Chick-fil-A! Lay Thyself Toward the Idol or Be Damned!

think correctly

When asked to define the greatest commandment, Christ Jesus answered: “You shall love the Lord, your God, with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the greatest and the first commandment. The second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself." It sounds simple, but that one-two punch of a commission is a constant challenge, and the work of a lifetime. The whole point my writing Strange Gods was to illustrate how idolatry, far from being a … [Read more...]

“It is Consummated”: the “Mad Eros of the Cross”

Christ the Bridegroom**

On the Cross, God’s eros for us is made manifest. Eros is indeed – as Pseudo-Dionysius expresses it – that force “that does not allow the lover to remain in himself but moves him to become one with the beloved” ("De divinis nominibus", IV, 13: PG 3, 712). Is there more “mad eros” (N. Cabasilas, "Vita in Cristo", 648) than that which led the Son of God to make Himself one with us even to the point of suffering as His own the consequences of our offences? Dear brothers and … [Read more...]

Gethsemane at Penn Station

Gethsemane

It is Holy Thursday, and that is a good thing. Even amid the controversial back-and-forths taking place over foot-washing and liturgy and women and the pope, I really, really need this Triduum. I. Personally. Me. And I'll tell you why. Something happened to me on Tuesday and nothing has been good or right since then. I went into Manhattan to address what I thought would be a group of Catholic communicators. Instead, I found myself talking, in a rather intimate setting, to a group of … [Read more...]

What hastens our dying and our rising

Monstrance Guilford

Though I am almost fanatical about keeping my books in good order, I found this scrawled on the blank back page of a book, from a retreat in 2009. Seemed meant to be found now, in these days of repentance, mourning and resurrection: When we meet God face-to-face, it is always a moment of grace, but too it is a moment of judgment for us. Judgment day, then, can be any day, any time, any particular moment of an hour. And so our death can happen many times; a process of conversion, a … [Read more...]

Hillary, Stop Being Coy! Fight Sexism; It’s YOUR TIME!

Mother Jones Martinez

While traveling yesterday I had a chance to catch up on my reading and discovered that Hillary Clinton is "thinking about" running for President. We love her when she is coy, don't we? I can't wait to see her new presidential posters. Remember this one, from 2008? 2008 was a big year for Democrat candidates drawn with just a hint of totalitarian flavor. Hillary's rising sun was reminiscent of Chairman Mao, Obama's posters often ran more toward soviet propaganda. That was then, and … [Read more...]

Feeding the Family for $7.50: What I Learned

Source/Inkwell Greetings

As Lent began, Billy Kangas -- who is an advocate for the hungry -- gave us 5 creative ideas for fasting. As Lent draws to a close, allow me to share something written by a reader whose family felt called to try one of Billy's challenging ideas, and who came away from the experience with a raised conscience, new awareness, and a determination to do more for hungry people everywhere. She prefers to remain anonymous -- so her deeds are seen only in secret by God. And we are in Holy Week; … [Read more...]

Reconcile Yourself to Resurrection!

When a Catholic comes from Confession, he does truly, by definition, step out again into that dawn of his own beginning. . .The accumulations of time can no longer terrify. He may be grey and gouty; but he is only five minutes old. - G.K. Chesterton

And be renewed! I'll be there, tomorrow, please join me! It has been two months since my last confession, and more than past-time for me to again avail myself of the soul-settling power and grace of this sacrament. And this confession will include -- among my copious other sins large and small -- "I yelled at a guy on the radio and was full of anger and uncharity, when I really did know better, but nobody steps on a nun in my town..." and "I went to Mass unwillingly because sometimes, … [Read more...]

A Palm Sunday of Stark Decision

crucifixscene

". . .the revelation is really quite simple- the Lord Jesus, God and King, will give his divine life for you, and will do so, even if you don’t deserve that kind of gesture and can do nothing to earn it. That’s the kind of God and King the Lord Jesus is- the kind who will give up his life for you. In fact his passion to give his life for you is so intense, that it takes the form of the cross. The gods and kings of the world, won’t do that. They take life. Sure they will make it … [Read more...]

The “it’s an honor to be mentioned” cliche

Strange Gods, now with Study Guide!

You know that whole, "it's an honor just to be nominated" thing that people say when they discover they're up for some sort of award? It's a true thing! I know, it sounds hackneyed and cliched and false, but it's a reality. I know it's a reality, because the Association for Catholic Publisher’s Excellence in Publishing Awards has announced their finalists for titles published in 2013, and I just learned that Strange Gods: Unmasking the Idols in Everyday Life is one of them! It is a … [Read more...]

Brendan Eich, Refusenik to an Idea cum Idol *UPDATED

man in stocks

Some great stuff over at OSV this week, particularly this and this, but I wanted to link a piece I contributed on the Brendan Eich story, wherein I flesh out my first thoughts, shared here. A mere two weeks after taking over as CEO of Mozilla, tech-prodigy and Javascript inventor Brendan Eich was released from his contract. No one had disputed either his leadership or creative abilities, and there was nothing in Eich’s management history that even hinted at unfairness or discriminatory … [Read more...]

Jesuits and Women: Helen Alvaré to America!

Helen Alvare

Hey, I was just joking when, on April 1, I said the Jesuits were about to admit women into the Society. Still, I was pleased yet tickled yesterday to get a press release announcing that Helen Alvaré would be joining the team over at America, as a contributing columnist. This is, by any estimation, "a good get" for America; it demonstrates the commitment of Editor-in-Chief Matt Malone, to move away from the bubbles, labels and the intellectual/ideological ghettos that we Catholics too often … [Read more...]

How I Loved My Kitschy Madonna!

dita von teese as mary

My column in the latest Catholic Answer Magazine, is entitled "Mary, Mystery and Imagination", and I explore therein the value of Catholic kitsch to a developing soul: Because my mother was devoted to Our Lady, and also susceptible to Catholic kitsch, my childhood home was filled with small plastic statues of saints and devotional artwork that fascinated for the sheer incongruity of it. On my bedroom wall, she had hung an image that looked for all the world as if Mary had brought the Baby … [Read more...]

The Bada-bing, Bada-boom Nursing Center

badabing

Many years ago, when we were only a few years married, my husband and I joined friends at a local club, for a New Year's Eve celebration. As the night progressed, we discovered that part of the entertainment included a young woman performing a strip-tease, down to her g-string and miniscule pasties, which she proceeded to set "fire" to, as she vacated the room. Perhaps it is because of my childhood history, but I have never been comfortable around such displays, which always strike me as … [Read more...]

Christ Crucified Explains it All…

crucifix all shall be well 3

A friend of mine, reading about Pope Francis' admission to children that he is sometimes fearful, wrote admitting that he too was often fearful -- debilitatingly so -- particularly when reading the headlines and watching our social dynamics. He wondered how to not be afraid. I told him, "I know I sound like a broken record, but get a crucifix." I told him to "study the crucifix while pondering the words of Julian of Norwich." Her words, juxtaposed against the crucifix, explain everything. … [Read more...]