28 February 2010

Let's make it a good week!

all i need

"This union of my soul with God is my wealth in poverty and my joy in deepest affliction."
St. Elizabeth Ann Seton

26 February 2010

Are you ready now?

God can also meet you at any time, no matter how confused your life may seem. You do not have to have a perfectly organized daily life to experience God. Your spiritual house does not need to be tidy for God to enter.

In the Gospels, for example, Jesus often meets people in the midst of their work: Peter mending his nets by the seashore, Matthew sitting at his tax collector's booth. But just as often Jesus encounters people when they are at their absolute worst: an adulterous woman about to be stoned, a woman who has been sick for many years, a possessed man not even in his right mind. In each of these situations God said to these busy, stressed-out, worried, frightened people, "I'm ready to meet you if you're ready to meet me."

If God meets you where you are, then where you are is a place to meet God. You do not have to wait until your life settles down, or the kids move out of the house, or you have found that perfect apartment, or you recover from that long illness. You do not have to wait until you've overcome your sinful patterns or are more "religious" or can pray "better." You do not have to wait for any of that.

God is ready now."

--James Martin, S.J., in an excerpt from his new book "The Jesuit Guide to (Almost) Everything."

24 February 2010

don't you see?

I’ve been watching your world from afar,
I’ve been trying to be where you are,
And I’ve been secretly falling apart, unseen.
To me, you’re strange and you’re beautiful,
You’d be so perfect with me but you just can’t see,
You turn every head but you don’t see me.


your task

Easy: Finding evidence that always confirms that there is something wrong with me
Hard: Taking that evidence and interpreting it differently to conclude that I am just normal

don't shy away

The sad truth is that excellence makes people nervous.

Shana Alexander

and still we do it

I wanted a perfect ending. Now I’ve learned, the hard way, that some poems don’t rhyme, and some stories don’t have a clear beginning, middle, and end. Life is about not knowing, having to change, taking the moment and making the best of it, without knowing what’s going to happen next.

Gilda Radner

it rains on the just and the unjust

For after all, the best thing one can do when it is raining is let it rain.

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow


yellow = temptation blue = me

give me the grace... and the courage

may i be i is the only prayer - not may i be great or good or beautiful or wise or strong.

e. e. cummings ♥

Leo the Great:

It is useless to deny food to the body if the soul does not reject sin.

(4th Sermon of Lent).

23 February 2010

choose your caption

(more pictures)

If Jesus returned, how long would his cappa magna be? Obviously it would have to exceed the length of any merely human prelate.

I didn't know they had cameras in 1697. Nice quality, too.

This ceremony certainly appealed to a younger congregation, didn't it?

When there are more people in the sanctuary than in the pews, something's amiss.

22 February 2010

how much is one sparrow worth?


Before you is a collection of 50 million pennies! Each penny represents one child who has been aborted since the Supreme Court decision Roe vs. Wade in 1973. A penny like a baby seems to be so small and sometimes of very little worth, but when seen in a collection of 50 million it becomes enormous. Each coin is a person, but in many cases it also represents the difficult process of decision-making, fear, and loneliness. While some speak of pro-choice, these babies had no choice. While some speak of a mother’s right to control her own body, 50 million babies were not given their right to live. Fifty million missing children represented by these pennies must be cause for us to stop, pray, consider what we are doing as a nation, ask God to forgive us, seek ways to help those who are struggling with the decision, and look to the Lord to restore each of us.

21 February 2010

holy enough. sometimes.

Oh, there are so many lives. How we wish we could live them concurrently instead of one by one by one. We could select the best pieces of each, stringing them together like a strand of pearls. But that’s not how it works. A human life is a beautiful mess.

Gabrielle Zevin, Elsewhere

Zacchaeus Heart

Come and stay at my house today
By Joyce Rupp

Jesus, this Lent I am yearning to wear a Zacchaeus heart.
I am wanting to hear you call my name just as you did his.
I am anxious to know that you are inviting yourself to my home.
I am humbled, amazed, excited, and astounded, just as he was.

But that is where the desire to wear a Zacchaeus heart stops,
because I know what happens when you visit someone’s house.
Conversations occur. Choices are presented. Changes happen.
That’s because you look for more than dust when you come to visit
and you talk about things more vital than the weather.
You move into the heart’s dimension. You gaze deeply.
You don’t just dwell. You interact. You activate.
You dwell so lovingly that the truth cannot be resisted.

This Lent help me to welcome you and yearn for your love.
Give me a Zacchaeus heart that turns around and sees the truth.
I need the gaze of your love to remind me of my truest self.
I, too, need the strong call to make amends and start anew.
Hurry, Jesus, come and stay at my house today.

From Out of the Ordinary: Prayers, Poems, and Reflections for Every Season by Joyce Rupp

18 February 2010

Sometimes that's what it takes...

There is a story about the Greek Gods; they were bored so they invented human beings, but they were still bored so they invented love, then they weren’t bored any longer. So they decided to try love for themselves. And finally, they invented laughter, so they could stand it.

Feast of Love

just love

When you love someone, you do not love them all the time, in exactly the same way, from moment to moment. It is an impossibility. It is even a lie to pretend to. And yet this is exactly what most of us demand. We have so little faith in the ebb and flow of life, of love, of relationships. We leap at the flow of the tide and resist in terror its ebb. We are afraid it will never return. We insist on permanency, on duration, on continuity; when the only continuity possible, in life as in love, is in growth, in fluidity - in freedom, in the sense that the dancers are free, barely touching as they pass, but partners in the same pattern.

The only real security is not in owning or possessing, not in demanding or expecting, not in hoping, even. Security in a relationship lies neither in looking back to what was in nostalgia, nor forward to what it might be in dread or anticipation, but living in the present relationship and accepting it as it is now. Relationships must be like islands, one must accept them for what they are here and now, within their limits - islands, surrounded and interrupted by the sea, and continually visited and abandoned by the tides.

Anne Morrow Lindbergh, The Gift from the Sea

God in all things?

“Don’t think, everything will be all right.”

lay down one's life

The truth that many people never understand, until it is too late, is that the more that you try to avoid suffering, the more you suffer, because smaller and more insignificant things begin to torture you in proportion to your fear of being hurt.

Thomas Merton

stained glass: someone who the son shines through

It may be that you are not yourself luminous, but you are a conductor of light.

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, The Hound of Baskervilles

and i, i chose the one less traveled

In three words I can sum up everything I’ve learned about life: it goes on.

Robert Frost

thats what He did

The way to love someone is to lightly run your finger over that person’s soul until you find a crack, and then gently pour your love into that crack.

Keith Miller

Be still.

God of this City

A New St. Patrick

After Clergy Abuse Scandals, Ireland Needs a New St. Patrick
Posted: 02/17/10
by: David Gibson

At this point in the Catholic Church's long-running saga of the sexual abuse of children by priests there are few surprises and fewer heroes. The two-day "summit" in the Vatican that wrapped up on Tuesday brought the bishops of Ireland together to meet with Pope Benedict XVI to discuss the issue, much as leaders of the American hierarchy were summoned to Rome for an overnight palaver with Pope John Paul II in 2002. Now, as then, a statement was released following the closed-door sessions expressing deep regret and "shame" for the failures of oversight by the hierarchy, the sins of "some Irish clergy" who abused children, and the efforts being made to help victims and prevent further abuse. The statement said Benedict told the bishops that the sexual abuse of children and young people is "not only a heinous crime, but also a grave sin," but he stopped short of calling on any bishops to resign nor did he speak of punishments for those who committed the abuse.

Rather, the pontiff said a root cause of the clerical abuse was "the more general crisis of faith affecting the Church" and said "the weakening of faith has been a significant contributing factor in the phenomenon of the sexual abuse of minors." He called for "a deeper theological reflection on the whole issue" and said current and future priests should receive better training. He also said he would address the topic in greater depth in a letter to Irish Catholics that he will release during Lent, which starts today (Feb. 17) with Ash Wednesday. Neither the statement Tuesday nor the promise of a future papal pronouncement gave many abuse victims and disenchanted Irish Catholics much hope that things would proceed very differently than they did after the American version of this summit back in 2002.

What is noteworthy about the Irish scandal, however, and much different from the American situation, is that the Irish church has so much further to fall than U.S. Catholicism, and that there is at least one bishop who has been willing to critique both his fellow bishops and the church culture that helped enable the abuse: Diarmuid Martin, the archbishop of Dublin.

(complete story)

17 February 2010

the wallpaper of my life

I'm here

Are you upset little friend? Have you been lying awake worrying? Well, don’t worry…I’m here. The flood waters will recede, the famine will end, the sun will shine tomorrow, and I will always be here to take care of you.

Charlie Brown to Snoopy

santo subito

Really great people make you feel that you, too, can become great.

Mark Twain

70 x 7

There are some who say you should forgive everyone, even the people who have disappointed you immeasurably. There are others who say you should not forgive anyone, and should stomp off in a huff no matter how many times they apologize. Of these two philosophies, the second one is of course much more fun, but it can also grow exhausting to stomp off in a huff every time someone has disappointed you, as everyone disappoints everyone eventually, and one can’t stop off in a huff every minute of the day.

Lemony Snicket, Horseradish: Bitter Truths You Can’t Avoid

the way and the truth

I will love the light for it shows me the way, yet I will endure the darkness because it shows me the stars.

Og Mandino

the center of my gaze

Only one thing has to change for us to know happiness in our lives: where we focus our attention.

Greg Anderson


You have been my friend. That in itself is a tremendous thing. I wove my webs for you because I liked you. After all, what’s a life, anyway? We’re born, we live a little while, we die. A spider’s life can’t help being something of a mess, with all this trapping and eating flies. By helping you, perhaps I was trying to lift up my life a trifle. Heaven knows anyone’s life can stand a little of that.

E. B. White, Charlotte’s Web

To whom else would we go? for we have met the Christ...

Run your fingers through my soul. For once, just once, feel exactly what I feel, believe what I believe, perceive as I perceive, look, experience, examine, and for once, just once, understand.

Sarah Otto

and it shall set you free...

Knowing can be a curse on a person’s life. I’d traded in a pack of lies for a pack of truth, and I didn’t know which one was heavier. Which one took the most strength to carry around? It was a ridiculous question, though, because once you know the truth, you can’t ever go back and pick up your suitcase of lies. Heavier or not, the truth is yours now.

The Secret Life of Bees, Sue Monk Kidd

truth hurts. truth frees.

“I am Patrick, a sinner, most uncultivated and least of all the faithful and despised in the eyes of many.”
— St. Patrick

16 February 2010

could you not wait one hour?

icon for the next 40 days
Footprints from praying in same spot for 20 years

faith to walk on water

about the flame of this world

A friend told me this story, and I’ve never forgotten it. …[G. Gordon] Liddy…once held his hand over a candle flame until his flesh burned. Someone asked, ‘What’s your secret?’ and he replied, ‘The secret is not to care.’
I think about this phrase constantly: ‘The secret is not to care.’ Because if I don’t want to let certain things make me unhappy, the secret is not to care.


too much freedom?

This phenomenon, known as the “Quarterlife Crisis,” is as ubiquitous as it is intangible. Unrelenting indecision, isolation, confusion and anxiety about working, relationships and direction is reported by people in their mid-twenties to early thirties who are usually urban, middle class and well-educated; those who should be able to capitalize on their youth, unparalleled freedom and free-for-all individuation. They can’t make any decisions, because they don’t know what they want, and they don’t know what they want because they don’t know who they are, and they don’t know who they are because they’re allowed to be anyone they want.


mirror, mirror on the wall

We carry around in our heads these pictures of what our lives are supposed to look like, painted by the brush of our intentions. It’s the great, deep secret of humanity that in the end none of our lives look the way we thought they would. As much as we wish to believe otherwise, most of life is a reaction to circumstances.

so be quiet and listen

It’s so hard to forget pain, but it’s even harder to remember sweetness. We have no scar to show for happiness. We learn so little from peace.

Chuck Palahniuk

so just remember

Any idiot can face a crisis - it’s day to day living that wears you out.

Anton Chekhov

15 February 2010


We either make ourselves miserable or we make ourselves strong. The amount of work is the same.

Tony Robbins


Forgiveness is not the misguided act of condoning irresponsible, hurtful behavior. Nor is it a superficial turning of the other cheek that leaves us feeling victimized and martyred. Rather it is the finishing of old business that allows us to experience the present, free of contamination from the past.

Paul Ferrini

god is

When you hold resentment toward another, you are bound to that person or condition by an emotional link that is stronger than steel. Forgiveness is the only way to dissolve that link and get free.

Catherine Ponder

holiness too

Happiness is when what you think, what you say, and what you do are in harmony.

Mahatma Ghandi

long, hard hill

Sometimes things happen to you that may seem horrible, painful, and unfair at first, but in reflection you find that without overcoming those obstacles you would have never realized your potential, strength, willpower, or heart.



Tension is who you think you should be.
Relaxation is who you are.

Chinese proverb

stay the course

We find pleasure much less pleasurable, pain much more painful than we had anticipated. We require at all times a certain quantity of care or sorrow or want, as a ship requires ballast, to keep on a straight course.

Arthur Schopenhauer

the cross

Bear and endure: This sorrow will one day prove to be for your good.


been there. done that. will go back... if thats where you are.

Trouble is part of your life, and if you don’t share it, you don’t give the person who loves you a chance to love you enough.
-Dinah Shore

thats why i pray

14 February 2010

HIS lesson

If you do not love, you will not be alive; if you love effectively, you will be killed." — Herbert McCabe (Faith Within Reason)

unmoved mover

"The last line of the “Divine Comedy,” in which Dante is faced with the vision of God Himself, is a sentiment that is still easily understandable by anyone familiar with so-called modern Italian. Dante writes that God is not merely a blinding vision of glorious light, but that He is, most of all, l’amor che move il sole e l’altre stelle..“The love that moves the sun and other stars."

Eat, Pray, Love: One Woman’s Search for Everything Across Italy, India, and Indonesia, Elizabeth Gilbert

11 February 2010

so tired

All human beings should try to learn before they die what they are running from, and to, and why.

James Thurber

why have you forsaken me?

What we call our despair is often only the painful eagerness of unfed hope

—George Eliot


The most important work you and I will ever do will be within the walls of our own homes.
—Harold Lee


Three failures denote uncommon strength. A weakling has not enough grit to fail thrice.

—Minna Thomas Antrim

what is truth?

The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, but wiser people so full of doubts.

-Bertrand Russell

it'll all be okay

All we can do is make the best decisions we can with the best information we have at that time and place. And learn how to rebound, reinvent, and regroup. Remember - people who seem to move through life with confidence aren’t confident about the outcome of a decision; they’re confident that they can deal with the outcome, good or bad.

Stephanie Bond

the cross is eternal

follow the instructions

because i'm looking for you also!

07 February 2010

I am sure.

I am not my own; I have given myself to Jesus. He must be my only love. The state of helpless poverty that may befall me if I do not marry does not frighten me. All I need is a little food and a few pieces of clothing. With the work of my hands I shall always earn what is necessary and what is left over I'll give to my relatives and to the poor. If I should become sick and unable to work, then I shall be like the Lord on the cross. He will have mercy on me and help me, I am sure.
- Blessed Kateri Tekakwitha

pain leads to truth. and that hurts even more.

because we have found the Way

06 February 2010


Here’s something I came up with years ago to help me work through the times that I’m just flat-out over it:

Imagine if you were somehow given the opportunity to trade places instantly with anyone in the world. Trade bodies, memories, everything.

Here’s the catch: it will be random.

Would you do it?

No. Way. I could end up in a war-torn country, or starving, or worse.

Ok, what about trading with someone on your continent?


In your country?


In your state?






On your street?

Not even then.

So there is a strange comfort that comes with loving my life enough to hang onto it under these conditions. How can I complain about anything if I wouldn’t trade what I’ve GOT for anything (even at random)?

There are SO many things that can go wrong with a trade like that, because people suffer through all kinds of trouble every day. Many people endure stuff that we can’t even imagine. Children are taken from parents… well, I’ll stop there since that’s about as bad as it gets, I think.

That’s it. Hope it helps.

(via e-mail forward)

today... in your hearing...

03 February 2010

Come Home!

An Open Letter to those who don't go to Church
by: Ronald Rolheiser, OMI


Dear Fellow Pilgrim:

I greet you as someone who is looking for meaning and happiness, as we all are. I know you're sincere or you wouldn't be reading this letter. Know this first of all: We miss you at church. There's not a Sunday goes by when your absence isn't felt. You're missed. Join us.

Yes, I know this isn't a simple thing. The heart has its reasons, Pascal said. Well the church too has its complexities. Perhaps it is precisely one of these complexities that make it difficult for you to walk regularly through a church door. So l won't try to sugarcoat the church. It is a far-from-perfect expression of God's love and mercy and it is a far-from-perfect expression of God's universal salvific will for everyone. Sometimes the church blocks God's love as much as it reveals it. It has been, and remains, a vehicle both of grace and sin. How do we get past its dark side?

Carlo Carretto, the renowned Italian spiritual writer, in his old age, wrote this Ode to the church:

How much I must criticize you, my church, and yet how much I love you!

You have made me suffer more than anyone and yet I owe more to you than to anyone.

I should like to see you destroyed and yet I need your presence.

You have given me much scandal and yet you alone have made me understand holiness.

Never in this world have I seen anything more compromised, more false, and yet I have never touched anything more pure, more generous or more beautiful.

Countless times I have felt like slamming the door of my soul in your face-and yet, every night, I have prayed that I might die in your sure arms!

No, I cannot be free of you, for I am one with you, even if not completely you.

Then too-where would I go?

To build another church?

But I could not build one without the same defects, for they are my defects. And again, if I were to build another church, it would be my church, not Christ's church.

No, I am old enough. I know better!

That's a mature description of the church, expressing both love and realism. It's an honest description too. The church has a long history, both of grace and of sin and we who make up the church on earth don't do God very well. Nobody does. We need to admit that.

I can only guess at your reasons for not coming to church regularly or for not coming to church at all: Perhaps you have been hurt by the church, by the institution itself or by one of its priests or ministers. Perhaps you have been one of those who have experienced it as callous, as insensitive, as denigrating you in some way. Or perhaps you are intellectually disenchanted with the church, unable to square its claims with your own sane grip on life and its mysteries. Or perhaps you have found what you are looking for elsewhere, outside the doors of the church you attended when you were little. Or perhaps you have just drifted away and don't think about church very much at all. Perhaps you don't feel a need for church in your life. Or, perhaps you are convinced that Jesus and his teachings are in fact tainted by the church, that Jesus never wanted to found a church, but wanted only that people take his teachings to heart and live in love and graciousness. There are many reasons why people don't go to church. I can only guess at yours.

But your reason for not going is not important for this letter. I don't want to defend the church here, make some kind of apologetics for it, or argue against any of the reasons that people give for not coming to church. And I don't want to try to show you reasons why, I think, it is important to go to church. This I not an apologetics, but a plea, an invitation:

Come back! Try us again! Or, if you have never belonged to the church, try us!

Maybe this time you will find life in the church and be able to drink in some of its graces. Maybe this time you will find it in you to forgive the church for its faults, see those faults are your own faults, and see why Jesus picked such an imperfect vehicle to carry on his presence. Maybe this time you will be able to see in the church what Jesus saw in it - an imperfect body made up of men and women like you and me, full of sin, full of ourselves, petty, small-hearted, less-than- sincere, miserly, and tainted, but also full of grace, full of Christ, big-hearted, sincere, generous, and pure, a group of men and women worth dying for - and belonging to. Come be with us!

A fellow pilgrim and a flawed church member.

01 February 2010

isaiah's cave

I am the Truth

Believe those who are seeking the truth. Doubt those who find it.
-Andre Gide

The Gospel according to St. Luke

If you want to know what God thinks of money, just look at the people he gave it to.
-Dorothy Parker

grace everywhere

We must not allow the clock and the calendar to blind us to the fact that each moment of life is a miracle and mystery.
-H. G. Wells

what do you see?

Mediocrity knows nothing higher than itself, but talent instantly recognizes genius.
-Arthur Conan Doyle

Give us this day...

When God wishes to punish us, he answers our prayers.
-Oscar Wilde

wait for it.

There will be a time when loud-mouthed, incompetent people seem to be getting the best of you. When that happens, you only have to be patient and wait for them to self destruct. It never fails. -Richard Rybolt

When everyone is against you, it means that you are absolutely wrong — or absolutely right.
-Albert Guinon


Jealousy is the tribute mediocrity pays to genius.

-Fulton Sheen


Gamble everything for love,
if you’re a true human being.

If not, leave
this gathering.

doesn’t reach
into majesty.

You set out
to find God,
but then you keep
stopping for long periods
at meanspirited roadhouses.

- Rumi

lumen christi

There is a crack in everything
That’s how the light gets in
- Leonard Cohen

Remember you are my mother, too...

Madonna and Child by Marianne Stokes

Here is here. Now!

What an amazing moment it must have been that day in the synagogue when Jesus announced, “Today,this Scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing.” Imagine the stunned looks on people’s faces, their mouths hanging open in disbelief. Many were expecting the messiah to be a mighty king, a fierce leader who would restore the kingdom of Israel. But the boy next door? The one they remember playing with as children?

And yet, who better to proclaim the good news of God’s reign than someone who is intimately familiar with the daily lives of God’s people? The message that Jesus came to proclaim is just that - that God is near at hand, not far away and indifferent to our needs, but in our very midst, healing us, freeing us and loving us.

You and I are a part of God’s people. Through who we are and what we do, we need to show that God is present and at work in the world, even in all of its brokenness. Through our caring and compassion, our listening and loving, we too proclaim the reality of God’s reign. As we celebrate this Eucharist, may we take to heart the challenging words of Teresa of Avila, “Christ has no body now on earth but yours, no hands, no feet but yours.”

- Teresa Whalen Lux, Living with Christ

invitation. rsvp?

Jesus, as a prophet in today’s gospel, challenges His own people to a new way of living, a new way of seeing things. Ironically, they yearn for a new and better existence while rejecting the very means to reach the wholeness, freedom, and peace they desire. How stubbornly they resist Jesus’ prophetic invitation to accept a wider vision of the loving, inclusive reign of God.

Everyone committed to others in Christ, whether parent, teacher, friend, or employer, will at times be called and challenged by God to prophetically confront suffering and division, to help lead the world toward peace and new life. Paul reveals that the key to doing this is love itself. Without love, whatever we do or say will never ring true or move hearts. It is love that enables us to be truly compassionate, understanding, patient, forgiving, accepting of others. Love sustains our courage with the power to endure and carries us confidently through every challenge. The source of that love is God the Father who raised Jesus from death to new life.

-Rev. Michael Traher, SFM, Living with Christ

build muscle

low fat beef?