31 August 2009


“We must be willing to get rid of the life we’ve planned, so as to have the life that is waiting for us." -Joseph Campbell

so do it

“ You owe it to us all to get on with what you’re good at."
-w.h. auden

“ What you are afraid of is a clear indicator of the next thing you need to do."

just another day

Life isn't supposed to be an all-or-nothing battle between misery and bliss. Life isn’t supposed to be a battle at all. And when it comes to happiness, well, sometimes life is just okay, sometimes it’s comfortable, sometimes wonderful, sometimes boring, sometimes unpleasant. When your day’s not perfect, it’s not a failure or a terrible loss. It’s just another day. --Barbara Sher

at the core

“ I myself am made entirely of flaws, stitched together with good intentions. "
Augusten Burroughs

post it


“ Take chances, take a lot of them. Because honestly, no matter where you end up and with whom, it always ends up just the way it should be. Your mistakes make you who you are. You learn and grow with each choice you make. Everything is worth it. Say how you feel, always. Be you, and be okay with it."

into the woods

Too much we get lost in the forests of our minds and let the shadows scare us, never knowing that those shadows are just squirrels and not really scary at all...

a million tiny crosses

Pain and suffering are always inevitable for a large intelligence and a deep heart. The really great men must, I think, have great sadness on earth. -Fyodor Dostoevsky

30 August 2009

And you thought they were cartoons...


Perhaps the greatest problem of theodicy is the question why God, having created Satan in the first place, simply didn't wipe him out after his rebellion. The question presupposes that God would wipe anything out. It assumes that God can punish and kill. Perhaps the answer is that God gave Satan free will and that God cannot destroy; He can only create.

The point is that God does not punish. To create us in His image, God gave us free will. To have done otherwise would have been to make us puppets or hollow mannequins. Yet to give us free will God had to forswear the use of force against us. We do not have free will when there is a gun pointed at our back. It is not necessarily that God lacks the power to destroy us, to punish us, but that in His love for us He has painfully and terribly chosen never to use it. In agony He must stand by and let us be. He intervenes only to help, never to hurt. The Christian God is a God of restraint. Having foresworn the use of power against us, if we refuse His help, He has no recourse but, weeping, to watch us punish ourselves.

This point is unclear in the Old Testament. There God is depicted as punitive. But it begins to become clear with Christ. In Christ, God Himself impotently suffered death at the hands of human evil. He did not raise a finger against His persecutors. Thereafter in the New Testament we hear echoes of the punitive Old Testament God, one way or another, saying that "the wicked will get what's coming to them." But these are only echoes, a punishing God does not enter the picture ever again. While many nominal Christians still today envision their God as a giant cop in the sky, the reality of Christian doctrine is that God has forever eschewed police power.

Of the Holocaust as well of lesser evils it is often asked, "How could a loving God allow such a thing to happen?" It is a bleeding, brutal question. The Christian answer may not suit tastes, but it is hardly ambiguous. Having forsaken force, God is impotent to prevent the atrocities that we commit upon one another. He can only continue to grieve with us. He will offer us Himself in all His wisdom, but He cannot make us choose to abide with Him.

For the moment, then, God, tormented, waits upon us through one holocaust after another. And it may seem that we are doomed by this strange God who reigns in weakness. But there is a dénouement to Christian doctrine: God in His weakness will win the battle against evil. In fact, the battle is already won. The resurrection symbolizes not only that Christ overcame the evil of His day two thousand years ago but that He overcame it for all time. Christ impotently nailed to the cross is God's ultimate weapon. Through it the defeat of evil is utterly assured. It is vitally necessary that we struggle against evil with all the power at our command. But the crucial victory occurred almost two thousand years ago. Necessary and even dangerous and devastating though our own personal battles may be, unknown to us, they are but mopping-up operations against a retreating enemy who has long since lost the war.

-M. Scott Peck-

29 August 2009

teach your children well

"Teaching a child not to step on a caterpillar is as valuable to the child as it is to the caterpillar."
-- Bradley Miller


the devil is in the details

27 August 2009

25 August 2009

California Catholics try TV to draw churchgoers

Sacramento Catholic leaders are turning to television ads in an effort to get the region's lapsed churchgoers back in the pews.

Sacramento Diocese officials say the ads will target the estimated 800,000 Catholics in the region who do not attend church regularly. Weekly Mass count is about 136,500.

The diocese is one of eight in the U.S. running ads featuring Catholics talking about why they returned to the church. The Phoenix Diocese estimates that similar ads brought 90,000 Catholics back to church last year.

The Sacramento commercials are set to run 1,200 times over six weeks from Dec. 18 to Jan. 31.

Churches will be asking parishioners in coming weeks for money to help cover the $380,000 campaign.

Information from: The Sacramento Bee

the proof is in the loving

The Christian who lives for God and wishes to love him with all his strength feels the need to be sure that his love for God is not an illusion; but how can he be sure? The apostle John answers: If we love one another, God abides in us and his love is perfected in us (John 4:12.

The great criterion which characterizes true love of God is the love of our neighbor. This is an infallible standard because theological love is unique, and though difficult to test in relation to God, it is easily verifiable in relation to the neighbor.

We do not need much discernment to perceive whether our love of neighbor is a matter of words, or is a concrete reality, proved in deed. St. Teresa of Jesus teaches her daughters:

We cannot know whether or not we love God, although there are strong indications for recognizing that we do love him; but we can know whether we love our neighbor. And be sure that the more advanced you are in love for your neighbor, the more advanced you will be in the love of God. (Interior Castle)

When fraternal love is sincere and heartfelt and shown by deed, there can be no doubt that God's love is perfected in us (1 John 4:12).

Divine Intimacy
Fr. Gabriel of St. Mary Magdalen, OCD

23 August 2009

I joke not (pt. II)

"Wine Infused host"

I joke not...

Communion Dispenser...

My kinda doc

Q: Doctor, I've heard that cardiovascular exercise can prolong life. Is this true?
A: Your heart is only good for so many beats, and that's it... Don't waste them on exercise. Everything wears out eventually. Speeding up your heart will not make you live longer; that's like saying you can extend the life of your car by driving it faster. Want to live longer? Take a nap.

Q: Should I cut down on meat and eat more fruits and vegetables?
A: You must grasp logistical efficiencies. What does a cow eat? Hay and corn. And what are these? Vegetables. So a steak is nothing more than an efficient mechanism of delivering vegetables to your system.. Need grain? Eat chicken. Beef is also a good source of field grass (green leafy vegetable). And a pork chop can give you 100% of your recommended daily allowance of vegetable products.

Q: Should I reduce my alcohol intake?
A: No, not at all. Wine is made from fruit. Brandy is distilled wine, that means they take the water out of the fruity bit so you get even more of the goodness that way. Beer is also made out of grain. Bottoms up!

Q: How can I calculate my body/fat ratio?
A: Well, if you have a body and you have fat, your ratio is one to one. If you have two bodies, your ratio is two to one, etc.

Q: What are some of the advantages of participating in a regular exercise program?
A: Can't think of a single one, sorry. My philosophy is: No Pain...Good!

Q: Aren't fried foods bad for you?
A: YOU'RE NOT LISTENING!!! ..... Foods are fried these days in vegetable oil. In fact, they're permeated in it. How could getting more vegetables be bad for you?

Q: Will sit-ups help prevent me from getting a little soft around the middle?
A: Definitely not! When you exercise a muscle, it gets bigger. You should only be doing sit-ups if you want a bigger stomach.

Q: Is chocolate bad for me?
A: Are you crazy? HELLO Cocoa beans ! Another vegetable!!! It's the best feel-good food around!

Q: Is swimming good for your figure?
A: If swimming is good for your figure, explain whales to me.

Q: Is getting in-shape important for my lifestyle?
A: Hey! 'Round' is a shape!

Well, I hope this has cleared up any misconceptions you may have had about food and diets.

And remember:
'Life should NOT be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in an attractive and well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways - Chardonnay in one hand - chocolate in the other - body thoroughly used up, totally worn out and screaming "WOO HOO, What a Ride'

For those of you who watch what you eat, here's the final word on nutrition and health. It's a relief to know the truth after all those conflicting nutritional studies.

1. The Japanese eat very little fat
And suffer fewer heart attacks than Americans.

2. The Mexicans eat a lot of fat
And suffer fewer heart attacks than Americans.

3. The Chinese drink very little red wine
And suffer fewer heart attacks than Americans.

4. The Italians drink a lot of red wine
And suffer fewer heart attacks than Americans.

5. The Germans drink a lot of beers and eat lots of sausages and fats and suffer fewer heart attacks than Americans.

Eat and drink what you like. Speaking English is apparently what kills you.

We fly by faith... (and duct tape)

13 August 2009

Missouri Nuns Chase Down Armed Robber on Foot

A pair of sandal-clad nuns in Missouri chased down an armed robbery suspect and helped police put handcuffs on him, FOX4KC reported.

Sisters at Saint Francis of Holy Eucharist Convent in Independence, Mo., spotted a gun-toting man in their fields who turned out to be a suspect police believe is responsible for several burglaries in the area.

"We looked out the window and saw someone in the bean field. I thought it was someone hunting. He was dragging something with him," Sister Connie told FOX4KC. "He kept coming across the field...I saw he had a gun in hands, what I thought was a rifle, and he dropped it in the field."

When he realized he had been spotted the suspect set off on foot and was chased by a nun in flip-flops who goes by Sister Catrina.

She chased him behind their green house and alerted authorities and the suspect ended up in police custody. Charges have yet to be filed.


notice the burlap banner?

Just a typical 4:30pm Saturday vigial mass at Bl. John XXIII parish...


11 August 2009

you try it!

Resourceful people

A New Old Image

" There are times when the old images of Christ just don't have the comforting power we need. When I was growing up I loved above all other bible stories the story of the shepherd looking for his lost sheep-I used to tell myself that story before goingt o sleep at night, replaying that pastoral picture in my head. But now as an adult there are times when I thirst for something more visceral, more violent even, to match the chaos of fear and grief.

When I went to Monicas memorial, the next day I went to mass with Lydia at their home church (I know, it's not a great picure; I took it myself, what do you expect? We can't all be John Steubler, winner of the Best of Silicon Valley for photography!!). On the tabernacle there they have the image of a mother pelican, encircled by hungry babies facing her with their mouths gaping open. The pelican has her beak pressed to her chest, and on some versions she is bleeding. This image of the mother Pelican is an ancient symbol of Christ and most especially the Eucharist; the legend goes that in times of famine the Pelican will feed her young all the food she has until she is about to starve, and then she will rip open her chest and feed them her heart so that they may live even as she dies. This image is so powerful to me- it brings me to tears every time I encounter it, which is rare. It has been all but forgotten.

Please pray for the repose of the soul of Sharon who died of cancer on Monday. Pray for the comfort of her husband and five children, pray for Sol and Kai as they face this new life without Monica. I pray that in their times of famine Chirst would feed them from his very heart that they may know his presence in their grief. "

Via Ex Nihilo

peace... peace at last...

Over the last year I have been following several blogs of people in various stages of cancer, and even corresponding with a few of them. So far there is only 1 left. Don Ritchie, who was the principal at Marin Catholic High School just passed away a few days ago. I thought this post about his last night was touching, so I've pasted it below because I can't get a live link here for some reason.

"Peace...peace at last. Don found peace last night at 1:41 am. I know the exact time, because I was putting the microwave timer on every hour to make sure I was awake to give him his medication so he did not once again become painful. The medication also eased his labored breathing. Being very fatigued, I could not set the timer for some reason, so I decided to let it go and hoped that I would awaken on my own. I returned to the couch next to his hospital bed, and listened for his breathing. Very soon, I heard him take two deep breaths and then no more. At that exact moment, the timer went off. I had asked Don to send me a sign when he passed and I knew this was it. He had told me the day before that I was not to worry, that he was going to be OK and that all he wanted was peace. What transpired next was even more incredible. My sister-in-law had brought a rosary for Don to use that belonged to her little girl, Kaylee. Kaylee had received it from our niece, Amy, who had just brought it from a pilgrimage in Spain, El Camino de Santiago. We had placed it on the side rail of his bed. Most recently, his brother Bob had placed it around Don's right wrist, saying: "We might as well pull out all of the stops." Sitting at his bedside, just after his last breath was taken, everything was still. Suddenly, I saw a movement beneath the covers. It was his right hand being lifted and placed over his heart. For me, I know that the man who has loved me and that I have loved for close to 45 years, was letting me know that he will love me for all eternity and that "all is well." Peace and our thanks, Jane...

via Girl ex Nihilo

a house built on sand?

are you happy

“Perhaps the reason we so often experience happiness only in hindsight, and that chasing it is such a fool’s errand, is that happiness isn’t a goal in itself but is only an aftereffect. It’s the consequence of having lived in the way that we’re supposed to — by which I don’t mean ethically correctly so much as just consciously, fully engaged in the business of living. In this respect it resembles averted vision, a phenomena familiar to backyard astronomers whereby, in order to pick out a very faint star, you have to let your gaze drift casually to the space just next to it; if you look directly at it, it vanishes. And it’s also true, come to think of it, that the only stars we ever see are not the “real” stars, those cataclysms taking place in the present, but always only the light of the untouchable past." Tim Kreider, Averted Vision


“If you ask me, when something extraordinary shows up in your life in the middle of the night, you give it a name and make it the best home you can." -- Barbara Kingsolver, High Tide In Tuscon

stop and go

like this


Q: What is the unforgivable sin?— B

A: There are many sins recounted in the Hebrew Bible but none are ever called unforgivable sins. Sometimes the punishment for sinning is death, but repentance is always possible before punishment.

In the Christian Scriptures, there are three verses that take up the subject of unforgivable sin. In the Book of Matthew (12: 31-32), we read, “Therefore I say to you, any sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven men, but blasphemy against the Spirit shall not be forgiven. And whoever shall speak a word against the Son of Man, it shall be forgiven him; but whoever shall speak against the Holy Spirit, it shall not be forgiven him, either in this age, or in the age to come.”

The same idea that blasphemy against the Holy Spirit is unforgivable is found in Luke 12:10 and Mark 3:29.

What constitutes such blasphemy is not so clear, but generally the idea is that rejecting God and God’s good news for salvation is the most radical and thorough rejection a person can make, and thus it separates the blasphemer most profoundly from the community of faith. This is not so much a punishment for the sinner as it is a fact about the sinner’s willful rejection of God’s grace.

If I were to translate this sentiment about unforgivable sin into my own life list, I’d probably include the following sins as fundamental, although the concept of unforgivability from a forgiving God is not sensible to me and one that I cannot accept into my own faith life. I believe that God can forgive all sins provided the sinner is truly contrite. Here’s my list of unforgivable sins:

• Murder, torture and abuse of any human being, but particularly the murder, torture and abuse of children and animals. These are more than unforgivable; they are incomprehensible. These violate the most basic dignity of the human person and deny God in our broken world.

As for lower-level unforgivable sins, I would include:

• Losing hope. Tomorrow may not be better than today, but when you stop hoping that tomorrow will be better than today, you are lost.

• Believing that you deserve everything you have. The beginning of a prayer life is understanding that we’ve been given more than we deserve, that we really need to thank God for the extra blessings.

• Believing that your burdens exceed your blessings. Every day we awaken to life, our blessings are greater than our burdens. Spending all your time thinking about what God has taken from you blinds you to the overwhelming abundance of what God has given to you.

• Believing you are worthless. Being made in the image of God is two blessings. The first blessing is being made in God’s image. The second blessing is knowing that you are made in God’s image. If you don’t know this, you must learn it, before you start believing the worst things hateful people say about you.

• Not caring about the big questions: Why do bad things happen to good people? Is there a purpose to life? What happens after I die? All these are eternal mysteries, not mere problems, and they deserve our time and prayerful attention. Just thinking about them ennobles, confirms and transforms us.

• Never understanding the difference between wisdom and intelligence. Being smart is knowing what is. Being wise is knowing what matters. Wisdom takes years of living. By my calculation, there are enough smart people in the world but not enough good people.

• Admiring famous people, not good people. The world is filled with amazing good people who are making the world better, or at least helping to keep it from getting worse. The good ones ought to be the celebrities, but the world doesn’t work that way yet.

• Thinking that children are a nuisance. Children can be noisy or smelly, but they’re never a nuisance. Robert Frost said that a baby is God’s opinion that life should go on. We should have the same opinion as God.

• Keeping score. Remembering every insult and every betrayal and every time some other person did not properly respect us is a waste of time and almost always leads to a sour disposition.

There are other unforgivable sins, but these will do for now.
By Rabbi Marc Gellman

09 August 2009

pray always

Prayer is an exercise of love and it would be incorrect to think that if there is no time for solitude, there is no prayer at all. For the very reason that prayer is based especially on love and springs from it, it is possible to prolong it beyond the time devoted exclusively to it.

Though it is not possible to be always thinking of God, partly because our mind gets tired, or because our many occupations demand full attention, still it is always possible for the heart to love and to desire God, and this can, and must, exist even in the performance of duties which absorb our intellect; in fact, such an orientation can be intensified by the desire to accomplish every action for the love of God, to please him, and give him glory.

"The reason for prayer" according to St. Thomas Aquinas, "is a desire moved by charity. . . And this desire with us must be continuous, either in act, or at least potentially. . . We can say that one prays continuously by reason of the continuity of his desire".

Divine Intimacy
Fr. Gabriel of St. Mary Magdalen, OCD

06 August 2009

05 August 2009


Cistercian brother Rafael Arnaiz Baron
to be cannonized 10/11/2009

why everything sucks


"I'm not buying it"

Commitment is more than a feeling

slow and steady

The weakest living creature, by concentrating his powers on a single object, can accomplish something. The strongest, by dispensing his over many, may fail to accomplish anything. The drop, by continually falling, bores its passage through the hardest rock. The hasty torrent rushes over it with hideous uproar, and leaves no trace behind. -Thomas Carlyle

02 August 2009

after prayer

He who through faith is righteous shall live (Romans 1:17). For a Christian, faith ought to be the light that illuminates not only the times of prayer, but the whole of life.

During prayer it is not difficult to say "I believe in God the Father almighty"; but a few minutes afterwards, when faced with some difficult tasks, a tiresome person, or some circumstance that is painful or upsets our own plans, we easily forget that all this has been arranged by God for our sanctification; that God is our Father and is more concerned about the welfare of each of us than we are ourselves, even though we are the interested parties; that God is all-powerful and can help us in every difficulty.

If we lose sight of the light of faith, we shall get lost in merely human considerations and protests, or in discouragement, like that of people who have no faith. We believe in God the Father almighty, but we do not believe strongly enough to recognize his will or at least his permission in every event, nor do we turn to him in every circumstance.

Until the light of faith so penetrates us that it makes us see all things in relation to God and as dependent on him, it cannot be said that faith enlightens our entire life.

Divine Intimacy
Fr. Gabriel of St. Mary Magdalen, OCD