Lower than Death: An Easter Dark Devotional

 “Did You ever know loneliness, did You ever know need? Do You remember just how long a night can get? When You were barely holding on and Your friends fall asleep And don't see the blood that's running in Your sweat Will those who mourn be left uncomforted While You're up there just playing hard to get?”      - from “Hard to Get” by Rich Mullins I wish it were only a sick pilgrim thing, trying to find the object of dark devotion on the happiest day of the liturgical calendar, mil … [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...]

Stations of the Cross: A Spectator to the Execution

You have my whole heart. You always did. —Cormac McCarthy, The Road  Imagine for a moment the greatest love of your life. Your beloved. This person is the center of your existence, a person who makes you feel truly alive. Before you met your beloved, you were anxious, distracted, frail, broken. But now in your emerging love, you feel strong. You feel alive. You don’t know what you were experiencing before, but it wasn’t this. This person has helped you understand your past, and you … [Read more...]

For the People Who Cry During Holy Week

On Palm Sunday, we process into church waving blessed fronds. The priest walks amongst us, bearing the crucifix. We're recreating a scene that has the power of a cruel joke: Our Lord, greatly feted by his people, riding to his kingship on a borrowed ass. And Jesus knows, as we know, waving our palms like spears, that this kingship means torture and death. The victory march is a death march, victory and death braided as intricately as the little girl next to me braids her fronds to pass the time. … [Read more...]

RIP Rich Mullins: Palm Sunday Dark Devotional

"You had no stones to throw You came without an ax to grind You did not tow the party line No wonder sight came to the blind You had no stones to throwYou rode an ass's foal They spread their coats and cut down palms For You and Your donkey to walk upon But the world won't find what it thinks it wants On the back of an ass's foal So I guess You had to get sold'Cause the world can't stand what it cannot own And it can't own You 'cause You did not have a home.Birds have … [Read more...]

What Your Outrage at LeFou’s Presumed Sexuality Says to the Mom of an LGBT Child  

In case you live more in your own little bubble than I do, there has been a good deal of controversy around the character of LeFou in Disney's reboot of Beauty and the Beast.Yes, THERE IS A SUPPORTING CHARACTER WHO MAY OR MAY NOT BE GAY.Despite the fact that this shocks no one, it has caused an uproar. Franklin Graham called for a boycott of Disney. Life Petitions (of LifeSite News fame) had a petition to “tell Disney ‘NO’ to the LGBT agenda in Beauty and the Beast.” A drive-in theater in … [Read more...]

Dark Devotional: Lazarus

 My uncle died a few weeks before Easter last year, an uncle who lived a complicated life wrought with struggle and isolating mental illness. Given the difficult task of planning a way to commemorate his life, my mom called to ask me if I would be the one to officiate the services. Not only had I not spoken to my uncle in about two decades, but he was a paranoid alcoholic, an angry recluse who was estranged from his family. Officiate his funeral?! To say what exactly? His life seemed … [Read more...]

Sick Confessions: I’m a Bad Pray-er

"You arrive at enough certainty to be able to make your way, but it is making it in darkness. Don't expect faith to clear things up for you. It is trust, not certainty." --Flannery O'Connor It’s almost here. My freaking ride. April 1. Three little days away.My past two practice rides left me panting, worn out, after riding only two miles.The shortest course for the ride is six miles. It looms over me, taunting, like the baseball uniform in my closet when I was 11.Any failure is your … [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.https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q34z5dCmC4MSo in this time of fasting, what … [Read more...]

Dark Devotional: Faith and Doubt in the Labyrinth

I am easily led to anxiety in unfamiliar situations. I don’t like to do things with other people, and though I recognize the necessity in community, I’d almost always prefer to go about my day on my own, for comfort's sake. Like most of us, I like certainty. Like most of us, I realize life isn’t very certain.While walking a labyrinth with a group of friends last week, I was brought to a place of holding this uncertainty in a new way. In our preparation to walk, we reminded one another that th … [Read more...]