Wednesday, April 30, 2008



I don't believe that I had ever heard the term before hearing it at a Mass said by Fr. Jack Lombardi at the National Shrine of Our Lady of Lourdes in Emmitsburg, MD on April 19th.

Amid the fragrance and beauty of a nearly perfect Spring day, Father put the word before those assembled.


"Perichoresis," he repeated.

"A theological term. A Greek word."

"Peri kor e sis," filled the air.

Perichoresis is a fairly big word for a much bigger reality. It is the co-mingling, the intertwining, of the Trinitarian members of the one God. Found in the Triune God are the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.

Thoroughly mystical. Completely wonderous.


Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Best Pictures of Pope Benedict

This is kind of a "I was told this by a friend of a friend" sort of thing - the good sort of that type of thing. Go take a peek at Christus Vincit's gallery of Pope Benedict XVI pictures:

The images cover a broad spectrum to places, looks and expressions.
Many thanks to Christus Vincit for putting together such a nice grouping - obviously a labor of love!!


We must forgive ourselves, accept His love and be healed.

When Fr. John spoke of forgiveness on Saturday, he said that a merciful person forgives over and over and over - until they have forgiven themselves.

Forgiveness is letting go of my right to hurt you because you hurt me. It is a matter of surrender. It is surrendering that "right."

God forgives completely. Our offenses are are tossed to the depths of the deepest ocean where they cannot be dredged up again. God's forgiving nature is extolled by Micah when he asks,

Who is there like you, God who removes guilt and pardons sin for the remnant of His inheritance; Who does not persist in anger forever, but delights rather in clemency, and will again have compassion on us, treading underfoot our guilt? You will cast into the depths of the sea all our sins. You will show faithfulness to Jacob, and grace to Abraham, as you have sworn to our fathers from days of old (7:18-20).

Forgiveness for humans isn't forgetting. It is a change of heart. Forgiveness doesn't overlook evil. In fact, we must admit when things are bad. Evil must not be allowed to continue. People in abusive situations must remove themselves from those situations. Forgiveness is not an approval of wrong. Yet we need to recognize that people are bigger than their faults. The faults of a person is not their whole definition.

To adopt a willingness for the forgiven to start over is freeing. Essential to that is recognizing that people are human being and that human beings are flawed. Forgiveness surrenders our right to get even. We wish the best for the person. You can't ask God for blessings you would withhold from anyone else. Compassion is wishing the same blessings for all. What we want for ourselves, we should want for everyone.

At this point Fr. John related the story which I'll take great license in paraphrasing:

Theresa and Rose were mother and daughter. They were from an impoverished rural area that seemed to offer little to the younger people. News of local teens running away to the capital city was frequently heard. Parents tried to combat the problem but, no matter what, children were still lost to the bright lights of the dark city.

Unfortunately, Rose too fell victim to the draw of the city. One morning Theresa awoke to find a note telling her not to worry. Asking for her to please understand.

Understand is exactly what Theresa did. She understood the dangers. Drugs, violence, prostitution. She understood that Rose - her Rosie, her child, her baby - was unprepared for the life to which she was headed, a life for which no one could be prepared.

Theresa gathered herself together, took all her money and walked to the bus depot. There she purchased round trip tickets to the capital city. Having done that, she took the rest of her money across the terminal to the photo booth where she used the money to purchase all the strips of pictures of herself that it would buy.

On the trip to the city, had the other travelers paid any attention to Theresa, they would have seen her writing on the back of each photo, one after the other. Calm, yet focused, Theresa turned over each and wrote the same thing.

When she reach the city, Theresa a woman of determination set out for areas not found on any tourist map. Tirelessly she visited all the seedy sections. Wandered dirty alley ways. Stepped over heroin addicts crumbled outside of "shooting galleries." Visited hotels bearing the stench of the lowest form of human commerce. Wherever there was a bulletin board, she posted one of the pictures.

When all the pictures were gone, she returned home.

Months afterward, in the late night/early morning hours a young woman bearing the exhaustion of use came down the thin staircase of an hourly rate hotel. Head down until she reached the bottom of the stairs, she raised her head as she turned toward the exit. In that moment, something caught her eye. Amid the notices, on a bulletin board littered with a multitude of advertisements, fliers, announcement and pronouncements was a picture that could only be seen as the wind from the open doorway caught the corner of the paper almost completely covering it.
Rose reached out. The moment seemed unreal. In front of her was a picture of her mother. She took the photo in her hand as her lips silently said one word, "Momma."

On the back of the picture Rose found the following words:

Whatever you have done,
whatever you have become,
come home.
I love you.
God is the God of perfect grace.
God is the God of mercy.
God is the God of complete compassion.

Monday, April 28, 2008


On Saturday April 26, 2008, Fr. John Campoli, I.V. Dei, shared with the participants of the Upper Room Prayer Group's Spring Day of Renewal the simple yet meaningful message that:
God is Love
Love is Mercy
Mercy is Forgiveness
Forgiveness Heals

He told the participants of the Upper Room Prayer Group's Spring Day of Renewal that when God created us, He created us in love to love; we are to mirror God's love. The question then is, "Why don't we?"

Fr. John noted that the answer to that question is rooted in the fact that we don't have a good understanding of ourselves. When we look at ourselves we should see an image of God, yet we don't. The perfect image of God's love is seen in Jesus (as in John 3:16). We should be images of Jesus' manner of love - unconditional.

God's love knows no boundaries. His love doesn't even require that we love him back. It exists in and of itself. We are called to be loving people. Love is the beginning of all other things of God.

Though existing solely because of God's love, even though that love is the root of all, we fail to accept God's love because we don't understand His mercy. As Ephesians notes of God's mercy:
God, who is rich in mercy, because of the great love He had for us, even when we were dead in our transgressions, brought us to life with Christ.(2:4-5). In Him we have redemption by His blood, the forgiveness of transgressions, in accord with the riches of His grace that He lavished upon us. (1:7-8)

His mercy is His Road block to hell. We are saved by grace, not by works that we accomplish here. Heaven cannot be earned. We can only go to Heaven because of His love for us; by the grace we gain by Jesus Christ.

Once we accept Jesus, we must live in His ways - we must follow the commandments and be merciful to others. This gives us the healing of everlasting life. This gives us the healing of everlasting life.

A real struggle with faith is a lack of trust. Why don't we trust Him? Our lack of trust comes from the fact that we don't fully believe He loves us. We must forgive ourselves, accept His love and be healed.

Spring Day of Renewal Photos

God is Love
Love is Mercy
Mercy is Forgiveness
Forgiveness Heals

God is Love
Love is Mercy
Mercy is Forgiveness
Forgiveness Heals

God is Love
Love is Mercy
Mercy is Forgiveness
Forgiveness Heals

God is Love
Love is Mercy
Mercy is Forgiveness
Forgiveness Heals

God is Love

***Love is Mercy

******Mercy is Forgiveness

*********Forgiveness Heals

University of St. Thomas True To Church

Catholic St. Thomas Law School: No Credit for Planned Parenthood Volunteering

St. Paul, MN ( --

Thomas Mengler, Dean of the University of St. Thomas School of Law in Minneapolis, has ruled that students may not count volunteer work at Planned Parenthood as part of their required service hours. The university’s student Public Service Board (PSB) had previously decided to count volunteer work at the notorious abortion provider toward the graduation requirement. "Volunteer service at Planned Parenthood, whatever the nature of that service, advances the mission of Planned Parenthood, an organization whose mission is fundamentally at odds with a core value of the Catholic Church,” Mengler said. The Dean continued, “Such service does not constitute 'qualifying public service' for purposes of satisfying the School of Law's graduation requirement of 50 hours of public service.” Patrick Reilly, President of The Cardinal Newman Society, praised the move. “Dean Mengler has taken a clear position in support of the law school’s Catholic mission and opposed to the reprehensible activities of Planned Parenthood. He has set an important example for other law schools that have all but abandoned a distinctive Catholic identity.”
Kudos to the Administration of this University!

Friday, April 25, 2008

Just to smile

I thought this letter published in MDA's Quest magazine (Vol 15, No 3) was beautiful:

The Power of a Smile

Every day I see the rays of the sun trying to lurk into my world, my little room that is occupied by a hospital bed, a ventilator, a suction machine, oxygen machine and my TV. All have their distinct noises and remind me of my condition. The sun ray plays in the walls as the day goes by. I'm visited by nurses, my husband and kids, all of whom I greet smiling, even when the pain in my body at times feels like it's killing my soul. I'm like those rays of sun that sneak into my room. I try to be happy and give everyone my happy smile.

Just last week I received a visit form one of the nurses I'd met during my hospice care. She told me she was thankful to me because I had given her a lesson in life. I wondered what that could be. I had not done anything special for the last 20 months since I got my tracheostomy and ventilator. So I smiled and asked what I had done. She told me, "You smiled at me even when you were in pain, and made me realize that I complain about my life when you're confined to a bed with a ventilator and you still smile." She gave me a hug and left.

At that time I figured out that I had a purpose, and that is just to smile.

Myrna Santiago McPhee
Belle Glade, FL

An Old Man, a Boy and Their Donkey

An old man, a boy & a donkey were going to town. The donkey, their sole possession, was to be sold at market.

The boy rode on the donkey & the old man walked. As they went along they passed some people who remarked it was a shame the old man was walking and the boy was riding.

The man and boy thought maybe the critics were right so they changed positions. Then, later, they passed some people who remarked, ' What a shame, he makes that little boy walk.' So they then decided they'd both walk!

Soon they passed some more people who thought they were stupid to walk when they had a decent donkey to ride. So, they both rode the donkey.

Now they passed some people who shamed them by saying how awful to put such a load on a poor donkey. The boy and man figured they were probably right, so they decide to carry the donkey.

As they crossed the bridge, they lost their grip on the animal and he fell into the river and drowned. The moral of the story?

If you try to please everyone, you can lose everything.

The above was e-mailed to me as a bit of humor - what you lose was stated differently. I understood the somewhat course humor of it, but saw it as more than that. I thought it was a fable of moral relativism. I only altered the last sentence and I added a sentence in the beginnining.


Someone pointed out something last night that I hadn't thought of before.

In that God has infused us with some spark of the divine, we can look to God to see how we can be properly ordered. In the Triune God, Three in One, we see that man is made to be part of a community. Although we cannot understand the mystery of the Trinity, by realizing the reality of the Trinity - if we don't myopically reach for the false goal of individuality/self-sufficiency - we can see that the need to "belong" is part of the natural order, that it is right and good.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008


How do you imagine humility?

I mean --- What would a picture of humility look like?

I ran across a quote by Josemaria Escriva today that I thought I'd like to post here. I clicked over to enter it, then thought that I should find a picture to go with it.

Well, on and off throughout today I've looked for the right picture. Most searches were for heads bowed in prayer. Found more than I would have imagined of our president in that position. Quite a few of Hillary Clinton seeming to pray too. Nothing seemed right.

So, what I've discovered is that pictures of humility are as intangible as the virtue itself.

I'm sure it is out there - I just haven't found it yet. Guess I'll have to keep working for it.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Requirements for Sainthood

"Being a saint is being who you were meant to be: a frail human being keeping the Commandments, especially the new one. It's loving when you are not loved in return. It's being patient when you want to hit somebody on the head. It's loving your family as they are, not as you want them to be. It's not letting the disappointments in your life crush you. The challenge of Christianity is to have fortitude in suffering; to stand for the truth even if you have to stand alone; to be undeterred by obstacles; to know that there is a big world out there and you are a weak, little person. But God is looking for weakness so His power can be manifest -- He needs you!" __Mother M. Angelica, EWTN Newletter 275

E-mail Evangelization

I don't know how often you get e-mails that ask you to say a prayer then pass it on, but I get them pretty frequently. They are usually distinctly protestant - we Catholics are pretty lax, on the whole, when it comes to proselytizing. Recently, however, I decided to tweak them before passing them on. Instead of just saying, "Offer a prayer and then forward," I add a small teaching and an actual prayer to say. The way I see that as more Catholic is that it gives greater substance to the missive, just as the Mass gives greater substance by its very nature.
The one I got today had the above picture and was of the "Jesus Walking" variety of these e-mails. The things I added didn't take much time to add, but might give it greater meaning to someone down the line. To show you what I mean, below is the text of what I sent out - the word in blue are what I added.
-----------------Picture that is above placed here--------------------

When he gets to your PC, escort him to the next stop. Please don't allow him to sleep on your PC.
The message he is carrying is very important and needs to go round.
He has come to offer eternal life born of love, paid for by His supreme sacrifice! Christ's mercy is a gift which cannot be earned -- yet it only need be accepted by us!!!

May God bless you as you do this - AMEN

Walking for Jesus!

Pray this prayer:

Admirable is the Name of God. May it always be on my mind, as Jesus' name rests upon my lips, and the Holy Spirit's fills my heart. I pray that in all things I am open to the voice of my Lord and ask for the grace of capably sharing Him with those around me. I ask this, as the bible teaches us to ask for all things, in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.

then pass him on to bless others. Our assignment is to love and spread the gospel throughout the world.
Have a blessed day and touch somebody's life today!
I just did. He's walking around the world - via e-mail!!
Pass it on so he can get there.
When you forward, put where he left in the subject box.

Pope Closes Visit with Life Message

New York, NY ( -- Pope Benedict XVI closed out his visit to the United States over the weekend with a strong pro-life message on the topic of abortion. The homily came after sharing his pro-life views with President Bush and a White House crowd and then urging Catholic Colleges not to give a platform to abortion advocates. During the sermon at Yankee Stadium in New York, the pope proclaimed the "inalienable dignity and rights" of "the most defenseless of all human beings, the unborn child in the mother's womb." He called on pro-life advocates to stand up for "those without a voice" and to "enrich American society and culture with the beauty and truth of" the pro-life message. The pontiff also praised the work of the Catholic Church and bishops in the United States, saying, "the Catholic community in this nation has been outstanding in its prophetic witness in the defense of life." Pope Benedict also called on Catholics to reject the notion that pro-life views shouldn't be a part of politics. He said being a pro-life Catholic "means rejecting a false dichotomy between faith and political life." Full story at

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Check This Out

This is such a new blog that it seems a bit odd to be pointing out the fact that I am adding a new item to one of the sidebar sections, but this addition warrants special notice:

Catholics Come Home is a fledgling site organized by a dynamic group of people who have long been concerned for Christ's people and the issues impacting them. Experienced people of deep faith have come together to help give not only former and non-Catholics a firmer footing from which to step in today's wobbly society, but Catholics Come Home is also a resource for those fortunate to be members of Christ's Church. The site's right sidebar buttons even allow for navigation specific to each of the groups - Non, Former, Presently Catholic.

There are videos, links and lots of info.

Please go take a look. Share the site with your friends, family (immediate and extended) and pastor.
Just don't SPAM. I'm not sure, but SPAMing - even for a cool site with a wonderful mission - just might be a modern day form of venial sin.

Shepherd One Has Landed

Papa Bene's plane is on the ground --

Welcome Holy Father!!!!

Monday, April 14, 2008

The View

I watched a portion of The View this morning. It was while Joy and Whoppi were arguing with Elizabeth (Sherri was staying relatively quiet) about John McCain and Barack Obama. No one was saying too terribly much, just passing raised voices. Something Joy Behar said right as they were going to break has come to mind throughout the day though.

Behar said that during an off camera moment the day McCain was on the show she asked him how he could be so obviously anti-woman by being against abortion rights.

Cut to commercial - while Elizabeth, in an exercise in futility, winds up to disagree.
There are three things I found tasteless in what Joy Behar said:
1. She publicly revealed a conversation without McCain being able to publicly answer.
2. The usage of moment before break so that her agenda could be promulgated without opportunity for an exchange of ideas which is touted as the core format of the show - it might as well have been a commercial in and of itself.
3. The concept that women giving birth to children, rather than killing them, is a very anti-woman stance. To be against the murder of the most innocent in our society is vilified because we have become so focused upon the individual in society that we can't see beyond the individual to the elevation of the individual with in the community; we can't see the tremendous value inherent to giving life; legal infanticide is thought to be a basic pro-woman position.
Ehhhh. That is so absurd that it pains me.

Go Figure

Hmmm... The Pope hasn't even left Rome, yet you can get a PDF file of what he's going to say. Go figure!
VATICAN CITY, APRIL 13, 2008 ( The Vatican posted the texts for the liturgical celebrations over which Benedict XVI will preside during his five-day trip to the United States that begins Tuesday.
The 113-page document includes the songs and prayers for ceremonies ranging from Wednesday's celebration of evening prayer with the nation's bishops, to the closing Mass at Yankee Stadium next Sunday.
According to Jesuit Father Federico Lombardi, director of the Vatican press office, one of the most notable stops during the April 15-20 visit will be the Holy Father's prayer at ground zero, the site where the World Trade Center stood before the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.
Zenit's whole article which includes the Ground Zero prayer:

Respected European Oncologist Opposes Euthanasia After Cancer Battle

Madrid, Spain --
A respected European oncologist has changed her mind about euthanasia after battling cancer. Sylvie Menard's change of heart has one leading anti-euthanasia activist to urge people not to abandoned the elderly and disabled patients who need love and support the most as they battle medical problems. Menard, one of the most renowned oncologists in Europe, has been battling bone cancer and she shared her transformation on end-of-life issues with the Spanish magazine Huellas. "Those who promote euthanasia do so for two reasons: they don’t want to suffer and they don’t want to lose self-sufficiency, thus becoming a burden for others," Menard explained. “Even if you do not have complete use of your faculties and you cannot get up because you are confined to bed, but you still have the affection of your family members, in my opinion, even in those conditions, it’s worth it to keep living," she told the magazine. She said ill patients “do not want to experience pain” and that “they have a right to alleviate it" but emphasized that “pain therapy has advanced considerably in recent years.” Full story at

Saturday, April 12, 2008

The Angelus

Have you ever heard of the Angelus?

If you have, do you say it?

The Angelus is one of my favorite prayers. I was one of the first prayer that I regularly took on when I returned to the Church. The first one was the morning offering - the formal one has gone by the wayside though because I lost the prayer card and now I just say it as it comes. Thankfully, I've been given the grace to retain the Angelus prayer and appreciate the fact that there are definite times in which to say it --- that helps jog my memory to actually say it!

If you're not familiar with this prayer you'll want to know that it notes three essential moments in Christianity. The Angelus is primarily addressed to Our Lady and asks her to intercede/pray for us. The prayer closes with a direct request to God asking to be granted the salvation for which Christ died.

There is no clear history of the origins of the Angelus. Even why there are times that have been appointed for the praying of it aren't clear. Although it would be nice to know the history, because I've always liked knowing the background of things, I kind of like that reason for the times isn't known - it kind of frees me up to pray the prayer WITHIN the hour, if I forget at the top of the hour. That let's me be faithful to the practice, even though things often slip my mind.

The times for saying the Angelus are 6 AM, Noon and 6 PM. Jean-Francois Millet's painting that is included with this post shows potato farmers faithfully pray the Angelus. If you look closely, in the background of the painting you can see the church steeple. The Church bells ringing the hour would have let the people know the hour so they might stop to say the Angelus and then return to their work, as if no interruption had occurred. I see it as the Church helping her people to be mindful of God throughout their day, and the people being faithful to that connection. It makes one mindful that there is much help Mother Church affords us, that we only need to avail ourselves of it. But I digress.

The prayer itself is:

The Angel of the Lord declared unto Mary * And she conceived of the Holy Spirit.

Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee; blessed art thou among women and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus. * Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death. Amen.

Behold the handmaid of the Lord * Be it done unto me according to Thy word.

Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee; blessed art thou among women and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus. * Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death. Amen.

And the Word was made Flesh * And dwelt among us.

Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee; blessed art thou among women and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus. * Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death. Amen.

Pray for us, O Holy Mother of God, * that we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.

Let us pray:
Pour forth, we beseech Thee, O Lord, Thy grace into our hearts; that we, to whom the incarnation of Christ, Thy Son, was made known by the message of an angel, may by His Passion and Cross be brought to the glory of His Resurrection, through the same Christ Our Lord.

Of course, Catholics would begin and end the prayer with "The Sign of the Cross."

Just as this was one of the first prayers that I began to regularly pray as I was coming back in to full communion with the Church, this would have been one of the first snippets that I would have put into a blog at that time, had I had a blog then. For that reason, I thought it should be included here.

The prayers and devotions we weave into the cloak of daily spiritual practices is an individual, personal, decision. The inclusion of each might not always bear with it clear moment or reason for deciding to so do. Saying the Angelus in my youth was like that. Well, at noon at school you could pin the reason on the nuns who made you stand to say it. For that matter, I probably never even thought of the words - just said them - didn't really PRAY them. Now, my foremost reason for saying the Angelus is for what is said within it. The Angelus represents a fuller membership in the Catholic Church this time around because I, generally, deeply pray it, rather than just say it. Yes, I said generally -- that is because when I pray it with my son, I still do so partially thinking of him praying it. Of course, I do also like to say the Angelus because it gives me an opportunity for an exercise in faithfulness (with a touch of wiggle room in the timing!).

Friday, April 11, 2008

To Clarify...

Just in case, the last entry isn't obvious enough:

I'd like to let it be known that St. Therese of Lisieux heard and answered novenas prayed.
In January, I prayed, consecutively two novenas to heaven's lovely Little Flower. Separated by one day a friend did me a wonderful favor of praying a novena to this Carmelite powerhouse with the same request. It seemed like the answer to our prayers was simply, "No."
Well, that is how it seemed because, if the favor were granted, I certainly would have had to have something in my hand by the beginning of April - surely. Well, nothing is beyond Heaven. Our prayers were answered in God's time, not ours. Unconstrained by human notions, our gracious God granted that the impossible be made possible --- from a source that I never could have imagined --- one couldn't I have even known existed.
Praise and glory be sung to our wondrous God - Loving Father, Merciful Son and Noble Paraclete!!!!
Thank you most beautiful Therese of the Child Jesus and the Holy Face!!!!

Thanks for Answered Prayers

Prayers prayed
Wish granted
Thanks to Therese
Praises to God
Prayers prayed
Wish granted
Shower of Roses
Path of Grace
Prayers prayed
Wish granted
The Little Flower
God Most Supreme
Prayers prayed l Wish granted l

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Someone Special

There is Something Special about a Man in a Hat!!!

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Gross or Cute - I Vote for Cute

I definitely believe in the promotion pro-life issues, but, just the same, I can't get behind graphic images of abortion "wrapped" on a vehicle so as to inform the public of the grizzly reality of abortion. Instead, I prefer illustrator/cartoonist Gary Cangemi's billboard's of Umbert the Unborn. To see a few go here:

My favorite one shows Umbert wearing a baseball cap while holding a bat and bears the message, "Life is like baseball... Everyone deserves a chance at bat!"

Back when I was oh so compassionately pro-choice, Cangemi's billboards would have caused me to think about the message, whereas a truck bearing images of what I perceived to be "fetal tissue" would have only caused me to turn away. That or strengthened my resolve against the "ignorant" pro-life platform. Below is the article that made me think about this issue. It was in tomorrow's e-mail newsletter from that I got in my mailbox about 15 minutes ago.

Driver of Truck With Abortion Images Threatened With Arrest in Kansas

Olathe, KS ( -- For the third time this year, local officials are battling the drivers of trucks bearing graphic images of abortion and threatening them with arrest. In the latest case in Kansas, Ronald Brock was threatened with arrest and impoundment of his vehicle. According to the pro-life group Operation Rescue, Olathe Police Sgt. David Haldeman told Brock he must leave the city or "live with the results." Officials said Brock would be charged with "promoting obscenity" if he remained in Olathe, for images displayed on his vehicle that depicted aborted babies and others comparing abortion to genocide during World War II. Brock had spent the previous day in Olathe parked outside the Johnson County Courthouse and OR told he was observed by dozens of police officers without incident. Even though Brock believes Olathe police would be violating his First Amendment free speech rights, he immediately left Olathe to avoid an illegal arrest and vehicle impoundment. Full story at
By the way Gary Cangemi has a book out of Umbert cartoons that is amazingly inexpensive - you'll find it on Umbert/Cangemi's site:

Some Things Found on YouTube

This past weekend I stopped in at a friend's house to check on her cat. While there I, dial-up service user, decided to take her Verizon FIOS for a spin. With my normal connection, a visit to YouTube is futile, on her's it was quite productive. Here are the videos which I ran across that I liked best:

O Salutaris Hostia - Nuns sing it - Friars sing it

I can only imagine/Adoration:

Elizabeth of the Trinity - Check out the bio info on this 17 year old girl -- gotta love her

The Holy Face -The song,"Your Holy Face" written and performed by Paul Lisney, is beautiful. Most pictures are from the movie "The Passion Of The Christ"

In case you can't view the videos, I'll put the word to the song by Paul Lisney at the end of this post. It really is lovely.

Before I do that though, I have to make note of the fact that although I appreciated the "The Holy Face" video, I found it difficult to watch. Most of the images are from "The Passion of The Christ" movie. That's a film that I haven't been able to bring myself to watch. I can only imagine that it is one tough movie to absorb. I mean, really, it's focus is to show the pain, suffering and degradation of the most innocent of loving innocents to have ever lived. Why do I want to subject myself to that anguish - what else would it be for a Christian to see that film but an incredibly anguishing experience? Deicide, the killing of my Lord and Savior, just doesn't fit in my slot for entertainment. I know lots of people who found it to be edifying, but I just can't imagine liking it at all.
Having said that, here are those lyrics that I promise:


I rest with You in prayer
The night is quiet and
the soft light plays upon the beauty of Your face

I look into Your eyes
And feel You come to life
The face behind the Shroud Your eyes beholding me

But if I saw You truly as You were
Your beauty marred by those You loved
I could not look upon Your Holy Face
Disfigured, bruised, torn and bleeding
Repulsed by all, Your Mother (Father) weeping
Forgive me for I fear I could not look upon Your face

Your portrait in my hands
I see more than a man
Images and hallowed scenes come to life before me

Your Mother's face comes into view
Your eyes are hers, it's true
I gaze in wonder, feeling peace
Her gentle smile soothing

The Cross is plain to see
The light of love emblazoned in Your countenance
Promising life to all who will believe

But in the shadows of Your face
A darker Cross reveals its place
Showing me the price You paid to loose the chains that bind me

But when I see myself through Your eyes
And understand that Your beauty
Was marred by all the wrong I've ever done
You bore the ugliness of all my sins

It was my sins that scourged and crowned You
Bruised Your Face and spit upon You
Emotions well within my body
Still I doubt my sincerity

How hard it is to hear and bear, my Lord, I hide in shame
For surely if I loved You, I would look upon Your face
Lord give me the courage, help me look upon Your face

Upon Your Holy Face
May the light of Thy face shine upon us
Upon Your Holy Face

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Hans Urs Von Balthasar

Hans Urs Von Balthasar is quickly becoming one of my favorite authors; therefore, I thought a article by the gentleman that I recently read on would be a fine thing to share.


When what is required of us seems too burdensome, when the pains become unbearable and the fate we are asked to accept seems simply meaningless then we have come very close to the man nailed on the Cross at the Place of the Skull, for he has already undergone this on our behalf and, moreover, in unimaginable intensity.

By Hans Urs Von Balthasar

Nearly two thousand years ago a trial took place that resulted in the death of the condemned man. Why is it that, even today, it will not allow mankind to forget about it? Have there not been countless other show trials down the years, particularly in our own time, and should the crying injustice of these trials not stir us up and preoccupy us just as much as that ancient trial at the Passover in Jerusalem? To judge by the constant and even increasing flood of books and discussions about Jesus, however, all the horrors of the extermination camps and the Gulag Archipelago matter less to mankind than the sentencing of this one innocent man whom, according to the Bible, God himself championed and vindicated as is evident from his Resurrection from the dead.
Men have cast their guilt onto many innocent scapegoats; why did this particular bearer of sins bring about a change in the world as a whole? The question is: Was he the one, great and final scapegoat for mankind? Did mankind load him with all its guilt, and did he, the Lamb of God, carry this guilt away? This is the thesis of a modern ethnologist, René Girard, whose books have attracted much attention in America, France and recently in Germany. According to this view, all human civilization, right from the outset, is constructed on the principle of the scapegoat. That is, men have cunningly invented a way of overcoming their reciprocal aggression and arriving at an at least temporary peace: thus they concentrate this aggression on an almost randomly chosen scapegoat and appoint this scapegoat as the sacrificial victim, in order to pacify an allegedly angry god. According to Girard, however, this divine anger is nothing other than men's reciprocal rage. This mechanism always needs to be set in motion again after a period of relative peace if world history is to proceed in any half-tolerable way; in this context it reached its absolute peak in the general rejection of Jesus by the gentiles, the Jews and the Christians too: Jesus really did take over and carry away the sins of all that were loaded onto him, in such a way that anyone who believes this can live in peace with his brother from now on.
Girard's ideas are interesting; they bring the trial of Jesus to life in a new way. But we can still ask why this particular murder, after so many others, should be the conclusive event of world history, the advent of the end time? Men have cast their guilt onto many innocent scapegoats; why did this particular bearer of sins bring about a change in the world as a whole?
For the believer the answer is easy: the crucial thing is not that this is an instance of our wanting to rid ourselves of guilt. Naturally, no one wants to admit guilt. Pilate washes his hands and declares himself guiltless; the Jews hide behind their law, which requires them to condemn a blasphemer; they act in a pious and God-fearing way. Judas himself has remorse for his deed; he brings the blood money back and, when no one will take it from him, throws it at the high priests. No one is prepared to accept responsibility. But precisely by attempting to extricate themselves, they are convinced by God that they are guilty of the death of this innocent man. Ultimately it is not what men do that is the determining factor.
The crucial thing is that there is Someone who is both ready and able to take their guilt upon himself. None of the other scapegoats was able to do this. According to the New Testament understanding, the Son of God became man in order to take this guilt upon himself. He lived with a view to the "hour" that awaited him at the end of his earthly existence, with a view to the terrible baptism with which he would have to be baptized, as he says. This "hour" would see him chained and brought to trial not merely outwardly; it would not only tear his body to pieces with scourges and nail it to the wood but also penetrate into his very soul, his spirit, his most intimate relationship with God, his Father. It would fill everything with desolation and the mortal fear of having been forsaken as it were, with a totally alien, hostile and deadly poisonous substance that would block his every access to the source from which he lived.
...only the incarnate Son knows who the Father really is and what it means to be deprived of him, to have lost him (to all appearances) forever. It is in the horror of this darkness, of this emptiness and alienation from God, that the words on the Mount of Olives are spoken: "My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me. " The cup of which he here speaks is well known in the Old Testament: it is the cup full of God's anger and wrath, which sinners must drink to the dregs; often it is threatened or forced upon unfaithful Jerusalem or enemy peoples like Babylon. The cry from the Cross is uttered out of the same horror of spiritual blackness, the cry asking why God has forsaken this tortured man. The man who cries out knows only that he is forsaken; in this darkness he no longer knows why. He is not permitted to know why, for the idea that the darkness he is undergoing might be on behalf of others would constitute a certain comfort; it would give him a ray of light. No such comfort can be granted him now, for the issue, in absolute seriousness, is that of purifying the relationship between God and the guilty world.
The man who endures this night is the Innocent One. No one else could effectively undergo it on behalf of others. What ordinary or extraordinary man would even have enough room in himself to accommodate the world's guilt? Only someone who is a partner of the eternal Father, distinct from him and yet divine, that is, the Son who, man that he is, is also God, can have such capacity within him.
Here we are faced with a bottomless mystery, for in fact there is an immense difference between the generating womb in God the Father and the generated fruit, the Son, although both are one God in the Holy Spirit. Nowadays many theologians say, quite rightly, that it is precisely at the Cross that this difference becomes clearly manifest: at this precise point the mystery of the divine Trinity is fully proclaimed. The distance is so great for in God everything is infinite�that there is room in it for all the alienation and sin of the world; the Son can draw all this into his relationship with the Father without any danger of it harming or altering the mutual eternal love between Father and Son in the Holy Spirit. Sin is burnt up, as it were, in the fire of this love, for God, as Scripture says, is a consuming fire that will not tolerate anything impure but must burn it away.
Jesus, the Crucified, endures our inner darkness and estrangement from God, and he does so in our place. It is all the more painful for him, the less he has merited it. As we have already said, there is nothing familiar about it to him: it is utterly alien and full of horror. Indeed, he suffers more deeply than an ordinary man is capable of suffering, even were he condemned and rejected by God, because only the incarnate Son knows who the Father really is and what it means to be deprived of him, to have lost him (to all appearances) forever. It is meaningless to call this suffering "hell", for there is no hatred of God in Jesus, only a pain that is deeper and more timeless than the ordinary man could endure either in his lifetime or after his death.
Nor can we say that God the Father "punishes" his suffering Son in our place. It is not a question of punishment, for the work accomplished here between Father and Son with the cooperation of the Holy Spirit is utter love, the purest love possible; so, too, it is a work of the purest spontaneity, from the Son's side as from the side of Father and Spirit. God's love is so rich that it can also assume this form of darkness, out of love for our dark world.
When life is hard and apparently hopeless, we can be confident that this darkness of ours can be taken up into the great darkness of redemption through which the light of Easter dawns. What, then, can we do? "Now from the sixth hour there was darkness over all the land until the ninth hour." It was as if the cosmos sensed that something decisive was going on here, as if it were participating in the darkness invading the soul of Christ. For our part, we do not need to experience this darkening, for we are already estranged and dark enough. It would suffice if we held onto our faith in a world that has become dark all around us; it would be enough for us to be convinced that all inner light, all inner joy and security, all trust in life owes its existence to the darkness of Golgotha and never to forget to give God thanks for it.
At the very periphery of this thanksgiving to God, it is legitimate to ask that, if God permits it, we may help the Lord to bear a tiny particle of the suffering of the Cross, of his inner anxiety and darkness, if it will contribute to reconciling the world with God. Jesus himself says that it is possible to help him bear it when he challenges us to take up our cross daily. Paul says the same in affirming that he suffers that portion of the Cross that Christ has reserved for him and for other Christians. When life is hard and apparently hopeless, we can be confident that this darkness of ours can be taken up into the great darkness of redemption through which the light of Easter dawns. And when what is required of us seems too burdensome, when the pains become unbearable and the fate we are asked to accept seems simply meaningless�then we have come very close to the man nailed on the Cross at the Place of the Skull, for he has already undergone this on our behalf and, moreover, in unimaginable intensity. When surrounded by apparent meaninglessness, therefore, we cannot ask to be given a calming sense of meaning; all we can do is wait and endure, quite still, like the Crucified, not seeing anything, facing the dark abyss of death. Beyond this abyss there waits for us something that, at present, we cannot see (nor can we even manage to regard it as true), namely, a further abyss of light in which all the world's pain is treasured and cherished in the ever-open heart of God. Then we shall be allowed, like the Apostle Thomas, to put our hand into this gaping wound; feeling it, we shall realize in a very bodily way that God's love transcends all human senses, and with the disciple we shall pray: "My Lord and my God."
April 5, 2007

Departure Point

Well, this is the place from which this blog begins.

Seems like a nice enough place, but I'm hoping that the road to be travelled brings much more than just a sign or two. Load up and we'll be on our way.

Peace. ~~~mary