Dateline: Lancaster

Buildings, Lancaster by Charles Demuth
Buildings, Lancaster by Charles Demuth

Reflection for Memorial of St. Louis de Montfort

(beamed at you from Lancaster, Pa., where my mom and I are on pilgrimage to visit some family graves…)

Stephen said, “Behold, I see the heavens opened and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God.”Acts 7:56

St. Stephen was given a vision of the Lord Jesus in heaven. When the first martyr saw Christ at the right hand of the Father, why did he not also see our Lady up there?

Statue of St. Louis de Montfort in St. Peter's
Statue of St. Louis de Montfort in St. Peter's

Come on, numbskulls: Our Lady was still on earth when St. Stephen was martyred. She had not yet been taken up to heaven. She was still living with St. John.

As Pope John Paul II reminded us in his encyclical on the Holy Eucharist, the Blessed Mother had a period in her life when she stayed close to her Son in the same way we do: through the Blessed Sacrament of the altar.

Our Lady grew closer to Christ every day of her life, including during the years when He was in heaven and she was still on earth. She did it by going to Holy Mass.

…CAPITALS!!!! Historic seventh-game comback to dispatch the Rangers!

Panthers Capitals Hockey

Gaffer and Other Wonderful News

My dad loved sailing

Do not work for food that perishes but for the food that endures for eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you. For on him the Father, God, has set his seal. –John 6:27

waxsealWhat is the seal that the Father has set on Christ?

Setting a seal involves impressing something upon a recipient, something that was not there before.

From all eternity, the Son of God is divine with the Father. There is no seal-setting in the generation of the second Person of the Blessed Trinity. Both Persons are eternally divine.

The seal that the Father set must therefore be in the humanity of the Son. It is the seal that has united human nature with God in such a way that there is only one Person: Christ, true God and true man.

We too have our share in this same seal, through the sacrament of Confirmation.

My new nephew, Raphael
My new nephew, Raphael

When we are confirmed, we are sealed with the Holy Spirit. Divine grace is impressed upon us in such a way that we are equipped to participate fully in the sacrifice of Christ. We become priests. We can come to the altar and offer acceptable sacrifice to God: ourselves and the whole world, along with the divine Victim…

…Sam Gamgee in The Lord of the Rings is one of the greatest characters ever created.

elanorgamgeeHe has countless symphathetic qualities. One of them is his loving devotion to his father, who is known as “the Gaffer.” (‘Gaffer’ is a Hobbit term for ‘old man.’)

Sam always speaks of the Gaffer as an old friend whom he wants to make proud. He worries about the Gaffer’s well-being. Sam tenderly overlooks his father’s aged weaknesses.

When the Hobbits return from destroying the ring and conquering the evil Lord Sauron, Frodo tells the Gaffer that Sam is one of the great heroes of Middle Earth. But the Gaffer is not impressed. Sam takes his father’s incredulity humbly:

Kirk White in 1978
Kirk White in 1978

“It takes a lot o’ believing,” said the gaffer, “though I can see he’s been mixing in strange company. What’s come of his weskit? I don’t hold with wearing ironmongery, whether it wears well or no.”

[weskit: waistcoat, vest. ironmongery: in this case, armor]

…Three years ago today, my dear dad went to his eternal reward. I had the privilege of receiving him into the Church, confirming him, and giving him Holy Communion shortly before he died in Easton, Maryland.

As the plan of God would have it, today is also the birthday of my new nephew. Raphael’s older brother is named after my dad, and he also has my dad’s monogrammed cufflinks. (Although, at three, he is not yet ready to wear French cuffs.)

May God be praised! May the dead rest in peace. And may the holy Archangel watch over his newborn namesake and guide him through a holy life.

Tobias and the Archangel Raphael, from the book of Tobit
Tobias and the Archangel Raphael, from the book of Tobit

Easter Season Exegesis, Part I

fourthhorsemanWhen he broke open the fourth seal, I heard the voice of the fourth living creature cry out, “Come forward.” I looked, and there was a pale green horse. Its rider was named Death, and Hades accompanied him. –Revelation 6:7-8

If you have not given a listen to this Johnny Cash song, I heartily recommend it. (Click the link and the audio play button. The video is a Johnny Cash look-alike, who does not do the song as much justice as this guy.)

…All kinds of strange things in the water bottles these days. Sometimes it is hard to keep your cool.

Here is the first in a four-part series of homilies on Pope Benedict’s message to the United States when he visited a year ago…

Continue reading “Easter Season Exegesis, Part I”

Whupping Day

summers-asleepSleepy, sleepy. Let me just say that I can relate to this. Who can’t?

…Last night someone put whupping juice in the NBA water bottles:

Celtics by 21.

Mavericks by 21.

Can I get Nowitzness?
Can I get Nowitzness?
Dirk is the man!

And the Jazz beat the Lakers!

…Candles are burning for the Caps

…Tomorrow is the feast day of the kind and gracious saint who has been my patron ever since my dear parents put me under his care at the baptismal font in October, 1970.

He wrote the shortest, most succinct gospel.

He was not one of the original Twelve. His information came from St. Peter.

He is the best patron saint a man could ever ask for.

St. Mark is symbolized by the lion
St. Mark is symbolized by the lion

Rocking the Wrong Red

Pro-fantasy partisans in red at Maine hearing
Pro-fantasy partisans in red at Maine hearing

Yes, I got behind the Red. I even got a red t-shirt and a cap.

But this is NOT what I had in mind.

Caps, people! Washington Capitals! You’re wearing red in the wrong place to cheer for the wrong thing!

I have not considered the topic of “same sex marriage”–other than in jest–because I cannot take it seriously.

What is to debate? Same-sex marriage is impossible. “Same-sex marriage” is like “oven-roaster Greenland.”

In other words, when I hear the phrase, my reaction is:

Continue reading “Rocking the Wrong Red”

Turning Your Back to the Sun

earthsunAmong the pagan people who surrounded the ancient Israelites, it was customary to build temples on high places so that, at dawn, the priests could face east and worship the sun.

The Temple in Jerusalem was built in such a way that in order to worship God at daybreak, the priests had to turn their backs to the rising sun in order to face the Holy of Holies.

The Creator has made a beautiful earth for us to live on. The least we can do is take care of it.

Without Christ, however, this planet would be nothing but a rock hurtling us toward doom.

Happy Earth Day! Praised be Jesus Christ now and forever!


Come, Let us Reason Together…

anselmToday is the Memorial of St. Anselm, champion of the freedom of the Church, of reason, and of human rights. St. Anselm saw to it that the Council of Westminster condemned slavery in 1102.

In honor of St. Anselm’s feast day, here is a little essay about faith, reason, and human rights…

Continue reading “Come, Let us Reason Together…”

Upsetting NBA Weekend, Garden Rejuvenation


You are trying to tell me that…

The Chicago Bulls beat the Celtics in Boston (though the Celtics just evened it), AND…

The Dallas Mavericks beat the Spurs in San Antonio, AND…

The Houston Rockets whupped the Trailblazers in Portland, AND…

The Philadelphia 76ers beat the Magic in Orlando?!?


Does this mean that no one will be able to mount a serious challenge to the Cavs or the Lakers? Is a Kobe-Lebron showdown inevitable?

I’ll tell you what: the Mavericks are my team now. I am sick of Kobe and LeBron. Dirk Nowitzki is my man.

candle1Meanwhile…What do the Lord Jesus Christ and the Washington Capitals have in common?

Both came back to life in the garden! (I can tell you that there have been candles lit in our church for the Caps.)

…There is not a lot written in the New Testament about the interactions which the Lord Jesus had with His Apostles and disciples after He rose from the dead, before He ascended to heaven.

christ-apostlesBut we can gather a great deal from the impact those forty days had on the Apostles.

They started out as men who feared for their lives and scattered at the threat of danger.

They wound up as truly spiritual men who sang the second Psalm as their hymn. They rejoiced to face danger.

Shakespeare Compendium

(If you click on a link and don’t see what you are looking for, scroll down.)

shakespeareMeasure for Measure: Preacher’s exegesis:
Part I
Part II
Part III
Part IV (Deus ex machina explored)

Measure for Measure Revisited, with Greater Wisdom

Romeo and Juliet

Richard II

King Richard II on sovereignty

Richard II “scepter’d isle” speech

Richard III

Twelfth Night

Sad Twelfth Night

Henry IV, Part I: Falstaff
Henry IV, Part I: Fathers’ Day

King Lear

King Lear’s “Reason not the need” speech

The prayers of King Lear

Who Stocked My Man?!

The beautiful reasonable unreasonableness of king Lear and Cleopatra

Shakespeare’s Bad Plays


Hamlet Act V, Scene 1

‘Hamlet & Ten Virgins’ homily

Much Ado About Nothing quotes

Most scathing insult in the history of English (Richard III)

Lots of On-Stage Deaths

“A Midsummer Night’s Dream”
1. Oberon vs. Titania and the Pope in Germany
2. Theseus praises the Rude Mechanicals

Othello vs. Otello

Othello, Act III, Scene 3: the Fall of Man

Love’s Labor

Sampled Shakespeare: Romeo + Juliet and Coriolanus

Virginia, Merchant of Venice, and the Unforgiving Steward

Timon Curses Athens and Teaches Chastity, Shaky Timon in Staunton

All’s Well that Ends Well? Really? (with the Decemberists)