Burning down the house

EDITMustBurn (1)This morning a friend sent me an op-ed from the Washington Post. It was written by Marc Thiessen; in full disclosure I am not a fan of his work. Thiessen, a former speech writer for President George W. Bush, wrote a book defending “enhanced interrogation methods.” Most of us would call that torture, and it does not square with Catholic teaching, and Thiessen is Catholic. So that is where I stand on him; needless to say I did not love this column and its distinctly not Catholic gloom and doom outlook.

Today I also read a column by the editor of the Albany Times Union, Rex Smith. It too was about burning churches, but took an entirely different tack. In full disclosure once more, I first met Rex in the Albany airport in 2007, when I walked up to him and introduced myself, much to Mark’s chagrin! And years later I began to post my blog as part of the paper’s blogging platform, something I continue to do. Continue reading

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Christos Anesti! Χριστός Ανέστη!

Paschal-Greeting-622x351-04-15-14-1Christos Anesti! Χριστός Ανέστη!
Christ is risen!

Alithos Anesti Aληθώς ανέστη!
Truly, he is risen!

The paragraph below is from author Madeleine L’Engle, now of blessed memory. It reminds me that we conclude our Lenten journey and rise with Christ literally awash in the power of baptism and new life. We cannot be selfish with this, we cannot hoard this, nor feel special or privileged. Christ came for all and that compels a generosity born of Easter joy that hopes for all to rise in new life.

Today as we bask in the glow of resounding Alleluias may we also pray for those who have yet to make the journey,  as well as those who begin it time and again but fall short. That last bit is important to sit with – it is all of us.

Our Easter joy is not a prize, Christ’s rising is not reserved for certain people, but available to one and all who turn to him, no matter how long it takes to get there. May we all find even the most minuscule shards of shattered hope that brings with it the possibility of new life for everyone.

On Easter more than any other day, may we rejoice in the gladness of God’s power and glory, and may we receive it with gratitude, may we share it with generosity, may we live it with joy.

41tUZ9sS1LL._SX323_BO1,204,203,200_Because Jesus took into himself on the cross every evil and every sin and every brokenness to come upon this planet, there is the fragile but living hope that one day even Satan may once again join the children of God when they gather round their Maker, and that he will beg to be allowed once again to carry the light. For, as Saint Paul wrote to the people of Philippi:

Every knee shall bow in heaven
And on earth and under the earth,
and every tongue confess
that Jesus Christ is Lord
to the glory of the Father. (Philippians 2:9-11)

From Madeleine L’Engle, A Stone for a Pillow: Journeys with Jacob

 

Real power

We are invited to follow Jesus to the Cross every day of our lives, but no more so than on this day, Good Friday.

EDIT MDTP Good Friday notre dame fireJesus death on the Cross was an exercise of what appeared to be power on the part of the Romans, but instead was an expression of fear. Mary DeTurris Poust, in her book of Lenten reflections, Not By Bread Alone from Liturgical Press offered a powerful thought for this day, and I leave that with you for your prayer and contemplation. Once again the Cross at Notre-Dame Cathedral after the fire provides us with inspiration and hope.  This is an image how real power resurrects, even in the midst of the worst death.

What will we die to today? Our ego? Our hubris? Our fears that puff us up or tamp us down? Our distractions or addictions? Whatever it is, we in one way or another have prayed to be transformed by Christ during our Lenten journey in the desert with him. How willing are we in the end to be transformed? Are we willing to trust the small turns of transformation of each Lent and each day of our life as we die to the lure of some overnight event, such as winning the lottery or suddenly no longer wanting to take a drink? Or are we still hoping for something that will externally change our lives? All the while Jesus continues to beckon from within.

Transformed or not, we are all called to remember that in our daily lives and exercises of power and our use of, or response to fear of the power around us. In God is the strongest power, the power that saves into eternity. We must remember that, especially today.

Many people object to the symbol of the crucifixion, many Christians even. But without crucifixion there can be no resurrection. One is entirely dependent upon the other, they cannot be separated, although it is the Cross that triumphs. If we are left uncomfortable by the Cross, maybe it is time to die to our literalism and to be born in the hope of the Cross. God does not choose to punish us cruelly. We all do a bang up job of doing that to one another and ourselves. God invites us to eternal life. That is real power. Are we ready?

Foot care area

Deb Santo Domingo

Typical albergue scene. That’s my friend Deb in the albergue with the “FOOT CARE AREA.” Quite naturally, her feet are up!

When on Camino, normal – no, typical behaviors shift. Normal implies they must be the right thing to do; typical indicates what is generally done. At night as you sleep in rooms chock-a-block with wobbly bunkbeds, all sorts of noises erupt from the bodies around you – and perhaps from within you. Snoring, the expulsion of gas, mutterings from those in wild dream, or just two pilgrims who whisper into the night to one another.

Something that is highly normative on Camino is people showing their totally screwed up feet to one another. Taking your shoes off in a cafe or restaurant does not merit a raised eyebrow, it happens all the time. Blisters Continue reading

Must burn

D4OfvVBX4AUj-UMThis image of the interior of the Cathedral of Notre-Dame after the fire is haunting. In the darkened sanctuary a cross stands, shining in the distance.  The words of Viktor Frankl remind us “what is to give light must endure burning.” 

Upon awakening from a night of fitful sleep I thought about  Fluctuat nec mergitur. This Latin phrase translates more or less to she is tossed by the waves, but does not sink.”  Since at least 1358 it has been used as the motto by the city of Paris. Today the city of Paris, the City of Lights, or in French, La Ville-Lumière has been tossed indeed. The Cathedral of Notre-Dame rests in the remains of smoke and ashes after a devastating fire, but it has not sunk, nor has Paris itself. Yet when I woke up, I had to wonder if it had really happened.

*****

Here we are on Tuesday of Holy Week Continue reading

Hosanna and destiny

Large EDIT Palms for Palm Sunday.jpgEach week at mass we pray these words aloud in song or prayer…

Hosanna, in the highest!

Today the words take on a deeper meaning as we celebrate Palm Sunday, remembering Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem.

There are studies upon studies to reveal just what lengths humans will go to in order to Continue reading

New thing

EDITIsaiahLilacBud copyHaving attended a 4pm liturgy on Saturday, I heard a good homily, but I was left wanting. After hearing a young woman proclaim the First Reading from Isaiah with such gift and passion, and then to hear another woman proclaim the Second Reading with similar style, I felt so hungry – starved actually – to hear a woman’s preaching voice.

For the record, and to the chagrin of many, I do not support the women’s ordination movement as it exists today. Sorry, that’s another story for another day perhaps. Those of you who actually know me know that this is how I feel, what I believe, others – you will have to take my word for it and maybe I will go into it another time.

Anyway, these women’s proclaiming voices snapped me into a kind of openness and attention that left me vulnerable. Thankfully the homily was OK. The kind of homily an old friend might have described by saying Continue reading