A Geek's Analogy to Prayer

Was talking to an IT fellow about internet access-issues and the sorts of big-and-small server issues that are the everyday bane of those who make their living on the internets and he described a recent moment of angst: It is SO incredibly frustrating when you try EVERYTHING you know and most things you barely understand to fix a problem and NONE of it works. Then of course someone else looks at it and goes - "Oh there's a password in this file over here that we forgot to change yesterday, … [Read more...]

Seriously, who triumphs, here?

My "Surrender" piece on the home page, and my blog post which expands on it, are creating some angry or confused reactions. I anticipated that, to an extent, and wish I were a better writer, so there would be less confusion, less anger. Fortunately, the Holy Spirit has, via Taylor Marshall, provided a visual aid that touches on my point: our lives are not really ours. The world is not ours. Civilization, even...is not ours: Look at the picture, and tell me who triumphed. Who won? Your … [Read more...]

Surrender unto Surrender for Peace – UPDATED

I admit, my Tuesday column requires some patience. If you jump too quickly you're going to think I'm saying Christians should never defend themselves. Jesus surely didn’t preach that; he didn't preach a crusade either. He taught us to turn the other cheek. Our instincts tell us that turning the other cheek is stupid, but this is what Christ preached. He did not teach that we were meant to conquer others—be they radical Islamists, or gay activists, or evangelical atheists—but that we … [Read more...]

Get Your Patron Saint for 2011 – UPDATED

Regular readers know that around this time each year I have been fortunate enough to have someone "pull a patron saint" - someone who will be a specific teacher and friend for the coming twelve months. My patron for 2010--you can see his picture in the sidebar--has been the great St. Philip Neri, of whom I knew nothing beyond the fact that he was famous for his sense of humor. I did some research on him, bought a book and found that there was much more to this "Apostle of Rome" than his … [Read more...]

A 2011 Gift to Self & the World

Christmas has, in too many ways, become the equivalent of an overdone theme-park vacation. By its end, one is knock-kneed with exhaustion and desperately in need of a genuine opportunity to rest. A Christmas snow, like the one we’ve just had, does wonders to cull the silence. A few inches of white powder brings an unusual and welcome softening of sound—in cities, the hum of traffic is muffled; in the suburbs even the broom of the ubiquitous snowblower is reduced to a faint and unintrusive … [Read more...]

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...]

"Are you a woman of God?" UPDATED

That's the question Sr. Lisa Doty got from a kid in trouble: “Yes, I am,” I responded, “is there something I can do for you?” Looking down at his feet, he stammered, hardly audible, “I’m not sure what you can do, but I really could use your prayers.” He went on to explain how he had gotten into a lot of trouble at school, and as a result of it, he was expelled. Naturally, his folks are angry, and they worry he won’t be able to go on to college. “I’ve ruined everything! I … [Read more...]

A Few Hours Off – UPDATE

15th-century Madonna Della Strada at Gesu One 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...]

The Fire of Pain and Pride

Take a moment to read Thomas L. McDonald's insightful and humble piece on how he heard God speak to his heart and soul. There are Christians who seem to believe that God only speaks through words. This is a rather puzzling and limiting idea for a creator who gave us five senses plus an imagination and intellect. God spoke through Mozart and Bach, through Caravaggio and Monet, through Shakespeare and John Donne, through St. Thomas Aquinas and Pope John Paul II. He speaks in many languages: … [Read more...]

A Habit, A Bus Stop, A Community

The third entry in the Habit of Witness series over at Patheos is a tiny miracle of a story that gave me goosebumps, but the warm kind, and so it seems particularly well suited to this weekend, when we think about the people who have gone before, and the people who are with us now, and how our smallest reaching out toward one another may be precisely the movement by which the Holy Spirit wishes to travel. Sr. Lisa M. Doty, FdCC, of Nunspeak, shares a one-on-one encounter at a bus stop that … [Read more...]


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