Monday, September 5, 2011

I Dare You

People are forever telling me that we religious folks walk around with our heads in the clouds; our brains filled with notions that haven’t the slightest relevance. They urge us to “get real”—but that, of course, depends on who gets to define what real is. The Gospel isn’t a mirror that reflects its surroundings—it means to change what is. For us, reality isn’t fixed and settled—something we simply adjust to. Reality, for us, is what God wants from the world. My hunch is that people go around saying things like “that’s unrealistic” when what they mean to say is, “If I did that I’d have to change—and I don’t want to.”

These aren't my words, they're from a homily, a homily that looked me in the eye and dared me to make some very specific changes.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Knowing Where To Look

What is your cross? It’s your most difficult problem, scaring you so that you are tempted to believe that peace can be had by running from it. Perhaps it is your relationship with your spouse, maybe it is a chronic physical or emotional problem, or an addiction to gambling or pornography that plays you like a violin. Whatever it is, Jesus invites you to name it … and, with his help, to shoulder it as he did his. Why? Because that’s the cost of living. Besides … it’s where Jesus can be found in your life. Embrace your cross, and you get him at no extra cost.

This is from a recent homily explaining that we grow not so much from addition, but from subtraction, making less of ourselves.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Pieces of Heart

Something to ponder:
As novelist A. Solzhenitsyn put it, “the line that separates good from evil runs through every human heart—and who is ready to give up a piece of their heart?”

…. From another great homily

Sunday, July 17, 2011


Do you ever have those moments when you feel God is far, far away? Or maybe as though He's not there at all?

Encouragement from a great homily:

If you can just persevere during the times when it seems so empty and know that God hasn't really abandoned you,
if you can continue to pray and to desire God,
the longer you can hold out during these times,
the deeper your capacity will grow to receive the gifts of God.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Non-Monogamy and Intimacy

A few days ago, I was reading Archbishop Dolan’s comments on the passage of gay marriage and I learned something interesting. He wrote about an opinion piece that was published in a newspaper regarding non-monogamous marriages. So I did some googling.

To my shock, a number of people think that non-monogamy in marriages makes sense. One person even commented that his marriage has always been non-monogamous because sex is a need, not a desire.

People are just so overrun by their sex drives! What ever happened to loving one another? To thinking about the other person’s wants and desires before our own? Sex is supposed to be about completely giving yourself to the other person because you love them and are becoming one being with them. Now we’re adding other people just because we want it to be “more pleasurable,” and we’re even convincing ourselves that it’s a need.

Last I knew, a need was something that we would die without.

My priest was talking about celibacy in a Catholicism class that he teaches at my parish, and he shared with us how he deals with it. He talked about sublimation and added that people think that to sublimate is a bad thing, but noted the root is “sublime.”

He then explained how intimate friendships can become when they are free from sexual expectations.

I compare that to all that I see around me, to the pain sex causes nowadays because it is no longer considered a gift from God, but just about our so-called “needs.” Sex has become about selfishness rather than love.

You are not truly free if you have to give in to your sex drive. I can’t imagine trusting someone who cannot share what should be the most intimate thing in the world with only the person they love.

True freedom is demonstrated through celibacy and chastity, proving again that God doesn’t just say no to be mean, but because He loves us deeply.

Friday, July 8, 2011


I understand the whole idea of detachment, and I'm a big fan of it, but I've never been good at putting it into action. I've had a lot of plans for downsizing, but until lately I've not put them into practice.

Then my priest was transferred. Watching him that last month, I learned a lot.

His schedule was full. In addition to all the stuff he normally does, he now had to learn about his new parish and meet with our new priest. Along with that, everyone from our rather large parish wanted to meet with him before he left. (In his last weeks I managed two appointments with him myself. When I made the second one I told him I needed a rather large favor, and I knew he was busy. His gracious response was, "I'm not busy.")

He had such limited time to pack. How did he do it?

It helps that he has very few possessions. He has talked about that in the past, and I could see it was true. There was no U-Haul needed for moving; just his sub-compact car and a relative's car. He didn't need days to pack because there just wasn't much to pack.

It reminded me of when I was a college student and could quite literally move in hours.

Since he left, I'm spending time filling boxes and bags. The bags are garbage. Boxes are going to various places, such as the library and charities.

It's been difficult for me. There are memories attached to many of these things. Yet it's worth it. My goal is to have about what I had in college. That was more than enough for me at that time, and it will be again.

Now I have to add a "proud mom" moment. My daughter, at age 18, is also downsizing. I never said a word. It's a decision she made on her own.

What Father did is classic preaching by example. He'll probably never know it, but even his last moments with us counted.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Catholic Joy

If your Catholic faith doesn’t make your life more joyful, you’re doing it wrong.

Now “joy” isn’t the same as happiness, and it is often the opposite of comfort. But Jesus said “I have come that they might have life … and abundantly.”

Quote from a truly great priest.