Veteran's Day; Soldiers & Saints

Fr. Tim Vakoc, Military Chaplain, RIP A Hero is as a Hero Does Nice posts at Hot Air and at Deacon Greg's place and elsewhere, but I like this piece by Frank Weathers, because it reminds us that (as with this priest) soldiers and saints are sometimes one and the same: Martin of Tours by Charles L. O'Donnell "As I today was wayfaring"— Holy, Holy, Holy!—low— Said Christ in heaven's evening— The Holies yet more hushed and slow— "I met a knight upon the road; A plumed charger he … [Read more...]

"A Word in Season"

Ever have one of those moments, as you go through life, when someone comes along and says just the right word at the right time? It's usually when we needed it most! Or did you ever have a song play on the radio, or in the shuffle of the iTunes library, and you just knew that somehow that song was meant just for you? A moment of inspiration can make all the difference, for it contains a small blessing. Tucked deep in the Revised Standard Version translation of the Old Testament book of … [Read more...]

Parenting is daily catechetical ministry

In her excellent piece, on praying with children Kathy Coffey writes: Ever hear of an exercise class where you just talked about it? No coach would allow the idle chatter of “It’d be nice to stretch or do sit-ups.” The people who benefit from jogging do it regularly. So our children must see us making sense of our experience through the lens of prayer, trying to understand where God has been active, leaving an unmistakable but invisible imprint. Kathy is very right, of course. Our … [Read more...]

St. Leo the Great, Attila & Children of Men

One of my favorite saints and favorite popes, today we remember Pope St. Leo the Great, whose homily excerpts in the Divine Office never fail to stir me: For there are two loves from which proceed all wishes, as different in quality as they are different in their sources. For the reasonable soul, which cannot exist without love, is the lover either of God or the world. In the love of God there is no excess, but in the love of the world all is hurtful. And therefore we must cling inseparably to … [Read more...]

The Fire of Pain and Pride

Take a moment to read Thomas L. McDonald's insightful and humble piece on how he heard God speak to his heart and soul. There are Christians who seem to believe that God only speaks through words. This is a rather puzzling and limiting idea for a creator who gave us five senses plus an imagination and intellect. God spoke through Mozart and Bach, through Caravaggio and Monet, through Shakespeare and John Donne, through St. Thomas Aquinas and Pope John Paul II. He speaks in many languages: … [Read more...]

"What Does God Look Like?"

Deacon Greg has a way of finding the perfect graphic to go with a piece, and he has done it again here - using that painting (which I have shamelessly cribbed) to illustrate this excellent piece by Shu-Fy H. Pongnon "What if I told you Jesus was a Black man?" How I came to ask Marie this entirely provocative question five minutes before the start of 7:45 a.m. Mass is a mystery to me now, but I never forgot her answer and its delivery, "Jesus can't be Black, because I would never bow down to a … [Read more...]

All Saints Day & Modern Martyrs – UPDATE

Chapel & Tomb of St. Philip Neri, Chiesa Nuova, Rome Podcast of the Readings for All Saints Day via the USCCB Late yesterday, word began to come of a "bloodbath" during Mass at Baghdad's Syrian-Catholic cathedral. Details are still emerging; it portends nothing good: The terrorists, some wearing suicide vests, had taken over 120 faithful hostage at the Syriac Catholic Church of Our Lady of Salvation, one of Baghdad's largest, during Sunday mass and demanded the release of al Qaeda … [Read more...]

A Habit, A Bus Stop, A Community

The third entry in the Habit of Witness series over at Patheos is a tiny miracle of a story that gave me goosebumps, but the warm kind, and so it seems particularly well suited to this weekend, when we think about the people who have gone before, and the people who are with us now, and how our smallest reaching out toward one another may be precisely the movement by which the Holy Spirit wishes to travel. Sr. Lisa M. Doty, FdCC, of Nunspeak, shares a one-on-one encounter at a bus stop that … [Read more...]

Halloween & All Saints Day – UPDATED

Girlfriend needs to take a day off; I need to pray, play, rest and regroup - pull it together if I am going to be of any use at all for next week's elections and its aftermath or the ongoing shenanigans all around us, so today is a good day to read and consider signing this letter to politicians, and then veg-out and consider all things Halloween-y. I love Halloween for the fun of it, and also for the shivery edge to it that most of us don't think about much but which Mark Shea notes well, … [Read more...]

The "Safe Haven" of Grace

I like this piece by Tony Rossi, over at Patheos, about Nicholas Sparks, author of The Notebook, who talks about his latest novel, Safe Haven, but also about what he has learned about the safety and strength that comes from making a commitment, either to marriage, or to something else: Commitment through difficult times has been a factor in Nicholas Sparks’ relationship with God too. Both his parents were killed in accidents and his sister died of brain cancer, so the author admits to having … [Read more...]

"Recognized as a House of Prayer"

Earlier this month, Sr. Mary Catharine of Jesus, OP shared some wonderful insights into the value and meaning of the religious habit and wrote: The experience of one's clothing day remains etched in heart and mind. For Dominican nuns, that means etched in lines that are black and white! White for purity; black for penance. Two years after her clothing, a novice will profess vows, and a black veil will be placed on her head signifying that she has become "recognized as a house of prayer . . . … [Read more...]

Cardinal Van Thuan's Holiness

The process of beatification has begun for Vietnamese Cardinal Van Thuan who spent 13 years in prison for the crime of being a Catholic, and carries with him an almost transparent holiness. His story is similar to the story of China's Ignatius Cardinal Kung Pin Mei, who spent 30 years in prison for his faith, living the last part of his life in exile. Cardinal Ignatius Kung Pin Mei, in exile A little while back I wrote elsewhere: Like the Magi, the Church has been traveling resolutely … [Read more...]

Sociology doesn't "get" Hope or Holy Spirit or Work

Forgive me for this, but I really must direct your attention to three excellent pieces, all arising from the blog Summa This, Summa That: The first is by Pat Gohn (yes, that Pat Gohn and that Pat Gohn; she's going to be a star!) who writes about simple hope, in all of its paradoxical complexities: The author of the book of Hebrews puts it this way: “Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful. (Hebrews 10:23.)” That says a whole lot more … [Read more...]

The Habit Witnesses to the Self!

A few weeks ago, I shared some thoughts about the value of religious wearing habits. That brought a wonderful response from inspired by Sr. Lisa Doty who shared a moving story on her blog that eventually got adapted into a slightly smaller feature at Patheos, and it seemed like a series was born: The Habit of Witness. This series is not meant to in any way denigrate the wonderful service to the church and to the world that so many sisters do so beautifully and meaningfully while dressed in … [Read more...]