Thanks to the Wee Kirk on The Hill

My family and I went to the Washington D.C. area on our vacation a few years ago. We had a blast seeing as many of the museums and memorials as we could. [Read more...]

During the Papal Interregnum, It’s Time To Embrace the Reality of Mystery

A very long time ago (or so it seems from my end), every title of the posts in this space were ledes to an exposition upon the statement “Why I Am Catholic.” The titles themselves were basically one line answers to the statement all in themselves. I can’t promise that they will always be like that from now on. But nowadays I do find I yearn to return to this practice. It is something that I believe I am called to do. [Read more...]

Searching for Truth: Arrogant? Or Audacious?

Back in the Fall, I shared thoughts of the Dalai Lama on the efficacy of religion, and those of G.K Chesterton as a counterpoint. As a result, I had someone charge me with being  arrogant for the attempt. [Read more...]

For the Faith and Witness of Stan Musial, Requiescat in Pace

This originally ran back when Spring Break was just getting underway in 2011, and he had just been awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom. But tonight, I just learned that “Stan the Man” has passed on to eternity. Pray for his soul and for the consolation of his family. Then, have a look at the life and example of this good man.

Eternal rest grant unto him, O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon him. May the souls of the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace. Amen. 

I saw a press release today from the Catholic News Service about three Catholics who were awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom at the White House.

Pardon me if I ignore the other two, because as a baseball dad, the only part of the announcement that I saw was the one that was about the Hall of Famer. Stan “the Man” Musial was one of the honorees! [Read more...]

Because Takashi Nagai Could Give Such A Speech

The other day, I posted about a film being made about the life of Dr. Takashi Nagai. Today, I want to share with you a speech he gave after the war.

Keep in mind that he had lost his wife, almost all of his students, and many of his colleagues, when “the Bomb” was dropped on Nagasaki.

And his lesson to us all was to share Our Lord’s new commandment: love one another. [Read more...]

Archdiocese of Singapore Hosts Theology of the Body Seminar Series

And the timing couldn’t be better, as the registration period is open now. The series is put together by the Singapore Pastoral Institute which operates under the title Wonderfully Made, which comes from a certain Psalm that extols the facts on our human condition, and counsels, [Read more...]

Because We Need Sheets, Even If We Think We Don’t

On Sunday, my family and I made a trip to a little college in a little town near the peach capital of South Carolina. We did so in order to drop my daughter off at a camp that her lacrosse team was attending. After a lunch stop at a local eatery, we wound our way through the town on our way to the campus. As we did, we passed by an old, impressive looking Baptist church, established in 1878.

Up and down that same street were a number of other churches with impressive steeples, and my daughter asked the following question. “Dad, how is Mass different in these churches from ours?” A short question, and as we were getting close to our destination, and as I was navigating for my 16 year old son, a freshly minted driver, I just gave her a few brief answers on basic Protestantism like this.

“Well the first thing to know is they don’t have a Mass, actually. See, they don’t believe that Christ is actually present in the Eucharist, like Christians have believed since the very beginning. Also, in most cases Protestants, which means “to protest,” believe that if something isn’t written down in the Bible, that it isn’t true. Only if something is spelled out clearly in black and white in the Bible, will they believe it. Keeping in mind that there were no Bibles for hundreds of years after the Church began, that makes you wonder, right? We believe in the Bible too, Tradition, and the teaching authority of the Church.  Also, most Protestants don’t revere the Blessed Virgin Mary, despite the fact that in the first chapter of Luke, right there in black and white, she proclaims that “all generations will call me blessed.”

And that was about all I had time for, as navigating which way to turn, and where to find the registration building for the camp put an end to her query. In the back of my mind though I was happy that she had asked the question, and I figured we could revisit the issue at some point in the future as a topic to discuss during the summer before CCD classes picked up again.

As it turned out, events would conspire to bring this topic back to the fore much earlier than that.

We got my daughter checked in at the registration desk, were issued keys to the dorm where she would be staying, and then we headed off to check out the room. It was in an older wing of the dormitories, but nice and clean. Bonus! Her roommate from the team had already moved in, bed made and everything. Mom stayed back as gear guard while the kids and I headed to the car to unload her stuff, and head back to the room to settle her in. We saw her coaches dropping their daughters off, exchanged pleasantries, etc.  All was well.

Safely in the room with her gear I say, “Well, let’s make your bed. Where are your sheets?” There had been a checklist on what to bring, see, and sheets, blanket, pillow, or sleeping bag, had been on the list of items to bring. Noting that she had her pillow and her quilt, and not a sleeping bag (like she had brought the previous year) I was surprised, nay, shocked (!) to learn that she had not brought sheets. “I don’t need them. I didn’t have sheets last year.”

“But you had a sleeping bag last year, and this year you didn’t bring it. You will not be sleeping on this mattress without sheets, honey. That is impossible.”

Clearly, it’s not impossible. My daughter seems to have an austerity streak going that shocks her Mom and me sometimes. This girl can rough it with the best of them. Now, though, I’m doing my level best not to turn into Drill Instructor Staff Sergeant Weathers, reading her the riot act for deciding to ditch bringing her sheets to camp. My wife was not too happy about the sheet situation either.

What to do? Take action! “I saw a Walmart on the way here from lunch. The boys and I will go get her some sheets while you two stay here, unpack, hang out with the other girls etc. Also, let me know if there is anything else on that check list that she forgot, okay?” Actually, the tensions had risen to the point where the boys had high-tailed it out of there at the first intimation that the check-list hadn’t been followed to the letter. I found them outside, rallied them to the cause, and headed to Walmart which, love them or hate them, would have sheets a-plenty standing tall and awaiting purchase by me.

As my son piloted the vehicle through the unfamiliar town, and we passed by the big Baptist church again, the idea hit me that ditching the sheets on the checklist was another answer to my daughters’ question earlier on how we Catholics are different from these other churches. My mind is weird that way.

Long story, short, we bought a set of brand new sheets, learned that we also needed to pick up some hand soap (sheeesh!), and then we beat feet back to quarters. Upon arrival, sheets and soap was distributed, and the naked bed was clothed with brand new sheets with that smell that probably only Marines can understand when I write the phrase “smells like Cash Sales.” In other words, so new, they haven’t even been washed. You know the smell.

The lack of sheets crisis had been averted! Bed now made, and ready to hang out with her teammate/roommate, it was time for the parents to depart. Kisses and hugs all around, but I asked my daughter to step out in the hall so I could tell her something before I left.

“Remember how you asked me what makes Catholics different from the Protestant churches? And I told you some things that, as protesters, they decided to get rid of? It’s kind of like how you decided to not bring any sheets. You didn’t think you would need them, but you did. They too have decided that they didn’t need sheets. And now, though they may find themselves living in sumptuous mansions, the beds inside their rooms do not have sheets on them. Isn’t that strange? Beds need sheets, whether you live in a shack, or in a palace. The fullness of the Faith is found, and lived, in the Catholic Church. We haven’t decided to ditch what we have been given, and what we have needed, from the very beginning. Understand?”

She did, of course, because how much simpler can you put it?

 

“The Unplanned Baby That Was Always Part of the Plan”

Awwwwwwww.

Disney Baby (who knew?) shares a story (with the title above) that will warm your heart,

Our baby Luke was a surprise, y’all. And when Caroline and I learned she was pregnant with him, we fainted were smack dab in the middle of the throes of toddlerhood. Times three. You see, I went from carefree bachelor to father of four in just 13 months thanks to marrying a single mom, then quickly conceiving triplets. [Read more...]

Art and Baseball? It’s All Part of God’s Plan

A friend of mine shared the following essay with me recently. She knows I’m a baseball fan, but I’m not sure if she realizes I’m a newbie writer. Either way, it’s a good little piece written by the fellow you see in the photograph here.

R.A. Dickey, knuckleballer extraordinaire

 

I have been a baseball player for twenty-eight years, the last fifteen of which I have had the blessing of playing professionally.

I am currently a pitcher for the New York Mets, and I specialize in throwing the knuckleball. I have had an affinity for literature for an equally long time. I remember writing poetry, albeit the “make a wish with a fish on a dish” type stuff, as early as fourth grade. All this is to say that throughout my career as a baseball player, I have been able to discover a great many similarities between the game of baseball and the written word. [Read more...]

Memo to the Blog-o-sphere: Saying Atheists R Stoopid is Lame

I’m going to go out on a limb here and say that witnessing to atheists, at least in the manner that seems to be popular in the Catholic blog-o-sphere nowadays, is in a sad state of affairs.

Posts thumbing our noses at atheists, posts basically saying that atheists are idiots, and posts attempting to stick their noses in what some believe to be atheist formed pools of pee-pee (I reckon), is pretty much de rigueur. [Read more...]


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