Wednesday, August 31, 2005

A Wife's Desperate Journey With Her Husband's Corpse

I expect we'll be hearing plenty of stories like this one. Lord, have mercy. Christ, have mercy.

Bishop Wuerl to Bishops: Play Nice!

My spiritual life has flourished since moving to Colorado and becoming part of the Archdiocese of Denver where Archbishop Chaput is regarded as a treasure for his courage and fidelity to the Church.

Which is why it pains me to read that the bishop of Pittsburgh, where I was born and raised, plans to tell the Vatican that his colleagues shold have their opinions cleared with other bishops before speaking on controversial issues.

As veteran religion reporter Ann Rodgers put it, "Though couched in polite, theological language, Wuerl's proposal is an attempt to muffle loose cannons in the hierarchy."

Wonder which of these "loose cannons" Wuerl is intending to silence. Chaput spoke forcefully last year on the issue of whether Catholics ought to vote for pro-abortion politicians when Kenneth Salazar ran for the U.S. senate against Pete Coors. The issue gained national prominence during the presidential race when Kerry began touting his Catholic creds.

Wuerl thinks this kind of thing is "divisive" but these debates are important because they give our leaders a chance to guide us in the teachings of the faith. You would think Wuerl, a bishop, would think twice before silencing his more outspoken colleagues. Ultimately the voice he stifles will be his own.

Katrina aid

****************Update************** Glenn Reynolds has a list of charities on Instapundit. Truth Laid Bear announces Hurricane Katrina: Blog for Relief Day on Thursday, September 1. Technorati Tag:


Last night it hit me, reading all the news reports, that Katrina's destruction was going to be worse, much, much worse, than expected. Catholic Charities supports local efforts to aid residents in areas hit with natural disasters, while specializing in long-term recovery work. You can donate online and as always, pray, pray, pray.

Welcome Open Book Readers!

Saw a huge jump in traffic numbers this morning and it turns out that the venerable Amy Welborn at Open Book has linked to The Da Vinci code post. Wow, this is a thrill! Open Book is one of my must reads and I'm thrilled to have Amy's readers pass through here. Please feel free to look around, kick back, and check out the archives to your right.

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Buddhist U. Offers Da Vinci Code Weekend Course

Last night my sister and I were perusing Naropa University's extended study course catalogue. (Naropa is the country's first fully-accredited Buddhist liberal arts university.) Listed under "World Wisdom Traditions" is a weekend course on "Mary Magdalene: The Greatest Story Never Told", taught by somebody named Margaret Starbird. In the course description Starbird brags that her work was used as source material for The Da Vinci Code. She also claims to have been raised Catholic, which is sad. I suppose she touts her bona fides (as it were) in order to inoculate her (and Naropa) against charges of anti-Catholicism.

Here's the university's course description:

"Many people are curious about the story behind The Da Vinci Code. In this workshop, we will look closely at the story of Mary Magdalene and the Grail legend indigenous to Southern France, including the historical and mythological elements. We will explore the medieval art, artifact and folklore that kept her story alive in an underground stream of teachings. Poetry, music and visuals deepen our experience of the many faces of Mary."

I can guarantee you that the only face of Mary Magdalene that won't be presented in this course is her true one.

Monday, August 29, 2005

2 Martyrs, 1 Feast Day

On the very day the Church celebrates the Feast of St. John the Baptist, who was imprisoned and killed for preaching the Word of the Lord, comes news that Monsignor Xie Shiguang, Bishop of Mingdong, has died. The bishop had been imprisoned for 28 years in China because of his witness.

Enjoying it and Catholic!

******Update******* Mark Shea has finished his book on the Virgin Mary. Presumably his blog will soon return.

Something sharp and blunt has been missing in the Catholic blogosphere ever since Mark Shea's,Catholic and Enjoying It! went on hiatus last spring. I too miss reading Shea's uniquely sarcastic take on the news and culture, but I manage to get a daily fix of him anyway through his "A Word of Encouragement" daily email via Catholic Exchange.

Each Word contains a line or two from Scripture along with a brief but fortifying exegesis by Shea. For example, today's Word comes from the Psalms:

Psalm 20:7
Some boast of chariots, and some of horses;but we boast of the name of the LORD our God.

Shea places this quote into historical context, noting the political history of Israel and the many trials this nation has faced -- even to the point of being wiped off the map.

He writes:
"Why? Because the danger of politics, of that complicated jugglery of chariots and horses, is that it makes it incredibly easy to think that power, statecraft, economics, militarymight and all that rot are the Main Event—-especially when you succeedat it. Israel was never allowed to succeed at it. Consequently, Israel was prepared to receive the fullness of God's revelation in Jesus Christ, who rode into Jerusalem on a donkey and not on a horse and chariot. Today, join the throng that welcomed the son of David and say"Hosanna!" not to the schemes of power but to the humility of God.

Sunday, August 28, 2005

Feast of St. Augustine

Too late have I loved you, o beauty so ancient and young; too late have I loved you! And behold you were inside of me, and I was outside of myself, and that was where I was looking for you.

St. Augustine is famous for his conversion from sensuality and worldliness, but less well-known is his great charity. As a bishop and founder of religious priests, Augustine scrawled across his cell wall, "Here we do not speak evil of anyone." If only I would practice what he preached.

Friday, August 26, 2005

All Of Us Getting Along

Communion in hand or by mouth? Mantilla or no mantilla? Clapping? Liturgical dance? These questions and others have divided the Church since Vatican II, but youths from around the world seemed to appreciate cultural variations in the liturgy on display in Cologne during World Youth Day.

Magic of A Mystic

Just finished reading a biography of Padre Pio that doesn't turn up on Amazon. It's called Magic of a Mystic:Stories of Padre Pio, by the Duchess of St. Alban's. The author interviews a multinational sample of Saint Pio's spiritual children who speak about both his supernatural abilities and his humanity -- usually in the same breath. But while this biography is foremost that of a saint, it also functions as an introduction to San Giovanni Rotondo, the mountain village where Padre Pio lived. His little village is a place where miracles are expected, and where, as the author puts it, people gossip about the doings of their guardian angels the way people elsewhere talk about their neighbors.

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

There's the Door. Now Exit Stage Left.

Pat Robertson apologizes.

Not that Desperate For Work

Saw this help-wanted ad on Craigslist. They want you to have experience selling suicide to sick people. Wonder where you get that kind of experience. At an HMO, maybe. Or an assisted suicide hotline.

Choices at the End-of-Life
Reply to: job-93149640@craigslist.org
Date: 2005-08-24, 2:57PM MDT

We are a national non-profit organization the advocates choices at the end of life. Terminally ill, mentally competent patients should have the right to seek a physicians assistance in dying. I have 2 PT openings for an outbound call center to raise money and awareness. If you would like to work in a casual, low pressure atmosphere earning $8-10/hour + bonus, call John @ 303-217-2063. Experience preferred.

Pope Movie to Be Rebroadcast

When the biography of Pope John Paul II aired on August 15, it set records for the Hallmark Channel. Recognizing a good thing when it sees it, the cable channel plans on re-airing A Man Who Became Pope on Aug. 27, at 7 p.m. (6 p.m. Central time.)

Oh. Well. Okay Then.

Prophet Pat Robertson now says that he was "misinterpreted" by the media. He meant that we should kidnap the president of Venezuela -- Hugo Chavez -- not kill him.

Saith the prophet Robertson: "I said our special forces should 'take him out.' 'Take him out' could be a number of things including kidnapping.

"There are a number of ways of taking out a dictator from power besides killing him. I was misinterpreted by the AP, but that happens all the time."

Oh, well. That's much better. It's not like kidnapping is a crime or anything. It's just like ... being playful. Like when you blindfold your husband and take him out (there's that phrase again!) on a date. As a surprise, I mean. Kidnapping is like that and not like an act of terrorism. Pat Robertson wouldn't endorse terrorism, being a Man of God and all.

The Foolishness of The Cross

St. John Chrysostom's homily on Paul's First Letter to the Corinthians lays a persuasive case for the factuality of the Resurrection; that being, if it weren't true, would anybody buy it?

St. John Chrysostom writes: "Did they perhaps say to themselves: “What is this? He could not save himself but he will protect us? He did not help himself when he was alive, but now that he is dead he will extend a helping hand to us? In his lifetime he brought no nation under his banner, but by uttering his name we will win over the whole world?” Would it not be wholly irrational even to think such thoughts, much less to act upon them?"

How else can you explain the behavior of the 12 apostles, practical men who "lived on lakes and rivers and wastelands"? They couldn't stand up to the Jews when Christ was alive, yet they gained courage from the apparent defeat of their teacher on the Cross? And not only were emboldened to speak but also to find ways (these impoverished, uneducated men) to travel the world spreading the Gospel? It makes no sense if you look at it logically. It is foolishness. But what these apostles saw defies human wisdom, and so we must conclude, as St. John Chrysostom did:"It is evident, then, that if they had not seen him risen and had proof of his power, they would not have risked so much."

Can Catholics Be Neocons?

Pat Robertson's foreign policy advice was greeted by the Catholic blogosphere with the derision it deserved with one commentor at Open Book putting Robertson's suggestion into the proper perspective: "Well, this is just the natural extension of "preventative war". Preventative assassination to prevent the need for preventative war. "

So it's fortuitious that today, by way of Catholic Peace Fellowship, comes this article that originally appeared in American Conservative (strange bedfellows there!) about conservative American Catholics defying the Vatican on just war theory.

"The new pope and his predecessor have been consistent ... in taking the most restrictive possible view in favor of life in matters of capital importance, whether abortion, the death penalty, or war. Neoconservative Catholics have met this papal position with defiance. They point out, correctly, that abortion and war are not parallel—the former is wrong in all instances, the latter permissible in some. Novak and Neuhaus also take care to emphasize the wording of Section 2309 of the Catholic Catechism, which states that deciding when the conditions for a just war have been met “belongs to the prudential judgment of those who have responsibility for the common good”—meaning the Bush administration, as they would have it."

I've heard the argument described above before -- but only coming from non-Catholics. I've yet to meet a Catholic that doesn't have strong reservations about the war in Iraq, myself included. And it's curious why the cons who are so enamored of Pope Benedict XVI have mainly ignored his admonition that due to the incredible imbalance of power between nations like the United States and Iraq, the applicability of just war theory may have to be restricted, rather than expanded.

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

St. Rose of Lima


Today is the feast day of St. Rose of Lima, in the United States. (In Peru, her feast day is celebrated August 30th.) She lived in a garden and was so beautiful and holy that she used lye and pepper to ruin her face so as not to attract the attention of men. Today that would be considered self mutilation. In fact, St. Rose of Lima liked to suffer. She used to pray, "Lord, increase my sufferings, and with them increase Your love in my heart."

Unlike most of us, St. Rose of Lima did not run away from her crosses. If she were a 21st-century American, she'd be pressured to get medicated. But that's the thing about saints: They tend not to do what we expect of them, and that's why they surprise us and show us how to be closer to God.

Rose Hawthorne

American author Nathaniel Hawthorne was born into a Calvinist family. But his daughter, Rose, joined the Dominicans and founded the Dominican Sisters for the Care of Incurable Cancer. Today's meditation in The Magnificat is from a letter of hers. Here's a portion of it:

"If I seem harsh, and am harsh, at times, it is the imperfect effort of a poor wretch to bring to your soul and mine a greater share of God's truth, which will bless us, no matter how roughly we strive for it; for certainly our God must be willing to let us arrive at the truth according to our poor will and understanding, since he gives us "free will," and knows that when we act of our own impulse we must be somewhat faulty, and if not full of charity, the fault is proportionately great."

When I read this I was struck by how often even the best of us fall short of God's intentions for us. It's a comfort to know that even the great ones, such as Rose Hawthorne, had their moments of weakness and that none of us are equal to God's glory.

Update: Feast of Assumption Attack on Catholics

Click on the title of this post for an update on the "ministers of annoyance" attack on a Feast of the Assumption procession in Carey, Ohio. Note the mayor's remark to the "street preachers" at the end of the article. Is this the U.S. version of the Orange Men? Tip o' the hat to Amy Welborn.

Bad Idea, Pat. Bad, Bad, BAD Idea.

How many times have I had to explain to skeptics that fundamentalist Christianity does not = Islamofascism. If nothing else, I told my liberal/agnostic/atheist/friends, you will never hear Christian leaders declare a fatwa on somebody, and if they did, well, they'd be summarily denounced. Why? Because Jesus taught us two great commandments. The first is to love God with all your heart, mind, and strength. The second is to love your neighbor. Christ also told us to love our enemies. He never told us to kill people we don't like.

Now, Pat Robertson proves me a liar by saying it's time to assassinate the president of Venezuela.

Apparently, Hugo Chavez has become an "inconvenience" to Pastor Robertson. To be fair, Chavez has been a pain, accusing the U.S. of plotting his assassination. Why he thinks we would do this, I don't know. To get at his oil, maybe. Venezuela is a top oil producer and Chavez doesn't like President Bush too much.

Saith Prophet Pat:

"You know, I don't know about this doctrine of assassination, but if he thinks we're trying to assassinate him, I think that we really ought to go ahead and do it," Robertson said. "It's a whole lot cheaper than starting a war ... and I don't think any oil shipments will stop."

Great. Now for the next 10 years, I'll have to defend my faith against those who think:
a.) There is no distinction between Catholics and evangelicals.
and
b.) That Pat Robertson speaks for all of us Christians.
and
c.)That Christian moral theology is tied directly to the price of oil.

Thanks a lot, Pat.

Monday, August 22, 2005

World Misspent-Youth Day

I heard about the parallel "inclusive" World Youth Day (i.e., pro-condoms/anti-abstinence), but I didn't know there was a World Misspent-Youth Day going on in Bonn this past week (Patron Saint: St. Augustine, the patron saint of misspent youth). Too bad the event exists only in the satirical heart of The Curt Jester. Go check out the funny pictures photoshopped here, as well as a brilliant "homily" based on Matthew's laborers in the vineyard.

Curiously, the band Journey doesn't show up at the Curt Jester's/Jeff Miller's fantasy WMYD, but I think their song, Don't Stop Believin is not only appropriate for the WMYD 35+ demographic but could perhaps be its theme song -- retooled to reflect the repentent sensibilities of the pilgrims, of course.

Sunday, August 21, 2005

Grazie, Papa


From the close of today's Mass:

"We have come to the conclusion of this marvelous celebration and indeed of the 20th World Youth Day. In my heart I sense welling up within me a single thought: "Thank you!" I am sure that this thought finds an echo in each one of you. God himself has implanted it in our hearts and he has sealed it with this Eucharist which literally means "thanksgiving." Yes, dear young people, our gratitude, born from faith, is expressed in our song of praise to Him, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, who has given us yet another sign of his immense love."

Excerpts from The Pope's Homily

In the homily for the closing Mass earlier today,the Holy Father unravels the mystery of the Eucharist.

"What on the outside is simply brutal violence, from within becomes an act of total self-giving love. This is the substantial transformation which was accomplished at the Last Supper and was destined to set in motion a series of transformations leading ultimately to the transformation of the world when God will be all in all (cf. 1 Corinthians 15:28). In their hearts, people always and everywhere have somehow expected a change, a transformation of the world. Here now is the central act of transformation that alone can truly renew the world: Violence is transformed into love, and death into life."

But why does Christ want us to be joined with him? Is it to make us better people. Better spouses and parents? No. As the Holy Father says:

"The Body and Blood of Christ are given to us so that we ourselves will be transformed in our turn. We are to become the Body of Christ, his own flesh and blood. We all eat the one bread, and this means that we ourselves become one."

The pope later explains that this is not a symbol or a memorial, it is union. It is entering into the Cross, into Christ's "hour."

"Jesus' hour is the hour in which love triumphs. In other words: it is God who has triumphed, because he is Love. Jesus' hour seeks to become our own hour and will indeed become so if we allow ourselves, through the celebration of the Eucharist, to be drawn into that process of transformation that the Lord intends to bring about."

They Came to Adore Him



Tim Drake writes that it took more than an hour to get inside the Eucharistic Adoration tent for prayer after last night's Vigil. It's just a feeling, but I sense this devotion is about to get a boost back in the parishes at home.

Don't Panic, the Pope's Organic!!

Starting with the lede where the reporter seems unaware that the pope is known as the "German Shepherd" this is one uninformed and negative portrait of Pope Benedict. But the article is partially redeemed by this charming anecdote:

"In interviews ahead of the Cologne visit, his right-hand man, the dashingly blond 48-year-old Georg Gänswein, led camera crews around the Vatican's farm, showing off its palatial hen coops, happy cows, insecticide-free tomatoes and organic milk factory."

One Million!


They'll never come, said the nay sayers. This is radical secular Germany, and he's no Pope John Paul, they said. But as it turns out one million came to the Mass that ended World Youth Day 2005 today, many of them having spent a cold, rainy, night outdoors in Eucharistic Adoration.

Saturday, August 20, 2005

The Holy Father Defines Totalitarianism

This part of Benedict XVI's homily during the Vigil tonight in Marienfield, reminds me of the scene in Weigel's Witness to Hope about Pope John Paul II's first visit to communist Poland after his election, and how the young people came to him chanting, "We want God!" From God comes grace, and it is with grace* -- not programs -- that the world is changed.

The saints, as we said, are the true reformers. Now I want to express this in an even more radical way: only from the saints, only from God does true revolution come, the definitive way to change the world. In the last century we experienced revolutions with a common programme – expecting nothing more from God, they assumed total responsibility for the cause of the world in order to change it. And this, as we saw, meant that a human and partial point of view was always taken as an absolute guiding principle. Absolutizing what is not absolute but relative is called totalitarianism. It does not liberate man, but takes away his dignity and enslaves him. It is not ideologies that save the world, but only a return to the living God, our Creator, the guarantor of our freedom, the guarantor of what is really good and true. True revolution consists in simply turning to God who is the measure of what is right and who at the same time is everlasting love. And what could ever save us apart from love?

*This is not to say that believers in God, or even Christians, have an automatic lock on Grace, because we don't. Much of the time we cooperate with Grace even less than the non-believers. But a worldview that acknowledges the difference between the Creator and the created, and acts in accordance with that viewpoint, is much more likely to place the will of humans in service to Everlasting Love, rather than to ideologies.

Did He Swing From the Chandeliers ?

From Reuters via the La Times, comes this anecdote about 1000 Iraqi Catholics gathering in Baghdad to celebrate World Youth Day. They sent a message to the pope asking for blessings. "We are bearing in mind the exhortation of Jesus: 'Courage, do not be afraid,'" they said.

Nice. But what I don't get is the Vatican's response that the pope received the message from the youth "with joy and commotion." Joy, yes. Commotion ... er, I would like to see that statement unpacked. It's just hard to imagine this pope causing a commotion about anything.

Friday, August 19, 2005

"Free Thinkers" Shut Down WYD Website

LAMland reports that an official World Youth Day website was hacked and shut down on Wednesday by a group apparently so afraid of religion that they couldn't stand to have a website promoting it in operation.

The Beginning of Something Else

It's ironic that on the day a German becomes the second pope in history to visit a synagogue, in Israel, Jews are being forced out of their homes at the hands of their own government, under pressure from the world to concede the land to the Palestinians.

In an interview with the Jerusalem Post, Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal bragged that the victory will lead to the end of the state of Israel as well as help anti-U.S. forces in Iraq and Afghanistan:

Asked about Hamas's future plans, Zahar said: "Neither the liberation of the Gaza Strip, nor the liberation of the West Bank or even Jerusalem will suffice us. Hamas will pursue the armed struggle until the liberation of all our lands. We don't recognize the state of Israel or its right to hold onto one inch of Palestine. Palestine is an Islamic land belonging to all the Muslims."

Zahar said the disengagement would boost morale in the Arab and Muslim world and positively influence the [anti-US] campaign in Afghanistan and Iraq. "We are part of a large global movement called the International Islamic Movement," he explained.

Note that Israel's withdrawal from Gaza over the past few days did not stop Al Qaeda from attacking an Israeli airport and U.S. ships this morning. So much for appeasement.

I am indebted to the The Anchoress'reflection on these events in Gaza this week. On her blog, Anchoress states that at the very least, the forced emptying of the Jewish settlements is problematic in that it has become easy to blame the Jews for everything. I agree. Neither atheist-progressives, nor the apologists for Islamofascism would cry to see the last Jew on earth dead.

The Anchoress writes:

Here is what I am fearing right now: I’m fearing that these pictures of Jews being moved at gunpoint will, aside from filling some with glee, also make the whole idea of “moving Jews at gunpoint,” seem “usual” and therefore doable and even palatable for some ... The stuff going on in Gaza feels like a beginning of something else, that’s all.

The wrenching photos, the tears of the soldiers, the resistance of the settlers -- it's too much to witness and I want to turn away from it lest the agony become my own. God, deliver me from the human desire to reject suffering, lest I cooperate with evil.

The German Shepherd's Softer Side








Who says this pope is rigid and authoritarian? Nobody who has watched the video of the pope's arrival in Cologne could say that this is a man out of touch with humanity. These photos don't really do him justice but they do suggest a a man of great sensitivity and heart.

Thursday, August 18, 2005

Pakistani Youth Turned Away from WYD

German embassy denied visas to hundreds of Pakistani Christians.

The Holy Father's Address From the Banks of the Rhine River

One key diffence for me between John Paul II and Benedict XVI: While the former pope inspired us to look for God's dwelling places, this pope shows us how to get to them. The former pope was a mystic, the current pope is a guide.

John Paul II made the greatest impact on me through his gestures. I tend to space out when I read the late pope's words. God forgive me, I simply do not have the wisdom or intelligence to follow much of what he said and wrote.

Benedict XVI's speeches are compelling and you do not have to be especially bright or wise to get into him. His words are simple yet profound.

The offical transcript of the Holy Father's address to pilgrims is a perfect example. Just take a look at this passage:

"It is true that today we are no longer looking for a king, but we are concerned for the state of the world and we are asking: “Where do I find standards to live by, what are the criteria that govern responsible co-operation in building the present and the future of our world? On whom can I rely? To whom shall I entrust myself? Where is the One who can offer me the response capable of satisfying my heart’s deepest desires?” The fact that we ask questions like these means that we realize our journey is not over until we meet the One who has the power to establish that universal Kingdom of justice and peace to which all people aspire but which they are unable to build by themselves. Asking such questions also means searching for Someone who can neither deceive nor be deceived, and who therefore can offer a certainty so solid that we can live for it and, if need be, even die for it."

This paragraph perfectly describe the ongoing pilgrimage of a Christian life. Every word here rings with the clearness of Truth. You can practically hear the Holy Spirit shaking the doors of the Upper Room.

How blessed we are to have such teachers in the two popes presiding over World Youth Day. One who best catechized with gestures, and the other whose words are understood by even the least of his flock. By me even.

I'm Pleased That He's Pleased

I love this pope's shy smile. I love his reserve. And I love the things he says:
``Providence wanted my first foreign trip to be to Germany,'' the pope said in an interview with Vatican Radio. ``I wouldn't have dared to arrange that. But if the good Lord is doing this to you, so to speak, you're allowed to be pleased.''

Muslims and Catholics

German Muslims are hosting Catholics at World Youth Day in Cologne, with one mosque opening its doors to about 60 pilgrims. The pilgrims and Muslims prayed together for faith and unity.

This is good news because Christianity and Islam have to coexist in the West, as they already do elsewhere.

Liberal Media Acquire Faint Inklings of What Could Be A Clue About Catholicism

When the mainstream media try to figure out why this Benedict fellow or John Paul fellow attracts the kids so much hijinks generally ensue, with the conclusion being that the young people are either duped or in search of daddy.

Which is why this article from The International Herald Tribune, the New York Times' foreign newspaper, comes as such a surprise.

The article, an analysis on the appeal of Pope Benedict, actually acknowledges that there might be something to this Catholicism:

The new pope is commonly held to be reactionary, old-fashioned and authoritarian. If Benedict XVI is so out of touch, how can the church muster so many hundreds of thousands of young people to its cause? What is often ignored in liberal criticism of the papacy is that Western society can be seen as practicing and licensing a nightmarish culture of pornography, abuse and death. As such, the Catholic critique of modern culture is not unpersuasive. On issues like abortion, the erosion of marriage and the dissolution of the family, many of the young reject the secular values of their parents.


Not perfect. But it's a start.

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

What's Up With Ohio?

A statue of the Virgin Mary was vandalized at the Sorrowful Mother Shrine in Bellevue, Ohio last weekend. The shrine is located just 45 minutes north of Carey Ohio, where the so-called "Ministers of Annoyance" harrassed Catholics during devotions to the Blessed Virgin on Monday's Feast of the Assumption. A discussion forum and more information on this can be found at Catholic Report.

WYD Blog Roundup

News out of Cologne has been trickling in this week, and probably will do so until the pope arrives.

But this blog is all about the new paradigm: DIY. Hence, the emphasis here is on live blogging.

So far, I've not been disappointed. There's lots of good commentary from the ground that offers fascinating accounts of the events in Cologne:

Fr. Dowd describes what it's like to concelebrate a Mass with 12,000 people. You can send a message to him in Germany from his web site.

The Catholic Report has interviews and first-person accounts by Mark Butler.

Ad Limina's got the most humorous account so far, with tales of crashing Friday's seminarian audience and dining on Meat Jello.

Tim Drake is doing some heavy lifting over at Young and Catholic. I especially was moved by his description of an encounter with a group of Poles paying silent tribute to Pope John Paul II. Keep scrolling for more good stuff.

Another heavy hitter comes from The Criterion Online out of the Archdiocese of Indianpolis. Blogger Brandon A. Evans posts detailed accounts along with pictures. That cruise along the Rhine River must have been divine.

Taize and World Youth Day

News that the 90-year old founder of the Taize community was murdered during prayer came as a horrifying shock. A Dutch news site puts the death of Br. Roger into perspective with this analysis, linking Taize, a Protestant ecumenical community, with WYD:

After World War II, the community grew into an institution that every year drew tens of thousands of young Protestants and Catholics from across Europe on pilgrimages. They partly inspired the Catholic Church to do likewise with its series of World Youth Days

This World Youth Day has an emphasis on ecumenism. Pope John Paul II invited Christians other than Catholics, as well as people of other faiths, and those of no faith to come to Cologne. Pope Benedict XVI received a "very moving, very friendly" letter from Br. Roger only hours before his death yesterday, stating that the Taize community "wants to walk in communion" with the pope and the pilgrims in Cologne.

Many of these pilgrims are openly weeping in Cologne.
Pray for them. And pray for the eternal soul of Br Roger.

"I Feel As If He Were My Grandfather"

A few days after the pope's death last April, Fr. Thomas Rosica, CEO of World Youth Day Toronto, reflected on the many gifts the late Pope John Paul II gave to young people. As a member of the John Paul II generation, this essay moved me deeply, and this part was especially meaningful:

"Finally, one of the most profound lessons he taught us in the twilight of his Pontificate was that everyone must suffer, even the Vicar of Christ. Rather than hide his infirmities, as most public figures do, he let the whole world see what he went through. The passing of this Pope did not take place in private, but before television cameras and the whole world. In the final act of his life, the athlete was immobilized, the distinctive, booming voice silenced, and the hand that produced voluminous encyclicals no longer able to write. Yet nothing made John Paul waver, even the debilitating sickness hidden under the glazed Parkinsonian mask, and ultimately his inability to speak and move. In a youth-obsessed culture in which people are constantly urged to fight or deny the ravages of time, age, disease, he reminded us that aging and suffering are a natural part of being human. Where the old and infirm are so easily put in nursing homes and often forgotten, the Pope was a timely and powerful reminder that our parents and grandparents, the sick, the handicapped and the dying have great value. Many young people have confided in me over the past few years that they were "deprived" of their grandparents in their families and witnessed in the public diminishment and suffering of John Paul II the real meaning of aging and suffering. I have heard over and over again from young people these past years: "I feel as if he were my grandfather."

Yes. Yes, indeed.

(Hat tip to LAMLand)

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Updated: More World Youth Day Blogs

I've scoured the World Wide Web, and came across some more World Youth Day Bloggers

Over at Zardozz Open Web, there's a World Youth Day-related blogathon.

Pilgrims can blog on their experiences over at The Spirit of World Youth Day.


Beautiful art and a first-person WYD narrative at Ad Limina, via Amy Welborn.

Movie Review: "A Man Who Became Pope"

Last night the Hallmark Channel aired "A Man Who Became Pope", the first of several movie biographies about John Paul II. I missed the first hour. Bearing that in mind, here are some of my impressions:

Likes:
That the teachings and writings of Pope John Paul II were presented faithfully: I especially loved the scene where he gave a talk to his college students on love and sexuality -- the talks that eventually became the Theology of the Body. The moviemakers made good use of John Paul's writings to convey his message of God's love and mercy via voiceovers and dialogue.

Piotr Adamczyk, the actor who played Karol Woytyla: Not as extroverted as the late pope, nor as good looking, but he did a great job in getting across the man's holiness. In fact, all the actors were very convincing (I think most if not all are Polish).

Woytyla as shepherd: The give and take between the spy Adam and Woytyla when the spy confesses his activities was simply outstanding. I will never forget the words Woytyla said to him upon giving Adam pardon: Woytyla says, and I am paraphrasing, you are not despicable; you are human and your need for love is great, so great that it has been smothering your soul. I have forgiven all that needs forgiven.

The movie succeeds in depicting the late pope's great love for humanity via the pastoral care he gave his sheep.

I also loved the scene brief depicting the pope saying Mass using a kayak as an altar. That's the kind of behavior that will make you either love Karol Woytyla more or less. Since I don't consider myself holier than the pope, the scene made me love him even more

The final scene: News footage of the real Pope John Paul II stepping out on to the balcony to greet the crowds in St. Peter's Square. All kinds of emotions welled up in me and I remembered just how much I miss this pope.

Dislikes:
Expository dialogue: Yes, there was a lot of explaining to do for the benefit of an international audience of viewers who wouldn't necessarily know much about, say, the neighborhoods of Krakow, for example, but too much expository dialogue tries the patience.

The pacing: It was as if the moviemakers were trying to cram in as much as possible without thinking too much about how it all would hang together.

The cartoonish villains: Bad guys smoke cigarettes. When they are plotting, they inhale very deeply.

The soap opera subplots: Yeah, I know. There's a lot of people out there who would not watch a movie without sex, even/especially, if this movie was about the pope. And yeah, Karol Woytyla was very attractive, and he broke a few hearts. And, hey, the romance between the spy and the college girl did provide an opportunity to work in the Theology of the Body, but I've never got into soap operas and there were just too much of that for me.

No mysticism: There were hints of it in scenes showing Karol Woytyla in prayer, for example. But wouldn't you have loved more than an aside about how the prayers of Padre Pio saved the life of Hania?

Overall: I'm happy with the effort and I am thrilled to learn that the producers of "A Man" have in the works a second movie dealing with John Paul II's pontificate.

I'll Say A Prayer to Our Lady For Them

Catholic pilgrims taking part in a procession in honor of the Feast of the Assumption were verbally assaulted and harrassed by a group of supposed evangelicals. The harrassers walked next to the Catholics, telling them they will go to Hell for their devotion to the Blessed Mother. The Catholic Report has the story. H/t to Amy Welborn.

Monday, August 15, 2005

What Cologne Can Expect from World Youth Day

As a parishioner in the Archdiocese of Denver, I'm quite proud of my little "cowtown". Archbishop Chaput, surely one of the many fruits of Denver hosting the 1993 World Youth Day, is one of the nation's strongest and most consistent defenders of Catholic precepts. There's a parish for just about every liturgical taste out there -- yet none would dare commit the abuses other Catholic bloggers describe. Most importantly, the Catholics that I've met here are exceptionally engaged and informed about our faith.

The most recent issue of Our Sunday Visitor examines the fruits of World Youth Day 1993 for Denver:

Then-Denver Archbishop James Francis Stafford saw the Colorado capital as a unique, young, educated, high-tech and highly secularized environment -- a symbol of what many American cities might be like in the 21st century, remembers Fran Maier, vicar general and past-communications director for the Denver archdiocese.

But WYD transformed everything, Maier said. The city was now on the map nationally with American Catholics. "After WYD, we asked, 'What are the parameters to measure what the event had done?'" Maier said, "but it was like planting a seed -- it had long-term effects on the way the Church and the people saw themselves."


The article notes the presence of two seminaries in Denver, a flourishing of lay movements within the archdiocese and the city's attraction for talented Catholic leadership. May Cologne be likewise blessed.

Saturday, August 13, 2005

Updated: World Youth Day Blogging

A number of people from my church are leaving for Cologne tonight for the World Youth Day pilgrimage. Alas, I was unable to go, but I do plan on being there in spirit by blogging news and observations from here in Colorado, as well as posting reports from pilgrim friends on the ground, in the unlikely event one of them accesses an Internet cafe.

Here at home, there will be EWTN coverage as well as blogging by An American Housewife (whose blog motto -- Normal is a setting on the dishwasher -- I like very much).

The event is from August 16-21, but American Housewife has already gotten the ball rolling by posting the Vatican II Council's address to young people, along with a partial list of World Youth Day Bloggers:

  • Open Book -- Amy Welborn has an updated list of World Youth Day blogsites.
  • Confessions of a Recovering Choir Director
  • Young and Catholic
  • Coragio - The travelblog of Fr Willy Raymond and Jim Caviezel to World Youth Day 2005
  • House of Literature
  • Caminayven.com - Spanish blog from the Neocatechumenal Way
  • Archdiocese of Indianapolis
  • Catholic Report

  • To get us started here, I've got a post from a few days ago, Benedict Bands, about white plastic wrist bands you can buy in solidarity with the young pilgrims in Cologne.

    Listen to Padre Pio Pray

    What a grace it is to listen to Padre Pio in prayer. Some of us may have heard Mother Theresa and Pope John Paul II speak, but, until now, it generally hasn't been possible to hear the voice of an actual saint.

    With audio and visual technology ever evolving, listening to and watching the saints at prayer will someday be routine, but to hear Padre Pio pray the Our Father in Italian nearly 40 years ago comes as a delightful surprise from Heaven.

    Someday we will get to read the blog of a 21st-century saint. Padre Pio didn't blog but we are nonetheless blessed with his words of faith.

    Am I a False or an Imperfect Sign?

    Recent events appear to have inspired an unusually profound essay at Disputations -- one of the more serious blogs on the Catholic faith.

    This paragraph by John Da Fiesole goes straight to the heart of the outrage Catholics feel regarding these increasingly common Scandals Du Jour:

    "Humans love truth, so we hate falsehood, so we hate someone who represents himself as a sign of Christ but whose life does not signify Him. Christians, perhaps, hate such false signs all the more in that they are false, not merely to someone admirable, but to Truth Himself."

    Da Fiesole says that all apostles would do well to remember that they are imperfect signs of Jesus: "The apostle necessarily signifies Christ; his choice is whether to be an imperfect sign or a false sign."

    Greatest Catholic Quotes of All Time

    Sancta Sanctis has a Top-100 list of the greatest Catholic quotes
    of all time. Coming up with the list must have been a very pleasurable burden, because I can't see how one could possibly narrow the list to only 100.

    I've gotten about 1/3 of the way through the list, but each quote so far has proven very thought provoking. If you're in need of inspiration give a look. Tip of the hat to North Western Winds.

    Friday, August 12, 2005

    You Cannot Petition The Lord Through Prayer Because He Knows Better

    Tonight I passed up a chance to say the rosary with some friends before the statue of Our Lady of Fatima, pleading a long day and exhaustion. While I am glad to have stayed home and rested this evening, I felt sad and guilty for having said no.

    I wonder: Why pray? I mean, I can think of a few reasons. To give praise to the Lord. To reach out to God, who will more than meet us halfway. To tell the Divine Doctor what ails us. In other words, to communicate our love, our gratitude, and our need for the Lord.

    More specifically, why pray the rosary? Other than meditating on the life of Jesus, through Mary -- which is a worthy activity. Don't get me wrong, I'm not accusing anybody of Mariolatry.

    I'm just confused about the promises. Popular devotions, such as the one to Our Lady of Fatima, promise specific outcomes for saying the rosary, as well as punishments for not saying it faithfully. But I believe that God's mercy and love, not our prayers, are what saves us from His judgment. This is a mystery, for which I can only give thanks and praise.

    It seems, then, that maybe Jim Morrison was right about one thing: You cannot petition the Lord with prayer. You can't call on the Lord as if He is going to do your bidding; as if he was your Heavenly Concierge. As if He will do Y provided you do X.

    In Romans, St. Paul talks about faith versus works: "What occasion is there then for boasting? It is ruled out. On what principle, that of works? No, rather on the principle of faith. For we consider that a person is justified by faith apart from works of the law."

    Every week my priest tells us that only utter dependence on the Lord through the Cross, and not our own effort, will make us holy. In his column, John Allen reminds us that our own Pope Benedict XVI, back when he was Cardinal Ratzinger, affirmed
    that grace, not human efforts, is what brings us salvation. Ironically, the pope is now promising indulgences to pilgrims attending World Youth Day.

    Prayer is tough and praying on the promise of getting out of Purgatory quicker, or because you're afraid that the world is about to receive a Divine Smack, makes it tough to pray without feeling like a liar. As Flannery O'Connor put it:

    The virtue of novenas is that they keep you at it for nine consecutive days and the human attention being what it is, this is a long time. I hate to say most of these prayers written by saints-in-an-emotional-state. You feel you are wearing somebody else's finery and I can never describe my heart as "burning" to the Lord (who knows better) without snickering.

    This is how I pray: I pray that God is listening not to my own words, or the words of others, but to the inward groanings of my spirit. That He is moved, not by my efforts (weak as they are), but through his love and mercy.

    Benedict Bands

    I love Catholic tchotchkes. When my sister went to Rome in 1990, she brought back a 3-D Jesus postcard. One of my literary mentors has on his wall a neon blinking Virgin Mary icon. It's kitch, and I love it.

    Now there's more kitch, just in time for World Youth Day. An organization calling itself Youth for the World has come out with white plastic wristbands for sale that say "JPII-Be Not Afraid BXVI-We Come to Worship Him."

    Nota bene: "We Come to Worship Him" is the slogan for this year's WYD. It refers to Christ, not the pope!

    The idea behind the Benedict Bands, I guess, is for those who couldn't make it to Cologne to wear these wristbands in prayer and solidarity with the young pilgrims who are there.

    Thursday, August 11, 2005

    Boston's Self-Defeating Arrogance

    Whisper in the Loggia reports that officials of Boston's Archdiocese couldn't be bothered to show up for a hearing on the bill that would require Massachusetts churches to report financial assets.

    As the Boston Globe states, officials didn't think they had to be bothered:

    Edward F. Saunders Jr., executive director of the Massachusetts Catholic Conference, the policy arm of the archdiocese, said in an interview that church leaders oppose the bill and made that known privately to lawmakers. ''We presented written testimony, and we felt that was sufficient," he said.

    Considering this bill is one of several state and local anti-Church intitatives, you'd think somebody in the Archdiocese would catch on that the Church isn't so popular these days and act accordingly.

    The impetus for the bill is summed up in what Marian Walsh, one of its sponsors, told the Boston Globe: ''Financial transparency can better ensure moral transparency."

    It's clear that the lay Catholics who are initiating these measures are acting out of pain from the sexual abuse scandal as well as the closing of about 1/4 (!) of the parishes in the Archdiocese.

    While Walsh doesn't give the impression that she's a brillliant statesman, her words do point to the suffering of the Church's faithful in Boston and elsewhere.

    But, these measures would not alleviate that suffering. The anti-Church legislation would not prevent further parish closings, and would do absolutely nothing to prevent future sexual abuse of children. Absolutely nothing.

    However, these bills would take away our freedom; the freedom protected in the First Amendment, and enjoyed by lay Catholics, lawmakers, and even the church officials who can not be bothered to defend them.

    Wednesday, August 10, 2005

    Heaven = Life

    In the Gospel of John, Jesus says

    "Amen, amen, I say to you, it was not Moses who gave the bread from heaven; my Father gives you the true bread from heaven. For the bread of God is that which comes down from heaven and gives life to the world."

    Until tonight I mostly thought that Heaven is a place that I hope to see after my death. But after reading Scripture with some friends, I began to understand that Heaven is not only a place, it is the Life that God gives to me. He does this in the Eucharist, in the most humble food there is -- bread. God brings us himself in the true bread from Heaven and in bringing us Heaven, he brings us life.

    Spiritual Reading (Not Just ) for the Depressed and Anxious

    The Cukierski Family Apostolate (Walt, Wendy, and their "10 little blessings") is a labor of faith and love specializing in sacramentals. If holy oil and prayer cloths aren't your thing but spiritual reading is, sign up for the free spiritual guidance series. You'll get two months of daily emails featuring articles for the layman by the late Fr. Kilian McGowan (with permission by the Passionist Priests).

    Recent titles include, "The Signs of God's Presence," and "How to Test Your Spirit."

    The articles are intelligent yet friendly, inspirational yet not cloying, and they're free for 60 days.

    Tuesday, August 09, 2005

    Persecution: A Bipartisan Affair

    One of my pet peeves are those who think supporting the Church is synonymous with being Republican. Apparently, Mitt Romney feels as I do. The Republican governor of Massachusetts is tentatively supporting a bill that would require the Archdiocese of Boston and other churches in Massachusetts to make their financial statements public.

    If you recall, yesterday's entry dealt with the Boston Globe's report that First-Amendment challenged state senator Marian Walsh, acting on the behest of angry lay Catholics, introduced the bill, which has 32 co-sponsors. This is one of several recent initiatives that would allow regulation of churches, although both Walsh and Romney refer to the Church as a "non-profit".

    Now that the Republican governor has endorsed the bill, there's nothing but love all around, according to the Boston Globe.

    ''That is very encouraging," said Walsh, Democrat of West Roxbury. ''To have an open mind is great. This is how we solve problems."

    I'll take common sense, fair play and an understanding of the law over Walsh's openmindedness.

    Monday, August 08, 2005

    Ecclesiastical Tsunami: How Massachusetts Did Away with the First Amendment

    The president of the of Catholic Charities Archdiocese of Boston told the Boston Globe today that local blowback from parish closings and the Scandal was, ''...an ecclesiastical tsunami -- two things that are totally different things, but both creating something greater than either one."

    According to the Boston Globe, state and local officials in Massachusetts, forgetting the First Amendment, have introduced several pieces of legislation to grant the state more oversight of the Church.

    The newspaper reports that the Archdiocese of Boston is being pressed by lawmakers to make its finances public.

    State senator Marian Walsh told the Boston Globe she was inspired by the "strong anger" of lay Catholics to initiate this measure.

    "She said as perhaps the largest charity in the state, the Catholic Church should be subject to the same disclosure requirements as other nonprofits."

    Except that the Church is a church not a charity, and therefore not subjected to state regulation.

    Here's more from the Boston Globe:

    Secretary of State William F. Galvin filed a civil complaint against the church, accusing the archdiocese of siphoning money from a cemetery-care fund and neglecting the upkeep of the graveyards; Mayor Thomas M. Menino called the archdiocese's lockout of children from the Our Lady of Presentation school ''reprehensible" and ''unconscionable"; the Boston City Council introduced -- but later shelved -- a nonbinding referendum for the city election ballot that read, in part, ''Do you agree that, to date, the Archdiocese of Boston has failed to work effectively with Boston's neighborhoods to mitigate the impacts of Catholic parish and school closings?"

    Are Catholics going to let the Scandal open the window for state control of the Church? In Massachusetts, it appears that not only is the answer to this a resounding YES, but that lay Catholics themselves are leading the charge to do away with the First Amendment.

    Sunday, August 07, 2005

    If Flannery Had A Blog

    Well, I finished Habit of Being and even though I knew Flannery O'Connor was dying at the end, her death still came as a shock. She was working so hard on Everything That Rises Must Converge in her final days, that I half thought she would make it on the sheer strength of her "littry" talent.

    I picked up the book on the basis of Amy Welborn's essay Stalking Pride. I think I'm going to have to spend a little more time with Habit of Being before returning it to the library.

    Oh, what a treat for blogdom it would be if Flannery had a blog. Alas, Flannery didn't live long to see the World Wide Web, but I have no doubt that she would have been a prodigious blogger if she were with us.

    Saturday, August 06, 2005

    Winds of Galilee

    Sunday's Mass Gospel reading is the passage from Matthew
    where Peter says to Jesus ""Lord, if it is you, command me to come to you on the water." Jesus commands him and Peter walks on the water, but loses faith and starts to sink. Jesus stretches out his hand to Peter and says, "Oh ye of little faith, why did you doubt?"

    Our priest in his homily made several points: One is that Peter was actually walking away from the boat when he started to sink. In other words, he was actually doing what he asked the Lord to command him to do, but still he could not believe it was really happening. Another point is that we are like Peter in that we think the Lord can not command us to do the impossible -- to be humble, to love the Other -- even as the Lord is acting in us. The third point is that Peter is weak, yet he is the Rock on which the Church is built, which tells us that our own strength is not what is going to make us holy, but rather, utter reliance on the Lord.

    Father also cited St. Augustine, who said that this passage, as well as one in Luke,where Jesus is in the boat during a storm on the Lake of Galilee, are metaphors for the Church's relationship to Jesus. The storms and the water are the world. The apostles are the Church, and Jesus is right there in the midst of it, Father said.

    Being part of the Church, our priest said, does not mean you don't suffer trials -- it means that Jesus is there with you, in the midst of your storms.

    He also mentioned that even today in Galilee, terrifying winds blow across the lake from time to time. Father spoke of priests he knew telling him about being on the lake when the winds came and how they were terrifed.

    Even today, Christ's apostles doubt that the Lord is in our midst.

    "Let Them Come And See For Themselves"

    If you can get through the first several self-congratulatory paragraphs, Lifesite has an intriguing article about an experience shared by the husband and father-in-law of Susan Torres, the brain-dead woman who died after giving birth to her child ("brain-dead." "died." "giving birth." --This is the most self-contradicting sentence I've ever read or written.)

    Susan's husband and father-in-law were each awakened in their separate homes in the middle of the night, on the night that Susan collapsed (the article doesn't state whether this is before or after Susan collapsed) by "a woman's voice" (Mary??) telling them to write this message:

    “You and others will tell the world of a fight to save a precious life, not to change hardened hearts, but to give hope to those who believe, so that they know that there is more than what they see and hear. Let them come and see for themselves.”

    Let them come and see for themselves with the eyes and ears of their hearts. Reminds me of the passage in Matthew: "But blessed are your eyes, because they see, and your ears, because they hear. "

    Feast of the Transfiguration of the Lord

    The Transfiguration puzzles me. Jesus and the disciples go up to Mt. Tabor and see Elijah and Moses next to Jesus, who is now radiant and clad in stunning white garments. The disciples are terrified. Jesus comforts them and tells them not tell anybody.

    The symbolism in this story is rich. Moses and Elijah -- the Law and the Prophet, surrounding the Son of Man. The radiance of Jesus in the presence of Moses refers to Moses' radiance in the presence of the Lord.

    Why did Jesus tell them not to say anything? Maybe the time just wasn't right. After all, the Israelites couldn't handle the light from Moses. He had to put a veil over his face so that they could stand to look at him.

    Upon This Rock

    The term "ghosts", coined by Get Religion, describes a news story with religious themes that are unacknowledged by the author.

    At GQ, John Jeremiah Sullivan intended to write a piece
    about evangelicals at a Christian festival, but ends up writing not so much about religion ghosts as about his own Christ-hauntedness:

    Why should He vex me? Why is His ghost not friendlier? Why can't I just be a good Enlightenment child and see in His life a sustaining example of what we can be, as a species?
    Because once you've known Him as God, it's hard to find comfort in the man. The sheer sensation of life that comes with a total, all-pervading notion of being—the pulse of consequence one projects onto even the humblest things—the pull of that won't slacken.
    And one has doubts about one's doubts.

    Friday, August 05, 2005

    Love interrupts

    U2's Bono describes Christ's saving grace in an interview
    with Catholic News Agency. I may be showing my age, but "The Joshua Tree" is probably the most Christ-haunted album I've ever heard. Even the titles are existential. "I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For," "Where the Streets Have No Name," etc.

    Anyway.

    The most interesting part of the article is where Bono contrasts grace (""mind blowing concept...that keeps me on my knees.") with karma.

    "At the center of all religions" Bono tells his skeptical interviewer, "is the idea of Karma. You know, what you put out comes back to you: an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth, or in physics-in physical laws-every action is met by an equal or an opposite one."
    "And yet," he says, "along comes this idea called Grace to upend all that. . . . Love interrupts, if you like, the consequences of your actions, which in my case is very good news indeed, because I've done a lot of stupid stuff."

    Back when I thought I was a Buddhist, I walked with a Quaker friend through a park in one of the poorest parts of Philadelphia. Stepping over 40 oz. malt liquor bottles and who knows what else, I explained to my friend the reasons I couldn't be a Christian (or a "Christer" as she put it). At the end of my litany, I said, "However, I do believe in grace." Then I said, "But I guess that isn't really compatible with Buddhism." She merely smiled. Six months later I reverted to Roman Catholicism.

    Reading with your tongue

    A blind man more than anything wanted to read the Bible. He learned Braille. Then he was struck with leperosy. The tips of his fingers became numb, and he could no longer use them to read. So, he learned to read Braille with his tongue.

    To me that's somebody who is Christ-haunted.

    This blog is named after one of Flannery O'Connor's most famous sayings. I'm currently reading the book of her letters, Habit of Being. I think what she says about the South is true for the entire country, if not the world. Our world is anything but Christ-centered. Humans are caught in the pursuit of tangibles, of the things that satisfy our flesh, while man aches to be back with our source. To commune with the Lord. As St. Augustine said, "Our hearts are restless until they rest in you."

    My heart is certainly restless and my spirit is homesick for the Lord.