Absent Grown-Ups: Over-sexed and Material-Worlded to Death

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My column at First Things today is about what creates grown ups in the world, and what happens to the world when we resolutely refuse to be raised into it:A psychotherapist friend once confessed to me that she still makes each of her five grown children call her on rainy nights, to tell her they are safely at home. “So many mothers run away from their children or put them in nurseries or go out to work,” Dorothy Day noted, “because they can’t stand . . . the suffering that such love entails … [Read more...]

Lino Rulli: “Perfect people don’t inspire me…”

Lino press kit

Okay, I've been very upfront about it, so we already know that I am an idolator!But perhaps you didn't know how bad it has become.Take a look:Aye, that's not just a copy of Lino Rulli's new book, Saint: Why I Should be Canonized Right Away, but a medal, and a prayer card and, yes, an I-mean-business 7-day candle.Let's call it what it is: The Shrine of Saint Lino de Sirius-ly Imperfect, patron of "Catholic Guys" and Gals, Bookies, and People Who Expect Every Flight to End … [Read more...]

Small Steps Book Tour Ends Here!

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Hey there! This is the final stop in the Small Steps Blog Tour, hosted at CatholicMom.com to celebrate the release of the latest CatholicMom.com book, Small Steps for Catholic Moms: Your Daily Call to Think, Pray, and Act, by Danielle Bean and Elizabeth Foss.Think: "Do not be disturbed by the clamor of the world that passes like a shadow."Pray: Infant Lord, the world becomes noisier and noisier as we approach your birthday. Help me to remember that infants are best appreciated in the … [Read more...]

Craving Silence to Hear: Atchison Blue

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If I am late coming to a review of Judith Valente's new book -- which is currently being featured in the Patheos Book Club, it is only because the pope keeps all of us very busy these days, and Atchison Blue: A Search for Silence, a Spiritual Home and a Living Faith is too good for a slap-dash mention. After reading, it needed time for absorption, and even some revisits, to do it justice.People are fast to make comparisons between Atchison Blue and Kathleen Norris' beloved modern classic, … [Read more...]

Remarks to Catholic Marketers, Shop Owners

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A few weeks ago I had the opportunity to meet and talk with members of the Catholic Marketing Network at their annual conference and trade show. The show is always delightful -- walking amidst a convention hall of Catholic wares, tsotskies and books is my idea of a very good time, indeed, and of course, I also got to photobomb the pope!And of course, there was the wine-and-cheese book-signing sponsored by Ave Maria Press, which was great fun and looked like this:The conference … [Read more...]

Look at Me: Elmore Leonard, RIP

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"If work was a good thing, the rich would have it all and not let you do it." -- Elmore LeonardElmore Leonard has passed away. The world is a little dimmer and a little dumber, today.One of my favorite writers -- and the source for a few of my favorite films, too. I will have to watch "Get Shorty" tonight in his memory.His "Ten Rules of Writing" are succinct and perfect:Elmore Leonard's Ten Rules of Writing1. Never open a book with weather. 2. Avoid prologues. 3. … [Read more...]

“He who hates God, hates everybody…”

Angelica life lessons

This is a line I pondered in prayer last night, after an exceedingly tough day at work. It sounds simplistic. In fact, at first it sounds completely wrong, because on the surface we can refute it easily. But pray with it for a little while and it suddenly goes deep:Since a stroke in 2001, Mother Angelica has been fairly quiet, speaking only when she has to. On March 22, 2006, one of the sisters asked Mother for a bit of wisdom. Without hesitating she said:"He love loves God loves … [Read more...]

You have here no lasting city…not even a lasting nation.

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In today's Office of Readings (my favorite Office, go figure) comes this marvelously relevant, important and instructive excerpt from Thomas a'Kempis' classic, The Imitation of Christ:Turn to the Lord with your whole heart and leave behind this wretched world. Then your soul shall find rest. For the kingdom of God is the peace and joy of the Holy Spirit. If you prepare within your heart a fitting dwelling place, Christ will come to you and console you.His glory and beauty are within you, … [Read more...]

A good day for this book: Voices of the Saints

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I happened to be talking to Julie Davis -- who is the primo go-to person when pondering any book, because I do believe she may have read them all! -- about what collections of "lives of the saints" we would recommend. I have a few that I like a lot, and they're all well-known award winners: Father Jim Martin's My Life with the Saints, Colleen Carroll Campbell's My Sisters, the Saints and Robert Ellsberg's All Saints. And I've always liked Lisa Hendey's collection for Catholic Moms.Julie … [Read more...]

Talking with Matthew Bunson: Sherlockian and Catholic Scholar

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One of the loveliest moments of my career occurred in Pittsburgh, during the 2011 Catholic Media Conference, when Dr. Matthew Bunson strolled up to me and wondered if I wanted to get a cup of coffee. I did, and our conversation was a delightful and unusually frank first chat between strangers.Matthew Bunson wears many hats; he is Senior Correspondent for Our Sunday Visitor and a senior fellow of the St. Paul Center for Biblical Theology, and serves as editor of The Catholic Answer magazine, … [Read more...]


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