O Sapientia! (O Wisdom!)

As Pat Gohn's column so rightly pointed out yesterday, our Advent is like a pregnancy, and we are nearing our culmination.Finally, we come to the last week of Advent, and the gorgeous O Antiphons which precede the Magnificat at Vespers. They lead us into a quieter mindset, so that we can concentrate more fully on what is about to overtake us. As with every birth, everything will change; we will be changed, if we allow ourselves to be, by the coming of Christ, who makes all things new!I … [Read more...]

A Few Hours Off – UPDATE

15th-century Madonna Della Strada at GesuOne of our first stops in Rome was to Gesu, which was around the corner from our lodgings.I fell in love with this Madonna and Child. Amid all of the beauty of that church, and it is very grand and gorgeous, this simple image stood out. Our Lady of the Way, or Our Lady of the Road.With the liturgical year ending, the work (thankfully, blessedly) increasing, I realize I need to take a few hours away from the desk and the computer, so that I can get … [Read more...]

Return to Bliss

Isn't this a great picture? Flowers in the Utah desert, after a rain.Even what is hard and barren may be cracked open, to reveal an inner beauty hardly guessed at.Bliss.Let's revisit a little bliss:. . . we are His raiment, and whether we consent to it or not, we will eventually be worn out and put away, and He will go on, living in others, arrayed in whatever garment they offer. Whether we are thin, fat, old, young, fit or paralyzed, or even "born with half a brain," God suits up … [Read more...]

Does this Scripture Verse Trouble You?

Dr. Mark D. Roberts recently wrote about Psalm 137:9, a verse which he said makes us most uncomfortable:The verse is "He shall seize and shall dash your children on the rock!" and of it, Robert's writes:How can any part of Scripture seem to celebrate the killing of babies? How in the world are we to make sense of this verse? How can we read it, not to mention pray it, as Christians? Didn’t Jesus call us to love our enemies and forgive them, not smash their babies against the rocks? How are w … [Read more...]


The Psalm-prayer from the third psalm of Lauds (Morning Prayer) spoke to me, today, and invited itself along as my lectio for today--the notion I will return to, throughout the day:Father, the body of your risen Son is the temple not made by human hands and the defending wall of the new Jerusalem. May this holy city, built of living stones, shine with spiritual radiance and witness to your greatness in the sight of all nations.The long road to Jerusalem is all encompassing--the interior … [Read more...]

"I cannot mistrust the grace of God." – UPDATED

Today brings us the feasts of three great saints, a bishop, Paulinus of Nola, and two martyrs, St. John Fisher, and St. Thomas More.Therefore, the day gives us a wealth of choices in the Office of Readings. After the scriptural reading from the first book of Samuel, we can peruse an edifying letter by Paulinus, ("only recently have I begun to breathe in the air of life; only recently have I put my hand to the plough and taken up the cross of Christ. I need to be helped by your prayers to … [Read more...]

The Paradoxes of Christianity -UPDATED

***It seems that Bill Maher, who has never demonstrated more than an adolescent understanding of religion, wrote recently in Newsweek, “The problem with faith ... is it kind of screws up your priorities. Your priorities shouldn’t be about saving your own (butt), which is the focus of Christianity.”Over at the National Catholic Register, radio host Tony Rossi writes:Is [Maher] right?Of course we Christians do want our souls saved so we can spend eternity in heaven. The concept Maher ignor … [Read more...]

The perfection of the LOTH

Sometimes - frequently, in fact - one settles in to pray the Liturgy of the Hours and the hour (any one of them) strike simply the perfect chord with the day.Vespers was like that, tonight:Antiphon: Evil men said: Let us make the just man suffer; he sets himself against our way of life.Psalm 62Perfection.You can always get an audio of the hours for each day here: … [Read more...]

Lenten Themes

Always, as I prepare for Lent (and there is a big Lenten post coming up with lots of links, reading suggestions etc), I find that there is a common theme that is being put before my eyes -something that I figure I am meant to particularly pray about, work on or discipline myself to, with God's grace, over the course of Lent.Now, clearly, I am such a wretched and faulty creature that any headway I do make (and it is scant) is pure gift and not by my own merits. Someone asked me the other day … [Read more...]

Old and New On the Square's

"On the Square" is, of course, the featured daily article of First Things Online, and I am remiss in that I had intended to link to the Ronald E. Osborn two-parter posted on Monday and Tuesday. Entitled Obama’s Niebuhrian Moment, it is a long and rather magnificent exposition of the influence of Reinhold Niebuhr on President Obama, as exposed in his Nobel-Prize acceptance speech.In his December 10, 2009, Nobel Peace Prize acceptance speech, President Barack Obama offered a vigorous defense of … [Read more...]