Letter from a soul in mortal sin

I didn’t see the curability of it all. It seemed like what you could offer us, with your sacraments and your elaborate covenants, was an answer to a question that no one asked. Salvation from what? I couldn’t see it.

But we have been together for a long time, off and on. We’ve been together long enough that I know that losing you is not only a loss, it is THE loss, the loss I can’t survive.

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Image of praying skeleton by Bixentro via Flickr (Creative Commons)

Savor some beauty for yourself; don’t put it all on display

They remind me constantly that there is still loveliness in the world, still resilience, still freshness, still time to grow. Silly little impatiens with their simple petal faces, and they bloom all season long. They don’t mind the shade. Some of them look directly into the window, nodding and smiling at me in the breeze.

The other day, I checked to see how well they show up from the road, and the answer is: Not at all. What do you know about that!

This does not detract from my enjoyment of them. If anything, it increases it, since it’s a tiny little reminder that “just because I like them” is a perfectly good reason to have them. I am not less important than strangers passing by. Beauty is important, and so am I.

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Image via Maxpixel (public domain)

Are we spiritually deprived when women are barred from preaching?

The rule against women preaching doesn’t stem from misogyny, but from the obligation to make the sermon something specific: an extension of the proclamation of the liturgy of the word. It’s not supposed to be a lecture or a chat; it’s supposed to be part of the liturgy celebrated by an ordained priest or deacon in persona Christi. And that’s why laypeople aren’t supposed to do it.

But the flap over who gives sermons exposed another, possibly deeper misunderstanding about how, exactly, we’re supposed to learn about and live our faith.

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The emerald ash borer and the priest

It’s a strange thing, but when I hear sensationalized documentaries about environmental devastation, I come away drained and horrified, exhausted with despair over what is becoming of the natural world.

Not so with listening to this man, who has spent his life literally face to face with the enemy. He was, as I said, placid, and I went away feeling hopeful about the future of the forest. Not complacent, but hopeful.

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Photo by USDA via Flickr (Creative Commons)

Does the creed disrupt the flow of your worship?

It’s fairly easy to get carried away by whatever kind of flow our life is busy with. The agitated flow of busyness, the aimless flow of boredom, the flooding flow of panic, the swirling flow of temptation. But Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever, and that unmoving God has planted the rock of his Church, creed and all, for the express purpose of disrupting that flow.

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Image by David Dixon (detail) (Creative Commons)

One size fits most

Readers may not be aware of how heavily writers rely upon reference books, such as encyclopedias, thesauruses, Wikipedia, Dickeypedia, and of course a rhyming dictionary, which often reveals hidden truths about language through a kind of mystical game of word association which posits that synonyms come in triads, or what Carl Jung used to call “threeness envy.” Nobody knew what he meant by that. He has a really weird accent.

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Image: Luigi Cherubini and the Muse of Lyric Poetry by Jean Auguste Dominique Ingres (Creative Commons)

How to live with other humans (and find your missing shoe)

Sometimes what I want most of all is just to have a clean kitchen. Sometimes I feel very strongly that the kids should learn how to clean properly. Sometimes I simply ardently want to lie down, and the hell with the house. But I probably can’t have all three things I want: A well-cleaned house, kids that work hard, and a restful evening for myself. I have to pick one or two. When I ask myself what I truly want, then I usually know pretty clearly how I can achieve that one thing. But the answer is almost never, “I myself have no responsibility here.”

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Image: Lady Elizabeht Paget, by Rex Whistler [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

The kingdom of God on Twitter

People can be savage to each other, hiding behind the security of the keyboard. They lash out for no reason at all, other than that they can get away with it. I’ve seen that happen. And people can be breathtakingly open and generous with each other, because when there are two more more people gathered together, even if it’s online, Jesus is there. I’ve seen that happen, too.

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Five Catholic books for littlest kids (and also for their parents)

The books we read as young kids stay with us for a lifetime, so I’m always on the lookout for books that not only have attractive and engaging illustrations, but convey powerful and lasting truths.

I’m especially careful when those books are explicitly about our Faith. Here are a few of my current favorites in that category. They not only tell my kids things I want them to know about God, but I’ve found them moving and engaging myself.

Read my list at The Catholic Weekly