Showing posts from May, 2008

Speaking with Authority, Ya Know?

We live in strange times, where our words have lost their flavor and our thoughts their sting. We're more like pudding than we are like chili. I like chili. It's hot, meaty, sticks to your ribs. "Whoa! That's good chili!" In this video, a young comedian (though I think he's so much more) gets to the source of the bland banter that surrounds us; we do not speak with authority. Conviction and courage in professing the things we believe in have slithered down into a tasteless, quivering jello. Why? I suppose because things that are true are scary. Like barbed lightning, they shock us out of our sleep and illumine the dark places in our minds and hearts. And who the heck wants that?! Thanks to Fr. Stephen Leake for this link, found on his blog Da Mihi Animas.

A Carpet for the King

There are only two parishes in the country, that I know of, that have this tradition. (If anyone has seen it elsewhere, please drop a comment!)

For the Feast of Corpus Christi here at St. Francis Church in Franklin, NC, a Eucharistic procession will be led over a stretch of"sawdust carpets" - beautiful images from the Sacred Heart to the Holy Family laid out in dyed sawdust onto chalked grids as big as cars. What an amazing process. Families have been plugging away all afternoon and in just under an hour Fr. Matthew will lead us in Evening Prayer, then into the procession. Only the priest with the Blessed Sacrament raised high can walk over these works of art. A carpet for the King Who has become our very food; the Bread of Eternal Life.

(More of these incredible works of art are being uploaded to the "My Mac Web Gallery" link in the links section to the right. Once you're there, click on the North Carolina album)

On Top of the World

I'm in North Carolina this weekend, catching up with an old friend and giving a couple of short reflections to his Confirmation students. We had a great hike today up Whiteside Mountain. There's nothing like talking about the wonders of God's creation while you're sitting in the middle of it! The kids, all roughly high school age, were a great group and brought a peaceful, fun spirit to the hike. The pictures of the day and the beauties we discovered can be found by clicking this here link! - "My Mac Web Gallery."

"To materialists this world is opaque like a curtain; nothing can be seen through it. A mountain is just a mountain, a sunset just a sunset; but to poets, artists, and saints, the world is transparent like a window pane - it tells of something beyond....a mountain tells of the Power of God, the sunset of His Beauty, and the snowflake of His Purity."

- Bishop Fulton J. Sheen

Two New Podcasts are Up!

In my interview with Sr. Josephine Kase, the Assistant Director for the Office of Ecumenical & Interreligious Affairs in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, we spoke on Sister's work in building up and sustaining dialogue among other Christians and non-Christians within the Archdiocese.

Lisa Hendey is the Founder and Editor of, a Catholic web site focusing on the Catholic faith, Catholic parenting and family life, and Catholic cultural topics. We spoke at length on the idea of "E-vangelizing" through blogs, websites, and podcasts! Lots of good resources at! The podcasts are available here!

Two Roads Diverged in a Wounded World

Rebecca and I are in Hawley, PA, at the moment, staying at a beautiful
bed and breakfast called Settler's Inn. I was asked to speak at a
Knights of Columbus annual breakfast today, and they've been
incredibly gracious! The sun is peeking up and the coffee is hot and,
as usual, I can't sleep when there's a world to explore!The picture here is a little garden path outside the front doors. Out
back there is a babbling river, and a stretch of ground covered with
tulips and dogwoods. The grass is cool and wet, and life is good! In
the words of my man H.D. Thoreau, "I have heard no bad news."The talk today is called "Rekindling a Sense of Wonder: How a Catholic
Sees the World." It's a reflection on the sacramental vision we're
called to view the world with as people of faith. I can't stress
enough that this is not a "rose-colored glasses" kind of talk. It's
not like pouring glitter and butterflies on top of pain and so…

Fly Away

When I was a kid I wanted to fly. I'm pretty sure I wasn't alone in that desire. I think everybody has a deep-seated longing for the freedom of the birds, the freedom to simply lift off, float, ascend, sail away. From the Greek myth of Icarus to Leonardo's sketches of flying machines, human beings have never been completely content as muddy-shoed bipeds.

TODAY'S QUESTION: What's up with that?

Just imagine this scenario: Someone clearly exhibiting supernatural powers walks up to you and offers you the chance to either pay off your car, your mortgage, and get that new washer/dryer combo in the cool new colors for the basement, or.... you can fly... which would you choose?

When I first saw Superman in 1978, I wanted to fly like crazy. When I saw E.T. and watched Elliot and his alien friend cruise over the heads of those mean grown ups on his dirt-bike, my eyes were like saucers. I dreamt about flying across the moon on my sweet Huffy Pro-Thunder BMX Bandit with the st…

Give it Up for the Ewoks!!

I could NOT stop smiling at this ... absolutely hilarious! Thanks to Father Roderick over at!

Sun and Shade

When I was a kid, we used to play a game called "Sun and Shade." It was only possible on those extraordinary summer days when school was out, the clouds were high, and the wind was strong.

The game consisted of a race from a shady patch in the neighborhood (point A) to another shady patch (point B) up the hill. You could move anywhere, run in any direction, as long as your feet were touching shade. Under trees, shrubs, the shadow of a mailbox, a car, a trash can.... all were like stepping stones on the way to the coveted Goal. If you ever stepped into the Light, you were "fried," and back to the Starting Place you ran.

My favorite part of the game was when a massive bank of cloud would race across the face of the sun, and a half dozen kids would bolt like mad up the hill before the shade fell over us again; screaming, arms flailing, laughing, leaping up to land at the last second into the shady patch of a tree when the sun came out again. Ah, youth!

Let's Get Spir…

A Poem for Pentecost

"This is a beautiful time, this last age, the age of the Holy Spirit. This is the long-awaited day of His reign in our souls through grace. He is crying to every soul that is walled: Open to Me, My spouse, My sister. And once inside, He is calling again: Come to Me here in this secret place. Oh, hear Him tonight crying all over the world a last summons of love to a dying race. Acres we are to be gathered for God: He would pour out His measureless morning upon divinized lands, bought by blood, to their Purchaser given. Oh, hear Him within you speaking this infinite love, moving like some divine and audible leaven, lifting the sky of the soul with expansions of light, shaping new heights and new depths, and, at your stir of assent, spreading the mountains with flame, filling the hollows with Heaven."- Sister Miriam of the Holy Spirit (Jessica Powers) "If you are what you should be, you will set the whole world ablaze." - St. Catherine of Siena

New Podcast Up! East Meets West! The Church Breathes with Both Lungs

My interview was with Fr. Paul Mouawad, pastor of St. Sharbel Maronite Church, Newtown Square, PA. We spoke of the Eastern Rites of the Catholic Church, the history of the Maronite Catholic Church dating all the way back to the 4th century, and of the relationship of East and West today. Father speaks the Our Father in the liturgical language of the Maronites; Aramaic-Syriac, and sings a prayer in that ancient tongue. It's a wonderful history lesson and one that is very timely, as our own Cardinal Rigali will welcome the Patriarch of Lebanon, His Eminence and Beatitude Nasrallah Peter Cardinal Sfeir, to the Archdiocese of Philadelphia this May 16. During his visit, the Maronite Patriarch will be honoured at a Mass at the Cathedral Basilica of Saints Peter and Paul. All are welcome to attend!

Get the podcast here!

Our Hope

If you think about it, we don't have to look too far to see on the faces of our fellow human beings a profoundly simple truth. When properly understood, it's a truth that can really liberate us and start some deep healing. The truth is: we are living in a state of exile.

... But certainly there was an Eden on this very unhappy earth. We all long for it, and we are constantly glimpsing it: our whole nature at its best and least corrupted, its gentlest and most humane, is still soaked with the sense of 'exile.'
- J.R.R. Tolkien

Separation, death, divorce, heartache... We've all tasted this bitter cup. Drive down a few blocks in any forgotten corner of a city, spend some time in a bus station or a DMV. Listen to the news ANY time of day. Look at our movies, so many of which seem soaked in blood and lust. We're crippled by our fallen condition, and we look up and wonder if there is any way out. "It is what it is" we mumble.

Oftentimes, we are removed, dist…

Two Deep

My deep thought for a Tuesday morning: What if everything is here, now?

Heaven, Hell, God, angels, demons, saints, loved ones, a battlefield, shouts of victory, the seemingly "dead" who have left us grieving, the answers to the questions of every human heart, the hidden meaning of suffering, the reason for it all?

What if it were simply a thin veil that separated you and me from all of That?

How would you live, walk, breathe in the air of today if you could see It? If you could pierce that veil with your eyes, see the Shapes of the Answers moving about in a Great Dance that made everything here in this Room so much clearer, brighter, even joyful, like the giddy surge of the heart on Christmas morning when you were seven years old and the whole universe seemed like a Big Present just for you.

What if it still is, just for you?

"At present we see indistinctly, as in a mirror, but then face to face. At present I know partially; then I shall know fully, as I am fully known.&qu…

Automated Confessionals?

Here's a ridiculous and very funny video... and yes, I'm stalling. It's been so busy I need time for some real meat and potatoes posts! In the meantime, ponder the potential of... AUTOMATED CONFESSIONALS! "Confession heals, confession justifies, confession grants pardon of sin. All hope consists in confession. In confession there is a chance for mercy. Believe it firmly. Do not doubt, do not hesitate, never despair of the mercy of God. Hope and have confidence in confession."- St. Isidore of Seville"God gave Himself to you: give yourself to God."- Blessed Robert Southwell