Blog

January 29, 2023

In Praise of Inequality

In praise of inequality Title grab your attention? Good. Because the notion of universal equality is irrational and foolish. Perhaps even sinful if done against God’s Law. In praise of inequality!! Take just a moment and look about God’s creatures and creation: the massive inequality of it. That Great Dane will be fortunate if he makes it seven years before dying. But the Chihuahua will likely see over twenty years of life. Attempting to equalize the heights of trees would be futile and idiotic, we’d never try. Although we accept and delight in the astounding variations in animals, variations that […]
January 22, 2023

The Use and Misuse of Power

The use and misuse of power. When we see a phrase like this, we think of powerful persons, institutions or some kind of disaster, don’t we? The use and misuse of power connotes vastness. Someone Huge! Something colossal! We sure don’t think of ourselves—our reason, will or our intellect as method for the use and misuse of power, at least I didn’t. Until I read last Tuesday’s Office of Readings: St. Basil the Great’s excerpt from the Detailed Rules for Monks. The excerpt is maybe 500 words. But just about each word seemed to leap off the page and appear […]
January 15, 2023

The Loss of Context: Pope Benedict and Islamophobia

The loss of context: Pope Benedict and Islamophobia If you’re wondering why I’d add another opinion, analysis or virtual eulogy to the many thousands already published about the death of Pope Benedict, I understand. Especially since I’m woefully ignorant of this man, his thoughts and writings. Of over 200 published books, I’ve read one. Of Pope Benedict’s many thousands of speeches, articles and essays, I’ve read only a few encyclicals. So why then add to the plethora of words that have been published about Pope Emeritus Pope Benedict? Because of my surprise, actually astonishment, at the controversy attached to his […]
January 8, 2023

Epiphany – What Does It Mean Again?

Epiphany: What does it mean again? “You have had an epiphany,” remarked my friend when I told her about my decision to become a Catholic Christian. Although my friend Adele’s comment occured a couple of decades ago now, I think of it on this day we celebrate Epiphany. Perhaps I’d heard the word before but certainly it was not one used in my every day thoughts or speech. Or that of the people around me, for that matter. I was silent so long that she thought I’d hung up. Deciding that the word meant seeing something in a new way […]
January 1, 2023

The Virgin Shall Conceive

The virgin shall conceive Since the beginning of Advent, the readings of the Christian liturgy have been from the Book of Isaiah. But there’s one that is increasingly haunting with each pasing year. It’s King Ahaz’s perplexing refusal to his God: “Ask for a sign from the Lord, your God; let it be deep as the nether world, or high as the sky! But Ahaz answered, “I will not ask! I will not tempt the LORD!” Perplexing, because he makes himself sound reverent and humble. But the Lord, though the prophet, reads the heart of the king and knows how […]
December 25, 2022

Curbing the Aggressive, Capricious, Untrustworthy Intellect

Curbing the Aggressive, Capricious, Untrustworthy Intellect It’s a heck of a phrase, isn’t it? The adjectives strung together are strident and wholly negative modifiers of—the intellect. Huh? In our knowledge obsessed twenty-first century, the statement, Curbing the Aggressive, Capricious, Untrustworthy Intellect sounds like heresy. Unless we stop, really HALT. And think about the amount of words we read, hear, and maybe write. As a ‘wordsmith,’ I’ve had a love/hate relationship with words for most of my life. For example, when I fulfilled my promise to John that the move from Nevada wouldn’t include tons of books. Among the countless discarded […]
December 18, 2022

Let’s Get Away From The Crowd

Let’s get away from the crowd Time goes so fast, doesn’t it? These blessed days of Advent are slipping away far too quickly. Christmas Day’s a week from today! And there are numerous holy practices still to be done. Let’s get away from the crowd and use these days to make straight the path of the Lord. Before dissolving into panic, a reminder: Christmas isn’t a day but a season. The Christmas Octave is eight days long, the Christian liturgy stretches the merciful, miraculous celebration ofJesus’s birth into eight holy days. And then the Christmas season continues for another twelve […]
December 6, 2022

Remembering: Was it Really Two Years Ago?

Remembering: Was it Really Two Years ago? We’re free to enter our churches and worship during these so very holy days preceding the Incarnation of Our Lord. We can receive Him: real food and real drink. And we can receive the Sacrament of Reconciliation as often we feel the need to do so. The ubiquitous fear has abated; we see one another’s faces now. Mostly. I hope never to take these facts for granted. Because remembering: was it really two years ago, in that strange perception of time, feels both like just yesterday and decades ago. And so I’m remembering […]
December 4, 2022

Our Bodies Ourselves or Vehicles for Mission?

Our bodies ourselves or vehicles for mission? We women of a certain age remember when Our Bodies Ourselves was written and published. It was revolutionary on many levels, primarily in leading women—not just here but worldwide, to take ownership of their health. Although its subject is limited to sexuality, the effects of the “movement” resound decades later, with consequences that are both positive and not just negative, but evil. Like most revolutions. On the positive side, the “Women’s Health Initiative” was one of the first organized efforts to regain control over health. The rise of the medical profession’s power began […]
November 27, 2022

Hope Holders: Reflections on Mary

Hope holders: Reflections on Mary                       HOPE HOLDERS                   Do you wonder why these beliefs have taken root in your                                                                 Soul?                Roots which deepen, burrow into the secret places of mind and                                                               Heart? Year after year, prayer by prayer, tear by tear, doubt by doubt until                                                               Fixed? Do you wonder why you believe the impossible-god as infant born of a                                                             Virgin? Do you wonder at this girl child, at her trust in the incomprehensible                                                            Answer                 How can this be, she asked, how can this be, we ask? Why such Love For faded facsimiles […]
November 20, 2022

Feast of Christ the King of the Universe

Feast of Christ the King of the Universe Just a few moments of reflection about the state of the world in 1925 compels us to stop. And think very hard about the inspiration which led Pope Pius Xl to proclaim the Sunday ending the liturgical year in the Christian liturgy as the feast of Christ the King of the Universe. Imagine: Four years of the “war to end all wars,” A war that resulted in the deaths world-wide of 16 million people. Followed by a global plague of epic proportion, infecting one out of every three people and killing at least 50 […]
November 13, 2022

Combative Hope

It’s one of those wonderful oxymorons: combative hope. And makes no sense at all until you let it sink in. Slowly. And then the phrase hits home because combat is part and parcel of life. All life. You disagree? Consider the time energy and sheer grit it took to get to where you are, wherever that is. Weren’t there times that you wanted to just give in? Walk away from needy children? Or your suddenly unlovely spouse? Or the education that got you the job you have now? Weren’t they combat? And wasn’t the hemorrhaging from the wounds sometimes a […]
November 6, 2022

November’s the Month of the Dead-Why Should We Care?

November’s the month of the dead “I continue to think that we start from very different places on the question of death itself, what it is and what, if anything comes after it…I have trouble getting myself to the point where I believe that anything happens to the individual after death.  I can’t get beyond, once you are dead you are dead and that is the end of it.” November’s the month of the dead-why should we care? This was Jeff’s reply to my renewed emphatic urging that he just ask Jesus if he’s real….just speak the words. Over the […]
October 30, 2022

The Patron Saint of Politicians: Thomas More

The Patron Saint of Politicians: Thomas More In the year 2000, then Pope John Paul ll declared that many leaders of nations, states, and governments had asked him to proclaim Saint Thomas More the Patron of Statesmen and politicians. The Pope’s Apostolic Letter which details the proclamation, begins: The life and martyrdom of Saint Thomas More have been the source of a message which spans the centuries and which speaks to people everywhere of the inalienable dignity of the human conscience…Precisely because of the witness which he bore, even at the price of his life, to the primacy of truth […]
October 23, 2022

Newman Centers- Lighthouses of Grace

Newman Centers-Lighthouses of grace “My name is Matthew, and I am a senior at Cal Poly. Four years ago, when I arrived at the college, I found the ‘freedom’ of being away from home intoxicating…too much so, in fact.” Newman centers-lighthouses of grace. The good-looking Hispanic young man looked out at the parishioners at St. Patrick’s Church in Arroyo Grande California. And then he explained, “In my family, the church was a Sunday morning event without any impact on the rest of the week. We talked about ‘Church,’ never about Jesus. It was at the Newman Center where I first encountered […]
October 16, 2022

Be Safe and Be Holy

Be Safe and be holy My friend Meg’s salutation on the update of her life I requested since we last spoke keeps ringing in my head: “Be safe and be holy.” That phrase, “Be safe,” has become endemic since the arrival of the corona virus and, to me, connotes the obsessive cleaning, masking and endless governmental mandates of the last three years. Because I was mired in all the “c” stuff of her “be safe” phrase, her conjunction of safety with holiness didn’t make sense at first. Hence I replied to her FB message update this way: “The gap between […]
October 9, 2022

Hold Fast to Patience with A Silent Mind

“Hold fast to patience with a silent mind.” These words from St. Benedict’s fourth chapter on humility seem to burn through the muddled and distorted thoughts of a mind overwhelmed by the horrors of today’s politics, more accurately described by TV character Garrett Moore of Blue Blood’s wry comment to New York Police Commissioner Frank Reagan, than of statecraft: “The circus came to town and they never left.” But it is the contemporary climate of major universities that sears my heart and psyche even more deeply as I write on this cold morning…an apt metaphor for the wisdom eclipsed by […]
October 2, 2022

Leaning Into Crazy: Dealing With Impossible People

Leaning into crazy: dealing with impossible people “Man, go ahead, beat me up! Shoot me! You’d be doing me a favor, please come over and hit me.” Imagine saying that to this irate driver who looks like he wants to shoot you? A response like this one not only calmed the raging driver down but totally turned him around. Dr. Mark Goulston explains. If a dog has sunk his teeth into your hand, the key to getting him to release your hand is to push it even further into his mouth. When you do that, he’ll instantly let go. Why? […]
September 18, 2022

The Problem With the Catholic Church is the Crucifix

The problem with the Catholic Church “So why did you become Catholic?” After listening to my abbreviated conversion story, Bob explained that he’d born a Catholic but was now an evangelical Christian. Apparently feeling the need to defend his decision to leave Catholicism to a new convert, Bob declared that the crucifix is depressing and too focused on pain and suffering. After thinking another moment or two, Bob looked at at me and said, “The problem with the Catholic Church is the crucifix.” I thought of that long ago conversation last Thursday, September 14th, the feast of the Triumph of […]
September 11, 2022

The Battleground of Conscience

The battleground of conscience That phrase seems oxymoronic—contradictory—the battleground of conscience, I know. But once I began rereading Fr. Jacques Phillipe’s Searching for and Maintaining Peace, there’s no better metaphor. But first, some brief background. The first chapter of this Fr. Phillippe’s book says it all: “Without Me you can do nothing….(John 15:5) He didn’t say, you can’t do much without Me but you can do nothing.” Searching for and Maintaining Peace There are times that my sins, flaws, weaknesses, frailities, pick one or all, once confessed, I move on. There are others when those same sins, flaws, weaknesses can […]
January 10, 2021

Baptism: His and Ours

Baptism: His and Ours If we’re under the age of fifty and are, or were, a Christian, we have been baptized. Most likely, our parents made the decision for us when we were infants. But in this “post-Christian era”, more and more parents choose not to baptize their child. The stated reasons vary, but these are a sample of those I have been told and read. We don’t need church to be spiritual. We can pray anywhere. The woods, mountain or ocean is our chapel. Nature is my church. I was brainwashed as Catholic or evangelical Christian and I want […]