“The Eye of a Samurai Knows No Tear”

Samurai with Sword, Circa 1860

The cruelest, most violent Samurai in Japan decides he wants to become enlightened. He bursts into the home of an esteemed Zen Master and demands that the Master teach him how to become enlightened.The Zen Master looks deeply into his eyes and says, “No. You are a dirty, vicious Samurai. I will not teach you.”Enraged, the Samurai yanks out his sword and places it right at the Zen Master’s neck. He hollers, “Do you have any idea who I am? I am the cruelest Samurai in the world. I c … [Read more...]

Two Extraordinary Moments Where a Single Hand Gesture Tells the Whole Story

Source

Twice today I have been very moved to come across gloriously beautiful -- dare I say transcendent -- images, where the poignancy of the moment was movingly emphasized by the small unconscious movement of a single hand.First, thanks to Deacon Greg, I saw the La Stampa photo of Pope Francis kissing a man so seriously disfigured that most of us would likely find him difficult to look at, and would turn away.Everyone is looking at this picture, and it is, indeed, breath-taking.But … [Read more...]

Don’t Assume People Know God Loves Them

rebecca

This is excellent, from Rebecca Ryskind Teti. . .the women asked to speak to me privately. Candidly, although I couldn’t imagine what I’d said that gave offense, I expected a rebuke. What actually came melted my heart. First, she sheepishly admitted she had no idea where to find Matthew, Mark, Luke or John in her Bible. Then she got to her real question. Eyes welling up, she asked, “I am a recovering alcoholic who has made a total mess of her life and others’. Is there any hope for me?” … [Read more...]

So, what IS the “new evangelization?” – UPDATE

JPII, Benedict, Francis--Faith, Hope, Love (1)

In Catholic circles, everyone talks about "The New Evangelization", but explaining what exactly it is, is not always easy. In my column in this issue of The Catholic Answer Magazine, I more or less "go to the sources" to help give solid examples of The New Evangelization, in Theory and Application:Weeks before his death in 2005, Pope John Paul still appeared at his apartment window and, unable to speak, showed his faithful attention to the people and received theirs in return. His mere … [Read more...]

“He who hates God, hates everybody…”

Angelica life lessons

This is a line I pondered in prayer last night, after an exceedingly tough day at work. It sounds simplistic. In fact, at first it sounds completely wrong, because on the surface we can refute it easily. But pray with it for a little while and it suddenly goes deep:Since a stroke in 2001, Mother Angelica has been fairly quiet, speaking only when she has to. On March 22, 2006, one of the sisters asked Mother for a bit of wisdom. Without hesitating she said:"He love loves God loves … [Read more...]

Obama’s Speech: Cynical Me and Cynical He – UPDATED

Obama speech

This afternoon, President Obama showed up before the White House Press Corp and talked about the Trayvon Martin/George Zimmerman case. You can read the full text, here.I agree with much the president says. Racism is -- and always has been -- "a God-damned thing". As a nation we should be under no illusions that just because we're no longer in a Jim Crow era, that we are living on the Starship Enterprise where racism is a thing of the past. Profiling is real. African Americans (and for … [Read more...]

Can Pro-and-Anti Gay Marriage People Co-exist?

shutterstock_102538235 (1)_gay marriage flowers

Still stuck in my writer's block, the only way I could write a column this week for First Things was to format it as a playlet -- a little one-act thing called "Suitable Recommendations" -- wherein I try (and I have no idea whether I succeed) to showcase a story we're increasingly seeing being played out as gay marriage becomes more common: the business owner whose conscience can't let him or her provide services to a same-sex couple planning a wedding.Gentleman: That’s some religion you’ve … [Read more...]

Everyday in Every Way the Days are Gay & Gay & Gay

gayweddingcake

That headline is too cute by half, and I know it, but given all the First Things columns I've written trying to wonder-out and puzzle-out and anticipate the subject of Modern Concepts in Sexuality (and where and how the Catholic Church's teachings soar or fall flat, largely depending upon how they are taught), and the recent Supreme Court DOMA decision, it does seem like for any story I read -- about anything -- I read five touching on an aspect of homosexuality and faith, and most especially, … [Read more...]

Putting Away the Labels to Hear/See Each Other

bodyofChrist

Under it's new editor, Matt Malone, S.J., America Magazine is doing a very good thing:America aspires to nothing more than to live up to the fullest meaning of our motto, to pursue the truth in love, for as Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI has written,“The only strength with which Christianity can make its influence felt publicly is ultimately the strength of its intrinsic truth.” The fundamental truth of Christianity is personal, the person of Jesus Christ, the one for whom love and for … [Read more...]

Obama says Church Consciences will Be Respected? – UPDATE

Thomas More

That would be surprising! Refreshing, too!Says Obama, today:On an issue as sensitive as [gay marriagte], knowing that Americans hold a wide range of views based on deeply held beliefs, maintaining our nation’s commitment to religious freedom is also vital. How religious institutions define and consecrate marriage has always been up to those institutions. Nothing about this decision – which applies only to civil marriages – changes that.This from the man who said, during his Comme … [Read more...]


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