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The Posture of the New Evangelization

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This month's Sacred Art meditation is a real gem from the Swiss painter Eugene Burnand (1850 - 1951). He began his studies in his native Switzerland then moved to Paris, where he became best known for his landscapes. Influenced by the realism so vibrant in that period, he also had a gift for capturing human emotion. It's evident in his famous work, “The Disciples Peter and John Running to the Sepulcher on the Morning of the Resurrection.” Let's do a little "Video Divina" on this image (which is the visual equivalent of Lectio Divina. Divine "Seeing." Gaze. Look. Enter in. Feel the "sacramental" presence of God (in a certain sense) through the canvas and the paint).
We see John with a face still fresh and young, but weathered by the events of the past three days. Anxious concern etches his brow, and his hands are clenched with a tremulous expectation. Peter, more rugged, bears a fisherman's face. It is sea-swept and soaked by his own salty t…

A Church on Fire

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Picture this:

A sacred space, with ample seating, filled with men and women, circled up, slightly sheepish, quiet, staring at each other, waiting for something to happen. 

Every day they come. They sit. They wait. Dutifully. Sitting, sometimes standing. Sometimes kneeling, waiting for something, or Someone, they're not sure, to come and fire them up. 

They have been disheartened by their leaders swift departure. Feeling a bit abandoned, cheated even, they have been further scandalized by the actions of fellow believers. And these women and men, who've been gathering in this same space for sometime now, are at some level conscious of their own inability to act. To move. To do something. So they do nothing but wait. And pray. Holding on to a promise that all would be well. 

They've circled the wagons. They're nursing their wounds. Waiting for something, or Someone to come and fire them up. 

They look around at the other faces and wonder secretly to themselves, what do we have…

A Divine Mercy

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Jesus, "though he was in the form of God, did not regard equality with God something to be grasped. Rather, he emptied himself, taking the form of a slave, coming in human likeness; and found human in appearance, he humbled himself..." - Philippians 2:6-8 
One of my favorite images that speaks to the Divine Mercy of our God is this work by the French artist Gustave Dore. It captures that stupendous act of self-emptying, of kenosis, that St. Paul speaks of in the letter to the Philippians. This is what mercy looks like; misericordia, literally "the heart that suffers with." Mercy touches us, embraces us, especially in our brokenness, our shame, our wounds. The Hebrew word is "hesed" - God's merciful, loving kindness. This tender compassion of Jesus for us all is amplified all the more in Dore's image by the stoic detachment of the Pharisees, whom one can imagine are the men standing in the background to the right of Jesus. Cool, aloof, perhaps even a…

Water, Water Everywhere

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Today is an historic day in the life of the Church and the world; all eyes are on Rome, and in a particular way on a little chimney fixed atop the most famous chapel in the world. 

Today, or tomorrow, or perhaps the next day, a new shepherd of the one billion plus Catholics scattered all over the planet will be chosen. He will enter the Room of Tears, don the white robes, and take up a cross of inestimable weight. Today begins the Conclave of 2013.

Who will fill the sandals of the Fisherman? Who will guard and protect, care for and cultivate the garden of God that is the Church, helping to heal the wounds of a decade of scandals that reached decades back into the past? Who will continue to plant seeds of hope and joy, be that moral conscience and collaborator with all people of good will in the proclamation of human dignity? 

Now some ask if the new pontiff (a word meaning "bridge") should be more of a manager and administrator of the Church in the wake of this decade of scanda…

Concert in Ardmore, PA!

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