Blog

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 […]
April 25, 2021

Ode to Shadow-I Can’t Stay Any Longer

Ode to Shadow-I can’t stay any longer John was watching our boy panting, lurching because his back legs barely support him, yet incapable of stopping the relentless pacing that exhausted and caused him intense pain. And then John said, “I can’t stay any longer, I’ve stayed as long as I could.” A wholly perfect translation of this past Monday morning when Shadow let us know it was time. You think you’re ready. You see the fur whitening, energy dropping, diminishing interest in eating. Then the confusion, ataxia, muscle wasting which create a perfect storm of misery. You tell yourself that […]
April 18, 2021

The Death of A Monarch- Prince Philip

The Death of a Monarch The late consort of Queen Elizabeth II was a paradigm of the Age of Stoicism. That statement in Francis Phillips’ article, Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, grabbed me. Enough to write this week’s piece about the late husband of the Queen of England. It’s that phase, “a paradigm of the age of stoicism” which made me curious enough to ponder the death of a monarch. More on stoicism later. But first some background. An anglophile I am not. But like most of us, a British accent gets my attention. Somehow the accent confers more knowledge, […]
April 11, 2021

Are You the Only One Who Does Not Know?

Are you the only one who does not know? Dear Brothers and Sisters, in our time…The concealment of God is part of contemporary man’s spirituality, in an existential almost subconscious manner, like a void in the heart that has continued to grow larger and larger. Pope Benedict Just so, the road to Emmaus, the Gospel reading for Wednesday, April 7th, in the Christian liturgy serves as metaphor for humanity. Whether believers or not; consciously or unconsciously, all seven billion of us walk beside the God-man and ask Him, “Are you the only one who does not know about what they […]
April 4, 2021

The Irresistible Essence of Divinity

The irresistible essence of divinity We all feel it: The magnetic, magnificence of Beauty. Whether in sunsets, ocean surfs, newborn infants or soaring orchestral chorus, our hearts soar, are lifted up in what feels like an echo of something so yearned for that we cannot express it. During the many years I considered myself an atheist, agnostic or another label that felt fitting, a sunrise or operatic aria could drop me to my knees figuatively or literally. I feel confident that even those most immersed in our woke culture are goaded by the irresistible essence of divinity. Now that we […]
March 28, 2021

Praying The Old Testament: Mirror For You and Me

Praying The Old Testament: Mirror for you and me. “Catholics pray the Old Testament? Really?” The speaker was a Jewish friend. Agrressively atheist, yet intrigued by my love for her people. Judith was just the first of many Jews and Christian friends who have asked me that question with incredulity. “I have always been attracted to the Jewish people…the Jewish religion.” Elizabeth, another Jewish atheist we met on a cruise, was surprised- even uncomfortable, at my words. Even more so when I added, “You are God’s chosen people.” Why do I feel this way? There are many reasons. Growing up, […]
March 21, 2021

Have We Got it Wrong: Heaven on Earth?

Have we got it wrong: Heaven on Earth? Is heaven a place far away? Only habitable by the dead? Or could it be attainable here? On earth…in this life? Many, perhaps a majority, of us look at our life on earth as something to be endured. Perhaps a cosmic test of some kind. Increasing numbers of us accept reincarnation and its karmic payback. We Christians may not all that different in our thinking. Many of us act as if suffering is what life is…what life should be. We seem determined to wrest misery out of the jaws of joy. Overstatement? […]
March 14, 2021

Fasting: Why Do It?

Fasting: Why do it? We are body, spirit, and soul, we humans. For many of us, however, any concept of our spirit or soul is either whimsy or irrelevant. In this postchristian culture, we have confidence only in our bodies. Spirit and soul have been eclipsed by the pure physicality of our material forms. To some of the most physical of us, the athletes, fasting became a way of life in the late nineties and spread. Over time, it has caught on. The health benefits of fasting from all food for eight, sixteen hours, or two to three days comprise […]
March 7, 2021

The Institutionalization of Denial: Legacy of the Social Sciences

The institutionalization of Denial: Legacy of the Social Sciences You know them when you meet them. Or read them. Or have the privilege to study under them. Those rare people gifted with the courage to perceive their limitations; even trumpet their errors. Edwin H Freidman was such a man. Although you may be tempted to read politics into this piece, do not do so. For there is wisdom contained here, if it is reduced to politics, it disappears. Edwin Friedman was an ordained Rabbi, psychoanalyst and family therapist, and a leadership consultant in Washington, DC. He founded the Bethesda Jewish […]
February 28, 2021

Shadow on age, patience, and death.

Shadow on age, patience and death. “The old boy’s not what he used to be.” Looking at the tall, thin, older, stranger watching our sidewalk trio: Seymour in front, pulling as hard as possible, me, and Shadow plodding at the end of his leash, I replied, “Neither am I.” Each day, the three of us walk through our closely packed community, and down to the sidewalk along route 1 in our still new residence of Oceano, California. At least twice each week, someone comments about Shadow’s age. Like the neighbor who has finally stopped asking, “How old is that dog […]
February 21, 2021

Cain and Abel: It’s All About Mediocrity

Cain and Abel: It’s all about mediocrity Monday’s reading for the Christian liturgy is a Genesis passage most Jews and Christians recall with ease. Abel’s dead, the Lord comes looking for him and asks Cain where Abel is. Cain’s reply? “Am I my brother’s keeper?” Remember the song, he ain’t heavy, he’s my brother? Even back in the days when I thought the Bible and religion pure fallacy, I loved that song. And sang it at the top of my lungs. A vivid demonstration, I think, of the law written in each of our hearts. Even-perhaps especially-when we deny its […]
February 14, 2021

Football as metaphor for life, faith, and happiness

Football as metaphor for life, faith and happiness Back in another career, my fourth, I ‘met’ Brady. Everything was brand new: The marriage, the career, the faith and football. It was January, 2002. My still new husband insisted I watch the Playoffs between his beloved team, the New England Patriots and Oakland. We were living in Connecticut, cold, snowy Connecticut. I’d decided to leave my career in academic medicine where I’d built a national reputation and join my husband in an online business about which I knew nothing. About sales. Or marketing. Or excel spreadsheets. John knew I didn’t like […]
February 7, 2021

Make Yourself an Ark: Listen to the Higher Voice

Listen to the higher voice: make yourself an Ark The Bishop’s encapsulated advice to the Cadets at the US Naval Academy in his address Called Into The Depths? Listen to the higher voice. Build an ark. Accept your mission. Find the place where Jesus sleeps. Bishop Robert Barron’s brilliant address to the Navy Cadets serves both as metaphor and method for the upcoming forty days known as the Great Fast by our Byzantine Catholic friends. In case you are not familiar with the auxiliary bishop for the Archdiocese of San Francisco, here are a few facts about this unusually gifted […]
January 31, 2021

The Corporate Reality of Prayer: How Can You Say Reality?

The Corporate Reality of Prayer Although I had never conceived of the Mystical Body of Christ, a few pieces of the massive chessboard of the mystery of God clicked into place. All at once. We were all connected, all of us. Even if the virtual arteries and connective tissue had narrowed, even closed, due to sin, they were there. They existed. All of those strangers speaking to me through the years, even perhaps praying for me. There was no doubt in my mind, none at all. This was why I had felt this powerful sense of belonging, of being home. […]
December 3, 2017

Murder On the Orient Express-Kenneth Branagh and Patrick Doyle’s Masterpiece

  A masterpiece by Kenneth Branagh and Patrick Doyle is a redundant statement. Since their first and brilliant 1989 film, Henry V, I have been an enthusiastic, even rabid fan of these two men. The film was based on Shakespeare’s play about the young English king, Henry V’s miraculous win at the battle of Agincourt. Impossibly outnumbered by the French, the young king leads his exhausted soldiers to a miraculous win, ending the Hundred Years War. Don’t worry, I’ll get to Murder on the Orient Express. Just permit me to explain-briefly- why I became hooked by the collaboration between Kenneth […]