Things Keeping Us Alive, June ’17

When I was young, summertime meant joy. And it mostly still does - the long days, the eagerness to be outside, even the suffocating heat of South Louisiana recalls days of summer break for school, freedom unlike anything else in my school-aged mind. But getting older means that freedom isn't as carefree as it once was.Maybe it's empathy that lessens the unbridled happiness. I know people are struggling right now. So summer's not as insular, not as huge a vacation for me anymore. And that is … [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. 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...]

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...]

13 Reasons Why: Netflix Invites us to Spiritual Works of Mercy For Holy Week

(Two alerts. This review talks about rape, bullying and suicide. It also contains a lot of spoilers for the TV show and book, 13 Reasons Why.)One of the terrible beauties of Holy Week is an invitation to not only enter the sufferings of Christ, but through our union with Him, be united with others in their suffering. This is not something we do willingly or embrace gladly. And, there are many areas of suffering we don't wish to enter into or even consider.Suicide is one of those topics. … [Read more...]

Things Keeping Us Alive, March ’17

How's Lent going for you, pilgrims?The 40 days of preparation before Easter is typically a time of somber reflection on our own mortality - you know, Catholic. Our Protestant famille likes to celebrate only the joy of the Resurrection, the empty cross. But we Catholics have Jesus' bloody body on our crosses; we symbolically focus on what came before the Resurrection. Lent can be symbolized by the crucifix. in this time of fasting, what … [Read more...]

Road Trip Homilies: Wounded Knee and the Snake Givers

As I walked along a sandy path in Badlands National Park, I noticed a sign warning me to "Beware of Rattlesnakes." The wind stinging my cheeks reminded that even if the snakes decided to brave the cold, they'd be sluggish and unlikely to bite.  Still, as I walked, I listened for the tell tale "rattttttttttetattatt" and prepared myself to leap out of the way.For some reason, I couldn't get snakes out of my mind as I drove to the Pine Ridge Reservation located south of Badlands. I'd taken this … [Read more...]

Things Keeping Us Alive – Feb. ’17

We recently and randomly declared it "Treat Yo Self Day" in the Sick Pilgrim community*. We were encouraged to do a little something extra ("lagniappe," if you speak Cajun) for ourselves and share a picture of how we went out of our way to treat ourselves. And since Sick Pilgrim isn't Rich Pilgrim, our treats were less about costs and more about little joys.Treat Yo Self Day was a not-so-subtle reminder that SELF CARE IS IMPORTANT. It's easy to get caught up in the stressors and … [Read more...]

Are You a Child of Thunder? Or a Vigilante of Love?

  On the first Sunday of the year, my priest printed out slips of paper with saints' names on them. He told us to choose one out of a basket after mass. Whomever we got, he assured us, would pray for us and be our patron for that year.It seemed like a good idea. But knowing the way God usually deals with me, some obscure saint I never heard of would probably pick me and I would have to really dig to understand the reasons why.So, after I mass, I pulled out the … [Read more...]

Sick Pilgrim and Sacramental Weird Fiction Writer, William Paul Blatty, Has Passed.

I'm sad today. William Peter Blatty has gone into the Unseen realm. As the writer of  The Exorcist, he blazed a trail for us modern sacramental weird fiction writers. He is a big influence on my own philosophy of writing and story telling. My favorite quotes of his: “It’s an argument for God,” he says today of the novel more often considered an entertainment. “I intended it to be an apostolic work, to help people in their faith. Because I thoroughly believed in the authenticity and validity … [Read more...]

The Wonder Podcast Episode I: Death in the Grand Canyon

 We've been talking about it for months. But, finally, here it is, the first episode of the Wonder podcast. You can download it on iTunes, Google Play or Podbean. If you like what you hear, please review it on iTunes--it really helps to get the word out--and consider supporting us as a "Friend of the Show" so we can make more Wonder.Episode 1: Death in the Grand CanyonEver been to “that place?” You know the one I’m talking about. Your skin tingles. Your breath catches. Maybe you … [Read more...]