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Showing posts from 2009

The Christmas House... Reloaded

The "CHRISTMAS HOUSE" is an incredible experience. Nestled on a dark street in a quiet little town called Washingtonville, NY, it is Christmas on steroids. And that's just the outside of the house... Every room inside is loaded to the gills with Christmas doodads and whatzits. Classic stuff too; trains, little villages, a hall of thematic trees like the Irish Tree, the Sports Tree, the Penguin Tree, and... the Creepy Singing Tree Which Has Lips and Big Eyes (my personal favorite. I'm not going to explain it to you. Just go! You'll find it downstairs and to the right. Or should I say, it will find you!) Each year, before heading home from NY, my wife, myself, and a bunch of the family make a pilgrimage to this mecca of music and lights. It's open from December 20 to the 30th, from 7pm to 9pm. The CHRISTMAS HOUSE: It's mind-boggling, it's sensory overload! The Palmer family will greet you, dressed all in North Pole attire. And donations are gratefully…

Open Up and Say AWE - from the CS&T column "Catholic Currents"

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One of my favorite words is... sehnsucht. I realize you probably weren't expecting that one, and you may have trouble even figuring out how to pronounce it. My apologies. Sehnsucht is a German word that captures (and at the same time can not actually capture) that mysterious longing in the human heart for Something More. In a sense, it's a uniquely human word. It describes the human condition. It names us and claims us as the special ones in the galaxy; the ones whose “hearts are restless until they rest in"... well, let's get to that answer in a moment. All of us at some point or another have experienced sehnsucht. Many of us feel it intensely at this time of year. It glimmers in the anticipation of Christmas and it can also elude us as Christmas slips away again. It is the proverbial wind in the hand, moving past us and through us but never remaining too long within us. Sehnsucht is like feeling nostalgia for something you actually never had in the first place, but…

Merry Christmas to All!

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We were so proud of our little drummer boy, who sat for this homemade photo shoot (though truth be told it lasted about 36 seconds.) It's amazing what a hand towel, bathrobe, old belt and bed sheet can do in a fix! Wishing you all a truly blessed and faith-filled season of Light. Thanks for following the Blog! The way to begin healing the wounds of the world is to treasure the Infant Christ in us; to be not the castle but the cradle of Christ; and, in rocking that cradle to the rhythm of love, to swing the whole world back into the beat of the Music of Eternal Life. - Caryll Houselander

Night Vision

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(In the spirit of "going green" this Christmas, parts of this reflection have been constructed from recycled material) 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, grab, 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 (and let me add, the best). THE WORST: 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. When Sunday comes, we roll off to Church and hear just the opposite. "It is be…

Our Lady of Guadalupe

For an amazing website all about Our Lady of Guadalupe, click here.

The Boy Wonder Chronicles - First Steps!!

Juan Diego, The Walkin' Man

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Yes, the strains of James Taylor’s famous tune “Walkin’ Man” came to me as I was reading about our “saint du jour” today, and you’ll soon see why. Juan Diego was born in 1474 in what today is a part of Mexico City, Mexico. He lived a simple life as a weaver, farmer, and worker. He was baptized at the age of 50 by a Franciscan missionary, and so began a faithful “walk” with God each day…15 miles to be exact! Every day, and mind you he was in his fifties at this point, Juan would walk to Mass. 15 miles! He is more famous for the amazing miracles he witnessed at the hands of Heaven; Our Lady appearing to him, the roses the bishop asked for blooming in winter, and the magic of the tilma, a stunning work of art painted by Heaven itself on his burlap clothing (which still exists today, defying all scientific comprehension and study). We’ll hear more on that one this weekend - The Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe. But in all this, it was still his walk that struck me. The dedication, the p…

Grace is Everywhere

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Hello All, We've shared this invitation/request with a few friends and family already, but we are "sending" it out officially now. Last year, we lost our precious baby daughter Grace Elizabeth. She was born on January 4 and died the same day, just 10 hours later. The full story of our day with Grace is linked here - http://missionmoment.blogspot.com/2009/01/our-amazing-grace.html. Needless to say, those 10 hours, and the 9 months she lived with us in the womb will never be forgotten. To celebrate her short life on earth, and especially her peace and joy now in Heaven, we want to invite you to "seek grace" with us in the signs all around us... literally. If there was anything that Grace taught us (and there was so much) it was that most blessings in life are unseen, or easily missed, passed by, or even unlooked for. So now, let's look! If at any time you see a "Grace" sign, ie. Grace's Nails, Grace's Deli, Grace's Chapel, please take y…

Ambrosia

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Have you ever been captivated by a word, a phrase, a song? Has it drawn you in? Do you return to those words, that music, again and again? I have books that are weathered, crammed with bookmarks and holy cards, pages dripping with the ink of my notes, and the faded glow of a highlighter. I have songs that if they were still in cassette form, would sound like they were singing underwater! Like a thirsty man, I return to the sweet ambrosia of Jesus, John Paul II, John Mellancamp, Thoreau, Kreeft, Sheen, Morrison, Einstein and others again and again. There are thoughts and ideas, insights and inspirations that do not age. There is Truth and Beauty in our midst, wrapped in immortality as in a robe, shielded from our mortal weakness. They are here to warm us in a post-modern age that has too often stripped life of its transcendent truth and meaning. Today’s saint was one who was so clothed. Ambrose was ambrosia to those around him. He hailed from the 4th century, a bishop and teacher, an…

Irish Soul - Liam Clancy and the Passing of an Age

It's with a sad and heavy heart that we see the passing of the Irish troubadour Liam Clancy, last of the Clancy Brothers, who died this past Friday at the age of 74. Liam, with his brothers and Tommy Makem, lifted Ireland's heart high in the folk music revival of the last century, and brought much of Ireland's soul to America. This music fed me for many's the year, and many's the meandering through green fields and woods. Their music hits the heart, and leads the mind into open spaces and forgotten things. The things that shaped a people, and continue to shape them. In our day of glitzy pop music, pyrotechnics, and shock and awe lyrics, the Clancy Brothers are a refreshing blast of salty air from the Irish Sea. Enjoy this classic tune "Red is the Rose" and a real gem; the Brothers being interviewed on a Scottish program, speaking on their art of folk music and the need for the genre now more than ever.

This Week's Mission Moment - December 7

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When we leave the holy banquet of Communion, we are as happy as the wise men would have been if they could have carried away the Infant Jesus. St. John Vianney

Fire in the Hole

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How gently and lovingly you wake in my heart, where in secret you dwell alone; and in your sweet breathing, filled with good and glory, how tenderly you swell my heart with love. - St. John of the Cross, Living Flame of Love I seriously doubt that God's dream for us, the reason He created us male and female and called us into a life-giving, ecstatic union of soul, mind, and body in a Garden Paradise at the beginning of the human story was so that He could eventually "lord" it over us with a list of oppressive rules and commandments. We were not made for law, we were made for love. However, when it comes to living out our eros, our God-given passion for all that is good, true, and beautiful, it seems many of us don't even equate it with Christianity anymore. We feel that eros is less than holy, and are content with continence not consummation - so we divorce passion from purity and just tough it out, trying to stay clean, in a kind of legalistic contract with God …

Eat, Drink, and Be Thankful!

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There are precious few things that slide through the culture untouched by commercialism and glitz and glam. Thanksgiving is one of them. Today is about family, food, being together, and after everything's been prepared, doing nothing. So let us all be thankful for the gifts that surround us, big and small. God is good... and pass the gravy!

Adult Stem Cells More Promising than Embryonic

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Science Proves Adult Stem Cells More Promising than Embryonic, Says Vatican Official Rome, Italy, Nov 22, 2009 (CNA).- "The president of the Pontifical Academy for Life, Archbishop Rino Fisichella, said this week that the work by two scientists has shown adult stem cells to be much more promising for medical treatment than embryonic stem cells. The use of adult stem cells poses no ethical difficulties and has already contributed to advancing treatments for degenerative diseases such as Parkinson's. In an article published by L'Osservatore Romano, the archbishop cited the work of two scientists, James Thomson of the United States and Shinya Yamanaka of Japan. Yamanaka was able to create adult stem cells in rats and later using human skin, which he called induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells, constituting a significant scientific development...." Read the rest of this EWTN article here: http://www.ewtn.com/vnews/getstory.asp?number=99004

She Ain't Heavy, She's My Sister

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Feast of St. Agnes of Assisi – Born 1197 – Died 1253 Some people have such a fire in them, such determination, that they cannot be stopped. Like a rock of faith in the midst of a stormy sea, they stand firm and cannot be moved. Sometimes…. literally. St. Agnes was the biological sister of the famous foundress of the Poor Clares, St. Clare. Agnes was Clare's "first" follower. But like anything as bold as discipleship, it met with some resistance. Some felt that Agnes, like her sister Clare, was wasting her life in this devotion to prayer and poverty. When she left home just two weeks after Clare's exodus into the desert of contemplation, the family tried to fetch her back. They had tophysically drag her out of the monastery, but suddenly she became so heavy that several big armed knights could not budge her. The will of the soul made steel of her body, it would seem. When her charming uncle Monaldo tried to strike her, he was temporarily paralyzed. They left Agnes a…

The End is Here!

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How many times have we seen a movie or a TV show with the iconic "crazy" person on a street corner wearing a placard with "The End is Near" scribbled on it? And how many times have we quickly dismissed that person as extreme, ludicrous, ultimately sad? But have you ever gotten the itch that invites you to scratch and see below the surface? What if it was true? It seems Hollywood has the itch.... really bad. She can't make the budgets big enough for these gloom and doom dramas about the End of All Things, from Armageddon and Deep Impact to The Day After Tomorrow and last weekend's latest installment "2012." The box office seems to be saying something as well; people love it. People want to see it. It may be out of a morbid desire to see historic landmarks crumple under a 900 foot tsunami, but behind that, I think there's a bit of good 'ole fashioned Catholic spirituality at work. Memento mori, as the saying goes. "Remember death." …

This Week's Mission Moment - November 16, 2009

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A world that is "beyond good and evil," in which nothing is either genuinely good or genuinely bad, and no truth, goodness, or beauty are revealed, is a world in which nothing is either intrinsically desirable or detestable. Such a world affords no possibility of seeing and using things as holy, which means to some degree letting them be, because in such a world there can be no holy things. Boredom is therefore the defining condition of a people uniquely in danger of losing their capacity to love, that is, a people uniquely in danger of failing to grasp "the mystery of [its] own being" and losing its very humanity. - Michael Hanby

Martin of Tours and the Veiled Temple

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Today’s saint, Martin of Tours, saw the Man behind the curtain, and it changed his life forever. He lived and breathed, sweat and struggled on this earth in the 4th century. He was born in Hungary but was raised in Italy, forced into military service at the age of 15. He became a Christian and was baptized at 18. Martin was known to be more of a monk than a soldier. At the age of 23, he made his great leap of faith, refusing a war bonus and making this request of his captain: "I have served you as a soldier; now let me serve Christ.” Newly welcomed into the faith, he saw a beggar on the outskirts of the city. Still in his military garb, moved to compassion, he took out his sword and cut his cloak in two pieces, covering the poor man and, to the scorn of onlookers, awkwardly covering himself in the cold with the other half. That night he had a dream. A man appeared to Martin, clothed with the garment he had torn in two. It was Christ himself. After all of these centuries, the di…

This Week's Mission Moment - November 9, 2009

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Music, great music, distends the spirit, arouses profound emotions and almost naturally invites us to raise our minds and hearts to God in all situations of human existence, the joyful and the sad. Music can become prayer. - Pope Benedict XVI

Better Not Bitter - St. Martin de Porres

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There’s a patron saint for everything and everyone, you know… African-Americans, Barbers, Hairdressers, Race relations, Social justice. In fact, for all of these, it’s the same saint – Martin of Porres."Father unknown" is the cold legal phrase sometimes used on baptismal records. "Half-breed" or "war souvenir" is the cruel name inflicted by those of "pure" blood. Like many others, Martin might have grown to be a bitter man, but he did not. It was said that even as a child he gave his heart and his goods to the poor and despised.” (www.americancatholic.org) Martin was the son of a Panamanian woman, probably black but possibly Native American, and a Spanish man of Lima, Peru. Having inherited his mother’s dark complexion, Martin was not acknowledged by his father until his eighth year. Talk about a “father wound!” After his sister was born, the father abandoned them, and the family grew up locked in deep poverty. But rather than become bitter abou…

REPOSTED - A Dream for All Soul's Day

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(Hope you don't mind the repeat, but I think of this dream every year on this day!) In November of 1993, my grandfather died. Over the short time he spent in the hospital, the family was given the grace to come and see him. It was a chance to speak our goodbyes, but Grandpa was speechless. He could see us, his eyes could pierce our own with a sorrow and pleading that I never saw in him before that day, but he could not speak. The stroke had robbed him of words. So we gathered, and prayed. We told him we loved him, and he was given the Anointing of the Sick. In that month of the Holy Souls, my family hoped that he would make his peace with God, that he would be able to trust, to rest. A scapular was placed on the bed post. My father saw Grandpa try to make the Sign of the Cross once or twice, but those frail arms would not obey. Frustrated, locked in silence, this man of the Old Sod who fought in World War II, worked as a welder for over 30 years, raised ten children, and loved his…

God "Loves" Me?

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GOD. Simply saying this three letter word can conjure up different thoughts for different people these days. Thoughts that perhaps are hard to wrap our heads around, let alone our arms: A Bright Light, billowing clouds, a booming disembodied voice, a Force that is distant and yet somehow accessible, or even a kind of Cosmic Grandpa who some say actually hears us through a thing called prayer. For others today, the word GOD seems small, antiquated, and irrelevant. Hasn't science disproved all that supernatural stuff? "We've evolved as a species and feel it no longer necessary to have a psychological crutch like GOD to get us through this life." Finally, for others, (and this one perplexes the unbeliever to no end) GOD is as close and intimate and personal as, well, a person. God, they say, is above all a Lover, in fact, and He is crazy about us measly humans! So crazy that He came among us and has now and forevermore, a human face, a human heart! These folks believe Di…

Wanna Be

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Do you wanna be happy, whole, integrated, joyful, successful, at peace, part of something amazing, purposeful, powerful, confident, loved, loving, redeemed, relaxed, realized, real? Then you wanna become a saint. Do you wanna be a person in touch, in truth, inspired, desired, magnetic, magnanimous, moved, and moving? Then you wanna become a saint. There is only one tragedy in the end - not to have been a saint. - Leon Bloy So save yourself all the yogi guru self-help hullabaloo. Wholeness is simpler than that - it's found in holiness! Let's cut through all the plaster cast, plastic past, Campbell's Soup Kid lookin' holy card pictures of saints for a moment. What does it really mean to become a saint? It means to become vulnerable. To be open. To receive all things from the Hand of God in trust and in love. A saint is synonymous with what's sane. A saint is the ultimate realist, for there is nothing more real than the Cross and the Broken Body stretched upon it. And…

Happy Halloween!

The Apostles…. The Big Dawgs of the Catholic Faith

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The Twelve – they so often adorn facades and rest atop pillars, gilded, massive, epic figures, each Atlases on whose shoulders the Church rests…. or so we grow up imagining. But what do we know, really, about these figures when the dust of millennia settles and we glance back at Sacred Scripture? We know their names. We know they were mostly an “uneducated” lot (though schooled strong in the Book of Nature). We know they didn’t always have a clue what their Master was saying. We know all but one abandoned Him at the moment when He would have needed them most. A pretty shaky foundation for a Church, you might be thinking. But we also know that they came back to Him, and preached His Name from the rooftops, and in every conceivable way they poured themselves out for Him. That’s about it. But isn’t that what it’s all about? The good news is that this shaky foundation has Christ Jesus as the capstone, and through Him the whole structure is held together. The good news is that Simon and …

Boy with Pumpkin - A Test

Jesus versus Vampires

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Just the other day, I was rounding the corner of our church parking lot to head into daily Mass, when a Septa bus drove down the street. On the side of the bus was an ad for a TV series about vampires called "True Blood." There was a smiling, fanged young women lying beside a gruesome, lifeless young man. I thought of our culture’s increasing obsession with death, then turned and entered the church, looking towards the crucifix and the wounds of Christ. Hmmm, I thought, here's the True Blood, isn’t it? I’m “celebrating” another kind of death in the Body of Christ. I couldn't stop thinking that day of the parallels between the two images, both involving great violence. But which image holds real power? It was Jesus versus the Vampires. It seems the media is dripping with the lore of vampires, especially these days just before Halloween. Websites, books, video games… Years ago, we saw the success of TV shows like Angel and Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and now the more re…

In Gratitude for the Gift of Down's Syndrome

The number of children born with Down's Syndrome has decreased in recent years. Those families found with such a "defective" pregnancy are encouraged by some doctors to "ease their suffering" by aborting their babies. Rebecca and I were so advised when we learned of our daughter Grace's condition of acrania. But in so doing, in attempting to eradicate "suffering" from our lives or the lives of our children, we destroy the very gifts God has in store for us. Yes, gifts. Father, forgive us, for we know not what we do. God always sees a greater good in the things we label bad. He sometimes allows nature to take it's course, and we are invited to move through this wounded world with eyes wide open, and hearts ready for anything.

Tough Love - Isaac Jogues and Company

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This morning in chapel, I got zapped by one of the prayers we heard. Jesus “put himself into our hands.” Incredible… Talk about becoming vulnerable, dependent, helpless. Didn’t he know the risks involved? Unrequited love, betrayal, indifference, even a scalding hatred that would end in tearing his very flesh from him and hanging him on a cross? Yes, he knew the risks, but he did it anyway. Jesus “put himself into our hands.” Isaac Jogues, John de Brébeuf and Companions Today, we celebrate a group of men – missionaries – who also knew the risks. They came from across the sea with the burning conviction that God had broken into our world, took on a body like us and offered it freely to ransom us from hatred and violence and indifference. But some of the Huron and Iroquois men, men who felt their power and position, their very paradigm of life, challenged by the missionaries, grew violent themselves. They cut off Isaac’s fingers so he couldn’t offer the Mass, they would cut out a man’s…

Speaking in Center City, Philadelphia - Mondays, November 2, 9, 16, 23

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Introduction to the Theology of the BodyDate(s): Mondays, November 2nd-23th Location: St. John the Evangelist 21 S. 13th St. Philadelphia PA, 19107 Presented By: Bill Donaghy Contact: St. John's Young Adult Community Email: yacspirit@gmail.com Cost: $65 includes materials Download Flyer (large file) St. John's Young Adult Community will host Bill Donaghy, TOB Institute Speaker and Educator, for a unique seminar series this fall. Over four consecutive Mondays in November, Bill will break open the beauty and mystery of Pope John Paul II's Theology of the Body. Join other young adults in the Philadelphia area and dive deep into depths of the church's teachings on sexuality. Be prepared to discover, maybe for the first time, your heart's deepest desires for love and communion.

Mission Moment of the Week

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"Without God the economy is only economy, nature is nothing more than a deposit of material, the family only a contract, life nothing more than a laboratory product, love only chemistry, and development nothing more than a form of growth." - Archbishop Crepaldi WHAT IS THE MISSION MOMENT? The Mission Moment began on World Mission Sunday, October 21, 2001. It's a weekly message that inspires, encourages, and challenges its readers to live life in the Presence of God. Sent across the United States and overseas to nearly every continent, it is inspiration for the New Evangelization. Simple truths in small doses! For more inspirational thoughts, visit the complete list of Mission Momentshere.

A Few Good Men

The 13th Day

"In a world torn apart by persecution, war and oppression, three children were chosen to offer a message of hope. Based on the memoirs of Sister Lucia Santos and independent eye-witness accounts, The 13th Day dramatizes the incredible true story of three shepherd children from the village of Fatima in Portugal who experienced six apparitions with a Lady from Heaven between May and October 1917, which culminated in the final prophesied miracle. The lady, who later revealed herself to be the Blessed Virgin Mary, gave a secret to the children told in three parts, from a harrowing vision of hell, to prophetic warnings of future events including the advent and timing of the Second World War, the spread of communism, and the attempted assassination of the Pope. Stylistically beautiful and technically innovative, writer-directors Ian and Dominic Higgins use state-of-the-art digital effects to create stunning images of the visions and the final miracle that have never before been fully …

Things You Don't Say to Your Wife

As ministers of a sacrament which is constituted by consent and perfected by conjugal union, man and woman are called to express that mysterious "language" of their bodies in all the truth which is proper to it. By means of gestures and reactions, by means of the whole dynamism, reciprocally conditioned, of tension and enjoyment - whose direct source is the body in its masculinity and its femininity, the body in its action and interaction - by means of all this... the person, "speaks." - Pope John Paul II, Theology of the Body address, 1984 The person speaks... but oh, sometimes we wish we hadn't! Words are like arrows shot, once released they cannot return! So think before you fire away. What husbands and wives speak or communicate to each other, in word or in action, should always lead to communion. But sometimes... we slip. And it does just the opposite. Ladies, forgive us our trespasses, for often, we know not what we do! So men, here's a goofy little r…

Real Men Pray the Rosary (and Women too!)

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On a dusty road in Ireland’s countryside, back in the early years of the 20th century, a man was walking, communing with nature and with God. His fingers whispered through the beads, offering a prayer to the One through the soft repetition of words found in scripture…. “Our Father, Who is in Heaven, hallowed be Thy Name….” “Hail Mary, full of grace…” He was stopped by British soldiers. The beads he prayed upon were nearly forced down his throat in an act of bestial bigotry. That man was my great grandfather, William. I can still recall nights when my own father, William, would fall asleep in the chair holding his beads, stressing to us the importance of faith, of the rosary, of meditation on the Passion of Our Lord, and on the mysteries of the Gospels encapsulated in every set of “mysteries.” Every action teaches, every reaction reinforces something for good or ill. Every move of the hand, every slip of the tongue. All the more reason then to train the tongue, and to mold the mind …

Will the Real Francis Please Kneel Down.

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(My friend Brian who runs the "Defending My Beanfield" blog posted this powerful reflection on St. Francis, though he's not sure of the author. Does anyone recognize it? It's a real wake up call for some of us who unknowingly, or knowingly, "sanitize" the saints. "Save us from the birdbath Francis!"THE REAL FRANCIS There you stand, O prophet of God Placid in the sun-drenched garden And never in the cold dank cave Or bleeding amidst the thorns. There you stand, poised and sanitized Air-brushed with the birds Who once opened their beaks to praise their Maker And then stood silent to hear His Holy Word. Why do you too stay silent Exiled to sacred niche and abandoned Upon some plaster pillar? You who glowed naked ashen upon the barren earth Now need vigil light and fresh white linen? What is the weak reason everyone loves you? And who are you, you little wounded man That everyone crowns your weary wet head with gold? Are you not a lion now made m…

Flower Power

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"I prefer the monotony of obscure sacrifice to all ecstasies. To pick up a pin for love can convert a soul." Thérèse Martin was not a sissy saint. It wasn’t all roses and buttercups for this young women of 19th century France, though the language of early writers, and her own words at times, can seem like sweet saccharine. She was a rock of faith, broken and remade by the reality of suffering. All of her life… from the death of her mother at the tender age of 4, through the fits of delirium, fever, prolonged fainting spells, the ravages of tuberculosis, and in the end a total deprivation of the consolation of the Presence of God, she was faithful. She entered the convent at the age of 15, boldly asking permission from the Pope himself to do so, and spent 9 years in a cloister, working long and hard at domestic chores, to the humdrum daily tick of the clock. Nothing extraordinary, seemingly from the outside. But on the inside she was a powerhouse of prayer and an icon of bu…

The Human Experience - Screening Oct. 8th

Dear Friends in the local Philadelphia area, Please help me to get the word out about a remarkable movie produced by Grass Roots Films called “The Human Experience.” I have mentioned it before on the blog, and still anxiously await its debut on the big screen. It's getting closer! Grassroots produced the Fisher of Men Video that was shown through out the Archdiocese of Philadelphia a few years ago to promote vocations. The films produced by this wonderful ministry (two brothers from Brooklyn, NY began the work) are inspiring, filled with truth, and captivating. In The Human Experience, a group of men in their twenties go on a quest into the world and into the heart of humanity to find what's universal in our human experience. In their quest they find themselves on the streets of New York City, the Coast of Peru, and the African Continent, as well as face to face with the mystery of their own hearts. This film opens up for us the fruit of their quest for this basic and un…

Take a Breath, Take a Break

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I'm so busy.I wish I had more time. I'm stressed out. It never ends. There's always something. I need a break. Then take one. September is a crazy month, I know. It ushers in the busy season for many of us. School's back in, buses are clogging up the morning streets again. Sports, lessons, homework, teaching, grading, running to those meetings that the summer kept at bay, holiday preparations, transitioning the house for the new season, for the coming cold. But something else in September is present to counteract this hectic pace. Cold crisp air, burning blue skies, leaves afire, the mournful song of geese overhead, the scent of leaves, of wood-fires, sunsets that throb with color, and starry nights. These are invitations to stillness and to watching. And it only takes a moment to breathe them in, to slow down, to drink freely. Each of these encounters has power in them, because they are natural. And Nature is seldom in a hurry. I was walking to the parking lot after a long an…

Trio Triumvirum Performs the Agnus Dei

Trio Triumvirum : Agnus Dei from TrioTriumvirum on Vimeo.I've given talks in the last couple of years for the Archdiocese of New York for the Family Life Office, and the Assistant Director is Christopher Mueller. He's the man on the left. When they say "Don't quit your day job" I think he actually could! What a gift... What a blast of fresh air from behind the curtain of the Holy of Holies! Could you imagine hearing this at your local parish Church just before the Consecration at Mass? I think it would certainly life us up a little beyond ourselves, and we'd perhaps catch a glimpse of what the angels see when the Lamb of God descends upon the altar to feed and heal us with His very Life. About Trio Triumvirum TRIO TRIUMVIRUM is a vocal ensemble made up of three of New York City’s finest male singers - a countertenor and two baritones - who perform sacred music from 13th and 14th century Europe. Music from before Columbus discovered America - who knew it was …

September Speaks

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If conscience is the voice of God in the soul, then Creation is Him singing. Watch, wait, look long and look deep. Creation is dying again. Listen to Her wisdom. Watch, wait, look long and look deep. See this mournful train. September sets the first steps of Her Via Dolorosa.... Creation's road to Calvary. Watch, wait, look long and look deep. September speaks a dying wish. To Her children in their maddening rush, in their race over roads of stone and in their cages of glass and steel... Listen. Watch. Be still. For what happens to me, She whispers, must happen to you. September speaks in muted tones, in dew-wet droplets on fragile webs, shining like jewels. In the burnt edges of leaves in their final hours, in the cold breath over corn past their ripening. Listen, September speaks. All things pass, all things change, all things die. And those that give their life away to the summons of September, will be born again.