A good day for this book: Voices of the Saints

voices of the saints

I happened to be talking to Julie Davis -- who is the primo go-to person when pondering any book, because I do believe she may have read them all! -- about what collections of "lives of the saints" we would recommend. I have a few that I like a lot, and they're all well-known award winners: Father Jim Martin's My Life with the Saints, Colleen Carroll Campbell's My Sisters, the Saints and Robert Ellsberg's All Saints. And I've always liked Lisa Hendey's collection for Catholic Moms.Julie … [Read more...]

Part II The Chanting Coffin-Maker: Mother Dolores & Agape

Dolores and Don

In Part I of my interview with Mother Dolores Hart, she shared an insight that struck me as being profoundly important to our understanding of the vagaries of love: "all love relationships don’t end at the altar".What is love but a means to an end, the end being to become for each other a model of God? Not an idol, nor an icon/image but a model that helps us to know more fully the depths the Creator's love for each of us.Ponder it: here were Dolores Hart, beautiful young actress and Don … [Read more...]

“All love relationships don’t end at the altar!” – Part I

As a rule, when it comes to interviewing celebrities, Tony Rossi is our go-to guy, around here. Last week, though, he could not work into his schedule an opportunity to talk to Mother Dolores Hart, the actress-turned-Benedictine-nun who was the subject of last year's documentary, "God is the Bigger Elvis", and this year's best-seller, The Ear of the Heart. Mother Dolores is currently missing her cloister while she makes a major promotional tour in support of the book, and I had the opportunity … [Read more...]

Men on Strike: Fathers, Family, Frank Talk and First Things

Men-on-Strike-Cover (1)

Two weeks ago at First Things, I wondered what it would be like if Rep Jan Schakowsky (D-IL) had her way and women ruled the world.This week I'm continuing on the theme of men and women and families and faith:Family illiteracy, [author Mary Eberstadt] says, “breeds religious illiteracy.”In turn, increasing our scriptural literacy is one way for Christian communities to help their members understand and form families. Eberstadt’s book...has, in tandem with Helen Smith’s Men on Strike, … [Read more...]

Sanger’s Racist Genocidal Plans and The Masque of the Red Death

I haven't commented about the creepy "Happy Anniversary Video" celebrating 40 years since Roe v. Wade; the suave African American man, holding a rose and cooing about the wonder of this anniversary really is, as Marc Barnes writes, "the creepiest sh*t..."If you haven't seen the video, you should go to Marc's place and watch. One of the truly chilling (and, yes, creepy)things about it is that for African Americans, abortion in America has been a true genocide. As we learned last week, in New … [Read more...]

Advent: Love Words and Expectations in the Dark – UPDATED

choosing joy

I am so grateful that Advent is upon us; my favorite time of year! It is all hope, depth, mystery and promise of light, and it feels like we need it; it feels as though we have all been so occupied with politics, natural disasters, willful (and unpersuasive) belligerence and our own daily anxieties and stresses -- so many people I know are anticipating Christmas with dread rather than joy -- that we need our heads turned toward something great!In my column at The Catholic Answer I put it … [Read more...]

Making Love in the Light

My column at First Things for the upcoming Feast of the Ascension:It is this onenes Father Barron describes when he writes of the “interacting and interpenetrating fields of force” that are heaven and earth, constantly commingling, and within the church embodying a true encounter between bridegroom and bride. That is considered archaic language, I know — Flannery O’ Connor called it “a metaphor that can be dispensed with” — but the brilliant Ms. O’ Connor was uncharacteristically off the mark … [Read more...]

On the Craftsmen

If there are craftsmen in the monastery, let them practice their crafts with all humility, provided the Abbot has given permission. But if any one of them becomes conceited over his skill in his craft, because he seems to be conferring a benefit on the monastery, let him be taken from his craft and no longer exercise it unless, after he has humbled himself, the Abbot again gives him permission. If any of the work of the craftsmen is to be sold, let those through whose hands … [Read more...]

Glimpses of God in the Everyday

"I don't feel like it's any of my business what people think of me." -- Jim CaviezelAs a faithful Catholic who is an actor, Jim Caviezel must have had to use that philosophy a lot to remain true to his faith. We all should take a lesson from his book and do likewise. I'm serious here. We really should.I just want to ask though, has anyone else tried to practice what Jim Caviezel preaches?I have. It is darned near impossible.It was excruciating It went completely against my … [Read more...]

Stars and the Excess of Clarity

Spent some time stargazing a while back, when I couldn’t sleep.No telescope, just the naked eye, a dark neighborhood and a willingness to wonder. I was digesting a bit of Thomas Merton's The Seven Storey Mountain, and it had stayed with me through evening's pass – the sight of the stars, the early, wise writings of a monk.Does the fact that we can no longer see the stars have anything to do with our loss of wonder? These things, the stars, and all creation - they are more splendid, perfect, … [Read more...]


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