On Being Distracted While at Prayer

strange gods cover tilt

Tom McDonald came across some very unhelpful advice on how to deal with distraction while at prayer. He turns to some of our Catholic prayer masters for better instruction, and you should go read it, because it's great, helpful stuff we don't read enough.But I also couldn't help remembering Sister Alice McConville, rc, who long ago gave me the sanest and simplest advice on dealing with a wandering mind at prayer. I wrote about it in Strange Gods:“To pray is to love,” she said, “and that i … [Read more...]

Techno/Science Geeks Should Not be Made to Cry – UPDATED

scolding

Anyone who knows (and loves) techno/science geeks knows a couple of things:1) They are generally sweet-natured people who are preoccupied with techno/science geeky thoughts.2) Because they are preoccupied with such thoughts, they are neither fussy, nor vain. Food is merely fuel, and clothes are mere bodily covering. They generally are not thinking about what they are eating, or wearing.3) A comet scientist who has just helped to land a probe on to a comet is unlikely think think, … [Read more...]

In the Land of No, “Yes” is a Most Dangerous Word

yes book

Its so much easier to say "no," isnt it?No, I cant change; no, I cant give up this person, or this opinion, or this thing. No, I wont do this; no, I cannot deal...Its is such a "safe" place, the Land of "No." You never have to step out of a comfort zone.It's very safe, but also very sterile. Here is what I wrote about the word "no" and its impact on the spiritual life, in Strange Gods:What has “no” ever created, besides Hell? And what is Hell founded upon but the “no” born of a … [Read more...]

“Mrs. Bishop” and the Theology of “but of course!”

It was a little over a year ago that a lady around these parts had declared herself to be Long Island's First Female Catholic Priest and managed to be kind of off-putting about it.Her vanity hits the nadir when she refuses to disclose her age. She wants to pastor the people, and gather them in, or something…but she will not give enough of herself, be open enough with herself, to even tell them her age.Ain’t she priestly, though? Really pastoral! Just like Francis!Today we read of ano … [Read more...]

Absorbing the Mind and Music of Sam Rocha

Late to love2

One of the great charms of Sam Rocha is that he hasn't much interest in thinking along easy or comfortable lines. Whether writing on education, or poverty or art, he is always just a little bit jarring. Sometimes you have to read a piece of his twice, or even go back to it a third time, to fully appreciate the depths and nuance of his arguments.This originality informs his musical ideas, as well. Not too many people, for instance, consider Saint Augustine's thoughts on love, humility, … [Read more...]

Gay and Catholic: A Vital Book for Our Time

Eve Tushnet Gay and Catholic Book

Over at the Patheos Book Club, they're talking about several interesting new titles -- it's always a good place to stop and explore books; like an actual, old-fashioned, store you can read excerpts while sipping coffee in your comfy chair.I'm particularly interested in their November offerings, because they include titles by Patheos Catholic bloggers, Lisa Hendey (whose book, The Grace of Yes) will be featured in the second half of the month, so more on that, later) and Eve Tushnet, whose … [Read more...]

Obama, “showing his shortcomings…”

As David Niven once said, "Ladies and gentlemen, that was almost bound to happen."Yes, I suppose it was unavoidable.Although very likely we all hoped, sincerely had hoped, that it would be otherwise, President Obama could not find anything like grace, maturity, professionalism, magnanimity or humility when responding to the undeniable drubbing his party took -- largely, it would seem, due to the weight of his own hubris-laden anchor -- in yesterday's election.Despite the … [Read more...]

Thomas Merton is a Time Lord!

Merton on Intercatholic squabbling

Read these observations on intra-Catholic squabbling, by Thomas Merton, Conjectures of a Guilty Bystander. He could be writing about our own era.Truly, nothing new under the sun. Somehow despite fractious councils and what appears to be our normal amount of intra-warring, the church remains. Have a little faith.Thanks to Greg Hillis, (on Twitter @gregorykhillis) for that delectable and consoling excerpt.Frank Weathers says Merton is a Time Lord. So it seems! … [Read more...]

As Hispanics Depart: Does Catholicism Ask Too Little of Us?

Image courtesy of shutterstock.com

Spent some time reading about how Hispanics are converting to Islam and Mormonism.It is striking to consider that while some in the church are suggesting that we need to require less of people, we are losing members to religions that are perceived to require "more" of them -- particularly as pertains to prayer and fasting, and even to what people wear. Hispanic women assert that the head coverings or "temple garments" they wear in obedience tend to give them a sense of "self-respect" that … [Read more...]

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Pope Francis Not Stupid; Knows What Marriage Is

If you can see something that's obvious, it's a pretty sure bet that the Pope can see it, too.:In an audience with members of an international Marian movement, Pope Francis warned that the sacrament of marriage has been reduced to a mere association, and urged participants to be witnesses in a secular world.“The family is being hit, the family is being struck and the family is being bastardized,” the Pope told those in attendance at the Oct. 25 audience.He warned against the common v … [Read more...]

Francis is a Chemist; Chemists Seek Out Surprises

Not everyone is in love with Pope Francis' remarks at the beatification of Blessed Paul VI, in particular they don't like all that talk of surprises:This is the perennial newness to be discovered each day, and it requires mastering the fear which we often feel at God’s surprises.God is not afraid of new things! That is why he is continually surprising us, opening our hearts and guiding us in unexpected ways. He renews us: he constantly makes us "new". A Christian who lives the Gospel is " … [Read more...]

When Neither Will Do: Either/Or Gives Way to Both/And

purses

Part three in the ongoing Saga of the Satchels, or "what happens when Lizzie tries to do something really simple and girly, like buy a new handbag."So, these arrived yesterday, both of them:On the left, the red Baggallini, which is a little larger than the bag I have carried for five years, but a little smaller than I had hoped. It may yet be too small to stash a light scarf. But I still really like it.On the right is the red vintage Scarleton bag, with which the devil Hallie … [Read more...]

Good for Voris; Now, About our Tendencies Toward Idols…

Good for Voris. A manful apology and restatement of his mission, and a sound refutation of a contingent of Catholics who are becoming increasingly unhinged toward Pope Francis and vile toward any who will not agree that he is an antipope and a threat to the church. I myself deleted several comments about Pope Francis today, including one calling him "Frank the Fraud", and I dropped a banhammer on someone actively wishing for his death.It is certainly interesting to watch the very people … [Read more...]

Kasper Apologizes; Suggests Catholic Media will Avenge Him!

Remember, just a couple of weeks ago, when Cardinal Walter Kasper was asked about the publication of Remaining in the Truth of Christ, which responded to his frequent public discussions on the reform of doctrinal disciplines?Kasper remarked, "that's how politicians talk."We could perhaps say the same about his latest words and apologies concerning his remarks about the African bishops participating in the Extraordinary Synod. The apology goes like this:“If one of my remarks about A … [Read more...]


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