Going Beyond Commandments of No to Vocations of Yes

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I had the privilege of being the lector for the second reading at Mass today, which is from the Letter to the Romans: Brothers and sisters: Owe nothing to anyone, except to love one another; for the one who loves another has fulfilled the law. The commandments, “You shall not commit adultery; you shall not kill; you shall not steal; you shall not covet, ” and whatever other commandment there may be, are summed up in this saying, namely, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” Love do … [Read more...]

Recursion on the Road to Emmaus

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I find today's Mass readings particularly wonderful, for reasons that I think are plenty enjoyable for non-Christians, too.  In this selection of Luke's Gospel, we hear about the experience of two of the disciples who are travelling on the way to Emmaus.  They are joined by a third traveler, who seems ignorant of the recent death of Jesus in Jerusalem.  The two disciples explain what has happened, including the rumors that their teacher's body is missing.  And then... And he said to them, “Oh, h … [Read more...]

Peter’s Errors Make Him My Favorite


During the homily this past Sunday on the Transfiguration of Christ, I thought the priest was being a little unfair to the disciples on the mountain.  Here's the part of the story the priest was explaining: Six days later, Jesus took with him Peter and James and his brother John and led them up a high mountain, by themselves. And he was transfigured before them, and his face shone like the sun, and his clothes became dazzling white. Suddenly there appeared to them Moses and Elijah, talking with … [Read more...]

Following Christ Out of the Cave

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Last weekend, while I was in New Haven, I had the pleasure of  getting to hear a hymn I particularly liked at Mass and got a bit verklempt while singing it.  Somehow, I'd misremembered just enough of the lyrics of Marty Haugen's "Awake, O Sleeper" that I hadn't been able to track it down on Google, til I got a refresher.  (Humming it brokenly at people had done no good either).  Here are the lyrics of the chorus: Awake, O sleeper. Arise from death. Abandon the shadows of the night. The wind of … [Read more...]

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...]

Costumes, Constraint, and Chapel Veils


In my high school theatre productions, our director encouraged us to start working on assembling costumes early.  Especially shoes.  Once you had something of your character's, you could start using it to feel less like yourself, and stop doing things by rote.  If you had nothing else, he said, you could put a pebble in your shoe so you were a little less comfortable in your normal stance. I'm on a plane all day, so, since I ended up without the opportunity to dress up for Halloween, I thought I' … [Read more...]

The Fear of God in Me


Yesterday, when I was attending Daily Mass, I was one of only four people present.  I sat up in front, and, after the priest had administered the Eucharist to himself, he motioned me up to assist as an extraordinary minister of holy communion, to distribute the Blood to the remaining parishioners after they received the Body from him.I was quite nervous walking up and receiving the chalice, and hoped that terror-as-reverence was about the right disposition, as long as I wasn't paralyzed by … [Read more...]