January 26, 2020

How Is Your Heart Doing?

Muslim cultures have an intriguing way of greeting one another: How is your heart doing? The English translation to the Persian greeting, “Hello, how are you?” is “How is your heart doing at this very moment? At this very breath?” Head of Islamic Studies Omad Safi suggests that is what we mean when we say “How are you?” We mean to ask, “How is your heart?” I am not asking how many items are on your to-do list, nor asking how many items are in your inbox. I want to know how your heart is doing, at this very moment. […]
January 19, 2020

The Golden Globes and The New/Old War

It’s been two weeks and yet I am still thinking about Sunday evening’s Golden Globes and the New/Old War. Because I wanted to see the winner of the Best Picture, I turned it on in time to watch Ellen DeGeneres speak about receiving the Carol Burnett award. The award was created last year by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association last year to celebrate “outstanding contributions to television on or off the screen…in celebration of the medium’s ” Golden Age.” The comedienne was understandably overjoyed at the kudos: “From her sitcoms, to stand-up, to becoming a household staple on daytime television, […]
January 12, 2020


Stability: It’s an interesting noun- the meaning of which became radically different for me once I became a Benedictine Oblate. Many lifetimes ago, I used it to refer to critically ill patients, but as as an  adverb upon naming all the physiologic parameters used to measure the cardiac and pulmonary status of patients, “He’s been stable for the last hour…”. I encountered it anew as a Benedictine Oblate: stability is one of the three promises an Oblate makes upon making her oblation. Stability of Heart – This promise expresses the oblate’s commitment to a particular monastic community. Stability of heart reaffirms […]
January 5, 2020

Stillness Is the Key- Reflections on Ryan Holiday’s Book

Stillness Is The Key is the title of an excellent book by Ryan Holiday. This quote is an example of the deceptively simple wisdom contained in it: The world is like muddy water. To see through it, we have to let things settle. We can’t be disturbed by initial appearances, and if we are patient and still, the truth will be revealed to us. Holiday, Ryan. Stillness Is the Key (p. 47). Penguin Publishing Group. Kindle Edition. I say deceptively simple because the author’s words sound almost banal…if we are patient and still…the too simple words make it sound easily […]
December 29, 2019

Wonder: It’s Essential Place in Our Hearts

Wonder: It’s essential place in our hearts There was a time when I had this memorized, the words represented truth to my 20 something atheist’s heart, immersed and lost in the sea of the thoughts of others. Most of the big shore places were closed now and there were hardly any lights except the shadowy, moving glow of a ferryboat across the Sound. And as the moon rose higher the inessential houses began to melt away until gradually I became aware of the old island here that flowered once for Dutch sailors’ eyes—a fresh, green breast of the new world. […]
December 22, 2019

She Was Found With Child

Mary was found with child Now the generation of Christ was in this way. When as his mother Mary was espoused to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child, of the Holy Ghost. Whereupon Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not willing publicly to expose her, was minded to put her away privately. But while he thought on these things, behold the angel of the Lord appeared to him in his sleep, saying: Joseph, son of David, fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife, for that which is conceived in her, is of […]
December 15, 2019

What Should We Do?

“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 conflicting voices clamoring in our ears and competing for our attention is almost impossible. Politicians and newscasters claim unique access to the truth while expressing opinions which sound distressingly similar to one another. In an […]
December 8, 2019

The Shaking Reality of Advent

The shaking reality of Advent Amidst the Hallmark Christmas movies, red bows, tinsel, parties, Christmas music and ubiquitous political clamor, lurks a presence. A whisper deep in our hearts, in our psyches and in our souls. The phrase “the shaking reality of Advent” is not mine, but belongs to Jesuit Priest and martyr, Alfred Delp. A man who chose not to close his eyes to the growing evil around him, Father Delp was the Rector of St. Georg Church in Munich and an outspoken critic of the Nazi regime. Falsely accused of conspiring against Hitler, Fr. Delp was arrested in […]
December 1, 2019

The Civil War and Thanksgiving

The Civil War and Thanksgiving The history of this quintessentially American holiday provokes and challenges each year when I take time to ponder this oxymoron: The civil war and thanksgiving. Can anyone think of a less opportune time to declare a national holiday than in the middle of a war? Specifically a war between Americans? A war with twice the number of total US deaths than in the Vietnam war? Over 40% of the population? And yet, that is precisely what President Abraham Lincoln did. His words are sobering, even awe inspiring: October 3, 1863 By the President of the […]
November 24, 2019

Feast of Christ the King

The Feast of Christ the King is my favorite Feast day of the Christian liturgy. Why? We live in a culture which is saturated with hero worship. Whether an athlete, movie star or a comic book character come to life in a film, the list of potential men and women to adore is a lengthy one. In a post a few years ago, I wrote, We have all spent time doing it: Looking for heroes in all the wrong places. Our movies and music reflect and sometimes magnify that desire to find someone who is an authentic hero. While watching […]
November 17, 2019

Can we handle freedom?

The question, “can we handle freedom?”, is not mine. Instead, it is taken from a quite remarkable speech by the current Attorney General William Barr given at Notre Dame Law School last month. While reading the speech the first time, I found it eloquent, stirring and an insightful description of America in 2019. And overlooked the import of the question. But no more. I have reread Barr’s speech six times because of the uproar it has caused among a variety of savants. Each time I did so, I became even more astounded by the virulence of the hyperbole among the […]
November 10, 2019

November: The Month of the Dead

November: The Month of the Dead Each of the first eight days of November, my husband John and I find a local cemetery and then walk through the tombstones while saying prayers for those who are buried there. Morbid? Bizarre? Or practical? Whether we know it or not, we are all-immortal souls- headed somewhere after we die.  I had never thought of the souls in Purgatory as my brothers and sisters until we happened to be in Half Moon Bay during the first week of November a few years ago. One of the 3 priests there at the Catholic Church […]
November 3, 2019

Leave, Herod Wants to Kill You-Constipated Grace

Leave, Herod wants to kill you. In the Christian liturgy for the thirty-first of October, some of the Pharisees approach Jesus to tell him to leave Jerusalem …”Leave, Herod wants to kill you.” “Go and tell that fox, ‘Behold, I cast out demons and I perform healings today and tomorrow, and on the third day I accomplish my purpose. Yet I must continue on my way today, tomorrow, and the following day, for it is impossible that a prophet should die outside of Jerusalem.’ “Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how many times […]
October 27, 2019

Saul- A Man For Our Times

Saul- a man for our times Around mid-day yesterday, I finished the first iteration of my newest novel, My Name is Saul. When I got to ‘Acknowledgements and Author’s notes, I short-handed my comments and merely wrote that if I began to write honestly about how it felt to insinuate myself into this man, I would never stop writing and went ahead to send to my four readers. The first step in the long process of publishing the book. And then sat there wondering what to do with myself for the remainder of the day. I have learned not to […]
October 20, 2019

My Name is Saul- Very Close

My Name is Saul- Very Close My name is Saul-Very Close… I know, close but no cigar, right? Just in case you would like to know the origin of that phrase…here. So why write about it when the first draft of the manuscript is not done? Because I am close…really close! And that fact is worthy of saying so. More than that…saying so is too tame. I am jubilant! This story has been alternately exciting, supremely challenging, frustrating, maddening…I could go on, but you get the idea. But a few months ago, this contradictory, complicated, mysterious, paradox of a man […]
October 13, 2019

Not A Hair On Your Head

Not a hair on your head was originally written in late 2013. I am reposting it for two reasons: It feels eerily even more relevant in October, 2019 as a beleaguered Israel prepares for war without global support of any kind; the United Nation’s attention on Israel is confined to absurdities and the US continues the endless attempts to bring down the President. Secondly because My Name is Saul is demanding all of my energy as I work to meet my deadline. Here is the post from November 2013: A couple of weeks ago while still in Half Moon Bay, […]
October 6, 2019

Sanity: Stillness, Addiction and Love

Wondering how stillness, addiction and love relate to sanity? Had two distinctly books not fallen into my lap I would never have made the correlation or even wondered about sanity: stillness, addiction and love. The two books? The Love That Keeps Us Sane: Living the Little Way of St. Therese of Lesieux written by sixty-something- year- old Discalced Carmelite Priest, Father Marc Foley,and Stillness Is The Key by Ryan Holiday, a thirty- something media strategist. I read Ryan Holiday’s blog posts because he writes about the stoics. Marc Aurelius, Seneca, and some of the lesser known ancient Greek men who […]
September 29, 2019

2 New Lin Wilder Author Interviews

2 new Lin Wilder interviews? Each of the last five years this time, late September, finds me working to finish a book. This one is no different from the previous years; I am pushing hard to complete the 1st iteration of My Name is Saul. Forcing my writing to be extremely focused on Saul instead of new content for the blog. Therefore, this Sunday article consists of re-posting 2 new Lin Wilder author interviews, both originally published during September. The first was published in Literary Titan early this month. This first interview served as the catalyst for the second. Author […]
September 22, 2019

The Contradictions Of Sin And Mercy

Contradictions of sin and mercy There are times when an essay from the past feels fitting. This is one of those times. Mostly because there is one man who better understands the contradictions of sin and mercy better than any other: Karol Wojtyla. His first published work was a series of meditations prepared at the request of the then Pope Paul VI for the 1976 Lenten Retreat of the Pope and his staff. The then Cardinal called his book, The Sign of Contradiction. I first wrote these words was in April of 2014. In some ways, that feels like a […]
September 15, 2019

The Woman With The Alabaster Jar And The Pharisee: Surprised by Grace

Surprised by Grace Now and then, I am surprised by grace; that phrase is used a lot by Christian writers weakly attempting to convey what Paul describes as living and active and sharper than a two edged sword and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit. Because it’s always much more than surprise…more like a blow to my psyche. I have read and or heard preached the Gospel passage in Luke, where Christ is invited to dine at the home of the Pharisee and is interrupted by the woman with the alabaster jar who stands behind the Lord […]
September 8, 2019

Overcomer: A New Kendricks Brothers Movie

When I learned that Overcomer was a new Kendricks Brothers movie, I resolved to see it. This is true for four reasons. Four years ago, a movie with the title, War Room, was irresistibly evocative to me… Prayer as war: the correlation of combat with happiness has long been one which applies to my life. Therefore, a movie about prayer and war was one I knew I wanted to see when my sister Lee told me about it. Fitting,  because the spiritual life  is fundamentally a battle. Secondly, I recognized one of the War Room actresses in the trailer. In the […]
November 9, 2015

The Battle Over Health

The battle over health: Health is a word which should not invoke military imagery like war or battle. And yet the lines have been drawn with stakes which have seldom been greater. Many decades ago the wars began, the war against heart disease, the war against cancer, naming only a few. With the introduction of Medicare during the Johnson administration, the United States government entered the world of medicine with guns blazing. Each successive President added his personal touch: Carter empowering the originally weak and ineffective Federal Drug Administration, Reagan passing the Bayh-Dole Act which introduced the ability to declare […]
January 11, 2016

Baptism: His and Ours

Baptism. Most us were not aware of what was happening. Our parents made the decision for us when we were blissfully unaware. And in this twenty-first-century, more and more parents choose not to baptize their child. The stated reasons vary. But these are a sample of those I hear and read. ‘We don’t need church to be spiritual’, ‘we can pray anywhere’. ‘The woods is our chapel’. ‘Nature is my church’.  “I was brainwashed as Catholic, I want my baby to make his own decision, rather than be forced into a religion he doesn’t believe in.’  Some compelling and others […]
January 11, 2016

Our Rescue Dog Seymour- My Christmas Present

Adopting our rescue dog named Seymour was not the plan. Ever since that March night when our red male Dobie dropped dead in front of my dog Shadow and me I have lurked on countless dog rescue sites specific for Dobermans. I have learned over the last sixteen months, just how massive is the number of abandoned dogs in this country. Although I had read and heard in conversations with breeders over the years about the vast numbers of great dogs who are abandoned by their owners for reasons incomprehensible to me, an up close and personal experience with a […]
August 28, 2016

The Ambiguity of Talent

We use the word talent to connote skill or expertise. Often, we mean an individual with intrinsic aptitudes toward a thing, whether it be athletics or mathematics, someone with unusual ability. Frequently, organizational recruiters look for specific aptitudes in people considered potential employees. In our “flattened secularized culture” (I love this phrase used by Bishop Robert Barron in his Word on Fire series) however, we perceive these capacities as our own, as our property to do with as we wish. Rarely do we see these capabilities as gifts, on loan. But yesterday’s Gospel parable about talents confounds our twenty-first- century […]