27 February 2008

Holy Mary, Mother of God...

Have mercy on me, a sinner...

25 February 2008

7 Churches...

It sounds like Saturday's Save Our Churches event was a big success (more on that tomorrow), and is turning put to be the perfect lead-in to the upcoming One Night and Seven Churches event. This is your opportunity to visit seven of the city's most beautiful and historic East Side churches. This is the second year in a row that the Broadway Fillmore Alive organization has presented this tour. It's an attempt to show members of the community just how important these structures are in the grand scheme of urban revitalization efforts. According to the presenters, "The tradition of visiting seven churches on Holy Thursday is an ancient practice, originating in Rome and is a custom of Polish and Italian Catholics. Buffalo's Historic Polonia District comes alive on this night as many make a pilgrimage to various churches on the East Side. It is equally a religious and cultural experience as people get to view the churches in a unique setting commemorating the Last Supper of Jesus during Holy Week." (more)

23 February 2008

Rebuild my church...

Sunday Funnies, SJ

Don't worry, they mocked Him too...

Company of Jesus:
One cold winter's day in Bethlehem, just after he had been born, Jesus is lying asleep in the manger. Awaking from his nap, he opens his eyes, sees the ox and the ass standing beside him, and thinks to himself, "So this is the Company of Jesus!"

JESUITS: An order of priests known for their ability to found colleges with good basketball teams.

Holy Smoke:
There is always a right way and a wrong way to succeed: Two Jesuit novices both wanted a cigarette while they prayed. They decided to ask their superior for permission. The first asked, but was told no. A little while later he spotted his friend smoking. "Why did the superior allow you to smoke, but not me?" he asked. His friend replied, "Because you asked if you could smoke while you prayed, and I asked if I could pray while I smoked!"

One day a local pastor was visiting the home of some parishioners who had a teenage son. The parents were worried about what career their son would choose, so the pastor said he had a simple test that could predict what would become of him.
He would put three objects on a table and let the young man choose whichever one he wanted to have: a Bible, a wallet, and a bottle of scotch. If the boy chose the Bible, he would probably become a priest; if he chose the wallet, he'd be a banker; and if he chose the bottle, he'd become a worthless bum.
So the parents called their son into the room, and the pastor told him he could have whichever object he wished. When the boy promptly picked up all three, the pastor cried out, "Heaven forbid! He's going to be a Jesuit!"

Limits to God's Knowledge:
There are three things that even God does not know about the Church:
1) How many congregations of religious women are there?
2) How much money do the Franciscans have stashed away?
3) What are the Jesuits going to do next?

Back to Business:
The Franciscans, Dominicans, and Jesuits were having a big meeting that went well into the middle of the night. Suddenly all the lights went out in the meeting room. The Franciscans immediately took out guitars and sang songs, while the Dominicans began preaching; but the Jesuits went to the basement, found the fuse box and reset the breaker.

Desert Island:
A Jesuit, a Dominican, and a Trappist were marooned on a desert island. They found a magic lamp, and after some discussion decided to rub it. Lo and behold, a genie appeared and offered them three wishes. They decided it was only fair that they could each have one wish. The Jesuit said he wanted to teach at the world's most famous university, and poof, he was gone! The Dominican wished to preach in the world's largest church, and poof, he was gone! Then the Trappist said, "Gee, I already got my wish!"

Driving and Drinking:
Then there was the Jesuit out for a drive who crashed into another car, only to discover that the other driver was a Franciscan. "It was my fault," each of them insisted -- as is only right and proper with religious men. The Jesuit in his concern for the other said, "You look badly shaken up. You could probably use a good stiff drink right now to calm down." So he produced a flask. The Franciscan drank and said, "Thank you; I feel much better now." The Jesuit said, "You still look a little rattled, have another drink." And the Frannie did. "One more," said the Jesuit," and you'll be feeling fine again." The Franciscan, after taking a drink, said, "But Father, you're probably shaken up too. Why don't you have a drink." "I will," the Jesuit replied, "but I think I'll wait until after the police have come."

A Franciscan, and Dominican, and a Jesuit were out playing golf one day. They were moving along the course quite well, until they got stuck behind a group of golfers who were taking quite a long time and weren't letting anyone else play through. Feeling a little frustrated, the three went up to the head of the group and asked what was going on. He told the three priests that they were part of a special program that allowed the blind to play golf. Each blind person was paired off with a sighted player who would help him line up the shot and give him advice on what else to do.
The Franciscan was deeply edified by this display of generosity. He apologized for being so pushy, and announced that he was so impressed by this example of service that he would incorporate it into his own prayer and service to the poor. The Dominican, too, was touched by their example, and declared that he would use this display of service in his preaching, and help others to work with those in need around them.
The Jesuit, finally, was deeply moved by their ministry. He took the fellow aside and encouraged him to continue with his work. However, he had to add one qualification: "Don't you think it would be a lot easier for everyone if they played at night?"

Going Back:
An Augustinian, a Franciscan, and a Jesuit all die and get to heaven. Jesus asks each one, "If you could go back, what would you change"?
The Augustinian ponders a while and says, "There's so much sin in the world. If I went back, I'd try and stop people from sinning so much."The Franciscan thinks a bit and says, "There's so much poverty in the world. If I went back, I'd try and get people to share more of their wealth with the poor."The Jesuit looks at Jesus and quickly replies, "If I went back, I'd change my doctor."

A Franciscan gets a haircut, and then asks how much he owes. The barber says he never charges clergy. The Franciscan thanks the barber and goes home. The next morning the barber finds a big basket of fresh bread from the Franciscans' kitchens.
An Augustinian gets his hair cut by the same barber. The barber also tells him than he never charges clergy. So, the next day the barber receives a nice bottle of wine from the Augustinians' wine cellar.
A Jesuit gets his haircut, and the barber again says that he never charges clergy. The next day, when the barber gets to work, there are twelve other Jesuits already waiting for him.

Last Wishes:
A man has three sons who entered three different religious orders: the oldest became a Dominican, the second a Franciscan, and the youngest a Jesuit. On his deathbed, the father tells his sons, "I know you all have vows of poverty, but as a sign of your love for me, I want each of you to place one thousand dollars into my casket to be buried with me."
On the day of the funeral, the Dominican son steps up, places $1000 in the casket, and says, "This seems like a waste of money, since you can't take it with you, Dad. But with the special permission of my superiors, I'm doing as you requested, as a sign of my love."
Next, the Franciscan son approaches the casket and says, "You know I love you, Dad, but the needs of the poor are so great, I just can't let $1000 be buried with you. I hope you understand, now that you are in heaven. Please forgive me."
Finally, the Jesuit son comes forward and says to his brother, "Don't worry, Frank. I'll pay your share." Then he reaches into the casket, takes the cash left by his eldest brother, and puts in a check for $3000.

Let God Be the Judge:
A Franciscan and a Dominican were debating about whose order was the greater. After months of arguing, they decided to ask for an answer from God when they died. Years later, they met in heaven and decided to go to the throne of God to resolve their old disagreement. God seemed a bit puzzled about the question and told them he would reply in writing a few days later. After much deliberation, God sent the following letter:
"My beloved children, Please stop bickering about such trivial matters. Both of your orders are equally great and good in my eyes. Sincerely yours, God, S.J."

Long Training:
A mother goes to her pastor and explains that her son seems very interested in becoming a priest. She would like to know what this would require. So the priest begins to explain: "If he wants to become a diocesan priest, he'll have to study for eight years. If he wants to become a Franciscan, he'll have to study for ten years. If he wants to become a Jesuit, he'll have to study for fourteen years." The mother listens carefully, and as the priest concludes, her eyes brighten. "Sign him up for that last one, Father -- he's a little slow!"

Meeting the Holy Family:
A Jesuit, a Dominican, and a Franciscan were walking along an old road, debating the greatness of their orders. Suddenly, an apparition of the Holy Family appeared in front of them, with Jesus in a manger and Mary and Joseph praying over him.
The Franciscan fell on his face, overcome with awe at the sight of God born in such poverty.The Dominican fell to his knees, adoring the beautiful reflection of the Trinity and the Holy Family.The Jesuit walked up to Joseph, put his arm around his shoulder, and said, "So, have you thought about where to send the boy to school?"

Not Ready to Go:
Three priests, a Dominican, a Franciscan, and a Jesuit, were in the same hospice. All were near death. One evening, the Angel of Death appeared before them and informed them that it was their time. He said, however, that each could have a final request before accompanying him from this world.
The Dominican went first and he asked to gaze upon the face of his Savior. In an instant the face of Christ appeared before him. He was satisfied and felt he could die with no regrets.
The Franciscan was next. He asked to touch the wounds in the hands and feet of Jesus before he died. No sooner than Christ appeared and invited him, as he did Thomas, to examine His wounds. The dying priest touched Christ's hands and feet, wept with joy and was content and at peace. Finally the Angel of Death turned to the Jesuit and asked his final request. Without hesitation the Jesuit replied: "I'd like a second opinion."

A man walked up to a Franciscan and a Jesuit and asked, "How many novenas must you say to get a Mercedes Benz?" The Franciscan asked, "What's a Mercedes Benz?" The Jesuit asked, "What's a novena?"

There was a priests' retreat at some retreat house and during the course of it the retreat master asked them to break up into groups of three. They were then to share their deepest darkest secrets, things they had never shared with anyone else ever.
The Dominican priest after much hemming and hawing said that he was an alcoholic. He had been so ashamed to tell anyone before. He drank all the time and just couldn't kick the problem. He was so glad that in the sacredness of this small group he could share this and now he felt so good, so free.
The Franciscan priest hesitated, but finally said he thought he could trust the other two and that his problem was gambling. He had been unable to control his urge to go to bet way beyond his means. He was also very ashamed of his habit and was so grateful that he could finally share it in such a context with his fellow priest.
It was the Jesuit's turn. He told the other two that he was grateful for their openness and honesty. He said he was so ashamed of his own problem. He had been working on it for years but hadn't yet gotten a handle on it. He had tried hypnosis and therapy, but nothing, he said, had helped him overcome his compulsion to gossip.

Sharing the Faith:
A Jesuit and a Franciscan sat down to dinner, and pie was served for dessert. There were two pieces of pie, one cut smaller than the other. The Jesuit reached over and took the larger piece for himself. The Franciscan remonstrated, "St. Francis always taught us to take the meaner piece." So the Jesuit replied, "And so you have it!"

When their ship sank a Benedictine, a Dominican, a Franciscan, and a Jesuit were crowded into a small lifeboat. It had a small leak and was in ever greater danger of sinking. Unfortunately, the boat was also surrounded by sharks.
So the Dominican, confident in the preaching prowess of his order, stood on the prow and begin to preach to the sharks about Christian charity and the virtues of vegetarianism; but his sermon was cut short by a leaping shark who consumed him in one gulp.
Then the Benedictine stood on the prow and began to charm the sharks with a stupendous rendition of the Exsultet, but just when he got to the part about the mother bee (mater apis) another shark dispatched him with a single gulp.
Shortly thereafter the Franciscan, climbing onto the prow, began to pray, "Blessed are you, Lord my God, for brother shark,..." when one of the sister sharks cut him off in mid-benediction.
Soon the lifeboat sank, leaving the Jesuit in the water with the sharks. But instead of eating him, several sharks towed him to shore and cast him up on the dry land. Stunned, he turned to ask them why they had not devoured him. They replied, "Professional courtesy!"

Latin Echo:
A Franciscan and Jesuit were walking in a forest, and the Jesuit noticed that there was an echo.
Thinking to play a prank on his companion, the Jesuit shouted out in Latin:"Quod est Franciscanorum regula?" (What is the rule of the Franciscans?)And the echo replied: "...gula, gula, gula." (Gluttony, gluttony, gluttony)In a heartbeat the Franciscan shouted out: "Fuitne Judas Jesuita?" (Was Judas a Jesuit?)And the echo replied: "...ita, ita, ita." (Yes, yes, yes.)

Saturday Funnies

First day of class, the professor asks the young seminarian: "What is similar about the Jesuit and Dominican Orders?"
"Well," the young seminarian replies, "They were both founded by Spaniards; St. Dominic for the Dominicans and St. Ignatius of Loyola for the Jesuits. They were also both founded to combat heresy; the Dominicans to fight the Albigensians and the Jesuits to fight the Protestants.
"Very good," the professor replies, "Now can you tell me what is different about the Jesuit and Dominican Orders?"
The seminarian ponders for a minute then replies: "Have you met any Albigensians lately?"

Apostolic Succession

Here I am

Here I am,
where underneath bridges
of our winter cities
homeless people sleep.

Here I am,
where in decaying houses
little children shiver,
crying for the cold.
Where are you?

Here I am,
with people in the line-up,
anxious for a handout
aching for a job.

Here I am
when pensioners and strikers
sing and march together
wanting something new.
Where are you?

Here I am
where two or three are gathered
ready to be altered,
sharing bread and wine.

Here I am
where those who hear the preaching
change their way of living,
find the way to life.
Where are you?

-Brian Wren

22 February 2008


"We need to give until it hurts. We need to give from the resources we would like to keep for ourselves. We need to give to the point of sacrficing. We must give up something that is hard to give up." -M. Teresa

The Eye of God...

21 February 2008

Three'fer Thursday

We are not necessarily doubting that God will do the best for us; we are wondering how painful the best will turn out to be. -- C.S. Lewis

Everything has its wonders, even darkness and silence, and I learn, whatever state I may be in, therein to be content. -- Helen Keller

The Christian ideal has not been tried and found wanting. It has been found difficult and left untried. -- G.K. Chesterton

18 February 2008

Momento Mori

A professor's final lecture...
Very Good.
Sadly, no mention of God or faith.
(But it was brought to you by, of all folks, "The Divine O" -- so maybe that counts???)


A new (and refreshing) perspective:

As we gathered 1,000+ teens from around the Diocese to a hotel/convention center for a weekend of fun, faith and friendship, keynote speaker Make Patin came up to us Friday evening before the wekend began and said, "Congratulations! Great Job!"

"Mike," we said, "thanks for your optimism -- but we haven't done anything yet. Save your congratulations for Sunday"

"Nonsense!" he replied. "You've done your job -- You've gathered God's people. You've pulled together the young Church of Buffalo. Now, what the Holy Spirit has in store for this assembly is the Lord's job, not yours..."

14 February 2008

Our Journey is Our Destination

“A life is either all spiritual or not spiritual at all. No man can serve two masters. Your life is shaped by the end you live for. You are made in the image of what you desire. “ - Thomas Merton

We're NAKED????

This snip is from a H/T to The Deacon but do the right thing and check out the full original at The Anchoress

...Was the first sin, then, simple disobedience? That doesn’t really seem likely. Obedience, like anything else, must be learned.

Rather, I think the first sin was humanity not trusting in God but trying to guard themselves by hiding from him; humans covering themselves up both physically and metaphorically - with fig leaves and with the sloughing off of blame onto others - rather than revealing themselves and taking responsibility for their actions.

The taint of Original Sin: God has been trying to get us to trust Him, to reveal ourselves to Him and to be vulnerable (open) to Him ever since.Perhaps this explains the command by God for the Jews to circumcise the men. The foreskin of the penis affords some protection for the organ - a bit of shelter, a place to hide. When God chose the Jews as His own, he required this symbolic (and real) acquiescence - this willingness to be completely vulnerable and exposed to whatever may come. The unsheathed penis is extraordinarily sensitive and responsive - precisely the qualities God wanted of the Jews. He made a covenant with them; He would be their God, they would be His people, and the deal was sealed in blood. At its shedding, man and God are bonded.

The need to be vulnerable and open to God is part and parcel of having a real relationship with Him, just as it is the necessary component in human relationships. We see the blood covenant and the need for vulnerability and openness mirrored in the relationship between a husband and wife - or we did, when virginity was kept for marriage. The thin membrane of the hymen is a kind of counterpart to the foreskin. In shedding the foreskin the Jew becomes openly vulnerable to God. In remaining a virgin until marriage, the woman becomes vulnerable only (but fully) to her husband, and he - in receiving that vulnerability - answers only to her, gives his deepest self and the sweat of all of his labors to her. It is another blood covenant. At the shedding of that blood, they become one flesh. One entity....

From His E-minence

{Reflecting on the ordination of six men to the transitional deaconate}

Coming as it did the day after Father Daniel Kennedy’s funeral Mass, the ordination was a very striking sign of how the priesthood renews itself. That week we not only buried one of the newest priests in the archdiocese, ordained last year, but also Father J. Walter Stocklosa who was Boston’s longest ordained priest and the last surviving member of the class of 1940.

In my homily, I recalled how at the end of Graham Greene’s wonderful book “The Power and the Glory” the people of the Mexican province are mourning the death of their last priest. The priest, who had been in hiding and serving the people secretly, had been executed. A group of the people are gathered in a house when a knock comes at the door, and at the door is another priest. I mentioned that Graham Greene never gives the priests names to show that their deepest identity is in the priesthood of Jesus Christ, not in their personalities or who they were.


13 February 2008

Hands in heaven

Give yourself a (ten-minute) gift.
Stick with it until the second half.
If you don't know the story, do yourself a favor and learn it.


What's going on here?

"When God is going to do something wonderful, He always starts with a hardship; when God is going to do something amazing, He always starts with an impossibility."

"When a lot of things start going wrong all at once, God is trying to protect something big and lovely that is trying to get itself born - and this something needs you to be distracted so that it can be born as perfectly as possible."

-Anne Lamott (2x)

One Heck of a Rag-tag Army...

"You've got to love this God - constantly assembling the motleyest people to bring, into the lonely and frightening world, a commitment to caring and community. It's a centuries-long reality show - Moses the stutter-er, Rahab the hooker, David the adulterer, Mary the homeless teenager. Not to mention all the mealy mouthed disciples. Not to mention a raging insecure narcissist like me"
from: "Plan B: Further Thoughts on Faith"

12 February 2008

Simple Question. Simple Answer.

"It is possible to love God with your whole heart, mind, and soul, without forcing yourself to feel any emotion whatsoever. Simply will it. Will to love God, without making yourself feel anything. The will has only one function, to say yes or no. If you want to love God, just say yes. Forget the feelings. The Lord is pleased with your holy desire, and He blesses you for it."
- Fr. John Catoir, “Joyfully Living the Gospel Day By Day”

11 February 2008

What the Beatitudes look like...

He's h-e-r-e!

"God does not abandon us...his love comes to us where we are, with our misery and our weakness, to offer us a new possibility of goodness."
Papa Bene - Letter to Romans on Education

O Sister, Where art thou?

Celebrating 150 years of their local ministry
By Jay Tokasz - The Buffalo News
Updated: 02/11/08 6:50 AM

Three hospitals, several high schools, a college and scores of elementary schools throughout Western New York can all find their origins in a midwinter horse-and-carriage ride from Rochester to Buffalo 150 years ago today.
That’s when three Sisters of Mercy and a candidate for admission into the religious order of nuns traveled into Buffalo at the request of Bishop John Timon, set up shop and began growing into a force that would irrevocably alter the area’s spiritual, medical and educational landscape... (more)

and, in the same edition: Churches may become museum

Chin up!

From Cleveland's cyber-cleric:

“Blessed are you when you when they insult you.”You do more good than you know. You are the ones in the trenches. You are the ones who love despite the odds. Please do not be discouraged. Be true to God and to yourself and may He bless you abundantly in return for the sacrificial love you show Him."

09 February 2008

At what point do we worry?

First this:

Then the monk finds this:
When do we get worried about this???

Pardon Our Dust

From Rocco:

As many of you know, few (if any) days of the calendar get larger Mass attendance than [Ash Wednesday]... even though it isn't obligatory.

And unusually early though it might be, it's almost too easy to simply go through the motions of another Ash Wednesday, another Lent, thinking in the process that, having done it for years before, we've "got it down."

If anything, a key message of this season remains a heightened awareness of how much ahead there is to do, how great our potential is to do better, to be better, to do more... and not just 'til Easter, and not just in the same way we did last Lent.

The story of this day is one of the more counter-cultural ones out there. The crux of Ash Wednesday is one that fascinates, and rightfully so: in a world -- and, indeed, in a church -- too often obsessed with appearances, with shirking blame and maintaining an image of perfection (sometimes at any cost), all that gets turned inside out: I'm far from perfect. I don't have all the answers. I can't go it alone. What I do matters beyond myself. I can be a better person than who I am right now.

Think of yourself as a construction site. You're a bit dusted up today, or you likely will be in a couple hours. No building rises or stands on its own, and the dust of putting one up didn't just magically appear -- like life, building is invariably a messy process if you're doing it right.

Along these lines, a work-site without dust is no accomplishment; no meaningful work would be getting done there, whether it's the foundations not being adequately driven in, the ground not being sufficiently cleared, maybe both.

A work-site isn't something to behold at mid-project... but the further along it gets, the more specific its work becomes, and the more the dust clears. And then, seemingly all of a sudden, what'd been a mess at the outset is transformed into something beautiful, useful, solid and lasting.

These days can easily become nothing more than a longing for whatever we've given up. But they're meant to be more than that -- and the more dust we kick up in the process, the better the finished product will be.

Bottom line: for yourself and those around you, let God build a better you this Lent.

Images for Lent

What is the meaning of lent?

Why do we set aside forty days each year to voluntarily give up some legitimate enjoyments so as to prepare for Easter?

The need for lent is written right into our DNA. Perhaps a look at some of images for lent can help make this clearer. Religiously the richest image we have for lent is the image of the desert, of Jesus going into there voluntarily to fast and pray. Scripture tells us that Jesus went into the desert for forty days and, while there, he ate nothing. This doesn’t necessarily mean that, literally, he took no food or water during that time, but rather that he deprived himself of all physical supports (including food, water, enjoyments, distractions) that protected him from feeling, full force, his vulnerability, dependence, and need to surrender in deeper trust to God. And in doing this, we are told, he found himself hungry and consequently vulnerable to temptations from the devil - but also, by that same token, more open to God.

The desert, by taking away the securities and protections of ordinary life, strips us bare and leaves us naked, both before God and the devil. This brings us face-to-face with our own chaos. That’s an image for lent. But we have some wonderfully rich anthropological images for lent as well. Let me briefly mention three of them.

In virtually every culture there is, somewhere, the concept of having "to sit in the ashes for a time" as a necessary preparation for some deep joy or fulfillment. We see this, for example, in the story of Cinderella. The name itself, Cinderella, holds the key: It is derived from two words: Cinders, meaning ashes; and Puella, the Latin word for young girl. Etymologically, Cinderella means the eternal girl who sits in the ashes, with the further idea being that, before she, or anyone else, gets to put on the royal clothes, go to the ball, and dance with the prince, she must first spend some time sitting in the ashes, tasting some emptiness, feeling some powerlessness, and trusting that this deprivation and humiliation is necessary to help bring about the maturity needed to do the royal dance. There is a similar concept inside some North American Native cultures, where it is accepted that, in everyone’s life, there will come a season where he or she will have to spend some time sitting in the ashes. For example, in some tribes, when they used to live communally in long- houses, the fires for heating and warmth were kept in the center of the house so that a partially open roof could function as a chimney. Ashes would, of course, accumulate around the fires and occasionally someone from the community would, for a period of time, simply sit in the ashes, quiet, withdrawn from ordinary activities, and take little food or water. Eventually a day would come when he or she would get up, wash off the ashes, and resume normal activities. Nobody asked why. It was taken for granted that this person was working through something, a depression or crisis of some sort, and needed that space, that quiet, that withdrawal, to work through some inner chaos and demons. In short, he or she was seen to need a lenten season.

A second image is that of being a child of Saturn. In some mythologies, Saturn was thought to be the planet that causes us to feel sadness and despondency. And so if you were a poet, an artist, a philosopher, a writer, or a religious thinker you would want, sometimes, to sit under Saturn, that is, to enter voluntarily into certain inner areas of the soul that ordinarily you might want to avoid precisely because they trigger chaos, sadness, heaviness, and despondency. Part of the idea was also that, occasionally in every person’s life, you would for a time become a child of Saturn, meaning that you would be overcome by a certain sadness and heaviness and would have to cease your normal activities and sit for a time with that, patiently learning some lessons that only a certain sadness could teach you. Again, the idea was that there is some necessary inner work that can only be done in sadness and heaviness and we need sometimes to enter these voluntarily.

Finally, there is yet another rich image in anthropology to can help us understand lent, the image of our own tears as re-connecting us to the flow of life. The image is simple: Our tears are salt water, as is the ocean which is ultimately the origin of all life on this planet. What our tears do is put as back into touch with the physical origins of all life on this planet, salt water. The idea then is that, occasionally, it is good to forsake the joys of life for the salt of tears because only tears can deepen us and help us connect to our origins and grounding.

Lent is meant to do exactly that.

Fr. Ronald Rolheiser, omi

06 February 2008

Today's Theme

Momento Mori
(Remember, you must die)

04 February 2008

Pope Floats!

"In the Mainz Carnival procession today, a reference to the document on the nature of the Church - the Pope lights the Catholic candle, while backing into the Protestant candle - not a candle in the proper sense of the word."


02 February 2008

Forget Diet Coke and Mentos

On love...

"When Jesus was asked about beauty, he pointed to nature, to the lilies of the field. Behold them, he said, and 'behold' is a special word: it means to look upon something amazing and unexpected. Behold! It is an exhortation, not a whiny demand, like when you're talking to your child - "Behold me when I'm talking to you, sinner!" Jesus is saying that every moment you are freely given the opportunity to see through a different pair of glasses. "Behold the lilies of the field, how they grow, they neither toil nor spin, and yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these." But that's only the minor chord. The major one follows, in his anti-anxiety discourse - which is the soul of this passage - that all striving after greater beauty and importance, and greater greatness, is foolishness. It is, ultimately, like trying to catch the wind. Lilies do not need to do anything to make themselves more glorious or cherished, Jesus is saying we have much to learn from them about giving up striving. He's not saying that in a "Get over it" way, as your mother or your last horrible husband did. Instead, he's heartbroken, as when you know an anorexic girl who's starving to death, as if in some kind of demonic possession. He's saying that we could be aware of, filled with, and saved by the presence of holy beauty, rather than the worship of golden calves." Anne Lamott

"If we only knew how much God loved us, we would all be saints." - Unknown

On prayer...

"Prayer is not asking for what you think you want -- it is asking to be changed in ways you can't imagine" - Anne Lamott

And I always end my prayer with, "and bring this about in a way I'd least expect, so that I know you have your hand in it" - Gene Monterastelli