Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Children and Easter

“There is a stage in a child’s life at which it cannot separate the religious from the merely festal character of Christmas or Easter. I have been told of a very small and very devout boy who was heard murmuring to himself on Easter morning a poem of his own composition which began ‘Chocolate eggs and Jesus risen.’ 

This seems to me, for his age, both admirable poetry and admirable piety. But of course the time will soon come when such a child can no longer effortlessly and spontaneously enjoy that unity. He will become able to distinguish the spiritual from the ritual and festal aspect of Easter; chocolate eggs will no longer seem sacramental. 

And once he has distinguished he must put one or the other first. If he puts the spiritual first he can still taste something of Easter in the chocolate eggs; if he puts the eggs first they will soon be no more than any other sweetmeat. They will have taken on an independent, and therefore a soon withering, life.” 

~C. S. Lewis

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

To Be Grateful...

"To be grateful for the good things that happen in our lives is easy, but to be grateful for all our lives—the good as well as the bad, the moments of joy as well as the moments of sorrow, the successes as well as the failures, the rewards as well as the rejections—that requires hard spiritual work. Still, we are only truly grateful people when we can say thank you to all that has brought us to the present moment."   ~ Henri Nouwen 

Thursday, February 22, 2018

A Trappist Lenten Reflection

"As we commence another season of Lent, it would be important to ask ourselves if we truly believe that we stand in need of conversion. Or perhaps an even more important question: Do we wish to be converted? Neither of these questions is rhetorical for, if we are not careful, with the steady passage of years some of our sins and imperfections can become so ingrained and part of us that we are no longer even aware of them and, consequently, lack any desire to change. Lent is a graced opportunity to step back and look more closely at our lives and familiarize ourselves with some of our less obvious sins and failings. Inner peace is always going to be a barometer of our spiritual health and inner turmoil, restlessness and discontent the more likely indicators of acknowledged or unacknowledged sins and imperfections. And so, if you find that you can’t think of some obvious fault or failing that you can concentrate on this Lent, it might be helpful to take note of and more closely examine the circumstances and situations that rob you of your inner peace and stillness in a typical day. At the heart of these daily inner disturbances you will find not only their cause, but also what the focus of this Lenten season needs to be for you. Let us all pray for this grace of a renewed commitment to ever deeper self-knowledge so that God’s saving grace may touch the innermost recesses of our hearts and that Easter may bring us a deeper and fuller share in our Savior’s victory over sin and death."

* Written by Father Joseph Wittstock, Abbot of Holy Cross Abbey, Berryville, Virginia
 * Photo © Deacon Brian J. Murphy

Monday, December 18, 2017


And this shall happen on that day:
the nations shall inquire of the root of Jesse,
which shall be standing as a signal to the peoples,
and his resting place shall be glorious. 
 -  Isaiah 11:10

Friday, June 23, 2017

Rare photo of Thomas Merton’s first Mass

Father Louis (Thomas Merton) elevates the chalice during his first celebration of Solemn High Mass since his ordination to the priesthood in Trappist, Kentucky, May 28, 1949. In foreground, the censer-bearer swings censer. At this point of the Mass the Consecration of the Body and Blood of Christ are complete and will be followed by Communion. Other priests are unidentified. Merton was given the name “Louis” upon entering the Cistercians of the Strict Observance, better known as the Trappists, at the Abbey of Our Lady of Gethsemani.
* Photograph by H.B. Littell via AP Archives

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Will Congress Stop Federal Funding for Abortion?

Important article out of LifeSite News

According to a report in The Hill, an abortion-related conscience protection provision in the version of the American Health Care Act (AHCA) passed by the House last month may be not be allowed to stay in the bill in its current form.

The House version of the AHCA includes provisions which would prevent federal tax credits from being used to subsidize eligible health care plans that include coverage for elective abortion. The Senate parliamentarian, however, has reportedly indicated that the provision may not be allowed under Senate rules.
Republicans lawmakers have opted to use a legislative process known as budget reconciliation to pass their “repeal and replace Obamacare” bill. While most legislative measures require a three-fifths majority to invoke closure, reconciliation bills only require a simple majority (51 votes) to pass in the Senate.
The budget reconciliation process was created by Congress in the Congressional Budget Act of 1974. The reconciliation process has been used on a number of occasions to pass key legislative measures that have not enjoyed the support of more than a bare majority of Senators. In 2010, Democratic lawmakers used reconciliation to amend portions of the ACA over the objections of Senate Republicans who were at that time the minority party.

In order for Congress to use reconciliation, however, a bill must pass a six-part test in the Senate known as the Byrd Rule. As a matter of precedent, the Senate parliamentarian enjoys considerable latitude in determining whether a provision meets the conditions of the Byrd Rule. Current Senate Parliamentarian Elizabeth MacDonough was appointed by then-Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid in 2012 after Alan Frumin retired from the position.

Parliamentarian MacDonough’s reported objections to conscience protection provisions in the AHCA could prove problematic for pro-life advocates. For pro-lifers, it is the expectation that any GOP health care bill must prevent federal funding for health care plans that include coverage for elective abortion.


Sunday, May 7, 2017

Good Sheperd Sunday

A thief comes only to steal and slaughter and destroy; I came so that they might have life and have it more abundantly.” 
 John 10:10

Jesus is a good shepherd.  He is not content to see his sheep barely survive.  He wants us, his sheep, to thrive.  He takes pleasure in energetic, robust sheep, not scrawny, anemic ones.  So the pastures to which he leads us are verdant, lush, and green (Psalm 23), not scorched and brown.  He spreads out a table, a true feast before us, not lunch in a brown bag.  He does not ration our nourishment.  Instead, our cup overflows.