice and looked around with that Georgian steel in his eyes. His message? Responsibility. Accountability. Legacy. Namely, his own. “Every priest and bishop is given… Read more

Why Pope Benedict XVI Matters to Me

On this 88th birthday of Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, I became a little nostalgic. And I started to think… Why does Pope Benedict XVI matter so much to me? I hope you’ll allow me to explain. It was early April, 2005 and the world was in mourning. The long-suffering, deeply afflicted Pope John Paul II had slipped away and we were ushered into a period with which I was unfamiliar as a non-Catholic: The Interregnum. Sede Vacante. The period between popes. The time of… Read more

Rediscovering The God I Had Forgotten About

  The Incredulity of St. Thomas by Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio   Something happened to me on Easter. Something extraordinary. It was like a longstanding logjam that had clogged up the flow of a heaving, impatient river suddenly, miraculously became free. And the dancing waters flowed once again. Effortlessly. And with exuberance. Let me explain. It was Easter Sunday and my wife, daughters and I had gone to Mass followed by a quick brunch. We returned home to a chaotic house… Read more

Behold the Pierced One: Spending Holy Week with Benedict XVI

  “Easter is concerned with something unimaginable.” – Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger I just returned from vacation. And it was terrific. The sunny climes of gulf coast Florida afforded an abundance of time to explore Busch Gardens (birds land on your head!), discover the Florida aquarium (I’ve never seen a bigger grouper), be dazzled by mind-bending art at the Dali Museum (pose with a gigantic Dali moustache!) and swim with my two daughters (both of whom I threw, splashed and chased… Read more

On Catholicism & Atheism…My Dogma & Yours

  Earlier this evening I happened upon CNN’s home web page where I encountered an engaging feature, Famous Atheists & Their Beliefs. Intrigued, I was drawn into the fashionable and attractive head shots and statements of actors and actresses, scientists and intellectuals, musicians and composers who had declared their creed (or refutation of a Creed) of Atheism. From many, they had become one. And CNN was happy to tell their stories. And so, the stories would unfold. One atheist musician declared, “What religion… Read more

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