I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again, many of the stories we find in the Bible rival Shakespeare’s works in terms of their sweeping grandeur and poignant messages. In fact, as others more erudite than Joe Six-Pack have argued, without the Bible, much of what we take for literature would have no foundation on which to stand. What follows is an episode that could have come right out of the Bard’s Macbeth. [Read more…]
It’s the feast day of St. Francis of Assisi. You might have noticed this, as he is one of the most popular of the fellows in the Communion of Saints. You can read better posts about Francis elsewhere, for sure. I just wanted to share a brief open letter he wrote to the powers that be.
Francis, see, was a lot like Jesus. He even had the wounds of Christ to prove this. But he also had the temerity to tell it like it is, much like John the Baptist and Jesus did. In short, Francis was a fine example of the prophet, priest, and king, as all Christians are called to be.
Here’s an example of his prophet side. [Read more…]
On Thursdays I serve as lector at the parish near my office. I’ve been the Thursday reader for a couple of years now and these days, I don’t even look ahead at the readings beforehand. There are two reasons for this. A) I like to be surprised and B) I found that I was often surprised anyway, as the readings for the day are often changed by the pastor to reflect the memorials for saints that the Daily Readings I found at the USSCB weren’t picking up on.
So now, I just say a prayer that I will read well, and then I head on up and dive in. Today, I was happily surprised to read aloud the words from my favorite Old Testament book, Ecclesiastes. I hope I wasn’t grinning too much as I launched into the classic beginning of Qoheleth’s riddle of life, [Read more…]
Johann Sebastian Bach loved coffee, before coffee houses were cool. He and his musician friends hung out at a place in Liepzig that was something along the lines of Central Perk in the television series Friends, and they jammed, and penned masterpieces, and stuff.
Being the giant of music knowledge that I am, I found all this out today via a Google search (about 5 minutes ago) because I love books, coffee, and music. [Read more…]
Once I met up with Thomas Merton, it didn’t take long for him to introduce me to St. Bernard of Clairvaux. Not exactly the founder of the Cistercian Order, as that distinction belongs to the trio of monks Robert of Molesme, Alberic, and Stephen Harding, all in the Communion of Saints now too, he nonetheless grew the Cistercian Order into a powerhouse of prayer.
Bernard, a Doctor of the Church, was indefatigable in his allegiance to Christ and to the Catholic Church. He was a contemplative, but was constantly being called into action, attending Church councils, while providing counsel to monarchs, and even preaching the Second Crusade. Repairing schisms and matching wits with Peter Abelard (and others constantly), it’s a miracle he had time for prayer, or anything else for that matter.
Personally, I don’t think he slept much. [Read more…]
As the presidential election starts looming large on the horizon, it’s time to dust off the voters’ guide I wrote about last November. As such, I’m relaunching this post on the handy little guide from one of the earliest of all Christian writings.
I’m not really big on following politics nowadays. You could call me a bad Catholic for that, but I would argue that I have a million other more important things to do with my time than keep my fingers on the pulse of the American political scene. [Read more…]
I’ve been thinking about the attacks to our embassies all across the Islamic world. Like the rogue character Gaston in Disney’s Beauty and the Beast, me thinking is a frightening prospect, I know. But I cannot help but do it, as I served in Cairo, Egypt and Kuala Lumpur Malaysia as a Marine Security Guard (MSG) at our embassies located in those two capital cities of predominantly Muslim countries.
I spent 15 months or so in both of these countries fairly soon after a barracks of Marines was blown up in Lebanon (1983), and the U.S. Embassy in Beirut was blown to kingdom come (1984). [Read more…]
A poem by Kenhelm Digby Best, priest of the Oratory of St. Philip Neri, London, 1900.
Ah! there are untamed spirits, rough and rude,
Rugged as unwrought iron, unsubdued
Till fire hath filled it with a glowing heat—
And love alone with such souls can compete.
But, soon as love hath made these souls less like
Their wretched self, some deem it time to strike—
Unskilful smiths! they only beat the mass
Into its own cold hardness—while, alas!
Had they loved on, and not been violent,
How easily the stubborn had been bent!
Reproof that irritates, and frequent test
Make untried tempers brittle at the best—
Morose and murmuring, instead of gay,
For perseverance less and less they pray—
Till, finally, it needs but one blow more
To strew the shivered fragments on the floor.
More poems like this one are available on the YIMCatholic Bookshelf.