Catholic Imagination and Surprise: Writing Right Now # 3 2023

Catholic Imagination and Surprise: Writing Right Now # 3 2023 August 31, 2023

It’s the end of August and I have some concrete but still vague and undeveloped plans for the fall in terms of writing and creating. Some ideas of mine are racing around my mind waiting to take off. They started their engines already but some of these ideas have pulled over in the pit stop and are having their tires rotated and all the stuff that goes on with cars in racing.  I want to start fresh and anew like all the kids starting the new school year. But yet I want to finish off August and the rest of this week with one more article.

Tripping Before The Fall Begins

My wife is a rugged spunky tough little individual. She is daring and adventurous. Last week we returned from the first real vacation we have had in about 5 years. I plan on writing about it in full at one point. We went to Colorado where we Horseback Riding, Whitewater Rafting, climbed all these steps up a steep incline up very high to see some mini waterfalls and went inside a deep dark cave without getting lost or slipping on wet rocks or getting scared by the ghost of the dead woman who killed herself there and roams the caves.

We survived all that but YET.

Kristin my beloved wife of 13 and 1/2 years was walking with her twin sister visiting from Florida.  They had just gotten off some paddle boats in Roger Williams State Park. A park that she had been to oodles of times before. But alas, after surviving all these activities where she had to sign some wavers incase of injury succumbed to getting hurt walking down some simple steps at a normal simple state park. It was literally her downfall. Pun intended and I suppose the irony of our situation is on full display.

I’m still recovering from my week away with the 2 hour delay in time. I still haven’t put away my clothes from last week. I plan on doing that today on my one day off from work before the start of my 6 day work week. Also have to clean my mess off a house Kristin recovers with her sore arm resting on pain medication and perhaps lying in bed.  I also have some errands to run as I run around town in the car to achieve them. But yet I am still dedicated to producing one more article as my goal is two articles a week.

I don’t want to spend a whole lot of time writing and rewriting and correcting words and sentences and such not. So I decided to do what I have done only twice so far this year and many other times in the past. I’m going to browse through the Catholic cyper speare and see what other fellow Catholic writers are writing.

Catholics who have been baptized and go to mass and love Christ.
Catholics who are LeftCaths and RadCaths.
Catholics who are just in the normally in the middle.
Catholics who believe in writing about their faith.
These Catholics are the ones who are…

Writing Right Now

And Youtubing as well.

FYI NOTE: Because I present a particular quote of an article does not mean I endorse everything by that writer or website. It means I found that particular article or quote inspiring and in conformity with Catholic teaching. Some Catholics believe that you cannot associate with anyone outside their tribe of thinking.  I love Pope Francis, Vatican 2, The Novus Ordo Mass and accept all the moral teachings of the church and believe that you should treat all people with dignity and respect and believe in evangelization and that certain activates are still sins. If certain people object to my inclusion of certain things Oh well. I have included what I have included. Peace to you all who read and reflect.

Pope Francis@Pontifex (, 2023) When we encounter difficulties in living and proclaiming the Gospel, we may be tempted to grow discouraged. But Jesus grants us the grace we need to continue on the path of Christian life with faithfulness and perseverance. #GeneralAudience


Sometimes, God chooses to surprise us. Balthasar had not been considering either the priesthood or theology at the time that he received his call from God, but he would end up becoming both a priest and a theologian. Our God seems to like surprises. Balthasar even goes so far as to claim that “surprise” is a characteristic of the love that exists among the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit: “If human love is enlivened by the element of surprise, something analogous to it cannot be excluded from divine love.” Regardless, we need to be open to the possibility of surprises that may come our way as part of God’s call. Even the surprises that may seem, at first blush, unpleasant or unwished for are for our good in the long run, when they come from the God who is love. Some of us are called to a mission that we did not expect, and possibly one for which we feel unqualified and/or unworthy, but if it is a genuine call from God, we can rest assured that God will provide the grace we need to fulfill that mission.

What “little stone” are you being called to contribute to God’s beautiful mosaic of love? Just a Little Stone in God’s Mosaic – Word on Fire

Brad Surprise

Friendship: The Balm of Suffering

Three days following Miguel’s departure from this physical domain, a Requiem Mass was offered on the feast of Our Lady of the Rosary, October 7th, for the repose of his soul. There, even the walls of the church seem to groan under the weight of sorrow as it bore down on the faithful present—heavy, deep, and acute. During the sermon, the priest’s voice gently cracked as he recalled the child Maricarmen carried within: “It is regrettable that Miguel will not, at least in this earthly life, meet his newest, youngest child… But that acquaintance will be made elsewhere, at another time, and in the best of circumstances.” With tear-stained eyes, the faithful staggered behind the coffin into the frigid air, as a trail of somberness followed each to their vehicles.

Although traditionalists are accused as ridged and denounced for having a dead faith, one need only to carry a single concrete bag for the Piña’s fence to realize just how tactless and unwarranted these accusations really are. Perhaps, one could merely catch a glimpse of this particular parish’s support for one another to recognize that the Body of Christ is one of friendship and brotherly love. Further, you could sit down with the newly founded widow, take her hands into yours, and sincerely listen. Maricarmen would tell you that traditional parishes like St. Joseph truly have each other’s best interests in mind, namely, they support each other towards the goal of reaching heaven. As a result, she states, “Being friends with people who have the same goals makes life more enjoyable, happier, and gives us the support we need in the ways we need it…We’re taken care of and not missing anything.” Born for a Time of Adversity: a Widow and the Body of Christ – OnePeterFive

Christian Growth

As St. Augustine, whose feast day the Church observed yesterday, famously said, “He who created us without our help will not save us without our consent.”

From the very moment we begin to freely choose ourselves, sin, and the world over the will of our loving God and creator, the epic battle for our soul begins. We make our First Reconciliation, we begin to live a sacramental life, and then somewhere along the way we become lost, mostly due to our own faults and failings. Then we begin to focus on the sins of others because it is far too difficult and painful to convict ourselves, and far too often, this is where we remain. A significant turning point in the spiritual journey emerges when we turn our critical gaze to our own sins and habits, and that is where true growth and progress can germinate and thrive. Cooperative Salvation – Where Peter Is


St. Michael Prayer Controversy

Just when you thought that the more mainstream Catholic publications were losing their taste for the trivial amid the crisis of faith we are living through, along comes The Priest magazine with a cover story about why the St. Michael the Archangel Prayer is inappropriate to say after Mass.

At my parish, I lead a Hail Mary after I say the final prayer of the Mass; and, after the blessing, I lead the St. Michael Prayer. I am sure that would give the Taliban rubricists indigestion. But I justify the Hail Mary because it commemorates the moment of the Incarnation and the St. Michael Prayer because I think it appropriate for the community to recognize that we are in a time that tries men’s souls and to pray together for protection from the forces of destruction that surround us.

I also do not duck into the sacristy after Mass, which I understand upsets some people, because my time on the steps or at the door is an opportunity to give pastoral care and build fellowship with my parishioners. I am still wearing the chasuble, and I hope people don’t confuse my greeting and schmoozing with the sacred rite.

Ad Orientem Explained

I recently went to a Novus Ordo mass in Colorado celebrated Ad Orientem with a kneeler put down for those who wanted to receive knelling and on their tongue. There was also confession and Eucharist adoration and some Latin mixed in as well.

Developing A Sacramental Worldview

The doctrine of the real presence in the Eucharist developed in a world where God was everywhere. My Thessaloniki tears flowed at the realization that today, we don’t see God anywhere. The headline-making statistics about Catholics not believing in the real presence are a symptom, not a root cause. The root cause is a diminished sacramental worldview, a broad malaise in which God increasingly finds no foothold in anything we do.

Rather than focus only on adoration and catechesis, the church would do well to work to inculcate a sacramental worldview, to seek out ways to experience God in all parts of our lives. With this in hand, we will have a better foundation for the special presence of God in the Eucharist.

One way to breathe life into our sacramental worldview would be to think about how to experience God in other people, particularly the poor. The Eucharist is not simply a moment for personal piety and reflection. It should never be only about “me and God.” The Eucharist is also about other people. Jesus’ own self giving offers a pattern of life and self-denial that the Eucharist should create in our lives.
To see God’s real presence in the Eucharist, we must see God everywhere | National Catholic Reporter (

Archbishop Gustavo@ABishopGustavo (, 2023)
Faith takes away the veil with which you, Lord, cover yourself. Faith has eyes to see, ears to hear, a heart to live. Through faith we se Jesus in the Eucharist and in each person. In faith we know Him. In the Eucharist we have communion with Him. In others we live his love.

Catholic Imagination and Mystery

Michael Murphy, in an article for the University of Notre Dame’s Church Life Journal, writes, “The attributes and qualities that are closest to core Catholic mysteries (the Incarnation, for example) are the ones that are not only most transformative and vibrant, but are also the ones that, more often than not, make for good art.” Murphy is senior lecturer in theology and director of the Hank Center at Loyola University and convened the executive board of the Biennial Catholic Imagination Conference in 2019.

In addition to the Incarnation, Murphy finds other mysteries transformative, “… things like mercy, suffering, justice, and many more. In a somewhat comical way,” he said, telling the Register “even the focus on zombies these days taps into a mystery — the Resurrection in this case. Learning what the Resurrection is not helps us realize the uniqueness of our Lord’s resurrection and ascension. The arts always help us go deeper.”

Catholics embrace mystery and paradox. We do not shy away from things we do not fully understand. We celebrate the fact that God is so ineffable that the human mind cannot fully comprehend him. We delight in, as Murphy says, “… the existential mystery of both naming and navigating opposites — a central component in any authentic consideration of Catholic anthropology and our lives in God.”

What Is the Catholic Imagination?| National Catholic Register (

Traveling the Biblical Highway

Can a Catholic See a Film With Nudity?

I haven’t yet seen Christopher Nolan’s blockbuster “Oppenheimer.” But #CatholicTwitter informs me that, before I do, I need to consider the film’s sexual content, specifically nudity. What #CatholicTwitter has not given me is a robust Catholic approach to the question of nudity in film more generally.

The kerfuffle began with the claim that no Catholic, particularly clergy, should see “Oppenheimer” due to the presence of nudity. The response to such an unnuanced claim was predictably strong — and predictably unnuanced.

If watching a film that includes nudity were always and everywhere wrong, we could expect the Catholic Church to have informed us on this point. That said, it may well be wrong in many cases, for both objective and subjective reasons. What Catholics need on such questions are (objective) guidelines for discernment and (subjective) attention to their own hearts, not blunt moral pronouncements that go beyond what the Church itself teaches.Nudity in movies: What’s the truth for Catholics? (

Who Wrote the Gospels?

The Suffering Church

Acknowledging the number of Christians killed because of religious persecution since the turn of the century, Pope Francis has created the Commission for New Martyrs: Witnesses of the Faith. In a letter announcing the commission on July 5, he wrote, “Martyrs are more numerous in our time than in the first centuries: they are bishops, priests, consecrated men and women, lay people and families, who in the different countries of the world, with the gift of their lives, have offered the supreme proof of charity.”

He added that his new committee would try to document not just Catholic martyrs, but those from “all Christian confessions.” This is not a new concern for Pope Francis. From the beginning of his pontificate, he has called attention to an“ecumenism of blood.”

The “Instrumentum Laboris” for the October 2023 Synod on Synodality includes religious persecution among its concerns. In looking at particular situations in different regions of the world, it speaks of “persecution to the point of martyrdom.” While many in Europe and North America are disaffiliating from Christianity, in the Global South Christians are dying for their faith. But few in the West seem to care or even notice. Christians are dying for their faith all around the world. Do U.S. Catholics care? | America Magazine

Meet a Super-Ager

My friend Beryl is what’s known as a super-ager. At 90, she’s as spry and adventurous as many half her age. Scientists are actually studying her to figure out how people such as Beryl remain vigorous at an age when many of us may not expect to be above ground. Recently, when I visited her in the Bay Area, she tied on her sneakers and we went walking up and down the famously steep San Francisco hills. Which is to say, I was walking; Beryl was charging. Twenty-five years younger, I gasped for breath the whole time as I labored to keep up. Meanwhile, Beryl carried on a lively commentary about the neighborhoods we were visiting as if we were sitting calmly in her parlor having tea.

Among the things Beryl does to keep active in her retirement is volunteer a few times a week at St. Anthony’s Dining Room. The Franciscans who run the place explicitly don’t call it a soup kitchen. Nor do they refer to the patrons as clients. “Dining room” suggests people gather there to share a meal, and “guests” are warmly welcomed. Beryl asked if I cared to serve a shift with her while I was in town to meet some of her friends. The glow on her face as she issued this invitation suggested I was being offered a special opportunity, which in fact I was.

The atmosphere in the dining room was buoyant. St. Anthony’s is orchestrated like a well-run liturgy, and I sensed something almost eucharistic going on.

At a dining room for the unhoused, a glimpse of God’s justice – U.S. Catholic (

Praying Short Prayers

Browse Our Archives