Showing posts from November, 2007

Saved in Hope - Pope's New Encyclical

Pope Benedict's new encyclical is here!


"It is not science that redeems man: man is redeemed by love."

"Whoever is moved by love begins to perceive what “life” really is. He begins to perceive the meaning of the word of hope that we encountered in the Baptismal Rite: from faith I await “eternal life”—the true life which, whole and unthreatened, in all its fullness, is simply life."

"In our encounter with the God who in Christ has shown us his face and opened his heart be for us too not just "informative" but "performative" — that is to say, can it change our lives, so that we know we are redeemed through the hope that it expresses?"

"A first essential setting for learning hope is prayer. When no one listens to me any more, God still listens to me. When I can no longer talk to anyone or call upon anyone, I can always talk to God. When there is no longer anyone to help me deal wit…

This Golden Compass Points Due South

Ah, the compass. Even those of us who have never actually held one know instinctively that to do so would be a comforting thing, a reassuring thing, a good thing. Because in the event that we should become "lost" the compass would serve as a guide to getting us "found" again.

I love the fact that the needle of a compass points north. Well, not true north, they say, but pretty darn near true north. I love north. I love saying the word north! It reminds me of the high and lofty, the cold and unreachable, the North Star, the cap of the world, Mount Everest, stuff like that. Growing up, when July would roll around, my brother and I would always look forward to heading north to Maine. Once the old gray Chevy truck (affectionately known as the Babe) was loaded up, the very act of turning off of the back roads of Browns Mills and slipping onto the ramp that led to 95 North brought a certain rush of excitement. For us, heading north meant a journey into clarity, and a certa…

Deer in the Fence

I was driving out of Malvern Retreat Center about two weeks ago, from a meeting that took me into the twilight time of the day, when a massive buck came leaping across the fields that buffer Malvern Prep's campus from the road. It was a powerful, agile creature, bounding like Mercury over the grass, and straight for my car. I was spellbound for a moment, then looking to my right, I saw traffic approaching. I honked my horn and they slowed. To the left, more cars were coming; they too saw the deer and soon a window was open for this beautiful creature to slip through. And slip it did.

At first it brought to mind the old Far Side cartoon "Nature Scenes We Rarely See" - where a beautiful buck is leaping over a fallen log with his antlers an inch from another tree branch (and we imagine the awkward pain of the next two seconds when the two meet). The grounds of the Retreat Center were surrounded by a high, green, chain link fence. The deer cut to the right away from my car an…


Wednesday before the Thanksgiving holiday found me in Wawa (our convenience store/deli) this morning. I was preparing meself a wee cup of Kona coffee (it's some kinda Hawaiian blend, a little nutty flavor, my favorite), when I heard a song playing through the store. I had never heard it before, but instantly knew I loved it. You know what I'm talking about? I didn't know the artist or even the words, it was playing so low. But I instantly knew it was one of my songs.

You know what I mean. It had that melody, the kind that speaks in my native tongue, that language that needs no parsing and no tense. It is always Now. Always Then. Always shimmering with the possibility of What Will Be.

As far as I'm concerned, good music is an invitation to contemplation. It's a kind of sacramental, wrapping truth and beauty in melodic clothes.

So I stood there as the three people ahead of me had their stuff rung up; bagel, pack of gum, milk, coffee. And all the while I was gettin…

August Rush Movie - Lookin' Good!

"It's all around us... only some of us can hear it.""Only some of us are listening." Wow, movie trailers are so often high octane, high adrenaline and packed with emotion. Perhaps that's why I LOVE THEM! This looks like a film with a powerful message. Just heard of it today and I'm looking forward to seeing it! Here's the official website.


This is a special request from Catholic Exchange.

Keep One in Theaters, Get the Other into Every Catholic Home
Thanksgiving Weekend is a critical weekend for two sets of Catholic filmmakers. While the team at Metanoia Films appeals to Catholics to keep Bella in theaters this coming weekend, the filmmakers at Catholic Exchange appeal for a blockbuster response to our multi-award winning DVD, Champions of Faith: Baseball.

Just as important as ticket sales for theatrical releases, DVD sales support and sustain films released straight to video and in this instance will enable Catholic Exchange to create more films featuring cultural icons who embrace and affirm our beloved Catholic faith.

Call 1.877.263.1263 if you'd like to order. Here's sampling of the reviews for Champions of Faith:

"A nine-inning faith classic!"
– Bishop Ignatius Catanello, Archdiocese of Brooklyn

"A great testimony to how rich our lives can be…

My Wife the Actress!!

Rebecca auditioned a couple of months ago in our local community theater, and POW! she got the role of a dying woman wearing a plaid scarf! How cool is that! Here's the write-up from the theater's website, cut and pasted for your viewing pleasure! __________________________________________ "An O'Henry Christmas" opens at Celebration Theater on November 30th.Jack Rowe as "O.P" spins a tale to down-and-out travelers Amanda Williamson and Rebecca Donaghy(woohoo! emphasis added) in Celebration Theater's "An O'Henry Christmas". The show opens November 30 and runs thru December 16 in Lansdowne at the 20th Century Club on 84 S. Lansdowne Avenue. The story takes place on Christmas Eve, 1893, when a mysterious storyteller enters an abandoned railroad spur on the outskirts of New York City and joins a rag-tag group of seemingly lost souls. In exchange for food, " O.P." entertains his new friends with a series of charming tales that tr…

The Red Pill or the Blue Pill?

The Matrix was a film trilogy that captivated many (including me!) a few years back, by tapping into the deepest questions we have as humans: Why are we here? Is there more than just this life? What is the Truth of our origins? Where can I find it?

Unfortunately, as the series moved forward, it became a tangled cacophony of too many philosophies and theologies. In the end, it was just another brand of gnosticism wrapped in shiny 20th century special effects (oh but what sweet special effects!)

Despite the philosophical fogginess in these films, there were some incredible "teaching" moments. One of my favorites happens in the initial conversation between Neo (the Chosen One who slowly discovers his purpose) and Morpheus (the sage character who leads Neo out of the darkness of deception).

Morpheus: ... Let me tell you why you're here. You're here because you know something. What you know, you can't explain. But you feel it. You felt it your entire life. That there'…

Mother Teresa - Saint of Darkness

This week on the Heart of Things Radio Show, my guest is the co-founder of Mother Teresa’s priestly order, Fr. Joseph Langford.

He began his long association with Mother Teresa while studying theology in Rome. In 1983, she invited him to be the co-founder
of her priests’ community, the Missionaries of Charity Fathers. He resides at the community’s motherhouse in Tijuana, Mexico. We'll discuss his new book "Mother Teresa: In the Shadow of Our Lady."

"In recent weeks, the once-private, inner thoughts of Mother Teresa have been at the center of media attention… and scrutiny. Thanks to thirty thousand pages of documents gathered for her canonization and most recently the public release of her personal correspondence to her confessors, the Nobel Prize winning Catholic nun - admired for her work among the poor - has been the subject of critical debate. Did Mother Teresa believe in God? Was she in torment over a loss of faith? Did she cease to pray? Was she a hypocrite? Thes…

Fire, Frost and Gold

This is the season! Even in the rush to work, I'm sure you've been captured by the beauty in the fields, the forests, the city blocks lucky enough to have even a few trees. They are passing through their death throes, shuffling off in a blaze of glory their leafy cloaks... and lifting up their branches to embrace the winter chill.

It's beyond beautiful.

So yesterday morning on the way to work, I stashed the camera, and as I pulled onto Malvern's campus, the sun peeked up from the eastern rim of the sky and poured out fire on the sleepy earth. I took a few pics beside the edge of Black Friar Pond. The page to view them is here. Enjoy! And keep your cameras ready.... this weekend looks like the peak!

Zoom Zoom!

Woohoo! My brother-in-law Tim Byrons was mentioned in the BMW Car Club of America Show in Stowe, Vermont! They gave his car a nice shoutout on the webpage here. Go Tim!

Amongst the other notables: - A Malaga 1973 3.0CS with 7,500 original miles owned by a reclusive collector who graciously allowed it out to visit (but not play) with a number of other picture-perfect CS coupes.

- Tim Byron’s spectacular 1988 635CSi.

- Dave Haviland’s time warp 1952 Azure Blue performance-tuned Beetle.

- A bevy of Bimmers, Porsches, Mercedes, Audis, VWs. The senior BMW present was Frank Bombardier’s red 1958 Isetta 300.

Answering Atheism

My guest last night on the Heart of Things radio show was Tom Hoopes, executive editor of the National Catholic Register. We spoke of contemporary waves of Atheism in the cultural spotlight, from Richard Dawkins to the Golden Compass. Here are some resources, and the podcast will be uploaded soon for your listening pleasure!

Answering Atheism
Turkey Day Apologetics (coming to National Catholic Register soon!)
Married (with a lot) of Children by Tom Hoopes
Apostles to the Slavs - Pope John Paul II

Ginny Owens - I am Nothing

A Drop of Morning Dew

"Before the LORD the whole universe is as a grain from a balance or a drop of morning dew come down upon the earth."- Wisdom 11:22. Rebecca and I went to the 8:30 at Holy Cross this weekend. We needed to get an early start to the day! This church has a massive stained glass window just behind the altar. It's actually an entire scene (the morning of the Resurrection) with three basic panels capturing different moments from that immortal Morning. I found myself drifting into it during the Mass. The reading was from Wisdom 11. Sometimes a line from Scripture can just take you places... "For you love all things that are..... And how could a thing remain, unless you willed it; or be preserved, had it not been called forth by you? But you spare all things, because they are yours, O LORD and lover of souls, for your imperishable spirit is in all things!" The video embedded above was taken a couple weekends ago in NY at the in-laws. Again, I was heading out the doo…

Bella - A Review

There's been tons of talk lately in the press and Catholic circles about the new film "Bella." It won the Toronto Film Festival's People's Choice Award as well as the praise of our own Cardinal Rigali. Now with that kind of variety, this film is worth a look!

I saw it yesterday with our Head of School, Fr. Flynn, and 26 of the boys from Malvern Prep. And I loved it. I can't say enough about how refreshing it was to be served a banquet of real, virtuous love from the Big Screen as opposed to the usual dollar menu of vice, compromise, distorted sex and violence. Where other films would go when their lead characters are young, attractive, male and female.... the movie Bella halts. Instead, it opens up the possibility that there exists a deeper love, a purer love, a love that isn't just about jumping in the sack. Wow! Who knew?

And yet the love between Jose and Nina is real, gritty, painfully honest, and shows to what depths the human heart can go when we beco…