Monday, April 30, 2012

This makes me think... about how women can transform the culture...

In transforming culture so that it supports life, women occupy a place, in thought and action, which is unique and decisive. It depends on them to promote a "new feminism" which rejects the temptation of imitating models of "male domination", in order to acknowledge and affirm the true genius of women in every aspect of the life of society, and overcome all discrimination, violence and exploitation.

Making my own the words of the concluding message of the Second Vatican Council, I address to women this urgent appeal: "Reconcile people with life".You are called to bear witness to the meaning of genuine love, of that gift of self and of that acceptance of others which are present in a special way in the relationship of husband and wife, but which ought also to be at the heart of every other interpersonal relationship. The experience of motherhood makes you acutely aware of the other person and, at the same time, confers on you a particular task: "Motherhood involves a special communion with the mystery of life, as it develops in the woman's womb ... This unique contact with the new human being developing within her gives rise to an attitude towards human beings not only towards her own child, but every human being, which profoundly marks the woman's personality". A mother welcomes and carries in herself another human being, enabling it to grow inside her, giving it room, respecting it in its otherness. Women first learn and then teach others that human relations are authentic if they are open to accepting the other person: a person who is recognized and loved because of the dignity which comes from being a person and not from other considerations, such as usefulness, strength, intelligence, beauty or health. This is the fundamental contribution which the Church and humanity expect from women. And it is the indispensable prerequisite for an authentic cultural change.

I would now like to say a special word to women who have had an abortion. The Church is aware of the many factors which may have influenced your decision, and she does not doubt that in many cases it was a painful and even shattering decision. The wound in your heart may not yet have healed. Certainly what happened was and remains terribly wrong. But do not give in to discouragement and do not lose hope. Try rather to understand what happened and face it honestly. If you have not already done so, give yourselves over with humility and trust to repentance. The Father of mercies is ready to give you his forgiveness and his peace in the Sacrament of Reconciliation. To the same Father and his mercy you can with sure hope entrust your child. With the friendly and expert help and advice of other people, and as a result of your own painful experience, you can be among the most eloquent defenders of everyone's right to life. Through your commitment to life, whether by accepting the birth of other children or by welcoming and caring for those most in need of someone to be close to them, you will become promoters of a new way of looking at human life.

--Blessed John Paul II, The Gospel of Life, Evangelium Vitae, par. 99.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Among Women ReadHER 4.28.12... converts, moms, daughters, and Stephen Colbert

Among Women ReadHER 4.28.12

A Letter to the Neophytes
By Dr. Timothy O'Malley from Oblation: Catechesis, Liturgy, and the New Evangelization 
An excellent read... for new Catholic converts, and the rest of us, frankly. If the joy of Easter is waning for you, this will jolt you back toward "Alleluia!"

How I Feel Out of My Mini-van and into My Identity
By Jennifer Fulwiler, book excerpt
This is a chapter excerpt from a new release, Style, Sex, and Substance, edited by Hallie Lord. You can dial back and listen to Hallie's visit to Among Women last year.

Stephen Colbert and Faithful Citizenship
By Katherine Schmidt at Archidiocese of Cincinnati
The role humor plays in getting important messages heard.

Why They Left
By William J. Byron and Charles Zech at America magazine
Just more ammo for why we need evangelization, and love... lots of love. Two professors with quotes from exit interviews regarding a study on why Catholics leave the Church. 

When "Sorry" Just Isn't Enough
By Rachel M at Catholic Sistas
A good start on what to say/do when someone faces miscarriage or baby loss. (Don't forget, Among Women recently had a two-part series on miscarriage.) 

The 30 Day Plan: Once a Month Cooking Can Be Easy and Fun
By Kate Wicker at Catholic Mom
So says Kate Wicker, and I usually love her cooking posts elsewhere. Hear Kate talk about her recent book, Weightless, on Among Women 107. 

Keep Laughing, Keep Listening, Keep Loving
By Marcia Morrissey at Patheos
Are we talking too much and not hearing God? Good one, Marcia! 

Calling a Truce between Mother-Daughter Conflict
By Elizabeth Bernstein in the Wall Street Journal
Dealing with adult - adult child relationship... some good tips here. The best advice? Ask what your daughter needs help with...

A great podcast with Dr. Meg Meeker and Dr. James Dobson on the subject of "Strong Fathers and Strong Daughters" - A Catholic pediatrician and an Evangelical Christian psychologist weigh in on this important topic.

Speaking of daughters, a little girl grows up before our eyes in this extraodinary video:
H/T Deacon Greg at The Deacon's Bench.

And one for road... this one for all the mothers... (yes, this is ultimately a Proctor and Gamble commercial, but very well done.)

Friday, April 27, 2012

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Sarah Reinhard shares "Five Ways to Have Fun with Family Fun"

Happy to welcome author and blogger Sarah Reinhard to this space today. Her new book Catholic Family Fun just came out and it's, well, fun, and funny... It reminds us that fun and joy and, gosh, just being together as a family is some of the best glue that binds hearts and minds. So make some funnish plans and see what happens! (Cuz you know, even tho' spontaneous fun is grand, we all know how darn busy we can be. So read this book and try an new idea or two.) Enjoy the joie de vivre and the random silliness that may follow and remember blessed are those who don't take themselves too seriously. Look for Sarah Reinhard to be a guest on an upcoming episode of Among Women. (But until then you can look back to her guest slots on Among Women 11116.)

Five Ways to Have Fun with Family Fun

It still seems unlikely to me that *I* am the author of Catholic Family Fun: A Guide for the Adventurous, Overwhelmed, Creative, or Clueless, because, so often, I feel like I'm firmly planted in the Land of the Clueless.

Here are five ways I’ve found to make my attempts at family fun actually enjoyable for me, the mom who has to plan, execute, and repeat. I find that, when I can remember to follow my own advice, my instances of family fun burnout are less frequent and my ability to laugh is more sincere.

1. Plan ahead (as much as you can)
Though I like to act like I’m a Type A person, the reality of my life and my big streak of laziness often combine to make me far less prepared than I should be. I’ve learned that planning ahead is the best way to enjoy family fun. That way, I’m not scrambling at the last minute for everything (just for that one thing I forgot).

2. Remain flexible (also known as “being an optimist”)
This is, admittedly, pretty hard for me. I want to plan and then stick with the plan. After all, isn’t that what a plan is for? Well, yes and no. When you have other people involved, and when those other people might have their own ideas about things, then the plan can be more like a guideline than a hard-and-fast procedure. This also allows me to have a mindset that doesn’t see a problem but a different opportunity for fun.

3. Get input from the other participants (and then ignore it if necessary)
It’s helpful to find out what the kids want to do and to think of what they’re naturally inclined to enjoy. Sometimes, though, they aren’t very helpful with their input. (“That dinner was terrible, Mom. Don’t make it ever again. Oh, and we want chocolate.”) You’re the adult, but that doesn’t mean you can’t ask them for input (or solicit it in some sneaky detective-type way). If they’re invested in what you’re going to do, it might change the entire tone and fun-level. Then again, it might not. You be the judge.

4. Accept imperfection (because perfection can be highly overrated)
Why is it that I have an idea of what this fun thing will look like, and that idea is “perfect”? Nothing and no one can live up to my ideal, my “perfect” family fun. For one thing, there is no such “perfect” family. For another, someone’s sure to throw some sort of wrench into things. (I may even be the wrench-thrower!) Starting out with a standard that doesn’t demand the elusive perfection is a must for me, and it might just be something for you to embrace, too!

5. Smile (even if you’re faking it)
Hey, we’re here to have FUN, right? So why is the four-year-old crying, the seven-year-old pouting, and the 35-year-old huffing? Oh, wait. YOUR family might not have a problem with this or need a reminder. But me? I need this reminder. A lot. I need to keep my focus on the family, on the fun, on the faith that ties us all together. And then? I need to smile. Funny how just moving my lips into the shape of a smile can change my outlook…

What are YOUR tips for having fun with your family fun?

Sarah Reinhard shares her struggles and triumphs, muses and ramblings, reading and links at  

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Among Women Podcast 133 features The Bright Maidens, Part 2.

Among Women 133 welcomes back the beautiful trio of twenty-somethings, the Bright Maidens. Otherwise known as bloggers Trista Leigh, Julie Robison, and Elizabeth Hillgrove.  This is Part 2 of a two-part conversation talking about what's on the minds of these fabulous women. This week we'll be talking about virginity, chastity, theology of the body, and what attracts modern women to the pro-life cause. Catch up on Part 1 here. or on iTunes.

This episode also profiles one of the youngest blesseds I know, Jacinta Marto, the youngest visionary from the Marian apparitions of Fatima, beatified in 2000 by Pope John Paul II.

The take away here is that even young people are called to live saintly lives, and all of us are called to share the good news of Jesus Christ . I think you'll enjoy the young women profiled on today's episode.

Feel free to subscribe to Among Women, or leave a rating or review for the podcast on our iTunes page.

Don't forget to "like" our Among Women Facebook page.

Also, I've put out a call for feedback for an upcoming Special Edition of AW (where we feature the voices and comments of AW listeners.) The topic is joy. I'm looking for feedback on either one or both of these questions: What brings you joy? Where do you find joy?

Send you answers via the facebook page, or via email at, or, most favorable would be your own voice recorded on our voicemail feedback line at 206-203-2024, or by emailing me an mp3 file.

Come to the Catholic New Media Conference -CNMC 2012- in Dallas this summer!

You can get all the details here.

Great speakers include Bishop Christopher Coyne from Indianapolis, Elizabeth Scalia, Jennifer Fulwiler, Brandon Vogt, Cliff Ravenscraft and SQPN's CEO and podcasting priest, Fr. Roderick Von Hogen.

Plus you'll also benefit from this year's CNMC being run alongside the Catholic Marketing Network show.

I'm going, and hope to see you there!

Monday, April 23, 2012

This makes me think... about God's voice

I'm the secret Fire in everything, and everything smells like Me.
The living breathe in My sweet perfume,
and they breathe out praise of Me.
They never die
because I am their Life.

I flame out -- intense, godly Life -- over the shining fields of corn.
I glow in the shimmer of fire's embers,
I burn in the sun and the moon and the stars.
The secret Life of Me breathes in the wind
and holds all things together soulfully.

This is God's voice.

--Hildegard of Bingen, Hymn, (1098-1171).

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Among Women ReadHER 4.21.12... love, brides, nfp, facebook, blogs & more

Among Women ReadHER 4.21.12

Love Desires to Know the Beloved
By Randall Smith at The Catholic Thing
This is brilliant. We cannot love what we do not know. A "must read" for anyone who is trying to not just think about faith, or "be spiritual", but actually go deeper and live the faith. 

America's Crisis of Character
By Peggy Noonan in the Wall Street Journal
Read it. Decide in advance not to panic, but to act justly, love mercy, and walk humbly with your God. (See Micah 6:8.)

The Resurrection of Our Bodies
By Christopher West at Theology of the Body Institute
Short, but power-packed catechesis here. (FWIW, in a similar vein, here is my article on the same theme from last week at Amazing Catechists.)

Here Comes the Catholic Bride
By Lori Hadesek Chaplin at National Catholic Register
Shopping for a bridal gown? Some options and opinions here worth a look.

The Bride Who Was Groomed for a Career
By Lea Singh at Mercator
This packs a punch, that is worth deep consideration by women of all ages. Nothing speaks more loudly to us than the voice of experience. This will dare you to scrutinize your own life in terms of the way you've spent it. Your feminine genius may call out to you in this, so be forewarned, your mileage may vary. 

The End of Women
By Carolyn Moynihan
If that last article got your attention, you probably should read this one. These are exactly the themes that a new feminism proposed by the Church needs to address.

By Michelle Boorstein at Washington Post
This headline is slightly misleading, but lots of content on the subject of Natural Family Planning and its attraction or rejection by women (especially Catholic or Christian women) who might use it or reject it.

Is Facebook Making Us Lonely?
By Stephen Marche in The Atlantic
Loneliness, narcissism, isolation, connections... lots of food for thought here. Loved this line: "...we are left thinking about who we are all the time, without ever really thinking about who we are." Important words for a Christian to consider.

Divine Mercy
By Amy Welborn at Charlotte Was Both
A beautiful memoir of saying goodbye to your parents' house and the memories there. 

A Beautiful Love Story
By Jill Joiner at Echoes of the Cross at Patheos
Another more brief slice-of-life post that reflects the power of real love. A piece from last month that I must have missed, but worth the read.

The Mystery of Motherhood
By Sherry Boas at Catholic Mom
This one needed a "love" button for facebook.

Life After Lesbianism
By Dawn Wilde at LifeSite News
A very brave post, and one we need more of, frankly. 
(This is an issue I'd like to address on Among Women, but as yet, have not found a guest willing to talk about the subject. If any of you have any insight or resources on this subject, send me a private email at  

Dateline Series Proves What We Don't Know About Kids
By Mary Beth Hicks at a Family Events
Some very good help for parents here.

A Prayer Campaign for the Protection of Religious Freedoms
Posted at the USCCB
The US Bishops are calling us to pray for the protection of religious liberty in the US, and offer prayer card for our use. You'll also find bulletin announcements and other resources on this page.

Watch a 4 minute video featuring Bishop William Lori describing forming consciences on faithful citizenship. From the USCCB.

Test of Fire: Election 2012
Posted by Bishop Christopher Coyne (of Indianapolis) at Thoughts of a Catholic Bishop
Recommended by Bishop Coyne, it describes our duty to know the issues and to vote in the Nov. election.

Mother, May We Fight for Freedom?
Posted by Kathryn Lopez at K-Lo at Large
K-Lo posts the entire text of Mother Agnes Mary Donovan from Sisters for Life, and her stirring speech/reflection at the National Catholic Prayer Breakfast this week.

Friday, April 20, 2012

The F.U.N. Quotient... social media edition

Social Media Laughs -very funny, (but swear word warning on the last video.)

Speaking of Social Media, have I mentioned I'm on Pinterest? The F.U.N. Quotient is there too.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

30 years ago today...

Can it be that l-o-n-g ago?

He proposed.

I said yes.

At the time he asked, there was no ring. We were both broke college seniors set to graduate. The ring came a bit later. It was a happy memory, picking it out together.

We got married 6 months later.

Still got the ring...

But more importantly, we've still got each other.

St Peter's Square, Rome, 2011
Did I tell you this cool guy is taking me to France in a few months? Back to Paris for a third time and then off to Lourdes to give thanks to Momma Mary for 30 years, and oh, so much more. 
(Um, yes he is a frequent flyer and our travel is one of the only benefits of our being apart.) 
(And yes he really is a foot taller than me.) 
(Today in the world's news there is sadness, for the footnotes for this date in history contain anniversaries to many sad events. But to us, it remains the day we got engaged. And we remember that in the end, there are three things that last... faith, hope, and love. And the greatest of these is love.)

Tithing on Social Media? Well, as a strategy for the new evangelization, it might get you involved...

My latest offering at Patheos discusses the new evangelization, the generosity of God, and our response to it. How did I come to this idea of tithing on our usage of social media? Simple. It's a a matter of stewardship... and putting our resources at the service of the new evangelization.

Here's a snippet...

There’s an old joke that talks about the angels questioning Jesus about the worldwide evangelization  plan after his return to heaven following the Ascension: 
Angel: So, Jesus, you’ve just returned to heaven as the victorious Lord of Glory, King of Heaven and Earth, what’s your plan for spreading the news of salvation to the whole world? 
Jesus: Well, you see those folks down there on earth -- Peter, James, John, and the rest of my disciples? 
Angel: Yes… 
Jesus: I told them to tell everyone. 
Angel: That’s the plan? 
Jesus: That’s it. 
As it was then, so it is now. The plan for evangelization still resides with us, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. 
And all of us who are baptized into the Church, have been baptized into the Church’s mission, which is our mission too. The call to be evangelizers is at once corporate and personal.  Some are called to bring the news of salvation to foreign lands. Most are called to bring it to our next-door neighbor -- or, to our next Facebook status.
Read it all. 

Don't forget, you can subscribe to my column via an RSS feed and have it delivered to your reader or to your email. Subscribe here. (Every subscription helps!)

Monday, April 16, 2012

This makes me think... about what gives us meaning.

The resurrection of Christ is not the fruit of speculation or mystical experience: it is an event which, while it surpasses history, nevertheless happens at a precise moment in history and leaves an indelible mark upon it. The light which dazzled the guards keeping watch over Jesus’ tomb has traversed time and space. It is a different kind of light, a divine light, that has rent asunder the darkness of death and has brought to the world the splendour of God, the splendour of Truth and Goodness.

Just as the sun’s rays in springtime cause the buds on the branches of the trees to sprout and open up, so the radiance that streams forth from Christ’s resurrection gives strength and meaning to every human hope, to every expectation, wish and plan. Hence the entire cosmos is rejoicing today, caught up in the springtime of humanity, which gives voice to creation’s silent hymn of praise. The Easter Alleluia, resounding in the Church as she makes her pilgrim way through the world, expresses the silent exultation of the universe and above all the longing of every human soul that is sincerely open to God, giving thanks to him for his infinite goodness, beauty and truth.

---Benedict XVI, Urbi et Orbi, Easter 2012.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Today is Divine Mercy Sunday... this link is all you will every need...

The definitive Divine Mercy Sunday website is here. It's got it all, the prayers, the history, articles to help you grow. Their APP is pretty cool too.

And here is a fabulous new parish initiative -- All Hearts Afire -- utilizing a program of deepening prayer and share groups.

Listen to an Among Women podcast from the archives on the Divine Mercy.... (a blast from the past!): AW #3.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Among Women ReadHER 4.14.12 podcast marathon, movies, bishops' new statement on liberty...

Among Women ReadHER 4.14.12

SQPN Podcast Marathon on Divine Weekend
By Fr. Roderick VonHogen at SQPN
Ongoing fundraising and fun-raising event from 10am-10pm Eastern on SQPN's U-Stream channel. Proceeds benefit the non-profit organization. Your truly will be praying the Regina Coeli, the Divine Mercy Chaplet, and the Rosary in the noon hour. Drop by anytime. 

Our First Most Cherished Liberty
Posted by the American Bishops at USCCB
The most recent response by the bishops regarding attacks on religious liberty and conscience. Very important reading.

Traditional Catholicism is Winning
By Anne Hendershott and Christopher White
An op-ed with very interesting stats by diocese on what attracts vocations.

Did You Get Your Business Done?
By Tony Rossi at Christopher Close Up
Tony highlights the TV sitcom "The Middle"... check out his remarks.

Charity in the Face of Opposition
By Jennifer Feeney at Crisis Magazine
Timely advice... yet another person converted to reading the Catholic Catechism when looking for guidance on moral subject matter.

5 Ways to Find Joy in Stressful Times
By Dudley Rutherford at Catholic Mom
To the point.

Embracing the Challenge as Catholic Parents
By Randy Hain at The Integrated Catholic Life
Some very solid recommendations here.

The Gist
Posted at Catholic TV
The premiere season of this new Catholic tv talk show for women can be watched on demand, so go catch up on The Gist, featuring Danielle Bean, Rachel Balducci, and Carolee McGrath.

Friday, April 13, 2012

October Baby Playing This Weekend in Massachusetts

October Baby comes to MA theatres this weekend after gaining ground in popularity with its early releases elsewhere in the country.

You may recall a post I wrote about bringing this story to the screen last fall.

I saw the film recently and it definitely has a story line that will appeal to teens and adults with a PG-13 rating. I'd give it three out of five stars for some of its dialog is a bit sappy and disconnected in a few places. Still, it has some interesting story elements concerning the heroine, Hannah, a young college student who finds out her health problems are indicative of her traumatic birth. More specifically, she is the survivor of a "failed" abortion and was later adopted by the parents who raised her.

There's a sweet and chaste romantic back story that parallels the young heroine's search for information about her birth mother, after she undertakes her quest for answers about her early life in a road trip with friends.

The screenplay is beautifully shot and most characters appealed to me on some level. While it might be considered a movie with a pro-life political and social agenda as it loosely resembles stories of survivors of abortion, it does not begin and end there. I found the most redeeming qualities of the film to be its themes of forgiveness.

The F.U.N. Quotient... the beauty of moments, the life of abundance...

Sometimes the beauty of a single moment eludes me... here, in these videos, a single moment seems to arrest me... in a good way.

Enjoy these three minutes of beauty, goodness, and celebration of LIFE!

Jesus came, and died, and rose that we might have life in abundance. (See John 10:10.)

The Beauty Of a Second - 2nd round compilation from The Beauty Of A Second on Vimeo.

The Beauty Of a Second - 3rd round compilation (Instant Bliss) from The Beauty Of A Second on Vimeo.

Now, go make a moment. 

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Among Women Podcast # 132... The Bright Maidens & Me

Among Women 132 welcomes a trio of bloggers known as The Bright Maidens: Elizabeth Hillgrove, Trista Leigh, and Julie Robison. In this part one of a two-part series, we tackle their top concerns as young Catholic women, and explore their online alter egos as the Brights Maidens, an online facebook group featuring commentary and outreach for twenty-something Catholic women. This week's episode also profiles Christian mystic, St. Hildegard of Bingen, from the 11th century.

This episode also talks about details regarding Pat's participation in the SQPN Marathon this Saturday. Plus her talk at Theology at BAR this Monday night in New Haven, CT.
Listen to this episode.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

I'm over at Amazing Catechists today...

Some thoughts on the power of the resurrection in our own lives...

Monday, April 9, 2012

This makes me think... about what to say the day after Easter, and every day after that...

Evangelization is the Church's effort to proclaim to everyone that God loves them, that he has given himself for them in Christ Jesus, and that he invites them to an unending life of happiness. Once this Gospel has been accepted as the "good news," it demands to be shared.

--Blessed John Paul II, 1998, ad limina address to the US Bishops "Called to the New Evangelization", Springtime of Evangelization

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Happy Easter! A painting and a story.

Check out this mural depicting the resurrection. (A short 5 minute video.)

And imagine all of that in the video taking place just before this moment....

Now on the first day of the week Mary Mag'dalene came to the tomb early, while it was still dark, and saw that the stone had been taken away from the tomb.

So she ran, and went to Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one whom Jesus loved, and said to them, "They have taken the Lord out of the tomb, and we do not know where they have laid him."
Peter then came out with the other disciple, and they went toward the tomb. They both ran, but the other disciple outran Peter and reached the tomb first; and stooping to look in, he saw the linen cloths lying there, but he did not go in.

Then Simon Peter came, following him, and went into the tomb; he saw the linen cloths lying, and the napkin, which had been on his head, not lying with the linen cloths but rolled up in a place by itself. 

Then the other disciple, who reached the tomb first, also went in, and he saw and believed;
for as yet they did not know the scripture, that he must rise from the dead.
Then the disciples went back to their homes.

But Mary stood weeping outside the tomb, and as she wept she stooped to look into the tomb; and she saw two angels in white, sitting where the body of Jesus had lain, one at the head and one at the feet. 

They said to her, "Woman, why are you weeping?" She said to them, "Because they have taken away my Lord, and I do not know where they have laid him." Saying this, she turned round and saw Jesus standing, but she did not know that it was Jesus.
Jesus said to her, "Woman, why are you weeping? Whom do you seek?" 

Supposing him to be the gardener, she said to him, "Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have laid him, and I will take him away."
Jesus said to her, "Mary." She turned and said to him in Hebrew, "Rab-bo'ni!" (which means Teacher).
Jesus said to her, "Do not hold me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father; but go to my brethren and say to them, I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God."
Mary Mag'dalene went and said to the disciples, "I have seen the Lord"; and she told them that he had said these things to her. 
--John 20: 1-18 RSV- CE

Happy Easter, from my house to yours!

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Among Women ReadHER... "the anguish of an absence" on Holy Saturday, from the Ratzinger archives

Given that we are in the depths of the Triduum, instead of giving you a series of articles to read this morning... I'd just link to this. I read these when I was reading Ratzinger in grad school and they've stayed with me years later. 

Read 'em slowly...

Three meditations on Holy Saturday from Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, (now Pope Benedict XVI)

Here's a snippet from #1:

The terrible mystery of Holy Saturday, its abyss of silence, has thus acquired a crushing reality in these days of ours. For, this is Holy Saturday: the day of God’s concealment, the day of that unprecedented paradox we express in the Creed with the words: “Descended into hell”, descended into the mystery of death. On Good Friday we still had the crucified man to look at. Holy Saturday is empty, the heavy stone of the new tomb is covering the dead man, it’s all over, the faith seems to have been definitively unmasked as fantasy. No God saved this Jesus who posed as his Son. There is no further need for concern: the wary who were somewhat hesitant, who wondered if things could have been different, were right after all. Holy Saturday: the day God was buried; is not this the day we are living now, and formidably so? Did not our century mark the start of one long Holy Saturday, the day God was absent, when even the hearts of the disciples were plunged into an icy chasm that grows wider and wider, and thus, filled with shame and anguish, they set out to go home, dark-spirited and annihilated in their desperation they head for Emmaus, without realizing that he whom they believed to be dead is in their midst? God is dead and we killed him: are we really aware that this phrase is taken almost literally from Christian tradition and that often in our viae crucis we have made something similar resound without realizing the tremendous gravity of what we said? We killed him, by enclosing him in the stale shell of routine thinking, by exiling him in a form of pity with no content of reality, lost in the gyre of devotional phrases, or of archaeological treasuries; we killed him through the ambiguity of our lives which also laid a veil of darkness over him: in fact, what else would have been able to make God more problematical in this world than the problematical nature of the faith and of the love of his faithful? 
The divine darkness of this day, of this century which is increasingly becoming one long Holy Saturday, is speaking to our conscience. It is one of our concerns. But in spite of it all, it holds something of comfort for us. The death of God in Jesus Christ is at the same time the expression of his radical solidarity with us. The most obscure mystery of the faith is at the same time the clearest sign of a hope without end. And what is more: only through the failure of Holy Friday, only through the silence of death of Holy Saturday, were the disciples able to be led to an understanding of all that Jesus truly was and all that his message truly meant. God had to die for them so that he could truly live in them. The image they had formed of God, within which they had tried to hold him down, had to be destroyed so that through the rubble of the ruined house they might see the sky, him himself who remains, always, the infinitely greater. We need the silence of God to experience again the abyss of his greatness and the chasm of our nothingness which would grow wider and wider without him. 
Read the rest and all three here. 

Friday, April 6, 2012

Good Friday, a pilot's story

Yes, this pilot is talking about the events of 9/11/01, but he is also talking about the great gift of the Crucified Lord...

Thursday, April 5, 2012

The Jesus Moment... my latest at Patheos...

I want to wish you all a very happy Holy Week! Tonight starts the vigil that leads us into the Triduum.  Over at Patheos, I offer my latest column. Here's the front end...
I collect refrigerator magnets that capture some of my favorite moments. You’ll find many familiar faces under clear plastic frames, loved ones from far and near. The rest of the door is littered with keepsakes from favorite travel destinations. One magnet, quoting Italian author and poet, Cesare Pavese, explains them all: “We do not remember days. We remember moments.” 
The power of memory is at once a terrible and tremendous gift. I have learned that the more I recall, with gratitude and thanksgiving, the things that bring me freedom and joy, the more I am drawn to remember them when terrible things strike. Such memories bind and hold me together, anchors against strong tides. Leaning into difficult moments, I sift the value of their import, against what I hold true. 
I recently came out of the confessional after a tender, grace-filled moment with Jesus in the sacrament of Reconciliation, having released a deep emotional wound. Minutes later in the pew, after my prayers of release and relief, I sought to linger in the peaceful presence of God. 
I opened my bible to the fifth chapter of John. The words on the sacred page seemed as if they were written just for me. The text described Jesus’ instantaneous healing of a paralyzed man whose affliction disabled him for 38 years.  This, after I had just experienced something lifted from my heart that had crippled me for about the same length of time. Those verses were a second gift from Jesus, a bonus to the graces of the sacrament, given to me, no doubt, so I wouldn’t miss the point. The formerly paralyzed man didn’t keep his news to himself. And so, here I am, in imitation. 
Jesus could not have been any more real to me than if he walked into the chapel and sat down next to me. I will hold onto that for some time to come and cherish it as I, too, learn how to walk with stronger legs after Jesus. 
That moment in the chapel was just the most recent in a series of Jesus moments in my life. I could never have constructed it, or imagined it on my own. It was totally orchestrated by him. Like a lover’s spontaneous kiss that renders you speechless, it begs only to be received. 
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