St Patrick's Breastplate & Lent

Reposted from 2007 It is not what thou art, nor what thou hast been, that God looks upon with his merciful eyes, but what thou wouldst be. – The Cloud of Unknowing. Keep before your own eyes that which you would wish to be. Don’t be distracted by what other people are, but keep focused as much as possible, on your own soul. We all have regrets. We all wish we’d not done some things in our lives (many things, in my case). We all have things we hate about ourselves. But we were all born … [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...]

And quieter, still…

If the lost word is lost, if the spent word is spent If the unheard, unspoken Word is unspoken, unheard; Still is the unspoken word, the Word unheard, The Word without a word, the Word within The world and for the world; And the light shone in darkness and Against the Word the unstilled world still whirled About the centre of the silent Word. O my people, what have I done unto thee. Where shall the word be found, where will the word Resound? Not here, there is not enough silence Not on the sea … [Read more...]

Lenten Retreat Day

Took this with my phone. Came out well, didn't it? I know, I'm very quiet. Sorry. It's a quiet Lent. I feel so disinclined toward reading or writing about politics, and spiritually this has been a very stillpoint/nothing, emptying sort of Lent; often (and this may come as no surprise, to some of you) there is just nothing going on in my head. You could roll bowling balls through there and hit nothing. Drop a penny on my skull, you'll hear an echo. As I said, some of you may have … [Read more...]

Random Lenten Thoughts – UPDATED

I love spending time going through my various "Quotations" books. I have Bartlett's,of course, and many others, some from the popular culture, some from politics, some from business and so forth. I have always wished to be better-educated than I am, and I find the "quote" books to be an expeditious way of familiarizing myself with the thoughts of writers, philosophers, thinkers; often reading a provocative quote from a writer will be the springboard for a brief obsession - a flirtatious and … [Read more...]

Breaching the Resistance of the World

I've written many times, albeit rather clumsily, on the notion that abortion prevents the absolute love of God, ever ancient, ever new, from entering into the world, and thus serves darkness, not light. I feel compelled to write more about that, in the coming days, but for now I must share this incredible insight by the servant of God Madeleine Delbrêl, a French laywoman and writer who died in 1964, and who manages -at the end of this excerpt- to say what I have meant, so succinctly, albeit, … [Read more...]

Just for Anchoress readers:

Picking up on something Fr. James Martin wrote in a chapter on Friendship With God, in his latest book, The Jesuit Guide to Almost Everything; A Spirituality for Real Life, I asked Fr. Jim: You talk about tuning into the various ways God can actively communicate with us in "real time," -emotions, insights, memories, physical feelings - what you seem to be describing is a kind of "everyday" and casual mysticism. Catholics tend to be very careful when it comes to mysticism, unwilling to … [Read more...]

KKK & Catholics

This is not what you think. See here Yeah, that was news to me, too, but then again, the Crescat is all about blowing the mind: ... I once had the pleasure of attending a Nascar event with a certian Franciscan friar friend dressed in his brown Capuchin habit. You would not believe the questions people stopped us to ask him. My favorite of course being, "are you in the KKK?" Wearing a habit to a Nascar race in North Carolina proved to be quite a teaching moment. I always wondered what would … [Read more...]

Lent: Back to Eden

"Most probably we are in Eden still. It is only our eyes that have changed." --G.K. Chesterton, Introduction to The Defendant Somehow Lent always seems to lead me, in one way or another, toward Eden. This year -and coinciding with a Lent that seems to be all about re-appreciating family- I find myself back in Eden thanks to this thoughtful piece about birth control and its effect on vocations, including the vocation to marriage. Writes Fr. Dwight Longenecker: The second shift due to … [Read more...]

Having a Retreat Day

Will be taking occasional retreat days during Lent. This is one of them. Time for prayer and spiritual reading. I like this, from this morning: Are you assailed by temptation of the serpent? Then gaze at the mystical serpent lifted up on Calvery; see there our Lord victorious and triumphant in his bodily death, and the cross will prove a healing remedy. -- Saint Augustine Could it be, after all, that within our crosses are all our remedies? My Lectio. … [Read more...]

March 1st: To Confession!

The Archdiocese of New York , in a move that will be replicated in many Diocese throughout the country, will be offering 'round the clock confession on March 5-6. A well-publicized 24-hour period of confessions has proved to be an effective invitation to the sacrament, and there are always big "turn-outs," which some might find surprising. As I am swamped today (in a good way) I wanted to direct you to Deacon Greg's very personal, thoughtful and inspiring story of his own transformative … [Read more...]

Incarnate Word = Undercover Boss

I've never seen the show Undercover Boss, although I do think the premise is interesting. Deacon Greg brings his appreciation for the program into this week's homily: [The undercover] CEOs got to experience what their employees have to put up with - indignity, long hours, low pay, sexism. But they also got to share in the spirit that sustains these workers - optimism, faith, love of family. They saw the enthusiasm and sense of humor that some people bring to even the most menial jobs. The … [Read more...]

Lenten Disciplines

A note by the Servant of God Elisabeth Leseur, a married French laywoman whose cause for canonization is being studied. She died in 1914, and her musings moved me; I identify muchly, particularly with the last bit. I have jotted down in my notebook my lenten resolutions, but I want to confirm them here. I must truly renew my life, and it is God whom I ask in all simplicity to transform me. I want to live interiorly more spiritually, exteriorly more gently and lovingly so as to make God … [Read more...]

Call an assembly, proclaim a fast!

And so we begin, again, the forty days of finding our way back to the God who says, "even now, return to me with your whole heart . . . rend your hearts, not your garments and return to the Lord, your God." I have always appreciated that idea of "rending" the heart. Take your hands and tear it open, and expose yourself to God, willingly, needfully, humbly. Open wide the heart; let the poisons that have hardened it or fouled its workings drain out. Make room for God, who will replace our … [Read more...]