2013 Christmas Stamps Speak to Common Humanity

Apparently while I was on vacation, I missed a wee brouhaha about a US Postal Service ad that managed to promote "Holiday" stamps without including the Christmas-themed ones, and nary a Christian image in sight.Well, if you haven't seen them, yet, here they are:I love this year's Madonna selection, "Virgin and Child" by Jan Gossaert -- I like how Mary presents her son and Lord to with a casual open gesture, while also resting her head on her hand as we mothers do, partly in wonder … [Read more...]

Adoration and the Guy in Church with the Gun. Er, Rifle.

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So, I haven't been feeling great these past few weeks -- it's one of the reasons for the scant writing; between the aches and pains and the fuzzy brain, reasoning has been a challenge for me (that is, more of a challenge) and it's difficult to write with coherence when you feel like you are about to die right...this...minute.Tomorrow I go for more lab work -- including some gross stuff that goes on over a few days -- so hopefully by next week we will know more. On the one hand, it's … [Read more...]

Pillar of Cloud, Water of Life: All of a Healing Piece & Peace

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For a little while longer, we are still in Christmas, but every day the mysteries of the season seem to wither a little, like the leaves of the poinsettias; the expectation of Advent seems far away, and in just a few days we celebrate the Baptism of the Lord, and enter -- with some sense of refreshment, because after a time we long for the comforts of what is routine and regular -- into Ordinary Time.The Baptism of the Lord is being presaged in the readings and prayers of the Divine Office. … [Read more...]

Mary Anne Marks, Harvard ’10 -UPDATED

This is really charming, and comes our way thanks to reader Jenny, whose son graduated from Harvard University (motto: Veritas ) last month, with this young woman, Mary Anne Marks.Ms. Marks, a classics and English joint concentrator hailing from Queens, NY, chose to give her salutatory address in Latin; and manages to be engaging and lively with this "dead" language:You can read read the speech, here.Come the fall, this gifted, confident and serene young women will head to … [Read more...]

A Most small-c Catholic Drama

Over at Pajamas Media, I have a piece that you might call an addendum to my weekend article at First Things.In 2009 an Arizona woman, pregnant with her fifth child and suffering from pulmonary hypertension (an often, but not always fatal complication), consulted with her doctor and the ethics committee member on call — a Catholic Sister of Mercy — and obtained an abortion at the St. Joseph’s Hospital and Medical Center.As the story has gone public, the reactions have been predictable across r … [Read more...]

Immigration & the Storm Next Time

Last week, I was in Brooklyn taping a few episodes of In the Arena, and one of the drivers, taking a route that brought us past The Green-Wood Cemetery, reminisced about Park Slope, where he had lived all his life."We were working class, then. Our fathers were train conductors and shoe salesmen. No, we'd never be able to afford to live here. We'd cut through Prospect Park to Ebbets Field to watch the Dodgers. In the summer, they'd close off four city blocks to create a play area for us … [Read more...]

The Value of a Good "Mea Culpa"

Reposted, by request, from 2007:It's struck me for a while, now, that we Catholics, who begin each Mass with a Penitential Rite meant to free us from the lesser - not grievous or mortal - sins, have been short-changing ourselves by our choice in how we do it.In most parishes today, the Penitential Rite will be a series of affirmations tied in to the Kyrie, so you might hear something like this:"Lord Jesus, You are the Light of the World and our Salvation, Lord Have Mercy" (to which the … [Read more...]

Prayer is ruining me for blogging…

I love my oratory. It's so nice, so restful, so mine. Going there to pray every day ("going there;" it's on the other side of my desk) just...shapes the whole day.But it's really playing hell with my blogging and the direction of the blog.I mean, here's my morning: I shower, get dressed, wrap the towel around my wet head (hey, it's a handy headcoving!) and then go to my oratory. I light tea candles, one before each Icon, one before the Crucifix, one before my little pewter statues. … [Read more...]

St. Therese & Our Own Genius

Ste. Thérèse de L'Enfant Jesus et de la Sainte FaceFrom the Responsory for today's Office of Readings:From the very beginning, O God, you came to me with your love, which has grown since my childhood - Its depths I cannot fully grasp.O Lord, how great is the goodness you have stored up for those who fear you. - Its depths I cannot fully grasp.Coming directly after Therese's nearly ecstatic words in the second reading, the quiet acknowledgment of ongoing mystery and unplumbable depths i … [Read more...]

Mariette in Ecstasy

And Christ still sends me roses. We try to be formed and held and kept by him, but instead he offers us freedom. And now when I try to know his will, his kindness floods me, his great love overwhelms me, and I hear him whisper, Surprise me. --Mariette Baptiste, Mariette in EcstasyIt has been a long time since I first read it, but last night I found within this wonderful and strange novel by Ron Hansen, a permanent Deacon in the Catholic Church, things I have longed to share since my … [Read more...]


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