Suffer On

About two weeks ago, sitting on my front porch and deep-talkin', a dear friend of mine - who plays a dirty blues guitar and has a deep and abiding love of The White Stripes -  relayed to me a conversation he'd had that I've been reflecting on ever since. The topic was Zen Buddhism. Now it came up that, somewhere in Tibet, there was a group of monks who had, by all accounts, done it, found The Answer, achieved Enlightenment and reached Nirvana. Whatever they termed it, it all amounts to this; th … [Read more...]

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Sitting Where We Sat

A squirrel in the woods - doing whatever it is that squirrels do to avoid getting shot and eaten by Catholics tired of fasting - sounds sporadic and jittery and disordered; a pitter here and a patter there. A man walking through the same woods - doing whatever it is that certain men do to acquire the inspiration to write essays - sounds rhythmic; a clump, clump, clump, clump that a symphony could be set to. That, as far as I can tell, is the difference between men and squirrels. As man's feet … [Read more...]

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All Praise To God the Forgetful

There's a great story about St. Margaret Mary Alacoque who, when she first started recieving visions of our Lord Jesus, did the very sensible Catholic thing and consulted her confessor about them. The confessor - a private-revelation-is-stupid kind of man - assumed that the visions were from the devil. He gave her a series of questions to ask Him, in order to prove He was who He said He was. The vision answered all the questions truthfully, but the confessor was not convinced. He told St. … [Read more...]

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Peace, Love AND A SWORD.

Happy Sabbath! Peace be with you!Christ - that crazy rabbi - was all about peace. Hear him preach to the masses: "Peace I leave with you; My [own] peace I now give and bequeath to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you…" But how - one might ask - can such messages possibly be reconciled with that powerful statement worthy of being tattooed across every Irish Catholic's chest: "Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword." … [Read more...]

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Doubt.

First of all, many apologies for my prolonged vacation. I wanted to get my life in order so I wouldn't feel quite so hypocritical posting calls to holiness. It's not in order, but it's better, which is really the story of holiness, and what it means to be a bad Catholic. It's all screwed up, but it's better. That sounded depressing. My bad.Anyhow, this post is for a girl who has a profoundly special place in my heart, to the point where I cannot recall a day spent in the last two years … [Read more...]

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Wine When It Is Red

It was truthfully said that if Catholicism had not elevated wine to a sacrament, another religion would have. But as it turns out, it is Catholicism that heightens the romance of things over their physical nature, and so of course it is in our fantastic Church that wine is God. What a radical statement that is! And yet how understandable. It's as if the world was preparing for wine to become salvation. Actually, if you'll forgive the stream of consciousness, let me correct myself: The world … [Read more...]

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Snow When It is White

Chesterton tirelessly noted that we could look at a thing a millions times and never see what it truly is. How incredible and terrible would a snowy day be if seen through new eyes? Everything drowned in white, the ground as bright as the sun, everything stopped, everything muffled, as if the world were a bad-tempered child cleverly subdued and restrained with a fluffy white blanket. Indeed, when it snows our broken world receives a virginal purity it never deserved; it is graced with a covering … [Read more...]

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Coffee When It Is Black

The whole problem with our culture can be summed up by the coffee we drink. The science, nay the art, of drinking black coffee revolves around enjoying that which is not enjoyable. The phrase "acquired taste" means just that - the acquisition of tastes we do not have: the taste for bitterness, the taste for harshness. Learning to love a dark cup of coffee means loving the unlovable, which is the definition of Christian charity. It does not mean ignoring the bitterness and choking the stuff down. … [Read more...]

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Live Like a Martyr

The one real key ideological difference between a Muslim and a Christian is that the former may kill himself to be a martyr while the latter must be killed by some one else. In this lies the great truth of Christianity; that man cannot reach God by his actions, no matter how drastic they may be. God reaches us.Interestingly, the term "martyr" did not always mean what it does to us now. Biblically, it was used to mean witnesses to the faith who risked death, and were willing to die for their f … [Read more...]

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