31 December 2008

Henri Nouwen

When we become aware that we do not have to escape our pains ... those very pains are transformed from expressions of despair into signs of hope.


Be bold
like the

Do not

your comfort,
but rather

set out
the star

in your
It will lead

to the place
you are

in need of
the place

God is.
And if

an angel
warns you
in a dream

not to
by the old



26 December 2008


In the begining...

"Start with good people... everything else flows from there." - Elbert Hubbard

24 December 2008

Merry Christmas

May there always be room for Him...

21 December 2008


God has become man. He has become a child. Thus he fulfills the great and mysterious promise to be Emmanuel: God-with us. Now he is no longer unreachable for anybody. God is Emmanuel. By becoming a child, he offers us the possibility of being on familiar terms with him.

I am reminded here of a rabbinical tale recorded by Elie Wiesel. He tells of Jehel, a little boy, who comes running into the room of his grandfather, the famous Rabbi Baruch. Big tears are rolling down his cheeks. And he cries, My friend has totally given up on me. He is very unfair and very mean to me. Well, could you explain this a little more? asks the master.

Okay, responds the little boy. We were playing hide and seek. I was hiding so well that he could not find me. But then he simply gave up and went home. Isn't that mean? The most exciting hiding place has lost its excitement because the other stops playing.

The master caresses the boy's face. He himself now has tears in his eyes. And he says, Yes, this is not nice. But look, it is the same way with God. He is in hiding, and we do not seek him. Just imagine! God is hiding, and we people do not even look for him.

In this little story a Christian is able to find the key to the ancient mystery of Christmas. God is in hiding. He waits for his creation to set out toward him, he waits for a new and willing Yes to come about, for love to arise as a new reality out of his creation. He waits for man.

Pope Benedict XVI

19 December 2008


Can't argue with that

The God Christmas reveals...

Rolheiser, OMI

Christmas is God's answer to human longing, God's response to the centuries of prayers that lay hidden in our groaning, our sighs, our frustrations, and our religious efforts, each of them a plea, mostly silent, for a divine intervention, all of them asking God to come and rid the world of injustice and our hearts of loneliness and heartache.

But God's answer didn't exactly meet our expectations even as it surpassed them. What was born with Jesus' birth and what still lies seemingly helpless in mangers all around the world wasn't exactly what the world expected.

What the world expected was a superstar, someone with the talent, sharpness, and raw muscle-power to out-gun everything that's bad on this planet, someone charismatic enough to make everyone who opposes him slink away in defeat. God's answer to that: A baby lying helpless in the straw!

Why? Why would God choose to be born into the world in this way?

Because you can't argue with a baby! Babies don't try to compete, don't stand up to you, don't try to best you in an argument, and don't try to impress you with their answers. Indeed, they can't speak at all. You, on your part, have to coax everything out of them, be it a smile or a word, and that effort, which demands great patience, usually draws out what's best in you. Moreover, you can't push at a baby too hard, it will begin to cry and the session is over.

And that is the Savior who was born in Bethlehem, and that is too how God is still basically in the world. Like a baby, God does not outgun anyone, out-muscle anyone, threaten anyone, or overpower anyone. The power of God revealed in Christmas is the power of a baby, nothing more, nothing less: innocence, gentleness, helplessness, a vulnerability that can soften hearts, invite in, have us hush our voices, teach us patience, and call forth what's best in us. We watch our language around a baby in the same way as we watch our language in a church, with good reason.

The power of Christmas is like the power of a baby, it underwhelms in such a way so as to eventually overwhelm. There is a greater power than muscle, speed, charism, unstoppable force: If you were to put a baby into a room with the heavy-weight boxing champion of the world, who ultimately would be the stronger? The boxer could kill the baby, but, no doubt, wouldn't, precisely because something inside the baby's powerlessness would overwhelm the boxer. Such is the way of God, the message of Christmas.

But we have always been slow to understand this; we want our messiahs to possess more immediate power. And we are in good company here. The messiah that people longed for during all those centuries leading up to Jesus and Bethlehem was precisely conceived of as a human superhero, someone with the earthly muscle to bang heads together and purge the world of evil by morally superior muscles.

Even John the Baptist expected the messiah to come with that kind of power. His concern was justice, repentance, asceticism. He warned people of an approaching time of reckoning and expected the longed-for messiah to come precisely as a violent fire, a winnowing fan that would separate the bad from the good and burn up the former with a righteousness that came straight from God. When he heard reports of Jesus gently inviting sinners in rather than casting them off, John was scandalized, that kind of a messiah didn't fit his expectations, or his preaching. That's why Jesus, in sending a response to him, invites John not to be scandalized in him. John hadn't wanted a gentle, vulnerable, peace-preaching messiah. He wanted bad people punished, not converted. But, to his credit, once he saw how Jesus' power worked, he understood, accepted a deeper truth, stepped back in self-effacement, and pointed people in Jesus' direction with the words: He must increase and I must decrease. I'm not even worthy to untie his scandal strap!

We too are slow to understand. Like John the Baptist, our impatience for truth and justice makes us want and expect a messiah who comes in earthly terms, all talent and muscle, banging heads together so as to rid the planet of falsehood and evil. We want the kind of messiah we see at the end of every Hollywood thriller, Mother Theresa turned into Sylvester Stallone or Bruce Willis, beating up the bad guys with a violence they can only envy.

But that's not the Christmas story, nor the power revealed in it. An infant lying in the straw in Bethlehem didn't outgun anyone. He just lay there, waiting for anyone, good or bad, to come to him, see his helplessness, feel a tug at his or her heart strings, and then gently try to coax a smile or a word out of him. That's still how God meets us.

caption call

As high as an elephant's eye today....

18 December 2008

so very many things

"...He entered a village where a woman whose name was Martha welcomed Him. She had a sister named Mary who sat...at His feet listening to Him speak. Martha, burdened with much serving, said, 'Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me to do the serving? Tell her to help me.' The Lord said, 'Martha, Martha, you are anxious and worried about many things. There is need of only one thing. Mary has chosen the better part and it will not be taken from her.'"--Luke 10:38-42

Christmas Creed

I believe in Jesus Christ and in the beauty of the gospel begun in Bethlehem.

I believe in the one whose spirit glorified a little town; and whose spirit still brings music to persons all over the world, in towns both large and small.

I believe in the one for whom the crowded inn could find no room, and I confess that my heart still sometimes wants to exclude Christ from my life today.

I believe in the one who the rulers of the earth ignored and the proud could never understand; whose life was among common people, whose welcome came from persons of hungry hearts.

I believe in the one who proclaimed the love of God to be invincible:

I believe in the one whose cradle was a mother's arms, whose modest home in Nazareth had love for its only wealth, who looked at persons and made them see what God's love saw in them, who by love brought sinners back to purity, and lifted human weakness up to meet the strength of God.

I confess my ever-lasting need of God: The need of forgiveness for our selfishness and greed, the need of new life for empty souls, the need of love for hearts grown cold.

I believe in God who gives us the best of himself. I believe in Jesus, the son of the living God, born in Bethlehem this night, for me and for the world.


15 December 2008

14 December 2008



wherever there is great love, miracles occur


O come let us...


via (Indexed)

In heavenly peace...

American David

The Cardinal...


Mama said...

It's hard... but good things usually are...

I annoy myself anytime I find that I'm nodding my head in agreement with movie stars during their TV interviews, but alas, sometimes (albeit rarely) the words that leave their mouths are not pure drivel, and sometimes (even more rarely) the words that leave their mouths are actually meaningful...
So anyway, Barbara's doing one of her softball interviews with Will Smith, and she asks him something about marriage and how he keeps his strong. Smith is currently on his second marriage, to Jada Pinkett Smith.
He told Barbara that divorce is not an option this time. He said marriage is the hardest thing you will ever do. He said if you're married, and divorce is an option, then you're getting divorced.
I thought that was insightful and probably true.
My own marriage has been something of a trial by fire. Divorce isn't an option, so even though he or I may leave the house in anger or slam a door or yell and scream or cry in frustration, when that nonsense is done, we figure out how to make it OK.
I tell people all the time, if my husband and I had lived together before we got married, we never would have gotten married. If you're serious about it, marriage forces you to do the hard work that's required when you've made a lifelong commitment to someone.
Not to make marriage sound awful. It's the best thing that's ever happened to me, but also the hardest.
I can't explain it much better than that.

(via Musings of a Madwoman)

Something to get you in the holiday spirit....

Pontifical High Mass (Missa Pontificalis) of Christmas Day... the video!

13 December 2008


"Advent" does not mean "expectation," as some may think. It is a translation of the Greek word parousia which means "presence" or, more accurately, "arrival,", i. e., the beginning of a presence. In antiquity the word was a technical term for the presence of a king or ruler and also for the god being worshiped, who bestows his parousia on his devotees for a time.

"Advent," then, means a presence begun, the presence being that of God. Advent reminds us, therefore, of two things: first, that God's presence in the world has already begun, that he is present though in a hidden manner; second, that his presence has only begun and is not yet full and complete, that it is in a state of development, of becoming and progressing toward its full form.

His presence has already begun, and we, the faithful, are the ones through whom he wishes to be present in the world. Through our faith, hope, and love he wants his light to shine over and over again in the night of the world.

That night is "today" whenever the "Word" becomes "flesh" or genuine human reality. The Christ child comes in a real sense whenever human beings act out of authentic love for the Lord.

Pope Benedict XVI

Communion wafers now polyunsaturated - and flavored

The Archdiocese of Boston has announced plans to switch a number of parishes from bland traditional communion wafers to a more contemporary wafer containing polyunsaturated fats plus flavoring.

"Don't let it be said that the Catholic Church isn't a forward-thinking ecclesiastical entity," said Archbishop Sean Patrick O'Malley. "Whether we're the first internationally-renowned religion to openly cover-up clergy sex abuse scandals or the first to make Mass taste better, we always have our congregations' best interests in mind."

CAP News reports that according to O'Malley, the first batch of new wafers will be made available in three flavors: chocolate, cinnamon, and Ritz. The plan is to taste test the varieties at some of the more tolerable parishes in the region, like throughout South Boston, and then expand the more successful kinds into other dioceses.

"Wow, Jesus never tasted so good," said 47-year-old Darren St. Clair, one of (more...)

(What is scarier is that the paulists seem to have fallen for this prank...)

08 December 2008


Innovative or lazy?

Pastor’s style leaves people wondering...

ALEXANDRIA, La. — George Vaughn, pastor of Bethany Church, likes to put ministry in the hands of the people. "My whole leadership style is about equipping others to do what used to be considered the pastor’s job," he says. "The era of the do-everything, superstar pastor is over."

But some say Vaughn’s innovative approach is less about empowerment and more about taking time off. He no longer counsels people, having off-loaded that task to his care pastor. Wednesday Bible study is taught by the senior associate pastor. The executive pastor budgets and spends the money, while Sunday morning preaching is mostly handled by a team of teaching pastors and guests. He has even turned over instructional duties... (more)

07 December 2008

Mother of Christmas...

Our union with Christ becomes at the same time a union with Mary, and this implies the reproduction of her virtues in our lives. Since the whole spiritual life is the life of Christ in us, then Mary, the mother of the Incarnate Word, is the mother of our spiritual life.

Our strength in Christ depends on our confidence in Mary. Our confidence in her should be without limits. We should never cease to praise her, no matter how unworthy we may feel. We must constantly give thanks to her for bringing us Jesus. We must seek the mercy of God in and through her.

In her we find peace, because in her we find the Truth, the Incarnate Word whom she brings to us. She gives us strong faith and by her intercession defends us against every form of sin. She is the great 'sacrament' of God, so to speak, containing within herself all the abundance of his graces.

Feast of Freedom
Thomas Merton

04 December 2008

Advent Virus

Be on the alert for symptoms of inner Hope, Peace, Joy, and Love. The hearts of a great many have already been exposed to this virus and it is possible that people everywhere could come down with it in epidemic proportions. This could pose a serious threat to what has, up to now, been a fairly stable condition of conflict in the world.

Some signs and symptoms of The Advent Virus are:
-A tendency to think and act spontaneously rather than on fears based on past experiences.
-An unmistakable ability to enjoy each moment
-A loss of interest in judging other people
-A loss of interest in interpreting the actions of others
-A loss of interest in conflict
-A loss of the ability to worry (This is a very serious symptom.)
-Frequent, overwhelming episodes of appreciation
-Contented feelings of connectedness with others and nature
-Frequent attacks of smiling
-An increasing tendency to let things happen rather than make them happen.
-An increased susceptibility to the love extended by others as well as the uncontrollable urge to extend it.

Prepare ye... self

"It is a custom with many Christians to anticipate the arrival of Christmas… by fitting up in their homes a crib to represent the birth of Jesus Christ; but there are few who think of preparing their hearts, so that the infant Jesus may be born in them… Among those few, however, we would be reckoned, in order that we too may be made worthy to burn with that happy flame which gives contentment to souls on this earth, and bliss in heaven. Let us consider… how the Eternal Word had no other end in becoming man than to inflame us with his divine love. Let us ask for the light of Jesus Christ and of His most holy mother, and so let us begin.”
—Saint Alphonsus Liguori

01 December 2008

Careful what you ask for...

We wait...

Msgr James P. Moroney
(via Whispers)

* * *
I remember the day that Gerry died, as Mary held his hand. She wept. Oh how she wept as she clung to his body in the hopes of somehow not losing the fifty-seven years of married life they had lived and loved together. The kids tried to console her, but it was of little use. She just needed to cry until she couldn’t cry anymore. The pain and the emptiness was deeper than I could ever imagine.

She spent the next days and weeks longing for Gerry more than she had ever longed for anything ever before. She so wanted him to come back that every creak of the floorboard and shadow around the corner made her heart leap in hope.

I lost track of Mary, but bumped into her again about a year later. She was still sad, but not as desperate as the last time I had seen her. I inquired how she was doing and she told me about the day that made all the difference.

She had gone to Church and she was sitting all alone in the pew staring at the crucifix above the tabernacle, she said. When all it once it occurred to her that it was not Gerry for whom she longed, but God. The God who she prayed would forgive Gerry’s sins. The God who would keep her in his grace until the last day. The God who had gone to prepare a place for Gerry and for her and for all who loved others as he had loved them.

And Her waiting for Gerry was just a shadow of her deepest longing for God, her desire for love, and her desire to live in God and to know peace with him forever.

We all ache for God, and we wait…

The addict in the alley behind the Cathedral waits:
for a God who will come and remove all that enslaves him...

The single mother waits:
for a day when she no longer has to work 54 hours,
a night when she can sleep eight,
a life when she’ll finally know the kids will be ok.

The soldier in a ditch in Iraq waits:
for a morning when there are no more explosions of IEDs,
and every look is not feared as the precursor to an assault,
and you don’t have to bury your new best friends.

The old man in the nursing home waits:
for the day he will no longer be alone,
when pain will no longer be his most constant companion,
and when he can once again rest in the embrace of her whom he loved.

The prisoner on death row waits:
for a place where he will no longer be seen as evil,
for a life that makes sense,
for a time when love can be given and received,
for the coming of a God who will love him.

The investment banker waits:
for the day when he’s not gripped by the fear
that he’s about to lose everything,
for the day when he can count his value
in the quality of his love rather than the size of his profit.

The little child waits
within her mother’s womb:
for a world that will welcome her.
and parents that will love her,
and a country who will protect her.

We all wait in joyful hope, with baited breath, as we gaze toward the Eastern skies in expectation of the one who rises with healing in his wings…

Exiled in a Babylon of our own selfishness, we cry out: “rend the heavens, O Lord, and come down to us!” Yet he waits for us in that confessional, ready to embrace us pick us up on his shoulders and carry us home to himself.

Longing to be loved, orphaned by our infidelity and broken promises, we cry out “Why do you let us wander and harden our hearts?” Yet he waits on that altar, to feed us with himself and to make us sons and daughters of his Father, to live in us that we might live in him.

Frightened that we have been abandoned, strangers in a strange desert, we cry out: “Let us see your face and we will be saved!” Yet he waits for us in the poor, the sick, and the old, ready to console our frightened spirits.

We wait in joyful hope. The part of us that is afraid to confess that secret sin. The part of us that doesn’t think it’s possible to forgive what ‘that one’ did or that God could really forgive me. The part of us that cries in the middle of the night. The part which feels empty and alone. The part that’s overwhelmed and confused. The part which amidst all the din and doubt, waits…waits in silence for the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ upon a cloud in all his glory.

Get ready my brothers and sisters. Get ready! “Be watchful! Be alert! Go to confession, celebrate the Sacred Mysteries, and pray! Feed the poor. Go visit the prisoners and the old people in nursing home. Find the one you’ve not yet forgiven and call him right now.

Make your heart a manger to receive your king, for he is coming. He is coming very soon!