Heartland

6 years ago with 11 comments in Uncategorized
The first few mornings in Peru, the roosters next door woke me up. There was what sounded like a field full of them next door, a whole tribe, saluting the sun hours before it would arrive. We were up at five and off to the chapel for morning prayers. Then back to bed — lucky for me, it took me a long time to realize that 5-6am was supposed to be private prayer time in our rooms, not nap ...

Cortical Remodeling

6 years ago with 5 comments in Uncategorized
So I says to the Lord at the beginning of this Lent, “Lord,” I says, “let’s keep things on the surface this year. I think I’m in a pretty good spot.” “Yeah?” He says. “Yeah,” I say. “I mean, I’ll give stuff up and so forth. I’m no slacker, I’ll even tackle something big. But you and I, we’re close enough ...

Soil and Seed, Flower and Fruit

6 years ago with 10 comments in Uncategorized
So there I was, sitting in Adoration. Every particle of my being seemed to be bathed in glory and resonating with — okay, so actually, I was going over sparring techniques in my head, while grooving slightly to the Paul Simon1 playing on my interior soundtrack. Because that’s how it usually goes. And certainly, much or all of this is my fault. I could be stricter with myself, I ...

What Prayer Is Like

6 years ago with 7 comments in Uncategorized
It’s like Jesus is coming to dinner and you want to make him something delicious to eat, something that will really wow him, so you get to work putting it together. And you think you’re concentrating pretty hard on the meal until you look into the mixing bowl and it turns out to be a kind of porridge of yogurt and scrambled eggs and wilted lettuce and coffee grounds. Or it’s ...

Balance

6 years ago with 10 comments in Uncategorized
Lent really snuck up on me this year, the way Christmas never does. Of course there’s no real reason for the culture at large to get all geared up for Lent, since Lent usually means people buying less, not more. I doubt most people notice Lent at all, except for wondering about the black smudges. Still, that’s not a very good excuse for (1) eating a triple-size meal for Ash ...

My Father’s Arms

6 years ago with 17 comments in Uncategorized
“‘Supposing the Pope looked up and saw a cloud and said ‘It’s going to rain’, would that be bound to happen?’ ‘Oh, yes, Father.’ ‘But supposing it didn’t?’ He thought a moment and said, “I suppose it would be sort of raining spiritually, only we were too sinful to see it.'”1 How many times have you prayed and ...

Where Is Your Treasure?

6 years ago with 10 comments in Uncategorized
This morning I found these in my inbox: These are CFRs, as in “the Community of the Franciscans of the Renewal.” They’re an order founded by Fr. Benedict Groeschel, among others. They work with the poor, but also they are the poor. I always think that if St. Francis were starting today, this is what it would look like. I don’t think I’ve seen a picture of CFRs ...

The Problem of Feeling Good

7 years ago with 3 comments in Uncategorized
I am reckoned as one in the tomb: I have reached the end of my strength, like one alone among the dead; like the slain lying in their graves. Friday night compline is a little gruesome. That’s only fitting, of course, that’s what Friday’s for, and it’s often helpful too. It’s been a long time, but I’ve felt what the Psalmist records here. At times like ...

A Dry Tree

7 years ago with 19 comments in Uncategorized
Oh, prayer time. Often boring, sometimes painful, always worth doing. I do half an hour a day, and today I sat for a full 24 minutes before checking the clock! That’s an achievement. When I saw that there were only 6 minutes left, I decided that was just enough time to get through the next chapter in Isaiah. Here’s what jumped out: And let not the eunuch say, ‘Behold, I am a ...