Monday, April 30, 2007


I have never read The Wizard of Oz, and I know there are bound to be some differences between the book and the movie. Can someone tell me what ever happens to Toto upon "returning" to Kansas? I mean, do they still put the little terrier to sleep? The situation between Toto and Miss Gulch is still a situation, isn't it?

Ugh. Another sleepless night ahead of me.

Sunday, April 29, 2007

Sacrament of Faith

Jack Henry Lyons was baptized today, this fourth Sunday of Easter, this Good Shepherd Sunday. Here he is with Fr Jack.

The King of Love my Shepherd is,
Whose goodness faileth never;
I nothing lack if I am His
And He is mine for ever.

Where streams of living water flow
My ransomed soul He leadeth,
And where the verdant pastures grow
With food celestial feedeth.

Perverse and foolish oft I strayed,
But yet in love He sought me,
And on His shoulder gently laid,
And home rejoicing brought me.

In death's dark vale I fear no ill
With thee, dear Lord, beside me;
Thy rod and staff my comfort still,
Thy cross before to guide me.

Thou spread'st a table in my sight;
Thy unction grace bestoweth;
And O what transport of delight
From Thy pure chalice floweth!

And so through all the length of days
Thy goodness faileth never:
Good Shepherd, may I sing Thy praise
Within Thy house for ever.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

You Wanna Piece of Me?

  • Sophie's been home the past two days - mostly coughing and having a high temperature. She has a temperature again tonight, but she so needs to be in school. I made her go to Faith Formation last night with a temperature on account of all the misses from sickness she's already had and that she seems as fit as a fiddle during the day. (She doesn't like Faith Formation because, "It's b-o-r-i-n-g" - and, yes, she spelled it. Bully for her in regards to her spelling.)

    Jack's sick too, but seems to be recovering quickly.

  • Netflix update - what's at home: Night at the Museum - 4 stars; Children of Men - 4 stars; The Holiday - Haven't watched it yet.

    Night at the Museum is a funny clean film - anybody could enjoy it, though it might be too unsophisticated for some of you. Some movies are better with children.

    Now Children of Men is a fascinating movie. If you've read the book, the movie's different. Sure that goes without saying, but this movie seems to see no need to go much further than the premise of the novel. As disappointing as that is, however, this movie is still a powerful look at humanity and how we value and devalue life.

  • About American Idol - I'm so glad they've raised so much money for AIDS victims in Africa, I really am, but every time I see them talking about their charity I can't get the Sermon on the Mount out of my head - left and right hands and all that (I recognize that many of those participating are not Christians, but still, it's ridiculously self-aggrandizing all the same). I even read a serious question on another blog asking Who has done more for the poor, the Church or Bono? and I wanted to vomit. And not because I don't respect the heartbeat of Bono, but Jeez Louise, are people so blind? I also don't much care for the carting out of celebrity every few years as a platform for them to tell me how much money they give.

    Deaf ears.

    I know, too ornery. Sorry.

  • I'm currently reading two books: The Children of Húrin by Tolkien and The Quotidian Mysteries by Kathleen Norris. Incredible books, both of them. I'll be writing about each later.

    I would like to quickly plug Quotidian for those of you who have a home or at some time in your life have had to repeat an activity in your life (say shaving or getting dressed or brushing your teeth). This is a must-read. A blog-friend sent this book my way (Thanks, Penni!). It is the perfect book for me - even though the subtitle reads, "Laundry, Liturgy and 'Women's Work.' "

  • Perhaps because it does. She was very worried about offending my manhood, but I told her she couldn't offend it anymore than God already had by making me a SAHD.

    Hahaa. *slaps knee*

    I crack me up.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Pagels Read Judas, Colbert Don't

I'm not sure if the name Elaine Pagels means anything to you or not. But she and Bart Ehrman (former Wheaton grad, now unbeliever) seem to be the leading textual-criticism darlings of those who would contest the gospel and therefore the veracity of the New Testament Scriptures. They say that the early Church fathers censured/buried any of the early writings that didn't agree with what they were teaching - as if antiquity itself is reason enough for our acceptance of these writings (Why should we accept John's gospel over Judas's? they would ask).

Indeed, the early fathers did bury these texts. This is one of the reasons why we submit to the authority of the Church - she alone has and has had the authority to decide what is orthodoxy and what is heterodoxy. It is because of her, guided by the Holy Spirit, that we have the New Testament canon as we have it.

HT: Mike Aquilina, and a trail of others

It Is the East, and Juliet Is the Sun

My favorite writer is William Shakespeare. Yesterday was the 391st anniversary of his death. And some would say the 443th anniversary of his birth. You see, his baptism was on April 26. So some believe, since the baptism usually took place two or three days after the birth that perhaps he was born and died on the same day. All of which is conjecture and doesn't amount to a hill of beans.

I love the man's work. My first son is named after him. And when I hear a line from one of his plays, such as the famous one above pulled from the balcony soliloquy, my soul responds. Poetry is visceral. It grabs the attention of the heart, the soul.

Now not all poets are created equal. Some are quite bad. But Shakespeare, he did it well.

Avery's Calipitter

The yellow-haired child has been carrying around a jar full of grass the past couple of days - and an eastern tent caterpillar. She loves him. Though sometimes he's a her. It's all quite confusing to me even though I've been told by her and Anna how to tell the difference between a male and a female - the male has a yellow butt. Apparently.

She was quite upset, to tears, when Char or Ellafrella, fell between the cracks of our porch into Daddy-No-Gettum-Land. I was asked, with tears on her face to cut down the porch in order to fetch hi... her, but I declined.

We are currently looking for another calipitter.

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Where I'll Be, What I'll Be Doing

I'll be in the yard today. I have lots of outside work planned, from mowing and weeding to washing the house. Fortunately for me, it's supposed to be a gorgeous day today. Unfortunately for me, my time outside won't be spent in a hammock sipping mint juleps - or whatever is appropriate to my geographical existence. Maybe I'll skip the juleps for some sweet tea. Or maybe I won't since I'll be working and I do not own a hammock. Thank God for iPods and that the ensuing deafness that follows mowing the lawn while simultaneously listening to a cranked-up iPod is only temporary.

In other far-more-important news, Jack Henry will be baptized next Sunday. We're excited and are trying to track down a christening outfit today. I'll be sure to post some pictures of the aftermath of his enlightenment. (We're not allowed to take pictures during the ceremony - though that's the personal preference of our priest more than it is any Church teaching.)

Infant baptism is an absolutely beautiful ceremony, by the way. It moves me to tears every time I see a baby being baptized: The claiming for Christ, the rejection of Satan, the affirmation of the creed, the naming of the baby, the trine immersion while chanting "I baptize you in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit," the clothing of the baby in white garments - with Christ, the anointing of him with blessed oil scented with balsam - with the Spirit of God. Man! I'm telling you, it's beyond-good stuff, this being baptized in and with the faith of the Church.

The Church has this to say in its "Instruction on Infant Baptism": "Infant Baptism is truly evangelical, since it has the force of witness, manifesting God's initiative and the gratuitous character of the love with which He surrounds our lives: 'not that we loved God but that he loved us.... We love, because he first loved us.' Even in the case of adults, the demands that the reception of Baptism involves should not make us forget that 'he saved us, not because of deeds done by us in righteousness, but in virtue of his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal in the Holy Spirit.' " And in section 1250 of the Catechism the Church says, "The sheer gratuitousness of the grace of salvation is particularly manifest in infant baptism." What does that mean? It means that salvation is God's free gift based on His mercy and not on any of our merit (not even our "work of faith," since faith too is a gift of God) - and that this is most evident in the washing of our children in baptism. Furthermore, St Paul speaks of children being sanctified by their believing parents. And the psalmist writes of how he was taught to trust in God even at his mother's breast. I could go on and on, but I am afraid that I've already begun to babble.

We're excited, and we hope that all of you will rejoice with us as we rejoice.

Friday, April 20, 2007

Speaking of Why I'm Speaking of Which

I know I've said fart in the last two posts, and sworn. My apologies, kind of, but you see, it's simply not my fault. My boy's favorite word right now is poopie. So it's on my mind a lot.

For instance, the other day the yellow-haired child wanted to watch Ella Enchanted, much to Will's dismay. I sternly told him it was Avery's turn to pick a movie and he muttered with disgust, "Ella Poopie."

You see, it's like that, and it can't be helped.

Speaking of Which

I sit with Baby Jack in my arms and stare into his peaceful face. He draws me in. I rock him gently back and forth as I browse through some blogs. Without thought, because of my rocking motion, I fart - mostly because I'm gassy.

I continue gazing with adoration at my boy when Jack Henry begins choking. A quick examination reveals nothing in his mouth. And then I'm slapped with the realization that the only thing he's choking on is the air biscuit I'd floated. He gags four times, maybe five, before settling back down into the beatific meditation that I had momentarily interrupted with a kind of olfactory "What the hell?"

Thursday, April 19, 2007

A Crusty Old Man Farts

  • Some days I simply itch to write, but I don't have the time. I go up the stairs to my office, and immediately the monkeys downstairs begin screeching.

  • I was speaking on the phone last night with a friend and the topic of homeschooling came up. You see, I probably need to homeschool my children, at least my oldest, but I am so damned unorganized I wonder sometimes how I could possibly give her a quality education. Not to mention the additional work of caring for a newborn.

    (Why does it sound so much like I'm making excuses?)

    So after saying Goodbye, I went upstairs to my office only to read an article by Orson Scott Card (a local sci-fi writer of some fame) about how of all the college students he teaches, the homeschooled students are the best and broadest thinkers. He goes on to rail against the miserable public education system, with which I sympathize as I am married to a public educator and hear about the stinking guts of the monster ad nauseum.

  • I am well into Vonnegut's Palm Sunday and am thoroughly enjoying myself. More than I have reading most anything recently. What an excellent writer. If an occasional coarseness or granddaddy-of-a-cussword bothers you, then save Mr. Vonnegut Jr. for another time in your life.

  • Speaking of books, I bought Tolkien's newest release, The Children of Húrin, from that Great Monstrosity Barnes & Noble. I haven't yet read it due to my Vonnegut reading, but the book sits on my end table and occasionally catches my eye. Sweet.

  • Why the uproar on the Supreme Court's decision to uphold W's making late-term abortions illegal? Do these people understand what kind of abortion we're speaking of (not that there's good abortion)? Do they think they can maintain any moral credibility when they embrace late-term abortion (delivering half the baby before killing him or her - basically, infanticide) and then express loathing for the twisted souls of people like Cho?

    Speaking of liberal Democrats, in the political climate we find ourselves, any Democrat running and nominated as the party's candidate who was also pro-life would win the presidency without so much as a whimper.

    Then again, with the Republican Yahoos who have popped up so far, they will anyway.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Staying at Home

In a recent post, I mentioned how housework and childrearing were liturgical. That wasn't my insight, but Margaret Kim Peterson's. In fact, she has a book on the subject that was just released last week: Keeping House: The Litany of Everyday Life. I listened to an MP3 of a lecture she gave earlier this year in Florida and it was a profoundly interesting and theological view of diapers and laundry. You can download the lecture here.

(Click on "Margaret Kim Peterson," and you're good to go. The introduction is difficult to hear, but you will be able to here Mrs. Peterson's voice clearly. I was able to burn the entire lecture onto one CD and listen to it in my sweet MINI van.)

By the way, this lecture is no conservative diatribe about the necessity of the woman to be home - far from it. If you like that sort of thing, this isn't it. Sorry. This is an incredibly intelligent woman speaking from where she is - and how she finds ministry in all those monotonous chores that make us loony.

Please listen - especially if you're a House Spouse. Sometimes being at home can be a lonely place. Sometimes it can seem purposeless.

It isn't.

This work also is the work of Christ.

Virginia Tech

Father, console and comfort the families and friends of those whose lives were so terribly taken from them. Have mercy on them. Grant them Your peace.

And help us to forgive those who trespass against us.

Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world, have mercy on us.

Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world, have mercy on us.

Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world, grant us peace.


Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Of Vonnegut and Turkey Farms

In memory of Kurt Vonnegut, I picked up a couple of his books from the library yesterday, Slapstick and Palm Sunday. I figured that this author, of whom I've heard so much, deserves me to read his work sometime in my life. You heard me right, I've never read any Vonnegut.

He reads easy.

I finished Slapstick this morning and immediately began Palm Sunday. Slapstick was, well, one of the strangest, most unique novels I've read - and quite funny. Any Vonnegut favorites that I absolutely must read? (Assuming our little public library system carries them or can procure them.)

Hi Ho.

Monday, April 16, 2007

The Nativity Story

I watched The Nativity Story last night, though I did sort of nod off near the end. It was just kind of, well, boring for me. It all seemed so sterile - more like a living creche than a vibrant story with breathing people in it. There were some things that were done well, but I'd rather not get bogged down with all that.

However, a highlight for me was when Al-Assad (from 24) appeared as Gabriel - I about jumped out of my pants. I was waiting for him to blow something up, but apparently the man really has reformed.

I wanted to like it. I just ... didn't.

I mean, like, Gosh! Sorry.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Our Dear Sweet Christ on Earth

After reading today's homily from Papa Benedict - translated by Teresa Benedetta - that he spoke at the Mass in honor of his 80th birthday (which is tomorrow, April 16), I felt I needed to share it with you. If the entirety of the homily is too much for you, at least read the bold text. We must give thanks to our Heavenly Father for our dear sweet Christ on Earth. *

"We are gathered to reflect on the completion of a not-brief period of my existence. Obviously, the liturgy should not be used to speak of one's own self, but one's life can serve to proclaim the mercy of God.

" 'Come and listen, all you who fear God, and I will tell you what He has done for me,' says a Psalm (63[66],16). I have always considered it a great gift of Divine Mercy that my birth and rebirth were granted to me together, as it were, on the same day, in the sign of the Easter Vigil. And so on the same day, I was born into my own family and into the family of God.

"And I thank God because I have experienced what 'family' means. I have experienced what 'fatherhood' means, such that I have been made to understand the word of God the Father internally. Human experience has given me access to the great and benevolent Father who is in heaven.

"Before Him, we carry a responsibility, but at the same time, He gives us confidence because in His justice, there is always that mercy and goodness with which He accepts our weaknesses and supports us, so that gradually, we may learn to walk straight.

"I thank God because I experienced profoundly what maternal goodness means, being always open to whoever seeks shelter, and as such, able to give me my freedom. I thank God for my sister and brother who, with their help, were faithfully beside me throughout my life.

"I thank God for the companions I met along the way, for the advisers and friends that He has given me. I am thankful in particular because from the very first day, I was able to enter and to grow in the great community of believers, among whom the frontiers between life and death, heaven and earth, have been thrown open.

"I thank God for having learned so many things dy drawing from the wisdom of this community, which encompasses not only all human experience from the most remote times: Their wisdom is not only human wisdom, but unites itself to God's own wisdom, eternal wisdom.

"In the first Reading of this Sunday, we are told that in the early days of the nascent Church, people brought their sick to the public squares, so that when Peter passed by, his shadow could fall on them. To that shadow, they attributed a healing power.

"Indeed, the shadow came from the light of Christ and therefore, it carried in it something of the power of Divine goodness. Peter's shadow, through the Catholic church, has fallen across my life from the very beginning, and I learned that it is a good shadow - a healing shadow because, precisely, it ultimately comes from Christ Himself.

"Peter was a man with all the weaknesses of a human being, but above all, he was a man full of passionate faith in Christ, full of love for Him. Through his faith and his love, Christ's healing power, his unifying force, has reached all men even through all the weaknesses of Peter. So let us look for Peter's shadow even today, in order that we may be in the light of Christ.

"Birth and rebirth, earthly family and the family of God - this is the great gift of God's many mercies, the foundation on which we depend. But proceeding through life, I received another new but demanding gift: the call to priesthood.

"On the Feast of Saints Peter and Paul in 1951 when we - there were 40 others - found ourselves in the Cathedral of Freising prostrate on the ground and on us were invoked all the saints, the consciousness of the poverty of my existence in the face of this new mission weighed on me. So it was a consolation that the protection of God's saints, living and dead, was invoked over us.

"I knew I would not be left alone. And what trust was instilled by the words of Jesus, who during the liturgy of Ordination, we could hear from the lips of our Bishop: 'I no longer call you servants, but friends'!

"And I have been able to experience that profoundly. He, the Lord, is not just the Lord, but also a friend. He has placed His hand on me and He will not leave me. These words were pronounced later at the conferment of power to administer the Sacrament of Reconciliation, and therefore, in the name of Christ, to pardon sins.

"It is the same thing we heard today in the Gospel: the Lord breathes on His disciples. He grants them his Spirit - the Holy Spirit: 'Their sins will be remitted to whom you give remission...'

"The Spirit of Jesus is the power of forgiveness. It is the power of Divine Mercy, which makes it possible to begin again, always anew. The friendship of Jesus is the friendship of Him who makes us forgiving, of Him who forgives even us, who raises us continuously from our weaknesses and that way, teaches us, instills in us the comsciousness of our internal duty to love, the duty to reciprocate His trust with our loyalty.

"In today's Gospel, we also heard the story of the encounter between the Apostle Thiomas and the Risen Lord. The Apostle was allowed to touch His wounds and so to recognize Him. And he recognizes Him, beyond the human identity of Jesus of Nazareth, in his true and profound identity: 'My Lord and my God!' (Jn 20,28).

"The Lord carries His wounds through eternity. He is a wounded God; He allowed Himself to be wounded out of love for us. The wounds are for us the sign that He understands us and that He allowed Himself to be wounded out of love for us. These wounds of His - how much we can touch them in the story of our times!

"Indeed, the Lord is always allowing Himself to be wounded for us! What better guarantee of His mercy and what consolation that means for us! And what certainty it gives us about who He is: 'My Lord and my God!' These words constitute for us a duty to allow ourselves to be wounded in turn for Him.

"God's mercies accompany us every day. It is enough that we have a vigilant heart to perceive it. We are too inclined to take note only of the daily cares that are imposed on us, as sons of Adam. But if we open our hearts, then even immersed in our daily concerns, we can continuously see how God is good with us, how He thinks of us in the small things, thus helping us to deal with larger problems.

"And with the growing weight of responsiblity, the Lord also brought new help to my life. Repeatedly I see with grateful joy the ranks of those who sustain me with their prayers; who with their faith and their love help me to carry out my ministry; who are indulgent with my weaknesses, recognizing even in the shadow of Peter the beneficent light of Christ.

"For this I give my heartfelt thanks to God and to you all. I ould like to end this homily with a prayer by Saint Pope Leo the Great, that prayer which, 30 years ago, I wrote on the commemorative card of my episcopal ordination: 'Pray to our good God, so that in our day, He may reinforce the faith, multiply love, and increase the peace. May he make me, His poor servant, adequate for His work and useful for your edification, and grant that I may render service so that, along with the time I am given, my dedication should grow.' Amen."

HT: Amy Welborn

* St Catherine of Siena, who was never afraid to speak with popes, called Popes Gregory XI and Urban VI, "Our dear sweet Christ on Earth," making reference to his representation of Christ for the Church and for all the world. This representation is true of course of all the bishops, as we see in the writings of Ignatius: "Where the bishop appears, there let the people be, just as where Jesus Christ is, there is the Catholic Church."

Jesus, I Trust in Thee

O Lord, behold here before You a soul who exists in this world in order to allow You to exercise Your admirable mercy and manifest it before heaven and earth. Others may glorify You through their faithfulness and perseverance, thus making evident the power of Your grace. How sweet and generous You are to those who are faithful to You!

Nevertheless, I will glorify You by acquainting others of Your goodness to sinners and by reminding them that Your mercy is above all malice, that nothing can exhaust it, and that no relapse, no matter how shameful or criminal, should allow the sinner to despair of forgiveness.

I have offended You grievously, O Beloved Redeemer, but it would be still worse if I were to offend You by thinking that You were lacking in goodness to forgive me. I would rather He deprive me of everything else than the trust I have in Your mercy.

Should I fall a hundred times or should my crimes be a hundred times worse that they are, I would continue to trust in Your mercy. Amen.

(A Divine Mercy Prayer)

Psalm 118,2-4.13-15.22-24

Let the house of Israel say: God's love endures forever.
Let the house of Aaron say, God's love endures forever.
Let those who fear the LORD say, God's love endures forever.
I was hard pressed and falling, but the LORD came to my help.
The LORD, my strength and might, came to me as savior.
The joyful shout of deliverance is heard in the tents of the victors: "The LORD's right hand strikes with power;
The stone the builders rejected has become the cornerstone.
By the LORD has this been done; it is wonderful in our eyes.
This is the day the LORD has made; let us rejoice in it and be glad.

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Thinking Blogger My ...

I appreciate Penni's nomination of me as a Thinking Blogger. I appreciate even more the kind words she wrote about me. Let me say, with all the false humility that I can muster, "I am no thinking blogger." My blog is mundane, daily stuff.

I write about dirt and rocks and children and flowers. I am no theologian. But if I am a thinker, and the icon says that I am, I pray it will be expressed more vividly in the simplicity of the ordinary, in the concreteness of a dirty diaper, in the insanity of being a parent than in posts that struggle through my faith theologically, intellectually. Many of you write the same way, and are extraordinary thinkers.

Again, Penni, thank you for passing this heavy burden on to me. I take the weasel's way out and pass it on to all of you and to none of you.

(By the way, check out Martha, Martha - there's a thinking blogger.)

Thursday, April 12, 2007


As we were saying our goodbyes in Michigan, my six year old, Anna, looked up at two of her much-older cousins, Alecia and Hannah, and said, "I love you like a mother cow loves her babies."

Long Time, No Blog

I've been away. Well, not away, but re-working my life around the new baby. I'm learning him; he's learning me. And it takes a while to get the knack of a new person in the house, especially with a toddler and preschooler present. So forgive my somewhat intermittent presence here.

I also have a couple of articles due for the New Living Translation Web site on spiritual disciplines (I'm winding down a series on Simplicity and introducing a series on Confession - a tightrope act that, a spiritual discipline so rich and different for Catholics than for my target audience). I need to write those today as they're due today or tomorrow. It's been difficult to find the time to write just as it has been difficult to blog, which is, by the way, writing - though less lucrative.

I've got things I need to write here, and they will get written. But it probably won't be till Friday night or Saturday.

Sunday, April 08, 2007


The trip home was iconic of this weekend's liturgies: the drive was snow and gray. It was dark. We traveled through the night and woke up in our home, to spring. What a resurrection - blue skies, new leaves, flowers.

Peace to you, my brothers and my sisters. Christ is risen!


As the bass line kicks in, the yellow-haired child begins to move. She is speaking with me, but her body is somewhere else. She is all music and art, unconscious and innocent. Beautiful.


The trip was (1) germ-free, (2) vehicle-problem-free, and is (3) over. It's such a long drive, with children.

Thanks for your prayers.

I'll be doing some catching up with blogs in the next day or two. I also will be working heavily on a novel (novel - what a strange-looking word) in the upcoming months.

Yes I am.

The book has been conceived. Now it simply requires some womb time - cramps, backaches, embarrassing piles, peeing myself when I sneeze or laugh, restless nights - a little labor, and then delivery. Easy stuff.

Anyway, self-mockery aside, it is time for me to be more fully who I am called to be.

In the meantime, in my day job, I will also be who I am also called to be - a father to a newborn, a toddler, and a preschooler (feeding the hungry, clothing the naked - the liturgical, rhythmic work of home). Pray for my wife: it will be a kind of death for her tomorrow, leaving Jack Henry for school.

I wish it were different, Laura. I'm so sorry that it isn't.

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

The Great White North

We decided, somewhat impetuously, that we were heading up to Michigan for a few days. Please pray for us as we travel. And it's supposed to snow the entire time we're there.

Hello, Spring!

Our van is jam-packed with children, and soon my veins will be running dark with Starbucks coffee.

Also, while you're praying, pray that our van travels well. Our last trip ended badly with a gastro-intestinal plague plus the added bonus of a broken vehicle that resulted in a three-month hiatus for my sweet, pimped ride.

Catholic, XXII

Becoming Catholic is not as simple as changing your clothes, just doing church in a different building. It is more like changing your skin. And it tears at times. And you bleed. But in the end, beloved, you are new.

Bikinis in Boots

Looking out the window from my upstairs office, I noticed the yellow-haired child running around in her stars-and-stripes bikini and her robin-egg-blue snow boots.

I wish I had my camera with me.

The kids wanted to head down to the lake to go swimming. And yes, even in North Carolina the water is still too cold to swim in. But there are some things that children learn only from experience.

It was nearly 80 degrees outside. The water was nearer 60. They were in the water briefly when Sophie said she stepped on something, or that something big (like a fish) was nibbling at her toes. Then the yellow-haired child said she stepped on something too, and that it was a dead body.

So Laura let them play five more minutes around the corpse before loading them up into the van.

I was home with Jack Henry, sorry that I missed the whole adventure.

Sunday, April 01, 2007

Do Not Be Afraid

"Do not abandon yourselves to despair. We are the Easter people, and hallelujah is our song."

My meditation this week is from Pope John Paul II. And I will not be changing it for a few days. My reasons are (1) the season we find ourselves in, and (2) the poetry of the meditation has gotten into my very soul. And I want to keep it there.

But I would like to begin to explore it.

Today is Palm/Passion Sunday. It begins Holy Week. And this week is the apex of the Church calendar, within it is the totality of our being. As Fr Stephen Freeman says: All is Pascha.

John Paul the Great often said, "Do not be afraid." And these words are the exposition and rising action of our lives, our two-act plays. O! The comfort these words bring. And they lead to the blessed climax and denouement: We are the Easter people. All is Pascha.

Our lives turn upon this week. They climax in the Triduum and resolve with a shout. And after, we live in the New Day, the day without an end - we live in Pascha.

So there is nothing to fear.

But, even still, I do.

I fear failure. I fear being dismissed and rejected. I fear the darkness within and without. I fear having to die that Christ might live in me. I fear that others will discover that I am a fraud. A hack. A poser. A sinner.

What is it you fear?

Do not be afraid. Do not abandon yourselves to despair.

We are the Community of Pardon. Our gospel is reconciliation. It is peace. We, each one of us, entered the kingdom through pardon. And each one of us remains in it by that same mercy so freely given.

We are loved. Therefore, brothers and sisters, do not abandon yourselves to despair.

My Anniversary

It has been one year since I found pardon and peace. And I am still so very delighted to be Catholic.