Graces and Grousing and Gladness — UPDATE

Thank you for your prayers after yesterday's pathetic post. I did go to see Saint Philip Neri and I believe he helped me; I am sure your prayers and good wishes also helped. I ended up having a lovely lunch with Kathryn Jean Lopez, followed with a bit of Sambucca, which I had never had before. I drank it thinking, "well, either I'm better or I'm not but I'm tired of not having fun."Perhaps the Sambucca helped tame the stomach bug. Or made it too drunk to bother me!In any case, I am … [Read more...]

Prayer and Penance: Did Twitter Hasten Benedict’s Retirement?

benedict in shadow

In hindsight, we're seeing clues, now, and reading words he uttered indicating that Pope Benedict XVI has clearly been thinking of renouncing the papal throne for some time.Forgive me if this sounds absurd on the face of it, but I am wondering if, despite these pieces of evidence, Benedict's recent entry into Twitter has had anything to do with the seeming abruptness of his announcement.Before you scoff, consider: the pope's interest in, and support of, the church's engagement with new … [Read more...]

Pillar of Cloud, Water of Life: All of a Healing Piece & Peace

baptismofoursavior

For a little while longer, we are still in Christmas, but every day the mysteries of the season seem to wither a little, like the leaves of the poinsettias; the expectation of Advent seems far away, and in just a few days we celebrate the Baptism of the Lord, and enter -- with some sense of refreshment, because after a time we long for the comforts of what is routine and regular -- into Ordinary Time.The Baptism of the Lord is being presaged in the readings and prayers of the Divine Office. … [Read more...]

For Newtown: Office of the Dead

If you wish to pray the Office of the Dead with me this morning -- from the Office of Readings -- the podcast is here … [Read more...]

Rescuing Devotional Babies from the Bathwater…

CSP Book Club

Over at the Patheos Book Club, there's an interesting selection being discussed, a slim volume simply entitled Catholic Spiritual Practices, Edited by Colleen M. Griffith and Thomas H. Groome.I'm going to confess right now, I did not get to read this book, but that wasn't due to lack of interest. In tidying up for Thanksgiving the thing was accidentally donated to my parish along with a slew of other books -- but I figure that was the Holy Spirit getting into hands that needed it. I was … [Read more...]

Advent: Love Words and Expectations in the Dark – UPDATED

Madonna and Child, by Marianne Stokes (1855-1927)

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...]

It’s a Snapshot! It’s a Love Letter!

ROSARY28Adwb.jpg

Actually, my column at First Things this week is both:SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 18, 6:25 AM: In the palest light, I follow footprints left in the season’s first frost, just a few minutes behind the regulars. The church’s glaring overhead lights are softened by the flame-glow of a few dozen candles—real wax, seven-day candles that burn a constant supplication—and by the shimmer of one gloriously large and eye-catching Icon of the Crucifixion scene. I wait to stand my candle as a slope-shouldered older … [Read more...]

My Prayer at Adoration

MonstranceFramed

When I go to Adoration, it is such a privilege and such a humility. I go there in poverty -- unworthy of anything, but willing to be open, because I trust that all God wants of us is our willingness. Always with the reminder jangling in my brain: Weakness is sown, strength rises up.It is part-and-parcel of the great paradox: when I am weak, then I am strong.I am weak, often at my weakest, when I go to Adoration. But I know my prayer there -- even though I have nothing of myself, am … [Read more...]

The Aurora Shooter: Image of Loss – UPDATED

lostboy

We all know his name, but I prefer not to use it in a public forum, mostly because his name should not be better known than the names of his victims.I will use it, though, in private prayer.Social media is abuzz that the shooter is in court being arraigned. People are looking at the images and using words like "catatonic", "evil", "empty", "scared".I think he looks lost. Lost boy, lost soul. Knowing nothing at all about him, I can't know if he has snapped out of a psychotic … [Read more...]

Fearless Pat Gohn: “Do You Want to Pray About It?”

Pat Gohn with Mic

About a year ago, Pat Gohn and I were chatting via skype about work-related issues, when the subject came around to our kids. I mentioned that my older son was, that very day (and after a discouraging two year search) interviewing for a job that seemed perfect for him.Although I felt strongly that the Holy Spirit was at work, and that the job was "meant" for him, I suppose my voice still betrayed some tension; Pat picked up on it and said, "would you like to pray about it right now? We can … [Read more...]


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