Showing posts from 2008

Welcome Aboard!

We celebrated our son's baptism on Sunday, the Feast of the Holy Family (Picking that date without knowing this feast fell on it brought a broad smile to our faces. I think our guardian angels we're behind it). Now baptism is an amazing thing. Let's check out what the Triple C (Catechism of the Catholic Church) has to say about it: "This sacrament is called Baptism, after the central rite by which it is carried out: to baptize (Greek baptizein) means to "plunge" or "immerse"; the "plunge" into the water symbolizes the catechumen's burial into Christ's death, from which he rises up by resurrection with him, as "a new creature." (CCC, 1214)"This bath is called enlightenment, because those who receive this instruction are enlightened in their understanding . . . ." Having received in Baptism the Word, "the true light that enlightens every man," the person baptized has been "enlightened," he b…

A Year in 40 Seconds

One year in 40 seconds from Eirik Solheim on Vimeo. Time flies, when you piece 12 months together into a 40 second clip. Very nice transition with the sounds of nature and all. So long 2008! Hope 2009 slows down a bit!

Dad's Woodwork

My dad has begun a new wood carving hobby, and is creating some beautiful work! Check out this teething ring, carved from maple wood, finished in orange oil and beeswax. Non-toxic, and made in Maine. And our son just took to his Christmas gift like... bees to honey! Here's the link

To Consume or Be Consumed, That is the Question!

What a bizarre time this is; the Christmas season.Never is there a period of such polar opposites as there are at this time of year. All around us we are bombarded with the imperative to consume, collect, gobble, and grasp. There are lines of impatient, honking, beeping, cranky souls snaking through the shops and malls all around us. Incredible pressure is laid on people to find this or that gift for this or that niece or nephew, cousin or coworker. It can bring out the absolute worst in people. I watched a woman in her 50s sitting in her car with her elderly mother curse out a car behind her for honking at her... one honk. And it was one of those friendly little honks too. Grandma just kinda slid deeper into her seat, clutching her purse.Then comes Sunday, and we roll off to Church and hear just the opposite. "It is better to give than to receive" - "God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son..." - "wrapped him in swaddling clothe…

Good Stuff

Nothing profound today, just a little laugh from the Mac commercials that literally were the impetus for me to check out their product. I love Mac! From the desktop to the iPhone, the iPod to Apple TV. We're sold. I think I need to dedicate a post a week on "Why I Love Apple." Hmmm.... "Mac Mondays?"

A New Angle on Moses

After covering our section on Moses and the parting of the Red Sea a few weeks ago, one of my students had a kind of "Far Side" moment and set to drawing out his vision. Click his masterpiece for a full scale picture. Props to you Ryan Fulmer!

Flashback - The Nativity Story: A Review

I know, another flashback episode.... sorry gang! ____________________ From a private screening of the New Line Cinema movie "The Nativity Story." The film chronicles that year in the life of Mary and Joseph that forever altered the course of human history. It's the Christmas story, told beautifully in rich, earthen tones. The journey takes us from a windy garden annunciation of Gabriel to the Holy Birth soaked in starlight, ending with the flight of Mary and Joseph with the Child into Egypt. First Impressions: For me, the real treasures of this film lie in its attention to detail; the humble village of Nazareth is recreated with such evident devotion that this alone makes the film a joy to watch. We are invited to enter into the daily life of Mary, Joseph and their kin. We move with their schedules, we perform their everyday rituals, and it slows us down. These scenes are so rich with authenticity! Mary's coarse cloak, handwoven and weathered, brushing past the w…

Flashback Episode: The ICLAs are Coming! The ICLAs are coming!

(Originally posted in December 2006.) Well friends, Christmas fever has once again gripped the nation, and it's hotter than a string of big bulbed Christmas lights from the 70's! I think you'll agree with me in noting that THIS Christmas is going to be bigger, bolder, and brassier than ever! Why? Because of INFLATABLE CHRISTMAS LAWN ART!! (The aforementioned oddities will hitherto be referred to as ICLA's) Now I don't know if the ICLA's have invaded neighborhoods west of the Mississippi yet, or even across the sea (any reports?) but let me tell YOU.... they are crawling all over the mid-eastern seaboard. Maybe they came from Sweden? IKEA? ICLA? Whatever the case may be, these massive Christmas mutants are taking over! Picture Godzilla with a wreath around his neck! Big, puffy pieces of plastic in yuletide shapes. We've got Santas, Frostys, Elves, and Reindeer.... even the Grinch gets a spot on the lawn! Sure, they seem kinda cute, but don't be fooled…

On Babies by G.K. Chesterton

(from the essay "In Defence of Baby Worship" from THE DEFENDANT. 1903.) The two facts which attract almost every normal person to children are, first, that they are very serious, and secondly, that they are in consequence very happy. . . The most unfathomable schools and sages have never attained to the gravity which dwells in the eyes of a baby of three months old. It is the gravity of astonishment at the universe, and astonishment at the universe is not mysticism, but a transcendent common sense. The fascination of children lies in this: that with each of them all things are remade, and the universe is put again upon its trial. As we walk the streets and see below us those delightful bulbous heads, three times too big for the body, which mark these human mushrooms, we ought always to remember that within every one of these heads there is a new universe, as new as it was on the seventh day of creation. In each of those orbs there is a new system of stars, new grass, new c…


"Brothers and sisters: Rejoice always. Pray without ceasing. In all circumstances give thanks, for this is the will of God for you in Christ Jesus. Do not quench the Spirit. Do not despise prophetic utterances. Test everything; retain what is good. Refrain from every kind of evil. May the God of peace make you perfectly holy.... spirit, soul, and body..." - 1 Thessalonians 5:16... I believe joy should be the undercurrent in the soul of every Christian. That's what this third Sunday of Advent is about, and so it's traditionally called "Rejoice" Sunday (Gaudete). After all, compared to the horrific death of Jesus on Calvary, to the crucifixion of Love Himself at the hands of His creatures, is there any sorrow that cannot be undone? So our crosses all combine and meet and meld into One at Calvary, and this is communion. And then they are buried in the earth, break open in the darkness and then push, pine, and blossom forth in the Spring into something holy…

Who's Your Daddy?

Our son loves to laugh and smile, but just when we think it's our funny faces or noises that are the cause of it, we're given cause to think again. He's like the ent named Quickbeam from The Lord of the Rings; it's simple things that stir up joy in him; the pattern on a couch cushion, a light fixture, a sneeze, a toot (of course, those are funny even if you're 90). These are the things that make him laugh and smile. The reality is, he has no clue who we are.... at least not yet. Unknown hands pick him up to carry him. Food comes right to his tiny mouth just when he needs it. He can barely see things that are just a few feet away from him. He's wrapped, rocked, cleaned, comforted, and cuddled by a love unknown to him. I was thinking the other day as I was feeding the wee lad, it's the same thing with us and God. So often, we have no clue just how close this Heavenly Father is to us.... just when and where He is comforting, cuddling, cleaning and caring for…

Lovely Lady Dressed in Blue

Lovely Lady dressed in blue Teach me how to pray! God was just your little boy,Tell me what to say! Did you lift Him up, sometimes, Gently on your knee? Did you sing to Him the way Mother does to me? Did you hold His hand at night?Did you ever try telling stories of the world? O! And did He cry? Do you really think He caresIf I tell Him things little things that happen? And do the Angels' wings make a noise? And can He hear me if I speak low? Does He understand me now? Tell me, for you know. Lovely Lady dressed in blue Teach me how to pray! God was just your little boy, And you know the way.- Mary Dixon Thayer This prayer-poem was made famous in the 1950s by Bishop Fulton Sheen. Let's sing it from the heart today on this great feast of Mary's Immaculate Conception!

Wait Watchers

Waiting. Some of us just can't stand it. We can't wait in a line, on a phone, or for a table without getting our cranky pants on. You've seen it yourself, I'm sure. "I need it now and you're not facilitating my needs fast enough!" Black Friday was as black as ever this past week when an angry mob's impatience led to the death of a Walmart employee. Death... in a department store. Hordes of people trampled over a man and killed him in a reckless pursuit of things. May God forgive us, and bring peace to his soul and his family! This waiting, however, is absolutely critical to the Christian way of life. Advent begins our whole Liturgical Year as Catholics with a call to patient waiting. It's a period of watchfulness for Christians across the planet. This holy expectancy is at the very heart of a believer. It's name is Hope, and if Hope is not filling the cavern of the soul, then a person tries filling it, in vain, with something else. But no th…

Let's Eat, Drink, and Be Merry

No matter how you slice it, Thanksgiving is an awesome holiday. First
off, it was strategically placed by our pilgrim ancestors on a
Thursday, which was brilliant. It means we ALWAYS get a four day
weekend. That's right! It's not like one of those "floating" holidays,
where you so often get stiffed; like Christmas on a Monday.The other thing is, Thanksgiving involves large portions of food,
which is a thing everyone I have ever met is deeply interested in.
I've never met anyone who said to me, "Food? Never touch the stuff."Finally, Thanksgiving is about family, and family is foundational.
Your family is the launch pad from which you blast off, the
springboard which you leap off of, sailing out into the Big Wide World.Families are like seedbeds, little gardens wherein we start to grow.
They come in a million different varieties, shapes and sizes, but each
hold the same fundamental responsibility; to care for and to cultivate
the beauty of life…

King Me!

On Sunday, the Church celebrated the Feast of Christ the King. Now at first glance you might be thinking.... Wow, what an outdated concept! How completely irrelevant to my life and to talk at the water cooler on Monday. "Hey Bob, what you'd do this weekend?""We celebrated the Feast of Christ the King." "The King? Huh... Sounds kinda medieval, Bob. When are you Catholics gonna wake up and smell the 21st century?" Then you hang your head and slink back to your little patch of serfdom behind some flimsy beige partition and think, "yeah, that does sound totally medieval." I mean come on.... this is America! We're a democracy! We don't want some archaic flashback to a time of fairy tales, princesses, dragons, and kings! Right? I mean WE the People! After all, we know what's best! Look around: isn't it working out perfectly in this new City of Man, this Brave New World? Finally, there's peace and justice for all! In the immor…


"Become who you were born to be." I've always loved this line, taken from a scene in Peter Jackson's film "The Return of the King." In a darkened tent where the army of Rohan encamps on the side of a mountain, Elrond speaks a word of challenge and invitation to Aragorn. He is the descendant of a royal line who has for too long wandered and waited for his vocation to be actualized. In this scene, the Ranger from the North takes up his forefather's sword and takes hold once and for all of his high calling. He rises with a new name, Elessar, and a new mission. Since the adoption of our son last month, I've been feeling the weight of a call; of a new vocation. I think something was activated in me just a few weeks ago, something that has perhaps lain dormant until now, like a seed that was planted but never cracked open until God knocked on the thin shell of my heart and whispered "Let there be life." It's the glowing ember of fatherhoo…

Twisted Mystics is Here!

Truth and Beauty flow into us from many streams, sometimes cool and clear, sometimes muddy and blurred. One of the tasks of the New Evangelization is to step into the waters of our times and discover what streams lead to the Ocean of Truth, and which lead to a waterfall of self-destruction. Our new blog, Twisted Mystics, is an attempt to filter through and find in the music of our culture the longing for that Infinite Love that every human heart longs for. We'll sing the songs of our culture with the voice of the Theology of the Body! Please pop in for a visit, and pass it on! Visit Twisted Mystics here.

Starved for Beauty Part 2

This is a flashback episode, as just this morning I discovered the clip referred to in Shawshank Redemption on YouTube! Enjoy...

How often have you found yourself out at a movie or watching the television, perhaps just flipping through channels in the hopes of finding "something good," and you actually find it?

Does it grab you? Is it like a new power descending and lifting you up... a fragrance you once knew and loved returning and flooding your mind? For me, it seems so often I stumble through the media with boots on, wading through the equivalent of sewage, and then fresh water comes in like a stream from the mountains. And I know I've found the Good Stuff...

Shawshank Redemption is good stuff. It's the film based on a Stephen King novella (he sold the movie rights for $1 to writer/director Frank Darabont): a heart-wrenching work with themes of endurance in the midst of suffering, hoping against hope, and the heart's yearning for beauty and freedom.


Answering the New Atheism with Ben Wiker

Are You Able to Answer the Arguments of an Atheist? In this week's radio show, I interviewed Dr. Ben Wiker, co-author with Dr. Scott Hahn of a new book that hears and answers the arguments put forth in evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins' best selling book The God Delusion. Benjamin Wiker received his Ph.D. from Vanderbilt University, and has taught at Marquette University, St. Mary’s University, Thomas Aquinas College, and Franciscan University. A senior fellow with the St. Paul Center for Biblical Theology and with Discovery Institute, he is now a full-time writer. He lives in rural Ohio with his beloved wife and children, and an ever-increasing number of a moderately useful but always entertaining animals. To learn more about Wiker's books, click here. For information on interviews and speaking engagements, click here. From his website: Answering the New Atheism: Dismantling Dawkins’ Case Against God cuts through the shoddy reasoning,…

Frivolity is Frivolous

OK, there are plenty of important things we should be focusing on these days; life, death, taxes, the economy, what's for dinner..... this I realize. But at the same time, in the immortal words of St. Thomas Aquinas, "there must be time for frivolity" (at least I hope that was Aquinas, since I've been getting plenty of mileage off of this quote for some time now). And so, I bring you, on this Tuesday evening in the year of Our Lord Two Thousand and Eight.... one of the coolest a capella tributes to the movie music of John Williams using lines from the original Star Wars movies that I've ever heard. Well, it's actually the only one I've ever heard. And that's a good thing.

The Forest for the Trees

The other day at school, one of the theology teachers was trying to determine an answer on a crossword puzzle that his students were given in class. The question was “What is the fundamental norm of Christian morality and the fullness of the law.” The answer had 5 letters, the second to the last letter was "u." _ _ _ u _ Now there were a few of us in the department hanging around St. Rita's before class, and we all puzzled over it. We laughed, because no one could figure it out. A combined mass of Masters degrees in Philosophy, Systematic Theology, Church History, etc. Clueless! How the heck are the kids gonna get this if we can't? This got me thinking about how often we scramble and scratch and work incessantly to get an answer for the blank spaces in life. And we feel so limited. It's just a couple of blanks! How could we not guess the answer? Why won't this word fit, or this one? The book must be wrong. It's a typo. It's impossible! I think al…

A Stranger in a Strange Land

I'm packing my bags. This is going to be a way of sorrows. A long walk through a valley of death. We have just elected, as a people, the most abortion-minded politician in decades. "The first thing I'd do as president is sign the Freedom of Choice Act. That's the first thing that I'd do." - Barack Obama, speaking to the Planned Parenthood Action Fund, July 17, 2007 The Freedom of Choice Act? What's that all about? Healing the economic crisis, bringing peace to the war in the Middle East? Finding solutions to issues like immigration or health care? No, it's about destroying our unborn children, America's future generations. Is this the change you wanted America? From the National Committee for Human Life Amendment:The Freedom of Choice Act (FOCA) ... is a radical bill. It creates a “fundamental right” to abortion throughout the nine months of pregnancy. No governmental body at any level would be able to “deny or interfere with” thi…

A Song for Grace Elizabeth

Anyone who knows my wife Rebecca knows her gift for music. This is a song she composed for our unborn daughter, Grace Elizabeth, diagnosed with a terminal condition and not expected to live outside of the womb. The first image is of Grace and her siblings at the embryonic level, just prior to their transfer through the miracle of embryo adoption (click here for the original post of our story). Only Grace survived, and for this and for our time with her to date, we are eternally grateful. As we near an election that could spell hope or doom for the most vulnerable among us, the unborn, may this music stir our hearts into a true and lasting love for human life. Thank you all for your continued prayers! "Everything is a grace."- St. Therese of Lisieux

Fr. Barron on the Film "Religulous"

Fr. Robert Barron is the Bishop Sheen of the new millennium. He has a prolific presence on YouTube, podcasts on iTunes, and is now on location filming a mammoth series called The Catholicism Project on the history of the Catholic Faith, sure to be a media treasure when it comes to sharing what Catholics really believe. I'll be interviewing Fr. Barron this Tuesday, November 4, on the radio show, 5 to 6pm EST on


A couple of nights ago, while our beautiful baby boy slept in mommy's arms after a good dose of formula, Rebecca and I caught a few minutes of a documentary on PBS. It was on terrorism and the Taliban. It's a mad world, isn't it? There are wicked things that take root in men's hearts and blossom in chaotic acts of violence. There are eyes blinded by hate that do not see. There are hands clenched in rage that will not receive. There are swords in the minds of many that want only to cut and to desecrate with their ideologies. For them, human life is cheap. People are means to an end; either obstacles or opportunities in a process they think will end as a good for them; for their agenda, their cause, their country. But that approach never works, because people are not means to an end but ends in themselves. "The reason for the world... you and I" in the words of The Riddle, a favorite song of mine. But the TV told otherwise, and the sanctity of humanlife was …

Just a Moment

So we've had a wee bairn in the house for sometime now. That's Scottish for "little one." And after five years, cries fill the house, and we are singing 80's songs put to new words, like "We've been waiting... for a boy like you... to come into our lives... yeah waiting, for a boy like you, to make us feel alive..." And then we tag team bottle time, and snuggle time, and we gaze into the little pools of this other little person's eyes.... and we see they are "impregnated with distance" in the words of C.S. Lewis; his eyes are full of light and of a future full of walks in deep woods and sword fights and drawing maps of Grandpa's land in Maine, of leaping from cliffs into cold water, and singing the Clancy Brothers songs, and a host of other adventures. Sure, the weight of glory that's been set upon our hearts with him is beyond measure. What greater thing is there in the world than to be given stewardship over one of His litt…


There is weeping in the night; but joy comes in the morning. - Psalm 30All's been quiet on the blog front for a while now. Today, I'm ready to tell you why! Rebecca and I wanted to say a quick thank you for the continued prayers and support for Baby Grace. She is now at 25 weeks in the womb and kicking more and more (or "dancing" as I like to say). There has been no apparent change as yet with her condition of acrania. Please keep praying through Pope John Paul II for a miracle; we believe it can happen. On another note, unconnected but providentially related to our story with Grace... we have been given a different kind of miracle, and you may from the picture have already guessed it! We have been chosen to adopt a BEAUTIFUL BABY BOY! It's been a real whirlwind of finding out about him, praying about it, deciding, and then being chosen. It all happened in a period of just about three days! When God cooks up a miracle, sometimes He just pops it in the microwave…

Fr. Frank Pavone Interview - Priests for Life

My guest on the radio tonight was Fr. Frank Pavone, National Director for Priests for Life. "... started in 1991 to do one of the most important tasks in the Church today . . . to help priests around the world spread the Gospel of Life to their people. The ministry of the priest is demanding. The priest presents to the world truths that are difficult to grasp. The priest confronts injustices in the world, which are often deeply entrenched in the attitudes and laws of society. Priests must be steadfast in calling for the protection of life at every stage, in exposing the myths surrounding abortion and euthanasia, and in working with others to provide compassionate alternatives." The podcast can be found by clicking here! GREAT RESOURCES! Fr. Pavone's BlogVoter Guide on Key Issues What Abortion IsRachel's

Jesus Loves Me

A famous Catholic theologian, whose name escapes me right now, was once asked about the most profound thought he had ever had. He said it was simply "Jesus loves me."Isn't it crazy to consider that in the whole visible creation, you are the most priceless work of art to him? Even when we take the brush of self-determination he's given us and deface this work of God, smearing the paint of pride in garrish colors across the canvas of our lives, the Master still sees the good in us, and our potential for reaching our purpose: finding our home in his heart again. I think the Father sees with "Jesus-colored glasses." I think from the beginning He knew that Jesus would be that bridge for us, that "human face of God" so that we could remember the "Divine face of man." St. Paul says this was always the plan, that in the fullness of time, all things be summed up in Christ, brought to completion, recapitulated! The Father always knew that our Rin…

Smelling the Seasons.... Again

FALL FLASHBACKThere's much afoot at the Donaghy homestead these days, and my time for writing is a bit scarce. I hope you'll pardon this rerun from the fall of 2006, when I was just a baby blogger. Peace! ______________

I don't know where you are, reading this right now. But right now, in southeastern Pennsylvania, USA, the leaves are beginning to lose their grip, the wind is breathing cooler, and the earth smells soooo good. We have a cycle of seasons; they rise and fall from spring to winter like the very lives we live. And every season is a chance for us to taste again the sweetness and the sorrow, to pass through ourselves a life in miniature; to hear again that "still sad music of humanity." From the green fire of a youthful spring, to the ripe joys of summer, and into the contemplative colors of fall... we prepare ourselves for the quiet sleep of winter. I love the fall most of all. The very air has such a richness to it; the leaves are burning in a last …

Believing in Beauty

Three weekends ago, Rebecca and I took a wee stroll through Swarthmore College's campus. I had done a radio interview there with Gen Life educator Matt Chominski (check out the Podcast!) and he led me to discover its hidden beauty; an arboretum, pleasant walking paths, exotic plants and trees, and some classic architecture. So as Rebecca and I strolled about, our eyes fell on a number of treasures; one being the red fire that's leaping out of this ground fern. It's been said that one of the proofs for God's existence, and there are many, lies in things that are beautiful. Augustine told us centuries ago to question the beauty of the earth, and said hear its answer; "Behold, we are beautiful." Their beauty, he said, was their confession of the Beautiful One Who fashioned them. As Fall falls around us in crisp blankets of air, and wraps us in warmer clothes, and stirs up our hearts in clouds of colored leaves, lets take time to chill. To drink in these treasu…

A Francis Flashback

Today's the Feast Day of one of the greatest saints of all time! St. Francis of Assisi! Because the fall gets so busy balancing family time, teaching, talks, and lots o' grading, this will be the first of possibly a few flashback posts (nice for new readers, hopefully fun for faithful readers!). I have to step back a wee bit from writing fresh posts. This is a little poem from last year: You were small once,Wrapped in medieval mistsplayful,magnetic of mind and heart,even then.Little Francis.You grew through joy and magnanimous heart, casting off riches for rich feasts for friends. And you laughed, at fate, at fear, at the fretting of the too too serious adults.Francis,Then you fell.Your happy world crumbled with the piercing glance of a beggar, poor and broken. Drawn by his magnetic mind and heart, into his deep pool of poverty.Francis, he captured you.And the nothingness of his poverty captivated you. The emptiness of air and water and wind filled your hungry heart.And the p…

We Are Not Alone

Think of the time and energy and the amount of funding that's been poured into the SETI program every year (that's the Search for Extra-Terrestrial Intelligence). Think of the fascination, the Sehnsucht, we've all felt at one point in life or another when watching a film like E.T. or Close Encounters or even Star Wars... Haven't we all cried out to the "universe" at some point in life in the words of that classic James Ingram/Linda Ronstadt song "Somewhere out there, someone's saying a prayer, that we'll find one another.... in that big Somewhere... out there." (I'm really hoping you sang as you read that last line, and I hope it sticks in your head all day. Great song.) There's a deep seated desire in many of us to seek friends in high places, to ascertain whether or not we are alone in this universe. They say there's no desire (outside the twisted kind) that does not have its object somewhere to satiate it. It makes sense for…

Less is More and More is Less

Jesus needs neither books nor Doctors of Divinity in order to instruct souls; He, the Doctor of Doctors, He teaches without noise of words.- St. Therese of Lisieux It's been said that the less you talk, the more people will listen to you. The simpler your life becomes, the richer your life will be. The one who humbles himself will be exalted, and the one who loses his life will save it. These are the paradoxes that are woven throughout Christianity like golden threads. Paradoxes, mind you, not contradictions. In matters of science, no two objects can occupy the same place at the same time. In matters of logic, the principle of non-contradiction says a thing cannot both be and not be at the same time. But in matters of faith, well.... that's another matter altogether. Here nature meets the supernatural. In matters of faith, God can become Man, Big can become Little, a Virgin can become a Mother, and a little French girl who died at the young age of 24 and never traveled t…

The Trouble with Angels

Throughout human history, in our philosophy and in our cosmology (or worldview), the pendulum of our place in the cosmos has swung back and forth again and again. Are we the crown of creation or are we just "trousered apes?" In our tinkering with the inner and outer worlds that we find ourselves swimming in, we are often ennobled and belittled all at once. The great Shakespeare summed it up well: "What a piece of work is man! How noble in reason! how infinite in faculties! in form and moving, how express and admirable! in action how like an angel! in apprehension, how like a god! the beauty of the world! the paragon of animals! And yet, to me, what is this quintessence of dust?" (Hamlet, Act V, scene ii) And of course, the Bible encapsulates the enigma even better: "What is man that you should care for him? You have made him little less than the angels, and crowned him with glory and honor. You have given him rule over the works of your hands, putting al…