Moral courage

Today Jon Stewart showed more moral courage in this nearly nine minute speech to Congress than most people show in their lives.

Meanwhile, up the road from DC, at the USCCB meeting in Baltimore, the scene was a little different.  Bishop Robert Barron talked about why young people have left/are leaving the church. He spoke of how Jordan Peterson (sorry, not linking to his page, you will have to go look yourself) has connected to young people through social media. (Here is a link to Jack Jenkins’ report on Religion News Service.)

USCCB

At which point I had a moment. Wait, what? What? Who? Why?

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Of course, Catholic Twitter, which was on fire all day, had some fine responses. My first favorite came from Villanova professor of Religious Studies and Theology, Dr. Massimo Faggioli. That was quickly followed by a clever retweet by David Gibson who heads up the Center on Religion and Culture.

On this crock

Of course my wry laughter over their tweets was not enough for my distress over everything else – both at the Congressional hearing with Jon Stewart, nor the USCCB meeting.

It all feels incredibly frustrating, even when tempered with a little dark humor. Moral courage is hard to come by these days, in any circles. When we see it, we know it. May God grant more of it to the Church; we need it. Holy Spirit, please – lead the way.

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Bridges and walls

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Bishop Kicanas distributes the Body of Christ during mass at the border wall in 2014.

In December of 2018, the Republican controlled Senate in Washington passed a short term funding bill that would keep the government open until February 2019. The president initially indicated that he would sign it. This was not ideal, but anything, as we know, is better than a shutdown. This bill passed by voice with no dissent – no dissent at all. It was contentious to get there, but this was something that Majority Leader Mitch McConnell wanted to pass to get through the holidays without a shutdown.

The president refused to sign anything that did not give him his wall money.

For reference, it should be remembered that Continue reading

Sister Thea Bowman

sr_thea_bowman[1]In the midst of all the awful church news, good news prevails. I’m not trying to sugar coat the horror of the on-going revelation of sexual abuse and the even more on-going revelation of church obfuscation and cover up. That is all pretty bad. Yet that is not all that church is – even if it seems that way.

The US Catholic Conference of Bishops (USCCB) is currently meeting in Baltimore and something important and good happened – so I am sharing it here. Good things at a USCCB meeting ought not to be an “event” but… somehow it is. What is this great thing? Well Sister Thea Bowman’s cause for sainthood is finally taking a step forward! Thanks be to God! This is just the beginning, but Continue reading

UPDATED – Suggestions for Advent

rcLxMoaKiGreetings! I have updated this post to add some new information… read on, updates can be found at the bottom of the page. Thanks!

Here it is November 9 and I have Advent on my mind. It is only three weeks away! With that in mind, if you are interested, I have some recommendations for your Advent prayer and reading. These are presented in no particular order!

  1. Sacred Space 2015Sacred Space for Advent and Christmas 2015-2016, Loyola Press. This annual offering from the Irish Jesuits is a great go-to for Advent. Organized by week, and then by day, offerings are insightful and reflective. Small enough to carry around, this book can truly be in your pocket so that you are not without prayer this Advent. One thing that I love is that it goes into the Christmas season, not stopping at December 25. At a $1.25, this is a great value.
  2. Unto-Us-A-Child-Is-BornUnto us a Child is Born, Daily Advent Meditations and Prayers from Henri J.M. Nouwen, Creative Communications. This booklet is lightweight in physicality, but not so light in terms of what it offers. Lovely and simple, but wise daily reflections that will touch your heart and help your prayer. This book is priced for parishes to provide, so there is a sliding scale by volume, but it is $1.49 for one copy – not too bad for spending time with Jesus and Henri Nouwen.
  3. 9780814649701Waiting in Joyful Hope 2015-16 Daily Reflections for Advent & Christmas, by Genevieve Glen and Jerome Kodell, from Liturgical Press. I’m not going to lie, if you get (or already have) this little book, you will see a book blurb on the back from yours truly. This series from Liturgical Press is a long-time favorite of mine. This year the book is authored by two Benedictines, so the rich content remains, presented with fresh voices that stay with you well into January. The price is $2.00, a little bit more than the others, but certainly a great value.
  4. advent2015cover-200Rediscovering Advent, Advent Calendar by Rachel Srubas, with illustrations from Roy DeLeon, Presbyterians Today. Although this has been in my hands for a few weeks, I did not really experience it as a calendar, not that that matters. This beautiful  – well, it is calendar sized/shaped booklet is a treasure. The author writes from a deep spiritual well, the illustrations speak volumes of their own. In truth, the author gave me my copy. And in honesty, I had to include it here. You can purchase one copy for $4.00, with discounts for greater volumes, see that first link. This one is a beauty, and I’ll be glad to have it at my side this Lent.
  5. USCCB Daily Readings, Advent Supplement. The USCCB has the daily readings available on their website, and you can also subscribe to an email that includes them. If you don’t get that email, think again! Why? Because this year, on every Saturday, you will receive a lectio based on upon Sunday’s Gospel, but only during Advent. This is all free, and while I have no early access, I imagine that it is worth checking out.
  6. Give Us This Day, Liturgical Press. Give Us This Day is a monthly devotional with prayers, reflections, daily mass readings, shortened morning and evening prayer. Again, an revelation from me, I contribute periodic reflections to this publication. That said, I was also a charter subscriber way back in July 2011 when they began. This is something you purchase for a year via subscription, but something to consider to enrich your Advent, Christmas, and on-going life of prayer!

That’s the list for this year, many good choices. Whatever you do, may you find ways to live your Advent in hopeful, prayerful, joy!

UPDATES: Having come across some other resources, I wanted to add them for you…

12227178_1182882698391963_761743492576861953_nAdvent and Christmas Resources from 23rd Publications: Check out this link for a variety of excellent resources. Although 23rd Publications is well know to me, I did not include it, but Janet Schaeffler, whom you may know as a teacher, writer, speaker, and retreat facilitator, reminded me of these offerings. Her own offering, A Thrill of Hope is very good, and well priced for group or individual purchase. Interested in ordering? Click here.

9780814638095-1Another book from Liturgical Press… Last year, or was it the year before? Can’t recall! In any case, I have recommended this book before, and I am bringing it up again. It is not in the same daily devotional format. What book? A Time of Fulfillment by Anselm Grün, OSB. It is a wonderful way to read yourself more deeply into the season.

What brought the book to mind was a visit to O’Connor’s in Latham, NY. Albany area locals are well advised to stop by the store for a great variety of Advent items, and a good selection of religious books and goods in general. No, I am not being paid to do this, I am simply pointing to a local business with a lot of interesting merchandise, including many of the books that I have mentioned here, including A Time of Fulfillment. Not local? Use their website to order!

What will you be reading and praying with this Advent?