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Showing posts from April, 2007

Just a Little Gem from Clive Staples

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Been away from the blog for a few days... busy busy busy. So here's a quick word from the "Man":

It is always shocking to meet life where we thought we were alone. 'Look out!' we cry, 'it's alive'. And therefore this is the very point at which so many draw back - I would have done so myself if I could - and proceed no further with Christianity. An 'impersonal God' -- well and good. A subjective God of beauty, truth and goodness, inside our own heads - better still. A formless life-force surging through us, a vast power which we can tap - best of all. But God Himself, alive, pulling at the other end of the cord, perhaps approaching at an infinite speed, the hunter, king, husband - that is quite another matter. There comes a moment when the children who have been playing at burglars hush suddenly: was that a real footstep in the hall? There comes a moment when people who have been dabbling in religion ('Man's search for God!') suddenl…

When Dating Gets Real - For the Young and "Old"

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This article appears in the Catholic Standard & Times this week. It's directed to teens (but could also apply to teens at heart ;) How can I bring God into a dating relationship? What a powerful question — but I feel I should warn you right from the start, that's dangerous business. Once you let God in, there's no telling where things might end up. In the immortal words of Kip Dynamite, you just might find your "soul-mate" and be ridiculously at peace for the rest of your life. First off, I think we should revisit just what we mean when we speak of the reality of God. I think this is key, because the world can often distort the true image of God. The clear waters of our baptism can get a little muddied by our personal sins, and a true image of God can get twisted into something either scary, distant, or always wagging a finger at us when we mess up. Is that God? Let's go back to the beginning. Remember when you were 5 or 6 years old, and the world was…

The Miraculous Staircase

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Here is the story on that mysterious staircase...

"Two mysteries surround the spiral staircase in the Loretto Chapel: the identity of its builder and the physics of its construction. When the Loretto Chapel was completed in 1898, there was no way to access the choir loft twenty-two feet above. Carpenters were called in to address the problem but they all concluded access to the loft would have to be via ladder as a staircase would interfere with the interior space of the small Chapel. Legend says that to find a solution to the seating problem, the Sisters of the Chapel made a novena to St. Joseph, the patron saint of carpenters. On the ninth and final day of prayer, a man appeared at the Chapel with a donkey and a toolbox looking for work. Months later the el…

The Faithful Traveler website!

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If you're looking for the website we just spoke of on the Heart of Things radio broadcast, here it is! And thanks to Diana and David von Glahn for an awesome and inspiring ministry! www.thefaithfultraveler.com "The world is a book, and those who do not travel read only a page." ____________________________________________ From their website: About The Faithful Traveler The Faithful Traveler™ is a travel show with a Catholic focus. The show's host, Diana von Glahn, will explore the art, architecture, history, and doctrine behind the many shrines and places of pilgrimage throughout the United States and beyond. You'll learn about the faith and tradition of the Catholic Church and gain helpful information to plan your own pilgrimages. Diana von Glahn has been including shrines, churches, and places of pilgrimage in her travel itineraries for as long as she can remember. As a lifelong Catholic, she has always loved the feeling of home that each Catholic locati…

Feast of the Conversion of St. Augustine

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A tribute to St. Augustine, as we celebrate his life 1620 years after his baptism! ___________ "Augustine's life as a young man was characterized by loose living and a search for answers to life's basic questions.He would follow various philosophers, only to become disillusioned with their teachings. For nine years he was associated with the Manichean sect. But he gradually became aware that Manicheism was unable to provide sastisfactory answers to his probing questions.At this time, Augustine was teaching rhetoric in Milan. He went to hear the preaching of Saint Ambrose, the Bishop of Milan. At first he went only to hear Ambrose's eloquent style of speaking. But the Bishop's preaching led Augustine to a new understanding of the Bible and the Christian Faith.Some time in the year 386, Augustine, his mother Monica, his son Adeodatus, and several friends, were spending time in Cassiciacum, a small village near Milan. While outdoors, Augustine heard the voice of a c…

This Will Never Happen Again

A fellow teacher sent us an e-mail today pointing out the fact that at 3 minutes and 4 seconds after 2 AM on the 6th of May this year, the time and date will be 02:03:04 05/06/07

Is that cool or what? Worth staying up to experience? That's another question!

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Sent from my BlackBerry® wireless handheld

The Wait of Glory

I didn't watch the news coverage last week, other than a 10 second blurb. I haven't clicked on a single video from www.cnn.org. I saw a picture of Choh, but I have yet to read a full article anywhere on the story of Virginia Tech. I don't want to hear about the "record" set, or find a scapegoat to blame for the mistakes made in the two hours between shootings. I want to look at people's faces. I stopped in a Wawa last Tuesday, and I found myself captivated by the tiny hands of the Russian girl in front of me, with her little pink purse. I was mystified by the big man with the tattoos and the dark greasy hair writing a check at the register. I was captured by the haltered step of an elderly man in a grey suit, making his way towards the soda machine, moving slowly through the noise and haste. Where did these people come from? Where were they going? Did they each have a person they could talk to, pour out their hearts to, share silences with in the wake of …

On This Earth Day Weekend

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Some sweet words from the Man:

How could we not feel surrounded by the love of God who opens before us the book of nature and invites us to read there the signs of his presence and tenderness? Far from daily life, which is often frantic and unfortunately sometimes alienating, in this delightful mountain spot we have the opportunity to rediscover the grandeur of God and man in the beauty of creation, and we are invited to achieve a fuller harmony with the Artisan of the universe.- Pope John Paul II

A Video Tribute to Pope John Paul II

I discovered this beautiful tribute to Pope John Paul II this morning on YouTube. The collection of photographs alone is spectacular, and add to it a beautiful song "Be Not Afraid" written just for John Paul by the singer Janelle. Powerful stuff!

Extremists Threaten Church in Baghdad

This from the Church in the Middle East, reported on www.zenit.orgBAGHDAD, Iraq, APRIL 19, 2007 (Zenit.org).- Christian churches in Baghdad have been forced to remove crosses as threats from Islamic extremists cause pressure to mount. Wednesday was the bloodiest day in Baghdad since the start of U.S. security operations. Nearly 200 people were killed in a string of attacks in Iraq's capital. Meanwhile AsiaNews reported new threats to Christians. The churches in the Dora region, a Christian quarter of Baghdad, have received threats from an unknown Islamic group, which warned: "Get rid of the cross or we will burn your churches." Chaldean Auxiliary Bishop Shlemon Warduni of Baghdad told AsiaNews: "In the last two months many churches have been forced to remove the crosses from their domes. "In the case of the Church of St. George, in Assira, Muslim extremists took the situation into their own hands: They climbed onto the roof and ripped down the cross." …

Empty. . .

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Suffering scours and scrapes us clean.

Then alone, we are hollow.
Empty as the heart of a mountain,
rough-hewn by the cuts of sin and sorrow.

Sitting in our stone-carved solitudes, clattering, words falling like rocks, who does not ultimately long to be filled? To be answered?


We come of age and reach that "cross"-road where a choice must be made. A turn to the right or the left, a turn within or a turn without.

Do we believe? Is there a hand reaching into our wounded sides to touch our trembling hearts? Will it take hold of our fear and pour it out? Is this a hand we can trust?

Will we take it or will we fear again what this pierced hand holds out to us?
Will we run from Crucified Love?

Running will not heal the hurt. We must put aside the pills and ask for no more substitutes. No more Babelling Towers that rise up to our own hollow heavens. We must turn back to Love.

Love that was born in a cave in the earth.
Love that was buried in a tomb in the earth.

We find Him suffering too, scou…

"Pearls Before Breakfast"

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I find myself gravitating towards the same thoughts and ideas lately; the concepts of wonder and awe, a sense of the sacred and the beautiful. I think it's because I'm hungry! I've been left hungry by the glitz and the shallowness of the media. And I hear real Beauty beckon, offering food for my soul. I think many of us are hungry these days. We're fed so much garbage from our fast food culture. A friend of mine sent me an article from the Washington Post that for me was a total confirmation of these thoughts and inklings. The article (attached below) absolutely confirms what many feel is an illness, a malignancy, a cancer of the modern mind: that loss of a sense of wonder. An ignorance of beauty. The Washington Post pulled off this incredibly sobering stunt a few months ago. The full article is here, with video clips from the hidden camera: http://tinyurl.com/29k6huThe short of this very long article (so worth the read) is that we are moving too fast, living too fast,…

Amazing Saint of the Day

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From our friends at AmericanCatholic.org

Blessed James Oldo
(1364-1404)

You’ve heard rags-to-riches stories. Today, we celebrate the reverse.

James of Oldo was born in 1364, into a well-to-do family near Milan. He married a woman who, like him, appreciated the comforts that came with wealth. But an outbreak of plague drove James, his wife and their three children out of their home and into the countryside. Despite those precautions, two of his daughters died from the plague, James determined to use whatever time he had left to build up treasures in heaven and to build God’s realm on earth.

He and his wife became Secular Franciscans. James gave up his old lifestyle and did penance for his sins. He cared for a sick priest, who taught him Latin. Upon the death of his wife, James himself became a priest. His house was transformed into a chapel where small groups of people, many of them fellow Secular Franciscans, came for prayer and support. James focused on caring for the sick and for prisone…

HERO

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A powerful post from Amy Welborn's blog and the Jerusalem Post....Professor Liviu Librescu was 76 years old, a Holocaust survivor and a professor of engineer mechanics at Virgnia Tech. The Jerusalem Post reports:As Jews worldwide honored on Monday the memory of those who were murdered in the Holocaust, a 75-year-old survivor sacrificed his life to save his students in Monday's shooting at Virginia Tech College that left 32 dead and over two dozen wounded. Professor Liviu Librescu, 76, threw himself in front of the shooter, who had attempted to enter his classroom. The Israeli mechanics and engineering lecturer was shot to death, "but all the students lived - because of him," Virginia Tech student Asael Arad - also an Israeli - told Army Radio. Several of Librescu's other students sent e-mails to his wife, Marlena, telling of how he blocked the gunman's way and saved their lives, said the son, Joe. "My father blocked the doorway with his body and a…

For the Souls Lost Today....

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Why is this happening?

I don't know when the madness of violence will end. It is nothing short of domestic terrorism. I think we need to come home, to draw in all the sons and daughters of America, to sit at home and be with one another; heal our own wounds before trying to heal the wounds of the world. Our wounds run so deep.

Eternal rest grant unto them O Lord,
And let perpetual Light shine upon them.
May their souls
And the souls of all the faithful departed
Through the mercy of God
Rest in peace.
Amen.

Paintball is .... Fun?

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My friend Joe is getting married in 6 days....

Yesterday, in an effort to celebrate this life-changing, grace-filled event wherein Joe will give himself and at the same time paradoxically find himself in marriage, committing to a sacramental communion with another human person, imaging the union of Christ and the Church in a real and mystical way, we decided to shoot paintballs at each other for 3.5 hours in Phoenixville.

Yup. We figured this was a "manly" activity worthy of Joe, who is a LionHeart of a soul. I tried to convince the boys that we should splash blue paint on our faces beforehand, and wear kilts like in the movie Braveheart... FREEEEEDOM!!!!!

Anyhoo.... before the Bachelor Party Dinner and high stakes poker began yesterday evening, a small band of brothers (4 of us who did not get the memo on the hazards of this "sport") gathered before the blue glow of the Internet at Joe's place. We typed "paintball" in the address bar and in 2.7 seconds,…

I Wanna Live Forever!

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"Let nothing trouble you, let nothing make you afraid. All things pass away. God never changes..."- Saint Teresa of Avila

Sounds like Christian zen, doesn't it? To be still in the midst of restlessness, silent in the clamor of noise, anchored in the midst of life's storms. Well, Grasshopper, where is your heart in all of this?

St. Teresa of Avila, one of the Church's greatest superheroines, is singing us a mystical lullaby in this quote. She's trying to sooth our troubled hearts, give us confidence in the Father's love and faithfulness. And we know this tune: Life fades, God remains. We experience at least the first half firsthand; things "pass away" all the time. Everything is dust in the wind, as Kansas once sang; from the flowers of the field to the friends we grew up with. Nature herself is constantly changing clothes, and the children of the earth are rising and dying over and over again.

We know too that we should have a certain detachment fr…

Ten Reasons to Believe in the Resurrection

A solid post by Rich Leonardi 1. Testimony of the texts. Scripture, Tradition and the Church thereafter all agree that Christ rose. 2. Testimony of the Twelve. Cowardly apostles fleeing became courageous Christians preaching, and they unanimously said it was because they saw Christ alive. 3. Transformation of Saul. St. Paul went from persecutor to believer after seeing Christ alive. 4. No early Church debate. The early Church debated many fundamental things, but not the Resurrection. 5. Centuries of martyrs. Christians, from the Church’s first days to our own day, have been willing to die for their conviction that Christ rose from the dead. 6. Diverse sources. Gospel writers included different details, and material from different sources — all of which agreed on the fact of the Resurrection. 7. Eyewitnesses. St. Paul spoke of how Christ appeared, alive, to 500 at once — and he was writing not long after the event occurred. 8. Non-Christian historical accounts. Tacitus and…

Diatoms and the Divine

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I've been reading an incredible book by Thomas Dubay called The Evidential Power of Beauty: Science and Theology Meet. It's a book about wonder, and wonder is my favorite word. Wonder is the front porch to the House of God.

One of the many examples Dubay gives as a way of getting us to open up and say "AWE" is that of the diatom; these are mind-blowing microscopic one-celled plants. They are at the very heart of the ocean's food chain, and have been called "perfect architects." They may well be one of the most important plants on Earth. Ever hear of them? Me neither.

They come in about 25,000 different species and manufacture through photosynthesis possibly half of the oxygen you and I are breathing right now. They shape for themselves little cathedrals in the forms of pin-wheels, stars, and spirals, and like snowflakes, no shell is the same. Thomas Dubay writes of a man named Richard Hoover who had the opportunity to view a slide of over 4,000 diatoms mo…

Whom Are You Looking For?

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Today's Gospel tells of the beautifully moving and deeply human encounter of Mary Magdalen and the Risen Christ. This passage from St. John speaks for itself!

Mary Magdalene stayed outside the tomb weeping. And as she wept, she bent over into the tomb and saw two angels in white sitting there, one at the head and one at the feet where the Body of Jesus had been. And they said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping?” She said to them, “They have taken my Lord, and I don’t know where they laid him.” When she had said this, she turned around and saw Jesus there, but did not know it was Jesus. Jesus said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping? Whom are you looking for?” She thought it was the gardener and said to him, “Sir, if you carried him away, tell me where you laid him, and I will take him.” Jesus said to her, “Mary!” She turned and said to him in Hebrew, “Rabbouni,” which means Teacher. Jesus said to her, “Stop holding on to me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father. But go to my …

HE IS RISEN!

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Who's the Man?

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A few years ago, a movie called "Walking Tall" opened, starring the Hollywood muscle man known affectionately as "The Rock." This remake of the 1973 bruiser was about a man roughed up by some thugs in his hometown, which by the way was a 'cesspool of corruption.' He decided to take the law into his own hands, literally and figuratively: it was a huge piece of wood to be exact. I saw a billboard for this movie while waiting for a train. There he was, "The Rock" looking righteous and rough, with the wooden beam resting ominously on his shoulder. Now is this the man? Muscle-bound, merciless with his enemies, trading an eye for an eye, and a punch for a kick? Is this what we're encouraged to become when times get tough, when the other team scores, when someone steals your parking space?Coincidentally, the day I saw the poster of The Rock and his trusty wooden weapon, previews for "The Passion of the Christ" were out; it was set to releas…

Why This Friday is So GOOD

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From an Ancient Homily...

"What is happening? Today there is a great silence over the earth, a great silence, and stillness, a great silence because the King sleeps; the earth was in terror and was still, because God slept in the flesh and raised up those who were sleeping from the ages. God has died in the flesh, and the underworld has trembled.

Truly he goes to seek out our first parent like a lost sheep; he wishes to visit those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death. He goes to free the prisoner Adam and his fellow-prisoner Eve from their pains, he who is God, and Adam's son.

The Lord goes in to them holding his victorious weapon, his cross. When Adam, the first created man, sees him, he strikes his breast in terror and calls out to all: 'My Lord be with you all.' And Christ in reply says to Adam: ‘And with your spirit.’ And grasping his hand he raises him up, saying: ‘Awake, O sleeper, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give you light.

‘I am your God, …

Crazy Love

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Today is the day! Holy Thursday is the Catholic Valentine's Day! This is the day Jesus longed for. He "eagerly desired to eat this Passover" with His disciples. His Sacred Heart was bursting to bring them this greatest of gifts. It was, and is, the gift of His crazy lovefor us.

Only Jesus Himself could have thought of this gift. Catholics believe (and this is apostolic baby!) that the Eucharist is not a little trinket or a keychain that says "Jesus loves you" - it's not just a memory or a symbol, like a painting of Him or a crucifix - not a little photo album of snapshots from the old days of miracles and wanderings and teachings from Galilee. It's.... Him, in the FLESH. When we open up the present of the Eucharist, surprise! It's His Real Presence!

This gift is so real, so present, that I fear many of us might be afraid to open it.

The Eucharist is such an expensive, exotic, exorbitant gift that sometimes I think we don't know what to do with It..…

The Hand of Hope

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I'm not a big fan of television. I know, I know... TV can be a wonderful medium for entertainment and education. We do watch LOST, and when it's in season, American Idol (that's right, I said American Idol). Channel 12 has some very "illuminating" material from time to time. But I think it goes without saying, although I am about to say it, that television for the most part is a "vast wasteland." That being said, the other night we found an oasis. We watched House. The weird thing is, we never watch House. It's a doctor show, and House is his name; he's as crass a doctor as you can find - insensitive, inhuman, and cold as an Alaskan Salmon. But he's a super genius. The episode we providentially clicked upon the other night featured the tale of a photographer who suffers from a stroke due to some mystery illness. To complicate matters, Emma is pregnant. House and his "special forces" team have to figure out what's up in this 60…

The Battle Between Light and Darkness

Today, Pope Benedict XVI spoke of Judas' betrayal in powerful, almost cosmic terms:

"When the traitor exits the Upper Room, darkness penetrates his heart - it is an internal night - discouragement grows in the spirits of the other disciples - they too go toward the night - while the shadows of abandonment and hate grow darker around the Son of Man, who prepares himself for the consummation of his sacrifice on the cross... In the coming days, we will commemorate the supreme battle between Light and Darkness, between Life and Death."

Isn't this the dramatic struggle at work in every human heart? We should ponder the power of our choices in this light. We have this incredible freedom to be heroic or hedonistic, selfless or selfish! We can be like Judas, or as faithful as John.

The Pope went on to speak of us all who have "our own 'night,' of our sins and responsibilities." If we want to draw graces from these days, he said we should "bring light…

The Heart of Things Hits the Airwaves!

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I'll be taking my maiden voyage tonight on AM radio, and live through the internet, with The Heart of Things radio show! So lend an ear or drop a line if you can! To contact please call: 610-527-2906 or 1-888-34-FAITH (888-343-2484) after 5:30.

We're airing every Tuesday evening from 5pm to 6pm, Eastern Standard Time, on 800 AM if you're local to the Philadelphia region, or live from anywhere via the internet at www.catholicinternetradio.com


No podcasts or MP3s yet, so you'll have to tune in sharp. Prayers are appreciated.... Peace!

Leaving Egypt Forever

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Let's have a show of hands...

Who likes reading/ discussing/ hearing about the war in Iraq every day? Suicide bombers? Sitting back with the paper and discovering that people are still being victimized and horribly victimizing others? Who would enjoy hearing another tale about the wealthy and powerful who are still trying to get wealthier and more powerful-er... at the expense of the poor?

Anyone care for more violence on television before 8pm? Who believes we need another show that glorifies lust in the place of love, promiscuity over devotion, and marital infidelity as opposed to a lasting faithfulness?

No? You're done with this scene? You've had enough? Me too....

If it feels like 400 years of slavery to you, slopping through the mud of the media with this fallen nature of ours and you'd like to break away from sin to a Promised Land and hear some good news for a change, then take courage and lift up your heads. Change is a'comin'. But it will take work, and the…

Stepping into Holy Week

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We all know that time flies, and that there are moments we wish we could recapture or really savor, having brushed past them so quickly before. Well, this is the Week of Weeks, the week we call HOLY. It is unique and it is extraordinary, for it's the sequence of these days that led to the unthinkable... the death of God in the flesh and the rebirth of all creation. This is the time when we were ransomed, rescued, and redeemed by God Himself. Let's not let this week slip past without some serious reflection.

The events of Palm Sunday leading up to Easter Sunday hold within their precious hours all of the seeds of all of the greatest stories. There is faith and there is doubt, trust and betrayal, courage and cowardice... amazing love and blinding hatred. There is the shocking horror of an innocent man's death and the unexpected brilliance of Him coming back to life. And what is most beautiful about this story and the events of this week is the fact that they are true. Christi…

The Office

For all its political incorrectness, socially inept characters, and inappropriate innuendos, the Office has moments of both hilarity and tenderness. Case in point: the Jim and Pam Scenario, captured nicely in this video (before it all hits the fan on April 5th).

April Fool's Day

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Today, Christ enters Jerusalem, the Holy City, riding on a donkey. He is greeted as royalty and palm branches are thrown down before him to honor his passing. But in five days time, he will be paraded as a fool before the courts of men. Such is the folly of the world. Its praise is conditional and short-lived. And even superstars are expendable when their life shakes us out of our comfort zone.

But such also is the folly of Jesus, who presses on against all reason and his disciple's warning cries. This Palm

Sunday is our April Fool's Day, for Jesus comes heedless of the threat of death, knowing full well that the religious leadership of his day despises him, cannot understand him, and feeling jealous of his fame is already plotting to kill him.

He rides on. Like a fool, he moves through the crowds, passing through their hollow hosannas, through the pale gleam of this spotlight. Towards the olive press that is Gethsemane, towards the crushing blows of the whip and the hammer that …