St Francis of Assisi and Authenticity – UPDATED

He's one of the biggies, so he gets a lot of coverage on his feastday. The Internets have been hopping and bopping on St. Francis all day.I've always thought of Francsicans as jolly folk; my cousin is a Capuchin, and he's a very joyful priest, and my Secular Franciscan friends are all joyful, too!For some fun and fantastic Franciscan lore check out Fr. James Martin at America, who celebrates the release of his latest book, Between Heaven and Mirth with some jolly stuff:This notion of the … [Read more...]

Jesus in the Bookstore or the Leaves?

Matt Emerson takes an encounter in a bookstore, gives it some literary spin and then leaves us with something to think about:His brow is smudged with condensation and his shirt smeared with sweat. The shirt, draping him like a large towel, looks just-pulled from a washer, but a washer that doesn't clean and in fact is not a washer at all. It's supposed to be a collared shirt, but by mysterious exertions it is now a v-neck. His chest, visible through the v, makes me think of gaunt children in … [Read more...]

Mean Jesus (not a cagefighter)

I like this.A lot.In [Flannery] O’Connor’s description, what Parker goes back to is “the haloed head of a flat, stern Byzantine Christ with all-demanding eyes.” Parker decides it’s for him. Once completed, the tattooed image affects people in the most alarming ways. A single glance, with the help of an angled mirror, is enough to drive Parker himself to the corner for a pint of whiskey. Later, when he shows it off to his old cronies, their laughter drives puts him in a rage, which he expres … [Read more...]

Pondering Today's Mass Readings

"The Workers in the Vineyard" by Kazakhstan Artist Nelly BubeThe Gospel reading is one of my favorite of Jesus' parables, taken from Mt 20:1-16a:Jesus told his disciples this parable:"The kingdom of heaven is like a landowner who went out at dawn to hire laborers for his vineyard. After agreeing with them for the usual daily wage, he sent them into his vineyard. Going out about nine o'clock, the landowner saw others standing idle in the marketplace, and he said to them, 'You too go into my … [Read more...]

Spiritual Communion

It seems like a small thing, but this story stirred something in me, and gave me hope:More than a million young Catholics learned the hard way about a venerable Catholic tradition: "spiritual Communion" or the "Communion of desire."After a wild storm Aug. 20 at World Youth Day in Madrid left six people injured -- including two with broken legs -- Spanish police collapsed the tents where most of the unconsecrated hosts for the next morning's Mass were being kept.Without the hosts in the … [Read more...]

Five Little Words

My column at First Things this week brings me back to a retreat experience that I am still processing and learning from:How does one assist at adoration and not feel inclined to bash all anger, all fear, all frustration, temptation, hopelessness, upon the cross of Christ—which can bear all things—and simply consent; simply allow him to recreate, revive, restore to make everything, everything, new.His majesty will do it; He will not wait to discuss all the ways you have failed him—there is tim … [Read more...]

Three More Little Words UPDATED

In the post below, we look at Three Little Words -- "Don't be afraid" -- that we should perhaps use to begin more of our sentences.Here are three other words, that perhaps should end more of those sentences: "Pay it forward.""Don't be afraid; pay it forward." It's almost the perfect one-sentence summary of the Gospel.And here are a few more words, from both my mom and Saint Bernadette Soubirous, the visionary of Lourdes:"God is never outdone in generosity."This is true. I know this … [Read more...]

Madrid's Mobs of Youth

ATTENTION, WYD Pilgrims: While you're in Madrid, do yourself a favor, and try the incredibly delicious, air-cured "Iberian Ham."You're welcome.Meanwhile Archbishop Chaput recalls WYD '93, in Colorado:Cardinal J. Francis Stafford, my friend and predecessor as archbishop of Denver, hosted World Youth Day in August 1993, and he still likes to tell the following story.One of his staffers had just moved to Colorado from a much larger and higher crime city on the West Coast. The man was … [Read more...]

Newsweek not Sexist, Just Unprofessional

I've been meaning to write on that absurd, and frankly tabloid-worthy Newsweek cover photo of Michele Bachmann, mostly to give props to Terry O' Neill, of the National Organization for Women, who has kept her word since declaring that "from here on" (meaning from the point of the 2010 elections) she was going to speak up when female candidates -- even conservative ones -- were subjected to sexism. Not that my opinion would matter, but I doubted she'd do it, and she's proved me wrong; O'Neill … [Read more...]

Unbearable

It's not about sex. Sex abuse and rape are always about asserting power and dominance and control. (H/T)And it is always evil.Today, despite his hospital treatment, Jean Paul still bleeds when he walks. Like many victims, the wounds are such that he's supposed to restrict his diet to soft foods such as bananas, which are expensive, and Jean Paul can only afford maize and millet. His brother keeps asking what's wrong with him. "I don't want to tell him," says Jean Paul. "I fear he will say: … [Read more...]


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