Ashes and the Assumption: The Body’s Dignity Even in Death

My favorite trail is named for the cathedral-spired rock formations lining both sides of a mountain canyon. Its curves link vistas so stunning that hikers hesitate to turn back when clouds gather and daylight dwindles. “It would be cool if my family would scatter my ashes somewhere up here,” a friend mused on a camping … Continue reading Ashes and the Assumption: The Body’s Dignity Even in Death

3 Reasons to Make Time for Undset’s Kristin Lavransdatter

Kristin Lavransdatter was recently released in an Audible edition, and it's included in a Washington Post review of the best new audiobook releases. I recently finished this Nobel-winning trilogy and used a credit on the 44 hour listen anyway.  That's how compelling this story is. The length of the trilogy deterred me for years, but … Continue reading 3 Reasons to Make Time for Undset’s Kristin Lavransdatter

The Truth Is in the Stars … or Is Faith the Final Frontier?

Why is it possible to learn more in ten minutes about the Crab Nebula in Taurus, which is 6,000 light years away, than you presently know about yourself, even though you've been stuck with yourself all your life? Walker Percy, Lost in the Cosmos: The Last Self-Help Book "Space:  the final frontier." It's impossible to … Continue reading The Truth Is in the Stars … or Is Faith the Final Frontier?

George Herbert’s Secrets of Soul Revealed in a Package of Poetry

f He suffered with poor health throughout his life and died of consumption in 1633 at the age of 39.  Before he died he sent a collection of poems to a friend, the founder of the Anglican religious community, Little Gidding. This request, it is said, accompanied the manuscript: Sir, I pray deliver this little … Continue reading George Herbert’s Secrets of Soul Revealed in a Package of Poetry

Why Forgiveness Is the “Sweeter, Smarter” Choice that Sets Our Prisoners Free

I had rarely heard the the word “incarcerated” before becoming a counselor, but years of work with at-risk children accustomed me to its cadence. It first surfaced on the lips of a dark-haired high school junior who'd come to my office to change her class schedule. Describing her family, she chatted nonchalantly about her grandmother … Continue reading Why Forgiveness Is the “Sweeter, Smarter” Choice that Sets Our Prisoners Free

Pentecost: The Wind that Spreads the Fire

I discovered the power of fire and wind the hard way. I was a thirty-something mom of two toddlers, and my husband and I had rented a simple little home in the country surrounded by open fields.  One breezy spring afternoon, having returned from grocery shopping, I put the kids down for a nap, gathered … Continue reading Pentecost: The Wind that Spreads the Fire

Scorsese’s Silence: A Four-Question Examination of Conscience

Anyone who missed Martin Scorsese's big-screen interpretation of Shusaku Endo's novel Silence hasn't had much of a wait for its video release. Having read the haunting novel several years ago, I jumped at the chance to experience the screen version when SILENCE appeared on the marquee of my small-town theater during Lent. I knew its dark … Continue reading Scorsese’s Silence: A Four-Question Examination of Conscience

Holy Saturday: Harrowing the Hell in Our Hearts

It was on a Holy Saturday about ten years back that I first saw an image of the "Harrowing of Hell," a depiction of Christ entering the realm of the dead and releasing the souls imprisoned there (1 Peter 3:19) We proclaim it in the Apostle's Creed:  Jesus Christ "suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, … Continue reading Holy Saturday: Harrowing the Hell in Our Hearts

Do Everything without Complaining or Arguing

When I was newly married and helping put my husband through his final year of college, I worked at a drug store behind the camera counter which doubled as the return desk.  It was a deep immersion into the world of complaints. One of the most memorable was a post-Christmas encounter with a man dissatisfied … Continue reading Do Everything without Complaining or Arguing

Wrenching Ourselves from Distraction to Attend to those Closest to Us

Father Cajetan Cuddy, O.P., writing in the Magnificat Lenten Reader, recalls an etiquette class he was enrolled in as a child.  "One of the most memorable things I learned in the class," he writes, "was always to pay attention to the other person in a conversation.  True communication is impossible if one or both conversation … Continue reading Wrenching Ourselves from Distraction to Attend to those Closest to Us