29 June 2008

Where troubles melt like lemon drops...

You've heard it. You've loved it. You may have even cried over it. But have you seen it?

A tribute to the artist: Israel Kamakawiwoʻole (aka: "The Gentle Giant")

At my local supermarket...

... I saw this today...
I'm not going to lie to you: I went up and down that aisle, time and again, looking for some clue and I have yet to figure out the difference between the regular cookies and the "special" ones...

yep. nothing else to say but, "yep."

While these were not in an actual worship space (I hope).

I actually found this in a Buffalo church:

h/t poetdiva for the photo

Sum Paulus

Paul like most of us had his faults and foibles, his personality quirks. He suffered the ignorance and ingratitude of others poorly. He could be deeply upset when people distorted and misrepresented him and his views. He seems to overreact when people question his authority and truthfulness.

But withal he was a great and magnanimous soul with enormous natural and spiritual talents. Once Jesus confronted him and sought his faith, he surrendered completely and gave his faith unreservedly and irrevocably to Christ. The job he felt Jesus assigned him to do, he undertook tenaciously and with great distinction.

For the Risen Lord he became and remained a responsible and energetic Apostle, Evangelist, Preacher, Missionary, Teacher/Pastor, Motivator, Consoler, Theologian, Inspired Writer.

The success of his efforts is evident in subsequent Christian history. His work withstood the test of time; it became and remains normative for most Christians. He was without question a great discovery and acquisition. Jesus was exceptionally well served by Paul.

Paul: His Letters, Message And Heritage
Michael Taylor, SJ

Sunday Two'fer...

Do not think that love, in order to be genuine, has to be extraordinary. What we need is to love without getting tired. -Mother Teresa

I don't believe people are looking for the meaning of life as much as they are looking for the experience of being alive. -Joseph Campbell

27 June 2008

A lil bit crazy

If the world is sane, then Jesus is mad as a hatter and the Last Supper is the Mad Tea Party. The world says, “Mind your own business”, and Jesus says, “There is no such thing as your own business”. The world says, “Follow the wisest course and be a success”, and Jesus says, “Follow me and be crucified”. The world says, “Drive carefully – the life you save may be your own”, and Jesus says, “Whoever would save their life will lose it, and whoever loses their life for my sake will find it”. The world says, “Law and order”, and Jesus says, “Love”. The world says, “Get”, and Jesus says, “Give”. In terms of the world’s sanity, Jesus is crazy as a coot and anybody who thinks they can follow Him without being a little crazy too is laboring less under a cross than under a delusion.

Frederick Buechner "Listening to Your Life"

h/t The Blogging Anchorite

26 June 2008

Rolheiser: On Service...

Some Guidelines for Service

To try to serve others is to be caught up in many tensions, some that beset from without and others that beset from within. How can we remain energized, effective, and true? Here are some guidelines for the long haul:

Be beyond ideology, be both post-liberal and post-conservative
Have an unlisted ideological number! Refuse to be pre-defined by any ideology of the left or the right. Like Jesus, transcend boundaries, constantly surprise, refuse to be classified. Don’t be liberal and don’t be conservative, be a woman or man of faith and compassion and let that take you down whatever roads it takes you, liberal or conservative.

Strive to incarnate both the kenotic and the triumphant Christ.
Don’t be afraid to be nothing and don’t be afraid to be everything! Christ emptied himself and refused to claim any status or to stand out in terms of public titles, distinctive dress, or in any triumphant display of power. But he is too the Christ who rose triumphant from the tomb and who needs to be proclaimed publicly, with color, pride, and display. He is both the Christ of silent, anonymous witness and the Christ of chanting, public processions. Honor both.

Be for the marginalized, without being marginalized yourself.
Walk a fine tightrope! Take your stand with the marginalized, even as you are known for your sanity and capacity to relate warmly and deeply to every kind of person and group. Be known for your radical stance for the poor even as you are recognized for the wide scope of your embrace.

Lead without being elitist.
Be led by the artist, but listen to the street! Be a leader, an aesthete, an artist, a creative person trying to lead others forward, even as you shun elitism of every sort and ensure that every kind of person is comfortable around you. Be a leader, but with empathy, without disdaining others’ culture, sentiment, or piety.

Be iconoclastic and pious at the same time.
Don’t be afraid to smash idols and don’t be afraid to bow in reverence! The problem is that the pious aren’t liberal and the liberals aren’t pious. Be both, one doesn’t work without the other. Great hearts hold near contradictory principles, lesser ones do not. Help smash the false gods that need to be smashed, even as you are unafraid to kneel often in reverence.

Be equally committed to social justice and to intimacy with Jesus.
Learn to be comfortable leading both a peace march and devotional prayer! Do not choose between justice and Jesus, between committing yourselves to the poor and fostering private intimacy with Jesus. Don’t choose between interiority and action. Dorothy Day didn’t. There’s a lesson there.

Be thoroughly in the world, even as you are rooted elsewhere.
Live in a tortured complexity! Love the world, love its pagan beauty, let it take your breath away, even as you root your heart in something deeper so that the realities of faith also take your breath away. Carry the tension between having a hopeless love for the world and a hopeless love for things beyond it. Love the world as you would a lover with some quirks of character and weaknesses that cause you pain. Pray a lot. Cry occasionally. Sneak off to a church as needed and walk in the sun regularly. The church has secrets worth knowing, and the world is also beautiful.

Ponder, in the biblical sense, by carrying the tension inside the community.
Eat the tension around you! Mary pondered, not by thinking deep intellectual thoughts but by holding, carrying, and transforming tension so as not to give it back in kind. Like Jesus, she helped take sin and tension away by absorbing it, like a water-filter that keeps the impurities, toxins, and dirt inside of itself and gives back only pure water. Be a tension-absorber inside all the communities wherein you live. Absorb the bitterness, the anger, the hardness, the group hysteria, the lack of reconciliation, as a water-filter might. Then drink wine with a friend to rid yourself of your own toxins.

Help incarnate a deeper maturity.
Go into dark places, but don’t sin! Stand up for the God-given freedom we enjoy, even as you model and show others how that freedom can be carried in a way that never abuses it. Like Jesus, who went into the singles-bars of his time (except he didn’t sin), walk in great freedom, go into dark places, but go there not to assert human autonomy but to take God’s light there.

Make love to the song!
Forget about yourself and how others react to you! A bad singer on stage makes love to himself; a more mature singer makes love to his audience; a really mature singer makes love to the song. Service is the same. Forget about yourself, your image, your need to prove yourself, and eventually forget about your audience too so that you and your song are not about yourself or about your people, but about God.

25 June 2008


"It's the little bits of things that fret and worry us. We can dodge an elephant, but not a fly."

23 June 2008

Right under our nose the whole time...

Still a man...

. . . . You must never forget that priests are, and that they remain, men. God does not perform a miracle to wrest them from the human state.

The priesthood does not of itself give a person the power to do everything or to excel in everything. It is important to remember this lest you fall into a very old error . . . that of dehumanizing the priesthood and consequently of setting the priest outside of ordinary life.

That does great harm for by thus isolating him, as unbelievers do, to the exclusive realm of ceremonies . . . he is deprived in good part of his reason for being. If men refuse to pass through him, he no longer can be, at least fully, their mediator.

-Cardinal Suhard

22 June 2008

You are what you... think

A person not only reflects what is contemplated but becomes what is contemplated. While contemplating we become transformed into the image we contemplate.

This is a concept whose profound truth we are perhaps better able to grasp today. If at one time, at the beginning of scientific materialism, it was said that 'a person is what he or she eats,' now, in a culture wholly dominated by images and visual communication , it can be said that 'a person is what he or she looks at.'

An image has the power to penetrate not only the body but even the soul through the imagination.The eye is the lamp of the body (Matthew 6:22), but it is also the doorway to the soul.

Therefore, the apostle (St. Paul) says that in contemplating Christ we become like him, we conform ourselves to him. We are allowed access to his world, his purposes, his sentiments, so that we can imprint them on ourselves; so that we can substitute his thoughts, his purposes and his sentiments for ours; so that we can make ourselves like him.

Raniero Cantalamessa, O.F.M., Cap.
The Mystery of the Transfiguration

19 June 2008

16 June 2008

In a word, a mission...

What does "Parish" mean, anyway?

In a word, it means "a community of travelers through a foreign land."

Which is really cool.

The term "Parish" derives from Anglo-Fr. parosse (1075), later paroche (1292), from O.Fr. paroisse, from Latin paroechia = "diocese", from Greek παρоικια = "district" or "diocese", from Greek παρά = "beside", οικος = "house". The Hellenistic Greek term παρоικια originally meant "sojourn in a foreign land" (in the Septuagint) or "community of sojourners", with reference to the Jewish people in a foreign land (1st centtury B.C.), and later with reference to earthly life as a temporary abode (1st century A.D., also New Testament: 1 Peter 1:17, 2:11); the term hence was applied to "Christian community" (3rd century), "diocese" (3rd century), and ultimately "parish" (4th century).

h/t The Shrine

Who guards the guardian?

Wouldn't it be funny if it turned out to be true?

15 June 2008


Times Roman Font Announces Shortage of Periods
By Steve Martin
The New Yorker, June 9, 1997
Found at: The Compleat Steve

Representatives of the popular Times Roman font recently announced a shortage of periods and have offered substitutes - such as inverted commas, exclamation marks, and semicolons - until the crisis is overcome by people such as yourself, who through creative management of surplus punctuation can perhaps allay the constant demand for periods, whose heavy usage in the last ten years (not only in English but in virtually every language in the world) is creating a burden on writers everywhere, thus generating a litany of comments, among them: "What the hell am I supposed to do without my periods? How am I going to write? Isn't this a terrible disaster? Are they crazy? Won't this just lead to misuse of other, less interesting punctuation???"

"Most vulnerable are writers who work in short, choppy sentences," said a spokesperson for Times Roman, who continued, "We are trying to remedy the situation and have suggested alternatives, like umlauts, since we have plenty of umlauts - and, in fact, have more umlauts than we could possible use in a lifetime! Don't forget, umlauts can really spice up a page with their delicate symmetry - resting often midway in a word, letters spilling on either side - and not only indicate the pronunciation of a word but also contribute to a writer's greater glory because they're fancy, not to mention that they even look like periods, indeed, are indistinguishable from periods, and will lead casual readers to believe that the article actually contains periods!"

Bobby Brainard, a writer living in an isolated cabin in Montana - who is, in fact, the only writer living in an isolated cabin in Montana who is not insane - is facing a dilemma typical of writers across the nation: "I have a sentence that has just got to be stopped; it is currently sixteen pages long and is edging out the front door and is now so lumbering I'm starting to worry that one period alone won't be enough - that I'll need at least two to finally kill it off - and if that doesn't work, I've ordered an elephant gun from Jessie's, and if I don't get some periods fast I'm going to have to use it..." The magazine International Hebrew has offered this emergency statement: "We currently have an oversupply of backwards periods and will be happy to send some to Mister Brainard or anyone else facing a crisis!" .period backwards the in slip you while moment a for way other the look to sentence the getting is trick only The

The general concern of writers is summed up by this brief telegram:

Period shortage mustn't continue stop

Stop-stoppage must come to a full stop stop

We must resolve it and stop the stoppage stop

Yours truly,

Tom Stoppard

Needless to say, there has been an increasing pressure on the ellipsis...

"I assure to you," said the spokesperson, "I assure you the ellipsis is not - repeat, is not - just three periods strung together, and, although certain writers have plundered the ellipsis for its dots, such dots are deeply inelegant and ineffective when used to stop a sentence! ¿An ellipsis point is too weak to stop a modern sentence, which would require at least two ellipsis points, leaving the third dot to stand alone pointlessly - and, indeed, two periods at the end of a sentence would look like a typo, comprende? And why is Times Roman so important? Why can't writers employ some of our other, lesser-used fonts, such as Goofy Deluxe, Namby Pamby Extra Narrow, or Gone Fishin'?"

In fact, there is movement toward alternate puncuation; consider the New Punctuation and Suicide Cult in Southern Texas, whose credo is "Why not try some new and different kinds of punctuation and then kill ourselves?" Notice how these knotty epigrams from Shakespeare are easily unravelled:

Every cloud engenders not a storm

Horatio, I am dead

Remembering the Albertus Extra Bold asterisk embargo of several years back, one hopes the crisis is solved quickly, because a life of exclamation marks, no matter how superficially exciting, is no life at all! There are, of course, many other fonts one could use if the crisis continues, but frankly, which would you rather be faced with - Namby Pamby Extra Narrow or the bosomy sexuality of Times Roman? The shortage itself may be a useful one, provided it's over quickly, for it has made at least this author appreciate and value his one spare period, and it is with great respect that I use it now.

14 June 2008

Think about it.

"If we would only give, just once, the same amount of reflection to what we want to get out of life that we give to the question of what to do with a two weeks' vacation, we would be startled at our false standards and the aimless procession of our busy days." ~Dorothy Canfield Fisher

13 June 2008

His hand....

Can any of us ever conclude that we’re “good” enough to do something great for God? Mother Theresa and St. Faustina argued (directly!) with Jesus that they were too weak, foolish, and sinful to do what He was asking of them. Jesus responded that their weakness was their only qualification, and that when they succeeded the world would know that it was God’s work and not theirs.

h/t Cleveland's Cyber Cleric

One of Buffalo's Finest...

Good Guy. Good Catholic. Good Newsman.
(In that order)


10 June 2008

At the next vacancy for God...

At the next vacancy for God, if I am elected,
I shall forgive last the delicately wounded
who, having been slugged no harder than anyone else,
never got up again, neither to fight back,
nor to finger their jaws in painful admiration

They who are wholly broken, and they in whom
mercy is understanding, I shall embrace at once
and lead to pillows in heaven. But they who are
the meek by trade, baiting the best of their betters
with extortion's of mock-hopelessness.

I shall take last to love, and never wholly.
Let them all into Heaven - I abolish Hell -
but let it be read over them as they enter:
"Beware the calculations of the meek, who gambled
nothing, gave nothing, and could never receive enough."

John Ciardi
"In place of a curse"

Ordering off the Vatican Room Service Menu

"I'll have the eggs (St.) Benedict..."

08 June 2008

To cut a long story short...

Saturday March 24, 2007
The Guardian


Ernest Hemingway once said his best work was a story he wrote in just six words: 'For sale: baby shoes, never worn.' We challenged some contemporary authors to be equally economical

"Samaritans." "I'm listening." "Hello?" "Hel..." "Samaritans..."
Michel Faber

"It can't be. I'm a virgin."
Kate Atkinson

"Set sail, great storm, all lost."
John Banville

"Dream punctured. Build pyre. Curses... Adolf."
Beryl Bainbridge

"See that shadow? (It's not yours.)"
Jim Crace

"Defenestrated baby, methamphetamine, prison, rehab, relapse."
Jeffrey Eugenides

"Juicy offer. Must decline. Still paralysed."
Richard Ford

"Bob's last message: Bermuda Triangle, Baloney."
Elmore Leonard

"Dad called: DNA back: he isn't."
Helen Fielding

"Humorous book: critic died laughing. Sued."
Alexander McCall Smith

"Kiss me." "?" "Kiss me.." "?!!" "Oh, sorry."
Jon McGregor

"Mother's-milk. Ribena. Tetley's. Chibuku-Shake-Shake. Complan. Morphine."
Marina Lewycka

"Apple?" "No." "Taste!" "ADAM?" Oh God.
David Lodge

"Evil isn't necessarily unkind. Gran next."
DBC Pierre

"Megan's baby: John's surname, Jim's eyes."
Simon Armitage

"Purse found. "No notes," she said."
Andrew O'Hagan

"Served the pie, watched him die."
Maggie O'Farrell

"Thought love must fade: but no."
George Saunders

"He didn't. She did. Big mistake."
Al Kennedy

"They awaited sunrise. It never came."
AS Byatt

"In the end, everything simply began."
Ali Smith

"Stop me before I kill again."
Hari Kunzru

"Free to good home. Extraneous coffin."
Barbara Trapido

"I repented and turned to Christ."
Ian Sansom

"Hello?" "Cupcake." "Douglas?! I'm... married." [click]
Miranda July

"The pillow smelled like my brother."
Patrick Neate

"It was a dark, stormy... aaaaargggh!"
John Lanchester

"Armageddon imminent. Make list. Tick most."
Ian Rankin

"Catherine had treasonable sex. Heads rolled."
Helen Simpson

"The Earth? We ate it yesterday."
Yann Martel

Toby Litt

"Funeral followed honeymoon. He was 90."
Graham Swift

"Womb. Bloom. Groom. Gloom. Rheum. Tomb."
Blake Morrison

"Pain, unutterable pain, stertorous exhalation. Death."
Will Self

"Mind what gap?" ... ... ...
Hilary Mantel

05 June 2008


"Above all, trust in the slow work of God. We are quite naturally impatient in everything to reach the end without delay. We should like to skip the intermediate stages. We are impatient of being on the way to something unknown, something new. And yet, it is the law of all progress that is made by passing through some stages of instability - and that it may take a very long time.

And so I think it is with you. Your ideas mature gradually - let them grow, let them shape themselves, without undue haste. Don't try to force them on, as though you could be today what time (that is to say, grace and circumstances acting on your own good will) will make of you tomorrow.

Only God could say what this new spirit gradually forming within you will be. Give our Lord the benefit of believing that his hand is leading you, and accept the anxiety of feeling yourself in suspense and incomplete."

- Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, sj

Too deep for me.

“Good and Evil are indeed close neighbors; falling at first glance, can strangely resemble flying. The act is done; man has traded the order of consent, the transparency of hearts, for the order of Law. His unruly egotism has destroyed the world in which laws were invisible and lives mutually open. In a world where each wants to be God, the only true God is the strongest. The chain of being has become an order of military precedence, founded on power.” - Paul Zwieg, The Heresy of Self-Love

Kitsch-y enough...

...for the contest?

Preening for the Parousia?

One night, a man had a dream

Jesus Saves. And so does his mother

(the key being the LED Sacred Heart)

St. Sebastian pin cushion

O Jesus, if you just find me a parking space, just this once

No clue. No comment. But it is big.

01 June 2008

Never Alone. Always with ourselves.

A brother was restless in his community and he was often irritated. So he said, I will go and live somewhere by myself. I will not be able to talk or listen to anyone and so I shall be at peace, and my passionate anger will cease.

He went out and lived alone in a cave. But one day he filled his jug with water and put it on the ground. Suddenly it happened to fall over. He filled it again, and again it fell. This happened a third time. In a rage he snatched up the jug and smashed it.

Coming to his senses, he knew that the demon of anger had mocked him, and he said, Here am I by myself, and he has beaten me. I will return to the community. Wherever you live, you need effort and patience and above all God's help. So he got up, and went back.

A Desert Father
The Monastic Way

Su Madre

Take and Eat...

The Many Faces of the Eucharist
Ronald Rolheiser, OMI


Christians argue a lot about the Eucharist. What does it mean? What should it be called? How often should it be celebrated? Who should be allowed to fully participate?

There are lots of views on the Eucharist:

• For some it is a meal, for others it is a sacrifice

• For some it is a ritual act, sacred and set apart, for others it is a community gathering, the more mess and kids there the better.

• For some it is a deep personal prayer, for others it is a communal worship for the world.

• For some its very essence is a coming together, a communion, of those united in a single denominational faith, while for others part of its essence is its reaching out, its innate imperative to wash the feet of those who are different from ourselves.

• For some it is a celebration of sorrow, a making present of Christ’s suffering and the thus place where we can break down, for others it is the place to celebrate joy and sing alleluia.

• For some it is a ritual remembrance, a making present of the historical events of Jesus’ dying, rising, ascending, and sending the Holy Spirit, for others it is a celebration of God’s presence with us today.

• For some it is a celebration of the Last Supper, something to be done less frequently, for others it is God’s daily feeding of his people with a new manna, Christ’s body, and is something to be done every day.

• For some it is a celebration of reconciliation, a ritual that forgives and unites, for others unity and reconciliation are pre-conditions for its proper celebration.

• For some it is a vigil act, a gathering that is essentially about waiting for something else or someone else to appear, for others it is a celebration of something that is already present that is asking to be received and recognized.

• For some it is understood to make present the real, physical body of Christ, for others it is understood to make Christ present in a real but spiritual way.

• Some call it the Lord’s Supper, others call it the Eucharist, others call it the Mass.

• Some celebrate it once a year, some celebrate it four times a year, some celebrate it every Sunday, and some celebrate it every day.

Who’s right? In truth, the Eucharist is all of these things, and more. It is like a finely-cut diamond twirling in the sun, every turn giving off a different sparkle. It is multi-valent, carrying different layers of meaning, some of them in paradoxical tension with others. There is, even in scripture, no one theology of the Eucharist, but instead there are various complementary theologies of the Eucharist.

For instance, we already see variations among the apostolic communities as to how they understood the Eucharist, what it should be called, and how often it should be celebrated. Some early communities called it the Lord’s Supper, connected its meaning very much to the commemoration of the Last Supper, and celebrated it less frequently. Whereas the apostolic community that formed around John connected its theology and practice very much to the concept of God feeding his people daily with manna and they celebrated it every day, given that we need sustenance daily.

As well, we see some of its paradoxical elements right within its central symbols, bread and the wine: Both are paradoxical: Bread is both is symbol of joy, togetherness, health, and achievement (the smell of fresh bread and the primal beauty of a loaf of bread) even as it is made up of broken kernels of wheat who had to be crushed in their individuality and be baked in fire to become that bread. Wine is both a festive drink, the drink of celebration, of wedding, even as it is crushed grapes and represents the blood of Jesus and the blood and suffering of all that is crushed in our world and in our lives.

How does one put this all together? That depends upon how one defines that.

During my theological training, I took three major courses on the Eucharist and, afterwards, decided that I didn’t understand the Eucharist. But the fault was not in courses, which were excellent. The fault, which is not a fault at all but a marvel, lies in the richness of the Eucharist itself. In the end, it defies not just theology professors, but metaphysics, phenomenology, and language itself. There is no adequate explanation of the Eucharist for the same reason that, in the end, there is no adequate explanation for love, for embrace, and for the reception of life and spirit through touch. Certain realities take us beyond language because that is there very purpose. They do what words cannot do. They also are beyond what we can neatly nail down in our understanding.

And that is true of the Eucharist. Any attempt to nail down its full meaning will forever come up short because it will always eventually get up and walk away with the nail!

He just trusted God.

"By his own testimony, Jeremiah's only source of confidence was that he had entrusted his cause to God. He didn't trust God to do this or that. He just trusted God. So whatever happened - whether miraculous deliverance or crushing defeat awaited his nation - he was prepared to trust that God would be faithful."

Alice Camille (US Catholic, 06/08)

77 Bottles of Beer on the Wall....

take them down...