Lamenting Notre Dame’s Losses: “Heaven in Stone and Glass”

When I heard, on Tuesday of Holy Week, that Notre Dame Cathedral was engulfed in flames, I immediately texted my oldest son, the family's intrepid world traveler who had just returned from Paris and had visited Notre Dame only days before. (We differ philosophically, but he graciously allowed me to share his photos in this … Continue reading Lamenting Notre Dame’s Losses: “Heaven in Stone and Glass”

How to Speak of Easter Joy without Harming the Humble Christ/Plus Easter Playlist

Swiss painter Eugène Burnand renders the confusion and hope of Peter and John’s first Easter morning with such poignancy. They’d learned of the resurrection from some women friends who’d been told by an angel, and particularly from Mary Magdalene, told by the risen Christ himself, to tell them.  And then they ran to see that tomb.  They wouldn’t … Continue reading How to Speak of Easter Joy without Harming the Humble Christ/Plus Easter Playlist

Holy Saturday: Harrowing the Hell in Our Hearts (plus more songs for Holy Week)

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 (plus more songs for Holy Week)

Brother’s Keeper: A Playlist for Growing a Merciful Heart

Lent can make you appreciate the length of a lived-out 40: Christ's 40 day fast, Noah's 40 day float trip, Israel's 40 days of wilderness wandering. Forty days takes discipline and desire, and it helps to know going in that there will come a point where you might just want to quit. I've found it … Continue reading Brother’s Keeper: A Playlist for Growing a Merciful Heart

Conversion at the Crèche: A Poem for the Unfinished Soul

The story of theBirth is read, theBabe placed in theManger.Smiling on theMother-girl, who gaveHim to a fallen world,I ask if I might hold herSon, her littleOne, theSavior. She gives a graciousYes. It's ChristmasEve. Cradle His head and place His body on your Breast. He is a Perfect littleLamb, atRest in theCrook Of my own arm. … Continue reading Conversion at the Crèche: A Poem for the Unfinished Soul

Add a Splash of Sobriety to Your Christmas Playlist with These Six Songs

One of the songs that rocked my world, changed my thinking and opened my heart is Jackson Browne's "The Rebel Jesus." But the first thing it did was upset me. Decades ago, driving in the dark with the radio on, I was drawn in by the tune's driving rhythm and lilting violin. I delighted in … Continue reading Add a Splash of Sobriety to Your Christmas Playlist with These Six Songs

Meditating on Handel’s Messiah and More: Advent’s Perpetual Preparation for Peace

It is Advent once again.  And "what we must do in all earnestness," writes Hans urs von Balthasar in his Advent sermon "The Future has Already Come," "is to examine things with regard to their eternal content and eternal promise or, even better, allow ourselves to be addressed by the eternal promise that is embodied in … Continue reading Meditating on Handel’s Messiah and More: Advent’s Perpetual Preparation for Peace

Rembrandt’s Wordless Roadmap to the Soul

"Rembrandt goes so deep into the mysterious that he says things for which there are no words in any language," wrote Vincent van Gogh, who took the practice of signing his own works simply "Vincent" from van Rijn, the 17th Century Dutch Master who identified his work by his first name alone. I last visited the … Continue reading Rembrandt’s Wordless Roadmap to the Soul

Unselfconcious Icons: The Hidden Power of a Good Example in an Age of Bluster and Bling

On an ordinary day in the Denver photofinishing plant where I worked as a personnel clerk many years ago, one of the department heads came running into the manager's office across the hall from mine. "Somebody just puked in the restroom!" he exclaimed. "The custodian's at lunch and there's nobody to clean it up!" "Who? … Continue reading Unselfconcious Icons: The Hidden Power of a Good Example in an Age of Bluster and Bling

Conversion of a Candle in the Wind: The Woman at the Well and Me

On the surface my life seems more stable than hers. One husband, not five.  But I understand the Woman at the Well.  My heart is insatiable and wanders in all directions. I fall in love all the time, becoming passionately absorbed with pretty much anything or anyone. A new friend, a big idea, a chance for … Continue reading Conversion of a Candle in the Wind: The Woman at the Well and Me