Blog

December 19, 2021

What Should We Do?

“What should we do?” At last Sunday’s mass, we heard the cries of the people inflamed by the words of the Baptizer. On fire with the truth he had incited in their hearts, they cried, “What should we do?” John the Baptist said to them in reply,“Whoever has two cloaksshould share with the person who has none.And whoever has food should do likewise…. Now the people were filled with expectation,and all were asking in their heartswhether John might be the Christ.John answered them all, saying,“I am baptizing you with water,but one mightier than I is coming…” Discriminating among all the […]
December 12, 2021

Reflections on George Bailey and It’s A Wonderful Life

Once Again: Reflections On George Bailey and It’s A Wonderful Life. This past Wednesday evening, John and I tuned into It’s A Wonderful Life . Although I wrote a piece on this film back in August, seeing it again impels another. Most of the film is composed of Clarence, George Bailey’s guardian angel, being schooled in George’s life. The film opens with a heavenly conversation among angels deliberatng about who shall be chosen to go to earth to save George Bailey: Senior Angel: [voice-over] Hello Joseph, trouble? Joseph – Angel: [voice-over] Looks like we’ll have to send someone down. There […]
December 5, 2021

Advent: Make It About The Third Coming

Advent: Make It About The third coming. Advent, the season which begins each Sunday following the Feast of Christ, King of the Universe and the shortest of our liturgical seasons, is jam-packed with opportunites. Specifically a coming of the Lord not talked about. One that is personal and must be sought. Although I’ve read St. Bernard’s sermon countless times in the Divine Liturgy, until now, his words did not penetrate. But this week, this excerpt from one of the saint’s sermons called The Word of the Lord will come to us, phrases like “middle coming in spirit,” the “hidden coming” […]
November 28, 2021

Happy Thanksgiving: A Republic If You Can Keep It.

Happy Thanksgiving: A Republic if you can keep it. It was exactly 400 years ago, in November of 1621, that something happened-some type of meal took place- between the English settlers and the Massasoit and others of the Wampanoag settlement of native Americans. The details of that shared meal in what would become Plymouth Massachusetts are fodder for contention and a variety of opinion. That fact has done little to unravel this uniquely American idea of annually giving thanks to our sovereign God-one that has persisted for four centuries. The pivotol role of the Indian Squanto or Tisquantum, in the […]
November 21, 2021

Christ King of the Universe is The Apocalypse

Feast of Christ the King of the Universe is the Apocalypse Yes, you’ve read the words correctly. For sure if you’d said this to me before I began researching and writing this piece about the humungous “AHA!” given to me by Bishop Robert Barron this past week, I’d have replied with something highly reasoned like, “Huh?” Or, “Come again?” Hint: we’ve got the apocalypse all wrong. Last Sunday’s Gospel portends today’s Feast of Christ, the King of the Universe. However, we need some help to methodically unpack Jesus’s words to his disciples: “In those days after that tribulationthe sun will […]
November 14, 2021

Holiness Can’t Be Taught

Holiness can’t be taught At a daily mass a few weeks ago, the celebrant spoke about a sentinal conversation while in the seminary. Fr. David recalled a conversation with a friend and seminarian who was two years ahead of him. The upperclassman had just returned from several months of pastoral formation with a pastor at a local church. “How was it?” Fr. David Allen asked his friend. “Interesting, I enjoyed it.” “Did anything happen that surprised you?” “Yes, the parishioners at the church kept asking me how I’d gotten to be so holy, so content with silence. “What did I […]
November 7, 2021

Catholics and Bonhoeffer’s Cheap Grace

Catholics and Bonhoeffer’s cheap grace Because I am outspoken about being Catholic, in the early years following my conversion, I frequently entered into conversation with those who no longer attend Mass. Almost always, the first few reasons were ideologic: “I disagree with the Church on abortion, birth control, homosexuality, and  the church’s refusal to ordain women as priests”  tended to head the list. Anne Rice enthusiastically and publically returned to Catholicism and then  left again because of the same list. But things changed in 2016. And even more in 2020. Suddenly, Anne Rice’s objections to Catholicism were legitimized. Including even […]
October 31, 2021

The Cities of Sin: the Gates of Hell?

The cities of sin: the gates of Hell? A most peculiar title, isn’t it? It’s language is disquieting, even frightening, more terrfying even than Covid19 and its endless vaccines and most assuredly anti-woke. Sin… Hell… The Christian liturgical reading for last Sunday, October 24th was about the blind beggar Bartimeus. It’s one that always reaches out and grabs me. Bartimeus is the blind man sitting by the Jericho gate who annoys everyone with his increasingly loud cries begging “Jesus, have pity on me.” Bartimeus ignores all the voices who try to silence him and calls out even louder, “Jesus, have […]
October 24, 2021

For Such a Time As This- Esther’s Song

For such a time as this (Esther’s Song) Until I met and became friends with Linda Hardy, I’d never heard of Marty Goetz. But once she told me about his music- the psalms put to the music in his head, I listened to many of them, often more than a few times. One day, while discussing our mutual vocations, I told Linda that I was working on the story of Esther. Later that day she texted me this glorious song by Marty and his daughter Misha. Scroll back up and listen to Marty and Misha sing, For Such a Time […]
October 17, 2021

Never Forget Our Friends in Heaven

Never forget our friends in heaven Upon conversion to Catholic Christianity, it was if I’d landed in another universe, one filled with women I did not recognize and could not relate to. I met joyous moms with five, seven, ten kids who seemed filled with light, life and children. Women who continued their pregnancy through to the birth of a child she knew would live only hours or days. In a word, saints. Or so they seemed to me. Too far away for friendship-even conversation…unreachable. But after I read about a “conversation” between St. Teresa of Avila and Christ about the […]
October 10, 2021

In the Belly of the Whale: Jonah, The Reluctant Prophet

In the Belly of the Whale: Jonah, The Reluctant Prophet. We’ve all been there. Alone. In the dark. Terrified. In the belly of the whale: Jonah, the reluctant prophet. Just four chapters long, the book of Jonah seems at first to be just another fantastic Bible story. Surely a wild tale, of course it’s allegory, right? And yet, Jesus Himself speaks about Jonah, calling him an “early preacher!” A fact that is both consoling and terrifying- I’ll return to this comment in a bit, first, some background. 38 Then some of the teachers of the Law and the proud religious law-keepers […]
October 3, 2021

Sin Is Not In My Lexicon, Dear Friend

Sin is not in my lexicon, dear friend Modern woman and her psyche Sin is not in my lexicon, dear friend—I do what’s good, defined my way. The end. No sense of sin? Friend, then how do you knowthe right, the wrong, the which-way-to-go? Honey, I simply do what I think right:I never harm, I give no spit, no fight. Darling, how do you know your “right” is right?Which one authority supports this might? Authority? Why ask me that? My mightis right! My kindness clearly guides my sight. What about consequence, sorrow, remorse?Sacrifices, mercy, and love, full course. Love? You […]
September 26, 2021

Take the Snakes Away!

Take the snakes away! The reading for the September 14th celebration of the Triumph of the Cross takes us back to the nation of Israel’s escape from 400 years of slavery in Egypt to a forty-year desert journey. Complaining. Again. Not noticing the fact that their clothes and sandals are not wearing out. Or remembering how they walked through the sea with walls of water on each side. Or that water appears out of a rock when needed by them and their livestock. More and more, these readings about the ancient Israelites are like looking into a mirror which reveals […]
September 19, 2021

Ode to Hope: Todd Beamer, Pope John Paul and Peter

Ode to Hope: Todd Beamer, Pope John Paul and Peter What could a twenty-first century computer salesman, former pope, now saint and Peter, the first pope, share? What could men living millenia apart, varied cultures and relgious backgrounds have in common? Especially an ode to hope: Todd Beamer, Pope John Paul and Peter? Indeed. Do you remember Todd Beamer? His then pregnant wife Lisa? Here’s a hint. Todd’s last words ‘Let’s roll’ traveled the world. And now, upon reflecting on them twenty years later, we stop. Still. To wonder, “What would we have done?” Todd Beamer was the thirty-two-year-old Oracle […]
September 12, 2021

The Devolution of Rights Into Structural Sin

The devolution of rights into structural sin. It’s a mouthtful, I know. Certainly for me the phrase, the “devolution of rights into structural sin”, is a heady one. Until reading a piece by Jeffrey Mirus, I’d never heard of structural sin. And yet only a second or two of thought recalls the events of 9/11/01. Twenty years ago yesterday. There was no question in any heart that this was evil. No disagreement between races or political parties or persons of the immensity and magnitude of it. Or of the nobility of those who gave their lives trying to save those […]
September 1, 2021

We Will Never Win the Culture War Until Christians Reclaim Sunday

We will never win the culture war until Christians reclaim Sunday. Sunday: a day dedicated to our favorite sport, shopping, or watching movies, or…? Or to the Lord? “One of the saddest things I see is a sign on a business that says, ‘Open 7 days a week.'” So states Dr. Timothy O’Donnell, President of Christendom College in his three minute video, “Reclaiming the Lord’s Day.“ Emphasizing the vastness and pervasive materialism which has invaded much of the western world, O’Donnell quotes Pope John Paul. “We will never win the culture war until Christians reclaim Sunday.” An unequivocal statement like […]
August 29, 2021

Same Kind of Different as Me, the Movie

Same kind of different as me, the movie “Sometimes you successful folks can rise up so high reaching for more stuff that you miss knowing God. But you can never stoop low to help somebody and have God miss knowing you”― Denver Moore I’d never heard of this film or the book and for the first ten, maybe fifteen minutes, disliked it. I kept hoping that my husband John would feel the same way and turn it off… and find something absorbing. Although I knew Renee Zellweger played the leading female role, she looked too different to captivate me. The Zellweger […]
August 22, 2021

The Futility of Man’s Wars vs Heavenly Weaponry

Image provided by Fr. Chris Kanowitz The futility of man’s wars vs heavenly weaponry It’s been a remarkable week. Last Sunday, we celebrated the Assumption of the blessed Virgin Mary body and soul into heaven. The day before, August 14th, the Feast of St. Maximilian Kolbe, Saint and Martyr of the Immaculate. And then we see the horrific images of terrifed Afghans fleeing Kabul. “John, those people were hanging onto US planes then fell to their deaths.” “Same thing happened when we pulled out of Viet Nam,” my husband replied to me. “My clients used to tell me about the […]
August 15, 2021

Custody of the Senses: Path to Sanity

Custody of the senses: Path to sanity. Think about these words for a second. The word “custody” connotes legal guardianship: We understand it to mean supervison or in charge of a person, child or entity. Therefore the phrase, “custody of the senses,” means that each of is guardian of our senses- what we decide to touch, smell, hear, taste and see. That is more than an arresting thought, isn’t it? And calls into question all that we permit to enter those five sensible gates of ours. Fr. Marc Foley writes that curiosity, … increases our distractability and destroys the tranquility […]
August 8, 2021

It is Good for Us to Be Here: The Understatement of All Time

It is good for us to be here…the understatement of all time. Peter’s words, “It is good for us to be here…” make me smile at the massiveness of the understatement. I reflect on what it must have felt like to those three Apostles. Jesus tells them to come up to the mountain with Him. After a nanosecond, the smile fades into…awe, wonder and ineffable gratitude. Had He extended such an invitation before? Come up to the peak of Mount Tabor and pray with me. Usually we read that Jesus went up to the mountains and prayed. Alone. Perhaps then, […]
July 25, 2021

Real Poverty-Not Knowing What We Lack

Real Poverty-Not knowing what we lack. We hear the phrase a lot: “Blessed are you who are poor, for yours is the kingdom of God.” And recall that St. Mark qualifies St. Luke’s with two words: “Blessed are the poor in spirit.” Until hearing a homily by EWTN priest Fr. Mark Mary, I’d not given any thought to the qualifier, “poor in spirit.” When hearing that beatitude, my mind automatically interpreted the words of Christ to mean material poverty: the poor have far more chance of making heaven than do we who have received such abundance. Real poverty-not knowing what […]
May 3, 2020

Ever Think About Eden- Whether it was a real place?

Ever think about Eden-whether it was a real place? I do. Not daily but frequently enough that I write about it. And it is almost always at this time of the year, when I go outside to our gazebo and gaze at the stream pictured above. The stream in the middle of the desert. Ever think about Eden-whether it was a real place? Yes, of course, don’t you? Extraordinary creatures like these Western Tanagers and Bullock Orioles magically appear at the grape jelly and meal worm mixtures I have learned to offer each early spring. They are back!! The beauty […]
May 10, 2020

The Passion of Patience

It’s a peculiar phrase: “the passion of patience.” Almost oxymoronic- in its combining the vigor of the heft-filled word passion with the passivity neutrality of patience, it was coined by Venerable Madeleine Debrel. A former atheist turned Catholic apologist who lived and died during the last century. Her poem The Passion of Patience begins with this searing line: The patiences, these little pieces of passion, whose job is to kill us slowly for your glory, to kill us without our glory… Debrel’s words apply a wholly different twist to that seemingly inert noun patience, don’t they? Especially during these fear-filled […]
May 31, 2020

The Advocate Will Teach You All Things

The advocate The words are Christ’s, said prior to the horrors he would shortly face-horrors that the disciples had no understanding of. Nor do we. We Christians hear those words frequently in the liturgy preceding Pentecost. But until recently, I had never considered the Holy Spirit-Holy Ghost- as a lawyer. But that is the meaning of the word advocate, is it not? “I will send you an advocate and He will teach you all things.” To whom is the Lord speaking when He makes this promise? To His Disciples and Apostles, we reply automatically. But to the rest of humanity, […]
June 21, 2020

We Will Never Change the Outside Until We Change Within.

We will never change the outside until we change within. This is a phrase used by Ravi Zacharias in a talk given at the Mormon Temple in 2017. It was my husband who introduced me to the Indian Christian apologist. After hearing just one riveting talk, I was hooked. And then proceeded to read many of his over thirty books and listen to countless presentations similar to the one I write about today. In this excellent presentation, Ravi teaches me, albeit inadvertently: The ease with which we can be seduced into the wrong judgement of another. About the extreme dangers […]