Ashes, Ashes, We All Fall Down

My dear friend’s dog, Remus, is dying of cancer. Remus is a beautiful greyhound who my friend, Brad, emancipated from a cruel life of racing. When I heard of the diagnosis, I wrote a poem to him. After writing it, I realized that I was actually writing a prayer. I was praying to a dog, and the moon.THE MOON  Full moon shines tonight you see it, brother, better than I it was your kin who once howled and I simply gaze, amazed at how your pain must ring outside my senses It is round, a … [Read more...]

In Praise of Cigarettes

I begin with a generous pinch of finely cut tobacco, cradled inside a creased, rectangular sheet of paper, with a thin stripe of glue affixed to the outer edge that faces me. A tiny tobacco envelope. I massage back-and-forth between thumbs and forefingers until the tobacco shrinks into a tight cylindrical bundle. Roll, pinch, roll some more. Stop. Lick and press to seal; shape and trim; flame and light. Inhale, ingest, exhale."But cigarettes are disgusting!""Don't you know cigarettes are … [Read more...]

A Moving Interlude of Sand Animation

It is the first week of classes for the spring semester. Cold. It is also the week of my first formal tenure and promotion review. A busy week. In the middle of it, my dear friend and mentor, Tim Leonard, sent me a gift via e-mail. The YouTube clip below. I am using for my course tonight and share it here as an "I'll be right back," while I am away from the keyboard and blogging.Animation has to do with the soul; to animate is to give life, Spirit. To ensoul. This soulful sand animation p … [Read more...]

The Holy Family: A Portrait of Humility**

On today's Feast of the Holy Family we hear a story about parents losing their only child. Not for a few minutes or even a couple of hours: Mary and Joseph lose Jesus for days. How delightful!The Church draws our attention to a wonderfully confusing scene, where a frustrated Mary asks "Son, why have you done this to us? Your father and I have been looking for you with great anxiety." To this agitated question, the child Jesus poses another question --- "Why were you looking for me?"Why w … [Read more...]

The Sacred Excess of Christmas

Dear Fellow Catholics,Merry Christmas! Cristus natus est!It's party time. A time to feast and laugh and sing and make merry.A time to forgive debts and loosen belts. A generous time. A time to give and receive.There is a rigor to this holy season. It's a twelve day party. Stamina and grace are key. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12. Christmas is not a single day; it is plural. A season that began on the Feast of the Nativity and will continue until Epiphany.Are you pre … [Read more...]

The Politics of Guadalupe

In loving memory of Fr. Sam Homsey C.PP.S. (1910 - 2004) As a teenager, I played basketball on a small cement slab behind the parish rectory where we lived. My Dad was the pastoral coordinator at St. Patrick’s Catholic Church (in Brady, Texas) at the time. I was told that the place I played at was once the entryway for a small chapel dedicated to Our Lady of Guadalupe. In that small chapel, there would be Spanish-language Masses offered for the Mexican faithful who attended Mass in Spanish. I d … [Read more...]

Advent

Not Good Friday or Holy Saturday Dark, yes, but no suspense Pregnant, not sad No mourning or crying Just waiting Tapping my foot to Feasts and other holy days Nicholas, Ambrose, Guadalupe The air is ripe and flushed As her cheeks must have been Full of hope and promise Foretold.Meanwhile christmas rages and wars Singing, eating, never fasting Bumper stickers and atheist apologetics Electric lights, neon carols New movies shopping for a token Hanukah Concerts play cards I need … [Read more...]

Haw Wins: Pagan Christianity and the New Apologetics

In my recent reflection on James Wellman's book on Rob Bell, I tried to steer away from dismissing Bell altogether. I tried to be generous without being dishonest. I'm not sure if I did that, but I was left with an aloof sense that I didn't really have my say. "Oh well, no need to always be so critical." I moved on to my next book assignment: From Willow Creek to Sacred Heart. In it, I found nothing less than a complete take-down of the religious fads that Rob Bell and others have come to … [Read more...]

The Beauty and Sufficiency of Catholic Liturgy

Over the past year I've been writing a short book: Liturgy as Mystagogy: An Introduction to a Curriculum of Life. The sentiments motivating that project are one in the same with the memo I posted yesterday about Christmas. The governing idea is a familiar one. It echoes the directives from our most recent popes: we need to build and foster a domestic Church in our homes and families. This is at the very heart of the Year of Faith. Doing it is simple but rigorous. We must submit to the order and t … [Read more...]

Dear Fellow Catholics, It’s NOT Christmas

Dear sisters and brothers in Christ,I can hardly believe I'm writing this. It's embarrassing really. I feel like I'm telling someone "your zipper's down." But it's become clear to me that it needs to be said. Please, share this important --- albeit obvious --- note with your friends. Tell everyone. Maybe even your priest.Today is the 33rd Sunday in Ordinary Time. Advent is quickly approaching, but it's not here yet. You have to wait to wait.Since it's not yet Advent, it is surely not … [Read more...]


CLOSE | X

HIDE | X