July 6, 2019

“About Jesus and the Church, I simply know they’re just one thing, and we shouldn’t complicate the matter.” ~ St. Joan of Arc from the transcripts of her trial. Christ so identifies himself with his people, the Church, that when he confronts Paul on the road to Damascus, he asks, “Why are you persecuting me?” Many passages in St. Paul’s letters help to develop the implications of this radical incarnation of Christ present in the flesh and faces of his... Read more

July 6, 2019

All we need is the tiniest bit of compassionate imagination to be able to see the problems posed by tribalism. The fact that so many in positions of authority (along with those who put them there) seem blind to the problem is the most devastating condemnation of our educational approaches and methodologies. We face an educational emergency (I’ll add, to be clear: both INSIDE and outside the Church, since the Church in this country mimics and adapts to the pedagogical... Read more

July 5, 2019

“The opposite of love is not hate, it’s indifference.” – Eli Wiesel Many times the inverse of a thing is not its opposite. Also, sound psychological principles (such as: the importance of boundaries, or the typical dynamics in an abusive relationship, or how to overcome addictions, or the stages of grief etc.) are similar to other expressions of folk wisdom (“a stitch in time saves nine” or “a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush,” etc.) –... Read more

April 20, 2019

The final Triduum presentation I do each year is a catechetical lesson on the Liturgy of Light, offered on Holy Saturday morning to all the children of the parish. First we read the greeting that the priest or bishop offers to all those assembled at the Easter Vigil: Dear Friends in Christ, on this most holy night, when our Lord Jesus Christ passed from death to life, the Church invites her children throughout the world to come together in vigil... Read more

April 19, 2019

In a year in which we’ve begun to ponder that what is most dear to us is Christ Himself, we can’t not desire – with our whole hearts – to imitate Him, to follow Him, to follow Him in this stupefying fact which leaves us speechless: that He loved us gratuitously. We can’t not desire to follow Him in His charity. This year, let’s help each other so that our spirits join ever more closely to His. His Spirit has... Read more

April 19, 2019

On Good Friday each year, the catechesis I offer to children (and their parents) of the parish concerns biblical geography. We begin by looking at a small globe. First we locate where we are on the globe (in this case, Ohio), and then I turn the globe to show them a small red speck I have painted on the other side — the land of Israel, that tiny country in which the greatest gift of God to us was first... Read more

April 18, 2019

Since 1997, I have belonged to five parishes, but no matter where I am during the Triduum, each year* I have offered a series of three catechetical lessons, open to any children and their parents. In almost every case, these parishes have welcomed these presentations into the church proper (one year we had to retire to the church basement), and I have done them for the children at the foot of the altar. The first presentation is called “The Cenacle/Celebration... Read more

April 16, 2019

  It’s a great miracle that human beings were ever passionate about the problem of how to get a ceiling AS HIGH AS POSSIBLE! – NO, HIGHER!! – HIGHER, STILL!!!!! And then it’s an even greater miracle that they dedicated their lives and so many resources to creating all that empty space to float above their heads when they were indoors, just so they could better taste the Infinite even while under a roof. But the greatest miracle (and the... Read more

April 8, 2019

“I tell you the more I think, the more I feel that there is nothing more truly artistic than to love people.” Vincent Van Gogh The orderly rows of trees march backward, into the dark and unknown past. They create a kind of scaffolding around the couple, who walk, ankle-deep in the pathless carpet of flowers. The man could almost be mistaken for a tree trunk, except that his position does not align with the rhythmic upward beat of the... Read more

April 7, 2019

“Christ is that infinitely wondrous event which compels a person, so far as he experiences and comprehends this event, to be necessarily, profoundly, wholly, and irrevocably astonished.” – Karl Barth In this painting, by Federico Barocci, The Nativity (1597), which hangs in the Prado Museum in Madrid, Mary stands before her child with her hands lowered and facing outward as though about to catch something that floats toward her solar plexus. Or is she pressing outward, making a gesture of... Read more

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