The Church is not a Democracy – UPDATED

As Holy Week approaches we can always count on provocative headlines, like Time Magazine's Is Hell Dead? which looks at the latest book by Evangelical preacher Rob Bell. In October, it wouldn't warrant a cover, I'm sure.This entire Lent, however, the Catholic church in America has been roiling with Cult of Personality issues. The scandals of recent years have shaken the faithful; Rome seems distant to many and in our media-obsessed society a passionate orator proclaiming "the truth" … [Read more...]

"But You’re So Happy!"

I love this story from Sr. Mary George, FSMG:I am a firm believer that children say some of the most heartfelt prayers that I know. So, I asked my 1st grade class on Thursday to do me an extra special favor. I explained to them that 23 sisters would be renewing their vows on Sunday and I would be one of them. Could they pray for us at Mass?They gave me many heartfelt assurances that they would do so and then immediately a plethora of hands went up into the air. What exactly are these … [Read more...]

Viper-bitten and Polarized in Lent

I'm a little behind and late getting this linked, but my column is up at First Things, where I am reflecting on todays readings and how viper-bitten the whole church seems to be, this Lent:The Church seems always to be challenged during the Lenten season, but this time the attacks are not foreign, as it were, but domestic: Interior factions are attempting to pull the Church toward their own interests, and as Holy Week approaches the Body of Christ seems as openly vulnerable as Leonardo’s V … [Read more...]

Mercy, Mercy!

This comes to us via Pianogirl, who writes of Georgio Allegri's Miserere mei, Deus:For many years, it was thought that Mozart composed this piece because a copy of it was found in his handwriting. It was forbidden for this music to leave the Vatican. Rumor had it -- under threat of excommunication -- that the choir was forbidden to let the score be taken out of the Chapel, copied, or even seen by any outsider.On April 11,1770, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, age 14, was visiting Rome with his … [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...]

Bad Benedictine; "I love you, go home!"

As I anticipate coming into my tenth year as a Benedictine Oblate, I rejoice that the effect of Benedictine spirituality in my life has helped me to become less savage than I was, although I am still quite feral in some ways. But, as I explain in my latest column at First Things, there is a part of the Holy Rule of St. Benedict that still has me stymied: Benedictine Hospitality, and St. Benedict's dictum that we must receive everyone we encounter as receiving Christ. I have a long way to go, … [Read more...]

Are you Happy?

When my Elder son was very small, and was trying to figure out facial expressions, he would ask me, or my husband, or the lady at the grocery store, "Are you 'appy?"He was missing his h's for a little while.Sometimes my husband and I will still tease each other with that. He'll see me looking pensive and ask "are you 'appy?"It's a sweet question, and it always makes me smile, for the warm memories of my son at such a young age. But sometimes I wonder if, rather than asking people … [Read more...]

Annunciation; Restoration Calls – UPDATED

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"I am the Lord, there is no other; I form the light and create the darkness; I make well-being and create woe; I, the Lord, do all these things. Let justice desend, O heaven, like dew from above, like gentle rain let the skies drop it down. Let the earth open and salvation bud forth; let justice also spring up! I the Lord have created this." - Isaiah 45;7-8As we head into evening, we prepare for tomorrow's solemnity of the Annunciation of the Lord. This is moment of such profound import … [Read more...]

Feast of the Presentation -UPDATED

And his father and his mother marveled at what was said about him; and Simeon blessed them and said to Mary his mother, "Behold, this child is destined to be the rise and the fall of many in Israel, and a sign that is spoken against (and a sword will pierce through your own soul also), that thoughts out of many hearts may be revealed." The Gospel According to Luke, Chapter 2It is odd that this feastday -The Feast of the Presentation of Christ- (which is also called "Candlemas" because it is … [Read more...]

The Healy Brothers; a Thrilling, Shameful Story

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February is Black History Month, and to kick it off historian Dr. Pat McNamara brings us a fascinating story that thrilled and shamed me. What a remarkable family of faith existed in the sons and daughters of Michael Healy and Eliza Clark; they became priests, nuns and even a bishop emerging from their home in Georgia, where mixed-race children were called "slaves." But none of it came easily or peacefully in 19th century America:By any standard, the Healys were an impressive family. … [Read more...]


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