God Bless the Broken People

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My heart is breaking for the Warrens today, Rick Warren and his wife Jan, and their many family members and friends. Their 27 year old son Matthew took his own life on Friday. He had struggled with depression and in the end, the darkness of it overthrew him. I am going to ask my fellow Christian leaders and thinkers, who might at this point dismiss depression as a form of spiritual darkness or weakness from which Christ can deliver, to resist the temptation to reduce it to that.Depression is … [Read more...]

5 Timely Lessons from the Saint of Writers and Pilgrims

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Many of you are aware that I am a beloved devotee of St. Francis of Assisi and in fact have written a book about him. There is another "St. Francis," however, who often gets overshadowed by his wildly popular predecessor. I mean St. Francis de Sales (1567 – 1622), a French bishop whose views about "holy imagination" have benefitted those in the literary trade who also happen to possess spiritual sensibilities. (He has been deemed "The Patron Saint of Writers.")I have read his book Finding G … [Read more...]

Be Careful of Each Other

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I saved in my "poetry file" a wonderful poem by a well-known poet that was short, powerful, helpful and reminiscent of the coming of the (so-called) spring. (I live in New England; as I write, I look out my window to see my street flanked by 3-foot snow banks.) The poem involved a hedgehog and seemed a good fit for today's post.Yet I am a hopeless copyright partisan. Before posting I wanted to clarify whether or not I would be violating copyright laws by posting a piece of intellectual … [Read more...]

The Friar Who Inspired the Pope: The Original Francis

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Today the Installation Mass of the new Pope Francis officially inaugurated his papacy. He chose the name Francis, he said, because upon his election, his friend, Brazilian Cardinal Claudio Hummes, “hugged me. He kissed me. He said, ‘don't forget about the poor.’ And that's how in my heart came the name Francis of Assisi, the man of the poor. The man of peace. The man who loved and cared for creation.The man who gives us this spirit of peace, the poor man." It is altogether sensible that a … [Read more...]

A Prayer of Saint Patrick: Deer’s Cry

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Saint Patrick  was born on March 17 in A.D. 385  (d.461). Also known as: Patricius; Qatrikias; Pádraig; Padrig. He was a Romano-British Christian missionary  and also a bishop in Ireland. Of equal importance, however, is the little-known fact that he was also a poet. Patrick composed a poem / prayer  in  A.D.433, asking for God's protection from an ambush determined  to kill him and his friars en route to the King's court. It is also known as "The Breastplate of St. Patrick" and "The Lorica." … [Read more...]

Hail the Poets! Salute the Lunatics!

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Welcome to my world! It is a glorious, upside-down landscape where clouds are mountains and trees hang downward as if baptized in wide blue sea. Can you see it? Take your time. If you need to, stand on your head.The blog title arises from one of G.K. Chesterton’s most astonishing and yet little known novels titled The Poet and the Lunatics (Darwen Finlayson Limited, 1929,1962). The book’s protagonist is an artist named Gabriel Gale, who steps in to assist local police in solving a bizar … [Read more...]


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