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Showing posts from June, 2008

Modern Day Michelangelo

Discovered this video on a fantastic new service called H2onews - "a Catholic news service on a worldwide scale that creates and distributes multimedia news, every day, in eight languages. The news focuses on the life of the Church and on social and cultural events that directly pertain to Catholics living in the world."

Island of the World

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A few months back, a friend recommended I read Michael D. O'Brien's novel Island of the World. Familiar with his work (Fr. Elijah and Strangers and Sojourners being my favorites from his Children of the Last Days series), I said "Sure, I'll have to pick that up." Little did I know it would take two hands to do so (it's 839 pages) and a good couple of months to finish it. Today, I read the last sentence, closed the cover, and am utterly and completely exhausted.

I feel like Frodo, lying in that soft bed of grass in Ithilien after his torturous trek through the pits of Mordor. In some ways, I'm reminded very much of the feelings that the Lord of the Rings stirred up in me at my first reading. It was a sweet melancholia, and in some ways I didn't want the tale to end. With Island of the World the pain was much sharper. It's realism pierced like a sword. Here was not a myth but a man, and I grew up with him, from the age of 8 or 9 until his late 70'…

WILD MAN

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Yesterday the Church remembered and celebrated the birth of St. John the Baptist, who was crazy.

He lived in the desert, which is a sweltering stretch of HOT SAND and SCORPIONS with little water and lots of wild animals, in addition to the scorpions. He had a huge, ZZ Top, bird's nest of a beard. He ate bugs and wore camel hair, which I imagine was a wee bit abrasive on the flesh. St. John the Baptist was a wild man. He was crazy.

And yet, people flocked to him. Beyond those exterior and eccentric markings, there must have been a deep well of peace, and a truly magnetic personality. What else could have drawn not only the carnival curious but the learned, the leadership, the local government, heck, everybody living in an enemy-occupied land and longing for the freedom that this crazy man seemed to be swimming in down by the Jordan?

Something must have shone through those ragged clothes, that behemoth beard. Some fire burned out from his spirit that illumined every act and action of t…

Tonight's Show: Serra Club and Vocations

Spirit of Serra from Serra Boston on Vimeo. My guests tonight on the Heart of Things radio show are Bill Taylor and Gene Boggia, members of the leadership team of the Serra Club, an international organization dedicated to fostering, affirming and promoting vocations to priestly and religious ministry in the Catholic Church. The Serra Club's Objectives & Purposes are: - to foster and promote vocations to the ministerial priesthood in the Catholic Church as a particular vocation to service, and to support priests in their sacred ministry; - To encourage and affirm vocations to consecrated religious life in the Catholic Church; and - To assist its members to recognize and respond in their own lives to God's call to holiness in Jesus Christ and through the Holy Spirit.

Cosmo or the Cosmos?

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Think for a moment of all of the seeds of human knowledge that have been poured out into our hands; thoughts that have filled whole libraries can now be accessed through our cell-phones. All the yearnings of the human heart, the unquenchable thirst for knowledge of the human mind is just a click away. And yet, so often it seems, we shy from these depths, and stick to the shallows. We avoid Thoreau’s advice to “Read not the Times, but the Eternities.” We’d rather flip through Cosmo than gaze in wonder at the cosmos. For some reason, the staggering achievements and absolute wonders of technology achieved in the last few years have not drawn our hearts into deeper truths, but left us numb in mind and heart. We’re not just couch potatoes, glued to the tube, but pew potatoes, hearing the fire of the gospel at church on Sunday and barely catching a spark. Our depth perception is off.

Deep down I think we know this. We know that an authentic human life is one that steps into those shallows in…

Let Go, Let God and Woohoo! When You Do

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I'm back at Black Rock Retreat Center in Lancaster County, PA for
another amazing week of prayer and study on Pope JPII's Theology of
the Body (for the previous post, search this blog for Black Rock; it's
an August post of last year... For more on the TOB, just click the tag
on the right side o' the blog).One of the highlights of this week of intense theological study and
discussion is the trip to the 300 foot water slide on the retreat
center's grounds. Sounds random, right? What's a 300 foot water slide
got to do with God's original plan for creating us male and female and
calling us to love, our fall into fear, shame, and sin, then His
coming into the world in the flesh to redeem us and make us one again
with Him in the Body of Christ? Well, uh... everything!The slide is buried like a hidden treasure in the deep woods, and
spills into the tea brown waters of Lake (a generous term) Hiawatha (a
Native American term). Man, it's awesome.After…

To Sea is to Believe

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It's day three of our little Cape May getaway; the weather is
gorgeous, the beaches have alien creatures on them, and this morning I
watched dolphins leaping around in the surf just 20 yards off the
shore. Holy squid, that was beautiful! A nice little gift from the
sea, since I was robbed of the sunrise due to cloud cover. It was a
big red yoke in the high heavens by the time it broke through. But
there's always something to see by the sea for the early risers;1. My aforementioned friend, the horseshoe crab above
2. Birds piercing air and water like needles through an unseen cloth
3. A young surfer catching waves at 5:30am (that's dedication... or
insanity)
4. Other beechcombers like meself, zigzaging the waterline like
sandpipers, looking for glossy treasures the sea tosses up and then
drags back again into her frothy curlsWhat a wonder. The sea giveth and the sea taketh away. And what can we
do but sit at the salty hem of her dress like kids and listen to her
st…

New Podcast Up: The Ministry of Courage

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In this week's show, I spoke with Dominic Lombardi, Director of the Family Life Office in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, and Richard and Paul, facilitator and member, respectively, of the Church sanctioned Courage Apostolate. The podcast is available here.

The Courage Apostolate (from the website)

Persons with homosexual desires have always been with us; however, until recent times, there has been little, if any, formal outreach from the Church in the way of support groups or information for such persons. Most were left to work out their path on their own. As a result, they found themselves listening to and accepting the secular society's perspective and opting to act on their same-sex desires. His Eminence, the late Terence Cardinal Cooke of New York, was aware of, and troubled by this situation. He knew that the individual dealing with same-sex attractions truly needed to experience the freedom of interior chastity and in that freedom find the steps necessary to living a ful…

Barnabas: The Patron Saint of Sidekicks

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So the Year of Saint Paul has dawned upon us! Pope Benedict XVI has announced that from this month of June until June 2009 (when summer rears it's perspiring head again) the Church will be focusing on this Dynamic Disciple, this Super Apostle, this Tower of Power who was beaten, stoned, ridiculed and practically barbecued (wait, that was St. Lawrence) all for the love of Jesus and the blossoming New Way known to us now as Christianity!

But what's a Super Apostle without a Sidekick? What's Batman without Robin, Woody without Buzz Lightyear, Captain America without Bucky? (I don't know who this is either but it was on Wikipedia).
Well.... not a heck of a lot friends!

Because, truth is, behind every Super Apostle there lies a “son of encouragement.” And that's our man Barnabas, who's feast we celebrate today! He introduced Paul to Peter and the Apostles. He was present at the miracle in Lystra that led some of the people to claim he and Paul as gods - Barnabas being…

Summer + Rope Swing = Happiness

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Maybe it's the fact that summer is here, or that school is finished, or the fact that at 6:31 am this morning it was already 89 degrees, but I'm going back to my salad days for today's reflection. Let's talk about ROPE SWINGS!

Ah yes, I remember it well.... The year was 1980something, and the summer broke over us like the peel of bells, and our freedom flashed like light from brandished swords, and the slamming of our lockers was definitive! Peaceout Mr. Biscardi! Your jokes were lousy! And thanks for the B - in Algebra! Yeah!

For my brother and I, and our motley crew of friends, it was to the woods that we would go, to live deliberately. And so it was, one fateful day in June as we slithered down the Rancocas Creek in canoes, as furtive as Iroquois, as reverent as the Sioux, that we stumbled upon a single strand of rope, dangling down from heaven like a silken cord, suspended over the water like a magic wand.

"Holy crud!" we all cried in unison.

There is someth…

Nerd Alert - iPhone Update 2.0!

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I know.... I know. It's beyond cool.
Learn more here.

"With the iPhone 2.0 Software Update, your iPhone will do even more. Extend its capabilities with innovative applications you download directly from the new App Store. Get push email, calendar, and contacts from your Microsoft Exchange server at work. And use great new features in Mail, Contacts, and other applications. Free in the next update."

Did they say free?

Techno-Catholics - Evangelizing with New Media

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I had a great conversation this morning with Greg Willits, the host of the first-ever Catholic New Media Celebration, to be held in Atlanta, GA on Sunday, June 22. He's the Chief Operations Officer of the Star Quest Production Network (www.sqpn.com). Greg, along with his wife Jennifer, also created the popular "That Catholic Show" video series and also co-hosts the award-winning Rosary Army Catholic Podcast. These are incredible vehicles for bringing the life of faith into the lives we live in the culture today. There's something for everyone in the work of SQPN! Listen to our podcast interview here. And watch a sample of a That Catholic Show Episode below! Registration for the Catholic New Media Celebration is free, as well as for the Eucharistic Congress preceding it in Atlanta. Check out the resource websites below for more info...

RESOURCES:
www.celebration.sqpn.com

www.rosaryarmy.com
www.thatcatholicshow.sqpn.com
www.sqpn.com


Abortion Changes You

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A new podcast is up on the very controversial topic of abortion. Michaelene Fredenburg is the creator of Abortion Changes You, an outreach for those affected directly or indirectly by abortion. Staying away from the polarization that often takes place in the culture, Michaelene instead focuses on the hearts left wounded by abortion, She has created a place for healing, sharing stories, and building a new life after the fallout of a practice that is taking its toll on countless unseen victims every day. Michaelene's own story follows.... please consider passing this story on to someone whom you know needs support.

"When I became pregnant at 18, I had an abortion. I was completely unprepared for the emotional fallout. I thought the abortion would erase the pregnancy. I thought I could move on with my life. I was wrong. I experienced periods of intense anger followed by periods of profound sadness. When my feelings became too difficult to deal with, I reached out for help from a…

Youth Conference at Ave Maria University

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Ave Maria University is hosting a dynamic conference for youth this summer (July 11-13) in sunny Florida. It's a great time for the youth to go deeper in their faith, meet some new friends, and experience God's love in a place set apart just for them. Here are the details from the AMU website. PS - I was invited to speak ;)


SPEAKERS:
Matt Smith (from Life Teen), Bill Donaghy (Catholic Nerd), Franciscan Friars of the Renewal (these guys are like Catholic Super Heroes)

WHO:
Rising High School Freshman to Graduating Seniors

WHAT:
A weekend packed with dynamic talks, praise and worship, perpetual adoration, prayer, fellowship and entertainment.

WHERE:
Ave Maria University, Ave Maria, FL

WHEN:
July 11-13, 2008

HOW:
Registration is $125 and will include a NON-REFUNDABLE deposit of $50 for each person.
"Be Not Afraid...Open wide the doors to Christ!"- Pope John Paul II

For more info, visit the online registration page here.

TOUCHING BASE

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I began this blog over two years ago with the intention of "waking up" - myself first, then, I hoped, any cyber-passers-by; to create a blog not just for sharing news or commenting on it, but for serious (and sometimes silly) reflection. I know, I know.... it's a rare, old fashioned word and who's got time for THAT these days ;)

Well, I don't get enough of it and I thought if I just gave it a crack, others might also step into this Doorway to the Deep. To plunge into the real questions of life, to get past the shallows and out into the open water. I wanted to do all this with an honest, objective, and wonder-filled vision. Because, at the end of the day, Life is Beautiful. Amen?

So the invitation stands to take a few minutes each day to look deep within at the well waters of the soul and, well.... reflect!

SO WHAT'S GOIN' ON?
There are now over 560 articles on this blog. Yippee! You can access any one of them by scrolling down on the starboard side and findi…

The Good Stuff

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"Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is gracious, if there is any excellence and if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things."
- Philippians 4:8

Spending time two weeks ago with my friend Fr. Kauth down in North Carolina was pure grace. It was a blessing to meet the young people and to wander through the mountains with them, to pray a little, laugh a lot, ponder some deep thoughts, and at the end of the day, to slide under the tree branches that set apart the rectory garage (the Bat Cave, as Father affectionately calls it) and just BE with an old friend.

We cooked up a delicious dinner, talked about the paths our lives have taken, and dove into the topics we love: faith and culture, good books, philosophy and theology... the things that have always wheeled us around the Son in a gravitational pull since the seminary days we shared 13 years ago.

Funny how distance or time …