The Lingering Sensations of Epiphany


My first Christmas as a Catholic followed swiftly on the heels of my conversion, and I was already arranging flights for interviews for my California job before the season was over, so, this year, I've appreciated getting to experience more of the feasts that come thick and fast after December 25th.  This past Monday was the Feast of the Epiphany which celebrates the revelation of God as Man and whose readings focus on the visitation by the Magi.  Naturally, at Mass, we sang "We Three Kings," w … [Read more...]

Missing the Cues for My Amens


For Catholics, the Christmas season is still ongoing (up until January 12th, the Feast of Christ's Baptism), so the days have been peppered with more feasts and solemnities than I've had time to write about.  But one holiday I particularly enjoyed was the Solemnity of Mary, the Mother of God, which falls on New Year's Day.A group of Catholic friends and I went to the Dominican House of Studies on New Year's Eve for an hour of Adoration (prayer in front of the Eucharist), followed by a vigil … [Read more...]

The Wicked Fairy at the Manger


During Christmas, I got one present for myself: U.A. Fanthorpe's Christmas Poems.  Fanthorpe is a poet, and every year she writes a poem to send out with her Christmas card.  This book is a collection of her annual poems to date.  I picked up the book after a friend read me a couple from her copy.  And one of them seemed very appropriate for today, the Feast of the Holy Innocents. The Wicked Fairy at the Manger My gift for the child: No wife, kids, home … [Read more...]

After a Year with Pope Francis

francis child hat

Time, The Advocate, and The New Yorker are just the latest publications to find Pope Francis front-page worthy news and the symbol of a spiritual year in review.  Meanwhile, I’ve gotten an email from a friend who wants a recommendation for a Pope Francis book for a relative who is unexpectedly excited about Catholicism again, and I see non-Catholic friends sharing interview excerpts and photos, talking about the first pope they’ve liked.And, the whole time, I’ve felt a little odd about not be … [Read more...]

Pope Francis and the Mendicant Christ

Sculpture by Timothy Schmalz

Pope Francis gave an interview to La Stampa, and, all caveats about translation aside, these two questions and responses caught my eye: What does Christmas say to people today?“It speaks of tenderness and hope. When God meets us he tells us two things. The first thing he says is: have hope. God always opens doors, he never closes them. He is the father who opens doors for us. The second thing he says is: don’t be afraid of tenderness. When Christians forget about hope and tenderness they bec … [Read more...]

A Season Worth Waiting For


The Catholic year is divided up into liturgical seasons, and, yesterday, Advent began.  Advent is, for Catholics, a small version of Lent.  It precedes Christmas, as Lent does Easter, and is a season of waiting and preparing through fasting and reflection.  We are waiting for Christmas, but also the second coming of Christ, His two inbreakings into the world are paired in this season.It's also a very nice excuse for not putting up Christmas decorations or for complaining about overplayed ca … [Read more...]

Let there be shame and confusion


A few days ago, I was praying the Midday Prayer of the Divine Office, and I was struck by the juxtaposition of two of the psalms slated for that day (Wednesday, 31st week of ordinary time).  First there was this part of Psalm 70: O God, make haste to my rescue, Lord, come to my aid! Let there be shame and confusion on those who seek my life.O let them turn back in confusion, who delight in my harm, let them retreat, covered with shame, who jeer at my lot. Which was shortly followed … [Read more...]