Prayer and Fasting for Christians in Near and Middle East

This morning, I read this and felt a huge interior push to take up a fast and prayer for these brothers and sisters of ours:The silence of our friends – the extinction of Christianity in the Middle EastThe last month and a half has seen perhaps the worst anti-Christian violence in Egypt in seven centuries, with dozens of churches torched. Yet the western media has mainly focussed on army assaults on the Muslim Brotherhood, and no major political figure has said anything about the s … [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...]

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...]

Ancora Imparo; 2 Thoughts

Ancora Imparo (I am still learning.) - MichelangeloIt strikes me that the journey of faith is similar to that of an artist's growth. Both the spiritual seeker and the artist travel the interior road, and since the road is infinite, they are -no matter how long they study and seek and work- still at the beginning. We are all still learning.This is what Archbishop Anthony Bloom wrote in his excellent book, Beginning to Pray, which I posted on here. In his opening paragraph, he writes:As … [Read more...]

A Study in Contrasts

Two Polish men.Both artists.Both "brilliant."Both persecuted by Nazis, in their native land. One was a prisoner, one was a slave. When the Nazis left, the Communists came.One, Roman Polanski, becomes a filmmaker. He encounters a 13 year old girl.One, Karol Wojtyla, becomes a priest. He too, encounters a 13 year old girl.After his encounter, the filmmaker -still a youngish man- runs away, out into the world, saying "everyone wants to do what I did." He lives what is for the most … [Read more...]

Crucifix on my Oratory

One of these days, I will learn how to take a picture out of a digital camera (or my phone) and post a picture of my Oratory for you.Suffice to say it is makeshift. I have a cushion for sitting or kneeling (it's big). I've pushed a glass-topped credenza to the wall, leaned four Icons against it, and I have these solid brass angel/candleholders I picked up for cheap some years ago at an antique shop. Tealight candles scattered among a few smaller Icons - it's very restful and very simple, … [Read more...]

Praying to Obama?

A while back I wrote: Are we making Idols of our Ideologies?It's a good question, one to keep on a personal backburner whenever we find our political passions inflamed.I thought of it today as I watched this video of Obama supporters apparently calling on the name of the then-president-elect, in their intercessory prayer.Ed Morrissey rightly wonders what it is we're hearing.When I first watched it -guided by the captions- I heard "Obama," and of course, reacted to that with disgust. … [Read more...]

“That is God’s Milk…”

shutterstock gods milk

I am currently reading Orthodox Archbishop Anthony Bloom's Beginning to Pray. It's a fascinating little book with so many valuable nuggets on each page that it's hard to excerpt, but today being Yom Kippur, I thought I'd share this with you:In the life of Moses, in Hebrew folklore, there is a remarkable passage. Moses finds a shepherd in the desert. He spends the day with the shepherd and helps him to milk his ewes, and at the end of the day he sees that the shepherd puts the best milk he … [Read more...]

Yom Kippur; Fast & Pray

I know many people of many different faiths are taking today to fast and to offer prayers of atonement, reparation, contrition - for the sake of the whole world.I will be joining in, and will (by God's grace) pray all seven offices of the day (Vigils, Lauds, Terce, Sext, Nones, Vespers & Compline) with great mindfulness.And to get us all started, the Avinu Malkeinu (translation at link).I'll give you two, because they're both good; first the traditional, cantored by the astonishing … [Read more...]

Please renew prayers for Ben

I know that I do a lot of asking for prayers for people, and it's sometimes hard to keep track (you should see my prayerbook! Names, lines, names, lines...) But a few days ago I posted a prayer request for a young boy who was dying:Ben had a heart attack a few days ago on the soccer field. His heart attack it turns out, was from a huge blood clot in his leg, which has since been amputated below the knee. He is stabilizing but still in need of much prayer.For a few days it looked like things … [Read more...]


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