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...]

"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...]

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 abo … [Read more...]

Pryor, Bruce, VH-1, & Coarsened Culture

I've said more often than I care to remember that our culture and our media are being controlled by perpetual adolescents who act and think like eternal 14 year olds, but after reading David Mills' essay on the home page today, I'm thinking I have to adjust the age downward. Watching a VH-1 roast, Mills observes:It is hard to exaggerate the crudity of the performance: not so much the crudity of the language and subjects, but its intellectual crudity. Every single remark was the foul-mouthed … [Read more...]

A Habit Story & a Challenge!

A couple of weeks ago my On the Square piece took at look at the visual witness of the religious habit, and wondered whether it might not be worth it for some communities to take a second look at the wearing of them.Happily, that piece has inspired the Nunspeak blogger, Sr. Lisa--a Canossian Sister (like St. Josephine Bakhita) to begin a blog-series chronicling encounters she and other sisters have had that occurred because of the habit.She calls the feature "In the Habit" and her first … [Read more...]

The Secret Place…

The face is the mirror of the mind, and eyes without speaking confess the secrets of the heart. --Saint JeromeEven though it sometimes means I do not get a joke, or a discreet tease, there are times I am thankful that the internet is faceless. My face, my eyes, they give away everything.But that I am forbid To tell the secrets of my prison house, I could a tale unfold whose lightest word Would harrow up thy soul, freeze thy young blood, Make thy two eyes like stars start from their … [Read more...]

What Do You Really Believe?

It's a great question to stop people of faith in their tracks and get them pondering, "well, what DO I believe."I remember once watching an old Mother Angelica Live broadcast and hearing her say (paraphrase), "do you really believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, born of a woman..." and thinking, "that's a good question to ask; it zeros in on the whole mystery of the Incarnation which is foundational to the rest."Over at Patheos, they're beginning a new multi-week series that asks the … [Read more...]

The Glory of God on Your Face -UPDATED

Nothing thrills a writer more than to read something and tsk wistfully about it, "boy, I wish I'd written that!"Which is how I began my morning. Thrilled and wistful!The great Pat Gohn has written something truly wise, wonderful and valuable in Something of the Glory of God Shines in Your Face. I'm calling it today's must-read:If we lined up all the major issues of Catholic social teaching and compared them to the Himalayas, the “dignity of the human person” would be Mount Everest… the mo … [Read more...]

I'm at the WaPo…

In a roundaboutacious way - a rerun of my Good Friday piece at NPR … [Read more...]

A Creche, B-16 & Your Opinion, Please

I tease you with a splendid picture (they get a little fuzzy with cropping/shrinking) from Rome in order to entice you into answering a question for me.What you see there is perhaps the most exquisite little chapel in Rome, in the great, mostly-5th century Santa Maria Maggiore (St. Mary Major). The whole church is breathtaking (I am going to someday pattern my floors on the swirly designs therein), but this particular picture is of the Nativity chapel, designed by Arnolfo di Cambio. The … [Read more...]


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