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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, […]
August 1, 2021

Reflections on George Bailey- It’s A Wonderful Life

Reflections on George Bailey-It’s A Wonderful Life. Until I met my husband, I had neither heard of nor watched Frank Capra’s classic film, It’s A Wonderful Life. From the very first moments of the movie, I was hooked. In fact, each Christmas season, we watch it at least once, sometimes twice, despite being able to practically recite the dialogue along with Jimmy Stewart, Henry Travers (Clarence) and Donna Reed. One would think that after seeing a movie over twenty-five times, it would lose its effect. But it never does. Why? From the very beginning, I felt dropped into a world […]
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 […]
July 18, 2021

In Praise of Criticism-Albeit with Gritted Teeth

In praise of criticism, albeit with gritted teeth About four or six weeks ago, I sent the first draft of my newest book, The Reluctant Queen-The Story of Esther– to my four readers. These four people are generous enough to read the word document online and tell me what they think. It’s not editing I want from them. Instead I’m looking for honest reactions by people who love reading a great story. And can tell instantly if there are problems in these areas: Overall coherence “Feel” of the characters and plot. Whether or not main character-Esther- can be clearly visualized […]
July 11, 2021

Called to be prophets: Each of us.

Not me! You’re joking, right? Called to be prophets: each of us? Prophets were the Old Testament men. Like Isaiah, Ezekial, Jeremiah, Isaiah, and Amos. They were called by the Lord to prophesy repentence to the Chosen Ones: the Israelis. Right, but it did not end there. Last Sunday’s homily from Bishop Robert Baron is titled, You are called to be a prophet. This one echoed in my mind and heart, hence this piece on the obligation of each Christian, each of us, to take stock. Not of our neighbor. Not of our politicians. Nor our priests, Bishops or pastors. […]
July 4, 2021

Is Anger An Emotion? Or Learned Reaction?

Is anger an emotion? Or a learned reaction: habit? We feel it everywhere: Anger. Whether a seething whisper or bellowing roar, resentment, anger, even rage, feels like the fuel of this brand new year as the second decade of the twenty-first century heads south…The youngest child of a mother who seemed slightly to very discontented for the majority of her time on this planet, I began my acquaintance with anger at an early age. I wrote that paragraph five years ago, but it accurately descibes what we read, watch and hear in 2021. Hence I have revisited the question, “Is anger […]
June 27, 2021

Thomas More-Patron Saint of Politicians-and Pope John Paul

Thomas More, Patron saint of politicians. This past Tuesday was the Feast Day of Saint Thomas More. Sir Thomas More was Henry Vlll’s Lord Chancellor during the King’s attempts to persuade the Catholic Church to grant him an annulment. His marriage to Catherine of Aragon was invalid, claimed the King, for it had produced no heirs. Henry argued that he should be free to marry Anne Boelyn so that the reign of the House of Tudor would be protected. King Henry’s argument failed. So the King declared himself-and successive monarchs- head of the church through a Parliamentary move called the […]
June 20, 2021

The Real Competition is for Souls- Super Apostles

The real competition is for souls I have read and heard St. Paul’s exhortation to the Corinthians numerous times. I speak of the passage referring to the “super Apostles.” But had always assumed that St. Paul referred to some of the original twelve, (Including Mathias.) After listening to Fr. Alphonse Van Guilder’s homily for Thursday of this past week, however, I realized that St. Paul was not referring to Peter, James, Andrew or any of the original disciples. Instead, the Super Apostles that Paul spoke of were those who changed Christ’s message to suit their own agendas. …But I am […]
June 13, 2021

The Talkative Man is not Stable on the Earth

The talkative man is not stable on the earth Thi phrase is from the extensive treatment of humility by St. Benedict. Chapter seven, the reading for this past Monday, June 7 was: The ninth degree of humilityis that a monk restrain his tongue and keep silence,not speaking until he is questioned.For the Scripture showsthat “in much speaking there is no escape from sin” (Prov. 10:19)and that “the talkative man is not stable on the earth” (Ps. 139:12). When I read it last Monday morning, the words echoed in my mind and have not left. Augmented and amplified by its antecedent: […]
June 6, 2021

Ever Think About People From Your Past?

Ever think about people from your past? Well, sure, we all do. Especially teachers or professors who changed our lives. Or bosses we were privileged to work for. And, of course, those rare friendships lost through a move, or a divorce, or some kind of disagreement which could not be resolved. But I had never heard of thinking about people from your past as “good spritual practice” until listening to Fr. Alphonse Guilder‘s homily for Wednesday’s daily mass. Fr. Alphonse was speaking of the reading from Tobit: the one detailing Angel Raphael’s restoration of Tobit’s sight and exorcism of Sarah’s […]
May 30, 2021

It’s Memorial Day Weekend- Shouldn’t We Think About the Cost of Freedom?

It’s Memorial Day Weekend Traditionally, Memorial Day opens the gates to summer: barbeques, beaches and bathing suits, concerts. But this holiday (holy day) is so much more than summer fun. Since we are obligated to honor those countless men and women who made the ultimate sacrifice, shouldn’t we think about the cost of freedom? It’s Memorial Day weekend. Memorial Day’s beginning was, fittingly, during the Civil War. According to the Library of Congress, southern women decorated the graves of dead soldiers long before the war’s end. June 1, 1861 may be the first such grave to be decorated in Warrenton, […]
May 23, 2021

Thinking About Heaven and Hell- And the New York Times

Thinking about heaven and hell Today is Pentecost. This day marks the end of fifty days of joyous liturgical celebration of death’s destruction by Jesus when the Father raised Him from the dead. It follows seven days after the Great Sunday or Jesus’ ascension into heaven. And commerorates the descent of the Holy Spirit “in tongues of flame” upon the disciples. The Spirit, Jesus explains, could not be released until He ascends into heaven and takes his seat at the right hand of the Father. I will send the Paraclete who will teach you all things. The Gospel readings for […]
May 16, 2021

Even Perhaps Grope for Him and Find Him

St. Paul is speaking to the Athenians Probably because I spent time in Athens during a long-ago ten-day journey to Greece, St. Paul’s speech to the Athenians always pierces through my skull to ping around in my head. This past Wednesday, his words cut more deeply than usual. Plunging deeply into my heart and psyche, they leave red streaks. Just so does my memory of sitting alone in the Acopolis of Athens become so vivid that it feels like yesterday. He made from one the whole human raceto dwell on the entire surface of the earth,and he fixed the ordered […]
May 9, 2021

The Labor of Obedience

The labor of obedience: For many years, the word obedience served as a lightning rod to me. The concept connoted all that I disliked about being female: Powerlessness, submissiveness, conformance, passivity and…  And yet, feminism offered no viable solution. Fundamentally, feminists blamed men for whatever ailed us and seemed fixed on adopting the role of victim, seeking redress in legislation and our culture of euphemisms. But then I became a Christian Catholic and a few years later, an Oblate of St. Benedict. And that word, like so many others in the vocabulary of faith became something I embraced; at times, […]
May 2, 2021

We Stiff-Necked People: Hearts and Ears Uncircumcised

We stiff-necked people: hearts and ears uncircumcised The reading for the April 13th daily mass was from the Gospel of John. The passage begins, “Jesus said to Nicodemus, “You must be born from above.” The wind blows where it wills and you can hear the sound it makes, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes; so it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit.” And ends with, “Just as Moses lifted up the serpent in the desert, so must the Son of God be lifted up so that everyone who believes in […]
March 24, 2019

Making an Oratory of the Heart

Making an oratory of the heart… The phrase, “oratory of the heart,” is not common parlance. I first encountered it in Brother Lawrence’s Practice of the Presence of God,. I had to stop and think about the word oratory. It’s not one we hear in daily conversations. Oratory is defined first as as eloquence in public speaking and second as a place of prayer. Clearly Brother Lawrence refers to the second meaning. It’s an arresting phrase, isn’t it? Coupled with the image of the Oratory of St John Co-Cathedral it becomes wondrous. Imagine if our hearts could be this splendid, […]