Dark Devotional: Don’t Lay Your Hands on Me

“Philip went down to the city of Samariaand proclaimed the Christ to them.With one accord, the crowds paid attention to what was said by Philipwhen they heard it and saw the signs he was doing.For unclean spirits, crying out in a loud voice,came out of many possessed people,and many paralyzed or crippled people were cured.There was great joy in that city. Now when the apostles in Jerusalemheard that Samaria had accepted the word of God,they sent t … [Read more...]

Things Keeping Us Alive, May ’17

Sometimes April showers don't bring May flowers.Sometimes the thing keeping you alive last month gets taken off Netflix a few short days after you say it's a small joy in your life.Netflix is a cruel, cruel mistress. RIP, Scrubs.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TZDa2yQ_ncYI need to hear about small joys in peoples' lives. I love it. Those small, seemingly trivial things that make people smile are meaningful to me. And hopefully to you too.***Sarah Walsh owns a sm … [Read more...]

Looking Past the Miracle: The Poetry of Mary Szybist

I first heard Mary Szybist’s poems about 13 years ago in a St. Louis reading series. The illustrious restaurant/bar that hosted the series was dimly lit that night, save for strings of small white lights around the picture window to the street. The lighting created a large halo behind the readers—Szybist, a professor at Lewis & Clark College, and her husband, Jerry Harp. Szybist’s poems like “Via Negativa” enthralled me: Sometimes it’s too hard with words or dark or silence.Tonight I wan … [Read more...]

Dark Devotional: Three Ways to Survive the Mother’s Day Homily

Dear Catholic Women, If none of your children have any embarrassing quirks, or if your children are all under the age of 12 and haven’t made choices that cause you to want to crawl under the pew, then feel free to move on.  Enjoy the homily, enjoy the blessing your priest bestows on all the women in the parish and the flower they give you on the way out. But if you have teens and young adults learning their way in the world, if you have a child on the spectrum who struggles in the pews, if you … [Read more...]

I Walked into Suffering on the Road to Santiago

“For as long as humans have walked, they have walked to get closer to their gods." The words appear on top of a PBS website in white upon a black background—an over-simplified truth, smacking with arrogant certitude. At least that’s the way it feels to me when I stare at the screen just a few days after returning from pilgrimage on El Camino de Santiago, the Way of St. James, in Northern Spain.“For as long as humans have walked, they have walked to get closer to their gods.” The phrase rolls … [Read more...]

The Theology of Suffering Questions the Benedict Option

Allow me to tell you a story. A few years ago, I went through the worst period of my life so far, a time of personal suffering that I pray to God I never will have to through again. A painful divorce resulted in a move away from my children so that I could get a job that would cover their insurance. I gave up friends and a sixteen year career as a Presbyterian minister to enter the Catholic Church.Needless to say, I didn't enter the church with a shout of triumph, profound theological … [Read more...]

Dark Devotional: Fulton Sheen at Heaven’s Gate

I had walked since dawn and lay down to rest on a bare hillside Above the ocean. I saw through half-shut eyelids a vulture wheeling high up in heaven, And presently it passed again, but lower and nearer, its orbit narrowing, I understood then That I was under inspection. I lay death-still and heard the flight- feathers Whistle above me and make their circle and come nearer. I could see the naked red head between the great wings bear downward staring. I said, "My dear bird, we are wasting … [Read more...]

Jason Harrod: Trying to Say God

I don't think we should look solely to the church for our definitions of God. If God is greater than our ideas of God, then God can't be limited by a sermon.Enter the artists--the left-brained individuals who paint the world differently than most, in words, in color, in music. The conference Sick Pilgrim is co-hosting in June at Notre Dame will give us all the opportunity to pay attention to how artists are Trying to Say God. Not just writers, but visual artists and musicians to … [Read more...]

Dark Devotional: About All the Things

Ostensibly, I created all my social media accounts to keep in touch with friends and family.  Increasingly, however, platforms that were once about sharing pictures and keeping in touch are also the means by which I receive wave after wave of bad news. I’ve digitally surrounded myself with the socially concerned, and the world is a mess.In our gospel reading this Sunday, we find two disciples whose situation seems similar. “That very day, the first day of the week, two of Jesus' disciples w … [Read more...]

Things Keeping Us Alive, April ’17

Lent is over, and Easter is here. The time for mourning and sacrificing is over. The Church invites us into the season of celebration. After the pain and utter defeat at Calvary, He is risen. Alleluia, alleluia.If you're like me though, it's not quite as easy as that.I wouldn't call it "pessimistic"; it's not that simplistic. I'm just a little leery to expect undiluted joy.And I don't think I'm the only one who feels that way.Rather than be overwhelmed by icy ennui, I chose to … [Read more...]